Q: How can I manage my stress and anxiety while I’m stuck at home?
Dr. David Ulin, chief medical director, Maui Health System: This is an incredibly stressful time for all of us. Our lives have been turned upside down, we’re worried about older relatives and loved-ones who are at high risk, many of us have our kids at home, and we’re also coping with a lot of financial uncertainty.
First, it’s important to know that help is available. If you’re employed, many employers offer an EAP, or employee assistance program. Now is the time to make use of this resource.
Online counseling can also be an option, and some telehealth services may be covered by insurance.
The state Adult Mental Health Division offers mental health services to people who are uninsured or underinsured (call 643-2643 for screening to determine if you’re eligible). And if you or someone you know is in crisis you can call the 24-hour crisis line at (800) 753-6879 to speak with a trained professional at any time, day or night.
If you need help accessing services and want to talk with someone about what programs are available for you, you can call 211 and get matched with the help you need.
Finally, don’t forget that self-care is extra important at this time. Make time to take care of your physical and mental health by washing your hands, eating healthy food, and getting some kind of exercise. Stay connected — safely — with friends and family, with phone calls and video chats.
If you’re feeling stressed and anxious at this time, you’re not alone. By practicing self-care and reaching out for support when you need it, you’ll be able to make it through this crisis.
Q: How much water do I need to drink every day?
Andrea De Roode, clinical dietitian, Maui Memorial Medical Center: There are a lot of good reasons to stay hydrated. Healthy water intake can help with constipation, reduce your risk of kidney stones, and may even help you lose weight, while dehydration has been linked to headaches, fatigue and impaired mood and concentration.
While the general advice is to drink 2 liters of water a day, or about eight glasses, the truth is that the amount of water you need depends on a lot of factors. If you’re exercising, sweating a lot or exposed to hot weather, or breastfeeding, it makes sense that you’ll need to replenish the fluid you’re losing by drinking more. At the same time, if you’re eating a lot of water-rich foods, like cucumbers and watermelon, you may not need to drink as much.
For most healthy people, the best way to make sure you are drinking enough is not counting how many glasses you are drinking, but simply by paying attention to your thirst. Your body will naturally tell you when you need more water by making you feel thirsty. Take a little extra care if you’re sick, such as if you’re having vomiting or diarrhea, and remind yourself to drink more in order to replace lost fluids.
If you’re tired of drinking plain water, other drinks can help you replenish your fluids, although it’s a good idea to avoid sugary drinks and sodas. And while you may have heard that caffeine is dehydrating because it’s a diuretic, that isn’t true — so you can go ahead and drink coffee or tea as part of your daily fluid intake.
It is also important to note that some individuals may need to restrict their fluid intake in order to avoid problematic fluid accumulation in their body. For example, people with kidney failure or heart failure often need to limit fluids, even when it is hot outside or if they feel thirsty. Certain types of adrenal and endocrine disorders also require people to watch how much liquid they consume. Please talk with your physician or primary care provider about your individualized fluid intake needs if you have a condition that requires a fluid restriction.
* Physicians, providers and administrative staff who practice at Maui Health System hospitals and clinics answer questions from the public in “Healthwise Maui,” which appears on the first and third Thursdays of the month. Maui Health System operates Maui Memorial Medical Center, Maui Memorial Medical Center Outpatient Clinic, Kula Hospital & Clinic and Lana’i Community Hospital and accepts all patients. To submit a question, go to the website at mauihealth.org/healthwise.