The immune system is the body’s natural defense mechanism against foreign substances like bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Sometimes, the immune system doesn’t work as well as it should, which can make serious illness more likely.

If your immune system isn’t working at full capacity, you’re what’s known as “immunocompromised.” You can become immunocompromised for a variety of reasons, including:

  • blood cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma
  • certain medical treatments, including cancer treatment, steroids, or other immunosuppressants
  • some chronic diseases, such as diabetes or kidney disease
  • older age
  • advanced or untreated HIV infection

Read on for tips on staying healthy while immunocompromised.

infographic staying healthy while immunocompromisedShare on Pinterest
Infographic by Bailey Mariner

Being immunocompromised increases your risk of developing serious complications. But if your immune system isn’t in tip-top shape, there are things you can do to better protect yourself. Getting vaccinated, avoiding people with active infections, regularly testing for COVID-19, getting regular checkups, and eating a healthy diet are just some of the things that can help.

And if you live with or know someone who is immunocompromised, following these tips can help you protect and keep them safe.