‘I Walked off Nearly 150 Pounds—Even Through North Dakota Winters’

My name is Roxanne Mullenberg, and I’m a 42-year-old bank project manager living in Fargo, ND.

As an adult, I’ve always seen 350 pounds or so on the scale. I tried weight loss programs here and there that never worked. This was before apps, and manually counting calories was exhausting and not realistic. I tried a program where I drank shakes, but I never felt full or satisfied, and I actually gained weight. I also tried joining a gym, but I could never focus on nutrition at the same time as exercise; it was one or the other, and I never saw much change.

About two years ago, my office set up a summer walking challenge, and I signed up. My goal: Walk 400 miles by September. Having a concrete challenge really motivated me and gave me a reason to exercise. The accountability was also super helpful. Every week, they sent out an email to everyone with each participant’s mileage recaps, and, heck yeah, I wanted to be one of the top participants! I finished in the top quarter of the group, logging 4 to 5 miles a day.

I’ve kept it up, and I’m still walking 4 miles a day. I wake up and walk in the morning, then do 40 minutes at lunchtime every day, then do another walk at night. I split up my 80 to 90 minutes of activity a day because I would never have that uninterrupted stretch. I even walked a 10k for my 42nd birthday this year.

Fargo’s weather isn’t great for walking year-round, but I didn’t let that stop me. My goal this winter was to walk at least one of my miles outside each day to get some fresh air and make it feel different from all my indoor activity (like walking around the house while on phone calls). Over the winter, that meant forcing myself outside during bitterly cold, 20-below days. I’d put on wool socks, big boots, snow pants, and go, even when there was a no-travel advisory. Whether it’s raining, snowing, sleeting, hailing, minus-20 degrees, or 95 degrees, I’m going to be out there.

Finding a nutrition plan that works for me

Even with walking consistently, the weight wasn’t coming off. I knew I also had to change my eating habits. Coworkers at the bank recommended that I try Profile by Sanford, a health and nutrition program developed by medical experts at Sanford Health, one of the world’s largest healthcare providers. When you join the program, you’re paired with a health coach (that you meet with in-person at one of their retail locations or online) to get a custom meal plan and learn sustainable lifestyle changes. There are essentially three phases for Profile: Reboot, Adapt, and Sustain. Starting with the Reboot stage, I had a protein shake in the morning; another one as a mid-morning snack; a protein shake and 2 cups of veggies and a fat (like avocado or olive oil) for lunch; then, a Profile fiber tea and Profile protein bar as an afternoon snack. For supper, I’d have a protein (like chicken or fish), 2 more cups of veggies, and a fat, followed by another shake. Though I was hesitant about any plan that incorporated shakes because of my past experiences with that being all you ate, these ones tasted great, were in addition to real food, and were perfect for my on-the-go lifestyle, so I didn’t have to stop at a drive-through.

Seeing results and setting new goals

When I started with Profile in February 2020, I was at 358 lbs. Now I’m at 209, so 149 lbs down! I’ve gone down 10 pants sizes—getting a whole new wardrobe is fun! I’ve had other major wins, too. Before, my blood pressure was concerningly high and I was close to requiring medication, and now it’s drastically dropped to a healthy range. I’m feeling more comfortable in my own skin. I have more energy, and as I’m gaining confidence, I’m more willing to try new things.

I used to think runners were crazy—why would you do that unless you were running from something?–but now I think about how much more quickly I would get my steps in and it’s appealing to me, so I might try training for a 5k run next. I have walking down, so now it’s asking my body, What else can I do? These days, I’m up for new challenges, and nothing can slow me down.


By Roxanne Mullenberg, As Told To Sarah Z. Wexler for Prevention©

Source: ‘I Walked off Nearly 150 Pounds’ (prevention.com)

This Is The #1 Most Surprising Source of Food Poisoning

When food poisoning strikes, it usually strikes hard and fast—taking you off your feet for at least 24 hours, and in some cases, can lead to a life-threatening illness. According to the CDC, 1 in 6 Americans get sick from contaminated food or beverages and 3,000 die from foodborne illness each year.

In the past, people predominantly considered eggs and raw meat the main offenders of food poisoning. But, in recent years, that’s changed as developments in production methods and widespread distribution are bringing about other culprits. Turns out, vegetables and fruits have become more likely to be contaminated as they move through the supply chain, according to the CDC. For instance, kale and parsley are two products that have recently been recalled due to the presence of listeria and E coli.

What’s more, the same developments in distribution mean a single bad batch of food can make people sick in wide-reaching areas of the country—and sometimes, all over the world. The contaminated parsley, for example, was distributed to retailers and wholesalers in Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

Reigning in a disease that keeps popping up everywhere with no direct source can be hard to do. While the CDC and other organizations are at work monitoring production, issuing recalls, and fixing any issues with the supply chain, the last line of defense will always be you.

