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Features

It's not just the coronavirus that's a threat to our health

Delaying treatment for emergencies, routine care may have consequences

Pictured is Dr. Victoria Ochoa, obstetrician/gynecologist, in an exam room in the Morris Hospital obstetrics and gynecology specialists office. Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers, a member of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association (IHA), is supporting a statewide public education campaign encouraging patients to move their health ahead.
Pictured is Dr. Victoria Ochoa, obstetrician/gynecologist, in an exam room in the Morris Hospital obstetrics and gynecology specialists office. Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers, a member of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association (IHA), is supporting a statewide public education campaign encouraging patients to move their health ahead.

With so much attention on COVID-19, it’s tempting to delay treatment for other health concerns.

But it’s not necessarily a good idea.

According to statistics on the Illinois Health and Hospital Association website, 48% of the people surveyed said someone in their family skipped or delayed medical care due to COVID-19, and 11% said a condition of a family member worsened due to missed care.

But in reality, patients still require treatment for a variety of health issues, including heart attacks and cancer, and many are receiving these treatments without catching COVID-19.

That’s why the IHA has launched a public education campaign to encourage patients to get those health screenings, physician visits, preventive care, surgeries and emergency room visits, according to a news release from Morris Hospital, which is supporting the campaign.

The “Moving Healthy Ahead” initiative lets the community know of procedures and practices that hospitals across the state have implemented to ensure their safety.

These practices include such actions as social distancing in waiting areas, symptom and temperature checks upon entering the hospital, mandatory mask requirements and enhanced cleaning.

In a May 4 Herald-News story, Dr. Shelly Flais, an American Academy of Pediatrics national spokesperson and author of several AAP parenting books, who has offices in Bolingbrook, Plainfield, Naperville, North Aurora and West Chicago, said the danger of delaying vaccines can lead to other serious health consequences, such as a rise in measles, mumps and whooping cough cases, she said.

But even when a vaccine for the coronavirus becomes available, people will still need to wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash hands thoroughly, cover coughs and sneezes, avoid those who are sick and regularly disinfect surfaces until immunity increases throughout communities, according to a news release from Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Nevertheless, virtual visits are playing an important role, even in the care of women with difficult pregnancies or families raising small children with medical issues.

For instance, the registered nurses with the Will County Health Department’s family health services division, offer guidance through various programs to pregnant women and those raising small children.

“Although we are still not seeing anyone face-to-face, we are delivering high-quality services in this time of need,” Sylvia Muniz, high-risk case management coordinator, said in a news release from the health department.

The WCHD nurses providing these services are Nicole Collins, Eskrika Crosby, Lou Lamdagan, May Liang, Jodie Schweitzer, Brenda Burmeister, Eva Smolik and Silvia Rangel.

One woman with a history of diabetes and high blood pressure wound up with a high-risk pregnancy after trying for 14 years to conceive.

But through with texts and phone calls, the nurses provided information on insulin therapy and when to seek medical care. The woman delivered a healthy baby girl without any complications.

In another instance, a nurse visited a baby’s foster home for an assessment. The baby had recently gone to the pediatrician for an illness.

“Upon arrival, the baby was lethargic, retracting (using extra muscles to breathe) and was not acting his happy self,” Nicole Collins, registered nurse, said in the release. “After evaluating the baby, I encouraged the scared foster mom to go to the ER for further evaluation.”

The baby was admitted and transferred to a hospital with a higher level of care, where he made a full recovery.

For anyone experiencing a difficult pregnancy or raising a child between birth and 2 years of age with one or more medical conditions, call 815-727-8505.

For information, visit willcountyhealth.org.

While not exactly virtual, a new Edward-Elmhurst Health postpartum complications program may help increase awareness of these complications through a simple object: a teal bracelet, according to a news release from EEH.

New moms at Edward-Elmhurst Health receive a teal bracelet to wear until their six-week postpartum doctor’s appointment. The color teal represents female strength, according to the release.

If a new mom develops physical or emotional issues during that time frame, the bracelet can help alert emergency medical services paramedics and emergency department staff that she has recently given birth, the release said.

For information, EEHealth.org/services/pregnancy-baby.

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