The following is excerpted from “NIH News in Health”, a monthly newsletter from the National Institutes of Health.
Coping with emergencies is challenging in the best of situations. During the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are just trying to get by each day. For people with chronic (long-term) health conditions—like diabetes and chronic kidney disease—the challenges can be even greater. But with planning, you can prepare what you’ll need to make things more manageable.
“Thankfully, people with chronic medical conditions have tools to help maintain their health, even during difficult times,” says Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers, director of NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Managing these conditions well can help lower your risk for complications and other diseases.
Preparing for the unexpected will help you manage a chronic health condition during a crisis. Consider packing a specialized “go-kit” for emergencies. A “go-kit” should contain:
- At least one week’s worth of medical supplies and equipment.
- Contact information for health care providers and emergency contacts.
- A medication list with doses and dosing schedules.
- A list of your allergies.
- Information about any medical devices you use.
- At least a three-day supply of any foods needed to manage your condition.
- Copies of your insurance card and photo ID.
- Copies of recent lab work you might need.
Maintaining your health doesn’t erase the risk for getting other diseases. But each healthy day is a day closer to better treatments for diseases. NIH is making a coordinated effort to help advance research on preventing, diagnosing, and treating COVID-19.
Contact your health care provider with any questions or concerns about how to prepare for natural disasters and emergencies.
Click here to read the full article from the August 2020 issue of NIH News in Health.
View the webinar featuring Dr. Tiep here: COPD and the Benefits of Pulmonary Rehabilitation
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) offers the following recommendations on how to prepare for your next check-up:
Getting check-ups is one of many things you can do to help stay healthy and prevent disease and disability.
You’ve made the appointment to see your health care provider. You’ve reviewed the instructions on how to prepare for certain tests. You’ve done the usual paperwork. Done, right? Not quite.
Before your next check-up, make sure you do these four things.
Review your family health history.
Are there any new conditions or diseases that have occurred in your close relatives since your last visit? If so, let your health care provider know. Family history might influence your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer. Your provider will assess your risk of disease based on your family history and other factors. Your provider may also recommend things you can do to help prevent disease, such as exercising more, changing your diet, or using screening tests to help detect disease early.
Find out if you are due for any general screenings or vaccinations.
Have you had the recommended screening tests based on your age, general health, family history, and lifestyle? Check with your health care provider to see if its time for any vaccinations, follow-up exams, or tests. For example, it might be time for you to get a Pap test, mammogram, prostate cancer screening, colon cancer screening, sexually transmitted disease screening, blood pressure check, tetanus shot, eye check, or other screening.
Write down a list of issues and questions to take with you.
Review any existing health problems and note any changes.
- Have you noticed any body changes, including lumps or skin changes?
- Are you having pain, dizziness, fatigue, problems with urine or stool, or menstrual cycle changes?
- Have your eating habits changed?
- Are you experiencing depression, anxiety, trauma, distress, or sleeping problems?
If so, note when the change began, how it’s different from before, and any other observation that you think might be helpful.
Be honest with your provider. If you haven’t been taking your medication as directed, exercising as much, or anything else, say so. You may be at risk for certain diseases and conditions because of how you live, work, and play. Your provider develops a plan based partly on what you say you do. Help ensure that you get the best guidance by providing the most up-to-date and accurate information about you.
Be sure to write your questions down beforehand. Once you’re in the office or exam room, it can be hard to remember everything you want to know. Leave room between questions to write down your provider’s answers.
Consider your future.
Are there specific health issues that need addressing concerning your future? Are you thinking about having infertility treatment, losing weight, taking a hazardous job, or quitting smoking? Discuss any issues with your provider so that you can make better decisions regarding your health and safety.
For more information on the importance of check-ups, click here: https://www.cdc.gov/family/checkup/index.htm
Having a plan for when disaster strikes is good advice for everyone, but the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) suggests that it is particularly important for those with chronic illness. The CDC offers advice on how to prepare. Recommendations include:
- Make an emergency plan and emergency kit. Keep at least three days supply of food, water, and medicine on hand.
