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9 Ways to Protect Seniors from Coronavirus & Flu

Now that two people in Pinellas County and one person in Pasco County have been diagnosed with COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus, and this nasty disease is rearing its ugly head too close to home, I am compelled to address this critical matter sooner rather than later.

The new coronavirus has rapidly spread from its China origins to Florida and 36 other United States, Italy, and well more than 100 additional nations across the globe.

Home Helpers® Clearwater provides in-home care services for seniors. The coronavirus is significantly impacting seniors, most especially those with underlying health conditions. In fact, the deaths that have occurred in Florida attributed to COVID-19, have all been aging adults with health issues.

The Washington Post reports, “Older generations face a potentially life-threatening risk if infected with the novel coronavirus, which has caused deaths of 60-plus-year-olds stretching across the cities of China to the metropolises of Italy and now the United States.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], the coronavirus is a contagious respiratory illness that spreads from person to person.  “The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine continued that evidence exists that COVID-19 is possibly airborne "meaning that tiny droplets remaining in the air could cause disease in others even after the ill person is no longer near." This is why avoiding crowds is a good idea.

When someone becomes infected with COVID-19, they may appear asymptomatic for up to 2 weeks before presenting with symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, fatigue and shortness of breath. In some cases, patients may have vomiting and diarrhea .The symptoms are much like various strains of the flu, which continues to be on the radar for the general population, which is confirmed by Johns Hopkins Medicine.

When symptoms become severe, patients may develop pneumonia in both lungs, experience multi-organ failure and in some cases, death.  The same can be said of influenza.

It has been recommended that seniors stay home as much as possible during this COVID-19 outbreak, especially those with underlying health issues, because they are most vulnerable. When staying home is not possible, here are 9 ways seniors can protect themselves from respiratory illness, like coronavirus and flu, with everyday preventive actions:  

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible and practice social distancing when in public. Social distancing is staying 6-feet from others whenever possible.
  • Refrain from visiting emergency rooms unless it is absolutely necessary. If you have symptoms of coronavirus, contact your primary care provider first for specific instructions.
  • If you are sick, stay home to prevent the spread of germs to others. Self-quarantine for up to 14 days to prevent spreading the illness.
  • Make sure you have at least 14 days worth of medicine if you do need to self-quarantine.
  • Hire the services of a Home Helpers® caregiver to handle public errands and assist with better personal hygiene.

At this time, there is no cure or vaccine for the coronavirus, although scientists across the globe are scrambling to develop one. That is why exercising an abundance of caution, ramping up personal hygiene efforts and following the guidelines I’ve noted above, are the best ways to protect seniors from contracting coronavirus or the flu, neither of which respond to antibiotic treatment. Fortunately, both conditions may be treated by addressing symptoms, such fever reduction.

My staff and I are carefully monitoring the outbreak and proceeding with all employees’ and clients’ best interests in mind. That means, we have educated our caregivers and clients about the spread of COVID-19, and I have made available all necessary protection, eliminating any possibility for cross-contamination – especially if employees are traveling between a series of clients – including additional changes of clothes.

I will not allow the Home Helpers® caregivers I employ to assist clients diagnosed with COVID-19, to care for other clients who do not have the diagnosis. If/when it becomes necessary, I do have skillfully-trained caregivers who are designated caregivers for any COVID-19 clients.

Caregivers for Home Helpers are educated to screen clients for symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., fever, cough, difficulty breathing), and they are instructed to notify me immediately so I can alert the Pinellas and Pasco County Health Departments.

Rest assured, I have strongly encouraged my employees to stay home when they are ill, without a fear of penalty of any kind, as a precautionary measure for the safety and well-being of our clients and staff.

Since the majority of our clients are seniors with compromised immune systems, the likelihood of them contracting COVID-19 is greatly increased. Because our caregivers are on the front line of caring for seniors with chronic health issues, we are dedicated to providing the best care possible while protecting all parties involved.

If you or a special senior loved one is at increased risk of contracting coronavirus or the flu, has underlying health issues and is unable to get out to run errands, like going to the pharmacy, grocery store or doctor appointments, Home Helpers® compassionate caregivers can provide the necessary assistance.

Additionally, if seniors are forced to stay at home, a caregiver may be the perfect solution to provide companion care to curb feelings of isolation, loneliness and depression. I gladly offer a FREE consultation to assess all needs and match the perfect, most qualified caregiver for you or your loved one.

We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award for 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020. We proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠ .


The Washington Post