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4 Safety Measures to Expect at Your Next Doctor’s Visit

As we control the spread of COVID-19, routine doctor’s visits will begin to be rescheduled. It can be hard to know when it is safe to return to your scheduled appointments, but rest assured that yo...

As we control the spread of COVID-19, routine doctor’s visits will begin to be rescheduled. It can be hard to know when it is safe to return to your scheduled appointments, but rest assured that your health is the utmost priority to your provider. In addition to our existing ongoing safety procedures, we’ve added new measures to help keep you well. In order to ensure a clean, safe environment for patients, here are some things you can expect at your next doctor’s visit.

  1. Social Distancing - Social distancing is still one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. Even if you have to come in for an appointment, there are ways to minimize contact with those around you. Patients will maintain at least a 6-foot distance between each other when checking in and in the waiting room. To practice social distancing, chairs and tables will be spaced out, acrylic shields will be placed over registration desks and there will be directions labeled via signs and on the floors to signify proper distances. Our staff will also practice social distancing unless it is necessary to come in closer contact for patient care.
  2. Masks and Temperature Checks On Arrival - When you enter a facility, you will participate in a mandatory temperature check as well as be given a mask to wear over your nose and mouth. Wearing the mask will help ensure your safety as well as others’ by limiting exposure of respiratory droplets, the means by which the virus spreads. 
  3. Additional Hand Sanitizer Available - As you have probably noticed from previous visits, automatic hand sanitizer stations are placed around all our facilities. To better accommodate the influx in hand sanitizer use by our patients and staff, we have increased the number of available stations. We encourage you to use these touchless stations before your visit, after meeting with your provider, after touching yourself or others, after using the restroom, before and after eating or drinking or after touching objects such as elevator buttons, pens or handrails.
  4. Regularly Cleaning All Public Areas - While our staff is always diligent about cleaning our facilities, we have increased the number of times a day that our staff cleans all public areas. Maintaining a clean environment is highly important to the health and well-being of our patients and staff. We are also undergoing facility improvements such as replacing worn out furniture, repainting walls, replacing carpet, fixing torn or damaged wallpaper and ceiling tiles and removing outdated signage. If you believe an area is not up to the highest cleaning standards, please direct your feedback to the nearest information desk staff member to handle accordingly.

With these measures in place, along with guidance from local and state officials, we are confident in our ability to safely provide your care. To schedule your next appointment, visit MyOchsner.

10 Tips To Maintain Weight During Social Isolation

While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the world to turn upside down, it has also caused a delay in any nonessential medical procedures and appointments. For someone who was planning to undergo wei...

While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the world to turn upside down, it has also caused a delay in any nonessential medical procedures and appointments. For someone who was planning to undergo weight loss surgery or simply trying to adopt healthy habits, this can be a daunting, unwelcomed pause in the weight loss process.

Here are a 10 tips to help maintain your weight loss goals during social isolation:

1. Don’t lose heart. While it seems like all progress can be lost with changes in schedule, income and health, it doesn’t have to be that way. Remember all the progress you have made so far! You and your body deserve the gift of self-care now, more than ever.

2. Join a virtual support group! Facebook and other social media platforms have several groups that encourage a healthy lifestyle during this time. Find one that works for you!

3. Cook! With restaurants closed, now is the best time to try fun new recipes. Check out the recipes in your Bariatric Guidebook or the variety of healthy recipes from Ochsner Eat Fit.

4. Get moving. Exercise is our body’s best stress and anxiety relief. Challenge yourself by changing up your workout routine: Download a free app, do a couch-to-5K walk/run, subscribe to a YouTube fitness channel for weekly or daily video workouts (Ochsner Fitness Center also has home workout videos), or take 30 minutes to walk every day. Not into traditional routines? Dance, hike, or ride a bike. Just keep moving.

5. Journal. Journaling can be one of the best ways to check in with yourself and your mental health. Take a few minutes each day to jot down three things you are proud of yourself for doing to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Keeping a journal during these uncertain times can also help you process what is going on in the world and keeping a personal record of these unusual circumstances could be insightful for future generations.

6. Get creative! Whether it is learning a new skill or language, creating a new recipe, or exercising an old passion, being creative helps get our mind off what’s bothering us.

7. Stay productive. Make a list of the five most important things you’d like to get done every week and every day. Cross them off as you complete them.

8. Avoid binge shopping. Rather than clicking away on your virtual shopping cart, take time after a meal to plan. Making your grocery list in advance will help to keep you accountable to only buy what you need. Just like you shouldn't grocery shop in person while hungry, you shouldn't do it when shopping online either.

9. Stay connected. Call a friend or family member. Participate in a group video chat like the Houseparty app or have a Netflix watch party. Donate to your local food bank. Write a letter. It is important to remember that while we are social distancing, we do not have to be emotionally isolated.

10. Reach out. Your Ochsner registered dietitian is here to help you! Set up a virtual visit today.

Facts or Fiction: Nutrition and COVID-19

There is a lot of confusing information out there regarding COVID-19 and nutrition. Many people have questions such as “Can Immune Boosting Supplements Prevent COVID-19?” and “Can I Get Coronavirus...

There is a lot of confusing information out there regarding COVID-19 and nutrition. Many people have questions such as “Can Immune Boosting Supplements Prevent COVID-19?” and “Can I Get Coronavirus From Food or Groceries?”

Fiction: Certain nutritional supplements can protect you from contracting COVID-19.

Fact: As of today, there are no proven treatments or cures for the coronavirus.

