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The myths about cholesterol a fatty substance that liver makes continue to confuse and mislead both doctors and the common people alike. The cholesterol is, in fact, one of the most powerful healing foods and molecules the human body can ingest and produce.

Cholesterol, for example, play a vital role in the health of our bones for calcium to be effectively incorporated into the skeletal structure, at least 50% of the dietary fats should be saturated.

In 2013, The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology couldnt find any scientific evidence that limiting dietary cholesterol had an effect on bad cholesterol in the arteries.

In fact, a study in 2020 by The British Medical Journal found that people who ate about one egg per day were no more likely to develop coronary artery disease or stroke than people who didnt eat eggs.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans even lifted its cholesterol recommendation of 300 milligrams per day, saying it didnt have enough information to set a limit. The quantities of total cholesterol level in adults are 200 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL) are considered desirable for adults. Adults are needed to check their cholesterol levels in every 4 to 6 years. Although, children are only need to have their levels checked once or twice before the age of 18.

Our body needs some cholesterol to do function properly. It helps to make hormones and vitamin D, which help us to digest food in our body. Having too much quantity of bad cholesterol in your body is causing at risk like heart attack and stroke.

Cholesterol can be measured in these three categories:

Total cholesterol In adults desired for total cholesterol level are less than 200 (mg/dL),

Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol LDL cholesterol clog arteries and blood flow which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol it remove cholesterol from the blood to the liver, moves harmful bad cholesterol from where it doesnt belong. HDL levels reduce the risk of heart attack and heart disease.

The origin of Heart Disease

In the 20th century Heart Disease was considered a very rare disease. By the 1950s, it was considered a major health threat. Today, despite trillions of dollars research and the best medical equipment available, the American Heart Association says that 48 % Americans today have a chance of getting this deadly disease. As food processing began to take off so did the occurrence of heart disease. In the recent time Cholesterol has been vilified as the major cause of heart disease. We can vary cholesterol by different age, weight and gender. The claim that it clogs our arteries is known world-wide, despite no scientific evidence to validate the idea.

The benefits of saturated fat (cholesterol)

Role of cholesterol in our bodies and the intake of these compounds in our diet:

Cell membrane health cholesterol gives our cells necessary stiffness and integrity. It constitutes at least 50 % of the cell membranes.

Bone health they play a vital role in the health of our bones for calcium to be effectively incorporated into the skeletal structure, at least 50% of the dietary fats should be saturated.

Lower Lipoprotein Lp(a), is a particle in our body which carries cholesterol, fat and protein. A substance in the blood that indicates proneness to heart disease. They protect the liver from alcohol and other toxins, such as Tylenol/paracetamol.

Enhance immunity they enhance the immune system and act as an anti-depressant by enhancing serotonin receptor function. Low cholesterol is highly associated with violent and aggressive behaviour, depression and suicidal tendencies.

Proper use of essential fats they are needed for the proper utilization of essential fatty acids. Elongated omega-3 fatty acids are better retained in the tissues when the diet is rich in saturated fats.

Anti-Microbial properties short and medium-chain saturated fatty acids have important antimicrobial properties. They protect us against harmful microorganisms in the digestive tract. Cholesterol plays a vital role in the repair and maintenance of the intestinal wall, preventing leaky gut syndrome, ulcerative colitis and a host of other intestinal disorder.

Anti-Oxidant protection cholesterol is now understood to be a vital anti-oxidant that protects us from free radical damage and helps to heal any arterial damage that may have occurred. Higher levels of free radical damage from oxidative stress.

Bile production cholesterol produces bile salts that help us metabolize fats in our diet.

Brain and Nervous system development cholesterol is important for children and babies as they develop their brain and nervous system.


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Myths about cholesterol continue to rule the minds - Tehelka

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Mar 30th, 2020 | Filed under Diet Effectively

Try these home remedies of honey

You have no idea that your home is a hidden treasure of beneficial ingredients. From the kitchen to your refrigerator, there are a lot of ingredients present with you to help you in various ways. Honey is one of them. You might treat it as a natural sweetener but it is way more useful than that. Honey contains a lot of antioxidants and vital nutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium copper, potassium, manganese and zinc. These all are great to boost up your diet, skin and health naturally. So folks, here we are going to talk about five amazing ways to use honey at home.

(Also read: Make The Best Use Of These 4 Kitchen Ingredients To Remove Tan Naturally)

Here are the five ways you can use honey. From a healthy diet to skincare and health remedies, honey is the jack of all trades.

Honey contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agents that are great to boost your gastrointestinal system. By keeping the bacterial interference at bay, it helps in digestion well. Honey can also help reduce acid reflux. Take 1 teaspoon of honey and mix it in a glass of lukewarm water.

Honey has a lot of benefits for your skin and hair. It is not just a natural moisturiser but it is loaded with many skin benefits. To tackle dull, dry skin or acne, honey works wonderfully. Whatever skin pack you use, adding a spoon of honey will prove to be beneficial. For the hair, it helps in reducing dandruff naturally. You can use 2 tablespoons of honey with 1 egg white to make a hair pack. Apply it on your scalp as a pre-wash hair mask.

Honey is considered to be a better choice rather than refined sugar. Honey contains a lot of antioxidants which lowers the risk of cardiac issues as well as high blood pressure. To use it, you can have it with a cup of green tea regularly.

A common cold and sore throat remedy in most Indian households is honey. Its anti-bacterial properties can help reduce throat infection and cold. It is also known to curb nausea effectively. You just have to drink a solution of 1 tablespoon honey and ginger in water.

What can be worse than a hangover? The sweetness present in honey helps the body to trigger its metabolism and prevent sudden changes in blood sugar level. Also, it minimises the side effects of alcohol consumption. You can drink a glass of honey water to tackle hangover.

So people, have honey stored at your home to make the most of its goodness.

(Also read: Home Remedies For Dry Skin: 5 Face Packs To Nourish And Heal The Skin)

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Say Thanks To Honey Because Of These 5 Amazing Home Remedies - NDTV

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Mar 30th, 2020 | Filed under Diet Effectively

Given the outsized hold Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has acquired on public imagination of late, it comes as no surprise that many are wondering whatAI can do for the public health crisis wrought by the COVID-19 coronavirus.

A casual search of AI and COVID-19 already returns a plethora of news stories, many of them speculative. While AI technology is not ready to help with the magical discovery of a new vaccine, there are important ways it can assist in this fight.

Controlling epidemics is, in large part, based on laborious contact tracing and using that information to predict the spread. We live in a time in which we constantly leave digital footprints through our daily life and interactions. These massive troves of data can be analyzed with AI technologies for detection, contact tracing and to find infection clusters, spread patterns and identify high-risk patients.

There is some evidence that AI techniques analyzing news feeds and social media data were not too far behind humans in originally detecting the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan. China seems not only to have used existing digital traces but also enforced additional ones; for example, citizens in Nanjing are required to register their presence in subway trains and many shops by scanning QR codes with their cellphones. Singapore, lauded for its effective containment of the virus without widespread lockdowns, has used public cameras to trace the interaction patterns of the infected, and even introduced a crowd-sourced app for voluntary contact tracing. In the U.S., research efforts are underway to mine body temperature and heart-rate data from wearables for early detection of COVID-19 infection.

