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 Better Health Advice to Prevent Disease and Live Well | Eat This, Not That!13:49
Eat This, Not That!

1. Secret Messages Your Body Is Trying to Tell You14:45[-/+]
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Our bodies are incredible! From healing, to breathing to fighting off infections, our body can accomplish so much on its own to protect us, but it can also communicate with us and send off warning signs that something is wrong. Dr. Jacob Hascalovici, the Chief Medical Officer with Clearing, a telehealth platform for chronic pain patients explains five ways our body is trying to make us pay attention to a health issue and what to do about it. As always, please consult your physician for medical advice. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Loss of Hair And The Urge to Crunch Ice

young man in white t-shirt and jeans looking in mirror at thinning hair

According to Dr. Hascalovici, "Many of us know that if we frequently feel chilly, have brittle nails, and are often tired, we might have iron deficiency. A lesser-known sign of being low in iron is unexplained hair loss. Stress can make hair fall out, but so can iron deficiency. If you also crave the sensation of chomping down on ice, that could be due to low oxygen levels in your blood–when you crunch ice, researchers think, you might drive more blood to the brain, making you feel more alert. Since iron helps your cells transport oxygen via hemoglobin, being low in iron correlates with low oxygen levels. An iron supplement could help, but it is also possible to get too much iron, so consult your doctor or nutritionist to establish the right dose for you."


You Smell Things Others Don't Smell

Woman Trying to Sense Smell of a Candle

Dr. Hascalovici explains, "You might get a strong whiff of cut grass, skunk, carnations…anything, really. The smells might come and go or linger. But if others can't smell the same thing or the smell doesn't seem to be coming from anything in particular, it might be phantosmia ("phantom smells"). This could be your brain signaling you that something could be off. Epilepsy, Parkinson's or a brain tumor can all cause phantosmia, so it's worth checking these smells out."



Young woman falling asleep in bed with drink in hand

Dr. Hascalovici says, "Tiredness and fatigue can be signs your body is trying to pump the brakes. You may need more sleep, may be warding off an infection, or may be simply stressed. Surprisingly though, fatigue can also be a sign you're not moving enough. Lack of exercise can tire you out, paradoxically. So if you've been quite sedentary recently, try brief bursts of exercise, or even a long walk. That could help you reset, raising your mood, boosting your energy, and banishing some of that fatigue. If that doesn't seem to be the problem though, consider getting checked out by your physician. A few other concerning causes of fatigue could be at play, including issues with your thyroid or possibly fibromyalgia or depression. Thyroid problems are often accompanied by feeling cold or weak and noticing dry skin, while with fibromyalgia you might have pain, moodiness, headaches and trouble concentrating. If you're dealing with depression, sadness or a low mood may accompany your tiredness, plus a lack of interest in things you used to enjoy. "


Excessive Thirst

with closed eyes drinking clean mineral water close up, young woman holding glass

Dr. Hascalovici shares, "Thirstiness and needing to pee more than usual could be early signals of diabetes. It's easy to dismiss signals like that, especially if you're working out a lot, spending time outside in summer, or just in the habit of drinking a lot of water. It may be because you have high blood sugar, though, and your kidneys are working overtime trying to stabilize your blood glucose, which makes you want to urinate more. Excess urination makes you feel dehydrated and very thirsty. If you're also noticing any tingling or numbness in your limbs, if your eyesight becomes blurry, or if you're also hungry and/or losing weight without meaning to, consider getting a medical check-up. Diabetes is serious, and the sooner you catch it, the better you can control it."


You Lose Your Sense of Smell

woman trying to sense smell of half fresh orange, has symptoms of Covid-19

"Pay attention to that," Dr. Hascalovici emphasizes. "It could be an early clue that you might have Parkinson's disease. Other early Parkinson's clues include having hyper-real, intense dreams or starting to write much smaller than usual. The earlier you detect Parkinson's, the better."

The post Secret Messages Your Body Is Trying to Tell You appeared first on Eat This Not That.

2. How Inflammation Affects Your Health14:15[-/+]
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The word "inflammation" might conjure up images of a swollen ankle after some missteps on a long hike. But inflammation has also emerged as a key factor in serious diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, obesity, diabetes, and a variety of infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS. We asked Akiko Iwasaki, PhD, professor of immunobiology at Yale School of Medicine about acute and chronic inflammation, and how they work with homeostasis, which is the process our bodies naturally use to maintain the critical functions that keep us alive, including heart rate, breathing, and glucose and insulin levels. A better understanding of inflammation, Iwasaki explains, can help provide clues for developing therapies for inflammatory diseases. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


What, Exactly, Is Inflammation?

When scientists and researchers discuss inflammation, they're referring to the body's natural way of defending itself against tissue damage, as well as against viruses and bacteria. It's a defensive response governed primarily by the immune system, which dispatches white blood cells to the affected sites, resulting in redness and swelling or symptoms such as fever. But they're also talking about how, sometimes, the immediate, or acute, immune response isn't enough to clear those viruses. At that point, the inflammation becomes chronic, resulting in harm to the body. "In those conditions, such as infection with HIV or hepatitis virus or long COVID, there may be a persistent viral reservoir that's causing the chronic inflammation," explains Iwasaki. "And in that case, the inflammation itself becomes the enemy," she adds.


Acute Inflammation

woman showing, with his finger, inflamed upper gingiva with pain expression

"Acute inflammation happens as a part of our defense mechanism to clear pathogens. So when a virus or bacteria invades us, we need to quickly mount an acute inflammatory response to get rid of the pathogen. Sometimes that acute immune response isn't enough to get rid of the pathogen. That's when we elevate the level to the adaptive immune response. That's when you involve specific lymphocytes T and B cells to fight off the infection," Iwasaki explains. "Inflammation is a necessary process for dealing with pathogens, but sometimes it can also turn against us," she says.