Many natural health and supplement companies claim that they have the “cure” to COVID-19. Unfortunately, these companies are promoting these claims without adequate and appropriately measured research to back it up. Some common immune-boosting supplements consumers turn to are zinc, vitamin C, green tea, or echinacea.

While there are certain nutrients that can help prepare you to fight a viral infection if contracted, there are no nutrition supplements, herbal remedies, or health products that are approved by the FDA to cure COVID-19. Taking high doses of certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C or zinc, can cause nausea and diarrhea especially if they exceed the daily recommended doses.

The best and most cost-effective way to get nutrients needed for immune support is to eat a balanced diet filled with fruits and vegetables ranging in every color of the rainbow.

Fiction: What you eat doesn’t affect coronavirus risk.

Fact: Eating a balanced diet and adopting overall healthy habits can improve your outcome if you contract the coronavirus.

As mentioned above, taking a bunch of vitamins and herbs to boost your immune system is unnecessary. Everything our immune system needs can be found in food, adequate hygiene and sleep.

To ensure you are getting what your body needs to stay healthy follow these tips:

  • Eat fresh or frozen fruits of every color. By eating plants that are different colors, you are giving your body a wide array of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, which are all crucial components of keeping us healthy.
  • If you can’t access fresh or frozen vegetables, used drained and rinsed canned goods.
  • It is also beneficial to include food sources of zinc (beans, beef, seafood, nuts) and probiotics, (yogurt, fermented foods) in your diet.

Fiction: I can catch coronavirus from contaminated food.

Fact: The good news is, according to the FDA and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through your food or the way that its packaged.

It is still important to practice usual food safety. Follow these tips:

Reducing stress levels, maintaining good sleeping habits, and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet are the pillars of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While following these guidelines don’t guarantee you won’t catch COVID-19, maintaining a good balance of each can help to improve your immune system and improve your overall health.

Here are five proven ways to protect yourself against catching COVID-19:

10 Foods and Beverages to Avoid If You Are Pregnant

Finding out you are going to be a mom will be one of the most exciting moments of your life. To ensure you have a healthy pregnancy and baby, it is very important to eat a nutriti...

Finding out you are going to be a mom will be one of the most exciting moments of your life. To ensure you have a healthy pregnancy and baby, it is very important to eat a nutritious and well-balanced diet. Maintain a healthy diet throughout pregnancy by eating grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meats, and beans. Eat small frequent meals throughout the day and NEVER skip breakfast.

In addition to foods you should eat, there are a group of foods you should avoid while pregnant. Here are 10 food and beverages you should avoid during your pregnancy:

  1. Foods high in mercury such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tuna and tilefish. High levels of mercury can be toxic, and when consumed during pregnancy, it has been linked to developmental delays and brain damage. Canned tuna has less mercury levels than fresh tuna. Limit any canned tuna and salmon intake to once per week.
  2. Raw fish and shellfish such as sushi, oysters, clams and scallops. Under cooked or raw fish and shellfish can contain harmful viruses and bacteria like Norovirus, Vibrio, Salmonella, and Listeria. Some of these may only affect the mother and cause an upset stomach, diarrhea and dehydration, while others may affect the baby too and cause harmful, sometime fatal, consequences.
  3. Raw eggs. Raw eggs can contain Salmonella, so avoid anything that may contain them such as homemade Caesar dressings, mayonnaise, homemade ice cream or custards and hollandaise sauce.
  4. Raw meat and pate. Raw meat and pate can contain harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites such as coliform bacteria, Toxoplasmosis and Salmonella. These can all cause mom to become very sick and can cause even more harmful consequences to an unborn baby including severe neurological disorders, intellectual disabilities, blindness and epilepsy. Always use a meat thermometer to make sure you are cooking all your meat to the proper temperature. 
  5.  Packaged meat like deli meats or hot dogs. These types of meat have been known to carry Listeria, which can cause a miscarriage. If you are craving deli meat during your pregnancy, you should reheat your deli meat until it is steaming.
  6. Soft unpasteurized cheese such as brie, Gouda, Gorgonzola, Roquefort, feta and Mexican-style cheese like Queso Fresco. These types of imported, soft cheeses may contain Listeria which can be harmful to mom and life threatening to an unborn baby. Pregnant women should only eat pasteurized cheese.
  7. Unwashed produce. Produce can contain a host of bacteria and parasites such as Toxoplasma, E. Coli, Salmonella and Listeria all of which can harm your unborn baby. Make sure you thoroughly wash all your produce or peel the skin prior to consuming.
  8. Unpasteurized milk and juice. Like soft cheeses, unpasteurized milk and juice can lead to food borne illnesses because they can contain Listeria. Make sure all milk and juice products you are consuming are pasteurized.
  9. Excess caffeine. Caffeine intake should be limited to 200 milligrams per day. One 8-ounce cup of coffee contains about 95 milligrams of caffeine. Caffeine is absorbed quickly, and it can pass through the placenta. High levels of caffeine have been shown to restrict fetal growth and increase the risk of low birth weight. Try to drink no more than 2 cups of coffee a day.
  10. Alcohol. Women who are pregnant should completely avoid alcohol during their pregnancy due to risks of miscarriages or still births. Large consumptions of alcohol can also lead to developmental issues in your baby’s brain, and it can cause fetal alcohol syndrome which can cause facial deformities, heart defects and intellectual disabilities.

Having good diet during your pregnancy is essential. To ensure you are avoiding any unnecessary risks, avoid all foods listed. Continue to consult your Ochsner OB/GYN on your diet throughout your pregnancy. Keep them up to date with any changes in your eating habits.