It is widely feared that COVID-19 cases, at their peak, will overwhelm medical infrastructure in many cities. Evidence from Hubei, China, and Lombardy, Italy, do indeed support this fear. One way to alleviate this situation is to adopt novel methods of remotely providing medical help. The basic infrastructure for telemedicine has existed for a long time but has been a hard-sell from consumer, provider and regulatory points of view until now. Already, the U.S. has waived regulations to allow doctors to practice across state boundaries; the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has also announced that it will not levy penalties on medical providers using certain virtual communication tools, such as Skype and FaceTime, to connect with patients.

AI technologies certainly can help as a force-multiplier here, as front-line medical decision support tools for patient-provider matching, triage and even in faster diagnosis. For example, the Chinese company Alibaba claims rapid diagnostic image analytics for chest CT scans; China also has leveraged robots in disinfection of public spaces. Remote tele-presence robots increasingly could be leveraged to bring virtual movement and solace to people in forced medical quarantines.

AI technologies already have been enablers of, and defenders against, fake news. In the context of this pandemic, our incomplete knowledge coupled with angst has led to an infodemic of unreliable/fake information about coping with the outbreak, often spread by well-meaning (if gullible) people. AI technologies certainly can be of help here, both in flagging stories of questionable lineage and pointing to more trusted information sources.

AI also can be used to distill COVID-19-related information. A prominent example here is a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy-supported effort to use natural language-processing technologies to mine the stream of research papers relevant to the COVID-19 virus, with the aim of helping scientists quickly gain insight and spot trends within the research. There is some hope that such distillation can help in vaccine discovery efforts, too.

Suppression by social distancing has emerged as the most promising way to stem the tide of infection. It is clear, however, that social distancing like sticking to a healthy diet runs very much counter to our natural impulses. Short of draconian state enforcement, what can we do to increase the chances that people follow the best practices? One way AI can help here is via micro-targeted behavioral nudges. Like it or not, AI technologies already harvest vast troves of user profiles via our digital footprints and weaponize those for targeted ads. The same technologies can be readily rejiggered for subliminal micro-targeted social distancing messages that could include distracting us from cabin fever. There already is some evidence that mild nudging can even reduce the sharing of misinformation.

Lockdowns and social distancing measures are affecting the education of millions of schoolchildren. Tutoring services assisted by AI technologies can help significantly when students are stuck at home. China reportedly has relied on the help of online AI-based tutoring companies such as Squirrel AI to engage some of its millions of schoolchildren in lockdown.

And while self-driving cars remain a distant dream, delivering essential goods to people via deserted streets certainly could be within reach. Depending on how long shelter-at-home continues, we might rely increasingly on such technologies to transport critical personnel and goods.

Some of these potential uses of AI are controversial, as they infringe on privacy and civil liberties or reflect the very type of applications that the AI ethics community has resisted. Do we really want our personal AI assistants to start nudging us subliminally? Should we support increased cellphone tracking for infection control? It will be interesting to see to what extent society is willing to adopt them.

Indeed, our readiness to try almost anything to fight this unprecedented viral war is opening an inadvertent window into how we might handle the worries surrounding an AI-enabled future. Ideas such as universal basic income (UBI) in the presence of widespread technological unemployment, or concerns about diminished privacy thanks to widespread AI-based surveillance all are coming to the fore.

China has mobilized state resources to feed its quarantined population and used extensive cellphone tracking to analyze the spread of the virus. Israel is reportedly using cellphone tracking to ensure quarantines, as did Taiwan. The U.S. is considering UBI-like ideas e.g., providing thousand-dollar checks to many adults effectively unemployed during the pandemic and is reportedly mulling cellphone-based tracking to get people to follow social distancing guidelines.

Once such practices are adopted, they will no longer just be theoretical constructs. Some or all of them will become part of our society beyond this war on the virus, just as many Great Depression-era programs became part of our social fabric. The possibility that our choices in this time of crisis can change our society in crucial ways is raising alarms and calls for circumspection. Yet, to what extent civil society is likely to pause for circumspection at the height of this execution imperative remains to be seen.

Subbarao Kambhampati, PhD, is a professor of computer science at Arizona State University and chief AI officer for AI Foundation, which focuses on the responsible development of AI technologies. He served as president and is now past-president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and was a founding board member of Partnership on AI. He can be followed on Twitter@rao2z.

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Enlisting AI in our war on coronavirus: Potential and pitfalls | TheHill - The Hill

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Mar 30th, 2020 | Filed under Diet Effectively

Read: How the pandemic will end

When the pandemic subsides, I suspect that we will have to discard simple dichotomies. The major dividing line in effective crisis response will not place autocracies on one side and democracies on the other. Rather, there will be some high-performing autocracies, and some with disastrous outcomes. There will be a similar, though likely smaller, variance in outcomes among democracies. The crucial determinant in performance will not be the type of regime, but the states capacity and, above all, trust in government.

All political systems need to delegate discretionary authority to executive branches, especially during times of crisis. No set of preexisting laws or rules can ever anticipate all of the novel and rapidly changing situations that countries will face. The capacity of people at the top, and their judgment, determine whether outcomes are good or bad.

And in making that delegation of authority to the executive, trust is the single most important commodity that will determine the fate of a society. In a democracy no less than in a dictatorship, citizens have to believe that the executive knows what it is doing. And trust, unfortunately, is exactly what is missing in America today.

It is a popular misconception that liberal democracies necessarily have weak governments because they have to respect popular choice and legal procedure. All modern governments have developed a powerful executive branch, because no society can survive without one. They need a strong, effective, modern state that can concentrate and deploy power when necessary to protect the community, keep public order, and provide essential public services.

What distinguishes a liberal democracy from an authoritarian regime is that it balances state power with institutions of constraintthat is, the rule of law, and democratic accountability. The exact point of balance between the principal institution of power, the executive branch, and the primary constraining institutions (the courts and legislature) differs from one democracy to another, and also differs over time.

Read: The four possible timelines for life returning to normal

This is no less true of the United States than of any other liberal democracy, despite its having a political culture that breeds intense distrust of concentrated state power and sacralized law and democracy. The U.S. Constitution was written against the backdrop of the weakness of the Articles of Confederation. Alexander Hamilton, an ardent advocate of what, in Federalist No. 70, he called energy in the executive, understood perfectly well the need for strong legal and democratic constraints on executive power. But Hamilton also argued that neither the Court nor Congress would be able to act decisively in times of national danger. These dangers would arise in times of war or domestic insurrection, but they could also arise from novel causes, such as the global pandemic that we are facing now. The kinds of authority granted to the executive would differ depending on circumstances; what was appropriate during peacetime was not necessarily what would prevail in times of war or crisis.

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The Thing That Determines a Countrys Resistance to the Coronavirus - The Atlantic

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Mar 30th, 2020 | Filed under Diet Effectively

Honolulu Chinatown fire. Image: Wikimedia

The United States has a long history of blaming Asian immigrants for outbreaks of disease. Every time, democracy and public health suffer.

In December 1899, five people of Chinese ancestry died of bubonic plague in Honolulu. The Honolulu Board of Health reacted by deploying the U.S. military to lock down a fourteen-block neighborhood containing 10,000 people, predominantly Chinese and Japanese. Acting on the anti-Chinese racism that pervaded all levels of late nineteenth-century U.S.government, authorities then attempted to systematically burn down buildings in the quarantined zone to purge the plague. But as officials tried to set controlled burns, the wind picked up and set all of Honolulus Chinatown aflame. The fire raged for seventeen days. It ultimately demolished 38 acres, destroying 4,000 homes and leaving 4,500 people homeless. It also spread the plague: a U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) official concluded that rats driven out by the fire had carried the disease into the rest of the city.

