Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has urged kidney patients to take all necessary precautions to prevent infection with novel coronavirus (Covid-19), especially since people with chronic diseases are more likely to have severe symptoms if they contract the virus.
Head of Nephrology at HMC, Dr Hassan al-Malki, said: “Older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like kidney disease seem to be at higher risk for more serious Covid-19 illness. This group of patients is at increased risk of becoming seriously ill”.
“In chronic kidney disease, elements of the immune system that deal with infections like Covid-19 are less active. These patients have a reduced ability to fight off the virus, and if they contract it, their recovery is often compromised. This should not signal the need for panic, but it does underscore that vulnerable populations, which include those with chronic diseases like kidney failure, need to be extra cautious,” said Dr al-Malki.
Meanwhile, Director of Ambulatory Dialysis Dr Fadwa al-Ali said that HMC’s Dialysis Unit has stepped up precautionary measures to protect patients with kidney failure from the pathogen, but she says patients themselves need to take preventive actions. This includes their family members and other household contacts being extra cautious.
She added that Covid-19 and other flu-like illnesses can induce acute inflammation, making people with kidney failure vulnerable to other infections.
“Most dialysis patients have compromised immune systems and many also have an underlying comorbidity, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Add to this the fact that dialysis is an invasive procedure and you can understand why we are so concerned about these patients and ensuring they understand the importance of taking precautions,” said Dr al-Ali.
“For home dialysis patients, it is important that they are vigilant about keeping their access site clean.
Any signs of tenderness or irritation should be reported to your nurse or doctor immediately and you should closely follow your healthcare team’s recommendations regarding diet and medication. If you have a cold or the flu, or any symptoms of respiratory illness, let your doctor know so they can monitor your condition,” added Dr al-Ali.
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