Long term health concerns with COVID-19 infection.

covid can also cause....

Death from COVID is not the only concern for those who get the infection.  Long-lasting effects from the virus can affect the body. Damage to the lungs for those who recover from severe COVID lung infection may lead to an increased predisposition to future lung infections.  Confusion and fatigue are symptoms people may continue to experience after recovering from the acute effects of the virus.  While many who contract COVID do improve, the long term effects of this virus are still unknown.  As a clinician and as a patient, I continue to advocate for you and recommend preventing COVID exposure.

Lungs

A  virus caused me symptoms for months and may have contributed to other conditions that still bother me.   Within two years of starting my career as a PA, a colleague diagnosed me with infectious mononucleosis.  I had elevated liver enzymes, fevers, sore throat, night sweats, dehydration, and body aches.  When I saw my PA, she and her supervising doctor tested me for streptococcal throat infection, hepatitis A, B, C, tuberculosis, and HIV.  I tested negative for those infections.  A blood smear showed atypical lymphocytes.  An EBV titer blood test suggested it was the cause of my illness.  Epstein Barr is a virus that causes mild symptoms in most people.  However, some people develop more severe symptoms.  In my illness, the acute symptoms lasted three weeks.  I went on to battle postexertional exhaustion; I describe it as feeling like a rag doll.  Instead of feeling energized after a simple 15-minute walk in the park, I would experience overwhelming tiredness that lasted for days.  I knew I had to regain my strength, and it was frustrating when exercise made me feel worse.  I had no choice but to cope with chronic fatigue, which lasted more than six months.  I remember, at the time, my employer allowed me to return to work part-time for several months.  I was grateful I worked in a clinic and for a health care organization.  Had I worked for a less sympathetic employer, I could have lost my job.  It was physically not possible for me to return to full-time employment.  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a real condition.  My symptoms were debilitating.  To this day, some health care providers fail to recognize chronic fatigue syndrome and often tell patients that their symptoms are all in their heads.  The unbelieving clinicians cite a lack of blood tests and other organic tests as reasons to support their disbelief.  Yet, those same clinicians believe in the diagnosis of migraines even though there is a lack of blood tests and other tests to confirm migraines.  Both conditions have criteria for meeting the diagnosis and are found in populations around the globe.  Clinicians have had to be encouraged by their colleagues to believe in CFS.  Estimates suggest there are 2.5 million Americans who suffer from CFS.  People who have persistent chronic fatigue seek treatment from more than one health care provider before being diagnosed.  A  2008 survey found up to 44% of people with the diagnosis reported having to visit five or more clinicians before the determination made.  Patients also add they had to seek a different health care provider to find someone who believes them and, thus, treats their symptoms. Even if a person sees a clinician who recognizes CFS, the treatment recommendations may not be up to date.  To make matters more troubling, people with CFS battle symptoms for years before they get treatmentAnother problem with making this diagnosis is the fact that several comorbid conditions share traits with the disease.    Conditions such as fibromyalgia, IBS, and hypothyroidism have overlapping symptoms, making it difficult for even experienced clinicians to make a diagnosis.  Research for CFS continues as this condition is expensive due to costs of care and loss of productivity.

It is essential to remember some viral infections are associated with long term risks.   After an EBV diagnosis, a person has an increased risk of developing lymphoma.  Varicella virus infections can return later in life, causing shingles that may present with a variety of symptoms and possibly severe consequences.

The number of new COVID infections reached all-time highs last week in the states of Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Oregon, and South Carolina.  As the country reopens, the virus spreads, and new infections abound.  Sign up for member-only benefits, including:

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Stay informed and stay well.

Updated on 6/6/2020 at 2:07 pm EST

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Why I Created MyMedicInfo

I’ve been a physician assistant for 25 years.  I have worked in family medicine, internal medicine, addiction medicine, and orthopedic surgery.  I have seen patients struggle with remembering the specific names or doses of their medication.  I know the questions your health care providers ask when you see them in the clinic, urgent care, emergency room, hospital, and ambulances.  I’ve seen patients in agony trying to answer my questions when they had migraines, chest pain, abdominal pain, or shortness of breath.

