The Costs of Coronavirus – Part 5

Since our last update on the costs associated with COVID-19 in May, new variants have swept across the country, booster shots have been recommended for most vaccine recipients, and inoculations have been approved for children as young as 5 years old​​. Americans are still struggling from unexpected pandemic-related healthcare costs.

Major systemic failures to meaningfully address the coronavirus pandemic throughout 2020 had dire consequences that the nation and the world are still recovering from. The U.S. contains only 4% of the world’s population, but 20% of global cases and deaths from the pandemic. As many as 40% of American deaths in the first year of the pandemic were avoidable. While former President Trump is responsible for his administration’s promotion of misinformation, silencing experts, and interference in fact-based public health guidance, these failures were exacerbated by decades of disinvestment and structural deficiencies in the public health system

The ongoing pandemic has continued to be politicized with several states’ governors

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Healthy and Safe Travels this Holiday Season

We are in the beginning of the holiday season in the United States and throughout the world. Many people travel to visit family during these months, including some who may be traveling with a chronic illness — all of which have added complications due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We at NeedyMeds have some tips for healthy travel over the holidays along with suggestions for staying safe and mitigating the spread of coronavirus.

  • Getting fully vaccinated and/or receiving boosters of available COVID-19 vaccines is the best way to protect yourself from infection while travelling. Be sure to bring your vaccination record card or other form of proof of vaccination for venues/services that require it.
  • Wear a mask in public spaces — even if fully vaccinated​.
  • Consider any special health needs for children, pregnant women, people with disabilities, chronic illness, or weakened immune systems. It may be best to get tested for COVID-19 before visiting anyone at risk of severe complications — even if fully vaccinated.
  • Learn the health implications of your destination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has the information you may need. If you are traveling abroad, the CDC has a resource to see what inoculations are required and other things to keep in mind about different destinations.
  • Bring all your medications. Keep your medications in the original, labelled bottles. Keep the medicine in your carry-on luggage and never pack your pills in a suitcase you plan to check.
  • If you are flying, give yourself enough time to make it through parking, security, and other lines. Be prepared and patient when encountering delays in travel.
  • If you are driving, plan your route ahead of time and pack a GPS, smart phone, or up-to-date road maps as a backup. Remember to get out of the car to stretch and get fresh air periodically.
  • Wash/sanitize your hands often, no matter how you are travelling. Keeping your hands clean is an important step to avoiding sickness and spreading illnesses, especially while travelling or preparing food.
  • Sleep well the night before travel. While anticipation and excitement can make restful sleep difficult, being prepared for changing time zones and alert for the journey are essential.
  • Eat well before hitting the road. A wholesome diet not only keeps one’s immune system in fighting shape and gives ample energy for the trip ahead, but it will help travelers avoid expensive and unhealthy junk food.
  • If you have a chronic illness, doctors recommend taking a health history information sheet (HHIS) that includes diagnosis, physician and emergency contact information, medications and dosages info. Travelers should bring a copy of all prescriptions along with their medication in its original packaging. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has guidelines for passengers with disabilities and other health conditions to avoid delays or complications if traveling by air. A medic alert bracelet or first aid kit may also ease the mind of those worried about managing their illness abroad.

The holidays are a great opportunity to enjoy being with loved ones, but they are not without their demands. Physical, emotional, and mental stress can accompany the holiday joy and can make everything a little harder for those already experiencing difficulties with their health. We at NeedyMeds have a few more tips for staying healthy during the holiday season:

  • Stay warm. The holiday season brings winter to much of the United States and cold temperatures can cause health problems, especially the very young and elderly adults. Stay dry and dress warmly in several layers.
  • Eat healthy & stay active. Holidays are often times of hearty meals followed by sweet desserts, but it is important to keep a balanced diet. Don’t skip out on fruits and vegetables at family dinners, and try not to be weighed down by the “food coma” — get out and be active.

The holidays can be stressful; familial obligations, cooking, cleaning, shopping, and even less sunlight can contribute to the deterioration of mental health. It is important to balance commitments,

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An unhoused man holds a sign that reads "Seeking human kindness" on the MBTA

Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Can Change Lives

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is an annual observance when people and organizations across the country draw attention to the problems of hunger and homelessness. While the problems are broad and causes are varied, the solutions that have been shown to work (but are rarely implemented in the United States) are centered around harm reduction as opposed to criminalization.

Homelessness can take many forms, with people living on the street, in encampments or shelters, in transitional housing programs, or staying with family or friends. While the U.S. government reports 1.5 million people a year experience homelessness, other estimates find up to twice this number of people are actually without housing in any given year. Housing can greatly affect access to healthcare, and lack of access to affordable healthcare can equally affect housing.

Being excluded from access to affordable healthcare can be a barrier in itself to getting a job and escaping poverty. Unhoused people face significant

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Resources for Transgender Awareness Week & Remembrance Day

Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity is different from their sex assigned at birth; ‘gender identity’ is one’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both (gender fluid), or neither (non-binary). Gender expression involves expressing one’s gender identity through their social roles, appearance, and behaviors. Many health concerns that transgender people face are due to minority stress, such as discrimination and social/internalized stigma.

Transgender people experience gender dysphoria, a clinically significant distress recognized by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) caused by a person’s assigned birth gender differing from the one with which they identify. This leads to increased depression, which can be exacerbated by being rejected by family and friends, being the victim of abuse/violence, or experiencing discrimination. Gender-affirming operations have shown to yield long-term mental health benefits for transgender people

Transgender people can face

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Resources for National Diabetes Awareness Month

November has been observed as National Diabetes Awareness Month since 1975. In the United States, more than 100 million people are living with diabetes or prediabetes; that’s nearly 1 out of every 11 people with diabetes, with 1 out of 4 unaware they have the condition. Awareness of the disease cannot only prevent future cases for those at risk, but also help raise funds to develop new treatments for those living with diabetes.

There are different types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes presents with the body not making insulin, and those diagnosed must take insulin injections every day. Only 5% of those diagnosed with diabetes have type 1, and there is no known method to cure or prevent type 1 diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, one’s body doesn’t use insulin well and is unable to keep blood sugar at normal levels. Type 2 diabetes has a number of risk factors:

  • Being overweight;
  • Being 45 years or older;
  • Having parents or a sibling diagnosed with type 2 diabetes; and
  • Being physically active less than three times per week.

Race and ethnicity can affect one’s risk. Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American, Pacific Islander, and some Asian Americans are at particularly high risk for type 2 diabetes. Preventing type 2 diabetes can be as easy as eating healthy

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About Us

Welcome to the NeedyMeds Voice! We look forward to presenting you with timely, provocative pieces on healthcare reform, patient advocacy, medication and healthcare access, and other health-related news. Our goals are to educate, enlighten, and elucidate; together, we will try to make sense of the myriad and ongoing healthcare-related changes in the U.S. today.