COVID-19

What’s the difference between COVID-19 and Influenza (Flu)

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a newly discovered coronavirus that is currently resulting in millions of people around the world becoming ill. It is a contagious respiratory disease, primarily affecting the lungs and the throat and is responsible for at least 820k deaths globally to date – with new cases rising daily.

If a person becomes infected with COVID-19 their symptoms can range from mild to severe or they might not experience the necessary symptoms at all (asymptomatic).

COVID-19 might be mistaken for Influenza (Flu) because they both have many characteristics in common. However, evidence has shown that COVID-19 causes more severe disease than the seasonal influenza. While many people have built up immunity to seasonal flu strains, COVID-19 is a new virus to which no one has immunity. That means more people are susceptible to infection, and some will suffer severe disease. 

To help you distinguish between the two viruses, we’ve outlined the key differences and similarities in this article.


Causes:

COVID-19 is short for ‘Coronavirus Disease 2019’. It originated from the coronavirus family which is linked to diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-COV)

Influenza on the other hand, is caused by Influenza A and B strands of viruses.

So how can you tell them apart? Here’s a summary.


Symptoms:

One of the reasons that people often mistake COVID-19 for the Flu is because they cause similar symptoms in infected people. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Sore Throat
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle Soreness
  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Runny Nose or Congestion


Method of Transmission:

Transmission refers to how the virus spreads from person to person. Both COVID-19 and the Flu can be spread via. respiratory droplets. It is transmitted more easily when persons who have become infected are within 6 feet of each other. This is because the droplets can land in the mouth, nose, or be inhaled into the lungs.

Coughing, sneezing, and talking are the most common ways these infections are known to spread. However, both viruses can remain on surfaces for hours. It is possible to spread if an individual touches a surface that contains the virus and touches their face afterward.


Complications:

As far as evidence shows to date, children are more likely to become infected with influenza than COVID-19. They are known to be one of the main contributors to influenza outbreaks.

Both Influenza and Covid-19 affect individuals with pre-existing health conditions, older age groups (65 and up), pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems. These individuals are the most at risk for developing severe and fatal symptoms if they become infected.


How long symptoms appear after infection:

Influenza: If an individual is infected with Influenza, it may take between 1 to 4 days (Avg. of 2 days) for symptoms to appear.


COVID-19: If an individual is infected with COVID-19 it can take 2 – 14 days (Avg. of 5 days) for symptoms to appear. 


Peak of Symptoms:

Influenza: The severity of Influenza symptoms often peak 3-7 days after a person has become infected.

COVID-19: The severity of COVID-19 symptoms can take up to 2 or 3 weeks.


Rate of Infection:

COVID-19 is more contagious than Influenza. This is determined by the R0 number of each virus. The R0 number or reproduction number is a value that measures how many people a single individual with the virus can infect.

The R0 number for Influenza is 1.3 while the R0 number for COVID-19 is between 2- 2.5.


Treatment:

Influenza: While there are antiviral medications on the market to help combat the flu, they are only recommended in special high-risk populations. The best treatment is self-isolation and supportive care. This includes staying well hydrated and using over-the-counter products such as Acetaminophen in the event that the flu causes high-fevers or aches.


COVID-19: Research is still being conducted to find a treatment that can help to reduce the symptoms of COVID-19 in patients.


Prevention:

COVID-19 and Influenza require virtually the same measures to prevent the spread of the virus:

  • Staying home if you’re sick and limiting your contact with people.
  • Washing your hands regularly, and using hand sanitizer when hand washing stations are not available.
  • Continuing to wear a face mask when in public spaces.
  • Maintaining social distancing i.e. standing 6 feet apart from people when in public.
  • Coughing and sneezing into your flexed elbow.
  • Telling your healthcare provider about your symptoms and travel history.


Vaccination: 


An approved vaccine exists for Influenza. However, researchers are still learning more about COVID-19 and have not released a vaccine for it at the time this article was written. 

