Pandemic Preparation for COVID-19: Infection Prevention for Those with CKD

By Stephanie Legin RD, LDN

COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, is spreading rapidly across the world, creating a global health and economic crisis.  Many people have been affected by this virus and will continue to do so if we don’t all do our part to prevent it from spreading.  It is imperative that you practice the recommended safety and hygiene precautions to help stop the spread of this disease and keep yourself as well as others safe from this virus.  

High risk populations, such as elderly or individuals with underlying disease like kidney disease, are particularly susceptible to contracting the virus.  For those of you with CKD or ESRD (end stage renal disease) on dialysis, or have had a kidney transplant, being diligent with the following recommendations can help minimize your risk for infection.

Stay Prepared and Safe

  1. Stay home!  Limit your contact with other people during this time.  Limit your trips out of the home and only go to the store if absolutely necessary.  If you have family and friends nearby, ask if they may be able to help you with purchasing food and other essentials. 
  2. Many grocery stores and other deemed essential stores have special shopping hours for the elderly or for individuals with serious underlying medical conditions.  Shop during these hours if you can.  
  3. If you do go out, make sure you maintain a 6 foot distance from others.  
  4. Stock up on your prescriptions and other necessary medical supplies.
  5. Wash your hands—often!  Always practice proper handwashing techniques—scrub for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap.
  6. Use hand sanitizers with 60% alcohol or greater when hand washing is not possible. 
  7. Avoid touching your face, mouth, nose and eyes.
  8. If you wear a face mask, be sure it completely covers your nose and mouth.  Do not touch the mask.  After removing it, wash or sanitize your hands. 
  9. If you have a cough, cough into your shoulder or your bent elbow.  Avoid coughing into your hands as this easily spreads germs.  
  10. If you do go out, bring a supply of tissues and hand sanitizer with you. 
  11. Wash your hands before and after eating.
  12. Do not share food or beverages with others. 
  13. Always practice proper food safety when purchasing, prepping, cooking, and storing all food.
  14. Sanitize work surfaces, door handles, phones and any other surfaces you come into contact regularly.
  15. After pumping gas,  use hand sanitizer. 
  16. Take your shoes off before entering your home. Virus can be tracked in on the soles of your shoes.
  17. Get plenty of rest.  Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.  
  18. Stay hydrated.  If you are on dialysis, be sure to strictly follow your recommended fluid restriction. 
  19. Do not smoke.  If you do, always wash your hands thoroughly after.
  20. If it’s nice out, go outside!  Get some fresh air, sunshine and  exercise.  
  21. Social isolation can affect mental health.  Find activities to help you prevent issues like depression.  Getting outside to get exercise, calling friends or loved ones by phone or skype, or setting a daily routine are some ideas that may help.  Find what works best for you.  
  22. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, fever, cough, shortness of breath, call your doctor and discuss your best course of action.
  23. If you are on dialysis, do not skip treatments.  If you have any symptoms of the virus, always call your doctor or dialysis clinic before  and follow protocol.  
  24. Avoid public transportation.  If you use public transportation to get to dialysis treatments, try and get alternative transportation to your treatments.  Always wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before and after transportation.
  25. If you do home hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis, be  diligent with proper cleaning and handling of all equipment at all times.   

Be prepared with an emergency supply of renal friendly, non-perishable and longer shelf life food items. 

Renal Friendly Foods to Have On Hand

  • Use up fresh foods first.  If you are unable to use all of your fresh food before it spoils, split it up and freeze it for later use.  
  • Canned or frozen fruits and fruit juices.
  • No salt added canned or frozen vegetables.
  • Remember to wash all fresh produce under running water when you get it home before storing.  Do not soak in the sink. 
  • Always wash the tops of all cans thoroughly before opening.
  • Unsalted nut butters.
  • Low sodium canned tuna, chicken, turkey, crab.
  • White bread, dry corn or rice based cereals, white pasta, white rice, unsalted crackers, white flour tortillas.
  • Eggs.
  • Bottled water.  No sharing!

Taking precautions and being prepared is vital to helping stop the spread of this virus.  If you have kidney disease, please be proactive to help keep yourself and others safe and healthy.   

Disclaimer

The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. KidneyChef urges you to seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition. KidneyChef advises you to never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Website.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or local emergency service immediately. KidneyChef does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the website. KidneyChef does not guarantee the accuracy of information on the Website and reliance on any information provided by KidneyChef is solely at your own risk.

References

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