Okay. I am officially an incompetent idiot. I take the blame.

My 90-yr-old mother who has late mid-stage dementia has gone to the hair salon every Friday for over 60 years! Of course, she has had several hairdressers in that time and she didn't go when salons were shut down for Covid.

When the salons opened again, I debated whether it was worth the risk to take her to the salon. The owner assured me that they were taking all precautions, temperatures were taken at the door, masks were required, etc. So, in a moment of weakness (and Mom's dirty hair!) I decided to take her back to her standing appointment each Friday.

All went well until last Thursday, 12/24/20. Appointment went fine. Of course, you can't socially distance from someone working on your hair, so the stylist was right on top of Mom. I was also in the small area where her station is and about 3 feet away from her.

Saturday, 12/26, I get a text from Mom's hairdresser telling me her roommate had Covid and was hospitalized. Then she said she was retiring and Mom needed to find a new hairdresser. Needless to say, I was concerned that I only had sketchy details. When did her roommate get Covid? Had this hairdresser come to work after being exposed to her roommate with Covid and exposed all her customers? I felt sure the owner of the salon would contact me. So far, that has not happened.

Instead, one of the other hairdressers in the salon texted me today and told me that Mom's hairdresser (Donna) had tested POSITIVE for Covid! I can't say I was surprised but was freaked out by the news. The salon informed us that we could not come back for 14 days and that we needed to be tested for Covid.

In my opinion, the salon should close for a deep cleaning. Their clientele is 90% elderly, most using walkers or in wheelchairs. Talk about a vulnerable group!

I emailed Mom's PCP and I hope to hear back from him on Monday. He will most likely say to quarantine and if any symptoms develop, call his office. Guess that's all we can do. Mom has had a cough for 30 years, so I can't go by that. She does not have an appetite, likes to sleep for hours on end and never has much energy. How am I supposed to recognize symptoms? I will check her temperature several times a day, I guess.

In hindsight, I should NOT have taken her to the salon in the first place. That is on me. I guess we will know more in a few days if symptoms develop for either of us. I pray we don't get this awful virus!

In California, no longer listening to the government's open and closed orders.
It would be confusing to trust any governor at this time.

"Contact Tracing – Answer the call, Texans!
If you're sick with COVID-19 or were exposed, a public health worker may contact you to check on your health, discuss who you’ve been in contact with, and ask you to self-isolate at home. The call on your phone will come from "Tx Health Dept" or 1-833-753-0909. Answer the call to help stop the spread of COVID-19."

At this point you should prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Find out where and when to get tested.
You need an Oximeter to check your and moms O2 and pulse. Can someone drop one off for you? They can be ordered online as well. Keep a log for each of you so you can give good data should it be needed.
Not everyone runs fever. My BIL nephew, 54, just died. He tested positive and was given meds. Didn't take them right away. Thought he was ok but it advanced on him and he died.

What will you do if either of you come down with it? What or more importantly who is your backup?

Do you have supplies in your home? Is mom able to heat a can of soup or make a sandwich? How vulnerable are you? Underlying conditions?

You both should wear masks and try to stay away from one another, Wash your hands often, use separate utensils, etc.

Do you have Lysol on hand?

Treat each other now as if the other is contagious.

If your symptoms can be spaced a few days apart it will be easier for you to manage your care and hers.

Ventilation is important.

Get your paperwork out. If mom is on medication write out instructions for your backup in case you are hospitalized and to give to EMT should that be necessary.

Prepare some food while you are able to have on hand.

My cousin had it along with four other family members. Her dad had to be hospitalized twice. The thing that helped her was her mom was already on hospice and they had oxygen in the house when it was needed.
Then she was able to get her dad on hospice and she had two oxygen tanks and medical advice readily available.
She also used several supplements.
Her mom was asymptomatic until the very end when she developed blisters on her calf.
Loss of smell and taste and fever was experienced by two of them. The low O2 and rapid pulse was the scariest and what caused her to have to send her dad to the hospital. This was back in July. In their area, they had room at the hospital. They are all over it now but it was very hard. They are in 50s, 60s and 80s.

ive heard some folks only knew they had it because of loss of taste and smell.

Also call your doctor. One doctor may be more proactive than the other. I was sick in June and got better response from my aunts geriatrician office than my own drs office. I had called aunts dr to find out what to do about her in case I had it. At the time I was running fever and ended up hospitalized twice. Non Covid but it gave me a scare on what would happen to her if I was out.

Cousin also took advantage of her local senior center. They had been going there every day for lunch. Once this happened they had food available for them on a daily basis. It really helped. Someone would leave the food on their porch. No one wanted to come into a Covid house. Not even the hospice workers but they brought the supplies that were needed and left them outside.

