Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Take a Break: Make a shirt folding board

Blame it on another Vermont snowstorm, but it's time to try to create a DIY of an “As seen on TV" product. 

 Yes, you can make a shirt folding board for free using cardboard and duct tape. It’s an easy DIY project and it may even inspire you, or other members of your household, to fold laundry

Below is a helpful video, but if you prefer, these are good written directions (lots of pictures).

There are very quick ways to fold T shirts, that don’t require a device, so you may this find video useful.

And if you are a Marie Kondo fan, check out her basic clothes folding methods. Her approach may be the best for space saving and for easy access when stored. 

Not interested in today’s activities, try the Take a Break Pinterest Board.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Journal Watch February 2020

 The neuroanatomy of trigeminal neuralgia´s treatment response: Neuroimaging findings suggest that the trigeminal nerve and hippocampus volumes predict surgical treatment success. Cephalalgia

Virtual Physical Therapy Feasible Following Knee Replacement: Virtual physical therapy (PT) with telerehabilitation for skilled clinical oversight significantly lowers three-month health care costs after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) while providing similar effectiveness to traditional PT, according to a study published in the Jan. 15 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

More autonomy at work reduces the risk of low back pain: A team of psychologists has carried out a meta-analysis to identify psychosocial work factors that pose a risk for the development of chronic low back pain (CLBP). Their study clearly indicates that not only physical but also psychological and social factors exert considerable influence on the development of the disease. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 

Proactive Pain Management May Cut Postop Opioid Prescriptions: An enhanced recovery after surgery program complemented by a preemptive pain management program is associated with a decrease in opioid prescriptions at discharge following minimally invasive foregut surgery, according to a study published in the February issue of the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.


An ACL Tear Can Affect Your Brain in Addition to Your Knee: A new study
finds a knee injury affects brain structure and can have negative impacts on it. Various types of injuries, and to specific parts of the body, can affect the brain differently, but the effects can be similar. NeuroImage

Back pain: How effective are yoga, tai chi, and qigong? Low back pain affects a substantial proportion of adults. Currently, the treatment options are limited and often fall short. A new review asks if yoga, tai chi, and qigong might prove effective in reducing pain. The latest review concludes that these practices may benefit some people with low back pain. However, because there is so little high quality research, it is currently impossible to reach reliable conclusions. Holistic Nursing Practice,

Medicinal Cannabis May Not Help with Sleep in the Long Run: A new study found some beneficial effects of medical cannabis on sleep in people with chronic pain, but frequent cannabis use may cause other sleep problems. Researchers found that people who used medical cannabis were slightly less likely to report waking up in the middle of the night compared to non-medical cannabis users. Researchers still aren’t sure how the mechanisms behind the possible sleep benefits of cannabis work. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care

Understand the Link Between Heart Disease and Marijuana: When it comes to marijuana’s health effects on humans, the issue can be as gray and elusive as smoke. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology states that links between heart disease and marijuana are becoming clearer, although as more marijuana-infused products hit the market, its cardiovascular effects are “not well understood.

Cannabis could make people more prone to false memories: New research finds that intoxication with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in cannabis, makes people more predisposed to forming false memories. The findings have significant legal implications. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 Cognitive Behavioral Program Benefits Patients With Diabetes: A peer-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)-based intervention may improve quality of life (QOL) among patients with diabetes and chronic pain, according to a study published in the January/February issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

People with obesity who experience self-directed weight shaming benefit from intervention: in a first-of-its-kind study, researchers at Penn Medicine showed that people who received a new stigma-reduction intervention, along with standard behavioral weight loss treatment, devalued themselves less due to their weight compared to participants who only received the weight loss treatment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology

• Approved Tepezza (teprotumumab-trbw) for treatment of thyroid eye disease

• Approved Tazverik to treat metastatic, locally advanced epithelioid sarcoma

• Approved Palforzia (Peanut [Arachis hypogaea] Allergen Powder-dnfp) to alleviate allergic reactions to accidental peanut exposure,
• authorized marketing of software to assist medical professionals in the acquisition of cardiac ultrasound, or echocardiography, images
• Issued an emergency use authorization to enable emergency use of the CDC’s 2019-nCoV Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel
• Requests Market withdrawal of Blviq (weight loss drug) due to cancer risk
• Recalled MiniMed 600 Series Insulin Pumps made by Medtronic due to a defect that puts users at risk for serious harm or death

How High Energy Music Can Make Your Workout More Effective: A new study from Italy found that listening to high tempo music during exercise can distract you and make your workouts seem less challenging, ultimately making them more beneficial. Frontiers in Psychology

How Playing Golf Can Help Your Health: Researchers found that playing golf regularly, at least once a month, was associated with a lower risk of death. The study authors believe that the social nature of golf is valuable to individuals who may not be able to try a rigorous exercise routine. International Stroke Conference

PREVENTION: Diet/Nutrition
What Nutritionists Think About Starbucks’ 3 New Plant-Based Drinks: Not so much! Starbucks has added 3 new plant-based, dairy-free coffee drinks to their menu: Almondmilk Honey Flat White, Oatmilk Honey Latte, and Coconutmilk Latte. Nutritionists point out that these new drinks are high in sugar and calories and advise they be enjoyed occasionally rather than viewed as a daily coffee option. The 16-ounce or Grande-sized drinks for all 3 new beverages also contain more caffeine than many energy drinks. Healthline 

Low-Carb, Low-Fat Diets Not Tied to Mortality Overall: Low-carbohydrate diet and low-fat diet scores are not associated with total mortality, according to a study published online Jan. 21 in JAMA Internal Medicine. However, unhealthy low-carb diet, low-fat diet associated with higher total mortality. 

To Help IBD Symptoms, Target Your Microbiome with These Foods: People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are often confused about which foods may ease symptoms and which ones may make them worse. Based on medical research, there’s no single plan that definitively offers relief. But a recent study on a new diet called the IBD-AID diet has shown that it may help. The diet focuses on correcting gut bacteria balance with probiotic and prebiotic foods. Healthline

'2–3 oz of walnuts' daily may benefit heart and gut health: A new trial suggests that people who eat walnuts every day may have better gut health and a lower risk of heart disease. Journal of Nutrition

Every Girl Scout Cookie Ranked from Healthiest to Unhealthiest: Shortbread/Trefoils were considered the healthiest while many peoples favorite-Thin Mints-came in a close second. In last place was Girl Scout S’mores. Healthline

With high fiber diets, more protein may mean more bloating: People who eat high fiber diets are more likely to experience bloating if their high fiber diet is protein-rich as compared to carbohydrate-rich, according to a study. Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology

An egg a day not tied to risk of heart disease:An analysis of three large, long-term multinational studies suggests that moderate egg intake, which is about one egg per day in most people, does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease or mortality even if people have a history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Vegetarian diet associated with a 16% lower risk of developing a UTI: Studying Taiwanese buddhists has revealed a link between plant-based foods and a lower risk of urinary tract infections. Scientific Reports

Eating meat was linked to higher risk of heart disease: Researchers looked at the health data of nearly 30,000 adults who had no history of cardiovascular disease (CVD) at baseline and provided follow-up data for up to three decades. Those who ate higher amounts of processed meat, unprocessed meat or poultry, but not fish, were significantly associated with a slightly higher risk of heart disease. People who ate higher amounts of processed and unprocessed meat, but not chicken or fish, were strongly associated with a slightly higher risk of death, according to the new studyTrusted Source in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Eat More Plants, Less Meat, to Lower Your Diabetes, Heart Disease Risk: People with a lower intake of sulfur amino acids were found to have a lower cardiometabolic disease risk score. Cardiometabolic diseases include conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Study participants had a sulfur amino acid intake about 2 1/2 times greater than what’s recommended. It appears that many people could benefit from reducing their protein intake. Eating more plant foods and less meat can help people take in fewer sulfur amino acids. The Lancet


