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A public health emergency can be a stressful time for people and communities. Anyone age 60 and over, also those with severe chronic illness are more likely to become severely ill, so people in that age group should be cautious. It is possible to contract the virus at a younger age — it’s just more dangerous in older adults because the immune system weakens with age.

senior coughing from flu

Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, public health officials urge prevention and preparation. Here are some helpful tips to protect yourself now:

DO wash your hands regularly. Use soap and water to wash hands for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when hand washing isn’t available. 

DON’T touch your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you have somehow come into contact with the virus, touching your face can help it enter your body. 

DO cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.

DO recognize the symptoms which are similar to the flu:

  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Cough

DO consider taking extra precautions by avoiding public places where crowds may gather or poorly ventilated buildings where the risk of transmission is higher if you’re over 60 years old, or have a condition, as you have a higher risk of developing the virus. Note that as of now, the highest-risk groups appear to be seniors and those with preexisting conditions like chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, and heart disease.

DO continue to eat healthy and exercise.

DON’T go out to see your doctor, without calling first. Call your healthcare provider before seeking care in person to avoid spreading germs to others. 

DO clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using a regular household detergent and water or disinfectant.

DO avoid close contact with those who are sick. 

DO think ahead and come up with a plan of action should you fall sick or in case of an emergency. Create a current emergency contact list with family, caregiver, neighbor, local public health department, and/or healthcare provider. 

DO keep prescriptions on hand and if possible switch to 90 day supply. Consider mail ordering prescriptions. 

DON’T panic. Making preparations and taking proper precautions are the best ways to protect yourself.

We will continue to bring you information as it becomes available but following these suggestions will go a long way to helping keep you safe from the virus.