Last Monday (Jan 3) my daughter had a sore throat. She got tested later that evening and was positive for COVID. No one in my house/bubble had symptoms before that, but by Wednesday morning, all but one of us had them.
Our experience with the disease was similar to Liz Renzetti and her family, described here: Opinion: Lessons from the COVID not-so-sick bed – The Globe and Mail.
All of us felt tired and exhibited symptoms associated with COVID. I had a incessant cough, runny nose, stuffy head, and at one point fever then chills. I also slept a lot. Normally I am restless so if I am sleeping that much then I am sick.
We all isolated from each other as much as we could. We had a hepa filter going, and we were all vaccinated (and in some cases boosted). We did what we could to minimize the impact. As it was, the course of the disease took under a week (at least in terms of present symptoms).
People were great in offering us well wishes and close friends offering to bring us food. We were lucky to be able to have food delivered and appreciative of the people who did so.
We only had one rapid antigen test between us. (Good luck getting one of those anywhere.) We were all pretty sick, but we used it and the results were negative. My doctor friend tells me the false negative percentage is 30% (vs 1% false positive). We acted all we all had COVID anyway and we likely did.
I don’t have any great insights into the disease. Get as vaccinated as you can as soon as you can. Follow local public health guidelines. Take care of yourself and others. Hang in there.
(Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash )
Here’s some links on fitness and physical health that are not typical. For example, I Did 340 Pushups a Day to Prepare for the TV Version of Prison. Then I Got There. Reading about this: Emily Ratajkowski‚Äôs New Book Tests The Limits Of Self-Awareness got me thinking about this Dear Younger Me: Lauren Fleshman. Sometimes we push yourselves from the extremes of one form of unhealthiness to another. You may think these Sample Menus for a 1 200 Calorie Diet can help you lose weight, but if so you should read this: 1 200 Calories a Day Is a Starvation Diet Actually, you may change your mind.
I still think carrying a lot of weight is unhealthy. As did this father: He Struggled to Play With His Daughter So He Turned to the Couch to 5K App to Lose Weight. Find your own level and continually move in the healthier direction.
If you use a fitbit, read this: How Many Steps Do You Really Need Each Day? If you are in the market for one, check this out: Your Fitbit Can Now Let You Know Whether You Snore. If you are looking for new shoes, consider these: Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next Nature Running Shoe via Uncrate.
(Image via Uncrate)
Last week Dr. Aaron T. Beck died. He lived a century. As the Times said, his
brand of pragmatic, thought-monitoring psychotherapy became the centerpiece of a scientific transformation in the treatment of depression, anxiety and many related mental disorders
I’d argue he did as much if not more for the health and well being of people than any doctor or scientist.
I highly recommend reading this: Dr. Aaron T. Beck, Developer of Cognitive Therapy, Dies at 100 – The New York Times. I was fascinated to see the pushback he received over time, and how he fought back against. Truly a great man.
It’s fall and it’s a pandemic, but gyms are opening wide up and no doubt you (and I) want to get some of our fitness back. Here’s eight links I’ve found recently that could help:
(Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash )
I am sometimes surprised how expensive health and wellness apps can be. If you leave them running on your phone for a year, that can really add up.
And that’s too bad. People can really benefit from such apps, and being short of cash should not be a limit on getting well.
If this applies to you, then you want to check out these 7 Meditation Apps That Are Cheaper (and Better) Than Headspace and Calm .
Headspace and Calm are fine apps. But check out some alternatives.
Occasional nightmares? No. But persistent nightmares, possibly. WIRED magazine has the story, here: How a Vibrating Smartwatch Could Be Used to Stop Nightmares | WIRED
If you want to access the app, click here.
Fascinating. I hope it helps.
(Photo by Oscar Nord on Unsplash)
Gardening is a tricky hobby. I’ve always associated it with older people. Which makes some sense: if you go to a gardening center in spring, it will be packed mainly with old folks. This is a bad prejudice to have. As this article by Samin Nosrat showed me, gardening can be a great activity to help with one’s mental wellness.
