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Coronavirus and Seniors-What You Need to Know and How to Protect Yourself

Coronavirus is a general term used to describe different types of viruses. The coronavirus that we will discuss in this article is the one identified in 2019 with the first outbreak in China. It is officiallly named the COVID-19 virus. Another name you may it hear for it is SARS-COV-2.

The virus appears to have stemmed from an animal source but is easily spread from one person to another. Once exposed to the virus, the first symptoms can appear as much as two weeks later.

Who Can Contact the Virus?

Viruses of any kind can typically affect one group of people more critically than others. While some viruses have targeted little ones, others have targeted pregnant women. This holds true with this strain of coronavirus-the COVID-19.

It appears that individuals over 35 may be more at risk than those younger than that. In fact, there have been very few confirmed cases in the under 35 range. As age increases so does the risk.

Who Is At Greater Risk?

Due to the respiratory nature of the virus, those that have compromised immune symptoms or other respiratory issues are more likely to be affected. This includes those that smoke. Also, individuals that have lung issues such as COPD can be easily compromised. In addition, those that experience various problems of the heart and those diagnosed with diabetes are at higher risk.

To put it simply, anyone can be exposed to and contact the virus but existing medical issues may determine your ability to fight the infection effectively.  Workers in the field of health care, due to increased exposure are at a high risk also.

Preventive Measures

This being said, there are some practical ways to take preventive measures and protect yourself. First, you must keep informed. Listen to your local news for updates on the spread of the virus. There may be measures being taken locally that you should be aware of.

Maintain Good Health

Another important measure you can take is to keep yourself in good health to the extent possible. This means getting enough rest, having good nutrition and exercising if possible. These simple steps can help to strengthen your immune system. In the event, you contact the virus, you will be in a better condition to combat it.

Restrict Your Travel

Also, seriously consider restricting your travel. If at all possible, cancel any plans to travel to foreign countries. The impact of this virus is still being determined so why take unnecessary risks?

Use Your Sick Days

If you are retired, but still have a job or work part time, take the “sniffles” seriously. Stay home, if you are feeling “under the weather.” Don’t expose yourself any further or risk infecting someone else. There is something to be said for “taking care of yourself” and not taking any chances.

Wash Hands Often

There are other practical measures that can be taken to combat this virus. Simple measures such as thoroughly washing hands frequently are vital. This means that for 20 seconds you wash with soap and water. At the very least, hand sanitizers that contain alcohol should be used. Also, when coughing, rather than use your hand to cover your mouth cough or sneeze into your bent arm or a tissue. Don’t put that tissue in your pocket! Immediately, dispose of it and thoroughly wash your hands.

Stop Touching Your Face

Also, there are things you may do without even realizing it. For example, how many times a day do you  rub your eyes, scratch your nose or touch your mouth? Be very conscious of this and try to avoid touching your face especially with hands that haven’t been recently washed. This simple step will go a long way towards preventing the spread of coronavirus.

Clean and Disinfect

Lastly, common sense cleanliness is key. Make it your routine to clean and disinfect areas of your home that are touched frequently. For instance, door knobs, counter tops and the refrigerator handle. Don’t forget the remote for your electronic devices!

Do Face Masks Help?

We’ve seen the pictures of people in China all wearing face masks? Do they really help in preventing the spread of the virus? There is no simple and definitive answer to this question. A face mask will certainly prevent large particles of water or saliva from contacting your nose and mouth. However, be aware that vigilance is needed. Since face masks are disposable, they are as a rule not very comfortable to wear for long periods of time. You may unconsciously try to adjust it with unwashed hands and inadvertently expose your mouth or nose to germs.

Face Mask Should Have Snug Fit

If you decide to use a mask, make sure that it has a snug fit.  You may want to consider a non disposable mask or a respirator as an alternative to the disposable mask. There are masks that can be bought at home improvement stores to give greater protection than the disposable variety.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Seek medical attention if you have a cough, a fever and difficulty breathing.  There is currently no specific medical treatment for the coronavirus. Taking an antibiotic will not cure the virus. However, symptoms can be identified and relieved. As stated earlier, the best defense against the virus is a strong immune system.

Don’t Panic

With news reports coming in daily, some people may be prone to panic. But don’t panic! Follow all of the above steps to the best of your ability. Listen to local authorities, wash hands thoroughly and frequently and clean and disinfect all common surfaces in your home. Restrict your travel and stay home if you’re sick.