Answers to your questions about COVID-19

At times you may feel stressed, anxious, have trouble sleeping, or feel afraid. Seek the support of family, friends, clergy, and health professionals. And if you find your anxiety becoming overwhelming, don’t hesitate to contact someone you trust for help. No one of us has to go through alone.

I’ve been posting about COVID-19 regularly on Facebook and Instagram and I hope you’ve been following. If so, this post will be a re-cap; if not, I hope you learn something. Most of this information comes from the CDC, Centers for Control and Prevention, and some from state, local, and private health agencies.

what are the symptoms of covid-19?

symptoms of COVID-19-fever, cough, shortness of breath
COVID19_SYMPTOMS

how can i keep myself and my family from being infected with covid-19?

avoid contact with sick people, do not touch your eyes, nose, mouth; wash hand often
Until we have a vaccine, the single most important prevention is frequent hand washing.

how is covid-19 different from colds, flu, and allergies?

covid-19 vs other respiratory illnesses

What else can we do to stay safe from covid-19?

should we be afraid of covid-19?

MANAGE ANXIETY-DON'T BE AFRAID-BE SMART
managing covid-19 anxiety

exploring the HEART of health by understanding COVID-19

Thanks for reviewing this outline of this new disease that we are all learning about and that has changed our lives so drastically. I appreciate the CDC and other sources for making these easy to understand graphics available.

COVID-19 is a new, serious, contagious health risk that concerns the medical community as well as government, schools, business, religious groups, charities, and private citizens. These communities have banded together quickly to develop plans to manage this threat effectively.

Just like other challenges we face, it can be daunting and sometimes scary; but sometimes that’s when we accomplish the greatest good in the long run.

At times you may feel stressed, anxious, have trouble sleeping, or feel afraid. Seek the support of family, friends, clergy, and health professionals.

And if you find your anxiety becoming overwhelming, don’t hesitate to contact someone you trust for help. No one of us has to go through alone.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

Donate to COVID-19 Pandemic Response | World Vision Canada World Vision – Gift Catalogue. Give a gift that will make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children and their communities. Shop now.
2 bandaids crossed on a world globe
photo from the Lightstock collection (affiliate link)

October Timely Topic- INFLUENZA

In this part of the world the influenza season is starting, even though influenza can occur year round. Once again, the majority of physicians and other health professionals recommend vaccination as the most effective way to lower one’s risk of getting influenza. No matter how many people would like to believe otherwise, for most people the risk of influenza is greater than the risk of the influenza vaccine.

This post is not very “timely” as October is halfway through. My husband and I have been dealing with some health challenges of our own as well as getting ready for a wedding. However, the topic is no less timely.

(This post has affiliate links; I hope they help you find information and inspiration and help me fund this blog by the commission they will generate. )

a woman taking her temperature
This photograph depicted a woman who was using a modern, battery-powered oral thermometer, in order to measure her body temperature. In order to return an accurate reading, this particular type of thermometer needed to be placed beneath the user’s tongue, for a set amount of time, beeping when the ambient, sublingual temperature was reached. Photo credit-James Gathany, CDC, public domain

Influenza

In this part of the world the influenza season is starting, even though influenza can occur year round. Once again, the majority of physicians and other health professionals recommend vaccination as the most effective way to lower one’s risk of getting influenza. No matter how many people would like to believe otherwise, for most people the risk of influenza is greater than the risk of the influenza vaccine.

I recommend you read Dr. Gretchen LaSalle‘s thorough review

FLU VACCINE 101

Managing influenza and other winter illness

Most of the winter respiratory illnesses are not influenza, but can still make us feel miserable. Most of the time most of us recover uneventfully, but these diseases can cause more severe disease in certain people, like infants, elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. Here are some previous posts with info you need to know about keeping you and your family well and safe.

6 tips to cope during a flu epidemic

a man taking his temperature
Photo credit Lauren Bishop-CDC/ National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID)

How you can cope with winter illness

6 smart facts about antibiotic use
graphic created by the Centers for Disease Control, http://www.cdc.gov

And here is how to know when to seek emergency medical help.

When should you call 911?

Hand hygiene saves lives. a sign reading "please wash your hands"
One of the most effective ways to prevent and stop the spread of infectious disease.

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

Dear friends, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. 

3 John 2 , NLT

Stay well this winter, or what ever season you are enjoying now.