I sure hope that both of you make it past this exposure without the virus.
We should all stay prepared to get it. The next couple of weeks are projected to be awful but not everyone that’s exposed gets it. Fingers crossed for you and mom.

Hopefully others will share what worked for them. I’m glad you posted. It’s good for us to be reminded that none of us are exempt and how easy it is to be exposed. Keep us updated on how things go for you and mom.

So sorry this happened and please don't be so hard on yourself.

I suggest taking lots of Vitamin C (a good brand that is powdered) and zinc. Research by Dr. Andrew Saul, editor-in-chief of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, presents valuable information on the importance of vitamin C for disease treatment, including COVID-19:

Vitamin C at extremely high doses acts as an antiviral drug, actually killing viruses.

Saul states that, based on decades of expert research and clinical usage, the coronavirus pandemic can be dramatically slowed, or stopped, with the immediate widespread use of high doses of vitamin C.


Zinc prevents viral replication inside your cells, but is poorly absorbed. Zinc ionophores (zinc transport molecules) such as quercetin, epigallocatechin-gallate (EGCG) and the drug hydroxychloroquine facilitate zinc uptake.

A combination of zinc with a zinc ionophore was in 2010 shown to inhibit SARS coronavirus in vitro. In cell culture, it also blocked viral replication within minutes
Zinc deficiency impairs immune function.

Preliminary research found COVID-19 patients with plasma zinc levels below 50 mcg/dl at admission had a 2.3 times greater risk of in-hospital death than those with a zinc level of 50 mcg/dl or higher.

Other recent research found COVID-19 patients were more likely to be deficient in zinc than healthy controls. Zinc deficient patients also had worse outcomes and higher rates of death. While 70.4% of zinc deficient patients developed complications, only 30% of those with sufficient levels developed complications

Hope this helps,

I don’t think you should be too harsh with yourself, and you certainly don’t come across as an “incompetent idiot”.

We have ALL been blindsided in one way or another by a number of forces beyond our control, and we are all, in one way or another, paying the price.

You are also doing many of the right things right now, in the moment, and that’s all any of us can really do after learning we have been or may have been exposed.

Be absolutely sure that your mom is washing her hands frequently, and if you can manage, get her out in the fresh air a couple times a day.

My LO, aged 92 has survived Covid infections TWICE in the last 7 months. She hasn’t had a permanent since March, and when. I last saw her, she couldn’t WAIT to get one.

Two Supercuts stylists, both infected, saw 160 clients before their results came in.

They wore masks. Not one of those 160 clients was infected.

I pray you have neither of you caught this awful virus, too.

But otherwise, relax, and avoid kicking yourself all round the room about having taken her. You don't need to wait for the PCP to tell you what to do, you already know; and God willing the precautions everyone was taking will have prevented your being infected.

If your mother becomes ill, you will notice. If she doesn't, then even if she has -God forbid - actually contracted the virus she is one of the lucky people whom it is not severely affecting.

The cough is different in nature and duration, and you won't confuse it with her chronic cough. You can also look out for loss of or alteration in her sense of smell (try getting her to admire hand cream or coffee or French fries or anything else she likes with a distinctive aroma to it). You can check her temperature if you like, but if it's high enough to be a sign of Covid you'll probably notice that too because she will feel ill from it; I wouldn't do it more than once a day if I were you, unless there are other reasons to be suspicious.

Is she pleased with her hair-do?! I'm hoping there is at least that upside to the experience :)

How frightening for you and your mom. I stopped taking my 98 year old mother since Covid to the salon. I wash and cut her hair at home. I made a poor decision recently. We were going out to see the Christmas lights a few weeks back and invited my close cousin. She is in elderly housing and the place is very strict. She assured me she was practicing social distancing and wearing a mask, not socializing with anyone, just staying in her apartment. We picked her up and we all had our masks on and my cousin got in the last row of the van and one window was down. We were starting out and she informed me a lady in her complex got Covid. I asked her why she waited to tell me. She said she needed to get out of her place and that this trip was important but she left a voice message. I took her right back to her place. We self quarantined for two weeks. I called the manager of the place and her housekeeper who was with the poor woman and she passed away after three days. I was scared, I usually do not take chances, I am extremely careful. I just wanted my mom to see the pretty lights and take my cousin who is very dear to us for a short ride. We were not tested, had a few symptoms, niece had a severe headache, no fever, we had a cough but all subsided within the two week period. Doctor was notified. I am staying put with my family for now on except for a drive with immediate family in same household. I hope you and your mom are ok and this is behind you real soon. I am hoping 2021 is a better year for us all.

