Kidney patients, like other people with underlying conditions, should be especially aware of COVD-19 and the impact it can have on their lives. We’ve pulled together this list of Frequently Asked Questions to help you stay on top of the rapidly changing information:
Am I at a higher risk for catching COVID-19 if I have kidney disease?
The CDC has identified the following groups more at risk for COVID-19:
- older adults
- any people with the following medical conditions
- heart disease
- chronic kidney disease requiring dialysis
- pregnant women
If you are a kidney patient who has had a transplant and are taking immunosuppressant medications, you may also be at a higher risk. Take these steps, recommended by the CDC, to reduce your risk of catching COVID-19.
What kidney-friendly foods should I stock up on?
- Get tips and shopping list for a 3-day emergency diet.
- Visit Kidney Kitchen for a shopping list of food items to stock in your fridge, freezer, and pantry.
Is food delivery safe?
Cooking at home is your best option, but there are many services that deliver groceries to your home. If you do order out, choose a healthy diet with limited phosphorus, potassium and salt.
What should I do if I feel sick?
If you feel sick, call your health-care team right away.
Are dialysis clinics open and should I go to treatments?
Dialysis clinics are still open. Dialysis clinics are taking precautions with your safety in mind, including social distancing in reception areas. If there are changes in your clinic’s hours or to your dialysis schedule, your team will contact you. If you are not sure about schedules, procedures or just have questions, call your clinic. You should not miss treatment. Your immune system is stronger when your blood is clean.
How can I get emergency dialysis?
Call your dialysis center. They will find a way to fit you into their schedule or refer you to another nearby center.
What can I do if COVID-19 is giving me anxiety and this sudden change in daily routine is making me depressed?
If you are on dialysis and have a social worker, talk to your social worker; they are trained to help you navigate your emotions. If you do not have a social worker, call your insurance provider to see if mental health counseling is covered in your benefits and if telehealth is an option.
You can also reduce anxiety with:
- mindfulness: paying attention to the present, not the past.
- breathing exercises
- limiting or eliminating caffeine
- getting adequate sleep
In addition to the kidney-specific advice above, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent recommends that everyone do their part to help us respond to this public health threat.
- Use a cloth face covering to keep people who are infected but do not have symptoms from spreading COVID-19 to others. The recommended cloth face coverings are not surgical masks or N95 respirators. Medical face masks are critical supplies that should be reserved for health-care workers and other first responders.
- Keep 6 feet between you and others.
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds whenever you’ve been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
The organizations below are providing updates on COVID-19. Check each organization’s website regularly as new information and resources become available.