Viewing posts from: August 2020
Coronavirus-related safety is crucial if you wear contact lenses, eyeglasses or safety glasses/goggles, experts say. While the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends limiting use of contact lenses and switching to eyeglasses during the pandemic, the American Optometric Association says there's no evidence that wearing contacts increases COVID-19 risk. If you develop cold- or flu-like symptoms, however, stop wearing contact lenses, experts say. The new coronavirus can spread through respiratory droplets people emit when breathing, speaking, coughing or sneezing. "So, it's best, if possible, to protect your eyes with glasses, goggles, a face shield, or some other form of eye protection," an ophthalmologist expert at the institute reported. While everyday eyeglasses protect from in front of the eyes, they may not provide adequate protection from the top, bottom and sides of frames. Safety glasses or goggles can do so, however, according to an institute news release. The institute recommends cleaning glasses daily with a gentle soap and water, and drying them with a microfiber lens cloth. "It's important to avoid wiping glasses with tissue paper or the hem of a shirt, or any other cloth that's not designed for cleaning lenses, because these things will cause scratches," experts reported. Wash microfiber cloths regularly. They can be hand-washed with a gentle soap and then hung to dry. Don't place glasses or contact lenses on any surface you aren't sure is clean and don't let others handle your glasses. Keep eyewear stored in a clean case when not in use, and experts said, don't let them hang from your neck with a string holder. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19.
Understanding Eye Gunk Eye gunk, known medically as rheum, is the crust that forms in the corners of your eyes when you wake up in the morning. Sleep crust is a mix of mucus, skin cells, oils and tears shed by the eye during sleep, says the University of Utah. While white or cream-colored gunk is normal, yellow or green is not, and can be a sign of conjunctivitis or a chronic eye condition. The school says you should see an ophthalmologist if your eye gunk is discolored.
Life in lockdown has led many to overeat and gain weight, a phenomenon referred to as the "COVID-15." But some small changes can get you back into shape, a weight management specialist suggests. These tips can help work off the excess pounds and return you to a healthy lifestyle:
- Learn how to cook. Or start other new hobbies to keep active. "Use this time as an opportunity to focus on the things that we can do in order to improve our health," Jian said.
- Stay physically active. If you're afraid to go to the gym, try biking, hiking and walking outside. You can also join an online fitness program.
- Eat a healthy diet. Buy nutritious foods with curbside pickup or delivery. If you shop in person, choose foods placed at the front and side aisles, where the fresh and organic produce is available. Avoid prepackaged and processed foods.
- To lose weight, start small. Gradually introduce new eating and exercise habits. This makes changes easier to adjust to.
- Stay clear of fad diets. Many of these programs aren't backed by science and could be harmful. If you have difficulty losing weight, see your doctor.
Nuts and Heart Health Regular nut consumption can lower the risk of heart disease by up to 14 percent, says the American College of Cardiology. Nuts contain heart-healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. The group reminds people that a complete heart-healthy diet should include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fish and nuts. But as one ounce of nuts can contain as many as 200 calories, be mindful of your portion size, the group says.
Staying hydrated is a mantra not only when exercising, but throughout the day for optimal health. Yet it's possible to get too much of a good thing. In recent years, several athletes have died from a condition called exercise-associated hyponatremia, or EAH, which results from overwhelming the kidneys with excess fluid and upsetting the body's natural balance of sodium. One high school football player died after consuming four gallons of liquids during a practice session. EAH has happened to athletes during endurance events like triathlons, but it can occur with any type of activity, even yoga. That's why it's important to balance fluid intake with individual needs. According to an EAH conference report, smaller people and those who exercise at a slower pace tend to drink more than they lose through sweat. The American College of Sports Medicine has hydration guidelines for before, during and after exercise, and suggests weighing yourself before and after to see if you're losing weight and truly need to replace fluids. When extra liquids are in order, knowing quantity limits can help keep you safe. Before exercise:
- Have 16 to 20 ounces of water or a sports beverage at least 4 hours in advance.