Chronic Inflammation

belly fat

"Chronic inflammation happens because the body fails to get rid of the cause of the inflammation such as viruses and bacteria in those conditions, such as chronic infection with HIV or hepatitis virus or long COVID. In which case we believe there may be a persistent viral reservoir that's causing this chronic inflammation. The inflammation itself becomes the enemy," says Iwasaki. "Even though inflammation evolved to counter pathogens, it's also engaged by other causes. And so having an excess amount of fat, for example, alone, is able to trigger the immune system and induce the chronic inflammatory response that then fuels further problems to happen because the body's sort of trying to fight off a non-existent infection and therefore it can sort of engage a chronic state of inflammation," Iwasaki explains.


Homeostasic Inflammation

stomach problems

"I can't think of a disease which doesn't involve inflammation, but we are now learning more and more about the physiological role of inflammation," says Iwasaki. "Homeostasis ensures that we have a normal operation of different physiological functions like heart rate breathing and glucose levels or insulin levels. Those two systems, the inflammatory system, and the homeostasis work together to maintain each other. Sometimes the internal response has to override the homeostatic response. That includes things like adaptation to different diet—immune cells are now known to be able to sense differences in dietary conditions and adapt the intestine for future, um, absorption of nutrients, this kind of events that are not necessarily at all related to pathogens, but for maintaining physiology inflammatory responses are integral in order to maintain health," Iwasaki adds.


How to Prevent Inflammation

fitness, sport, people and lifestyle concept

Experts say that a number of lifestyle changes can reduce inflammation, and the most effective is weight loss. According to a 2018 review of studies, losing weight can reduce the amount of inflammation in your body, and reducing the number of calories you consume daily has an anti-inflammatory effect, no matter what diet you follow.

Other changes that can help reduce inflammation include:

  • Eating a diet that's low in added sugar, high fructose corn syrup, processed foods and simple carbs, and rich in fruits and vegetables, fiber, nuts and omega-3 fatty acids (the kind found in fatty fish like salmon)
  • Reducing your intake of saturated and trans fats
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Reducing stress
  • Following your doctor's advice about routine testing and keeping your heart healthy, and consulting them if you have questions or concerns

And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

The post How Inflammation Affects Your Health appeared first on Eat This Not That.

3. Immune-Boosting Habits to Help Get You Through the Pandemic14:01[-/+]
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As much as we'd love the pandemic to be over, it's not. The United States recently reached a grim new milestone of 1 million deaths as a result of COVID-19 and cases are rising again in most states. Although guidelines and restrictions have eased up, people are still getting infected daily with the virus. Taking precautions and staying healthy is key to helping avoid catching COVID and Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Janice Johnston, MD, Chief Medical Officer & Co-Founder at Redirect Health who shares what to know about the pandemic right now and how to help naturally boost your immune system. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


What to Know About COVID Right Now

Portrait of mixed race male doctor wearing face mask standing in hospital corridor.

Dr. Johnston says, "As we experience a third year living in a pandemic, we have seen many state and federal restrictions lifted as people have started returning to a new sense of normal. However, even with mandates relaxing, COVID-19 is still prevalent across the United States and the rest of the world. Currently, we have seen cases rising in almost every state as the new dominant strain, BA.2, has shown increased transmissibility over previous strains. BA.2, however, has not shown an increase in disease severity, so protections from vaccines, boosters, and previous infection have still helped control the outcome of many of these cases. The U.S. has now reached 1 million deaths related to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, with around 300 new deaths reported every day. However, this number is significantly less than the peak of the last surge, averaging 2,600 deaths a day. While death has been less likely in this current surge, cases are still on the rise everywhere, and doctors are still recommending that people follow CDC guidelines for masking and vaccinations. This also includes maintaining proper sanitary practices such as hand washing, staying home when sick, cleaning contaminated surfaces, and getting tested if necessary. And, if you are at high risk, you should take extra precautions."


Get Enough Sleep

woman sleeping at night with eye mask

Dr. Johnston reminds us, "Sleep is critical to overall health and is closely connected to our immune system. In fact, not getting enough sleep can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to getting sick. Your body spends more energy fighting off illness when sleep deprived. Getting approximately 7 – 9 hours a night of sleep for adults is optimal for your health, immune system, and overall wellness."


Eat More Healthy Fats

cooking with olive oil

"Healthy fats improve your overall health by providing more energy, preventing disease, illness, and inflammation," Dr. Johnston states. "They also help your body recover faster. Inflammation is especially important to prevent as it can suppress your immune system. Inflammation can be combated by eating foods rich in healthy fats like avocados, which contain oleic acid, salmon, containing the well-known omega-3 acid, or olive oil, which is full of monounsaturated fats. These foods can boost your body's immune response."


Take Probiotic Supplements

Woman holding white probiotic container and pills in hands.

According to Dr. Johnston, "Research has shown that gut health and your immune system go hand in hand. Your gut contains an entire microbiome of bacteria that is important to maintain to keep your brain and body healthy. The beneficial bacteria found in probiotics promote a healthy gut, which in turn helps your immune cells differentiate between good and bad bacteria, creating a heightened immune response when sick. You can get probiotics via supplements, or by eating probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and more."


Exercise Regularly

woman jogging along a trail

Dr. Johnston explains, "Getting moderate physical activity for at least 30-60 minutes a day can greatly reduce the risk of chronic illness. In addition to helping your body fight off illness, exercise also helps decrease inflammation and slows the release of stress hormones. It's important to note, however, that overdoing exercise can put more stress on your body and weaken the immune system, so finding a balance between exercise and rest is just as crucial."


