“It has certainly been a very long two years, and we are all experiencing COVID-fatigue,” commented Dr. Jenks, head of the Fauquier Hospital Emergency Department. Dr. Jenks knows as well as anyone, the unprecedented challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on hospitals, communities, and residents. Especially now, that we are entering into year three of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we continue to do everything we can to stop the spread of this novel coronavirus. The latest Omicron variant surged through our community in late December through January, like we have not seen by previous variants. Currently, the community transmission levels seem to continue decreasing, translating into a decrease in the number of COVID positive patients we are seeing within the hospital’s walls.
As our community continues to focus on recovering from Omicron, we are all hoping to get back to a more normal state. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 threat doesn’t appear to be making an official exit anytime soon. So, what can we do? How can we continue living with this virus? A key answer is that we need to stay diligent and educated on the facts. Working together as a community by practicing safe habits where possible will help to reduce the spread. The likelihood that another, more dangerous, variant might emerge does seem possible.
Dr. Jenks shared, “Vaccination remains the most important step that we can all take to reduce the spread of this disease, and to protect ourselves and our communities from the risk of bad outcomes from infection. Remember, vaccination is not only about your protection. For example, it is about protecting those who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons. As more people are able to get vaccinated, including children, we get closer one step at a time to getting back to our normal lives.”
Vaccines are now available and recommended for children five years and older, boosters are available for 12 years and older after five months after primary series.
Keeping our Children Safe
It’s a very unique environment. A world in which some of the younger children don’t have a clear remembrance of what it was like before COVID. Mental health is of great concern when it comes to the developing minds of children of any age. Some important tips to work with your children include calming them down about any issues they are worried about. By opening communication channels, reinforcing healthy lifestyles and dieting habits, and encouraging outside time keep the mind and body strong. When talking to your children about COVID, it can be useful to incorporate explanatory cartoons that are available.
We asked some of the experts – Dr. Diana Chalmeta, local Pediatrician, and Dr. Aliona Bortun, Family Practice Physician – to shed some light on many of the commonly asked questions by parents.
Where can my child get a COVID-19 test?
According to Dr. Diana Chalmeta, a local Pediatrician at Piedmont Pediatrics, “Local pharmacies. Piedmont Pediatrics provides rapid and PCR testing for our patients with an appointment and the usual turnaround time for testing is two days. You can also check with your primary care provider or pediatrician to see if they perform testing.”
Dr. Aliona Bortun, Family Practice at Bealeton explained, “There are different options of COVID testing at your pediatrician’s office, urgent care, and COVID testing sites. Now, testing is also more readily available with at home COVID test kits. The best time to have a COVID test, and to avoid false negative test, is after two days of symptoms.”
If my child begins exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 what should I do?
Dr. Chalmeta explained that symptoms of COVID in children are typically more mild and often appear to be consistent with a mild cold. “It is rarer that children run fevers,” she commented. “If your child has an unexplained runny nose or cough, even if mild, it could be COVID-19. If they are around other children, your child should be tested or isolate until they are feeling better.”
Dr. Bortun advises parents not to panic! A COVID diagnosis can be worrisome and if a child contracts it, but the majority of cases in children tend to be more mild. The best thing the family can do is isolate at home, if possible. Dr. Bortun suggested, “Assign a personal bathroom for their use only. Social distance, when possible, but do not leave the child without adult supervision. Notify the child’s school immediately and contact his/her doctor. Scheduling a televideo appointment will allow you to discuss a plan, further directions, and testing.” It is especially important to notify the doctor as early as possible if the child has comorbidities and respiratory chronic disease. Ultimately, Dr. Bortun suggests making sure the basics are covered, “The child should hydrate well, even if s/he does not eat a lot. For toddlers and babies, a good rule of thumb is to count wet diapers. Be vigilant in monitoring how fast the child is breathing, the color of his/her lips, muscle intercaustal retractions, and identifying any croup or croup-like symptoms.”
If my child contracts COVID-19, what are some at-home remedies I can use to help treat their symptoms?
Dr. Chalmeta advises parents to check with their pediatrician before introducing new treatments to their child’s routine. She advises parents the importance of maintaining hydration. “Immune boosting vitamins can be beneficial in fighting off viruses, such as COVID-19. These include vitamin D, vitamin C and Zinc. Fever reducing medications can also be used as needed.” With regards to babies, she says, “They can benefit from consistent saline nasal flushing and suction for cough and congestion. Older children can benefit from honey and over-the-counter age, appropriate cough and cold remedies.”
