Health and Disease, Uncategorized

HWA-CAN I RUN OUTSIDE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC?

CAN I RUN OUTSIDE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC?

 

In short, yes. But, according to the experts, there are specific ways to keep those runs super safe.

running in mask

 

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the world, scientists and researchers are scrambling to learn more about the virus and how it’s transmitted. In the meantime, unless you’re an essential worker, you’re probably under a lockdown or social distance order of some kind, which means you’re supposed to stay indoors and avoid other people as much as possible.

For runners, this poses a frustrating challenge. How do you fit your regular exercise in? Is outdoor running simply too much of a health risk? No doubt you’ve heard a variety of different takes on the topic. To get some answers, we spoke with three different medical professionals for their take on some of the biggest running questions. A major takeaway: It’s all about what makes you and others feel safe.

Is running outside even safe right now? What if I’m at high risk? The short answer is “yes,” but it really comes down to what you’re comfortable with. “Running outside at this time is very safe,” asserts Steven E. Mayer, M.D., sports medicine physician at the Northwestern Medicine Running Medicine Clinic in Warrenville, Illinois. “In fact, being outside is safer than being inside, as long as you are continuing to social distance.”

A new study out of China (which is in preprint and has yet to be peer reviewed) looked at 318 COVID-19 outbreaks with three or more cases of infection. The researchers determined that all of these outbreaks happened in indoor venues. If you think about it, this makes sense: air flows more freely outdoors than inside a building. If you’re at high risk for developing serious illness from COVID-19, Dr. Mayer recommends being even more diligent about your running game plan. “Certainly, this does not mean you cannot run outside, but you will want to make sure you avoid people and do not touch anything outside,” he says. Isolated areas are a great option (if you have access to them). If you live in a busy city, try to run in less crowded areas during off-peak hours.

Should I wear a mask? What about gloves?

It depends on where you’re running and if you’ll have to touch anything. As of April 13, the CDC is recommending that people wear cloth face coverings in places where social distancing is difficult to maintain. So, if you’re going for a run in your quiet suburb, or a 6 A.M. jaunt through your local park, it probably won’t be hard to stay six feet from other people.

If you live somewhere like New York or Chicago, and you tend to run in crowded places at busy times, you might consider getting a face covering. This can help protect you from infection, but equally important, it will make those around you feel more at ease. You’ll need something breathable, so try a neck gaiter that’s designed for runners (they’re usually used to protect your face from cold wind in the winter, or for sun protection in the summer). You could also try a cotton bandana.

Gloves are probably only necessary if you know you’ll have to touch a public surface. “In parks, people might need to use the bathroom, so it is advisable to wear gloves and make sure once you have touched any surfaces to discard the gloves,” says Rashid Chotani, M.D., Vice President for Medical Affairs at CareLife Medical in Fairfax, Virginia. If you use cotton gloves, make sure to wash them before using them again to avoid spreading germs around. If you use latex gloves, you can throw them away after one use. And if you don’t have any gloves (they’re in short supply these days), the CDC recommends using hand sanitizer after you touch public surfaces.

Do I need to stay more than six feet apart from other runners?

You might have seen that Belgian study that went viral–you know, the one that urges runners to stay at least 13 to 16 feet behind other runners? The study authors claimed that airborne particles travel differently when a person is in motion, so you’re in danger of running “through” someone’s respiratory droplets even if you’re running six feet behind them.

It’s a scary claim, but it’s also a controversial one. The study was posted without the backing of a peer-reviewed journal, and some experts have pushed back against its core hypothesis. Dr. Mayer explains that since the study is based on a computer-simulated model, it represents a hypothetical scenario. “There is no epidemiological data to suggest that endurance athletes are spreading the disease any more than others in the population,” he notes.

That said, you really can’t be too cautious. Earl Kilbride, M.D., is a sports medicine specialist at Texas Orthopedics in Austin, Texas, and he also happens to be an avid runner. Dr. Kilbride points out that in Austin, the Parks and Recreation Department has converted city trails to a “one-way traffic” model–a decision he agrees with. One-way running traffic might not be possible in your area, in which case, just do the best you can to stay at a distance from others.

Should I hold my breath when I pass someone?

“I don’t think runners need to do this, but walkers are different,” Dr. Kilbride says. “I would recommend masking as opposed to holding your breath.” (Plus, mask-wearing when walking, as opposed to running, is less likely to restrict your ability to breathe.) Dr. Mayer agrees that holding your breath when running is optional. “You can hold your breath when you pass somebody, but the risk is low [for COVID-19 transmission] as long as you are keeping your distance.”

Should I wash my clothes immediately afterwards?