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Overcoming Loneliness

Feeling lonely can be unpleasant, but did you know that it can also reduce your lifespan? According to some reports, loneliness can shorten your life as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Some studies have also shown that being lonely is worse for your health than being obese, and can raise your risk for early death by about 30 percent. Luckily, researchers have also been able to shed light on ways that people overcome feelings of loneliness.

But before we get to how to combat loneliness, you might be wondering how it can have such a significant effect on your health. Well, there are a couple of theories. 

The Behavioral Theory

Some researchers have said that it could be related to behavioral changes. This theory says that as people feel more lonely, they are more likely to neglect their healthy habits and adopt more risky behaviors like drug abuse.

The Immune System Theory

A more popular theory is that loneliness causes stress in the body that weakens the immune system. This is because we are social animals. We evolved to live with others. When you’re around other people, it provides safety and security, so your body relaxes.

But when you’re feeling alone and lacking the safety of other people, your body goes on defence. Subconsciously, you become more aware of possible threats around you. It triggers a stress response so you’re ready to deal with danger. 

This stress response causes a release of hormones, increased heart rate, muscle tension, and other changes. Over time, these changes can take a toll on the body and its immune function, increasing the risk for a range of health conditions.

Dealing With Loneliness

Research has shown that feelings of loneliness don’t always match the level of social interaction. There are some people who have active social lives but still feel lonely, and others who don’t see anyone often but don’t feel lonely at all.

This means that loneliness can be more about a person’s state of mind then their social circumstances. 

In addition, a recent study of older adults living in a senior housing community highlighted some characteristics of people who overcome feelings of loneliness. Those characteristics included acceptance of ageing and good social skills for making new friends.

It also found that compassion was one factor that helped with overcoming loneliness. The study participants who focused on helping others were better at dealing with their own feelings of loneliness. 

Mind and Body

There are many ways your mental state affects your overall health. Loneliness is just one example. 

So dealing with mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and depression can not only improve your quality of life, it can help you live longer. If you think you are experiencing any of these conditions, you should talk to your doctor, as there are many options for mental health support and treatment.

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Anti-aging health tips

Scientists are making some exciting advances in anti-ageing therapies. Recently, researchers made a breakthrough where they were able to extend the life of roundworms by 500 percent, which would be the equivalent of a human living for 400 or 500 years.

But until they invent an anti-ageing pill that works like magic, there are some simple measures you can take to help slow the ageing process.

Sleep Well

Getting enough sleep is essential to your health. It gives your body and brain a chance to repair wear and tear, and will help your mind stay sharp. In addition, it can reduce your risk for a variety of health issues, ranging from high blood pressure to depression.

The latest sleep recommendations are that adults aged 24 -64 need 7-9 hours a night, and people who are 65 or older need 7-8 hours.

But just going to bed earlier isn’t enough. That’s because to get all the benefits of sleep, it needs to be good quality sleep. That means you should be enjoying a deep sleep, without spending a lot of time just tossing and turning in bed.

Some ways to get better quality sleep include:

  • Go to bed at a regular time
  • Do something relaxing before bed
  • Get more exercise
  • Choose a good quality pillow and mattress

Improve Your Diet

There are some simple changes you can make to your eating habits that will go a long way towards helping you maintain your health.

That includes adding more colour to your diet. So ensure you’re getting enough fruits and vegetables, and opt for fresh, unprocessed foods. In addition, foods that are high in antioxidants such as tomatoes, spinach, and green tea can help fight the ageing process.

If you are looking to go further, consider getting help from a nutritionist. They can help you create a diet that suits your particular health needs.

Learn something new

One of the major signs of ageing is reduced cognitive ability. As you age, your brain’s ability to process new information decreases. However, if you exercise your brain by continuing to learn new things, it improves brain plasticity. That means your brain will have a better ability to deal with both new and old information.

Studies show that certain “brain training” games like puzzles can improve memory, but actually learning a new and challenging skill is more effective at keeping your brain working properly.

