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Can mosquitos spread coronavirus?

<p>The pathogens mosquitos spread by sucking our blood cause over half a million deaths each year and hundreds of millions of cases of severe illness.</p> <p>But there is no scientific evidence to suggest mosquitos are transmitting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.</p> <p>While there are many things we have yet to know about the coronavirus, current research supports that it’s highly unlikely a mosquito will pick up the virus by biting an infected person, let alone be able to pass it on.</p> <p>Mosquitos CAN transmit other viruses</p> <p>Female mosquitos need the nutrition found in blood to help develop their eggs. Viruses take advantage of this requirement as mosquitoes can easily move from host to host to transmit diseases.</p> <p>But for a mosquito to become infected, it first needs to bite an infected animal, such as a bird of kangaroo, or a person.</p> <p>The list of diseases a mosquito can transfer includes dengue, tallow fever, chikungunya, Zika and Ross River virus. They can also spread malaria, which is caused by a parasite.</p> <p>But they cannot transmit other viruses such as HIV and Ebola.</p> <p>Coronavirus is mainly spread through droplets produced when people sneeze or cough, and by touched surfaces that are contaminated.</p> <p>While the virus is found in blood, there’s no evidence that can spread via mosquitos.</p> <p>So if a mosquito does pick up a substantial dose of the virus, the virus won’t be able to infect the mosquito itself.</p> <p>And if the mosquito isn’t infected, it won’t be able to transmit it to the next person.</p>

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CSIRO tests potential COVID-19 vaccines

<p>Australia’s national science agency has begun testing potential coronavirus vaccines in what has been described as a critical milestone in the global fight against COVID-19.</p> <p>CSIRO scientists are performing the first stage of testing for two vaccine candidates at the agency’s high-containment biosecurity facility in Geelong.</p> <p>The pre-clinical trials, which is expected to take three months, will test the vaccine from the University of Oxford and Inovio Pharmaceuticals on animals to see if they are safe and effective.</p> <p>The current number of COVID-19 cases in Australia have reached 4,860 with the death toll rising to 21. Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said on Wednesday that the virus won’t be beaten without a vaccine.</p> <p>Dr Larry Marshall, chief executive for CSIRO described the testing as a critical milestone while health and biosecurity director Dr Rob Grenfell says it is very significant given the race by staff to get ready.</p> <p>“Usually it takes one to two years to do this and we have apparently done it in eight weeks, so that’s actually really good,” Dr Grenfell told AAP.</p> <p>The vaccine candidates were identified for CSIRO’s first trials by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, in consultation with the World Health Organisation. They’re the first of a number the CSIRO hopes to test.</p> <p>Dr Grenfell revealed that one of the candidates is currently being tested overseas and if it is shown to be safe and effective in both trials, they would then begin testing it on humans.</p> <p>“These types of studies are vital to give us the confidence to move into human studies,” he said.</p> <p>And while he remains optimistic, Dr Grenfell said there is still time for the vaccine to be finalised, suggesting it could be 18 months away.</p> <p>“The scientific ingenuity that we’re using, the global collaboration and co-operation is astounding,” he said.</p> <p>“We’ve seen some momentous science across many avenues of the vaccine development pathway globally, so yes, I’m optimistic.</p> <p>“At the moment, the best thing that we can all do is to maintain our social distancing and self-quarantining to minimise the spread whilst we’re waiting for effective drugs and vaccines.”</p>

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Shock as four unconnected babies contract coronavirus in the same state

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Many are heartbroken over the news that four babies are among the latest cases of coronavirus to be confirmed in Victoria.</p> <p>Three of the babies are under 12 months of age and the fourth baby is a year old. According to Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos, all babies will be kept at home in isolation to recover with their families.</p> <p>She also stressed that it’s not believed that this is a cluster of cases in a childcare centre.</p> <p>“It’s known that one of the cases acquired the infection overseas. There is a thorough investigation under way in relation to how these children acquired COVID-19,” she said.</p> <p>“I should stress it's not believed that this is a cluster, so it doesn't appear that this is one childcare centre, one group of children all known to each other.”</p> <p>The young cases mean that there are now five pre-school aged children confirmed to have COVID-19 in Victoria, according to Mikakos.</p> <p>She also added that it was believed that none of the children have any underlying medial conditions and it was thought that they would not suffer severe symptoms based on children being infected with coronavirus overseas.</p> <p>Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has emphasised that the risk to children is extremely low and deaths were not likely.</p> <p>“Overwhelmingly for children, especially those nine years and younger, the illness of COVID-19 is very very mild and deaths are virtually unheard of, so that should be a reassurance to any parent of young children,” he said, according to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/coronavirus-mystery-after-four-unconnected-babies-contract-virus-204613233.html" target="_blank">Yahoo! News</a></em>.</p> <p>“Clusters haven’t been reported in Australia, we’re still looking into this, but it doesn’t appear to be a cluster and the risk to these children is extremely low.”</p> <p>Sutton reminded the public that it is still important to remain “alert” to the potential risk of children transmitting the infection to adults, but explained that instances of this had yet to be reported in Australia.</p> </div> </div> </div>

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Why you're being urged to get your flu shot early this year

<p>The first flu vaccine ahead of the frosty winter season is being rolled out to senior Australians 65 and older within the coming weeks.</p> <p>To get ahead of the curve and relieve stress on the already stretched thin health system thanks to COVID-19, older Australians aged 65 and up will get the first opportunity to take the shot.</p> <p>The flu vaccine, named Fluad Quad, was created specifically for senior adults who have weaker immune systems due to age.</p> <p>The new vaccine comes after flu clinics recorded a huge surge in people getting flu shots – much higher than last season.</p> <p>“(Pharmacist) flu clinics, which have just started in the last couple of weeks, have been fully booked out,” Pharmaceutical Society of Australia president Chris Freeman told AAP.</p> <p>“I think the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened that awareness for everybody.”</p> <p>Michael Woodward, Health professional for Austin Health has said while COVID-19 has proven to be fatal, this year is the worst one to get the flu.</p> <p>“While the flu vaccine does not protect against the COVID-19 virus, immunising against the flu ... may help to reduce the risk of diagnostic uncertainty between flu and COVID-19.”</p> <p>Professor Woodward says taking extra precaution to protect against the flu may also help to reduce pressure on the health system and intensive care units.</p> <p>The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has urged Australians to get their flu shots earlier than they usually would.</p>

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Can mosquitoes spread coronavirus?

<p>The pathogens mosquitoes spread by sucking our blood cause over <a href="https://www.who.int/malaria/en/">half a million deaths each year</a> and <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dengue-and-severe-dengue">hundreds of millions of cases of severe illness</a>.</p> <p>But there is no scientific evidence to suggest mosquitoes are transmitting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.</p> <p>There is <a href="https://cmr.asm.org/content/20/4/660">much more to learn about the coronavirus</a> but based on current understandings, it’s highly unlikely a mosquito will pick up the virus by biting an infected person, let alone be able to pass it on.</p> <p><strong>Yes, mosquitoes can transmit other viruses</strong></p> <p>Female mosquitoes need the nutrition contained in blood to help develop their eggs. Viruses take advantage of this biological requirement of mosquitoes to move from host to host.</p> <p>But for a mosquito to become infected, it first needs to bite an infected animal, such as a bird or kangaroo, or a person.</p> <p>Mosquitoes can transmit a number of viruses, including dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, Zika and Ross River virus. They can also transmit malaria, which is caused by a parasite.</p> <p>But they can’t transmit many other viruses, including HIV and Ebola.</p> <p>For <a href="https://europepmc.org/article/med/10554479">HIV</a>, mosquitoes themselves don’t become infected. It’s actually unlikely a mosquito will pick up the virus when it bites an infected person due to the low concentrations of the HIV circulating in their blood.</p> <p>For Ebola, <a href="https://www.ajtmh.org/content/journals/10.4269/ajtmh.1996.55.89">even when scientists inject the virus into mosquitoes</a>, they don’t become infected. One study collected tens of thousands of insects during an Ebola outbreak but <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jid/article/179/Supplement_1/S148/880615">found no virus</a>.</p> <p><strong>No, not coronavirus</strong></p> <p>The new coronavirus is <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/commentaries/detail/modes-of-transmission-of-virus-causing-covid-19-implications-for-ipc-precaution-recommendations">mostly spread via droplets produced when we sneeze or cough</a>, and by touching <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-know-how-long-coronavirus-survives-on-surfaces-heres-what-it-means-for-handling-money-food-and-more-134671">contaminated surfaces</a>.</p> <p>Although coronavirus has been <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/22221751.2020.1729071">found in blood samples from infected people</a>, there’s no evidence it can spread via mosquitoes.</p> <p>Even if a mosquito did pick up a high enough dose of the virus in a blood meal, there is no evidence the virus would be able to infect the mosquito itself.</p> <p>And if the mosquito isn’t infected, it won’t be able to transmit it to the next person she bites.</p> <p><strong>Why some viruses and not others?</strong></p> <p>It’s easy to think of mosquitoes as tiny flying dirty syringes transferring droplets of infected blood from person to person. The reality is far more complex.</p> <p>When a mosquito bites and sucks up some blood that contains a virus, the virus quickly ends up in the gut of the insect.</p> <p>From there, the virus needs to infect the cells lining the gut and “escape” to infect the rest of the body of the mosquito, spreading to the legs, wings, and head.</p> <p>The virus then has to infect the salivary glands before being passed on by the mosquito when it next bites.</p> <p>This process can take a few days to over a week.</p> <p>But time isn’t the only barrier. The virus also has to negotiate getting out of the gut, getting through the body, and then into the saliva. Each step in the process can be an impenetrable barrier for the virus.</p> <p>This may be straightforward for viruses that have adapted to this process but for others, the virus will perish in the gut or be excreted.</p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cameron-webb-6736"><em>Cameron Webb</em></a><em>, Clinical Associate Professor and Principal Hospital Scientist, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></span></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/can-mosquitoes-spread-coronavirus-134898">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Why donating blood is more essential than ever in the time of coronavirus

