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 

 

 

Health tips for spring you can use now

Remember it’s Spring forward and Fall back to Daylight Saving Time. Your body will tell the difference until your sleep cycle adjusts; I know mine always does.

Remember it’s Spring forward to Daylight Saving Time

Most of the United States will change to Daylight Saving Time on Sunday March 8, 2020.

So you will either be going to bed an hour later than usual, or awakening an hour earlier.

Either way, your body will tell the difference until your sleep cycle adjusts; I know mine always does.  WebMD offers these tips to make the change easier.

And if you have persistent problems with sleep, consider the tips in this post.

Expert advice to sleep well every night.

a bed with ornate headboard
photo by Dr. Aletha- at the Hemingway House, Key West, Florida

Welcome Spring

We will welcome the  first day of Spring, March 20,  in the northern hemisphere, with the occurrence of the vernal equinox. The amount of daylight we enjoy will continue increasing until the summer solstice, the day with the most hours of sunlight.

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

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

 

At this link, I tell you how to stay safe and well this spring and summer.

Spring health risks to prepare for now

a dogwood tree in bloom
In Oklahoma, dogwood trees bloom in the spring.

exploring the HEART of health through spring and summer

 

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 fund this blog’s mission-to share the HEART of health.

 

Specialists 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.

5 spring health risks you need to prepare for now

With more hours of sunlight and warmer weather you may spend more time outdoors.While that may mean greater fitness from the physical activity, you will be at risk of several outdoor injuries. Be proactive and prevent warm weather ailments with these tips.

Remember it’s Spring forward to Daylight Savings Time

Most of the United States will change to Daylight Savings Time on Sunday March 8, 2020.

So you will either be going to bed an hour later than usual, or awakening an hour earlier.

sleep

Either way, your body will tell the difference until your sleep cycle adjusts; I know mine always does.  WebMD offers these tips to make the change easier.

If getting a good night’s sleep is a persistent problem for you, check out the information I shared in this post.

Expert advice to sleep well every night

 

Memory Foam Launch 250x250 Natural Bedding

We welcome the  first day of Spring, March 20,  in the northern hemisphere, with the occurrence of the vernal equinox.

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

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

 

With more hours of sunlight and warmer weather you may spend more time outdoors.While that may mean greater fitness from the physical activity, you will be at risk of several outdoor injuries. Be proactive and prevent warm weather ailments with these tips.

insect bites and stings

Protect yourself against mosquitoes and other insects.

5 insect repellents to keep you safe this summer

 

 

sun exposure

Protect your skin with  sunscreen while you’re outside.

(These are affiliate links placed here for your convenience. This blog can earn a commission from sales from these links. This does not imply endorsement of these products.)

 

blisters and other wounds

Protecting your feet.

Whether walking, jogging,  gardening, or sports, our feet can take a beating from outdoor activity.

You probably don’t worry much about blisters- until you get one. Then the pain can inhibit walking, or even  wearing a shoe.

At worst, blisters can become chronic wounds, get infected, and threaten limbs in susceptible persons like those with diabetes or poor blood flow.

Ways to prevent blisters include-

  • Proper fitting shoes, not too tight or too loose
  • Breaking shoes in before activity likely to cause a blister, like running, dancing, long walks, sports
  • Wearing absorbent cushioned socks, perhaps 2 pair together
  • Applying protective padding over pressure points on the feet. Even plain paper tape can accomplish this, according to this study published in the New York Times.

 

 

I own and wear several pairs of Skechers sports shoes. (affiliate link)

 

environmental allergies

What to do about seasonal allergies

Often called “hay fever”, allergic rhinitis doesn’t cause a fever but it can make us miserable with its characteristic symptoms-

  • runny nose, sneezing, congestion
diagram of the nose and sinuses
Allergies commonly affect the nose, throat, sinuses, ears, and eyes.
  • scratchy, itchy, or tickly throat
  • cough
  • ear itching and pressure
  • watery, itchy, red eyes
  • Even those  people who have these symptoms year round may have seasonal exacerbations, usually spring and fall.

    Here is information about allergy management from the American College of Allergy to discuss with your doctor.

    Seasonal Allergies

    exploring the HEART of health this spring

    Thank you for  viewing  the advertisements and using the affiliate links  that fund this blog; with your  help, we can grow, reach more people, and support worthy causes that bring health and wholeness to people around the world.

    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 

     

    5 spring health risks you need to prepare for now- watercresswords.com

    Expert advice to sleep well every night

    Most of us have trouble sleeping occasionally, but if you persistently have difficulty with sleep, you may have a medical condition associated with sleep disturbances such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, depression, or PTSD.

    If you live somewhere that observes Daylight Savings Time, you get an “extra” hour of sleep the first Sunday in November when you revert to standard time; unfortunately you lose that hour in the spring when DST starts.

    But just like the jet lag from travel, these time changes can interrupt our sleep schedule for a few days. And if you already have trouble sleeping, it’s even more of a problem.

    Here’s a review of what sleep professionals recommend to help. But for persistent or severe problems, see your own doctor to get started.

     

    person sleeping on a couch
    Sometimes getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge.

     

    (Affiliate links are used in this post.It costs nothing extra to shop through these links and this blog may earn a small commission, which funds its existence. )

    What is Chronic Insomnia ?

    Most of us have trouble sleeping occasionally, but if you persistently have difficulty with sleep, you may have a medical condition associated with sleep disturbances. These include

    • sleep apnea
    • restless legs syndrome
    • depression and/or anxiety
    • post-traumatic stress disorder

    Some people have true chronic insomnia, meaning persistent sleep difficulty alone. There are various criteria to diagnose chronic insomnia but in general include

    • difficulty falling or staying asleep
    • at least 3 nights per week for at least 1-3 months
    • with impairment of daytime function, such as fatigue/sleepiness, poor concentration, irritability, school or work dysfunction
    EXPERT ADVICE TO SLEEP WELL EVERY NIGHT

    How is chronic insomnia managed ? 

    First step in treatment of chronic insomnia as well as occasional difficulty sleeping  is identifying and treating any underlying medical issues that might contribute to poor sleep. In addition to the ones mentioned above these include

    • pain, of all kinds
    • heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux)
    • congestive heart failure
    • lung diseases like asthma  causes nighttime breathing difficulty
    • menopausal night sweats

    Sleep specialists recommend non-drug management of chronic insomnia and reserve sleep medications for more resistant cases. 

    Sleep meds were one of the 7 drugs that are overused in my previous post.

    a bed with ornate headboard
    photo by Dr. Aletha- at the Hemingway house, Key West, Florida

    (Read more about Ernest Hemingway’s preserved Florida home at this previous post)

    Hemingway’s study- chaos and creativity

     

     

     

    Sleep hygiene management

    Experts recommend sleep hygiene , basically lifestyle changes, as the initial treatment. Some people have developed bad habits in regards to sleep that need to be unlearned and new behaviors put in place.

    For optimal sleep you should

    • Engage in regular exercise- moderate intensity , tai chi , yoga and low-impact aerobic exercise
    • Avoid evening large meals
    • Limit caffeine, tobacco and alcohol
    • Use the bedroom only to sleep and for sex
    • Maintain a regular bedtime-awake schedule
    • Avoid daytime naps
    • Avoid distracting stimuli at bedtime-watching television, using electronic devices, talking on the phone
    • Stay in bed only while sleep

    How to dim the lights

    The light from electronic devices- clocks, thermostats, televisions, monitors-can disturb your sleep even after you turn off  your phone and tablets. This light can be blocked by stick on light blocking covers than can block out the majority of it.

    Light from my clock made it hard for me to fall asleep before I discovered these products. With them I fall asleep easier, and can fall back asleep if I wake up.

    Maintaining a regular schedule helps to set or reset your  sleep/wake cycle. So go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.

    However, if you can’t  sleep, rather than lie in bed awake, you should get up, do a non-stimulating activity, then return to bed when sleepy.

    woman typing on a laptop keyboard.
    Using a computer, laptop, or tablet before going to bed can impair sleep.

    If you have persistent sleep loss, consider more intensive therapy by a professional.

    Cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia , CBT-I , significantly improves chronic insomnia and daytime functioning and is recommended as first line therapy.

    CBT-I combines cognitive therapy with sleep restriction, relaxation training and stimulus control.

    Treatment typically requires 5-8 sessions conducted by a health professional trained in its use. Patients need to participate by keeping a sleep diary and writing down daily thoughts in a journal, while continuing with the sleep hygiene practices mentioned above.

    person writing in a spiral notebook
    Writing thoughts in a journal is often encouraged in cognitive behavioral therapy. (photo from the Lightstock.com collection)

    Insomnia sufferers can also get help from an online web-based CBT-I, Sleep Healthy Using the Internet , SHUTi.