Last winter I suffered a devastating bout of depression. Unable to do much else, I took to the neglected beds of the vegetable garden I share with my neighbors. Weeding and composting for hours a day, I was regenerating both the soil and something deep in myself. It felt so crucial to my well-being that sometimes I wore a headlamp to extend my work time past the waning daylight.
It’s worthwhile reading the entire article. She makes a great case for the goodness that gardening can do for you. After you finish it, you may want to rush out to a garden center and get started on your own garden and improved mental health.
(Photo by Benjamin Combs on Unsplash)
By having very strict controls.
This piece, New Zealand goes 100 days with no coronavirus community spread – Axios), shows just how strict they are:
By the numbers: New Zealand has 23 active coronavirus cases, all NZ residents newly returned from abroad in managed isolation facilities.
Of note: The border remains closed to non-residents and all newly returned Kiwis must undergo a two-week isolation program managed by the country’s defense force, which sees all travelers tested three times before they leave.
Police are stationed outside hotels where travelers are in quarantine. Officers have taken prosecutorial action against several returned travelers who’ve breached these rules by fleeing the facilities under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act.
So good for New Zealand for doing this. But I wish people wouldn’t say New Zealand has beaten the coronavirus. What they have done is control it better than anyone.
Image by Adam Nieścioruk
It’s not good to be too confident with making pandemic assessment, but the evidence is that Sweden has failed in their approach to dealing with it. According to this, via Sweden Has Become the World’s Cautionary Tale – The New York Times:
This is what has happened: Not only have thousands more people died than in neighboring countries that imposed lockdowns, but Sweden’s economy has fared little better.
“They literally gained nothing,” said Jacob F. Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “It’s a self-inflicted wound, and they have no economic gains.”
The experiment was Lose-Lose: they suffered more deaths and their economy is worse off.
There is much to be learned from what happened in the Nordic countries. We are learning at the expense of the Swedish people. Read the article for more details.
Because as this shows, How California went from a coronavirus success story to a new hot spot – Vox, all you need to do is let your guard down and the disease comes back. I am reading stories of many places having surges and many places are having to go back into lockdown. I understand why people want to read stories of places like New Zealand where life has returned to normal. Life hasn’t returned to normal: all places have done is managed through strong measures to stop it from spreading in their area. Meanwhile it is spreading to other areas of the globe, like India. All it will take is enough relaxing of controls and it could come back stronger.
We know very little about this disease. Social distancing and masks seem to be helping to control it. That’s what we have for now: some level of control. No medicine is coming to help us yet. No mutation is coming to blunt it yet. We may have a long way to go.
I recommend you read this: ‘Feeling Like Death’: Inside a Houston Hospital Bracing for a Virus Peak – The New York Times.
Sure, your survival rates may be higher than someone much older than you. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t suffer intensively and be weakened for much longer in the future.
Sleep. At least according to this: ‘Waves’ of fluid clear the brain of toxins during sleep, say researchers – Big Think.
When you sleep, your brain is designed to wash away toxic chemical buildup in your brain. If that toxic buildup is allowed to stick around (due to lack of sleep), bad things happen to your brain and you.
So clean your brain. Get some sleep. See the article to understand more of this.
This may not be something you want to try during the pandemic, but if you ever thought about giving up coffee or any other form of caffeine, read this: This Is What Happens to Your Body During a Caffeine Detox.
I was impressed by how detailed the article was. Also how your nervous system changes over time. Remarkable!
I’m not a ventilator expert, but I am curious as to what it takes to get more to patients who are sick due to COVID-19. This will give you some answers as to what it takes to get more out there: Why U.S. hospitals don’t have enough ventilators – The Washington Post
The number one thing you can do to stay well is wash your hands often, and chances are you are doing it wrong by missing spots. For more on how to do it right, see: Map of Areas Most Often Missing During Handwashing
I was aware of white noise, but I didn’t realize there is a range of noises associated with colour:
Both pink and white noise are members of an entire color family of sound including black and brown noise. Sounds are assigned these colors based on how energy is distributed over several frequencies, according to Healthline.com. White noise, for example, is comprised of energy that is equally distributed across all audible frequencies. Brown noise, sometimes called red noise, consists of higher energies at lower frequencies—think thunder and deep, roaring sounds.
