Welsh National Opera has announced today that its Long COVID program Wellness with WNO is expanding across Wales.

Six health boards in Wales will be able to offer the rehabilitation service to patients, through direct referral to NHS Long COVID Services. The program shares techniques and strategies used by professional opera singers to support breath control, lung function, circulation, and posture.

Sessions will be delivered via Zoom to enable those living with fatigue to have access to the program without any barriers due to geographical location or ability to attend in-person sessions.

In a statement, about the Wellness with WNO, participant Gabby Curly said “Physically, the Wellness with WNO program gave me practical breathing exercises to relieve muscle tension around my ribs and help me to relax with my breathing. Emotionally, the support I received made me realize that I wasn’t alone. In the sessions, all my worries went out of my head and I found a real joy in taking part in singing. And you don’t have to be a good singer at all! I now have the confidence to sing out loud and not be conscious of whether I’m singing in tune, simply because I know how much it can help.”

Meanwhile, Health Minister Eluned Morgan said, “We are continuing to learn more about the long-term effects of COVID and we believe our approach of treating, supporting and managing people through our unique service model is the most efficient and effective way of achieving the best outcomes for people experiencing Long-COVID. It has been heartening to see the success of the Wellness with WNO project and the significant benefits it has provided for people’s health and wellbeing. I am glad this program will be expanded so even more people can take up the project to support their recovery and rehabilitation.”

This special program has been supported by the Arts Council of Wales: Arts, Health, and Wellbeing Lottery Fund, to specifically benefit the people of Wales both physically and mentally and is being delivered in partnership with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Cardiff & Vale University Health Board, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, Hywel Dda University Health Board, and Swansea Bay University Health Board.

 

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Smoking cannabis was not associated with reduced lung function in young adults, according to a new longitudinal study published in Respiratory Medicine. Contrary to another recent study that suggested smoking cannabis is more likely to cause emphysema than smoking tobacco, researchers in this study found that smoking cannabis alone was not linked to reduced airflow or decreased lung function. Still, limitations in both studies suggest that we still don’t have a clear picture of the effect of smoked cannabis on our lungs.

This new study, conducted by researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia, examined whether chronic cannabis smoking was associated with harmful effects on the lungs of young adults in particular. “Cannabis use is increasingly legalized and use is normalized.” Lead author Professor Jake Najman explains. “In this context, it is important to understand more about the harms associated with long-term cannabis use.”

To investigate, researchers followed a cohort of 1173 young adults ages 21 to 30, testing their lung function using a spirometry assessment at the beginning and end of the 9-year period. Spirometry tests are commonly used to diagnose lung conditions, such as asthma and COPD, by measuring the amount of air a person can exhale in one forced breath. This is done with a device called a spirometer, which has a mouthpiece for the patient to breathe into.

Researchers also tracked whether cohort members smoked cannabis, tobacco, both, or nothing over the 9 years. This was done using questionnaires at ages 21 and 30, when lung function tests were performed. Then researchers analyzed the data to see if smoking cannabis over 9 years had reduced lung function.

The results showed the expected association between tobacco smokers and reduced airflow. Those who only smoked cigarettes, or cigarettes with cannabis, had a reduction in their airflow over the 9-year period. Cannabis did not contribute to these reductions, beyond what has already been found for smokers who only smoke tobacco. But perhaps surprisingly, in light of the recent findings on cannabis and emphysema, smoking cannabis alone did not reduce airflow and did not seem to affect lung function. Even after 9 years of use, exposure to cannabis smoke did not seem to affect the lungs.

The authors concluded that “cannabis appears to be unrelated to lung function, even after years of use.” They also concluded that using cannabis with tobacco does not seem to add any additional risk to the lungs beyond the damage already associated with tobacco smoking.

This is in stark contrast to the recent study in the journal Radiology, which suggests that smoking cannabis is more likely to cause emphysema than tobacco. In that study, CT scans of the chest revealed higher levels of emphysema in smokers who used cannabis and tobacco together than in those who used tobacco alone. However, it is important to note that the radiology study was limited by the fact that it did not look at cannabis-only smokers. Thus, the results suggesting an increase in emphysema should be understood as relevant to cannabis and tobacco use together – not necessarily cannabis alone. There may be combinatorial effects from mixing these two substances that are not present in either alone. This doesn’t mean we can rule out cannabis as a possible cause of emphysema, but it does mean that more research is needed to confirm that these results hold true for those who only use cannabis.

The respiratory medicine study, on the other hand, did study cannabis-only smokers and found no differences in lung function compared to the non-smoking control group.

The study in Radiology also used a relatively small sample of just 146 patients, which compares to the 1173 respondents in the study who found no effects on lung function from cannabis smoking. That said, it’s important to note some other differences between these two studies that could partially explain their apparently contradictory results.

First, the research in Radiology focused primarily on older individuals, who have had more time to damage their lungs. It is quite possible that cannabis users show more noticeable damage after more years of smoking than the 9-year period studied here. This study does not rule that out, it just shows no evidence of damage in the first 9 years.

It’s also important to note that the study in Radiology used CT scans to diagnose lung problems, while the recent study in Respiratory Medicine used spirometry. Different tests can produce different results. And in fact, some researchers suggest that spirometry tests, in particular, may miss early-stage conditions like emphysema. So it could simply be that the damage done is not picked up by this test – as it could be with the CT scan.

Given these research limitations, the question remains open as to whether smoking cannabis can cause lung damage and harm in the way that tobacco clearly does. We need more studies that look only at the effects of heavy cannabis smoking over a lifetime before we can really come to a strong scientific conclusion.

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Are you breathing properly right now? If you’re reading this I would assume you’re lungs are working and you are in fact breathing. But, did you know the way you breathe can affect your health?

1 in 5 of us struggle to get enough sleep, 74% of the nation feels stressed and breathing can minimise the amount of stress we experience. “We take over 20,000 breaths automatically a day, but breathing still doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves,” neuropsychologist Dr. Elisabeth Honinx from moonbird, says.

“From helping you sleep better to reducing feelings of depression or anxiety, breathing can be the secret to living a healthier, happier, and even longer life - you simply have to harness it.”

Dr. Honinx shares five breathing exercises that can help you harness the power of your breath and lead a happier, healthier life - from breathing ‘in a box’ to switching up nostrils. Here are 5 breathing exercises to help you improve your life.

4-7-8 breathing

“Not only can this technique help you sleep better, but according to a study from earlier this year, the 4-7-8 breathing exercise can help slow down your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and even reduce your blood sugar levels,” Honinx says.

“Find a quiet spot to sit down - you can sit cross-legged or even rest against a wall. Inhale through your nose for 4 counts, hold your breath for 7, then exhale through your mouth for 8. Repeat this for 5 minutes.”

Box breathing

“No, this technique doesn’t require you to sit in a box - instead, you follow a ‘squared’ breathing pattern that has been shown to be a great way to relax.”

Honinx continues: “sit up straight in a comfortable chair with your feet on the floor. Complete this cycle taking 4 seconds for each step: Inhale, hold your breath, exhale, hold your breath. Repeat for 4 minutes.”

Alternate nostril breathing

“This technique is as simple as it sounds but can have an amazing effect on your health, with one study finding it can improve your heart function and lower your blood pressure,” Honinx explains.

“Sit on a chair, the floor, or on the edge of your bed. Using your right thumb, close your right nostril while inhaling through the left. When you are ready to exhale, cover your left nostril instead and breathe out through your right. Inhale again, but through your right nostril, and then exhale through your left. Repeat this cycle for 5 minutes.”

Diaphragmatic breathing

“Diaphragmatic breathing is also called belly breathing, but you don’t want to focus on your stomach for this one. This deep breathing technique is especially effective, with studies revealing it may help in reducing stress, migraines and even help those struggling with eating disorders,” Honinx says.

“Sit down or lie on your back with one hand on your upper chest and another on your belly just below your ribcage - this is where your diaphragm is. Breathe in through your nose slowly while counting to 4, feeling your stomach pushing your hand out while the hand on your chest stays still.”

She adds: “hold your breath for 1 second before slowly exhaling through your mouth while counting to 4, engaging your abdominal muscles to help push the air out. Repeat for 5-10 minutes.”

Pursed lip breathing

“This simple breathing technique can help you breathe more intentionally, plus it has been shown to be beneficial to those with respiratory issues like COPD and asthma, so pucker up!”

“Find somewhere comfortable to sit, ensuring that your neck and shoulders stay relaxed. Inhale through your nose for a count of 2 before exhaling for 4. As you exhale, purse your lips as though you are gearing up for a kiss. Repeat for 5 minutes,” Honinx says.



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There are certain moments in our lives when a single event becomes indelibly etched into our memory. And the significance of such moments is dictated by each of us.

Think about that for a minute. What moments are etched into your memory? Have you dealt with the loss of a parent or another family member? Have you celebrated the birth of a grandchild? What about two grandchildren? Have you walked your daughter down the aisle to marry someone who adores her as much as you do?

In the past six years, I have collected all of these memories. My mother, Betty, my stepfather, Harold, and my stepsister, Judy, all passed away. My grandchildren, Abigail and Charlotte, were born. My daughter, Heather, married Adam.

One other single event is etched into my memory on Jan. 31: On this day six years ago, at approximately 11:30 a.m., I was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

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The diagnosis

The day of my diagnosis did not produce the outcome I had hoped for, but it was a confirmation of what my primary pulmonologist had suspected. My wife, Susan, was sitting at my side in the exam room at Inova Fairfax Hospital’s Advanced Lung Disease and Transplant Center in Virginia. Dr. Steven Nathan was seated facing us, while a graduate-level pulmonary fellow looked over Nathan’s shoulder.

That day presented me with a decision that only I could make. While Susan has stood with me at every step of this journey, I alone had to make the decision. It was the proverbial fork in the road: One road led to surrender, the other a more promising path.

