March Gladness-not Sadness-in 2021

On March 19, graduating medical students find out what residency program they will join through the National Resident Matching Program , which “matches” them with available positions in residencies all over the United States.

The clocks change, the season changes, physicians’ lives change, athletes compete, and a river turns green. It must be March, and most of us feel more hopeful than we did in March a year ago, as we entered the unknown of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Daylight Saving Time

Most of the United States changed to Daylight Saving Time on Sunday March 14, 2021. Hawaii and Arizona do not (the Navajo reservation in Arizona does.)

The territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands also do not observe DST.

My husband and I enjoying sun, colorful flowers, and cacti in Scottsdale, Arizona.

So if you don’t like changing your clocks, you might consider moving to one of those places.

St. Patrick’s Day

Of course you know that March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day.

The parade in Chicago has been cancelled, as it was last year due to the pandemic, but they revived the tradition of dying the Chicago River green.

My son took this photo a few years ago .  

The Chicago River is green on St. Patrick's Day
photo of the Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day by Ryan Oglesby

Welcome Spring

We will welcome the  first day of Spring, March 20,  in the northern hemisphere, with the occurrence of the vernal equinox. I don’t think the virus can stop that, but may make it less enjoyable.

This link to The Weather Channel explains what the vernal equinox means.

graphic of the earth explaining equinox and solstice
original source not known

 

National Residency Match Day

On March 19, graduating medical students find out what residency program they will enter through the National Resident Matching Program , which “matches” them with available positions in residencies all over the United States.

Why should you care? This matching process determines who will care for our medical needs in the next 30-40 years; our family physicians, internists, pediatricians, general surgeons, obstetricians, dermatologists, psychiatrists, and the multitude of other medical specialties. Most doctors will continue in the same specialty their entire career, although some  switch after a few or many years.

For those graduates who match to a residency, especially if it is their top choice, it is a day for celebrating with family and friends, almost like a graduation. Last year and again this year, most of the celebrating will be done virtually, due to concerns about viral spread. Read more about

Why this year’s Match will be strikingly different

 

THE SURPRISING NEW DOCTORS CARING FOR YOU
photo from Lightstock.com, graphic created with Canva

Read this previous post about the new doctors who will care for you

National Doctor’s Day

March 30 has been designated National Doctor’s Day in the United States. You may not have heard of  a day to honor doctors. The idea came from a doctor’s wife, Eudora Brown Almond, and was first observed on March 30, 1933, in Winder, Georgia.

“Physicians don’t run from challenges. We run toward them.”

Dr. Patrice Harris

In 2020, Dr. Patrice Harris, past president of the AMA wrote this about National Doctor’s Day .

“Physicians display heroism and courage every day in their hospitals and clinics. But today, on National Doctors’ Day, their selflessness in the face of a deepening health crisis is truly extraordinary.

We’ve seen many cases in the U.S and around the globe in which physicians have fallen seriously ill or died after treating patients for COVID-19. The physical toll alone is daunting—extremely long and taxing hours in the hospital—but the emotional toll is just as significant, and enough to overwhelm even the most seasoned and experienced doctor. No one can say for sure how long the health threat will last or how much more our nation’s physicians will be asked to give.

When you ask physicians why they chose their profession, answers vary. But one theme tends to underlie all the responses: a profound commitment to helping others. We are called upon to help in moments like these. As I said in my inaugural address last year—that feels like a lifetime ago—“Physicians don’t run from challenges. We run toward them.” “

March Madness- NCAA basketball tournament

Even people who don’t follow college basketball tune in for March Madness-when college football teams vie to be named the National Champion. Cancelled last year, the tournament will resume this year on March 18, with protocols in place to prevent spread of the virus among the players.

the hands of several people holding a basketball
photo from LIGHTSTOCK.COM, an affiliate link

March 2020

You can reflect on March a year ago at this link

March 30 is Doctors' Day

March Sadness-how COVID-19 has changed 2020

In 2020 we’ll be thanking doctors for tackling this new and largely unknown disease that just a few weeks ago we knew little about. Since then we’ve learned it’s name, it’s genetic make up, symptoms, how it spreads, and complications, and slowly learning what does and does not work, and how to contain and stop it.

 

exploring the HEART of health

Thanks for following this blog. If you’re visiting, I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me. I also want you to find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, and LinkedIn .

 

More scenes from Scottsdale Arizona, photos by Dr. Aletha

Understanding COVID-19 vaccines in 25 minutes

Learn how vaccines are made and how they work. Review the concept of herd immunity and why it’s so important. Recognize the reasons behind vaccine hesitancy and why it matters and may enable the spread of disease.

Recently I started listening to podcasts from AXIOS, an online news source, and have especially enjoyed their coverage of science in general and specifically the COVID-19 pandemic.

They produced 5 short videos explaining the coronavirus vaccine that I found informative and want to share with you . Each is less than 5 minutes so in about 25 minutes you will learn much about the vaccine and hopefully be more confident in your decision to get vaccinated yourself, as I and my husband have been.

Here’s the intro from AXIOS and a link to the page where you can access all 5 videos. Below I have given you an outline so you know a little of what is in each episode, but I do recommend you listen to all of them in order. They are even appropriate for kids.

(The cover photo is a scanning electron microscope image of SARS-CoV-2 (orange)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (green) cultured in the lab. Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIH)

BLOGGERS PIT STOP FEATURED
This post was Featured at BLOGGER’S PIT STOP

Vaccines: A short course from Axios

Vaccines have been used for centuries to fight disease but hesitancy and disinformation about them are spreading, jeopardizing the global fight against measles, COVID-19 and other diseases.

Axios’ science and health journalists will help you understand vaccines — how they work, how they’re tested and distributed, and where vaccine technology is headed.

illustration showing the coronavirus which causes COVID-19
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. In this view, the protein particles E, S, and M, also located on the outer surface of the particle, have all been labeled as well. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS, public domain

1. Vaccine basics

Learn how vaccines are made and how they work. Understand the immune system-T cells and antibodies.

Review the concept of herd immunity and why it’s so important.

These patients’ samples were to be tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) serologic test. CDC/ James Gathany, PUBLIC DOMAIN

2. Study and testing of vaccines

Find out why the research and development of vaccines costs $100 of millions. See the 3 phases of the process and why this one progressed faster than ever before.

President Joe Biden visited NIH on February 11, 2020, where he met with leading researchers at the Vaccine Research Center to learn more about the groundbreaking fundamental research that enabled the development of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines.Credit: NIH/Chiachi Chang; PUBLIC DOMAIN

3. Distribution of vaccines

Understand why vaccine distribution differs from other drugs-including the manufacturing, selling, buying, and transporting.

In this 2020 photograph, captured inside a clinical setting, a health care provider places a bandage on the injection site of a patient, who just received an influenza vaccine. The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 6-months of age and older get a flu vaccine every season. CDC/ Robert Denty, public domain

4. Misinformation about vaccines

Recognize the reasons behind vaccine hesitancy and why it matters and may enable the spread of disease.

5. Next generation vaccines

Explore how scientists are using the power of genetics to create new and better vaccines. Appreciate why vaccines can change our approach to disease prevention.

DNA Double Helix

Credit: National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health. Please link to www.genome.gov when possible. PUBLIC DOMAIN

Exploring the HEART of ending the COVID-19 pandemic

Thanks for following this blog. If you’re visiting, I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me. I also want you to find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, and LinkedIn .

Dr. Aletha inspecting her arm after a COVID-19 shot
Three days after my first vaccination the soreness in my arm was almost gone, and I had no redness or swelling. After the second shot, minimal soreness. No other side effects to report. I feel fortunate.