Blaming China and Chinese people during a global pandemic is deeplyunoriginal.

As Nayan Shah argues in Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Franciscos Chinatown (2001), the Honolulu fire was far from the only time in U.S. history that racism worsened a public health crisis, victimizing minorities and harming the population as a whole. We are living through such a moment now, as President Donald Trump elects to prioritize xenophobia, partisan politics, and fearmongering over the publics health. It isnt just Trump, though. The entire public discourse about the novel coronavirus has been shot through with anti-Asian rhetoric. Conservative commentators have floated the idea that COVID-19 is a biothreat from China and have gleefully taken up Trumps moniker for it, the Chinese virus, while conservative politicians have blamed Chinese culture and diet for the disease.

But racialized discourse about the outbreak can be found on the left as well. The liberal news site Vox, for example, published a video purporting to explain Why New Diseases Keep Appearing in China in which it posited that China is home to such outbreaks because people there consume wildlifeas though plenty of Americans dont also hunt and eat game. The video itself points out that live wildlife markets exist around the world, meaning that public health concerns should be about such markets, not just about Chinese markets. The very premise of the video was already a flawed way to frame the issue: with approximately one fifth of the worlds populationover 1.4 billion human beings for evolving viruses and bacteria to attackits unsurprising that diseases emerge from China. Its crucial, of course, for epidemiologists and health policy planners to study what particular social and economic conditions generate disease and to make recommendations to remedy those conditions. But framing the conversation, especially in less technical publications, as a question about why China adds more than its fair share of global disease unnecessarily moralizes the issue and smuggles in invidious assumptions about race and culture.

Assessing our governments myriad failures in response to COVID-19 consequently requires both criticizing the racism that has consistently been the backbone of Trumps approach to governing while also recognizing that Trump is not aloneindeed, that there is a deep history of the United States responding to plague times with racist panic and blame. The COVID-19 pandemic therefore calls for a renewed commitment to building a racially and economically egalitarian welfare state. That means both funding a robust federal government with the power to take action for the public good and strengthening and enforcing anti-discrimination laws. But it also calls for robust public dialogue and education about the need for a society that treats all of its members with equal concern and respect. History is an invaluable guide as we work toward that end.

Assessing our governments failures in response to COVID-19 requires both criticizing Trumps racism and recognizing that he is not alone.

Blaming China and Chinese people during a global pandemic is deeplyunoriginal. During the cholera epidemic in New York City in 1832, for example, the Board of Health asked the citys leading doctors to gather all information on the subject of the Oriental Cholera. When the epidemic arrived in New York, those New Yorkers who could afford to flee the city embarked on a mass exodus, leaving the poor to suffer in cheap, crowded living spaces that formed a perfect environment to transmit the disease. Commentators quickly moralized the epidemic, arguing, as one put it, that cholera was almost exclusively confined to the lower classes of intemperate dissolute and filthy people huddled together like swine. Not everyone, fortunately, agreed. A Quaker critic saw the outbreak as a reason to contest the inequality of an industrializing and urbanizing society. Was man made for this, he asked, or is he not able to raise himself out of this unequal degraded state? If not, better [to] be a stone destitute of sensibility.

Anti-Asian hostility intensified in the second half of the nineteenth century, as the U.S. passed a suite of immigration laws that restricted and eventually banned Chinese immigration. Cities and states on the West Coast employed a mix of statutes, ordinances, arbitrary policing, social pressure, and mob violence to exclude and oppress people of Chinese descent. This racistrhetoric and policy continued well into the twentieth century, with explicit racial restrictions built into immigration laws until 1952 and quotas on immigration from Asia until 1965. Set against the backdrop of this period, Shahs Contagious Divides narrates many moments of anti-Chinese panic during epidemics in the United States, well beyond the Honolulu fire of 1899.

The PHS tracked a bubonic plague outbreak in China in 1894, for example, and Shah explains that U.S. public health authorities anticipated the arrival of plague from that point onward. They predict[ed] that one of the Pacific Coasts Chinatowns would be the most likely site of the epidemics first strike. PHS officers based in China and in North American Chinatowns, Shah writes, feared that the filth and overcrowding that they believed was characteristic of all Chinese living environments incubated bubonic plague. Driven by these racist stereotypes about China and Chinese immigrants, San Francisco targeted its Chinese population repeatedly from 1900 to 1907 amid a series of bubonic plague scares. The city locked down predominantly Chinese neighborhoods and sent in squads to inspect and fumigate houses, it restricted travel by any Chinese persons who were not vaccinated, and it attempted to forcibly vaccinate the Chinese population. Vaccination at the time was still an infant science and it could be physically horrific. Forcibly vaccinating the citys Chinese population would be, in effect, to use them as test subjects. Meanwhile, the selective shutdown of immigrant neighborhoods further concentrated all of the economic suffering caused by the epidemic on a subordinated racial minority.

The Chinese in San Francisco did push back, with some success. Street protests occasionally forced public health officials to lift the quarantine, and massive public resistance led officials to abandon their plan of forced inoculation. In Wong Wai v. Williamson (1900), federal judge William Morrow enjoined local and federal health officials from enacting a plan to prevent Chinese persons from leaving the city unless they had submitted to vaccination. This coercive vaccination regime, Morrow explained, was boldly directed against the Asiatic or Mongolian race as a class, without regard to the previous condition, habits, exposure to disease, or residence of the individual. It therefore violated the Fourteenth Amendment. Judge Morrow explained that although public health officials have sweeping police power during an epidemicpolice power being the name for the general authority of sovereign governments to legislate and regulate to protect public health and welfarethat power, however broad and extensive, is not above the Constitution.

San Francisco locked down Chinese neighborhoods, restricted travel, and attempted to use the Chinese population to test an experimental vaccine.

Morrows opinion cited the famous case of Ho Ah Kow v. Nunan (1879), in which U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Field, temporarily sitting as a federal circuit judge in California, struck down a San Francisco law that required all prisoners to cut their hair short. Field found that the law was merely a pretext to force Chinese men to cut their queues (long braids), and he wrote that in our country hostile and discriminating legislation by a state against any class, sect, creed or nation . . . is forbidden by the Fourteenth Amendment. Ho Ah Kow v. Nunan remains a crucial precedent establishing that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment blocks states from discriminating under pretextual laws. In the context of public health crises like the one we face today, Judge Morrows opinion in Wong Wai v. Williamson should be a similarly important precedent for the proposition that even under the police power, racial discrimination is barred by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Nevertheless, although Justice Field struck down the queue law in Ho Ah Kow v. Nunan, he still took the opportunity in his opinion to expatiate on the inferiority of Chinese immigrants. He called them a vast horde, and he criticized their dissimilarity in physical characteristics, in language, manners and religion. These differences, he said, would prevent the possibility of their assimilation with our people. He therefore argued that Congress should ban Chinese immigration, a point of view that was very much of a piece with the larger Chinese Exclusion movement in the period. A similar tone of contempt might very well be detected in Judge Morrows language in Wong Wai v. Williamson, as he paints in broad strokes about the Asiatic or Mongolian race. Such biased language and ideology are insidious even when they appear in judicial decisions that protect racial minorities from discrimination by the state.