Manage your stress

Stress causes a number of changes in your body. It can increase your heart rate, constrict your blood vessels, and release adrenaline. If you feel stressed frequently or for long periods of time, these changes can have a real effect on your health.

The result is an increased risk for issues including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

To avoid these risks, you should try out some different relaxation techniques and see what works best for you. That can include things like breathing exercises, massage, meditation, and yoga.

And if you don’t think those techniques are doing enough to curb your stress, consider getting some help from a mental health professional. 

Exercise

This list of anti-ageing health tips would not be complete without mentioning how important exercise is in maintaining your health. The benefits it offers affect all aspects of your health and wellness, but to name just a few: 

  • Cardio exercise will reduce your risk for heart disease
  • Strength training can help you avoid injuries as you age
  • All types of exercise will improve your mood, reduce chronic pain symptoms, and help you maintain a healthy weight.  

If you find it difficult to make it to a gym, remember that any kind of physical activity can help, such as taking frequent walks.

So start putting these tips into practice to live longer and enjoy a better quality of life!

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Drinking tea may help fight depression

Recent research suggests that older adults who drink tea tend to live longer and are less likely to be depressed. These findings come from several separate studies, and add to the long list of health benefits that may come from drinking tea.

Tea and Depression

Researchers in China recently published a study that showed a strong connection between drinking tea regularly and lower rates of depression.

There have been some previous studies that suggested this connection exists. However,  researchers weren’t sure if the benefits come from the tea itself or from the increased social interaction that’s often involved with drinking tea. 

But even when accounting for social engagement and other health factors, this recent study found the connection between tea drinking and lower rates of depression was  “virtually universal”. So, researchers suspect that some property of tea is able to help the brain stay healthy.

The study’s authors said it appears that drinking tea is most beneficial during the early stages of health deterioration. They also found that the benefits were most significant for consistent tea drinkers (who drank tea almost every day since age 60). 

Green Tea and Life Expectancy

Another study tracked 100,000 Chinese adults and found those who drank green tea at least three times a week were less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke

It also showed that green tea drinkers tend to live slightly longer than those who don’t drink tea regularly. This study builds on previous research that has suggested that green tea can lower your risk for heart disease and certain cancers.  

The Many Benefits of Tea

Green tea has high levels of a powerful antioxidant called EGCG. This antioxidant may benefit your health in many ways including reduced risk for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and liver disease.

But black tea also offers its own benefits. Some include protecting your cells from damage by free radicals, reducing the risk of plaque in blood vessels, and it may be useful in obesity management by promoting the breakdown of fat.

And no matter what type you choose, there’s evidence that the health benefits of tea can include:

  • Reduction of bad cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved cognitive ability
  • Improved mood

So consider pouring yourself a cup, and have a drink to your health!

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Diabetes treatment options

Latest Research Shows New Ways To Prevent and Treat Diabetes

The conventional wisdom on type 2 diabetes says that the main risk factors include obesity, lack of exercise, and family history. To reduce the risk of developing diabetes (or to help control the disease) many people put their efforts into improving their diet and staying active.

That’s a great start because experts say that even a modest amount of weight loss can noticeably improve the overall health of diabetic patients. But the latest research suggests there’s a lot more that can be done.

New Findings

In recent years, studies have shown that the causes for type 2 diabetes are more complex than you might think. These findings could eventually lead to new developments in how to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes.

But in the meantime, here are some of the risk factors that the latest research points towards—and what you can do about them!

In the Mind

One study showed personality traits like hostility and low optimism are linked to diabetes. The study used data from almost 140,000 women and looked at their risk for type 2 diabetes. It found:

  • Women with the lowest levels of optimism had up to 12 percent increased risk
  • Women with the highest levels of hostility had up to 17 percent increased risk

Experts say these personality traits lead to higher levels of stress which cause harmful hormonal changes. And these hormonal changes contribute to diabetes.

What This Means

Mental health therapy should play a role in diabetes treatment. Talk therapy can be a great way to manage your stress levels. In addition, It can also provide you with techniques for managing feelings of hostility and pessimism.