Drink Plenty of Water

Close-up of pretty young woman drinking water from glass

"Water is always the best thing you can drink for your body," Dr. Johnston emphasizes. "Water helps carry oxygen to your body's cells which assists your body's functions and immune responses. Proper hydration also helps flush out toxins from the body, which prevents toxin build-up that could negatively impact your immune system. Most adults should aim to drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water every day."


How to Stay Safe Out There

Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

The post Immune-Boosting Habits to Help Get You Through the Pandemic appeared first on Eat This Not That.

4. Health Habits Women Over 40 Should Avoid Like the Plague13:44[-/+]
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Your 40s are a time to celebrate what you've accomplished and enjoy the life you've built, but it's also a time to be mindful of your health and make positive lifestyle changes that help prolong good health. Experts share with Eat This, Not That! Health habits women over 40 should avoid immediately and why. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Foods That Worsen Menopausal Symptoms

Potato chips

Sean Marchese, MS, RN, a registered nurse at The Mesothelioma Center with a background in oncology clinical trials and over 15 years of direct patient care experience reveals, "Certain foods, such as processed, fatty or spicy foods, can worsen menopausal symptoms for some women. Many foods like potato chips, cheeseburgers, and sweets have high sodium, fat, and sugar levels. These ingredients can increase bloating, flushing and cramping. They can also lead to weight gain, making menopause symptoms worse."


Alcohol Use

Marchese says, "An occasional social drink isn't terrible for your health. However, more than two or three drinks per day can increase your risk of heart disease. The North American Menopause Society also states that women who have two to dive drinks a day have one and a half times the risk of developing breast cancer compared to those who don't drink."


Not Exercising Enough

"Regular exercise and activity are essential for everyone, but women over 40 can significantly benefit from working out," Marchese states. "Declining estrogen can affect weight, blood pressure, and bone density and increase the risk of diabetes. Maintaining an active lifestyle can combat all of these issues and vastly reduce disease risk. Consider taking dance classes, going for daily walks, jogging or finding a nearby bicycle trail. As a bonus, exercise can improve your mood and lower stress."


Thinking Your Too Young for Cardiovascular Issues

Doctor showing test results to a patient, portrait.

Dr. Mike Green, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Winona explains, "Women over 40 should avoid thinking they're too young to have cardiovascular issues. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women. According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of all women 20 years and older have some form of cardiovascular disease. Once women hit menopause, which typically happens in the early 50s, a woman's cardiovascular risk increases. The good news is that most heart attacks and strokes can be prevented with healthy lifestyle changes, and they're the same ones we've always heard about: a healthy diet, regular exercise and routine medical checkups."


Choosing Products That Are Toxic to Your Skin

Wellness and clean living expert Julie McClure adds, "We all want to look young and feel good. Which can come at the cost of choosing skin care products that compromise health for quick results. Most of us don't pay attention to the ingredients that we put on our skin. The problem with toxins is that they accumulate over time. What didn't bother us in our 20s, is now more of a concern in our 40s. Being conscious about your skin care products not only helps your skin and face but promotes an overall healthy body. The skin is the biggest detox organ, if you continue to pollute it with poor quality products your health will eventually pay the price."


Blue Light Exposure

McClure says, "Do you fall asleep with your phone in hand or beside you? In this age of technology most of us are constantly bombarded with blue light. Whether it is our screens at work, our phones throughout the day or televisions at night, we get a reasonable dose. Blue light exposure has the biggest impact on our sleep cycles and can contribute to problems with sleep. Without sleep the body will start to deplete other energy reserves, leaving us even more tired than before. So here's the simple tip. Put your phone away or shut down any electronics an hour before bed. Give yourself some screen-free time and watch your biological clock reset."


Skipping Breakfast

fiber and protein breakfast

Dominique Hoffman, MS, CNS shares, "Many women skip breakfast in order to reduce their calorie intake. By not breaking the previous night's fast, the body shuts down and reduces calorie spending. When meal time comes, the appetite is ignited because the body finally wakes up and demands higher quantities of food. This is how starvation diets lead to weight gain. Once the person starts eating, her appetite will be difficult to satisfy due to the dysregulation in gut-brain messengers that control appetite."


Avoid Sun Exposure Without Adequate Protection

woman applying sunscreen on her face in snowy mountains in winter

Dr. Ricardo Castrellon, Double Board-Certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon states, "May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and is a condition I see weekly in my surgery clinic, where I perform Mohs Surgery to remove cancerous tissue. Yes, if caught early, a plastic surgeon can mitigate the damage through removal. But the truth is, Skin Cancer is the most common and most preventable form of cancer there is. Wearing sunscreen, avoiding direct exposure between 10am-4pm, and wearing a hat and sleeves can go such a long way in preventing skin cancer. I would love to see fewer skin cancer patients on my surgery table!"




Dr. Castrellon says, "We all know smoking is harmful and causes multiple forms of cancer but did you know it also makes you a very poor surgical candidate? As a Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon and Burn Specialist, I am often called to the ER to assist after severe accidents, life's most terrifying and unexpected moments, to help mitigate and repair the physical and cosmetic damage. Smokers are riskier to put under anesthesia, have higher chances of blot clots, and slower recovery times. Whenever you seek or have a consultation for surgery, the surgeon will tell you to quit smoking. But what about the times you can't account or plan for, when an emergency surgery is crucial? This is just yet another reason in a long list to ditch this aging, damaging, risky habit."

The post Health Habits Women Over 40 Should Avoid Like the Plague appeared first on Eat This Not That.

5. COVID-19 Boosters: The Latest AdviceЧт, 19 мая[-/+]
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Even though it seems like only yesterday people were calculating the date they could feel fully protected by their COVID-19 vaccination, boosters are increasingly being recommended for wider swaths of the population.

