February 7, 2020

Why some influencers are fasting from water

In a surprising twist to absolutely no one, wellness influencers are now recommending you don't drink water. These wellness celebrities profess a healing power of satisfying your body’s need for hydration by eating your liquids instead of drinking them; i.e. by consuming fresh fruits and vegetables high in "living" water. And medical experts are definitely not on board. According to them, this new fad goes against not only common sense but also "the guidance of the World Health Organisation, Harvard Medical School and just about every health-related website on the internet."

Weekly coronavirus update: Gilead to the (maybe) rescue —

Gilead Sciences, the same company to release the first hepatitis C generic drug cure in 2019, will start clinical trials in China for their infectious disease drug, Remdesivir. Originally aimed at treating SARS and Ebola, the drug has shown preliminary indications of fighting coronavirus when administered to its first patient in the US. The drug trials will be conducted at ground zero - Wuhan, China - and entail a double-blinded and placebo-controlled study.

Removing "peanuts" from patients' allergy lists —

The FDA has approved the first drug for the official treatment of peanut allergies in children. This is a big deal, as more than one million children in the US suffer from peanut allergies, and only one in five outgrow them. The drug, Palforzia, will be used to mitigate allergic reactions and prevent anaphylaxis. Children must still avoid peanuts in their diet, but the consequences of unintentional consumption will be greatly lessened. Bite of the peanut brittle? Still not a great idea.

Nurses' memory gets better... with age? —

We knew we were masters of multitasking, rattling off checklists from memory, and, of course, remembering pertinent patient information at a glance; but, it turns out that we might also be more resilient when it comes to fighting distraction. Aside from what we're already doing everyday as nurses, how can we strengthen our memory? Mindful meditation, indulge in video games from time to time, drink a moderate amount of caffeine (or a large amount), eat fresh fruits and veggies (berries in particular), and aim for 30 minutes of "acute" exercise a few times a week. Now, recite that list back to me ;)

Nurses face heightened risk of suicide —

A recent publication by UCSD found that nurses have a higher risk of suicide than the general population (consistent cases of burnout a likely contributor). For better or worse, the data doesn't show that suicides are on the rise, but rather that the topic has gone unaddressed for years. These findings make clear that there's a great need for more support programs for nurses focused on pain management and mental health issues. We've heard about this for a while now, but what are we doing to combat it? UCSD has successfully launched a new suicide prevention program called Healer Education Assessment and Referral Program (HEAR), aimed at providing further education of risk factors and proactive screenings focused on "identifying, supporting and referring clinicians for untreated depression and/or suicide risk."

Dx: emotional stress —

We're all too familiar with the emphasis that's placed on physical health - it's likely what we spend 90% of our workday focused on. But what we're not talking enough about is the impact of emotional stress on health. The effects on the parasympathetic nervous system and organs can be disastrous. How are we acknowledging and managing not only our own emotions, but those of our patients, who are bound to be experiencing the stressors that accompany diagnoses, hospitalization, and financial implications of disease? How can you respond to stressors better? Try deep breathing, active relaxation, positive visualization (especially before shifts), a more balanced diet, and regular activity.

Could 4x6s ever be a thing? —

Finland's Prime Minister recently came forward with a motion for a six-hour, four-day workweek. This comes on the back of a two-year experiment run by Sweden, that saw six-hour workdays as the norm (reviews were mixed). Prime Minister Marin's position follows the belief that "people deserve to spend more time with their families, loved ones, hobbies and other aspects of life, such as culture. This could be the next step for us in working life.” Great idea, in theory. This got us thinking: would it ever be possible for us nurses to work a 24-hour week? Perhaps. But six-hour workdays are questionable when it comes to continuity of care; would patients suffer for our shorter shifts?

Clockin' Out ✌

And remember... don't hate, vaccinate.