The more physically active a person is before getting COVID-19, the lower the rates of hospitalization, deterioration events, and death from COVID-19 infection. In other words, physical activity is protective.
The results of a Kaiser Permanente member analysis of 194,191 adults with COVID-19 infection found a strong dose-response relationship - with higher physical activity levels before COVID-19 associated with less severe outcomes.
What levels of exercise were reported by patients? In the 2 years before a COVID-19 infection, physical activity/exercise levels reported by patients were categorized as: always inactive (10 minutes per week or less), mostly inactive (0 to 60 minutes per week), some activity (60 to 150 minutes per week), consistently active (greater than 150 minutes per week), and always active (always greater than 150 minutes per week).
No matter the sex, race, ethnicity, age, BMI categories, whether one had cardiovascular disease or hypertension - the results were generally consistent for everyone. Bottom line: Aim for 150 minutes of physical activity or more every week. [similar results earlier study]
From Medical Xpress: More exercise linked to less-severe COVID-19 outcomes
Kaiser Permanente members who were more physically active prior to being diagnosed with COVID-19 had a lower risk of severe outcomes, according to research published Dec. 15, 2022, in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. ...continue reading "Higher Physical Activity Levels Associated With Less Severe COVID-19"
Well, this is interesting.... Saline nasal rinses (which are popular among persons with sinus issues) apparently is very helpful if one gets COVID-19. A recent study found that starting daily saline rinses two times per day after COVID-19 symptoms start, significantly lowers the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
To make your own saline nasal rinse: mix 1/2 teaspoon each of baking soda and salt in a cup of bottled or boiled (and then cooled) water. Put it into a saline rinse bottle or nasal bulb syringe and use.
In the study, among persons who did nasal saline rinses - less than 1.3% of the 79 study subjects age 55 and older who enrolled within 24-hours of testing positive for COVID-19 experienced hospitalization. No one died. Symptoms also resolved faster.
Among persons who didn't do nasal saline rinses: 9.47% of patients were hospitalized and 1.5% died in a similar group during the same time frame (Sept. 24 and Dec. 21, 2020).
By the way, all persons in the study were 55 or older, and had preexisting medical conditions such as obesity. Also, adding iodine to the nasal rinses did not make a difference. Plain saline rinses were sufficient.
From Medical Xpress: Twice-daily nasal irrigation reduces COVID-related illness, death
Starting twice daily flushing of the mucus-lined nasal cavity with a mild saline solution soon after testing positive for COVID-19 can significantly reduce hospitalization and death, investigators report. ...continue reading "Saline Nasal Rinses Reduce COVID Hospitalizations And Death"
More studies are finding that supplementing with vitamin D is not living up to its original promise - that is, as a supplement that can prevent or treat all sorts of health conditions. Two recent large studies found that daily vitamin D supplementation in persons with or without a vitamin D deficiency didn't reduce the risk of getting COVID-19.
Both studies found that no matter the vitamin D dose - low (800 IU/day), high (3200 IU/day), or even taken as a cod liver oil supplement - didn't prevent COVID infection, serious COVID, or any other respiratory infection. Very disappointing findings!
The researchers stress that both study results underscore that the COVID vaccines are the best way to protect a person from COVID-19 or a serious COVID illness. They advise that only persons with a vitamin D deficiency need vitamin D supplements. [Note: The best form of vitamin D is D3, which was given to the study participants.]
However, it must be pointed out that some other studies have found that vitamin D does lower how many respiratory infections a person gets each year (while other studies find no effect). So we'll see... more studies are ongoing.
From Medscape: Vitamin D Supplementation Shows No COVID-19 Prevention
Two large studies out of the UK and Norway show vitamin D supplementation has no benefit — as low dose, high dose, or in the form of cod liver oil supplementation — in preventing COVID-19 or acute respiratory tract infections, regardless of whether individuals are deficient or not. ...continue reading "Two Studies Find Vitamin D Doesn’t Prevent COVID"
There has been much concern with the persistence and lack of good treatments for persons with long COVID. This is when symptoms persist long-term (for months or years!) after the initial COVID-19 infection, even if the infection seemed pretty mild at the time. The symptoms can be quite severe, even with multiorgan effects, and result in disability.
