Even though the number of COVID-19 cases is dropping and there are fewer hospitalizations and deaths, the virus is still out there. If you and your loved ones were careful enough and lucky enough to avoid contracting it, and even if your family has all been vaccinated, there are still safety precautions that you should continue to follow in order to keep from catching and spreading COVID-19 and other diseases.
One reason why many elderly people have few, if any side-effects from the COVID-19 vaccination is that age has compromised their immune systems. Their bodies have a more difficult time fighting diseases of all kinds, and so they do not react as strongly to the perceived threat of the vaccine entering their bodies. For that reason alone, safety measures that were so effective during the pandemic should still be followed as reason directs.
Many of us can say that while we were frequently washing our hands for 20 seconds, disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces, wearing masks, and avoiding close contact with others outside of our home, we didn’t catch anything—not even a cold. Flu cases were at an all-time low. Surely it makes sense to continue some of these practices, especially when there is still a chance of exposure to COVID-19 or other viruses and bacteria that can be life-threatening, especially to the elderly. Even younger people don’t want to miss work or school because of a cold or a stomach virus.
In his best-selling book Better, a Surgeon’s Notes on Performance, author Dr. Atul Gawande devotes an entire 15-page chapter to “Washing Hands.” He states that, “Each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, two million American s acquire an infection while they are in the hospital….The hardest part of the infection-control team’s job…. is getting clinicians like me to do the one thing that consistently halts the spread of infections: wash our hands.”
Even as COVID abates, it only makes sense that we continue to wash our hands frequently for 20 seconds, especially after going out and touching surfaces that may have been previously touched by someone who could be transmitting either a bacterial or viral infection of any kind. Getting an elderly loved one to do the same may take consistent reminding, even specific step-by-step instructions of how to wash their hands effectively. But it can be worth it, if even one illness is prevented.
It has been determined that the Corona Virus is spread through droplets carried on the air. It is no longer recommended that we disinfect our groceries or other every-day items brought into the house that may have been touched by others. However, other diseases are spread by hands that move bacteria or viruses from surface to surface and then into our mouths, noses or eyes. Frequently touched surfaces like door knobs, cupboard and refrigerator handles, or anything in the bathroom should be disinfected regularly. Nothing used for eating or drinking should be shared. And try to wash your hands before touching your face for any reason.
You can almost hear an audible sigh of relief as mask-wearing mandates are lifted. However, since we know that masks have been effective in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and other air-borne diseases, there may be times when wearing a mask still makes sense, especially for an elderly or chronically ill loved one. Will they be in a crowd with strangers, in a doctor’s office where others may be ill, or even around a family member who has a cold? If you can’t avoid situations where the risk of contracting an infection is high, then wearing a mask may be just the thing needed to make participation less dangerous.
Avoiding Close Contact with Strangers
While social interaction is known to be good for both mental and emotional health, hugs, handshakes and in-your-face conversations should probably be avoided with anyone outside of a well-known circle of friends or often-visited family members, especially when someone is at high risk for not being able to fight off an illness. As mentioned, even age can weaken immunity to disease.
If you or the loved one you are caring for haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19 yet, don’t wait any longer. Vaccination side effects have proved to be rare and far less dangerous than contracting the disease itself. The only way to truly feel safe from and not contribute to the spread of COVID-19 is to get the shot. If you have any question as to its safety, ask your healthcare provider. And don’t stop following the common sense guidelines that can help keep you and your family members from getting ill.
Dakota Home Care Precautions
When providing services, our top priority is always the safety of our clients and caregivers. To that end, we continue to follow these safety measures for all of our caregiving staff:
- Monitoring personal health daily for COVID-19 symptoms (new onset of fever, cough, sore throat and/or shortness of breath)
- Checking temperature daily prior to starting a shift, and reporting any fever above 100.4 degrees
- Completing a COVID-19 screening questionnaire prior to starting a shift
- Staying at home until released by a medical provider or supervisor if there is any indication of illness
- Pre-screening clients each day to ensure no one in the home is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
- Following standard precautions for hand and respiratory hygiene, wearing surgical masks, and wearing gloves when in contact with any bodily fluids, blood, or secretions
- Properly cleaning and disinfecting the immediate area where the client is located
We invite you to contact us any time at (877) 691-0015 with questions or concerns you may have, as we all continue to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases.