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Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 3:39 PM
— Two new cases of the human plague have been confirmed in New Mexico Tuesday, according to health officials.
This year, New Mexico has seen three cases of the plague, the first of which was reported in early June.
All three cases required hospitalization, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.
Here are seven things to know about the plague:
What is it?
According to Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plague is a disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis that affects humans and other mammals.
What is the history of plague?
The first, called the Justinian Plague (after 6th century Byzantine emperor Justinian I), began in A.D. 541 in central Africa and spread to Egypt and the Mediterranean.
The “Great Plague” or “Black Death” originated in China in 1334 and eventually spread to Europe, where approximately 60 percent of the population died of the disease.
Lastly, the 1860s “Modern Plague,” which also began in China, spread to port cities around the world by rats on steamships, according to the CDC.
In 1894, French bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin discovered the causative bacterium, Yersinia pestis.
Ten million deaths resulted from the last pandemic, which eventually affected mammals in the Americas, Africa and Asia.
It was during this last pandemic that scientists identified infectious flea bites as the culprit in the spread of the disease.
Where in the U.S. is human plague most common?
Human plague usually occurs after an outbreak in which several susceptible rodents die, infected fleas leave the dead rodents and seek blood from other hosts.
These outbreaks usually occur in southwestern states, particularly in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico, according to the CDC.
According to the World Health Organization, an average of five to 15 cases occur annually in the U.S.
Since 1900, more than 80 percent of those cases have been in the bubonic form.
Worldwide, there are approximately 1,000-3,000 cases of naturally occurring plague reported every year.
How do humans and other animals get plague?
Usually, humans get plague after a bite from a rodent flea carrying the bacterium.
Humans can also get plague after handling (touching or skinning) an animal (like squirrels, prairie dogs, rats or rabbits) infected with plague.
According to the CDC, inhaling droplets from the cough of an infected human or mammal (sick cats, in particular) can also lead to plague.
What are the types of plague and their symptoms?
Bubonic plague (most common)
Pneumonic plague (least common)
How is plague treated?
Immediately see a doctor if you develop symptoms of plague and have been in an area where the disease is known to occur.
Your doctor will likely give you strong antibiotics (streptomycin, gentamicin or others) to combat the disease.
If there are serious complications like organ failure or bleeding abnormalities, doctors will administer intravenous fluids, respiratory support and give patients oxygen.
How to protect yourself, your family and your pets against plague
You and your family
The CDC warns against picking up or touching dead animals and letting pets sleep in the bed with you.
Experts also recommend eliminating any nesting places for rodents such as sheds, garages or rock piles, brush, trash and excess firewood.
Other ways to protect yourself and your family include wearing gloves if handling dead or sick animals, using an insect repellent with DEET to prevent flea bites and reporting sick or dead animals to your local health department or to law enforcement officials.
Flea medicine should be administered regular for both dogs and cats.
Keep your pet’s food in rodent-proof containers and don’t let them hunt or roam in rodent habitats.
If your pet becomes ill, see a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Published: Wednesday, June 06, 2018 @ 1:29 PM
— Is “just −so −tired” your constant state of being?
Batteries drained? All out of oomph? Exhausted?
There are so many ways to describe that blah, no energy feeling that can strike throughout the day. And while sometimes the explanation is obvious (binge-watching an entire season of Santa Clarita Diet last night may not have been the best idea), other energy sappers are not as noticeable or just creep up over time.
"Stress, poor diet, poor-quality sleep, lack of exercise and limited bright-light exposure during the day can all contribute to fatigue," psychologist Shelby F. Harris, director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, told Consumer Reports.
If certain symptoms accompany your fatigue, you may need to see a doctor, according to CR. They include unexplained weight gain or loss, fever, shortness of breath, morning headaches or difficulty concentrating.
For other folks who feel drained, self-help is an option. Harris and other health experts shared these quick ways to boost your energy throughout the day. Bye bye, blahs!
