Should your family receive vaccinations? YES

This coronavirus pandemic is serious. We don’t yet have a vaccine or effective treatments. To protect ourselves, our familes, and our entire communities we should all be practicing social distancing until advised otherwise. Please review these guidelines to prevent spead of this disease.

2020 vaccination recommendations from the CDC

These charts show 2019 guidelines but there were not major changes for 2020.

With a few exceptions for medical reasons I believe all adults should discuss vaccination with their physician and be immunized for any diseases for which they are at risk.

And I recommend that parents do the same for their children and adolescents.

RECOMMENDED ADULT IMMUNIZATIONS 2019
RECOMMENDED CHILD AND ADOLESCENT IMMUNIZATIONS 2019

questions to ask about vaccines and the immunization process include.

  • What contagious diseases is a person likely to be exposed to?
  • What are the risks of those diseases?
  • What are the risks of a particular vaccine for that person?
  • What are the risks versus benefits to other people?
  • What else can we do to prevent an infection?

Infectious disease control methods

The  developed countries  have eliminated or controlled many of the environmental sources of contagious disease by manipulating our environment.

  • indoor plumbing
  • water treatment facilities
  • screens on windows
  • air purification
  • wear gloves to prepare food
  • inspect restaurants
  • signs in public restrooms reminding us to wash our hands.
Hand hygiene saves lives.
Hygiene remains vital to infection prevention even when immunizations are given.

However, we haven’t eliminated another source of infectious disease- other humans.

Rarely do we isolate or quarantine people with infections. Most of us have gone to work, school or social events with symptoms suggestive of infection- a cough, runny nose, upset stomach- putting our friends and colleagues at risk.

This coronavirus pandemic is serious. We don’t yet have a vaccine or effective treatments. To protect ourselves, our familes, and our entire communities we should all be practicing social distancing until advised otherwise. Please review these guidelines to prevent spead of this disease.

15 DAYS TO SLOW THE SPREAD

RESOURCES FOR understanding COVID-19

an electron microscope image of the coronavirus
used with permission, CDC.GOV

Tips from your Family Doctor

CDC-Coronavirus Disease 2019

exploring and sharing the HEART of health

Thanks for reading and sharing this important information about protecting the HEART of health.

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.

Dr.  Aletha 

Here are some affiliate links you may find helpful. Thanks for considering and using, which helps me continue this blog.

This post contains affiliate links which, by paying a commission if used for a purchase, help me fund this blog and share the HEART of health around the world.

These may be good options as long as we need to stay in our homes.

a way to exercise at home

a way to get medical supplies delivered

a source for food if you don’t have local delivery

Spring/Summer Banners

homeschool resources

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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.

Daylight Saving Time-March 8

Most of the United States changed to Daylight Saving Time on Sunday March 8 2020. However, since then, not much else has been the same due to the pandemic caused by the novel Coronavirus that began in China at the end of 2019.

Your body has probably adjusted to the time change by now but  WebMD offers these tips to make the change easier.

St. Patrick’s Day-March 17

Of course you know that March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day. Cities around the world have cancelled their St. Patrick’s Day parades-Dublin Ireland, New York City New York, Boston Massachusettes, and Chicago Illinois.

Not only is the parade in Chicago cancelled, but also the tradition of dying the Chicago River green. Fortunately, I have this photo from a previous year taken by my son who lives there.  

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. Many families are cancelling or limiting their spring break vacation plans. Even Disney World is closing all of their parks.

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

March 20 is also Match Day. No, not the kind of match you light fires with.

It’s the day 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.

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. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 outbreak many medical schools are scaling down or even cancelling festivities this year, disappointing after 4 years of long hours of study and hours of tiring clinical work.

 

Match Days Cancelled, Pared Down Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

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.

HONOR A DOCTOR-MARCH 30

The first Doctors’ Day observance was March 30, 1933, in Winder, Georgia. The idea came from a doctor’s wife, Eudora Brown Almond,  and the date was the anniversary of the first use of general anesthetic in surgery.

