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Pandemic Habits To Maintain Long Term To Prevent Getting Sick

After being in the Covid-19 pandemic for more than two years, experts are emphasizing the preventative measures that we should adopt long term in order to prevent contracting other viruses like the flu.

Mother & Daughter Washing Hands

How To Stay Healthy This Holiday Season

Holiday and flu season are unfortunately always at the same time of year. Between the weather changing, contained work environments, and non-stop holiday traveling, it’s almost impossible not to find yourself with a scratchy throat, and runny nose. Nothing can be more disappointing during the holidays than trying to enjoy quality time with your loved ones and battling incessant cold symptoms at the same time. Preventative measures and care for yourself is the best bet to avoid getting sick altogether. While up-keeping a sanitary and healthy bubble around yourself may be tedious, it’s one of the best ways to prevent a sniffly Christmas for yourself. 

Travelling is one of the top ways that sickness can be easily spread. You’re surrounded by a bunch of strangers constantly, your touching door handles, seats, and a bunch of other things that have been touched by thousands of other individuals and then inadvertently putting all those germs onto yourself through touch. Luckily, the solutions are quite simple, it’s just a matter of keeping up with them. Washing your hands constantly is the number one best way to prevent the spread of germs and any foreign bacteria that you don’t want infiltrating your body. 

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“Our hands are the interface between ourselves and the rest of the world. In other words, our hands touch all these surfaces that are full of germs, and then we touch our own face and mucosal surfaces — such as our mouth, nose, eyes — way more than you would even notice. Most people touch their face many times in any given minute, and that can transmit illness. I can’t stress the importance of hand hygiene enough. It’s probably the biggest thing you can do to help prevent illness,” says Gina Suh, a specialist in infectious diseases at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. 

If you don’t have constant access to a sink and soap, carry hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes with you at all times. It’s important to note that while sanitation products definitely help prevent the spreading of germs, it’s not nearly as effective as hand-washing, so try to keep up with that as often as possible. Sanitizing wipes are also great to keep on you especially in situations where you’re using public transportation or are in an airport/plane setting. Use the wipes to sanitize your seat, armrests, hands, any door handles before touching them, etc. While this may seem excessive to you or get you some dirty looks from judgmental strangers, at least you’ll remain healthy and sanitized. 

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The next best thing you can do for yourself is to manage your stress. The holiday’s can be one of the most stressful times depending on how you view it. Stress itself can’t make you sick, per say, however, it’s the way that stress can affect your body that can cause you to become more susceptible to illness. Stress can cause a loss of appetite, or an overindulgence of food and drinks that aren’t good for you and have a high fat/sugar content. While indulging is obviously encouraged, make sure you’re balancing it out. Many people forget to eat fruits and vegetables when they’re surrounded by delicious holiday desserts, however, fruit and veggies have high vitamin contents which help boost your immune system. 

In addition to making sure you’re incorporating healthy foods into your holiday diet, the number one thing you can be putting into your body that will help fight off unwanted sickness is water. Hydration is always important, especially when your travelling during the holiday seasons. Plane travel in particular can actually cause you to dehydrate at a quicker rate, so make sure you always have a water bottle of some sort on you at all times. The best way to ensure this is to buy yourself a big 32 ounce or more reusable water bottle. There’s plenty on the market that range in prices so you don’t have to spend a lot to ensure that you’ll be consistently hydrated this holiday season. 

“People are more dehydrated over the holidays. Couple that with an airplane’s dehydrating conditions, and you’re looking at a parched body. You don’t necessarily need to chug gallons of water, but you should be more mindful of your intake. I don’t think you should overdo it, because then that could be problematic. I think that the problem is people fall behind in their hydration. They forget about it. So try to maintain normal or slightly above-normal levels of hydration,”  Suh says.

Finally, make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep both before, during, and after all your holiday travels. Jet lag can be the silent killer when it comes to leaving your body susceptible to getting sick. So make sure you’re getting you’re full eight hours of sleep, drinking enough water, and washing your hands every step of the way to ensure that you have both a happy and healthy holiday season.

Silhouette of Singer

Suffering from Sinus Infection, Ariana Grande Cancels Performance

Recently, pop singer Ariana Grande took to social media to share that she is undergoing an illness serious enough to force her to cancel an upcoming show. The artist has been suffering from a sinus infection for a few weeks, and her condition has worsened over time. While Grande opted not to cancel her performances in the earlier stages of her illness, instead opting to power through despite feeling unwell, she recently posted on her Instagram Story that she is “still very sick” and that she “really [doesn’t] know what’s going on with [her] body right now and need[s] to figure it out.” She added that she was taking medication and was on an IV drip in the hope of feeling better for the following day’s concert, but that she couldn’t make any promises. Additionally, she posted a video of herself using a steamer to help her breathe properly.

