Outdoor experts agree, risk management is key

So, it might not come as a shock that after this past year Colorado Parks and Wildlife reported a 30 percent increase in visitations through Nov. 2020, as noted by the Denver Post; a staggering number considering that just one year prior, the Outdoor Foundation reported that nearly half of the U.S. population did not participate in outdoor recreation.The Roaring Fork Valley (RFV) is no outlier to this outdoor participation trend, and with more travel and a dangerous snowpack this season, the risks are intensified. Fortunately, outdoor leaders in the RFV have noticed that recreationists are taking risk management – the ability to independently assess the risks of an activity – seriously.

Outdoor experts agree, risk management is key — https://www.soprissun.com/2021/01/07/outdoor-experts-agree-risk-management-is-key/
Architect on the mountain actively engaging in avalanche training.
Aliens with headlamps “skinning” up a mountain somewhere near Aspen CO
Blogger staying near sea level.

Vitamin D – What’s Your Level?

“Our trends this year are dramatically different than previous years’ in that they’re far less fleeting. COVID-19 is a pandemic that sits on top of another pandemic in the United States of malnutrition and poor long-term health,” remarked Shelby Miller, MS, Natural Grocers’ Manager of Scientific Affairs and Nutrition Education. “Hence, 2021 holds broader trends that focus on improving nutrition to support our own health, as well as the health of our communities and our environment.”

While there are many things in life outside of our control, knowing our vitamin D levels is a simple step we can all take to elevate our health and the health of our families—it is something you can own as a proactive tool to be rooted in health. This unique nutrient plays a critical role in whether or not your immune system functions sufficiently and responds as needed. It is essential for lung health, supporting positive moods, brain function, and cognition, a healthy weight, a healthy pregnancy, children’s health, healthy blood sugar levels, healthy blood pressure, bone health, and muscle tone. Between 40 and 80 percent of American adults are outright deficient in vitamin D, while approximately 90 percent have sub-optimal levels. Achieving optimal levels (between 30 and 50 ng/mL) of vitamin D through supplementation is crucial to experiencing its full range of benefits. Because darker skin hampers the body’s ability to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight, supplementation is especially important for people of color. A national survey reported average serum vitamin D concentrations of 28.1 ng/mL, 21.6 ng/mL, and 16.9 ng/mL in Caucasian, Mexican American, and African American adults aged 20 years and older, respectively. Vitamin D is a nutrient all of us should be focused on, and we all need to know our levels, but this is especially important for those with darker complexions.

SOURCE Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc. — https://investors.naturalgrocers.com/2020-12-03-Natural-Grocers-Predicts-Top-10-Nutrition-Trends-For-2021 — Natural Grocers Predicts Top 10 Nutrition Trends For 2021 Press Release 12.03.20

I have no financial relationship with Natural Grocers nor do I shop at their stores often. We get the company’s sales brochure via Snail Mail and when I read the #1 predicted trend for 2021 was Vitamin D supplementation I had to pass it along (with proper attribution). On a personal note I started supplementing with Vitamin D around 7-8 years ago. I was satisfied with my research and figured this was an easy behavioral change. Besides, Vitamin D supplements were (and still are) cheap and widely available.

The Boss and I share the same personal physician. At my last wellness check she looked me in the eye and said,

“Tell you wife to take a Vitamin D supplement.”

True story. BTW my last level was 38 ng/mL. A few more of my posts on Vitamin D are listed below.

How the Lives of Older Citizens Changed in 2020

We all know that Baby Boomers and seniors have had an incredibly challenging time during this pandemic. Older generations have shown particular resilience through this time, with many not being able to see friends and family for months. All in the name of rightly protecting their health. With Government and media messaging telling seniors they are the most vulnerable group, their determination to power through this challenge has been apparent across the world.

A representative group of 1,409 Baby Boomers and seniors from the USA and Canada were polled on behalf of Amica Senior Lifestyles, using Amazon’s online survey platform, Mechanical Turk. Survey responses were fielded in September and October 2020. They were asked a variety of questions relating to their lifestyle changes during and after the global pandemic. The age breakdown of our survey sample was as follows: 
55-64 (24.6%)
65-74 (70.8%)
75-84 (3.8%)
85+ (0.9%)
https://www.amica.ca/conversations/baby-boomers-seniors-coronavirus-statistics#lockdown

The source article is fairly long so I’ve provided the Table of Contents clickable links. I hope they work. Technology adaptation is tougher for the older ones. Did you know my smartphone has a CAMERA?

Consistently Inconsistent With the Virus (as with life)

I’d thought long and hard about what I wanted to do when Will — and, soon after, his brother, Theo — returned home. The by-the-book Dr. Anthony Fauci approach would have been to have the boys keep on their masks, send them upstairs for a couple of weeks, and open all the windows in the house in the meantime.

But as the pandemic has taught us, there are things we value more than perfect protection from the virus. When it comes to them, we’re willing to puncture our bubbles, because without them, living feels like something less than being fully alive…

I admit that, at least to an outsider, my behavior seems inconsistent. But to me, it makes perfect sense. The risks I’m choosing to take are the ones where the payoff is biggest relative to the risk I perceive. (Yes, even the haircut! I love a good high-and-tight, and my barber is applying the clippers in his open-air home workshop.)

