Seniors should take precautions, but not panic.
Coronavirus has been front-page news for a while and we are told it is now starting to spread in the U.S.
Yes, it is a serious situation, it’s extremely important not to panic. It’s equally important to learn the facts and follow the recommended prevention tips to protect yourself and your senior family member.
Quick facts and prevention tips
Today. the risk of getting coronavirus in the U.S. is low. But if the illness does spread, seniors and people with chronic health conditions are at higher risk, just as they are with the flu.
To reduce the spread of disease, CDC recommends using common-sense prevention practices:
- Get a flu shot.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Always wash your hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home when you are sick, this may seem to be common sense but for some it is not. A mask does not protect others if you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Where Can You Get Updates on Coronavirus?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is monitoring the situation closely and is the best source of information about coronavirus. For the latest information and recommendations, visit the CDC’s Situation Summary page. And check the CDC’s quick tip sheet Share Facts, Not Fear for key coronavirus facts that put a stop to rumors and misinformation.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. In general, human coronaviruses cause respiratory tract infections that range from the common cold to more serious illnesses like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).COVID-19 is the name for a new virus that’s been spreading across the globe since late December 2019. It hadn’t previously been seen in humans.
How Does Coronavirus Spread?
Similar to seasonal flu, COVID-19 is passed between people through coughing, sneezing, or close contact like touching or shaking hands. It can also be transmitted by touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth without washing hands. Hand washing is very important. Just like the flu, the virus spreads very easily, which makes it hard to contain, and easily contracted if exposed. The incubation period is between 2 and 14 days, so it can be spread by people with no symptoms.
To protect from coronavirus, the CDC recommends the same methods that you’d use to protect against the flu or other common respiratory diseases.
Preventive measures include:
- Have you gotten a flu shot
- Washing hands often with soap, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing the nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer in the event soap and water is not available.
- Avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- If you are sick. stay home.
- Covering coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then immediately throwing the tissue in the trash.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces like doorknobs, remote controls, phones, computers, and mobile devices.
CDC recommends considering “social distancing” for those at higher risk
People who are over the age of 60, pregnant, or on medications that weaken the immune system are at higher risk of infection and complications of infection. Someone who’s at higher risk should consider “social distancing”
That means if there’s any reported risk of COVID-19 transmission in the local area, avoid large gatherings of people and public transportation (bus, subway, taxi, rideshare). In addition, keep a safe distance from other people.
What are the Symptoms of Coronavirus?
Patients with COVID-19 have symptoms that are similar to other respiratory illnesses like colds or flu. Common symptoms include mild to severe symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath that usually begin two to 14 days after exposure. Less comm is sore throat and diarrhea. Many patients with severe complications from the virus develop pneumonia in both lungs, particularly those with already weakened immune systems.
Seniors are at higher risk of complications and death
Seniors are more vulnerable because their immune systems are weaker due to age and may be made worse by frailty or chronic illnesses. This reduces the body’s ability to cope with and recover from illness.
Does the flu shot provide protection against coronavirus?
According to the CDCRespiratory Diseases, there’s no evidence that the flu or the vaccination for pneumonia will provide protection from the coronavirus. In spite of that infectious disease specialists strongly recommend flu vaccination as a way to prepare for coronavirus. For seniors, having both the flu shot and the pneumococcal vaccine can increase the chances of staying healthy.
Do face masks protect you?
Surgical masks are a common sight in areas with coronavirus outbreaks. But are they effective in protecting from infection? Experts say that they offer some protection. Currently, the CDC doesn’t recommend that people who are not sick wear a face mask, they should only be worn if a healthcare professional recommends it.
However, face masks should be worn by people who show symptoms of COVID-19. This helps prevent the spread of the disease to others. They should be worn by people who are taking care of someone who is sick.
Is there a coronavirus treatment?
Currently, there is no cure for coronavirus. Treatments to help patients heal or to relieve symptoms are already in clinical trials. Currently, researchers are focused on testing the existing antiviral drug Remdesivir and a combination of HIV and flu drugs.
The best treatment for coronavirus is prevention.
All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only about senior living topics. The information provided on this blog is accurate and true to the best of our knowledge but there may be errors, omissions, or mistakes. It is not intended to be medical advice.