<p>Blood is like milk, not toilet paper. You can’t just buy a lot of it and save it for later – you need to have a regular, fresh supply for patients who need it.</p> <p>At the moment, fewer Australians are donating blood than usual. To a degree, we can understand why.</p> <p>But blood donation is an essential health service, even during the coronavirus pandemic.</p> <p>Donor centres have implemented new measures to ensure the safety of staff, donors and patients receiving transfusions during this time.</p> <p>If you’re healthy, there’s a good chance you’ll be eligible to donate.</p> <p><strong>Why do we need more donors now?</strong></p> <p>We need blood and plasma products <a href="https://www.donateblood.com.au/learn#how-your-blood-is-used">every day</a> to support cancer patients, <a href="https://mytransfusion.com.au/reasons-transfusion/pregnancy-childbirth">new mums and babies</a>, people with immune deficiencies or blood diseases, and people who need surgery or have suffered trauma.</p> <p>We’re currently seeing an increase in cancellations and people rescheduling their appointments. Around 900 donors are cancelling appointments each day, up from 800 earlier this month.</p> <p>There are a number of reasons fewer people are giving blood than usual.</p> <p>At the start of 2020, we saw a strong response from donors who came forward as a way to help with the nation’s bushfire response. We’ve seen this <a href="https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=52492">response to major events</a> before and we know it can <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/deci.12381">affect the supply chain</a> down the track. Because these donors need to wait 12 weeks before they can donate blood again, there are fewer people available to give blood right now.</p> <p>Relating to coronavirus specifically, as people follow advice to stay home except for essential activities, they may be less inclined to donate blood.</p> <p>And if the virus spreads to more people, fewer people may be eligible to donate because of new restrictions to keep our patients, staff, and donor centres safe.</p> <p>Based on our forecasts for demand from Australian health providers, <a href="https://www.lifeblood.com.au/">Australian Red Cross Lifeblood</a> needs an additional 7,000 donors to make appointments to donate blood through to Easter Monday to prevent a shortage.</p> <p><strong>Who can donate?</strong></p> <p>Australia currently has around <a href="https://www.donateblood.com.au/sites/default/files/Lifeblood-Annual-Report-2018-19.pdf">500,000 blood donors</a>, but millions of others may be eligible to donate.</p> <p>Normally, if you’re aged between 18 and 76, weigh over 50kg and are healthy and well, you may be eligible. However, in keeping with government advice we encourage those aged 70 and over to postpone their donation during this period. There are other <a href="https://www.donateblood.com.au/eligibility">eligibility criteria</a> which remain in place to ensure our patients and donors are safe from the risks we already understand.</p> <p>Notably, there’s no evidence coronavirus or other respiratory viruses can be transmitted by blood transfusion.</p> <p>But to be on the safe side, Lifeblood’s strict screening process means people who are unwell can’t donate.</p> <p>During the pandemic, Lifeblood has introduced new rules to protect the safety of staff, donors and patients, in line with recent recommendations from the <a href="https://www.who.int/publications-detail/maintaining-a-safe-and-adequate-blood-supply-during-the-pandemic-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-(covid-19)">World Health Organisation</a>:</p> <ul> <li> <p>anyone who has returned from overseas is unable to donate for 28 days after their return</p> </li> <li> <p>people who have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 will have to wait 28 days before donating</p> </li> <li> <p>people who have been confirmed as having COVID-19 will not be able to donate until they are cleared by their doctor plus undergo an additional recovery period.</p> </li> <li> <p>people with mild cold-like symptoms will be unable to donate until they are fully recovered.</p> </li> </ul> <p><strong>Am I allowed to travel to a donor centre, and is it safe?</strong></p> <p>As many states in Australia have limited non-essential activities, it’s important to understand blood and plasma donation is vital, and travel and venue restrictions don’t prevent people from giving blood.</p> <p>Donor centres are strictly regulated spaces, monitored regularly by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. There’s a <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/sites/default/files/manuf-cgmp-human-blood-tissues-2013.pdf">specific code</a> that sets out requirements for staff, premises, collection procedures, quality control and testing, among other things.</p> <p>Staff adhere to strict sanitation protocols including wearing gloves, wiping down surfaces after every donation and using single use sterile collection kits for every donation.</p> <p>In addition to the usual hygiene practices and new restrictions to who can donate, Lifeblood is implementing <a href="https://www.donateblood.com.au/page/coronavirus-update">further measures</a> to help protect donors and staff, including:</p> <ul> <li> <p>increased disinfecting of frequently used items</p> </li> <li> <p>providing additional hand sanitiser for donors to use</p> </li> <li> <p>additional daily disinfection of all areas in our centres including the donation floor, refreshment areas, reception and more</p> </li> <li> <p>restricting non-donating visitors to our centres (so only staff and donors are allowed in)</p> </li> <li> <p>providing public health information consistent with the latest official coronavirus advice in every centre</p> </li> <li> <p>implementing social distancing in our centres wherever possible, ensuring all donors are at least 1.5 metres away from all other donors.</p> </li> </ul> <p>We’re appealing to anyone who has an appointment booked and who feels well to keep it.</p> <p>If you’re a blood donor and haven’t made your next appointment, you can help by booking one in the next few weeks.</p> <p>If you’re a blood donor who gave more than month ago, you may be able to donate plasma now.</p> <p>And if you’ve never donated before, now is a great time to become a donor and help us maintain the nation’s blood supplies.</p> <p><em>You can make an appointment <a href="https://www.donateblood.com.au/">online</a> or call 13 14 95.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/134541/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/david-irving-349582">David Irving</a>, Adjunct Professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/in-the-time-of-coronavirus-donating-blood-is-more-essential-than-ever-134541">original article</a>.</em></p>

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How to to manage stress and keep your drinking in check

