Categories
Lifestyle

Experts Explain How Making Art While You’re Stuck At Home Can Help Mental Health

With so many people stuck in their houses practicing social distancing, nearly everyone is under-stimulated and overstressed. One way to to help your mental health while you’re at home, experts say, is to create some art — literally, any kind. Whether you pick up a paintbrush, write out your feelings in a journal, decorate cakes, or do a spontaneous dance around the kitchen, artistic expression can be very helpful for mental health.

"Nearly any creative activity can become therapeutic," Dr. Gregory Nawalanic Pys.D., a psychologist at the University of Kansas, tells Bustle. And, importantly, it doesn’t matter if you feel you have any talent; you could be the next Mozart or just barely manage to remember where C is on the keyboard, and you’ll likely feel some benefit.

"It can be useful to have a toolkit of coping skills to help calm the nervous system — and that’s where art comes in," art therapist Cassie Hamrick, ATR LCMHC, tells Bustle. They explain that art has been shown to help regulate the nervous system through mind-body engagement; when you draw, you direct your body to hold the pencil, and your mind to direct your hand’s movement. "This type of focused, embodied movement can help activate the parasympathetic wing of our nervous system, which sends calming signals throughout the brain and body," they say. This is why you feel calm and focused as you color in a picture or concentrate on a guitar chord.

Science backs it up. A review of studies on art and health published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2010 found that doing some form of artistic activity improves wellbeing and feelings of self-worth, relieves symptoms of anxiety and depression, and reduces stress. A report by the World Health Organization in 2019 also found that practicing art can help you cope and regulate your emotions, and reduce loneliness.

Art can also help us express feelings we don’t have words for. "Art, writing, and music are all great creative outlets to help pass the time, as they provide an outlet to express the feelings we might not be able to effectively, or even politely, verbalize in the moment," Dr. Nawalanic says. Artistic space can be quiet, calm, and accepting, allowing you to be vulnerable and do and say what you feel.

Creating art can be therapeutic in its escapism, too. "When any combination of heart, mind and body are truly engaged at a deep level, we slip into a state that is beyond reality," psychotherapist Karen Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed., tells Bustle. This escape can be really helpful for anybody who’s feeling really confined by the four walls of their apartment right now. "Throw your heart and soul into a creative endeavor just for the pure fun of it," Koenig says — the escape can help you recalibrate and feel relief.

Whatever artistic practice you pursue, it can also provide motivation: Koenig says that art can give people something to look forward to each day, and fresh achievements to celebrate. "We can set goals for personal growth through learning to play an instrument or add new songs to the repertoire," Dr. Nawalanic says. Every goal you meet is a chance to feel good about yourself.

If you’d like to explore using art as a way to deal with issues in therapy, Hamrick says you should find a qualified art therapist. "Art therapists are trained in psychotherapy and counseling techniques, centering art as a method of healing," they say. But they also point out that anybody can use art to help their mental health at home. "We know that creative expression has always been a tool that humans have used for wellness and survival. You do not have to ‘be an artist’ to benefit."

Studies cited:

Abbing A, de Sonneville L, Baars E, Bourne D, Swaab H (2019) Anxiety reduction through art therapy in women. Exploring stress regulation and executive functioning as underlying neurocognitive mechanisms. PLOS ONE 14(12): e0225200. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0225200

Haiblum-Itskovitch S, Czamanski-Cohen J, Galili G. Emotional Response and Changes in Heart Rate Variability Following Art-Making With Three Different Art Materials. Frontiers in Psychology. 2018 ;9:968. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00968.

Stuckey, H. L., & Nobel, J. (2010). The connection between art, healing, and public health: a review of current literature. American journal of public health, 100(2), 254–263. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2008.156497

Fancourt, D. & Finn, S. (2019) Health Evidence Network synthesis report 67: What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being? A scoping review. World Health Organization.

Experts:

Cassie Hamrick ATR LCMHC, art therapist

Karen Koenig LCSW M.Ed, psychotherapist

Dr. Gregory Nawalanic Pys.D., psychologist, University of Kansas

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Lifestyle

Experts reveals the working from home etiquette you should follow

The ultimate guide to lockdown etiquette: Royal experts reveal the polite way to gracefully navigate everything from Houseparty chats to hogging the WiFi

  • Royal experts have revealed the etiquette people should be following to respect their neighbours
  •  Etiquette expert William Hanson warned against downloading large files on shared wifi networks, and avoiding phone calls in communal spaces
  •  Meanwhile Grant Harrold, who was Prince Charles’ royal butler between 2005 and 2011, highlighted the importance of keeping music to a minimum and offering to help out vulnerable neighbours
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Royal experts have revealed the etiquette people should be following to respect their neighbours, as the nation adapts to working from home amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Etiquette expert William Hanson warned against downloading large files on shared wifi networks, and avoiding phone calls in communal spaces. 

Meanwhile Grant Harrold, who was Prince Charles’ royal butler between 2005 and 2011, and still lives on his Gloucestershire estate in Highgrove, highlighted the importance of keeping music to a minimum and offering to help out vulnerable neighbours.

Royal experts  William Hanson and Grant Harrold revealed their top etiquette tips for working from home – including keeping phone conversations private, keeping the music down and helping out neighbours(stock image)

Speaking to FEMAIL, William said: ‘Just because we may now all be working from the comfort of our own homes, perhaps more relaxed than when at the office, it does not mean to say our standards and courtesy towards others can be relaxed. If anything, it should be heightened.’

‘Domestic wifi is not usually as strong as a corporate connection so be respectful of downloading or uploading big files when there may be others nearby who need the internet for work.’

‘Unless you are the only person around, avoid taking work phone or videos calls in shared living space. This is especially true for video calls where you need to make sure your camera won’t catch an unsuspecting flatmate or your partner walking into the back of shot.’

‘We are all having to quickly adapt to the new normal and innocent transgressions should be met with levity and understanding, allowing all parties to learn as they go.’

Grant Harrold’s top 10 ten etiquette rules for working from home amid the lockdown

1. Keep music to a reasonable volume

We can all get slightly carried away with our music tastes and the volume level, but bear in mind as our neighbours are mostly likely home, they may not be so appreciative of you being the neighbourhood DJ so let’s keep the levels to a minimum.

2. Keep your phone discussions private

Grant Harrold, who was Prince Charles’ royal butler between 2005 and 2011, highlighted the importance of keeping music to a minimum

We can forget when on the phone our voice volumes get slightly louder, especially if you are in the garden. The neighbourhood may not wish to know your spreadsheet updates, therefore, bear in mind that the walls have ears!

3. Avoid arguments with family members

Spending more time around our loved one can become somewhat tricky as fallouts are likely. Again the neighbours will not appreciate listening to what sounds like a scene from Eastenders, so try to keep tempers low and lets all act like UN Peacekeepers.

4. Be mindful of the WiFi

When you have a few members of the household all using the wifi, boxes may not be able to cope and you will find that your devices struggle. Therefore, perhaps have allocated times for usage so everyone has an opportunity to use the wifi at some point in the day.

5. Have family meals

This is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with the family, so why not all sit down for family meals and let’s do something that has been lost in the mists of time… conversations! let’s be adventurous and have a go at talking to our loved ones during a meal.

Etiquette expert William Hanson warned against downloading large files on shared wifi networks, and avoiding phone calls in communal spaces

6. Keep your distance from others

Social distancing is something we all need to be doing at this moment in time. This is still vital with others outside your household. Do not worry about coming across rude as we are all aware this is a priority to get through and beat this virus.

7. Respect each other’s space

When you are spending time in a confined space with your family you can feel like there is no escape. Try to respect other family members space and realise we all need time to ourselves and we should not be offended if a loved one takes themself out of the family gathering from time to time.

8. Offer to assist neighbours

This is the time to be mindful and able to assist your neighbours while remembering social distancing. You can phone, email, text or write to a neighbour to check if they are ok and if they will require any assistance. Bear in mind if you write to a neighbour they will need to wash their hands after reading the note and perhaps remind them of this in the note.

9. Wash down and clean anything you use

We all touch things in the home without realising from the doors, cupboards, washing machines etc. You may wish to consider washing these items down as you use them to ensure nothing can be passed on to someone else especially if you think you have the virus.

10. Have family time

This is an opportunity to have time with our loved ones and those we care about. In this time of uncertainty, we have seen how we can lose our loved ones without warning and we don’t get a goodbye, therefore let’s realise how precious life is and how lucky we have to have family and show them how much they mean to you.

These rules apply to everyone no matter of your background, religion, race, sex etc, even the Royal family will have to adhere to these rules and guidelines to keep everyone safe including themselves and remember, Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives!

The ultimate guide to Houseparty etiquette: William Hanson reveals the dos and don’ts of virtual gatherings, from what to wear to NEVER invading someone else’s group chat

NEVER GATECRASH SOMEONE ELSE’S CHAT

I would never join someone else’s conversation on Houseparty without being invited in. This is virtual gatecrashing. 

It’s not acceptable in the real, coronavirus-free world and it’s not acceptable now. There is a highly strong chance that it will be awkward for everyone else. 

If you are the host of a scheduled party, lock the room to prevent the awkwardness.

DON’T WEAR YOUR PYJAMAS 

It’s important to make some sort of effort in these weird times. 

No need to put on a dinner jacket or ball gown, but brush your hair, shave, and look moderately presentable before making yourself virtually visible. 

It’s only acceptable to wear nightwear if the call is in the early hours of the morning or after 9pm at night.

NEVER GATECRASH SOMEONE ELSE’S CHAT

I would never join someone else’s conversation on Houseparty without being invited in. This is virtual gatecrashing. 

It’s not acceptable in the real, coronavirus-free world and it’s not acceptable now. There is a highly strong chance that it will be awkward for everyone else. 

If you are the host of a scheduled party, lock the room to prevent the awkwardness.

DON’T WEAR YOUR PYJAMAS 

It’s important to make some sort of effort in these weird times. 

No need to put on a dinner jacket or ball gown, but brush your hair, shave, and look moderately presentable before making yourself virtually visible. 

It’s only acceptable to wear nightwear if the call is in the early hours of the morning or after 9pm at night.

DON’T TEXT OTHER PEOPLE 

No one is busy at the moment. There should be no excuse not to give your whole attention to one thing at one time. 

Aside from being rude, doing two activities at once is only going to mean you have more time to fill later on. 

Also turn off your television during the chat. As good as the technology is, it can be very distracting and can impair other participants from hearing you. 

If you want to keep the news on, for example, switch it to mute.

AVOID CHEWING ON CAMERA 

Watching someone eat is never pretty, which is one of the reasons why at dinners guests are encouraged to talk sideways, so you don’t see someone masticating head-on. 

Virtual dinner parties are another matter, and there is no way to not eat on camera, but don’t have the camera too close if so. 

You can move closer to it during after-dinner coffee, once all chewing is over.

If you are enjoying munchettes while meeting for drinks, try to keep your mouth closed and take small bites. 

If you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, use a hand to cover your mouth until you’ve swallowed. 

NOMINATE A HOST 

A designated host – perhaps the person who instigated the call – is a good idea as they will act as the conductor to the symphony that is your houseparty call. 

Having someone nominated as a host for virtual dinners is particularly important. 

They can decide when everyone is finished and ready for the next course, and can help fuel the conversation.

DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT SAYING GOODBYE 

For a virtual dinner you must stay until everyone has finished eating, at least – unless you start feeling unwell or have a domestic incident. 

For group chats it is cowardly to disappear without saying goodbye. 

Again, you wouldn’t just walk away from a conversation at a real party, so the same rule applies in the digital world.

If you need to go to the bathroom, there’s no need to announce where you are going – most of us can guess. 

A simple ‘please excuse me’ will do. If you can’t turn off your camera and mic, while remaining in the chat, then set the phone on a surface, camera facing down, and make sure you shut the door when going about your business so no noise is picked up by the mic.

For virtual dinners, only freshen up in between courses – ideally only after the main course, before the pudding, as with normal dinners.

KEEP IT TO FIVE OR SIX PEOPLE 

For group chats five or six is a nice number, or else it gets competitive and can be a headache rather than a laugh. 

For dinners, six or eight people is optimal. But that is six to eight people in total, not six to eight devices connected – with one device having two people on the connection.

