With covid-19 at an all-time rise, it is no secret that the health of the elderly is at stake. It has been proven that the older a person gets, the risk of severe illness and hence getting hospitalized, increases. For instance, people in their 60s are at a much higher risk than those in their 50s, and so on. The greatest risk is faced by the population aged 85 and above, as covid-19 is known to be aggravated by underlying medical conditions. While the younger population is not at much risk, physically, they can easily be carriers of the disease, infecting the elderly. And the worst part is that the majority of them are asymptomatic. So here’s an article which will make you aware of everything about this global pandemic concerning the older population.
While a majority of the cases are asymptomatic, not all of them are. People suffering from this have symptoms ranging from mild to severe illness, and sometimes unfortunately death. Symptoms appear 2-14 days after exposure. The elderly sometimes might already have symptoms from other diseases and may take longer to develop covid symptoms. The average human body temperature is close to 98.6 F, while some sickness like fever or a cold can increase/decrease it. In older adults, the average body temperature might be lower than this, and hence fever temperatures might differ too.
The best way to protect yourself from this virus as well as reduce its spread is by limiting your interactions with people, physically. And if you do interact, make sure to follow the necessary precautions. If at any given point of time you feel like you are showing symptoms, do consult your doctor within 24 hours.
- PRECAUTIONS WHILE GOING TO A PUBLIC PLACE
As business activities are slowly resuming, you might be thinking of attending events and gatherings. Of course, there’s no way to ensure zero risks of infection from the virus, but knowing the risks and understanding how to prevent them will keep you safe in the long run.
People who are at an increased risk from covid-19 must refrain from going out; the same applies to their family members. Avoid activities where taking preventive measures are difficult. Here are some things that you can keep in mind –
- Practice simple preventive measures while engaging in public activities.
- Always keep these things handy when you go out – a mask, tissues, and a hand sanitizer.
- Encourage people around you to wear masks and avoid those who don’t.
- PRECAUTIONS DURING AN IN-PERSON VISIT
In-person visits have started to increase since the time the world came to a standstill. Avoid them if you can; however, follow these precautions if you do visit.
- ENCOURAGE SOCIAL DISTANCING DURING YOUR VISIT
- Always opt for outdoor visits. And if that is not possible, try to meet with your friends and family in a well-ventilated and spacious room where social distancing is possible.
- Place the furniture in the room following social distancing.
- Verbally greet your guests or hosts. Avoid contacts like a handshake, elbow bump or hugs.
- Keep a list of people you visited or who have visited you, if possible. This is so that you can identify a trail in case someone falls sick.
- WEAR MASKS
- Wear your mask in such a way so that it covers your nose and mouth. It is especially essential when it is difficult to stay 6ft apart from each other.
- Masks help slow the spread of the virus by preventing its transmission. (Children under the age of 2 years, people who have trouble breathing, are unconscious, or incapacitated should not wear masks)
- WASH HANDS OFTEN
- Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds after visiting someone.
- If soap and water are unavailable, make sure to use the sanitizer that you are carrying.
- Make sure your guests wash their hands before serving or eating anything.
- Do not share your towels with your guests. Get paper towels instead.
- LIMIT CONTACT WITH SHARED ITEMS
- Ask your visitor to bring their own food and drinks.
- Disinfect and clean the commonly touched surfaces or items
- Wash, clean, and sanitize the reusable items.
Lastly, delay or cancel your visit, if your visitor has symptoms of the virus or has visited someone with covid-19 recently (last 14 days)
- PRECAUTIONS WHILE PARTICIPATING IN AN EVENT OR GATHERING
Avoid high-risk gatherings if you are at an increased risk of severe illness.
- Lowest risk – virtual-only activities, gatherings, and events.
- More risk – in-person outdoor meetings where members follow all essential safety precautions and are from the same local area.
- Higher risk – medium-sized in-person gatherings where members are 6 feet apart from each other and come from outside a single local area.
- Highest risk – large in-person meetings where it is impossible to maintain 6 feet distance and the members travel from outside the local area.
While all these sound good on paper, they are strict to adhere to practically. One system to keep track of your own body would be to develop a care plan. A care plan is nothing but a summary of everything related to your health, like medicines that you would take for particular occasions, a list of your healthcare providers, your emergency contacts, and end of life care options. These can help reduce emergency room visits to the hospital and thus keep you hassle-free to some extent.
It is vital to stay healthy during the pandemic. Consult your doctor if you are up to date with all the vaccines of other diseases as well. It is particularly crucial for older adults to get influenza and pneumococcal disease shots.
Also, remember to lead an active lifestyle and not let stress overshadow you. Feeling overwhelmed and anxious during these trying times is very natural and can give rise to extreme emotions. Remember to hold on just a little longer.