- If you need to leave your home, know where to go (e.g., family members house, shelter) and be prepared to leave quickly. Have medicines, medical records, insurance information, and healthcare provider’s information, with you.
- Ask your doctor for an extra supply of prescribed medicines, and have a list of all prescription medicines (including name, dose, and pharmacy information). If staying in a shelter or temporary housing, tell the staff about your health problems, special needs and any medicines you are taking.
- Keep medicines, supplies, and equipment out of the heat and in a safe and waterproof location. If you use medical equipment that works with electricity, learn How to Prepare and Handle Power Outages.
- Check if the Emergency Prescription Assistance Program (EPAP) is activated after a disaster. This free service helps residents get medicine, medical supplies, medical equipment and vaccines that were lost, stolen, or damaged due to the disaster. Call 855-793-7470 to enroll or visit the EPAP website. Check RX Open to find open pharmacies.
Click here to see the full list of CDC recommendations.
If you were unable to join the US COPD Coalition live for our webinar, Coping with Stress in Diffiicult Times, you can watch it in its entirety by clicking on the link below. We were pleased to have as our featured speaker Arpi Minassian, Ph.D. Dr. Minassian discussed stress and where it comes from, as well has how to recognize signs of stress and anxiety. She also discussed tips for how to cope with emotional distress related to chronic medical conditions as well as the difficult times we are all facing.
We encourage you to view the webinar, and share it with anyone you feel would benefit from the very useful information that Dr. Minassian shared.
Click on this link to view the webinar: Coping with Stress in Difficult Times
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided a web page with answers to frequently asked questions about indoor air and COVID-19. Below are links to the specific questions that are answered.
The US COPD Coalition is excited to present a free, two-part webinar series that will focus on helping COPD patients stay healthy, both mentally and physically, as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first webinar, “Coping with Stress in Difficult Times”, featuring Arpi Minassian, Ph.D., will be broadcast live at 3:00 pm Eastern on Wednesday, June 24th. Dr. Minassian will help you learn more about stress and where it comes from, as well has how to recognize signs of stress and anxiety. She will discuss tips for how to cope with emotional distress related to chronic medical conditions as well as the difficult times we are all facing.
Register for the June 24th webinar featuring Dr. Minassian here:
The second webinar, “COPD and the Benefits of Pulmonary Rehabilitation” will be broadcast live at 3:00 pm Eastern on Wednesday, July 1st. Our guest speaker will be Brian Tiep, MD. Dr. Tiep, one of the nation’s foremost authorities on chronic lung disease, will be discussing COPD and related conditions and the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation practiced on a daily basis – which he stresses is particularly important at this time of COVID-19.
Register for the July 1st webinar featuring Dr. Tiep here:
Please join us for both of these important webinars. As with all US COPD Coalition webinars, registration is free.
Click on the links below for printable webinar flyers.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Learn More Breathe Better program has issued the following announcement:
The Learn More Breathe BetterSMprogram is pleased to share two new video series and our latest formative research report.
- Living with Asthma Videos: This 3-video animated series highlights general information about asthma, key aspects of its management, and the importance of an asthma action plan. Watch these asthma videos.
- Breathe Better Network Partner Perspectives: This 7-video series features interviews with organizations working to address COPD and move the National Action Plan forward. Featured Network members include the American Lung Association, Atrium Health, COPD Foundation, Dorney-Koppel Foundation, and the Respiratory Health Association. These videos focus on key challenges and themes in our Learn More Breathe Better COPD work. View Partner Perspective video series.
- Treating and Communicating about Asthma: Insights from Patients, Caregivers, and Health Care Providers: This formative research report highlights key insights from patients, caregivers and healthcare providers captured during focus groups and in-depth interviews. Read this formative research report.
Find all Learn More, Breathe Better resources here.
Do you, or someone you know, suffer from a chronic lung disease? Are you a healthcare professional working in this field? Respiplus, a non-profit organization which over the past 20 years has developed worldwide renown for its self-management programs, has a very helpful information portal that has been designed to provide reliable information on common chronic lung diseases.
Click on the link below to access the portal:
Click on the link below to access the latest treatment guidelines for COVID-19 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines – NIH.pdf