5 Health Mistakes Women Over 50 Make During Covid-19
Unless you are hiding under a rock, there is little chance you have not heard of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19.
It is an outbreak that has reached pandemic proportions within the last few weeks.
Covid-19 creates flu-like symptoms, and can cause complications such as pneumonia, lung damage, and in severe cases, multiple organ failure.
This disease can also cause ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) requiring ventilation and even death can occur.
In short, it is a scary, highly contagious and potentially lethal disease for which there is yet no approved treatment or vaccine.
Therefore, prevention is key, which is why we will delve into common mistakes all people, especially vulnerable women over the age of 50 may commit.
5 Health Mistakes During Covid-19:
Failure to adhere to social distancing recommendations
Recent research suggests that Covid-19 has a mortality rate that is 10x greater than that of the annual Influenza virus, and that 67% of those hospitalized or in the ICU were 45 years or older (McIntosh, 2020).
A frightening statistic, which can be compounded if you have comorbid conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, or diabetes that increases your risk.
That is why social distancing is crucial to prevent the spread.
Stay at home, avoid unnecessary travel, go to the grocery store sparingly and stock up on non-perishables and medications, and avoid gathering or visitations where and when possible.
If you must leave your house, stay at least 6 feet from other people.
Inattention to hygiene and respiratory etiquette during Covid-19
This is paramount during Covid-19, wash your hands frequently, especially when outside of your home. Have a portable vial of hand sanitizer when out and use it liberally.
Avoid touching your face, as we know contaminated hands can transmit the virus to mucosal membranes.
If you are sick, remain quarantined, wear a mask and do not leave your property.
Should you sneeze or cough, make sure you contain it in a tissue or elbow, dispose of the tissue and wash your hands. (1)
Not enacting a care plan during Covid-19
Now more than ever it is important to stay in contact with your social network so that if you were to become ill, you have people around to assist you with getting the provisions you need while quarantined.
As morbid as this discussion is, it is advisable to have a plan with someone you trust in terms of your wishes in the chance of a hospital admission, and if acute care were needed.
Choose someone during Covid-19 who will honor your wishes for your health, dependents and your estate.
Undermining the mental health toll
Staying inside and being unable to go anywhere non essential or visit with friends and family is incredibly boring, isolating and can be depressing for some.
Social distancing during Covid-19 doesn’t equate social isolation, so phoning and Skyping friends and loved one’s is key.
Keeping your mind and body active, reading a book, and entertaining a passion/hobby, are ways we can survive the emotional and psychological ramifications during this pandemic.
Not properly caring of your health
If ever there were an optimal time to take charge of your health and quit smoking or entertaining other bad habits, it is now.
Research shows that daily exercise, adequate sleep, stress management, maintaining a healthy weight, and diet improves your overall health, immune system and reduces disease risk.
The natural changes that occur as women age, increases our vulnerabilities, and caring for ourselves is vital. In terms of nutrition, maintaining a diverse diet and ensuring we consume adequate zinc, vitamin D E and C, and calcium will help us maintain proper immune function. (2)
Also getting your annual flu shot will help in terms of co-infection with other viruses, and will alleviate the health-care burden, as some of the symptoms are similar and testing and resources are strained. (3)
The bottom line is to take care of your physical and mental health, to social distance, protect others and prepare yourself.
The more we adhere to the public health guidelines, the more time we give our scientists and healthcare workers, the sooner we can all get on with our lives!
Coronavirus. (2020). Retrieved April 7, 2020, from https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_1
Harvard Health Publishing. (2014). How to boost your immune system. Retrieved April 7, 2020, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system
How to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic. (2020, March). Retrieved April 7, 2020, from https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/public-health-topics/pandemic-preparedness.aspx
McIntosh, K. (2020). Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Retrieved April 7, 2020, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19#H162437075
News Center. (2020, March). COVID-19 patients often infected with other respiratory viruses, preliminary study reports. Retrieved April 7, 2020, from http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2020/03/covid-19-can-coexist-with-other-respiratory-viruses.html
Wu, Dayong, Lewis, D., E., Pae, Meydani, & Nikbin, S. (2018, December 21). Nutritional Modulation of Immune Function: Analysis of Evidence, Mechanisms, and Clinical Relevance. Retrieved from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2018.03160/full
(1) WHO, 2020 & Ottawapublichealth, 2020
(2) Wu, et al., 2018 & Harvard Health Publishing, 2014
(3) News Center, 2020