Protect Yourself Against COVID-19
The green nature, the blooming flowers, the breezy wind and occasionally a glance of the sunny summer. The winter has passed and spring is here! Most patients with cardiac diseases love when spring is around the corner, but this Spring is unusual. This Spring is shadowed by COVID-19, a pandemic more fatal to people with pre-existing conditions.
COVID-19, standing for Coronavirus Disease 2019, was declared by WHO as a pandemic in early March. In December 2019, we read about it in the news in Asia. Suddenly, it swept through Europe, which resulted in disastrous consequences. Several countries took mitigation measures such as lockdowns as an attempt to control its spread.
All of a sudden, this virus seemed to jump onto American soil. Washington, California, and then New York, just to name a few.
It not only drew a lot of attention but also has been influencing everybody’s daily life. Schools were closed, the NBA was canceled, some businesses were shut down, most companies let their employees work from home, and some people have fought over toilet paper out there….
Much worse, several studies indicated such vulnerable patient groups are susceptible to this highly-contagious, quickly spreading virus, including seniors and patients with heart/lung diseases. According to a study conducted in Italy1, the case fatality rate was 1% or lower in younger patient groups. However, it soared up in the elderly population.
Here, our residing doctors at KURA Care provide five tips for these susceptible patient groups to get through this chaos and to stay healthy:
1. Keep the 6-feet Social Distance
Social distancing has been widely adopted across the globe. Coronavirus mainly conducts human-to-human transmission via the droplet route. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, numerous droplets are formed and are projected outwards, which might carry the virus. Although larger droplets would fall quickly because of gravity, the smaller ones could float in the air longer. Therefore, keeping a 6-foot distance is a good practice to limit your exposure to these virus-contained droplets and thus slow its spread.
2. Wash Your Hands Frequently and Thoroughly
In addition to respiratory caution, you have to be aware that the virus could be spread through contact transmission. Many other germs spread in the same fashion. Therefore, hands are a hot zone that you have to pay attention to. Besides, some studies point out that people often touch their face subconsciously several times a hour, including touching your nose, rubbing your cheek, and biting a fingernail. Such behaviors increase the virus’s odds to sneak into your body. Therefore, washing your hands frequently and thoroughly is a definitive measure to protect yourself.
3. Make Medical Order Compliance Part of Your Health Habits
We all know how one’s habits will contribute to his/her future, and it is particularly true for healthy habits. Exercise, smoking cessation, balanced diet, just to name a few. These habits help you find control over your body, create a positive feedback cycle, and minimize your long-term health risks such as stroke and heart attack. Medications and medical orders are important as well. Providers make all efforts to find the sweet balance between your physical status, your behaviors, and your medications; they need your response to enable dosage adjustment. In order to keep your excellent shape, keep your habits healthy and follow your doctor’s suggestions.
4. Record Your Vitals and Symptoms Daily
Now that we spend more time at home, it’s a good time to be connected with your health. Embrace how your body feels and what your body tries to tell you by recording your subjective symptoms and objective vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate. Doing this will benefit you because it helps you understand your health status, and it may also help detect new symptoms early. Record them and discuss them with your trustworthy partners such as family and providers.
5. Stay Connected with Your Care Team
Although right now most consultation happens virtually, which might be a bit uneasy, your care team is the best resource for your health-related questions. They’d like to hear from you and provide the necessary services. In order to communicate efficiently, write down a list of your questions in advance based on recorded symptoms and vital signs. This list will help your provider quickly address your concerns by properly accessing your status.
During this unprecedented time, staying safe and healthy is the first priority. However, staying connected is vital to social life, of which the value is more appreciated in this realm of social distancing.
There are tools out there to help you maintain healthy habits such as health journaling. The new habit will make a difference in your life. Stay calm and protect yourself against COVID-19. We will win this battle together.