You may have heard of Coronavirus or Covid19 as it is spreading throughout Michigan and the United States. You may have also heard that older adults are at higher risk of catching and experiencing severe symptoms of the virus. In this special post we’ll walk you through what Coronavirus is and how to protect yourself.
Please note that this virus is rapidly changing and this information is current as of March 17, 2020. For the most up to date information, visit the Center for Disease Control.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is COVID-19, a virus strain that began spreading to people in December 2019.
What groups are “high risk”?
Although groups of all ages can catch the Coronavirus, older adults (especially those over 60 and those over 80), those with chronic conditions, and those with compromised immune systems are especially at risk.
What are the symptoms? (via CDC)
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent chest pain/pressure
How can I protect myself/my loved ones?
- The best way to protect yourself is with the same precautions you’d use during cold and flu season:
- Cover your mouth when you cough/sneeze
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched often (e.g., doorknobs)
- Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing/sneezing or before eating
- Avoid touching your face
- If you can’t wash your hands, use hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol
- Stay away from people who appear to be sick
- If you can, STAY HOME
- If you can’t stay home, keep your distance from other people (6 feet is best)
- If you absolutely need to leave home for groceries, etc., go at off-peak times when there will be fewer people
- Make sure you have tissue and cold medicines that is not expired in case you do get sick
How can I support the older adults in my community?
- Offer to pick up their groceries- and leave the groceries at their door
- Call or video chat with older adults you know that might be lonely due to senior centers temporarily closing
- Talk about any concerns with caregivers or senior living facilities
- Find ways for older adults to stay active
- Make sure they have access to the medical equipment and medications they need
Beware of Coronavirus Scams!
Unfortunately, scammers never rest and are not above taking advantage of times like this. One common scam involves calling seniors pretending to be in the medical field, telling the senior they tested positive for the virus, and asking for payment so they can send antibiotics to their victim.
- Be mindful of where you get your information from. What we know about the virus is rapidly changing, and the CDC is one of the best sources.
- Don’t answer the phone unless you recognize the number.
- Be suspicious of callers who want you to send money- especially via gift card.
- Be suspicious if a caller has results from a test you don’t remember taking.
Michigan and the Center for Disease Control have published fact sheets, which can be found here and here. Click here for up to date information about which services in Washtenaw County are still open.