Understanding that something as vague as weakness, confusion, or loss of appetite can be a sign of Covid infection can also help protect friends and family who may isolate themselves and have themselves tested. “Not only does it help the individual, it can also contain the spread of the virus,” says Mylonakis.
A Covid diagnosis can also avoid unnecessary tests and procedures. “We can avoid unnecessary testing, poking around, and doing CT scans,” Carney said. CT scans are expensive, cumbersome, and take time to program and analyze; A nasal swab for Covid is quick, relatively inexpensive and is now widely used.
With vaccination widely available, symptoms of COVID-19 can be even more subtle in older adults. Fever is easy to measure and shortness of breath sends anyone to an emergency room, Carney noted, while “we don’t necessarily notice if someone has stopped eating.”
His advice to elderly patients and their carers and doctors is to watch out for changes that occur in a hurry and within a few days. “If there’s a change in behavior, be it physical or cognitive, it might not seem like an infection, but you need to keep Covid high on the list,” he recommended.
The woman with the worried daughter had actually contracted the virus; died in a hospital.
But the Bilys have recovered and continue to live in their two-story Oceanside home. Eugene Bily had many health problems even before the pandemic. He underwent two hip operations and several other hospitalizations in the past 18 months. In June she was cared for at home in the hospice.
However, Rosemary Bily made a full recovery from the virus. At the age of 86, she drove to the supermarket and the pharmacy, went to the hairdresser’s every week, stayed in touch with her family via iPad and cell phone and helped look after her granddaughters.
“He’s fine,” said Lamanno. “He has resumed his normal life.”