As an organisation working with and for older people, we are mindful that information about COVID-19, from official sources, suggests that older people, particularly people with underlying health conditions, are more vulnerable to the impacts of the virus. We want to ensure that we support older people during this time by;
1. Ensuring that older people have accurate and timely information about the virus
2. Playing our part to mitigate the risk of passing the virus to others, particularly older people and other vulnerable members of the population.
Click the image below for the latest HSE Video about COVID-19 (10/03/2020)
Age Action has advised staff and volunteers about the guidelines issued by the HSE and distributed the yellow HSE produced COVID-19 poster through all our sites (click image below for full size version).
We are appealing to people who are online to share the official HSE information with their older family members, friends and clients to make sure that they are informed.
Everyone has a responsibility to follow the official advice from the HSE to try to minimise exposure and potentially passing it on to others.
We need to care for ourselves so we can care for others.
1. What is Coronavirus or COVID-19
COVID-19 also knows as Coronavirus is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus. Coronavirus is spread in sneeze or cough droplets.
What is the risk of catching Coronavirus in Ireland?
The risk of catching coronavirus in Ireland is still low (06 March). This may change. However, most people may continue to go to work, school and other public places, as usual.
Anyone who knows they have been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days and has symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, fever) should:
- isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room, with a phone
- phone their GP, or emergency department - if this is not possible, phone 112, or 999
- in a medical emergency (if you have severe symptoms) phone 112 or 999
Close contact means either:
- face-to-face contact
- spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of an infected person
We do not know for sure which groups are most at risk of complications if they catch coronavirus. But it is likely you are more at risk if you catch coronavirus and:
- are 65 years of age and over
- have a long-term medical condition – for example, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes or liver disease.
What to do if you think you’re at risk of Covid-19
The following areas are affected with a spread of Covid-19 (Coronavirus):
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- Italy: the regions of Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, and Piedmont
If you are not feeling well
If you have been to one of the places listed above in the last 14 days and you are not feeling well, check if you have symptoms of Covid-19 (Coronavirus). These are fever (high temperature), cough or difficulty breathing.
If you do have symptoms of Covid-19 (Coronavirus), you should phone your doctor or emergency department (ED) immediately. Do not visit a doctor or ED - phone them first. This is so you do not accidentally put other people at risk. If you do not have a doctor, phone 112 or 999.
Tell them about your symptoms. Let them know you have been to a country or region with a spread of Covid-19 (Coronavirus). If your doctor thinks that you need to be tested, they will tell you where the test will be done. They will also tell you when to expect results.
Avoid contact with other people by self-isolating.
If you are feeling well
If you have been to one of the places listed above and are feeling well, carry on with your normal routine. Follow the advice on how to protect yourself from Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and other infections such as flu. Avoid spending time with people that are ill with a cough, high temperature, or breathing problems.
If you develop symptoms of Covid-19 (Coronavirus):
- avoid contact with people by self-isolating
- phone your doctor or emergency department
- tell them your symptoms and let them know you have been to a country or region with a spread of Covid-19 (Coronavirus)
If you think you have been in contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19 (Coronavirus)
Phone HSE Live on 1850 24 1850 if you think you have been:
- in contact with someone confirmed as having Covid-19 (Coronavirus)
- to a healthcare facility in another country where Covid-19 (Coronavirus) patients are being treated
You will be put in contact with your local Department of Public Health staff who will give you information and advice.
If you develop symptoms of Covid-19 (Coronavirus), avoid contact with people by self-isolating and phone your doctor or emergency department.
Symptoms -- More information on symptoms of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) is available from the HSE.
It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) to show. Symptoms of the virus include:
- a cough
- shortness of breath
- breathing difficulties
- fever (high temperature)
You will only need to be tested for coronavirus if you have symptoms and have in the last 14 days been:
- in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus
- to a country or region with a spread of coronavirus
- in a healthcare centre or hospital where patients with coronavirus were being treated
If your doctor thinks that you need a test for coronavirus, they will tell you where the test will be done. They will also tell you when to expect your results.
How Covid-19 (Coronavirus) spreads Covid-19 (Coronavirus) can be spread: • directly, through contact with an infected person’s body fluids (for example, droplets from coughing or sneezing) • indirectly, through contact with surfaces that an infected pers
Covid-19 (Coronavirus) can be spread:
- directly, through contact with an infected person’s body fluids (for example, droplets from coughing or sneezing)
- indirectly, through contact with surfaces that an infected person has coughed or sneezed on and which are, therefore, contaminated with the virus
As it is a new virus, we do not know how easily the virus spreads from person to person. We do not know if someone can spread the virus before they show symptoms.
The virus may only survive a few hours if someone who has it coughs or sneezes on a surface. Simple household disinfectants can kill the virus on surfaces. Clean the surface first and then use a disinfectant.
Covid-19 (Coronavirus) is spread through close contact with an infected person. A close contact involves either face-to-face contact or spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of an infected person. Close contact does not include someone you passed on the street or in a shop. The risk of contact in that instance is very low.
How to protect yourself
The most important action we can take to protect ourselves from Covid-19 (Coronavirus) is regular hand-washing and good respiratory hygiene.
To protect yourself:
- wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub if your hands are not visibly dirty
- practice good respiratory hygiene, that is, when coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – discard tissue immediately into a closed bin and clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
- maintain social distancing, that is, leave at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever
avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth – if you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself.
There is currently no vaccine to treat or protect against Covid-19 (Coronavirus). However, many of the symptoms can be treated.
Antibiotics do not work against Covid-19 (Coronavirus) or any viruses. They only work against bacterial infections.
Currently, the flu poses a greater risk to life in Ireland than Covid-19 (Coronavirus).
If you get the virus, your healthcare professional will advise treatment based on your symptoms.
How to Help
If you know that there is an older person, particularly someone with health issues or someone with disabilities in you make contact with them. Make sure they have the information they need, check if they need any errands run and that they have what they need.
The Age Action Information Service is available Monday to Friday 9.30am – 5pm for people who want to talk through the HSE guidelines.
People who do not have access to the internet can contact the HSE helpline on the following numbers;
Callsave: 1850 24 1850 Phone: 041 6850300
Monday to Friday: 8am - 8pm Saturday and Sunday: 10am - 5pm