IBS and the Coronavirus (COVID-19) – What You Need To Know
If you have IBS and are concerned about the potentially unique impact on your already beleagured digestive system of contracting the coronavirus or spreading it to others, we wanted to provide you with some guidance on how to help mitigate that.
Preparation Is Key
We want to encourage you to take some time to prepare yourself, your family and your home as we collectively make significant changes to our daily lives in an effort to curb or curtail the impact of this virus on our community and loved ones.
The majority of people who get infected will have mild symptoms – but the goal is to help avoid spreading the virus to our friends, family and community members who are at greater risk.
From The Atlantic “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines for “community mitigation strategies” to limit the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, which include recommendations for “social distancing”—a term that epidemiologists are using to refer to a conscious effort to reduce close contact between people and hopefully stymie community transmission of the virus.” Read More Here
In this article we seek to provide you with the basics and links to vetted sources of information. We then focus on IBS, staying on track with your low FODMAP diet and how to keep yourself and your family from overly stressing out due to the disruption.
We understand that this disruption will be more difficult for some – and we want to assure you we are here to help you with reliable information and inspiring recipes to help keep you and your family thriving!
We are not providing medical advice. This can and must only come from your physician, Registered Dietitian or other accredited medical professional. Each of you has a body and health profile that is unique – so this information is provided as a resource for you, your family and your medical support team to refer to.
Let’s dive in!
All of the answers to the below questions and more can be found on the Center For Disease Control (CDC) FAQ website. So instead of repeating what is best explained there we provide you this link. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html
- What is the Coronavirus?
- How Does It Spread
- Symptoms (General, and IBS related)
- Who Is Most At Risk
- When to Seek Help and Who To Go To
- How can I access COVID-19 testing?
- And more…
Crohn’s & Ulcerative Colitis: Know the Difference?
There are two: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. They have a lot in common, including long-term inflammation in your digestive system. But they also have some key differences that affect treatment.
By the way, if you hear some people just say “colitis,” that’s not the same thing. It means inflammation of the colon. With “ulcerative colitis,” you have sores (ulcers) in the lining of your colon, as well as inflammation there.
The symptoms of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (UC) can be similar. They include:
- Belly cramps and pain
- An urgent need to have a bowel movement
- Feeling like your bowel movement wasn’t complete
- Rectal bleeding
- Smaller appetite
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Problems with your period. You might skip them, or their timing might be harder to predict.
You might not have all of those symptoms all the time. Both conditions can come and go, switching between flares (when symptoms are worse) and remission (when symptoms ease up or stop).
Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis are most often diagnosed in teenagers and young adults — although they can happen at any age — and tend to run in families.
What Sets Them Apart
There are three key differences:
Ulcerative colitis affects only the large intestine.
But in Crohn’s disease, inflammation can appear anywhere in the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus.
2. Continuous inflammation.
People with Crohn’s disease often have healthy areas in between inflamed spots. But with ulcerative colitis, there are no healthy areas in between inflamed spots.
3. Which layers are affected.
Because Crohn’s disease affects more of the GI tract, it can cause some problems that doctors don’t usually see in people who have ulcerative colitis. For instance:
- Mouth sores between the gums and lower lip, or along the sides or bottom of the tongue.
- Anal tears (fissures), ulcers, infections, or narrowing.
Getting the Right Diagnosis
Since the differences between the two conditions mostly revolve around wherein the digestive system inflammation happens, the best way for a doctor to give you the right diagnosis is to take a look inside.
You might get tests such as:
X-rays can show places where your intestine is blocked or unusually narrow.
Contrast X-rays, for which you’ll swallow a thick, chalky, barium liquid so doctors can see how it moves through your system.
CT scans and MRIs to rule out other conditions that might cause symptoms similar to inflammatory bowel disease.
Endoscopy, in which a doctor uses a tiny camera on a thin tube to see inside your digestive system. Specific types of endoscopy can:
- Examine the lower part of your large intestines. Your doctor will call this test “sigmoidoscopy.”
- Look at your entire large intestine. This is a colonoscopy.
- Check the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. This is an EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy).
- Additional testing to look at your small intestine using a pill-sized camera. This is often called pill, or capsule, endoscopy.
- See the bile ducts in the liver and the pancreatic duct. This test is called ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography).
Scientists are working to make several blood tests better at helping to diagnose ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s. They check on levels of certain antibodies found in the blood. Two of these are:
- “pANCA” (perinuclear anti-neutrophil antibodies)
- “ASCA” (anti-Saccharomyces Cerevisiae antibody)
Most often, people with ulcerative colitis have the pANCA antibody in their blood, and those with Crohn’s disease have ASCA in theirs. But for now, the tests have uncertain accuracy and should only be used in addition to the above testing.
Sometimes, even after all these tests, doctors might not be able to tell which of the two conditions you have. That’s true for 1 in 10 people with IBD. They show signs of both diseases. So they get a diagnosis of “indeterminate colitis,” because it’s not clear which ailment it is.
Finding Your Treatment
Because of the similarities between the conditions, many treatments of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease overlap. These things help for both:
Lifestyle changes. Those include diet tweaks, regular exercise, quitting smoking, and avoiding pain meds called “NSAIDs” (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen.
Stress management is also key. Stress doesn’t cause IBD, but it can lead to flare-ups. So try to cut down on the things that make you tense, and find ways to relax. Exercise is a great way to do that. So are other healthy things you might enjoy and find meaningful, such as hobbies, meditation, prayer, volunteering, and positive relationships.
Medicines can get the inflammation under control:
“5-ASAs” work on the lining of your GI tract to lower inflammation. They work best in the colon. You might take them to treat an ulcerative colitis flare, or as maintenance, treatment to prevent relapses of the disease.
Steroids curb the immune system to treat ulcerative colitis. Due to side effects, you probably wouldn’t stay on them for a long time.
For severe disease, you may need drugs that work on the immune system. These include:
- 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP, Purinethol, Purixan)
- adalimumab (Humira)
- adalimumab-abdn (CyltezoTM)- a biosimilar to Humira
- adalimumab-atto (Amjevita) – a biosimilar to Humira
- azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran)
- certolizumab pegol (Cimzia)
- golimumab (Simponi, Simponi Aria)
- infliximab (Remicade)
- infliximab-abda (Renflexis) – a biosimilar to Remicade
- infliximab-dyyb (Inflectra) – a biosimilar to Remicade
- infliximab-axxq (Avsola) – a biosimilar to Remicade
- infliximab-qbtx (IXIFI) – a biosimilar to Remicade
- methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall)
- natalizumab (Tysabri)
- tofacitinib (Xeljanz)
- ustekinumab (Stelara)
- vedolizumab (Entyvio)
With the treatments for mild symptoms, almost all — 90% — of ulcerative colitis cases go into remission. If your UC is “refractory,” you may need continuous treatment with steroids.
With Crohn’s disease, complete remission is less common.
Some people eventually need surgery. That includes up to 45% of people with ulcerative colitis and three-quarters of people with Crohn’s.
You and your doctor might talk about an operation if you have severe symptoms that aren’t helped by medications, if you get a blockage in your digestive tract, or if you get a tear or hole in the side of the intestine.
Keep Up With Your Checkups
If you have either condition, you’ll need to keep up with your checkups, even if your symptoms start to ease up.
You may also need to get colonoscopies more often and start them at a younger age. A colonoscopy can check for cancer or polyps that need to come out. Experts recommend that you start these tests within 8 to 10 years of developing UC or Crohn’s symptoms, and then typically every 1 to 3 years after that. Your doctor will tell you a schedule that is best for you.
Hand Sanitiser Handrub Formulation -100ml
It’s getting closer to the end of lockdown and where are all planning a good holiday to the sun we are dew a getaway from the long year we had with so much covid-19 all around us .
But covid-19 will be around a long time and we still need to wash or hand and sanitize correctly.
Traveling abroad and going through the airport with the restriction on the fluids we carry.
And can be very expensive if you get stopped and lose your liquid , worrying about how you smell is a thing of the past.
How you wash or sanitize your hands is now the most important thing to know whenever you travel. Having a 100ml bottle is a must and can fit into your pocket comfortably and is the correct amount that airport guidelines allow you to carry on board so stay safe wash and sanitizer and have a great holiday.
SUPPORTING EXAM STRESS and Kids going back to School.
Tests and exams can be a challenging part of school life for children and young people and their parents or carers. But there are ways to ease the stress.
