Infection specialist provides tips to protect elderly from Covid-19

·3 min read

TO HELP protect the elderly and the sick from getting the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), put them as far away as possible from “more mobile” younger members of the family.

With the ongoing pandemic, it is important that their sleeping area is separate from family members who may be exposed to the disease as sleeping together poses a high risk of infection, said Dr. Bryan Albert Lim, an infectious disease specialist.

People don’t go to bed with their masks on, he said.

“Cases are increasing. Fortunately, for now, our hospitals are still not full and most of our cases are mild and from the younger population. However, at this point, we must double our efforts to protect the elderly and the sick because when they get Covid, they have a higher chance of dying,” he said.

He said people should also avoid eating with elder family members. If this isn’t possible, let them eat first, he said.

“After they’re finished, you can eat and ask the elders to wear masks and face shields. Do not share utensils with the elders. Best if they have their own share of food beforehand,” he said.

Proper hygiene is also important.

Lim said it is best to have separate bathrooms. If this is not feasible, the young ones should sanitize the toilet seat with bleach or alcohol spray after using it. They may also use separate toilet paper and a dipper, he said.

Those arriving from work should leave their shoes outside of the house and take a bath or shower before touching anything inside, he said.

They should disinfect their wallets, jewelry, watches and cellphones, among others.

Bowing instead of hugging the elderly is also advised.

When together in the living room, younger members of the family should also keep their masks on, especially if the elders are not comfortable with wearing theirs, Lim said.

“Open the windows and doors when in the living room. Also the exhausts in the restroom,” he added.

If going outdoors cannot be avoided, it is best to go to open areas and avoid enclosed spaces with no adequate ventilation.

He said handwashing should also be part of everyone’s routine. Hands should be washed before praying, before and after eating and even before and while watching television, he said.

It is also important to disinfect deliveries and non-perishable groceries. He also advised to soak fruits and vegetables in clean water for 10 minutes before eating or cooking these.

Younger members of the family should also remind elders not to talk to neighbors while the health crisis is ongoing. But if this cannot be helped, the elderly must wear a double face mask and a face shield and observe physical distancing, he said. It is also better to hold the conversation outside for better ventilation.

Lim said younger people should assume that they have the disease and can infect their loved ones, which should alter their behavior.

“The vaccines are almost here. Let us not risk infecting the vulnerable. Let us keep our hospitalization rates low and our deaths even lower,” he said.

“We can live with the virus. We are all frontliners. We can choose both health and livelihood. All we need is to adjust to and outsmart the virus, but most importantly, we need to care more,” Lim added. (WBS)