Again, not a bad idea, but it’s really up to you. Dr. Kilbride says it’s smart to wash your clothes and shower after running if you’re worried you might have been exposed or gotten too close to other people. Dr. Chotani and Dr. Mayer agree. “Washing your hands and changing your clothes immediately after your run is a good idea,” Dr. Mayer says. “I do not feel that it is necessarily high risk, but common sense would indicate that doing so would be smart.” The CDC notes that while COVID-19 is transmitted primarily through respiratory droplets, there is evidence that it can last for an unknown period of time on many different materials. Until more is known about the virus’ ability to live on fabric, post-workout laundry is a good way of playing it safe.

Should I leave my shoes outside the door?

Dr. Kilbride always does this after his runs! It’s another precaution that may help you feel safer. Dr. Chotani also recommends it. Dr. Mayer says this is only really necessary if you’re worried you came into contact with the virus during your run. “You could consider wiping [shoes] down,” he says. “There is certainly nothing wrong with keeping them outside or in the garage.”

It’s important to keep in mind that every runner’s situation will be different. City dwellers encounter the most obvious challenges. If you live in a small town or rural area, you probably have an easier time socially distancing during your runs. Be smart, be cautious, and take whatever precautions you need to feel safe when you’re outdoors–whether or not you’re running.

 

We are in this Together!

 

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-

Health and Wellness Associates

EHS Telehealth

SARAH ELLIS

She is originally from Nashville, Tennessee and currently resides in NYC. She has written for Elite Daily, Greatist, mindbodygreen and others. When she’s not writing, Sarah loves distance running, vegan food, and getting the most out of her library card.

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WordPress:  https://healthandwellnessassociates.co/

 

Health and Disease, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

10 Ways to Treat COPD Naturally: A must read if you know someone with COPD

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

 

10 Ways to Treat COPD Symptoms Naturally

 

Are you familiar with the third leading cause of death in the U.S.? I’m talking about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, more commonly known as COPD. This respiratory disease is characterized by an abnormal inflammatory response in the lungs and restricted airflow, which both result in difficulty doing the most vital thing in life — breathing. And these are just a few COPD symptoms so many people deal with.

Important News on COPD.  It has been more than 50 years that the Federal Government has been warning people about COPD from smoking cigarettes.  The Insurance Board has stated that your medical insurance no longer has to pay for your healthcare.  It is a choice you have made, and no one should pay for your poor decision.

 

More than 11 million people in this country have already been diagnosed with COPD, but an estimated 24 million may have the disease without even realizing it! (1) COPD is actually an umbrella term that includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis and, in some cases, asthma. The No. 1 reason someone gets COPD in developed countries is smoking tobacco, so the best way to avoid COPD is not to smoke or stop smoking immediately. Sadly, close to half of U.S. adults over the age of 40 who have trouble breathing due to asthma or COPD still continue to smoke. (2)

 

If you’re willing, there are many ways to treat and reduce your risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with your own efforts and natural treatment. But first, you must realize you have COPD symptoms to begin with — then you can pinpoint exactly how to treat them.

 

COPD Symptoms & Life Expectancy

 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, bronchiectasis and chronic airway obstruction. These diseases are all commonly characterized by irreversible airflow limitation.

Symptoms of COPD often don’t appear until significant lung damage has occurred, and they usually worsen over time, particularly if smoking exposure continues. For chronic bronchitis, the main symptom is a daily cough and sputum production at least three months a year for two consecutive years.

 

Signs and symptoms of COPD include:

 

 

 

Shortness of breath while doing everyday activities or during physical activities

 

Chronic cough

 

Wheezing

 

Chest tightness

 

Frequent respiratory infections

 

Blueness of the lips or fingernail beds

 

General fatigue and lack of energy or chronic fatigue syndrome

 

Producing a lot of mucus or phlegm

 

Having to clear your throat first thing in the morning, due to excess mucus in your lungs

 

Unintended weight loss (in later stages)

 

 

 

People with COPD are likely to experience episodes called exacerbations. This is when symptoms become worse than usual and persist for at least several days. If you have one or more of these symptoms on a regular basis, then you definitely want to seek medical advice. Early detection of COPD is key to successful treatment. A simple test called spirometry can be used to measure pulmonary (lung) function and detect COPD in anyone with breathing problems.

 

 

 

There are four stages of COPD:

 

 

 

Stage 1 — very mild COPD

 

Stage 2 — moderate COPD

 

Stage 3 — severe emphysema/chronic bronchitis

 

Stage 4 — very severe COPD

 

Each of these stages has a different impact on each sufferer, but generally speaking the higher the stage of COPD, the shorter the life expectancy. Overall, COPD can cause serious long-term disability and early death. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for COPD, and the number of people dying from COPD continues to grow. However, there are natural ways to slow its progression.

 

10 Natural Treatments for COPD Symptoms

 

Avoid Smoke in Every Way

 

The most essential step in conventional and natural treatment plan for COPD is the same — stop any and all forms of smoking. Yes, this includes the electronic cigarette. If you smoke, this is the only way to keep COPD from getting worse.