<p>Bottle shops remain on the <a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/coronavirus-what-is-still-open-in-australia-210641895.html?soc_src=social-sh&amp;soc_trk=ma">list of essential services</a> allowed to stay open and Australians are <a href="https://10daily.com.au/news/a200322efyol/panic-buyers-turn-to-stockpiling-grog-during-coronavirus-pandemic-20200322">stocking up on alcohol</a>.</p> <p>In these difficult times, it’s not surprising some people are looking to alcohol for a little stress reduction. But there are healthier ways of coping with the challenges we currently face.</p> <p><strong>Why do we drink more in a crisis?</strong></p> <p>People who feel stressed tend to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25771482?fbclid=IwAR3EUd9Pum2f9UmVCOsAPcG7OKhJnJZEdoZfVWrThX9SP8ay0c2uGvr0RJc">drink more</a> than people who are less stressed. In fact, we often see increases in people’s alcohol consumption after <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Fadb0000143">catastrophes</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1360-0443.2000.9545295.x">natural disasters</a>.</p> <p>Although alcohol initially helps us relax, after drinking, you can feel even more anxious. Alcohol releases <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-causes-hangovers-blackouts-and-hangxiety-everything-you-need-to-know-about-alcohol-these-holidays-127995">chemicals</a> in the brain that block anxiety. But our brain likes to be in balance. So after drinking, it reduces the amount of these chemicals to try to get back into pre-drinking balance, increasing feelings of anxiety.</p> <p>People may also be drinking more alcohol to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352853216300116">relieve the boredom</a> that may come with staying at home without much to do.</p> <p><strong>What happens when we drink more?</strong></p> <p><strong>Alcohol affects your ability to fight disease</strong></p> <p>Alcohol impacts the immune system, increasing the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4590612/">risk of illness and infections</a>.</p> <p>Although the coronavirus is too new for us to know its exact interaction with alcohol, we know from <a href="https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.122.1.56">other virus outbreaks</a> drinking affects how your immune system works, making us more susceptible to virus infection.</p> <p>So, if you have the coronavirus, or are at risk of contracting it, you should limit your alcohol intake to give your immune system the best chance of fighting it off. The same applies if you have influenza or the common cold this winter.</p> <p><strong>Alcohol affects your mood</strong></p> <p>Drinking can <a href="https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-is-stressful-here-are-some-ways-to-cope-with-the-anxiety-133146">affect your mood</a>, making you prone to symptoms of depression and anxiety.</p> <p>This is because alcohol has a depressant effect on your central nervous system. But when you stop drinking and the level of alcohol in your blood returns to zero, your nervous system becomes overactive. That can leave you <a href="https://www.beyondblue.org.au/personal-best/pillar/wellbeing/anxiety-after-drinking-and-what-you-can-do-about-it">feeling agitated</a>.</p> <p><strong>Alcohol affects your sleep</strong></p> <p>Alcohol can disrupt <a href="https://theconversation.com/cant-sleep-and-feeling-anxious-about-coronavirus-youre-not-alone-134407">sleep</a>. You may fall asleep more quickly from the sedating effects of alcohol, but as your body processes alcohol, the sedative effects wear off.</p> <p>You might wake up through the night and find it hard to fall back to sleep (not to mention the potential for snoring or extra nocturnal bathroom trips).</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/what-causes-hangovers-blackouts-and-hangxiety-everything-you-need-to-know-about-alcohol-these-holidays-127995">The next day</a>, you can be left feeling increasingly anxious, which can kickstart the process all over again.</p> <p><strong>Alcohol affects your thoughts and feelings</strong></p> <p>Alcohol reduces our capacity to monitor and regulate our <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22589026/">thoughts and feelings</a>.</p> <p>Once we start drinking, it’s hard to know when we’re relaxed enough. After one or two drinks, it’s easy to think “another won’t hurt”, “I deserve it”, or “I’ve had a huge day managing the kids and working from home, so why not?”.</p> <p>But by increasing alcohol consumption over time, eventually it takes more alcohol to get to the same point of relaxation. Developing this kind of tolerance to alcohol can lead to dependence.</p> <p><strong>Alcohol ties up the health system</strong></p> <p>Alcohol related problems also take up a lot of health resources, including <a href="https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/about/publications/annualreports/Trends-in-Alcohol-and-Drug-Related-Ambulance-Attendances-in-Melbourne-2011-12">ambulances</a> and <a href="https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/clinical/up-to-a-quarter-of-ed-presentations-are-alcohol-re">emergency departments</a>. People have more <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/alcohol-injuries">accidents</a> when they are drinking. And drinking can increase the risk of <a href="https://theconversation.com/alcohols-link-to-domestic-violence-is-in-focus-now-what-37696">domestic and family violence</a>.</p> <p>So an increase in drinking risks unnecessarily tying up emergency services and hospitals, which are needed to respond to the coronavirus.</p> <p><strong>How to manage your alcohol consumption</strong></p> <p>Don’t stock up on alcohol. The more you have in the house, the more likely you are to drink. Increased access to alcohol also increases the risk of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2007.01941.x">young people drinking</a>.</p> <p>Monitor your drinking. If you are getting on board with the new <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/abrambrown/2020/03/15/the-coronavirus-has-brought-the-dawn-of-the-virtual-happy-hour/">virtual happy hour</a> trend, the same rules apply if you were at your favourite bar.</p> <p>Try to stay within the draft <a href="https://theconversation.com/cap-your-alcohol-at-10-drinks-a-week-new-draft-guidelines-128856">Australian guidelines</a> of no more than four <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/alcohol/about-alcohol/standard-drinks-guide">standard drinks</a> in any one day and no more than ten a week.</p> <p>Monitor your thinking. It’s easy to think “What does it matter if I have an extra one or two?”. Any changes to your drinking habits now can become a pattern in the future.</p> <p><strong>How to manage stress without alcohol</strong></p> <p>If you are feeling anxious, stressed, down or bored, you’re not alone. But there are other healthier ways to manage those feelings.</p> <p>If you catch yourself worrying, try to remind yourself this is a temporary situation. Do some mindfulness meditation or slow your breathing, distract yourself with something <a href="https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2019/0710/1061221-turn-it-up-how-listening-to-music-reduces-stress/">enjoyable</a>, or practise <a href="https://youtu.be/gXDMoiEkyuQ">gratitude</a>.</p> <p>Get as much exercise as you can. Exercise <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/exercise-and-mental-health">releases brain chemicals</a> that make you feel good. Even if you can’t get into your normal exercise routine, go outside for a walk or run. Walk to your local shops to pick up supplies instead of driving.</p> <p>Maintain a good diet. We know <a href="https://youtu.be/xyQY8a-ng6g">good nutrition</a> is important to maintain <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626">good mental health</a>.</p> <p>Try to get as much <a href="https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/getting-better-sleep.htm">sleep</a> as you can. Worry can disrupt sleep and lack of sleep can <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/sleep-and-mental-health">worsen mental health</a>.</p> <p>Build in pleasant activities to your day. Even if you can’t do the usual activities that bring a smile to your face, think about some new things you might enjoy and make sure you do one of those things every day.</p> <p>Remember, change doesn’t have to be negative. Novelty activates the dopamine system, our pleasure centre, so it’s a great time to <a href="https://buffer.com/resources/novelty-and-the-brain-how-to-learn-more-and-improve-your-memory">try something new</a>.</p> <p>So enjoy a drink or two, but try not to go overboard and monitor your stress levels to give you the best chance to stay healthy.</p> <hr /> <p><em>If you are trying to manage your drinking, <a href="https://www.hellosundaymorning.org">Hello Sunday Morning</a> offers a <a href="https://www.hellosundaymorning.org/daybreak/">free online community</a> of more than 100,000 like-minded people. You can connect and chat with others actively managing their alcohol consumption.</em></p> <p><em>If you’d like to talk to someone about your drinking call the <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/contacts/national-alcohol-and-other-drug-hotline-contact">National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline</a> on 1800 250 015. It’s a free call from anywhere in Australia. Or talk to your GP.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/134669/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nicole-lee-81635">Nicole Lee</a>, Professor at the National Drug Research Institute (Melbourne), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/genevieve-dingle-186222">Genevieve Dingle</a>, Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sonja-pohlman-1007486">Sonja Pohlman</a>, Clinical Psychologist and Lecturer, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-newcastle-1060">University of Newcastle</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-its-tempting-to-drink-your-worries-away-but-there-are-healthier-ways-to-manage-stress-and-keep-your-drinking-in-check-134669">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Are you able to become immune to coronavirus?

<p>As the number of people infected with coronavirus is more than 450,000, scientists are currently wrestling with questions that are left after people recover from the virus. Do people survive the infection become immune to the virus?</p> <p>The answer is luckily, yes but there are some significant unknowns with that as well.</p> <p>As growing immunity in the community is also the way the pandemic ends, scientists are working overtime to figure out what these significant unknowns are and how they’ll impact the larger community.</p> <p>It is currently unclear how long people who have been infected and beaten the virus are left with an immunity against it, with some medical professionals believing that there may be an immunity of at least one to two years.</p> <p>Florian Krammer, a microbiologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, says that even if people became reinfected, the second bout of coronavirus would likely be much milder than the first.</p> <p>“You probably would make a good immune response before you even become symptomatic again and might really blunt the course of the disease,” Dr. Krammer said to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/25/health/coronavirus-immunity-antibodies.html" target="_blank">The New York Times</a>.</em></p> <p>Antibody tests are being used in Singapore, China and a handful of other countries. However, they are just making their way into the West. Antibody tests are the quickest way to assess immunity, as it’s a blood test that looks for protective antibodies in the blood of people who have recovered.</p> <p>“No matter who makes them, as long as they’re reliable, that’s a super nice tool,” Dr. Krammer said. Because this is a new coronavirus, the test should deliver “basically, a yes or no answer, like an H.I.V. test — you can figure out who was exposed and who wasn’t.”</p> <p>Dr Krammer’s tests pick up an antibody response as early as three days after symptoms emerge, but given people might not show symptoms for as long as 14 days after infection, it’s too late for the test to be useful as a diagnostic tool.</p> <p>Ultimately, it’s only with the tests that scientists are using that they will be able to say when enough of the population has become infected and therefore has made people immune.</p>

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Ibuprofen and COVID-19 symptoms: Here’s what you need to know

