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What To Take With All Your Prescription Meds

prescriptionsThe older we get, the more prescription medicines we seem to need – sometimes too many.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 68 percent of adults 65 and older take three or more prescription drugs, and 42 percent take five or more. And from 2006 to 2014, the rate of emergency department visits by older adults for adverse drug effects has doubled.

Sometimes, the increase in prescriptions can result from newer or better medications, particularly antidepressive and cardioprotective ones. But all too often, it’s from lack of medicasl coordination. “I think the issue is that a lot of times people see more than one specialist,” says Dr. Lee Lindquist, a geriatrician and associate professor at Northwestern University’s Feinber School of Medicine, “and they may be given more than one medicine [by each].”

As Virginia reopens, keep Coronavirus from coming in the door.

reopening optThese are times of trade-offs.

On the one hand, we want to be with our family members and get help in preparing meals, being mobile around the house, bathing, dressing, and other activities of daily living.

On the other, having avoided Coronavirus by sheltering at home, we don’t want to get infected by people who’ve been out and about – whether home health aides or family caregivers – bringing Coronavirus in with them.

That’s why last week, on May 19, the CDC updated their guidelines for home health workers. They make good sense for family caregivers as well:

What doctors have learned (and you need to know) about mechanical ventilators

vetilator optIn early March, when the COVID-19 outbreak reached pandemic status, anguished cries wen up about critical shortages of mechanical ventilators at hospitals.

In the two months from early March to early May, two things have changed: First hospitals quickly received a surplus of ventilators. Second, as doctors got more experience treating Coronavirus patients, they discovered they didn’t need the ventilators as much as they thought they would.

“Initially we thought we’d see patients get rapidly worse, and we would rather place them on a ventilator in a more controlled fashion than in a crisis when they’re crashing,” said Dr. Marc Rovner, a pulmonologist at Indiana University Health’s Methodist Hospital.

But now, doctors are using mechanical ventilators as a last-ditch tool for making the difference between life and death.

Once Virginia starts reopening, should you see your doctor in person?

virginia reopening optToday, most of Virginia starts reopening.

From today until at least the end of the month, restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, places of worship, indoor shooting ranges, and brick-and-mortar retail stores such as book sellers will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity, subject to certain restrictions. Others, such as schools, beaches, and sleep-away camps, will stay closed.

And, most important from a health standpoint, the ban on so-called “elective” procedures (i.e., those that don’t involve life-or-death threats) is being lifted.

This doesn’t mean that seniors who’ve been putting off routine or chronic care should all rush right down to their doctors’ offices. People over 65 are still the age group most vulnerable to COVID-19, and most of the deaths occur with patients over 80.

So the question is: When should you (or an elder you’re caring for) see the doctor in person? Consult by telemedicine? Or call 911 for an ambulance to the emergency room?

Be on the lookout for these additional Coronavirus early warning signs

on the lookoutSince the Coronavirus pandemic has been with us for months now, most people already know its basic warning signs: Coughing, fever, trouble breathing or shortness of breath, inability to wake up fully, and new confusion.

But now, partly on the basis of anecdotal evidence, the CDC has added six more that can show up two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

These are:

  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell