Herd Immunity Explained

Herd immunity is a scientific term you’ve probably heard about since the outbreak of the COVID 19 global pandemic back in the spring of last year, in 2020. At this time, in the approaching summer of 2021, the United States is coming closer and closer to achieving herd immunity. But, just what is herd immunity and how does it happen?

Herd immunity can best be explained as the point at which enough of the population becomes immune to a disease. When this occurs, it essentially makes the spread of said disease less likely from person to person. The end result of herd immunity is that the entire community or population is basically protected from contracting the disease in question and not only those persons who are already immune.

How Herd Immunity is Achieved

Herd immunity, as mentioned above, is the point at which a community or population of people becomes immune to a common disease. Put another way, the vast majority becomes immune to the spread of a given disease, with small pockets still remaining vulnerable. (In other words, not everyone in the community is immune and some remain at risk for contracting the disease.)

Herd immunity is achieved in one of two ways: naturally and through vaccination. The first is self-explanatory, meaning that the disease infects a number of people in the population or a majority are exposed to the virus. For instance, approximately 60% to 70% or more of citizens of a given country are exposed or infected. As a result, there are relatively few who haven’t been exposed. Those who are exposed develop natural antibodies which naturally fight off the disease.

The other way to achieve herd immunity is by way of vaccination. A vaccine contains enough information about the virus to elicit the production of protective antibodies in the body, but it cannot cause an actual infection by the virus. So, the next time vaccinated people are exposed to the disease, their bodies are prepared to fight it off. (This is the scenario that unfolded in the United States when polio was one of the biggest epidemic health threats at the time.)

In today’s context, medical experts estimate that in order to achieve herd immunity in the United States, approximately half to 67% of the population would need to be resistant to the COVID 19 virus. At the time of this writing, this goal is fast approaching. So, now you understand what herd immunity is and how it is achieved.

Health Advantages Of Exercise

The health advantages of exercise are so compelling, once fully known, it can motivate just about anyone to stay active. (Plus, get some personal satisfaction and enjoyment, at the same time.) The human body is anatomically and physiologically designed for complex motor movements. Therefore, exercise is one of the best ways to keep all of those muscles, joints, and bones healthy. Fortunately, there are many added benefits to working out, even mild calisthenics can do wonders for the body. Read on to learn more about the biggest health benefits of exercise.

The health advantages of exercise begin with strengthening the various parts and systems of the body. Basically, working out helps the body to perform at its peak, and thereby staying more healthy and preventing common ailments, such as aches and pains, and even infections like the common cold.

Another huge health benefit of exercise is stress reduction. Working out also helps to prevent worry and anxiety, and as an added benefit, helps you sleep better and feel much more rested. Additionally, exercise helps to focus the mind and body, resulting in clear thinking which can help to improve memory.

Last, but certainly not least, is weight loss and or control. Everyone knows that with some simple routine workouts, performed on a regular basis, the body will become more physically fit, and help you maintain a healthy weight or what's known as body mass index. Losing weight also helps to lessen the physical carry load, which gives the additional benefit of more stamina and dexterity.

Anxiety Disorders, Symptoms, And Causes

Anxiety disorders, symptoms, and causes can be confusing to the average person. After all, just about everyone experiences some level of anxiousness. But, it’s essential to understand that angst -- even panic -- is part of life (though it’s obviously a part of life people would prefer to avoid and never experience). However, it isn’t really possible to fully go through life without suffering from times of apprehension. Although, what is equally disturbing is people who suffer frequently from near-constant and excessive worry. If this occurs, it’s not healthy.

Anxiety Disorders

Unfortunately, there are a number of anxiety disorders, which range from relatively mild to severe. When someone starts to experience certain feelings -- as well as psychological and perhaps physical changes -- this can be an indication of an unhealthy anxiety issue.

Currently, the DSM or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders recognizes and defines several types of anxieties. These include, but are not limited to generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, substance-induced anxiety disorder, panic disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and more.

Anxiety Symptoms

One of the most difficult aspects of identifying any type of psychological (or personality) disorder is accurately assessing the symptoms. This is also true of anxiety disorders. But, there are some commonalities in symptoms, which include, but are not limited to: feeling very tense, unduly nervous, and/or restless, increased heart rate, sweating, sense of panic or doom, trouble with sleeping, difficulty in controlling worry, agoraphobia, trembling, feelings of weakness and/or tiredness, rapid breathing or hyperventilation, and more.

When a person experiences these types of symptoms, these are an indication of an anxiety disorder. But, even experiencing a few or several doesn’t mean it is an actual anxiety disorder. (Instead, it might be a manifestation of another condition).

Anxiety Causes

It is also equally important to understand what may cause anxiety. Generally speaking, there are many triggers or underlying causes of anxiety, which include medical conditions and lifestyle habits. Anxiety can be caused by medical issues and lifestyle choices, such as heart disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, respiratory disorders, IBS or irritable bowel syndrome, drug and/or alcohol abuse, drug and/or alcohol withdrawal, and even rare tumors responsible for producing fight or flight hormones.