What follows are the CDC’s stats on which foods are most likely to cause food poisoning, plus the four simple steps you can take to prevent getting sick when enjoying the foods you love: clean, separate, cook, and chill

1. Vegetables

Vegetables like leafy greens (8% of food-borne illnesses, the CDC says), seeded vegetables (8%), sprouts (2%), herbs (2%), and root vegetables (2%) are by far the #1 most likely food to be contaminated with pathogens—accounting for 22% of all foodborne illnesses, the CDC says. Surprisingly, healthy leafy greens—also a food people tend to eat raw—is at the top of the list. Remember the huge romaine lettuce recall of 2018?

2. Poultry

Chicken (12% of food-borne illnesses) and turkey (8%) can harbor many pathogens and are a huge source of salmonella contamination.

3. Pork and Beef

Pork and beef combined account for 19% of foodborne illnesses. When cooking pork (10%) and beef (9%), follow the same guidelines for cooking poultry and be sure to abide by the minimal temperature guidelines.

4. Seafood

Contaminated seafood causes 9% of food poisoning cases. Again, you need to cook seafood, including shellfish (5%) and fish (4%) to a safe temperature and reheat leftovers.

5. Fruits

Sadly, fruit is responsible for 9% of all foodborne illnesses, the CDC says. Fruits can be contaminated anywhere along the supply chain. We’ve seen it with blueberries, watermelon, peaches, cantaloupe, and especially pre-cut varieties. Try to cut your own fruit and thoroughly wash it before you cut it. (Do this even if you won’t eat the peel because the germs will work their way into the food if you cut through the skin.)

6. Eggs

By now, everyone knows to be careful with eggs, which are responsible for 7% of all foodborne illnesses. They are notorious for harboring salmonella. Be sure to cook your eggs thoroughly and be careful when consuming foods that contain raw eggs—yes, that includes raw cookie dough.

7. Dairy

Raw dairy (5% of foodborne illness cases) is really the issue here. In the U.S. you are unlikely to encounter these products in the supermarket since most are illegal. But still, be cautious and keep your food out of the “danger zone” and use proper preparation techniques. The CDC describes the “danger zone” as between 40°F and 140°F for longer than 2 hours (or 1 hour if it’s hotter than 90°F outside).

8. Grains and beans

Uncooked grains and beans are responsible for 4% of food poisoning cases. The CDC even issued a special warning against eating raw flour. (Seriously, stop eating raw cookie dough!) In terms of beans and other canned food, throw away any cans that are dented and use proper procedures for canning foods at home.

9. Other culprits

This category includes foods that don’t fit in the top 15 categories and other federally regulated items, such as alcohol, coffee, beverages, ice, condiments, and dietary supplements. These account for 7% of foodborne illnesses.

If this is a lot of information to swallow, remember the four actions: clean, separate, cook, and chill.

Eatthis,notthat article by Meaghan Cameron. Photo credit: Eatthis,notthat

Source: This Is The #1 Most Surprising Source of Food Poisoning, CDC Says (msn.com)

60 Percent of Virus Experts Wouldn’t Do These 6 Things Right Now

The summer of 2021 wasn’t exactly what many of us hoped it would be. Weeks of climbing vaccination rates and declining COVID cases in the spring had many of envisioning a summer of increased freedoms like eating in restaurants, traveling without worry, and gathering with friends and family for long overdue milestone celebrations. But soon, those statistics turned in the opposite directions as the Delta variant took hold; instead, it was case numbers that started climbing and vaccination rates slowing down. Recently many of us have been left to consider once again if activities we thought were safe truly are amid the current Delta surge.

To get some insight on that, in August, STAT News contacted nearly 30 epidemiologists, immunologists, and other infectious disease experts across the U.S. to ask them what they thought was low risk and what they’d stay away from as Delta cases continued to climb. While there were a couple activities the majority of them deemed to be relatively safe—like getting a haircut and attending a large outdoor event—there were six things the virus experts largely said they wouldn’t do right now, especially without a mask. Read on to find out what they are.

6 Go on a non-essential international trip

Virus experts who wouldn’t do it: 59 percent (16 of 27)Carlos del Rio, MD, a professor of epidemiology and global health at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, told STAT that he has visited his mother in Mexico twice since the pandemic started, but he wouldn’t make the trip now. “I am very careful when I travel,” he wrote to the news outlet via email. “At this point I am not going [to Mexico]. May go later in the year.” Carl Bergstrom, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Washington, and William Hanage, PhD, an epidemiologist in Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, both said they wouldn’t travel internationally at the moment out of fear of getting stuck should restrictions change.

5 Go to an indoor wedding or other religious service

Virus experts who wouldn’t do it: 59 percent (16 of 27)

When asking the virus experts whether or not they would go to an indoor wedding or religious service, STAT specified that it would be a gathering where they did not know the vaccination status of the other attendees, which seemed to move the experts in the “no” direction. Saskia Popescu, PhD, an infectious disease specialist and assistant professor in George Mason University’s biodefense program, said even with a mask, she wouldn’t go to a wedding. Emergency physician Uché Blackstock, MD, founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equity, said she’d skip any large gatherings at this point, even those taking place outdoor.

4 Eat indoors in a restaurant

Virus experts who wouldn’t do it: 67 percent (18 of 27)

According to STAT’s findings, eating indoors was a complex issue for many of the expert respondents. Six said they would eat inside or would do so during off hours, and three more said they would dine inside but would wear a mask when they weren’t eating or drinking. Saad B. Omer, PhD, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health, said he would eat indoors if the restaurant required proof of vaccination. But many agreed with epidemiologist John Brownstein, chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, that they’d “prioritize eating outside where possible.”

3 Go to a movie theater

Virus experts who wouldn’t do it: 81 percent (22 of 27)

While Shweta Bansal, PhD, an associate professor of biology at Georgetown University, called this activity “non-essential” and said she wouldn’t do it at the moment, Hanage and Florian Krammer, an immunologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said they would go to the movies but would wear a mask.

2 Send an vaccinated teen to school without a mask

Virus experts who wouldn’t do it: 89 percent (24 of 27)

Most virus experts said they’d only send a vaccinated teen to school if masks were required, but there were some complex answers to that question, STAT reported.

On one end of the spectrum was Michael Osterholm, PhD, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, who said he’d specifically have a vaccinated teen wear an N95, noting that cloth face masks don’t protect against a variant as contagious as Delta.

On the other end of the spectrum was Ellen Foxman, MD, an immunologist at Yale University. She said she would send a vaccinated teen to a school without a mask mandate in certain situations. “If the school required all students and staff to be vaccinated, I would have no problem whatsoever with no masks,” she said, noting she’d be more inclined to do so if there was a low COVID transmission rate in the area and if there was no one of high risk in her household.

1 Send an unvaccinated child to school without a mask

Virus experts who wouldn’t do it: 100 percent (27 of 27)

When asked if they would send an unvaccinated child to school without a mask, the virus experts were unanimous. “NO!!! As a parent and a pediatrician, that is a terrible idea,” Andrew Pavia, MD, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Utah, wrote to STAT. Del Rio said he’d take his unvaccinated child out of any school that didn’t have a mask mandate and Paul Offit, MD, pediatric infectious disease specialist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, simply replied: “Lord, no.”

Article and photo by Best Life

Source: 60 Percent of Virus Experts Wouldn’t Do These 6 Things Right Now, Data Shows (msn.com)

Got Earwax, Suddenly ?

Ever itch your ear only to find a sticky, yellow glob at the end of your finger? Not a pretty sight — but hey, it happens.

Earwax is a completely normal part of your body. It’s a mixture of dead skin cells from your ear canal and secretions from your ear’s sweat glands and sebaceous (or lubricating) glands, Ksenia Aaron, MD, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, tells LIVESTRONG.com

And it’s there for a reason: Earwax defends against invaders that enter your body through your ear. “There’s a slightly acidic property to it, so it’s actually protective against bacteria and other microbes that might get into your ear canal,” Dr. Aaron says.

Earwax is also hydrophobic, which means it repels unwelcome water in your ear canal to prevent issues like infection, itching and muffled hearing, according to the Mayo Clinic.

That said, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing, says Zan Mra, MD, an ENT specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Earwax buildup can cause earaches and discomfort, trouble hearing, dizziness and even a cough, according to the Mayo Clinic.

That’s why your body has its own mechanism to get rid of it: When you chew or speak, your jaw moves and helps ease earwax out, Dr. Mra says.

But if you notice you suddenly have much more earwax than usual, tackling the source of the overload can help prevent further buildup. To help, here are six reasons why you may have so much earwax:

1. Ear Infection

Your earwax problem may not be wax at all — it might actually be an ear infection, Yin Ren, MD, PhD, an ENT specialist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells LIVESTRONG.com.

It can be easy to confuse the two because they can both cause difficulty hearing and the sensation of something stuck in your ear, Dr. Ren says.

How do you tell the difference? Well, “earwax is almost always painless, while an ear infection hurts and produces foul-smelling drainage,” he says. Infections also tend to come on suddenly due to bacteria or a virus.

Fix it:​ See your doctor — either your primary care provider or an ENT — to get your ears checked out. Dr. Ren says infections are typically easy to diagnose and treat with oral or ear drop antibiotics.

2. Irritation From Ear Buds or Hearing Aids

If you love to use your ear buds while you run or talk on the phone, they may be contributing to your excessive earwax. “[Wearing ear buds] causes a breakdown of skin cells in the ear, which can lead to a buildup of earwax,” Dr. Ren says.

They can also push wax back into your ear canal, leading to blockages and hearing problems, Dr. Ren says.

Wearing ear buds often or for long periods of time can add to the problem. “If you keep ear buds in your ears for hours, they block earwax from naturally draining,” Dr. Mra says.

Even worse, that extra earwax can trap dirt and bacteria on your ear buds in your ear, which can sometimes lead to infection.

Hearing aids can present many of the same problems. “When the mold is not well-fitted, it moves around in the ear, causing irritation,” Dr. Ren says.