If you don’t think you have the time to get therapy with your busy schedule, consider using a virtual health service. These services are offered by some healthcare providers to enable you to get mental health support and advice via video chats or texts on your phone or tablet. 

In the Gut

There’s also research that highlights the importance of gut health. This research shows that in an obese person, the gut produces lower levels of a certain immune cell. This immune cell creates an antibody that’s needed to neutralize harmful types of gut bacteria. Researchers say the lack of this antibody may contribute to diabetes.

What This Means

This finding reinforces the importance of having a healthy and balanced diet because that can affect gut bacteria and immune cells. To get help with choosing the right foods and planning your meals, you should speak to your healthcare provider or consider getting help from a specialist like a nutritionist.

In the Womb

Other experts are pointing to the importance of prenatal care. Research shows that stressors on a mother during pregnancy (such as poor-nutrition) can make the baby more likely to develop diabetes at some point in its life.

Interestingly, this connection first came to light following the Dutch Hunger Winter in 1944-1945. Women who were pregnant during the famine had children that developed obesity and diabetes at higher rates than normal.

In addition, gestational diabetes (when the mother has diabetes during pregnancy) is another risk factor. 

What This Means

This research highlights the importance of proper nutrition during pregnancy. And if you’re pregnant and suspect you have gestational diabetes, you should speak to your doctor. 

Holistic Healthcare

When you look at all of these new findings together, it shows the benefits of a holistic approach to treating diabetes. That means looking at the body as a whole and working to improve your overall health and wellness. 

This doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to diet and exercise. Those are still considered major risk factors and one of the best ways you can manage the disease. But it does mean that your diabetes treatment plan should involve a lot of different aspects.

That can include nutritionists to help with meal planning, physiotherapists to help with exercise programs, counsellors to help with mental health, and more.

And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, some healthcare providers offer diabetes education programs to help you make sense of it all. Remember: there’s no cure for diabetes, but it can be controlled. With a comprehensive diabetes management plan, you can reduce your health risks and start enjoying a better quality of life.

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What You Need to Know About COVID-19: Coronavirus Symptoms, Facts, and Tips

We’re all concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic (rightfully so!) and it’s resulting in panic and misinformation as we read daily posts online purporting new information. This is a serious public health issue, and we all have a role in bringing it under control, but it is important to discern the facts from the fictional stories circulating that was created supposedly to entertain and scare others. 

To help you know what you can do, we are going to provide you with some essential info. We’ll cover what you need to know about COVID-19, who’s most at risk, and some tips on how you can lower your chances of catching and spreading it.

The current pandemic has triggered unprecedented measures around the world aimed at slowing the spread of the virus. The outcomes in countries hit hardest by the virus show the importance of preventative measures so we rounded up the facts to provide you with a quick summary.

Essential Info

  • Visit Health Canada’s COVID-19 page for the latest updates and current recommendations.
  • The website for your local municipality may provide more details on the current situation and risk level in your area. Check it daily.

The Quick Facts

COVID-19 is a new type of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large category of viruses that typically cause mild illnesses similar to the common cold. 

The symptoms of COVID-19 can take up to 14 days to appear, and they include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing

The virus is spread through:

  • Respiratory droplets created by coughing and sneezing
  • Close contact such as shaking hands
  • Touching something with the virus on it and then touching your nose, mouth or eyes before washing your hands.

Who’s Most at Risk?

Most people who contract the virus recover on their own without the need for treatment. However, certain people are at a higher risk of developing complications requiring hospitalization, and in severe cases, it can lead to death.

The people most at risk include:

  • Older adults (aged 65 and over)
  • People with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, or heart disease.
  • People with compromised immune systems

What You Can Do

The Federal Government of Canada recommends that everyone practice social distancing and proper hygiene.

Social distancing means avoiding non-essential gatherings and crowded places. It also means keeping a distance of at least 2 arms-length from others, as much as possible.

