Covid 19 – Senior citizens with associated health complications must be monitored regularly

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Pune, March 14, 2020: Two elderly patients – a 76-year-old man from Karnataka and 68-year-old woman from Delhi – have succumbed to the coronavirus infection. Their age and co-morbidities like high blood pressure and diabetes exacerbated the situation. Although the coronavirus can affect anyone, those with low immunity such as the elderly especially those with associated health conditions are more vulnerable. There is thus a need to raise awareness on preventive action.


As per a recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, adults in the 30 to 79 age group represented a whopping 87% of the COVID-19 cases. The WHO found something similar in China, with 78% of patients falling between the ages of 30 and 69. Adding to this is the fact that with the rising number of infections, there will not only be lesser hospital beds to accommodate all cases but also an increase in the risk of complications. Home healthcare can perhaps emerge as the answer particularly for the elderly.


Speaking about this, Dr Vishal Sehgal, Medical Director, Portea Medical, said, “While anyone is susceptible to the coronavirus infection, the elderly may be more vulnerable as is evident by the recent fatalities in Karnataka and Delhi. Apart from following precautionary protocols such as washing hands regularly, the elderly must take extra care to protect themselves. They must also be constantly monitored and any variations in their health condition or appearance of symptoms of flu or pneumonia should be taken very seriously. Home healthcare companies can be extremely beneficial for those who are apprehensive about visiting hospitals for medical check-ups, doctor consults, diagnostics and rehab services or for conditions that may need immediate help in terms of timely administration of injectables, etc. All this can improve health outcomes in the elderly and prevent the onset of any infection.”


Adding further, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Confederation of Medical Associations of Asia and Oceania (CMAAO), said, “The elderly and the sick may have an immune response that is dangerous. This is referred to as a cytokine storm. There is an overproduction of immune cells that flood into the lungs, causing pneumonia, inflammation and shortness of breath. Therefore, utmost care must be taken with the elderly and they should avoid going outdoors specially to crowded places or commuting in public transport for the time being.’’

Senior citizens who stay alone must keep some important things in mind to deal with the outbreak. Those who have elderly at home should also consider these tips to keep any complications at bay.

Take everyday precautions. Make sure to eat medications on time and keep all vitals under check.
Keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact, and wash your hands often. Avoid crowds as much as possible.
Eat foods that are rich in antioxidants and help in building your immunity levels. Include dark and green leafy vegetables and whole grains.
Senior citizens nowadays are technologically sound and understand how to use smartphones. This can help them keep up with their appointments, etc. However, for others, it is a good idea to teach them the basics including calling up a specialist in case of an emergency or symptoms. They can even video call the doctor for their appointment since they may not be able to venture out much.