COVID-19: How Coronavirus Affects Older Adults
Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a highly infectious viral disease caused by the novel Coronavirus. The virus belongs to a large family of viruses that were initially hosted on animals. It is thought that the virus mutated and can now infect humans. The virus causes respiratory symptoms, ranging from mild flu-like symptoms to severe respiratory distress.
As the number of cases of Coronavirus continues to rise across the globe, researchers have found that older and elderly adults are more vulnerable to the virus. Those with a pre-existing medical condition are especially susceptible, such as compromised immunity, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, and lung or kidney disease. It is essential to take every precaution to avoid any risk of infection.
Why are older adults more susceptible to contracting Coronavirus infection?
Older adults are more vulnerable to contract coronavirus disease. They are prone to contract Coronavirus infection mostly because of two main reasons:
- Older adults predominantly suffer from chronic ailments that hinder the body’s ability to cope and recover from illness.
- Weak immunity.
What symptoms are associated with Coronavirus?
The Coronavirus has spread through most countries, causing a global pandemic. Fear and anxiety of contracting the virus is a constant worry for many people.
Common symptoms associated with Coronavirus include:
- Fever with a moderate to high temperature
- Dry cough or hacking cough
- Extreme fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Body pains
- Sore throat
- Some people experience gastric symptoms such as diarrhoea or nausea
How does Coronavirus spread?
Coronavirus or COVID-19 spreads through contact:
- From one person to another in close contact, or through respiratory droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs close to another person
- By touching a non-infected surface or object that has not got the virus, they spread the virus through touching the surface. If a person touches their mouth, nose, or eyes with virus-contaminated hands, they are likely to contract the virus.
What precautions should older adults take to avoid Coronavirus disease?
Older adults can have weaker immunity. This makes them more vulnerable to catch infections. To protect others in your household, you should follow preventative steps to mitigate contracting or spreading the virus:
- Wash hands with soap and hot water at least for 20 seconds, especially before and after providing care, preparing food, after using the bathroom, or touching surfaces in public places
- Refrain from going out in crowded areas or where there are large groups
- Maintain respiratory hygiene while coughing or sneezing. Always cough or sneeze into a tissue and immediately place it in the bin
- Avoid touching your face with contaminated hands outside your home
- Clean frequently surfaces that are touched in your home, and this includes mobility or medical equipment.
- Practice social distancing and social isolation if you begin to show or have even the mildest symptoms. Person to person contact outside the home should be immediately stopped
How to minimise the risk of Covid-19 or Coronavirus disease?
Refrain from going out of the house at all if unnecessary, only to get food or for light brief exercise. Elective procedures and other non-essential doctor visits should be postponed. Try opting for an online consultation rather than having a face-to-face meeting with your doctor. Avoid all travelling and unnecessary outings as these increase the chances of contracting the virus. The best way to prevent transmission of COVID-19 is by keeping up to date with the newest information about the disease from reputable sources, washing hands regularly with soap and hot water or using 60% alcohol-based sanitizer.