With the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) announcement that the disease caused by the newly reported novel coronavirus, COVID-19 is a pandemic, the situation is rather tense in Singapore and the world. A search of the very word ‘coronavirus’ gives about over 8.5 billion results on google. And one of the most asked questions after “What are the symptoms?” is “Am I likely to get it?”
One of the reports(1) on coronavirus released by the WHO states that people with pre-existing chronic conditions are more vulnerable to complications caused by coronavirus. According to that study, the fatality rate of people with hypertension is 8.4%.
Hypertension and COVID-19
It must be noted that there is a high prevalence of hypertension in Singapore. It is so high that it is estimated that one in four Singapore residents have hypertension.(2) The world’s experience with COVID-19 has led to a speculation that those with hypertension are at a greater risk of developing serious illness, if they contract coronavirus. This comes from the speculation that the medication that helps keep the blood pressure under control may increase the risk of infection or severity.(3) But this has not been proven yet. So don’t fall for such statements and consult with your doctor’s advice to know more about medications.(4)
A lot of the precautionary measures that are given by WHO or the US’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) revolve around basic hygiene.
Here are a few pointers for you:(5)
- Make sure you have enough groceries and medication if they are not easily accessible during your stay home period due to COVID-19 outbreak
- Avoid any contact with people who are sick
- Avoid going to crowded places and cancel unnecessary outdoor activities
- On the hygiene and cleanliness front, wash your hands with soap often (at least up to 20 seconds) or consider using an alcohol-based sanitizer
- Avoid touching surfaces in a public setting. On an individual front, avoid touching your nose, eyes and the face in general so that you can avoid coming in contact with the virus
- But you must have a plan for the worst-case scenario as well. Keep your family and friends informed so that they can help you in case you fall ill
- Pay attention to yourself and isolate yourself if you notice symptoms like cough, fever and shortness of breath
- As the next step, notify or contact the authorities so that you can get tested. Keep updating the developments to your doctor
Also, remember to watch the source from which you get information on COVID-19. A word of caution – don’t believe everything. False news travels fast. Keep yourself up to date with the reports put out by credible sources such as WHO or MOH.
- Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) [Internet]. World Health Organisation. 2020 [cited 2020 Mar 15]. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/who-china-joint-mission-on-covid-19-final-report.pdf
- National Health Survey 2010, Ministry of Health, Singapore
- Fang L, Karakiulakis G, Roth M. Are patients with hypertension and diabetes mellitus at increased risk for COVID-19 infection? The Lancet Respiratory Medicine [Internet]. 2020 Mar [cited 2020 Mar 15]; Available from: https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lanres/PIIS2213-2600(20)30116-8.pdf
- de Simone G. Position Statement of the ESC Council on Hypertension on ACE-Inhibitors and Angi [Internet]. Escardio.org. 2020 [cited 2020 Mar 15]. Available from: https://www.escardio.org/Councils/Council-on-Hypertension-(CHT)/News/position-statement-of-the-esc-council-on-hypertension-on-ace-inhibitors-and-ang
- CDC. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) [Internet]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020 [cited 2020 Mar 15]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html