Students’ Mental Health Must Figure in Plans to Restart Classes

By Amy Braun 
For NewsUSA
(NewsUSA) – As officials across the nation grapple with how best to open schools, one thing too often overlooked is students’ mental health. Awareness of the pressures on our children is the first step towards helping them heal and preparing them to learn.The coronavirus has left many kids feeling lonely and isolated. Research on the effect of the lockdowns published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry concluded that young people experiencing loneliness may not only be as much as three times more likely to sink into depression in the future, but their mental health could be impacted for at least nine years because of it.One answer? Since 2003, HealthCorps has worked in high-need schools, supplementing existing health and wellness programs with an emphasis on physical activity, nutrition, mental resilience and civic engagement. These are teens who, even in normal times, experience disparities in access to health services based on their socio-economic status, geographic region, race or ethnicity – with perhaps predictable results. Specifically, higher rates of chronic disease (including stress) and lower measures of both quality of life and life expectancy.And yet, through our unique curriculum – created by top heathcare professionals and constantly updated to match students’ needs – the students we work with have flourished in so many ways. They exercise more, eat better, and practice positive thought. And, yes, they engage with their communities.Since stress has always been an issue for many of these teens, one of the most requested lessons we were asked to bring to classrooms even before the pandemic hit was "Bust My Stress." And now? Add the coronavirus-induced feelings of isolation to that equation, and you begin to see how fragile our nation’s teens may be.As one of our Florida students so gut wrenchingly told us amid the lockdowns: "I still keep it in, but I still think negative like every night. I cry it out so I won’t have to feel that way again in the morning."Building mental resilience has become an increased focus of our work.Of course, parents have their own role to play in their teenagers’ healing process. "They can help by reassuring teens that, just because they’re nervous or scared, doesn’t mean they’re really in any danger," says Mark Goulston, M.D., a HealthCorps advisory board member and widely quoted expert on building a positive culture. "By reminding them that their bodies don’t really understand the fear, and by talking it out and discussing the fear, both the parent and child will feel better and closer."The HealthCorps program is delivered by highly trained recent college graduates who are future medical and health policy professionals. They interact with teens on a daily basis – though, these days, virtually – and have developed some simple steps that can help youths through these trying times. Among them:* Try meditating or deep-breathing methods, which increase your body’s natural ability to relax during high-stress moments.* Get moving.* Prioritize sleep.* Talk things out with someone you trust.* Do or watch something that makes you laugh.* Keep a non-judgmental journal to help process thoughts.* Practice gratitude and positive self-talk.One last thing. These tips and others, available on our new @teenhealthvibe Instagram channel, also apply to adults. Amy Braun is the CEO of HealthCorps, a national not for profit providing health and wellness resources to teens, parents and faculty at high-need schools. 

Don’t Let COVID-19 Impact Your Credit Score

(NewsUSA) – Since March, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned millions of Americans’ financial situations upside down.

The economy is showing signs of recovery, but with many Americans still unemployed and having to dip into their savings to cover basic living costs, the question remains: How do you protect your credit score? Read on for some answers.

• Contact your lender ASAP if you can’t make a payment. On-time payments are the largest factor affecting your credit score. Many lenders have agreed to emergency support such as deferral or forbearance options that may allow you to reduce or suspend payments for a fixed period. If those terms are set to expire soon, you should “call your lender to discuss what options are available,” said Rod Griffin, senior director of consumer education and advocacy for the credit reporting agency Experian.