The road to surrender required that I avoid listening to my care team, attending pulmonary rehabilitation, or seeking out others who also were on this journey. The road to promise, on the other hand, was exactly the opposite: I would become a part of my care team, attend pulmonary rehabilitation, and seek out others on this journey.

Following my own path

The variables that each of us encounter on our journeys with this disease are many. In a previous column, I wrote about the varied paths that exist. My path has worked for me. It has led me to other milestone dates that are also forever etched into my memory: The day I received the call that a donor lung was available (July 9, 2021); the day I received a bilateral lung transplant (July 10, 2021); the day of my first significant post-transplant exacerbation, pneumonia (Sept. 26, 2022); and the day of my first balloon dilation to stretch a narrowed bronchial stem (Dec. 27, 2022).

These are all dates that have helped me develop a deeper understanding of this disease, both before and after transplant.

The future

Not everyone is afforded the same choices while on their journeys. I will continue to work on living my best life. There are still milestones I want to achieve, and I’m certain there will be more moments that I haven’t yet imagined.

A milestone that’s high on my list is to hear from my donor family. I have written them several times in the 18 months since my transplant. I continue to say a prayer for my donor and their family every day.

In last week’s column, I told you that my first balloon dilation helped me breathe easier, but my pulmonary function test numbers decreased yet again. As a result, another bronchoscopy is scheduled for today, Jan. 31. I’ll arrive shortly before 11 a.m., and the procedure is set to begin at noon. I will be undergoing prep at the exact time I was diagnosed six years ago.

Every day is a new adventure. I continue looking forward to every day of this journey and each milestone moment I am presented with. It was good for me to write all of this down. While I recall each of them, they are now captured here for the newly diagnosed patient to discover. Each of these milestones has helped me to make every breath count.


Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.

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February is American Heart Month

JEANNE FLECKNER, 82, poses for a photo with Derek Spong, the Exercise Specialist at Health First’s Melbourne Cardiac Rehab. Health First is opening a new Viera location on February 15 inside its Pro-Health & Fitness Center at 8705 N. Wickham Road in Melbourne. (Health First image)

An exclusive exercise program helped Jeanne Fleckner have an amazing recovery. Now, it’s coming to Pro-Health & Fitness in Viera.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Mowing the lawn probably isn’t a big deal for most. Just don’t tell that to Jeanne Fleckner.

Last June, Fleckner was starting out in Health First’s Cardiac Rehab program following an open sternotomy aortic valve replacement. After surgery, she could only tolerate about 15 feet of walking – about 3 to 4 minutes of continuous exercise – before she’d need to take a break.

That’s not the case anymore. In early November, Fleckner joyfully celebrated her 82nd birthday with family and friends, in addition to graduating from Cardiac Rehab.

Oh, and mowing the lawn.

“This is definitely how you get better after going through something like this with your heart,” Fleckner said. “The program and the routine are what helped me recover from this.”

A Trip to the Heart Center

Earlier this year at home, Fleckner, known by her family and friends as the “Parisian Princess,” experienced an irregular heartbeat. Her neighbor quickly took her to Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center.

After finding out it was atrial fibrillation and her heart had a leaking valve, then going through consultation and surgery with Health First Cardiothoracic Surgeon Tamim Antaki, MD, Fleckner immediately felt comfortable with everyone she saw at the hospital’s Heart Center.

“Dr. Antaki was especially wonderful with my mom,” said her daughter, Suzanne Fleckner.

“Right after he met her, he would come into the room singing French songs to her. And she told him he was her favorite French singer during the start of surgery – that’s a special team! Everyone in the building, the Physician Assistants, the staff at Cardiac Rehab, everybody was amazing with her. We’re so grateful for this giant team.”

After successful surgery, Fleckner joined Health First’s Cardiac Rehab program. When she began the program, she could barely walk 15 feet without having to stop for a breath.

Health First Cardiothoracic Surgeon Tamim Antaki, MD. (Health First image)

A 300% Improvement

The program’s designed for people discharged from the hospital after a cardiac event. Whether surgery was involved or not, the program assists patients in aligning their lifestyles in a way that’s best for their heart.

Think exercise, diet, and psychological mind shifts. It’s offered at 611 E. Sheridan Road, Melbourne, across from Holmes Regional Medical Center. There are also plans to open a second location in Winter 2023 at Pro-Health & Fitness-Viera.

Fleckner, who was born in Brittany, France, in 1940, before moving to Paris in 1966, began Cardiac Rehab last July. She said the staff were so nice to her and would say, “Yeah, you can do it, you will get better,” in such a nice, positive way.

At the one-month mark, Fleckner said she began to feel a huge difference in the way she felt. No more losing her breath. She was walking farther than ever, and most importantly, her heart’s pumping rate improved 300 percent.

The Phases of Improvement

Darren Hill, Health First Cardiac Rehabilitation Supervisor, and his team see people of all ages with heart conditions after an illness, typically those who’ve had surgery – varying from stent placement to a heart transplant.

This life-changing team includes a medical director, supervising physicians, nurses, and exercise physiologists to help with physical and psychological ways to make it a lifestyle.

JEANNE FLECKNER joyfully celebrated her 82nd birthday with family and friends, in addition to graduating from Cardiac Rehab. Oh, and mowing the lawn.

The cardiac rehab program is made up of three phases:

■ Phase 1: It starts in the hospital as you’re recovering from a cardiac illness or surgery. As an inpatient, we put you on the path to a healthier heart by teaching you and showing you how to exercise at the right pace for you.
■ Phase 2: Once you’re out of the hospital, we’ll get you on the right track with our physician-supervised outpatient program, incorporating exercise, education, and teamwork. You’ll get access to electrocardiogram (ECG) heart-monitored exercise training, education, and counseling. And it’ll help you fully grasp your heart condition – and find ways to reduce the risk of future heart problems. Expect to spend an hour, three times a week, in the program. Customers are typically cleared for a total of 36 visits. (The program is based on the American Association of Cardio-Vascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation’s recommended model, along with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services guidelines.)
■ Phase 3: You’ve completed Cardiac Rehab. Now, our team tailors a plan for you so that you can continue an exercise program with cardiac rehab, Pro-Health & Fitness, or in the community. We’ll even meet with the staff to coordinate an orientation program designed just for you and your cardiac needs.
So, that’s how it works. But what about the benefits? They can include:
■ Stopping or reversing damage to your heart’s blood vessels
■ Improving your strength – and getting you back to your favorite activities
■ Controlling shortness of breath, or worse, chest pain

With Cardiac Rehab, patients can improve their heart’s ejection fraction – a measure of how much-oxygenated blood is pumped in one heartbeat.

Hill said Fleckner’s condition was improved by team coaching. There, she learned about risk factors, life habit changes, nutrition, medications, and psychological factors that contribute to cardiac health.

Fleckner still maintains her workout routine three times a week at her own health club. She’s also busy cooking, meeting with friends, and enjoying her family.

For information about cardiac rehabilitation, call 321-434-8889. The new Viera location inside Pro-Health & Fitness Center at 8705 N. Wickham Road in Melbourne opens this month.

Jeanne Fleckner, above center, who was born in Brittany, France, in 1940, before moving to Paris in 1966, began Cardiac Rehab last July. She said the staff were so nice to her and would say, “Yeah, you can do it, you will get better,” in such a nice, positive way.



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A never-before seen medical ailment has evolved in the world over the last few years as a result of the worldwide COVID-19 epidemic.

The condition, called “Long COVID-19,” is still so novel that intervention research is only beginning to emerge.

But La Mesa Rehab has already used all available data at hand to create a new, intensive program for those suffering from its symptoms. La Mesa Rehab will reportedly continue to refine its protocols as scientists and doctors learn more about the disease’s etiology.

Long COVID-19 is a condition defined as the continuation, recurrence of, or emergence of virus symptoms lasting more than four weeks after recovery from the initial, acute phase of the disease. Some patients’ symptoms last up to two years. As of the June 2022 report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC,) 1 in 13 adults in the U.S. (7.5%) had Long COVID-19 symptoms.

La Mesa Rehab’s new Long COVID-19 program is offering continuity of care, working as a total network for patients with the condition. It’s a team approach, with pulmonologists, respiratory therapists, and physical therapists working together for the betterment of “long haulers,” as they’ve come to be known.

Treatment plans unique to each patient

Each patient gets a new treatment plan that differs from that of any other patient because of the widely-varying symptoms across the population, as well as symptoms that change over time within an individual.

These may include: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest tightness or pain, stomach pain, headache, low stamina, fatigue or weakness. And with these sensations comes fear. One patient at the clinic described their plight “You take for granted, that you’re going to breathe…it’s such a natural thing. And when that gets taken away, it’s very scary!”

According to Tami Peavy, MBA, DPT, and founder of La Mesa Rehab, what makes their treatments so unique is that “We design individual protocols, with respiratory therapy and physical therapy at the center of the program. We identify patients’ symptoms and address them systematically and adjust their protocols accordingly.”

Respiratory and physical therapists work closely with referring physicians, together designing individually-tailored programs that reduce shortness of breath, eliminate mucus, and increase lung capacity through exercise, postural strengthening, and breathing techniques. Specialized equipment and techniques are employed in order to more quickly and effectively achieve results. A few of these treatments include: vest therapy, bubble breathing, oxygen therapy, nebulizer treatments, gas exchange analysis, and balloon therapy.

Salt chamber therapy is the newest tool in the arsenal

Salt chamber therapy involves the inhalation by patients of dry salt in the form of a mist to clear lung mucus. Saline solution is placed in a nebulizer, a device that facilitates the inhalation of the mist into the lungs. Compressed oxygen or ultrasonic power breaks up the medicinal liquid into small aerosol droplets that are inhaled from a mouthpiece. Corticosteroids or bronchodilators can be added to the nebulizer to extend the effectiveness.

This procedure is administered within a specially designed salt chamber. The process, also called halotherapy, is quite remarkable, especially considering that it’s derived from a naturally-occurring substance. Dry salt particles shrink and liquefy lung mucus plugs that obstruct airways and aggravate breathing issues. The particles accelerate mucus transport and allow for enhanced cough efficiency. Coughs are more “productive” and the lungs are relived of mucus.