Before you argue with me, I get it. These aren’t the choices you would make. And that’s my point.We all have things we value. And risks we are willing to take for them. Neither of these two categories will be exactly the same for any one of us.

When it comes to the virus, we are all consistently inconsistent
Adam Cohen Published: Sun, December 13, 2020 1:07 AM Updated: Sun, December 13, 2020 1:36 AM — https://oklahoman.com/article/5678132/cohen-when-it-comes-to-the-virus-we-are-all-consistently-inconsistent

Exposed to grandchildren? Why take the chance?

reader comment

A reader’s comment above stopped me in my tracks. The past nine months have been spent mostly in the house with minimal forays out of the house for essentials like food and beer. I didn’t get a real haircut for months. The insides of a restaurant are now foreign to me. I cancelled my gym membership. So the comment made me think, why did I take the chance to spend time with Tiny Human Petri Dishes? When I stumbled upon the Cohen article I realized I was not alone. Nine months have disappeared and we all struggle with our own individual risk/reward scenarios.

The Grandchildren Bubble is unique. Risk was reduced to zero for six months. After six months all of the adults decided the Covid risk was minimal for several reasons. Two of the four adults (the most cautious and conservative ones) caught the virus. Thankfully both were fairly mild cases on the spectrum of asymptomatic to death and both have fully recovered. So two people have antibodies. The third adult is a front line HCW who deals with Covid each and every time he goes to work. The doctor has gotten tested multiple times all with negative results. One Tiny Human attends preschool and if a child has anything near a small sniffle they have to stay home and cannot rejoin the class until they have a negative Covid test. She recently received a negative test. Tiny Human Too just started crawling and doesn’t get out the house much. Not much to worry about here.

And for readers who have been counting that leaves yours truly. I lived with one of the infected before we knew she was infected. I tested negative the day before she got her test results. One of our neighbors asked if I left the house to live in a hotel. No I didn’t. Living apart while under the same roof was an interesting experience that I hope never to repeat. And despite having Covid in the house I didn’t catch it.

So I spent some time in my only trusted bubble mask less and I end up catching one or two non-Covid-19 coronaviruses. Next time I’m wearing a mask.

Statins Can Save Lives

They examined the records of nearly 300,000 adults in the U.S. who had an initial atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease event between 2007 and 2016. These were divided into three groups: coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack, or peripheral artery disease.

When people left the hospital or emergency department in 2007 following a first diagnosis in one of these categories, about half began taking statins within 30 days. By 2016, statin use increased to approximately 60%.

“Based on the guidelines, we hoped to see a much higher uptake among this entire group,” says Dr. Noseworthy. “Statin intolerance was only noted for 4%-5% of the patients, which means as many as 35% of patients are not receiving treatment according to the guidelines.”

Mayo Clinic. “Statins can save lives; are they being used?.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/12/201201144030.htm (accessed December 2, 2020) — https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/12/201201144030.htm

Journal Reference:

Xiaoxi Yao, Nilay D. Shah, Bernard J. Gersh, Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, Peter A. Noseworthy. Assessment of Trends in Statin Therapy for Secondary Prevention of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease in US Adults From 2007 to 2016. JAMA Network Open, 2020; 3 (11): e2025505 DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.25505

Shhh…Want to help stop COVID? Be quiet.

There’s another extremely simple thing that might help reduce COVID transmission – quieting down.  This is a bit of a sensitive topic, because we all talk.  And sometimes we all talk too loudly.  But hospitals are filling up so, well, it’s time to talk about talking.

Human beings are wind instrument that generate aerosols.  Small particles are produced as exhaled gas rushes past vibrating vocal cords.  As this gas passes further through the tongue, lips, and teeth, sounds from the vocal cords are modulated – generating additional particles.​1​ Aerosol generation is exacerbated by speaking at higher volumes and at higher pitches.​2,3​ Scientists have dissected this down to specific sounds which generate more particles than others.​4​

There’s no solid, RCT-level evidence that being quiet reduces the spread of COVID. Nor will there ever be (some things are just too difficult to study with an RCT). But quieting down makes sense and it’s very easy and safe to do. There is literally zero cost or risk involved.

PulmCrit – Want to help stop COVID? Be quiet — https://emcrit.org/pulmcrit/quiet-covid/

Shhh…

Failure to Launch – 2020

Failure to Launch was a movie released in 2006 starring Matthew McConaughey. Failure to Launch 2020 version is summarized in this chart:

Failure to Launch 2020 – Over Half of U.S. Young Adults Now Live With Their Parents – https://www.visualcapitalist.com/us-young-adults-living-with-their-parents/

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

Mike Tyson

The drop in the volume of employment in a given sector always has a ripple effect in the national economy. The loss of so many high-paying jobs in a short time will be a dent in the coffers of Los Angeles County and for New York state in the short term. Michele Evermore, senior policy analyst for the Washington, D.C.-based National Employment Law Project, says it hits at a time when other industries are undergoing similar sweeping realignments with huge human toll.