Not all in-home drinking water filters completely remove toxic PFAS: A new study  finds that - while using any filter is better than using none - many household filters are only partially effective at removing toxic perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from drinking water. A few, if not properly maintained, can even make the situation worse. "In contrast, the effectiveness of activated-carbon filters used in many pitcher, countertop, refrigerator and faucet-mounted styles was inconsistent and unpredictable. The whole-house systems were also widely variable and in some cases actually increased PFAS levels in the water." Environmental Science & Technology Letters

Alzheimer’s Risk May Be Reduced by Eating Apples and Other Foods Rich in Flavonoids: In a study published in the journal Neurology, researchers say that consuming flavonoids might help fight the advancement of Alzheimer’s disease. Flavonoids are found in fruits, vegetables, chocolate, tea, and wine. Participants who consumed the most flavonoids had a 48 percent lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Experts say a healthy diet, including foods with flavonoids, as well as lifestyle factors like exercise and sleep can help reduce dementia risk.

Cocoa Consumption May Improve Walking Performance in PAD: Cocoa consumption may improve walking performance in individuals with peripheral artery disease (PAD), according to a study published online Feb. 14 in Circulation Research.


PREVENTION: Supplements
Online information about probiotics often misleading: As probiotics grow in popularity, a recent study investigates the reliability of online information. They find that the majority of "top" websites provide information that lacks scientific evidence. Frontiers in Medicine.

Algae shown to improve gastrointestinal health: Project is the first to test green algae on symptoms related to human digestion: A green, single-celled organism called Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has served as a model species for topics spanning algae-based biofuels to plant evolution. While algae have been used as dietary nutraceuticals that provide beneficial oils, vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates and antioxidants, the benefits of consuming C. reinhardtii were previously unexplored. Researchers have now completed the first study in humans demonstrating that C. reinhardtii helps improve human gastrointestinal problems related to irritable bowel syndrome, including diarrhea, gas and bloating. Journal of Functional Foods


Zinc lozenges did not shorten the duration of colds: Administration of zinc acetate lozenges to common cold patients did not shorten colds in a randomized trial. BMJ Open


Belly Fat Linked to Increased Risk of Repeat Heart Attacks: Researchers say belly fat is a major risk factor for repeat heart attacks, even more than BMI readings. Experts say abdominal obesity can increase a person’s risk for a second heart attack even if they are taking proper medication and following other medical advice. They note that a first attack can cause inflammation, stress, and changes in arteries that can lead to a second attack. Healthline


Exposure to diesel exhaust particles linked to pneumococcal disease susceptibility: A new study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, shows that exposure to diesel exhaust particles (DEPs) can increase an individual's susceptibility to pneumococcal disease. The bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of pneumonia and meningitis and the leading cause of infectious disease deaths in under-5s and elderly groups worldwide.

Shingles: Does adult exposure to chickenpox lower risk? A new study questions the notion that re exposure to chickenpox in adulthood completely prevents the development of herpes zoster, or shingles. The new findings show that while the risk drops significantly, full immunization is unlikely. As a result, the researchers call for a reappraisal of childhood vaccination policies. The BMJ

Alcohol-related death rates are rising in nearly every age group: According to a recent study, more people in the United States are drinking more alcohol and experiencing the harmful effects. The number of hospitalizations is rising, as are death rates. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.