<p>There’s been some <a href="https://www.sciencealert.com/who-recommends-to-avoid-taking-ibuprofen-for-covid-19-symptoms">confusion recently</a> on whether we should or shouldn’t take ibuprofen to treat symptoms of COVID-19 – especially after the World Health Organisation (WHO) changed its stance. After initially recommending people avoid taking ibuprofen to treat symptoms of the new coronavirus disease, <a href="https://twitter.com/WHO/status/1240409217997189128">as of March 19</a> the WHO now does not recommend avoiding ibuprofen to treat COVID-19 symptoms.</p> <p>The confusion began after France’s Minister of Solidarity and Health <a href="https://twitter.com/olivierveran">Oliver Véran</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/olivierveran/status/1238776545398923264">announced on Twitter</a> that taking anti-inflammatory drugs (such as <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/ibuprofen">ibuprofen</a> or <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/nursing-and-health-professions/cortisone">cortisone</a>) could be a factor in worsening a COVID-19 infection. He recommended that paracetamol should be taken instead to treat the associated fever.</p> <p>At the moment, the NHS only recommends <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/">taking paracetamol for COVID-19 symptoms</a>, even though it admits there is no strong evidence showing ibuprofen worsens symptoms. The BMJ also states that <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m1086">ibuprofen should be avoided</a> when managing COVID-19 symptoms.</p> <p><a href="https://bnf.nice.org.uk/drug/ibuprofen.html">Ibuprofen</a> is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (<a href="https://bnf.nice.org.uk/treatment-summary/non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory-drugs.html">NSAID</a>). <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nsaids/">NSAIDs</a>, including ibuprofen, normally have three main uses: they help with inflammation, pain, and <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/fever-in-children/">fever</a>. People might also take them for inflammatory conditions such as <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/">arthritis</a> and for <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/ways-to-manage-chronic-pain/">pain</a>. However, <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/paracetamol-for-adults/">paracetamol</a> can also help treat pain and fever.</p> <p>Fever is a <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/accidents-first-aid-and-treatments/how-do-i-take-someones-temperature/">higher than normal body temperature</a>, and is <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/">one of the signs</a> of COVID-19, along with a persistent cough and shortness of breath. The body develops a fever as a defence mechanism, where the immune system produces a chain of molecules that tell the brain to make and keep more heat inside to fight the infection.</p> <p>While <a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/fever">getting fever</a> during an infection is part of the body’s defence mechanism, a serious rise in body temperature can be fatal and should be treated. Having fever is also uncomfortable because it often comes with shivering, headaches, nausea and stomach upsets. Taking an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen or paracetamol will bring down a high temperature by lowering some of the fever molecules. However, doctors who <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f6041">compared the two</a> in 2013 suggested taking paracetamol over ibuprofen for normal chest infections because they found a small number of people’s illness got worse with ibuprofen.</p> <p><strong>Cause for concern?</strong></p> <p>Some of the reasons that there’s a concern taking ibuprofen will make COVID-19 symptoms worse comes from <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20724739">previous studies</a> that <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24997726?dopt=Abstract">have shown</a> people with <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ppul.23041">other serious chest infections</a> (such as pneumonia) experienced worse symptoms and <a href="https://www.resmedjournal.com/article/S0954-6111(16)30326-2/fulltext">prolonged illness</a> after taking an NSAID, including ibuprofen.</p> <p>But it’s difficult to say if taking ibuprofen in these instances directly causes worse symptoms and prolonged illness, or if it’s because taking ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatories help manage pain, which may hide how serious the illness is and could stop people from asking for help earlier – delaying treatment. Or, it might be to do with ibuprofen’s anti-inflammatory effects. One <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166354217307362?via%3Dihub">theory</a> is that anti-inflammatory medicines can interfere with some of the body’s immune response, although this is not proven for ibuprofen.</p> <p>However, two French studies <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28005149">warn doctors and pharmacists</a> not to give NSAIDs when they see signs of chest infections, and that NSAIDs shouldn’t be given when <a href="https://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(16)30233-5/fulltext">children are infected</a> with viruses. There’s no agreement on why ibuprofen could make chest infections worse, but both studies reported worse outcomes in patients who had taken a NSAID to treat their condition.</p> <p>A recent letter to The Lancet suggested that ibuprofen’s harm in COVID-19 is to do with its <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(20)30116-8/fulltext">effect on an enzyme</a> in the body called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) – though this has yet to be proven. This caused additional worries for patients taking angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) for existing heart conditions. <a href="https://www.britishcardiovascularsociety.org/news/ACEi-or-ARB-and-COVID-19">Several</a> <a href="https://pccsuk.org/2020/en/page/home">leading</a> <a href="https://www.escardio.org/Councils/Council-on-Hypertension-(CHT)/News/position-statement-of-the-esc-council-on-hypertension-on-ace-inhibitors-and-ang">organisations</a> have rightly warned patients not to stop taking their regular medicines in light of unconfirmed theories.</p> <p>Because novel coronavirus is a new type of virus, there is currently no evidence proving that taking ibuprofen will be harmful or make COVID-19 symptoms worse. Research in this area is developing fast, but with so much <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/51929628">misinformation about COVID-19 and ibuprofen use</a>, the cautious approach is to avoid ibuprofen with COVID-19 if at all possible – especially for those with pre-existing health conditions. Anyone who thinks they might have COVID-19 can consider <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/">using paracetamol instead</a> of ibuprofen for managing their fever, unless they’re told otherwise by their doctor or pharmacist.</p> <p>In the meantime, the UK’s Committee of Human Medicines and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have been <a href="https://www.cas.mhra.gov.uk/ViewandAcknowledgment/ViewAlert.aspx?AlertID=103001">asked to review</a> all the evidence to understand ibuprofen’s impact on COVID-19 symptoms. Naturally, people already prescribed an anti-inflammatory drug for a health condition should ask their doctor’s opinion and not just stop their medication.</p> <p>It’s worth noting, however, that <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/ibuprofen-for-adults/">ibuprofen</a> and <a href="https://bnf.nice.org.uk/treatment-summary/non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory-drugs.html">NSAIDs</a> can trigger stomach ulcers and indigestion and might not be suitable for some people with heart disease, kidney and liver problems, and asthma, as well as people over 65, and those who drink more alcohol. These drugs should not be used in people with very high blood pressure, and women trying to get <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/pregnancy/can-i-take-ibuprofen-when-i-am-pregnant/">pregnant or already pregnant</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/paracetamol-for-adults/">Paracetamol</a>, which can also treat pain and fever, may be preferred. Though it takes up to an hour to work, it’s safe to use for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and can be taken with or without food. Some people need to take extra care with paracetamol and should speak with their doctor or pharmacist first, for example if they have liver or kidney problems.</p> <p>The usual dose of paracetamol for adults is one or two 500 milligram tablets up to four times in 24 hours, with at least four hours in between doses. Most people use a syrup to give paracetamol to <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/paracetamol-for-children/">children</a>. How much to give depends on your child’s age, but again paracetamol should only be given up to four times in 24 hours, with at least four hours between doses.</p> <p>Pharmacies have been running short of paracetamol and some shops have been <a href="https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/news-and-analysis/news/unprecedented-demand-for-otc-painkillers-as-covid-19-outbreak-spreads/20207830.article">rationing</a> sales. For those exhibiting symptoms, a box of 32 tablets should last for at least four days. At this time of crisis, it’s important people make sure they’re not stockpiling medicines unnecessarily and depriving others who are equally in need of paracetamol and other vital drugs.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/134064/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/parastou-donyai-126907">Parastou Donyai</a>, Professor and Director of Pharmacy Practice, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-reading-902">University of Reading</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/ibuprofen-and-covid-19-symptoms-heres-what-you-need-to-know-134064">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Coronavirus Australia: Why the rise in new cases is “good news”

