Cornovirus, or COVID-19, is in the news and on our minds. However, for senior care communities, this time of year the prevention of the spread of illnesses such as the flu, colds, and now the coronovirus, is a part of our normal routine. Older adults can be particularly vulnerable to the spread of illnesses, but attention to hygiene and best practices when sick can go a long way in helping keep our seniors safe and healthy.
Due to recent confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, as well as the flu season being in full swing, we would like to share a few tips to help keep you and the seniors you love safe.
Preventing the Spread of Illness
The tips for preventing the coronavirus are similar to tips for preventing the spread of the flu or even a cold. If you find that you have symptoms of an illness, the best thing you can do for the people around you is to stay home as much as possible and certainly do not visit with vulnerable loved ones.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When hand washing is not possible, use a sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content and wash your hands at the first available moment.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Use a tissue, discard of the tissue in the trash, and then wash hands. If you are unable to use a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve/elbow, and not your hands.
- Do not share food, utensils, beverages, towels, chapsticks/lipsticks, etc.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick if possible. If you are caring for someone who is sick, take precautions such as wearing a mask (or standing at a distance), wearing gloves, and washing your hands before you enter and after you leave their presence.
- Disinfect surfaces: Clean regularly-used surfaces such as door handles, light switches, remote controls, and phones.
- Stay home while you are sick. It is important to monitor your fever and symptoms and to stay at home if you are showing any symptoms.
Additional Tips Regarding the Coronavirus
It is easy to get overwhelmed or fearful when the media, schools, businesses, and even this blog share about the spread of illnesses such as the coronavirus. It is important to know that pubic agencies and businesses must plan for the worst, but the worst rarely happens. We ask that you commit to focus on the following during this time:
- Knowing the Facts: Gather information from reputable sources, including the CDC and local public health agencies. Be wary of unsubstantiated rumors and sensationalized news reports.
- Staying Actively Healthy: A healthy lifestyle deters disease. Pay attention to diet, exercise, and rest. Be vigilant about following the above tips for preventing the spread of illness.
- Protecting Your Mental Health: Take a break from social media or the news when it becomes ‘too much’.
- Seeking Professional Assistance: If you develop cold or flu symptoms or have intense feelings of anxiety or hopelessness, contact your medical professional.
If you are not feeling well, for any reason, we kindly ask that you not visit with senior loved ones until you are symptom free for a minimum of 14 days. If you have a fever, a cough or are having trouble breathing or shortness of breath – or if you recently traveled to an area experiencing coronavirus cases, please contact your health provider as necessary.