 

 

 

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
World News

Public health experts blast Boris Johnson for ‘slow’ coronavirus response

The three men leading the United Kingdom’s response to the coronavirus pandemic — Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Health Secretary Matt Hancock and the chief medical officer, Chris Whitty — are doing so from quarantine after coming down with COVID-19 symptoms, and receiving strong criticism for not better protecting themselves from the disease.

As cases continue to surge in the country, reaching 14,754 on Saturday, with 761 deaths and just 151 recovered, Johnson and his leadership is being faulted for failing to follow the advice given to the public over how to contain the virus through social distancing.

Johnson and Hancock said on Friday they tested positive for the virus. Whitty reported symptoms and went into self-isolation.

Public health experts accused Johnson of being “nonchalant” and “slow” to behave appropriately as the bug swept over the UK, the Guardian reported.

He was accused of failing to keep an appropriate distance from other senior figures in public, and for continuing with parliamentary duties last week, raising the possibility that he may have infected others in the nation’s cabinet and beyond.

“Those in leadership positions should practice what they preach,” said Susan Michie, director of the center for behavior change at University College London.

“If leaders do not adhere to their own recommendations, this undermines trust in them, which in turn can undermine the population’s adherence to their advice.”

Both Johnson and Hancock were in repeated contact with other senior political figures, including cabinet members and advisers, in the last few days.

No other ministers would be tested for the virus unless they showed symptoms, officials said. Other people who work in 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister’s official residence and workspace, are self-isolating after showing symptoms.

Johnson received the result of his test hours after he was seen outside the door of Downing Street cheering in support of National Health Service workers alongside NHS Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Johnson’s spokesman said the prime minister felt it was important to take part “in that national moment” but said he stood outside “a very significant distance from the chancellor.”

“The government has been too slow to act on this, and they’ve been slow as individuals,” said Dr. John Ashton, a former regional director of Public Health England.

“It reinforces the view that lockdown measures taken earlier this week should have been taken sooner, and raises questions about the ability of people in power, including the prime minister, to discipline themselves. They should all have been more careful.”

The prime minister’s spokesman would not comment on whether his partner, Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant, was in Downing Street or would be self-isolating. The recommendation for members of the household of someone who has the virus is to self-isolate for 14 days.

Johnson promised in a video that he can continue to work from home, and “thanks to the wizardry of modern technology, to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback against coronavirus.”

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Lifestyle

Experts Break Down How Real ‘Contagion’ Is Following A Surge In Viewers

“Nothing spreads like fear,” suggests the tagline of Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 pandemic thriller Contagion, which has skyrocketed on the iTunes movie rental chart in light of the coronavirus outbreak. Officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, COVID-19 has rapidly transformed every aspect of our daily lives, with the NBA suspending its season, over 118,000 people being infected with the disease as of March 12, and anxiety spreading like wildfire. (Though according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people are at low risk of catching coronavirus, and those who do may only present moderate symptoms such as coughing, fever, and shortness of breath.)

In these unsettling times, Contagion may seem like a surprising salve. But audiences have found that the film provides a sense of much-needed certainty about what’s to come, albeit a melodramatic Hollywood version.

So how much stock should we take in Contagion’s depiction of a coronavirus-like pandemic? Bustle spoke with three infectious disease specialists to break down the science behind the film. Here, they share their insights on vaccines, bat-to-pig-to-human disease transmission, and how the movie’s fictional virus compares to COVID-19.

The virus in Contagion is an accurate depiction of a worst-case scenario

Contagion opens on Gwyneth Paltrow’s character, Beth Emhoff, coughing quietly as she awaits a connecting flight out of Chicago O’Hare. Within five days, she is dead — along with her son — from a mysterious virus that seems to cause rapid and catastrophic brain damage. In an unforgettable autopsy moment, two horrified medical examiners peer into Beth’s brain after surgically removing the top of her skull. “Should I call someone?” one asks, to which his superior responds, “Call everyone.” It’s soon revealed that the virus affects both the brain and lungs, and has a mortality rate between 25 and 30%.