“Nobody’s got a plan for how to transition these massive sectors of the workforce into a different thing,” Evermore says.

Hollywood Grapples With Mass Layoffs as the Biz Redefines Itself for Streaming Future — https://variety.com/2020/tv/news/hollywood-layoffs-streaming-future-1234838650/

I sat for a few minutes thinking about what to write next when Charlie Hunter popped into my head. Hunter titled one of his albums with the Tyson quote.

Which was then followed by some great advice from Charlie on his strategy for success and survival in the years to come.

Don’t wait until you get punched in the mouth to make your Plan B. And while you’re at it you might want to come up with a Plan C as well.

First It Was Masks; Now Some Refuse Testing for SARS-CoV-2

Test avoidance appears to be a growing problem, at least anecdotally. Many of the same people who dismiss the need to test feel the same way about wearing a mask, in part because they think no one has the right to tell them to do either.

First It Was Masks; Now Some Refuse Testing for SARS-CoV-2 – JAMA. 2020;324(20):2015-2016. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.22003 – https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2772860

I am speechless.

Taking a Road Trip? Here’s Your Checklist

This article has not been edited and the article was originally published on The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/planning-a-road-trip-in-a-pandemic-11-tips-for-before-you-leave-on-the-road-and-when-you-arrive-149620

Planning a road trip in a pandemic? 11 tips for before you leave, on the road and when you arrive
November 26, 2020

Author – Thea van de Mortel
Professor, Nursing and Deputy Head (Learning & Teaching), School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University

As restrictions ease around the country and the prospect of travel beckons, many of us will be planning road trips for the holiday season.

To ensure your trip is memorable in the best rather than the worst way, here are some things you and your fellow travellers can do to reduce the risk of becoming infected with, or spreading, COVID on your trip.

Before you go

  1. Check for any travel or other COVID-specific restrictions or rules in the areas you will be travelling through or to, before you go. These can change rapidly and may include restrictions on how far you can travel, how many people per square metre are allowed in public spaces, and whether you need border passes or to wear a mask. Each state or territory has its own health department or government COVID website you can check.
  2. Don’t take COVID with you. If anyone in your group has COVID-like symptoms, however mild, it is important to be tested and cleared for COVID before leaving. Common symptoms may include fever or chills, muscle aches, sore throat, cough, runny nose, difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell, and vomiting or diarrhoea.
  3. Pack masks, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitiser. The two most likely ways of catching COVID are inhaling viral particles an infected person sheds when they cough, sneeze, laugh, talk or breathe; and ingesting particles by touching contaminated objects and then touching your face or food. Masks (and social distancing) can help reduce the former risk, while avoiding touching your face, frequent hand hygiene and cleaning surfaces can reduce the latter. So pack masks, wipes and hand sanitiser. Hand sanitiser should contain at least 60% alcohol.
  4. Pack your own pillows and linen. We know people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, can shed virus onto linen and pillows (and other surfaces), even when asymptomatic. We also know respiratory viruses can penetrate pillow covers and get into the microfibre stuffing. So you might want to consider bringing your own pillows and linen.

On your trip

  1. Use disinfectant wipes to clean high-touch surfaces in your hire car. These would include door and window handles or buttons, light switches, seat adjuster controls, radio controls, the steering wheel, glove box button, gear/drive and handbrake levers, rear-view mirrors and mirror controls.
  2. How about singing in the car? The more vigorous the activity, the greater the opportunity to release droplets and aerosols and the further these will travel. So, laughing and singing will release more of these than talking, and talking will release more than breathing. However, if you are travelling in a family group, or with your housemates, then you have been in close contact with one another at home and the additional risk would be low.
  3. Maintain social distancing at service stations. Leave at least 1.5 metres between you and the next person while paying for fuel, ordering food and when using the bathroom. Make sure you wash or sanitise your hands after touching surfaces such as petrol pumps, door handles, bathroom taps, and before getting back in your car.
    Filling car up with petrol at service station
    Wash or sanitise your hands after using the petrol pump. Shutterstock
  4. Pay with cards rather than cash to avoid touching money. Many people can handle bills and coins over a long duration of time, providing many opportunities to transfer disease-causing microbes from one person to the next. Using contactless payment also helps maintain social distancing.
  5. It’s safer to eat outdoors than indoors if stopping for a snack or lunch. That’s because large volumes of air dilute the density of viral particles in the air. Evidence from a study of COVID clusters in Japan suggests the chance of transmitting COVID is more than 18 times higher inside than outside.

When you arrive

  1. Is your hotel or rented accommodation COVID-safe? Ask the accommodation provider what steps they have taken to make the place less conducive to spreading COVID. For example, have they introduced extra cleaning or disinfection?
  2. Use disinfectant wipes in rented accommodation to clean high-touch surfaces such as door handles, light switches, cupboard handles, taps and toilet flush buttons. You can also put dishes and cutlery through the dishwasher on a hot cycle. This is because the virus can remain viable (able to cause infection) on surfaces for many days.

Following these simple steps can help to keep your trip memorable in the best possible way. Happy holidays!

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