Posted in Covid-19, Health, news

“Unknown Pneumonia” Reported In Kazakhstan is Possibly Deadlier than COVID-19

The Chinese embassy in Kazakhstan has reported a rapidly evolving outbreak of an “unknown” pneumonia.

Since the start of the year the country has seen over 1772 deaths, with 628 people dying in June alone.

According to the South China Morning Post, the embassy stated, “The death rate of this disease is much higher than the novel coronavirus. The country’s health departments are conducting comparative research into the pneumonia virus, but have yet to identify the virus”.

They continue, “The Chinese embassy in Kazakhstan reminds Chinese nationals here to be aware of the situation and step up prevention to lower the infection risks,”

Kazakhstan is still battling COVID-19 with over 54,000 cases and 247 deaths.

Image from SCMP.com

Lockdown restrictions were reinforced in light of the spike of pneumonia deaths.

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. Symptoms may include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, productive sputum and more.

It is unclear if the “unknown pneumonia” reported in Kazakhstan is a mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus or a new unidentified pathogen.

This is a developing story….

Great Gift!!

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, iHeart Radio and is a Board Certified Family Physician

@DrDaliah

Posted in Entertainment, news

Not so GLEE: Iconic Show Plagued By Multiple Tragedies

The musical comedy-drama Glee, which aired between 2009 and 2015, is facing another tragedy…..Naya Rivera, who played “Santana Lopez” is reportedly missing and presumed dead.

Allegedly she was boating in Lake Piru when her son said she “jumped in”. He was found asleep on the boat, alone by nearby boaters.

Although her thyroid appears large in the above photo, it is unclear if she suffered from thyroid disease or depression.

The 33 year-old actress, however, had a rough road since her days on Glee. She dated Mark Salling, who played Noah “Puck” Puckerman for a short time, before he was found dead in a riverbed, allegedly from suicide, near Big Tujunga Creek in Los Angeles. The 35 year-old actor had battled depression, being registered as a sex offender and was facing 4-7 years of prison after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography.

Mark Salling

In 2013, Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson, died of an overdose of alleged heroin with alcohol, when he was 31, following years of drug abuse.

Cory Monteith

The search for Rivera is still underway.

This is a developing story

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

@DrDaliah

Posted in Entertainment, Health, music, news

Charlie Daniels Dies of a Stroke, Age 83

Monday morning, singer, songwriter and multitalented musician, Charlie Daniels, died of a hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 83 in Tennessee.

In addition to hits such as “The Devil Went Down in Georgia,” the Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member acted, playing himself in “Urban Cowboy”.

He previously successfully battled prostate cancer, but did suffer a previous stroke years prior.

This is a developing story……

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when an area of the brain does not get the proper oxygen and blood flow it needs. There are two major types of stroke:  ischemic and hemorrhagic.

Ischemic strokes are more common than the latter and occur when a clot prevents blood flow to part of the brain.  80% of all strokes fall under ischemic.  It is a likened to a heart attack, except the brain tissue is being deprived of blood and nutrients.  Plaques commonly arise from arteriosclerosis that break off travel to the smaller vessels of the brain.

Hemorrhagic strokes are less common and occur when there is a bleed of one of the brain vessels.  The bleed prevents blood flow into the brain since it is seeping outside the brain tissue, causing damage to nearby cells.  The bleeds could occur from high blood pressure or aneurysms that rupture.

What are the signs of a stroke?

Since a clot or bleed usually affect one area of the brain, we see symptoms on one side of the body, many times its contralateral (opposite) side.  We can also see central effects.  The symptoms of stroke include the following:

  • Weakness of one side of the body
  • Loss of balance
  • Numbness on one side of the body
  • Slurred speech
  • Vision issues
  • Headache
  • Facial droop
  • Tongue that deviates to one side
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
IMAGE BY GREPMED

and more…..

How are strokes treated?

If the stroke was caused by a clot (ischemic) immediate treatment includes dissolving/removing the clot.   Aspirin is used initially and if within the proper time frame, tissue plasminogen activator (TPA).  These clots can also be surgically removed and arteries widened to bring blood flow to the brain.