New Recommendation to Start Colorectal Cancer Screenings at Age 45: A new study recommends colorectal cancer screenings start at age 45. Researchers say that’s because of the increasing number of colorectal cancer cases in younger adults. Experts say obesity is a major risk factor for colorectal cancer and the country’s obesity crisis makes earlier screening even more important. JAMA Network OpenTrusted Source

U.S. Adult Immunization Schedule Updated for 2020: In a clinical guideline published online Feb. 4 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) outlines its 2020 Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule. Changes include routine annual influenza vaccination for all persons aged 6 months and older without contraindications. No preferential recommendation is made for one influenza vaccine product over another. All persons with HIV aged 1 year or older should be routinely vaccinated with the hepatitis A vaccine. The hepatitis A vaccine is also recommended for persons working in settings of exposure; any person who wants to be protected against the hepatitis A virus infection may be vaccinated. Catch-up human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination is recommended for all adults through age 26 years who are not adequately vaccinated. Shared clinical decision making is recommended regarding HPV vaccination for adults aged 27 to 45 years who are not adequately vaccinated; discussion of vaccination should be considered for those most likely to benefit.

Soldiers With Traumatic Brain Injury at Risk for Mental Illness: U.S. combat soldiers who have suffered a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) are more likely to experience a range of mental health disorders than soldiers with other serious injuries, according to a study recently published in Military Medicine.

Cervical cancer screening saves lives: A new study led by University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center scientists shows that screening every three years instead of annually prevents most cervical cancers. And of the cancers that are found during routine screenings, most are caught before they've had a chance to spread, making them far easier to treat. International Journal of Cancer

Waking to Music (Not a Beeping Alarm) Can Help You Feel More Alert: Australian researchers say the type of alarm you use may affect how easily you wake up. More harsh tones may leave you feeling groggy. More melodic alarms may help you wake up more alert. The study, which was published in PLoS One, involved 50 people.

Link Between Gum Disease and Risk of a Stroke: According to two research abstracts being presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference, gum disease (also known as periodontitis or periodontal disease) was linked to a higher rate of strokes caused by the hardening of large arteries in the brain and also with severe artery blockages that haven’t yet caused symptoms. The studies suggest that treating gum disease (with other stroke risk factors) could reduce risk for stroke.

Shingles Can Increase Stroke Risk. Getting the Vaccine Can Reduce It: A new study concludes that the risk of stroke in people over 50 can be reduced by getting a shingles vaccine. Researchers reported the effectiveness of the shingles vaccine decreases as people get older. International Stroke Conference 2020

Time of Day for Taking Warfarin Does Not Matter: Time of day for taking warfarin makes no difference on the drug's effectiveness, according to a study published in the January/February issue of the Annals of Family Medicine

5 major advances in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) treatment: Breakthrough research to be presented at the Crohn's & Colitis Congress®, includes: Lymphoma not associated with anti-TNF therapy in pediatric IBD patients; AZD4205, a selective, GI tract-enriched selective JAK1 inhibitor for Crohn's disease: preclinical evidence and Phase I data; Diet as a microbiome-centered therapy for IBD; Thanks to biologics, less ulcerative colitis patients need their colon removed; Siblings close in age may make the best fecal microbiota donor for ulcerative colitis patients.

High-Dose IV Vitamin C Does Not Speed Resolution of Septic Shock: Treatment with intravenous vitamin C, hydrocortisone, and thiamine does not improve the duration of time alive and vasopressor administration-free compared with intravenous hydrocortisone alone among patients with septic shock, according to a study published online Jan. 17 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  

Vitamin C-B1-steroid combo linked to lower septic shock mortality in kids: Treating septic shock in children with a combination of intravenous vitamin C, vitamin B1 and hydrocortisone (a commonly used steroid) is associated with lower mortality, according to a new study. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

Can lithium halt progression of Alzheimer's disease? Research has shown that, when given in a formulation that facilitates passage to the brain, lithium in doses up to 400 times lower than what is currently being prescribed for mood disorders is capable of both halting signs of advanced Alzheimer's pathology such as amyloid plaques and of recovering lost cognitive abilities. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