The police powers of the state and federal governments, of course, are critical for fighting disease and protecting the peoples welfare. The $2 trillion federal recovery bill passed in response to COVID-19 is a classic use of the police power, as are Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, and anti-poverty programs such as Social Security, unemployment insurance, and SNAP. But the police power also remains a potential tool for discrimination, a loaded gun waiting for the wrong hand to wield it. Justice Fields suggestion to ban Chinese immigration leans on a paradigmatic instance of the police power, border control, as did Trumps declaration of a national emergency in order to build his border wall. Congress, the public, and the courts all need to be vigilant to distinguish real emergencies that justify expansive police powers from ginned-up emergencies that let the executive act in a state of exception free from external legal control.

The COVID-19crisis is political just as much as it is medical.

Unfortunately, our governments use of police powers today is still frequently shaped by racial discrimination, just as it was in the late nineteenth century. Now, as then, militaristic combat metaphors are swirling together with anti-Asian racism in government rhetoric. As Trump has beefed up military funding under his isolationist, xenophobic America First foreign policy, he has slashed federal offices and agency funding devoted to foreign aid, global health, and disease preparedness. He has undermined diplomacy and international cooperation, which are essential in a global pandemic. And he proposed cutting funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) even as his Secretary of Health and Human Services refused to divert any funds from the border wall to cover potential CDC shortfalls. These racist efforts to cut off public health funding to developing nations, to keep out Hispanic immigrants, and to means-test and generally eviscerate the domestic welfare state are directly tied, both ideologically and materially, to the stripped-down public health bureaucracy Trump has created through a toxic combination of malice and neglecta public health bureaucracy that now lacks the capacity and nimbleness to respond fully to the coronavirus pandemic and that leaves us all more vulnerable as a result.

The COVID-19crisis is political just as much as it is medical. Our response to the twin crises of coronavirus and Trumpism has to be both medical and political as well. Only by acting together, collectively, through governmentwhich is to say, via democratic politicswill we be able to fight off this disease and rebuild, better, in the aftermath. Like the Quaker writer in New York in 1832 who saw the cholera epidemic as a reason to improve social and economic equality, its up to progressives today to demand a robust, racially egalitarian welfare state that governs in the public interest, plans ahead, treats everyone with equal concern and respect, and helps its people navigate medical catastrophe and economic collapse. Then maybe next time, we can escape the worst legacies of our past and confront the disaster, effectively, together.

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American Racism in the Time of Plagues - Boston Review

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Mar 30th, 2020 | Filed under Diet Effectively

Among the many alarming things that have emerged in the few past weeks is Americans apocalyptic obsession with toilet paper. Despite industry experts assurance that theres plenty to go around, people insist on loading their carts (and trucks) with two-ply. Shelves are empty. Restrooms are being robbed. One Oregon police department even had to issue the following statement: There is a TP shortage. This too shall pass. Just dont call 9-1-1. We cannot bring you toilet paper.

When random fears like this bubble to the surfacecreepy clowns, sonic attacks, satanic cults, even Y2K it tells you something about a given society. But what are we to make of the sudden emerges of TTAS, or toilet tissue anxiety syndrome? Is this a real issue? Is it a microcosm of our daily defecatory experience? Or are we just treading water in the oral-anal phase of societal development?

My eye-rolling teenaged daughter would put me firmly in this last camp. But this particular issue is one thats close to my heart. Because some years ago, when I was a young traveler, I had the same anxiety. For years I traveled with my own toilet paper, because I was afraidno, terrifiedthat I would end up in a place where there was none.

I had seen many such places, in East and West Africa, in southeast Asia, in the Caribbean. There would be a hose or fixture or a bottle or kettle setting next to the toilet. But I had no understanding of the logistics, protocol or decorum involved. I lived in Italy for a whole year as an exchange student with a bidet in my room thinking it was just a weirdly low sink.

It was, but I had no idea it was a sink for your nethers. If Id known then what I know now, my life would have been so much easier, much less anxiety-ridden, and have seen much less chafing. I have traveled where Mr. Whipple would never dare to tread, and have some hard-won wisdom to share.

First, a thought experiment: If you were walking barefoot through your yard, and felt the unpleasant squish of fresh dog do through your toes, what would be your reaction? Would you think, Geez, I need to get some dry, easily torn paper to smear this off my foot?

No. You would quickly get yourself to a hose, or a sink. You would find some soap. And you would scrub your foot off using your hands.

All of which is a long way of saying: Toilet paper is not the best system.

To take it a little further: You dont really need toilet paper.

TP is nice, but humans got along fine without it for at least 70,000 years (Im pretty sure I read that in Sapiens) if not much longer. Its only recently that people in certain countries have become dependent on these small white squares.

What did they use before that? What do billions of people use right now? And what should we be using today?


And a hand.

There, I said it. No one talks about this, but they should. It would save countless trees, endless amounts of water, and untold of hours of worry.

Cleaning yourself this way is not hard to do. The logistics are simple. Its the mental and cultural gap thats a challenge to cross. But what awaits you on the other side? A blissfully clean backside.

Depending on the water dispenser at your disposal, you can go about this several ways.

In Japan, they have fancy toilets that shoot water from all different directions, and at all temperatures.

In much of Europe they use the bidets.

In Thailand youll find a hand sprayer attached to each toilet.

In other places, youll see a bottle or kettle next to the toilet.

In normal times in the U.S., you can order any number of bidet fixtures to your toilet. (Now you may have to wait.) But strictly speaking, these technologies are just variations on a theme: getting water to your exit hole, and you dont need a special tool for that. With the bidets and sprayers, its simpler, but with containers you simply pour the water onto the middle of the small of your back and it naturally funnels down where you need it to go.

After the water reaches the soiled area (not before) use your other hand to help wash away the waste. Depending on your diet, this can take varying amounts of time and water. But with practice, it is very quick and efficient. In Italy (I now know) people put a dab of soap on their hand before cleaning.

If you want, and you have the luxury, you can use a little TP to finish/check the job you did. But its not necessary. Once youve cleaned (No. 2) or rinsed (No.1) yourself , your rear is ready to go. If theres any residual water, do a little Taylor Swift and the rest will quickly vanish. Trust me.

Afterwards, wash your hand with plain soap. As long as you rub them together six-plus times under running water, the bacteria should be effectively gone.

This all takes some getting used to, and I dont expect it to be widely adapted any time soon. But once you become skilled at it, you will wonder how you got by all those years just rubbing your feces with dry paper.

You will wonder how we ever got into this situation, and you will have hope that we can get out of it. At least until we run out of soap.

Frank Bures is the author of The Geography of Madness: Penis Thieves, Voodoo Death, and the Search for the Meaning of the World's Strangest Syndromes .

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Life Without Toilet Paper Is Better - VICE

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Mar 30th, 2020 | Filed under Diet Effectively

In this guide youll find a summary of many of the recommendations and explanations provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other public health authorities, along with answers to many of the most frequently asked questions about the coronavirus.