Fix it:​ The best solution is to use over-ear headphones instead of in-ear ones, Dr. Mra says. If you can’t bear to part with your buds, he recommends limiting use to only an hour or two a day. He also suggests wiping down ear buds or hearing aids with peroxide before and after each use.

If you still notice buildup despite these precautions, an over-the-counter earwax removal drop like Debrox ($5.60 from Amazon.com) can help soften and loosen earwax so it drains more easily, Dr. Mra says.

If you wear hearing aids, see your audiologist to get the fit checked.

3. Q-Tips

Though Q-tips may be your preferred method of ear cleaning, they’re actually another cause of excessive earwax. “They irritate your ear canal, which in turn stimulates the glands in your ears to produce more secretions,” Dr. Aaron says.

Q-tips can also push earwax deeper into your ear canal. This can make it harder to hear and thus create the illusion of too much earwax, she says.

Fix it:​ Toss the Q-tips.

If they have become part of your hygiene routine, Dr. Aaron recommends placing a few drops of mineral or baby oil in your ear before bed instead. (You can use a cotton ball to prevent it from seeping onto your pillow as your sleep.) “The oil will help soften any earwax that is dry and contributing to buildup,” she says.

4. Ear Hair

Ear hair may be another reason why you have so much earwax because it can get in the way of drainage. “Men are more prone to earwax because they often have hair in their ears, which blocks its natural excretion,” Dr. Aaron says.

Fix it:​ “Earwax is totally normal, so if it doesn’t bother [you], then there’s no need to do anything,” she says.

But if it does, you can always remove ear hair with an over-the-counter trimmer, like Panasonic’s Men’s Ear and Nose Hair Trimmer ($19.99 from Amazon.com). Just never wax or shave ear hair, Dr. Aaron cautions, as you don’t want to burn or nick the sensitive ear canal.

5. Chlorinated Water Buildup

Remember how earwax repels water? That only works so well.

“Swimming in a chlorinated pool can irritate your ear canal, which stimulates the production of more earwax to protect it,” Dr. Aaron says.

Fix it:​ You may be tempted to pop in ear plugs when you hit the pool, but don’t: Those are also irritants, Dr. Aaron says.

Instead, she recommends drying your ears after swimming. Set your hair dryer to low and hold it about six inches from your ears for a few minutes to reduce moisture from chlorinated water, she says.

6. Residue From Bathing Products

If you notice your ear canal is itchy and irritated in addition to waxy, then your shampoo or soap may be the culprit, especially if you’ve switched it recently, Dr. Ren says.

Fix it:​ Switch back to your original bathing products (provided they weren’t irritating) or try a mild shampoo with no added fragrance, like Neutrogena Gentle & Soft Healthy Scalp Shampoo ( $11.99 from Amazon.com). You should also take extra care to rinse your ears when you bathe so there’s no soapy residue, he says.

Photo credit: Charday Penn/E+/GettyImages

Article written by Hallie Levine for Livestrong.com

Source: 6 Reasons You Suddenly Have More Earwax Than Usual | Livestrong.com

Foods that are dangerous or deadly for dogs

Life or Death Diet

Be careful — some of your favorite foods might lead to a life-or-death scenario for your dog. Though your buddy may beg for table scraps, there are certain “human foods” to keep away from a precious pet, no matter the puppy eyes they make at you. If you suspect your dog has eaten one of these items, contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline as soon as possible. 

Xylitol

Because this artificial sweetener typically found in sugar-free gum, breath mints, mouthwash, and toothpaste tastes like sugar, it may be tempting for pets. But Xylitol should be kept away: Even small amounts, such as from two pieces of gum, can cause seizures, liver failure, or even death after the xylitol is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and causes a rapid decrease in blood sugar, VCA Animal Hospitals say. This can happen within 10 minutes to an hour. 

Macadamia Nuts

Watch out when baking with these. This very tasty but fatty nut may cause pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, if even a little bit is eaten by dogs, even within a cookie or bread. Other common symptoms from macadamia nut ingestion include weakness in the back legs, vomiting, and diarrhea, the ASPCA says.

Chocolate

This is another one of those ingredients a dog may ingest when counter surfing. The signs of chocolate poisoning in a dog usually appear within six to 12 hours, and symptoms can be wide ranging: vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, panting or restlessness, excessive urination, racing heart rate, muscle tremors and seizures — and can lead to heart failure if too much is eaten. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which can speed the heart rate and stimulate the nervous system of dogs, according to the Merck/Merial Manual for Veterinary Health. Just how sick a dog gets can depend on the type and amount of chocolate; cocoa powder is considered to be the most toxic form, milk chocolate less so. You can calculate risk based on how much and what was eaten. 