I do not think you are an incompetent idiot. Taking your mom to get her hair done is not a bad or wrong thing to do. I question the hairdresser, however, if she knew or had known that her roommate even NEEDED to be tested she should have hung back and said "I might have a situation here." That's becoming a problem with a lot of people. "Oh I didn't want to say anything because ______". My husband's coworker abruptly left one day, then notified work that her husband tested positive, but she came to work every day while they were waiting for his results. If she knew that her husband needed to be tested, my opinion was she should not have showed up. When I talked to my husband's manager about what they plan to do when they have an outbreak at work their policies changed overnight. I think I might have mentioned the word lawsuit...My company is making us work from home so I go out rarely.

In my husband's case, his coworker never tested positive despite having someone in the house that clearly was. This virus is insane in how it infects some people and skips right on by others.

The best you can do is definitely watch for symptoms, monitor yourself, quarantine, all the things they tell you to do, and especially do not blame yourself. You were taking your mom for a simple pleasure not purposely doing harm. And if everyone was wearing a mask, that is a good start at least - a mask protects you from that person, and the other person from you.

Like many people I've heard and talked to I'm fairly sure I had it in late January/early February when it started emerging (but nobody will really admit that it was here). I couldn't taste or smell, but at that time all my doctor would say was, "Huh, and you DID get your flu shot right?"

Let us know how things are going but don't get overwrought, that won't do yourself any good either.

In reality, if we live and breathe air on the earth and leave our house for ANY reason, we likely expose ourselves to SOMEONE who would 'test positive' for The Virus on any given day.

That's the truth.

PeggySue is spot on with her statement about the stylists who were covid positive, wore masks while cutting hair, and NONE of the 160 people they worked on caught the virus.

Try to relax & don't beat yourself up for living life and taking all the precautions you possibly could be taking.

I surely do wish you the best of luck. It is valuable information you write here so that those who do not yet understand this can know that to risk the life of the elderly for a hairdo is not a good idea. Are the odds with you? Perhaps. But it is a gamble and the stakes are life.
Hoping you will update us.

I would venture to guess that the majority of us have been exposed at one point or another by now. At least those of us that go grocery shopping, to the Dr., the hair salon etc. We can't live in a bubble. Well I guess there are some that chose to, but that's not me. I have to get out and about occasionally, and as long as I'm taking the proper precautions, I'm willing to take the chance. I REFUSE to live in fear, and it breaks my heart how many folks have chosen otherwise.
You did nothing wrong. Quit beating yourself up. And please remember that more people that do get the virus, recover from it, than those who die.

Thanks so much, everyone! You have provided much excellent advice and encouragement. Mom's PCP replied today that we should quarantine for 10 days from the date of exposure and get tested. If symptoms appear, we can do a virtual visit with him, although I'm not sure what good that would do since it is after-the -fact. Guess he could prescribe medications.

I made an appointment online for Mom and I to get tested on Wednesday. I'm not sure if it is a self-test (it is a drive-thru location) or if we get the q-tip into the brain test! Either way, it will take up to 72 hours to get results, which means the quarantine will almost be over by then. So far, so good. I will update here with results and any further developments. Thanks again, everyone!

Please don’t beat yourself up!! I agree with the others that in reality, we all have probably been exposed to COVID. some probably caught it but were asymptomatic. This is a virus and it’s not going anywhere (even with a vaccine). I know you would feel terrible if your mother caught COVID but please look at the silver lining here. You have allowed your mother to continue living life by taking her to her weekly appointment at the salon! So many elders are being isolated in the final months/year and for what? In the end they are still gonna die of something. Many seniors are dying of loneliness. Spending their final months alone and for what? Personally that’s not what I want for my parents or myself. As a matter of fact, I am sitting in a hair salon now. My county (and the region) are under a shelter in place order and everything but big box stores are ordered to shut down). My salon has elected to stay open regardless, the stylists have families to support and earning a living is essential. So I gladly support them and kept the appointment I made 6 weeks ago. Anyway you have given your mother a sense of normalcy during this crazy unprecedented time. You are a good daughter, don’t beat yourself up!

Don't beat yourself up. You did your best and took reasonable precautions.
But I am speechless over all of the comments here downplaying the seriousness of COVID.
My dad died from this in September with none of the "typical" symptoms; my sister and I are so busy helping out Mom through that we haven't had time to grieve.
All of you posting about "needing" to live...Imagine me having to tell my Mom, laying in the ER waiting for the results from her test (positive), that her husband of 61 years had died upstairs, information passed to me by phone by my sister, in a text, since only one of us could be with her at a time.
It's serious.