<p>Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has said the dramatic rise in Australia’s COVID-19 cases is “good news”, for one particular reason.</p> <p>The potentially deadly disease has infected over 2300 Australians – most of them from NSW – and killed 11 people, forcing the Federal Government to take increasingly drastic measures in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.</p> <p>While the increasing number of cases is “obviously worrying and we are concerned”, Professor Kelly said that “on one side, that is good news” because it means “we are finding the cases and they are still mostly coming from overseas”.</p> <p>He said that the majority of confirmed coronavirus cases have been mild, and only 197 people – or less than 10 per cent of those infected – “have been hospitalised because they are sick”.</p> <p>“We are not overwhelming the system,” said Professor Kelly.</p> <p>He says the huge influx in cases over the last few days was mainly because of the Ruby Princess cruise ship, which docked in Sydney last Thursday.</p> <p>Over 130 passengers from the ship have tested positive to COVID-19.</p> <p>The remainder of cases “are being found as part of the contact tracing exercise,” said Professor Kelly, praising the “fantastic work being done by the states and territories” to monitor the number of virus case numbers.</p> <p>The process is being used to help understand how COVID-19 is spread throughout communities by finding out who the infected person caught the disease from, and who they’ve been in contact with while infectious.</p> <p>Community transmission of the virus may be quite low in Australia, but Professor Kelly warned that if Aussies didn’t follow the new measures put in place by the government, we would continue to see a rise in cases.</p> <p>He said that on average, a person with an infectious disease will infect three other people.</p> <p>“Just imagine that – if we did not take any of the measures about social distancing and decreasing the mixing that we do on a daily basis, then one person with the disease not taking any of those social distancing or hygiene messages seriously will infect three people,” he said.</p> <p>“Every one of those three people if they do not take those messages seriously will infect another three people and so on.”</p> <p>Professor Kelly said implementing social distancing and decreasing the number of interactions between people is how Australia is going to flatten the curve.</p> <p>“All of these fit together to decrease the transmission from person-to-person of an infectious disease,” he said.</p> <p>“And if we do that, we will get on top of it.”</p>

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Why older people are at more risk from COVID-19

<p>The rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic is taking a particularly harsh toll on older people.</p> <p><a href="https://doi.org/10.3855/jidc.12600">Data from the initial outbreak in China and then Italy</a> show that infected people under the age of 60 are at low – but not no – risk of dying from COVID-19. More recent data from the U.S. suggest that a <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6912e2.htm?s_cid=mm6912e2_w">higher rate of people in their 30s and 40s</a> have experienced severe illness and even death than previously thought. Curiously, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/03/17/coronavirus-looks-different-kids-than-adults/">young children</a> do not appear to be at increased risk of serious COVID-19 complications, in contrast to what happens with other viruses, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/children.htm">like the seasonal flu</a>.</p> <p>However, the statistics get <a href="https://doi.org/10.3855/jidc.12600">grimmer as the patients get older</a>. Whereas people in their 60s have a 0.4% chance of dying, people in their 70s have a 1.3% chance of dying, and people over 80 have a 3.6% chance of dying. While this may not sound like a high chance of death, during the current outbreak in Italy, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30627-9">83% of those who succumbed to COVID-19</a> infection were over the age of 60.</p> <p>The new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is therefore a <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6912e2.htm">very serious pathogen for people over 60</a>. As it continues to spread, this older age group will continue to be at risk for serious disease and death.</p> <p>What is it that puts older people at increased risk from viruses like this? It’s primarily thought to be due to changes in the human immune system as we age.</p> <p><strong>Your body’s tools to fight off virus infections</strong></p> <p>As you go about your life, your body is constantly bombarded by pathogens – the bacteria, fungi and viruses that can make you sick. A human body is a great place for these organisms to grow and thrive, providing a nice warm environment with plenty of nutrients.</p> <p>That’s where your immune system comes in. It’s your body’s defense system against these kinds of invaders. Before you’re even born, your body starts producing specialized B-cells and T-cells – types of white blood cells that can recognize pathogens and help block their growth.</p> <p>During an infection, your B-cells can proliferate and produce antibodies that grab onto pathogens and block their ability to spread within your body. T-cells work by recognizing infected cells and killing them. Together they make up what scientists call your “adaptive” immune system.</p> <p>Maybe your physician has checked your white blood cell levels. That’s a measurement of whether you have more B-cells and T-cells in your blood than usual, presumably because they’re fighting infection.</p> <p>When you’re very young, you don’t have a lot of these B- or T-cells. It can be a challenge for your body to control infection because it’s simply not used to the job. As you mature, your adaptive immune system learns to recognize pathogens and handle these constant invasions, allowing you to fight off infection quickly and effectively.</p> <p>While white blood cells are powerful people protectors, they’re not enough on their own. Luckily, your immune system has another layer, what’s called your <a href="https://doi.org/10.1159/000453397">“innate” immune response</a>. Every cell has its own little immune system that allows it to directly respond to pathogens quicker than it takes to mobilize the adaptive response.</p> <p>The innate immune response is tuned to pounce on types of molecules that are commonly found on bacteria and viruses but not in human cells. When a cell detects these invader molecules, it triggers production of an antiviral interferon protein. Interferon triggers the infected cell to die, limiting infection.</p> <p>Another type of innate immune cell, called a monocyte, acts as a sort of cellular bouncer, getting rid of any infected cells it finds and signaling the adaptive immune response to shift into gear.</p> <p>The innate and adaptive immune systems can act together as a fine-tuned machine to detect and clear out pathogens.</p> <p><strong>Older immune systems are weaker</strong></p> <p>When a pathogen invades, the difference between illness and health is a race between how fast the pathogen can spread within you and how fast your immune response can react without causing too much collateral damage.</p> <p>As people age, their innate and adaptive immune responses change, shifting this balance.</p> <p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.humimm.2009.07.005">Monocytes from older individuals</a> <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jir048">produce less interferon</a> in response to viral infection. They have a harder time killing infected cells and signaling the adaptive immune response to get going.</p> <p>Low-grade chronic inflammation in individuals that commonly occurs during aging can also <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2000.tb06651.x">dull the ability of the innate and adaptive immune responses</a> to react to pathogens. It’s similar to becoming used to an annoying sound over time.</p> <p>As you age, the reduced “attention span” of your innate and adaptive immune responses make it harder for the body to respond to viral infection, giving the virus the upper hand. Viruses can take advantage of your immune system’s slow start and quickly overwhelm you, resulting in serious disease and death.</p> <p><strong>Social distancing is vital</strong></p> <p>Everyone, no matter their age, needs to protect themselves from infection, not just to keep themselves healthy but also to help protect the most vulnerable. Given the difficulty older individuals have in controlling viral infection, the best option is for these individuals to avoid becoming infected by viruses in the first place.</p> <p>This is where washing hands, avoiding touching your face, self-isolation and <a href="https://theconversation.com/social-distancing-what-it-is-and-why-its-the-best-tool-we-have-to-fight-the-coronavirus-133581">social distancing</a> all become important, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html">especially for COVID-19</a>.</p> <p>COVID-19 is caused by a respiratory virus, which can spread via tiny virus-containing droplets. Larger droplets fall to the ground quickly; very small droplets dry up. Mid-range droplets are of most concern because they can <a href="https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/741245_3">float in the air for a few feet</a> before drying. These droplets can be inhaled into the lungs.</p> <p>Keeping at least 6 feet away from other people helps significantly reduce your chance of being <a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-019-3707-y">infected by these aerosol droplets</a>. But there’s still the <a href="https://theconversation.com/viruses-live-on-doorknobs-and-phones-and-can-get-you-sick-smart-cleaning-and-good-habits-can-help-protect-you-133054">possibility for virus to contaminate surfaces</a> that infected people have touched or coughed on. Therefore, the best way to protect vulnerable older and immunocompromised people is to stay away from them until there is no longer a risk. By stopping the spread of SARS-CoV-2 throughout the whole population, we help protect those who have a harder time fighting infection.<!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brian-geiss-998080">Brian Geiss</a>, Associate Professor of Microbiology, Immunology &amp; Pathology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/colorado-state-university-1267">Colorado State University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/older-people-are-at-more-risk-from-covid-19-because-of-how-the-immune-system-ages-133899">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Malaria and arthritis drugs touted as potential coronavirus “cure”

<p>Pharmacists have been ordered to stop dispensing two drugs touted as potential “cures” for the new coronavirus.</p> <p>Australian pharmacies saw a major rush for old malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine – sold as Plaquenil – and chloroquine after US President Donald Trump touted the medications as a “game changer” in a press conference last week.</p> <p>The comment was based on a recent <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/186Bel9RqfsmEx55FDum4xY_IlWSHnGbj/view">patient trial of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 conducted in Marseilles</a>, France, which reported “<a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/marybethpfeiffer/2020/03/18/science-works-to-use-old-cheap-drugs-to-attack-coronavirus--it-might-just-work/#481669275c49">encouraging</a>” early results.</p> <p>Pharmaceutical Society of Australia president Chris Freeman said the unprecedented demand for the drugs in pharmacies across Australia created a shortage for patients who actually needed them.</p> <p>The two medications are also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.</p> <p>Freeman said despite “positive signals” from the trial, people should not “buy into the hype”.</p> <p>“I think the worst thing that could happen is people start using these medicines in the hope it will prevent the virus, and then relax on other measures to prevent [it],” Freeman told the <em><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-23/malaria-drugs-labelled-early-coronavirus-covid19-cures-treatment/12081306">ABC</a></em>.</p> <p>Freeman has asked pharmacists to keep their supplies of hydroxychloroquine safe.</p> <p>“We’re calling all prescribers to stop prescribing these in the short term until we have some more evidence on whether these medicines are effective in these conditions and are safe to do so,” he said.</p> <p>The Australian Medical Association have also supported the pharmacists’ call for GPs and doctors to stop prescribing the drug.</p> <p>The trial, which studied 36 patients, found that 70 per cent of the hydroxychloroquine-treated group tested negative to the virus at day 6.</p> <p>Ying Zhang, a professor of microbiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said the Marseilles study had “potentially interesting and justified” findings, but was limited by a small sample size and a <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/marybethpfeiffer/2020/03/22/one-patient-dodges-a-covid-bullet-is-she-a-harbinger-or-outlier/#8762c745b843">short treatment and follow-up duration</a>.</p> <p>Christian Perronne, a infectious diseases physician at Greater Paris University Hospitals, said the results were “very encouraging” but added: “I agree with authorities and colleagues that, before recommending this treatment on a large scale, this efficacy should be further studied on a bigger number of patients with a longer follow-up.”</p> <p>According to <em><a href="https://www.vox.com/2020/3/20/21188433/coronavirus-hydroxychloroquine-chloroquine-covid-19-treatment">Vox</a></em>, at least <a href="https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?cond=COvid-19&amp;term=hydroxychloroquine&amp;cntry=&amp;state=&amp;city=&amp;dist=">six clinical trials for hydroxychloroquine</a> are enrolling patients or in planning stages around the world.</p>

