COVID-19 (coronavirus disease-2019) is an infectious disease. While most people infected will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment, some may develop more serious illness. Older people and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease (e.g. COPD) and cancer are more at risk of developing serious disease.
There are no specific foods or vitamin or mineral supplements that will prevent you from catching COVID-19; good hygiene practice (i.e. washing hands frequently for at least 20 seconds) remains the best means of avoiding infection. However, eating a well-balanced diet can help support the normal functioning of the immune system to help fight off infection, so it is important to continue to eat well and have a range of foods.
The symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, coughing, general weakness, fatigue, pain, difficulty breathing and poor appetite as well as changes to taste and smell. All of these can affect your appetite and ability to eat and drink normally. Good nutrition is important for recovery from illness.
It is important to think about your weight. Being overweight/underweight is not good for overall health and can impact on your risk of and recovery from COVID-19 illness. THE NHS WEBSITE enables you to use your current weight and height to calculate your body mass index (BMI).
Use this SELF SCREENING TOOL if you are concerned about being underweight or losing too much weight and can weigh yourself safely.
If you are unable to weigh yourself use THIS CHECKLIST from the Patients Association.
Fighting infection may increase your body’s needs for protein, vitamins and minerals; illness can make it difficult to eat and drink enough. Because of this, you may need to think differently about your eating and drinking. The RESOURCES FINDER will help you find the right information on good nutrition during or after COVID-19 illness.
• If you have diabetes you may have an increased risk of becoming poorly with COVID-19, in turn this may affect your blood glucose control. The Diabetes UK website provides further information.
• If you are on medicines for high blood pressure, and your weight has changed recently, this might affect your blood pressure control. Please contact your healthcare team if you need further advice.
• If you have problems with swallowing, speak to your doctor who will be able to refer you to a Speech & Language Therapist and/or Dietitian who can give you advice on dealing with this.
• If you have not had COVID-19 but have some concerns about nutrition there are a number of leaflets on the Patients and Carers section of our website that may be helpful
A selection of publications for use by healthcare professionals, patients and carers are available in the resources section of the website.
A number of resources are available that have been developed to support patients and carers.
A number of resources are available that have been developed to assist healthcare professionals supporting patients at risk of malnutrition as a result of a specific condition. These include:
We can be contacted regarding the malnutrition pathway materials and website
If you have a combined BMI and weight loss calculator score of 1 or more please go to malnutritionselfscreening.org
for further information