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Be Prepared: Kidney Patient Prep for Coronavirus

Updated: Apr 1, 2020

En Español

Coronavirus is spread mainly from person to person. Older adults and people with kidney disease or other severe chronic medical conditions seem to be at higher risk for more serious Coronavirus illness.  Because of this increased risk for kidney patients, it is especially important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of exposure.  If a Coronavirus outbreak happens in your community, it could last for a long time.  Depending on the severity of the outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends these actions to reduce your exposure.  These actions can slow the spread and reduce the impact of the disease.

If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from Coronavirus, you should:

  • Stock up on supplies

  • Take everday precautions (see below) to keep space between yourself and others

  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact

  • Wash your hands often

  • Avoid crowds as much as possible

  • During a Coronavirus outbreak in your area, stay home as much as possible.

It's important that everyone follow these preventative measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

  • Stay home if you feel sick or have any symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  If you are on dialysis, you should NOT miss your treatments. Contact your clinic if you feel sick or have any concerns.

  • Avoid others who are sick. Limiting face-to-face contact with others as much as possible.

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash can. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If you don’t have soap and water, use hand sanitizer with 60%-95% alcohol.

  • Clean very often the things that get touched a lot, like door handles

  • Avoid touching your face, especially your nose and mouth. Wear a facemask if your healthcare team or someone from the public health office says you should.

Why do I need to prepare for the coronavirus outbreak?

If there is a virus outbreak in your area and you need to decrease your risk of getting sick, it’s important that you have food in your home. This will help reduce your risk of infection by allowing you to avoid crowded spaces like grocery stores and drug stores. Here are some shelf stable food choices to help you follow your kidney diet. Shelf stable means foods that last a long time without spoiling, such as canned foods. It’s important to prepare now by stocking up 2-3 weeks’ worth of healthy, kidney friendly foods, fresh water, and medicines. Check with your healthcare professional if you have any questions about your medications.

What about my dialysis treatments and/or medical appointments?

If you are a dialysis patient, you should NOT miss your treatments. If you feel sick, be sure to tell a member of you healthcare team. In the unlikely event that your clinic is closed due to an outbreak, your center will help you get dialysis at another nearby clinic.  You can also visit for up-to-date information on clinic closings and emergency resources.

For early stage kidney patients or transplant recipients, contact your healthcare professional or nephrologist with any questions or concerns.

Kidney-Friendly Shelf Stable Items for your Pantry

It’s important to keep shelf stable foods on hand to avoid getting sick if an outbreak happens in your area.


  • Throw away cans that are opened, dented, or past their expiration date to avoid food poisoning.

  • Avoid using salt (and salt substitutes if you have a potassium restriction)

  • Keep distilled water on hand (bottles or jugs).

Dialysis Friendly - Low potassium, Low phosphorous, Low sodium

Fruits, 1/2 cup = 1 serving (limit to 2-3 servings/day)

Canned or sealed container, no sugar added: (drained and rinsed)

  • Applesauce

  • Apricots

  • Fruit Cocktail

  • Peaches

  • Pears

  • Pineapples

  • Mandarin Oranges


  • Cranberry

  • Apple

  • Grape

  • Pineapple

  • Fruit punch

  • Lemonade

  • Limeade

Vegetables, 1/2 cup = 1 serving (limit to 2-3 servings/day)

Low-sodium or no salt added canned: (drained and rinsed)

  • Bamboo Shoots

  • Beets

  • Carrots

  • Corn

  • Green Beans

  • Mushrooms

  • Pumpkin

  • Sweet Peas

  • Water Chestnuts


Low-sodium canned: (drained and rinsed)

  • Tuna

  • Salmon

  • Meat

  • Turkey

  • Chicken