Who is at risk?
Who is at risk?
Although anyone can suffer from a respiratory tract infection (RTI), which is highly common, some of us are more vulnerable to the infection. These include1,2:
- Children under 2 years old
- People over 65 years old
- Pregnant women
- People with a chronic health condition, such as diabetes or heart disease
- People with a pre-existing lung condition, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ( COPD )
- People with a weakened immune system
Knowing who is at high risk can help us to be more attentive to our and others’ health, seek medical advice in time, and avoid possible complications.
What to do in case the symptoms of an RTI arise?
If you or someone you are caring for, has a respiratory tract infection and is at risk, please refer to a healthcare professional. Extra care and additional treatment may be required.
How to reduce the risk of catching an RTI?
If you are in a high-risk group, there are a number of ways to reduce your risk of catching an RTI 2,3:
- Ask your GP about the annual flu vaccination
- Ask your GP if you should get a pneumococcal vaccine (which helps prevent pneumonia)
- Adopt healthy lifestyle habits such as exercising regularly, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, eating well and getting plenty of sleep
- Wash your hands often
- Avoid close contact with people presenting RTI symptoms or suffering from an RTI such as a cold or the flu
Consult your doctor to discuss your level of risk in case of an RTI and the ways to prevent them.
- Health Service Executive. Respiratory tract infection, https://www.hse.ie/eng/health/az/r/respiratory-tract-infection/, Accessed October 21, 2020.
- Health Navigator New Zealand. Respiratory tract infections, https://www.healthnavigator.org.nz/health-a-z/r/respiratory-tract-infections//, Accessed October 21, 2020.
- National Health Service. Respiratory tract infections., https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Respiratory-tract-infection/. Accessed October 21, 2020.