According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, about 50% of Americans under the age of 55 have at least one preexisting condition. In addition, about 86% of Americans between the ages of 55 and 65 have at least one preexisting condition. The older the age group, the higher the percentage.
These percentages are significant because people with preexisting conditions have a higher chance of severely suffering from the coronavirus, and in worst cases, can succumb to the disease. The majority of deaths in America caused by the virus have had at least one preexisting condition.
Therefore, if you suffer from a preexisting condition such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease, then you should do everything in your power to increase your safety during the coronavirus outbreak.
1. Stay at home
You’re probably tired of hearing this by now, but staying at home during this time lowers your risk of contracting the virus substantially. If you have remained home throughout the duration of the outbreak, you may be feeling agitated right about now. If that’s the case, here are some things you can do while home to maintain a healthy mind.
A great way to stay sociable while social distancing is to FaceTime or Skype with a friend or family member. These virtual communications will benefit both of you by checking in on each other while still keeping your distance. Some family members have gotten creative, and rather than visiting via video chat, they have sat outside their high-risk family member’s window and chatted on the phone. You can also play puzzle games to keep yourself entertained. An old-fashioned jigsaw puzzle could give your mind the exercise it needs to stay healthy.
2. Sanitize your home
With all this extra time you have at home, spend it cleaning, organizing, and, most importantly, sanitizing your home. Start by disinfecting frequently touches surfaces and objects, such as phones, countertops, armrests, and handles. Try to do this on a daily basis. If you’ve run out of sanitizing wipes or spray, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a homemade bleach solution of five tablespoons of bleach for every gallon of water.
Another surface some of us don’t think to disinfect often are fabric surfaces, like couches, curtains, and pillows. If you’re unsure of which product to clean these surfaces with, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has a long list of cleaning products that can fight against this coronavirus.
3. Have family members run your errands for you
Many people don’t have the proper stash of food and cleaning supplies to remain at home without going to the store for this long of a period. Hopefully, you have some low-risk family members who can run your essentials errands for you during this time. If you need groceries, have an adult child or grandkid go by the grocery store for you and drop your bags on your front porch for you to bring inside. Have a medication to pick up from the pharmacy? Ask a family member to pick it up or have the pharmacy mail order it.
4. Use telehealth services for your doctor appointments
Fortunately, with today’s technology, we can visit the doctor without leaving the comfort of our home. Telehealth is a service that more and more insurance plans are covering nowadays. Instead of leaving your clean house and going to a doctor’s office filled with sick people, call your doctor via video chat with one of the many telehealth software available. If you’re a Medicare beneficiary, don’t worry. Medicare is covering telehealth visits for you too.
5. Maintain healthy habits
While there isn’t a medication protocol to help combat the virus, you can increase your safety by maintaining healthy habits. This includes things like taking vitamins, exercising, and drinking plenty of water. The more you can maintain your body’s strength and immune system, the better your chances are of fighting the virus if you were to get it.
6. Practice social distancing
There are a few circumstances that leave you with no other option but to leave your home. If you have to go out in public, practice social distancing. Try to stay at least six feet away from other people for your own sake, as well as theirs. Also, carry a pack of disinfectant wipes with you. Be sure to wipe down surfaces prior to touching them and then sanitize your hands after using the surface.
The CDC has several helpful tips and links regarding the coronavirus. Also, you should review the CDC’s coronavirus page often as they are updating it nearly every day.