Seniors and people with chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and lung diseases are at a higher risk to get seriously ill from the corona virus COVID-19. Taking preventive steps ahead of time can prevent unnecessary panic. Prepare in advance for the possibility of having to remain at home to avoid being exposed to the coronavirus. As there is no vaccine, the main way to avoid catching this virus is to stay away from people. The CDC recommends staying away from crowds and public places if you are at high risk for the coronavirus. It is especially important to stay away from places that are poorly ventilated with no air circulation. Those of us who lived through the polio epidemics of the 40’s and 50’s before there was a vaccine will remember how our moms would not let us go out to any public places, pools, beaches, amusement parks, etc. It was the only way to avoid catching polio.
Stock up on Supplies
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises seniors and people with chronic health problems to get ready now for COVD-19 and take the following preventive steps:
It is very important to have a lot of supplies on hand in your home so that you do not need to venture out to go shopping. Here is a list of the items they suggest stocking up on:
Ask your doctor to help you stock up on extra necessary medicines or use mail-order to get them delivered to you.
It is very important to also have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies. Make sure you have enough tissues, toilet paper, wipes, etc. You should have a digital thermometer for checking your temperature.
Stock up on non-perishable food items like canned foods, bottled water and juices. Also, powdered milk, cooking oils, rice, pasta, flour and frozen foods. You should have enough to last for several weeks.
Try to get food brought to your home by family members or order food to be delivered to your door.
Preventive Hygiene and Hand Washing
Wash your hands a lot with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol. It is especially important to wash your hands in the following circumstances:
- After you blow your nose, cough, or sneeze
- After using the restroom
- Before eating, handling or preparing food
- After contact with animals or pets
- Before and after providing routine care for a person who needs assistance
- After handling a bed pan
- After handling garbage
- After handling money
- After changing diapers
- After tending to a sick person
Preventive Steps when you go out to Public Places
When you do have to go out to public places carry with you a package of alcohol wipes to disinfect handrails, door handles that you might need to hold on to. You might even carry disposable gloves with you. At any rate wash your hands after touching things in public places or use a hand sanitizer or alcohol wipes. Avoid shaking hands with people. Do not touch your face, mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands.
Sanitize Bottoms of Shoes after you have been out
After you return home from venturing out you should sanitize the bottoms of your shoes. You can spray some disinfectant on the floor and then move your shoes back and forth over it. Use a disinfectant that is not harmful to the material on the soles of your shoes, so do not use bleach. Some people remove their shoes when they enter their homes and change to slippers.
Keep your Home Clean
In your home you should clean thoroughly tables and counter tops, toilet, sinks, taps and handles. Cell phones, computer keyboards and mice should be cleaned with wipes.
What to do if you become Sick
Have a plan in advance for who will help you if you become ill or who can replace your caregiver if your caregiver becomes ill.
Call your Doctor
Call your doctor if you have a fever and are coughing and sneezing.
Signs you Need Immediate Medical Attention. Phone 911
If you get any of these symptoms you must seek urgent medical attention. Phone 911:
- Difficulty breathing or feeling short of breath
- Ongoing chest pain or pressure
- Bluish lips or face
Have Virtual Visits with Loved ones in Nursing Homes on What’s Up
The Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York is taking steps to protect their residents by restricting visits. Rather than visiting a loved one in short or long-term care, you can set up a What’s Up on their phone and then you can see each other while having a virtual live phone visit.
Let us hope and pray that this new coronavirus will soon be gone. However, we must do all we can to keep ourselves healthy by taking preventive measures to protect ourselves.