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Managing Diabetes Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Managing Diabetes Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Managing Diabetes Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

As if our patients with Type 2 Diabetes didn’t have enough to worry about, they’re now listed in the category at the highest risk of complications from the current Coronavirus pandemic. Following the CDC guidelines to wash your hands frequently, maintain a six-foot distance from people when you must go out, and staying home as much as possible is even more important for these patients. We’re working with our diabetes patients to ensure they maintain a great quality of care while protecting their health during these difficult days.

Resources

The American Diabetes Association put together some great resources on preparing to stay home long-term during the Coronavirus pandemic. They also offer guidance on how to take action if you do become sick. You can access that information here.

Reassurances

One of the ADA’s recommendations is to have extra refills on your insulin and to always have enough insulin on hand for the week ahead. These instructions can cause financial hardship. Some people also worry it will cause a shortage of insulin supplies. Three of the largest insulin providers in the US made statements earlier this month that their supply is stable. If for some reason your pharmacy doesn’t have enough of your insulin on hand, ask them to check with other area pharmacies if you can’t wait.

Refills

Eli Lilly announced earlier this month that they would cap costs for most monthly insulin refills for commercially insured or uninsured patients at $35. We aren’t sure at this time if other insulin companies will follow suit. Buying insulin and other diabetic supplies and medication isn’t cheap. Patients of Mantachie Rural Health Care can request a 340B pharmacy card from our office at the time of their next appointment. If you’re an established patient, you can call our office to learn more. This card reduces prescription costs for thousands of medications. How much your cost is reduced depends on your insurance coverage and the medication.

We want to keep all our patients healthy and thriving during these uncertain times. We’re passing along as much information as possible to keep you updated. If you have questions about your diabetes treatment or management of other chronic illnesses, call our office for an appointment.

Are Homemade Face Masks Effective Against Coronavirus?

Are Homemade Face Masks Effective Against Coronavirus

When the Coronavirus emerged in the United States earlier this year and even as cases soared in March, the CDC did not recommend average Americans wear a face mask. They made this recommendation due to a short supply of N95 and surgical face masks which were needed by medical personnel on the frontlines of the pandemic. In early April, however, the CDC did an about-face and suggested all Americans wear a face mask when in public.

Medical grade face masks continue to be in short supply, and we encourage our patients and community members to reserve those masks for medical personnel. While homemade face masks aren’t ideal, they are a better option than heading to the grocery store without a face mask at all. We want our patients to be safe and healthy, which starts with having good information. Here’s how you can protect yourself best from the spread of COVID-19.

  • Stay home except for essential travel to pick up groceries or prescriptions, attend a doctor’s appointment, or go to work at an essential business. 
  • Keep six-feet from other people when you must go out. Social distancing reduces the risks you’ll be hit by virus-infected spray if someone near you coughs or sneezes or talks to you.
  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash with soap and water frequently, especially if you must go out. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not convenient. 
  • Don’t touch your face. The virus spreads when it enters your body through your mouth or nose. If you have the virus on your hands, you’ll ingest it when you touch your face.
  • Wear a mask if you must go out in public.

How Masks Protect You

They don’t. Masks you wear aren’t for your protection they are for the protection of those around you. Research shows that some people may spread the virus up to 48 hours (2 days) before they show symptoms. Another 25% of people who have the virus show no symptoms at all. Wearing a mask keeps you from spreading a virus you don’t know you have to other people by catching the droplets of virus-laden spit as it escapes your mouth when you talk or cough.

Masks protect you when everyone else wears one.

They may also protect all us by becoming an ever-present reminder of our current pandemic. Seeing others wearing a mask reminds us to keep six feet away from others and to be aware of our personal hygiene.

Best Material for Your Homemade Face Masks

Nothing protects as well as medical-grade masks, but the average American doesn’t need a medical-grade mask, so we’re looking for suitable alternatives. After all, some protection is better than no protection at all. Research testing the best materials for homemade face masks studied breathability and filtration of multiple materials. The test found cotton material like bedsheets or T-shirts made the best masks.

Not all material is made equal. Researchers suggest holding material up to a bright light. If you can see through the material it’s not thick enough. You may also want to double up the material and/or add a coffee filter to the inside. 

The CDC offers several mask patterns for both seamstresses and those of us who can barely thread a needle. Other mask patterns may be found across the internet. 

Dangers of Homemade Face Masks

Masks only catch a certain amount of virus particles. They aren’t a fail-safe option. If we cling to our mask as our only protection and relax other measures we risk a rise in infection rates. We must continue to stay home as much as possible, especially if we are sick. And we have to keep washing our hands, stop touching our faces, and keep maintaining our distance from other people. 