Know Your Health As You Head Back to Campus

(NewsUSA) – As college students return to campus during these challenging times, COVID-19 will be their greatest health concern, but there are other important health issues they should not ignore. For example, many women heading off to college may be selecting a method of birth control for the very first time.The birth control pill is the number one contraceptive choice among millions of women of child-bearing age in the United States. While experts stress that the pill is safe and effective, they also caution that birth control with estrogen, including the pill, patch, or ring, can pose serious risks, including blood clots in the legs or arms, and potentially deadly blood clots in the lungs.Birth control pills with estrogen increase a woman’s risk for blood clots three-fold, and some newer birth control pills pose a risk two-times greater than older birth control pills. The use of birth control patches and rings containing estrogen poses a risk double that of birth control pills. These risks are significantly increased when women have other blood clot risks factors, such as a genetic clotting disorder like factor V Leiden, a previous blood clot, or a family history of blood clots.Now more than ever, it’s important to understand and monitor our health, and the National Blood Clot Alliance and the Alexandra Rowan Foundation are urging women heading off to college to understand their blood clot risks and take these steps to reduce their risk:* Complete a Risk Assessment, at www.womenandbloodclots.org, and discuss their results with their doctor* Speak with their doctor about their existing risk for blood clots, including any personal or family history of blood clots, and work with them to identify contraceptive options to reduce their riskIt’s also important to recognize the signs and symptoms of blood clots in the legs or arms, including:* Swelling* Pain or tenderness not caused by an injury* Skin that is warm to the touch, red, or discoloredLeft untreated, blood clots in the legs or arms can break apart and travel to a person’s lung and be deadly. Symptoms of a blood clot in your lung may include:* Difficulty breathing* Chest pain that worsens with a deep breath or cough, coughing up blood* Faster than normal or irregular heartbeatSeek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these signs or symptoms. Acting quickly may help save your life, or the life of a friend or family member.

New Remote Learning Resources Support School Year Uncertainty

(NewsUSA) – The Covid-19 pandemic has driven education for children of all ages from school to home, and often a hybrid of both. As remote learning stretches into the new school year in many areas, parents are worried, with parents of young children especially concerned about writing.More than half of parents of young children (54 percent) say that "writing is the area of greatest concern," in terms of remote learning, according to a survey conducted by Learning Without Tears (LWT), a company that has been providing writing and other educational materials to parents and teachers for more than 40 years.Parents faced with remote learning want to know how to develop and improve their children’s handwriting without the guidance of a teacher in a classroom setting."Whether you are employed outside the home, or a stay-at-home parent, remote learning is challenging. Some subjects, like handwriting, are particularly difficult without a teacher’s direct instruction, which creates a lot of angst at home," says Lana Dugdale, from Southborough, MA, mother of three young kids, including a rising first-grader.LWT is meeting the home-based learning challenges with improved and innovative updates to its classic and proven products."It’s clear now that too many students were left behind as the country moved to distance learning," says Terry Nealon, CEO of Learning Without Tears."During a child’s elementary years, any gap in learning can result in setbacks that impact that student for the rest of his/her life. Learning Without Tears has always focused on improving learning outcomes; we don’t have to accept those gaps."To enhance remote learning, families can choose from a range both digital and print resources: activity books geared towards various elementary school grades, including books on letters and numbers, printing, and cursive, as well as keyboarding programs. In addition, with sharing materials out and hand sanitizer in, individual manipulative packs for hands-on learning are the ideal solution for single student use in the classroom, or for parents opting for homeschooling in small groups or pods.Need more handwriting resources? There’s an app for that. Designed to help young children learn the correct way to form letters and numbers and to show parents how to support that learning, LWT has launched "Wet, Dry, Try," for use on an iPad. With over four hours of instruction and technology that identifies individual student needs, the app provides a multisensory approach, with customized audio instructions that give teachers a way to monitor student progress remotely, when they can’t be in school.Learning loss during school shutdown has parents, teachers, and kids worried, stressed, and looking for solutions, and LWT resources are improving this unsettled situation. So teachers can be as effective remotely as they are in the classroom, LWT’s +Live Insights – its platform that brings all of its solutions together for in-school, at-home, and hybrid teaching – facilitates crucial data-driven individualized student instruction, as well as "whole class" gallery approach that was typical of remote teaching in the spring.The only thing certain about back-to-school this year, is its uncertainty. Visit LWTears.com for more information about early education products and resources for families and teachers to weather the new world of remote learning and beyond.

