Currently the world is experiencing a pandemic from a new coronavirus, COVID-19. Because of that the CDC and public health departments are putting out information on an almost daily basis of how to protect yourself and what precautions are necessary during this time of heightened awareness. At Piedmont Home Health, we understand the need to take all of these warnings seriously, now during the coronavirus pandemic as well as during seasonal flu season and any time you might be exposed to someone with an infectious disease.
Why 65 and older?
Every year during flu season the news is the same — people over the age of 65 need to take extra precautions to avoid getting sick from these highly infectious disease. It’s not just influenza that can have more serious outcomes for the elderly, it’s also viruses such as RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and coronaviruses.
There are two reasons why older people are more at risk than the general population.
· The immune system grows weaker with age, which makes it more difficult to fight off infectious diseases.
· Chronic diseases such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure are more common with age. These conditions can compromise the immune system, making people more vulnerable to serious medical conditions.
5 Steps for Prevention
Protecting yourself from viruses and infectious diseases is relatively simple. Taking just a few steps and precautions can help you stay healthy and help keep you from infecting others.
1. Wash your hands often. Wash your hands after you’ve touched a doorknob or light switch, after you’ve been outside, after you’ve used the restroom, and before you eat. The handwashing guidelines from the CDC recommend washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Keep track of the time by singing Happy Birthday twice. If you’re tired of Happy Birthday, click on this link for some words to substitute into the familiar songs of Row, Row, Row Your Boat and If You’re Happy and You Know it Clap Your Hands.
2. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. It’s a smart idea to have some Clorox wipes on hand to wipe down those doorknobs, light switches, remote controls and telephones.
3. Get your vaccine! It’s important to stay up to date on flu shots and get vaccinated every year.
4. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. During the COVID-19 news cycle we’ve heard a lot about social distancing and recommendations to stay about 6 feet away from other people. This is about two arms length.
5. Stay home if possible. This is especially important during the time of COVID-19. The CDC and public health officials are recommending older adults stay in their homes. Prepare by having food and medical supplies delivered to your home when possible. Remember, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure.