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The CDC is looking into reports of myocarditis or pericarditis — two types of heart inflammation — among people who’ve received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that it will hold an emergency meeting to discuss a significant number of reports of heart inflammation in people who’ve received the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. The meeting, which will take place on Friday, June 18, will include an update on vaccine safety in light of the reported cases, according to an agenda draft that the CDC posted on its website.

If you’re just now hearing about heart inflammation in reference to the COVID-19 vaccine, the first thing you should know is that the reported cases make up a sliver of those who’ve received at least one dose of the vaccines: 475 out of the over 172 million people, to be exact.And 226 of those 475 cases meet the requirements for the CDC’s “working case definition” of myocarditis or pericarditis (the two types of heart inflammation reported), which specifies certain symptoms and test results that must have occurred for the case to qualify. For example, the CDC is defining acute pericarditis as having at least two new or worsening “clinical features”: acute chest pain, pericardial rub on an exam (aka a specific sound produced by the condition), as well as certain results from an EKG or MRI.

Each person had received the mRNA-based Pfizer or Moderna vaccines – both of which work by encoding the spike protein on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19, triggering the body to develop antibodies against COVID-19. Most of the reported cases were in young males ages 16 or older, and symptoms (more on those below) typically showed up several days after they received a dose of the vaccine.

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle, while pericarditis is an inflammation of the sac of tissue that surrounds the heart, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms of both types of inflammation include chest pain, shortness of breath, and a rapid, fluttering heartbeat, according to the CDC. If you ever experience myocarditis or pericarditis symptoms, you should see a doctor right away, regardless of whether you’ve been vaccinated. The condition can range in severity, from mild cases that can go away without treatment to the more severe, which can potentially cause other health problems, such as arrhythmia (an issue that affects the rate of your heartbeat) or lung complications, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The thought of an “emergency meeting” about the COVID-19 vaccine might feel alarming if you recently got inoculated or have plans to. But at this point, the CDC is still in the process of trying to find out more about whether the cases of inflammation might’ve resulted from the vaccine. The organization continues to recommend that everyone 12 and older receive a COVID-19 vaccine since the benefits still seem to outweigh the risks. (And FWIW, COVID-19 itself is a potential cause of myocarditis.) In other words, no need to call off your appointment in light of this news.

Source: https://www.health.com/syndication/cdc-emergency-meeting-heart-inflammation-covid-vaccines

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Image by Kristine Weilert / Stocksy

Approximately 175 million people worldwide have been infected by COVID-19. There were over 600,000 deaths. Millions of individuals lost their jobs. And we experienced a year of isolation due to social distancing. Case in point: We’ve all been subjected to pandemic-induced trauma of some sort.  

Trauma research shows that the vast majority of people who experience trauma—about 80%—will recover in just a few months. About 10% of people, however, will develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as flashbacks, hypervigilance, or feeling numb. 

What about the other 10%?

Those are the lucky ones who will experience post-pandemic growth—my timely take on the term “post-traumatic growth” (PTG) coined by psychologists Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun. Essentially, for these individuals, going through a traumatic event has a lasting positive effect that makes them feel stronger and more alive. In this case, the COVID-19 pandemic.

What does PTG entail?

Research has found that PTG may involve any of the following five factors—represented by the mnemonic SPARK:

  • Spirituality: A deepening spiritual life or a renewed sense of meaning and purpose. 
  • Possibilities: The ability to see new opportunities due to (or in spite of) the traumatic event or experience. 
  • Appreciation: Becoming more grateful for the little things in life that bring you joy
  • Relationships: A sense of deeper bonding in relationships or relating to others in more meaningful ways. 
  • Kick-ass personal strength: When you feel like if you survived this experience, you can survive anything

How to optimize a PTG response.

As we begin heading into post-pandemic life, think about changes you can make to nurture these five areas of PTG.

I generally recommend spending 10 to 20 minutes a day in meditation or prayer. Not only could this help you get in touch with your spiritual side, but they’re also both fantastic stress-reduction tools. In fact, one brain-imaging study from UCLA researchers found the hippocampus (which is involved in memory and mood) and the frontal cortex were significantly larger in people who meditate regularly. I recommend this practice to all of my patients for better brain health and mental well-being.