When the encouragement from changing from paper charts to electronic medical records developed, it was sold to us as ways to improve patient care.  There would be fewer medical errors, better communication, and improved outcomes for patients.  Over the years, the government enforced electronic medical records by reducing medicare reimbursements year after year on those hospitals and clinicians who did not use electronic medical records.

Your medical information is encrypted and protected on those web servers.  However, all of your medical treatments and information are probably on different systems.  If you have a primary care physician, a cardiologist, and an endocrinologist, the odds that they are all on the same electronic medical system is low.  To get access to all of that data is cumbersome and often complicated.  MyMedicInfo simplifies access to your medical history by using Trusona for user authentication and no password to remember.   Plus, you control your medical information—highly sensitive and confidential information you can omit.  For example, if you have a history of a sexually transmitted infection, simply skip that information.  An emergency room physician or paramedic is more interested in your allergies, medications, and what diagnosed conditions you have.  MyMedicInfo will enhance your medical care.

As a health care provider who has worked in a variety of clinics and environments, I can get frustrated with the technology intended to make things better.  I’ve worked at a hospital where the health care providers had to take classes to use the hospital’s electronic medical records.  Health care electronic systems should not be so complicated that you have to take classes to navigate through them.

I developed this website to keep your information secure.  It has three levels of security.  First, it has the highest level of SSL encryption available.  A firewall is frequently scanning and preventing unauthorized access: Additionally, it uses a password-free two-factor authentication login to verify your identity.  The service does not allow a user to upload files to protect the website.  I know that with any medical care, you need to trust the people involved to protect your information and promote your health. 

You probably have received medical treatment from a physician assistant.  You know they are highly skilled, knowledgable practitioners.  I am proud of my career and my chosen profession.  Physician Assistants are sometimes called patient advocates.  We have a reputation for explaining complex medical terms in a way that is easier to understand.  We have a reputation of spending more time with patients, especially when doctors are pressured for their time.  Physician Assistants tend to be thorough in their evaluations and have a high rate of patient satisfaction.

I’ve included a link to a video clip of one of my recent discussions on the COVID pandemic. Watch it if you want to learn more about me.  I want to earn your business.  I wish you wellness and continued excellence in medical care as you interact with professionals in the future.

Denial Is Powerful.

Weeks ago I posted about the scary conditions in China with the COVID virus. I got accused of fear-mongering when I mentioned it could happen in the United States. I had someone curse at my post. I had another person laugh at it. I guess everyone is going to have their own opinion.
People will be contrary. On the other hand, others simply do not want to acknowledge the facts. Denial is powerful. Denial can help some people continue to function when the reality is too painful to accept.

In the media, we are being told facts over fear. Obviously many people are fearful about the virus. We have seen people buying excessive amounts of groceries. We have been told that you may need to quarantine for 14 days. In many people’s thoughts, they equate a 14-day quarantine with weeks of supplies and food. I ask you, have you ever seen that occur nationwide before?

With all the headlines that have transpired since the last time I posted, my head is spinning. I admit I got overwhelmed. I try to anticipate what the best course of action is to protect my loved ones and myself. I have wondered about what to do about work. I have debated if I should even risk going to work as health care providers are at a greater risk. For some employees, they were not given an option. Some businesses already closed down. Apple employees will not have to work and the company has enough money to pay all its employees during the two weeks shut down. They are doing this in all countries including China which had its stores closed earlier and have since reopened. I think Apple sees the Chinese people changing their routines and using protective measures which have reduced the spread of the virus. In the United States, we are just now confirming cases and are starting to see the first confirmed deaths from COVID 19. I pray that the shut down of schools, businesses, and social distancing makes a dramatic impact decreasing the number of people who become infected and thus prevent deaths. At the minimum, the logic behind #flattening the curve makes sense. We do not want our hospitals overwhelmed with patients. Be wise and follow the national recommendations to limit our exposure. While it is a great sacrifice for us a nation, the consequences of not following the recommended guidelines are horrific.

Our generation has not seen anything like this before. At first, we were told that this virus primarily is more lethal on our elders and among those with pre-existing conditions. Scientists are trying to understand how some places have a higher death rate than other places. However, France is seeing more than 50% of those who are in the ICU’s for COVID 19 are under the age of 60. Yesterday, I heard that there is a 45-year-old in New Orleans in the ICU and two emergency room doctors are now patients in critical condition.

