Carle doctor answers questions about COVID-19

Life has been put on hold for everybody because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but some essential workers have continued to go above and beyond to help keep our community healthy and safe. 


Chief among those essential workers are the doctors and nurses that work to help contain the spread of COVID-19, such as Dr. Aja Lystila, a primary care doctor at Carle, who answered a few questions for the Gargoyle about what it’s like being a doctor during the pandemic. 


In general, Lystilla said, “My job… hasn’t changed. As a Carle Physician I work to maintain your health and talk about concerns with a healthcare team of professionals. People still need healthcare.” 


Still, the methods she uses to keep people healthy have changed with the COVID-19 pandemic. “During this pandemic, how we deliver care has adapted and integrated the use of more technology – like phone and video visits,” Lystila said. 


Though Lystila said that with the pandemic, her work now “center[s] around prompt identification of patients with symptoms… and taking appropriate steps to minimize exposure to patients, staff and others,” she is also still “focused on making sure that patients get what they need for their everyday concerns like high blood pressure, managing diabetes, [and] working on managing pain and stress.” 


“Taking care of our community’s health is as important today as it was in January. When we have healthy people, we have healthier communities,” she said. 


And it’s important that everybody does their part to help keep our community healthy. Dr. Listila said that it’s important to “adhere to the national and local guidelines for social distancing and staying at home as much as possible” as well as wearing “a mask in public areas.” She also stressed the importance of “handwashing, handwashing, handwashing!”


On the topic of the future of the pandemic, Dr. Lystila said, “I’m feeling optimistic. Our community seems to be heeding sound medical advice and doing their part to stay home when they’re able. Our region continually prepares for the unexpected – tornadoes, blizzards, and even earthquakes – so our teams are ready.”


Dr. Listila said that it’s important for us to “Look for ways to help [our] friends and neighbors” and to “take care of each other” while doctors “continue to look for creative solutions to meet the ongoing health needs” of the community. We should all take time to appreciate the work of hardworking essential workers during this uncertain time to help our community to stay safe!