It’s summertime, but unfortunately, the living isn’t easy. Covid-19 appears to have settled in for the summer of 2020. Even as businesses in our area begin to open, and the virus has waned in the Northeast, the risk to older adults remains. The Centers for Disease Control reports that 80 percent of Covid-related deaths occurred in people over the age of 65. While it is nearly impossible to reduce the risk of getting coronavirus to zero, experts recommend that older adults and those who live with them take extra precautions to avoid the virus.
Two Steps to Staying Healthy
The CDC recommends a two-pronged approach to staying healthy:
- Avoid interactions with other people as much as possible
- Follow basic precautions when interaction with others
While we still have much to learn about Covid-19, it is well-known that the virus is spread via the respiratory droplets of people who are within six feet of one another. To prevent transmission, the CDC recommends:
- Wash your hands frequently, scrubbing them for at least 20 seconds using soap and water.
- Use hand sanitizer when hand washing is not possible.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Try to keep six feet of distance between yourself and others, both in your home and outside. Remember, even people who feel well and do not have symptoms my spread the virus.
- Use a cloth face cover when you are around other people. This is intended to reduce the risk of transmission from yourself to others. Ask others to use a face mask when they are near you.
- Use household disinfectants to clean frequently touched surfaces in your environment. This includes doorknobs, light switches, tables, countertops and telephones.
Seeing Friends and Family
Social interaction is important for our mental and physical health. However, your risk of getting sick with coronavirus increases with the more people you interact with, the longer you interact with them, and the closer the interaction. So, if you decide to visit with friends and family, keep these guidelines in mind:
- Plan an outdoor visit.
- If you must be indoors, visit in a well-ventilated space.
- Maintain social distancing of at least six feet between people.
- Wear a cloth face covering and ask others to do the same.
- Avoid close physical contact (no hugging, handshaking, etc.).
- Wash your hands often and use paper towels for drying.
Summer heat can pose its own risks to the health and safety of older adults. In addition to taking steps to avoid Covid-19, don’t forget to protect yourself from summer heat.
- Stay hydrated. That means drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
- Avoid being outdoors for extended periods between 11 am – 2 pm, the hottest part of the day.
- Use air conditioning if possible to stay cool.
- Keep sunscreen handy and use it liberally if you are out in the sun.
- Check your medications. Some are photosensitive, which means they may have additional side effects if you are exposed to direct sunlight while taking them.
Visit a Park
Adults over 62 may be eligible to purchase a lifetime pass to America’s National Parks. The cost is $80. Further information is available here. https://store.usgs.gov/senior-pass
New York State parks are free for adults 62 and over. Simply present your New York State Driver’s License or State-issued identification card at any park for free admission. Read more here. https://parks.ny.gov/admission/golden-park-program.aspx
Relax and Enjoy
Summer provides a great opportunity to get out of the house and breathe the fresh air. Take walks, work in your garden or visit public gardens, and relish the balmy temperatures. By taking precautions, you can enjoy the summer safely, maintain your health and help protect others.