Living Well-Ahead during covid-19

Managing and preventing chronic disease is critical, especially during COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart conditions and obesity as high risk for severe illness from COVID-19. With social distancing restrictions in place, you may experience challenges in managing your chronic conditions and making healthy lifestyle choices at home. To help with these challenges, check out the below resources for ways you can self-manage chronic diseases at home.

COVID-19 in Our Community

A virus like COVID-19 can hit harder in vulnerable communities where many people are living with chronic health issues like hypertension and diabetes — the top two underlying factors in COVID-19 deaths. The Louisiana Department of Health is reporting data that shows African Americans are at a higher risk of death due to COVID-19 in Louisiana.

 

Managing and preventing chronic disease is more important than ever. Use the resources on this page to help move Well-Ahead and lead a healthier lifestyle today.


Quick Tips to Combat COVID-19

First, it is important to stay diligent against the spread of COVID-19. You can help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 by following this easy guide. There are also tips below on other ways to reduce the spread of germs. Do your part to be responsible for caring for your health and the health of those you love.

When you have food delivered, follow these tips.

When grocery shopping, follow these tips.

  • Many stores now have hand washing stations available for their customers. Please take advantage of these as soon as you enter the store.
  • Wipe down your grocery cart with sanitizing wipe. Many stores provide wipes in the grocery cart area, or bring your own.
  • While grocery shopping, be mindful of touching your face.
  • When handling cash or cards, always wash your hands immediately after. They can be vehicles for the virus to spread
  • Use hand sanitizer when you get back into your car.
  • While unpacking groceries wipe down cans, containers, and all packaging with disinfectant wipes or soap and water to further reduce your risk of exposure.
  • While washing fresh produce, first wash your hands then wash produce like you normally would then dry with paper towel or clean dish towel.
  • Visit for more tips on grocery shopping amid the COVID-19 quarantine

Making Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Learn tips for how to maintain a healthy diet, ways to stay physically active, as well as manage your mental health at this time. There are also tips for accessing supplies and medications during the pandemic. 

Diabetes Management and Prevention

Residents living with diabetes are at a greater risk of developing complications from COVID-19, but we have all the tips you need to self-manage your diabetes from home. 

Diabetes Management Basics 

The key to managing blood sugar is eating a well-balanced, healthy diet along with regular exercise. There are a few important components of every eating plan to remember when trying to control blood sugar.

  • Make sure to eat breakfast within an hour of waking up.
  • Eat all meals and snacks at regularly planned times.
  • Try to eat the same amount of food at each meal and/or snack.
  • Make sure meals and snack include a lean protein and high fiber carbohydrate.
  • Limit/avoid added sugar to support a normal blood sugar, as well as a healthy weight and heart. 

Click here to learn how to stay Well-Ahead with diabetes. For additional nutrition tips to manage your diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association web page, eat good to feel good

Accessing Diabetes Management Supplies 

When you are diagnosed with diabetes, it is important that you have the supplies and medications you need to manage your chronic disease. A glucose meter, blood glucose testing strips and your diabetes medication (if physician prescribed) can be more difficult to access while the social distancing restrictions are in place. However, there are resources available if you need help getting these supplies.

  • Contact your insurance provider. Ask to speak with your case manager or a customer service representative who can help review what supplies you may be eligible to receive. 
  • If you don’t have health insurance, sign up for Louisiana Medicaid Services. There are several ways to apply:
  • Keep your prescriptions for medications and testing supplies filled in time, at least 2 weeks in advance. Exceptions may be made at this time for receiving extra supplies of your prescription considering coronavirus concerns, ask if this is possible.
  • If you are not already, consider requesting a 90-day supply mail order option. Contact your Healthcare Provider if you wish to increase the amount of medicine you receive per prescription. He or she may also have you contact your health insurance company to understand your options.
  • Check if your local pharmacy is offering home delivery or has a drive-thru window.
  • If you are taking insulin or other medication that could cause hypoglycemia, have simple sugar items, such as candy, juice, or glucose tabs readily available. 

For patients having trouble affording their supplies, there are some patient assistance programs available: 

Preventing Diabetes

Maintaining a healthy weight through exercise and balanced nutrition choices is critical to attaining healthy blood glucose levels. Research shows that healthy lifestyle changes can return blood glucose levels to a normal range and prevent progression to type 2 diabetes. A weight loss of 5 to 7 percent and 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week can reduce the chance of a person with prediabetes developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent!

To understand how food effects your blood sugar and how to balance your food choices it is important to learn about carbohydrates. The main purpose of carbs in the diet is to provide energy as your body’s main fuel source. The carbs plus the amount of insulin you have in your body determine your blood sugar levels and have a big impact on how you feel. Learn more about carbs here. The Diabetes Food Hub is a great place to find diabetes-friendly recipes. 

The National Diabetes Prevention Program is a yearlong, CDC-endorsed program in which a certified lifestyle coach guides participants through eating healthier, getting active, and managing stress. Due to COVID-19, some programs are convening virtually. To learn more about the National Diabetes Prevention Program, click here

Cooking Healthy at Home

In Louisiana, we love to cook! Whether you are using your extra time to cook meals with your family or quickly throwing together lunches with your kids, cooking at home is key during this pandemic. Check out the tips below to ensure your cooking is healthy!

