While it may feel like much of life has returned to normal compared to the height of COVID, the CDC says between two to 4,000 Americans are still dying from the disease each week. Most of those are seniors who fall into other high-risk groups.
There’s a new effort aimed at those Americans to reduce their risk of becoming severely ill or dying.
“In the high-risk groups, people are still coming to the hospital and, unfortunately, people are still dying from COVID-19,” said Dr. David Hill of American Lung Association.
That’s why the American Lung Association is launching a new campaign for those at high risk of getting severely sick from COVID and people with certain medical conditions like chronic lung disease.
First, the organization says to get up-to-date on your COVID vaccinations, which means getting the updated booster if eligible.
Second, if you have symptoms of the virus, get tested immediately as treatment is most effective when done early.
“We have some oral therapies that can be used within five days of symptom onset and one IV therapy that can be used within a week of symptom onset,” Hill said.
If you’re at high-risk and test positive, quickly talk to a doctor about the best treatment option for you.
“There’s a lot of information and misinformation being circulated,” Hill said. “Our treatment options are good. They’re being underutilized, particularly in inner city, minority cities in populations that are underserved by the healthcare system in general.”
If possible, discuss with your doctor in advance what you should do if you test positive, so there’s no delay in getting treatment.
Even if you’re not personally in a high-risk category, the American Lung Association says it’s still important to be vaccinated and to test yourself if you feel ill to help protect the vulnerable people around you.