The next day, Grande took to Instagram again to announce that she would have to cancel a show. Despite this unfortunate news, however, Grande emphasized her gratitude for having the opportunity to perform for her fans and thank them for their support. She apologized to her fans and promised they would be refunded. Grande was met with an outpouring of well-wishes and support during her illness, and Barbra Streisand advised her to “take a strong Vitamin C drink with some Manuka honey and of course get some chicken soup!”

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Although she ultimately decided to cancel her Lexington, NY performance, the singer didn’t want fans to be disappointed. As such, she paid for the lunches of dozens of fans who attended a spontaneous meet-up at Rupp Arena organized by the Grande Tour News Twitter account. Many of the fans who attended the meet-up had traveled across the country to see Grande perform, so her paying for their lunches was a gesture of kindness towards her loyal and dedicated fans. Grande’s next show is scheduled to take place on Sunday in Kentucky, but it’s unclear whether the singer will feel well enough to attend.

Grande is no stranger to health issues. The 26-year-old singer has previously shared her battles with PTSD, brought on by traumatic events including the presence of a suicide bomber at one of her shows in Manchester in 2017, who killed 22 people and injured hundreds more. On Instagram, she posted an image of a scan of her brain purportedly showing how it had been affected by the trauma she experienced. Though the presence of Grande’s PTSD is likely genuine, experts argue that it is impossible to determine whether somebody has PTSD by looking at a scan of their brain. The singer has also been open about her struggles with anxiety and depression, and has spoken frequently about her years-long therapy practice, which she considers to be tremendously valuable. As such, Grande has used her platform as a celebrity to work as a mental health advocate, as her openness about her psychological conditions helps to destigmatize mental illnesses and encourage more people who need help with psychological problems to seek treatment.

Workaholics

Workaholics at Risk From Being ‘Overstressed’

Stress can have significant effects on your body, both physical and psychological. With more and more people leading stressful lives, the occurrence of long term stress has increased dramatically with one third of people reported to be suffering from stress at least one day per week. Identifying the signs that you’re overstressed can be difficult, especially when you’re constantly busy with work and the demands of everyday life. If you can identify the early signs and symptoms it can make combating the problem much easier, allowing you to get back to being yourself.

You always seem to be ill

Being ill regularly can indicate problems with stress. Although most people associate being ill with the weather, the sickness bug going around at work or perhaps an inherently weak immune system, illness can in fact have much more complicated causes. Stress can trigger illness as your body’s capability to develop white blood cells decreases, therefore making you ill more often as you are less able to fight off infections. 

How is it possible to link stress with regular illnesses? Take the time to remember when you were last ill. Where there any stressful situations going on in your life simultaneously such as a work deadline or an upcoming exam? Connecting the dots can help you tackle stress and reduce the impact it has on your body. Seeking professional advice can also help you deal with the problem as they can give you the best advice and treatment. Furthermore, it is essential that you are maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, ensuring that your immune system is well equipped to deal with any bouts of illness that do occur.

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Everything irritates you

Another sign stress may be taking over is when you start to feel irritated by everything around you. A colleague may ask you to help with a certain task and you find yourself sighing and getting annoyed at them. It feels like everything around you is constantly going wrong and the world never seems to be on your side. 

A lot of people have no idea that they are being rude to the people around them, often causing irritation and rifts in their relationships. Being stressed and overwhelmed can mean we don’t have the capacity to consider the feelings of others around us, leaving them hurt and confused. Seeking professional advice in this situation can be extremely effective so you can go back to being yourself and prevent stress from affecting your quality of life.

You’re constantly thinking about work

A major sign that work is stressing you out is when you cannot stop thinking about it! Even though you leave the office at 5, your mind is constantly occupied with work related worries and tasks you need to complete before a certain date. Work is on your mind during dinner, when you’re trying to relax and fall asleep, and even when you’re talking to other people. Taking a step back and leaving work at the door is extremely hard for many people, causing intense stress.

Keeping yourself healthy by staying hydrated, following a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy sleeping and exercise pattern will help you tackle stress head-on when it does hit.

You can’t focus on anything

Whilst many people cannot focus on anything but work, many find it extremely difficult to focus on anything at all when they’re stressed. Failing to make progress or even get started on that task or deadline you’ve been putting off is a sign that you may be overwhelmed. Instead of being able to focus and complete a task, you fret too much about all the other things you have to do and worry about not being able to complete those tasks to a good enough standard. You become trapped in a vicious cycle as tasks pile up around you.

Those who suffer from anxiety are all too familiar with this cycle, however beginning to refocus your concentration on what you need to accomplish is never impossible. There is lots of advice available both online and from professionals that can help you to get you life back on track.