Peavy, a practicing clinician and innovative thinker, came up with the novel methodology. The lofty goal, which she successfully achieved, was to enhance the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation, and minimize patients’ reliance on prescriptions. Previously, patients would have had to undergo bronchoscopies to remove such mucus plugs.

La Mesa Rehab’s new Long COVID-19 program is based on the clinic’s experience with other lung impairments and diseases. These include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD,) emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary fibrosis, and bronchiectasis. Therapists share their knowledge of these conditions with each other and with those who come to them for help. Patient education is provided to help get people with Long COVID-19 back to work more quickly, which is more important than ever during these times of economic difficulty and diminished workplace numbers.

Most lung diseases are treated with drug therapies, including steroids and inhalers. However, numerous published medical reports have shown that pulmonary rehabilitation is much more effective at easing symptoms, and results in a superior quality of life. It has also been documented that improved lung function leads to greater longevity, strength, and endurance, and reduces the number of hospitalizations and readmissions.

For more information, call (619) 466-6077 or view their website at: lamesarehab.com.

The facility is located at: 8380 Center Drive, Suite E, La Mesa.

Editor’s note: This article was provided by Carol Holland Lifshitz.

Photo credit: Pixabay.com

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Get checked out -The first thing to do if you have been experiencing symptoms for four or more weeks, or you develop any new symptoms, is to get a proper assessment from your doctor.

Use breathing techniques - Practising breathing control and breathing techniques can help you recover from breathlessness and also aid relaxation. Try deep breathing by taking a long, slow, deep breath in, ideally through your nose, holding for two to three seconds, then breathing out gently through your mouth.

Manage your cough -To calm down a coughing fit, try “huffing” - breathe out through an open mouth instead of coughing to squeeze air out quickly from your lungs through your throat and mouth, as though you are trying to mist a mirror.

Hydrate - Drink enough water – the NHS recommends six to eight glasses of fluid a day, inhaling steam by sitting in a bathroom with the hot shower running or with your head over a bowl of hot water, keeping your mouth closed when you can to stop your throat getting dry, and keeping active as possible.



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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a fatal disease of the airways of the lungs, was one of the third leading causes of death worldwide in 2019. It is claimed that it killed 32 lakh 30 thousand (3.23 million) people. What is worrying is that this problem tends to grow and it comes to know about it later.

Dr. A. Jayachandra, Senior Interventional Pulmonologist at Care Hospitals Outpatient Center, Hyderabad According to the World Health Organization, the problem of COPD is especially seen in people above 65 years of age, but COPD can also occur in younger people. It is usually caused by exposure to smoke or particulates over a long period of time. Although COPD is not completely curable, it can be prevented and treated.

What is COPD?

It is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that affects the airways that carry air to the lungs. In this disease, the airways start shrinking due to which the patient feels difficulty in breathing, cough, increased mucus and wheezing. People with COPD have an increased risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer, and many other conditions.







Causes of COPD

copd-

This problem gradually increases with time. Often it is due to a combination of exposures such as active smoking or passive exposure to second-hand smoke, exposure to dust, fumes or chemicals, use of biomass fuels (wood, dung, indoor air pollution due to crop residues), early-life events such as preterm birth and recurrent or severe respiratory infections in childhood, which prevent lung development, childhood Chronic asthma or alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency can also cause COPD at a young age.

Symptoms of COPD

copd-

Symptoms of COPD often do not appear until the lungs are damaged. If you smoke, symptoms tend to get worse over time.

shortness of breath
wheezing
chest tightness
chronic cough with phlegm
frequent respiratory infections
lack of energy
unexplained weight loss
swelling of the ankles, feet, or legs

ways to avoid COPD

copd-

never start smoking
if you have started it stop immediately
Avoid second hand smoke too
avoid air pollution

when to see a doctor

when to see a doctor

If your symptoms are not improving or are getting worse, you should see your doctor immediately. See a doctor if you have any signs of infection, such as a fever or a change in sputum. If you experience shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, or difficulty concentrating, see a doctor immediately.

What is the treatment of COPD?

copd-

For the treatment of COPD, its careful and thorough examination by the physician is necessary. It can also be relieved by making changes in some therapies and lifestyle like-
Have a customized diet plan
sleep before eating
Take dietary supplements and vitamins
do light exercise
monitor lung health
Breathing technique is also beneficial

Although there is no cure for COPD, making these lifestyle changes and getting the right treatment can help you breathe easier, stay more active, and prevent disease progression.

Disclaimer: This article is for general information only. It cannot be a substitute for any medicine or treatment in any way. Always consult your doctor for more details.

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For people living with a heart condition, long COVID has added yet another
concern to their list of worries.

Research suggests that you are at increased risk of blood clots, heart
attack, heart failure, inflammation of the heart, and abnormal heartbeat
following a COVID-19 infection. One in three adults that has had COVID-19
experiences long COVID symptoms that can last weeks to months after the initial
infection.

Long COVID can affect anyone who contracts the virus, but recovery can be
especially complicated for those with a condition. Led by Dr. Shahzad
Ahmed, the

Cardiac Care program at Lower Bucks Hospital

provides specialized care for patients in the Philadelphia area who have
been diagnosed with heart conditions and are experiencing long COVID. 

Common heart symptoms following a COVID-19 infection:

  1. Fatigue, feeling tired
  2. Pounding heartbeat or palpitations
  3. Trouble breathing-shortness of breath
  4. Pain in chest- chest tightness
  5. Fast heartbeat
  6. Lightheadedness or dizziness
  7. Difficulty in sleeping
  8. Blood clots

What can you for your heart care if you have long COVID?

  1. You should continue heart healthy habits like exercise
  2. Stay on your heart medications unless advised by your doctor
  3. Watch out for any new symptoms that could be attributed to COVID

How can you prevent long COVID?

Stay up to date on your vaccinations and get appropriate boosters as new
strains of COVID-19 are emerging. It will prevent you from infection. Use
proper barrier precautions and follow your local health care advisories.

If you have heart symptoms, please don’t delay your care because of fear of
contracting COVID. All healthcare settings are required to have safety
measures in place to protect you from COVID-19. Call 911 in an emergency. 

Dr. Ahmed is currently accepting new patients at BMC Cardiology Practice, located at 501
Bath Road in Bristol. For more information or to schedule an appointment,
please call 215-785-5100.

About Shahzad Ahmed, MD, FACC, FSCAI, RPVI, Interventional Cardiologist, Director of Cardiology

Limited - Dr. Shahzad Ahmed MD, FACC, FSCAI, RPVI

Dr. Shahzad Ahmed

Dr. Ahmed is Board Certified in Interventional Cardiology, Cardiovascular
Medicine, Echocardiography, Nuclear Cardiology, Vascular Ultrasound, and
Internal Medicine. He was appointed Assistant Professor of Medicine at
Drexel University College of Medicine. Under his leadership, Lower Bucks Hospital has started many
new programs, including same-day discharge after percutaneous coronary
intervention, venous and pulmonary thrombectomy, carotid stenting and
implementing the radial first approach (cardiac cath through arteries of
hand).

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If you’ve been unfortunate enough to contract the COVID-19 virus, you may have noticed that your COVID cough is lingering longer than after your typical cold. And if it bothers you for long enough, you may even find yourself googling “how long does COVID cough last?”

First of all, you’re not alone. Many people who have had a COVID-19 infection report having a cough that they just can’t seem to shake, even up to a year after the virus has left their system—and, a lingering cough is something you should never ignore. But at what point does your extended cough indicate you have long COVID? After all, one in five adult COVID-19 survivors experiences long COVID symptoms and respiratory issues is one of the most common among them.

But before you worry about your lingering cough being a sign of bigger concern, we’ve spoken with infectious disease experts to help you find out when a COVID cough usually goes away, whether coughing is normal after you’ve recovered, at what point a chronic cough may indicate long COVID development, and how you may treat a cough too.

What is COVID cough and how is it different from other coughs?

Cough occurs in approximately 50% of patients with COVID-19 infection. It is usually dry and nonproductive, says Jill Howard, M.D., national director of infectious diseases at ChenMed. However, “17 to 34% of patients have persistent cough following acute COVID-19 infection.”

Many respiratory infections can also cause a post-infectious cough that lasts (typically) a few weeks after the initial infection ends, says David Cennimo, M.D., associate professor of medicine & pediatrics at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. “This is thought to be due to hyper-responsiveness in the cough mechanism, possibly also due to some damage to the airways from the infection…This has been seen with influenza, COVID-19, and many other infections.”

When will a COVID cough usually go away?

For most people, it can take 3 to 18 months for their lungs to get back to their pre-COVID-19 baseline, says Richard Watkins, M.D., an infectious disease physician and professor of medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University. According to Hopkins Medicine, after a serious case of COVID-19, recovery from lung damage takes time. There’s the initial injury to the lungs, followed by scarring. Over time, the tissue heals, but it can take three months to a year or more for a person’s lung function to return to pre-COVID-19 levels.

In general, the more risk factors for severe infection, and the more severe the initial COVID-19 infection, the longer the patient experiences persistent symptoms, explains Dr. Howard.

When does chronic cough become a symptom of long COVID?

Some people have experienced a prolonged post-infectious cough after COVID-19 that has been characterized as part of the “Long-COVID” syndrome, Dr. Cennimo explains. “In some datasets, around 15% of people are coughing 3+ weeks after COVID infection. In most, this fades over time but it can take weeks to months.”

If a cough develops during acute COVID-19 infection, and lasts 3 months from the onset of illness, it is considered a manifestation of long COVID, says Dr. Howard.

How can you treat a COVID cough?

Treatment for lingering cough related to COVID is not well defined, says Dr. Cennimo. “Many people do find some comfort with cough drops, etc.”