With a hemorrhagic  stroke, we need to stop the bleed and improve flow to the brain.  Controlling the bleed, bypassing the vessel, “clogging” the aneurysm with techniques such as “coiling” (endovascular embolization) are sometimes utilized.

Time is of the essence, so its crucial to identify the warning signs and call 911 immediately.  The American Stroke Association uses the acronym “FAST” (Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, and Time to call 911).  The sooner a stroke victim receives medical attention the better the prognosis.

fast
COURTESY OF THE AMERICAN STROKE ASSOCIATION

What are the risk factors for stroke?

The following put us at risk of having a stroke.

  • High blood pressure
  • Family history of stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease (artery clogging, such as the heart and carotid arteries)
  • Abnormal heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation
  • Smoking
  • Drugs
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Clotting disorder
  • Sleep apnea
  • Being older (greater than 55)
  • African-Americans appear to be more at risk than Caucasians and Hispanics
  • Men seem to be more affected than women

How do we prevent strokes?

Avoid the following:

  • Excessive drinking
  • Drug use
  • Tobacco products
  • Control blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol
  • Get evaluated by a medical provider if at risk for heart disease or stroke.
IMG_1781

The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Online Dating

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

@DrDaliah

Posted in Covid-19, Employment, Health, news, Politics

COVID Directive Non-Compliance: Why Businesses Have Difficulty Enforcing Customer Rules

As the COVID pandemic continues to see daily new surges in cases, mounting pressure is on state officials and businesses to contain the numbers or risk another shut down.

This week, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak cited the following startling numbers as it pertained to face mask coverings:

49% compliance in 204 businesses inspected.

50% compliance seen at bars, restaurants, bar areas

61% compliance at gyms, salons, tatoo shops, auto sales and maintenance.

Northern Nevada fared better than Southern Nevada with 85% vs 65% compliance respectively.

As a result, the Governor warned businesses that there would be “swift and decisive action” if the mask requirement was not enforced.

On the surface, one would think the “No Mask No Service” rule would be easy to follow. However looking deeper into why there is such a high rate of non-compliance we find the following:

Many businesses do not have enough staff to enforce the law

When reopenings were allowed after weeks of shut down, many employers and businesses owners struggled to attract employees to return to their posts, hence many businesses opened up with less staff.

Mask the rage: How to talk to people who don't wear face coverings ...

Moreover, many businesses were not fortunate enough to be granted funds under the Paycheck Protection Loan program, hence has very little operating funds to staff robustly upon reopening.

Many employees are outnumbered and scared to approach non-masked individuals who may become violent

Some are pregnant, have orthopedic injuries or are smaller than their customers and are too afraid to engage them.

“Refusing service” can trigger one with mental illness to turn violent.  Rejection, accosting, and negative interactions can be perceived as “attacks”, putting an employee who is not trained in tactical movements or negotiation at risk.

In early May, a security guard was shot when he asked a customer at a Michigan Family Dollar store to wear a mask per company policy.

One week later a shooting occurred at a McDonald’s in Oklahoma City because a customer was asked to leave when she wasn’t following social distancing guidelines.  Three employees needed to be taken to the hospital but all recovered.

Also in May a customer threw a bottle of hot sauce at an employee and went on a “rampage” after being asked to wear a mask.

Then in late May, an Aurora, Colorado Waffle House customer allegedly shot a cook when asked to wear a face mask or risk not being served.

Videos have been taken throughout the country of enraged customers being asked to wear a mask, some turning violent.

The average restaurant or store does not have a security detail to protect their employees and other customers if someone doesn’t want to follow the new laws.

Businesses fear risking a public relations nightmare

If a staff member refuses service to a customer for not wearing a “mask”, the incident may be filmed and go viral on social media before the business has a chance to defend itself.

Moreover, some staff get overwhelmed by their jobs and the mask order and make poor judgement calls.