  • Create a new cooking ritual at home. Whether it’s calling a friend, listening to music, or catching up on a TV show while you cook, pairing cooking with another rewarding activity makes it all the more enticing and beneficial.
  • Take advantage of your time at home by preparing, cooking and freezing healthy meals.
  • Try not to drink your calories. They won’t fill you up! Reduce fruit juice and sports drinks, and limit alcohol.
  • Keep fruit and vegetables visible for snacks and/or add to meals. Wash, cut and place them in a plastic container to keep in the fridge for ease. 

Managing Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

According to the American Heart Association, in 2017, almost 14,000 Louisiana residents died of heart disease or stroke. Having high blood pressure puts a great strain on your heart. Over time this strain can develop into heart disease or result in a heart attack or a stroke. 

Managing blood pressure can be a complicated task. But, by making smart choices daily, like monitoring your salt intake and enjoying regular physical activity, blood pressure outcomes can improve. 

Regularly monitoring blood pressure at home is key to self-management of blood pressure. Check out these tips from the American Heart Association to maintain consistency in a self-measured blood pressure program by using a blood pressure monitor at home. Keeping a blood pressure journal provides a record of readings over time that can help you and your health care provider determine next steps. Use these tips to ensure you are accurately taking your blood pressure at home.

If you need help getting access to an automatic blood pressure monitor or hypertension medication (if physician prescribed), there are resources available to you.

  • Contact your insurance provider. Ask to speak with your case manager or a customer service representative who can help review what supplies you may be eligible to receive.
  • If you don’t have health insurance, sign up for Louisiana Medicaid Services. There are several ways to apply:
  • Keep your prescriptions for medications and testing supplies filled in time, at least 2 weeks in advance. Exceptions may be made at this time for receiving extra supplies of your prescription considering coronavirus concerns, ask if this is possible.
  • If you are not already, consider requesting a 90-day supply mail order option. Contact your Healthcare Provider if you wish to increase the amount of medicine you receive per prescription. He or she may also have you contact your health insurance company to understand your options.
  • Check if your local pharmacy is offering home delivery or has a drive-thru window.

With limited doctor visits and emergency services available, you need to be aware and careful of food choices and serving sizes that are high in salt. Here are additional tips and resources that can help to control and manage blood pressure by eating healthy foods and moving more!


Obesity Prevention

By staying active and maintaining a healthy diet, you can help prevent obesity. As one of the conditions that are at a high risk for developing complications with COVID-19, it is important to live Well-Ahead through healthy eating and physical activity to combat obesity!

Healthy Eating

Healthy eating is especially important for keeping your immune system in top condition. Here are some steps you can take to eat healthy during COVID-19. Use this time to get creative in the kitchen or keep it simple by focusing on healthy meals using common pantry items. You can also check out these tips to stay on track. 

Stay Fit at Home 

During this time of social distancing and quarantine, think outside the box to maintain fitness routines. Stay fit at home with free online fitness classes provided by Ochsner Fitness Center! Classes include low intensity workouts, home workouts with kids, high intensity interval workouts, yoga, and even exercises that you can do with everyday items found in your house!

Challenge yourself to get at least 5,000 steps each day. Making the conscious effort to achieve 5,000 steps every day for a week will provide you with physical activity, stress relief, and a boost in mental health so make every step count! Download your challenge guide here to keep track of your progress! 

Understanding common barriers to physical activity and creating strategies to overcome them may help you make physical activity part of your daily life. To learn more about how to overcome barriers to physical activity, click here.

Quit Tobacco

Move your health forward by making the decision to quit tobacco! According to the CDC, tobacco users are more likely than nonsmokers to develop chronic diseases such as, heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. Residents with these chronic diseases and COVID-19 are at high-risk for complications, so it’s more important than ever to quit. There are free resources available to support you on your journey to tobacco-free living.

Quit With Us, Louisiana (1-800-Quit-Now): is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week at no cost to Louisiana residents. It incorporates evidence-based strategies for quitting tobacco through telephone and web-based tobacco cessation coaching. It also provides nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), text messaging support, printed materials, and referral to community resources. To learn more, visit the Quitline’s website, www.quitwithusla.org. You can also follow the Quitline on Facebook and Twitter for encouragement and support.

Smokefree Teen: The National Cancer Institute’s Smokefree Teen is a mobile-based tobacco intervention for 13 to 17-year-old tobacco users interested in or actively trying to quit tobacco. SmokeFree Teen offers a youth focused app (quitSTART), text service (SmokefreeTXT), and e-cigarette/vape specific content on its website. For more information, please visit https://teen.smokefree.gov/.

Tobacco Cessation Resources in Your Community:

The Well-Ahead Louisiana Community Resource Guide helps you find local resources for topics like breastfeeding, diabetes, healthy eating, physical fitness, stress management and tobacco cessation. To search for local tobacco cessation resources available in your community, please visit our Community Resource Guide.

Managing Your Mental Health

The outbreak of COVID-19 may be stressful for many and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress can make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger. The CDC has tips to help you manage stress and anxiety during this time.

You can also start your day with a mental warmup to help increase productivity! If you are working from home, check out these tips you can use to stay on track with your overall health and wellness!