Red Flag Warning Signs that You Need to See Your Doctor
I wanted to start this week’s blog with an update on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as I have been getting a bunch of emails on the subject. With the state of current events, news of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has taken over all of our media sources. Whether it be your local news, Facebook, or Twitter, the Coronavirus and all of the true and untrue information is everywhere. A few weeks ago, I touched on some of the facts on the Coronavirus as they were available then. However, information and numbers are constantly and rapidly changing, so I am going to leave it up to the people “in the know” like the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control to give you all the updates. What I want to provide from my blog is helpful information that can help you every day. So, what do I want to say about Coronavirus this week? First and foremost, wash your hands using good technique and if you can’t get to a sink use hand sanitizer (60% alcohol). Secondly, avoid large crowds of people in the meantime. Third, go with your gut and if you think your health could be compromised by doing things like traveling or going to an event, do what is best for you. Stay away from situations that you feel could compromise your health.
· Stay home – keep away from others in the house and use a separate bathroom if possible.
· Have another family member care for your animals (there isn’t enough information that animals could be carriers but if at all possible, have someone care for your pet)
· Avoid public areas
· Avoid public transportation
· CALL AHEAD – Don’t show up at your physician’s office. Call ahead and let them know you might have or suspect that you are infected with COVID-19
· Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and dispose of tissues in a lined trash can.
· Clean “high touch” surfaces every day
*** Seek medical attention if your illness is worsening (like causing you to be short of breath) If you have a need to call 911, make sure you tell the 911 operator that you suspect or have COVID-19 and if possible put on a facemask before they arrive).***
Now that we have touched on COVID-19, let’s talk about some “Red Flags” for when you should seek guidance from your physician. One of the biggest challenges for many of my pulmonary rehab patients is staying well and avoiding exacerbations of their condition. Early intervention is a key strategy to slowing down the progression of a chronic lung condition. You don’t want to wait to seek medical attention when you are noticing negative changes in your condition. Repeat hospital visits lead to increased debility, increased financial burden, decreased confidence, depression, and/or increased stress. None of these things are good for the body or mind.
Here are a few signs and symptoms that should warrant you to schedule a visit or (at the very least) make a call to your physician to express your concerns.
1. Increased shortness of breath, wheezing or coughing
2. Tightness in the chest that won’t go away
3. Chest pain
4. Mucus that has increased in amount, that has changed color or is bloody
5. Increased fatigue
6. Increased swelling of the feet, ankles, or hands
7. A fever, chills, or dizziness
8. Friends are noticing that you are more forgetful, confused, or sleepy
9. Are feeling more irritable or short-tempered and/or noticing changes in your personality
10. A sudden increase in weight of 2-3 lb. in a couple of days
11. Increased oxygen requirement or low oxygen saturations (either at rest or with exertion)
12. Increased use of your “rescue inhaler” (or needing to use it more than 4 times a day)
This isn’t an “all-inclusive” list but will help you to make a better decision of whether or not a symptom can wait or not. Remember don’t wait until signs and symptoms worsen. The faster that you can resolve any issues regarding your health, the better it is for you in the long run.
Thanks for Reading and Stay Well Everyone!
If you enjoyed this blog, I invite you to check out some of the topics I have covered in the past
Remember: We are in this TOGETHER!
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