    One study found 70% of those participating improved their sleep, compared with 43% who received education only.  If you  can’t find a trained therapist or don’t have time for office based therapy, this may be a good option.

     

     

     

    SleepPhone by Acoustic Sheep

    A physician, Dr. Wei-Shin Lai had trouble falling asleep after being awakened at night by calls from the ER. Her husband suggested listening to relaxing music to help her fall asleep.

    She designed a comfortable headphone for her own use, and eventually started a company to make and sell them . You can try her SleepPhone  made by her company AcousticSheep.

    Manage stress, learn to relax

    If you have  occasional trouble sleeping due to stress,  relaxation techniques can help you.  Techniques include  meditation, yoga, imagery, abdominal breathing and muscle relaxation techniques . These can reduce tension and anxious thoughts that inhibit sleep onset and maintenance.

    You may find these ideas from a previous post helpful .

    5 steps to manage stress and strain

    man with hands folded over a book

     

     

    Expert advice from physicians

    Think alcohol will help you sleep better ? Read this advice from a psychiatrist, Dr. Melissa Welby.

    The truth about alcohol and sleep

    Curious about sleep apnea? Dr. Deborah Burton offers this review of another common sleep problem.

    EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DIFFERENT SLEEP APNEA TYPES

    exploring the HEART of healthy sleep

    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.

    My goal is to bring health and wholeness to everyone who seeks it and hope you will join me.  Please visit my resources page.

    Dr. Aletha 
    26952564_10213093560871954_4239554644472378905_o

    This post was featured at Thursday Favorite Things Link Up

    Expert advice to sleep well every night

    What medical experts recommend to sleep well without drugs

     

     Almost everyone has trouble sleeping occasionally, but for some it is a frequent or persistent problem. Here is information that may help.

    person sleeping on a couch
    Sometimes getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge.

    (Affiliate links are used in this post.It costs nothing extra to shop through these links and this blog may earn a small commission, which funds its existence. )

    What is Chronic Insomnia ?

    Most of us have trouble sleeping occasionally, but if you persistently have difficulty with sleep, you may have a medical condition associated with sleep disturbances. These include

    • sleep apnea
    • restless legs syndrome
    • depression and/or anxiety
    • post-traumatic stress disorder

    Some people have true chronic insomnia, meaning persistent sleep difficulty alone. There are various criteria to diagnose chronic insomnia but in general include

    • difficulty falling or staying asleep
    • at least 3 nights per week for at least 1-3 months
    • with impairment of daytime function, such as fatigue/sleepiness, poor concentration, irritability, school or work dysfunction

    How is chronic insomnia managed ? 

    First step in treatment of chronic insomnia as well as occasional difficulty sleeping  is identifying and treating any underlying medical issues that might contribute to poor sleep. In addition to the ones mentioned above these include

    • pain, of all kinds
    • heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux)
    • congestive heart failure
    • lung diseases like asthma  causes nighttime breathing difficulty
    • menopausal night sweats

    Sleep specialists recommend non-drug management of chronic insomnia and reserve sleep medications for more resistant cases. 

    Sleep meds were one of the 7 drugs that are overused in my previous post.

    a bed with ornate headboard
    photo by Dr. Aletha- at the Hemingway house, Key West, Florida

    (Read more about Ernest Hemingway’s preserved Florida home at this previous post)

    Hemingway’s study- chaos and creativity

    Sleep hygiene management

    Experts recommend sleep hygiene , basically lifestyle changes, as the initial treatment.

    For optimal sleep you should

    • Engage in regular exercise- moderate intensity , tai chi , yoga and low-impact aerobic exercise
    • Avoid evening large meals
    • Limit caffeine, tobacco and alcohol
    • Use the bedroom only to sleep and for sex
    • Maintain a regular bedtime-awake schedule
    • Avoid daytime naps
    • Avoid distracting stimuli at bedtime-watching television, using electronic devices, talking on the phone
    • Stay in bed only while sleep

     

     

    How to dim the lights

    The light from electronic devices- clocks, thermostats, televisions, monitors-can disturb your sleep even after you turn off  your phone and tablets. This light can be blocked by stick on light blocking covers than can block out the majority of it.

    affiliate link

    Light from my clock made it hard for me to fall asleep before I discovered these products. With them I fall asleep easier, and can fall back asleep if I wake up.