It’s most important to make sure there is not an underlying issue causing the cough, Dr. Cennimo adds. “For instance, some COVID-19 infections do significantly damage the lungs and we can see a decrease in respiratory capacity. Some patients will also have a reactive airway disease triggered (like asthma) and their cough may be masking wheezing.” In these cases, inhalers can help.

When should you see a doctor about your COVID cough?

One red flag is the feeling of shortness of breath, says Dr. Cennimo. “If the cough lasts more than 2-3 weeks or is accompanied by shortness of breath, the person should be evaluated.” Dr. Howards adds that “if the cough is worsening rather than improving, or if it is associated with difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, fever or [phlegm] production, seek your doctor right away to further investigate.”

Dr. Watkins adds that your primary care physician “can assess your symptoms and develop a treatment plan that may include breathing exercises, antibiotics, or steroids. Referral to pulmonary rehabilitation is another option.”

Headshot of Madeleine Haase

Madeleine, Prevention’s assistant editor, has a history with health writing from her experience as an editorial assistant at WebMD, and from her personal research at university. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience—and she helps strategize for success across Prevention’s social media platforms. 

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If you’ve been unfortunate enough to contract the COVID-19 virus, you may have noticed that your COVID cough is lingering longer than after your typical cold. And if it bothers you for long enough, you may even find yourself googling “how long does COVID cough last?”

First of all, you’re not alone. Many people who have had a COVID-19 infection report having a cough that they just can’t seem to shake, even up to a year after the virus has left their system—and, a lingering cough is something you should never ignore. But at what point does your extended cough indicate you have long COVID? After all, one in five adult COVID-19 survivors experiences long COVID symptoms and respiratory issues is one of the most common among them.

But before you worry about your lingering cough being a sign of bigger concern, we’ve spoken with infectious disease experts to help you find out when a COVID cough usually goes away, whether coughing is normal after you’ve recovered, at what point a chronic cough may indicate long COVID development, and how you may treat a cough too.

What is COVID cough and how is it different from other coughs?

Cough occurs in approximately 50% of patients with COVID-19 infection. It is usually dry and nonproductive, says Jill Howard, M.D., national director of infectious diseases at ChenMed. However, “17 to 34% of patients have persistent cough following acute COVID-19 infection.”

Many respiratory infections can also cause a post-infectious cough that lasts (typically) a few weeks after the initial infection ends, says David Cennimo, M.D., associate professor of medicine & pediatrics at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. “This is thought to be due to hyper-responsiveness in the cough mechanism, possibly also due to some damage to the airways from the infection…This has been seen with influenza, COVID-19, and many other infections.”

When will a COVID cough usually go away?

For most people, it can take 3 to 18 months for their lungs to get back to their pre-COVID-19 baseline, says Richard Watkins, M.D., an infectious disease physician and professor of medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University. According to Hopkins Medicine, after a serious case of COVID-19, recovery from lung damage takes time. There’s the initial injury to the lungs, followed by scarring. Over time, the tissue heals, but it can take three months to a year or more for a person’s lung function to return to pre-COVID-19 levels.

In general, the more risk factors for severe infection, and the more severe the initial COVID-19 infection, the longer the patient experiences persistent symptoms, explains Dr. Howard.

When does chronic cough become a symptom of long COVID?

Some people have experienced a prolonged post-infectious cough after COVID-19 that has been characterized as part of the “Long-COVID” syndrome, Dr. Cennimo explains. “In some datasets, around 15% of people are coughing 3+ weeks after COVID infection. In most, this fades over time but it can take weeks to months.”

If a cough develops during acute COVID-19 infection, and lasts 3 months from the onset of illness, it is considered a manifestation of long COVID, says Dr. Howard.

How can you treat a COVID cough?

Treatment for lingering cough related to COVID is not well defined, says Dr. Cennimo. “Many people do find some comfort with cough drops, etc.”

It’s most important to make sure there is not an underlying issue causing the cough, Dr. Cennimo adds. “For instance, some COVID-19 infections do significantly damage the lungs and we can see a decrease in respiratory capacity. Some patients will also have a reactive airway disease triggered (like asthma) and their cough may be masking wheezing.” In these cases, inhalers can help.

When should you see a doctor about your COVID cough?

One red flag is the feeling of shortness of breath, says Dr. Cennimo. “If the cough lasts more than 2-3 weeks or is accompanied by shortness of breath, the person should be evaluated.” Dr. Howards adds that “if the cough is worsening rather than improving, or if it is associated with difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, fever or [phlegm] production, seek your doctor right away to further investigate.”

Dr. Watkins adds that your primary care physician “can assess your symptoms and develop a treatment plan that may include breathing exercises, antibiotics, or steroids. Referral to pulmonary rehabilitation is another option.”

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Looking to improve your sleep, relationships and mental and physical health? You’re in luck: thanks to a booming self-help industry, there are tens of thousands of books that claim they can transform your life in less than 500 pages.

But here’s the thing: so many self-help books simply aren’t worth your time. While some merely repeat the ideas of others, many contain claims that are at best questionable – and at worst downright pseudoscience that can actively harm you.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best, science-based self-help books that can help improve your life.

Best self-help books to read in 2023

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? cover

Dr Julie Smith

While best known for her sub-minute TikToks, Dr Julie Smith has dedicated decades to the study of psychology, running a clinical practice as a member of the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy. And she's drawn from this experience to deliver Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?, an easy-to-understand therapy toolkit designed to help readers traverse an assortment of mental health challenges, from anxiety, depression and low mood and motivation.

The book’s greatest strength: it's brilliantly practical. While other mental health guides can get bogged down in lengthy anecdotes, Smith’s handbook offers short chapters filled with clear, actionable and achievable advice anyone can use.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Cover of Deep Work

Prof Cal Newport

How do you organise your day? Do you attempt to tick off a comprehensive and ambitious to-do list, only to waste your hours in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media? As Georgetown University’s Prof Cal Newport explains, the to-do list is bound to lead to such frustration – but there is a much better way to organise your time.

In this book of practical advice, he outlines his time-blocking management system that carefully considers both how long each task takes and how much time you have available. Then comes the important bit. Newport outlines how readers should and can dedicate more time to deep work – that’s work without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. With the help of compelling scientific studies, Newport argues why organising your day around chunks of deep work will improve your focus, productivity and creativity.

Importantly, Deep Work is not a manifesto for working harder and longer. It’s the opposite. Yes, Newport’s time management advice is geared towards greater productivity, but also a better work-life balance free from crippling time famine.

A Path through the Jungle: Psychological Health and Wellbeing Programme to Develop Robustness and Resilience

Cover of A Path Through the Jungle

Prof Steve Peters

When it was first released, Prof Steve Peters’s The Chimp Paradox was applauded for its straightforward explanation of how the human brain processes emotion, and how to better manage those emotions. It became a best-seller and was praised by the likes of former footballer Steven Gerrard and Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton.

However, the book had a problem. For some, The Chimp Paradox was too simplistic, with much of the neuroscience underpinning the book’s mind management programme left unexplained. A Path Through the Jungle is the remedy to this. While the language is still simple, Peters gives a fuller picture of the complex neural networks behind your emotions and stress responses. And it’s from this deeper explanation of the brain’s systems, the reader can better learn to manage their inner emotion machine (what Peters calls ‘The Chimp’).

An extremely comprehensive guide to improving your mental health in a plethora of areas.

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art

Cover of Breath

James Nestor

Ever feel like the whole self-improvement game is just learning you have a list of never-ending insufficiencies? If so, you may meet this claim from journalist James Nestor with some resistance: you’re breathing wrong. Specifically, you’re probably breathing through your mouth a lot of the time.

Why does that matter? Well, as Nestor’s engaging, surprising and thorough book explains, it could have major implications for your health. With the help of leading researchers – and an impressively large reference section – Breath unpacks how simply breathing better can radically transform our physical and mental health.

The Sleep Fix: Practical, Proven, and Surprising Solutions for Insomnia, Snoring, Shift Work, and More

Cover of The Sleep Fix

Diane Macedo

Many of the best sleep books, such as Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep?, have highlighted the importance of getting enough slumber. But when it comes to practical advice, much in these guides isn't compatible with everyday life. For instance, it's common sleep advice to wake up and fall asleep at the same time every day. But what about shift workers?

That’s where The Sleep Fix comes in. Penned by US news anchor Diane Macedo, this book contains realistic and flexible sleep remedies, using advice from the world’s leading sleep experts. Drawing from scientific literature and her own experience as an overnight worker, Macedo explains in simple terms how to overcome snoring, insomnia, shift work, sleep apnea, anxiety, restless sleep syndrome and much much more.

Packed with unexpected but worthwhile advice, this book is worthwhile for those who feel they’ve tried everything else.

Four Thousand Weeks

Cover of Four Thousand Weeks

Oliver Burkeman

How long is the average human life? The answer, as you may guess from this book title, is a mere 4000 weeks. It may seem like a worryingly small number, but as journalist and productivity geek Oliver Burkeman points out, accepting our ridiculously short time on Earth could be the key to living a more fulfilled life.

More like this

Drawing from scientists and history’s great philosophers, Burkeman makes the case that our obsession with overfilling inboxes, ceaselessly growing to-do lists and never-ending searches for self-improvement will never truly leave us satisfied. Our limitations, he argues, are better embraced than denied.

Overall, this is a part self-help, part anti-self-help book, that seeks to realign your relationship with time – and work out how to best spend your 4,000 weeks.

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For most patients with long Covid after an initial mild infection, symptoms may linger for several months but will resolve within a year, a large study has concluded.

The analysis of healthcare records from 2 million people in Israel also found that vaccinated people were at lower risk of breathing difficulties – the most common ongoing symptom after mild infection.

Reporting the findings in the BMJ, the researchers also said of the small proportion of children who had persistent symptoms after Covid-19 infection, the vast majority recovered.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics published on the 5 January show an estimated 2.1 million people in the UK, or 3.3% of the population, were experiencing self-reported long Covid symptoms for more than four weeks.

This includes 1.9 million people (87%) who believe they had Covid at least 12 weeks previously, 1.2 million (57%) at least one year previously and 645,000 (30%) at least two years previously.

The Israeli analysis of healthcare records between March 2020 and 1 October 2021 looked at more than long Covid conditions in infected and matched uninfected individuals as well as comparing vaccination status and Covid variants.

Anyone admitted to hospital with more severe illness was excluded from the study and other chronic conditions and socioeconomic status were taken into account.

Mild Covid-19 infection was associated with a 4.5-fold higher risk of loss of smell and taste in the early period classed as 30 to 180 days after infection and an almost 3-fold higher risk in the late period, which was defined as 180-360 days.

The symptoms with the highest burden across the early and late phases were weakness and breathing difficulties, the researchers said.

Breathing difficulties remained persistent throughout the first year post-infection in the 19-40, 41-60, and over 60 years age groups. 

The patterns identified in the study were similar across the wild-type, Alpha and Delta Covid-19 variants.

But the analysis also showed that vaccinated people who became infected had a lower risk of breathing difficulties compared with unvaccinated infected patients although a similar risk of other symptoms.

‘Our study suggests that mild Covid-19 patients are at risk for a small number of health outcomes and most of them are resolved within a year from diagnosis’ they concluded.

‘Importantly, the risk for lingering dyspnoea was reduced in vaccinated patients with breakthrough infection compared with unvaccinated people,’ they added.

Professor Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine, Imperial College London, said the size of the study meant the researchers could look at the change in symptom prevalence over time and the effects of other factors on persistent symptoms.

He noted that loss of smell tended to resolve at about nine months but concentration and memory changes tended to be more persistent.

‘Persistent shortness of breath tended to resolve over time and vaccination was associated with lower risk of developing it.  

‘The general message that symptoms improve over time is encouraging, but it may take a year or so for some symptoms to resolve.  

‘The study adds to the evidence that outcomes are improved by vaccination, even if vaccines don’t prevent viral transmission very well.’

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<br /> Guru Gadgets: High-Tech Devices to Help With Meditation - Mansion Global<br />




























































Grow in your practice with the help of these tools

Looking to deepen your practice of meditation? Or perhaps you’re finding it difficult to start? The answer to your further exploration of self may come from an unlikely source—technology.

From stress-reducing wristbands to consciousness-elevating couches, smart technology has embraced the wellness space to aid those looking to expand their journey inward.

Below, a few devices that may help you grow in your practice of meditation.

Muse 2

Forewarned is forearmed, and the Muse 2 is built to give users real-time information to aid in their meditation. Appearing like a headband from the distant future, this wearable is outfitted with multiple-sensors that track real-time brainwave feedback (EEG), heart rate, posture and breath, allowing users to track how they perform best and build a consistent practice. But the Muse 2 is more than just data. The headband, and accompanying app, offer guided meditation and breathing via harmonizing musical tones and natural sounds, allowing users to synchronize heart, body and breath toward a more fulfilling meditation.

The Muse 2 is available for $249.

Core

You’ve probably never seen a handheld like this. Conceived as a physical guide for your meditation, the Core is a semi-spherical device that users hold in front of them. Atop the Core are multiple ECG sensors, that, in conjunction with headphones and the Core app, guide you through audio soundscapes via synchronized vibrations, with the goal of optimizing your meditation. In addition to providing a guiding pulse, the Core’s ECG sensors read and record your body’s heart rate through your thumbs, allowing users to see the growth of their practice over time.

The Core is available for $179.

Resonate

Looking for a full-body meditation aid? Consisting of spatial sound headphones, light vision glasses and a vibrating couch, Resonate offers complete immersion for finding a new depth to your meditative practice. Working with the accompanying Resonate app, users listen to binaural beats and isochronic tones, “view” brain-stimulating light displays and experience physical vibrations, all while working through a guided meditation. The goal of the multiple devices, working in conjunction, is to reach a deeper subconscious (headphones), slow down the pattern of thoughts (glasses) and soothe the nervous system (couch)—a full-body experience built to achieve a more powerful meditation.

Resonate is available for pre-order now for $4,499.

Apollo Neuro

Having trouble delving into meditation due to stress and anxiety? The answer may be in the power of touch—even if that touch comes from technology. That’s the philosophy—and science—behind the Apollo Neuro. This unique wearable, which can be attached at the wrist, ankle, wristband, shirt collar and more, provides soothing waves of vibration that simulate touch and are meant to combat the fight-or-flight responses closely associated with stress and anxiety. The goal of the Neuro is to restore your body’s natural rhythms and aid users in relaxing, focusing, socializing, sleeping and even meditating.

The Apollo Neuro is available for $349.

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  • Evidence suggests practicing yoga before bed may help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
  • Yoga may work to improve sleep because it helps relax both your mind and body, experts say.
  • Try gentle poses that help you focus on breathing, like child's pose, corpse pose, and cat-cow pose.

If you have trouble falling asleep or sleeping soundly through the night, you're not alone. Estimates suggest 50-70 million US adults have at least one sleep disorder, and 11% say they don't get enough sleep each night.

But whether you find yourself unable to drift off, or wake up multiple times throughout the night, there's a lot you can do to improve your sleep — and practicing yoga is one thing you can try at any time. 

One national survey found that over 55% of people who practice yoga say they get better sleep. Research also suggests that yoga may help:

Anxiety and stress, in particular, can keep you in a heightened state of arousal and cause racing thoughts that keep you lying awake, according to Valerie Ugrinow, a master yoga trainer for YogaSix. But yoga can help you reach a calmer state of mind, making it easier to fall asleep, Ugrinow says. 

All that said, some yoga poses may do a better job relaxing your mind and body than others. Below, you'll find eight poses recommended by yoga instructors for better quality sleep.

1. Standing forward fold

A person in workout attire performs the standing forward rold yoga pose.

The standing forward fold can help you feel more relaxed before bed.

Valerie Ugrinow



Why it works:

This pose is known as an inversion, meaning it positions your head lower than your heart. Niki Saccareccia, founder of Light Inside Yoga and a featured teacher on the Yoga Wake Up app, says that by turning your spine and head upside down, you orient with gravity rather than trying to resist it.

"This eases physical tension and pressure on your body, which can help you feel more relaxed," she says.

Evidence also suggests that practicing inversions can improve your heart rate variability (HRV) — which means your body is better able to activate the parasympathetic nervous system as needed. 

How to do it:

1. Stand with your feet at least as wide as your hips or slightly wider.

2. Take a long inhale through your nose as you lengthen your spine and stand as tall as possible,

3. As you exhale, hinge at your hips to fold your torso down towards your knees. Bend your knees slightly to protect your lower back.

4. Let your head and neck relax. You can grab opposite elbows and let your arms hang loosely, or rest them gently on your shins or the floor depending on your level of flexibility.

5. Stay here for 30 seconds to a minute while breathing slowly and intentionally.

2. Half fire log pose

A person in workout attire performs the half fire log pose.

If you have tense hips, the the half fire log pose is a great one to loosen that tension for more relaxation before sleep.

Ty Merkel for Yoga Wake Up



Why it works:

Saccareccia says this deep stretch can be especially beneficial if you spend most of your day sitting. This pose helps relieve tension in the hips, which can make it easier to relax and find a comfortable position when it's time to sleep, she says. 

How to do it:

1. Sit on the edge of your bed or a chair with both feet flat on the floor. 

2. As you take a full inhale through your nose, lengthen your spine upwards.

3. As you exhale, lean forward slightly without rounding your back. 

4. Reach and grab your right shin and foot, placing your outer right ankle on your left knee.

5. Flex your right toes toward your shin to protect your knee joint and to increase the stretch in your outer hip. Lean forward more as needed to increase the stretch. Stay here for a full minute.

6. Place your right foot back on the floor, and repeat steps 2-5 with the left foot.

3. Reclined cobbler's pose

A person in workout attire performs the reclined cobbler's pose.

The cobbler's pose is a good one for deeper breathing and stress relief before bed.

Ty Merkel for Yoga Wake Up



Why it works: According to Saccareccia, spending most of your day hunched over a computer, steering wheel, or smartphone causes your body to contract. 

This puts pressure on your back and spine and can also cause a shallow breathing pattern that mimics what happens during your fight or flight response

This particular pose, however, opens up your chest to allow for deeper breathing, which can promote relaxation.

How to do it:

1. Lay flat on your back in bed or on a yoga mat, with your arms resting at your sides and palms facing up toward the ceiling.

2. Bring the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to fall out to the sides. If necessary, you can place pillows underneath your outer knees for extra support.

3. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. 

4. Count to six in your mind as you inhale, feeling your belly expand. Then count to eight as you exhale and feel your belly deflate. Repeat this step for up to four minutes.

4. Legs up a wall pose

A person in workout attire has their legs up against a wall in the legs-up-a-wall yoga pose.

If you're feeling stressed before bed, try the legs up a wall pose.

Valerie Ugrinow



Why it works: 

Legs up a wall is a common restorative yoga pose. Restorative yoga involves performing gentle poses and stretches while using props for support.

According to Ugrinow, this pose helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system, relaxing your muscles and slowing down your breathing. 

What's more, Saccareccia says having your legs and feet elevated can encourage blood flow back to your heart, thus possibly helping increase your HRV — and experts link a higher HRV to lower stress.  

In fact, a small study found that Japanese nurses working the night shift experienced less stress after four weeks of practicing restorative yoga.

How to do it:

1. Move to a side of your bed that faces the wall. If there are no walls on either side of your bed, start seated on a mat facing a wall.

2. Position yourself sideways so that one of your hips makes contact with the wall. Then, swing your legs up until they're resting against the wall. To avoid locking your knees, keep them slightly bent. 

3. For a deeper stretch, scoot toward the wall so your legs are at a 90-degree angle with your torso. Or, for a milder stretch, scoot yourself back so that your butt is farther away from the wall.

4. Saccareccia advises staying here, while focusing on your breath, for up to 10 minutes. To come out of the pose, bend your knees toward your chest and roll onto your side.

