coronavirus Archives - Mantachie Rural Health Care, Inc.
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The Long-Term Effects of Covid-19

The Long-Term Effects of Covid-19

Most survivors of Covid-19 recover in a few weeks. An estimated 30% of patients, however, continue to experience side effects from Covid-19 long after the acute illness is gone. Even those with mild cases of the disease are susceptible to long-term effects, although older people and those with serious medical conditions are most likely to suffer extended symptoms. People with long-lasting effects of Covid-19 may refer to themselves as “long-haulers” or refer to their symptoms as “long covid”.

Common Long-Term Symptoms

The most common long-term symptoms of covid are fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, and joint or chest pain. Other less common symptoms reported by patients include:

  • Muscle pain or headache
  • Pounding or fast heartbeat
  • Problems with memory, concentration, and sleep
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Skin rash or hair loss

Other Long-Term Symptoms

In addition to these symptoms, Covid-19 can cause lasting damage to the lungs, heart, or brain. The virus can cause significant damage to the heart muscle resulting in an increased risk of heart failure or complications. Pneumonia associated with this virus can also damage the alveoli, tiny air sacs in the lungs that help us breathe, leading to breathing problems. Covid has also led to the development of strokes, seizures, and Guillain-Barre syndrome, a condition causing temporary paralysis. These serious conditions can even affect young people with the virus. 

Blood clots are another serious long-term complication of Covid-19. Experts believe small blood clots are the likely culprit of covid-related heart problems while large blood clots can damage the lungs, legs, liver, and kidneys. Covid-19 is also linked to weakened blood vessels that leak and develop problems for the liver and kidneys. 

Covid-19 is also linked to problems with mood and fatigue, including the development of chronic fatigue syndrome. Chronic fatigue syndrome is a condition in which fatigue symptoms worsen with physical activity or exercise and are not relieved with rest. Some patients also report depression and other mood problems following a bout of covid.

Although all these symptoms are serious, the World Health Organization (WHO) says patients experiencing long-covid are not contagious. 

As you can see, Covid-19 can lead to significant and even deadly long-term effects, and anyone can become susceptible to these lingering immune responses. The best ways to ensure you and your loved ones don’t suffer from the effects of covid is to continue practicing social distancing, wash or sanitize hands often, and wear a mask in public places. And now that a vaccine is available, we encourage you and your family to get immunized as soon as the vaccine is available to your age group. 

If you are experiencing symptoms related to Covid-19, contact your Mantachie Rural Health Care provider immediately to schedule an appointment and self-quarantine until your visit. If you are in need of an appointment, click here to contact us now. 

Who Will Be the First to Receive the Covid-19 Vaccine?

Who Will Be the First to Receive the Covid-19 Vaccine?

As this is being written, the first round of British citizens has received a new COVID-19 vaccine by the Pfizer company. If approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the same vaccine could be shipped to the U.S. by mid-December 2020. Another vaccine by the Moderna company is also in line for approval. If all works out, both vaccines will be in use by January. The question is, who gets the first round of vaccines in the United States?

Two elderly people were the first to receive the vaccine in the UK (Britain). The US, however, plans to take a slightly different path with the first rollout of immunizations. Instead, US healthcare workers, who are considered at the highest risk for contracting covid-19, will receive the first round of vaccines along with residents of nursing homes and long-term healthcare facilities. Residents of these facilities have so far accounted for 39% of deaths caused by Covid-19 in the US. 

What We Know About the COVID-19 Vaccines So Far

At this time, both Pfizer and Moderna have vaccines at the ready to be distributed upon authorization by the FDA. When approved, the first doses will be shipped out within 24 hours. Both vaccines will require a second dosage. Pfizer’s vaccine requires a boost three weeks after the first dose. Similarly those who receive the Moderna vaccine will need a second dose after four weeks. 

Who will Decide Who Gets the COVID-19 Vaccine First?

Choosing which healthcare workers will be the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is a decision that will be left up to each state. Right now, each state has a designated group of experts deciding who is at the highest risk. Some states may elect to vaccinate critical care nurses and physicians along with respiratory therapists and other workers who risk the most exposure to the virus. Others could decide to vaccinate their oldest healthcare workers first along with those working the frontlines. At this time, Mississippi plans to issue the first round of vaccines to frontline healthcare workers. 

After frontline workers and long-term care residents have been vaccinated, essential workers will be the next to receive the vaccine. Essential workers include but are not limited to employees in law enforcement, emergency response, food and agriculture, transportation, manufacturing, and education. Some states may prioritize certain industries that have been more affected. Arkansas, for example, intends to prioritize poultry workers, who have taken a hard hit during the pandemic. Each state will make these decisions based on its individual needs and demands. 

Adults with medical conditions that place them at a higher risk for serious illness as well as adults over 65 will be the next group to get immunized. Some states may elect to prioritize vaccinating elderly over 75 first. After that, the vaccine will be open to all healthy adults in the US by May or June if all goes accordingly. 

What You Can Do Now to Protect Yourself

By publication of this article, the first rollout of vaccines should be available in the US. However, it will still be months before all of those at risk of the virus can receive the vaccine. That means we must continue to wear masks and socially distance from one another until the vaccine is readily available to all. Continue to avoid large gatherings and be smart when you must go out in public. If you develop symptoms, quarantine yourself from others immediately, and contact your healthcare provider to schedule a testing appointment. 

Mantachie Rural Healthcare is available Monday through Friday. If you are sick and need an appointment with us, dial 662-282-4226. 

