There is no doubt that the coronavirus did not have massively positive impact on the lives of most people - even though I did also experience some positive effects from the pandemic. However, one globally positive impact was definitely how people behaved during this winter season and how little the flu (remember the good old flu) played a role this season. Maybe, just maybe, we've learnt how to keep the curve low on other viral diseases as well and learn for the future - but more on that on the guest post by Patriot Medical Devices.
Face Masks and Their Value During Flu Season
We know the deal with masks and COVID-19, but what role do they play in the midst of flu season? As COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly, masks are vital in slowing transmission rates. However, they don’t just protect against COVID-19: they are effective in reducing the transmission rates of many respiratory illnesses. The flu, like many respiratory illnesses, is spread through infectious respiratory droplets. Masks prevent those droplets from being exchanged between persons.
Research tells us that those infected with the flu are usually infectious one day before showing symptoms and around five to seven days after they start to exhibit symptomatology. In healthcare settings, surgical masks are used as protective measures between infectious individuals and staff. During the cold and flu season, pre-COVID, some clinics may have even asked symptomatic individuals to wear a mask in their waiting room. Prior to COVID-19, there were many reasons you did not see people wearing masks in the community. As the flu is not a new illness, we have many more medical interventions to prevent complications. However, as mentioned, masks are important in protecting against a variety of respiratory illnesses. Data this year shows that the use of masks and social distancing has had a large impact on the rates of the flu. The CDC reports a historical low of positive flu results, and the United States experienced a 98% decrease in influenza activity when compared to 2019. In part this decrease could be attributed to a decrease in individuals being tested for the flu, but it may also be attributed to the use of masks and social distancing.
When the world begins to move forward from the pandemic, masks will still play a vital role and can be utilized in both the community and healthcare settings.
Transmission Based Precautions.
Modes of transmission of virus causing COVID-19: implications for IPC precaution recommendations.
This article originally appeared on Patriot Medical Devices
I've always hated January. The drab weather, the biting cold and the Christmas cheer over. I used to cling to my Christmas tree until February when it was more of a dry stump than a festive decorative item and spent the month wailing for the month to be over.
Part of why I always hated January was also school-related. In secondary school January is the month where Christmas-hungover teachers squeeze in the last tests before the term ends; and in university it is the month in which all exams take place - as if the month wasn't depressing enough. Coupled with fog weighing down, darkness wrapping up the land and a bitter-cold chill cascading through the streets, it was the perfect recipe for a deep-seated depressive episode.
Even after I graduated from school and uni, the month never managed to fully pick up and be anything else than the most depressive time of the year, but this year I have a plan to make it less daunting and more enjoyable - yes, you read correctly, I am attempting to bring light into the darkest of the month, and do you know how I will attempt to do it? By embracing the darkness and not moaning about it.
Do you already have a face mask for every occasion? One for Christmas, one for date-night, the little black one? Quite unbelievingly (and involuntarily), face masks have become THE fashion accessory of 2020 and will most likely remain an integral part of our lives for the next year at least. But is there actually a difference in quality between cloth masks and disposable masks? Patriot Medical Devices have the answers for us in the guest post below.
COVID-19 left us in need of masks on a scale like never before. Cloth face coverings were the creative and economic solution for many. Being washable and reusable, they allow community members a cheap and convenient way to mask up. Let’s face it, they’re much more fashionable too! So, how do these cloth masks compare to others?
In theory, any mask worn correctly is better than no mask. In covering the mouth and the nose it prevents, to some extent, the exchange of respiratory droplets. However, the level of prevention largely depends on the type of mask. It is important to first differentiate between a non-surgical face mask and a surgical mask. Surgical masks are tested to meet certain standards and approved for clinical use. A cloth-mask would classify as a non-surgical face mask. While there is no testable standard for them, the CDC still recommends cloth masks as a mode of infection prevention in the community setting. The historical use of cloth masks and prior research shows that cloth masks are still effective in reducing infection rates.