When to See a Doctor

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, and they are interfering with your relationships, work, school, or other parts of your life, please speak with your physician as soon as possible.

The Importance of Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

The importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine can't be overstated. While there are many wild theories and claims out in the public, the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine still remains the best way to deal with the virus on a public and personal level. People understandably have many questions about the vaccine, its effectiveness, and any side effects or negative circumstances. But, once misconceptions are cleared up, it's easy to see the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine for yourself, your family, and even the public at large.

The importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine starts with your personal well-being. By exposing your body to a strain of the pathogen, your immune system is better able to cope with the infection, should you come into contact with it. Of course, this is how the flu shot works, by introducing the body to a small and manageable amount of the strain or strains, the body's immune system can go to work to identify and fight it. Consequently, if you do contract the infection, symptoms will likely be very mild or practically non-existent, meaning it's quite probable you won't have to suffer the worst symptoms.

How Safe is the COVID-19 Vaccination?

There are a number of misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccine out there in the public sphere. Contrary to what you might have heard, the vaccine does not interfere with your body's DNA. Nor does it have any adverse impact that would cause subsequent illnesses or diseases. While there is certainly a lot of misleading information about the vaccine, it is safe, having been approved by the Centers for Disease Control or CDC, and by top government health officials.

What are the Benefits of Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Another benefit to getting the vaccine is early evidence showing that vaccinations are reducing the number of transmissions. People need to continue using precautions until the people they are gathering with are also vaccinated.

Lastly, by getting the COVID-19 vaccine, you are doing your part to help stop the spread of the pandemic. The more people that get the vaccine, the closer we come to what's known as herd immunity.

The Three Main Types Of Diabetes

The three main types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. (There are other kinds, but these are considered the most prevalent among the population.) You’ve probably heard these three terms before, but are still uncertain as to what they mean and the differences between them. So, read on to learn more about the three main types of diabetes and what you need to know about each one.

What is Diabetes, Anyway?

Diabetes is a disease that causes a lack of insulin production or does not properly use the insulin that’s produced. (In some cases, it’s a combination of the two issues.) When these things happen, the body isn’t able to transfer sugar from the blood into the body’s cells, which causes high blood sugar levels. Since glucose is one of the main energy sources and is part of the sugar in the blood, a lack of glucose can lead to a number of health problems.

Causes of Diabetes

The underlying cause of type 1 isn’t exactly clear but it’s believed to be triggered by both genetic and environmental factors. The cause of type 2 is also unknown, but contributing factors include genetics, lack of exercise, and obesity. Meanwhile, gestational diabetes comes from insulin-blocking hormones during pregnancy.

General Symptoms of Diabetes

Most people with diabetes experience one or more of the following symptoms: excessive thirst and hunger, frequent need to urinate, drowsiness, fatigue, itchy and dry skin, blurred vision, and wounds that heal slowly.

The three main types of diabetes can develop at different times. Here’s a quick breakdown of onsets:

  1. Type 1 diabetes. This form of diabetes is most frequent in children and adolescents. The lack or deficiency of insulin requires daily injections to maintain healthy blood glucose levels.
  2. Type 2 diabetes. Adults are most typically the age group with type 2 and account for 90% of all cases. Although the body still produces adequate insulin, it does not use it efficiently and requires oral medication and/or insulin doses, along with a healthy diet and routine exercise to keep the disease under control.
  3. Gestational diabetes. This occurs when high blood glucose happens during pregnancy. Although gestational diabetes usually disappears after pregnancy, both mothers and their children are at higher risk for type 2 later in their lifetimes.

The good news is that diabetes can be controlled with the right diet and exercise regime and/or with proper medication.

How Weight Affects Your Health

How weight affects your health is fairly profound. It not only causes physical changes to your anatomy, but also impacts your body's physiology, and psychology as well. People usually think of weight gain as a purely physical problem, but it has many other implications. These range from lifestyle to other elements, including day-to-day life. so, read on to learn more about how weight affects your health.

How weight affects your health begins with its physical impacts on your body. Obviously, the more weight you carry on your frame, the more stress that is put on your muscles and bones. But, it reaches far beyond this, impacting your cardiovascular system, and other systems of your body. For instance, weight gain is generally a cause of hypertension or high blood pressure, due to the need for increased blood supply under more stressful circumstances.

Weight gain is also a common contributor to more severe problems, such as stroke and heart attack. At the very least, weight gain can also trigger long-lasting problems, such as arrhythmia or diabetes. People who are overweight for longer periods of time also experience problems with their joints and muscles. Carrying excess weight also has an adverse impact on the feet and ankles, which can lead to severe problems with the feet, ankles, knees, and hips.