“Keep Up The Rates” Campaign Encourages Vaccination Amidst COVID-19

By William Schaffner, MD
For NewsUSA(NewsUSA) – The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our health and well-being beyond the damage caused by the virus. In nearly every community, elective surgeries have been postponed, and routine care has been delayed. Amid closed healthcare offices and clinics, compounded by fear of contracting COVID-19, routine vaccinations have declined significantly across all age groups, with demand plummeting as much as 95 percent for some vaccines.A recent analysis found that vaccination rates in the US have dropped dramatically since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Vaccination rates for older adults dropped an alarming 83 percent compared to last year, and 19- to 49-year-olds saw declines of more than 60 percent. Another study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in Michigan, fewer than half of infants age 5 months and younger are up-to-date on recommended vaccinations. These stories are confirmed by my colleagues across the US who are deeply concerned about their patients not receiving recommended vaccines.As the country shifts to a "safer at home" approach, now is the time to catch up on postponed medical visits. The decline in vaccination rates represents a threat to public health, along with a strong opportunity to prevent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, influenza (flu), and pneumonia. Life-saving vaccines should no longer be delayed, and we must do everything we can to encourage both healthcare professionals and patients to take the necessary steps to ensure that we use available vaccines to protect all individuals in the US.The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases is leading a national Keep Up The Rates campaign with nearly 100 partners to encourage all individuals to receive recommended vaccines that may have been delayed during the pandemic. The multi-media campaign is engaging national experts and leading public health organizations to reach populations most at risk of delaying vaccinations or experiencing complications from vaccine-preventable diseases. A digital hub offers information and resources, including a shareable public service announcement video (in English and in Spanish) to encourage everyone to do their part to stay up-to-date on all recommended vaccines.Immunization protects entire communities. Individuals who are not able to get vaccinated due to underlying health conditions rely on community immunity to protect them. If communities are not up-to-date on recommended vaccines, then vulnerable populations are left at greater risk of exposure to serious infectious diseases. Staying current on recommended vaccinations helps us to stay healthy and also protects those around us who are at greatest risk of serious complications from vaccine-preventable diseases.On their own, outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases can lead to long-term complications and even death. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, outbreaks of other infectious diseases will also strain the capacity of US hospitals.Vaccines are one of the most important and effective public health tools available to prevent many diseases across the lifespan. For example, two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine provide 97 percent protection and flu vaccinations can reduce the risk of flu and related complications by up to 60 percent. Look no further than the urgency to develop a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine to see the tremendous role that vaccines can play in protecting public health and, ultimately, giving communities the confidence they need to return to normal activities such as school and work.While the growth of telemedicine has worked to bridge the gap for sick visits and some preventive care, vaccinations are a critical part of well-visits that must be administered in person. Fortunately, healthcare offices and pharmacies are finding new ways to provide safe environments for patients to receive vaccines. Healthcare professionals, who are well-trained in minimizing the risk of transmission of communicable diseases, wear personal protective equipment and enforce social distancing as the norm in these settings. Exam rooms and common areas are frequently sanitized to reduce the spread of viruses, while the waiting "room" in many settings has been transformed to a parking lot or specific area designated for patients receiving vaccines.We need help in spreading the campaign messages-join us in encouraging your family, friends, and patients of all ages to stay up-to-date on all recommended vaccines.Together, we can make our communities as healthy as possible and, one day, look forward to adding COVID-19 to the growing list of vaccine-preventable diseases. To learn more about the steps that you can take to help keep up the rates for all recommended vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic, listen to The Schaffner Report podcast. William Schaffner, MD is Medical Director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

New Guitar Show Goes Virtual, Crowd Goes Wild

(NewsUSA) – Guitar fans, mark your virtual calendars. Guitar.com, a media leader in all things guitar, has announced a three-day virtual guitar show to be held on October 2-4, 2020.The show, known as Guitar.com/Live, will feature master classes, keynote speakers, expert discussions, and product showcases, all presented in the Guitar.com Live Hub. The goal is to connect guitar fans with players, makers, brands, and products in one virtual space.The cancellation of live trade and consumer events in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has pushed all industries, including the guitar industry, to get creative in how to launch products, communicate with audiences, and drive sales. The Guitar.com Live show is designed to provide audiences with what they want online – a more meaningful interaction with their favorite instrument makers, artists and brands."Guitar lovers and players of all stripes are invited to join us as we come together for an epic virtual gathering of music lovers and artists, gear brands and gear heads," says Chris Vinnicombe, chief editor of Guitar Magazine."Audiences can expect to experience a series of incredibly immersive virtual spaces, as well as see the latest gear, hear breaking news firsthand, and get up close (virtually) to their heroes. It’s also perfectly timed for guitar players to figure out what they might want to get – and give – this holiday season," says Vinnicombe."You can expect a truly world-class experience, thanks to launching partners Taylor Guitars, PRS Guitars, Ernie Ball, Music Man and MONO, and the help of best-in-class animators, designers and photographers," he adds.The live hub includes three virtual spaces: The Main Stage, The Lounge, and The Showcase. The Main Stage will play host to artist performances, as well as master classes and video podcasts.In addition, The Lounge will be the place for music industry discussions, gear reviews, and interviews with musicians, guitar makers, and other experts. Finally, the Showcase will be a product-focused venue where top guitar bands will launch products and host Q&A discussions.The Guitar.com Live show launches with founding partners by Taylor Guitars, PRS Guitars, Ernie Ball, Music Man and MONO.Entry is free during the show, but enthusiasts who want to plan ahead can register for advance updates and exclusive access at guitar.com/live.But wait, there’s more: Early bird pre-registrations will be entered in a lottery for a one-year free subscription to Guitar Magazine.For more information, visit Guitar.com/Live.

Covid Pandemic Highlights Value of Transportation Techs

(NewsUSA) – The Covid-19 pandemic has driven education for children of all ages from school to home, and often a hybrid of both. As remote learning stretches into the new school year in many areas, parents are worried, with parents of young children especially concerned about writing.More than half of parents of young children (54 percent) say that "writing is the area of greatest concern," in terms of remote learning, according to a survey conducted by Learning Without Tears (LWT), a company that has been providing writing and other educational materials to parents and teachers for more than 40 years.Parents faced with remote learning want to know how to develop and improve their children’s handwriting without the guidance of a teacher in a classroom setting."Whether you are employed outside the home, or a stay-at-home parent, remote learning is challenging. Some subjects, like handwriting, are particularly difficult without a teacher’s direct instruction, which creates a lot of angst at home," says Lana Dugdale, from Southborough, MA, mother of three young kids, including a rising first-grader.LWT is meeting the home-based learning challenges with improved and innovative updates to its classic and proven products."It’s clear now that too many students were left behind as the country moved to distance learning," says Terry Nealon, CEO of Learning Without Tears."During a child’s elementary years, any gap in learning can result in setbacks that impact that student for the rest of his/her life. Learning Without Tears has always focused on improving learning outcomes; we don’t have to accept those gaps."To enhance remote learning, families can choose from a range both digital and print resources: activity books geared towards various elementary school grades, including books on letters and numbers, printing, and cursive, as well as keyboarding programs. In addition, with sharing materials out and hand sanitizer in, individual manipulative packs for hands-on learning are the ideal solution for single student use in the classroom, or for parents opting for homeschooling in small groups or pods.Need more handwriting resources? There’s an app for that. Designed to help young children learn the correct way to form letters and numbers and to show parents how to support that learning, LWT has launched "Wet, Dry, Try," for use on an iPad. With over four hours of instruction and technology that identifies individual student needs, the app provides a multisensory approach, with customized audio instructions that give teachers a way to monitor student progress remotely, when they can’t be in school.Learning loss during school shutdown has parents, teachers, and kids worried, stressed, and looking for solutions, and LWT resources are improving this unsettled situation. So teachers can be as effective remotely as they are in the classroom, LWT’s +Live Insights – its platform that brings all of its solutions together for in-school, at-home, and hybrid teaching – facilitates crucial data-driven individualized student instruction, as well as "whole class" gallery approach that was typical of remote teaching in the spring.The only thing certain about back-to-school this year, is its uncertainty. Visit LWTears.com for more information about early education products and resources for families and teachers to weather the new world of remote learning and beyond.