Pink noise, on the other hand, is a shade deeper than white noise. It’s similar to white noise in that it includes all audible frequencies; however, unlike white noise, energy is not distributed equally among them.
I have found that the rain sounds I listen to are more pink noise than white noise, and I prefer it for sleeping. If you are having trouble sleeping or relaxing, try listening to some pink noise.
For more on it, see: Pink Noise Sleep Benefits | Apartment Therapy
According to this, it is: ‘Four hours to walk off pizza calories’ warning works, experts say – BBC News. For example, if you were to buy a pizza or a chocolate bar, they argue that…
Appreciating it would take four hours to walk off the calories in a pizza or 22 minutes to run off a chocolate bar creates an awareness of the energy cost of food, they say.
That’s true. But it’s also not a great comparison. It’s pretty much a given that exercise is not a great way of losing weight, so most foods will come across as requiring a lot of exercise to work off the food. And it may be a lot more exercise than most people do. This will just end up shaming more people than it benefits.
I think a better approach would be to highlight what percentage of your recommended caloric allowance a selection of food is. I believe this would be much better. Foods have something similar already: they tell you what percentage of vitamins, fibre, etc. a selection of food provides for your diet. They could do the same thing with calories. Hey, on some days when you hadn’t had much to eat, something that provides you 50% of your daily calories may be fine.
No matter what, providing health guidance is never simple. But if I had to decide, I’d go with percentages.
Easy. Follow these five tips: ‘I’m a neurologist, and these are the 5 things I do to keep my brain healthy’ | Well+Good
Some of them are easy and obvious, some not. And some are a 2 fer: exercise your body and you help your brain, too.
If you are using CBT to deal with your mood, consider this app: Moodnotes: a Thought Journal, Mood Diary, CBT App.
It helps you quickly capture your mood, but it also help you deal with distorted thinking that contributes to poor moods or worse.
According to this, no. What do you need? Like somewhere in the range of 4000-7500. Key quot:
… women who took 4,400 steps per day, on average, were about 40 percent less likely to die during the follow-up period of about four years compared with women who took 2,700 steps. The findings were published Wednesday in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Another surprise: The benefits of walking maxed out at about 7,500 steps. In other words, women who walked more than 7,500 steps per day saw no additional boost in longevity.
Walking is great exercise. But if you are unable to get in your 10,000 steps one day, don’t fret.
This fact is promising and the article in the Economist is worth reading (you don’t need a subscription to read it.)
Key quote for me:
Nonetheless, beyond America’s gloomy trend is a more optimistic story: that at a global level, suicide is down by 29% since 2000 (see article). As a result, 2.8m lives have been saved in that time—three times as many as have been killed in battle. There is no one reason. It is happening at different rates among different groups in different places. But the decline is particularly notable among three sets of people.
via Why suicide is falling around the world, and how to bring it down more – Staying alive.
Everyone wants to lower their risk of cancer. This piece can help with this: 4 behaviors that may cut the risk of cancer by 30 percent – Vox. The main point of the piece was that:
… people who never smoked or smoked for only a few years and people who drank no or only small amounts of alcohol (one or fewer drinks per day for women and two or fewer for men). It also included people with a BMI between 18.5 and 27.5, and people who exercised vigorously for at least 75 minutes per week or moderately for 150 minutes…
…were at a lower risk of getting cancer than people who did not do these things.
Smoking and drinking are easy for you to monitor. If you want to track your BMI and fitness level, consider getting a digital scale and a fitness tracker. I use the Fitbit Aria scale to track my BMI and my Apple Watch to monitor my exercise. Of course you can monitor those things just as well with a simple scale, a watch, a pencil and a notepad. Regardless of how you do it, I encourage you to take action in the New Year to lower your risk of cancer.
The bad news: for people in the northern hemisphere, the days are getting colder and darker.
