Protect Your Lungs, Protect Yourself from COVID-19

April 14, 2020

We’re going to level with you: the best ways to protect yourself from coronavirus are washing your hands, social distancing, and staying home. But you can still be proactive about your lungs.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that hits frail people, such as the elderly and those with compromised immune systems harder, and it attacks the lungs. None of these tips are foolproof but taking these steps now will help you breathe easier – both physically and mentally.


Quit Vaping or Smoking Now

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Public health officials are concerned that those who vape could be more vulnerable to severe cases of coronavirus. Vaping is still so new that we still don’t have much research on its effects, but we do know that it can damage and weaken your lungs, and even kill you. For decades, we’ve known about the dangers of smoking, and specifically, the damage it can cause to the lungs. If you smoke or you vape, this is the time to take charge of your health and quit.


Increase Your Activity Level

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Even as few as 30 minutes of vigorous exercise a day, five times a week, can improve your ability to inhale, hold, and exhale large volumes of breath. That means cardio like brisk walking or running, biking, or jumping rope. Give strength-training some space in your exercise routine, since exercises like weight-lifting and Pilates strengthen your diaphragm and “teach” your body to breathe more deeply and more effectively.


Try Yoga

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Yoga isn’t exercise in the same way running or weight-lifting is but yoga provides its own unique set of benefits. Yoga helps you focus on taking big, deep breaths to oxygenate your body. Yoga can help improve your posture. Plus, yoga provides stress-relieving benefits that we could all use some more of right now.


Get Your Flu Shots Every Year

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While it’s true (at least for now) that there is no coronavirus vaccine and the flu shots only protect you for the latest version of the flu, it’s still important that you and every member of your family get age-appropriate vaccines. Many strains of flu actively attack the respiratory system and can even lead to death.

Because COVID-19 symptoms can be similar to flu symptoms, getting your flu shot can protect your peace of mind, too. 


Minimize Your Exposure to Pollutants

Minimize your exposure to pollut

Believe it or not, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that indoor pollution is worse than outdoor pollution. Take steps to reduce your exposure to harmful pollutants and toxins that can damage your lungs over the long term – especially as you ramp up your cleaning routine to fight COVID-19 and shelter at home.
⦁    Dust the furniture and vacuum at least once a week.
⦁    Keep your house as clean as possible to guard against mold, dust, and pet dander.
⦁    Use all-natural cleaning products if you can.
⦁    Open the windows when you clean.
⦁    Ditch synthetic air fresheners and candles.
⦁    Improve ventilation: if you can, spend more time with your doors and windows open. You can also use window fans and air conditioners that send their exhaust outdoors.


Take a Deep Breath…You’ve Got This!

AltaMed is here to support you and your family with complete health services and the latest news and information on COVID-19, including resources for parents with kids at home as well as a frequently updated FAQ page. Remember, we’re your community health network, and we’re here to help!
 

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Grocery Shop Safely with These 10 Tips to Protect Your Health

April 10, 2020

For many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed almost every part of our lives, especially how we shop for groceries. Even our grocery stores look different: some have long lines outside, bare shelves, shoppers and staff wearing masks and gloves, and sneeze guards at the register.

Understandably, you may be dreading your next shopping trip and worried about how safe your groceries are. These ten tips will help you protect your health, as well as the health of those in your community.

 

1. Don’t Hoard

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Don’t worry, there won’t be a food shortage.Stock your kitchen with non-perishable dry staples (rice, beans, peanut butter, canned goods) in addition to fresh and healthy fare. Many families and vulnerable seniors may not be able to get out to the markets or afford to buy two weeks of groceries at once, so be respectful and only get what you need for the immediate future.

 

2. Go to the Market When It Will Be Less Crowded

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Morning is usually a good time, but many stores now have special early hours for senior shoppers, so call before you go. Even if your kids are home from school, shop by yourself to make it safer for everyone.

 

3.   Wear a Mask

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LA Mayor Eric Garcetti has recommended we all wear masks or face coverings when we are out in public. If you don’t have one, there are instructions online for how to make your own.

There has been discussion about whether wearing gloves makes a difference in protecting against the spread of coronavirus. If you do choose to wear them, experts agree that you shouldn’t reuse disposable gloves; for every use, always wear a fresh pair. You may also use durable gloves that can be cleaned after every use. Either way, you still need to wash your hands frequently.

 

4.   Prepare a Grocery List in Advance

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Sticking to a pre-planned list will help you get in, get what you need, and get out as fast as possible.

