The coronavirus (COVID-19) is quickly changing the way we live. The terms “self-quarantine”, “social distancing,” and “isolation” are often mentioned by the media. What do they mean, and how do we apply them to our families and communities?
What is self-quarantine? A person who has been exposed to COVID-19 may decide to self-quarantine or voluntarily refrain from going out of his/her home. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend self-quarantine for 14 days.
What is social distancing? Social distancing means avoiding places where large numbers of people gather. For example: shopping centers, conferences, sporting events, and classes. According to the CDC, social distancing includes avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining a distance of approximately (6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible. The cancellations of events and closings are social measures designed to minimize possible exposure to someone carrying COVID-19.
What is isolation? Isolation means a person who has contracted a communicable disease is completely separated from others. According to the CDC, for public health purposes, isolation may be voluntary or compelled by federal, state, or local public health orders. The person is kept away from everyone with the exception of health care providers, who will care for the person wearing protective gear.
The coronavirus is spread through respiratory vapor, such as when someone sneezes or coughs in the air around another person. According to the CDC, handwashing can prevent about 20% of respiratory infections.
According to the CDC, illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illnesses resulting in death. The CDC says information so far suggests that most COVID-19 cases are mild, while China suggests serious illness in 16% of the cases.
Watch for symptoms: • Fever • Cough • Shortness of breath
Treatment: There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 according to the CDC. People who things they are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider.
Prevention: The best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure. CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases: • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. • Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth. • Stay at home when sick. • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then toss it in the trash. • Wash hands! • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
To stay up to date about the COVID-19 virus, visit cdc.gov.
Facemasks or surgical masks might help protect against cold and flu season – or in times of an outbreak, like the coronavirus. But how much protection do the masks provide?
Surgical masks are loose-fitting and disposable masks approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use as medical devices. Doctors, dentists, and nurses often wear them while treating patients. These masks prevent drops of body fluids that may contain viruses from escaping via the nose and mouth. The masks also protect against splashes or sprays from others, such as sneezes and coughs. The downside is that these masks don’t prevent the inhalation of small, airborne contaminants.
With everyone on edge about the current outbreak of 2019 coronavirus (2019-nCoV), how effective are the facemasks? Wearing a facemask might help prevent influenza as the virus spreads droplets in the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. A mask could protect a person from inhaling these droplets if it were worn consistently and fully covering the mouth and nose.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the facemasks are for people who are sick with a virus or believed to be infected, and for those who live with or care for them. There is no recommendation for the general public to start wearing facemasks for coronavirus. CDC advises washing hands frequently to prevent the spread of illness such as the flu.
Before reaching for another slice of pizza or a chicken nugget, it might be worth taking a closer look at what eating too many processed foods could mean for your health. From potential risks like weight gain to heart disease, filling the diet with processed foods may not be worth the delicious pleasure or convenience.
But we need to ask ourselves, what exactly is ultra-processed food? Ultra-processed foods are defined as ready-to-eat and microwaveable foods, such as bread, breakfast cereal, chicken nuggets, candies, chips, and artificially sweetened beverages. Ultra-processed food is a food item that has undergone a chemical or mechanical alteration to change or preserve it. Technically a “processed food” is any food that’s been changed before eating it, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
What are some of the health risks effects of ultra-processed foods? • Increased cancer risk • Obesity • Type 2 diabetes • Heart disease
How to reduce processed foods from the diet? • Check labels – the longer the ingredient list, the more processed the food is. • Opt for minimally processed meats – seafood and chicken while avoiding items like sausage and cured meats. • Start slowly – exchange processed foods with more fresh foods. • Cook more meals at home.
It would be difficult to remove all heavily processed foods from the diet. Eating less processed food doesn’t have to be complicated. Buy more whole or minimally processed foods or do the processing yourself. Embrace home cooking for fun and health.
January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month to emphasize the importance of getting regular comprehensive eye exams. Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness worldwide, and in its early stages, has no noticeable symptoms.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anyone can get glaucoma, but certain groups are at higher risks. These groups include African Americans over age 40, all people over age 60, people with a family history of glaucoma, and people who have diabetes.
There are several types of glaucoma. The two main types are open-angle and angle-closure. Open-angle develops slowly and has symptoms and damage that are not noticed. Angle-closure can develop quickly, is painful, and visual loss can progress quickly.
Glaucoma is not curable, but early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent vision loss. It is recommended that those groups who are at high risk for glaucoma should get a complete eye exam every one to two years.
Government health insurance program for people over 65 and for those who are on Social Security disability.
Funded jointly by the Federal Government and the individual states. Individuals must meet specific financial and “need for care” requirements in order to receive benefits.
Qualification based on age and/or disability. Participation not subject to income, asset or “needs” test.
Qualification based on “need for care” and financial need. Single (unmarried) individuals must be essentially broke (below $2,000 in most states). Rules allow certain strategies to protect assets.
Provides coverage for hospitalization, doctors and other types of medical expenses. Medicare is a medical insurance program, and except for a limited short-term nursing home benefit, is not coverage for nursing home or other long-term care.
Provides benefits for long-term nursing home care, and, in many states, benefits for other types of long-term care.
In order to get Medicare coverage for a nursing home stay, you must be in an approved skilled nursing facility, have been in the hospital for at least three days prior to entering the facility, and to be deemed by Medicare to be medically benefiting from that skilled nursing. Custodial care is not covered. Technically, there is a maximum of 100 days of nursing home benefit. In actuality, the requirement about medically benefiting usually limits the benefit to a period of 10-20 days for rehabilitation.
Those individuals who meet the definition of “need for care,” as well as the financial requirements, can qualify for nursing home care (including custodial care). There is no maximum limit on the period of time that care can be provided.
Under no conditions does Medicare pay for assisted living, residential care facilities, and adult foster care.
In many states, Medicaid will provide care in assisted living, residential care and/or adult foster care facilities.
Except during the time you’re in the hospital, Medicare does not cover medications.
Medications are covered.
Medicare does have some benefit for home health but this is purely for medical reasons, not for caregivers to come in and attend to someone who needs help with personal needs on a long-term basis.
In many states, in-home care is provided to allow for caregivers to come into the home to provide care and help with personal needs and activities of daily living.