“No Mask No Service”, How To Avoid Being Accused of “Corona Discrimination”

For example, Zahur Abdiaziz, was refused service at Marissa’s Bakery in Minneapolis when she came in wearing a hijab instead of a mask. The employee behind the counter could be heard saying “no mask no service”, appearing to not acknowledge that the hijab was covering her nose and mouth, allowed within state guidelines. The bakery has apologized and the fate of the employee has not been disclosed.

Zahur Abidiaziz

The amount of new guidelines restaurants, bars, gyms follow in regards to customer volume restrictions, masks and social distancing, may be acceptable to many in the community, including officials hoping to lessen spread of the highly contagious SARS-CoV-2. However some restaurants may find them cumbersome, at times dangerous, and difficult to enforce all the while they are operating at losses.

State officials may need to provide guidance and protection for those employees who are not in a safe position to enforce a law, which many customers find unpopular.

Great Gift!!

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, iHeart Radio and is a Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in 4th of July, Covid-19, Health, news

Avoid Using Hand Sanitizer Near Fireworks This Weekend

The most sparkly and spectacular holiday of the year is unfortunately one of the most dangerous when it comes to fireworks.  As more Americans shoot off fireworks themselves, injuries are rising exponentially. 

Combine that with our religious use of hand sanitizer during this COVID pandemic and it’s a recipe for disaster.

Hand sanitizer may have anywhere from 60-95% alcohol base, hence can be extremely flammable. Moreover if it sits as residue on one’s hands, it’s presence may be forgotten.

Hence health officials are urging to use soap and water for hand washing if you plan on engaging in any firework activities.

The City of Greensboro, NC Fire Department warned followers on facebook to avoid the dangerous mix of fireworks and sanitizer.

But this isn’t the only drama that surrounds 4th of July festivities.

Let’s break this down.

When were fireworks first invented?

Many historians believe fireworks have their origins dating back to 200 BC in China.

According to History.com, They would roast bamboo, which explodes with a bang when heated due to its hollow air pockets, in order to ward off evil spirits. At some point between 600 and 900 A.D., Chinese alchemists—perhaps hoping to discover an elixir for immortality—mixed together saltpeter (potassium nitrate, then a common kitchen seasoning), charcoal, sulfur and other ingredients, unwittingly yielding an early form of gunpowder. The Chinese began stuffing the volatile substance into bamboo shoots that were then thrown into the fire to produce a loud blast. The first fireworks were born.

When were fireworks first used to celebrate Independence Day?

On July 3, 1776, John Adams penned a letter to his wife suggesting fireworks, “illuminations” be used to celebrate the upcoming Independence Day (the next day the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence).  The following year, fireworks were used in Philadelphia’s celebration of Independence Day along with a parade.

What types of fireworks are legal/illegal?

Currently, Massachusetts is the only state that bans any individual from owning or setting off fireworks.  As for the other states, laws vary.  For most states, party poppers, smokers, hand-held sparklers, wheel and ground spinners and those approved by the CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission) are approved.  Illegal fireworks most commonly include rockets, Roman Candles, wire and wooden sparklers, projectile fireworks, those using  arsenic, phosphorus, thiocyanates, and gunpowder.

Each state’s laws can be viewed here.

How many people get injured each year during Fourth of July?

Statistics vary but according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) :

  • Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires. These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in direct property damage.
  • In 2017, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 12,900 people for fireworks related injuries; 54% of those injuries were to the extremities and 36% were to the head. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for more than one-third (36%) of the estimated 2017 injuries.

Which fireworks appear to be the most dangerous?

Many fireworks range in potential for injury, and fire hazards appear to be the most worrisome. However, sparklers appear to be the culprit in the majority of cases sending kids and adults to the emergency room.

What types of injuries can be incurred from fireworks?

Keep in mind some sparklers can reach up to 2000 degrees.  Not only is direct contact with fireworks dangerous but secondary injuries may occur trying to avoid the firework.  These include:

  • Burns
  • Eye injuries
  • Facial injuries
  • Hearing Loss
  • Lacerations
  • Broken Bones
  • Sprains
  • Car accidents

Burns comprise the majority of injuries, however many other tragic ones can occur.  One of my in-laws was a bystander when he lost his cornea (outer layer of the eye) from a popper that jumped towards his face, blinding him.

pic0.jpg

How can we protect ourselves from firework injuries?