Proper hygiene means washing your hands often, especially when preparing food or after using the washroom. It also means disposing of any used tissues as soon as possible in a lined wastebasket.

If you are experiencing symptoms, it is recommended that you isolate yourself at home for 14 days. If you live with others, stay in a separate room and maintain a two-meter distance. Call your local public health authority or a health care professional, tell them your symptoms, and follow their instructions. 

How PharmacyGo Can Help

At PharmacyGo, the well-being of our patients and the communities we serve are always our main priority. We provide a number of services that can help you reduce your COVID-19 risk when seeking medical care. This includes Telemedicine services that let you connect with a doctor via video conference, free delivery on your prescription refills, essential Personal Protective Equipment such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and more. 

Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19

Will wearing a mask reduce my risk of getting infected?

It is not recommended to wear a mask as a way of preventing infection. That’s because a mask can give a false sense of security, and it can actually increase the risk of spreading the virus through improper mask use and disposal.

However, health professionals may recommend that you wear a mask when seeking treatment if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. In that case, a mask can help by stopping the spread of tiny droplets when you cough or sneeze.

Are there any health products that can reduce my risk?

According to Health Canada, there are no approved products to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19. In fact, it’s illegal for any company to make such claims, and it’s encouraged that if you come across these health products you should report them using Health Canada’s online complaint form.

Are pregnant women at a higher risk?

There is currently insufficient evidence to suggest that pregnant women are at an increased risk for COVID-19. However, pregnancy causes changes in the body that may increase the risk for some infections. So it is always recommended that pregnant women practice proper hygiene.

Sources:

Health Canada COVID-19 Information

CDC Key Facts on Covid-19

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Your 2019 Cold and Flu Season Guide

That’s right, it’s that time of year again. The dreaded Flu Season.

This guide will provide some essential tips on how to stay healthy this cold and flu season. It includes simple preventative measures and some tips on how to tell the flu from the common cold so you know how to treat them properly.

Staying Healthy 

Wash Your Hands and use Hand Sanitizer

The most important thing you can do to stay healthy at this time of year (though it’s also a great habit to have year-round!) is to properly wash your hands. This practice is one of the reasons why healthcare workers are able to remain healthy on the front lines even when they’re regularly in contact with people who have a cold or flu.

These professionals treat frequent hand sanitation as an essential step in their routines—and you should too! It won’t only help you to stay healthy, but it can also protect your loved ones or anyone you’re in close contact with.

Here are the most important times you should be washing your hands:

  • After being around sick people
  • After blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing
  • Before and after preparing food
  • Before eating
  • After using a washroom

If you are using a public washroom, you can avoid undoing the good of washing your hands by shutting the faucet off with a paper towel. Also consider pushing the door open with your shoulder, or using another paper towel to turn the doorknob on your way out.

According to the CDC’s guide on how to wash your hands effectively, you should scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. To help you time it, you can quickly hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice.

Hand sanitizer is great for those times when it’s not convenient to get to a washroom.  Even though we may love the fancy-smelling ones, ensure to choose an alcohol-based sanitizer that has at least 60 percent alcohol.

Prepare Your Defenses

Another great way to avoid the cold and flu is to ensure your body’s natural defences are in place. How do you do that? Well, it’s as simple as taking a few measures that improve your overall health and boost your immune system. 

This includes:

Be sure to get your flu shot.  Speak to a Pharmacist to get your free flu shot in time. 

What Are Common Symptoms of The Flu vs the Common Cold?

When you think you or someone close to you may have caught a bug, it’s useful to be able to tell the difference between the flu and the common cold. This can be tricky because cold viruses cause many flu-like symptoms. Here are some tips for telling them apart.

  • Cold and flu viruses share symptoms like sore throat, coughing, and congestion. 
  • Flu symptoms tend to be more intense and come on more suddenly.
  • In adults, colds usually don’t cause fever (or only a mild fever), but the flu does.
  • The flu is more likely to cause severe muscle aches and soreness.
  • Extreme exhaustion is common at the beginning of the flu, but not colds.

