Wise as Salamon & Healthy News
Suzanne Salamon, MD is chief associate of clinical geriatrics at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Email general questions to email@example.com or call Maureen: 617. 730. 2790. These are excerpts that are edited. Read the full post in this month’s newsletter along with past columns https://www.brooklinema.gov/Archive.aspx?AMID=37
Coming soon: Ask a Geriatrician, the book, articles by Dr. Salamon
JULY: There is controversy around wearing masks. Will it really protect me? We are advised to wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance. Surgeons wear masks to reduce the spread of infection. Infections among health workers dropped significantly after they all started wearing masks. Where mask wearing is mandatory worldwide, virus spread has been reduced. Wearing a mask OVER THE MOUTH AND THE NOSE benefits the wearer and others. If you’re around others, if you cannot stay six feet apart, wear a mask.
JUNE: There is a lot of pollen. How do I know if I have allergies or virus symptoms? Whenever we have a symptom that is different from our usual health, we wonder. Allergies and colds are common. Covid-19 usually presents with fever, shortness of breath and cough. People complain of feeling very tired. You recognize allergies by a runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing. Most can be relieved with antihistamines. Allergies can make you feel miserable but they generally don’t make you “feel sick.” Colds are similar to allergies and may include sort throat, laryngitis or headache. Flu usually runs from December to March. November is a good time for a flu shot. Wear masks, keep your distance, maintain a healthy weight and exercise every day.
MAY: Why have there been fewer hospital admissions for heart attacks and strokes? There are two thoughts: one, that people are afraid to be exposed so they stay home. Two, with less traffic, less rushing around, and fresh air with less pollution, people are healthier. We’ll have to see.
Should I get tested? If someone is sick, it’s important to know so you can be treated. And if you’re working and people are infected but have no symptoms, they can spread it unknowingly. As for the antibody test, it is still in the research phase.
What is telemedicine? Visits between doctor and patient on the phone or by video chat.
APRIL: I suspect many of us are getting pretty tired hearing about how Covid-19 has changed our lives in a matter of weeks. We haven’t seen anything like this since the Great Influenza of 1918. Here are a few things we know now and then a silver lining.
How do we catch the virus? Little drops of fluid from a sneeze or cough or from the handshake of an infected person. That’s why masks are so important along with hand washing and cleaning surfaces.
How sick will it make us? Some people don’t know they have it, while others die. Risk factors: obesity, smoking, chronic lung problems, poor immunity, and being older, generally over 80. This is in contrast to the 1918 epidemic when people in their 30s and 40s were at higher risk.
How is it diagnosed? By nose swab, and by a new blood test which is not yet widely used.
How is it treated? So far, there is no cure. Very sick people are admitted to the hospital where they will get IV fluids and oxygen. We hope there will be a vaccine to help prevent it.
Telemedicine by phone and computer? Medicare and most insurance now pays for these visits. It’s not ideal; no one can listen to your heart. It does work for discussions and where a physical exam is not required. I hope you all stay healthy.
MARCH: What should we expect? Fever, cough, aches and shortness of breath. Runny nose is not typical. Symptoms can be mild or severe. Some recover uneventfully, some become very ill, and some need ventilators. Less than 2% have died. Older people with underlying conditions are more likely to be sicker. Flu and shingles vaccines are not effective however having the flu or shingles weakens the immune system. (See the whole article in the link above.)
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New York Times, Huffington Post, New Yorker
- Hoarder Dies After Floor Collapses, by Ed Mazza, Huff Po, June 16
First floor of CT home collapses, apparently under the weight of stuff
- Seven Grandparent Skills You Don’t Have, by Shelley Emling, Huff Po, June 16
They actually talk to people
- Judges With Daughters More Often Rule in Favor of Women’s Rights, Times, June 16
It turns out that judges with daughters are more likely to vote in favor of women’s rights than ones with only sons
- For Diabetics, Health Risks Fall Sharply, by Sabrina Tavernise and Denise Grady, Times, April 16
- Younger Skin Through Exercise, by Gretchen Reynolds, Times, April 16
- A Number That May Not Add Up, by Jane E. Brody, Times, April 14
- Beans and Peas Lower Cholesterol, by Nicholas Bakalar, Times, April 14
Beans, not Chocolate
- The Sixth Stage of Grief, by Joel Yanofsky, Times, April 11
Buying a Puppy
- Sex as Exercise, by Gretchen Reynolds, Times, December 5
Or jumping jacks
- Why a Brisk Walk Is Better, by Gretchen Reynolds, Times, December 4
Pick up the pace
- Palliative Care, the Treatment That Respects Pain, by Jane E. Brody, Times, December 2
The vast majority of patients who need palliative care are not dying
- In the End, It’s Not About the Food, by Corey Mintz, Times, November 26
Just a little
- Think Like a Doctor, by Lisa Sanders, MD, Times, October 3
A Green Heart
- What’s your ‘Fitness Age’?, by Gretchen Reynolds, Times, October 31
Exercise more, eat less
- A Youthful Glow, Radiating From Within, by Jane E. Brody, Times, September 30
You look mahvelous
- Living Apart Together, by Constance Rosenblum, Times, September 13
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
- The New Science of Mind, by Eric R. Kandel, Times, September 6
The Biology of Depression
- Manson Whitlock, Typewriter Repairman, Dies at 96, by Margalit Fox, Times, September 8
- Online Lessons in Dementia Management, by Judith Graham, Times, Sept 5
Caring and Coping
- Seeking Longevity? Eat Real Food, by Andy Bellatti, Huff Post, August 22
Fruit, vegetables, fermented, fiber
- High Blood Sugar Linked to Dementia, by Paula Span, Times, August 10
Even if you’re not diabetic
- Eat Your Heart Out, by Gretchen Reynolds, Times, March 7
- Postscript: Nora Ephron, by David Remnick, New Yorker, July 9
Greater than she knew
- Gross Ingredients In Processed Foods , by Sarah Klein, Huff Post, May 14
Eat no meat
- We Could Be Heroes, by Mark Bittman, Times, May 15
Eat less meat
- Rise and Fall of Eight So-Called Healthy Foods, by Ryan Glasspiegel, thedailymeal.com, February 27
Red meat, eggs, butter, dairy
- Nutrition: Options Play a Role in Healthier Choices, by Nicholas Bakalar, The Times, February 13
- The Fat Trap, by Tara Parker-Pope, The Times, December 28
- In the Body’s Shield Against Cancer, a Culprit in Aging May Lurk, by Nicholas Wade, The Times, Nov 21
- Redefining the Hot Dog, a Cart at a Time, by Jeff Gordinier, Times, August 9 “There are children in New York who have never eaten a hot dog.” Very sad story