COVID-19 Precautions for the High-Risk

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For those categorized as high-risk of contracting COVID-19, it’s important to take all precautions when staying healthy and getting prepared. Those with higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 are, older adults 65+, pregnant women, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (i.e. diabetes, cancer, heart, respiratory and cardiovascular disease, immunodeficiency, etc.).1

Take Action

To reduce the risk of contracting illness, take precautions such as stocking up on supplies, staying home if you can, and most importantly practice social distancing. Some supplies to keep in the household are, enough groceries to last you a few weeks, cleaning supplies, personal care products and extra medications (contact your healthcare provider to discuss options). Preventative actions such as washing hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching facial areas, especially nose eyes and mouth, don’t shake hands and avoid non-essential travel. If COVID-19 reaches your community consider new ways to distance yourself between other people, such as having food and grocery items delivered instead of leaving the house.1

Remember not to overstock and deplete resources from your surrounding community. Take only what you really need.

Have a Plan

If you fall under the high-risk category, it is important to have a plan if you contract COVID-19. First, consulting with your health care provider is the most important. Make sure to have an idea of where to go and what to do if you start showing symptoms. Also stay in touch with friends, family, and neighbors in case you need to ask for help. If you start showing symptoms, stay home and call your doctor, they will help take care of you and determine whether you can begin recovering from home or need emergency help.2 Seek medical attention immediately if you show any of the symptoms in the box below. With the spread of COVID-19 happening quickly its important to stay updated on your community news and take extra precautions if it reaches your area, especially if you are high-risk. Unfortunately, we know that having a chronic health condition can increase a patient’s risk. We are here to support all our members in their time of need. Tria Health’s pharmacists are here to talk with patients about their risk factors and ways they can mitigate risk. Members, please know you can call our help desk at 1.888.799.874.

Image Source: CDC.gov

The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America: 15 Days to Slow the Spread

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/get-ready.html

COVID-19: The Important Details

Image Source: CDC/Unsplash

What is COVID 19?

COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus, is a respiratory disease that was first detected in China and has now spread to more than 100 regions internationally, including the United States. The virus itself is called the “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease is called “coronavirus disease 19” (abbreviated “COVID-19”)1. Symptoms can occur 2-14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The reported illnesses have seen mild symptoms to severe illness and even death has been confirmed. Since symptoms can vary per patient it is important to consult your medical provider if any immediate changes happen regarding your health.

Who is most at risk?

Based off early information released from China those at a higher risk include, older adults, pregnant women, people who have a serious chronic medical condition (i.e heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, immunodeficiency, etc.) and people living in a long-term care facility or nursing home.2

How is it spreading?

It is thought that the viruses main form of transmission is person-to-person, within 6-feet, through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes and are inhaled into the lungs of the healthy person. The second possible way a person can get the coronavirus is by touching an infected surface then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.3  To ensure the declining spread of coronavirus please practice social distancing, good hygiene, and avoid discretionary travel.

How can Tria Help?

Since Tria Health provides chronic condition management, many of our patients are at a higher risk for COVID-19, so our pharmacists have been actively educating engaged patients on risk factors and the importance of prevention techniques. For members that have not engaged with Tria Health, but are at a higher risk, Tria Health is providing additional communication and outreach to stress the importance of good health management and the fact that our pharmacists can be a valuable resource. And, as always, our help desk is available to all members. We are committed to assisting members with any questions they may have about their medications, risk factors or ways they can mitigate their risk.

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/summary.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#basics
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/transmission.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fabout%2Ftransmission.html

The Dangers of E-Cigarettes and Vaping

Man blowing smoke from a vape pen
Image Source: Rubén Bagüés/Unsplash

As of November 20, 2019, 2,290 cases of e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury (EVALI) have been reported to CDC from 49 states. CDC continues to work closely with FDA, states, public health partners, and clinicians on this investigation. While the CDC is still looking into other chemicals of concern to EVALI, CDC recommends that people should not use THC-containing e-cigarette or vaping products, particularly from informal sources like friends, or family, or in-person or online dealers. While this investigation is ongoing, vitamin E acetate should not be added to e-cigarette or vaping products.

What are E-Cigarettes/Vaping products?

  • E-cigarettes work by heating a liquid to produce an aerosol that users inhale into their lungs.
  • The liquid can contain: nicotine, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinoid (CBD) oils, and other substances and additives. THC is the psychoactive mind-altering compound of marijuana that produces the “high”.
  • E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products.
  • While e-cigarettes have the potential to benefit some people and harm others, scientists still have a lot to learn about whether e-cigarettes are effective for quitting smoking. 1

What is the CDC Recommending?2

  • Do not use THC-containing e-cigarette or vaping products.
  • Do not modify or add any substances to e-cigarette or vaping products that are not intended by the manufacturer, including products purchased through retail establishments.
  • Adults using e-cigarettes to quit smoking should not go back to smoking; they should weigh all risks and benefits and consider utilizing FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapies
  • Adults who continue to use an e-cigarette or vaping product, should carefully monitor themselves for symptoms and see a healthcare provider immediately if they develop symptoms like those reported in this outbreak.