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New virus symptoms to watch out for

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Sudden loss of sense of smell or taste has been identified as a possible new coronavirus symptom by specialists in the UK.</p> <p>Patients experiencing the loss of smell or taste were discovered “in the absence of other symptoms”, said the British Association of Otorhinolarygology (ENT UK).</p> <p>The finding was based on strong evidence from coronavirus patients in China, Italy and South Korea who had the condition, known as anosmia, according to <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-new-symptoms-of-loss-of-taste-smell/52838e66-e11a-4252-9b39-b01fb35d8cea" target="_blank"><em>9News</em></a>.</p> <p>"Evidence from other countries that the entry point for the coronavirus is often in the eyes, nose and throat areas,” ENT UK and the British Rhinological Society said in a joint statement.</p> <p>"We have also identified a new symptom (loss of sense of smell and taste) that may mean that people without other symptoms but with just the loss of this sense may have to self-isolate - again to reduce the spread of the virus."</p> <p>The statement also added that these patients may be the “hidden carriers” of the virus and do not meet current guidelines for testing or self isolation.</p> <p>Currently, the Australian Department of Health guidelines say that fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath should trigger self isolation.</p> </div> </div> </div>

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Coronavirus: How to keep your gut microbiome healthy to fight COVID-19

<p>These are unprecedented times. COVID-19 (the illness caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2) has <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/11/health/coronavirus-pandemic-who.html">officially been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation</a>. Many countries have sealed their borders and put the population under voluntary or enforced lockdown. Cultural and sporting events have been cancelled or postponed – including <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/51909518">Euro 2020</a> and the <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-51942898">Glastonbury festival</a> – pubs and restaurants are closing, and people are <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-51941987">panic buying staples such as toilet paper and pasta</a>. But although it can feel like the situation is out of control, there are still plenty of things you can do to protect your health and that of the people around you.</p> <p>First and foremost, follow national <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/">guidance for preventing COVID-19</a>: avoid spreading the virus and cut your chances of catching it by regularly washing your hands, avoiding touching your face and reducing social contact. This is particularly important for protecting at-risk groups including people with existing health conditions, the elderly and pregnant women.</p> <p>As well as protecting yourself from the virus on the outside, you can also build up your defences from the inside by strengthening your immune system. Many people, especially the young, develop only very mild disease. The immune system is complex and highly responsive to the world around us, so it’s not surprising that many factors affect its function. What’s important to know is that most of these factors are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4302727/">not hard-coded in our genes</a> but are influenced by lifestyle and the world around us.</p> <p>One thing that you can control immediately is the health of the trillions of microbes living in your gut, collectively known as the microbiome. Recent research has shown that the gut microbiome plays an <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6104162/">essential role in the body’s immune response to infection</a> and in maintaining overall health. As well as mounting a response to infectious pathogens like coronavirus, a healthy gut microbiome also helps to prevent potentially dangerous immune over-reactions <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/11/science/how-coronavirus-hijacks-your-cells.html">that damage the lungs and other vital organs</a>. These excessive immune responses can cause respiratory failure and death. (This is also why we should talk about “supporting” rather than “boosting” the immune system, as an overactive immune response can be as risky as an underactive one.)</p> <p><strong>Healthy microbiome, healthy gut, healthy body</strong></p> <p>Rather than taking supplements that claim to “boost your immune system” with no good supporting evidence, the food you eat has a big impact on the range and type of microbes in the gut. A <a href="https://joinzoe.com/2019/07/23/improve-microbiome-diversity-gut-health">diverse microbiome is a healthy microbiome</a>, containing many different species that each play their part in immunity and health. Microbiome diversity <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1007727">declines as you get older</a>, which may help to explain some of the age-related changes we see in immune responses, so it’s even more necessary to maintain a healthy microbiome throughout life.</p> <p>The fine details of the interactions between the gut microbiome and the immune system are not fully understood. But there seems to be a link between the <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-12873-4">makeup of the microbiome and inflammation</a> – one of the hallmarks of the immune response. Gut bacteria produce many beneficial chemicals and also <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181218123123.htm">activate vitamin A</a> in food, which helps to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6162863/">regulate the immune system</a>.</p> <p><strong>Eat to feed your microbiome</strong></p> <p>The best way to increase microbiome diversity is by <a href="https://joinzoe.com/2019/08/20/how-to-eat-more-plants">eating a wide range of plant-based foods</a>, which are high in fibre, and limiting <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/boosting-immunity-can-help-your-body-battle-coronavirus-20200312-p549gc.html">ultra-processed</a> foods including junk food. Following a Mediterranean diet has also been shown to <a href="https://gut.bmj.com/content/early/2020/01/31/gutjnl-2019-319654">improve gut microbiome diversity and reduce inflammation</a>: eating plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains; healthy fats like high-quality extra virgin olive oil; and lean meat or fish. Avoid alcohol, salt, sweets and sugary drinks, and artificial sweeteners or other additives.</p> <p>If you are concerned about getting hold of fresh produce while self-isolating or quarantined, frozen fruit, berries and vegetables are <a href="https://www.insider.com/which-is-better-fresh-vs-frozen-vegetables-2018-6">just as healthy as their fresh counterparts</a> and will last much longer than the currently recommended two-week isolation period. Canned fruit, beans and pulses are another long-lasting option.</p> <p>You can also support your microbiome by regularly eating natural yoghurt and artisan cheeses, which contain live microbes (<a href="https://theconversation.com/the-science-behind-probiotics-and-choosing-one-that-works-132804">probiotics</a>). Another source of natural probiotics are bacteria and yeast-rich drinks like kefir (fermented milk) or kombucha (fermented tea). Fermented vegetable-based foods, such as Korean kimchi (and German sauerkraut) are another good option.</p> <p>Whether you’re shopping for yourself, your family or for elderly relatives or friends, choosing foods that support a healthy gut microbiome is much more important than stockpiling toilet paper. <a href="https://www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/news/coronavirus-and-your-mental-wellbeing/">Managing your mental health</a>, staying physically active and getting enough sleep will also help to keep your immune system in good shape. And don’t forget to wash your hands!</p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tim-spector-105795"><em>Tim Spector</em></a><em>, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/kings-college-london-1196">King's College London</a></em></span></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-how-to-keep-your-gut-microbiome-healthy-to-fight-covid-19-134158">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Do you know what coronavirus cough sounds like?

