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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guide for Seniors (Prevention Tips, Symptoms, and more!)

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues, it’s important for seniors, older adults, and everyone else in the community to practice preventive hygiene measures and stay in self-quarantine.

For caregivers, it is imperative that you stay healthy and care for yourself first, so you remain healthy for your clients. Your role in caring for others becomes even more critical when something such as the COVID-19 is a large global concern. Arming yourself with the latest information from credible sources can help you be prepared.

Let’s explore the common symptoms, helpful prevention tips, and what you should do if you or your loved one contract COVID-19.

Symptoms

Knowing the symptoms of COVID-19 is one of the first steps to fight it. These symptoms can range from mild, cold-like to more severe health conditions. The primary symptoms often appear within 2-14 days of initial exposure to the virus. The most common or early complaints are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Other, more urgent health changes to be aware of include:

  • Difficulty in breathing along with the shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain in the chest or pressure/tightness
  • Bluish colored lips
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty in waking or arousing

This list is not all-inclusive as some people may experience different issues. You should contact your primary physician for further direction if you or your loved one have these or any other unusual symptoms. Your doctor may direct you to be tested for the virus or other ailments. It is important to call ahead to alert your doctor’s office of your symptoms.

Prevention

Preventing the further spread of the disease is a top priority around the world. There are many things that can be done on a local and personal level. The number one defense against COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to it.

For caregiving professionals, this isn’t always possible. Monitoring yourself, your family and those in your care for early symptoms is a top priority. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are several ways to reduce your chances of contracting the disease, on or off the job:

In General

  • Practice social distancing when possible
  • Try to avoid using any form of public transportation
  • Avoid close contact with those people who are showing symptoms
  • Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
  • Use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash properly
  • Refrain from touching your eyes, mouth, and nose with unwashed hands
  • Change clothing after being in public
  • Dispose of used tissues into a lined trashcan immediately
  • Commonly used surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected daily

On the Job

  • Wear a mask to protect both yourself and your client
  • Wash your hands well before and after care and between clients
  • Clean and disinfect all surfaces daily or more
  • If possible, change clothing between client visits
  • Disinfect any tools or equipment after each use

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guide for Seniors

What To Do If You Do Get Sick

If you test positive for COVID-19, there are steps to take to lessen the severity of your illness.

Make sure to contact your doctor if you have any concerns or questions. It is important to keep it from spreading to those around you.

1.   At Home

Following some simple guidelines at home will help contain the virus and protect your household and loved ones.

  • Stay home and avoid unnecessary contact with others
  • Follow your doctor’s orders and stay in touch regarding your symptoms
  • Stay hydrated as dehydration can worsen symptoms
  • Have an isolated “sick room” and if possible, a bathroom that only you are using
  • Regularly disinfect surfaces that come in touch with body fluids
  • Avoid contact with your pets by having others feed and care for them while you’re ill
  • Don’t share any towels, bedding, dishes or utensils with others

2.    If You Must Go Out

You may be forced to leave home for doctor visits or other urgent reasons. These tips will help you minimize the chances of spreading the disease to others.

  • Call ahead to your doctor’s office so they can prepare their staff for an infected patient
  • Wear a mask and gloves if available
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow
  • Wash or sanitize hands often
  • Stay a minimum of 6 feet from other people
  • Avoid touching any unnecessary surfaces or items
  • Don’t make any extra stops that aren’t absolutely necessary

These guidelines can’t guarantee you won’t come in contact with or contract COVID-19, but they can help reduce the possibility. As always, stay in touch with your doctor and follow their directions. New details and research are becoming available almost daily so your doctor will have the most current and best information.

At Jewish Family Home Care, we care about our clients and their families’ safety. If you or your loved one have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us!