With all eyes on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minnesota Medical Association (MMA) and its 10,000 members want to remind Minnesotans to pay attention to all aspects of overall health.

“These days it’s hard to focus on anything else but COVID-19,” said Keith Stelter, MD, who serves as MMA president, “but, don’t disregard other health conditions or concerns. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure or other acute or chronic conditions, don’t ignore them.

"Continue to take your medications, and reach out to your doctor by phone or e-visit options. Your doctor or clinic will contact you if a face-to-face visit is necessary, and those with serious health concerns should not be afraid to seek care or go to an emergency room, if needed.”

Otherwise, Minnesotans should stay at home, the MMA advises.

“We applaud Gov. Walz’s decision to extend until May 4 Minnesota’s stay-at-home order,” Stelter said. “This additional time will give Minnesota’s health system more time to prepare for those patients who will experience serious complications from COVID-19. The stay-at-home extension does not mean, however, that other health needs or concerns should be ignored.”

Stelter encourages Minnesotans to keep exercising, while maintaining a six-foot buffer.

“A walk or run or bike ride are great ways to stay active. You should also consider developing stress-reduction strategies, such as meditation or yoga, or other spiritual practices,” he added.

Unfortunately, with sheltering in place practices, the risk of violence may increase, particularly for intimate partners or children.

“These are stressful times,” Stelter said. “If you need help coping, reach out to a professional. If you know someone who might be going through a crisis, reach out to them.”

For a list of crisis hotlines in Minnesota, visit mn.gov/dhs.

Finally, Stelter said Minnesotans need to continue the basic, but very important, habits, such as washing their hands thoroughly and frequently, cleaning high-touch surfaces frequently and refraining from touching their face and wearing a mask in public spaces if people feel comfortable doing so.

“Be a good citizen,” Stelter says. “Be kind to others. Your actions make a difference.”

- Image courtesy of the Internet Public Domain