Concerns for Seniors During COVID-19 Outbreak

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The Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is a pandemic that has already affected millions of people across the world. The outbreak reportedly originated in Wuhan, China and quickly spread to other Asian countries, the Middle East, Europe and North America.  Seniors and those with underlying medical conditions are at the highest risk to suffer complications. As a result, many seniors are alarmed and concerned about how they can protect themselves against this pandemic.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that was first discovered in Wuhan, China in December 2019. And since it is a new strain, there is so little information on how to fight it. The COVID-19 is different from its cousin coronaviruses. Its incubation period is 1-14 days; meaning the symptoms could start appearing up to two weeks after your exposure. Individuals contracted COVID-19 may manifest the following symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

Why are seniors more vulnerable to COVID-19?

While most people who contract COVID-19 will recover, some will get seriously ill and may die from a respiratory disorder.  According to experts, the fatality rate of COVID-19 on older adults is higher than with other age groups. Our immune system is the force that fights antigens, bacteria, and viruses that enter our bodies. As we get older, our immune system gets weaker thus making us more susceptible to certain illnesses. 

What can seniors do to protect themselves from COVID-19?

As of the moment, there is still no definite treatment for COVID-19. However, there are ways seniors and other family members can do to protect themselves against this pandemic. Here’s how:

  • Follow guidance recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

The most recommended prevention method by the CDC is to use universal infection precautions. Hand washing is the #1 way to prevent the spread of this virus. The CDC also has put out these recommended steps to basic infection control:

  • Wash your hands frequently, alcohol base 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Cover your cough or sneeze
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day (counters, doorknobs, toilets, phones, etc.)
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Get a flu shot. Although the flu vaccine does not offer protection from coronavirus, this situation is a good reminder to get your seasonal flu shot
  • Avoid contact with sick people as much as possible
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Practice social distancing

While it is nice to spend time participating in recreational activities and socializing with friends, it is not recommended while COVID-19 is still spreading. Crowds make it easier for the virus to spread rapidly across entire groups of people. Refrain from attending social gatherings or any activities with more than 10+ people. Avoid touching surfaces in high-traffic places like a public restroom. Disinfect well after going outside. As much as possible, refrain from going out of your house unless it is truly urgent.

  • Boost your immune system

Your body’s immune system will be fighting this new strain of virus. And the only way to win this battle is to equip yourself with a strong immune system. Take your vitamin C regularly, eat a healthy diet, and most importantly get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.  

What to do if you get sick?

If you do end up getting sick, consider the following information below:

  1. Have a plan for what you will do in the event you begin to experience symptoms.
  2. Stay home and call your doctor and inform them about your symptoms.  Tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help them take care of you and keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
  3. If you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you will be able to recover at home. If this is the case, follow the CDC’s guidelines on how to take care of yourself at home.
  4. Know when to get emergency help and dial 911.  Get medical attention immediately if you have any of the emergency signs and symptoms listed above.

In Summary

The CDC is continuously updating information about COVID-19, and drastic steps are being taken to prevent the spread of the disease.  It is up to us as individuals to further protect ourselves and our loved ones from being infected by following the above guidelines.  

Assisting Hands Home Care Arlington is following all CDC guidelines surrounding proper sanitization of all equipment, surfaces, and hands, and staff members will not report to work if they are sick or have been exposed to someone at-risk of infection.  If you find that you are having difficulty caring for your loved ones who are at higher risk of serious infection or you are in need of in-home care services to help your loved one avoid going out, give our office a call at (703) 997-4334.