5 Tips to Help Older Adults Stay Apart, Not Alone During COVID-19

(NewsUSA) – Almost 42 million Americans identified as caregivers for an older adult prior to COVID-19. Overnight, it’s likely that millions more have joined their ranks.With COVID-19, there are added complications, notably physical separation. Some people are supporting older relatives who live far away while others may be close by, but are maintaining a safe distance. The goal is to maintain social closeness while also practicing physical distance."As the primary caregiver to my parents, I know well that the ways we support the older adults in our lives have changed," says Ray Spoljaric, CEO and Co-Founder of Aloe Care. "Caregivers are resilient, committed people and will go to any lengths to provide for those they care for. Now more than ever, communication and collaboration are key to providing the highest level of care."If you’re a new caregiver, or concerned about COVID-19 for someone you support, consider these five tips from nationally recognized expert Amy Goyer:* Establish a Care Circle – Identify the people who can help. It may be a combination of professionals, family members, and/or friends.Collect names, phone numbers, and email addresses of everyone in your Care Circle. This is also a good place to store elders’ information, particularly what you would need in case of an emergency (i.e., medications, pre-existing conditions, home access details).* Stay Connected – Next, establish regular check-ins.With new physical distancing guidelines, social connection is more important than ever. Prepare a schedule of remote check-ins by the Care Circle. Consider leveraging technology in a solution like Aloe Care, which facilitates easy check-ins and care collaboration.* Maintain Medical Care and Support – Telehealth is a rapidly advancing option for safe care. In fact, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently expanded coverage and loosened policies and regulations regarding telehealth.Many pharmacies have mail- order options and are expanding support for caregivers to manage medications.* Cover the Essentials – Assess the food, household, and personal supplies the elders have at home and what they need to keep in stock.Many grocery stores now offer contactless delivery or pick-up. A quick online search should reveal the best local option. Additionally, the Area Agency on Aging’s Eldercare Locator is a great resource, as is Meals on Wheels.* Well-Rounded Health – While it may take some creativity during COVID-19, everyone needs stimulation physically, cognitively, and emotionally to maintain their well-being (including you, dear caregiver). Find ways to keep your loved ones and yourself active with technology, puzzles, letter-writing, exercises and more.For more advice and resources about remote caregiving, please refer to the complete "Apart, Not Alone" guide by Amy Goyer

