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It's Still Safe to Visit The ER For Medical Emergencies, Medical Professionals Say

Tim Shelley / Peoria Public Radio
Dr. Ted Bender, president of UnityPlace.

There are increasing concerns among healthcare providers that people suffering major medical emergencies are avoiding the hospital due to COVID-19 fears. That's according to Dr. Ted Bender, the president of UnityPlace in Peoria. He said hospital workers are hearing more stories of people having heart attacks or burst appendixes at home because they're too scared to go to the hospital. "If you are experiencing emergency symptoms, emergency health situation, it's critical you would go to the ER just like you would if we were not under the coronavirus pandemic," Bender said. He said local emergency rooms are still safe to use for patients suffering from non-COVID medical situations, and there are precautions in place to protect those patients from COVID-19 infection.

Senior mental health disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 lockdown

The stay-at-home order may be having a disproportionately negative impact on the mental health of seniors.

That's according to Dr. Ted Bender, president of UnityPlace in Peoria. He said the isolation can be particularly difficult on people age 65 and older who live alone.

"Loneliness increases risk for anxiety, depression and heightened stress. Loneliness has been shown very clearly to be as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or having an alcohol use disorder. It has a significant impact on our mental health," he said. Bender says getting more sleep, exercising, connecting with family and friends via phone or Skype, picking up new hobbies, and taking advantage of online learning are all things seniors can do to bolster their "mental toughness" during the stay-at-home period. He said it's also OK to just take a break and rest.

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