5. Child's pose

A person in workout attire performs the child's yoga pose.

Child's pose is a great way to relax your entire body before sleep.

Valerie Ugrinow



Why it works: Ugrinow says this pose can help prepare you for sleep by encouraging your whole body to relax via deep breathing, while also relieving tension in your lower back, chest, and shoulders.

How to do it:

1. Start on your hands and knees. Bring the toes of your left foot and right foot in so they touch and spread your knees apart by several inches.

2. Inhale, and then on an exhale, sit your hips back until your buttocks rest against your heels, and allow your chest to rest on the floor between your knees. Place your forehead on the floor.

3. Keep your arms long and extended with your palms facing down. Or, you can bring them back toward you to rest parallel with your thighs, palms facing upward.

4. With every exhale, allow your head, neck, shoulders, chest, and back to relax even further into the floor.

5. Hold this pose for up to one minute. Then, use your hands to walk your torso upright and sit back on your heels.

6. Supported bridge pose

A person in workout attire performing the supported bridge yoga pose.

Deepen your breath with the supported bridge pose.

Valerie Ugrinow



Why it works: According to Ugrinow, this gentle yoga backbend opens up both the chest and spine for deeper breathing while stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. Both of these effects may help you feel more relaxed before bedtime.

How to do it:

1. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the mat. You should be just barely able to touch the backs of your heels with your fingertips.

2. Press down through your feet and lift your hips. Then, slide a block, thick pillow, or a stack of several folded blankets underneath your sacrum — the base of your spine where your back meets your buttocks.

3. Allow the weight of your body to fully relax, and keep your arms outstretched on the floor next to your body. 

4. To further open your chest, stretch your arms out wide.

5. Hold this pose for a minimum of 5-10 breaths. When you're ready to come out of it, simply lift your hips to remove the prop and lower them to the floor. Then stretch your legs out and gently roll your torso up off the floor.

7. Corpse pose

A person in workout attire performing corpse yoga pose on a yoga mat.

Corpse pose is a great way to relax any racing thoughts before bed.

Ashley Corbin-Teich/Getty Images



Why it works: Simpson says there's a good reason why many yoga classes end with this pose: It allows all of the muscles to fully relax, promoting a sense of calm and making it easier to bring your attention to your breath. 

For these same reasons, corpse pose can also help prepare you for sleep. 

How to do it: 

1. Lie flat on a mat or your bed, with your legs slightly separated.

2. Allow your legs to relax so your ankles can roll open and your feet can fall outward.

3. With your arms relaxed at your sides and your palms facing up toward the ceiling, relax your hands and let your fingers curl inward.

4. Continue scanning your body upwards and releasing any effort or tension in each set of muscles as you go. When you reach your head, make sure you're not holding your neck in a fixed position, and relax the muscles in your face.

5. Stay in the pose for at least two to five minutes. If your mind wanders, bring your attention to your breath and the sensation of your belly, ribcage, and chest rising and falling.

8. Cat-cow stretch

A person in workout attire performing the cat-cow stretch. On the left they’re in cow post and on the right they’re in cat pose.

Cat-cow is also a great stretch for the lower back.

Valerie Ugrinow



Why it works: Since this pose pairs gentle movement with breathwork, it can help you get out of your head and into your body, Ugrinow says. That may prove beneficial if racing thoughts keep you awake at night.

How to do it: 

1. Start on your hands and knees, with your knees directly under your hips. Spread your fingers wide to better support your wrists.

2. As you inhale deeply, slowly arch your spine and bring your head up, tilting your head just slightly backward to elongate your neck. This is known as "cow" pose.

3. Then, as you exhale deeply, begin drawing your chin in toward your chest rounding your spine for "cat" pose.

4. Continue slowly alternating between these two poses for at least five to 10 full inhalations and exhalations.

Insider's takeaway

Yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety, relieve tension in the body, and relax your mind. So, if you're having trouble getting the sleep you need, adding yoga to your nighttime routine may help you fall asleep faster — not to mention improve the quality of your rest.

When it comes to promoting restful sleep, poses that allow you to hone in on your breathing — such as those commonly used in restorative yoga — may be especially helpful.

If yoga doesn't help improve your sleep, a good next step involves talking to a doctor or therapist. A trained professional can help identify the cause of your sleep problems and offer more guidance on how to handle them. 



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You continuously work out your body. Therefore, why not exercise your respiratory muscles?

That question led to the developing of a brand-new "secret weapon" that has been secretly enhancing professional athletes' performance for years. It takes the shape of a miniature breathing training tool that, until recently, was exclusively accessible to a select group of top athletes.

However, all of that has changed because of a significant public release spearheaded by international soccer star Tim Cahill, which has sparked interest among athletes and regular gym users.

The device is entirely safe and perfectly natural, which is crucial. Since it improves your breathing muscles and cleans your airways without using medicines, it is currently permitted in all competitions.

Place the Better Breathing Sport mouthpiece against your lips and breathe through it to generate gentle, positive pressure pulses that assist clean and optimizing oxygen flow, boosting power and endurance.

Athletes of all skill levels targeting by the marketing of Better Breathing Sport, a patented, award-winning product that has the support of pro athletes. However, amateur athletes and anyone who wishes to increase lung capacity and oxygen intake also enjoy using Better Breathing Sport.

Do the claims made about Better Breathing Sport hold? Better Breathing Sport: How Does It Work? Read on for our review of Better Breathing Sport to learn everything you need to know.

A cutting-edge new tool called Better Breathing Sport was created to help you breathe better by clearing and expanding your lungs. You just need 8–10 breaths of a few seconds before exercise, and it is simple to use.

The more oxygen your muscles and tendons receive, the more heat they produce, the more suppleness they gain, and the less likely they are to break. The additional oxygen provided by the Better Breathing Sport spirometer also helps speed up muscle recovery by preventing lactic acid buildup.

The more oxygen your muscles and tendons receive, the more heat they produce, the more suppleness they gain, and the less likely they are to break. The additional oxygen provided by the Better Breathing Sport spirometer also helps speed up muscle recovery by preventing lactic acid buildup.

Let's look into the Better Breathing Sports Device in detail through this review. If you want to get to know more about how to exercise your respiratory muscles, we highly recommend you read this Better Breathing Sport review until the end. We will be discussing the product through the following sections. 

●    What Is A Better Breathing Sport?

●    Why Would You Use A Respiratory Training Device?

●    How Does Better Breathing Sport?

●    Features Of Better Breathing Sport

●    How To Use Better Breathing Sport?

●    Benefits Of Better Breathing Sport

●    What's Inside Better Breathing Sport?

●    Where To Buy Better Breathing Sport?

●    Conclusion On Better Breathing Sport Reviews

What Is A Better Breathing Sport?

A breathing aid called Better Breathing Sport helps to clean airways, enhance oxygen supply, and improve performance and endurance. It is secure, natural, and simple to use.

You exhale via Better Breathing Sport while holding it close to your lips. The gadget gently resists your breathing and uses moderate positive pressure pulses to accomplish specific results.

Other breath-training tools are available now and sold online. Better Breathing Sport is the first program created exclusively for athletes to enhance sports performance. For instance, you can improve athletic performance by utilizing Better Breathing Sport 30 minutes before working out.

Better Breathing Sport employs a ground-breaking method to gradually enhance your breathing while raising your level of athletic performance. Top companies trust it because it is secure and works swiftly, and leading athletes worldwide rely on it since it is closed, efficient, and safe.

And unlike other performance-enhancing methods, the advantages increase with continued use. Better Breathing Sport helps you build stronger breathing muscles over time, which makes it easier for you to breathe and consume more oxygen when doing out.

=> Visit “Better Breathing Sport” Official Website!

Why Would You Use A Respiratory Training Device?

Devices used for respiratory training resemble inhalers. They are made to make breathing more difficult in order to develop your lung muscles. You engage muscles like the diaphragm and the intercostals as you breathe in and out of the apparatus (located between the ribs).

RTDs are typically sold on the basis of the reasoning, "You train your legs and your arms—why don't you train your lungs?"

According to one research, in particular, there appears to be evidence that employing RTDs to enhance sports performance is supported by science.

A modest research was conducted to determine whether an increase in activity levels, rather than the respiratory trainer, was responsible for the improved performance gains reported in RTD trials. Researchers studied the cycling endurance of 37 inactive adults to determine this. Nine individuals engaged in aerobic endurance exercise (cycling or running), 13 subjects received respiratory training, and 15 controls did nothing.

How Does Better Breathing Sport Work?

 

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For millions of individuals worldwide, Better Breathing Sport offers an all-natural way to improve breathing. Gentle pulses of positive pressure produce as you exhale via the Better Breathing Sport to assist in cleaning and improving oxygen delivery, which boosts your performance and stamina while keeping you in fantastic shape!

It's simple, secure, and organic, but most importantly, it works well!

An oscillation ball, a diffusion cap, a venturi cone, and a positive pressure mouthpiece make up the unique and highly regarded Better Breathing Sports product. Together, these components create positive pressure as you exhale through the device, pushing back against your breathing to provide the desired effects. 

Better Breathing Sport is portable because it is a compact device. Additionally, the gadget is composed of resilient, long-lasting, medical-grade polycarbonate and is built to last very long. Better Breathing Sport can be cleaned at high temperatures and is unaffected by harsh cleaning agents like alcohol and detergent.

Better Breathing Sport forces you to exhale more forcefully while making it more challenging to inhale. The mechanism is entirely mechanical; the diffusion cap, oscillation ball, and venturi cone use to produce this resistance. It would help if you resisted the force these three objects exert when you breathe during Better Breathing Sport to exhale and inhale correctly.

Features Of Better Breathing Sport

●    Easy & Fast

●    Boost Your Performance Every Day In Minutes

Better Breathing Sport is not only 100% natural and risk-free, but it's also simple to incorporate into your everyday routine!

Before your workout, inhale for 3 to 5 seconds through the device ten times. You'll see a significant change immediately, and it gets better the more you use it!

