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Doctor explains importance of social distancing and how COVID-19 affects older adults

Coronavirus symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath and loss of smell or taste


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SAN ANTONIO – It can be a scary time for older adults as the threat of the coronavirus pandemic continues and with the curve rising in Texas.

Dr. Martin Nejat, a family medicine doctor with Conviva Care Centers, sheds some light on what we need to know about the respiratory disease and how to take safety precautions.

Question No. 1: As this can be a confusing time, especially for older adults, where can they get accurate information?

“Sources that I like are the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), American College of Physicians, WHO (World Health Organization) and your doctor,” said Nejat.

Nejat said that politicians and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are not good sources for medical information.

Takeaway: Your doctors are excellent sources.


Question No. 2: What are the typical symptoms of the coronavirus?

“Typical symptoms of COVID-19 can vary and not everything is known about COVID-19,” Nejat said. “Fever, cough, shortness of breath and loss of smell and taste are the most common symptoms that we see.

Not everyone has these symptoms.

The doctor said there’s a big percentage of people who don’t have a fever upon presentation in the ER.

“We don’t want fever to be one of the symptoms that people rely on,” said Nejat. “Other symptoms are muscle pain, fatigue, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Takeaway: Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath and loss of smell or taste.


Question No. 3: As restrictions are lifted, should older adults continue to practice social distancing and wear face masks?

“They should absolutely practice social distancing and wearing a face mask,” Nejat said. “This virus is transmitted mainly through contact and respiratory droplets. That means coughing and sneezing. When you cough or sneeze your droplets can travel a long distance.”

Takeaway: Continue to social distance and wash your hands as much as possible and wear a face mask.

Najat encourages older adults to be in close contact with their physicians and to see a physician when needed.

Ask your doctor if telemedicine can be scheduled if you do not want an in-person appointment.

Conviva Care Centers is available to assist older adults with primary care.