April 7 2020

Taking charge of your health during a pandemic

Yvette Mier, BSN / RN / CWON, a well-respected nurse with over 25 years of experience in wound care and chapter author in the Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nursing Society (WOCN) textbook, "Core Curriculum for Wound Management."

Taking charge of your health during a pandemic

I think most of us would like to pull the covers over our head and have someone wake us up when the coronavirus pandemic is over. The constant news updates, social media feeds, and even conversations with family and friends can make anyone uneasy or fearful.  It is understandable to feel overwhelmed.

I challenge everyone to shift their thinking toward ways to protect their own health to lessen the risk that you will have a medical emergency while our health care systems are overwhelmed. For many of us, this means focusing on controlling what we can. Intentional physical and mental health practices have a direct impact on overall health.  A healthy body and mind will have a stronger immune system to fight the coronavirus -- it’s that simple. 

If you have chronic health disease -- such as diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, chronic blood clots, or congestive heart failure -- follow the protocols prescribed by your physician for medication, nutrition, and exercise. Over 50% of patients with chronic disease neither take their medications as prescribed nor follow physician advice for diet and exercise.

If you have chronic venous disease, chronic edema, or have been told you are at risk for these problems due to genetics, medical history of blood clots/DVT (deep vein thrombosis), lifestyle, or body habitus, it is important to maintain your leg health. 

Wearing your prescribed compression garments, walking 30 to 60 minutes daily, foot pump exercises, and elevating legs above the heart for 30 minutes 3 times daily is imperative to prevent complications associated with venous disease. Uncontrolled edema in lower legs places you at risk for new or recurrent blood clots, skin infection known as cellulitis or spontaneous ulcers known as venous ulcers. 

As a community, a nation, and a world, we must support each other during this pandemic. We may not be able to physically come within 6 feet of each other due to the need for “social distancing,” but we can still communicate and be there for each other. Human connection is a basic need for mental health.

Frequent phone calls, text messages, social media posts, video conferences, emails, and old-fashioned written letters are all great ways to maintain family, friend, and community relationships.

I encourage you to balance your interactions about the coronavirus pandemic with lighter topics -- share a laugh, opinions on movies or books, and -- maybe most importantly --positive encouragement about what you are doing to promote your own health and immune system with hope that you will encourage someone else to do the same. 

We’re all in this together. Let’s all do our best to stay healthy!

Yvette Mier, BSN / RN / CWON, a well-respected nurse with over 25 years of experience in wound care and chapter author in the Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nursing Society (WOCN) textbook, "Core Curriculum for Wound Management." She presents regularly at national wound care conferences and is passionate about leg. She lives works in the Atlanta area.

References

Collins, F. (2020, March 19). Retrieved from directorsblog.nih.gov/2020/03/19/ti-beat-covid-19-social -distancing-is-a-must/