Caution for COVID-19

Image via Unsplash by Nelly Antoniado

5 Rules of the Pandemic

As restrictions ease up across the country it’s important to still take precautions and safety measures to stay healthy while trying to live a full life. Below are five suggestions to reduce the risk of spreading and infection.

  1. Track your area’s health status. You want to know the percentage of positive tests in your community or state. When the rate stays at 5 percent or lower for two weeks, there’s most likely enough testing taking place to control the spread of the virus.
  2. Limit close contacts. The safest interactions are with members of your household, but if you want to widen your circle, the key is consistency. Consider forming a “quarantine pod,” in which two or three households agree on safety precautions and socialize only with one another.
  3. Manage your exposure. Think of your activities like items on a budget: You’ll have to make trade-offs, balancing higher-risk events and interactions, like a dinner party or a haircut, with lower-risk ones, like grocery shopping.
  4. Keep riskier activities short. When making plans, think about how much open space there will be, the number of other people and the amount of time you’re likely to spend. Try to keep indoor events to under an hour, and always wear a mask during close conversations.
  5. Don’t let your guard down. The advice we’ve heard time and again still applies: Practice social distancing, wash your hands often, and be extra cautious if you or someone in your circle is at higher risk.1

World Health Organization: How to protect yourself

Below is a short video clip that explains how COVID-19 is spread and how to protect yourself.

How can Tria help?

Tria Health provides chronic condition management, many of our patients are at a higher risk for serious illness with COVID-19, 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 high risk, Tria Health is providing additional communication and outreach to stress the importance of good health management and how 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. 888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/09/well/live/coronavirus-rules-pandemic-infection-prevention.html?campaign_id=154&emc=edit_cb_20200609&instance_id=19244&nl=coronavirus-briefing&regi_id=129219462&segment_id=30492&te=1&user_id=d5a32b1824a16f209129a13d97e6f353
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1APwq1df6Mw&feature=emb_logo

National Women’s Health Week

Jessica Lea
Jessica Lea, Pharm.D., President of Tria Health

A note from Jessica Lea, President of Tria Health, on National Women’s Health Week.

As I was sitting in my final class retreat this weekend to graduate with my MBA, I was moved by a very important story that was told by Father Thomas Curran, President of Rockhurst University.  He stressed the importance of taking care of oneself physically and mentally and likened the importance of this to hearing the flight attendants discuss what to do in an emergency.  Flight attendants always instruct passengers to first fasten their own oxygen mask before helping those around them. Why? Because if you don’t take care yourself first and foremost, you won’t be in any condition to help others.

National Women’s Health Week aims to increase awareness and encourage women to take care of their health, wellness and safety. Women are often so busy taking care of loved ones that we lose sight of our own needs.

If we can all spend time each day focusing on what our body needs, we will be better equipped to take care of those around us.  Thanks to Father Curran for the great and timely advice!  It relates so well to all of the important items we should consider this week as we remind those who we love to take a moment fulfill our own needs so we can be better to those around us!

Visit womenshealth.org for more information about National Woman’s Health Week.

Written by Jessica Lea, Pharm.D. | @JessLeaPharmD

The Secret to Saving Money on Your Health Care Costs

How many times have you left your physician’s office with a prescription that you never filled? Or stopped taking a prescribed medication because of side effects or high cost?

In some cases, not taking your medications as prescribed, referred to as non-adherence, may only cause minor health-related issues. However, when patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart failure, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are non-adherent, they are putting their health at serious catastrophic risk.

Quick Glance at the Non-Adherence (Medication Mismanagement) Numbers:

–       3.9 billion prescriptions were written in 2010

–       On average, 50% of patients don’t take their medications as prescribed

–       Non-adherence costs the U.S. an estimated $317 billion annually

–       $106 billion of that total estimated cost accounts for non-adherence to medications for diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure/heart disease

 

The Challenge:

One Patient + Multiple Conditions = Multiple Physicians & Multiple Medications

The average Tria Health patient sees four physicians and takes eight medications. As the number of medications increase, so does the level of patient-responsibility for daily management and understanding the purpose for each one. A major component of medication management includes patient communication with physicians about their drug regimen to prevent the risk of over-prescribing or taking medications that don’t interact well with one another.

What’s the solution?

Medication Therapy Management (MTM) is an innovative practice in which a pharmacist takes responsibility to optimize a patient’s medication regimen by ensuring medications are safe, appropriate and effective. Tria Health specializes in providing MTM services and partners with plan sponsors to help reduce over health care costs for them and their plan members. An MTM-focused pharmacist is able to work one-on-one with the patient and their physicians in order to ensure a complete circle of care.

For more information about Tria Health visit www.triahealth.com or call 1.888.799.TRIA (8742).

Sleep Smart to Improve Energy, Outlook and Productivity

Does it often take you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep at night? Or do you wake up frequently during the night — or too early in the morning — and have a hard time going back to sleep? When you awaken, do you feel groggy and lethargic? Do you feel drowsy during the day particularly during monotonous situations?  If you answered YES to any of these questions, you make be suffering from a sleeping issue, and you are not alone.

America is currently a sleep deprived country.  Overall sleep time is twenty percent less than a century ago!  The importance of sleep is vital and is not getting the attention that it deserves.

 The importance of sleep:

  • Restoration – energy to brain and body and allows for tissue growth and repair
  • Health – promotes healthy immune system, regulates hormones, growth, appetite, and mood
  • Memory consolidation

Sleep Stats:

  • 36% Americans drive drowsy/fall asleep – it is estimated that >100,000 auto crashes annually occur resulting in 1500 deaths.
  • 29% drowsy or fall asleep at work
  • 20% have lost interest in intimacy
  • 14% have missed social/family functions due to excessive fatigue

Sleep Quantity and Quality

Sleep quality refers to sleep efficiency. TIME IN BED=TIME SLEEPING!!