The Barrow County (Georgia) Medical Society Auxiliary proclaimed the day “Doctors’ Day,” which was celebrated by mailing cards to physicians and their wives and by placing flowers on the graves of deceased doctors.

In 1990, the U.S. Congress established a National Doctors’ Day first celebrated on March 30, 1991.

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 genetics, symptoms, transmission, and complications, and slowly learning what does and does not work, and how to contain and stop it.

RESOURCES FOR understanding COVID-19

CDC-Coronavirus Disease 2019

Tips from your Family Doctor

 

March Madness- college basketball tournament

Even people who don’t follow basketball regularly, get excited about March Madness-when college football teams vie to be named the National Champion. Sadly, that has also been cancelled this year, along with other amateur and professional sporting events. Even the Summer Olympics is in question.

statues of runners passing a torch
at the U.S. Olympic Training Center at Colorado Springs Colorado, photo by Dr.Aletha

 

 

exploring the HEART of health

I invite you to follow Watercress Words on Facebook where I share links and occasional posts about the current status of COVID-19.

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 

 

 

6 things you need to know to get through the flu season-update

When I first published this post, I didn’t know these same basic recommendations would also be helpful to fight a new and possibly deadlier infectious disease-COVID-19, caused by a different respiratory virus, the Coronavirus, which has spread all over the world beginning in December 2019 and now into the spring of 2020.

Influenza vs Coronavirus

When I first published this post, I didn’t know these same basic recommendations would also be helpful to fight a new and possibly deadlier infectious disease-COVID-19, caused by a different respiratory virus, the Coronavirus, which has spread all over the world beginning in December 2019 and now into the spring of 2020.

At this time, most of these points also seem to apply to COVID-19, except unfortunately, number 3; there is no vaccine and probably won’t be for many more months.

1. If you think you have the “flu”, you probably don’t.

To many people “the flu” is any respiratory illness characterized by  fever, cough, congestion, fatigue and aches. That term has become so nonspecific even we doctors use it that way. But flu should refer  to influenza,  one of many viruses that cause respiratory illness.

The other viral respiratory illnesses  are

  • rhinosinusitis, aka “colds”, upper respiratory infections-URIs,
  • bronchitis,
  • pharyngitis,
  • pneumonia.
The human respiratory system
The respiratory tract including the nose, sinuses, mouth, throat, trachea, bronchi in blue and the lungs (pink). Infections can involve the breathing organs from the nose all the way down to the lungs. (photo complimentary from Pixabay

2. If your doctor thinks you have “the flu”, you probably do.

Prior to the  “rapid flu” test, we doctors diagnosed influenza by the characteristic symptoms,  exam, and knowing there was an outbreak in the community. The test is helpful for confirmation but not 100 % accurate, and likely the Coronvirus test is not either.

3. The best way to prevent influenza is by vaccination.

The World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) ,the National Foundation for Infectious Disease and  other reputable medical organizations recommend vaccination against influenza.

People refuse vaccination because they believe it is ineffective, unnecessary, dangerous, toxic, unnatural, subversive, and who knows what else.  I don’t think I or anyone else are going to change their minds.

My family and I always get vaccinations which have successfully protected us without side effects or adverse reactions. There are risks, just like there are with any medical procedure, or lots of other things we do in life. In this case we have decided the benefit outweighs the risk.

If you don’t want a “flu shot”, just say no. Your doctor doesn’t need or want to hear a speech; we’ve already heard them all.

4. Stay away from others if you are sick.

It’s not a coincidence that influenza outbreaks coincide with the American holiday season (approximately November through January). So to protect us all,

  • Stay home if you are sick, and ask your family, co-workers and employees to do the same.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing; use your sleeve, not your hand.
  • Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Wash your hands frequently, thoroughly, and long enough.
  • Wash frequently touched surfaces with disinfectant.
Hand hygiene saves lives.
a common sight now in public restrooms

5. If you do get sick, don’t ask your doctor for an antibiotic. It will not help. 

Antibiotics attack bacteria. Influenza and 99% of all respiratory illnesses are due to viruses.