Have you heard of the test for COVID????

I hope you are both well! I was exposed at work to someone who tested positive 2 days later. I visit my mom daily, She has Alzheimer’s but is still at home. I didn’t find out until 4 days after he tested positive and by that time I had seen my mom several days and spent hours with her.
My doctor told me to immediately start 500 mg Vitamin C, 1000-2000 IU of Vitamin D and 10-25 mg Zinc and us both to isolate for 10 days. I tested negative 7 days after my contact so never had my mom tested. I thought I had been extremely careful due to my daily exposure to my mom, but it happens.
I wanted to address her cough. My mom is 86 and had a chronic cough for more than 10 years. Her and her doctor kept saying it was “allergies”. Her neurologist passed away unexpectedly and one of the first things her new neurologist asked about was her cough. She asked if mom took Lisinopril for her high blood pressure. My mom had taken it for years. Th neurologist asked her primary care doctor to switch to another drug in the same family and her 10 year cough disappeared! She hasn’t had a cough since. I thought I would pass that along in case her cough is drug related. Stay well!

on contact tracing , most people don’t know where they’ve been exposed the time they let people know .. they’re already sick!
huge waste of time money and resources.
governments should step up their game with the vaccines !!!

my mom is 89 and we all had covid in march before anyone was wearing masks - mom was hospitalized. since recovery, mom hasnt been out of the house unless we go to drs appts and you guessed it "hair" salon - you didnt mess up.....covid strikes so randomly - im assuming you go out etc - you could expose mom from returning from supermarket....of course, you have to be prudent and safe and wear masks(im sure she was masked at hair dresser and temps taken?). I know mom likes her hair done every 5 weeks - so we go - there is risk but in some ways, it helps her feel better.....the risk is everywhere - just wear mask and try to be as safe as possible. Hopefully you remain negative.

Glad you're both getting tested. To stay strong, NOW campbec is on the right track. Focus on the proven nutrients to fight it! D3, zinc, B complex, CoQ10 and Melatonin at night.

I believe the virus has spread world-wide. WE HAVE ALL BEEN EXPOSED, in spite of the huge preventative measures. Protect yourself and your Mom now by taking daily doses of D3, zinc, B complex, CoQ10 and Melatonin.

Prayers are with you!

Praters she doesn't have it.

If she loses her smell or taste, that's suppose to be a sign that's different then a regular cold or flu.

My 96 yr old Dad had a week visit with an out of town sister who tested positive the day after she returned and my Dad didn't get it.

You both should quarantine for at least 10 days (latest CDC guidelines) and if you have no symptoms during that time you're probably OK. Check her temperature (and yours) and it is also good to test oxygen levels with an Oximeter that you put on someone's forefinger. Her doctor should be able to tell you what ranges to look out for. If you can get her and you tested, that would be best. I think you have to wait for 4 days after being exposed before getting tested (check with your doctor). While the virus is raging, it's best only to do essential errands. Stay at home as much as possible. You might want to try dry shampoo if it's difficult to wash her hair in the shower. I learned to cut my mother's hair. I got the hair cutting scissor at a local drug store.

You and she have done nothing to beat yourself up about.

COVID-19 is sneaky and it is hard to tell when you have it. Some people may be sick and have no symptoms. Others get all the telltale symptoms. Most people will be somewhere in between. Realize that any time you come out of your house and interact with others there will be a risk of COVID exposure. Face masks, distancing, and sanitization will decrease the risk but nothing except total isolation will make your risk zero. Total isolation is not healthy for anybody mentally in the long run. So, we take calculated risks... and that is what your mom's visit to the hair salon was. So sorry her hairdresser got COVID. If she and your mother (and you) were taking precautions, your mom's risk of developing COVID is minimal. Of course, she and you should quarantine for 14 days. Take both of your temperatures every day. If mom has a slight temperature elevation (most seniors will not get a high fever), then talk to her doctor about COVID testing.

well I take my mother to a beauty place also, but they only have 2 people in their working and each only has 1 person at a time, well apart of 6 feet, must wear masks and I know they do wipe stuff down because I saw them do it. never know who you might come in contact with, so was the hairdresser herself wearing a mask?  if so, then she could have gotten it anywhere. but yes the salon girl should have notified you if/when she got it.  just make sure your mother drinks plenty of fluids and make her get up and walk every hour, even if she doesn't want to.  my mother doesn't go anywhere except doctors appts/hair place and I can bet that not everyone is wiping stuff down exactly like they are supposed to, even if they say they are.  just make sure that IF your mom goes anywhere else, that she washes her hands as soon as she gets home before touching her face.  I wash my hands as soon as I come home from store....pray every night that God will help to protect me.  All you can do is take precautions for you and your mother the best you can.  wishing you luck and pray that you all stay safe and healthy.  don't blame yourself.