While surgical masks are overall more effective, and are considered the gold standard by the CDC, the benefits of cloth face masks should not be overlooked. In reality, most of us are not actually using our disposable masks just once. We’re throwing them back into our purses and pockets, and then fishing them out the next time we need them. This is where cloth masks have their time to shine. We can throw the dirty one we just wore in the laundry to disinfect it, and then pick up a clean one for next time. It is important to note that not all cloth masks are created equal. If you are using a cloth mask, consider the fabric, number of layers, and fit. The most effective cloth mask will have a fabric with a tight weave, multiple layers, and one that cups tightly around the face. This will most securely block your respiratory droplets from contaminating other individuals and surfaces.
If you are opting for a disposable mask, be sure to check whether it is a surgical mask or a non-surgical face mask. Surgical masks will offer the most protection, both for yourself and others. Surgical masks are tested by The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). They are tested for bacterial filtration, particle filtration, synthetic blood splatter, flammability, and breathability. Surgical masks are sorted into three levels, ATSM 3 offering the highest degree of protection. If you’re looking for a quality, comfortable mask, Patriot Medical Devices makes ATSM 3 surgical masks that offer the highest level of protection against particles and fluids!
For my English and American readers, this post may be a little bewildering, but I've been recently asked various times why I put up my Christmas tree so early (mid-December) and here's why.
In Austria, can you believe it, it is customary to only decorate the tree on the 24th of December, maybe the 23rd. I have never quite understood why, as the day of Christmas Eve is stressful enough without having to trim the tree, right?
When I first had my own Christmas tree in our first flat, I put it up two weeks prior to Christmas, and I've done so ever since. I know that in America and the UK, it is pretty much normal to put up the tree so early, and I can only advocate it, so why do I do it the British-American way and not adapt to the Austrian way?
I am a sucker for Christmas, like my mother. For me there is nothing more wonderful than the festive season and I cannot get enough Falalalala in the running up to Christmas. I love it all. Christmas music, punch, choosing presents for everyone, wrapping, baking cookies, putting up fairy lights, choosing a tree - it is an immense joy for me and our entire family.
The Christmas tree symbolises this festive cheer perfectly, in my opinion, as it twinkles with lights, shows off my most precious baubles and emanates that Christmassy forest smell I love so much. So why not make the most of it?
As much as I love Christmas, I love pre-Christmas even more. The run-up to the holiday, the time of cocoa, snuggling up, lighting the advent wreath, opening the calendar, enjoying looking at the tree while watching Christmas movies. It's truly the most wonderful time of the year. A Christmas tree makes every living room cosier - in fact, I chose to put up THREE Christmas trees this year, one in the kitchen, the balcony and the living room - so I bring in this Christmassy warmth as early as a real-life tree allows (and I absolutely hate fake trees, I mean, what's the point).
So while most Austrians can only admire their trees from the 24th December to the 6th January, I can relish the Christmas season already, and my heart warms every time I look at the twinkling tree, hailing Christmas.
We survived the coronavirus, thank God! A few weeks back my sister was tested positive after they had an outbreak at her work and everyone in my family (except for my Mum, the medical wonder), caught it. Even our four-month-old daughter, Lily.
Thankfully, we all only had mild cases, actually like a mild cold. Lily had a high temperature for one day and threw up a few times, but that was it. To be honest, I've had colds that were worse than that, but the mental impact of the two weeks were indescribable for me.
I never really feared the coronavirus. I took it seriously and am an advocate for the measures taken to prevent it from spreading; but it never really touched my life personally and I didn't expect it to be a big deal for me.
Until it suddenly was very personal. I had actual panic attacks, being completely catatonic that I or Lily might die, up to the point where I was convinced that would actually happen. Even after she was brought to the children's hospital to have her checked through (just as a precaution), I was convinced she would have to die - or I would and leave her alone.
Inching towards thirty, I have noticed that my body and, particularly, my skin do not forgive as readily as ten years ago.
While aging may not be the most pleasant experience, the memories, experiences, and life lessons we learn along the way are invaluable. But what if someone told you there are ways to stop, or at least limit, the symptoms of aging. With help from specific vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, we can help rewind our body’s biological clock by replenishing valuable nutrients that we lose with age. That being said, aging is inevitable, and symptoms are almost impossible to avoid altogether. If anything, utilizing this collection of nutrients can help improve quality of life and raise bodily optimization.