 

5. Look with Your Eyes, Not Your Hands

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Don’t pick anything up unless you’re going to buy it.

 

6. Maintain Your Distance

Safely Grocery ShopKeep at least 6 feet between you and other shoppers and store employees.

 

7. Continue to Make Healthy Choices

Staying healthy may be one way to protect yourself from COVID-19, so stick with nutritious food choices:

Choose plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Fresh is best, but frozen produce is also full of nutrients.

• If you can’t find fresh or frozen, pick canned fruits with low or no sugar and look for low-sodium options for canned vegetables.

• Select lean cuts of meat.

• Avoid processed foods.

• Water should be your family’s drink of choice.

• Keep sodas, juices, and sugar-sweetened beverages to a minimum.

 

8. Pay with a Credit or Debit Card

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Save your cash and pay with a card instead, since paper money can spread germs.

 

9. Wipe Down Your Packages Before You Put Them Away

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Every time you go to a market and make purchases, follow these steps:

• As soon as you get home, wash your hands.

• Wipe all plastic, glass, and metal containers with a disinfecting wipe or a bleach solution (five tablespoons of bleach to a gallon of water).

• Thoroughly wash all produce with water only: soap or bleach could leave a residue that may be harmful if swallowed.

• Once you’ve finished, wash your hands again.

 

10. Show Courtesy and Appreciation to Supermarket Employees

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Supermarket workers are some of those at highest risk for getting the virus, so they’re under a lot of stress. Show them some gratitude by smiling, being patient, and saying “thank you.” You benefit from showing kindness, too: being kind can help lower your blood pressure, decrease pain and inflammation, and make you happier.

 

Having Trouble Adjusting to the New Normal?

Even if you’re the head of a family, you need to make time to take care of your mental and physical health. If you’re experiencing persistent or severe anxiety or depression, or if you find yourself turning to drugs and alcohol, contact our Behavioral Health Services at (855) 425-1777.

 

Talking to Your Child About COVID-19

April 07, 2020

As parents, we try to shield our children from bad or unpleasant news. But in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re probably already aware of the news and have questions of their own. Children deal with stress, fear, and anxiety in different ways than grown-ups; that’s why it’s important for parents to bring a calming point of view about the subject to help them feel more comfortable. Here are a few tips that will help you talk to your kids about coronavirus so you can provide them all the support they need.

 

Invite Your Child to Tell You What They Know

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Even without news programs being on in the house, children know things aren’t quite right – they’re not in school, many businesses are closed, and they probably sense your fear. So, the first thing to do is invite them to talk about it. Let your child be the one guiding the conversation and listen to all their questions and concerns. Be reassuring at all times and show them you are calm. Tell them it is normal to be worried, but they can always talk to you.

Sometimes it can be difficult to put things into words, so think about experimenting with drawing, creating stories, or doing different activities that can bring more interest to the conversation.

 

Make the Conversation Appropriate for Their Age Level

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Take an honest approach, get your facts from credible and reliable news sources and share the facts in an age appropriate way. Use language they will understand and remember to observe your children’s reactions. If you don’t have the answers to all their questions, you can search for answers together as a team.

 

Let Them Share Their Fears

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It’s important to pay attention to your children’s reactions. If they are feeling anxious or showing signs of fear, address those feelings and do not be dismissive of them. If they’ve heard other kids talking about the coronavirus, or if they have heard about it on the news, they probably think it’s a very dangerous situation that is causing many people to get sick. Keep calm and let your kids know many of the people who contract coronavirus do not get very sick, and many grown-ups are working to keep everyone safe.

 

Help Them Stay Connected to Family and Friends

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During this time of social distancing, remember that our kids are missing some of their usual interactions with family members and friends, which can make them feel worried and lonely. Talking to their loved ones over the phone or through video chat can help them stay connected and feel less concerned.

 

Teach Your Kids How to be Safe

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Teach your children the tools they need to stay safe and healthy. Show them how much they can help you and their friends and family just by washing their hands frequently. Make this a fun lesson while singing or dancing to your favorite song. Teach them that if they need to sneeze or cough, they should cover their face with the inside of their elbow. Remind them that if they start feeling sick in any way, they should let you know. Then reassure them it could just be a simple cold (but check with your family doctor, anyway).

 

Protect Your Whole Family with the Right Information

The news changes fast, and unfortunately, there’s a lot of confusing and dangerous misinformation out there. AltaMed is here for you to provide the latest updates, reliable news, and facts to keep your family safe.

We’re here for your other health needs and are now offering telephone appointments. Call us to find out about scheduling an appointment.