●    Beat The Improvement Of Competition At All Levels Reduces Workout & Training Times

Improve your oxygen delivery system and lessen the accumulation of lactic acid in your muscles.

●    HELPES WITH Shallow Breathing

Increase your lung capacity and develop your respiratory muscles to breathe more deeply.

●    Decreases Restoration Times

There is faster oxygen delivery to the muscles for quicker recovery and lactic acid removal.

●    Get Important Breaths Of Time

You will be able to breathe deeper or exert more effort thanks to improved oxygen levels in your body and muscles.

●    Benefits Sleep

Improve your breathing and sleeping habits.

●    Increase Levels Of Energy

Your muscles can produce more energy thanks to an increase in oxygen supply.

=> Order Your “Better Breathing Sport” From The Official Website!

How To Use Better Breathing Sport?

Better Breathing Sport creates positive pressure in your lungs and airways when you inhale and exhale, which helps eliminate mucus. It can enhance endurance and respiratory capacity, among other things.

Step 1: Place Better Breathing Sport up to your lips and blow into the gadget for three to five seconds.

Repeat step 2 5–10 times.

Step 3) Immediately notice improved breathing.

Step 4: Keep using Better Breathing Sport for 5 minutes twice daily for the first 2-3 weeks and 30 minutes before an exercise. 

Benefits Of Better Breathing Sport

●    Enhance Training & Workout Times

Better Breathing Sport improves training and workout times by improving oxygen supply and lactic acid buildup in the muscles. Usually, lactic acid buildup in your muscles causes your body to feel weary and signals you to quit exercising. 

●    Improve Shallow Breathing

Better Breathing Sport claims it may enhance shallow breathing by increasing lung capacity and strengthening your respiratory muscles. 

●    Gain Vital Breathing Seconds

Better Breathing Sport raises your body's oxygen levels, which in turn helps your muscles' oxygen levels. Gaining crucial seconds of breathing allows you to exert yourself more and breathe for more extended periods. Enhancing the worth of each breath you take is made possible by better breathing sports.

●    Improve Sleep

Low oxygen levels are a common cause of restless sleep for many people. Low oxygen levels when you sleep, for instance, can be caused by sleep apnea, snoring, and poor posture. By improving your oxygen intake and assisting you in more efficiently generating energy in your muscles, Better Breathing Sport claims to increase energy levels.

●    100% Safe & Natural 

You can enjoy 100% natural experiences rather than subjecting your body to dangerous side effects or procedures. Better Breathing Sport is available in a single size that suits people of all ages, from infants to the elderly. Better Breathing Sport is advantageous "for anyone of any age or athletic level," according to the official website.

●    Improve Performance in Minutes a Day

With just 3 to 5 minutes of therapy each day, Better Breathing Sport enables you to enhance performance. To increase endurance and performance, for instance, use Better Breathing Sport for a short period, 30 minutes before an exercise or physical activity.

●    clear mucus from the airways 

Better Breathing Sport can aid clear mucus from the airways, making it more straightforward for the most oxygen to enter your body and reach your muscles.

The Better Breathing Sport website claims that further advantages of the gadget include:

●    To create natural, focused benefits, exert positive pressure within your airways and lungs.

●    Boost the supply of oxygen

●    Performance is immediately improved, and it works quickly.

●    increases airway clearance and lung capacity

●    Small, portable, drug-free, and all-natural

What's Inside Better Breathing Sport?

The patented and award-winning product Better Breathing Sport has a distinctive design. A positive pressure mouthpiece, venturi cone, oscillation ball, and diffusion cap make up the Better Breathing Sport.

You can take the machine wherever and rely on it whenever you need to improve your breathing because it is incredibly durable and simple to maintain.

Devices for better breathing while exercising are created in Australia using the best plastic available. They are made of durable, medical-grade polycarbonate and are highly resistant to dropping and damage. They can also be cleaned at high temperatures and have a high tolerance for cleaning agents like detergent and alcohol.

=> Get the “Better Breathing Sport” From The Official Website!

How To Use Sports For Better Breathing

Holding the gadget to your mouth while inhaling and exhaling is all that is necessary to utilize Better Breathing Sport.

Better Breathing Sport creates positive pressure in your lungs and airways when you inhale and exhale, which helps eliminate mucus. This can enhance endurance and respiratory capacity, among other things.

This is how it goes:

Step 1: Place Better Breathing Sport up to your lips and blow for three to five seconds into the gadget.

Step 2: Repeat step one 5–10 times.

Step 3) Immediately notice improved breathing.

Step 4: Keep using Better Breathing Sport for 5 minutes twice daily for the first 2-3 weeks and 30 minutes prior to an exercise.

Use it twice a week and 30 minutes to get most out of your workouts.

Better Breathing Sport gently imitates the "cough" function by using vibrations and resistance, which helps to increase oxygen supply by removing mucus from the airways. You could experience enhanced performance, more energy, and increased stamina after taking Better Breathing Sport for a short while.

Where To Buy Better Breathing Sport?

Visit our official website to learn more about Better Breathing Sport and purchase the patented, award-winning product online. Good news: Better Breathing Sport has recently announced a significant increase in its worldwide shipping options. 

The cost of Better Breathing Sport is $64.99 per unit. However, you will receive a discount if you purchase several at once.

When buying Better Breathing Sport online right now, prices look like this:

●    Better Breathing Sport, 1 unit, $64.99. Plus shipping

●    $129.98 for 3 × Better Breathing Sports plus free US shipping

●    $194.97 for 5 × Better Breathing Sports with free US shipping

=> Click Here To Buy Your “Better Breathing Sport” From The Official Website - Backed By Five-Star Reviews!

The Better Breathing Sport comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If users believe their overall performance has not improved over the first 30 days of using this gadget, they can contact customer service to ask for a full refund of their purchase price. It only applies to extra, unused items that are brand-new and still in their original packaging.

Conclusion On Better Breathing Sport Reviews

Better Breathing Sport is a breath training program for athletes of all skill levels. Spending a few minutes inhaling via Better Breathing Sport will help you clear mucus, expand your lungs, and improve your breathing in various ways. Some people use Better Breathing Sport daily to maintain overall health, while others use it 30 minutes before an exercise to increase endurance and performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

●    Is using the Better Breathing Sport safe?

People should see a healthcare professional before starting any new therapy for pre-existing conditions, just like with any device. However, it is said that utilizing the Better Breathing Sport is completely safe because no negative effects have been reported. Given that the gadget is based on mechanical breathing techniques, this shouldn't be a great surprise.

●    What is the Better Breathing Sport used for?

Users are encouraged to sit up straight, inhale deeply into the gadget, and hold their breath for three to five seconds while the vibration is sustained. One to two times each day, this technique must be performed at least ten times throughout each session.

●    When should the Better Breathing Sport be used?

Individuals are advised to use the Better Breathing Sport 30 minutes before each session to get the full benefits of it during activity.

●    How frequently should one practice the Better Breathing Sport?

It is advised to do this no more than twice daily for 5 to 10 minutes. It should be done for the first two to three weeks, ideally. It should only be used twice weekly beyond this point.

●    Is a return policy in place for the Better Breathing Sport?

Yes, the Better Breathing Sport comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If users believe their overall performance has not improved over the first 30 days of using this gadget, they can contact customer service to ask for a full refund of their purchase price. This only applies to extra, unused items that are brand-new and still in their original packaging.

Consider contacting one of the following places to get more information about the return policy:

●    Better Breathing Sports Email: giddyup-support.com

●    Better breathing's mailing address is 3-17 Rivendell Drive, Tweed Heads South, NSW 2486, Australia.

=> Buy Your “Better Breathing Sport” Before Stock Runs Out!

Disclaimer: The above is a sponsored post, the views expressed are those of the sponsor/author and do not represent the stand and views of Outlook Editorial.

 

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The alarm goes off. You get dressed, grab your coffee, and head to work. But by lunchtime, you start to feel disorganized. You reread emails because you lack focus and mental clarity.

There's nothing worse than brain fog. In addition to stress and lack of sleep, it can be caused by the immune system creating an inflammatory response in the brain. This can lead to symptoms like poor concentration and memory, or difficulty making decisions.

As a neuroscientist, I study the causes of brain fog and forgetfulness. To avoid them, here are four things I never do:

1. I never let my body get tense for too long.

Even if you think you're relaxed, your body may be physically tense (e.g., stiff neck, back or shoulder pain). This can be a result of stress from things like unfinished tasks or looming deadlines.

So when I notice that my body is tense, I immediately do an exercise called "box breathing":

  1. Inhale through your nose as you slowly count to four seconds.
  2. Hold your breath for a count of four seconds.
  3. Exhale through your nose, releasing all the air from your lungs, as you slowly count to four seconds.
  4. Hold your breath for a count of four seconds.
  5. Repeat for at least four rounds.

Box breathing is a simple way to help calm your brain. Studies also show that it can reduce levels of cortisol, which is the chemical produced when the body is under stress.

2. I never use screens one hour before bedtime.

As tempting as it might be to scroll through Instagram or watch TV before bedtime, these activities can be too stimulating for the brain.

Instead, I try to read a book before turning out the lights. If that doesn't help me sleep, I do a "relaxation body scan," squeezing and releasing muscles — starting at my toes and all the way up to my head.

Ideally, we need about eight hours of sleep a night. More than that can lead to a depressed mood, and less than that doesn't give the brain enough time to rest and reset.

3. I never load up on glucose.

If your gut isn't healthy, your brainpower can falter, too. I strengthen my gut-brain axis by maintaining a diet rich in hydrating foods, healthy fats and digestible protein.

Most important of all, I try to avoid sugar. Your brain uses glucose (sugar) as fuel, but refined carbohydrates like high fructose corn syrup found in sodas are not good sources of fuel. Your brain gets a burst of too much glucose, then too little.

This can lead to irritability, tiredness, mental confusion, and impaired judgment.