Again, the purpose of these posts is to not cause fear or panic. The purpose of these posts is to promote your health. Prevention is the best medicine, especially NOW. If you are in denial, recognize it. Better to be as safe than sorry.

Updated 3/25/2020 at 12:30 pm  EST

 

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How to Protect Yourself Against Medical Errors with MyMedicInfo.

Automobile accidents occur in staggering numbers in the United States, to the tune of over 10 million per year! (according to US Census data from 2009) How many deaths do you think result from those accidents annually? Personally, I found it fascinating to note that there were only 26 deaths attributed to motor vehicles in 1899. With an explosion in population, an Industrial Revolution afoot, and the mass production of the modern automobile, that number had increased to 12,155 fatalities in a year by 1920. It is no great wonder that it continued rising, having nearly doubled to 23,165 by 1944. Car accident deaths peaked in 1973 with 54,589 Americans dying in motor vehicle altercations. Since then, the number has been in decline, reaching as low as 32,367 deaths in the year 2011. The most recent statistics for 2016 can be read here.  Odds of death in the United States can viewed here.

Besides a sense of historical context for auto accidents, these numbers tell us a couple of things. Thankfully, deaths from car accidents have been steadily decreasing, likely due to developments in car safety technology and advancements in medicine to treat accident victims. However, this also leads us to surmise that more people are surviving auto accidents, requiring emergency treatment. For many with a history of health problems, a trip to the Emergency Room may be every bit as deadly as the accident that sent them there in the first place!

 

To Err is Human; To Prepare, Divine.

Authorities suggest that deaths in hospitals resulting from medical errors may exceed fatalities from auto accidents each year. The exact numbers are hard to pin down, but according to a 2004 Health Grades estimation, medical error deaths could total as many as 195,000 per year. While this is still a very small percentage of the total number of people admitted to hospitals each year, it is still cause for great concern, especially for those who already have recurring health problems. One particular example of medical error is administering treatment medications to patients en route to the hospital. Intravenous infusions of certain medications during an ambulance ride can save a patient’s life. However, certain pre-existing medical conditions make treatment with these common lifesaving drugs, not only dangerous, but even deadly. For example, patients on blood thinners, heart medications, diabetic drugs, and/or allergy meds will be treated differently if the details of their medical history are known by paramedics. This is why having the medical app  can be a lifesaver in the event of an accident or health crisis.

Why MyMedicInfo?

In an emergency, such as a car accident, you may not be able to speak for yourself. In fact, even if you could, statistics say that less than 50% of patients can even list their current medications and dosages. Now, imagine the scenario where you are severely injured in an automobile accident and cannot inform the emergency personell about specific medications, allergies, and known health conditions. In such a situation, symptoms may be misdiagnosed, which makes effective treatment impossible. Studies suggest that half of all medical errors may result from mistakes made during the hospital admission or discharge process. Moreover, emergency responders are trained to look for medical bracelets when initiating treatment. The simple preemptive measure of wearing a medical ID device helps keep minor injuries from turning fatal, reduces hospital error, and may improve your chances of a healthy recovery.

What is a Medical App?

Modern medicine is becoming necessarily more bound to technology. The use of modern technology in treating patients helps to reduce error and provide better treatment. One of the most prominent examples of this can be seen in the push to develop EHR software or electronic health records. Traditional health records are subject to damage, loss, theft, and even human error. We are moving toward a new paradigm where medical records can be kept “in the cloud” and accessed by doctors anywhere in the world. As we wait for modern medicine and technology to further intertwine, we can prepare by improving communications with medical professionals.  To work with technological developments in the medical industry, you can shift the paradigm from the traditional engraved medical alert ID to something even better. That something is MyMedicInfo, a Medical app that stores all of your medical information in one place.

 

MyMedicInfo Can Save Your Life

MyMedicInfo is a medical app that you access on your hand held device. MyMedicInfo can communicate your current medications, past medical history, allergies, and even contact info, such as next of kin. The sheer shock of an accident or injury can be enough to prevent you from effectively communicating your unique medical needs to first responders. MyMedicInfo can save your life or the life of someone that you love by making sure that your unique medical needs are communicated to those administering treatment.