How to keep healthy and well over Memorial Day, according to a doctor

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Memorial Day is here and summer will be here soon. The threat of certain diseases, such as Covid-19, is receding, although there are new variants of the coronavirus to monitor, and a second human case of avian flu has just been detected in the United States.

As Memorial Day gatherings begin across the United States, how concerned should people be about the coronavirus and bird flu? Knowing that there are outbreaks of bird flu in poultry and cows, is it safe to continue drinking milk and eating eggs? Are there any special precautions to take when preparing burgers? What are other major health concerns to consider during the holidays and as summer approaches, such as staying cool to avoid heat stroke?

To help us answer these questions, I spoke with CNN wellness expert Dr. Leana Wen. Wen is an emergency room physician and associate clinical professor at George Washington University, and she previously served as Baltimore’s health commissioner.

CNN: Given the spread of bird flu and new coronavirus variants, is there anything we should do?

Dr. Leana Wen: Although there are new variants of the coronavirus, the level of coronavirus activity in the United States is quite low. People should assess their risk of serious illness if they contract Covid-19. People at high risk, such as the elderly or those with chronic illnesses, should ensure they are up to date on their vaccinations and have a plan to access antiviral treatment. They should test for symptoms, as should other people they are in close contact with.

Those who want to further reduce their risk of contracting the coronavirus and other respiratory viruses should try to attend gatherings outdoors rather than indoors when possible. When traveling through crowded airports and train stations, they might consider wearing well-fitted N95 masks or equivalent.

Regarding avian flu, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to report that the risk to Americans is low at this time. Indeed, there have only been two human cases this year, and both involved farmworkers directly exposed to infected cattle. Both individuals had mild symptoms and there have been no cases of human-to-human transmission during this outbreak.

People who work in the poultry and dairy industry and come into regular contact with wild birds, backyard flocks, and cows should heed CDC guidelines and wear personal protective equipment when working with them. animals. Health care providers should be on the lookout for agricultural workers with possible flu-like symptoms. Other people don’t need to change their behaviors at this time, and they certainly shouldn’t worry about avian flu infection during Memorial Day or early summer gatherings.

CNN: Does this mean it’s still safe to continue drinking milk and eating eggs and meat?

Magnifying glass: Yes. The United States Food and Drug Administration has issued guidelines that pasteurized milk is safe to drink. Viral fragments have been found in the commercial milk supply; however, these were not live viruses that could cause infections. Pasteurization kills viruses, including the flu virus.

Similarly, testing by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found no live virus in hamburgers cooked at 145 degrees Fahrenheit. The agency says cooked eggs and poultry are also safe to eat.

Of course, this doesn’t mean people should eat raw or undercooked meat. These meats harbor a variety of pathogens, including bacteria like E. coli and salmonella. Additionally, raw milk is not drinkable. This too can harbor bacteria. Additionally, one hypothesis for how bird flu is transmitted is through raw milk. People should not consume unpasteurized milk or raw milk products.

CNN: How does this translate into rallies? Is it okay to eat hamburgers and hot dogs, as well as enjoy barbecues and buffets?

Magnifying glass:
Yes! Be sure to follow general precautions regarding foodborne illness prevention. Cook meat to recommended internal temperatures. Be aware of containers or utensils that come into contact with raw meat and separate clean utensils from dirty utensils. Refrigerate meat until ready to cook. If you use a cooler, make sure you have an insulated one with plenty of ice. And wash your hands often and well.

CNN: We talked a lot about infections. What are other major health concerns to consider during the holidays and as summer approaches, such as staying cool to avoid heat stroke?

Magnifying glass: When it’s hot outside, you need to be careful about the health effects of high temperatures. Heatstroke occurs when a person has a body temperature above 103 degrees Fahrenheit and can no longer cool themselves effectively. This is a medical emergency that can quickly become fatal.

People should be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion, which can progress to heat stroke. They need to watch out for those most vulnerable to heat-related illness. This includes children, the elderly, and others with health conditions that reduce their ability to regulate their body temperature.

When high temperatures are forecast, everyone, especially the most vulnerable, should try to stay indoors in air-conditioned spaces or in the shade if outdoors. They should stay hydrated and move to a cool place immediately if they develop symptoms such as headache, dizziness, muscle pain and fatigue.

CNN: And we can’t forget about skin protection, right?

Magnifying glass: Absolutely. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. One of the main risk factors is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. Everyone should take steps to reduce their UV exposure. These include staying in the shade, wearing a hat, and using broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.

Speaking of prevention, summer is often a time of year when people have more free time. I advise everyone to take this chance and follow up with their doctor for all their health problems. Now is the time to make sure they are up-to-date on cancer screenings and have chronic medical problems, like high blood pressure and diabetes, well under control.

News Source :
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