                              Dr. Aletha 

These are affiliate links you may find helpful and which help fund this blog with a commission when a purchase is made using them.

myReader Rewards club- photo of woman on a bench reading a book

My Reader Rewards Club is a great way to earn free books and Bibles for yourself, friends, and family! Your journey to earning free faith-based products starts HERE.
(When you sign up through these links, I can earn free books too.)

As a member, you’ll have access to inspiring literature, Bibles, special promotional offers, and much more. Earning points is easy—you’ll receive 25 points just for signing up!

Get active

Becoming and staying fit may also help you fight off infection. I’ve been using this fitness app on my phone, Aaptiv. Consider trying it. I’d appreciate you using this affiliate link through which you can help fund this blog. Thanks and enjoy.

Spring/Summer Banners

How you can cope with winter illness

Don’t panic over colds/flu, hints to get you through

Where I live we recently had our first freeze of the winter. It gets dark earlier now since we “fell back” to standard time. And we’ve already had our first reported cases of influenza, which I reviewed in a previous post.

Chances are you or someone close to you will have a respiratory illness this winter , illnesses we frequently just lump into the category of “colds and flu”.  This usually means illnesses with some combination of these symptoms-

  • Sneezing, stuffy  or runny nose,
  • coughing
  • sore throat, hoarseness
  • ear pain, fullness
  • fever,
  • body aches, fatigue, 
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea 
  • headache.

We call these by various names but they have much in common, including symptoms and treatment. Let’s talk about what you can do to cope when they hit your family.

diagram of the nose and sinuses
Winter illnesses commonly affect the nose, throat, sinuses, ears and lungs.

Don’t panic.

Most otherwise healthy people recover from common respiratory illnesses. You may be miserable for several days, and need several weeks to feel back to normal, but you won’t suffer any permanent harm.

Fever ,especially in children, alarms parents. Don’t ignore it but don’t panic either. Reading this post should help you keep calm about fever .

a woman taking her temperature
This photograph depicted a woman who was using a modern, battery-powered oral thermometer, in order to measure her body temperature. In order to return an accurate reading, this particular type of thermometer needed to be placed beneath the user’s tongue, for a set amount of time, beeping when the ambient, sublingual temperature was reached. Photo credit-James Gathany, CDC, public domain

Some  people are at risk of developing  severe symptoms and serious complications from respiratory illnesses, so seek medical help sooner, rather than later. These include

  • Infants, especially under one month old
  • Elderly,  now a relative term, advanced age, especially combined with chronic disease
  • Those with chronic lung disease, like asthma, COPD, emphysema, cystic fibrosis
  • People on drugs that suppress the immune system
  • Other chronic diseases – diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, heart disease, cancer 

If you are not sure if you fit into one of these categories, ask your doctor.

Check here for tips on

the difference between a cold (acute rhino-sinusitis) and flu (influenza)

rhinoceros
“Rhino” obviously means NOSE.

What you need to know about influenza. 

Stay home.

This is when you shouldn’t share- germs that is. These illnesses spread person to person, so minimize contact.

Keep your kids home from school and stay home from work, at least the first few days, when you are  the most contagious. When  there is widespread illness in your community, avoid crowds and public gatherings.

Resting, getting extra sleep, drinking fluids and staying warm and dry  make staying at home therapeutic.

Wash hands.

Speaking of person to person contact, the best way to avoid getting or giving germs is to wash your hands often, but especially after being with others ,using a restroom,  and before cooking or eating. Cleaning household surfaces helps too, as well as clothing and linens. Don’t forget to clean your cell phone, tablets, and keyboards too. 

Hand hygiene saves lives.
a common sight now in public restrooms

Use medication wisely.

Some of these illnesses have a specific medication that clear it faster- strep throat, influenza, pneumonia. The others will “run their course” and meds are used to help relieve symptoms.

Many people assume that any illness with fever, sore throat and cough will improve with an antibiotic. The fact is, most will not. Antibiotics only treat infections caused by bacteria, and most of these are caused by viruses. To learn more read about

How to navigate the antibiotic highway 

These illnesses cause the greatest overuse of antibiotics, contribute to the cost of health care, and the development of antibiotic resistance. Please do not insist on an antibiotic if the doctor says you don’t need it; if offered an antibiotic, ask why.

6 smart facts about antibiotic use

Does nasal drainage and congestion need treatment with an antibiotic?

Maybe not. Learn how to sort out sinusitis.

WebMD offers this advice on choosing non-prescription cold remedies

 Be patient

The “24 hour virus” is for the most part a myth. Expect to be ill anywhere from 3 to 10 days; some symptoms, especially cough, can linger for weeks. If you are a smoker, this is a great time to quit. 