The good news: if you are one of those people who suffer from S.A.D., then this is an excellent list of lights that can help you deal with it: The Best Light Therapy Lamps for Seasonal Affective Disorder | Apartment Therapy
Better still, there is a wide range of price points and some of them are relatively inexpensive.
Check out the list. If you know someone who struggles with this, then consider this an excellent gift idea.
Bonus: This post was written in 2017. Since then they have updated their list, so check it out again.
Social media bombards us with opinions. Such bombardment tugs at us to form our own opinions, but this is is a trap that leads us to be unhappy. As this piece (Free Your Mind by Having Fewer Useless Opinions) argues:
The more opinions you have, the more time and energy you end up wasting to defend those opinions, and the more small amounts of stress you accrue. But the less you have, the more time and energy you have to focus on the deep opinions you have.
I think this is a great idea. There are lots of reasons not to have an opinion on things: you don’t have knowledge on a topic, you don’t have interest on a topic, you prefer to focus your thoughts on other topics. Much of popular culture can be dismissed this way, as can many political scandals.
So let others spend their time fretting and fussing over such things and spend your time focusing on the things you think matter.
According to this source, Apple is going into the Health Care Industry: Apple Is Going After The Health Care Industry, Starting With Personal Health Data.
I think a more general statement is that Apple is going to be looking into expanding into services, be they health care, banking, or something else. They’ve already been successful with Apple Pay. I expect they can find niches in health care and other industries that they can easily fit into. Plus they can work with partners to deliver tools to people and health care providers that can save everyone in terms of health care costs.
I’m looking forward to Apple bring forth innovations in health care that results in lower costs and better care. I hope they can deliver.
For more on some current health features from Apple, go here.
Most people understand depression does exist and it is different and more severe than routine sadness or tiredness. Recent studies in depression indicate that there may be different categories of this mental illness. As this piece highlights, Brain Scans Show 4 Different Types of Depression | Mental Floss, there may not be just one medical profile for people with depression, but…
different medical profiles. Patients in subtypes 1 and 2 described feeling more fatigue, while people in subtypes 3 and 4 had trouble feeling pleasure.
One significant thing about this separation is that there are different treatments for different subtypes.
If you suffer from depression or know someone that does, or want to have a better understanding of the disease, I recommend that piece. That said, if you think you may be suffering from depression, always seek out professional help.
(Image is a link to the web site http://namila.org/)
Perhaps the hype around the standing desk is finally going to die. Here’s hoping. Based on this source, Standing All Day Is Twice as Bad as Sitting for Your Heart | Runner’s World, standing all day is no good either. It mentions an interesting study….
… just published in the American Journal of Epidemiology that finds jobs that require a lot of standing to be much worse for your health than jobs that require mostly sitting. The new study is a surprising counterweight to the ubiquitous “sitting is the new smoking” message
Like anything, standing or sitting at your job should be done in moderation. Ideally you would have a work station that allowed you to easily switch from sitting to standing (like the one in the image above from http://www.smallbiztechnology.com/). If you don’t have a set up like that, at least try and find opportunities to stand and sit throughout the day. Better still, get a walk or two in as well.
Be good to yourself and your body.
If you take any of these meds then you really should read this: Should you take Tylenol, Advil, or aspirin for pain? Here’s what the evidence says. – Vox
I was surprised by what they said about Tylenol. You might be surprised by what’s in here as well.
As for me, I have found when I have had a sore back, ASA was the best thing to relieve the pain.
Like any medicine, consult with your doctor or pharmacist before taking. You should especially consult with them if you are taking such medicine on a regular basis.
(Image from bayer.com)
According to Snopes (snopes.com), it is not. As in, there is not a specific day that is the most depressing day of the year.
That said, if you read carefully, you can see why people accept this notion. January can be a difficult month for many reasons. You might feel that the entire month is filled with Blue Mondays. Take it easy on yourself, especially if you have challenging resolutions you are trying to complete.
Good luck. Stay healthy.
(Image, via The Sun, shows the so called formula for calculating Blue Monday)