In fact, now a second booster is an option for many Americans. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) authorized a second booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for everyone 50 and older and for people with certain conditions that make them immunocompromised.

Additionally, the CDC says all adults who completed a primary vaccine and booster dose of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine should now receive a second booster from either Pfizer of Moderna. In all cases, a second booster can be administered at least four months after the first booster.

This latest guidance on boosters comes on the heels of many changing recommendations. In November 2021, the FDA and CDC said all adults 18 or older are eligible for a booster shot six months after completing their primary vaccination series if they started with Pfizer or Moderna—or two months after getting the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine.

In December 2021, the FDA authorized (and CDC approved) the Pfizer booster for 16- and 17-year-olds. But for J&J recipients, the advice changed a few weeks later when the CDC recommended that vaccines other than J&J's should be preferred, citing links between the vaccine and a rare blood clotting disorder.

Then, in early May this year, the FDA severely restricted use of J&J, citing the risk for the blood-clotting disorder. The FDA said J&J should be used only for those unable to receive another vaccine because it is "not acceptable or clinically appropriate" or for those who would otherwise not receive another vaccine. Furthermore, the FDA in mid-May authorized a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 at least five months after their second dose. A Pfizer booster is already approved for adolescents ages 12 to 15 at least five months after their second dose. (Moderna is only authorized for ages 18 and up.)Meanwhile, boosters became increasingly important as the highly contagious Omicron variant caused a surge in cases last winter, and now there are concerns about a BA.2, a subvariant of Omicron that swept across Europe in March.COVID-19 booster shots are not a new idea. Since the vaccines were first introduced last December, scientists have acknowledged that boosters may someday be needed."The main question is how long the immunologic protection against SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, lasts," says Albert Shaw, MD, PhD, a Yale Medicine infectious disease specialist. "And since we are learning about COVID-19 in real time, this is hard to know definitively."The recommendation of boosters doesn't represent a failure of the existing vaccines, Dr. Shaw notes. "People get confused—or they think something is wrong—when guidance changes with COVID-19, but we have to remember that we are learning about this as we go," he says. We compiled a list of booster-related questions to ask Dr. Shaw. His answers are below. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


What is a Booster?

Scientist in laboratory studying and analyzing scientific sample of Coronavirus monoclonal antibodies to produce drug treatment for COVID-19.

"The simplest answer is that it's just another dose of a vaccine you received," Dr. Shaw explains. "The concept is to prolong protective immunity, particularly if there is evidence that protection is waning after a period of time."Most children receive routine vaccinations, including boosters, for illnesses such as chickenpox, tetanus, diphtheria, mumps, measles, and rubella—to name a few. "These vaccine series, as we call them, are recommended because you need the extra doses to get longer lasting protective immunity," Dr. Shaw says. There is also a technical distinction between the terms "third dose" and "booster."Doctors use the term third dose when referring to people with compromised immune systems who may not have gotten the level of protection they need from the first two doses. The third dose provides that level of immunity. A booster shot is recommended due to concern that the effectiveness of the vaccine decreases over time and may not protect against a new strain. A booster may be given to older people or those with chronic medical conditions or other risk factors.


Why Do We Need a Booster For COVID-19?

Close up shot of hands checking Covid-19 vaccine report card and ticking 3rd or booster dose after vaccination.

While a booster sometimes is an exact replica of the initial vaccine, it can also be tweaked. With COVID-19, this is key because the vaccine could then be tailored to target particular variants of the virus."The current vaccines are still effective against the variants we are now seeing, particularly for protecting against serious illness that would require hospitalization or cause death. But if the virus evolves further and there is a worse variant, the vaccine could be modified," Dr. Shaw says. One of the great things about the mRNA technology, which the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use, Dr. Shaw notes, is that it's easy to change them up to match variants, and they can be quickly produced at scale. "This is different from the manufacturing process for the most commonly used flu vaccines, which is a much slower process because influenza virus strains need to be grown in chicken eggs, from which a particular viral protein is purified and formulated into a vaccine," he says.


How Do We Know if We Need a Booster?

It is normal for virus-fighting antibodies—such as those that are stimulated by a COVID-19 vaccine—to wane over time. Monitoring antibody levels in the blood is one way to measure vaccine efficacy and research has found that protection remains high for six months after the second shot of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. However, some studies have shown a decline in antibody levels among vaccinated individuals beyond that point."You can certainly look at antibody levels, and that does offer some indication of how much protection lasts. But even if they have waned, that doesn't necessarily mean the body's capacity to respond to exposure is gone," Dr. Shaw says. "One of the most amazing parts of the immune system is immunologic memory of past infections or vaccines. If you are re-exposed to something [via a booster shot, that follows the original exposure by vaccination], the memory response is even more vigorous than the original. This memory response includes antibody responses, but also includes an additional arm of the immune system controlled by a different group of white blood cells called T cells or T lymphocytes."T cell immune responses are especially important for viral infections like those with SARS-CoV-2, but are more difficult to study than antibody responses outside of a research laboratory setting, adds Dr. Shaw. "However, T cell responses may prove to be just as important as antibody responses in protecting against infection or against serious disease requiring hospitalization," he says.


Can You 'Mix and Match' Vaccines in a Booster?

Moderna and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine

So-called "mixing and matching" of vaccines (a first dose of Pfizer, followed by a second dose of Moderna, for example, to complete the mRNA two-dose series) has been used in Europe and other places, particularly when there were supply issues. And there have been studies suggesting this approach—with one dose of AstraZeneca's vaccine (which is not available in the U.S.) and one dose of Pfizer's vaccine—may even offer more vigorous protection. But here in the U.S., the current public health recommendations are that people should stick with one type of mRNA vaccine for both doses. But what about for boosters—if they are recommended, should you stick with your original kind? The FDA and CDC now support a "mix-and-match" approach that allows people to choose a different vaccine for their booster than the one they started with. However, the CDC now says mRNA vaccines are preferred over J&J as a booster, though J&J can still be considered in some situations.


