Questions to Ask Your Doctor About COVID-19 and Your Chronic Illness

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Know your risk

Older adults who get COVID are at greater risk for:

  • Severe illness
  • Hospitalization
  • Death

But people of any age with these underlying medical conditions are also at increased risk:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic liver diseases, including cirrhosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, alcoholic liver disease, and autoimmune hepatitis
  • Chronic lung diseases, including COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate-to-severe), interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis, and pulmonary hypertension
  • Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
  • Down syndrome
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies or hypertension
  • HIV infection
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant or the use of corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive medications
  • Mental health disorders, including mood disorders (such as depression) and schizophrenia spectrum disorders
  • Neurologic conditions, including dementia
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Pregnancy and recent pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
  • Smoking, current or former
  • Stroke or cerebrovascular disease
  • Substance use disorders
  • Tuberculosis

General questions to ask your doctor

Take this list of questions with you on your next visit to your doctor’s office to create an informed care plan for your specific health condition:

  • Does my condition put me at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID? Why or why not?
  • Are the COVID vaccines safe for people with my health condition?
  • Should I stop taking any of my medications before getting a dose of a COVID vaccine?
  • Does your office offer COVID vaccines? If not, do you have a suggestion about where I can get a COVID vaccine?
  • What symptoms of COVID should I watch for?
  • What should I do if I have symptoms of COVID?
  • Does your office provide COVID testing? If not, do you have a suggestion about where I can get a COVID test?
  • If I get sick from COVID, will it affect my underlying condition?
  • Is there treatment to help keep me from getting very sick from COVID?
  • Should I continue taking my medications if I get COVID?
  • If I get tested and I’m negative for COVID, but I still don’t feel well, what should I do?
  • Is telehealth available so I can get care virtually or be seen by a doctor over the Internet?
  • How many doses of a COVID vaccine do I need and how often?

Questions to ask your doctor if you have upcoming medical exams, tests, or surgeries

  • Will having this procedure put me at a higher risk of getting COVID? Why or why not?
  • Is it important for me to have this procedure now, or is it safe to wait?
  • Do I need to get a COVID test before I can get my procedure?
  • Should I get a COVID vaccine dose before or after my procedure is done?
  • Do you allow family or caregivers to accompany me? Can people visit me?
  • Is there a chance the hospital or facility will cancel my procedure or surgery? What are my options if it’s canceled? Can I have the procedure or surgery somewhere else?

For more information

Visit for more information about risk factors for getting very sick from COVID and how to protect yourself.