What Older Adults Need To Know About The Novel Coronavirus
All eyes are on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) which began in Wuhan, China and rapidly developed into a worldwide pandemic. As the news continues to highlight more cases, we understand you are likely seeking out preventative methods and updated information to keep you and your family safe.
Our pharmacists’ top priority is your health. Although the risk of contracting the disease remains relatively small in the US, we recommend following the CDC’s guidelines to reduce risk, as well as following updates released by the World Health Organization (WHO).
How It’s Transmitted
Just like the common cold or flu, COVID-19 is spread through close contact with an infected individual, respiratory droplets produced when an infected person sneezes or coughs, and touching your face after touching germ-infested surfaces without washing your hands.
Although everyone is at risk of COVID-19, risk of a serious illness increases for those 60 and older and is even higher for those 80 and older. As of now, deaths were at least five times more common among people with diabetes, high blood pressure or heart or breathing problems. If you fall under any of these categories, it is best to avoid crowded areas where people may be sick. Monitor your location closely to see if there are any cases in your area and remain diligent about washing your hands.
Novel Coronavirus Symptoms
COVID-19 symptoms can range from mild to severe, and some patients may not show symptoms at all. The top 3 symptoms to watch out for are shortness of breath, fever, and cough, which may appear anywhere between 2-14 days after being exposed to the disease.
Novel Coronavirus vs. Regular Coronavirus (the Common Flu)
Experts say that a defining symptom of the flu is body aches, while the common cold is accompanied by a runny nose and congestion. As of now, there is no known cure or vaccine for COVID-19, though a great number of patients do recover.
Please contact a trusted physician if you or a loved one are showing signs of COVID-19 so that they can send specimens to a laboratory for testing. This can involve a nose or throat swab test, nasal or tracheal aspirate, or a sputum or blood sample to conclude that it is COVID-19.
Here are the CDC’s recommendations to prevent the spread of the disease:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Also remember to wash hands before eating.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and dispose properly.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Supporting Older Adults
Older adults need the support and protection of their community and loved ones. The CDC has released guidelines for supporting older adults that you can follow to minimize their risk:
- Know what medications your loved one is taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand.
- Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
- Stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.
- If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently, and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.
If you have any concerns about your medication, you can reach one of our specialists at (800) 270-7091. We’re available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about your MedBox.