But if after 7-10 days you are getting progressively worse, instead of better, something more may be going on, so it’s wise to seek professional medical help.

 

 

I would love for you to share this  information (but not our germs) on your social media pages.

And follow Watercress Words for more information, instruction, and inspiration to help you explore the HEART of HEALTH .

 

My favorite home remedy for a cold is a warm cup of tea,

it always makes me feel better.

White House China teacup

Please help support this blog by purchasing at these affiliate links and visiting the advertisers on this page.  Thanks.



Free Samples with every order

How to cope with winter illness

What to do when colds or flu strike you and your family

Where I live we recently had our first freeze of the winter. It gets dark earlier now since we “fell back” to standard time. And we’ve already had our first reported cases of influenza, which I reviewed in a previous post.

Chances are you or someone close to you will have a respiratory illness this winter , illnesses we frequently just lump into the category of “colds and flu”.  This usually means illnesses with some combination of these symptoms-

  • Sneezing, stuffy  or runny nose,
  • coughing
  • sore throat, hoarseness
  • ear pain, fullness
  • fever,
  • body aches, fatigue, 
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea 
  • headache.

We call these by various names but they have much in common, including symptoms and treatment. Let’s talk about what you can do to cope when they hit your family.

diagram of the nose and sinuses
Winter illnesses commonly affect the nose, throat, sinuses, ears and lungs.

Don’t panic.

Most otherwise healthy people recover from common respiratory illnesses. You may be miserable for several days, and need several weeks to feel back to normal, but you won’t suffer any permanent harm.

Fever ,especially in children, alarms parents. Don’t ignore it but don’t panic either. Reading this post should help you keep calm about fever .

a woman taking her temperature
This photograph depicted a woman who was using a modern, battery-powered oral thermometer, in order to measure her body temperature. In order to return an accurate reading, this particular type of thermometer needed to be placed beneath the user’s tongue, for a set amount of time, beeping when the ambient, sublingual temperature was reached. Photo credit-James Gathany, CDC, public domain

Some  people are at risk of developing  severe symptoms and serious complications from respiratory illnesses, so seek medical help sooner, rather than later. These include

  • Infants, especially under one month old
  • Elderly,  now a relative term, advanced age, especially combined with chronic disease
  • Those with chronic lung disease, like asthma, COPD, emphysema, cystic fibrosis
  • People on drugs that suppress the immune system
  • Other chronic diseases – diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, heart disease, cancer 

If you are not sure if you fit into one of these categories, ask your doctor.

Check here for tips on

the difference between a cold (acute rhino-sinusitis) and flu (influenza)

rhinoceros
“Rhino” obviously means NOSE.

What you need to know about influenza. 

Stay home.

This is when you shouldn’t share- germs that is. These illnesses spread person to person, so minimize contact.

Keep your kids home from school and stay home from work, at least the first few days, when you are  the most contagious. When  there is widespread illness in your community, avoid crowds and public gatherings.

Resting, getting extra sleep, drinking fluids and staying warm and dry  make staying at home therapeutic.

Wash hands.

Speaking of person to person contact, the best way to avoid getting or giving germs is to wash your hands often, but especially after being with others ,using a restroom,  and before cooking or eating. Cleaning household surfaces helps too, as well as clothing and linens.

Hand hygiene saves lives.
a common sight now in public restrooms

Use medication wisely.

Some of these illnesses have a specific medication that clear it faster- strep throat, influenza, pneumonia. The others will “run their course” and meds are used to help relieve symptoms.

Many people assume that any illness with fever, sore throat and cough will improve with an antibiotic. The fact is, most will not. Antibiotics only treat infections caused by bacteria, and most of these are caused by viruses. To learn more read about

How to navigate the antibiotic highway 

These illnesses cause the greatest overuse of antibiotics, contribute to the cost of health care, and the development of antibiotic resistance. Please do not insist on an antibiotic if the doctor says you don’t need it; if offered an antibiotic, ask why.

6 smart facts about antibiotic use

Does nasal drainage and congestion need treatment with an antibiotic?

Maybe not. Learn how to sort out sinusitis.

WebMD offers this advice on choosing non-prescription cold remedies

 Be patient

The “24 hour virus” is for the most part a myth. Expect to be ill anywhere from 3 to 10 days; some symptoms, especially cough, can linger for weeks. If you are a smoker, this is a great time to quit. 

