According to CDC “Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China”. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.
Research is showing that people with pre-existing medical conditions such as lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer are at a higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19.
The data available by CDC up till now has recorded 8 out of 10 deaths reported in the U.S. have been in adults 65 years old and older. Seniors 85 years of age and older affected by coronavirus and requiring hospitalization amount to 31% to 70%. Right now there is no vaccine for coronavirus and many companies all over the world are working on creating one.
What are the symptoms of corona virus?
According to CDC, symptoms may appear between 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
- Shortness of breath
The symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild to severe or even death.
How can you protect yourself from coronavirus?
There are some steps you can take to reduce your chances of getting this disease.
- Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing food, coming back to home from outside, using bathroom etc.
- Avoid going outside as much as possible.
- If you have to go outside for any reason, if possible wear mask and gloves for additional protection.
- Avoid touching your face. As humans, we have a habit of touching our faces quite frequently. In the age of coronavirus, this needs to change.
- When being outside keep at least 6 feet of space between you and others.
- When sneezing or coughing do so in the bend of elbow or use a disposable tissue.
- Disinfect commonly used medical devices such as walkers or canes on a regular basis.
Other ways to minimize exposure to coronavirus;
- Postpone unnecessary doctor visits.
- Stock up on supplies and medications.
- Avoid non-essential air and cruise travel that may expose you to crowds.
- Seniors with chronic illnesses could ask their medical professional about telemedicine. This enables doctors to communicate with their patients via video and email instead of in person.
How to stay connected with others during social distancing?
For corona virus social distancing is extremely important to mitigate this disease since it spreads rapidly from person to person. Social distancing doesn’t has to be social isolation.
Friends and family are a huge part of a senior’s lives. With social distancing in effect right now, it is important to find other ways to communicate with your loved ones.
- Instead of visiting your loved one, call them.
- Use communication software applications such as google hangouts, skype or facetime etc on your smartphones, laptops or tablets for staying connected with your loved ones.
- Saying “Hello” to your neighbors while keeping a safe distance from them.
- Pick a hobby.
- Keep yourself busy by organizing home, trying a new recipe or spending quality time with your partner. You could also share recipes, movies, old pictures or songs with other members of household.
Living In Facilities
Many seniors live in assisted living facilities, nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. Family members may be concerned about their loved one’s health and exposure to coronavirus. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has provided guidelines to such facilities to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
A care plan summarizes your health conditions, medications, healthcare providers, emergency contacts, and end-of-life care options (for example, advance directives). Complete your care plan in consultation with your doctor, and if needed, with help from a family member or home nurse aide (CDC).
A care plan can have benefits beyond the current pandemic. You can update your care plan every year, or any time you have a change in your health or medications. Care plans can help reduce emergency room visits and hospitalizations, and improve overall medical management for people with a chronic health condition, resulting in better quality of life (CDC)
What to do if you feel sick?
If you or your loved one have been exposed to someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19 and you or other members of household develop symptoms such as fever, cough and/or shortness of breath, call your doctor, nurse helpline or urgent care facility for further instructions.
If you are experiencing high fevers and severe shortness of breath, call 911.