The “Novel Coronavirus” came into the spotlight roughly one and a half years ago and has managed to stay around for the entirety of the time frame. Due to the disease being relatively new, we were in for a shock when we realized how infectious the virus truly was. Since very little was known about this strain of the virus, a wave of panic and unease was created among the public.
Individuals with compromised, undeveloped or deteriorating immune systems are at greater risk of contracting the virus. The human immune system loses its efficiency as we get older and has a harder time warding the body from diseases and infections. This puts the elder population in a position where they are several times more susceptible to infection and hospitalization. The basic thumb rule is that the older you are, the deadlier the virus is for you. Now on the other end of the spectrum, we have children (kids under the age of ten). During the early stages of the pandemic, most of the information floating around included young children in the “at-risk population”. However, current studies and data suggest that kids are less likely to be infected by the Coronavirus. Moreover, they tend to show milder symptoms than most people.
For ease of reading, we have split the guide into two major sections. Each segment will provide information relating to the different population groups.
Advice for Taking Care of Elderly Individuals
General Covid Care Guidelines
Almost every statistic and study regarding the Coronavirus states that people with a compromised immune system are particularly vulnerable to it. The human body weakens with time. It is an irreversible, natural process over which we have very little control. A strict diet, constant physical exercise, plenty of nutritious foods and appropriate amounts of sleep can help control the process. However, by and large, older individuals have a diminished immune system. This reality leads us to another statistic. The 50+ age group makes up a large percentage of the death caused by the Covid-19 virus worldwide.
The CDC has stated that older individuals are at a greater risk of needing intensive medical care if diagnosed with Covid-19. The current situation requires greater care and attention to be directed towards the elderly. At-risk individuals, especially older family members should stay home as much as possible. Try to keep their interaction with the outside world to a minimum. A few important considerations you can take on behalf of an elderly relative are
- Ensure they have enough medicines to last at least a month. It is hard to determine when the next lockdown could be imposed. Keeping medicines, especially prescription drugs, in-stock could save you some time down the line.
- Do not discontinue any prescribed medications. Unless their primary physician directs it, do not alter their treatment regimens.
- Try to continue their weekly/monthly hospital visits. Certain medical conditions necessitate constant monitoring. Check with their regular doctor/hospital whether they are able and willing to continue with the scheduled visits in advance.
You can take things a step further in this situation. Preparing an Ayurveda-inspired diet for the elderly in your care has multiple benefits. Ayurvedic beliefs place a great deal of importance on one's diet. “Eat to Live and not Live to Eat” is a core concept when it comes to designing a balanced diet. On the one hand, your meal must include sufficient quantities of various foods for it to be a nutritious meal. On the other hand, having too much food leaves you feeling bloated and lethargic. Ayurveda recommends the addition of various immunity-boosting herbs and spices to your diet. This helps to strengthen certain parts of your system. Ayurvedic spices like Brahmi and Ashwagandha are great immunostimulants. Harad is another potent Ayurvedic herb that reduces the intensity of age-related diseases.
(Psst! Click on the links for each of the Ayurvedic herbs to find a few easy recipes centered around the herb, which you can prepare in your own home!)
The inclusion of a few medicinal herbs into your daily diet could do wonders for your health and may just be the thing to keep you and your family safe. In addition to the above-mentioned steps, you could also follow the general corona protocols, which can be found here.
Ways to reduce their Risk of Getting Sick
- As almost every news report, study or article about Coronavirus has already mentioned, the best way to avoid getting sick is to stay at home. This is twice as relevant in the case of older individuals. People above the age of fifty need to isolate themselves in their homes. The simple act of self-isolation decreases the odds of getting infected by a significant margin and is currently the best and safest way to avoid the virus.
- Clean rigorously and regularly. Any and all personal belongings that can be cleaned should be as often as possible. We should disinfect and sanitize table surfaces, door handles and other surfaces daily.
- Picking up Yoga (or another physical activity that you can do at home) is another method to reduce the risk of infection. A healthy body fosters a robust immune system which greatly helps fend of the virus.
- Watching what they eat may be a secret tip that could help them overcome the ongoing predicament. A healthy diet is crucial for the proper functioning of our body. Ayurvedic texts speak at great lengths about the benefits of herbs and spices. Incorporating these medicinal elements into their diet affords them a strong and long-lasting immune system.
(Psst! Taking care of someone else is always going to be a difficult task. If you feel like you need a hand, check out the NCOA’s article on resources for Older Adults.)
Advice for Taking Care of Children
General Covid Care Guidelines
We have already discussed how kids (between the ages of 2 to 10) show lesser rates of infection as well as severity when infected by the coronavirus. Infants are a different case, however, especially newborns. Babies under the age of 1 have a higher risk of getting infected as well as developing severe symptoms. This is primarily attributed to their as-yet undeveloped immune systems. Taking care of a newborn is doubly tricky. (getting them to wear a mask is probably not the easiest thing in the world) However, keeping them at home, away from crowds and other people is quite simple and ensures their safety.
Given their age, most kids are extremely receptive to input from adults. Teaching them to follow basic safety measures like maintaining social distancing, avoiding unwanted contact with surfaces, etc. is very viable. Additionally, children have a rapidly growing and developing body. Providing them with the right kinds of food will yield long-lasting benefits. Inculcating healthy habits like eating greens, fruits and nuts, engaging in light, age-appropriate physical activities, etc. are also important factors that can aid in your child’s growth. We have also gone ahead and listed some of our products better suited for strengthening your and your family's immunity.
Ways to reduce their Risk of Getting Sick
- Restrain them from heading out to crowded areas or public spaces unless they absolutely must. If they do need to venture into crowds, ensure they are well prepared with a mask and sanitizer.
- While kids may be more receptive than others, they are also just as forgetful at times. Constantly remind them to wash their hands with soap regularly and instill it into them. Instructing them to cover their mouths while sneezing is a good idea as well.
- Ensure that your child is up-to-date with their scheduled vaccines and hospital visits.
Tough times call for tough measures. The pandemic is forcing us to do things we don’t enjoy or are particularly comfortable with. However, this too shall pass. As is with most things human, this pandemic is temporary. We just need to endure through some more of it before heading on to better times!
Reference 1: Older Adults and COVID-19
Reference 2: Adult & elder care