But if after 7-10 days you are getting progressively worse, instead of better, something more may be going on, so it’s wise to seek professional medical help.

Please help your friends by sharing this information (but not our germs) on your social media pages.

And follow this blog for more information, instruction, and inspiration to help you explore the HEART of HEALTH 

 

My favorite home remedy for a cold is a warm cup of tea,

it always makes me feel better.

White House China teacup

You can help support this blog by purchasing at these affiliate links. Thanks.



Free Samples with every order

Sorting out sinusitis

If you have a bacterial sinus infection with more than mild symptoms, an antibiotic may relieve symptoms and help you recover sooner. 

This post has been updated November 7, 2018

After my recent series about antibiotic use a reader asked a question about sinus infections.

“How do I know if I need an antibiotic for a sinus infection?”

It’s really a 2-part answer, so I’ll answer the second part first, it’s easier.

If you have a bacterial sinus infection with more than mild symptoms, an antibiotic may relieve symptoms and help you recover sooner.

So, you’re probably asking-

“How do I, or my doctor, know that I have a bacterial sinus infection?”

That is the more difficult question. Like so many things in medicine, maybe even most, figuring out what is wrong is the hard part. Once we know that, choosing one or more possible treatments is often rather straight forward.SORTING OUT SINUSITIS -www.watercresswords.com

 

 

Your symptoms may be one of these  diagnoses, not sinusitis

The common cold, the most likely diagnosis- this is more correctly called acute viral rhinosinusitis. The medical prefix “rhino” refers to the nose, for obvious reasons.

a rhinoceros carved into a rock
photo by Dr. Aletha at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida

 

 

Allergic rhinitis, commonly called just “allergies” or hay fever; again, a more correct diagnosis is allergic rhinosinusitis

Since the nose and sinuses are directly connected, problems in one part affect the other.

diagram of the nose and sinuses
small passageways connect the nose and sinuses

 

 

An abscessed tooth, or other dental problem

Cellulitis, an infection of the deeper layer of the skin

Zoster, known by its common name shingles; prior to the onset of the rash, there may be pain alone

Migraine– the headache of migraine can cause pain in the sinus area

Angioedema – You may not be familiar with this, it’s an uncommon type of allergic reaction characterized by swelling, mostly in the facial area. Once a patient called me requesting an antibiotic for a sinus infection. My office nurse wisely scheduled an appointment for her to see me. Rather than a sinus infection, she was experiencing angioedema from her blood pressure medication. These reactions can progress into life threatening swelling of the throat; I’m glad I didn’t try treating this with an antibiotic.

How do doctors diagnose bacterial sinusitis?

The gold standard for diagnosing any bacterial infection is to identify the bacteria by growing it in a lab, a test called a culture. For that, we need a sample of the tissue or fluid from the infected area. Since the sinuses are deep in the face, there is no easy way to do this. So most of the time we rely on symptoms and exam.  We look for

We consider prescribing an antibiotic for sinusitis when

  • Symptoms have been present 10 or more days, and/or are worsening
  • Severe symptoms, such as pain not relieved with mild pain meds or persistent fever,
  • People with conditions that impair their immune systems, like cancer and its treatment, or people with diabetes
  • People with allergic rhinitis often seem to be more prone to bacterial sinus infections or take longer to get better

These of course are all general guidelines; every patient, every illness is different, so different approaches may be needed. This is a framework for us to work from, not hard and fast rules.

a rhinoceros
We encountered this rhino during a ride through Animal Kingdom, Disney World, Florida.

 

 

Other ways to feel better when treating sinus infections as well as colds,  allergic rhinitis, bronchitis and influenza include rest, increasing oral fluids ,and moisturizing the nose and sinuses. (The following includes affiliate links that may pay this blog a commission at no additional cost to you. )

Portable humidifiers are an easy way to relieve dryness in the nose and sinuses.

A Neti pot or sinus rinse bottle are safe, easy ways to relieve dryness, congestion and clear out excess mucous from the nose and sinuses. Always use distilled or boiled water and ask your doctor before using.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn about sinusitis from an expert in otorhinolaryngology

Dr. Deborah Burton, a pediatric ENT-ear, nose, throat- specialist blogs at Dr. Momma Says. In her companion podcast she explains-

WHICH SINUSITIS TREATMENT OPTIONS ARE THE BEST?

 

Thanks for joining me and Dr. Burton to explore options for sinus problems. Please share and stay well.

Dr. Aletha – sharing the HEART of health