This is why the possibility of those with long COVID getting the COVID vaccine and showing quick improvement in their symptoms is great news. However, there is debate over how many people with long COVID are actually helped - a review of studies looking at this suggest under 20%. However, the good news is that most people with long COVID slowly improve over time, even without any post COVID vaccines.
Please note: Vaccines reduce the chance of developing long COVID by about half among people who are vaccinated before they develop covid-19.
Excerpts from Medical Xpress: Vaccines may lessen long COVID for some, but more study is needed
Vaccination after infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, is associated with a decrease in the likelihood of long COVID symptoms, finds a large study of U.K. adults published today by the BMJ . ...continue reading "Vaccines May Help With Long COVID"
Any moment now there will be officially 1 million deaths from COVID-19 in the United States. A horrible, horrible number. And while the majority of COVID-19 deaths has been in the elderly, nearly 250,000 has been in persons younger than 65, and around 61,000 of these deaths were in people under the age of 50.
COVID-19 was the leading cause of death among US adults between the ages of 45 to 54 years - 30,361 deaths in 2021! (The data still isn't in for the last 2 months) More than cancer, heart disease, accidents, etc. Yikes!
There were half a million deaths before the vaccines, and since vaccines - another half a million deaths, primarily in those who were unvaccinated. Actually, it is generally accepted that the number of actual COVID-19 deaths is higher than a million - these are just the known deaths.
Bottom line: Get vaccinated and boosted!
Excerpts from Dr. Jeremy Faust's article at Inside Bulletin, authored by Dr. Jeremy Faust: The million US Covid dead are younger than you think.
One million people have now died of Covid-19 in the United States. As awful as this milestone is on its own terms, it is more painful because so many deaths were preventable. And more of these deaths occurred in younger people than is commonly realized. ...continue reading "One Million Deaths And Counting"
Sperm quality and sperm count is diminished for months after an unvaccinated man is infected with COVID-19. Yikes!
A study conducted by a team of Belgian researchers analyzed samples of sperm from 120 unvaccinated men (average age 35 years) in the first two months after they had recovered from COVID-19 infection. They found that in the first month after infection 37% of the men had reduced sperm counts and 60% had reduced sperm motility (how sperm moves). Over time there was improvement, but even after 2 months sperm count was lower in 6% and reduced sperm motility in 28%.
The only good news was that there was no evidence of the virus in the semen - which means that the semen isn't infectious after recovery. By the way, severity of the infection (with symptoms, including fever) did not correlate with the effects on sperm.
The researchers felt that by 3 months the sperm should be back to normal, but they are also doing a follow-up study to confirm this.
Bottom line: The first 2 months after COVID-19 infection is not the time to try to conceive a baby (due to suboptimal sperm). The study results are also a good argument for getting vaccinated!
From Medscape: Sperm Count, Motility May Be Low for Months After COVID-19
Sperm quality is impaired for months in some men after recovery from COVID-19, researchers have found. ...continue reading "COVID-19 Has An Effect On Sperm Quality"
Some good news for women who had a Covid-19 infection during pregnancy - one small study found reassuring results about the growth and development of the babies. The Northwestern University researchers found that at the 6 month checkup the babies overall had normal growth patterns and developmental milestones. This is great, great news!
Yes, it was a small study (33 low-income women and their babies). Three infants (10%) did receive development-related referrals (one had an underlying genetic diagnosis) - but the "referrals not higher" than what the physicians said they normally see. More good news: none of the babies tested positive for COVID-19.
