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Covid 19 Questions



One of the symptoms of COVID-19 is shortness of breath. What does that mean? Shortness of breath refers to unexpectedly feeling out of breath, or winded. But when should you worry about shortness of breath? There are many examples of temporary shortness of breath that are not worrisome. For example, if you feel very anxious, it's common to get short of breath and then it goes away when you calm down.

However, if you find that you are ever breathing harder or having trouble getting air each time you exert yourself, you always need to call your doctor. That was true before we had the recent outbreak of COVID-19, and it will still be true after it is over.

Meanwhile, it's important to remember that if shortness of breath is your only symptom, without a cough or fever, something other than COVID-19 is the likely problem.

My husband and I are in our 70s. I'm otherwise healthy. My husband is doing well but does have heart disease and diabetes. My grandkids' school has been closed for the next several weeks. We'd like to help out by watching our grandkids but don't know if that would be safe for us. Can you offer some guidance? People who are older and older people with chronic medical conditions, especially cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, lung disease are more likely to have severe disease or death from COVID-19 and should engage in strict social distancing without delay. This is also the case for people or who are immunocompromised because of a condition or treatment that weakens their immune response.

The decision to provide on-site help with your children and grandchildren is a difficult one. If there is an alternative to support their needs without being there, that would be safest. What should and shouldn't I do during this time to avoid exposure to and spread of this coronavirus? For example, what steps should I take if I need to go shopping for food and staples?


What about eating at restaurants, ordering takeout, going to the gym or swimming in a public pool? If you need to get food, staples, medications or healthcare, try to stay at least six feet away from others, and wash your hands thoroughly after the trip, avoiding contact with your face and mouth throughout. Prepare your own food rather than going to a restaurant or even getting takeout. It's best to avoid the gym; but if you do go, be sure to wipe down anything you are about to touch, and once more after you use the equipment. Again try to keep a distance of 6 feet or more from others. Since the virus won't survive in properly treated pool water, swimming should be okay as long as you avoid close contact with other people.

Here are some other things to avoid: playdates, parties, sleepovers, having friends or family over for meals or visits, and going to coffee shops — essentially any nonessential activity that involves close contact with others. How long can the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 survive on surfaces? We don't yet know how long the coronavirus can survive on surfaces such as plastic, porcelain, granite, steel, or copper. In the meantime, the CDC recommends cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects every day. These include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.

If surfaces are dirty, first clean them using a detergent and water, then disinfect them. A list of products suitable for use against COVID-19 is available here. This list has been pre-approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use during the COVID-19 outbreak. Reprinted from www.health.harvard.edu

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