4 FDA Approved Drugs to Treat Flu Symptoms: The flu vaccine can help prevent the flu, but if you do get sick, there are four FDA-approved medications for treating flu symptoms- oseltamivir phosphate (Tamiflu), baloxavir marboxil (Xofluza), peramivir (Rapivab), and zanamivir (Relenza). Meds need to be taken within 24 to 48 hours of onset of symptoms to be effective. Typically, the medications lessen severity of symptoms by preventing the flu virus from multiplying.  The 2019-20 dominant flu strains have peaked at unusual times and are also affecting children and young adults more than usual. Healthline

Blue light may aid recovery after concussion: A study that the United States military funded concludes that blue light can help heal mild traumatic brain injury simply by helping the person sleep better. “Our findings suggest that morning blue light exposure helps reset the normal sleep-wake cycle each day, and this maximizes the ability to get better sleep during the night, thus leading to better recovery from concussion.”  Neurobiology of Disease.

Excedrin Migraine Products May Soon Be in Short Supply — What You Can Do: Production of two of the most frequently used Excedrin migraine relief medications has been temporarily halted. There aren’t expected to be any safety concerns or issues with long-term availability, but there may be shortages of Excedrin Migraine and Excedrin Extra Strength. Experts say people who get migraine headaches may want to talk with a healthcare provider about treatment alternatives. Experts add the shortages might not be such a bad thing, as using a particular medication too frequently can lead to an increase in headaches. Healthline


Tramadol Linked to Increased Hip Fracture Risk in Adults Aged ≥50: For older adults, initiation of tramadol is associated with an increased risk for hip fracture compared with initiation of codeine, ibuprofen, and other commonly used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, according to a study published online Feb. 5 in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Diabetes drug may compromise cardiovascular health: New research uses high quality data to find that the type 2 diabetes drug rosiglitazone raises the risk of adverse cardiovascular events by 33%. The BMJ

Viagra Can Cause Vision Problems in Some Men: An eye specialist in Turkey reports that temporary vision problems have occurred in some of his patients who use Viagra. Experts have reported vision issues with Viagra use in the past. They say most of those problems happened in men who took a larger than recommended dose of the erectile dysfunction drug. Men with certain preexisting health conditions can also be more prone to vision problems from Viagra. American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).

Beta-blockers and aspirin may protect the heart during bereavement: New research finds that a combination of low dose aspirin and beta-blockers reduces blood pressure and decreases symptoms of anxiety during bereavement. The findings could materialize into preventive measures that clinicians incorporate into their practices. American Heart Journal

Family caregivers are rarely asked about needing assistance with caring for older adults: Most of the surveyed caregivers who interacted with health care workers reported that the latter always or usually listen to them (88.8 percent) and ask about their understanding of older adults' treatments (72.1 percent). A much smaller proportion (28.2 percent) reported that health care workers always or usually asked them whether they needed help in their care of the older adult. JAMA Open Network

Caregivers Are in Need of Better Health Care Coverage, Access: Unpaid adult caregivers are at higher risk for not having insurance and putting off necessary health services due to cost, according to a study recently published in Rehabilitation Psychology.

Hot flashes impair memory performance: If you're having difficulty identifying the right word to express yourself clearly or remembering a story correctly, you may blame menopause. A new study suggests that physiologic hot flashes are associated with decreased verbal memory and with alterations in brain function during encoding and retrieval of memory, especially in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Menopause 

Resting heart rate: No such thing as 'normal': A recent study concludes that when it comes to resting heart rate (RHR), “normal” does not exist. Although most people’s RHR is relatively stable over time, from person to person, rates vary by as much as 70 beats per minute (bpm). “A single measurement of heart rate provides very little useful information about the current health of an individual, unless well out of the expected range of normal.” PLOS ONE

1 in 5 Medical Procedures May Lead to Surprise Hospital Bills — Even If You’re Insured: A new study reports that 20 percent of hospital bills can contain surprise charges, even for people who are fully insured. The researchers say many of the higher charges involve “surgical assistants” and other ancillary personnel who aren’t in a patient’s network coverage. JAMA https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2760735

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Take a Break: Watch Hair Love/Short film animation

 Even if you didn't have a chance to see many of the Oscar winner (and nominated) films, you can always watch the Best Animated Short films on-line.

