Why older adults and people with chronic conditions are at higher risk
• Our immune systems weaken as we age, making it harder to fight off infectious diseases. Cancer treatment, immune deficiencies, smoking and prolonged use of medications that weaken the immune system can also make it harder for the body to fight off the virus. People with certain chronic health conditions-including heart disease, lung diseases, obesity, diabetes or liver disease-also have a harder time fighting the virus.
• There is currently no vaccine available to prevent COVID-19 and no medication to treat it, so the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. COVID-19 is thought to spread primarily through respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes. It may also be transmitted after you have touched a surface or object with the virus on it and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes. The CDC advises older adults to:
➢ Stay home; If you do need to go out in public stay at least 6 feet apart & wear a cloth face covering. ➢ Avoid high-touch surfaces like elevator buttons, door handles, and counters. If you must touch
them, use a glove, tissue, or disposable wipe. ➢ Do NOT touch your face, nose, eyes, or mouth. ➢ Wash your hands with soap and water often; hand sanitizers with 60% or greater alcohol are
acceptable on occasion.
Symptoms of COVID-19
• Not everyone with COVID-19 will experience symptoms, or the symptoms may be mild enough that you don’t realize you are infected, even though you are contagious. Symptoms of COVID-19 typically appear 2 to 14 days after exposure and may include:
➢ Fever ➢ Cough (usually a dry or unproductive cough) ➢ Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath ➢ Fatigue ➢ Loss of smell and taste ➢ Body aches
What to do if you get sick
• Call your health care provider if you think you may have been exposed. In most cases, it’s best to stay at home to avoid infecting others or becoming infected yourself. Most people that become infected can recover at home; however, the virus can be serious or fatal. Call 911 and seek immediate medical care if you experience:
➢ Trouble breathing ➢ Persistent pain or pressure in the chest ➢ Confusion not experienced previously ➢ Bluish lips or face ➢ Any other severe symptoms