Every few years, the world is rocked with a seemingly incurable pandemic that wipes out lives and causes global hysteria. Such is the case with the recent outbreak. Most schools and many businesses are temporarily closed, and supermarkets cannot keep up with the demand for food, toiletries, and first aid supplies.
Several viruses exist today that are killing people all across the world. They are often highly contagious and are spread by sneezing or coughing into the air. If you or a loved one is a senior adult, your susceptibility to these viruses is higher than other age groups. Here are ten helpful suggestions to keep you and your home safe.
1. Stay at Home as Much as Possible
Right now, federal and local authorities are urging citizens to stay at home and don’t venture out unless it is absolutely necessary. While quarantining remains voluntary in most places, it is mandatory in hardest-hit areas like California and Ohio. If you and your family stay close to home, you are less likely to become contaminated.
Consider ordering groceries, medications, and other necessities online, so that you don’t need to be out in public. Be selective about who you allow in your house, especially if they have flu-like symptoms. Many places of worship offer online services to their parishioners to keep them safe. Postpone unnecessary travel and vacations. Call your senior family members daily to see if they need anything.
2. Order a Thirty to Ninety Day Supply of Medications
Do you have a medical condition that requires specific prescription drugs or supplies? As you age, chances are you have at least one chronic health care need. Don’t assume that your meds will be available as soon as you call for refills. Currently, several pharmaceuticals are on a shortage list in the US. Please don’t wait until you are out of an essential medication and find it is out of stock until further notice.
Talk to your doctor about ordering enough essential medications to last you thirty to ninety days, if possible. You can pick them up at the pharmacy drive-thru or have them conveniently mailed to your house. Be sure that you or a senior family member has enough medical supplies to last for a while, such as diabetes testing strips, insulin needles, diapers or urinary incontinence items, and other necessary supplies. Most of these, including durable medical equipment, can be delivered to your home.
If you were quarantined for an extended period, would you have enough first-aid supplies? Do an inventory on your first-aid kit, and you must restock necessities such as bandages, antibiotic cream, tape, and other essentials. If a minor accident happens, you will be prepared.
3. Practice Long Distance Relationships
Unless you are legally quarantined, you will probably venture out a bit to keep your mental health intact. Health experts recommend that people maintain at least a six-feet distance from each other.
Avoid being around anyone who is coughing, sneezing, or displaying other symptoms. Give them a phone call instead. For now, forgo handshakes and hugs and just offer family and friends a loving, sincere smile. They will still know you love and care about them, and you don’t have to compromise your health.
4. Consider Wearing a Mask
Is your immune system weak due to diabetes or other autoimmune disorders common in seniors? You are more likely than others to contact viruses or other germs from people coughing and sneezing into the air. Don’t feel foolish if you choose to protect your well-being by wearing surgical masks.
It’s especially considerate if you have flu-like symptoms and don’t want to take a chance on contaminating others. If you must go out or visit a place where sick people may be, such as hospitals or nursing facilities, play it safe and cover your mouth and nose. The mask will act as a barrier against airborne germs and viruses.
5. Be Adamant About Hand Washing
No doubt, you have kept a steady handwashing regiment and taught it to your children and/or grandchildren. Everyone should wash their hands before eating, cooking, after touching something dirty, and you should especially clean your hands after going to the restroom. Washing your hands can not only minimize virus infections but a plethora of other disorders that can be just as life-threatening. Keep a generous stock of hand soap and place a container at every sink.
During a pandemic uproar, washing your hands is even more essential. To do the most efficient job, be sure that you are cleaning your hands properly. Use a mild soap and gently scrub your hands into a rich lather. If your nails were affected, rub them gently with a nailbrush. Wash vigorously for at least 20 seconds, the time it would take you to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. You should always wash and rinse with warm water, dry your hands thoroughly, and apply a hydrating lotion to avoid chapped hands.
Insist that everyone in your home practice these safe handwashing procedures. In worst-case scenarios, when soap and water aren’t available, keep plenty of hand sanitizer. Any time you touch money or anything the public touches, keep viruses and germs at bay and keep your hands clean. Consider placing bottles of hand sanitizer on your counter, in the bathroom, and the car for extra protection. It would be best if you always wash your hands after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
6. Keep Surfaces in Your Home Clean and Sanitized
Health experts have encouraged us for decades to sanitize surfaces in the home to ward off disease. Perhaps the essential surfaces in your home are in the kitchen and bathroom. To properly disinfect them, use strong disinfection spray, wipes, or a diluted bleach solution. It would help if you thoroughly cleaned counters, tables, and anything that your food touches. Don’t forget to wipe down those cabinets and doorknobs too.
In the bathroom, scrub the toilet daily with a disinfectant, as well as the sink, vanity, and tub. This regiment is especially essential if you or another loved one is sick. Remember to disinfect all media remotes, computer keyboards, and phones consistently. These often-forgotten items are a haven for bacteria and viruses.
7. How to Cough or Sneeze Safely
Yes, the way many people cough, or sneeze can send a geyser of infected microscopic water droplets into the air. This hazardous spray can douse people from nearly six feet away. If you are around small children, seniors, or people with suppressed immune systems, be kind and cough or sneeze correctly.
The worst way is to blow your microbes into the air with no covering. However, sneezing or coughing into your hand can spread germs by contact. Instead, sneeze or cough into your bent elbow. By handling it this way, then nothing touches your hands or goes into the air.
8. Pass on Restaurant Food for A While
As concern for the virus spreads, several states have mandated that restaurants and bars close their lobbies and serve customers through take-out and drive-thru only. If you live in an area that still has opened restaurant lobbies, consider only using the drive thru. For your health’s sake, avoid buffets for a while. Better yet, why not enjoy homecooked meals? Not only are they more nutritious, but you will be sharing valuable living skills and precious time with your family.
9. It’s Okay to Use Gloves
If you or a loved one is an older adult, you needn’t apologize for taking extra precautions during this health crisis. Non-latex gloves are inexpensive, and you can carry them in your pocket or purse. You don’t want to touch something in public a million others have.
Feel free to put on your gloves before touching anything. Although many viruses are airborne, they can survive on surfaces for several days. Keep some gloves handy for needed errands or for caring for a sick person. Take them off without touching the surface of the gloves and wash your hands as soon as possible.
10. Talk to Your Health Care Provider
When you read or hear media reports about a pandemic, it is essential to separate misinformation from medical facts. Doctors and other medical experts are working globally to educate the public about precautions, and they are developing vaccines to eradicate any serious illnesses.
Additionally, you must be your wellness advocate, and you should discuss any concerns or symptoms with your health care provider. If you are experiencing symptoms, it’s recommended that you see your physician immediately.
Like the pandemics of the past, medical science will continue to study future viruses and their possible cure. If you or a loved one is a senior, your best bet to staying safe and healthy is to be proactive. Practice these precautions and share them with friends and family. For more information about specific virus threats in your area, talk to your health care provider or research information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.