Tis the Season of the Second Shot

How did yours go?

While my next shot isn't until next week, I'm enjoying this new sense of camaraderie people have over... vaccinations. It's like being in school again comparing how our arms feel. Did you get it? When are you getting it? Which one did you get? I have even seen people become fans of whichever company's shot they received! While that's a bit of a stretch for me, I say why not celebrate rapid science before our eyes?

We already discussed effects of the first shot and since mine is coming up I'd love to hear how your second one went. I was one of the rare people who had some annoyances both after and a week later! Neither were stay-on-site worthy. I just had redness, swelling, heat, burning and flu-like symptoms for a coule of days after, but then a week later I had "Covid rash" that was pretty similar to the first one but lasted about a week! I did get Moderna. These results have been rare (or just not reported much), but doctors say they are harmless and may even indicate that your body's really working hard to learn and fight the virus. So... woohoo? Go body? 

How did your second shot go? How are you doing? Hopefully we'll get herd immunity in no time. While I still mourn all of the people we've lost, I really look forward to making this country much safer. 

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Tinnitus Relief

What do you use?

As a teenager, my then-boyfriend and I saw a commercial for a tinnitus relief product and scoffed. Why would your ears ringing be such a big deal that you would need medicine to deal with it? Karma got me for that one. I've now had tinnitus for almost two years and I can confirm that it can drive you nearly insane. I've even read about people who take their own lives because of it. Mine is always there, and it gets louder when I'm stressed or anxious. It's like a piercing, constant noise--think of the sound an old TV made when it went out combined with a cicada and that's kind of what mine sounds like. I understand that it can vary by person.

Why is it so stressful? When you hear something constantly that is not really there, it is incredibly stressful. Think of the times you may have had this happen, but picture it happening constantly, never experiencing soundless quiet. I really miss the sound of quiet. So I've been using sound therapy to help with mine and my favorite relief method so far is through the sound of running water. There are playlists of this on Spotify and YouTube that help me so much. Some people say they don't help, and I'm so sorry if they don't work for you, but they are definitely worth a try.

What do you use to handle your tinnitus? Share your sources of relief in the chat.

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It's Black Maternal Health Week

How are you taking action?

Women of color are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women, but the problem goes even deeper than that. Doctors frequently ignore the pain and symptoms of Black women in particular, leaving them more vulnerable and unheard when it comes to their care. Doctors are starting to address these disparities but catching up is long overdue and needs to be implemented much more rapidly.

It's Black Maternal Health Week right now, a time for medical providers to not only receive training on better serving the Black community and provide resources for Black women, but to actually listen to Black women's stories about how they've been treated and work to prevent it from happening again.

What's going on where you live for Black Maternal Health Week? Are you taking action somehow? Share it in the chat.

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Options For Premed Students

What did you decide to go into?

As much as we will always need doctors, lots of premed students decide that it's not the career path for them somewhere along the way. They may decide that it's too demanding on their time, or they may find out that it's way too hands-on for their comfort level. All of this is okay! In fact, it's better to find out before starting a practice than later.

So what do you do with that degree? There are plenty of jobs that require a pre-med degree, from child life specialists to audiologists, anesthesiologists to clinical specialists. These are all rewarding jobs that may not offer as much in terms of salary, but some of them are often available with a tuition reimbursement or other means of paying off student debt.

Were you premed? What career path did you decide to take?

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Vaccine's Effectiveness Tested

A real-world study has shown high effectiveness

There's some reassurance available for those of us waiting with bated breath for a dose of a Covid vaccine: a real-world study has shown that it's highly effective. It's almost as good in real world tests as it was during trials, which is such good news. People need this reassurance if we're going to achieve herd immunity. Some studies show that we need about 70% of people vaccinated to achieve it.