Can a Booster Cause More—or Worse—Side Effects?

The female doctor syringe injection to the young patient put on a mask in the hospital

If you were among the unlucky recipients who felt really ill or had any of the rare but largely harmless reactions to your initial COVID-19 vaccination, you may be leery of the idea of an additional dose, in case it causes a similar or worse reaction. But according to the FDA, the most commonly reported side effects by individuals who received a booster dose included pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site; fatigue; headache; chills; and muscle or joint pain. Swollen lymph nodes in the underarm were observed more frequently following the booster dose than after the second dose. The FDA has been examining information about the risk of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart) following vaccination with mRNA vaccines, and has determined the benefits of a booster outweigh the risk of either condition.


What are the Recommendations For Those Who are Immunocompromised?

woman in bed suffering from cancer

The FDA and CDC have authorized a second booster from Pfizer and Moderna for people with certain immune deficiencies. This includes solid organ transplant recipients and those with conditions that give them an equally reduced ability to fight infections and other diseases. Boosters may increase protection in this vulnerable population, according to data the FDA evaluated. For those 12 and up, this means a three-dose primary series of an mRNA vaccine and two boosters—for a total of five shots. But for children between ages 12 and 18, boosters must be from Pfizer only, as the Moderna vaccine is not approved for that age group.


Should We First be Vaccinating the World?

Man being vaccinated by a nurse in an Indian's mass vaccination site.

There is also a moral element to the question of booster shots, with some public health officials saying the focus should be on vaccinating more of the world's population first before giving supplementary doses to those who already have some protection.Dr. Shaw says he understands this sentiment. "On this planet, we are all interdependent and we can see that many of these variants originated outside the U.S. That certainly speaks to the need to vaccinate the world, especially to drive down infection rates that support the emergence of new variants," he says. "Ultimately, this is what needs to be done to end the pandemic." And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

This article has been published in Yale Medicine.

The post COVID-19 Boosters: The Latest Advice appeared first on Eat This Not That.

6. How Often Can You Get Infected with COVID?Чт, 19 мая[-/+]
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Since the official beginning of the pandemic in 2020, there have been various variants and subvariants causing surges and spikes in COVID cases. "For two and a half years, Covid-19 has been outrunning our response, getting more and more transmissible, reaching a level of infectiousness that few pathogens have ever attained," says Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, professor of molecular medicine and executive vice-president of Scripps Research. Here is the lowdown on COVID reinfections, according to experts. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


The BA.2.12.1 Wave Is Causing Reinfections

Female Lab Research Worker Wearing PPE Holding Test Tube Labelled BA.2
"In recent months, we experienced a striking jump in transmissibility when the Omicron (BA.1) variant became dominant, with at least a threefold increase in reproductive number beyond Delta," says Topol. "Despite the hope that this might be reaching the upper limit of the virus's spreadability, we quickly transitioned to a BA.2 wave, with at least another jump of about 30% transmissibility, and now we are heading, in the United States, to a dominant subvariant known as BA.2.12.1, which is another 25% more transmissible than BA.2 and already accounting for close to 50% of new cases."


Reinfections Could Go On Long-Term

Woman wearing surgical mask on face protective for spreading of disease Covid-19 pandemic.. Girl symptom cough while sitting on Sofa.

"It seems likely to me that that's going to sort of be a long-term pattern," says Juliet Pulliam, an epidemiologist at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. "The virus is going to keep evolving. And there are probably going to be a lot of people getting many, many reinfections throughout their lives."


Reinfections Could Happen Several Times a Year

Teenage boy sick in bed with Covid-19 symptoms

"If we manage it the way that we manage it now, then most people will get infected with it at least a couple of times a year," says Kristian Andersen, a virologist at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego. "I would be very surprised if that's not how it's going to play out."


Past Infections Won't Prevent Reinfection

"You don't have great protection having been infected with BA.1," says Dr. Warner C. Greene, senior investigator for the Gladstone Institutes. "It's immunosuppressive. It's acquiring these mutations which make it like a stealth virus. We have our immune system at the ready trying to prevent these infections, but the virus is now learning how to elude the antibodies. It has less success against the T-cells thank goodness."


We Cannot Live With COVID

Infected patient in quarantine lying in bed in hospital.

"No, we don't have to live with Covid, because the Covid we are seeing now is deeply concerning," says Topol. "While there has not been a surge in hospitalizations, they are clearly on the increase, with more than a 20% rise in the United States over the past two weeks. The proportion of people getting hospitalized and dying among the vaccinated, as compared with the unvaccinated, has substantially increased.


How to Stay Safe Out There

Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

The post How Often Can You Get Infected with COVID? appeared first on Eat This Not That.

7. Dr. Fauci Just Gave This Essential Pandemic UpdateЧт, 19 мая[-/+]
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Dr. Anthony Fauci testified at the National Institutes of Health fiscal year 2023 budget request hearing on May 17, discussing the lessons learned from pandemic lockdowns, long COVID, a future universal COVID vaccine, and more. What he said can help save your life. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Long COVID Is Still a Mystery

Woman awakened lying in bed with her eyes open.

