These days it seems almost impossible not to talk about the novel Coronavirus. Everyone is still shocked by how quickly the virus spread across the globe, infecting more than 200,000 people. Unfortunately, we still do not know a lot about it, but there’s one thing that all scientists and doctors agree on – seniors are the most vulnerable. The vast majority of people who did not win the battle against the notorious virus were adults older than 65 years. So that is something we know, but how can we protect them? How to save our parents, grandparents, neighbors, and everyone else? That is the topic of today’s post.
What Do We Know About COVID-19 so far?
A Coronavirus named COVID-19 is the disease of the upper respiratory system. It is important to know that there are several Coronaviruses, SARS, for example, is also a type of Coronavirus; most of them cause symptoms similar to seasonal flu. But the latest one, COVID-19, is much more dangerous and deadly. Therefore, on March 11th, the World Health Organisation announced that this is now a global pandemic.
The main symptoms include high fever, shortness of breath, coughing, and they are often followed by chest pain, muscle aches, fatigue, and other symptoms that resemble the symptoms of the seasonal flu. That is why without testing, it is hard to tell who has the new virus, and who is just coughing due to the flu or something else.
The situation is changing extremely fast, and we now have new outbreaks and hotspots every day. While China is now, after roughly three months, slowly recovering, Europe and America are preparing for the worst-case scenario. The number of deaths in Italy is already higher than in China, and it continues to grow in other countries rapidly. Currently, we have thousands of new COVID-19 cases on a daily level.
How Does COVID-19 Spread?
This is the tricky part, and probably the reason why so many people got infected.
Anyone who’s infected can spread it without even knowing or showing any symptoms of the disease. That’s why this virus is so sneaky. It can take up to 14 days until the first symptoms start showing. In fact, younger people can have very mild symptoms or none at all, depending on their immune system. The virus can be spread through so many ways, but the most common ones include:
- Close contact with an infected person. Everything within 6 feet is considered “too close”. Therefore social distancing is the best thing to do these days.
- When someone coughs or sneezes, barely visible droplets that carry the virus can be inhaled by another person, or land onto their face, etc.
- Direct contact with infected surfaces, from plastic to stainless steel on which the virus can survive for up to 3 days.
What Can We Do to Protect Our Elderly?
Seniors can be stubborn sometimes and want to do things their own way. However, at times like these, they have to understand that they need to stay at home. The vast majority of cases with fatal consequences are people who are older than 65. The thing is, people at that age already have one, or several health issues, their immune system is weak, and their chances of recovery from the virus are not the greatest.
Right now, from what we have learned from the Chinese and Italian scenarios, self-isolation is the best prevention.
Older people should not go outside. That means that someone needs to deliver the groceries and other supplies to them, call them regularly to see how they are doing, etc. There are no other ways, no vaccines, no medications, only isolation. Do not hug them or kiss them; just leave everything they need at their doorstep. It may sound cruel, but it is necessary.
Also, you have to take care of yourself because we are all potential carriers of the virus. So if you are in contact with seniors, you have to take care of your health first in order to save theirs.
- Do not visit them if you don’t feel well.
- Avoid close contact with others.
- Stay at home as much as you can.
- Wash your hands frequently, for 20 seconds minimum.
- Use hand sanitizers with 60% alcohol or more.
- Use a face mask and gloves if you are around someone who is sick.
How Long Will All This Last?
No one knows, but predictions are that we are looking at weeks, if not even months, until it is safe to say that we managed to get out of this crisis. In a way, it is a game of nerves, because home quarantine can be fun for only a limited period. Think about your seniors, bring them books, crosswords, teach them how to use Netflix, and do not let them go out. Remember how they did not let you go out when you were a teenager? It is payback time.