Long Covid & Seniors

As we enter into year three of this pandemic, it’s imperative for caregivers to familiarize themselves with the health risks of long covid. This is especially true for those caregiving for elderly individuals, as those aged 65 or older are more likely to see adverse effects from a long covid diagnosis. As this is a developing story, the following will act as a brief update on what we know and what we can do to protect our loved ones.

What is long covid? 

Long covid, also known as post-COVID conditions (PCC), are the conditions caused by long term effects of a covid 19 diagnosis. Long covid can last anywhere from a few weeks, to a month, and even to a year. 

What are the symptoms of long covid?

As of the writing of this article, the symptoms of long covid can vary from person to person. According to the CDC, the most commonly reported symptoms of long covid are:

➢ General fatigue or lethargy;

➢ Extended fever;

➢ Symptoms that worsen after duress (be it physical or mental);

➢ Brain fog (the inability to think clearly);

➢ Heart palpitations; 

➢ Chest pain; 

➢ Lingering cough;

➢ Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.

Why are seniors more susceptible to a long covid diagnosis?

According to a recent article by the Washington Post, long covid symptoms are often overlooked in seniors. This can be traced to a variety of factors. First, seniors are more likely to have underlying health conditions. Thus, medication side effects, health problems, and the usual suspects of aging can mask the aforementioned symptoms of long covid. 

Secondly, the fact of the matter is we still really don’t know much about long covid. Remember, this strain of coronavirus is still rather young. We are soon to be entering into year three of this pandemic, meaning that we are still in the data collection phase. 

What can seniors do to protect themselves from long covid?

If caregivers want to protect their loved ones from a long covid diagnosis, the best thing to do is practice risk mitigation. Ensure that those who are coming in contact with your loved one are making safe health choices: masking in public spaces, testing regularly, and staying home when they feel sick. Make sure the elderly individual is making safe choices as well: this includes remaining in well ventilated areas and wearing an effective mask when in public! If you would like more information from a home health aide, contact one today.