WHY OLDER PEOPLE AND PEOPLE WITH CHRONIC HEALTH CONDITIONS HAVE HIGH RISK?
Older people and people with lingering health problems such as lung disease, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and hypertension are susceptible to COVID-19 severe illness and mortality. The main reason is, our immunity gets low as we grow old, which is why it is more challenging to fight COVID’19 for older people. As we age, chances of chronic diseases increase, hence negatively impacts our immune system, making older people susceptible to severe illness and its complications. Due to the fast spread of COVID-19, CDC recently issued a warning for people who are at the highest risk for severe disease from the virus. It is essential that older adults and people at high risk of getting the disease follow the instructions of the CDC.
WHAT MAKES COVID’19 DIFFERENT FROM FLU AND SEASONAL ALLERGIES AND WHAT ARE IT’S SYMPTOMS?
The symptoms of COVID-19 surface between 2 to 14 days after a person comes in contact with the bacteria. These symptoms may include dry cough, high fever, and difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath. It is not necessary that each patient of COVID-19 experiences all these symptoms. Some people might only experience a mild form of the disease, which can be dismissed; however, it is still very contagious regardless of how strong or mild the symptoms are. Symptoms can also be similar to that of seasonal allergies or flu, but there are some differences.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT TIME TO CALL A HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL?
You must call your health care professional right after you feel like you have developed the symptoms of COVID-19, or you come in contact with someone who has COVID-19. It is highly recommended to call your doctor first, instead of visiting them. It allows the hospital to prepare to prevent the spread of the disease.
HOW IS COVID-19 TEST ADMINISTERED?
Firstly, to rule out seasonal allergies and flu, health care professionals will carry out some tests on a potential case. Samples are taken of saliva and mucus that comes out through cough. In some cases, a blood test is also done to confirm the infection. Tests to confirm COVID-19 are not available at all hospitals, and only some have them.
HOW TO PREPARE TO REMAIN AT HOME FOR A LONG PERIOD?
Health care professionals across the globe are asking people to stay home; otherwise, the infection will rapidly spread across the US, in local communities.
We have listed below how you can prepare to be home.
Get ample medical supplies and medicines
It is best to order your regular medication online. Pharmacies can validate prescription online and send you medicines at home, so you do not have to go out of the house. CMS is collaborating with private plans to allow people to order a refill of prescription drugs without any limitation. Having said this, it is advisable to only order through renowned and reputable online pharmacies. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning people about online pharmacies that do not sell genuine or authentic drugs. They seem to offer very cheap rates to entice consumers. In case of any queries, contact your healthcare professional. Moreover, ensure that you have ample supply of over-the-counter medicines and supplies, which include a thermometer, painkillers, fever reducers, hydrating beverages, tissues, etc.
Make sure you have ample stock of essential grocery items so that if you have to stay at home for a more extended period, you can survive without running out of necessities. Many renowned grocery chains are allowing their customers to order online and receive groceries at the doorstep. You can log into the websites of your local grocery chains and check whether you can shop online or not. Before placing an order, you must know that these home delivery services can be time-consuming, as the majority of people are choosing the option to order online. Therefore, you need to plan. For queries and concerns related to delivery time, get in touch with the customer service team.
HOW TO HELP THE LOVED ONE AT HIGH RISK?
Every single person plays a role in preventing the spread of this infectious disease. The instructions are the same for people who are at high risk and everyone else, so our loved ones and vulnerable people in our circle. All institutions, including schools, businesses, and federal and local government offices, should collaborate to contain COVID-19, and also support in protecting older people and people with chronic health problems.
If you work in a healthcare facility, you must respect the rules and carefully monitor who visits the patients, inquire about the health condition of other residents and patients, and lastly, have a plan for emergencies like if there is an outbreak.
If people close to you live along, visit them often and make sure they know about the services offered by health care facilities.
WHAT DO I DO IF I AM SICK?
If you are sick, first of all, call your healthcare professional immediately. Stay home unless you require immediate medical care. Keep in touch with your friends and family through call or text. If your condition worsens, you may need help from your family, friends, or neighbors. Analyze who you can ask for help if your caregiver is not available. In case you or your closed ones need help, call your local hospitals or public health care department, so they connect you with caregiving services.
If you feel you’ve developed severe and emergency warning signs of COVID-19, call 9-1-1 immediately and ask them for help. For adults, warning signs include:
Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing
Consistent chest pain
Not being able to move easily
Bluish face or lips