I am sure you are living in a state of light panic, but things might not be too bad.If you and your mother and the hairdresser were all wearing masks, the amount of virus is likely to have been reduced even if you or your mother should end up testing positive. If either of you were among the cases with few or minor symptoms, you would be staying home,taking precautions, and monitoring symptoms just like you are already doing. It's likely that mild cases of COVID help build some immunity so if you come up with mild COVID that might be to your benefit.

We will all be hoping your exposure resulted in little or no "viral load," and that you will not get COVID at all but
PLEASE update us on the forum b/c we will all be waiting for your results!

Good luck to you both.

And just to reassure you, my 88 yo MIL had it and had very few symptoms. The hardest to deal with was lack of smell/taste. You can’t convince a broken Alzheimer’s brain that you need to eat even when the food doesn’t taste good! My husband and I also had it. Was much like allergy symptoms. Sinus drainage, headache, scratchy throat. That’s one reason so many people don’t even realize they have it and go about their normal business. We are fine. Most doctors in Texas are doing a zpack and prednisone pack and it dries it up and prevents that secondary bacterial pneumonia. We also have been advised to take D3 2000-4000 IU, Zinc 50-75 mcg, Vitamin C 2000 mg-spread out because its water soluble, B vitamins, Quercetin for inflammation, and a low dose aspirin to prevent clotting. If you can find the EmergenC Immunity +, most of that is in there and you can drink a glass 2X a day!

If it makes you feel any better, a deep cleaning probably would not have made any difference. Much of what they tell us is wrong or changes as they go along. The best thing to do is to get a pulse oximeter and check her oxygen levels periodically. Anything approaching 90% or below is cause for concern. Oximeters are cheap and you can get one on Amazon for about $20. Hope your mom recovers soon.

I am 10 days out from testing positive for Covid and basically am symptom-free. I still have some loss of taste. Too bad it hasn't helped me lose weight. ;-)
My husband has Covid now (pretty sure) and has a bad cough. So far, he is doing OK other than that. Most people, even the elderly with pre-existing conditions, recover. Why some people go on to have major problems is really kind of a mystery.

I agree with the previous post about a pulse oximeter. My FIL (age 78) was just released from the hospital from Covid complications and his doctor wants us to keep checking his oxygen. His main symptoms were extreme fatigue and shortness of breath. He has a mild case of COPD so this has exacerbated it and he had blood clots in his lungs so he was placed on blood thinners. I hope all goes well with your mom!

We had a 'Covid scare' just a few days ago. DH has hardly worked all year but worked 2 church services Christmas eve. Found out on New Year's Eve, several people from the church came down with the virus. Then his friend (80yo) that he had worked with there called and said he tested positive. So New Year's Day, my DH is in line with 150 people at Urgent Care getting a Covid test. I was freaking out because I am a nervous Nellie and a worry wart (due to PTSD.) A few hours later he learned it was negative. So he makes $300 and has to waste $95 on the stupid test. He also plays softball, golf, and goes to the gym every day. I on the other hand am high risk and don't go anywhere except the supermarket and doctors appointments. I haven't had my hair cut in a YEAR. My hair hasn't been this long since high school. LOL! If anyone brings Covid into this house it would be him. I am so afraid of catching it that I would be really upset if he was the one to give it to me. 2020 was a crap fest of a year and everyone is tired of this pandemic, but I don't think this year will be any better. It's not going away any time soon, so all we can do is continue to be as safe as possible. I try to keep busy to control my anxiety, prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.

Imho, the two times that I have been to the salon since March, it was mask protocol for me, the stylist and the shampoo girl. Prayers sent.

Wait about 5 days and get a nasal test done for both of you. You should be able to do a drive through in the town where you live. Some CVS and Walgreens do the test, if they have slots open to get an appt. Or go to an urgent care or free standing ER that does the testing. Your mom would be difficult to notice a difference, however take your temps at least twice a day and check oxy levels. Call her/your doctor and see if they can recommend a place to get the nasal swab testing done.

That salon is a fine example of why we can't get this under control. You should have been notified immediately of the hairdresser's positive test - especially since they know your mom, probably have her phone number if others in the shop texted you. Yes, the shop should undergo a very deep cleaning. All the others who work there have a good chance of coming down with it as well as all the patrons who came during the contagious period.

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