This year’s 202O Oscar winner for Best Animated Short is Hair Love.
 Other nominated films can be watched on-line as well.

Not interested in today’s activities, try the Take a Break Pinterest Board.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Life with Chronic Conditions: Adopt the NEAT approach to exercise

Yes, being “neat” and adopting NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenes)  have something in common. When you spend time cleaning the house, doing yard work, laundry and in general “neating up,” you are contributing to your NEAT score.

Research has shown that the more you regularly move throughout the day, the healthier you’ll be. Working out at the gym and then sitting all day doesn’t provide the same benefit.

This past May(2019) new research in the Journal of the American Medical Association is shedding some new light on just how active we need to be. I-Min Lee, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard University T. H. Chan School of Public Health, decided to test this out by observing step totals and mortality rates of elderly American women (16,741, mean age 72). “The basic finding was that at 4,400 steps per day, these women had significantly lower mortality rates compared to the least active women,” Lee explains. If they did more, their mortality rates continued to drop, until they reached about 7,500 steps, at which point the rates leveled out. Ultimately, increasing daily physical activity by as little as 2,000 steps—less than a mile of walking—was associated with positive health outcomes for the elderly women. The Atlantic

Interestingly, the longest lived people in the world don’t pump iron or go to the gym. Instead, their environments constantly encourage them to move so that the “healthy choice” is the easy choice.

Other posts on this topic

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Take a Break: Host a Spa Break

After writing the post Life with Chronic Conditions: Coping with “Skin Hunger”  I thought it might be fun to outline how to organize a spa event. And please this isn’t gender specific. I’ve recently visited  a lovely spa in Vermont where there were a lot of guys as well as women. In fact, when my sons are home, they want me to give them foot massages and pedicures and are totally on board with a “spa day.”

You can make this as simple as calling up some friends and arranging to go have mani/pedis together or, for those of us with limited incomes, host a spa event at someone’s house, where everyone contributes. If your house doesn’t offer the perfect set up, see if another person is game to host, while you do the organizing.

If you have a hot tub, a lovely way for friends to relax, if you don’t want to end up with a lot laundry, ask people to bring their own towels.

Keep it simple. Set up stations where participants can give and receive, or make it completely “do it yourself.” Some sample stations to consider:
• Foot massage/Pedicure
• Manicure
• Reflexology
• Back, shoulder or arm massage
• Meditation/Aromatherapy
• Facial/face masks
• Gentle Yoga, Qigong or Tai Chi (videos are great for this)
• Scalp/hair conditioning
• Paraffin wax treatments
• Make overs

Looking for DIYs for facials etc., click here. 

If someone wants to pay for a massage therapist to come as their contribution, that’s wonderful. Some people would prefer to bring snacks or drinks. Just be sure to know in advance who is going to do what.

Not interested in today’s activities, try the Take a Break Pinterest Board.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Prevent Flu, Colds & Coronavirus

The Trump administration declared a public health emergency in the U.S. yesterday (January 31, 2020), which will become effective Sunday at 5 p.m. ET. This enables the government to take temporary measures to contain the spread of the Novel coronavirus, (nCoV) which has been confirmed in seven people in the U.S.

U.S. citizens who have been in China's Hubei Province in the past 14 days will be subject to 14 days of mandatory quarantine if they travel back to the United States. This is the first time a mandatory quarantine has been implemented in 50 years.

As frightening as this sounds, the risk to the public is deemed low.

However, the bigger risk is the flu, which generally reaches its peak between December and February but can be active as late as May.

Below is information on the nCoV as well as prevention strategies, which are similar for cold and flu. Following the prevention information are a list of resources where you can stay up to date on nCoV.