Even chirpy morning people need some time before they're fully functioning. "It can take up to two hours to get the brain fully alert," Matthew Edlund, a doctor and director of the Gulf Coast Sleep Institute in Sarasota, Florida, told Real Simple. He explained that one reason you're lethargic is that your core body temperature has dipped during the night to keep you in deep, restorative slumber.
To jar yourself back to peak energy more quickly, open the blinds and do a few stretches in front of the window. Light lets your brain know it's time to stop producing melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy, Edlund said. The physical activity will raise your body temperature out of the sleep-inducing range and increase blood flow to your brain.
Take a “scentsational” shower. For a quick morning energy boost while you bathe before work or school, use bath products scented with citrus, eucalyptus or mint. "When you smell these scents, a surge of energy flows through the body, which clears the mind of clutter and gives you a quick lift," Ann Marie Chiasson, a Tucson-based integrative-medicine physician, told Real Simple.
Pack in some protein. Eating lots of protein is essential for staving off fatigue, especially early in the day when your cortisol levels are high, Beverly Hills-based endocrinologist and metabolic specialist Eva Cwynar told Forbes. She suggested putting eggs on the breakfast menu, having a slice of ham on the side or adding protein powder to your oatmeal. If you eat only carbohydrates, you'll crash early and hard, explained Cwynar, who is the author of The Fatigue Solution: Increase Your Energy in Eight Easy Steps.
If you're not a breakfast person, try to manage at least a banana and about 22 raw almonds, Real Simple advised. Or sip a bottle of drinkable fruit yogurt or kefir, adding 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed for a fiber boost.
Shake up your routine. Any time you provide yourself with a novel experiences, your brain responds by releasing a rush of neurotransmitters, such as the dopamine that makes you more alert, according to Real Simple. Whether you hit a morning slump while watching the kiddos play in the yard or completing yet another report at the office, just taking something ordinary and switching it up can give you a quick hit of energy. Answer the phone with your other hand, for example, or skip to the mailbox or speak in just one-syllable words for five minutes.
Plan something to look forward to. Along with a light, protein-packed lunch like turkey chili, RS recommended taking part of your lunch hour to research something that will brighten your days to come. "Browse the Web for plane tickets. Or check out reviews for a movie you want to see over the weekend. Anticipating a pleasurable reward can set off a blast of energizing dopamine."
Make a two-minute play date. Just a few minutes of fun brain-teasers will activate the reward system of the brain, which releases a surge of energizing neurotransmitters, according to RS. It recommended the Cup O' Joe brain-training app for the iPhone for memory games and reaction-time tests that are also actually entertaining.
Fill out tomorrow's to do list. Rumination activates some parts of the prefrontal brain regions that have been associated with depression, Boulder, Colorado–based clinical psychologist Joan Borysenko told Real Simple. That means agonizing over what's on your must-do list for tomorrow will drain enjoyment from the evening ahead. If you take a few minutes during the afternoon slump hours to create tomorrow's to-do list, you can prevent this energy-sapping reaction. Should your mind try to dwell on what you didn't accomplish today, you can quickly get back to the fun and relaxation knowing you have a game plan in place.
Cut off the caffeine. Coffee and tea are both great pick-me-ups earlier in the day because of their caffeine content, according to CR. But it's a good idea to limit caffeine overall to about 400 mg (that's about two to four 8-ounce cups of coffee) and stop visiting the coffee machine no later than 4 p.m. or so. "Caffeine can disrupt sleep when it's consumed even six hours before bedtime," CR noted.
9 p.m.-10 p.m.
Power down, sleepyheads. To trigger your brain to start producing that sleep-inducing melatonin, about an hour before bedtime dim the lights, switch off the TV and put away (out of reach, ideally out of the bedroom) all your smartphones, tablets and computers.
Published: Tuesday, May 29, 2018 @ 4:19 PM
Now, there's another item for the list, one that goes in the "life is unfair" column − because it turns out that binge-watching Netflix (your source of joy, stress reduction and water cooler conversations) can cause poor sleep and insomnia.