Grapes and Raisins

Even one grape or raisin can be fatal for some dogs by leading to acute kidney failure, the American Kennel Club says. Before panicking, it’s worth noting that dogs are generally more likely to be poisoned by large amounts, and there appears to be a range of sensitivity. Some dogs may be able to eat a few and be fine, according to VCA Hospitals. Though it’s not confirmed, the danger may arise from mycotoxins produced by fungus or molds, tartaric acid, or salicylates found in grapes that lead to decreased blood flow to a dog’s kidneys. Symptoms such as lethargy and lack of appetite appear within 24 hours after ingesting, with symptoms such as urination problems taking another day.

Onion, Leeks, and Chives

While it’s hard to imagine a dog just grabbing an onion to chow down on, a pup could easily sneak a meal seasoned with onion, leeks, or chives, such as a nice piece of chicken, and a 45-pound dog can eat just the equivalent of one regular-size onion to suffer serious side effects. Onions and their cousins are dangerous because they can make a dog’s red blood cells fragile and cause them to burst, VCA Hospitals say. Certain breeds — such as dogs of Japanese descent including Akitas or Shiba Inus — may have a higher risk for toxicity.

Garlic

Like onions, garlic can cause harm to a dog’s blood cells. You’ll want to be especially careful of concentrated dried and powdered forms, which could cause illness faster. For example, it takes 15 to 30 grams of garlic per kilogram of a dog’s body weight to make them ill, and one clove of garlic may weigh somewhere around 3 to 7 grams — but 1 teaspoon of garlic equals about eight cloves of garlic.

Alcohol

Alcohol’s effects on a dog are based on the pet’s size and the alcohol concentration ingested. For example, light beer is lowest in alcohol, while gin — or even the alcohol level in hand sanitizer — is going to be the highest and most dangerous. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in dogs would be similar to humans and include a lack of coordination, vomiting, weakness, drooling, and finally decreased breathing.

Coffee

We may need it simply to wake ourselves up, but caffeine raises blood pressure in dogs and can cause cardiac arrhythmias. Pets may also lose muscle control and have tremors or seizures as a result of taking in caffeine, as well as suffer damage to the liver, heart, kidneys, lungs, and central nervous system. Don’t panic, though; one to two laps of coffee, tea, or soda is unlikely to cause problems for most pets; just be sure to keep coffee grounds, tea bags, and the like tucked away safely.

Raw Yeast Dough

Baked bread is safe for dogs to eat, though it isn’t the most healthy treat to share with your pet. Letting a pet consume raw dough is downright dangerous, though. Unbaked bread dough can expand in the warm and moist environment of a dog’s gut, leading to bloat or a twisted stomach — a very dangerous and even potentially deadly condition for dogs. Bloat symptoms include a clearly uncomfortable animal who may be retching with nothing coming up, distended stomach, an elevated heart rate, pacing, and panting.

Raw Meat

Raw food diets have become popular for pets, with many social media groups devoted to the topic. But before you jump on the bandwagon, be aware that this may not be a very safe trend. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Center for Veterinary Medicine, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration all say raw dog foods can be dangerous to pets and their owners. One study found that nearly one-fourth of commercially available raw dog foods tested positive for salmonella and listeria. These bacteria can make humans and canines extremely ill. But dogs can actually carry salmonella in their intestines without showing signs of illness, exposing owners unknowingly.

Indigestible Parts of Foods

Dogs may love a taste of a nice meaty bone or a bite of a watermelon, but problems arise when these types of treats are given to a pet without monitoring. Dogs can’t be counted on to stop eating when they reach the part of a food that isn’t digestible, which includes bones and watermelon rinds but also corn cobs and peach and avocado pits. (In very small amounts, avocado pulp itself may irritate a dog’s stomach, though is unlikely to cause death.) These items can cause an obstruction in the stomach, which may lead to surgery or worse.

Sego Palm

For humans, this plant is decorative and pretty; for a dog it can be deadly. Eating even a small amount of the leaves and especially the seeds from this plant can cause severe gastrointestinal problems, affect the nervous system, and cause liver failure. Symptoms are likely to show up within 15 minutes of ingesting the plant, but may also take hours.

Article written by Jennifer Magid for cheapism©

Source: Foods that are dangerous or deadly for dogs (msn.com)

When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated – How to Protect Yourself and Others

Safer Activities for You and Your Family

  • If you are fully vaccinated, you can participate in many of the activities that you did before the pandemic.
  • To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
  • Wearing a mask is most important if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated. If this applies to you or your household, you might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission in your area.
  • You should continue to wear a mask where required by laws, rules, regulations, or local guidance.

COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can do things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.

These recommendations can help you make decisions about daily activities after you are fully vaccinated. They are not intended for healthcare settings.

Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?

In general, people are considered fully vaccinated: ±

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

If you don’t meet these requirements, regardless of your age, you are NOT fully vaccinated. Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated.

If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may NOT be protected even if you are fully vaccinated. You should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people until advised otherwise by your healthcare provider.

What You Can Do

If you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.
  • To reduce the risk of being infected with the Delta variant and possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
  • You might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.
  • If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
  • You need to pay close attention to the situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States.
    • You do NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it.
    • You still need to show a negative test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding an international flight to the United States.
    • You should still get tested 3-5 days after international travel.
    • You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you should get tested 3-5 days after your exposure, even if you don’t have symptoms. You should also wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until your test result is negative. You should isolate for 10 days if your test result is positive.