WHAT IS CORONAVIRUS? Coronaviruses are an extremely common cause of colds and other upper respiratory infections. These viruses are zoonoses, which means they can infect certain animals and spread from one animal to another. A coronavirus can potentially spread to humans, particularly if certain mutations in the virus occur.

Chinese health authorities reported a group of cases of viral pneumonia to the World Health Organization (WHO) in late December 2019. Many of the ill people had contact with a seafood and animal market in Wuhan, a large city in eastern China, though it has since become clear that the virus can spread from person to person. Harvard Health

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS? The symptoms can include a cough, possibly with a fever and shortness of breath. There are some early reports of non-respiratory symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Many people recover within a few days. However, some people — especially the very young, elderly, or people who have a weakened immune system — may develop a more serious infection, such as bronchitis or pneumonia. Harvard Health

COULD I CATCH THIS VIRUS? Unless you’ve been in close contact with someone who has the coronavirus — which right now, typically means a traveler from Wuhan, China who actually has the virus — you’re likely to be safe. Harvard Health 

If you have been in Wuhan or Hubei Province within the past two weeks or have been in close contact with a person with 2019-nCoV, and develop a fever, cough or have difficulty breathing, contact your health care provider right away.

FLU IS A CONCERN: Flu is widespread throughout the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that so far this season there have been 19-26  million flu illnesses, 180,000-310,00 hospitalizations and 10,000-25,000 deaths from flu. 

If you live in the US, flu is a far bigger concern than nCoV. This year is being referred to as a “double-barreled” flu season as two flu outbreaks over one another, which is very unusual. In short, the potential is there to get sick twice this flu season. Sorry, You Might Get the Flu Twice This Year —Here’s Why

With the exception of a vaccine for flu prevention, which does not exist for colds or the nCoV, the prevention of all three conditions is the same.

• Cover your mouth and nose every time you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue and throw it away. Use your arm (not your hand).

• Observe regular cleaning habits if someone at home has the flu. Pay special attention to doorknobs, faucets, refrigerator handles, phones, smartphones and toys.

• Vaccinate (flu only)

• Every time you use a tissue, throw it in the trash and then wash your hands. Skip the antibacterial stuff (unless you don't have access to soap and water) as it may contribute to the rise in antibiotic resistant bugs.

Remember not to share anything that goes into the mouth.
Wash your hands often and well. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Skip the antibacterial soaps as regular soap and water works fine.

• Avoid contact with sick people. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands.

• Stay home when you are sick.

Have alcohol hand sanitizer on hand if you don’t have access to soap and water.

• Get plenty of sleep-at least six or more hours a day.
• Get sufficient Vitamin D. The sun is a lot less effective in providing Vitamin D during the winter months-peak time for colds and flu-so talk to your medical provider about the use of a supplement
• Take Exercise Breaks
• Skip the handshake. Elbow bumps are replacing handshakes during cold and flu season. If you're really hip, the ‘Namaste’ bow is becoming very popular- put your hands together at chest level, make eye contact and give a little bow

In the Work Place: In addition to practicing Cover & Wash, consider the following
Use Disinfectant Spray to clean doorknobs, handles, light switches, phones, computer mice, keyboards, railings, microwave, coffee maker handle, elevator buttons and escalator rails. Note that viruses can live up to 48 hours on plastic and stainless steel surfaces. Identify the germ “hot spots” in your office and make sure they are regularly cleaned.
• Use Hand Sanitizer when soap & water aren’t available: Reduce transferring nasty cold and flu germs by using hand sanitizer wipes to clean public surfaces, such as keyboards.
Don’t share pens with colleagues as these can be particularly dirty.
Ask your manager to supply the office with the necessary tools to keep the workplace healthy.
Stay home when you are sick

At Home: In addition to practicing Cover & Wash, consider the following:
Create a “sick room” where the person who is sick can have all the things they need.
Sanitize shared items
Take care of yourself so your resistance isn’t lowered