 

In general, you should avoid smoke of any kind. You should also avoid air pollution as much as possible. If you’re not a smoker, then you definitely need to avoid places where others smoke. Smoking yourself is definitely the worst thing you can do when it comes to COPD, but secondhand smoke and air pollution can damage and irritate your lungs too. (3)

 

 

 

  1. Improve Your Breathing

 

 

There are techniques for breathing that can help you breathe more efficiently with COPD. These breathing techniques can also help improve breathing for people with asthma as well as people who don’t currently have lung issues but want to optimize their breathing.

According to the American Association for Respiratory Care, pursed-lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing may increase your blood oxygen levels and help reduce shortness of breath. (4) A respiratory therapist can be very helpful if you need assistance with breathing techniques.

 

  1. Follow a Healthy Diet

 

A healthy diet can help manage and improve COPD symptoms. Some foods in particular should be mainstays when it comes to an anti-COPD diet while others should be majorly or entirely avoided. Your diet should definitely have plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits to ensure you get lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Citrus fruits are especially helpful because they contain quercetin. Wild-caught fish, flaxseeds and chia seeds, along with other omega-3 foods, can provide anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

 

If you’re suffering with COPD symptoms, you definitely want to steer clear of conventional dairy since pasteurized dairy is mucus-producing and can plug the airways in the lungs. You always want to stay away from processed, canned and frozen foods and sugar as well. Additives, preservatives and food dyes are also known for contributing to breathing issues and even asthma attacks.

 

  1. Increase Water Intake Inside and Outside the Body

 

One of the common and frustrating COPD symptoms is having mucus collect in your airways. This mucus can be difficult to clear and result in persistent and uncontrollable coughing. One internal way you can improve this mucus problem is by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Drink at least eight glasses of water daily to thin mucus and stay hydrated.

 

 

 

Externally, you can increase the moisture content of the air in your home by using a humidifier. Humidifiers can also help make breathing easier. I like using one while I’m sleeping at night.

 

5.Exercise

 

When you’re having trouble breathing, exercise might seem like a terrible idea, but being sedentary won’t do anything to help your COPD symptoms. By regularly getting exercise, especially cardio workouts, you can strengthen your respiratory muscles and improve your overall endurance.

About 40 percent of people with COPD experience high levels of depression and anxiety, which makes it even more difficult to quit smoking and comply with treatment. Exercise also increases endorphin levels, which improves mood, reduces depression and anxiety, and makes it easier to quit smoking.

 

  1. Use Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil can be very helpful for people with COPD. A study in Respiratory Research showed that cineole, the main constituent of eucalyptus essential oil, actually reduced exacerbations in people with COPD. It also reduced dyspnea (shortness of breath), and improved lung function as well as health status overall. Furthermore, the research suggested that cineole is an active controller and reducer of airway inflammation in COPD.

To get the benefits of cineole, you can use eucalyptus oil in a diffuser and/or humidifier and breath in the anti-inflammatory air.

 

7.Consume Ginseng

Ginseng is an herbal supplement that improves lung function and also decrease bacteria in the lungs. Panax ginseng in particular has a long history of use in Chinese medicine for respiratory conditions, including asthma and COPD.

A recent study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine highlighted therapeutic ginseng benefits. Panax ginseng and ginsenosides (active components of ginseng) appear to inhibit processes related to the development of COPD.

 

Take N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)

 

Supplementing with NAC helps decrease the severity and frequency of asthma attacks and improves overall lung function by increasing glutathione levels and thinning bronchial mucus. Glutathione fights against oxidative stress in the respiratory tract, which can make NAC a powerful and effective natural treatment for COPD.

 

 

 

Avoid Cold and Crowds

 

When you have COPD symptoms, it’s important to avoid things that make them even worse. I already told you that smoke and pollution are absolutely key to avoid. Another thing to be aware of is the fact that cold air can trigger bronchospasm, a sudden constriction in the muscles of airway walls that leads to shortness of breath. If the weather is really chilly, it’s a smart idea to avoid or reduce your time outdoors. You can also help your symptoms by putting on a face mask before going out into very cold temperatures.

 

Another environmental hazard to avoid, especially if you have been prone to respiratory infections, is large crowds. Since respiratory infections can cause COPD symptoms to worsen, the less you’re in big crowds the lower your risk of being exposed to infectious germs. By no means am I encouraging you to be a hermit and never go to a mall again — I just want you to be smart and not unnecessarily put yourself in situations that could make your symptoms any worse.

 

Reduce Stress

As with all health issues and diseases, stress only makes COPD symptoms, like airway inflammation and shortness of breath, worse. By reducing your daily stress and managing stress in healthy ways, you’re more relaxed, and this has a direct positive effect on your COPD symptoms. (13)

 

If you suffer from COPD, you should make time every day to relax both mentally and physically. Try some of these natural stress relievers to start.