There are antiviral drugs that will “shorten the duration and severity of symptoms” by 1-2 days, if started early. The effectiveness is uncertain for an illness that will resolve within 10-14 days regardless. But if it gets you back to school or work a day earlier, it may be worth the cost-they are not cheap drugs.

Otherwise, the treatment is“symptomatic” or “supportive” care:

  • Rest; eat and drink as normally as possible; extra fluids if running a fever 
  • Non-prescription cough/congestion /pain/fever meds

Acetaminophen for aches and fever

Lozenges for sore throat, cough, and congestion

Breathing moist air with the use of a humidifier  helps with cough and congestion

(the previous are affiliate links. )

6. You can die from influenza, but you probably won’t.

People die from complications of influenza, and infants, young children and the elderly have greatest risk.The most common fatal complication is bacterial pneumonia, infection in the lung. Influenza can also attack the nervous system causing brain inflammation (encephalitis and/or meningitis) and paralysis in the form of Guillain Barre syndrome .

an xray of healthy lungs with no signs of pneumonia.
Healthy lungs with no signs of pneumonia.

Persons with chronic illnesses like diabetes, lung disorders, depressed immune systems and cancer are at greater risk of complications and should always consult a physician if feeling ill. If you are not sure if you fall into that category, ask your doctor.

what you really need to know

We should all take influenza and COVID-19 seriously; consider my suggestions, talk to your personal doctor, keep up with recommendations from your local public health professionals, and do your part to keep your family and community well.

Here are some previous posts about infections .

Get Smart About Antibiotics

“Most common infections, such as colds, flu, most sore throats, bronchitis, and many sinus and ear infections, are caused by viruses and do not respond to antibiotic treatment. “

6 smart facts about antibiotics

“You may think of antibiotics as safe, harmless drugs with no potential for serious effects.  Usually antibiotics are well tolerated and safe. But serious side effects are possible, though infrequent.”

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. “

exploring the HEART of health

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 

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World Vision – Sponsor A Child Today. Help give children a better future. Sponsor a child through World Vision and change a child's life and community for good.

From Practice to Politics-Doctors who ran for President-the Senator

Dr. Rand Paul was a candidate for the Republican party nomination for President in 2016. He suspended his campaign before the party convention. He continues to serve as Senator from Kentucky.


In 2016 I wrote about the 3 physicians who ran for President of the United States that year. None of them won but one of them, Dr. Rand Paul, has tested positive for the coronavirus now spreading through the United States.

Here is the post I wrote about Dr. Paul that year. He vied for the Republican nomination.

Randall “Rand” Paul, M.D., opthalmologist

Dr. Rand Paul was a candidate for the Republican party nomination for President in 2016. He suspended his campaign before the party convention. He continues to serve as Senator from Kentucky.

About Dr. Paul

  1. Dr. Paul graduated from Duke University Medical School.
  2. He was elected Senator from Kentucky in 2010.
  3. He is married, has 3 children, and coached his children in Little League baseball, soccer and basketball.
  4. His father Dr. Ron Paul is an obstetrician/gynecologist, has served in the House of Representatives, and also ran for President.
  5. He has served as President of the Lions Club International .
  6. He provides eye surgery free of charge to people unable to pay in his home state of Kentucky.
  7. He has traveled around the world as a volunteer eye surgeon, providing care to people unable to pay; a recent trip was to Guatemala. He has received awards for his humanitarian work.
  8. Dr. Paul has written books, including Our Presidents & Their Prayers: Proclamations of Faith by America’s Leaders 

This is an affiliate link; readers who use it to purchase help fund this blog.

According to his Facebook page, Dr. Paul is


a proud Senator of Kentucky. I fight for

the Constitution, individual liberty, and the freedoms that make this country great.

In the U.S. Senate, Dr. Paul currently serves on

  • the Committee on Foreign Relations,
  • the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and
  • the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions that has jurisdiction over health care-related issues.

exploring the HEART of health

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