I also eat foods rich in magnesium — whole grains, leafy greens, dried beans and legumes — to help regulate my mood and sleep cycle. And I make sure to have my last caffeinated drink of the day before 10:00 a.m.

4. I never go a day without meditating.

Harvard nutritionist: This is the No. 1 vitamin to keep your brain sharp



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click to enlarge Scientists are looking at what factors may play a role in making winter a sickening season. - Photo: Pixabay

Photo: Pixabay

Scientists are looking at what factors may play a role in making winter a sickening season.


When bitter winds blew and temperatures dropped, my grandmother would urge me to come inside. “You’ll catch your death of cold out there,” she’d say.

Sure, freezing to death is possible in frigid temperatures. But doctors and other health experts have long stressed that being cold won’t give you a cold. Still, winter is undisputedly cold-and-flu season. It’s also a period when COVID-19 spreads more.

But if the chill doesn’t matter, why does the spread of so many respiratory viruses peak during the season?

“I’ve spent the past 13 years looking into this question,” says Linsey Marr, a civil and environmental engineer at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg who studies viruses in the air. “The deeper we go, the more I realize we don’t know [and] the more there is to figure out.”

She and I are not alone.

“That wintertime seasonality has puzzled people for a very long time; thousands of years, to be honest,” says Jeffrey Shaman, an infectious diseases researcher who directs the Climate and Health Program at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

There is some evidence that winter’s shorter days may make people more susceptible to infection, he says. Less sunlight means people make less vitamin D, which is required for some immune responses. But that’s just one piece of the puzzle.

Scientists are also looking at what other factors may play a role in making winter a sickening season.

Illness may spread more inside

My grandma’s well-intentioned urging to come in from the cold may have instead increased the risk that I’d get sick.

Colds, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, are all illnesses that are more prevalent at certain times of year when people spend more time inside. That includes winter in temperate climates, where there are distinct seasons, and rainy seasons in tropical zones. COVID-19 also spreads more indoors than outside.

Those diseases are caused by viruses that are transmitted primarily through breathing in small droplets known as aerosols. That’s a change in thinking. Many scientists thought until very recently that such viruses were spread mainly by touching contaminated surfaces.

“When you’re outdoors, you’re in the ultimate well-ventilated space,” says David Fisman, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Viruses exhaled outside are diluted quickly with clean air.

But inside, aerosols and the viruses they contain can build up. “When you’re in a poorly ventilated space, the air you breathe in is often air that other people have breathed out,” he says.

Since viruses come along with that exhaled breath, “it makes a lot of sense that proximity to individuals who might be contagious would facilitate transmission,” Shaman says.

But there is more to the story, says Benjamin Bleier, a specialist for sinus and nasal disorders at Harvard Medical School.

“In modern society, we’re indoors all year round,” he says. To drive the seasonal pattern we see year after year, something else must be going on too to make people more susceptible to infection and increase the amount of virus circulating, he says.

Drier air can give some viruses a boost

Some viruses thrive in winter. But the reason why may not be so much about temperature, but humidity.

“There are some viruses that like it warm and wet and some viruses like it dry and cold,” says Donald Milton, an aerobiologist at the University of Maryland School of Public Health in College Park. For instance, rhinoviruses — one of the many types of viruses that cause colds — survive better when it is humid. Cases of rhinovirus infection typically peak in early fall, he says.

Marr and other researchers have found that viruses that surge in the winter, including influenza viruses and SARS-CoV-2 — the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 — survive best when the relative humidity in the air falls below about 40 percent.

Viruses aren’t usually floating around naked, Marr says. They are encased in droplets of fluid, such as saliva. Those droplets also have bits of mucus, proteins, salt and other substances in them. Those other components may determine if the virus survives drying.

When the humidity is higher, droplets dry slowly. Such slow drying kills viruses such as influenza A and SARS-CoV-2, Marr and colleagues reported July 27 in a preprint at bioRxiv.org. During slow drying, salt and other things that may harm the virus become more concentrated, although researchers still don’t fully understand what’s happening at the molecular scale to inactivate the virus.

But flash drying in parched air preserves those viruses. “If the air is very dry, the water quickly evaporates. Everything is dried down, and it’s almost like things are frozen in place,” Marr says.

How humidity affects airborne droplets

At low humidity levels, airborne droplets, or aerosols, dry quickly (left), preserving viruses under a feathery crystalline lattice, as this microscope image shows. At intermediate humidity levels, crystals form inside liquid droplets (middle), but those crystals may inactivate viruses, not preserve them. At high humidity levels (right), aerosols remain liquid, allowing viruses to survive better than at midlevel humidity.

click to enlarge At high humidity levels, aerosols remain liquid, allowing viruses to survive better than at midlevel humidity. - Photo: Janie French/Lakdawala Lab/Univ. of Pittsburg School of Medicine

Photo: Janie French/Lakdawala Lab/Univ. of Pittsburg School of Medicine

At high humidity levels, aerosols remain liquid, allowing viruses to survive better than at midlevel humidity.

Dryer, smaller aerosols are also more buoyant and may hang in the air longer, increasing the chance that someone will breathe them in, Fisman says.

What’s more, dry air can tear down some of people’s defenses against viruses. Studies in animals suggest that dry air can trigger death of some cells lining the airways. That could leave cracks where viruses can invade.

Mucus in the airways can trap viruses and help protect against infection. But breathing cold, dry air can also slow the system that usually moves mucus out of the body. That may give viruses time to break out of the mucus trap and invade cells, Fisman says.

Cold may harm our ability to fight off viruses

Being cold may not give you a cold, but it could make you more susceptible to catching one.

Normally, the immune system has a trick for warding off viruses, Bleier and colleagues recently discovered. Cells in the nose and elsewhere in the body are studded with surface proteins that can detect viruses. When one of these sensor proteins sees a virus coming, it signals the cell to release tiny bubbles called extracellular vesicles.

The bubbles work as a diversionary tactic, a bit like chaff being released from a military jet trying to avoid a heat-seeking missile, Bleier says. Viruses may go after the vesicles instead of infecting cells.

If a virus docks with one of the bubbles, it’s in for a surprise: Inside the vesicles are virus-killing bits of RNA called microRNAs. One of those microRNAs known as miR-17 could kill two types of rhinoviruses and a cold-causing coronavirus, the team reported Dec. 6 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

How cold weather affects the immune system

The immune system has a diversionary tactic to keep viruses from infecting cells in the nose: When viruses (black and gray spheres) are detected, nasal cells release bubbles called extracellular vesicles (blue circles). These bubbles are studded with proteins (red, blue and black shapes on blue circles) that are normally found on the surface of nasal cells. Viruses may go after the bubbles instead of infecting cells. When temperatures in the nose drop below body temperature (right), cells release fewer bubbles, making it easier for viruses to find and infect nasal cells.

click to enlarge When temperatures in the nose drop below body temperature, it's easier for viruses to find and infect nasal cells. - Photo: D. Huang et al/Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2022; Adapted by E. Otwell

Photo: D. Huang et al/Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2022; Adapted by E. Otwell

When temperatures in the nose drop below body temperature, it's easier for viruses to find and infect nasal cells.

Researchers measured bubbles released from human nasal cells grown in lab dishes at 37° Celsius, our typical body temperature. Then the scientists lowered the thermostat to 32° C. Cells released about 42 percent fewer vesicles at the cooler temperature, the team found. What’s more, those vesicles carried fewer weapons. Vesicles can pack in about 24 percent more microRNA at body temperature than when it is cooler.

Three tips to bolster our immune system

I asked the experts what people can do to protect themselves from viruses in the winter. Some said using a humidifier might help raise moisture levels enough to slow the drying of virus-laden droplets, killing the viruses.

“Any increase in humidity should be beneficial,” says Shaman. “You get a lot of bang for your buck if you go from very dry to dry.”

But Milton doesn’t think it’s a good idea to pump a lot of moisture into a house when it is cold outside. “That humidity is going to find all of the cold spaces in your house and condense there,” creating a breeding ground for mold and rot, he says.

Instead, he advocates turning on kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans to increase ventilation and using HEPA filters or Corsi-Rosenthal boxes to filter unwanted viruses out of the air.

Bleier suggests wearing a mask. Not only can masks filter out viruses, but “our work suggests these masks have a second mechanism of action,” he says. “They keep a cushion of warm [moist] air in front of our noses, which could help bolster the immune system.”

This commentary was originally published in Science News and republished here with permission.

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Since its launch in November 2021, the programme has helped patients cope with the symptoms of Long Covid and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression

Welsh National Opera (WNO) has today announced the expansion of its Long Covid rehabilitation programme. Wellness with WNO will now be available to patients through six health boards across Wales.

Created in consultation with English National Opera based on its original ENO Breathe project. The programme shares techniques used by professional opera singers to support breath control, lung function, circulation and posture. To remove barriers to those living with fatigue as a symptom of Long Covid, sessions are delivered via Zoom.

WNO producer April Heade said: ‘We know that the arts make a particularly powerful contribution to our health and wellbeing, and we have seen firsthand the enormously positive impact these sessions have had on participants who have attended so far.’

The programme was also devised with NHS medical professionals and works to support patients’ emotional wellbeing through singing sessions and through building a community of participants. Since it was launched in November 2021, participants have reported improvements in mental health, and reduced feelings of anxiety and depression.

Gabby Curly, who took part in Wellness with WNO, said: ‘Physically, the Wellness with WNO programme gave me practical breathing exercises to relieve muscle tension around my ribs and help me to relax with my breathing. Emotionally, the support I received made me realise that I wasn’t alone. In the sessions, all my worries went out of my head and I found a real joy in taking part in singing’

WNO has worked with communities across England and Wales since the 1970s. In 2022, WNO worked with 158,000 participants across 74 projects both digital and in person.

Welsh health minister Eluned Morgan supports the Wellness programme. She said: ‘We are continuing to learn more about the long-term effects of Covid and we believe our approach of treating, supporting and managing people through our unique service model is the most efficient and effective way of achieving the best outcomes for people experiencing Long Covid.’

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