With the coronavirus pandemic still raging in pretty much every country worldwide, it is still astonishing how many people seem to be confused on how to wear them properly (the nose hangs out, it's actually not ON the face but on the chin, etc. etc.). It has been explained various times by various studies and virologists that masks, in fact, do help to contain the virus. Therefore, it is pivotal to bear that in mind and wear a mask when you go close to people. In the light of that I am happy to share a post by Patriot Medical Devices on How Do Face Masks Work, starting in the next paragraph. If you haven't got the memo on why to wear them, this is your chance to read up, and if you've already mastered it, there's nothing wrong with brushing up the basics, so let's get reading.
At the start of the pandemic, there were mixed messages on whether or not the public should be wearing face masks. This left many wondering if face masks work and why they should bother wearing one. The good news is, they do help protect us! While the guidelines for COVID-19 may be rapidly developing, and confusing us all, we can look to other well established healthcare guidelines to understand how face masks protect us from becoming infected and infecting others. So, what exactly do these masks do?
As a freelancer there are, unfortunately, many more things to consider than just the creative outlet, and internet security is among them. Protecting your business and yourself from phishing, scams and knowing which tools can help you is an immense support when setting up your business. TurnOnVPN specialises in internet security and I am happy to share a post highlighting how the scary way into freelancing can become a little easier.
The freelance economy is booming – and we are not even at the peak of that curve yet. In the time since the start of the pandemic, there has been a push to freelancing for many people, which isn’t surprising, considering many workers are in furlough.
If you are looking for work as a freelancer, though, know that it is not all rosy. Those that have been freelancing for a while are aware of the challenges, but you are just starting in the field. An understanding of the dangers you might face – and how to tackle them – will do you a lot of good.
Common Challenges for Freelancers
This blog post was inspired by a writing prompt handed out by the Vienna Sunday Writer's Club. If you want to get involved and get writing prompts delivered to you every Sunday, you can become a member of the club here.
When you think about the span of a human’s life, it is arguable that the ingredients to a good life potion change over time, becoming more complex in textures, but shed of frivolous frosting.
When I think back to my time as a spotty teenager, certain I would live a much better life than my parents - filled with money, luxury, fame and a badass car - I cannot help thinking how shallow my perception of happiness was back then - and how completely unhappy I actually was most of the time. The key to a good life, or so I thought, was mainly appreciation and praise from others - may that be career-wise, family-wise or sex-wise. The life my parents lived seemed tremendously mundane, and escaping the ever-present abyss of financial struggles, as well as everyday life issues, was the most pivotal to accomplish. I wanted to be praised, to sit in talk shows and charmingly tell Ellen DeGeneres about my last trip to the Maldives with my eight-pack husband and my private jet (I would, actually, often practise for these interviews on the toilet whenever no one else was at home).
In my early twenties depression nibbled on my mind with yet more persistence, and despite my still-present wishes to get praise from the outside on a constant basis, I started to have an inkling that a public and shallow career for the sake of fame would probably not benefit my already fickle mind.
It is half past eight and Lily is still sleeping in our bed, though I know the minutes to write this blog post are counted. Over the past amazing last weeks that she has been with us, I have quickly learnt a few things that make life as a new mum incredibly easier. Of course they may not help other mothers, but probably you can take up a few things on the way, so here are my 5 Things I Already Learned as a New Mum.
The one key element of being a more relaxed mum is flexibility. Especially in the first weeks, and because Lily is my first child, it is essential to me to adapt the entire day to her needs and preferences, not mine. She gets to sleep when she wants, feeds when she wants and my attention whenever she needs it. As of now, we don't yet have a real day structure. Some days we get up earlier than others, depending on how the nights went, sometimes she has two-hour windows between feeds, sometimes three. Some days I need to change her nappy every hour, some days she's fine much longer without doing any business.
Writer. Editor. Blogger. YouTuber. Freelancer. Traveller. English fanatic.