A community recovering from Omicron and keeping our children safe
“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.”
Make your back stronger this spring
Though sudden back pain can occur after a twist or a sneeze, most back injuries are caused by years of mistreatment before that final, painful injury.
Stresses such as poor posture, faulty body mechanics, obesity, emotional tension, and lack of fitness over the long term are the cause. With these modern problems, it’s not surprising that back pain is the number one complaint today.
Whether you want to treat it or prevent it, these steps will help.
- Posture: Stand with your ears, shoulders, and hips, forming a straight line. See a physical therapist or trainer if they don’t.
- Body mechanics: Keep the correct alignment of ears, shoulders, and hips while performing everyday activities. Keep lifted objects close to your body, and you reduce your risk of injury.
- Exercise: Make it central to maintaining a healthy back. Your program should include aerobic, flexibility, and strengthening exercises.
Aerobic exercise includes walking, biking, and swimming. Do it for 10 to 15 minutes three or four days a week to start, building to 30 minutes.
Poor flexibility can be a key contributor to lower back and neck pain. If your hips don’t move freely, your spine will move more than it should, leading to back programs. If you have a limited range of motion in an area, you need to stretch that area.
Well-balanced muscle strength is essential in maintaining good posture and a healthy back. Strong back, hip, and abdominal muscles support the spine. Strong trunk muscles help to prevent back injuries.
Remember these top keys to a healthy back: posture, mechanics, and exercise. The season for fun is now. Use it to get your back in shape for summer.
March 19-25: National Poison Prevention Week – Steps to take when poisoning is suspected
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has this important information for you.
If you suspect a child or adult has ingested poison, remain calm first.
- Call 911 if the victim has collapsed. If the victim is not breathing, call 911, then give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
- If the victim is awake and alert, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. It is open 24/7.
- Be prepared to give the victim’s age and approximate weight.
- Describe the substance. Read from the container if available.
- Never make the victim vomit unless instructed to do so by Poison Control.
- Give your address and phone number. Stay on the phone for instructions from the emergency operator. The specialist may need to call you back.
- Medicines: Turn on a light when you give or take medicines. Read medication directions. Keep medicines in their original bottles. Store them in a safe place where they can’t be reached by children or teenagers.
- Household cleaners and chemicals: Keep chemicals, cleaners, and beauty products in their original containers. Always read the label before using it.
- Never mix cleaning products together. Doing so could produce toxic gases. Wear clothing that covers the skin when you spray pesticides or other chemicals.
- Open the windows and use a fan when using chemicals in the house.
Protecting young children
- Keep drugs and chemicals in childproof cabinets that children can’t reach.
- Don’t take medicine in front of children since they often try to copy adults. When giving children medication, never call it “candy.”
- Caution guests are not to leave drugs where children can find them. Don’t leave your own next dose on the counter.
Reducing the pain, increasing function with wrist arthritis
Wrist arthritis is common in older adults. Often, it develops as the result of past trauma or fracture, but there are simple steps that can reduce pain and increase function.
- Apply heat, cold, or both. An electric heating pad or warm water soaks can ease pain and stiffness. An ice pack or cold water soak can reduce pain from a flare-up caused by too much activity.
- Contrast baths can also be helpful. Soak hands in warm water for 10 minutes. Then switch to cold water for one minute. Or cycle back and forth for half an hour and end with warm water.
- Apply a topical prescription pain relievers gel like Voltaren or Solaraze.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers can help. Acetaminophen (Tylenol and others) and Advil have the lowest risk of side effects.
- Wear a splint to limit movement during a wrist-intensive activity.
- If pain persists, ask your doctor about anti-inflammatory medication or corticosteroid injections.
- Some surgical techniques are available when severe pain is unresponsive to other treatments, including total wrist replacement. Wrist fusion can help younger people with advanced arthritis, but the trade-off is loss of joint mobility.