What You Should Keep Doing

For now, if you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace and local businesses.
  • If you travel, you should still take steps to protect yourself and others.
  • Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on open deck areas of a ferry or the uncovered top deck of a bus).
  • Fully vaccinated international travelers arriving in the United States are still required to get tested 3 days before travel by air into the United States (or show documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months) and should still get tested 3-5 days after their trip.
  • You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others. If your test is positive, isolate at home for 10 days.
  • People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken the immune system, should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.

What We Know

  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, including severe illness and death.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are effective against severe disease and death from variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 currently circulating in the United States, including the Delta variant.
  • Infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the Delta variant. When these infections occur among vaccinated people, they tend to be mild.
  • If you are fully vaccinated and become infected with the Delta variant, you can spread the virus to others.
  • People with weakened immune systems, including people who take immunosuppressive medications, may not be protected even if fully vaccinated.

What We’re Still Learning

  • How long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.

Want to learn more about these recommendations? Read our expanded Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.

± This guidance applies to COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson (J&J)/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines.  This guidance can also be applied to COVID-19 vaccines that have been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (e.g. AstraZeneca/Oxford).

Source: When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated – How to Protect Yourself and Others

Things not to do on a Plane, Flight Attendant Warns

Never Wear This One Thing on a Plane

Deciding what to wear on the airplane is a decision you’ll have to live with for hours. Finding the sweet spot between being comfortable but not looking like you’re wearing pajamas when you check in to your hotel can be a challenge. There’s also the additional conundrum of finding a way to dress appropriately for the weather at the location you’re taking off from, while also being dressed comfortably for the temperature at the place you’re flying into. But if you’ve got one last summer vacation coming up, there’s one thing you should absolutely not wear. A flight attendant recently urged passengers to avoid wearing one particular article of clothing on a plane. Read on to find out what it is.

A flight attendant warns you to never wear shorts on a plane.

In a July 27 TikTok that went viral, flight attendant Tommy Cimato detailed a handful of things people should never do on a plane, one of them being wear shorts. Don’t “wear shorts while you’re on an airplane,” warned Cimato. He pointed out that you don’t know how many people have wiped their hands on the seat or what has touched it. “You never know how clean it’s going to be, so if you have pants, you’re going to have fewer germs,” he explained.

He also says not to nap in one position.

Keeping your legs covered on the plane isn’t the only advice Cimato had for his followers. He also warned flight passengers to avoid falling asleep or leaning their heads on the window. “You’re not the only one who has done that, and you don’t know how many people have wiped their hands or other things all over the window,” Cimato said.

And there’s one part of the plane he says to never touch with your bare hands.

Cimato also doled out advice about what you should do before you board the flight and his top tip was to stay hydrated. “You want to have about 16 ounces [of water] every flight that you go on,” said Cimato.

Flying is known to dehydrate you. Family physician Matthew Goldman, MD, told Clevland Clinic that airplane cabins have very low humidity levels because about half of the air circulating is coming from outside of the plane, and at high altitudes, it’s almost completely stripped of moisture. Goldman said this could “cause your throat, nose, and skin to feel dry.”

Of course, being well hydrated means you may have to use that teeny tiny plane bathroom, but Cimato says if you do, you should never touch the flush button or lever with your bare hands. “It’s honestly just super unsanitary. It’s pretty gross,” Cimato said. “So when you flush, use a napkin or tissue.”

Article by Allie Hogan for bestlife

Source: Never Wear This One Thing on a Plane, Flight Attendant Warns (msn.com)

Eating Habits To Avoid if You Want a Lean Body

© Provided by Eat This, Not That!

1. Eating all your protein at dinner

If you’re waiting until nighttime to enjoy your only protein-rich meal of the day, you could be doing yourself a major disservice.

“Evenly distribute your protein intake across three to four meals to sustain muscle health and keep lean. Most Americans don’t get enough protein throughout the day and then over consume protein at dinner,” says Marie Spano, MS, RD, CSCS, CSSD, consulting registered dietitian at Egglife Foods, who recommends consuming 25 to 30 grams of protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner instead.

2. Not controlling your portion sizes

Eyeballing those meals and snacks to determine the right portion size may mean you’re eating significantly more than you intended.

“I often tell my patients that if they choose a kids’ or small size the next time they get ice cream, I bet they will not feel deprived or wish they had ordered the larger size,” says Elle Wittneben, RD, CSOWM, LDN, manager of nutrition services at Greater Boston Urology. “Having a little extra every once in a while is not likely to cause weight gain, but if you are consistently consuming more food, those calories will add up over time,” Wittneben adds.

3. Eating right before bed

If you want to keep your body lean in the future, give yourself some time between your last meal and hitting the hay.