If you are unsure if you’re dealing with the flu, one way to get help is with our Virtual Health service. This lets you text or video chat with a nurse practitioner through your smartphone, and they’ll help you get to the bottom of it.

Treating the Symptoms

Already too late and you’ve contracted the cold or flu? Be sure to check with your Doctor first and then a Pharmacist who can help you decide the best medicines to treat cold and flu symptoms. 

Good Luck Out There!

The flu is no joke. While most people can recover from it within two weeks, it can also lead to a variety of complications, from sinus infections to pneumonia. But with these tips, you should be able to make it through this cold and flu season with a clean bill of health!

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Simple Ways to Manage Your Diabetes

One factor that differentiates diabetes from many other diseases is how extensively it can be controlled through lifestyle adjustments. When you’re living with diabetes, you have the real power to minimize its impact. Even small changes can make serious improvements to your quality of life.

Since the disease is affected by many different aspects of your lifestyle, there are a lot of options when it comes to managing diabetes. It’s always a good idea to learn what those options are so you can find the ones that work best for you.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus, better known as simply “diabetes”, is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. The disease comes in several forms but the two most common are diabetes type 1 and diabetes type 2. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your pancreas. Type 2 occurs when your body becomes more resistant to insulin, causing sugar to build up in your blood.

Improve Your Eating Habits

It should go without saying that an important part of diabetes management is your diet. If you haven’t already started, you should create a healthy eating plan with the help of a nutritionist or other health care provider, and then try your best to stick to it. The plan should include recommendations on portion sizes as well as what types of food to eat.

Here are some quick tips to remember:

  • Use meal planning to ensure all your meals have a good balance of starches, proteins and fats. 
  • Go for fruits, vegetables and whole grains as much as possible, as these low-carb foods provide fibre to help stabilize your blood sugar levels.
  • Drink less sugar-sweetened beverages. Soda and juices have a lot of empty calories, and can rapidly increase your blood sugar levels. Making a habit of drinking more water can help you avoid them.

Get More Exercise

Exercise helps control diabetes in a number of ways. It lowers your blood sugar, decreases your body’s resistance to insulin, and improves heart health. It can also help you lose weight, improve your circulation, lower the risk of many diabetes-related issues.

Whether it’s aerobics or strength training, any physical activity can help. The most important part is discussing your exercise plan with a health care provider and making it part of your regular schedule. 

Important tips to keep in mind:

  • Dehydration can impact your blood sugar levels, so make sure you drink lots of water while exercising.
  • Keep a close eye on your blood sugar when starting a new exercise plan. If the activity or intensity level is new to you, it can sometimes lower your blood sugar the following day.
  • Take care of your feet. If you’ve been dealing with circulation issues, you may be at risk of foot injuries like ulcers. Proper footwear like custom orthotics can help you protect your feet while exercising.
  • Quitting smoking makes exercising easier, and is one of the best ways to improve your cardiovascular health.

Monitor Your Blood Sugar Level

Blood sugar testing is an essential part of managing diabetes. Not only will it help guide your treatment, but it also helps ensure you stay within safe limits. Some of the benefits it offers include:

  • Helps you judge how well you’re meeting your goals
  • Helps you see how exercise and eating habits affect your blood glucose levels
  • Lets you know when your levels are too high or too low

Use Stress Management Techniques

Stress affects blood sugar in several ways. For one, it triggers a hormone response in your body that can raise blood sugar levels. On top of that, when you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress, you might find it hard to stick to your diabetes management plan.

Here are some quick tips to help you cope with stress:

  • Start monitoring and recording your mood when you check your blood sugar levels. This can help you see the impact stress is having on you. If you notice a pattern, it can help you identify the triggers for your stress, so you can manage it in the future.
  • Get some help learning relaxation techniques. Health care providers can teach you about the different methods and help you find the ones that work best for you.

Get Educated

Diabetes treatment and management can be complicated. It involves a lot of planning around many different aspects of your life. This is why diabetes education programs can be very useful. They can help you understand exactly how the disease impacts you, and the best ways for you to minimize those impacts.