There are also psychological effects that weight gain induces. People become less interested in physical activity because of the excess exertion needed to participate. Additionally, weight gain can also lead to problems with self-confidence and self-esteem alike. Overweight individuals can tend to become more introverted over time.

In order to avoid all of these problems and issues, it's best to maintain a healthy weight for your body height and build. Your doctor will be able to tell you what's normal for your particular physical characteristics. In general, weight can be controlled through regular exercise, portion control, and avoiding bad habits such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and indulging in junk food.

If you are overweight, it's best to start an exercise regimen that is simple and gets more complex and demanding over time. Additionally, eating smaller portions during meals, and avoiding fatty foods will greatly help. If you simply eat more healthily, consume less during each meal, and exercise regularly, you can get your weight under control within a relatively short period of time.

The Importance Of Getting A Flu Vaccine

The importance of getting a flu vaccine just can’t be overstated. The fact of the matter is, the flu is a serious form of sickness. So much, the virus literally claims tens of thousands of lives every year. Moreover, a couple of hundred thousand people are hospitalized due to getting the flu. Even with these extreme examples aside, there are other benefits to getting a flu vaccine. Read on to learn more about the flu vaccine and what you need to know.

The importance of getting a flu vaccine shouldn’t be ignored. Make no mistake, this is a very difficult virus to deal with, and even more so when you’re not inoculated against it. (This is especially true if you’re in a high-risk situation.) Instead of suffering regret, it’s far better to be cautious. Here are the most important reasons to get a flu vaccine:

  1. It could save your life. although the flu is not as serious a threat as it was even 50 or 100 years ago, it still has the potential to take your life. In fact, over 200,000 people were hospitalized during the 2017 through 2018 flu season, and around 80,000 people lost their lives after contracting the virus.
  2. It can reduce sick days. While the flu vaccine isn't a magic bullet, it can reduce the severity of the illness greatly. At the very least, it can give you enough of a boost to avoid the worst aspects of the symptoms and thus, reduce your need to take sick days.
  3.  It’s often free or low-cost. Usually, your health insurance will cover the cost of getting the flu vaccine. Alternatively, if this isn't an option, there are many places to get it at a very low cost.
  4. There’s a needle alternative. If you're the type of person who can't abide a needle, there's some really good news -- there's a nasal spray form that you can get so you don't have to worry about the prick of a needle.
  5. It won’t give you a case of the flu. One very common misconception is that the flu vaccine gives recipients a case of the illness. This is not true.
  6. There are new flu strains every year. Maybe you're thinking of skipping it this year because it's a milder case or you got it earlier in the year. But, every bout is different, meaning new strains emerge all the time.
  7.  Any side effects are typically quite mild. If you're worried about side effects, this shouldn't be a concern because any known side effects are quite mild.

How Covid-19 Stress Can Affect Your Health

How COVID-19 stress can affect your health is both fascinating and frightening. In one regard or more, it's truly amazing how the novel Coronavirus can impact your everyday health by inducing stress. On the other hand, it's almost terrifying to know that it can exert such pressure and exact such a physical, emotional, and mental toll. So, read on to learn more about how coronavirus stress can negatively impact your overall health.

How COVID-19 stress can affect your health goes beyond just feeling uptight or anxious. This is because it is a very unfamiliar, and quite powerful trigger. Something that mental health experts and medical doctors understand well, is the immense power of the emotion of stress. It not only unnerves people and causes them to panic, but it also has a number of other effects, which can be very harmful to your physical, psychological, and emotional well-being. Here are the most common negative effects that COVID-19 stress can induce:

  1. Lack of sleep (or too much). Stress is known in the medical community to deprive people of valuable and necessary sleep. It can easily disrupt normal patterns to the point that individuals do not get the amount of sleep they need to properly function. Conversely, some individuals either attempt to compensate or are alternatively affected by sleeping too much, which can result in feelings of depression.
  2. Bad eating habits. Just about any form of stress can lead to what people know as the all-familiar stress eating phenomenon. Because of the unique situation of the pandemic, this can be multiplied in its intensity, causing people to develop bad eating habits. For instance, consuming more unhealthy foods and beverages, snacking too much, and indulging in larger portions. Of course, eating too much can lead to things like obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other bad health outcomes.
  3. Alcohol, drug, and tobacco use. Stress is a well-known trigger for increased drug, alcohol, and tobacco use. Of course, these are very bad vices health-wise, and in the worst scenarios, can lead to addiction, tremendous physical harm, and even death.
  4. Too much screen time. Here's something people probably don't think about, an increased amount of screen time. Numerous studies show that longer periods of screen activity can cause negative emotions and, can at the very least, help deprive someone of needed physical activity.
  5.  Less physical activity. Speaking of physical activity, stress can often lead to feeling too tired to engage in fitness routines, including simple things like morning or evening walks, which can actually reduce the amount of stress.

As you can plainly see, the impacts brought on by COVID-19 stress can be very harmful to your overall health.