As more cases are reported of the novel coronavirus across the country, a two-week individual quarantine no longer seems far-fetched whether its government-imposed or self-imposed. People over 60 years, as well as those with underlying conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease, are more vulnerable to COVID-19. Those over 80 or 90 years are at the highest risk. Therefore, the CDC recommends that older adults begin stocking up on medical supplies and food items.
Nancy Messonnier, M.D., director for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, recommends that older adults take action. In a news brief on March 9th, she explained that the virus is spreading easily from person to person. Because it’s a new virus, no one has immunity to it.
“It’s fair to say as the trajectory of the outbreak continues, many people will be exposed to this virus.” Many people will become sick and some will die. She, therefore, recommends that older adults, especially, should be prepared. What does this mean?
Older adults should limit their outings to avoid the potential risk of being in congregant settings where the disease can spread more easily. They should practice the following precautions:
- Make sure to have a generous supply of routine meds for heart disease and other chronic illnesses.
- Stock up on medications that treat symptoms (like fever) such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. But check with your pharmacist to be sure these over-the-counter medications will interact safely with your other prescribed medications.
- Purchase enough groceries and supplies for two weeks so you can limit your need to go out.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
- Avoid high-touch surfaces and avoid crowds.
- Defer all cruise ship travel and nonessential travel like long plane trips.
Ultimately, whatever your age, you should know what’s going on in your community and monitor yourself. The three main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- Shortness of breath
Speak to your doctor via telephone if you have a concern. Messonnier advises everyone to take responsibility not only for themselves but for older adults and those that are more vulnerable.
“As a community, we can mitigate the results of this disease.”