Long COVID is turning millions of Americans into disabled Americans, even after they have mild symptoms of COVID initially. "As you well know, this is a real phenomenon and the epidemiology of it is still being worked out," says Dr. Fauci. "I mean, the range of people anywhere from 5% up to 30% have the persistence of symptoms that are not thoroughly explainable by any pathogenic process that we've been able to identify. We've put together large cohorts that are now being followed both to understand the actual prevalence incidents, as well as the pathogenesis. With regard to treatment, it's very difficult to do any treatment for it when you don't know exactly what the pathogenic mechanisms are. And that's the reason why we're putting so much effort into trying to find out just what is going on. Is it immune activation? Is it persistence of virus—not necessarily replication-competent virus—but maybe particles of virus such as the nucleotides?"


Was It Right To Close Down Schools?

Teacher and children with face mask back at school after covid-19 quarantine and lockdown.

"I think that's very difficult, to give a definitive answer to that," says Dr. Fauci. "I know in the very beginning, when we had really no other protection prior to vaccinations that were available to contain somewhat the spread of the virus, one of the things that was felt to be important would be to protect children as well as the rest of the population. We have felt—more than just recently—that it's very important to keep children in school, for the simple reason that we know of the deleterious effects both psychologically, mentally, and developmentally in children to keep them out of school. But you have to have a delicate balance between protecting the children from getting infected… I think only time will tell whether that's the case… we believe from a public health standpoint that at the time it was the right decision."


Will Schools Shut Down Again?

Child girl wearing a protection mask against coronavirus

"Right now, I would do everything we can to keep the children in school and not shut down the schools," says Dr. Fauci. "And that has always been my strong recommendation to the extent possible, not to keep the children out of school, but to keep them safely in school by getting children that are available to be vaccinated vaccinated, to get the children who are eligible to be boosted vaccinated, and to surround the children with teachers and personnel in the school who are vaccinated. That is the best way to protect the children while keeping them in school."


Vaccinations Can Help Curb Surges

Family after getting covid-19 vaccine.

"We still only have 66% of the total population vaccinated, and less than half of those are boosted. I think we can approach what we are likely going to be seeing now with an increase in surges, with the possibility of a surge in the fall and winter. One of the real things we can all do as a nation is pull together and try to get our people vaccinated. And those who are eligible to be boosted, boosted—that would solve a lot of the problems that you're referring to."


Will Vaccines Become Mandated?

Woman in medical protective mask getting injection in arm vaccination.

"It's a policy call," says Dr. Fauci. "I would hope that we would marshall everybody on both sides of the aisle to get out there and encourage everybody to get vaccinated. And if they did, we wouldn't even have to address that question. I don't like mandating things. I don't like punishing people for not doing something, but I would hope that they would realize if you look at the data… of the differences in vaccinated versus unvaccinated people, and hospitalizations and death, it's striking what it is. So as a public health person, I would say why don't we all pull together to get people vaccinated? [Then we] wouldn't have to worry about essentially putting what has appears to be—and is in fact—a penalty if you don't."


Will There Be a 'Universal' COVID Vaccine?

Nurse holding syringe

"Well, the progress has been substantial," says Dr. Fauci. "To get what we call 'universal'—and that's probably too broad a term—is to get a vaccine that works against multiple variants of SARS-CoV-2 is the first step. And that would be something where you get a vaccine that either is directed against a common component of all of the variants, or has each of the components of the variants, for example, in a nanoparticle with a mosaic or multiple components to it. We have studies that are right now gone from preclinical, namely an animal model, into a human study, and the results actually look very promising. The next step would be to get a vaccine that not only is against all variants of SARS-CoV-2, but against all of those groups of variants, including… viruses which overlap with the viruses that we see in many bats, which almost certainly are the original source of these viruses that have jumped species and gone into humans."


Additional Resources Are Needed

Doctor holding syringe, medical injection in hand with glove.

"We've had a longstanding collaboration and cooperation with BARDA now for quite a long period of time," says Dr. Fauci. "And the way that works is that we do the fundamental, basic research and proof of concept, and very often get involved, not only in the preclinical, but in the early trials. Whereas BARDA partners with the pharmaceutical company to do the advanced development of these concepts. So, it's a partnership that has really worked very, very well. And hopefully we'll be able to continue that again with the need for new resources."


How to Stay Safe Out There

Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

The post Dr. Fauci Just Gave This Essential Pandemic Update appeared first on Eat This Not That.

8. This Major City Just Announced "High Alert" Level of COVIDЧт, 19 мая[-/+]
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COVID-19 cases in New York City have reached a "high alert" level, health officials warn. "New York City has transitioned to a high COVID alert level, meaning now is the time to double down on protecting ourselves and each other by making choices that can keep our friends, neighbors, relatives and coworkers from getting sick," says Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Masks Are Not Being Mandated…For Now

Women with face masks down

At this point, masks are being recommended but not mandated. "We are not at the point of mandating masks," says Mayor Adams. "We are not at the point of doing anything other than urging New Yorkers, while you are indoors in large settings, social settings, wear your masks."


…But a Mask Mandate Could Still Happen

people masks subway

"If there comes a time that our hospitals are in a state of emergency, or we're trending that way, and my doctors that run the hospitals tell me this is what we need to do, I'm going to listen to them," says Mayor Adams.


Students Are Advised to Mask Up

Girl with face mask back at school after covid-19 quarantine and lockdown.

"We recommend that everyone age 2 and older wear a well-fitting mask in all public indoor settings, including at school and early childhood education (ECE) programs, even if not required," reads a letter from The Department of Education sent to families. "Encourage your child to wear a mask while at school or ECE program and when gathering with friends. Your child's school has masks available."


Not All Masks Are Equally Effective

A mid adult woman protects herself by placing an N95 face mask over her nose and mouth.

"All masks should cover the nose and the mouth and rest snugly above the nose, below the mouth, and on the sides of the face. Higher-quality masks, such as KN95 and KF94 masks and N95 respirators, can offer an additional layer of protection," Vasan wrote in an advisory. "Wearing a cloth mask over a disposable mask and knotting the ear loops to tighten masks are additional techniques to improve fit and protection."