Remember: You Have The Power

Making changes to your lifestyle can take some real effort. When you have a long-standing bad habit, it can be hard to break the cycle. If you take the steps to manage your diabetes early on, eventually you will begin seeing improvements to your health, which can be a great motivator.

Remember that you have the power to control your diabetes. By sticking with your diabetes management plan, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can start enjoying better health and quality of life.

As a final note, be sure to speak to your doctor for advice if you need help with diabetes in pregnancy, diabetes in children, or if you develop any diabetes complications.

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Simple Ways to relieve Stress

Stress is a normal part of everyday life. Everyone experiences stress, but it’s not always a bad thing. For example, when you’re preparing for a job interview, some stress can be expected and it can sometimes motivate you to perform well.

However, stress is a problem when it becomes constant or overwhelming. It can cause changes in your body that negatively affect your immune system, sleeping habits, mental health, and more. 

This leads to symptoms like anger, sadness, anxiety, irritability, headaches, and sleeplessness. Over time, stress can contribute to serious health conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Some people even experience stress rashes and hives.

Thankfully, there are a lot of techniques for helping you deal with stress. They range from simple mental exercises to guidelines for managing your daily schedule. The wide range of methods available means that you should be able to find options that will work for you in different situations. 

 Here are some effective coping techniques for overcoming stress:

Take a Breather

Controlling your breathing is one of the easiest ways you can calm your body and feel more relaxed. It’s also a technique you can do wherever you may be—whether it’s the office, in traffic, at home or outdoors. There are several different breathing methods you can try, but a simple one to start is to just focus on taking slow, deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose while slowly counting to three, hold it for one second, and then slowly exhale while counting to three again. Go ahead and try it right now while you read this. 

Meditate On It

Meditation involves focusing your attention and blocking out all your nagging thoughts. Besides relieving stress, meditation has been shown to help alleviate symptoms of a range of conditions, from chronic pain to asthma.

There are many different types of meditation, but the one that most people are familiar with is mantra meditation. This method involves closing your eyes, choosing a calming word or phrase, and then repeating it in your mind. The mantra gives you something to focus your attention on while avoiding distracting thoughts. Among meditation’s many benefits, it can retrain your mind to be better focused and block out unwanted and anxious thoughts.

Hug a Loved One

This tip may sound silly or simple, but you may not realize just how beneficial hugging can be. Research shows that a simple caring touch from a loved one can make a real impact on your health. That’s because it releases oxytocin, which causes relaxation, lowers blood pressure, and results in a decrease in stress hormone levels such as cortisol.

Shorten Your To-Do List

Setting goals and priorities is a good thing. It can help you stay on top of your responsibilities and can give you a sense of accomplishment. But your to-do list can also be a major contributor to your stress when it becomes unmanageable. So whittle down that list of tasks so it’s more realistic.

To help guide you, start keeping track of how often you are able to complete everything on your daily agenda. Then start making adjustments until it becomes the norm.

Talk it Out

When you’re dealing with stress on your own, every little problem can seem worse than it actually is. In this way, your distorted perception of problems can contribute to your stress. 

But speaking to someone you trust, like your family or friends can help you get some perspective. By helping you see things from another point of view, you may realize that an issue that was stressing you out was not as bad as you thought. Talking with others can also give you more confidence to deal with situations by receiving helpful feedback.

Get Help From an Expert

Mental health professionals like counsellors and therapists are experts at stress management. Besides knowing the different techniques, they understand how to help you use them properly and find the best solutions for you.

Getting expert help may be easier than you think, especially if you use a virtual health service. This lets you get assistance via texts or video chat from any smartphone, so you can find help with stress management wherever and whenever you need it.

Don’t Ignore It

Remember, stress is normal, but being overwhelmed by it isn’t. You shouldn’t learn to live with chronic stress as part of your daily routine. It can seriously impact your mental state and overall health. But with some simple techniques and a little help, you can overcome it.