I also advise focusing on positive thoughts as much as possible, to trigger a release of feel-good neurochemicals—this can help with the possibilities and appreciation aspects of PTG, among other constructive impacts on well-being. Establishing a consistent gratitude practice can be beneficial, as well.

These are just a few examples of useful practices, but this experience will, of course, look different for everyone. The important thing is to find what works best for you personally and hopefully take steps toward a more positive, meaningful future.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/post-traumatic-growth?mbg_mcid=777:60c9492c2dd8a63be02618f4:ot:5c22b3f39799ec3cc6aecb97:1&mbg_hash=57103be3843e0e1cb6615f5efa797221&utm_source=mbg&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_v2_20210616

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Respiratory syncytial virus is on the rise in the Southern US.

While people have been laser-focused on COVID-19 for months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now warning about the rise of another respiratory virus: RSV.

The CDC issued a health advisory on June 10 that warned doctors about an increase in cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) across the southern US. “Due to this increased activity, CDC encourages broader testing for RSV among patients presenting with acute respiratory illness who test negative for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” the advisory read, before noting that RSV is linked with “severe disease” in young children and older adults.

“This health advisory also serves as a reminder to healthcare personnel, childcare providers, and staff of long-term care facilities to avoid reporting to work while acutely ill-even if they test negative for SARS-CoV-2,” the advisory said.

RSV is one of those viruses that you may be aware of on some level, but are probably fuzzy on the details. Here’s what you need to know.

What is RSV?

Respiratory syncytial virus is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, according to the CDC.

RSV spreads a few different ways:

  • When an infected person coughs or sneezes
  • When you get virus droplets from a cough or sneeze in your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • When you touch a surface that has the virus on it, such as a doorknob, and then touch your face before washing your hands
  • When you have direct contact with RSV like kissing the face of a child with the virus

RSV cases had been below normal levels since April 2020, but they started rising in March 2021, the CDC says. Cases have particularly exploded in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, and Oklahoma, per CDC data.

Is RSV serious?

It can be. Most people with RSV get better in a week or two, the CDC says, but the virus can be serious, particularly when it infects infants and older adults. RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the small airways in the lung, and pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, in children under the age of one in the US.

Each year, RSV leads to about 58,000 hospitalizations and up to 500 deaths in children under 5, as well as 177,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths in adults aged 65 years or older, the CDC says.

What are the symptoms of RSV?

People who are infected with RSV will usually have symptoms 4-6 days after they’re infected, the CDC says. Those usually include:

  • Runny nose
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Wheezing

Why are RSV cases rising in the South?

It’s not entirely clear at this point why people in Southern states are getting hid harder with RSV. What we do know: It’s unusual to see this many RSV cases at this point in the year.

“RSV normally is seen in the late fall and wintertime,” respiratory tract infection expert Timothy Murphy, MD, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research at the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine, tells Health. “It peaks in the winter and reduces dramatically in the springtime. But that didn’t happen this year.”

There are some theories about what’s behind this, though. “It may be that RSV levels were low in the winter because of masking and reduced interactions among people-the virus wasn’t transmitted as much,” Dr. Murphy suggests. Now that the COVID-19 vaccine has been used more widely and people are resuming some sense of normalcy, the virus has more opportunity to pass from person to person. “Kids are going back to daycare, and families and folks are getting together more-that can cause RSV to spread,” he says.

It’s possible that doctors are doing more RSV testing right now to try to figure out what’s behind a patient’s respiratory symptoms in the age of COVID-19, Richard Watkins, MD, an infectious disease physician and professor of internal medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University, tells Health. “It might be testing bias in that RSV is being detected more because of all of the testing for COVID,” he says.

Ultimately, though, Dr. Murphy says that “we can all speculate, but I don’t think anyone knows the reason behind this for sure.”

How to tell RSV from COVID-19 symptoms

If you develop symptoms, it’s only natural to wonder if your symptoms could be due to RSV or COVID-19, considering that we’re still dealing with a global pandemic. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to tell without seeing a doctor.

“You can’t be 100% sure,” Dr. Murphy says. “They both may cause upper respiratory-type infections.” Because of this, he says, “tests are going to be necessary.”

If you develop symptoms of RSV, talk to your doctor. They’ll likely want to test you for RSV and COVID-19, just to be safe.

Source: https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/what-is-rsv

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