virus

I realize many of us baby boomers feel young and invincible, but I urge you to please stay safe in this pandemic. Although anyone can get coronavirus, it is us baby boomers – especially those ages 60 and older – who are far more likely to become seriously ill from the disease. In case you have underlying conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease, you will want to be extra careful.

Like most boomers, I felt young and healthy and was not too concerned when this whole thing began.

After all, our creation believes ourselves to be extra tough. Are not we the generation that survived drinking water from a hose and cars without seat belts? To think of all of the germs we had been subjected to as we played in the sand digging for earthworms and ate food dropped on the ground before germaphobia kicked in – and we were just fine.

Besides, examine the time of those running the country. President Donald Trump is 73, Nancy Pelosi is 79, and the two remaining candidates for the Democratic nomination, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, are 77 and 78, respectively. They were still going strong. My father, 87, was still running around despite all of the warnings.

The cruel nickname, “Boomer Remover,” referencing the higher mortality rate among elderly people infected with coronavirus started trending on Twitter. The Washington Post became associated with the trending word by highlighting boomers who’ve ignored advice from the CDC and refused to make any changes to their lifestyle. On a Facebook page for “The Villages,” a Florida retirement community, the majority of the residents seemed to concur that the pandemic was “being overblown.”

Now, I am not advising that we boomers begin panicking, but I think it’s time for an attitude adjustment for a number of us skeptical boomers who have felt invincible for this stage.

We’re not.

It’s important to not forget that this disease does not care how old you feel and look. Have a look at boomers Tom Hank and Rita Wilson, both 63, who surely feel young-at-heart but tested positive for the virus.

Here in California where I live, there have been over 300 instances of coronavirus. Schools in our area have been closed down. Bars and breweries are requested to restaurants and close to lower their capability in half. Yesterday, Gov. Gavin Newson urged all residents over age 65 to self-quarantine in their houses.

Now, President Donald Trump has issued guidelines urging Americans to avoid social gatherings of 10 or more people.

It feels like I am living in an episode of Twilight Zone.

Thus, it’s time to begin taking this seriously my fellow boomers. My spouse is 60 and I’ll turn 60 after this year, so I am paying attention to all of the guidelines. Allow me to be clear, I’m not a medical practitioner, but I will share some of my research for certain precautions older adults are advised to take to safeguard their health. But remember: Recommendations for coronavirus can change as officials learn more, so monitor the community health department and the CDC for updates.

Here are some tips for those over the age of 60 according to guidance from the CDC:

    • Stock up on supplies such as groceries, household items, and over-the-counter medications you will need if you get sick. Contact your doctor about obtaining extra prescription drugs you have to have available if self-quarantined.
    • Social networking is the new phrase for 2020. Stay six feet away from other people – think of the duration of a normal dining room table or a pair of skis. Avoid crowds and non-essential traveling, especially cruises.
    • You have already heard this, but wash your hands frequently with soap for at least 20 seconds. The health secretary Matt Hancock suggested washing hands while singing Happy Birthday two, but other tunes will work also. By way of instance, the chorus of Staying Alive will do the trick: “Whether you’re a brother or whether you are a mommy / You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive/ Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’/ And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive/ Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive/ Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive.” Prefer country? Try the chorus out of Dolly Parton’s classic country tune Jolene: “Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene / I am begging of you please do not take my man / Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene / Please do not take him just because you can.” If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • Avoid touching your face and frequently touched surfaces in public areas – light switches, lift buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with individuals, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hands if you need to touch something. At home, clean and disinfect often especially surfaces which are frequently touched such as countertops, tables, door handles, light switches, toilets, taps, sinks – and do not forget your mobile phone.

Besides these precautions, keep a careful eye out for symptoms which may include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel as if you’re creating symptoms, stay home and call your physician. Be certain and notify them that you have or might have coronavirus (COVID-19) so that they can protect others from becoming sick. Consult your healthcare provider for medical advice. In case you have mild symptoms and aren’t fortunate enough to be hospitalized, you are likely to recover at home. If this is the case, the CDC’s advises you receive medical care immediately if you develop emergency warning signals such as:

    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Continuous pain in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to excite
    • Bluish lips or face

This list isn’t comprehensive and the CDC recommends that you consult with your healthcare provider for any other symptoms that are “concerning or severe.”

So my fellow boomers, remain safe but stay calm and positive.

Personally, I am taking precautions, but still riding my bicycle and taking hikes outside while keeping my distance from other people. If self-quarantined, be sure and remain in touch with your nearest and dearest through texts, email, social networking, Skype or FaceTime so that you do not feel isolated.

As Tom Hanks said to his followers: “Remember, despite all of the recent events, there’s no crying in baseball.”

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