Health

For Seniors Especially, Covid Can Be Stealthy

For Seniors Especially, Covid Can Be Stealthy
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For Seniors Especially, Covid Can Be Stealthy

For Seniors Especially, Covid Can Be Stealthy

“We’re not necessarily surprised by this,” said Dr. Maria Carney, geriatrician and author of the Northwell study. “Seniors don’t always present themselves like other adults. They can’t have a fever. Their metabolisms are different.

Young diabetics, for example, can become sweaty and have palpitations if their blood sugar drops, Dr Carney explained. An elderly person with hypoglycemia could pass out without warning. Seniors who suffer from depression may have loss of appetite or sleeplessness, but may not feel sad.

In May 2020, Dr Carney heard a girl worrying about her mother, who was 80 years old and suddenly weakened. “She didn’t have a fever or a cough, but she just wasn’t herself,” recalls Dr. Carney. Doctors at a local emergency room had diagnosed a urinary tract infection and prescribed antibiotics, the girl reported. But five days later, her mother’s condition worsened. “She needs a Covid test,” advised Dr Carney.

Quickly diagnosing Covid in older patients can make all the difference. “We have things to offer now that we didn’t have in the first wave,” said Dr Eleftherios Mylonakis, head of infectious diseases at Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University, who led the study. on the Providence retirement home. “We have better understanding, more treatments, better support. “

Among the improvements: the use of blood thinning drugs to prevent clotting and the use of monoclonal antibodies (the treatment former President Trump received at Walter Reed Hospital) that boost the immune system. But, added Dr Mylonakis, “It is essential to start any type of treatment early.”

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Understanding that something as vague as weakness, confusion or loss of appetite can signal a Covid infection can also help protect friends and family, who can then isolate themselves and get tested. same. “It not only helps the individual, but can also contain the spread of the virus,” said Dr Mylonakis.

A diagnosis of Covid can also avoid unnecessary tests and procedures. “We can avoid unnecessary tests, bites and flare-ups, CT scans,” Dr. Carney said. CT scans are expensive, time consuming, and take time to plan and analyze; a nasal swab for Covid is fast, relatively inexpensive, and now widely available.

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