How can I protect my elderly parents and those around me from COVID-19 infection?

When there are many people in the household, there’s a risk of COVID-19 infection for our parents and grandparents who may be more vulnerable due to their age and the presence of other health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. If you have older adults living at home, or family members with medical conditions, here are some steps to follow to protect your parents/grandparents and family members with medical conditions.

If you have to go outside

If you need to leave your home to go to work or run errands, remember these steps to protect yourself and prevent carrying the virus into your home:

Wear a cloth mask which covers your mouth and nose.

Stay at least one metre away from others.

Carry hand sanitiser or disinfecting wipes with you so you can disinfect surfaces before and after you touch them.

Travel alone, if possible. Try not to go with children, they’re more likely to touch things in public and could carry those germs or viruses back home.

Try not to socialise with people when you’re out.

If you use public transport, keep your mask on (covering your mouth and nose securely at all times).

Before leaving work, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When returning home from work, change your clothes and shoes and wash your hands again, before interacting with anyone in the household, especially if you’ve had any interaction with others.

Children who go to day-care/school should take the same steps. Unfortunately, children can carry the COVID-19 virus and infect others.

Precautions to take at home

If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, you might not always show symptoms. This is why self-isolating for the whole 10-day period from your last contact with someone with known infection is so important.

If possible, spend time in separate rooms from vulnerable family members.

Clean and disinfect surfaces that your family frequently touches. Use a household cleaner to disinfect surfaces, including door knobs, TV remotes, and anything else that people touch often. Do this more than once a day.

Practice healthy habits

Every family member should practice healthy habits, so they don’t get sick and expose vulnerable members of the household.

Wash hands frequently.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or flexed elbow.

Despite the challenges of this pandemic, we have to consider the additional risk COVID-19 brings to our parents, grandparents and those with underlying conditions. By following these steps we can prepare and protect ourselves, our families and our communities. Remember to keep updated with essential, up to date information by frequently visiting the Department of Health Official COVID-19 Website.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).