  • Avoid purchasing and using illegal fireworks.
  • Do not allow young children to handle the fireworks.
  • Use neighborhood areas that are not in the flow of traffic.
  • Have buckets of water and fire extinguishers nearby.
  • Have bystanders back up and remember that they can be in the line of danger as those handling the fireworks.
  • Never relight a firework.
  • Dispose of fireworks only after thoroughly doused with water by a bucket or hose.
  • Don’t carry fireworks in pockets.
  • Don’t shoot fireworks out of metal or glass casings.
  • Opt for watching professional fireworks shows.  They are true fireworks, created by pros, and much more spectacular and beautiful than what we can do on our own.

Happy 4th of July!!

Las-Vegas-Fireworks.jpg
IMAGE FROM MENU OF MUSINGS
spanish book

Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in Covid-19, Employment, Health, news

Diagnosed With COVID? Now What?

As multiple states find test positivity rates rising, more patients are calling their provider or seeking telemedicine consults asking what they should do if they have COVID.

Some courses of COVID-19 are mild with symptoms such as cough, fever, fatigue and muscle aches resolving in a few days.

Yet other people may find their symptoms linger or worsen.

Symptoms of a COVID-19 infection may include:

  • Fever
  • Malaise
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Rash
  • Loss of taste
  • Loss of smell
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Chest Pain
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Dizziness
  • Poor concentration

and more…..

So many ask, what can I do at the start of COVID?

Inform contacts and work

If you think you have COVID or tested positive, you should make those aware who have worked, lived or socialized with you during the last 14 days (as SARS-CoV-2 may have an incubation period of 2 weeks).

Isolate

This is easier said than done but must be executed immediately.

  • Wear masks and maintain at least 6 feet of distance from housemates.
  • Open windows periodically to get fresh air (if weather, safety and low pollen counts allow).
  • Sleep in your own quarters (if possible).
  • Disinfect surfaces that you touch and avoid sharing items such as the remote, utensils, door knobs, etc….
  • Wash hands regularly

Stay hydrated, well nourished and well rested

Many of us when we’re feeling ill go for the hot chocolate and carbs, but remember to eat a balanced diet and stay hydrated. Sleep may also be difficult so make sure you get some well needed rest when your body tells you too.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is westfalia-technologies-nutrition-facts-label-changes-guide-180719153053.jpg
Westfalia Technologies’  https://www.westfaliausa.com/

Look for worsening symptoms and seek medical care

If one has difficulty breathing, for example, not only can this symptom imply COVID but it may also suggest a bacterial pneumonia or cardiac issue (which can both be complications of COVID as well). Seek medical care when any of your symptoms worsen or persist or include any of the following: chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, confusion, poor concentration, severe fatigue, severe muscle aches, non-blanching rash, and bluish lips or skin.

Formulate a plan

Know, before an emergency can arise, where you will go and who will take care of the kids, pets, etc. Contact your insurance carrier to find out which hospital or doctors are in network. If you have a medical provider reach out to them and inquire what they wish for you to do in case you start to see severe symptoms.

Are there preventative/post-exposure medications one can take?

Unfortunately we lack sufficient evidence to suggest taking certain medications for prevention or during early COVID. The National Institutes of Health does NOT recommend any use “of agents” pre- or post- exposure unless enrolled in a clinical trial.

However, some medical experts have suggested Vitamin C, Zinc and Vitamin D supplementation as well as daily famotidine.

Dr. Paul Marik of Eastern Virginia Medical School developed the following protocol:

Eastern Virginia Medical School

However, because clinical evidence has not been shown for these to be used outside of a clinical trial, most hospitals and medical institutions do not encourage their use.

Why Some Critical COVID Patients Are Lying On Their Stomachs

Great Gift!!