Dr. Bortun also added to this list. She said, “Tylenol can be used for pain and fever. One teaspoon of honey for children one year and older can help with coughing. Adding a humidifier in the child’s room can be beneficial and taking warm baths and showers. Vicks rub is recommended for children older than two years of age; baby Vicks rub can be used for younger children.
How can I protect my child/baby should someone in my household has COVID-19?
According to Dr. Chalmeta, “If possible, distance the child/baby from the person infected with COVID. Ideally, the infected person should stay in a separate room but if that isn’t possible, they should wear a mask at all times, an N95 if possible.”
Dr. Bortun agrees, “Using different rooms and different bathrooms helps along with practicing good hand hygiene. If you have a baby, and are breastfeeding, continue to breastfeed by pumping the milk or chest breastfeeding with precautions, such as using hand hygiene and masking.”
Massage Therapy: A Potential Remedy for Chronic Back Pain?
Recent Studies Highlight Benefits and Tips for Enhanced Effectiveness.
It’s no secret that back pain, especially when not tied to a particular injury or ailment, can be a persistent and puzzling issue to address. Traditional treatments sometimes fall short of providing lasting relief. However, recent findings hint that massage therapy might be the relief many are seeking.
Published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a compelling study encompassed 262 participants plagued with chronic back pain. Over a span of 10 weeks, receiving just one massage a week, participants reported experiencing significantly diminished pain levels. Remarkably, this relief wasn’t fleeting, with many attesting to the benefits for up to a year following their treatments.
But the exploration into massage therapy’s effectiveness didn’t end there. Another research piece found that massage therapy’s benefits were amplified when combined with stretching exercises and a focus on posture improvement. Not only did participants report reduced pain, but they also noticed a significant uptick in their overall function, implying a better quality of life.
So, why does massage work? While the study provides empirical data, the reason behind the therapy’s effectiveness is multifaceted. Massage can stimulate blood flow to sore areas, helping nutrients reach muscles and hasten recovery. It may also aid in releasing tight muscle groups, which can be a primary pain culprit. Moreover, massage therapy promotes relaxation, which can be therapeutic in itself, allowing muscles to relax and heal naturally.
One should remember, however, that massage therapy isn’t a one-size-fits-all remedy. Chronic back pain can stem from a myriad of causes, and while massage has shown potential in alleviating some of these cases, it’s always prudent to consult with healthcare professionals to determine the best course of action for individual needs.
With these findings, the therapeutic world seems to be broadening its horizons. The data makes it evident that holistic approaches, like massage when paired with traditional techniques such as posture training and stretching, can potentially form a formidable defense against the age-old adversary of back pain. As the medical community continues its quest for solutions, integrating diverse approaches might just be the path forward.
The Weighty Truth About Exercise and Diet
Shedding Pounds: A Balance Between Movement and Munching.
We’ve all heard it – exercise is the key to a healthy life. And while there’s no denying the numerous benefits of regular physical activity, when it comes to shedding those pesky pounds, there’s a twist in the tale. It’s not just about how much you move; it’s also about how much you munch!
Flashback to 1980, and nearly half of Americans prided themselves on being regular exercisers. Fast forward to 2000, and the numbers show a promising uptick to 57%. But here’s the catch: despite this growth in exercise enthusiasm, the scales told a different story. The number of Americans categorized as overweight or obese saw a significant rise. This disparity sheds light on a crucial aspect of weight management that many might be overlooking.
Researchers from Louisiana State University have been diving deep into the mechanics of weight loss. Their findings? Exercise alone may not be the silver bullet for weight loss many hope for. While it undoubtedly plays a pivotal role in overall health and wellness, it’s our diet that often holds the key to successful weight management. Let’s break it down. Building muscle does make you mightier, but when it comes to burning calories, muscles are somewhat modest. A single pound of muscle only burns a meager four more calories each day than its counterpart – fat. So, if you’ve been pumping iron and managed to add 10 pounds of muscle, you’re looking at a mere 40 extra calories you can eat daily without gaining weight. Not exactly the free pass to a feast many might hope for!