From Science Daily: Normal 6-month outcomes in babies of women with COVID-19 during pregnancy
Babies born to women who had COVID-19 during pregnancy showed reassuring patterns of growth and development at 6-month follow-up, according to a study from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern Medicine in partnership with Erie Family Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that serves a diverse and low-income patient population. ...continue reading "COVID-19 During Pregnancy and Some Reassuring News About the Baby"
When COVID-19 vaccines first became available to the general public in 2021, women were concerned over whether it was safe to get vaccinated during pregnancy. The answer (from medical studies) is yes, the vaccines are safe and beneficial for both the mother and baby. This is great news!
Also, a recent study found that when women get a mRNA vaccine (either Pfizer or Moderna) during pregnancy, they pass high levels of antibodies to their babies. This means 100% of the babies had protective antibodies to COVID-19 when they were born. The New York University researchers found the highest level of antibodies in the infants when the mothers received the vaccine in the second half of pregnancy.
Current CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines recommend that pregnant and breastfeeding women get the COVID-19 vaccine. This is because getting COVID-19 during pregnancy can result in more severe disease, higher risk of preterm birth and pregnancy outcomes.
BOTTOM LINE: Getting the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy protects both the mother and baby. (By the way, studies also find that nursing transfers antibodies to the baby in the breast milk, but it is still unclear if the levels are high enough to fully protect the baby from COVID-19).
From Science Daily: Pregnant women who receive COVID-19 vaccination pass protection from the virus to their newborns
Women who receive the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy pass high levels of antibodies to their babies, a new study finds. ...continue reading "The COVID-19 Vaccine During Pregnancy Protects Both Mother and Baby"
Many people somehow think that COVID-19 is just another flu virus and not that bad. Wrong! The deadly flu epidemic of 1918 killed an estimated 675,000 persons in the United States. But COVID-19 has already killed more than 690,000 persons - and these are the confirmed cases! It is now officially the deadliest disease event or pandemic in American history.
Currently more than 1900 persons are still dying daily in the United States - so the numbers are increasing rapidly.
It is thought that actual numbers of deaths are at least 10% higher (e.g., a person dies at home from the virus, but had never taken COVID-19 test when alive). Johns Hopkins University updates case and death numbers daily (see COVID-19 Dashboard), for both the US and the rest of the world.
Very soon the official number of deaths from COVID-19 will surpass 700,000! In just two short years! Some comparisons of events causing large numbers of deaths are: the death toll for Americans in the War Between the States (Civil War) was about 650,000, and about 405,000 for World War II. The HIV/AIDS virus has killed at least 700,000 people since the beginning of the epidemic in the 1960s - but this is over the course of 60 years.
Excerpts from Stat News: Covid-19 overtakes 1918 Spanish flu as deadliest disease in American history
The Covid-19 pandemic has become the deadliest disease event in American history, with a death toll surpassing that of the 1918 Spanish flu. ...continue reading "COVID-19 Is Now the Deadliest Pandemic in American History"
Something protective that we all can do! A large study of patients found that getting an annual flu shot appears to provide some protection from severe COVID-19 effects.
The study suggested that the annual flu vaccine reduces the risks of stroke, sepsis, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in persons with COVID-19. These patients are also less likely to visit the emergency department and to be admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) in persons with COVID-19.
The Univ. of Miami researchers looked at medical records of 74,754 persons throughout the world with COVID-19. Patients either received a flu shot within the 6 months to 2 weeks before receiving a COVID-19 diagnosis, or no flu shot.
Why is this occurring? The researchers propose a number of reasons for the protective effect, including that perhaps the flu vaccine stimulates the activation of natural killer cells (these cells are decreased in moderate and severe COVID-19 cases).
From Science Daily: Flu shot protects against severe effects of COVID-19, study finds
In a newly published study, physician-scientists at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have shown that the flu vaccine may provide vital protection against COVID-19. ...continue reading "Annual Flu Vaccine Reduces Risk of Severe COVID-19 Effects"