Netflix may have tweeted that sleep is its "greatest enemy," but in real life, it is wreaking havoc. Binge-watching Netflix, Hulu or other streaming services causes sleep deprivation, according to scientists from the University of Leuven in Belgium in a 2017 study published later in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. The researchers surveyed 423 people ages 18 to 25 and concluded that among poor sleepers, almost a third (32.6 percent) had a poor sleep quality associated with being a binge viewer.
Increased levels of binge-watching made the bad effects worse, including daytime fatigue and insomnia symptoms, from bad moods to a higher risk of being in a workplace accident or drowsy driving crash.
Ugh! Why would these good doctors say such things about binge-watching a series like "The Good Wife?" The science behind the findings goes beyond the obvious explanation of, "If you're watching, you're not sleeping."
Researchers found binge-watching adversely affected sleep in two areas. The first, pre-sleep arousal, may sound like an element of "The Eddy" or some other bingeable series, but it actually refers to the way the content you're watching activates your brain and body, according to Tuck.com, with a mission of "advancing better sleep."
At some point during the binge, you get invested in the show, becoming nervous about what happens next or thrilled about some relationship development.
That's great for the entertainers and great for the viewer, but not so good for prospects of a good night's sleep. Why? Those feelings don't stay in your cerebrum: They make your heart pound and your whole body become more alert. "When your body and brain are that activated, it's the opposite of the relaxation and 'shutting-off' period your body needs to induce sleep," Tuck.com noted. "Even if you're just lying there, your body feels 'on.'"
The second factor that makes binge-watching so damaging to healthy sleep is the blue light coming from the TV, phone, tablet or computer that enables binge-watching. "When your brain senses blue light from an electronic device, it perceives it as sunlight," Tuck.com explained. "As a result, it assumes it's still daytime, so it's not yet time to kick off melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. It releases at night, inducing sleep. The longer your brain delays melatonin release, the harder it is to fall asleep, and stay asleep."
Of course, you can know how the binge-watching ends (or rather doesn't end with a good night's sleep) and still crave just one more episode.
Happily, you don't have to choose between binge-watching and good sleep. "You can stream your favorite shows and movies without sacrificing the sleep you need each night," American Academy of Sleep Medicine President Ronald Chervin said. "Responsible binge-watching is the way to balance your personal entertainment with your health and well-being."
Here are tips for creating a binge-watch/sleep compromise from AASM and Tuck.com:
Adjust the light. Consider binge-watching as part of the overall light that cues your sleep-wake cycle. Spend plenty of time out in natural light, particularly early in the day, Tuck.com recommended. "This will boost your alertness so you're less tired during the day, but it will also make you sleepier by the time bedtime rolls around."
Filter the blue. When you feel the need to binge-watch, turn on your device's native red-light filter to filter out strong blue wavelengths or download an app that does it for you.
Schedule viewing and sleep time. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, essentially training your body to naturally be alert or tired at predictable times each day, Tuck.com advised. Take the same approach with binge-watching, setting a limit for how many episodes you'll watch and at what times and sticking to it.
Avoid temptation. Download only the episodes you have allowed on your schedule and then turn off the WiFi on your device so you can't sneak in a few more episodes. It's also a good idea to watch with a buddy who will help you stay accountable.
Turn off all your electronics at the same time each day. Bringing the binge-watching to a halt helps, but if you're still on the phone checking e-mail, your brain is still getting cues from blue light. Shoot for turning off electronics 60 minutes before bed.
Turn off "auto-play" in your settings. This goes for Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video alike.
Select low-key binge content late at night. Save those juicy dramas and pulse-quickening thrillers for afternoon or sick-day sessions. Close to bed, try those restrained but amusing sitcoms that are still bingeable, like "One Day at a Time" (a Tech Junkie pick, so it's bound to be good).
Pick a good spot to binge watch. Back to that "life's unfair" theme again. Bed is the worst place to binge-watch if you're hoping to sleep well later. "Your bed should be reserved for sleep and sex only," Tuck.com noted. "The more activities you introduce to your sleep environment, the more you confuse your brain into forgetting it's a place to wind down and fall asleep. If you spend hours binge-watching, your brain may come to associate your bed as a place you lie for hours without falling asleep."
Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 3:02 PM
— You're asleep, right? You can hardly be expected to control your actions, much less your thoughts. But if bad dreams are ruining your sleep (and affecting your waking moments), you can work to eliminate or minimize them, according to psychologists and sleep experts.
How nightmares work
"One way of thinking about dreams is that they're part of the same problem-solving processes that we use during the day time," Gregory White, a California-based clinical psychologist and psychology professor at National University, told U.S. News and World Report. "If you're really distressed, you're more likely to have distressing dreams."
In turn, a night of bad dreams can leave you feeling depressed or angry the next day, and repetitive sleep loss can cause a slew of negative side effects, from poor performance to obesity. Long-term sleep loss can even lead to mental illness.
Tore Nielsen, a professor of psychiatry, who directs the University of Montreal's Dream and Nightmare Laboratory, told U.S. News about his research, which showed excessive numbers of nightmares are frequently linked to mental health problems including anxiety disorders, PTSD, depression and even a higher risk of suicide.
"Fortunately, there are effective treatments for nightmares," he added, like rehearsing the "bad dream script" with a more positive ending, or treating nightmares and anxiety disorders simultaneously.
Know the ordinary causes
According to Psychology Today, nightmares occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and result in feelings of extreme fear, horror, distress or anxiety. "This phenomenon tends to occur in the latter part of the night and often awakens the sleeper, who is likely to recall the content of the dream," according to PT, which detailed these common causes:
How to fight nightmares
Writing in Physchology Today, Susan Krauss Whitbourne looks at recent nightmare research and recommends the following steps for those suffering from nightmares:
In addition to these steps, Gregory White suggests breathing exercises. While holding on to the memory of the bad dream, take a deep breath and then release it very slowly "so that you decondition" the anxious feeling you've associated with the dream. He also recommended getting out of bed quickly, since movement tends to disrupt the ability to remember dreams.
Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 12:10 PM
XENIA — The number of Hepatitis A cases in Ohio and neighboring states has spiked since January, the Ohio Department of Health is reporting.
The are currently 31 cases in the state, the highest since 2015, the Greene County Public Health said in a release Tuesday. In comparison, there were four cases during the same period in 2017, two in 2016 and five in 2015, according to the release.
Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, communicable disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus, the agency said in the release. It is usually transmitted by person-to-person through contact with an infected person’s stool, or consumption of contaminated food or water, the release said.
“One thing you want to do is make sure your food is thoroughly cooked,” said Dan Suffoletto, public information supervisor at Public Health–Dayton & Montgomery County.
A confirmed case of hepatitis A includes both a positive laboratory test and symptom onset, with either jaundice or elevated liver function tests.
Outbreaks have been linked to contact with known hepatitis A case; homelessness; IV drug use; and men who have sex with men, the release said.
Ohio is the latest state to be affected by the Hepatitis A outbreak. Neighboring states such as Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan have all been affected.
Health officials say people can be vaccinated to protect themselves from hepatitis A, but the two doses have to be taken over a six month period.
According to Greene County Public Health, hepatitis A contact can occur by:
• eating food made by an infected person who did not wash his or her hands after using the bathroom
• drinking untreated water or eating food washed in untreated water
• placing a finger or an object in your mouth that came into contact with an infected person’s stool
• having close personal contact with an infected person, such as through sex or caring for someone who is ill
• being coughed on or sneezed on by an infected person
• sitting next to an infected person
• hugging an infected person
A baby cannot get hepatitis A from breast milk.
•Persons with direct contact with persons who have hepatitis A
•Travelers to countries with high or intermediate rates of hepatitis A
•Men who have sex with men
•Users of injection and non-injection drugs
•Persons with clotting factor disorders
•Household members and other close contacts of adopted children newly arriving from countries with high or intermediate hepatitis rates.
Some people have symptoms two to six weeks after they come in contact with the virus.
People with hepatitis A typically get better without treatment after a few weeks. In some cases, symptoms can last up to six months.
•dark yellow urine
•gray- or clay-colored stools
•loss of appetite
•pain in the abdomen
•yellowish eyes and skin, called jaundice