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in drugs, Education, Health, news, sex, Social Media, teens

Is Your Teen in Trouble? Your Guide to Their Code Words and Phrases

This generation of teens communicates differently from any others as smartphone technology has outpaced the normal evolution of day-and-age vernacular. As a result, adolescents use short phrases, hashtags, abbreviations and emojis to convey their thoughts while parents and society scramble to catch up.

What Are They Saying? Your Guide to Teen Slang

However, within these bite-size “codes” or phrases could be volumes of meaning, some delineating at risk behavior, some foreboding suicide. 

While many parents are on the lookout for terms used such as “depressed”, “sad”, “wasting my life”, and “I’m a nobody”, Daily Mail reports Tik Tok users have been using cryptic phrases, such as those below, as “cries for help”. These include:

  • I had pasta tonight
  • I want to tell my mom my favorite pasta recipe
  • I’m living in Spain right now but the “s” is silent
  • My shampoo and conditioner are almost empty
  • I finished my shampoo and conditioner at the same time
Reaching out: TikTok users who are in desperate need of support have been posting variations of the codes in their captions and hashtags

The pandemic, and isolation from which, has left many adolescents feeling alone, sad, and despondent about the future. Many teens, as a result, will isolate further and not reach out to others. However, some might, as a last resort, look to social media for acceptance and love.

Some may use hashtags such as:

  • #mentalhealth
  • #nofuture
  • #sadness
  • #sad
  • #badday
  • #lifesucks
  • #worthless
  • #sadeits
  • #love
  • #alone
  • #broken
  • #remorse
  • #atmyend
  • #finished
  • #mood
  • #breakdown

Although some of these terms such as “love” appear harmless, they may indicate that the child may need help from a counselor, physician, or National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

Breaking the code

Generation Y’s (Millennials) and Z’s (those born after 1995) have learned to be concise, descriptive, and to the point as technology and social media encourage less characters/keys being used to get one’s point across.

Teens and young adults, therefore, may use codes that often come from the letters that correspond to the key pad on a phone. 

So here’s a guide to some of the unfamiliar terminology the young ‘uns are using:

Sex/Love

text night.jpg
  • NIFOC – nude in front of computer
  • CU46 – see you for sex
  • 8 – “ate” used in discussions on oral sex
  • 831 – I love you – “eight letters, three words, one you/meaning”
  • 143 – I love you (denotes letters on keypads, or #’s of letters in each word (love has 4 letters)
  • 2N8, 2NTE – tonight
  • 4AO – four adults only
  • 2B@ – to be at
  • 4EAE – for ever and ever
  • 53X – sex
  • 775 – kiss me
  • ?^ – hook up?
  • BAE – before anyone else
  • IWSN – I want sex now
  • ITX – intense text sex
  • NP4NP – naked pic for naked pic
  • 1174 – strip club

Unhappy/Angry

texting-1999275_1920-1024x731.jpg
  • < 3 – broken heart or heart
  • 182 – I hate you (1 stands for “I”, 8 stands for “hate”, 2 stands for “you”)
  • 2G2BT – Too good to be true
  • 2M2H – Too much to handle
  • Blarg, Blargh – similar to “darn” but deeper
  • Butthurt – receiving a personal insult
  • Salty – being bitter about something or someone
  • Watered – feeling sad, hurt
  • Wrecked – messed up
  • 4FS – For F***’s Sake
  • Poof – disappearing
  • ::poof:: – I’m gone
  • Ghost – disappear
  • 555555 – sobbing, crying one’s eyes out
  • ADIH – another day in Hell
  • KMN – kill me now
  • VSF – very sad face
  • KMS – kill myself
  • KYS – kill yourself
  • 187 – homicide

