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Editor’s Note: Information within this three-part article titled “All Things COVID-19” has been obtained in part by research done through the Centers for Disease Control’s website (www.cdc.gov). Should you be concerned that you have signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or any of its variants, please seek medical attention.

We are quickly approaching the two-year anniversary of the first known cases of COVID-19 in the United States and the beginning of this worldwide pandemic. We have learned so much over the past two years about COVID-19 and all its subsequent variants, but as conditions are constantly changing, we also must adapt to those changes regarding hygiene, masking, symptoms, vaccines, and so much more. In this three-part article and with the help of research conducted on the CDC’s website, we will talk about many different aspects of COVID-19 and its variants.

Symptoms – According to the CDC, people with COVD-19 (any variant) have experienced a wide-variety of symptoms – from mild cold and cough type symptoms to more severe life-threatening symptoms. These symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

While many of these symptoms are simply inconvenient, there are many symptoms that are more severe like trouble breathing, (cont’d.)

  • Or stay
  • Colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

It’s February… again. Yeah, we know that for some February is their least favorite month (Hello Groundhog Day?!) but this short month is the perfect opportunity to start a Winter Challenge!

 

This easy at-home winter challenge can be adapted any way that you see fit. Want a harder workout? Double the amount of reps/miles/etc. Need a more laid-back work out? Lessen the reps/miles/etc. Any way you look at it, you are still getting that much-needed mid-winter exercise.

Here’s the 28-day (thanks short month!) February Fitness Challenge breakdown and feel free to adjust accordingly!

Day 1: 25 squats

Day 2: 10 burpees

Day 3: 30-second plank

Day 4: 10 push ups

Day 5: 1-mile walk

Day 6: 25 walking lunges

Day 7: 30-second bridge

Day 8: 20 donkey kicks

Day 9: 50 high knees

Day 10: 2-mile walk

Day 11: 25 burpees

Day 12: 15 pushups

Day 13: 150 jumping jacks

Day 14: 45-second plank

Day 15: 50 jump squats

Day 16: 30 jump lunges

Day 17: 45-second bridge

Day 18: 30 donkey kicks

Day 19: 20 pushups

Day 20: 3-mile walk

Day 21: 60-second plank

Day 22: 20 single leg bridges

Day 23: 150 skiers

Day 24: 40 walking lunges

Day 25: 50 squats

Day 26: 20 burpees

Day 27: 60-second bridge

Day 28: 100 high knees 

We are well into the cold and flu season and unfortunately everyone knows someone that has been down and out with cold and flu symptoms this year. Or even worse, COVID.

Fortunately, there are some simple ways to help you stay healthy throughout the winter. Here are five simple ways to stay cold and flu-free:

  1. Load up on garlic. It contains allicin, which has antiviral properties.
  2. Sweat it out in the sauna. Sweating helps to release toxins in the body.
  3. Get the proper amount of sleep. Sleeping helps you to be feel more energized and helps your immune system fight off germs.
  4. Eat your chicken noodle soup. It contains anti-inflammatory deliciousness that strengthens disease-fighting cells.
  5. Have your yogurt. The probiotics help strengthen your immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells in your body.

Potato chips, French fries, movie theater popcorn… all these foods we know are packed with sodium. But what about those foods that contain “sneaky” amounts of sodium? High sodium diets can wreak havoc on your health so the more you know about what foods contain sodium the better off you will be when making your food choices.

Sliced deli meats and hotdogs – just one hot dog can contain 500 mg of sodium and just two slices of deli meat up to 250 mg.

Cereal – here’s a sneaky one with one cup of cornflakes containing 200 mg per serving.

Pancake mix – mixes contain 400 mg of sodium per serving!

Canned soups and vegetables – anything in a can is going to contain high amounts of sodium so make sure to be a label reader!

Ketchup and soy sauce – while they are delicious, these condiments pack a punch when it comes to sodium with ketchup containing 150 mg per tablespoon and soy sauce containing 1,000 mg per tablespoon.

Frozen foods – just a single slice of frozen pizza contains nearly 750 mg of sodium! A single serving of frozen meatloaf contains 900 mg.

Spaghetti sauce – just one cup of jarred spaghetti sauce can have a sodium content of 1,000 mg.

Flour tortillas – depending on the size of the tortilla you are looking at between 400 and 600 mg of sodium in each tortilla.

Some seafoods – while seafood can be great for a heart healthy diet, be sure to check your canned and frozen seafoods for those sodium amounts.

Since the beginning of the global pandemic, there is one product that has literally become “man’s best friend”… hand sanitizer.

Everyone knows that washing your hands with soap and water is the most effective way to fight germs and harmful bacteria on our hands, but if you can’t get to soap and water, hand sanitizer is a good stand in. But with so many out on the market nowadays, it is hard to decipher which hand sanitizer is best.

Experts suggest the following when choosing the best hand sanitizer that cleans and moisturizes:

Check the alcohol type and concentration. Experts say that you should always look for ethyl alcohol which is more effective than isopropyl alcohol killing microorganisms. Sanitizers with an alcohol concentration of 60 to 95 percent are more effective at killing germs than those with a lower concentration, but very high concentrations are more drying to your skin.

The CDC says that all you really need is 60 percent ethyl alcohol. Also, you want to label read and avoid potentially hidden methanol content in some sanitizers.

If you have sensitive skin, you might want to choose an alcohol-free sanitizer. Benzalkonium chloride is one option. It doesn’t kill as many infectious microorganisms as alcohol-based sanitizers, but it is known to deactivate COVID-19.

When choosing a sanitizer that also moisturizes, then you need to look for these ingredients - squalene, glycerin, and coconut oil - all of which help attract water and maintain moisture.

Lastly, when choosing the best sanitizer, especially if you have dry skin, you should avoid fragrances in your sanitizer. Fragrances can be irritants and can also exacerbate other skin conditions, like eczema.