Dr. Oz stopped by TODAY to discuss steps that can be taken to protect people who are 60 and older from contracting the coronavirus, amidst concerns that age group is the most at risk from dying from the epidemic.
Oz cited data from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention which shows that the mortality rate doubles every decade after 60, jumping from nearly 4% for those in their 60s to almost 15% among people in their 80s.
1. Consider your risk factors.
Oz says the elderly should be concerned because of their risk factors.
"The number one risk factor, interestingly, is cardiovascular disease, hardening of the arteries, of your heart, your brain, in particular," he said.
The doctor also said COPD, hypertension, diabetes and cancer were risk factors, while noting that hypertension and diabetes "are prevalent in large percentages of U.S. populations." He also said anyone with these conditions who smokes may want to quit.
"This is a good excuse to stop smoking and vaping because at least you can protect yourself and those little hairs in your lungs will work better," he said.
2. Avoid crowded places and take precaution when traveling.
Oz says while young people can still feel comfortable traveling, those 60 and over with risk factors should avoid travel if they can. He also recommends avoiding crowded places.
"I like the 'arms-length rule,'" he explained. "If you're in rush hour traffic, if you're in crowded places, you're playing Bingo, at a sporting event and you can't be at arm's length away from the person next to you, that puts you at a little increased risk. You don't know who's there, who was there. Why take a chance?"
"I just don't want them exposing themselves to Grandma," he said.
Oz also pointed out what symptoms people should look for when it comes to coronavirus.
3. Be aware of symptoms.
"No. 1 symptom, almost everyone has the coronavirus, is a fever," he said. He then said about three-quarters of the time people became fatigued, while others may also experience a dry cough, gastrointestinal issues, like diarrhea, and nausea.
And, finally, the most important thing everyone can do — all ages — is wash your hands as frequently as you can.