Homemade masks can become a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses, including the Coronavirus. If your mask catches the virus spray, then you touch the outside of the mask, the virus is now on your hands. To make cloth masks more effective, they need to be washed after every use and changed out if they become wet during use. Remove the mask from your face by the ear bands or strings. Throw disposable masks away after one use and put reusable masks in the wash.

Have you made homemade masks? Show us a picture in the comments.

Under Control Asthma Best Defense Against Coronavirus Complications

Under Control Asthma Best Defense Against Coronavirus Complications

Both the CDC and American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology list asthma sufferers at high risk of experiencing the most severe effects of the coronavirus. While no studies have shown asthma patients are at an increased risk of contracting the virus, the illness affects the lungs making it hard to breathe. Without available research, doctors have placed patients with mild or moderate asthma in the “at risk” group and those with severe asthma in the “extremely vulnerable” group.

The best way to prevent severe effects from the virus is to avoid contracting the virus. Stay home if at all possible

If you must go out for groceries or medications stay at least six feet from other people.

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Sneeze or cough into a tissue, then throw it away.

For asthma patients, now is not the time to slack up on daily medications. Controlled asthma reduces the chances of asthma attacks and complications. Continue taking medication as prescribed by your doctor and avoid asthma triggers.

Patients also need to ensure their rescue inhaler is not expired. If needed, your provider can work with your pharmacy and insurance company to ensure you have on hand the medication needed for prolonged shelter-in-place orders. Keep 30 days of over-the-counter medication, such as acetaminophen, in stock as well.

In addition to having a supply of your asthma medication, you’ll need to ensure your asthma action plan is updated. This plan includes your peak flow numbers when you are well for comparison should you become ill. Your asthma action plan includes steps to take should your asthma become worse due to exposure to asthma triggers, coronavirus or other viruses.

Staying well and boosting a strong immune system is our best defense against complications from the coronavirus.

Managing the Effects of Social Distancing on Mental Illness

Managing the Effects of Social Distancing on Mental Illness

Social distancing is important to slow the spread of the coronavirus. However, it can have unintended mental health consequences. We as humans are designed to be social, to interact with one another, and even to respond to positive touch. While we don’t have a lot of studies surrounding quarantine and isolation, the few studies conducted following the 2004 SARS outbreak show an increase in anxiety and depression. As social distancing drags on, we can expect to see more people suffering from mental illness.

If we could squash the coronavirus and end social distancing today, we would. We would have ended it a month ago if that was in our power, but it’s not. We can, however, recognize what’s happening around us and take steps to care for our mental health and the health of others around us every day.

Admit the truth about our new world

Almost everyone feels a bit “off” right now. We’ve all been affected whether by losing a job, being sent home to telecommute, not being able to find the supplies we need in stores, or being directly exposed to or sick with the virus. Nothing about this situation is okay, and the first step to managing our mental health is to admit it.

Our emotions can range from fear and anxiety to depression and boredom to anger. Admit your emotions and give yourself permission to say this situation isn’t okay. Then think about what parts of the situation you can control.

Stay connected

While we may not be able to hang out with friends after work or have dinner with our extended family, we can take advantage of technology to stay connected. Plan a virtual happy hour with friends online. Video chat with family members. Text friends and check in with them on a daily basis. 

Pay particular attention to friends or family members who have suffered from anxiety, depression or loneliness in the past and older adults who live alone. These groups tend to have the hardest time managing the anxiety and depression that comes along with social distancing.

Temper your expectations

Gwyneth Paltrow suggests we use this time away from school and work to learn a new language, pick up an instrument or read a book. Those expectations set the bar pretty high. If you’re doing good to keep up your kids’ homeschool assignments while managing your telecommuting work let that be enough. Taking up a new hobby that doesn’t include monitoring the news every fifteen minutes is a great way to pass the time, but don’t expect your piano skills to be ready for Carnegie Hall in four weeks.

Creating unrealistic expectations for yourself during this time only increases your stress levels.

Create a routine

Routines won’t cure everything, but they place something back into your control. Include time for exercise and being outdoors if you can manage it while observing social distancing rules. Luckily in Mississippi, most of us can.

Staying busy keeps our minds off the news and the fears about job security, paying the bills, and access supplies.

Limit news access

Just because news is available 24/7 doesn’t mean we need to consume it during all those hours. Increased news and social media consumption lead to increased anxiety and depression. Set specific times each day that you’ll check the news and select reputable news sources.

We wish improving and protecting your mental health during these days of uncertainty was as easy as following a few bullet points. We know it’s not. These points can help you find a clear path to managing the anxiety and fear that lives among almost all of us right now. The one thing we ask you not to do is numb your emotions using drugs and alcohol.

If your depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns are affecting your everyday life, it’s time to get some help. Call our mental health clinic at 662-282-4359 to talk to a counselor about options available for you. Don’t suffer alone. Ask for help.

For additional suggestions on managing fear and anxiety during the days ahead check out this article from PSYCOM.


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