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If your loved one is over 60, read this

Posted on: May 07, 2020

Some tips are applicable to every generation, but there are specific precautions older adults should take to protect their health.

Infectious disease experts define "older adults" as anyone age 60 and up, so people in that age group should be cautious. It's possible to contract the virus at a younger age — it's just more dangerous in older adults because the immune system weakens with age, said Dr. Samir Sinha, director of Geriatrics for the Sinai Health System and the University Health Network in Toronto. People over the age of 80 may want to exercise even more caution. A report published in the medical journal JAMA that examined more than 72,000 Chinese coronavirus patients found that the overall fatality rate was 2.3%. But in adults over 80, the fatality rate rose to 15%. If you live in a community where there's an outbreak, you're at a higher risk of infection, too. Follow the advice below. 

What precautions you should take now 

Cancel all non-essential doctor's appointments, said Dr. Carla Perissinotto, an associate professor in the Geriatrics Division of the University of California-San Francisco's Department of Medicine.

Otherwise, do what you'd do during flu season: Wash your hands frequently, the right way (get ready to read that a lot). Use hand sanitizer when soap and water aren't available, though washing your hands is preferred.

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