3 Tips for a Safe Roof Repair or Replacement

(NewsUSA) – Defending against the elements, a home’s roof helps protect against water infiltration that could threaten structural integrity and lead to mold or indoor air-quality issues. Timely roof repair or replacement is essential to protecting the home and its occupants. The following tips can help homeowners safely repair or replace a damaged roof:1. Look for "No-Contact" Service OfferingsThe global pandemic has heightened awareness of safety and social distancing, leading to many "no-contact" sales and service options. For example, a "No-Contact Service" badge indicates that members of the Owens Corning Roofing Contractor Network (OCCN) can work with the homeowner remotely.OCCN members offer digital tools to support shingle selection, generate estimates, secure financing and even sign a contract digitally. Drone inspections eliminate the need for a contractor to walk the roof.2. Consider material performancePerformance and safety are complementary. Technologies such as the Build Your Roof 3-D digital roof experience educate homeowners about the critical layers of the roof and key components of the Total Protection Roofing System*.To perform against wind and water infiltration, a shingle must be installed properly. Nailing zone performance is essential to shingles staying in place on the roof deck. Owens Corning architectural shingles have demonstrated higher nailing zone performance compared to competitors’ shingles, including outstanding resistance against high winds and protection against water infiltration.Compared to shingles with single-layer nailing zones, Owens Corning Oakridge Shingles feature a double layer of protection in the nailing zone to hold shingles in place. And Duration Series Shingles include patented SureNail Technology with Triple Layer Protection in the nailing zone, offering a new category of performance.Materials underneath matter too. Compared to felt paper, synthetic underlayment is tougher, resists tearing, repels water and delivers a higher level of weather-resistant protection. Learn more at switchtosynthetic.com.3. Style with Safety in MindA home’s roof is an opportunity to boost curb appeal. Owens Corning architectural shingles come in a variety of colors supported with digital design tools. The Design & Inspire resource features a range of shingle style boards. Homeowners can "try on" a roof using the Design EyeQ roof visualizer tool, upload a photo of their home, or select from shingle styles and colors to coordinate exterior décor.When it comes to home improvements and safety, the roof is a great place to start. And as the tips above illustrate, home improvements can be made safely and with minimal or no contact. *Excludes non-Owens Corning roofing products such as flashing, fastener, pipe boots and wood decking.Owens Corning 2020. All rights reserved. 

New Book Dissects Coronavirus: Maybe We’ve Got It All Wrong

(NewsUSA) – When it comes to the Coronavirus Pandemic, Paul Willette quotes from an inspirational Rudyard Kipling poem: "If you can keep your head, when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you. If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too."One might interpret those words as a plea to humanity to keep cool and ride the course of these unprecedented times – this too shall pass.Not Paul Willette. An MD for 26 years, he has now authored "GPS: Global Pandemic Solutions: Directions for a Healthier Immunity against Coronavirus, " which advances the "10th opinion" theory that we’ve got it all wrong."Shutting down businesses and economies worldwide, overvaluing the importance of vaccines and ventilators, and increased testing for the virus in healthy people are fundamentally wrong," claims Willette."In fact, there is little proof they accomplished anything. In some instances, they made things worse. For example, the highest SARS-CoV-2 positive testing rate came from the stay-at-home self-quarantining group.""Do we have a pandemic?" asks Willette. "You cannot test for a virus without distinguishing between colonization versus infection (disease). Pandemics are spread of disease between one person and another within a population. Increased viral testing is not a pandemic."Current testing, argues Willette, only identifies the presence or absence of the Coronavirus, but the premise that a positive test for Coronavirus represents infection is flawed. Willette believes a case of the Coronavirus should be "counted" only when the virus has multiplied in sufficient quantities to cause severe sickness. Furthermore, correlation of positive Coronavirus testing is not causation of Covid-19 death.Willette’s company, Global Health Science Solutions LLC, has been over 30 years in the making. The starting point is medical school, residency and fellowship training. But what makes it different, according to Willette, is the pursuit of solutions incorporating nutrition, biochemistry and cell biology. Visit baisavhealth.com.While much of Willette’s narrative is quashing commonly accepted beliefs about the Coronavirus, he also provides a list of solutions and recommendations for healthy living. Willette says a broader understanding of all living things provides insight into the Coronavirus and the importance of maintaining a healthy immune system. His book delivers great insights into this understanding, including solutions that answer questions such as: why do bats harbor deadly viruses, yet do not die from them? Willette argues the early intervention of steroids (such as Decadron) helps prevent damage to normal tissues, i.e. lung, as the initial general inflammatory response is blunted (similar to bats) until the adaptive immune system specifically targets just the virus."GPS: Global Pandemic Solutions: Directions for a Healthier Immunity Against the Coronavirus" is the beginning of a discussion not just about stamping out disease, but about redefining and improving health in order to move forward for a better future.To learn more and purchase, go to http://baisavhealth.comNOTE: BookBites is a continuing series bringing readers information and ideas for their next read. For more reading ideas, visit BookTrib.com and subscribe to our weekly newsletter.