As the novel coronavirus outbreak continues to spread around the globe, health officials urge at-risk individuals to take extra precautions to protect themselves. For those over 60, the risk of serious complications from the virus is greater, and therefore you should know how to protect yourself. Perhaps even more importantly, learn what to do in the event that you suspect you’ve contracted the virus.
First, we have some good news: Medicare beneficiaries can obtain free coronavirus testing if they need it. You won’t owe anything out of pocket for the test. The healthcare system doesn’t want there to be obstacles to proper care, in the event that your doctor determines you need testing.
Also, eased restrictions on telehealth benefits mean more Medicare beneficiaries can simply call their doctor and discuss their symptoms. This is important, because proceeding directly to an emergency room or urgent care clinic could actually encourage spread of the virus. Call your primary care physician if you suspect you’ve contracted coronavirus, and he or she can tell you what steps to take next.
As for the symptoms of the new coronavirus outbreak, they’re relatively straightforward: Fever, shortness of breath, and a cough could be signs that you’ve contracted the virus. Of course, these symptoms are common to many other illnesses as well, so don’t panic if you experience them.
Finally, remember to support your immune system. It won’t prevent you from catching the coronavirus but theoretically could help your body to respond better to the infection. Get regular sleep, eat a healthy diet, and get outdoors and exercise daily if you can. Avoid large gatherings and reconsider any travel plans to coronavirus “hotspots” at this time. You can always take that trip later, when the severity of this outbreak has passed.