Worldwide real-time map of coronavirus cases

1. What is Covid-19?Respuesta

2. How is Covid-19 spread?Respuesta

3. Methods to reduce the risk of infectionRespuesta

4. How long does the virus survive on different surfaces?Respuesta

5. Living with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19Respuesta

6. Types of masks and their utilityRespuesta

7. How do I know if I have caught the virus? Main symptoms and differences with the flu or coldsRespuesta

8. How do I know if Ive been in contact with an infectious person?Respuesta

9. What is the incubation period of the virus?Respuesta

10. What should I do if I have symptoms or think I may have been infected?Respuesta

11. Can I have the virus without having symptoms?Respuesta

12. What are the main groups at risk?Respuesta

13. What does the Covid-19 test involve?Respuesta

14. What happens if I test positive?Respuesta

15. How do I know when I am cured? How long is the isolation period?Respuesta

16. Can I become infected again?Respuesta

17. Im pregnant, is there any risk to my baby?Respuesta

18. Can pets catch the virus or infect humans?Respuesta

19. Eating well during quarantineRespuesta

20. The psychological battle. How to cope with quarantineRespuesta

21. How to live together during lockdownRespuesta

22. How to cope with homeworking during the quarantineRespuesta

23. How long will the quarantine and lockdowns last?Respuesta

The coronaviruses are a large family of viruses (the Coronaviridae) that can cause illnesses in animals (birds and mammals) and humans. In humans, prior to the current pandemic, six different viruses had been identified, all of which cause respiratory tract infections: four cause common colds, with the other two being MERS, Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome and SARS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. MERS appeared in Saudi Arabia in 2012,with the original host being camels, while SARS was first seen in China in 2002, with the origin being uncertain, but thought to be bats with the virus jumping to civet cats before reaching humans. The coronavirus causing the Covid-19 pandemic was first identified in Wuhan, China, in 2019.

Covid-19 is spread through contact with an infected person, even when that person has no signs or symptoms of the disease. The most common method of contagion is through droplets, expelled from the nose or mouth when the infected person sneezes, coughs or exhales. Inhaling these droplets, or touching the eyes, nose or mouth after touching surfaces or objects on which the droplets have landed, can lead to infection. Hence the recommendation to always maintain a distance of at least a metre (3 feet) from other people, which is the space in which these droplets can be found. The main route of infection is airborne. Covid-19 can also be caught from faeces, although the risk is thought to be lower, but it is still vital to wash your hands after going to the bathroom and before eating. The WHO continues to investigate all possible methods of infection.

The principle measure is frequent hand washing with soap and water or with an alcohol-based gel. The hands must be washed for at least 20 seconds, ensuring the soap makes good contact with all surfaces, before the hands are fully rinsed. A distance of at least one metre must be maintained from other people, with particular caution being taken if someone is sneezing, coughing or has a temperature. It is important to avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth; the nose and mouth should be covered with tissue paper when coughing or sneezing, or with the inside of the elbow where no tissue is available. Where a tissue has been used it should be thrown away immediately and the hands washed. It is important to avoid gatherings of large groups. Any individual showing any symptoms of the disease should be isolated as much as possible until they recover, wearing a mask to avoid infecting others.

It is not yet known with absolute certainty how long the virus can survive on surfaces, although it appears to behave like other coronaviruses. According to studies carried out to date, the Covid-19 virus appears to be able to survive on surfaces for at least a few hours and up to several days, with the time dependant on the type of surface and the ambient conditions, including temperature and humidity. The maximum time the virus can survive in air-borne droplets is three hours; on a coin, four hours; on paper, one day; on kitchen utensils, up to three days and the same on plastic items (computers and mobile phones). To disinfect a surface dilute bleach should be used, with the hands being washed afterwards. To clean computers and mobile phones a 70% alcohol-in-water solution should be used to avoid damaging the item.

The best approach is to isolate the infected person as much as possible, giving them a room and a bathroom for their exclusive use, where possible. The room should be well ventilated, with a window and a door that can be closed. The room should have a rubbish bin, where possible with a closable lid and hermetically sealed rubbish waste disposal bag. The patient should limit their movements to the greatest extent possible, wearing a mask when leaving the room if required to do so, and ensuring they maintain a distance of 1 metre (3 feet) or more from other people, although it is preferable to communicate by mobile phone. All surfaces the infected person could have been in touch with should be exhaustively cleaned daily and the person who does so should wear gloves and a mask. The clothes worn by the infected person should be washed separately and any waste they produce thrown away in a separate rubbish bag.

In the absence of respiratory symptoms or caring for an infected person there is no need to wear a medical mask. Disposable masks can only be used once and if used when there is no need to do so the mask is effectively wasted. The WHO recommends using medical masks sensible to avoid wasting them. If a person wearing a mask touches an infected surface and then removes the mask without washing their hands they can become infected. The only people who should always wear masks are health workers, carers of infected people and those showing symptoms, such as fever or a cough.

The main Covid-19 symptoms are fever, tiredness and a dry cough. Some patients also suffer aches and pains, nasal congestion, excess mucus, sore throat and diarrhoea. Some people also lose their sense of taste and smell. In the majority of cases the symptoms are mild and progressively disappear. Some people have asymptomatic infections and will be infected with the virus without even knowing it. Where the patient has difficulty breathing or serious respiratory problems it is vital to get in touch with local emergency services and seek medical attention.

Close contact is understood to have occurred when someone has been within two metres of an infected person for a sustained period of time. For this reason it is vital to avoid large gatherings of people, avoid outdoor sport, stop taking pets out for lengthy walks and where possible not go shopping on a daily basis.

The incubation period is the time from infection to the appearance of the first symptoms of the disease. For Covid-19, this period ranges from one to 14 days, depending on the age of the patient and the existence of underlying conditions, etc. The average incubation period is understood to be around five days, but the WHO is updating this information as more data comes to light. People may however be infectious before showing any symptoms.

If you have symptoms, call the medical services. They will tell you if you need to go to a health centre. Where you are told to self-isolate at home, make sure you have a permanent means of communication available and inform the medical services of any change in your symptoms. Try to reduce your fever if you have one, drink plenty of water, rest and walk around your room from time to time. If you live with other people, you should follow the self-isolating rules for 14 days from the start of the symptoms, always provided that at the end of that period you have no symptoms.

According to the studies carried out so far, around 80% of people infected with Covid-19 will have no symptoms, or symptoms that are so mild they are undetectable. These individuals are less contagious than those showing symptoms (up to 50% less), but as they are uncontrolled they cause the majority of infections. Most people who are infected with the virus will never see a doctor for it, will never be diagnosed and will continue with their normal activities without ever knowing they have been infected.

Although some 80% of people will recover from Covid-19 without any special treatment, some 16% will suffer severe symptoms and will have difficulty breathing. Older people and those who have an underlying medical condition, such as high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, have more chance of developing a severe illness. The number of high-risk groups is being added to continuously and also includes people suffering from chronic respiratory conditions, smokers, cancer patients and people who are immune suppressed.

Individuals hospitalised for a respiratory infection should be tested for coronavirus, which involves taking a sample form the respiratory tract. Similar tests are also being carried out at the homes of people suspected of having been infected. The test should always be carried out by trained medical personnel. Where the test is negative the case is closed. Where it is positive or inconclusive further samples are taken. RT-PCR tests (reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction) are then carried out in the laboratory on these samples. During the test genetic material is extracted from the sample taken from the back of the nasal passage, where it joins the throat, then amplified, making thousands of copies of it, in order to get a measurable result. If the genetic material shows the virus is present the person is considered to be infected.

