COVID-19 symptoms typically include fever, cough and shortness of breath. But for older people, the population more at risk for developing severe, life threatening complications they may exhibit none of those symptoms. Physicians say, this complicates the effort in treating them in a timely manner.
According to the experts seniors may feel lethargic, sleep more than usual, and lose their appetite. They may also seem confused and disoriented, sometimes becoming dizzy, falling. stop speaking or collapse.
“With a lot of conditions, older adults don’t present in a typical way, and we are seeing that with COVID-19 as well,” Dr. Camille Vaughan, section chief of geriatrics and gerontology at Emory University said Sunday.
Experts say that as we age, our immune response may be altered, and underlying diseases can mask or interfere with signs of infection.
Previous neurological trauma such as strokes can also alter cough reflexes, and those with cognitive impairment may be unable to communicate their symptoms.
They add that it is Key to recognize any danger signs since, if early signs of COVID-19 are missed, seniors may deteriorate before getting the necessary medical care.
A geriatrician at the University of Lausanne Hospital Center in Switzerland, conducted research on the COVID-19 symptoms in older adults listing lethargy and fatigue among the most common symptoms, so while stay-at-home orders may prompt more afternoon naps, if an elderly family member or friend is sleeping more than usual, this could be 1 of the atypical signs.
The co-Chair and medical director of the Ruth and Harry Roman Emergency Department at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in Los Angeles says that some older patients cannot speak.
“When we test them, we discover what’s producing these changes is a central nervous system effect of coronavirus,” he said.
Be observant, say experts.
“Someone may just be having a bad day. But if they are not themselves for a couple of days, absolutely reach out to a primary care doctor or a local health system hotline to see if they meet the threshold for coronavirus testing. Be persistent. If you get a No the 1st time and things are not improving, call back and ask again,” he said.
Have a healthy week, Keep the Faith!