“Even veggies for example, though incredibly helpful, cause the body to work hard! If we are not allowing ample time for the body to digest then rest, we are not allowing our cells, hormones, and metabolism to adequately repair and restore itself. The end result? An uphill battle to lose weight,” says Kylene Bogden, MS, RDN, CSSD, CLT, IFNCP, of FWDFuel, who recommends leaving a two-to-three-hour gap between your last meal and bedtime.

4. Drinking pre-made smoothies

While homemade smoothies can be a healthy part of your diet and may even help you lose weight, drinking the bottled ones you find in your local grocery store could be having the opposite effect.

“Typically, these ready to drink smoothies lack protein and fiber and just have you drinking lots of fruit and some veggies. Dietary fiber and protein should be included at every meal to help maintain your weight as both keep you full for longer and more satiated,” explains Roxana Ehsani, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 

5. Eating small meals throughout the day

Though eating multiple small meals throughout the day has long been touted as a recipe for weight loss, sticking to this habit may mean you’re accidentally eating more than you intended.

“A lot of diets or fad trends are telling people to eat six small meals a day, but what if you’re not even hungry to eat that often? It’s always best to listen to your body’s internal cues, eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you feel full,” explains Ehsani.

6. Waiting until you’re ravenous to eat

Listening to your body’s hunger cues is essential, but waiting until you’re famished to eat could be sabotaging your weight loss or maintenance efforts.

“When people wait until they feel ravenous to eat, this sets them up for eating quickly, overeating, and ending up feeling uncomfortably full. Waiting to eat until feeling ravenous can trigger binge eating or loss-of-control eating,” says Sarah Williams, MS, RD, owner and founder of Sweet Balance Nutrition.

7. Eating too quickly

Everyone finds themselves in a hurry to eat occasionally but eating too quickly on a regular basis could make it harder to stay lean in the long run.

“Fast eating often results in eating more than we need to feel comfortably full and satisfied. Stomach receptors need about 20 minutes to communicate fullness; eating quickly and not giving your body time to communicate fullness can lead to overeating and weight gain,” says Williams.

8. Eating while distracted

Turning off the TV while you’re eating could make it easier to maintain your weight in the long term.

“When you aren’t paying attention to what you are eating, or how much, you can miss the cues that you are full and overeat. Even if you don’t think you have time, take 10 to 15 minutes to stop and pay attention to what you are eating,” says Laura Ali, MS, RDN, LDN, a Pittsburgh-based culinary nutritionist. “Your mind can use the break and your body will thank you.”

9. Eating processed foods

While they may be convenient, eating processed foods can quickly sabotage your weight loss efforts.

“Processed foods, such as chips, cereals, and fast food, often contain lots of added sugars and unhealthy fats to enhance their taste. This packs in a lot of calories, resulting in weight gain,” says Kristin Gillespie, MS, RD, LD, nutrition advisor for Exercise With Style.

Article by Sarah Crow for eatthis,notthat.com

Source: Eating Habits To Avoid if You Want a Lean Body, Say Dietitians (msn.com)

In These States, the Delta Surge Could Be Ending Soon

AN EXPERT PREDICTS THAT THE SPIKES IN THESE STATES COULD END IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS.

Shutterstock Birmingham Urban Garden with city in background.

The Delta variant is largely responsible for the current massive surge in COVID cases across the U.S. And while it may seem like there’s no end in sight, experts predict the Delta surge will slow in some states sooner than others. After examining the trajectory of the variant in other countries that are further down the road than we are, infectious disease specialists are predicting what’s to come and there’s good news for one section of the U.S.

Epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, PhD, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told CNN that the next few months are hard to predict, but when it comes to the short term, he has a hypothesis. “[If] the Delta variant follows this pattern that it’s taken in other countries, we can expect to see, particularly the Southern Sun Belt states that are getting hit so hard right now … a really rapid decline in cases probably in two to three weeks,” said Osterholm.

The states traditionally considered to be part of the Sun Belt include Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas, roughly two-thirds of California, and some parts of North Carolina, Nevada, and Utah. According to data from NPR, all of these states are currently in the red zone, meaning they’re at the highest COVID risk level and are seeing more than 25 daily new cases per 100,000 people. Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida are all seeing more than 100 new cases per capita each day.

Osterholm’s prediction is likely partly based on the trajectory of the Delta surge in the U.K., which began to fall off in late July. The Boston Globe reports that COVID cases in the Netherlands and India also experienced similar declines following a Delta variant-induced spike.

While experts aren’t positive what the drop-offs can be attributed to, many cite herd immunity, which is when enough people in a population are protected from a virus, either due to natural infection or vaccination, and as a result, it can no longer spread so quickly.

“If you have a combination of natural immunity induced by infection with Delta, and then you have fairly high levels of vaccine coverage, you’re going to get to a level of herd immunity that will drive down transmission and potentially lead it to stop or at least slow down to much lower levels,” David Hamer, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Boston Medical Center, told The Boston Globe. Hammer said he’s currently “cautiously optimistic” about the trends he’s seeing abroad.