If the symptoms are mild, isolation at home will be prescribed. If the symptoms are serious, hospital admission will be recommended. There is still no specific anti-viral treatment available for Covid-19, although many laboratories are working to find one. Possible treatments and vaccines are under development. Once the patient is admitted to hospital, they will be given to treatment to alleviate their symptoms. The WHO has reiterated the importance of not using antibiotics in the treatment of Covid-19 as these are only effective against bacterial infections and do not work against viruses.

For a patient to be discharged and considered cured they must test negative in two separate tests in a period of greater than 24 hours. So far there have been few studies carried out with inconclusive results. It is possible that individuals who have been cured could still have a viral load for several days or weeks, although it is unlikely they could infect other people. In cases studied in China, up to 14% of those who had recovered and tested negative upon being discharged tested positive in later tests, but this appears to be genetic residue left behind which is not infectious. According to some studies, 10 days after becoming symptomatic the virus capacity to infect others is reduced. Under current protocol the quarantine period is 14 days from the start of the symptoms.

A number of studies are still being carried out and the answer is not entirely clear whether someone who has had Covid-19 can be reinfected. At present it appears to have only occurred in a small number of cases and researchers believe it is more likely to be a worsening of the same infection rather than a reinfection. Studies are also being carried out into the strength of the immune response seen in people who have got over the virus. While more research is being done, the opinion of most investigators is that, in the short term at least, people do not become reinfected with the virus.

With the information we have at the moment it appears there is no risk of the virus being passed to the foetus. Where new-borns have become infected the infection occurred after birth.

The coronavirus family infects many animals and birds, and these occasionally jump the species barrier to infect humans, as appears to have happened with SARS-CoV which came from civet cats and MERS-CoV which came from camels. As yet, the animal source of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus responsible for Covid-19) has not been identified. Although the WHO identified a case of a dog that tested positive for the virus at the end of February, the animals viral load was very low and researchers are attempting to find out if it was truly infected or if its nose and mouth had become contaminated by being in contact with the virus. So far there is no evidence that show that dogs, cats or any other pet can infect humans with Covid-19. That said, it is vital to maintain hygiene rules in order to avoid pets bringing the virus into the house after being outside. Any walks with a pet should be brief, their paws should be washed upon returning home, and hands should be washed after touching them.

Keeping the immune system as strong as possible is important, as a defence against Covid-19 and other infections. Resting, reducing stress levels and healthy eating are key to achieving this. Although no food groups are ruled out, diet should be based on whole grains, cereals (bread, pasta, rice), fruit and vegetables. These food groups provide a healthy amount of fibre to promote intestinal motility, which is particularly important during quarantine when it can be reduced due to an overall lower level of physical activity. Choosing fibre-rich foods helps avoid constipation and promotes good digestion. Try to limit the consumption of processed foods and processed juices, which tend to have excessive sugar. The way food is cooked is also important: avoid frying where possible and bake, boil or grill. Drink at least one and a half litres of water daily maintaining hydration levels helps the brain and gut function properly. Liquid intake can also be in the form of fresh fruit, milk, freshly squeezed fruit juice, teas and soups. Avoid excess snacking and maintain a regular eating regime: three main meals a day, with a snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon. (Recommendations from the Spanish Federation of Nutrition Societies (FESNAD) and

Social isolation, together with the doubts and fears that can arise while in quarantine may cause stress and anxiety. Following these recommendations will help you cope with and control these feelings. Try to avoid reading excessively about the situation - while it can give you a feeling of control it also increases fear and worry. Seek out reliable sources of information, consume information sparingly and set a time to do so. Setting up a routine and sticking to it is beneficial, creating a psychological grounding which provides a feeling of security, although every four or five days it can be good to change things around to avoid it becoming monotonous. Remember that the quarantine is temporary and keep in mind how it important for everybody it is to stick to it. Try and keep in good spirits with a positive attitude and focus on the benefits of having time at home. Use technology to maintain social contact and chat to people close to you. Try relaxation techniques and use resources available online to educate yourself and keep yourself entertained. Recommendations of the Spanish Psychiatric Society.

Suddenly being together in the same space at all times during the quarantine can give rise to tension at home. In order to avoid problems attempt to set up daily routines and stick to them. Have a plan for each day - set up a timetable and plan the tasks (schoolwork, home working, time for fun and hobbies, time to take care of pets). Respect the private spaces of others and let them have time to themselves when they need to switch off or they become anxious or irritable. Try and dedicate some time to enriching activities and avoid empty ones that lead to a feeling of having wasted time (downloading applications on your mobile, spending excessive time on social media). Use some of your time to get jobs around the house done, particularly those you normally never have time for (repairs, reading, finishing a series on TV, organising a part of the house). Cope with the isolation by using technology to connect to friends and family, particularly those who live alone, this will improve their emotional state and maintain family connections.

Five recommendations to avoid physical problems while home working (particularly headaches and back pains): set up your workspace in a place with good light and where you will not be doing other tasks, that allows for better focus and concentration and means you can disconnect when you stop working. Set up a daily routine: get up at the same time, get dressed and psychologically ready for work, this means it is easier to respect the boundaries between work and family life. Plan breaks to move around, stretch and allow the eyes to take a break. Avoid distractions by letting your family know when you are working. Stay in touch with work colleagues using technology: chat platforms and video calls.

It is hard to know for sure for how long the lockdown will last in any particular country. In Spain it started on 14 March and has been extended to 13 April. A study by Imperial College London suggests that some social isolation measures will be required for 12 to 18 months from the start of the pandemic, being the time required to produce and test a vaccine. At the present time, the only place that has a final date for the lockdown to an end is Wuhan, where the outbreak started. The lockdown was put into place there on 23 January and is set to end on 8 April, giving a duration of two and a half months. In Wuhan the first cases were detected at the end of 2019, with the lockdown starting on 23 January. On 29 January all cities in Hubei province were closed off with a curfew and extreme restrictions on movement. 18 March was the first day without any new cases (ignoring those coming from outside the region). On 24 March free movement for healthy residents was once again permitted, with some factories and shops opening, and public transport running again.

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Coronavirus: the complete guide to the Covid-19 pandemic - AS English

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Mar 30th, 2020 | Filed under Diet Effectively

ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 30th Mar, 2020 ) :Tele-health facility can effectively contribute to the well being of citizens by providing them guidance through technology use about their routine health issues after closure of clinics and hospitals' Out Patient Departments (OPDs) amid lockdown for prevention of COVID-19 spread in the country.

The Tele-Health service can increase efficiency of overall healthcare delivery system by reducing cost and provision of speedy healthcare through use of technology thus minimizing human interaction and the risk of catching COVID-19, consultant, Project Manager COMSATS Tele-Health, Dr Nadia Rasheed said.

Talking to APP on Monday, she said it was the perfect time when the authorities concerned must utilize such services for the provision of contact less health facilities to the patients through technology usage for routine medical issues.

This method will maintain social distancing, avoid direct interaction as well as protect our frontline force of doctors and paramedics to unnecessary exposure.

Through this initiative, "we will be able to manage many outdoor patients without direct interaction with the doctor which will be largely beneficial amidst the fear that this epidemic has entailed with an indefinite lasting period".

Dr Nadia said that Comsats Tele-health pioneers in providing advanced Primary healthcare services mainly aimed for the benefit of resource constraint marginalized people living in remote areas in terms of cost effectiveness, time saving and instant accessibility.