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You’ve got eczema or inflamed skin 

Stress can also trigger problematic skin conditions such as eczema or inflammation. This is a result of your body being put through stressful events especially if you already suffer from chronic dry skin or eczema. Anxiety can also trigger flare ups and may lead to more stress, intensifying the issue. 

Seeking advice and treatments from doctors is a good place to start when tackling this issue whilst following a healthy diet and moisturizing your skin regularly can also help the situation. Removing products from your regime that you think might be causing the problem to worsen can also help lessen the symptoms. Many people also find that certain foods such as dairy and wheat can intensify breakouts, keeping your skin clear and further stress at bay. 

Everyone combats stress in different ways. Keeping an open mind to other people’s symptoms and struggles that may differ from yours is a major step towards acceptance. Keeping yourself healthy by staying hydrated, following a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy sleeping and exercise pattern will help you tackle stress head-on when it does hit. Listen to your body, take care of it and address issues when they arise. Beating stress is never impossible and doing so will lead to a happier life.

Flu Shot

Why It’s SO Important To Get Your Flu Shot This Year

The 2019 – 2020 flu season is gearing up to be one of the most intense and difficult ones the United States has seen in a while. The Northern Hemisphere of the world can normally conclude how bad the flu season will be based on how bad it is in the Southern Hemisphere, who experience their seasons before us. Based on the data from May to present day, when countries in the Southern Hemisphere normally experience their winters/flu seasons, we should expect an even more intense season compared to last years severe outbreak. 

Australia is just exiting their winter/flu season, and this year was aggressive from the start. According to Australia’s Department of Health, “influenza and influenza-like illness activity are high for this time of year compared to previous years. At the national level, notifications of laboratory-confirmed influenza have decreased in the past fortnight, however it is likely these figures will be revised upwards due to backlogs in data entry. Influenza A was the most common respiratory virus detected in patients.” 

In addition, a 4-year-old in California who contracted the pediatric flu, after a slew of other health issues, has died already before this years flu season has even truly begun. Even though the child had other ailments that unfortunately lead to her passing, doctors aren’t taking the flu diagnosis lightly. “We should never forget that the flu still kills, I always recommend people get their flu shots every year, but a death so early in the flu season suggests this year may be worse than usual,” Dr. Cameron Kaiser, a public health officer for Riverside County, California, said in a news release, announcing the death. 

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CDC Director Tom Frieden Discusses Importance Of Annual Flu Shot, Then Receives One

Last year the United States experienced up to 43 million cases of the flu, and around 63,000 deaths that were flu-related. Again, that doesn’t mean the flu by itself killed those individuals, but either worsened pre-existing ailments, or brought out new symptoms through weakening the immune system, regardless, the severity of the flu is not meant to be overlooked. 

The Flu season for the United States normally begins with the month of October, but that doesn’t mean you need to wait until then to get vaccinated. Doctors are urging individuals to get their flu shots as soon as they can before the season starts. Sooner is better, but as long as you receive the vaccination before Thanksgiving, you should be good, but no later than that. Older individuals are recommended to try to wait until mid-October for their vaccinations, simply because their immune systems are weaker and may weaken the potency of the shot faster.

“There is a concern that some older people may have their immunity wane simply because their immune system is more frail, less robust,” Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases told NBC News.  

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Check Your Local Pharmacies For It’s Seasonal Flu Shot Deals!!!

It takes about two weeks for the body to fully process the influenza vaccination and acquire immunity, so doctors are recommending every individual above the age of 6 months get their vaccine fast. Pregnant women are especially encouraged this year to receive their immunization. If a woman who is expecting contracts the flu, it can react as intensely as it does in the body of a 70 year old, this way, the vaccine ensures protection for the mother and her unborn child. 

Many Americans don’t even bother getting a flu shot every year, since in general it’s not that effective. Last year the vaccination was only 29% fully effective, this was partially due to a second wave of influenza that wasn’t expected from doctors, but regardless 29% is not that impressive. However, there IS plenty of evidence that shows the vaccine eases the severity of the flu, and more importantly prevents further complications, that the flu can cause, to occur. These complications are what can lead to so many flu-related deaths such as pneumonia, organ inflammation, heart attack and even stroke. 

Regardless, everyone should consider taking two minutes out of their day to go down to their local pharmacy for a flu shot. For small children and those with a strong aversion to needles, a nasal spray known as FluMist is available for the second year in a row. Additionally, many people have immune systems that react poorly to vaccinations due to high sensitivity, which can cause them to feel even worse as a result. Cases like that are mainly found in older individuals (65 years old and up) who have less strength in general so doctors recommend a vaccine known as FluZone, which offers a different type of stronger dose that will accommodate to the weaker body.