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KANE COUNTY – One can’t let their health taking a back seat, especially during a pandemic.
The Kane County Health Department’s Kane Health Counts Chronic Disease Action Team recently presented a free Zoom online webinar, “Maintaining Your Health During a Pandemic.” Dr. Omar Aiyash, a family medicine physician with Rush Copley Medical Group, addressed a variety of topics.
In addition, a panel of experts on cancer, diabetes, heart health, nutrition and community resources took questions. The webinar is posted on the Kane County Health Department’s YouTube channel.
Aiyash noted that technology has allowed health providers to safely treat their patients during the pandemic.
“During the pandemic, we’ve seen a lot more virtual visits,” he said.
Aiyash said there are many advantages to a telehealth visit versus an in-person visit, including that a virtual visit reduces the risk of exposing others and yourself to unnecessary illnesses. And he said virtual visits can be great for psychiatric and mental health problems “where physical exams are not the key component of that visit, but more so the conversation that takes places between the provider and the patient.”
But Aiyash cautioned that virtual visits should not be used in every case.
“Your annual physicals should be done in person as this allows for a more thorough exam to be done annually as well as to see that other things might be necessary, such as immunizations,” he said. “Very ill patients should not be seen solely through a virtual or telehealth visit,” he said.
And with many more people working from home these days because of the pandemic, he noted the importance of getting enough physical activity – including 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week.
“Moderate intensity meaning barely able to hold a conversation,” Aiyash said. “You should be incorporating both cardio and one to two days of weight lifting exercises in that 150 minutes as well. It has been shown that starting an aerobic exercise program could increase your good cholesterol by 5% in the first two months.”
He was also part of a panel that answered questions from those watching the webinar. One viewer asked whether a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 should get a flu vaccine.
“A lot of people will hesitate to get a flu vaccine if they are not feeling well,” Aiyash said. ‘If the concern is that you might have COVID, getting a flu vaccine should not affect you. But it may be a good choice to just wait. At that point, you should probably be isolated or quarantined for those 14 days anyway. But again, the rule of thumb is that if there is no fever, you should be able to get a flu vaccine. You may just produce sort of a immune response that may make you feel a little under the weather.”
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, body or muscle aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea.
“Symptoms can appear between two to 14 days after being exposed to the virus,” Aiyash said.
On the average, symptoms start appearing between five to seven days after being exposed, he said. Aiyash suggested people consider viral testing if they have COVID-19 symptoms, have come in contact with a known case of COVID-19, have been asked by the health department to test or if they are considering surgery and asked by a healthcare provider to test.
And he dismissed a notion that testing increases the number of cases in a community.
“These cases already exist,” Aiyash said.”By being able to readily test people, we are able to properly isolate them and thus reduce exposure to others.”