“It’s your worst-case scenario,” Dr. Paul A. Offit, M.D., professor of vaccinology at the University of Pennsylvania, tells Bustle. “What’s depicted is a contagious disease that caused a fatal encephalitis [inflammation of the brain]. You can think of it like airborne rabies – if you develop symptoms of rabies, it’s a death sentence, but it’s very difficult to contract.”

Though a “worst-case scenario,” it’s a real concern in the medical community. “For years, infectious disease epidemiologists have been very concerned about the possibility of a flu that is not only easily transmitted from human to human but has a high mortality rate,” notes Dr. Christiana Coyle, M.D., professor of epidemiology at New York University. “Fortunately, most flu viruses are easily transmitted but have relatively low mortality rates.”

But it’s not remotely like the coronavirus (COVID-19)

At least, not in terms of its symptoms or prognosis. “[The virus in Contagion is] absolutely not what we’re dealing with with the coronavirus,” says Coyle. “If people are rewatching it, I just want them to be very clear that there is no evidence that the virus we’re seeing today is anything like the virus in the movie.”

There are some similarities in terms of the fictional virus’s origin, though. In the final moments of the movie, we see the chain of events that led to the virus’s creation: a tree is bulldozed, displacing a bat. The bat flies over a pigsty and drops a piece of banana from its mouth. A pig eats the piece of banana, ingesting the bat virus. The pig is later slaughtered and prepared by a chef, who doesn’t wash his hands in between touching the carcass and shaking hands with Paltrow’s character — which is how Beth becomes patient zero.

What happens in this sequence is known as a “spillover event,” when a pathogen moves from one species to another. Once it’s jumped into an unfamiliar host, it may mutate and become deadly. Rather than going directly from a bat or bird into a human, most viruses need a “bridge host” to act as a go-between — which, in the case of Contagion, is a pig. “Once it’s in the bridge host, it usually just takes a couple of mutations in the virus to make it transmissible to humans,” Coyle explains. Just like in Contagion, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is most likely the result of a spillover event but the bridge species isn’t yet known.

Matt Damon’s character has a natural immunity to the virus, which is plausible

After his wife and stepson both succumb to the virus, Damon’s character is put into quarantine, but is ultimately found to be immune. Though this may seem like a convenient Hollywood twist, it’s a real phenomenon. “We do, in a disease like this, sometimes find an individual who for one reason or another has genetics that are resistant,” explains Dr. Alice Huang, Ph.D., senior faculty associate in biology at Caltech. “The fact that the father was naturally resistant, and found out during the course of things that his daughter was not, was very believable to me.”

Using the novel coronavirus as an example, Huang noted that children under 10 are so far seemingly proving to be relatively resistant. “One could say that not many of them have been infected and we just don’t have enough numbers yet, but so far that’s standing up and we’re seeing it across the board. So there’s something about them that could help us save other people, if we understood what that resistance involved,” she says.

The movie’s depiction of how a vaccine is created is a mixed bag

One of the film’s less plausible plot elements is just how fast they’re able to develop a vaccine in the film. “This is a novel virus where you’re starting from scratch, and I think they did it in a few months in the movie, which is ridiculously fast,” notes Offit, who co-invented a rotavirus vaccine that took 26 years of work.

But in other respects, Contagion’s vaccine is highly plausible — mainly the process of inventing it. “They didn’t get it on the first try. Far from it. You see them make something they think is a vaccine, give it to monkeys, and then you see scene[s] where they’re taking dead monkeys and putting them into plastic bags, [because] it’s not working. That’s an accurate message, that you’ll encounter a lot of failure before success with making vaccines,” Offit says.

The vaccine is also given out via a randomized lottery system using birthdays, which would be unlikely in reality. “There is a question of production capacity, assuming you need 300 million doses for every person in the U.S.,” says Coyle. “So yes, if we had limited production there would have to be some sort of rationing, but I don’t think it would be birthdays, I think we would do health care providers and first responders initially, and then we would kind of go out in waves from there.”