Here’s another curveball. Engaging in intense workouts can sometimes do more harm than good, especially if it makes you reach for calorie-laden treats as a reward. Imagine burning off 300 calories on the treadmill, only to indulge in a sugary snack that packs even more than that. It’s a counterproductive cycle that can halt weight loss in its tracks. This has led many experts to champion the idea of consistent, moderate activity over sporadic, intense workouts. It’s the simple things – taking a leisurely stroll, opting for stairs, dancing to a tune, or even playful moments with a pet. These activities spread throughout the day, can be more effective for weight management than sweating it out in high-intensity sessions a few times a week. A study from the UK echoes this sentiment, revealing that children who are naturally active fare just as well health-wise as those engaged in rigorous sports training.
So, what’s the takeaway? Well, as the day winds down, it all boils down to a straightforward equation: calories in versus calories out. And while burning off those calories is essential, it’s the intake that often makes all the difference. Stay active, but more importantly, watch what you eat!
Navigating Life with Alzheimer’s: Key Strategies for Well-Being
Tools for Thriving Amidst Cognitive Challenges.
Alzheimer’s disease is a formidable opponent, casting shadows over memories and altering the trajectory of lives. Yet, in its wake, stories of resilience, adaptation, and hope abound. For those facing this diagnosis or walking beside someone who is, knowing the strategies to maintain a fulfilling life is pivotal.
Steps Toward A Brighter Journey
- Movement Matters: One of the most potent allies against Alzheimer’s is physical activity. A regular regimen, whether dancing, walking, or swimming, can invigorate the body and mind, offering benefits from mood elevation to cognitive function preservation.
- Stay Social: Human connections can be a balm for the soul. Even as memory falters, the warmth of friendship, the comfort of family, or the understanding of a support group can be instrumental. Volunteering or just spending time in community spaces can thwart feelings of isolation.
- Brain-Boosting Activities: Keeping the mind sharp is crucial. Delve into books, indulge in games, or embark on the journey of learning something new. These mentally stimulating endeavors can serve as both entertainment and cognitive defense.
- Health as a Priority: The basics – nutritious eating, ample sleep, and stress management – can sometimes take a backseat, but they’re foundational. An optimal physical condition can be a robust buffer against the disease’s advance.
- Embrace Compassion: The journey with Alzheimer’s can be riddled with frustration. Amidst the fog of forgotten names or misplaced belongings, remember to be kind to yourself. Reach out, lean on others, and accept help when needed.
- Seek Joy in Hobbies: The magic of hobbies is their ability to transport one to a place of pure engagement and contentment. Be it the simple joys of gardening, the culinary adventures of cooking, or the soulful strains of music, find your passion and hold onto it.
You’re Not Alone on This Journey
Alzheimer’s might feel like an isolating diagnosis, but countless individuals and organizations stand ready to support, advise, and uplift. By integrating these strategies and tapping into available resources, it’s possible to face the disease with strength, courage, and a zest for life.
Unlocking Sleep’s Hidden Potential
Sleep: More Than Just Rest, It’s Essential Rejuvenation.
Sleep, often viewed as a luxury in our fast-paced world, is more of a necessity than most realize. As daily tasks pile up, the value of a good night’s rest frequently gets overlooked. Yet, ongoing scientific studies bring to light the crucial role sleep plays in maintaining our physical, cognitive, and emotional health.
For long, sleep was considered a mere dormant phase. But modern research paints a different picture. It’s not just about resting our bodies; it’s an intricate dance of rejuvenation for our minds and physical well-being. Among the myriad benefits of sleep, some particularly stand out:
- Boosting Brain Power: A recent article in the journal Sleep observed a significant trend. Those who clocked in between seven to nine hours of sleep consistently showcased heightened cognitive abilities. Their attention span, problem-solving prowess, and decision-making faculties surpassed their sleep-deprived peers.
- Guarding the Heart: A study in the European Heart Journal made an eye-opening revelation. The heart thrives on good sleep. Those not getting enough sleep had heightened risks of heart-related ailments. Simply put, undisturbed sleep can be a silent guardian for heart health.
- Maintaining Mental Balance: JAMA Psychiatry unveiled how deeply sleep and mental health are intertwined. Regular, uninterrupted sleep can be a natural shield against mood swings, depression, and anxiety. A rested mind, it seems, is a happier one.
- Physical Renewal: It’s not just our minds; our muscles crave sleep, too. According to the Journal of Applied Physiology, sleep is the unsung hero of physical recovery. As we slip into deeper sleep stages, our body secretes growth hormones. These are vital for cell repair and overall physical rejuvenation.