Drugs/Risky Behavior

drugs.jpg
  • 420 – marijuana
  • 420 – let’s get high
  • A/S/L/P – age/sex/location/picture
  • A3 – anytime, anyplace, anywhere
  • LMIRL – lets meet in real life
  • WYRN – what is your real name?
  • Chrismas tree – marijuana
  • Catnip – marijuana
  • Gold – drugs
  • Gummy Bears – drugs
  • Blues/Bananas – narcotics
  • Bars – benzodiazepines
  • Smarties/Skittles – Adderall/Ritalin
  • Ski Equipment/Yayo– cocaine
  • Cola – cocaine
  • Candy/Chocolate Chips/Sweets/Smarties/E – ecstasy
  • Crystal Skull/Wizard – synthetic marijuana
  • Hazel – heroin
  • Gat – gun/firearm
  • Lit – getting high/drunk
  • Smash(ed) – getting drunk, stoned, or having sex

Parents nearby

parents.jpg
  • 9 – parent is watching
  • 99 – parent is not watching anymore
  • P911 – parent alert (parent 911)
  • PAL – parents are listening
  • PAW – parents are watching
  • POS – parents over shoulder
  • AITR – adult in the room
  • CD9 – code 9 – parents in the room
  • KPC – keep parents clueless
  • RU/18 – are you over 18

And the above is just a small sample of some of the terms used these days.  This list continues to grow by the day so parents need to always be aware.  Kids want to KPC and avoid POS so be ready for the next group of codes being created as we speak……

Great Gift!!

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in economy, Health, news, Politics

Did COVID Flip? More Young People Reporting Severe COVID Symptoms

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has not gone away as hoped and is now ravaging young adult communities.

What once was considered a “65 and older” disease, more and more young adults are reporting symptoms of severe COVID.

These include shortness of breath, fever, chest pain, body aches, cough, headache and fatigue.

Additional symptoms include nasal congestion, sore throat, loss of taste and smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and rash.

As businesses struggle to remain open during the pandemic due to social distancing guidelines, employee call-outs due to illness add to the strain of staffing these businesses, thus heightening risk of closure.

In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey ordered the closure of bars and nightclubs for 30 days as their state has seen the highest uptick in cases in the 20-44 year old age group.

In Nevada, the Department of Health and Human Services show younger individual age groups to be more affected than those over 60 years old.

In the last 7 days, those in the 20-44 year age group saw the most prominent spikes.

Image from Southern Nevada Health District

Why are younger adults more affected?

  1. Firstly, many older individuals might have been exposed and infected during the first wave such that the proportions have changed now that more younger people are testing.

2. More testing is being required by employers, hence non-retired workers, who may comprise the younger population, are coming forward to get tested.

3. The virus might have mutated. Some believe it weakened, but in a sense it might have strengthened to overcome a younger, more healthy immune system.

4. Younger individuals who engaged in vaping, tobacco or marijuana use might have become a more susceptible population for a new strain of COVID.

5. Younger adults might have been more social during reopenings or taken part in mass gatherings, protests and demonstrations thereby exposing themselves more than the older, stay at home, population.

The moral: This virus is unpredictable, may mutate, and will infect various population groups leaving younger individuals just as vulnerable as older ones. Don’t let your guard down, wash your hands, keep safe distances away from others, keep up good nutrition and sleep, and seek medical care and/or testing if you feel ill.

Great Gift!!

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, iHeart Radio and is a Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in 4th of July, Employment, Health, news, Politics

Gov. Cuomo Cuts COVID Health Benefits for Those New Yorkers Who Voluntarily Travel to High Hit Areas

In an effort to preserve the progress made in fighting the COVID pandemic, Governor Cuomo has signed an executive order to cut COVID health benefits for those residents who leave the state and travel to high hit areas.

States grappling with surges in COVID cases (higher than 10% positive test rate) include:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • South Carolina
  • Utah
  • Texas

Any New York residents travelling back from these states need to self quarantine for 14 days, according to another executive order given this last week. Fines up to $10,000 could be levied according to the order.