- Have 8 to 12 ounces of water 10 to 15 minutes in advance.
- For workouts under one hour, 3 to 8 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes is enough.
- For workouts over one hour, 3 or 8 ounces of a sports beverage every 15 to 20 minutes is enough, and not more than 32 ounces per hour.
- Only if needed, have 20 to 24 ounces of water or a sports beverage for each pound lost.
The Importance of Hydration Though exercise and proper diet are essential to maintaining good health, the body's basic need for water is often overlooked. Not drinking enough water can be dangerous and have a plethora of negative effects, says health experts. Your body needs to be hydrated to work properly. Breathing, circulation, body temperature regulation and the senses all rely on sufficient water. Dehydration can also affect your mood, making you cranky, tired or irritable. In fact, sometimes when you feel hungry, your body is craving water, the experts say.
Trips to the lake or a pool add to summer's fun, but parents need to ensure that children are safe in and around the water. Masks and social distancing are a must in many places this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. And kids must be supervised even if they're able to swim, said experts with the American Academy of Pediatrics. Two-thirds of drowning deaths occur in the summer -- between May and August -- and most occur on the weekends. The following swimming safety guidelines can help parents with swimming safety:
- Pay attention. Give kids your undivided attention when they're in or around the water. Small children can drown in as little as one inch of water.
- Take turns supervising. When there are several adults present and children are swimming, designate an adult as the water watcher for a certain amount of time (such as 15 minutes). This can help prevent gaps in supervision and give other parents a chance to read, make phone calls or take a bathroom break.
- Teach your children. Educate your kids about swimming safety. Every child is different, so enroll children in swimming lessons when you feel they're ready. Whether swimming in a backyard pool or in a lake, teach children to swim with an adult. Even children who are older, more experienced swimmers should swim with a partner every time.
- Learn CPR. It is worth the time and will give you peace of mind if you know what to do in an emergency.
- Discuss the dangers. Education is key. Teach children to never play or swim near drains or suction outlets, which could cause them to get stuck underwater.
- Invest in life jackets. On boats, around open bodies of water or when doing water sports, kids should always wear a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. Make sure the life jacket fits snugly. Have the child raise both arms straight up. If the life jacket hits the child's chin or ears, it may be too big or the straps may be too loose.
The coronavirus pandemic has supercharged the financial stress that already plagues many Americans, an expert says. About half of Americans lived paycheck to paycheck before the pandemic, according to a recent survey from First National Bank of Omaha, and now many have lost their jobs. Here is some advice on how to reduce financial anxiety both during and after the coronavirus pandemic:
- Don't panic. Don't use credit cards or payday loans to deal with your debt. Their high interest rates can do long-term financial harm. Instead, seek out creative solutions such as contacting landlords, utilities and creditors to negotiate payment plans. And, don't ignore bills. Doing so can make a bad financial situation worse.
- Beware of swindlers. Scams are proliferating right now. Thoroughly vet any offers by making additional calls and/or seeking out more information from trusted sources online. If an offer seems too good to be true, it likely is. To protect yourself from identity theft, avoid sharing personal information through text or email.
- Focus on what you can control. Make a spending plan. Assess how much money is coming in each month, prioritize what bills need to be paid, eliminate nonessential spending and track expenses by keeping receipts. Adjust expenses accordingly each month, focusing on mortgage or rent, utilities, groceries and items needed to shelter in place.
- Save more, spend less. After the pandemic, add to your savings and reduce nonessential spending. For example, consolidate cable plans and make meals at home instead of eating in restaurants or ordering in. Compare prices when shopping to get the best deals possible, but shop only for needs, not wants.
Managing Financial Stress More than three-quarters of Americans say money is a significant cause of stress for them, says the American Psychological Association. To help manage financial stress, the association encourages people to:
- Remain calm and stay focused.
- Identify financial stressors and make a plan.
- Recognize how you currently deal with stress related to money.
- Turn challenging times into opportunities for growth and change.
- Ask for professional support from financial planners and psychologists.