     

     

     

    Maintaining a regular schedule helps to set or reset your  sleep/wake cycle. So go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.

    However, if you can’t  sleep, rather than lie in bed awake, you should get up, do a non-stimulating activity, then return to bed when sleepy.

    woman typing on a laptop keyboard.
    Using a computer, laptop, or tablet before going to bed can impair sleep.

     

     

     

    If you have persistent sleep loss, consider more intensive therapy by a professional.

    Cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia , CBT-I , significantly improves chronic insomnia and daytime functioning and is recommended as first line therapy.

    CBT-I combines cognitive therapy with sleep restriction, relaxation training and stimulus control.

    Treatment typically requires 5-8 sessions conducted by a health professional trained in its use. Patients need to participate by keeping a sleep diary and writing down daily thoughts in a journal, while continuing with the sleep hygiene practices mentioned above.

    person writing in a spiral notebook
    Writing thoughts in a journal is often encouraged in cognitive behavioral therapy. (photo from the Lightstock.com collection)

     

     

    Insomnia sufferers can also get help from an online web-based CBT-I, Sleep Healthy Using the Internet , SHUTi.

    One study found 70% of those participating improved their sleep, compared with 43% who received education only.  If you  can’t find a trained therapist or don’t have time for office based therapy, this may be a good option.

    SleepPhone by Acoustic Sheep

    A physician, Dr. Wei-Shin Lai had trouble falling asleep after being awakened at night by calls from the ER. Her husband suggested listening to relaxing music to help her fall asleep.

    She designed a comfortable headphone for her own use, and eventually started a company to make and sell them . You can try her SleepPhone  made by her company AcousticSheep.

    SleepPhones

     

     

    Manage stress, learn to relax

    If you have  occasional trouble sleeping due to stress,  relaxation techniques can help you.  Techniques include  meditation, yoga, imagery, abdominal breathing and muscle relaxation techniques . These can reduce tension and anxious thoughts that inhibit sleep onset and maintenance.

    You may find these ideas from a previous post helpful .

    5 steps to manage stress and strain

     

    man with hands folded over a book

    Expert advice from physicians

    Think alcohol will help you sleep better ? Read this advice from a psychiatrist, Dr. Melissa Welby.

    The truth about alcohol and sleep

    Curious about sleep apnea? Dr. Deborah Burton offers this review of another common sleep problem.

    EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DIFFERENT SLEEP APNEA TYPES

     

     

     

     

    Please share on your social media sites and follow Watercress Words as we continue to explore the heart of health. My goal is to bring health and wholeness to everyone who seeks it and hope you will join me.  Please visit my resources page.

    Dr. Aletha 26952564_10213093560871954_4239554644472378905_o

    March- Match Day, Madness and More

    Remember it’s Spring forward and Fall back to Daylight Saving Time. Your body will tell the difference until your sleep cycle adjusts; I know mine always does.

    Remember it’s Spring forward and Fall back to Daylight Saving Time

    Most of the United States will change to Daylight Saving Time on Sunday March 10.2019.

    So you will either be going to bed an hour later than usual, or awakening an hour earlier.

    Either way, your body will tell the difference until your sleep cycle adjusts; I know mine always does.  WebMD offers these tips to make the change easier.

    St. Patrick’s Day

    Of course you know that March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day. Here is my previous post about one of my favorite places, Chicago, Illinois, where they dye the river green  to celebrate. 

    The Chicago River is green on St. Patrick's Day
    photo 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.

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

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

     

    Match Day

    March 16 is 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.

     

     

    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.

    March 30 is Doctors' Day

    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.

    Of course, the most important physician for you to know is your own personal physician.

    Learn how to choose a doctor and how to establish a good working relationship in this article by Dr. Danielle Ofri, author of

    A Doctor’s Guide to a Good Appointment

     

     

    Madness

    And yes sports fans, I am aware that the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, aka March Madness, starts in March. Like many of you, I will be following my favorite regional teams. Good luck everyone.

     

    basketfall goal
    I wonder how many college basketball players started at one of these?

     

    I invite you to follow Watercress Words as we explore spring and summer health challenges and opportunities. Don’t forget to share with your friends.

     

     

                                  Dr. Aletha