According to the the Governor’s website, he states:

New Yorkers have controlled the spread of this unprecedented virus by being smart and disciplined, and our progress to date is illustrated by the current low numbers of new cases and hospitalizations,” Governor Cuomo said. “But as we are seeing in other states who reopened quickly, the pandemic is far from over and we need stay vigilant. We’re prepared to do the aggressive testing and contact tracing required to slow and ultimately control any potential clusters of new cases like the one in Westchester County. If we are going to maintain the progress we’ve seen, we need everyone to take personal responsibility — that’s why I’m issuing an executive order that says any New York employee who voluntarily travels to a high-risk state will not be eligible for the COVID protections we created under paid sick leave.”

Benefits were extended for COVID related illness in March allowing paid sick leave and protection from losing one’s job. Companies with more than 100 employees are to grant 14 days sick leave and those with 11-99 employees and some (netting over $1 Million) with less than 10 employees are given 5 days sick leave.

This is a developing story…

Great Gift!!

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, iHeart Radio and is a Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in fires, Health, news

Health Risks From Wildfire Smoke

As the multiple fires burns in Southern Nevada and Utah many residents worry what consequences could result in inhaling the smoke. Here are your questions answered.

Image may contain: cloud, sky, outdoor and nature

What is in wildfire smoke?

According to the EPA, smoke emanating from forest and community fires may include any of the following:

  • Carbon monoxide, which competes with oxygen in the blood
  • Carbon dioxide, a respiratory byproduct
  • Wood particles
  • Formaldehyde
  • Acrolein – used as a pesticide
  • Benzene
  • Plastics, and those byproducts after incineration
  • and thousands of different respiratory irritants.

According to the EPA,

Smoke is composed primarily of carbon dioxide, water vapor,
carbon monoxide, particulate matter, hydrocarbons and other
organic chemicals, nitrogen oxides, trace minerals and several
thousand other compounds. The actual composition of smoke
depends on the fuel type, the temperature of the fire, and the
wind conditions. Different types of wood and vegetation are
composed of varying amounts of cellulose, lignin, tannins and
other polyphenolics, oils, fats, resins, waxes and starches, which
produce different compounds when burned.

What symptoms may individuals experience?

Some may have no idea they are breathing in harmful compounds that could affect their lungs and heart.  However, many may experience:

  • Cough
  • Wheeze
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Chest Pain
  • Mucous Production
  • Dizziness/lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Racing Heart (palpitations)
  • Exacerbation of their lung disease including COPD, asthma, chronic bronchitis
  • Exacerbation of heart conditions such as angina, heart attack, and cardiac arrhythmias.
  • Increased susceptibility to new lung infections as well as flu

What are PM2.5s?

PM2.5 are particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter that are present in pollution and wildfire smoke that can penetrate deeply into the lung linings.  Larger, coarse particles 10 micrometers in diameter are called PM10.  Both impair lung function as they inflame the lungs and interfere with the work of alveoli that need to oxygenate the blood.  Moreover the small particles can use this pathway to enter the blood stream. Although the direct health impacts of the fine particulate matter are not clearly defined it is believed that increased PM2.5 levels increase the risk of lung and heart disease as discussed above.

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LUNGS AND ALVEOLI (IMAGE FROM THOUGHTCO.)

Symptoms may begin at levels greater than 55 µg/m.

Which individuals are the most at risk?

  • Infants and Children
  • Elderly individuals
  • Those with chronic lung disease, including asthma and emphysema
  • Those at risk for heart disease and stroke
  • Those with diabetes
  • Smokers
  • Pregnant women
  • Those with chronic allergies
  • Pets

How can residents protect themselves?

Avoiding the area of wildfires is paramount.  Additionally, the following may be considered:

  • Avoid outdoors until air quality reports improve.  Do not rely on how “clear” the air looks.
  • Take heed of wind and air quality advisories.
  • Recirculate the air in your home and car.
  • Keep windows closed.
  • Consult with your medical provider to monitor blood pressure, heart rhythm, lung function and refill any medications you may need BEFORE you feel symptoms.
  • Be wary of facemasks sold as PM2.5 safe as many do not protect against the very small particles. Respirator masks labelled N95 or N100 may provide SOME protection against particulates but not against the toxic fumes such as formaldehyde and acrolein.

Great Gift!!

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, iHeart Radio and is a Board Certified Family Physician