Yes, the average person really does touch their face a lot

The horrifying statistic that the average person touches their face 2,000 to 3,000 times per day, quoted in the film by Kate Winslet’s EIS officer Erin Mears, may have some truth to it. While studies put the actual number closer to 15 to 23 times per hour, it’s still a lot of face-touching. “Have you ever put a camera on yourself and seen what your hands are doing, when you think you’re doing other things or working at your computer?” Huang asked. “Everyone’s thinking about it more now, and you can control it — you can say OK, while I’m at this restaurant, I’m not gonna touch my face, and as soon as I get home I will wash my hands. You can do that, but it takes a lot of control.”

The film does a great job of underscoring the danger of touch, particularly of potential fomites — objects or materials that come in contact with an infected person and later transmit the virus. A perfect example is a casino sequence in which Paltrow’s character unknowingly infects multiple people by way of her credit card, an empty cocktail glass, and a casino token. “That was extraordinarily well done, to give you the sense of how a virus like this can be transmitted from one person to another with the most casual contact, with fomites,” says Huang. This is why washing your hands, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, is so vital.

Contagion depicts the real and heartbreaking moral dilemma health care workers face

In the film, CDC employee Dr. Cheever (Laurence Fishburne) is reprimanded after he secretly informs his wife that the epidemic is about to get serious in Minneapolis, and tells her to get out of town. This is both a deeply human impulse, and a serious ethical blunder for someone in his position. But according to Coyle, it’s a conflict that comes up in the field.

“That felt absolutely familiar to me,” she says. “It’s been years since I worked with CDC, but we did have a situation that could have developed into something more serious and did not, and we did have employees who were reprimanded for doing exactly what [Cheever] does in the movie. Your impulse in a potential disaster is to protect your family and it is very, very difficult to have this kind of information and not use it for your family’s benefit.”

Jude Law’s panic-mongering anti-vaxxer may be the film’s most timely character

“That’s the one character that always haunts me,” Huang says of Alan Krumweide, the fake news-spouting blogger who spreads conspiracy theories about the virus online while selling his own homeopathic remedy, forsythia. “This anti-vaccine activist who is essentially a huckster? I mean, I got an email today from somebody about Alex Jones [who is currently promoting a toothpaste that he claims kills coronavirus], and this is what always happens,” says Offit. “With every outbreak, every disease, there’s an element of ‘don’t trust mainstream medicine, don’t trust doctors, don’t trust vaccines, trust me, I have this magic medicine that’s gonna make you better.’”

While still a Hollywood movie, Contagion offers a number of important takeaways

If you decide to give into that morbid impulse to rewatch Contagion, it may not be a bad thing. While a highly dramatized portrayal of a pandemic, the movie still offers valuable lessons and insights — especially in its depiction of the quiet fortitude of health care workers on the front lines. “Keep in mind that as incompetent as government seems, there are also so many people like [Winslet and Fishburne’s characters], who are incredibly deovted and do have your very best interests at heart,” says Coyle.

The film also offers a model of the level of caution viewers should take. “I think the movie offered a very realistic sense of what you should be afraid of, as opposed to this free-floating anxiety, the idea that no matter where you are, you’re at risk,” says Offit. “I hope that people at least have a realistic expectation of how a virus is spread, how you can reasonably protect against that by hand washing, not touching your face, [and] social quarantining to some extent.”

Huang also hopes that watching Contagion will encourage preparedness rather than panic. “The two things that we have some control over is our social distancing and our personal hygiene,” she emphasizes. “We all need to be aware that what is coming is really a very mild disease, for most people. If we all do our part, we will slow down the spread of the virus.”

Experts:

Dr. Paul A Offit, M.D., professor of vaccinology at the University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Christiana Coyle, M.D., professor of epidemiology at New York University

Dr. Alice Huang, Ph.D., senior faculty associate in biology at Caltech

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Bustle’s coverage of coronavirus here.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Lifestyle

Experts Explain What "Dry Fasting" Actually Does To Your Body

As Instagram floods with people trying intermittent fasts in the hope of improving their health — despite the warnings of healthcare professionals about the dangers — dry fasting, in which people stay away from both food and liquid for up to a day, is becoming more widespread. However, experts say that doing a dry fast in the hope of health boosts isn’t a good idea, to put it mildly.

"This is an unsafe diet fad that lacks credible scientific evidence to support any health benefits," Kristen Smith, M.S., R.D., a registered dietitian at Piedmont Healthcare and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells Bustle.