Brushing your teeth: 5 bad habits to kick
When brushing your teeth becomes automatic, it’s easy to become careless and develop bad habits, harming your oral health. Here are five bad practices you should avoid.
1. Brushing too fast. Do you scrub your teeth a few times and call it a day? Don’t! This doesn’t give your toothpaste enough time to do its job. It also doesn’t leave enough time to clean hard-to-reach areas. You should always brush for at least two minutes.
2. Brushing too hard. Pressing too hard and overzealously brushing your teeth can injure your gums. Over time, it can cause your teeth to become loose.
3. Brushing horizontally. Besides the tips of your teeth, which are used to grind food, brushing from left to right is terrible for your gums. Moreover, it doesn’t allow you to reach every nook and cranny. Instead, brush your upper and lower teeth vertically, from the gum to the tooth.
4. Rinsing your mouth right after brushing. Of course, you should spit out excess toothpaste when you’re finished. However, avoid gargling with water, which will wash away the toothpaste’s active ingredients.
5. Brushing right after a meal. Eating increases the acidity in your mouth. Acid can damage your enamel. Therefore, it’s best to brush your teeth at least 30 minutes after eating a meal, so the pH in your mouth has time to stabilize.
The next time you brush your teeth, pay attention to what you’re doing and correct any bad habits.
USE THE RIGHT TOOTHBRUSH!
Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles that gently adapt to the shape of your teeth and slide easily under your gums. Replace your brush every three months or when the bristles become damaged. Finally, rinse your brush after every use and store it upright to allow it to dry properly and prevent the growth of bacteria.
Intense pulsed light treatments: for radiant skin
Sophisticated intense pulsed light (IPL) devices can effectively treat skin imperfections to smooth and even out your complexion. Here’s a look at how IPL works.
How it works
As the name suggests, IPL involves the emission of intense light pulses. This stimulates the body’s collagen production to improve the appearance of specific skin imperfections.
Intense pulsed light treatments can reduce rosacea and treat broken capillaries by cauterizing them and smoothing the skin’s surface. IPL can also repair sun damage, remove dark spots and fade freckles. This technology can minimize the appearance of wrinkles and shrink pores. Moreover, IPL can eliminate unwanted hair on virtually any body part by targeting the hair follicles.
There’s a short recovery period after each session, during which you should avoid exposure to UV light. However, you can resume most of your daily activities immediately after treatment.
If you want to learn more about IPL and find out if you can use it to treat your problem areas, make an appointment at a medical esthetics clinic in your area.
National Kidney Month: Ten things you should know about kidney health
March is National Kidney Month, a time to learn more about kidney health and encourage people to make kidney-friendly choices. Keep reading for ten things to know about kidney health and kidney disease.
1. The kidneys remove waste and excess fluid and maintain the water, salt, and mineral balance in your blood. Healthy kidneys filter about half a cup of blood each minute.
2. Kidneys also produce hormones to help control blood pressure, make red blood cells, and support bone health.
3. Damaged kidneys may filter blood less effectively or, in the case of kidney failure, very little or not at all.
4. Smart food choices, regular exercise and weight management, controlling diabetes and high blood pressure, and drinking plenty of water can all help support kidney function.
5. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one in seven adults is thought to have chronic kidney disease or CKD. As many as nine in 10 adults with CKD don’t know they have it.
6. The most common causes of CKD are diabetes and high blood pressure.
7. People with chronic kidney disease often experience no symptoms until the disease is in its later stages. Your doctor can give you a serum creatinine level test that will help determine your kidney function.
8. Kidney failure is only treatable with dialysis (filtering the blood with a machine) or a kidney transplant.
9. NSAIDs like Aleve or Advil can lead to kidney damage if taken incorrectly or for too long. Do not take more than the recommended dosage or use for more than ten days.
10. People at risk of kidney disease should keep up with annual physical exams to stay on top of their health and detect kidney damage early.
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