No doubt about it, the spread of the new coronavirus across the globe, including in Southwest Florida and Manatee County, has made everyone more aware of how we can protect ourselves from germs. However, don’t forget about the flu as well. There still are people young and old who are affected by the flu in March. As of late February, the Florida Department of Health was still recommending that the general public receive flu shots—although they also noted that the number of flu cases was decreasing by then.
Seniors, especially those who are weak or who have chronic health conditions, are more vulnerable than the general public to the new coronavirus and the flu. Having underlying conditions can make it harder to fight off illness. Additionally, our immune system becomes weaker as we age. There also may be a connection with the multiple medical facilities visited by someone who is sick—that can increase potential exposure to illness, according to a Time magazine article.
To help try and ward off illnesses like the new coronavirus and the flu, here are a few tips:
- Wash your hands. You’re hearing that a lot right now, but are you doing it enough? Wash your hands after touching surfaces touched by others, using the restroom, preparing food, shaking hands, etc. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains in more detail the importance of handwashing, especially in the context of disease prevention.
- Don’t touch your face. Believe it or not, we touch our faces 2,000 to 3,000 times a day. Germs such as the virus causing the new coronavirus are most easily passed through our eyes, nose, and mouth. If you’re touching your face a lot, it’s that much easier to pass germs.
- Stock up on medicine now. Talk to your doctor and local pharmacy about getting extra medications, in case a quarantine is necessary to help prevent a new coronavirus outbreak in our area.
- Avoid spending time in big crowds. Stay away from others who are sick.
- Make a plan for how you will communicate and get help if you must stay home due to illness or quarantine. This is especially important for home-bound/sick seniors. Discuss this with your caregivers and your doctors.
- If you have a senior loved one at a senior living facility, discuss the new coronavirus with managers there. Find out what they are doing to help prevent the spread of the disease through more frequent disinfecting and other strategies. The U.S. government announced this month that its nursing home inspections will focus specifically on infection control for now, due to the potentially easy spread of the disease in those types of facilities.
- For the flu, get your flu shot as recommended by your doctor when it’s available each year. There is no preventive vaccine or treatment yet available for the new coronavirus.
- Use reliable sources to keep up with news about the flu and the new coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) and the World Health Organization (www.who.org) are the groups used by infectious disease specialists to find the latest news regarding the flu and the new coronavirus. The general public can use these sites as well to find reliable news and advice. Here is a link to the CDC’s guidelines regarding who is at the highest risk for COVID-19 (the virus causing the new coronavirus).
Call Secure Aging to Find Out How We Can Help Seniors With Care Management
At Secure Aging in Bradenton, we transform the weight of the world into a sigh of relief for our senior clients and their concerned family members. The mission of Secure Aging is to protect and preserve our client’s independence and dignity through careful and thoughtful financial and care management. As our clients' age, it is their desire to remain independent and age with dignity. Our services protect our clients from talented con artists looking to exploit and deplete the financial resources of our vulnerable seniors. Secure Aging helps families in Manatee County and Sarasota County and in and around the communities of Anna Maria, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Ellenton, Holmes Beach, Lakewood Ranch, Longboat Key, Myakka City, Palmetto, Parrish, and Sarasota. Call us at 941-761-9338, or visit us online at www.secureaging.com.