Is anyone else just tired of giving up so much while seeing so many just run amok doing whatever they wish? Think of how many lives we could have saved, how much faster this could have been over, had people been willing to stay home for a few weeks and to wear masks. In my county, our mask order was just lifted. It didn't matter that cases are rising, or that we don't even have vaccines yet while counties hours away with fewer people and cases do; it expired and it was simply not renewed. This after it wasn't even implemented until Thanksgiving! It's exhausting and I can't wait to get my Fauchi ouchie.

How's your county doing with the vaccine? I hope it's going better than mine. Share your vaccination experiences in the chat.

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An Ounce of Prevention

Come on, America

Any healthcare worker knows the importance of overall wellbeing. People are often blamed for "waiting until the last minute" to see a doctor but when they have to choose between rent and that bill, what do they pick? People are shamed for unhealthy bodies when they live in food deserts, work multiple jobs and/or sit at a desk for most of the day, among other complex issues in modern society.

People have anxiety about mass shootings and public violence while politicians only send thoughts and prayers instead of legislating common sense gun control. They might also call for more mental health checks while simultaneously not bothering to advocate for mental health services for all, spreading stigma against mental health care and certainly not doing anything to help people have sick days, let alone mental health days from work.

It's all connected and something's gotta give. Countries with better track records have better, universal healthcare and harsher gun laws. We need to act locally and get both of these things for ourselves and our kids if we want our world to look even remotely healthier than it is now. How are you going about it in your state?

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Type 2 Diabetes Research Indicates Cures Could Be Possible

This would help so many people

There have been a lot of developments in terms of diabetes treatments lately, with researchers finding all kinds of promising new things regarding the disease. For example, some research on regeneration of cells has led a team of researchers in Australia to discover a possible pathway toward treating insulin resistance in the body.

Meanwhile, some French researchers are learning about the mind-gut connection in creating treatments without the side effects that cause permanent damage to many people. Other researchers are studying fasting, autophagy and possible once-a-month medications for treating the disease. 

Have you read about any other possible developments for treating diabetes? Share them in the chat. 

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Which Vaccine Did You Get?

And does it really matter?

As I keep getting notifications of vaccines "near me" that translate to a three-hour drive away for a first dose because my state's vaccinations are a mess, I look on as people show off their band-aid badges of honor, asking "which vax did you get?" I've read that when the shot is available for you, you take it, no matter which one it is.

Do you think this is a good rule of thumb? It sounds like the best way to get the most people vaccinated in the shortest amount of time. Each vaccine does seem to have its own unique benefits and drawbacks, but they all do sound like they have enough on their own to give us what we need in order to get past this pandemic.

Have you had the vaccine yet? Tell us how it went. I'd love to know what to expect.

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Vaccine Distribution Seems Different Everywhere

What's it like where you are from?

If there's ever been an illustration of just what it means to have "states' rights," it is this pandemic. Have you ever seen so many variations in everything from mandates to effects, how serious or how cavalier people are regarding the virus or, lately, how vaccines are being distributed? Some states, like mine, aren't even considering teachers first responders while simultaneously expecting them to go back to work before getting a vaccine!

This is... a mess. There are shortages. There is confusion about where, when and how to get them. Many of us believed that the Biden-Harris administration would be able to streamline things more smoothly but as long as governors like mine remain in charge, you have counties in the red zone without any vaccines, people in top tiers going without while people in lower tiers sneak in and much more chaos ensuing.

How are vaccines rolling out where you live? Did you get one yet, and if so, how was your experience? 

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Sperm Counts are on the Decline

Humans may become extinct as a result

While this article is old, the data remains the same: human sperm counts are on the decline, and it's a significant one. Sperm counts have fallen by 50% or higher in some parts of the world, especially in more developed nations like the United States. 

Causes for the decline vary and scientists have several guesses ranging from poor diet and exercise to plastics in the environment. Whatever the cause, the counts aren't getting any better, which could fare well for the environment but not so for human beings.

What do you think is contributing to the decline of sperm counts among humans? Do you think we could become extinct if the numbers continue to dwindle? Or do you think we'd resort to cloning if that became the reality for us?

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