Kidney disease and COVID-19

You are at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 (coronavirus) if you:

  • have chronic kidney disease
  • are receiving dialysis treatment
  • have had a kidney transplant

There are 2 levels of higher risk:

  • very high risk (also called extremely vulnerable)
  • high risk

Being at higher risk does not mean you are more likely to get COVID-19. But if you do, there is a higher risk that you could become seriously ill.

Read advice for people in at-risk groups on how to protect yourself from COVID-19

Read advice for people at high risk who have not been vaccinated

Chronic kidney disease

If you have chronic kidney disease, you are at high risk of serious illness if you get COVID-19.

The steps you need to take to protect yourself will depend on how severe your illness is.

If you have moderate to severe chronic kidney disease you do not need to stay at home (cocoon). But you should take extra care to protect yourself from the virus.

End-stage kidney disease, pre-dialysis, and dialysis

You are at very high risk (extremely vulnerable) of serious illness from COVID-19 if you are on dialysis or waiting to start dialysis. You are advised to stay at home to protect yourself.

Home dialysis treatment

If you are on home dialysis therapy, you should continue your dialysis treatment as normal at home.

Centre haemodialysis treatment

Continue to attend for your treatment 3 times a week as directed by your consultant.

All hospitals and dialysis units have measures in place to protect you from COVID-19. They will help ensure you can get your treatment safely.

Your dialysis unit will give you a surgical face covering. Wear this from when you leave your house until you return home from the dialysis unit.

Eating while on dialysis is only allowed in some cases. Your dialysis unit team will let you know.

Come alone to the unit. If you are getting a lift, it should be only you and the driver in the car.

Transplant patients

You are at very high risk (extremely vulnerable) of serious illness from COVID-19 if you have had a kidney transplant. You are advised to stay at home to protect yourself.

Continue to take any immunosuppressive medicines (anti-rejection medicines) you are on.

If you feel unwell or may have COVID-19

Phone your dialysis unit or hospital if you have:

Do this before you attend. They will make arrangements for you to get your dialysis treatment.

If you are on home dialysis and feel too unwell to carry out your treatment, phone your unit for advice.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you may have to drive to the unit alone for your treatment. Your dialysis care team will let you know what to do. If you do not feel well enough to drive, ask a family member or friend to drive you.

Read advice on how to keep you and your driver safe during that journey

If you usually travel by taxi to the dialysis unit, tell the taxi company about your COVID-19 symptoms. They will put in place any necessary precautions. The unit staff will meet you when you arrive.

Do not use other forms of public transport.

Medicine and treatments

Keep taking your medications and attend any scheduled treatments.

Important

Never stop any medication or treatment without first speaking with your GP or doctor.

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