Dr. D’s Medical Update for August
As we enter August and the end of the summer season, it is difficult to grasp that we’ve been dealing with the coronavirus for almost five months. And, for the 4th time, I’ll be talking about COVID in this article.
The basics still apply: wear a mask, wash your hands, don’t touch your face when you are out, and socially distance. As I write this, the numbers of patients admitted to hospitals due to COVID are dropping, but they are still high. Deaths are continuing to be reported daily, sometimes in the double digits.
At the HealthTexas Holy Cross Clinic, we’re continuing to see patients mostly by telemedicine. Our electronic health record has the ability to connect us to our patients through their smartphones or computers. Sometimes our patients don’t have smartphones and we make the choice to see them in the office. We try to avoid that to protect them and our staff. Maintaining our safety allows us to continue to care for as many patients as possible.
As we have been seeing patients, we’ve been hearing similar stories. It is difficult to eat healthy when we’re home all of the time. Drive-thru and take out isn’t the healthiest of foods. All we’re doing is sitting at home—either working or staying away from the public. My message has been to “do the best you can to stay active and healthy.” I’m encouraging our patients to get out and walk in their yard or around the block in the cool of the day—morning or evening—to stay active. It is important to remember that with the heat we’ve been experiencing, it is easy to get dehydrated. Along with dehydration, being sedentary can decrease our energy rapidly. It may take less effort to get fatigued than before we were stuck inside. So, take some water along with you when you walk and head back home before you get too tired.
You may have seen the governor talk about preparing for flu season while we’re still dealing with COVID. It will be critically important to get your flu vaccine this year. COVID and the flu can present in similar ways. For the flu, there are both prevention and treatment. The flu vaccine can help reduce the change of getting the flu and if you do get it, we have effective treatment to reduce the time you are ill. For COVID, however, the approved treatments are for those sick enough to be in the hospital. And, we don’t yet have a vaccine to help prevent it. The other important consideration is that we don’t want to overwhelm our hospital system with both COVID and flu patients. By taking care of ourselves, we can allow our healthcare system to care for others.
If we, as a community, care for ourselves and consider the needs of those around us, we will get through this.
Michael Dominguez, MD, FAAFP is board certified in Family Medicine. His office is located at HealthTexas Medical Group, 590 N. General McMullen, 78228, phone: 210-249-0212.