Tria Health and Tobacco Cessation

For employers that offer Tria Health’s Tobacco Cessation Program, Tria provides free confidential counseling with a clinical pharmacist. If you ready to quit smoking, Tria Health’s pharmacist will assist you in managing your medications and finding a treatment plan that works for you.

Have any questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/index.htm
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html

Pharmacists and Vaccinations: A Perfect Match

Syringe surrounded by three bottles
Image Source: qimono/pixabay.com

The CDC considers vaccinations to be one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century.1-3 Thanks to vaccines, the incidence, morbidity, mortality, and prevalence of vaccine-preventable diseases have considerably diminished since vaccinations became available. Unfortunately, while vaccines are considered safe and effective in preventing illness, an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 US adults die from vaccine-preventable diseases every year.4-5 In order to improve the overall vaccination rate, it’s important we utilize all our resources. Pharmacists are easily accessible and can be instrumental in providing patients with pertinent information to help them make informed choices regarding immunizations.

Why Vaccines are Important

There are two main benefits for vaccination:

  1. You can help lower your chance of getting certain disease
    • Hepatitis B vaccine lowers your risk of liver cancer.
    • HPV vaccine lowers your risk of cervical cancer.
    • Flu vaccine lowers your risk of flu-related heart attacks or other flu-related complications from existing health conditions like diabetes and chronic lung disease.
  2. You can lower your chance of spreading disease.
    • Some people in your family or community may not be able to get certain vaccines due to their age or health condition. They rely on you to help prevent the spread of disease.
    • Infants, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems (like those undergoing cancer treatment) are especially vulnerable to infectious disease.

Vaccines are both effective and safe. They go through years of testing before the FDA licenses them for use. Both the CDC and FDA continue to track the safety of all licensed vaccines.6

Recommended Immunization Schedules

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends the following vaccination schedules:

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/

How Pharmacists can Help

Pharmacists are also in a unique position to identify those patients who are in target groups for certain vaccinations. They may also be able to ease the fears of many patients by providing them with facts such as clinical data and by dispelling common misconceptions and myths about vaccinations; they can also stress the significant risks associated with not being vaccinated.7

Tria Health was founded on the belief that pharmacists play a vital role in the management of high-risk patients. With Tria, you have the option of receiving a one-on-one private consultation with one of Tria Health’s pharmacists over the phone. During your consultation, your pharmacist will review all your current medications, including vitamins, supplements and lifestyle habits. Your pharmacist will be able to answer any questions you may have regarding vaccinations.

Sources:

  1. Oldfield BJ, Stewart RW. Common misconceptions, advancements, and updates in pediatric vaccine administration. South Med J. 2016;109(1):38-41. doi: 10.14423/SMJ.0000000000000399.
  2. Ventola CL. Immunization in the United States: recommendations, barriers, and measures to improve compliance: part 2: adult vaccinations. P T. 2016;41(8):492-506.
  3. Temoka E. Becoming a vaccine champion: evidence-based interventions to address the challenges of vaccination. S D Med. 2013;(theme issue): 68-72.
  4. Bach AT, Goad JA. The role of community pharmacy-based vaccination in the USA: current practice and future directions. Integr Pharm Res Pract. 2015;4:67-77. doi: 10.2147/IPRP.S63822.
  5. Poland GA, Schaffner W, Hopkins RH Jr, US Department of Health & Human Services. Immunization guidelines in the United States: new vaccines and new recommendations for children, adolescents, and adults. Vaccine. 2013;31(42):4689-4693. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.03.031.
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/reasons-to-vaccinate.html
  7. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/issue/2019/january2019/adult-vaccination-rates-are-rising-but-fall-short

National Influenza Vaccination Week

It’s National Influenza Vaccination Week! While flu activity can begin as early as October, it can last well into March. The CDC and its partners choose December for NIVW to remind people that it is not too late to get a flu vaccine. With this holiday approaching, it’s important to get vaccinated to help protect both you and others from the flu. Even if you haven’t yet been vaccinated and have already gotten sick with flu, you can still benefit from vaccination since the flu vaccine protects against three or four different flu viruses (depending on which flu vaccine you get).1

What are the benefits of the flu vaccine?

  • The flu vaccine can keep you from getting the flu
    • If you still get sick, the flu vaccination has been shown to reduce the severity.
  • Flu vaccination helps prevent serious medical events associated with some chronic conditions
    • Vaccination has been associated with lower rates of some cardiac events among people with heart disease, especially among those who had had a cardiac event in the past year.
  • Vaccination can help protect both children and women during/after pregnancy.

Do you have any questions regarding the flu vaccine?

Tria Health provides one-on-one confidential counseling with a pharmacist for any of your medication related questions. If Tria Health is currently a part of your healthcare plan, call the Tria Health Help desk today for any of your questions.

Tria Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

Source:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/resource-center/nivw/about.htm