4 ways to put your health first during COVID-19


by Amy Wilson, MD

Apr 22, 2020

Your health shouldn’t take a break because of COVID-19 or physical distancing. It’s more important now than ever to keep attending to health conditions and taking care of yourself. This may look a little different than usual — as do many other aspects of life at the moment — but don’t let the current circumstances put a pause on your health.

While we are in unprecedented times, we want you to know that we are here for you and all your health needs.

As we all navigate life during this pandemic together, we promise to keep your health front and center. Here’s how you can do the same.

Take emergencies seriously

Most emergency conditions are better served the sooner they are identified. Simply put, it saves lives to get to a hospital where our care teams are equipped to deal with emergency conditions. 

Since COVID-19 came along, there has been a concerning dip in the number of people coming to the emergency department for two specific conditions — stroke and heart attack. Please remember that it is critical to call 911 and seek care immediately if you think you or a loved one may have experienced one of these medical emergencies. Staying at home with acute conditions like these can put you at risk of suffering long-term damage. 

When emergency care is received in a timely fashion, it can significantly improve your health and chances of making a full recovery with less risk for brain and heart damage. The doctors and other emergency personnel in the emergency department (ED) are on standby to swiftly take care of these urgent health conditions. 

Don’t be afraid to go to the ED

If you’re worried about getting COVID-19, rest assured that we have extra precautions in place for your protection. We go to great lengths to keep everyone in our hospital areas safe at all times, including during a pandemic like COVID-19. 

When you come to the ED, expect staff to assess you for your personal risk for COVID-19 through a short series of screening questions. You can also expect to see staff taking extra precautions with masks and other protective gear. You may be provided with a face mask to help protect yourself and those around you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or request further instructions.

To protect the health and safety of all patients and staff, visitor policies are being restricted at this time. Before heading to the ED, please check your hospital’s policy for any new changes. We realize having support as you face health challenges is important but restricting traffic from outside the hospital helps protect everyone within our walls. Remember, these steps are being taken to keep everyone — including you — safe.

To learn more about our COVID-19 Safe Care plan, visit BSWHealth.com.

Continue routine care virtually

Virtual care has been a hot topic the past couple of years but has begun to blossom in the era of COVID-19. Because your health is our ultimate priority, we have expanded our virtual care capabilities to provide easy, safe and efficient ways to connect with your doctors and care teams.

Through the MyBSWHealth app and web portal, many acute conditions are now able to be assessed virtually, including sore throat, blood pressure check, rash and other conditions. 

And remember, chronic conditions don’t take breaks. Keeping up with your routine care, staying on top of prescription refills and bringing up any new issues to your doctor can go a long way in keeping you healthy.

If you have an upcoming appointment, your doctor may reach out to you to convert in-person appointments to one of our virtual care options. These options include phone calls, messaging or video visits on MyBSWHealth and third-party video conferencing.

Whether it’s an upcoming appointment for a chronic condition or a new health concern, we are at the ready with virtual tools to help you stay well.

Take care of your well-being

Though your daily routines may have shifted, continue to take care of your body and mind through these healthy habits:

  • Exercise: Try to find ways to move every day. You might have to be more intentional about your exercise plans but with a little planning and creativity, you can stay healthy despite physical distancing. Try heading outdoors for a run or bike ride, or find workouts you can do from home.
  • Diet: Focus on nutritious foods that will keep you satisfied and keep your immune system running smoothly. If you have questions about how to eat healthy, ask your primary care physician for advice.
  • Mental health: If you’re experiencing anxiety, you’re not alone. Manage anxiety and stress with coping mechanisms like journaling or meditation. If you’re overwhelmed by anxiety, talk to your doctor or a licensed mental health professional.

Need a doctor? Schedule an appointment or access virtual care today.

About the Author

Amy Wilson, MD, is a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician and Chief Medical Officer for Baylor University Medical Center, part of Baylor Scott & White Health. Get to know Dr. Wilson.

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