WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — We practice and prepare for emergency situations like fire drills, active shooters and plane crashes. But when it comes to our own health, we often don’t have a plan.
With the threat of COVID-19 being so real, there is no better time then now to be prepared.
Most people don’t necessarily plan to go to the emergency room, but in the event you end up there, there are steps you can take now.
Dr. Shady Salib, the chief of staff at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, says it is a good idea to be as ready as possible.
“You never wake up, check your calendar and say, 'I am going to go to the ER at 3 p.m. Let me get ready.' Right? It happens in a blink,” said Salib.
The hospitals are busier than ever, the staff is stretched and heightened protocols are in place to protect everyone from exposure to COVID-19. So, there are some things you can do at home now.
“No. 1, you need a list of your medications. Either write it down or put it under notes in your phone. So, this way when someone asks you what medicine you are on at home, we don’t have a plastic bag that’s full of bottles and stuff. We have it written down, the dosage and how many times a day, so the doctor or nurses can look at it and see the results,” said Salib.
Aside from documenting your routine medications, at the onset of any symptoms, you should begin writing every detail, including what you are feeling, the time of day and when things seem to get better or even worse.
“When you take your first medication, please write it down when you took it, so this way you can keep track of it. Write down the temperature and how many milligrams of Tylenol you took.,” said Salib.
With the chance that your condition could deteriorate fast, it’s also not a bad idea to have a bag put together with important things if you need to be rushed to and admitted into the hospital.
Some of the must-have items you’ll want to include are a charger for your phone and all devices, a hairbrush, laptop, iPad or tablet, toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also want to get together comfortable clothes you’d be willing to leave in the hospital, pajamas for length of stay, slippers, socks and underwear.
Also, Salib says one more very important list.
“You need to have a list of your medical problems. If you know you have COPD, emphysema, lung problems, diabetes, heart disease, have it written down. This way someone can glance at it real quick and know what you have instead you trying to think about what medical problems you have when you’re sick or short of breath or have chest pain,” said Salib.
If you are admitted for COVID-19, you will be isolated and visitors are not permitted. So, having what you need and also what you need to communicate with loved ones via technology is of utmost importance.