Frequent interruptions can lead to loss of important sleep stages.  Insomnia can result from medical or lifestyle/environmental contributors.  Medical insomnia often refers to sleep apnea, narcolepsy or restless leg syndrome (RLS).  Lifestyle/ environmental insomnia typical results from “sleep stealers.”

How much sleep is enough?

Age Sleep Needs
Newborns (1-2mon) 10.5-18 hours
Infants (3-11 mon) 9-12 hour nights and 4 naps/day
Toddlers (1-3yr) 12-14 hours
Children (3-5 yr) 11-13 hours
Children (5-12 yr) 10-11 hours
Teens 8.5-9.25 hours
Adults 7-9 hours
Older adults 7-9 hours

Common Sleep Stealers

  • Psychological – stress in the number one cause of short-term insomnia
  • Lifestyle Stressors – irregular sleep/exercise schedule, alcohol, caffeine
  • Shift work
  • Jet lag
  • Environment – temperature, light, noise, children/spouse, pets
  • Medical

Analyzing YOUR sleep habits

Look at your individual sleep patterns and behaviors.  Keeping a sleep diary is a great way to document your sleep quality and quantity.  It will also help you identify “sleep stealers.”

  • Identify fatigue level
  • Trouble staying awake during monotonous activities?
  • Unusually irritable??
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering facts?

Small changes YOU can make- Non-pharmacological Treatments and Solutions

  • Maintain regular sleep schedules – avoid “sleeping in” on weekends.  Daily sunlight exposure is important as well
  • Avoid post lunch caffeine
  • Avoid nicotine and alcohol within 2 hours of bedtime
  • Exercise regularly and earlier in the day – goal 30 minutes most days of the week preferably late afternoon (4-6 hrs before bed- this allows your body to cool down before bed)
  • Save bedroom for sleep and intimacy ONLY
  • Relax/unwind before bed- try to keep T.V., computers and smart phones out of the bedroom
  • Avoid daytime napping
  • Control bedroom temperature- a cool environment is usually best
  • Don’t lie in bed awake- if unable to fall asleep within 10 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing like reading or listening to soft music until drowsy
  • Stay up later? Make gradual changes to schedule to improve sleep efficiency

Tria Health Circle of CareVisit Triahealth.com or call our Tria Help Desk at 1.888.799.TRIA (8742) for more information.

 

10 Self-Care Strategies for Diabetes

1. A1C:

A1C is a test that doctors use to measure your average blood sugar control for the past 2-3 months. Your goal should be an A1C of less than 7%. Have your doctor check your A1C at least twice a year, or more frequently if your blood sugar is not well controlled.

2. Blood Glucose Monitoring:

Checking your blood sugars will let you know how well your diet and medications are working. It is normal for your blood sugars to rise and fall throughout the day, so it is important to talk with your doctor about when to check your blood sugars. Blood Glucose Targets: Fasting or before meals – 70-130 mg/dl; two hours after the start of a meal or snack – less than 180 mg/dl.

3. Blood Pressure:

The combination of high blood pressure and diabetes can put you at higher risks for heart disease, kidney disease and stroke. Remember to take your blood pressure pills daily. Try to keep your blood pressure lower than 130/80 mmHg.

4. Cholesterol:

Keeping your cholesterol in check can help lower your risks of heart disease and stroke. Have your doctor check your cholesterol routinely. For more accurate cholesterol test results, avoid eating for 8 hours before you have your blood drawn.

5. Quit Smoking:

Quitting smoking greatly decreases your risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other health problems. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the products available to help you quit smoking. Over the counter medications include nicotine chewing gum, lozenges or patches. Prescription options include: Buproprion SR (Zyban®), Varenicline (Chantix®), and nicotine inhaler or nasal spray.

6. Daily Foot Exams:

Check your feet daily for cuts, infections, sores, and make sure toenails are trimmed and kept clean routinely. If you notice any cuts, discolored skin, rashes, or sores that do not go away after 3-5 days, please notify your doctor.

7. Diet/Exercise:

Simple changes like these can help you live a healthier life with diabetes – Exercising 30-45 minutes three to four times a week; limiting alcohol intake to 1-2 drinks per day; reading the nutritional labels on food products to help monitor your intake of sodium and fat.

8. Hypoglycemia:

When your blood sugar is too low, you may experience dizziness, sweating, trembling, fast heartbeat, and wet clammy fingers. Treat these symptoms of hypoglycemia with the “Rule of 15’s.”

  • Eat 15 grams of carbs (i.e. ½ cup orange juice or non-diet soda, 1 tablespoon honey, syrup or sugar, 6 to 10 lifesavers, 1 glass of milk)
  • Wait 15 minutes, then recheck your blood sugar
  • If you’re blood sugar is still low, eat another 15 grams of carbs and repeat step #2
  • If your blood sugar is still low after repeating steps 1 through 3 twice, call your doctor or 911
9. Regular Check-ups & Immunizations:

  • Comprehensive dilated eye exam annually
  • Dental exams every 6 months
  • Monofilament foot exam yearly to check for nerve damage or diabetic neuropathy
  • Flu shots yearly
  • Pneumonia vaccine once if less than 65 years old; Repeat vaccine if greater than 64 years old and  if first vaccine was given more than 5 years ago
10. Medication Adherence:

Medications play an important role in your health and they work best when they are taken correctly.  If you don’t take your medications as recommended by your doctor or pharmacist, they will not work as well as they should. It is important to follow the directions for each medication so you’ll get the most from them and stay in better health.

Visit Triahealth.com or call our Tria Help Desk at 1.888.799.TRIA (8742) for more information.