Coronavirus Thoughts from a High-Risk Perspective

As older and less-healthy adults, what are we to do?

On Tuesday, we looked at the coronavirus in terms of facts versus myths. Now, we offer coronavirus thoughts from a high-risk perspective.

As those of you who read Living Well While Surviving Cancer already know, the author of this blog (Joel Evans) is a pancreatic cancer survivor with a compromised immune system. As well as a Type I diabetic. And a senior citizen. That puts me in the highest-risk category if I contract COVID-19.

Something else to worry about. Or not. After all, what am I supposed to do now? I refuse to lock myself in my house. But what smart things should I do?

Psychologically, I was fine until the CDC issued an advisory for older adults. According to a CNN report:

[On Thursday March 5, 2020] “Amid a coronavirus outbreak in the United States, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging older people and people with severe chronic medical conditions to stay at home as much as possible.'”

“This advice is on a CDC Web site, according to a CDC spokeswoman. Early data suggest older people are twice as likely to have serious illness from the novel coronavirus, according to the CDC.”

“The CDC guidance comes as two top infectious disease experts with ties to the federal government have advised people over 60 and those with underlying health problems to strongly consider avoiding activities that involve large crowds. Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University professor and longtime adviser to the CDC, said these two groups should consider avoiding activities such as traveling by airplane, going to movie theaters, attending family events, shopping at crowded malls, and going to religious services.”

Also, check out the CNN video.

My Advice to Myself

In light of the CDC’s warning and my health status, what am I to do? My answer for ME (which may be different than your advice for YOU) is to BOTH be smart and live life every day.

I will go out to restaurants, but not to movie theaters. Linda and are rethinking our vacation plans and not going on the cruise we were planning. Also, the thought of air travel does not excite me. I will wash my hands more often and more thoroughly.  I will continue my volunteer work at United Cerebral. I guess I will fist pump rather than shake hands, even though this seems somewhat silly to me.

When I started thinking about doing this post, I looked for information from AARP. And as expected, it has a terrific section of its Web site devoted to COVID-19:

“Older Americans and adults who take routine medications to manage chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, should make sure they have ‘adequate supplies’ on hand as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to climb in the U.S.”

“Avoiding sick people and washing your hands often are two preventive strategies public health experts have been pushing to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Older Americans living in areas that are experiencing spikes in coronavirus cases may also need to think about the actions they take to reduce exposure to the virus.  This may include social distancing strategies, such as teleworking and avoiding large public gatherings.”

“Health officials also advise taking everyday steps that can prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. Wash your hands often with soap and water (scrub for at least 20 seconds), and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap is not an option. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. And cover your coughs and sneezes. “

Click the image to read a lot more from AARP.

Coronavirus Thoughts from a High-Risk Perspective

About the Coronavirus

Facts versus myths.

We have waited until this week to write about the coronavirus. Why? Because of the fast-changing situations around the world. As well as the considerable misinformation that has been spread.

Today, we strive to learn more about the facts surrounding the coronavirus. Thursday, we look at the coronavirus from the perspective of someone who is considered high risk. That person is me (Joel Evans).

Digging Out Facts About the Coronavirus

It is amazing that new details are coming out every day about the coronavirus, in terms of symptoms, testing, the number contracting the virus,  what to do with those who are infected, etc.

Worldwide, there has been a lack of transparency with regard to so many aspects of the coronavirus. And there is a worldwide panic about the looming “pandemic.” About 300 million children have had their schools closed.  Numerous events have been cancelled or postponed. And lots of companies have asked/told their employees to work at home.

Background

We are NOT going into depth about the statistics on the coronavirus, formally name COVID-19. They are constantly changing. As of the writing of this post, COVID-19 has spread to nearly 100 countries, affected more than 100,000 people worldwide, and resulted in about 3,500 deaths.

As reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation:

“In late 2019, a new coronavirus emerged in central China to cause disease in humans. Cases of this disease, known as COVID-19, have since been reported across China and in many other countries around the globe. On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus represents a public health emergency of international concern. And on January 31, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared it to be a health emergency for the United States.”

This tracker provides the number of cases and deaths from novel coronavirus by country, the trend in case and death counts by country, and a global map showing which countries have cases and deaths. The data are drawn directly from official  coronavirus situation reports released regularly by the WHO. It should be noted that the WHO reported case numbers are conservative, and likely represent an undercount of the true number of coronavirus cases, especially in China. The tracker will be updated regularly, as new situation reports are released.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”) is the U.S. agency overseeing efforts. Click here for its COVID-19 Web site.

Key Facts

Following, we present several other strong sources of information.

Johns Hopkins probably has the most accurate data about COVID-19 in the United States and around the world. It regularly contacts health organizations and even has a real-time interactive map. Click the image to access the map.

About the Coronavirus

In addition, Johns Hopkins provides a free quiz on the myths and facts of COVID-19. Click here to access it.  BE AWARE.

The European Union has a dedicated COVID-19 Web site. As well as an infographic overview.

About the Coronavirus

Consumer Reports has an-depth COVID-19 Web site. Click the link at the start of this line. Then, click the image for a very good series of FAQs,

About the Coronavirus

Worldvision.org also has an excellent, full-featured Web site.

 

Do YOU Get Regular Eye Exams

Please don’t ignore your eyes!

As our title asks: Do YOU Get Regular Eye Exams? Or do YOU neglect your eyes? Please be sure to treat your eyes properly!!! 🙂

Recently, Sarah DiGiulio wrote about this topic for Sharecare. Here are some highlights:

“Roughly 11 million Americans older than 12-years old need vision correction, but glasses or contacts are just one reason to see an eye doctor. Comprehensive eye exams are essential for the early detection of health issues that can affect your vision.”

“As you age, your risk for diseases that can affect your sight, like glaucoma and macular degeneration, increases. During a comprehensive, dilated eye exam, doctors specializing in the eyes and vision, called ophthalmologists, or licensed health care professionals, known as optometrists, can not only pick up eye diseases that could lead to blindness or other complications, but also detect certain underlying health issues that can affect your eyes—even before you develop symptoms or realize that something is going on.”

“Nonetheless,survey data suggest they’re underutilized. A 2016 Harris Poll, commissioned by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, found that 64 percent of U.S. adults reported having at least one vision problem, such as blurry vision, double vision, or difficulty seeing at night. Yet, only 13 percent of these people reported seeing an eye doctor about it.”

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reports that up to 45 percent of adults in the United States haven’t had a dilated eye exam within the last two years. And only about half of the estimated 61 million adults at high risk for vision loss visited an eye doctor during the past year. (Keep in mind, there are free or low-cost options available, particularly for older people and those at higher risk for eye diseases.)”

Click the image to read a lot more.

Do YOU Get Regular Eye Exams
Your risk for eye-related disease increases as you age. Regular comprehensive eye exams can help protect your vision.