Health & Medical

Coronavirus Guide for Senior Citizens (COVID-19)

Coronavirus Guide for Senior Citizens

One reader posed an excellent question:

“Yes or no to homemade masks? Who should/not wear and when. If homemade masks [are] okay, what material available is best to use?”

Many consumers panic buying protective and surgical masks in bulk. Our readers might wonder if their own homemade masks might prove effective. As this article indicates, homemade masks can be 50% effective in filtering out infected particles.

A surgical mask is typically around 80% effective.

The best materials from which to make DIY masks are the following:

  • Dish towels (around 82% as effective as a surgical mask)
  • Cotton blend t-shirts (74%)
  • 100% cotton t-shirts (69%)
  • Antimicrobial pillowcases (65%)

Can you / should you go to work?

Many active seniors still work, even after retirement. It helps them to keep busy and remain financially secure. However, some of our readers are very concerned that their employers are putting them at risk. Some employers are refusing to close or not taking the virus seriously. Many of these readers also have spouses at home and worry about putting them further at risk.

As one of our subscribers succinctly put it on Facebook:

“I work retail and my wife has COPD…..really concerned what I’m bringing home to her.” 

Another stated:

“My employer feels this is all a bunch of baloney and will not let us close. I tend to use Clorox wipes all day and get ridiculed by a coworker who says you gotta die from something might as well be the coronavirus. I need to work but am scared”

Until recently, the US government did not protect employees from loss of income when they are sick or self-isolating; outside of whatever sick pay may be available in their state of residence.

Coronavirus Relief Bill

President Trump signed off on a coronavirus relief bill to provide sick pay to those affected by the virus. We wrote this comprehensive article which will help you to identify whether or not you qualify for a stimulus check. You can also use our Stimulus Check Calculator to see what you’re entitled to.

We appreciate that some of our readers will be forced to continue to work to keep their bills paid.

If you absolutely have to work, continue to take all possible precautions at work and when coming home.

  • Wash your hands as frequently as possible.
  • Maintain social distancing at all times.
  • Carry a bottle of sanitizing gel and wear rubber surgical gloves if you’re able.
  • Check with your employer if they’re willing to provide or let you wear a surgical mask to work.
  • Change your clothes immediately when you get home.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before interacting with others in your home.

Infection and reinfection: Can you catch the Coronavirus twice?

One subscriber asked us a question which raises an excellent point:

“My husband & I decided to self-isolate, happy with that to keep safe. Just wondering do the people who have recovered have life long immunity from the virus”

Many assume that those who contract the coronavirus are immune from future reinfection. However, as this article from Forbes demonstrates, while reinfection is rare, those affected are not necessarily completely immune. In certain provinces of China, reinfection rates were reported to be as high as 14%.

At the moment, it’s too early to tell what we can expect in terms of reinfection rates. Or whether the virus will mutate. Infection may make you less likely to be infected in the future. It’s still imperative to do all that you can to avoid infection.

Medication and over the counter drugs: What’s safe and what isn’t?

Medication is an important consideration in this Coronavirus guide for seniors. Lots of our readers are unclear which drugs are safe at this time. But as recent events have shown, self-medication is extremely dangerous.

Just a couple of days ago a man in Arizona died after self-medicating with a form of the drug chloroquine used to treat fish tanks. He did not know that this form is highly toxic to humans. This occurred after President Trump sent a tweet suggesting that Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin could be effective against the virus. The President called the combination “one of the biggest game changes in the history of medicine”.

Numerous medical experts replied stating that the combination has not been proven safe in clinical trials. Others accused the President of spreading dangerous misinformation. As scary and uncertain as the climate may be, we advise against this kind of preemptive self-medication.

Again, if you feel sick or experience symptoms, contact your doctor before taking any further action.

Some subscribers have asked us about over the counter drugs:

“I’m allergic to Tylenol and apparently ibuprofens is not suitable.???”

Rumors recently spread that those affected by, or concerned about coronavirus should avoid Ibuprofen. A rumor that was proven manifestly false. If you’re at all unsure about any prescription or over the counter drugs, always consult your doctor first.

Need help and support? Who to call

A Coronavirus guide for senior citizens needs to help people find support. Many seniors in self-isolation can rely on friends, family, and neighbors. They can shop for essential groceries, pick up prescription medications or lend emergency assistance.

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