However, it’s not just about what we gain from adequate sleep; it’s also about what we lose without it. Habitual lack of sleep comes with a steep price. It’s been associated with faster cognitive wear and tear, weakened immune defenses, unwarranted weight gain, and emotional turbulence.
In an era where time seems short, it’s essential to prioritize our well-being. Sleep isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. As research unfolds the many marvels of sleep, one thing remains clear: a good night’s rest is among the best gifts we can give ourselves.
Taming the Tummy: What to Eat During Stomach Flu
Foods That Can Soothe and Strengthen
It’s that dreaded time again. You’re huddled up, battling the stomach flu, and every bite or sip feels like a gamble. It might seem easier to swear off food altogether, but nourishing your body can be the key to a quicker recovery. The real challenge? Knowing what’s safe to eat and what might send you sprinting back to the bathroom.
Building Your Stomach-Soothing Menu
- Start Simple: Sometimes, plain is best. Unsweetened cereals, bread, pasta, and rice can be your go-to choices. They’re easy on the digestive system and provide much-needed energy.
- Fresh Picks: Fresh or canned fruit can offer essential vitamins. Go easy and avoid anything too acidic initially.
- Protein Power: While your appetite may be on vacation, protein is crucial. Eggs, fish, and lean meats can be consumed. But remember to cook them with minimal fat and stay clear of anything fried.
- Vegetable Boost: Cooked vegetables can be gentle on the stomach while providing essential nutrients.
- Dairy Decisions: For those who aren’t sensitive to dairy, options like yogurt, milk, and cheese can be considered. These are often comforting and can provide calcium.
However, it’s not just about what you can eat; it’s also about what you should steer clear of. To fast-track your recovery, give a wide berth to tempting treats like ice cream, pastries, and chocolates. Additionally, deli meats, chips, and spicy foods might need to stay off your plate a bit longer.
Water: Your Best Ally
The stomach flu can leave you parched. And while your main concern might be food, don’t forget the importance of hydration. Keep water close by and sip often. Commercial rehydration solutions containing the right mix of water, sugar, and salts can be your friend. But be wary of caffeinated drinks, soft drinks, and even some sports beverages.
Personalized Guidance at Your Fingertips
Still in doubt or need specialized advice tailored to your symptoms? It’s a good idea to dial into expert help. The CDC offers up-to-date healthcare info with live agents available at 800-CDC-INFO. They can guide you on best practices and answer your health queries.
Health First, Recovery Fast
Battling the stomach flu is never fun. Yet, with the right food choices and a focus on hydration, recovery can be swifter and smoother. Remember, listen to your body, eat in moderation, and prioritize hydration above all else.
Reevaluating Over-The-Counter Cold Remedies
FDA Panel Reveals Limitations of Phenylephrine in Cold Medications.
Cold and flu seasons come with a plethora of remedies, each promising relief from a range of symptoms. Yet, a recent revelation by a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel suggests that some popular choices might not be as effective as many believe.
The core of the matter? Phenylephrine is a widely-used decongestant present in over 250 over-the-counter cold and flu solutions. The New York Times highlights that well-known brands such as DayQuil, Sudafed, Tylenol, and Theraflu include phenylephrine in their list of ingredients. However, the catch is that this decongestant has been deemed ineffective when consumed orally, a conclusion supported by numerous healthcare providers and consumers alike.
While this might sound like a significant cause for concern, especially for those who have relied on these remedies in the past, there is a silver lining. CNET notes that phenylephrine remains potent when used as a nasal spray. Moreover, even if oral medications have phenylephrine, they often contain other components that can effectively combat congestion or other typical cold or flu symptoms. Hence, these remedies remain safe for use as long as individuals follow the guidelines.
A look back into the history of phenylephrine, as shared by CNN, reveals that this decongestant received approval for over-the-counter distribution in the 1970s. Its popularity soared in the early 2000s, coinciding with the increasing regulations on pseudoephedrine by Congress and state authorities. Pseudoephedrine, another widely recognized and potent decongestant, unfortunately, became linked with the production of the illegal drug methamphetamine. This association led to tighter controls, resulting in medications containing pseudoephedrine being shifted behind pharmacy counters. In fact, two states even necessitate prescriptions for its acquisition.
While medications with phenylephrine will continue to occupy space on store shelves, those in search of genuine relief from nasal congestion might want to reconsider their options. Seeking medications with pseudoephedrine from behind the pharmacy counter could be more beneficial. Yet, consumers should be mindful of possible side effects like shakiness or feeling restless, as pointed out by CNET.