Don't Panic, Says Mayor Adams

A family walking holding hands wearing face masks in the middle of pandemic

"We're not at the point of doing anything other than urging New Yorkers while you're indoors in large set-in social settings," says Mayor Adams. "We're not going to panic. We're going to continue to be prepared."


How to Stay Safe Out There

Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

The post This Major City Just Announced "High Alert" Level of COVID appeared first on Eat This Not That.

9. The #1 Mistakes You Can Make After 60, Say PhysiciansЧт, 19 мая[-/+]
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In order to thrive over 60, it's important to be proactive about health. "As a society, we need to learn to do what the 60+ generation is doing much earlier in life," says psychiatrist Dr. Paul McLaren. "Work-life balance—and gratitude—have never been more important for our physical and mental health." Here are five mistakes people make after 60 that are undermining their health and happiness. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Brain Health Is Crucial

Group seniors with dementia builds a tower in the nursing home from colorful building blocks

Keeping your brain young and healthy over 60 is crucial in helping fight diseases such as Alzheimer's. "Challenging your brain with mental exercise is believed to activate processes that help maintain individual brain cells and stimulate communication among them," advises Harvard Health. "Many people have jobs that keep them mentally active. Pursuing a hobby, learning a new skill, volunteering or mentoring are additional ways to keep your mind sharp…The more senses you use in learning something, the more of your brain that will be involved in retaining the memory."


Proper Nutrition Is Key

Senior woman making choice between healthy and junk food

People over 60 should ensure they are getting enough nutrients for age-related health issues such as dementia and vision deterioration. "When people think of the Mediterranean diet, they think of a heart-healthy diet," says Dr. Timothy Harlan, editor-in-chief of Health meets Food: the Culinary Medicine Curriculum. "But really, the Mediterranean diet has been shown to prevent Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration and cancer as well."


Don't Drift Away From Friends

older couple doing yoga in front of a laptop

Maintaining social connections is incredibly important as you age. "Lacking social connection carries a risk that is comparable, and in many cases, exceeds that of other well-accepted risk factors, including smoking up to 15 cigarettes per day, obesity, physical inactivity, and air pollution," says Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, professor of psychology at Brigham Young University. "As we encounter potentially stressful events in our lives, if we know that we've got people we can count on or that we can turn to, we may be less likely to even perceive it as stressful, because we know we can handle it. But also, let's say we're already in the throes of some kind of stressful event, our relationships can also help us cope with it and buffer that reaction to the stress."


Don't Stop Moving

mature couple jogging outdoors

It's crucial to keep an active lifestyle in your 60s (and on!) to stay mentally, physically, and emotionally sound. "If you had to pick one thing, one single thing that came closest to the fountain of youth, then it would have to be exercise," says James Fries, M.D., a pioneer researcher on healthy aging at Stanford University.


Smoking Cigarettes


Worried about COVID-19? People over 65 already have a higher risk of getting the virus, and outcomes are even worse for older people who smoke. "We are seeing worse cases of COVID-19 in smokers," says Panagis Galiatsatos, M.D., M.H.S. "Your lungs, which are at the forefront of your immune system, are interacting with the environment with every breath. When you inhale cigarette smoke, germs or allergens, your lungs can get irritated, and that irritation unleashes the immune system to fight that irritation. A coronavirus infection on top of that means that your symptom response is going to be amplified."


How to Stay Safe Out There

Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

The post The #1 Mistakes You Can Make After 60, Say Physicians appeared first on Eat This Not That.

10. Health Habits So Unhealthy They're EvilЧт, 19 мая[-/+]
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While we all have bad habits, there's a few that are considered worse than others because not only do they put you at risk, but others as well. Dr. Tomi Mitchell, a Board-Certified Family Physician with Holistic Wellness Strategies explains, "There are habits out there that are so common in our society but unbelievably sinister. They are so unhealthy, to the point of being unconscionably evil. Just think about all of your habits that negatively impact your health [and hurt others too]. Some habits are so ingrained in our society that we don't even bat an eyelash at them. We do them without thinking, and they have become so normalized that we don't even see the harm in them." So what are these bad habits and why are they so evil? Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


What Are Habits Exactly?

woman drinking coffee

Dr. Mitchell says, "We all have them. Some of us have good habits, like exercising regularly or eating a healthy diet. Others have less desirable habits, like biting our nails or procrastinating. But what are habits, and why do we create them? Simply put, habits are behaviors that we perform automatically, without giving them much thought. They are often based on cues in our environment, such as the time of day or location. For example, you might automatically reach for a cup of coffee as soon as you wake up in the morning. We develop habits because they save us time and energy. Consider our coffee-drinking example. If we had to think about every little detail required to make coffee – boiling water, grinding beans, measuring milk – we would quickly become overwhelmed. Habits allow us to automate these actions to perform them without thinking. Of course, not all habits are created equal. While some habits can simplify our lives and help us achieve our goals, other practices can be harmful to our health or productivity and others. That's why it's essential to be aware of the habits we create and how they impact our lives. By doing so, we can make sure that our practices are not evil or sinister. Here are a few unhealthy, albeit evil, habits. Keep reading until the end, as I saved the 'best' for last."