The Top 10 Medical Innovations of 2020

2020 has been quite the year for the medical world with the world’s first true pandemic in a century. You may have missed the many new innovations in medicine, surgery, and medical technology that improve the health and lives of patients all over the world. Today we’re reviewing the top 10 medical innovations of 2020, according to Cleveland Clinic. 

Dual-Acting Osteoporosis Drug

Osteoporosis causes the bones to become weak and brittle resulting in the patient being more susceptible to fractures. Unfortunately, the symptoms of osteoporosis are silent and the patient has no control over preventing fractures. This new medicine has bone-strengthening power which helps prevent future breaks. 

Expanded Use of Minimally Invasive Mitral Valve Surgery

In about 1 in 10 people over the age of 75, the heart’s mitral valve is defective causing regurgitation. The mitral valve pumps blood from the left atrium to the left ventricle. This year, approval for the minimally invasive corrective surgery to repair defective mitral valves was expanded to a wide new range of patients giving more people access to this much-needed treatment. Medical experts and heart patients alike consider this a huge win for the healthcare field. 

Introductory Treatment for Transthyretin Amyloid Cardiomyopathy

Known as ATTR-CM, this cardiovascular disorder is progressive, underdiagnosed, and potentially fatal disease that had no medication or other successful treatment option until this year. But after breakthroughs in 2017 and 2018, the FDA finally approved the drug tafamidis for treatment. 

New Treatment for Peanut Allergies

Peanut allergy is a terrifying food allergy affecting millions of children causing them to be unable to breathe after contact with the allergen. So far, emergency epinephrine is the only treatment to stop allergic reactions from peanut allergies but now a new treatment could help. An immunotherapy drug that builds up a tolerance in the body to peanuts has been successfully developed and is being tested as we speak that could save the lives of peanut allergy sufferers. 

Closed-Loop Spinal Cord Stimulation

A popular treatment for chronic pain and alternative to opioid medication is a spinal cord device that provides electric stimulus to the spinal cord. However, overstimulation and subtherapeutic results are a common downside from the treatment. New closed-loop spinal cord simulation technology allows for better communication to the device and better treatment results.

Biologics in Orthopaedic Repair

Recovery from orthopaedic surgery can take months, but developments in the use of biologics–cells, blood components, growth factors, and other natural components–are showing promising signs of speeding up the process. 

Antibiotic Envelope for Cardiac Implantable Device Infection Prevention

Each year, about 1.5 million patients around the world receive an implanted cardiac device. Unfortunately, infection remains a potential issue for these patients as long as the device is implanted. Now, antibiotic envelopes will encase these devices, preventing infection. 

Bempedoic Acid for Cholesterol Lowering in Statin Intolerant Patients

High cholesterol causes heart attacks and strokes. Statins are drugs used to lower cholesterol in people who are unable to do so with proper diet and exercise. Though statins save lives, the drugs also cause muscle pain in many patients. Bempedoic acid has been proven to be a viable alternative to statins without the painful side effects. 

PARP Inhibitors for Maintenance Treatment of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly cancers affecting women today. PARP inhibitors block the repair of damaged DNA in tumor cells, increasing cellular death and slowing disease progression. This treatment is key in improving progression-free survival of advanced stages of the disease and is now approved for first-line maintenance treatment for patients. Several large-scale trials of PARP inhibitors in the treatment of cancer are currently underway. 

Drugs for Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction

Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, better known as diastolic heart failure, occurs when the ventricular heart muscles contract normally but do not relax as they should. This causes the heart to be unable to fill up with blood properly. Previously, there were no treatments that increased life longevity. SGLT-2 inhibitors, a treatment currently used for diabetes, is being tested as the first real treatment option for this deadly condition. 

How to Keep Your Lungs Healthy

How to Keep Your Lungs Healthy

Lung disease ranks as one of the top killers of both men and women in the United States. Luckily you can take several steps throughout your lifetime to reduce or prevent your risk of lung disease.  Keeping your lungs healthy prevents more than illnesses like lung cancer and chronic lung disease such as COPD,  it also gives you a better chance of surviving covid-19. Start doing these seven things today to keep your lungs healthy for life.

Get plenty of exercise.

If you haven’t figured out by now, exercise is one of those things that everyone, young and old, needs regularly. The reason why is simple. Exercises provide natural prevention for just about every physical ailment out there including lung diseases. Even a brisk 20 to 30 minute walk a few times each week can improve your lung health.

Practice deep breathing exercises.

Turns out meditative breathing and yoga aren’t just good for your mind they’re good for the body, too. A study published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology found that its participants had a significant increase in vital lung capacity after performing 2 to 5 minutes of deep breathing exercises. 

Prevent infection.

Those same CDC guidelines in place to protect you from coronavirus also prevent other infections. Fight infections by remembering to:

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds as often as needed, especially after touching public surfaces.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Practice good oral hygiene including brushing twice daily, flossing once a day, and visiting your dentist for regular checkups.
  • Get a flu vaccine every year and talk with your provider about if you would also benefit from the pneumonia vaccine. 

Get regular check-ups.

Visit your provider at least once a year for a wellness checkup. Even if you feel healthy, your provider can detect underlying issues through screenings and a physical exam.

Avoid exposure to indoor and outdoor pollutants.

Indoor pollutants such as secondhand smoke, cleaning chemicals, and radon can wreak havoc on your lungs. Outdoor pollutants like smog and factory smoke can also cause significant damage.

Don’t smoke, or if you do, quit.

Following the previous steps are useless if you’re going to puff away on cigarettes. If you’re not a smoker, stay that way. If you do smoke, it’s time to quit. We offer many resources to help you quit smoking successfully. Schedule an appointment with us today to get help kicking the habit. 

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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