Healthplan Spain


Coronavirus And How It Affects The Elderly Health Tips

The life-threatening Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), started in Wuhan City, China in December 2019.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), soon declared it a pandemic, with more than 100 countries to date, being affected by this awful disease.

The medical industry is still learning about this new virus and what treatments are effective to cure it. One thing that is known, however, is that it particularly affects the elderly and those with underlying health problems, such as COPD, Heart Defects, Asthma and Diabetes.

Coronavirus Symptoms

Symptoms vary from person to person and about 80% of cases require no special treatment.

Some people will develop mild or hardly any symptoms, while others may develop more severe symptoms, including diarrhoea or abdominal pain.

In the most severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, kidney failure or even death.

The most common symptoms to look out for are….

  • A high temperature of 38 degrees or above.
  • A new continuous cough - this means coughing a lot for more than an hour or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours. (If you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • Difficulty breathing

The more serious cases usually occur in the ‘high risk’ groups that include the elderly and the problems in this group can be more complicated.

The death toll shows that between 80 and 90% of deaths do actually occur in those over 70 years of age.

It is therefore extremely important that this age group takes extra care and precautions to stay safe and well.

What extra precautions can the elderly take to protect themselves?

COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through the droplets that an infected person expels when they sneeze or cough. These droplets can travel up to about one meter and land on surfaces that then become infected. Other people then touch those surfaces and can become infected by touching their faces. Thus the disease spreads!

For this reason, older people are advised to follow the following recommendations to help keep themselves safe...

  • Wash your hands with soap and hot water frequently. Make sure that the entire surface has been disinfected: fingers, palm, nails, back and sides. The virus has a lipid surface which allows the use of soap and water to be sufficient to eliminate it. If soap and water are not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Do not touch your mouth, nose and eyes, especially if you have not washed your hands, as they will be carrying the disease.
  • When coughing or sneezing, do so on the inside of your elbow or use disposable tissues that you can then throw in the bin after use. Wash your hands immediately.
  • And most importantly, avoid contact with other people, maintain a distance of at least 2 meters from other people and stay home as much as possible.

If you do notice any symptoms, immediately call 112 where you will be advised as to what further steps you should take.

Remember that older people are in the high-risk category, so take extra care!

How can the elderly protect themselves?

The elderly are generally a vulnerable group that have previous illnesses, live alone or live with pets. For these reasons, it is important to think about the following...

Health: If you have any previous illnesses, remember that you should never stop treatment unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Although there have been some alerts about the interaction with ibuprofen, ACEIs or AIIRAs, there is not enough scientific evidence to prove it, so talk to your doctor before making any decisions on taking your medications.

Elderly people with cancer or diabetes must take extra special care as they have an increased risk of severe symptoms. At the first sign of any symptom call 112.

Social environment: If you live alone, be sure not to isolate yourself.

  • Keep in touch with loved ones. Talk to them over the phone, if possible do this daily.
  • If you need help please ask your family or friends. They can go to the supermarket for you and leave your shopping by the front door, or pick up your medicines. They can even do some household chores for you whilst keeping the appropriate safety measures.
  • Keep up to date with the news through official channels.
  • If you notice any symptoms you can call 112.
  • If you start to feel anxious or panic, contact the support services of your Autonomous Community.
  • Try to keep to a routine, hygiene, meals, reading, music, exercise etc. Having a routine will help with your mental well being.

Pets: It has not been proven that animals can transmit the disease, so continue to enjoy your pets as they can bring a sense of tranquillity in these very unusual times we are experiencing.

If you have a dog you will probably need to take it out for a walk. Keep it on a lead to help prevent them from coming into contact with other animals and avoid having to stop and talk to other people. If you need to do this, remember to keep a safe distance of at least two meters between you and keep the walks short.

Also, remember to take a bag out with you to collect any excrement and a bottle of soapy water to clean the urine.

Wash your hands as soon as you get home!

You can keep up with all the latest Coronavirus news for Spain here

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