Through the Tele-Health setup, patients at basic health units can get medical opinion from doctors sitting remotely at Secondary/Tertiary health care units in any part of the country with the use of technology.

She said in the current scenario of COVID-19 outbreak, Comsats Tele-health is connected with the Basic Health Units situated in remote areas from Gwader to Jhelum and Quetta.

Under this initiative, regular OPD services being given to treat minor ailments as well as patients with chronic diseases, E.g. Diabetes, Hypertension etc.

Patients are provided with one month treatment in order to avoid frequent visits to the center.

"Our main focus is providing health education regarding preventive measures to the patients visiting the centers. We are providing online training to the paramedics of these centers to alert and educate the general public and the local community regarding important preventative precautions", she said.

These prevention include frequent hand washing for 20 seconds, social distancing, cleanliness of work place, intake of balanced diet with large quantities of Vitamin C such as citrus fruits and fresh vegetables, warm water and good hydration.

Dr. Nadia urged the authorities to establish an integrated system beneficial for patients as well as for healthcare professionals and make separate filter clinics well equipped with Tele-health facility.


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Tele-health facility effective for treatment of routine medical issues - UrduPoint News

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Mar 30th, 2020 | Filed under Diet Effectively

A gut expert has revealed how you can stay fit and active while you're stuck in isolation.

While many of us are now moving less, due to the restrictions put in place by the government, Dr Kate Stephens has six tips on how we can maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Dr Kate Stephens, Gut Microbiologist from OptiBac Probiotics, explains: Your gut is one of the first entry points for germs, so its really important to keep it protected with lots of good bacteria to help ward off harmful bugs.

"Stress, anxiety, lack of sleep and a bad diet can all create an imbalanced gut microbiome, which in turn may lower your immune system. So its important you look after your wellbeing during these uncertain months, to help fight nasty bugs and maintain a healthy gut.

Here are her six tips:

Its important to stay rested and refreshed to help keep your immune system working effectively to fight off bad bacteria. Your daily routine may feel a little out of kilter at the moment, but try to get at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night if possible, even if it means going to bed a little earlier!

A lack of exposure to sunshine can really affect your mood, especially when were spending so much time inside so its important to do things that help lift your spirits and tackle stress. Looking after your wellbeing is so important, as this can also affect your immune system. If your home has now become your office, Id also suggest practicing some simple mindfulness exercises or winding down by reading a book to help you switch off and feel more relaxed.

Exercise can not only improve your physical health but it also makes you feel good, too. Physical movement keeps your bowels moving and your immune system strong. Exercise is also a known stress reliever and can help you feel happier and healthier during these uncertain times. If you dont have a garden, try clearing a space in your living room and doing some mat exercises, such as yoga or Pilates.

The occasional glass of red wine has been shown to have certain health benefits, but remember to drink in moderation as alcoholic drinks contain a lot of sugar. This can feed bad bacteria and make you feel even worse. If you do enjoy a couple of drinks, make sure you rehydrate with lots of water.

We need water to regulate our body temperature and maintain many bodily functions. Keeping hydrated is essential for all aspects of health, including supporting our bodily microbiomes and immune system. This ensures that we are naturally flushing out any toxins or bad bugs and helps our digestive system to work better.

Vitamins are important for immune function, especially vitamin C find this in broccoli, cauliflower, kale, kiwi, orange juice, papaya, peppers, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes, raw if possible. This vitamin is so important for immunity that many people take a supplement during the cold season. Vitamin D is another vitamin often deficient when we experience a lack of sunshine. Dietary sources include oily fish, eggs, and mushrooms, though again supplements are useful here. You might also wish to try some live cultures, which can be found in fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi or kefir, or in supplement form.

We also recommend taking a daily probiotic to help support your immunity at this time. My recommendations are the OptiBac Probiotics.

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Six ways to keep active and healthy while in self-isolation - Kent Live

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Mar 27th, 2020 | Filed under Diet Effectively

As part of the global response to the pandemic, the citizens of many countries are having to stay at home. However, prolonged isolation can take its toll on mental health. In this Special Feature, mental well-being advocates share their top tips on what you can do to cope with anxiety and stress while stuck at home.

In a press briefing on March 26, 2020, officials from the World Health Organization (WHO) discussed the challenges that the world is facing in terms of mental and psychological health and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Physical distancing and isolation measures, [and] the closure of schools and workplaces, are particularly [challenging for] us, as they affect what we love to do, where we want to be, and who we want to be with, said Dr. Hans Kluge, the WHOs regional director for Europe, in his opening remarks.

It is absolutely natural for each of us to feel stress, anxiety, fear, and loneliness during this time. At [the] WHO, we consider [effects on] our mental health [and] psychological well-being as being very important consequences of COVID-19, he added.

Stay informed with live updates on the current COVID-19 outbreak and visit our coronavirus hub for more advice on prevention and treatment.

As people all around the world find themselves working from home or being home-schooled unable to travel even down the street to visit friends or family staying mentally healthy could become increasingly difficult for many.

So what can individuals, as well as society at large, do to preserve mental well-being and cope with stressors such as anxiety and loneliness?

To find out, Medical News Today have reached out to two mental health advocates: business neurolinguistic programming practitioner and mental health trainer Tania Diggory, founder and director of Calmer, and mental health first aider and coach Kat Hounsell, founder of everyday people.

This Special Feature presents some best practice tips for maintaining good mental health that Diggory and Hounsell suggested, as well as the official advice offered by experts from the WHO.

Working from home may seem like the dream set-up for some, as it offers the possibility to tap into that latent creativity from the comfort of a cozy, familiar environment.

However, it can also bring a unique set of challenges especially as an enforced measure.

While [being able to work from home] can empower and up-level our working life, if taken to the extreme, we end up being switched on the whole time, Diggory told MNT.

In many cases, the boundaries between home life and work life can become blurred, and these boundaries are what enable us to stay healthy and well, she cautioned.

In an enforced work from home situation, people may end up continuously sharing a space with other family members, and they may start to feel as though they have to attend to both domestic tasks and work assignments at the same time.

This blending of home and work life may also lead to working longer hours than usual.

People may [] fall into a pattern of overworking, a sense or feeling that they should be working long hours, to show colleagues that they are being productive even though no-one can physically see them working, said Diggory.

So, how can people address these challenges and reduce the amount of stress that comes with working exclusively from a home environment?

Firstly, accept that stress levels will likely be higher for many at this time whatever youre feeling is valid considering the current context, said Hounsell.

That is why, [w]hen working from home, prioritizing your mindset and well-being at the start of the day is essential, Diggory told us.

One helpful way to set boundaries so that a person does not become overwhelmed with competing tasks is to create a physical space that is for work only, where the person will not face non-work-related disruptions and interruptions.

Where possible, it is worth designating a space that is yours for work only. This separation can support you physically and mentally, and help get you into the appropriate headspace each time you settle in to work.

Tania Diggory

If you live with family, a partner, or housemates, you could [] [have] a chat with them about what boundaries you need to put in place in order to ensure a healthy and productive mindset, she suggested.

She also said that people who share their homes with others may actually be able to benefit from the situation by co-opting family or housemates to actively help them stay on track.

For instance, Diggory said, If you struggle to take breaks throughout the day, you could use living with others to your advantage perhaps ask for their help in encouraging you to take time away from your desk at lunch or for a mid-morning/afternoon break.