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>As cases of coronavirus continue to rise across the world, many are unsure what the respiratory condition sounds like.</p> <p>It presents with two key symptoms, which are a cough and a fever. As it’s broken out in the middle of cold and flu season, it can be difficult to tell if you’ve got the normal flu or coronavirus.</p> <p>Radio 2<span> </span>has shared audio clips of what the telltale dry cough sounds like.</p> <p>"The two main symptoms of coronavirus to look out for are a continuous dry cough and/or a fever,” said BBC’s Laura Foster.</p> <p>"If you're sneezing a lot, got a runny nose or a headache, you may be ill, but you've probably not got coronavirus.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">A lot of people asking for the Coronavirus explainers we're making to be put on all media platforms. Good news is they are! This is the sort of information we should be sharing regularly to take the pressure off health systems. Plus my acting is hilarious. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID2019?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID2019</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID19</a> <a href="https://t.co/l304j6h1A1">https://t.co/l304j6h1A1</a></p> — Laura Foster (@misslfoster) <a href="https://twitter.com/misslfoster/status/1240615821438865408?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 19, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>"So how high a fever is a coronavirus one? And what exactly is a continuous dry cough?</p> <p>"Well, it's when you cough and there's no mucous or phlegm. There's basically no gooey substance in your tissue. And this is not the odd cough here or there. It has to be coughing regularly for no other reason, such as clearing your throat or smoking."</p> <p>"So how high a fever is a coronavirus fever? Well if you have one, you will know about it. Technically it's a body temperature of more than 37.8 degrees Celsius or 100 degrees Fahrenheit. But if you've not got a thermometer, basically you will feel hot, and your chest and back would be hot if someone touched you."</p> <p>Laura added: "If you have either of these symptoms, then you and everyone you live with needs to stay at home for two weeks.”</p> </div> </div> </div>

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Why we lose our hearing and vision as we age

<p>As the baby boomer generation begins to age, the prevalence of both eye and ear disease will rise exponentially, as there is a strong correlation between vision loss, hearing loss and ageing.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs282/en/">World Health Organisation estimates</a> that 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired, with 82% of people with blindness aged 50 and above. Australia alone will have 800,000 people aged 40 or over with low vision or hearing loss by 2020.</p> <p>As people age, they often experience a number of changes in their physical, mental and social health. Among these are eye and ear changes, and diseases that usually result in vision and hearing loss. Changes to our eyes and ears occur as a result of disease, genetic factors, “wear and tear” and environmental factors.</p> <p><strong>What happens in our eyes as we age?</strong></p> <p>There are a range of changes in our eyes that occur as a result of age. For example, over time the whites of the eyes, or “sclera”, undergo changes due to exposure to ultraviolet light.</p> <p>These changes include a yellowing or browning of the white of the eye due to fatty or cholesterol deposits in the conjunctiva – the mucous membrane that covers the eye – also related to ageing and exposure to ultraviolet light.</p> <p>Over time, changes also occur in the conjunctiva, such as a thinning of the membrane. This often results in dry eye, a condition caused mainly by reduced production of tears and reduced mucous from the conjunctiva.</p> <p>As we age, we often experience a decrease in the strength of our muscles. This is no different in the eye, and the muscles in our eyelids can become weaker over time. Reduced tone in the muscle that gives shape to our lens, as well as stiffening of the natural lens with age, causes presbyopia (inability to see near objects), necessitating the use of reading glasses.</p> <p>Eye disorders that commonly occur in older adults include:</p> <ul> <li> <p><strong>macular degeneration</strong>. This terms describes <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-age-related-macular-degeneration-59889">damage to the pigmented oval</a> in the centre of the retina resulting in decreased central vision and seeing fine detail. This happens as we age because of deposits of fine grains that build up in the retina.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Cataracts</strong>. This is a <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-are-cataracts-63699">clouding of the lens</a> that covers the eye. These are thought to be caused by breakdown and degradation of lens proteins, and are considered a part of the normal ageing of the lens.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Diabetic retinopathy</strong>. This is damage to the retina resulting from diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is age related and the duration and control of blood glucose levels often determine whether or not diabetic retinopathy does or does not develop.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Glaucoma</strong>. When <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-glaucoma-the-sneak-thief-of-sight-64807">glaucoma</a> occurs, the optic nerve is progressively damaged resulting in loss of the peripheral visual field.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Among older Australians, cataract is the most common eye disease and cause of visual impairment (over <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/D1A5409787D800F2CA257C73007F12F3/%24File/eyehlth.pdf">70% of people in Australia</a> aged 80 years and over have cataracts), followed by age-related macular degeneration (occurring in <a href="http://www.aihw.gov.au/media-release-detail/?id=6442464587">3.1% of older people</a>).</p> <p><strong>What happens in our ears as we age?</strong></p> <p>As we get older, we experience changes all over our body, including the ears. Commonly, people’s ears (outer ears, that is) become bigger, earwax accumulates more easily and there is more cartilage in the external ear canal.</p> <p>There is also often a stiffening of the eardrum and <a href="https://www.nursingtimes.net/roles/older-people-nurses/exploring-the-anatomy-and-physiology-of-ageing-part-6-the-eye-and-ear/1840889.article">changes to the neural</a> (nerve) system.</p> <p>These changes contribute to older people suffering from hearing loss and central <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-your-child-having-trouble-learning-they-may-have-auditory-processing-disorder-62491">auditory processing disorders</a>, in which the ear cannot properly process sounds.</p> <p><strong>How these changes affect daily life</strong></p> <p>As a result of these numerous eye and ear changes and diseases, older people typically have vision and hearing problems that include sensitivity to light and difficulty visualising distant objects or reading print.</p> <p>Hearing problems include difficulty with perceiving and discriminating sounds (including speech), understanding speech (particularly in poor listening situations such as when there is high background noise or echo), and processing auditory information.</p> <p>These difficulties interfere with older adults’ everyday functioning and participation in activities. People with sensory loss may have difficulty performing independent activities of daily living such as bathing and shopping. This means they’re more at risk of problems with <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1448344/">mental health and social interaction</a>.</p> <p>One of the most disabling effects of vision and hearing loss is decreased ability to communicate with others. People with severe vision loss (low vision or legal blindness) have difficulty lip reading or perceiving non-verbal cues (such as facial expression or gestures).</p> <p>Those with hearing loss have communication difficulties including difficulty perceiving sounds or following a conversation. For people with loss of both senses, communication difficulties are much worse. They can’t adequately receive a verbal message and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4030176/">frequently misunderstand conversation</a>.</p> <p><strong>Management of sensory loss</strong></p> <p>Management of sensory loss requires assessment by professionals (such as optometrists and audiologists) who will recommend the appropriate management plan that may include the use of a visual or hearing device.</p> <p>Speech pathologists also play a role, with programs including speech perception training or communication programs for clients and carers.</p> <p>Early identification and intervention can help those with vision and hearing loss so the effects of these sensory losses can be minimised, improving their quality of life.</p> <p><em>Acknowledgement: Dr Julian Sack (Ophthalmologist) for his input. </em><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/chyrisse-heine-313009">Chyrisse Heine</a>, Speech Pathologist/Audiologist Senior Lecturer, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-we-lose-our-hearing-and-vision-as-we-age-67930">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Shopper shoves disabled woman to get last toilet paper roll

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>A Perth woman in a wheelchair said that she was pushed by another shopper as she tried to reach for the last pack of toilet paper on a supermarket shelf.</p> <p>Jacqui Giles was about to pick up the final pack of toilet paper when she was shoved out of the way by another customer.</p> <p>"I reached down to go grab it, and she just pushed me and grabbed the toilet paper and went off," Ms Giles told<span> </span><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.9news.com.au/" target="_blank">9News</a>.</p> <p>Giles said that her partner followed the woman to her car and saw evidence of toilet paper hoarding.</p> <p>"She had four 36-packs in her car," she said.</p> <p>Giles said the behaviour was "really selfish".</p> <p>"If someone did that to my grandparents I wouldn't be happy, or to anyone who needs it.</p> <p>"Some people could be quite sick and (have) bowel disease, and they really do need it."</p> <p>Luckily, she was able to buy a pack earlier in the day.</p> <p>Industry Minister Karen Andrews condemned panic buying behaviour.</p> <p>"Firstly - there is no need for people to continue to buy extensive amounts of toilet paper," she said.</p> <p>"We have adequate supplies of that in Australia, and quite frankly, people's usage is not likely to change.</p> <p>"So there is no need to panic buy that."</p> <p>Currently, there is no nationwide shortages of any major supermarket item, but people’s panic-buying makes it difficult to keep essentials on the shelves.</p> <p>"The issue that we are experiencing at the moment is getting the goods out of our distribution centres and on to the shelves.</p> <p>"The more panic buying that continues, the more difficult that is, which means that people will walk into stores and they will see shelves that are not fully stocked.</p> <p>"That is only a restocking issue. It is not a supply issue.</p> <p>"So if everyone goes back to their normal purchasing behaviour at a supermarket, there is no cause for alarm."</p> <p>A blind woman also reported having toilet paper stolen from her shopping trolley in Melbourne.</p> <p>"Because we cannot see, people are stealing from us," she told 9News.</p> <p>"Please consider other people who are disadvantaged because we can't get food because we don't have cars."</p> </div> </div> </div>

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Things people say about exercise that aren’t true

