By CHARLES L. CRONIN, III DO These can be extremely challenging times for many. It is when you may see the best, and unfortunately, sometimes the not so best in people. As they did 100 years ago, we too will endure the pandemic and come out stronger.
These can be extremely challenging times for many. It is when you may see the best, and unfortunately, sometimes the not so best in people. As they did 100 years ago, we too will endure the pandemic and come out stronger. Here are some facts, and also thoughts on how to stay healthy this summer.
COVID-19 symptoms may range from very mild to severe symptoms. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease or diabetes, seem to be at risk for developing the more serious complications from COVID-19.
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The virus is thought to be spread mainly from person-to-person. Typically between people who are within 6 feet of each other. This occurs through respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land in the mouth or noses of people who are nearby (less than 6 feet), or they can be inhaled. Unfortunately, many infected people may not be showing symptoms themselves.
So how can we keep ourselves healthy and keep those we love and care for healthy? The 6-foot social distancing is a way to protect yourself and others. The wearing of facemasks is to protect others. If you have a well-fitted N95 mask, then you are protecting yourself and others. Facial hair can impact the seal of an N95 mask and therefore impair its ability to protect you.
Keep your doctor appointments. We must not forget that all the diseases that were present before COVID-19, still exist. Keeping up with disease management and screening is very important. If you are sick, seek medical advice and care. Postponing an evaluation for an asthma exacerbation, chest pain or other symptoms can greatly jeopardize your health and in some instances, your life. Hospitals and physician offices are employing all methods possible to keep your visit safe. Many physician offices have special protocols for sick patients and may have you call them from the parking lot so they can escort you directly into an assigned room and avoid contact with healthy patients.
Postponing cancer screening and general health maintenance can mean the difference between a stage 1, localized cancer, and a stage 4, metastatic cancer. If people don’t stay as current as possible with their medical care and prevention, we may see greater fallout after the pandemic is over.
Mental health is also an important part of our well-being. While we are not going to restaurants and our usual venues, people are connecting in unique and fun ways. Families are spending more time together, playing board games, doing puzzles or making funny videos for the rest of us to see on our favorite media outlets. Go for walks, turn off the cable news and engage in life. Communicate with people you have not spoken to in years. Check on the vulnerable people you know. Helping them is good for our own soul.
If you find the current crisis overwhelming and feel depressed or anxious, seek help from your physician and mental health experts. Butler Hospital’s Emergency Department is open and staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or, you may call Butler’s Behavioral Health Service Call Center, also available 24/7 at (844) 401-0111. Quality of life is paramount and mental health and well-being is a large part of that.
While our hair may be longer and in some instances more gray, it is not the end of the world. Not tending to your health and well-being, may be.
Staying Healthy is a monthly column provided by Care New England on timely health information and advice.