Vietnam tells seniors to stay at home to avoid coronavirus risk

By Le Nga   March 19, 2020 | 08:58 pm PT
Vietnam tells seniors to stay at home to avoid coronavirus risk
People receive hand sanitizer and body temperature checks at a hospital in Hanoi, March 17, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
Health authorities have recommended that older people and those with underlying medical conditions should avoid public places and coming into contact with other people.

The National Steering Committee for the Prevention and Control of Covid-19 has told people in these categories to contact local medical centers or family doctors immediately if they have health problems.

But they should only go to medical facilities for examination and treatment if they are told it's necessary, or in emergencies, and should always use face masks and hand sanitizers when going out, it said.

Local authorities need to ensure that the public complete health declarations, either online or on paper, with priority given to seniors and those with underlying medical conditions, non-communicable diseases and other conditions, it said.

According to medical experts, Covid-19 is serious when contracted by elderly people with a mortality rate of 15 percent for patients over 80 years and 8 percent for those over 70.

Out of the 60 patients being treated in Vietnam, only two are in severe condition, and they are aged 64 and 69 and also have underlying medical conditions like vestibular disorder, diabetes and hypertension.

One of the disadvantages older people have is a decline in the ability to resist diseases and adapt to changes in the environment, making them more vulnerable to infections.

They also have decreased lung capacity, narrower chest walls, reduced mucous membrane, and a weaker cough and so are very susceptible to respiratory infections, experts said.

Besides, they are more likely to have multiple health conditions. A study by the National Geriatric Hospital found that on average an elderly person has 2.6 diseases and a person over 80 has 6.8.

To avoid respiratory diseases, the elderly should stay at home, maintain a healthy lifestyle and personal hygiene, wear face masks and eat, sleep and rest in moderation. Those with chronic diseases should take their medicines correctly to ensure they are in a stable condition.

When an elderly person has symptoms like cough, fever and shortness of breath, they need to notify the nearest medical facility so that they could be visited and cared for at home.

As of Friday Vietnam has had 85 Covid-19 cases. Of them 68 are under treatment while the other 17 have recovered, with 16 discharged by February 26.

The pandemic has spread to 179 countries and territories, claiming more than 10,000 lives.

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