Contributed by – Healthians team
The world seems like a scary place right now. With nationwide lockdowns, lack of medical supplies and a constant increase in the number of people who have lost this battle, everyone is scared. Although each one of us is at risk of contracting coronavirus disease, pregnant women, elderly and infants are being considered as a vulnerable population right now. These are the people who need extra care and attention until the situation gets better.
This article talks about some measures to be taken to protect these most vulnerable – pregnant women, elderly and infants – from the coronavirus disease.
Being pregnant and delivering during a pandemic?
While giving birth might seem scary at any time, giving birth during a pandemic may feel especially challenging. Unlike other healthcare services, maternity care cannot be postponed. The topmost concern most pregnant women are facing right now is the risk of contracting the disease and passing it to the baby.
Since the virus is new, scientists are still learning about it. Facts like whether the virus can increase the risk of miscarriage, whether it can transmit from mother to child in the womb, whether it can cause in-fetal malformations are yet to be known. However, during pregnancy, women’s immune system is altered; especially during the third trimester. And thus, the need for taking special precautions arises.
- Do not cancel your routine checkups. If you’re afraid of contracting the disease by going to the hospital, then opt for online or telephonic consultation.
- If you have tests and scans planned, then do not delay them. Get them done as per the plan.
- If you are having symptoms of COVID-19, then without any delay contact your healthcare professional and follow their guidance.
- Be ready to experience some disruption in your maternal care. There can be staff shortages or changes in the plan by your doctor.
- If you are considering home birth rather than a hospital right now, then think again. There may be a higher risk of transmission of the virus at home than at the hospital due to fewer restrictions on visitors.
- Proper hygiene should be maintained at all times and follow the government’s advice about social distancing.
Worried about your baby getting infected?
Babies and young children have immature immune systems making them vulnerable to coronavirus. Although the symptoms of coronavirus in babies and children seem to be much milder, nothing definitive can be said yet, as the research is ongoing. Also, since there is no vaccine available to treat COVID -19 at the moment, it is extremely important to take extra precautions to prevent your baby from falling sick.
- It is essential to keep your child at home at all times.
- Limit people from visiting your home. Even if it is close family and friends, maintain a distance of at least 6 feet.
- Teach your child the proper way to wash their hands and tell them to that regularly, especially after using the bathroom, blowing the nose, coughing or sneezing.
- It can be hard to teach your children to follow hygiene rules consistently. To deal with this you might need to explain to your child the need to do it in the language they can understand. This will make them more willing to do what you ask of them.
- Make sure your child is eating healthy and is having plenty of fluids.
- If your child is showing symptoms of the illness, call your doctor immediately.
- Disinfect your home thoroughly and regularly.
- Make sure all their vaccines are up to date.
- If you’re breastfeeding and have symptoms, wear a mask to protect your child. Also make sure you disinfect your hands when you handle your child and if possible, limit contact till you have recovered.
How to ensure that the elderly remain safe?
Older people, those who are 60 and above, especially those with pre-existing conditions like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, or cancer, are the most vulnerable group to the COVID-19. If you’re taking care of an older one, you might be worried. These safety measures might come in handy.
- As a caretaker, you should be taking all the precautions first. Wash your hands, avoid crowds, don’t touch your face and frequently disinfect your surroundings.
- Make a plan of who will take care of the elderly and how. When you have a plan ready, you’ll be able to tackle the situation better.
- Have a week of access to medications and supplies for the elderly.
- Families can have a multigenerational situation at home. In such a case, make sure no one is sharing personal items. If possible, keep the elderly away from children as children frequently suffer from colds.
- Make them practice social distance. Limit their in-person visits. But don’t make it social isolation for them. Keep them engaged and connected with the rest of the family through technology.
- Focus on their diet. Make sure their diet has all the required nutrition and they are hydrated at all times.
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