Personal Physicians
David Katzman, MD & Jennifer DeLaney, MD Internal Medicine Specialists

Safety Protocols to Prevent COVID-19

Jennifer DeLaney, MD

COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Missouri and in our practice. We thought we would reinforce safety protocols to minimize your risk.

After 5 months of this, we are all craving human interaction with friends and family. But it's important to still maintain precautions. Following these guidelines should help minimize your likelihood of infection when around others:

  • Indoor interactions are high risk. If you do socialize with people outside your household, do it outdoors. Dinner inside sounds tempting when the weather is steamy and the mosquitos are biting, but is it worth potentially getting sick, having to quarantine for two weeks, and having to call everyone you have encountered in the last ten days to tell them you may have exposed them to the coronavirus?
  • Outdoor interactions are only safe if they are small (6 people or fewer) and distant (6-10 feet or more). There are numerous case reports of outdoor spreading of the virus when larger groups assemble. The party can wait. Two weeks off work and calling lots of folks to tell them they are exposed is no fun. They won’t remember the party, but they will remember the COVID-19 infection.
  • Masks have to be worn properly and fit properly to protect you. If your glasses are fogging, the mask doesn’t fit. If your nose is not covered, the mask doesn’t fit. If there are gaps around the edge of the mask that allow airflow in, the mask doesn’t fit. Take the time to purchase a variety of masks to find a brand that fits you comfortably. Mask tape, like cambeau, can reduce gapping and keep glasses from fogging.
  • Face shields provide added protection from droplets, but don’t filter the air you breathe. If you are indoors, you need a mask. Faceshields alone are ok for outdoor activities at a distance from others, but masks are more protective for other activities.

Please keep these guidelines in mind as you strive to balance the necessity to interact with others with your family's health and the health of those around you.  

How Best to Prepare Yourself for COVID-19 

David Katzman, MD
I know we are all trying to do our best to avoid getting infected by COVID-19. We are social distancing, wearing masks, avoiding gatherings, washing hands and other measures we have talked about in prior newsletters. Yet, over 50% of individuals with COVID-19 are unable to identify how or where they were exposed. So, some of us may get COVID-19 infections in spite of our good behavior. Here are some tips to minimize the chances for the infection becoming more serious:
  1. Lose weight. Obesity is a major independent risk factor for the infection becoming serious with respiratory complications. Women who are overweight are 3.5 times more likely to get lung problems and overweight men are 6 times more likely. Risk of dying doubled for those obese (BMI over 30) and is 4 times greater for the very obese. This risk was most striking in obese men under 60 as shown in this article.
  2. Make sure your vaccinations are up to date. If you are over 65 or have chronic heart or lung issues, you should have received the pneumonia series to prevent pneumococcal pneumonia, a potential complication of any viral infection. Make sure you get your Influenza vaccine this Fall (see accompanying article) regardless of your age. 
  3. Exercise! It may be more difficult without the gym or with the recent hot weather, but the more fit you are the better you will be able to remain strong in spite of being infected. Something as simple as walking outdoors daily for 30 minutes is sufficient to strengthen your heart and lungs.
  4. Take charge of any chronic medical problems. This is a good time to make sure your sugars are controlled if you have Diabetes, your blood pressure is controlled if you have hypertension, and your asthma is controlled on your current regimen. Now is also an ideal time to stop smoking as the benefits from stopping begin immediately. Make sure you are taking all of your medications properly.
  5. Boost your immune system — See next article!

Dr. DeLaney and I are always available to assist in any of these areas. Please feel free to reach out to us if you would like to discuss any of these matters. Together we can minimize the risks from COVID-19.

Boosting Your Body’s
Virus-Fighting Machine

Jane Kozlowski, RN
Researchers at Washington University suggest that boosting your immune system may prevent or minimize COVID-19 infections. Hospitalized patients with COVID-19 possess far fewer circulating immune cells than normal, which may inhibit their body’s own defense mechanism. Strengthening your immune system before exposure could help you prevent infection or minimize symptoms. So what are some ways to boost your immune system?
  1. Eat healthy: Eating a diet rich in vitamins and nutrients is central to maintaining a healthy immune system. Aim for a rainbow of colors to get the most variety of nutrients. Limit processed foods and refined sugars as too much of these can suppress your immune system by reducing your white blood cells’ ability to fight off infection. 
  2. Exercise: As mentioned in the above article, being fit is important in fighting off infection. Regular exercise can help reduce the risk of contracting illnesses, especially upper respiratory infections, by releasing antibodies and other infection-fighting cells. Carving out time for strengthening and body resistance exercises (there are some great examples of these exercises on youtube) in addtion to the cardio mentioned above is key to fueling your immune system.
  3. Sleep: Not getting adequate sleep can decrease your immune system by reducing antibodies and infection-fighting cells. The recommended amount of sleep is 7-9 hours a day for adults. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try some of these sleep hygiene tips. 
  4. Hydrate: Staying hydrated helps to improve your immune system by eliminating toxins and other waste materials. It also helps your circulatory system deliver the nutrients your body needs to stave off infection. In general, unless directed otherwise by your doctor, you should drink eight cups of fluid a day. As mentioned above, however, limit the amount of sugary drinks as these suppress your immune system.
  5. Reduce Stress: Chronic stress is known to release hormones that decrease your ability to fight off infections. It’s important to find ways to help reduce your stress with exercise, deep breathing or meditation, and/or pursuing enjoyable activities. In addition, staying close with friends or your religious affiliation provides grounding when you feel overwhelmed. Finally, if stress gets to much you should contact us for help.

Following the above five tips can help improve your immune system and increase your ability to prevent or minimize coronavirus infection, or even the flu this upcoming season. 

Stay well! :)

Flu Shots
We have been receiving some calls asking about the timing of the Influenza vaccine. We are expecting to receive our shipment in early September and will send out notice by email or postcard once it arrives. Our plan is to implement our flu shot clinics similarly to how we did the antibody testing – they will be given by appointment only outside under a canopy in the parking lot. Please stay tuned for more information on our flu shot clinic dates. We will send these dates out once our shipment arrives. 

We have heard that Walgreens and CVS have received their Influenza vaccines already. If you prefer to get yours there, we completely understand and just ask that you send us a copy of the documentation for your chart. Thank you!
Please visit our website if you have missed any past newsletters. The newsletter archives can be found by hovering your mouse over the "Medical Links" tab.

11709 Old Ballas Rd. Suite 101, St. Louis, MO 63141

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