Risk groups

Certain individuals develop more severe symptoms, chiefly pneumonia and breathing difficulties, if they are infected with Covid-19. However, since this is a novel disease, there is a lack of comprehensive understanding of which groups are at the greatest risk of becoming seriously ill.

70 years and older

  • Studies of Covid-19 show that advanced age is the leading risk factor. Those who are at the greatest risk of becoming seriously ill are individuals aged 70 years and older, particularly if they have one or several of the following conditions:
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Lung disease (not asthma)
  • Severe obesity
  • Diabetes

Younger than 70 years old

Individuals younger than 70 years old may also be at greater risk of becoming seriously ill if they have any of the following:

  • One or more of the conditions mentioned above.
  • Disease that increases the risk of severe illness in case of airway infections.

It is also possible that individuals who are undergoing medical treatment or have conditions that affect their immune system may be at increased risk of becoming seriously ill.

Pregnant women

According to current knowledge, pregnant women do not appear to be at higher risk than others of being affected by severe illness in conjunction with Covid-19. 

According to advice from the Public Health Agency ("Folkhälsomyndigheten"), pregnant women should be extra careful, especially toward the end of the pregnancy and prior to giving birth. This is because a respiratory infection during late stages of pregnancy can pose risks for the woman. Extra caution is recommended from week 36 of a pregnancy. 

Pregnant women with risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity should be extra careful. If this applies to you, consult your midwife or physician and limit close contact with people outside your household. 

A covid-19 infection does not normally spread to the fetus during pregnancy, or to the child when breastfeeding. Children can be infected with the corona virus, but serious symptoms are uncommon among newborns and children. 

Consult your doctor

If you have any of the conditions above, you should consult your treating doctor about what you can do to reduce the risk of falling ill with Covid-19.

For more detailed information on the various risk groups, read more in the report below issued by the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen): Identifying risk groups most at risk of suffering a particularly severe course of disease if they contract Covid-19 (in Swedish).

How to stay healthy

If you are in a risk group, you should consult your doctor about treatment and what you can do to reduce the risk of falling ill with Covid-19.
We advise those in risk groups to limit close contact with others as much as possible. This means that you should:

  • Try to stay at home, but of course there is no obstacle to, for example, taking a walk and being outdoors in settings with only a few people at a safe distance.
  • Avoid crowds in shops and public premises, on public transport, etc.
  • Keep your distance from others both indoors and outdoors.
  • Ask for assistance with food shopping, collecting medicines and performing other errands that may involve close contact with other people.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

What can family members do to prevent the spread of infection?

To counter the spread of infection within the family, everyone should:

  • Wash their hands frequently and definitely as soon as returning home.
  • Always cough into the crook of the elbow.
  • Maintain a distance from others both indoors and outdoors.
  • If someone in the family falls ill, they should isolate themselves as best they can, preferably in their own room.
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