CDC reports that the best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get vaccinated every year, and has begun a campaign to encourage everyone to get the flu vaccine, especially those with weakened immune systems like CKD patients, who have an increased risk of severe illness from the flu, even without considering COVID-19 – which you can get along with the flu. Find campaign resources like the animation below, in English and Spanish, at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/resource-center/freeresources/graphics/animated-fight-flu-punch.htm .
CMS will present an October 8, 2020 webinar for anyone who advises Medicare enrollees on Getting Ready for the Medicare Open Enrollment Period. The three-hour webinar begins at 10am PDT, but you will need a CMS National Training Program account to get in, so start earlier. If you don’t already have an account, getting one is painless, but CMS has to confirm a new account before you can proceed, and they warn that confirmation can take ten minutes or more.
The CMS National Training Program includes a catalog of recorded courses and online self-paced trainings for staff members who work with Medicare, starting with Introductions that have no prerequisites. Many are repeated in Spanish. Find the course catalog athttps://cmsnationaltrainingprogram.cms.gov/?q=ntp-courses.
The HHS Administration for Community Living ( https://acl.gov/ ) has prepared a toolkit, Preparing for a Remote Medicare Open Enrollment: Managing through COVID-19 Toolkit, containing successful practices, templates, and checklists to help you and your clients stay safe from COVID-19 during this year’s Open Enrollment. Find the Toolkit at https://www.shiptacenter.org/covid-19/toolkit .
CDC has published (non-COVID-19) flu vaccine recommendations for the 2020-2021 season. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the spread of respiratory illness, like flu, this fall and winter is more important than ever. Find the 2020-2021 recommendations at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/acip/summary/summary-recommendations.htm. Also available in Spanish and eight other languages.*
Medicare Part B covers one flu shot per flu season and additional flu shots if medically necessary. Flu shots are free for Medicare patients. Pneumonia and flu shots can be given during the same office visit; find recommended schedules at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/adult.html.
CDC, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee recommend that all U.S. health care workers get annual flu shots.
* To find the non-English versions, go to the links above, then click on “Español” or “Other Languages” – these links are either in the upper right corner of the page, or between the title and the text of the document.
Dialysis Patient Citizens will present a September 24, 2020 Spanish-language webinar on Manejando Mi Glucosa En Sangre Cuando Tengo Enfermedad Renal (Managing My Blood Glucose When I Have Kidney Disease), covering carbohydrates and their effect on blood glucose, how much carbs to eat, and how to avoid high and low blood glucose extremes. Find more information below, and register for this and future DPC webinars at https://www.dpcedcenter.org/news-events/education-webinars/.
Upcoming DPC webinars include:
Things to Know About Medicare Advantage’s First Open Enrollment for Dialysis Patients – October 22, 2020,
Looking Out for the Caregiver: Understanding the People Who Care for Dialysis Patients – November 19, 2020,
CDC has launched a new web page on Natural Disasters, Severe Weather, and COVID-19, to provide information on how people can stay safe during and after natural disasters during the COVID-19 response. The page and a few of its useful links follow:
Pack Your Go Kit: If you need to evacuate, prepare a “go kit” with personal items you cannot do without during an emergency. Include items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, bar or liquid soap, disinfectant wipes (if available), and two masks for each person. Masks should not be used by children under the age of 2. They also should not be used by people having trouble breathing, or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or unable to remove the mask without assistance.
Keep Your Distance: When you check on neighbors and friends, be sure to follow social distancing recommendations (staying at least 6 feet from others) and other CDC recommendations to protect yourself and others.
The supplement the September 16, 2020 NCC COVID-19 webinar on Living in a Multi-Generational Household, NCC has produced one-page tip sheets in English and Spanish on Staying Safe in Multigenerational Households (Cómo mantenerse seguro en un hogar mul generacional). Find more details and register for the webinar at https://esrdncc.org/en/events/2020/september-2020/covid09162020/?date=9/1/2020. Find the tip sheets below:
MEI has updated the most popular module, Module 9: Nutrition and Fluids for People on Dialysis, in it’s award-winning Kidney School. The new Module 9 has been completely updated with new information about the value of eating real food, phosphorus absorption from food additives vs. meat and plants, graphics and photos, and brand-new meal plans and recipes, and was reviewed by expert renal dietitians. A Spanish translation will be available soon.
Kidney School offers free, tailored education for people with stages 4-5 CKD. Sixteen interactive modules at the 6th grade reading level help patients and family members learn about kidney disease, treatment options, coping skills, lab tests, diet and nutrition, and much more. Each online module creates a Personal Action Plan. Audio files and PDFs in English and Spanish are also available. Continuing education credits are available for professionals.
Now that high summer and higher temperatures have arrived, Harmful Algae Blooms (“HABs”) are an increasing threat to recreational and subsistence uses of bodies of fresh- and salt-water. HABs can impact, sometimes fatally, harvesting of water- and shoreline-dwelling animals and plants, drinking, swimming, wading, and boating. Pets and children are particularly vulnerable because they can rush into water before you even realize they’re out of the car. The Oregon Health Authority advises,
Bear in mind that most waters are not monitored for toxicity, so the lack of a warning sign is not enough to assure safe use. The following websites provide information on identifying and responding to toxic waters and their impacts, and include alerts on the few, most popular, waters that are monitored and posted:
The Washington website is also available in Spanish, Somali, and Viet. As an example of a posted warning, Odell Lake near Willamette Pass, between Eugene and Klamath Falls OR, has recently been posted; see the Oregon website above.