Like the song says, “It ain’t over yet.” Actually, the World Health Organization warned Monday, that “the worst is yet in the future,” referring to the coronavirus pandemic.
6 months since the new coronavirus outbreak, and the death toll has surpassed 500,000 with the number of confirmed infections topping 10 million. In the U.S., several states recorded record highs this week, including where I live here in California as well as in Florida and Texas. In a June 23 hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Anthony Fauci, a person in the White House coronavirus task force, called another number of weeks “critical” for controlling the spread.
Baby boomers need to pay for attention. Although, details about COVID-19 keeps evolving, something hasn’t changed. Older adults have reached high threat of severe illness and death from the coronavirus. Be aware: Eight out of 10 COVID-19-related deaths reported in the United States have already been among adults aged 65 years and older, according to the CDC.
With this in your mind, you might want to take into account some of the latest CDC updates for older adults:
* If you’re under 65 and think you’re from the woods, think again. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in June expanded its warning of who’s most at risk for severe illness from COVID-19, dropping 65 as the age-specific threshold for when risk increases in adults. To place it really, as you age, your risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases. While those 85 and older have reached the maximum risk, people inside their 50s are often at higher risk for severe illness than people inside their 40s. And people inside their 60s or 70s have reached higher risk for severe illness than people inside their 50s.
* The CDC has updated its official set of COVID-19 symptoms. Warning signs of the condition include: fever or chills; cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fatigue; muscle or body aches; headache; new loss of taste or smell; sore throat; congestion or runny nose; nausea or vomiting; and diarrhea โควิด. Symptoms that want immediate medical attention include: trouble breathing; persistent pain or pressure in the chest; new confusion; inability to wake or stay awake; and bluish lips or face. Keep in mind, in older adults (aged 65 and older), normal body temperature could be lower than in younger adults. Because of this, fever temperatures can also be lower in older adults meaning it might be less noticeable.
* The CDC also clarified which underlying conditions are most related to COVID-19 hospitalizations and death. On the expanded list: chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), obesity (BMI of 30 or higher), a weakened immune protection system, type 2 diabetes, sickle cell disease and heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies. Thus far, the most truly effective three underlying health conditions among coronavirus patients are cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic lung disease.
* With the rising rate of infections, let’s talk masks. They have some cool looking cloth face coverings today, but which provide the best protection? Certainly one of the most crucial features you’ll need are multiple layers of fabric, which are much better than only one, Richard Wenzel, M.D., infectious diseases epidemiologist and emeritus professor of internal medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. states in articles for Consumers Reports. Mayo Clinic agrees that “cloth masks should include multiple layers of fabric.” A general rule of thumb is that thicker, denser fabrics will do a much better job than thinner, more loosely woven ones. Flannel pajama material, for instance, that includes a tight weave, might be considered a great option, Wenzel adds. If you intend to purchase a mask online make certain it is made out of tightly woven fabric and fits snugly, fully covering your mouth and nose, wrapping under your chin being an anchor.
* Staying healthy is always important, but even more so in this pandemic. The CDC recommends that older adults receive recommended flu and pneumonia vaccinations, eat healthy, stay active, avoid excessive alcohol use, and get lots of sleep. It is also important to understand to cope with the strain that originates from a pandemic in a wholesome way. Take breaks from the news, embrace your spirituality, stay linked to loved ones, take the time to unwind and take action you enjoy, and practice deep breathing.
* Federal health officials are bracing for the fall, when the flu and COVID-19 will undoubtedly be circulating at the same time. The other day, the CDC’s Redfield urged the public to prepare yourself and “to embrace” the flu vaccine. “This single act will save lives,” he said. The CDC is also creating a test that may simultaneously test for flu and COVID-19.
So, are we having any fun yet?
Yes, I understand. This is hard. We miss our grandchildren, concerts in the park, eating out, and gatherings with friends. The more enjoyable, devil-may-care attitude the majority are displaying right now could be contagious. However, we boomers must be extra vigilant.
The CDC recommends avoiding activities where taking protective measures may be difficult, such as activities where social distancing can’t be maintained. “Generally, the more folks you talk with, the more closely you talk with them, and the longer that interaction, the higher your threat of getting and spreading COVID-19,” their site states.