Community News June 08, 2020

Prioritizing Your Overall Health through COVID-19

By: Dr. Reggina Yandila, Primary Care, Adena Internal Medicine

Summer is here. We are at the halfway point of 2020 – and what a year it has already been.

When the year started, many of us had health and fitness goals. The seeds were planted. We were ready. The first few months were fairly normal. Then all of a sudden we found ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic. 

As safety measures and precautions increased across the state, we found ourselves living under “stay at home” orders. It hit us like a ton of bricks. We are used to going where we need or want to go. Then suddenly schools, gyms, retail stores, and even some hospital services were closed or stopped until further notice. All of those goals for better health and trips to the gym stalled for many. Some of us had to think about homeschooling our children while trying to work from home all while trying to read about this new virus that changed our world and our lives. How we do stay safe from this new disease that is seemingly spreading like wild fire?

For many of us, the stress of it all overtook our motivation for making good decisions about food and exercise. We put off taking care of our general health care needs like well visits and check-ups with the doctor to monitor chronic illnesses. Out of fear of contracting COVID-19, many spent weeks managing issues for which they normally would have sought medical care to avoid stepping foot into a hospital, Emergency Room or doctor’s office.

Now as the world reopens, we find ourselves in this “new normal.” We are again learning to adjust. 

We started wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines. Here in Ohio, we did well and helped to “flatten the curve” as best we could, though we cannot ignore to what expense. The financial impact on our local businesses and our hospitals has been difficult, and it will take years to recover from those losses. However, something had to be done to slow the anticipated surge of COVID-19 cases in our state and nation.

Several months of staying at home and physically distancing from others has had a profound effect on the mental and physical health of our communities. As a Primary Care Provider, I am seeing more cases of new and/or uncontrolled anxiety and depression. One thing I always like to stress with my patients is making their own physical and mental health a priority through eating healthy and exercising. This not only helps my patients, but also their families, friends and neighbors as they do the same.

Eating healthy can help ward off illness, make you feel better, detoxify the body, and may help you lose some weight. Many have seen their scales tip in the wrong direction since the onset of COVID-19, and being confined indoors. Carrying extra weight can increase the risk of diabetes, stroke, heart disease, joint problems, and more.

Exercising is a great compliment to a healthy diet. As the weather warms up and we begin to safely leave our homes more often, we can find more ways to increase our activity levels. Walking helps to lower your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol, and it also helps to bring peace of mind by releasing endorphins that make us feel good. While walking is a great form of activity, we must remember to maintain our safe and appropriate distance from others.

Don’t forget to talk to your Primary Care Provider before you begin any type of exercise regimen. This is a perfect conversation to have with your health care provider during your annual well visit, which many times is covered by your insurance at no cost. The well visit is also a time to make sure you are up to date on your screening exams and labs.

As health care services reopen, it is understandable that people may be hesitant to return to their doctor’s offices. I want to assure you that Adena is working hard and taking every precaution to keep you safe. All across the Health System, we have implemented enhanced cleaning and safety measures to ensure your safety.

As soon as you arrive, you will see the changes made to keep patients and staff safe. Screeners greet every person who enters with questions related to possible exposure to COVID-19 and a temperature check. If someone has a fever of more than 100F, and has other symptoms and/or contact with someone that has COVID or suspicious for it, they will be referred to the COVID-19 Screening Clinic for further evaluation and/or testing.

When a person is cleared to enter an Adena facility, they must wear a mask or cloth face covering. If they don’t have a mask, we will give them one. Once inside, directional signage to allow for social distancing will guide them through the facility in the safest way possible; and waiting areas have been redesigned to allow for six feet of spacing between chairs. While always striving to be the best at cleanliness and safety, Adena has escalated the level of cleaning in its buildings and clinics to assure high-touch areas are cleaned often. This is all intended to keep you safe while you get the care you need.

In most cases, patients will receive a call from their provider’s office to pre-register for their appointment. Clinics with limited space may require a patient to call when they arrive at the hospital or doctor’s office and to wait in their car until it is time for their visit. COVID-suspected patients are directed to our COVID Clinic or ER for severe symptoms. Our goal is not to mix those suspected of this disease with routine patient care. There are still other illnesses out there besides COVID, and as a result of this, we have designated “well” and “sick” sides to try to keep you from contracting any other illnesses.

Adena is taking these safety measures so our patients feel safe in coming back to see us. Coronavirus is out there, but don’t let fear keep you from seeking the health care you may need. There are still diseases such as strokes, blood clots, etc. that can be deadly or life changing that are still out there. I have patients that if they did not come in to be treated, they would have had different outcomes. Even my colleagues that are taking care of patients in the hospital are noticing that patients are coming in sicker to the hospital, leading to prolonged stays because of waiting too long at home to seek care. Please don’t let that be you.

Adena is a safe place for you to come for care. If you want to learn more about how Adena is keeping its patients and visitors safe, visit Your Primary Care Providers and Specialists miss you.

Stay Safe. We look forward to seeing you soon!