Precautions for Senior Citizens amidst COVID-19
by Dr. Surya Bhagwati on Mar 19, 2020
While we all are susceptible to contracting the COVID-19 infection and should take all the necessary precautions to build our immunity and prevent illness, it is an undeniable fact that older people (especially people older than 60) face a much bigger threat due to this pandemic. Given that people over 60 are more likely to suffer from pre-existing chronic medical conditions such diabetes and heart problems, and may have a weaker immune system due to ageing, they are at a higher risk of severe and life-threatening symptoms once they contract the disease. This makes senior citizens much more vulnerable and in need of advanced medical systems to combat the disease. Hence, it is essential for people over 60 to follow these precautions and protect themselves from an infection:
- Follow general best-practises: It is essential to follow the general guidelines prescribed by public health agencies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) including washing your hands frequently with water and soap for at least 20 seconds at a time, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, practising social distancing, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects.
Furthermore, consume immunity boosters such as Amla, Tulsi, Ginger and Turmeric to build-up your long-term immunity.
- Avoid non-essential doctor’s appointments/ visits: It is highly recommended that senior citizens practise social distancing especially for high-risk areas like hospitals. While some chronic diseases do require regular follow-ups, practises such as telemedicine through phone or video conferencing and doctor home-visits should be encouraged as much as possible. Also, non-urgent and wellness visits to the doctor should be cancelled or postponed. Moreover, it may be helpful to consult your doctor and get a two or three-month stockpile of your critical prescription medicines.
- Be active, even with social distancing: It is essential to maintain good daily routines even under conditions of social distancing and lockdowns. Daily exercise, social interactions, healthy eating and sufficient sleep can be very helpful in boosting bodily functions, build immunity and maintaining a healthy mental state in the current pandemic circumstances. Try daily walking routines either indoors or in the proximity of your home. Also, while social distancing is the norm, avoid social isolation and keep up the interaction with your friends and family through calls or video conferencing.
- Ensure the hygiene of your health aides/helpers: While a large portion of people aged 60 or over require the help of a health aide to assist them with daily activities, such aides may inadvertently carry and transfer infections if sufficient hygiene practises are not followed. Hence, educate your health aides in all the above health practises and ask them to take extra precautions while dealing with you such as wearing masks, washing and sanitising hands regularly and maintaining a safe distance for as long as possible.
Practise these precautions regularly and incorporate them into your daily habits. However, even with all preventive measures, always be on the lookout for typical symptoms of COVID-19 such as shortness of breath, cough, fever, and digestion problems along with any other symptoms or signs that may be out of the ordinary for your body. If you think that you have the novel coronavirus it is best to stay at home and contact your doctor/physician for their advice on steps ahead.
Finally, stay aware and inform yourself of the latest scientific developments in the fight against Coronavirus. It is important to follow best-practises as continuously updated by public health organisations like the World Health Organisation (WHO).