 

 

The COPD Umbrella

 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is an umbrella term that includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis and sometimes asthma. Here are some alarming stats on COPD:

 

 

 

According to the CDC, smoking accounts for as many as eight out of 10 COPD-related deaths. However, as many as one out of four Americans with COPD never smoked cigarettes.

A hallmark symptom of COPD is shortness of breath that gets worse over time. It’s often accompanied by a phlegm-producing cough and episodes of wheezing.

Typically, the first symptoms of emphysema occur in heavy smokers in their mid-50s.

Shortness of breath occurs with chronic bronchitis, but it may not be as severe during rest as it is in people with emphysema.

Classic symptoms of an asthma attack are coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath (dyspnea).

People with chronic asthma can get airway obstruction that makes them more likely to develop COPD.

Approximately 40 percent of those with COPD experience high levels of depression and anxiety, making it more difficult to comply with treatment and quit smoking.

COPD in the U.S.:

 

Women were more likely to report COPD than men (6.7 percent vs. 5.2 percent).

Prevalence is lower among homemakers, students and the employed than among those who are unable to work, unemployed or retired.

Prevalence decreases as income increases (from 9.9 percent among those making less than $25,000 a year to 2.8 percent among those making more than $75,000).

36.4 percent of those reporting COPD were former smokers.

38.7 percent of those reporting COPD continued to smoke.

43.7 percent of those reporting COPD had a history of asthma.

 

COPD Risk Factors & Root Causes

In developed countries, the central cause of COPD is tobacco smoking. In the developing world, COPD often occurs in people exposed to fumes from burning fuel for cooking and heating in poorly ventilated homes.

Root causes and risk factors for COPD include:

Smoking — By far, the biggest risk factor for COPD is long-term cigarette smoking. The more years you smoke and the more cigarettes you smoke daily, the greater your risk for developing the disease. People who smoke pipes, cigars and marijuana are also at risk.

Tobacco smoke exposure — People exposed to large amounts of secondhand smoke are also at risk.

People with asthma who smoke — The combination of asthma and smoking increases the risk of COPD even more.

Occupational exposure to chemicals and dusts — Long-term exposure to chemical fumes, vapors and dusts in the workplace or elsewhere can irritate and inflame your lungs.

Age — COPD develops slowly over years. The majority of sufferers are at least 35 to 40 years old when symptoms begin.

Genetics — In about 1 percent of people with COPD, the disease results from a genetic disorder that causes low levels of a protein called alpha-1 antitrypsin. Alpha-1-antitrypsin is made in the liver and secreted into the bloodstream to help protect the lungs. Other genetic factors also likely make certain smokers more susceptible to the disease.

 

COPD in Women

 

Deaths resulting from COPD are higher in women than in men. There are a few reasons why this happens:

 

In the late 1960s, the tobacco industry intensely targeted women. This resulted in a huge increase in women smoking. We are still seeing new cases of smoking-related diseases, including COPD, as women age.

Women are more vulnerable than men to lung damage from cigarette smoke and other pollutants. Their lungs are smaller, and estrogen plays a role in worsening lung disease.

Women are often misdiagnosed. Because COPD has long been thought of as a man’s disease, many doctors still don’t expect to see it in women and miss the proper diagnosis.

 

COPD Symptoms Takeaways

 

COPD is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. More than 11 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with COPD, while an estimated 24 million may have the disease without even realizing it.

COPD symptoms include shortness of breath while doing everyday activities or during physical activities, chronic cough, wheezing, chest tightness, frequent respiratory infections, blueness of the lips or fingernail beds, general fatigue and lack of energy, producing a lot of mucus or phlegm, having to clear your throat first thing in the morning due to excess mucus in your lungs and unintended weight loss (in later stages). People with COPD are likely to experience episodes called exacerbations. This is when symptoms become worse than usual and persist for at least several days.

There are four stages of COPD: Stage 1, very mild COPD; Stage 2, moderate COPD; Stage 3, severe emphysema/chronic bronchitis; Stage 4, very sever COPD.

To naturally treat COPD symptoms, avoid smoking in every form, improve breathing, follow a healthy diet, increase water intake inside and outside the body, exercise, use eucalyptus oil, consume ginseng, take NAC, avoid cold and crowds, and reduce stress.

The root causes and risk factors for COPD include smoking, tobacco smoke exposure, having asthma and smoking, occupational exposure to chemicals and dusts, age, and genetics. In addition, deaths resulting from COPD are higher in women than in men.

 

Please share with family and loved ones and call us if you have concerns and question about what to do in your healthcare needs.

 

 

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived Article

Dr Jay Jaranson

Dr Gail Gray

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