Cooperation is key, Hounsell agreed. Be kind and patient with yourself and those around you, she advised.

She also stressed the importance of maintaining other healthful habits such as eating regularly and sticking to a healthful diet because these are, in themselves, a cornerstone of mental health.

When planning your day, schedule in eating regular nutritious meals, [] renew through exercise, make time to connect with others, and maintain good sleep hygiene, Hounsell emphasized.

She also mentioned the importance of maintaining good communication with both housemates and work colleagues at this time.

Be open with your plans with those you live with and your team have clear boundaries with your non-negotiables, and be open to flexibility where your schedule may need to adapt to support someone else, she added.

There are also adjustments that employers can make to ensure that their employees do not hit burnout mode in record time while working from home.

Hounsell said that there are a few questions that employers should ask themselves if they want to help their employees maintain their well-being and remain productive.

These questions are:

If the answer to any of these questions is no, employers should aim to address these issues to support their employees in achieving an adequate work mindset away from the office.

Hounsell also advised [r]egular check-ins and signposting to supports available, so that everyones well-being is being nurtured on a daily basis, as well as [opening] a feedback loop to address any communication challenges that may appear due to the remote work setting.

Another possible stumbling block when a person has to work from home for long periods of time is effectively getting out of that work mindset once work is done for the day.

That can be tricky, especially if the person does not have access to their usual signals that work is over such as their commute from the office, a regular pitstop at the mall after work, or a quick session at the gym.

In speaking to MNT, Diggory suggested that one way of marking the end of the work day though this could also apply to ending a study period, for example is to set up something akin to the school bell.

Try using an alarm to signal the end of your working day choosing the hour, or even the minute, that you can press the off button, put down your pen, and leave the home office, she suggested.

Bookending the start and end of the working day with suggestive activities might also help.

[P]lan a simple short ritual you look forward to in order to check-in and check-out of your working day, Hounsell advised.

It could be anything, like starting the day with a cup of tea and 10 minutes [of] journaling learnings from yesterday, or hopes for today. Then, your check-out could be a short scheduled call with a colleague, friend, [or] family member to share your evening plans, she suggested.

[P]lanning enjoyable things to do in the evenings can be a nice reward for all your hard work, and something to look forward to each day, Diggory noted.

However, Hounsell also advised our readers to go easy on themselves, should this strategy not work perfectly every time.

[D]ont beat yourself up if work starts bleeding into the evening just stop, she said. Stop, take a breath, observe whats happening with kindness, and proceed with intention into the next part of your evening.

Research has shown that loneliness is one of the worlds most significant risk factors for premature death. If this is such a huge problem (at the best of times), what happens now that many peoples freedom of movement is severely limited?

In the press briefing from March 26, 2020, Dr. Aiysha Malik the WHOs technical officer within the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse noted that some of the people most at risk of experiencing an increased sense of loneliness and anxiety are older individuals, as well as those already living with mental health issues.

To cope with loneliness while in (relative) physical isolation, Dr. Malik said that there are some basic strategies that [the WHO are] advocating across the population, such as taking part in some [form of] physical activity, keeping to routines or creating new ones, engaging in activities [that] give a sense of achievement [] and, importantly, really maintaining social connections.

Although staying connected may be more difficult now than ever before, Dr. Malik points out that now is the time to explore the full potential of digital technologies in helping us stay in touch with our loved ones.

In speaking to MNT, Diggory agreed with this perspective. As much as an overuse of digital technology can be detrimental to our well-being, we are truly fortunate to be living in the digital age, where its never been so easy to stay connected with the people who matter to us most.

Where possible, she said, video calls are essential; [they help] to give that illusion of proximity and feel like the person or people youre talking to are nearby.

Also, throughout the virtual press briefing, Dr. Malik repeatedly emphasized the importance of sticking to old routines and creating new ones. This, she explained, can help give structure to our daily lives at a time when our normal activities are disrupted.

Once again, Diggory agreed:

Routine is [] very important for well-being, so if youre living by yourself, write a list of the people and activities that lift your spirits; be sure to prioritize time for connecting with others and doing things you enjoy every day.

For those who live on their own and are finding that enforced isolation has hit them hard, Diggory also suggested [considering] the things you enjoy doing by yourself, yet havent had time to dedicate to them.

[W]hat books do you like to read? What self-care routine can you put in place to support your mind and body? What nutritious foods can you cook to boost your immune system?

People should ask themselves these questions and try to take this unexpected time to themselves to focus on aspects of their lives that they may not have paid very much attention to before.

In the press briefing from March 26, 2020, the WHO officials also talked about how people may start experiencing increased levels of anxiety during this uncertain time.

Dr. Kluge said that [o]ur anxieties and fears should be acknowledged, and not ignored, but better understood and addressed by individuals, communities, and governments.

The issue, making all of us nervous, is how we mange and react to stressful situations unfolding so rapidly in our lives and communities, he continued. He then shared a few personal strategies for coping with stress and anxiety:

Personally, I am trying to stick to what has worked for me in the past when I want to be calm for example, learning and practicing simple relaxation techniques, like breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, mindfulness, [and] meditation, [which] can all be very helpful in alleviating mental distress.

When MNT spoke with Diggory, she also suggested that practices such as mindfulness and meditation can help relieve anxious thoughts.

One of the key factors of experiencing anxiety is a sense of feeling out of control, she explained. However, [t]he practices of mindfulness and meditation have been scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety, and when practiced regularly, can help you feel more in control of your own state.

Were not always able to control external circumstances; however, we can learn to cultivate [healthful] habits where we feel in control of our personal well-being, and exercises such as meditative breathing [are] an example of this.

Tania Diggory

Diggory went on to explain that since the start of the pandemic, there has been an increase in online wellness classes, which people can easily join from the comfort of their own homes.

Hounsell also stressed the fact that online classes and other resources are bringing fun and relaxing activities straight into peoples homes.

What has been so amazing to witness is the booming wealth of online resources to support [people]. You can go on virtual art gallery tours, watch videos of theater and dance online, have video dinner dates with friends (this one comes tried and tested from me), online pub quizzes, live-streamed yoga and workouts, [and] even The Open University has released a multitude of free courses for keeping learning such an opportunity to get creative, she said.

And, she added, whats really great is [that] we can also reconnect with those hobbies and relaxation techniques that dont require a screen reading, taking a bath, gardening, listening to music, playing music, journaling, writing, arts and crafts, cooking new recipes, [] stroking your pet, daydreaming so much to savor and enjoy.

In turn, the WHO regional director for Europe also spoke of the importance of engaging in earnest communication at this time.

I myself I also try and acknowledge upsetting thoughts when they occur, and discuss them with people around me. They are likely to have them, too, and we may be better able to find solutions collectively, he said.

Hounsell made a similar point when she spoke to MNT. She emphasized that we should all try to check in with each other and practice our sense of empathy.

Looking out for one another [] and checking in regularly to spot signs of stress or mental health issues evolving could have a lasting impact, she suggested.

Here at MNT, we have already put together numerous resources to support our readers in their quest for holistic well-being.

Following on from the advice presented above, here is a list of existing features from our website that we think our readers may find helpful at this time:

For live updates on the latest developments regarding the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, click here.

Originally posted here:
Expert tips on coping with stress and anxiety during a pandemic - Medical News Today

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Mar 27th, 2020 | Filed under Diet Effectively
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