Dry fasting involves staying away from any kind of food or drink for up to 24 hours. Claims about dry fasting’s benefits range from cleansing the body of "toxins" to improving digestion and weight management. However, the risks of dehydration are real.

Hydration is an essential part of bodily functioning. "We know that proper hydration is key for physical and mental health," Max Lugavere, a science writer and author of Genius Foods, tells Bustle. Not drinking anything at all for 12 or 24 hours, even if an influencer says it makes her "glow," is an unsound poor idea for your body. "Restricting fluids can lead to severe dehydration, extreme fatigue, and even organ failure," Smith says. Even if you’re eating while you’re avoiding liquids, she says, it’s still difficult to get adequate hydration. Water-heavy foods like fruits and vegetables simply don’t offer enough water to help your body function, which is estimated at 2.7 liters per day for an adult woman.

Cutting off all sources of water can be dangerous in multiple ways. Smith says that hydration plays a key role in maintaining optimal health because it regulates body temperature, protects organs, carries nutrients to cells, and helps flush out waste products. Any claims that dry fasting can help remove "toxins" are wrong: the liver requires hydration to function properly, so staying away from all liquids will impede your body’s ability to process waste, not help it. Dehydration can also impair cognitive function and mental health, Lugavere says. A 2017 study of 50 people in Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism found that even mild dehydration for one day could cause mood to plummet.

Fasting from both food and liquids hurts your electrolyte levels. Electrolytes, including sodium and potassium, are found in both food and drinks, and help your organs work properly. When your body is low in them, it can cause muscle cramping, dizziness, brain fog, and exhaustion.

Dry fasting can also have an ongoing negative effect on relationships with food. "This diet could be extremely dangerous, especially for individuals who struggle with disordered eating or have chronic disease," Smith says. "It doesn’t teach habits that will help create a healthy relationship with food and isn’t sustainable or recommended in the long haul." While the language around dry fasting can be tempting, the reality is very different, she says.

If you’re tempted to do a dry fast, experts advise just saying no. Hydration is crucial to a healthy body and brain, and depriving yourself of water for any prolonged period is a very bad idea. "Skip getting your nutrition advice from influencers, and seek direction from a registered dietitian who is adequately trained on the science of nutrition," Smith says.

Experts:

Max Lugavere, author of Genius Foods

Kristen Smith M.S., R.D., dietitian at Piedmont Healthcare and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Studies cited:

Pross, N. (2017) Effects of Dehydration on Brain Functioning: A Life-Span Perspective. Ann Nutr Metab. 70 Suppl 1:30-36. doi: 10.1159/000463060.

Trepanowski, J. F., & Bloomer, R. J. (2010). The impact of religious fasting on human health. Nutrition journal, 9, 57. https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-9-57

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Lifestyle

What Experts Say About Using Cleaning Products Against Coronavirus

The current outbreak of COVID-19, caused by the coronavirus, is leading to cleaner homes. Sales of disinfectants, like Lysol, have increased, reports Yahoo Finance.

“We are seeing some increased demand,” Reckitt Benckiser, maker of Dettol disinfectant wipes and Lysol cleaning products, said in its annual results. According to Yahoo Finance, the consumer goods company attributes the boost in sales to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention says there is a chance of contracting COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that contains traces of the virus. However, you would have to touch your mouth, nose, or eyes, after contact with the contaminated surface. The virus is most commonly spread through person-to-person transmission.

But can your standard cleaning products really keep you safe? Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Fox News that disinfectants which have been proven effective in protecting against other human coronaviruses can probably battle the new coronavirus.

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency released a full list of antimicrobial products that are effective against SARS-CoV-2, the Cause of COVID-19. Popular products include Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, Clorox Clean Up, and Lysol Clean & Fresh.

But, there’s no need to re-wipe every surface in your home, says Dr. Keith Roach, an internist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. If you’re using these products to kill coronavirus in your home there’s no need if you haven’t actually brought it into the house.

“You’ve got to think of your home as a safety zone,” says Dr. Roach.

And the best way to ensure your house is as healthy as possible is to wash your hands the moment you walk through the door.

Source: Read Full Article