Coronavirus Prevention Tips from a PicnicHealth Doctor
Coronavirus Prevention Tips from a PicnicHealth Doctor
Dr. Dan Drozd
March 16, 2020
Blog post originally written by the AllStripes community team. AllStripes was acquired by PicnicHealth in 2023.
While there’s no cure or guaranteed way to prevent catching coronavirus, there are a number of steps that you can take to reduce your risk of exposure. I'm an infectious disease physician at PicnicHealth. As an epidemiologist, I've spent spent my career studying how viruses are transmitted and treated. Here are a few common sense measures and thoughts to help protect yourself, your loved ones, and our community:
Practice “social distancing.” This means significantly decreasing contact with other people to the extent possible. The phrase “flattening the curve” and the hashtag #FlattenTheCurve has been trending recently. It shows visually how the simple act of staying home can have a significant impact on the spread of infection and allow those who need care to get care. Until we have a vaccine or widely available treatment this is quite simply the best intervention available. This applies both to people who are at high risk of infection (those >60 or those with significant medical conditions), but also those who are young and healthy, but could spread the virus. Put simply, staying home saves lives.
COVID-19 is not ‘just the flu.’ There is a lot of misinformation at this time. While most people who are infected with COVID-19 recover fully, the current situation is much more serious than the seasonal flu. This will not be easy, but the good news is that each of us has a role and ability to do our part to #FlattenTheCurve.
Wash your hands regularly. This means more often than you probably normally would. I try to wash mine at least every couple of hours and everytime I touch something that may have been touched by other people (door handles, elevator buttons, etc.). Remember you need to wash your hands for twenty seconds. Yes, that’s a long time, much longer than the average person spends washing their hands, but it’s super important. Try singing a song. Happy Birthday sung twice does it, but here are some other ideas as well.undefined
Sleep, eat healthy, and exercise. Keeping your body in better shape means that it is better prepared to fight off a virus. Getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy, and keeping your lungs and heart strong with exercise will give your immune system more strength.
Check in on friends, family members, and neighbors, particularly those who may be at higher risk, but really anyone who’s routine has been interrupted by the current situation.
Be prepared, but don’t panic. It’s normal to feel significant stress and anxiety around this situation, but we got this together.
Dr. Dan is the clinical data lead on the research team, a physician researcher and, in his former life, a software developer who believes passionately in the ability of technology to help improve healthcare outcomes. He completed his MD and MSc in Epidemiology, and his fellowship training at the University of Washington, and his Internal Medicine residency at UCSF. Dan designed and developed the technical integration architecture for the largest multi-centered observational HIV cohort in North America and has published extensively using this data. In his spare time, he enjoys Peloton, cooking, and spending time with his wife and two sons Sam and Eli.
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List the names of all the doctors, hospitals, and other facilities your loved one visits regularly, along with those they have visited in the past. Try to go back as far as you can, striving for at least the last 5-10 years, but do your best. Even if you can’t remember them all, having a strong baseline can help you quickly identify gaps in records.
Ensure You Have the Appropriate Legal Status
It is important to make sure that you are fully empowered to make decisions on behalf of your loved one with Alzheimer’s. Your relationship status with the patient may not be enough to legally give you access to your loved one's medical information. It is a good idea to talk to an expert about securing special legal status, such as Power of Attorney (POA), a legal document that allows an individual to name someone as their decision maker should they no longer be able to make decisions on their own.
Gather and Organize the Medical Records in One Place
It’s important to have all of your loved one’s medical records together in one spot. This makes it much easier for you and your loved one’s physicians to accurately map the patient’s medical journey and more easily share information between doctors. Fortunately, tools exist to make record management and access simple. A free resource like PicnicHealth helps you collect and organize all of this information. PicnicHealth’s intuitive timeline allows you to pinpoint data across the medical history, eliminating your need for keeping heavy binders filled with paper records or keeping track of multiple software portal logins.
Review the Medical Records to be an Informed Advocate
The better you understand your loved one's medical history, the better you can advocate on their behalf. Access and understanding of this information will help you to ask informed questions with physicians. Through regular communication backed by the data in the medical records, you can help your loved one’s care team develop a more successful care plan.
Learn more about PicnicHealth’s commitment to the Alzheimer’s community and the Alzheimer’s Association
When you’re juggling appointment times and insurance claims, putting a robust support system together might not strike you as the most urgent task. Investing the time to cultivate relationships with people can turn to in times of need will pay dividends. The next time you need a last-minute ride or just someone to listen, you won’t be on your own. There are many condition-specific support groups and support groups for caregivers generally in person or online. In addition to the encouragement and empathy they provide, support groups can be a helpful source of tips, resources, and recommendations for navigating caregiving.
The backbone of effective caregiving is organization. Keep medical information, appointment schedules, and medication lists in order. Use a planner or a digital service like PicnicHealth to stay on top of your responsibilities. This attention to detail can prevent future complications and reduce day-to-day stress.
Explore treatments and clinical trials.
We’ve seen incredible breakthroughs in treatment over the past couple of years, powered by patients and their caregivers participating in research. Stay in the loop about the latest in medical advancements and available resources that could benefit your loved one. Whether it’s a new therapy option or a community service that aids independence, being informed can make a world of difference in the quality of care you provide.
Make time for self-care.
It may seem self-centered to focus on self-care—but when you feel good, you can be a better caregiver. Whether it’s exercise, a mindfulness practice, a soak in the bath, or just time to rest when you need it, carve out those moments in the day when you can unwind, reset, and stay healthy mentally and physically. Think of it as building up your reserves of kindness, patience, and understanding—which can only benefit your loved one. No one can pour from an empty cup.
Having trouble managing your loved one's medical records?
Easily manage all of your loved one's medical records and contribute to ongoing Alzheimer's research with PicnicHealth.
Tip: Download or print the poster at the end of this article to review before your next appointment!
However, it's important to consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian to determine the appropriate amount of protein for your individual needs. In general, a diet with moderate protein intake (about 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day) is recommended for people with kidney diseases.
Learn more about contributing to IgAN research with PicnicHealth.