Tips for Cohabitating with an Immunocompromised Individual During COVID-19

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t felt the sting of the COVID-19 pandemic. Considerable changes to daily routines, lost income and cabin fever are just a few of the problems virtually everyone has faced at some point throughout the last 22 months. However, this period has been especially hard on people with compromised immune systems. Since they’re more likely to develop serious and fatal cases of the novel coronavirus, immunocompromised individuals have had to exercise an even higher degree of caution than the rest of us. With the pandemic a long way from over and new COVID variants arising, it behooves anyone who cohabitates with an immunocompromised person (or people) to take a number of common-sense precautions.


Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19

Outside of people who suffer from medical conditions that prohibit vaccination, no one has an acceptable excuse to not yet be vaccinated against COVID-19. This is particularly true for people who cohabitate with immunocompromised individuals. Your decision to refuse a free, readily available, highly effective vaccine can have a significant impact on not just you, but everyone with whom you interact – especially those with whom you share a residence. Even if you want to frame this as a question of “personal freedom,” your purported freedom to walk around unvaccinated does not supersede other people’s freedom to stay safe from a deadly virus.

Even the immunocompromised person with whom you cohabitate is fully vaccinated, this person is unlikely to have the same level of protection as someone with a more resilient immune system. So, to help ensure the continued good health of your entire household, get vaccinated and encourage others to do the same. By extension, if an immunocompromised loved one who is eligible to get vaccinated refuses to do so, make sure to strongly encourage them to rethink this decision. If this individual is unclear on whether they’re eligible to receive a vaccine, promptly get in touch with their physician.

Stay Up to Date with Boosters

Given the continued prevalence of COVID-19 and its many variants, booster shots have been deemed necessary to provide people with maximum protection. So, even if you’re fully vaccinated, you’ll need to stay up to date with boosters. At present, adults who received the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are eligible to receive boosters at least six months after their primary vaccination series. In contrast, adults who received the Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen vaccine are eligible at least two months after their primary shot.

Limit Contact with Unvaccinated Individuals

While you can try to point people in the right direction and guide their thinking, you can’t force them to do something they don’t want to do – as many people have discovered through dealing with vaccine-hesitant friends and relatives. You can, however, control your actions in response to other people’s poor decisions. Ergo, if a coworker, friend or relative absolutely refuses to get vaccinated, you should make a point of avoiding direct interaction with this person.

Although being vaccinated will provide you with a high level of protection, vaccines are magical shields against infection, and breakthrough infections are certainly possible. Not only can interacting with unvaccinated individuals land you with an active COVID-19 infection, it can also result in you bringing that infection home. There’s a chance you’ll catch some flak from certain individuals, but at the end of the day, your health – and the health of those around you – is more important than the egos of the proudly unvaccinated.

Take Part in Activities That Benefit the Immunocompromised

Donating time and resources to charitable causes that benefit the immunocompromised can be a great way to show immunodeficient loved ones just how much they’re valued. For example, taking the opportunity to give blood can effectively help people with compromised immunity and individuals who lose copious amounts of blood as a result of medical emergencies.

There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has made all of our lives more difficult. Mundane everyday tasks that we once took for granted must now be approached with a heightened degree of caution – if, in fact, they’re still approached at all. Still, as hard as this period has been on everyone else, it’s been particularly scary for people grappling with immunodeficiencies. As such, if you live, work or associate with an immunocompromised individual, you should take measures to make their lives easier.


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