But while some states may see a decline in cases as soon as two to three weeks, others will remain in the thick of it for longer. Osterholm said parts of the country that are just now seeing COVID cases spike—like those in the Midwest and some areas of the Northeast—may soon succumb to a similar fate as the Sun Belt states, which could prolong the surge. “The real challenge is what’s going to happen with all the other states where we’re seeing increases,” Osterholm told CNN. “If they too light up, then this surge could actually go on well into mid-September or later.”

The Washington Post hypothesizes that contact tracing, summer break from school, and widespread vaccination may be part of the reason that the U.K.’s cases have dropped.

Now, experts in the U.S. are urging people to use the same tools to suppress the Delta surge.

“Things are tough right now with Delta because we’ve heard how transmissible it is and how people who are vaccinated can carry high loads of virus in their noses,” Linsey Marr, PhD, an expert in the transmission of infectious diseases via aerosols, told CNN. “But I think we can be reassured that the vaccines still provide excellent protection against hospitalization, serious cases of illness.”

Marr emphasized that with a more transmissible variant, we need to be even more vigilant. “We know what works and, [even] with a more transmissible virus, those things still work: the masks, the distancing, ventilation, filtration, and avoiding crowds,” she said.

Article By ALLIE HOGAN

Source: If You Live in These States, the Delta Surge Could Be Ending Soon (bestlifeonline.com)

Popular Foods That Make You Look Older

© Provided by Eat This, Not That!

Popular Foods That Make You Look Older

Believe it or not, when it comes to maintaining a youthful appearance, what you eat can have a significant impact. Nutrients, after all, influence our whole system and our skin is the largest organ in our body.

In other words, what you chow down literally shows up on your face. New York City-based dermatologist Gary Goldenberg, MD told Byrdie that the biggest offenders trigger inflammation, which can compound existing skin issues. Also, foods that contain antibiotics can mess with your microbiome (is there anything that isn’t connected to gut health?), which can impact your skin.

Because a youthful appearance is characterized by clear, taut, and supple healthy skin, it stands to reason that anything that mars it—puffiness, acne, rosacea, and loss of elasticity— ages you visually.

1. White bread

Whether you know it or not, most store-bought bread contains refined sugar. That’s right, making a sandwich with bread that contains added sugar (the worst kind) is like slapping some sliced turkey between two pies of cake.

And sugar is a well-known enemy when it comes to preserving a youthful look. In the program Sugar-Free Three, a plan to eliminate added sugar to lose weight and improve health, dermatologist Whitney Bowe. M.D. reveals that when you have too much glucose and fructose in your diet, your skin becomes less elastic and appears to age more rapidly. The not-so-cute nickname for that effect: “sugar sag.”

2. Cheese

One of the worst offenders for healthy skin? Cheese. Dairy products increase oil production in your skin, which can end up blocking your pores—sometimes even leading to adult acne! This may be in part because dairy cows are given artificial hormones, which end up in their milk and, in turn, the dairy products we consume. And according to research, those artificial hormones can mess up your delicate hormonal balance when you consume dairy products.

That doesn’t mean you have to cut out cheese entirely—just skip the cheese-laden products like pizza or mac and cheese. And when you do buy cheese, opt for one that’s made from organic, grass-fed dairy.

3. Ice cream

This summertime staple packs a one-two punch: It contains both sugar and dairy, so you’re getting two potential inflammatory ingredients in every spoonful. If you can’t part with the frozen treats, at least consider switching to a dairy-free version.

4. Whey protein

Whey protein is a staple in protein bars and powders, but it may be time to trade it out for a vegan alternative, considering its negative relationship to your skin. Whey protein increases the production of the hormone IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) causing the skin to produce more sebum.

Whey protein also disrupts your body’s blood sugar, creating inflammation in the body which can end up appearing as skin issues, explains Dr. Bowe.

5. Artificial sweeteners

Okay, so artificial sweeteners are not food, but you sprinkle them on food and in beverages—and that can cause all sorts of skin issues. Dr. Bowe explains how artificial sweeteners mess with your microbiome, which in turn messes with your skin in this info-packed video.

The summary, from Dr. Bowe: “Artificial sweeteners have the power to disrupt the gut’s microbial inhabitants so much that they negatively affect metabolism and blood sugar balance…those diet foods and beverages not only increase the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes, but also skin disorders like acne and rosacea through the domino effects of increased inflammation. High insulin levels are a primary cause of hormonal imbalances and skin disorders… Since artificial sweeteners throw your blood sugar balance off, they too are capable of triggering skin issues.”

6. Processed meats

Processed meats—like bacon, hotdogs, deli meats—are full of nitrates which can “damage the skin by causing inflammation and wrinkles,” Dr. Howard Sobel, founder of Sobel Skin and attending dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told Eat This, Not That!. They are also often high in sodium, which can “weaken collagen production”—not a good thing, considering collagen is essential for healthy skin, hair, nails, and bones.

Article by Michele Promaulayko for EatThis,NotThat.com

Source: Popular Foods That Make You Look Older (msn.com)