Closeup of a pile of cigarettes

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that, "More than 480,000 deaths annually (including deaths from secondhand smoke)." "Exposure to secondhand smoke causes an estimated 41,000 deaths each year among adults in the United States. Secondhand smoke causes 7,333 annual deaths from lung cancer. Secondhand smoke causes 33,951 annual deaths from heart disease." Dr. Mitchell says, "Despite the well-known risks of smoking cigarettes, they are still legal to purchase and easy to find. Cigarettes generate billions of dollars in revenue each year in the United States alone. This money comes from the habits of smokers, many of whom are addicted to nicotine. Cigarettes are often seen as a sinful or evil habit, unhealthy for smokers and those around them. The reality is that smoking is harmful to nearly every organ in the body, and it is a leading cause of cancer. Despite this, cigarettes continue to be sold, and society still profits from their sale. This is because habits are difficult to break, and society has become addicted to the money that cigarettes provide. Until we can find a way to break this cycle, cigarettes will continue to take a toll on our health and economy. Selling cigarettes with known cancer-causing toxins and many other health challenges is evil. Cigarette smoking is one of the most unhealthy habits that a person can have. It is an evil, sinister habit that leads to many health risks, including cancer, heart disease, and emphysema. Smoking is also a significant risk factor for other conditions, such as stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In addition to the health risks associated with smoking, cigarette smoking is also a significant risk factor for other problems, such as fires and injuries."


Texting and Driving

Young woman looking to her smartphone while driving car

Dr. Mitchell states, "Habits are funny things. We can do them without even thinking about it. Something as simple as taking a sip of coffee in the morning or putting on deodorant before leaving the house. We do these things so regularly that they become second nature. But habits can also be evil little creatures. Wicked things can take over our lives without us even realizing it. And one of the most unhealthy habits that have taken over America is texting while driving. Most people have texted while driving, whether at a red light or in the middle of an empty highway. However, is this common habit worth risking your life, those in your car, or an innocent stranger? I know that the answer is no. The text can wait. we can put our phones in settings to let people know we are unavailable. Also, people who send messages need to understand and respect that we can't always get to messages right away, and it's unfair to put that kind of pressure on people—texting while driving is a dangerous habit that needs to be stopped. So let's break this habit together and make our roads safer for everyone. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 3,500 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2016. That's why it's so important to be aware of our habits that could be putting our lives at risk. Only by recognizing the dangers can we hope to avoid them."


Excessive Alcohol Use


The CDC states, "More than 140,000 people die from excessive alcohol use in the U.S. each year," and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says, "Every day, about 28 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — that's one person every 52 minutes. In 2019, these deaths reached the lowest percentage since 1982 when NHTSA started reporting alcohol data — but still 10,142 people lost their lives. These deaths were all preventable." According to Dr. Mitchell, "As a society, we tend to glorify alcohol and its excessive consumption. So many of our events are associated with drinking, and games and breaking the ice often involve drinking. So why do we send such mixed signals around activity with many health risks? Alcohol is habit forming and quickly leads to addiction. It is also very unhealthy for our liver and can cause many other problems, including cancer. It is a depressant and impairs our judgment. Alcohol also contributes to violence and accidents. We need to rethink our relationship with alcohol and send a clear message that excessive consumption is not relaxed or fun; it is dangerous and harmful."


Having a Negative Attitude

Mature couple sitting on sofa together and looking to opposite sides.

"It's essential to be aware of the attitude you carry with you day-to-day," Dr. Mitchell emphasizes. "Believe it or not, your attitude can be a real problem. How? Well, let me tell you a story. Once, there was a woman who had a habit of seeing only the negative in every situation. If something good happened, she found a way to complain about it. If something terrible happened, she complained even more. This woman's negativity was so intense that it began to poison the people around her. Her husband and children stopped confiding in her because they knew she would only find ways to criticize them. Her friends stopped inviting her to their parties because they couldn't stand her negative energy. Even strangers avoided her because her sour expressions made them feel uncomfortable. This woman's habits had made her an outsider in her own life. And all because she refused to see the good in the world. It's easy to fall into the trap of negativity. Unfortunately, having a negative attitude is one of a person's evilest habits. Why? Because a negative attitude can lead to all sorts of injustices in our society. When we speak badly about others behind their backs, we hurt their reputation and undermine their confidence. When we take advantage of others, we exploit their vulnerabilities and violate their trust. When we have a negative attitude, we poison our happiness and sour our relationships with others. So please, take a moment to evaluate your attitude. If you're regularly putting down other people or speaking badly about them, try to catch yourself and change your behavior. We would all be better off if we could be a little nicer. We see injustices in our society, and we become angry and resentful. But if we allow that anger to turn into hatred, we're the ones who suffer in the end."


Being Overly Sensitive To The Truth

"People think that by sugarcoating the truth, they are doing a favor to others," says Dr. Mitchell. "However, this is not the case. Sugarcoating the truth is harmful to the development of individuals. When people sugarcoat the fact, they are not being honest. This creates a false sense of reality and prevents people from developing the habits of critical thinking and objectivity. As a result, people become overly sensitive to the truth and sugarcoat everything. This destroys the sense of self-pride, work ethic, creativity, and resiliency, which are essential for our mental health. It is almost evil to sugarcoat tough challenges to our children because it doesn't help them grow into mature members of society. Being honest and telling the truth, even if it hurts, is vital for the development of individuals and the health of the community as a whole."


Turning a Blind Eye to Social Injustice

Dr. Mitchell says, "Habits are things we do regularly, often without realizing it. They can be good habits, like brushing our teeth every day, or bad habits, like biting our nails. Some habits are minor nuisances, while others can significantly impact our lives. So many people have a terrible habit of turning a blind eye to social injustice. This habit is evil for several reasons. First, it causes the individual to become numb to the plight of others. When we see someone suffer and do nothing to help, we become desensitized to their pain. Second, this habit sets a bad example for others. When we turn a blind eye to injustice, we effectively tell others that it is okay to do the same. Third, and most importantly, this habit allows society's ills to perpetuate. Racism, discrimination, and ignorance are allowed to continue when good people do nothing to stop them." And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

The post Health Habits So Unhealthy They're Evil appeared first on Eat This Not That.

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