<p>It can be hard to include exercise in our busy lives, despite the best of intentions. There are a lot of reasons people don’t exercise, and a lot of misconceptions about exercise. Here are nine common misconceptions about exercise and what research actually tells us.</p> <p><strong>1.</strong> <strong>I was fit once, so I don’t need to exercise</strong> Unfortunately, the health benefits of exercise won’t last if you don’t sustain your exercise regime. A significant reduction or drop out can cause a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10999420">marked loss of initial benefits, such as cardiovascular fitness and endurance</a>. Consistency is the key. Mix it up and keep it interesting as maintaining high levels of physical activity throughout your life is associated with the best health outcomes.</p> <p><strong>2. Being on your feet all day doesn’t have the same benefit as exercise</strong> Being on your feet, moving around all days means you have a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0828282X15016499?via%3Dihub">high level of physical activity</a>. This is health enhancing. To optimise health benefits, increase your level of exercise – enough to cause you to sweat a little – to <a href="https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf">at least 150 minutes a week</a>, where possible.</p> <p><strong>3.</strong> <strong>Exercise needs to be ten minutes or longer, otherwise it’s a waste of time</strong> The good news is that <a href="https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf">recent guidelines</a> have eliminated the need for physical activity to be delivered in bouts of at least ten minutes. There is no minimum threshold for health benefits, so carry out active daily chores, such as carrying heavy shopping bags and vigorous house or garden work, to improve your health.</p> <p>Try to do exercise “<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24817675">snacks</a>”, for example three to five short (half a minute to two minutes) bouts of activity spread across the day, such as climbing a few flights of stairs at a <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/53/18/1137#DC1">high enough intensity</a> to make you a bit out of breath.</p> <p><strong>4.</strong> <strong>I have a chronic disease, so I should avoid exercise</strong> This is not the case. Being more active will benefit a range of chronic conditions, including cancer, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Be as active as your condition allows, aiming for <a href="https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf">150 minutes a week of moderate activity</a> if possible. If you have complex health needs, seek medical clearance from a doctor before you start a new exercise regime and get exercise advice from a physiotherapist or other exercise professional.</p> <p><strong>5. I’m too old to exercise</strong> This is not true. <a href="https://www.ukactive.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Reimagining_Ageing.pdf">Evidence shows</a> that ageing alone is not a cause of major problems until you are in your mid-90s. And strength, power and muscle mass <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24030238">can be increased</a>, even at this advanced age. Ideally, include aerobic exercise, balance training and muscle strengthening <a href="https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf">if you are 65 years or older</a>.</p> <p><strong>6. Exercise will make me thin</strong> Not necessarily. Combine calorific restriction with physical activity for more successful weight loss and remember: <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/49/15/967#ref-7">you cannot outrun a bad diet</a>. People who have substantial weight loss goals (over 5% of body weight) and people trying to keep a significant amount of weight off may need to do <a href="https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf">more than 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity</a> to achieve their goal. Include resistance work to build lean body mass.</p> <p><strong>7.</strong> <strong>I run once a week, but that’s not enough</strong> Rest assured that any amount of running, even once a week, results in important health benefits. If you don’t have much time to exercise, even as little as 50 minutes of running once a week at a pace slower than 6mph (9.65km/h) has been shown to result in a decrease in the risk of premature death. Higher levels of running <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2019/09/25/bjsports-2018-100493">do not necessarily improve the mortality benefits</a>.</p> <p><strong>8.</strong> <strong>I’m pregnant, so I need to take it easy</strong> Moderate-intensity physical activity is <a href="https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf">safe for pregnant women</a> who are generally healthy and <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/49/21/1377">poses no risk to the wellbeing of the foetus</a>. Physical activity <a href="https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf">decreases the risk of excessive weight gain and gestational diabetes during pregnancy</a>.</p> <p><strong>9. I’m not feeling well, I shouldn’t exercise</strong> If you have a fever, are acutely unwell or are experiencing high levels of pain or exhaustion, don’t exercise. In most other cases, being physically active is safe, but listen to your body and decrease your exercise load if you need to. And if you can, get dressed and moving as soon as possible to avoid “<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28558567">PJ paralysis</a>”.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/128249/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/julie-broderick-646556">Julie Broderick</a>, Assistant Professor, Physiotherapy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/trinity-college-dublin-701">Trinity College Dublin</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/things-people-say-about-exercise-that-arent-true-128249">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Why you get shorter as you age

<p>While you may be aware that a loss of vision, hearing and memory is a sign of ageing, something that is perhaps not so noticeable is a reduction in height. This apparent shrinking is due to several factors relating to changes in bone, muscles, joints and other tissues in your body. While a certain amount of height loss is a normal part of ageing and unlikely to be associated with any health problems, significant height loss may indicate underlying issues. Understanding what happens to your body as you age is important so you can counteract some of the negative effects of ageing.</p> <p>As early as your thirties, age-related muscle loss, known scientifically as <a href="https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/guide/sarcopenia-with-aging">sarcopenia</a>, can mean you lose muscle mass at a rate of 3-5% each decade. Of particular concern are those muscles in your torso, which are primarily responsible for keeping you in an upright position. A reduction in their ability to maintain your posture can make you look stooped and hence shorter.</p> <p>Another reason for height loss as you age is your bone health. Bone is an extremely complex connective tissue that can adapt its size and shape in response to mechanical loads. This enables your bone to remodel itself throughout your life.</p> <p>In your younger years, you go through a growth stage, depositing bone so rapidly that 90% of your peak bone mass is reached in your late teens. This growth is consolidated in your mid-twenties when peak mass is reached.</p> <p>Around the age of 35-40, you begin to <a href="https://pure.solent.ac.uk/admin/files/11166593/Hawkey_2011_Osteoporosis_JST_Vol4_Issue1_1_.pdf">lose more bone than is generated</a>. Eventually, this loss of bone leads to a condition known as osteoporosis, which is characterised by low bone mass and increased bone fragility. Combined, these factors result in a <a href="https://www.who.int/chp/topics/Osteoporosis.pdf">greater risk of fracture</a>. While the hips and forearms are common sites for the disease, it is most common in the vertebrae (spine) where it has a negative impact on stature.</p> <p>Also located in the spine and responsible for maintaining your posture are the vertebral discs. These gel-like cushions sit between the vertebrae and act as shock absorbers, helping to keep the back flexible.</p> <p>When we are young these discs, which are about 80% water, are strong and supple. As you age, the discs gradually compress and flatten. Consequently, the spaces between the vertebrae are reduced. A similar effect is seen in the arches of the foot as you age when the ligaments begin to degenerate. This leads to flat arches, causing you to walk with a more flat-footed style.</p> <p><strong>Keep your stature</strong></p> <p>While most height loss is determined by your genes, there are some lifestyle factors you can follow to help maintain your height and, perhaps more importantly, reduce the effects that ageing has on your health and wellbeing.</p> <p>Regular exercise, especially activities that incorporate some form of weight-bearing, are good for generating bone. While you are never too old to receive some benefit from exercise, research has shown that developing strong bones in the teenage years (when most peak-bone mass is established) offers some protection as you enter older age. This kind of exercise inherently benefits muscle growth too, and so has the potential to protect against both osteoporosis and sarcopenia.</p> <p>While a healthy balanced diet is essential for general health, foods high in vitamin D and calcium, including almonds, broccoli and kale, also contribute to bone health. Not smoking or drinking alcohol and limiting caffeine consumption also helps.</p> <p>While a bit of shrinking is a normal part of ageing, it can suggest more serious issues. Ensuring that you maximise bone health and wellbeing throughout your life is vitally important.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/132826/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-hawkey-939209">Adam Hawkey</a>, Associate Professor, School of Sport, Health and Social Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/solent-university-1523">Solent University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-you-get-shorter-as-you-age-132826">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Tracy Grimshaw steps down from hosting A Current Affair amid coronavirus scare

<p>Tracy Grimshaw took a day off hosting <em>A Current Affair </em>after news emerged that Rita Wilson, who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, used her dressing room earlier this week.</p> <p>Karl Stefanovic took over hosting duties on the current affairs program Thursday evening after Grimshaw decided to step back as a precaution.</p> <p>According to Nine, Grimshaw’s immune system is not fully recovered after a recent surgery.</p> <p>Wilson visited the <em>Today Extra </em>set with husband Tom Hanks on Monday. The couple were diagnosed with COVID-19 while in Australia and are in isolation at a Gold Coast hospital.</p> <p>Channel Nine presenters David Campbell and Belinda Russell, who interviewed the pair, <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/12/channel-nine-presenters-tested-for-coronavirus-following-rita-wilson-interview" target="_blank">are being tested for coronavirus</a>.</p> <p>Campbell told 2GB Wilson did not show any symptoms during her visit to the network’s Sydney studios.</p> <p>“She was cautious. She actually made a joke coming into the studios, saying we shouldn’t shake hands, we should bump elbows. So we bumped elbows,” he said.</p> <p>A Nine spokesperson said in a statement: “Our actions are in line with the guidelines set out by the Government and Health Authorities. Those who were in prolonged contact with Ms Wilson have been tested and are self-isolating for 14 days.”</p>

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