Watch for signs of stress
Children and young people who are stressed may:
- worry a lot
- feel tense
- have headaches and stomach pains
- not sleep well
- be irritable
- lose interest in food or eat more than normal
- not enjoy activities they previously enjoyed
- be negative and have a low mood
- feel hopeless about the future
Having someone to talk to about their work can help. Support from a parent, tutor or study buddy can help young people share their worries and keep things in perspective.
Encourage your child to talk to a member of school staff who they feel is supportive. If you think your child is not coping, it may also be helpful for you to talk to their teachers.
Try to involve your child as much as possible.
Make sure your child eats well
A balanced diet is vital for your child’s health, and can help them feel well during exam periods.
Some parents find high-fat, high-sugar and high-caffeine foods and drinks, such as energy drinks, cola, sweets, chocolate, burgers and chips, make their children hyperactive, irritable and moody.
Where possible, involve your child in shopping for food and encourage them to choose some healthy snacks.
Read more about healthy eating for teens.
Help your child get enough sleep
Good sleep improves thinking and concentration. Most teenagers need 8 to 10 hours’ sleep a night. Learn more about how much sleep children need.
Allow half an hour or so for your child to wind down between studying, watching TV or using a computer and going to bed, to help them get a good night’s sleep.
Cramming all night before an exam is usually a bad idea. Sleep will benefit your child far more than a few hours of panicky last-minute study.
Be flexible during exams
Be flexible around exam time. When your child is revising all day, do not worry about household jobs left undone or untidy bedrooms.
Staying calm yourself can help. Remember, exams do not last forever.
The Family Lives website has more about coping with exam stress.
Help them study
Make sure your child has somewhere comfortable to study. Ask them how you can support them with their revision.
Help them come up with practical ideas that will help them revise, such as drawing up a revision schedule or getting hold of past papers for practice.
To motivate your child, encourage them to think about their goals in life and see how their revision and exams are related to them.
Talk about exam nerves
Remind your child that it’s normal to feel anxious. Nervousness is a natural reaction to exams. The key is to put these nerves to positive use.
If anxiety is getting in the way rather than helping, encourage your child to practise the activities they’ll be doing on the day of the exam. This will help it feel less scary.
For example, this may involve doing practice papers under exam conditions or seeing the exam hall beforehand. School staff should be able to help with this.
Help your child face their fears and see these activities through, rather than avoiding them.
Encourage them to think about what they know and the time they’ve already put into studying to help them feel more confident.
Encourage exercise during exams
Exercise can help boost energy levels, clear the mind and relieve stress. It does not matter what it is – walking, cycling, swimming, football and dancing are all effective.
Activities that involve other people can be particularly helpful.
Support group Childline says many children who contact them feel that most pressure at exam time comes from their family.
Listen to your child, give them support and avoid criticism.
Before they go in for a test or exam, be reassuring and positive. Let them know that failing is not the end of the world. If things do not go well they may be able to take the exam again.
After each exam, encourage your child to talk it through with you. Discuss the parts that went well rather than focusing on the questions they found difficult. Then move on and focus on the next test, rather than dwelling on things that cannot be changed.
Make time for treats
With your child, think about rewards for doing revision and getting through each exam.
Rewards do not need to be big or expensive. They can include simple things like making their favourite meal or watching TV.
When the exams are over, help your child celebrate by organising an end-of-exams treat.
When to get help
Some young people feel much better when exams are over, but that’s not the case for all young people.
Get help if your child’s anxiety or low mood is severe, persists and interferes with their everyday life. Seeing a GP is a good place to start.
Some basic rules coming up to exam time
A quiet place to study – A suitable environment to study is important to help concentration levels.
A balanced diet – Good nutrition is essential at any time of year, but especially during exam time. Batch cook some healthy meals and stock up on nutritious snacks. Having some of the student’s favourite dinner to hand is important too.
Omega 3 is essential to fuel the hard-working brain at this time. Keep brain and vision in tip top shape by making sure to top up your good fats daily. Consider taking Cleanmarine® Krill Oil High Strength. It contains 590mg of concentrated, high strength Omega 3 Krill Oil. This concentrated formula of EPA, DHA, Astaxanthin and Choline provides the essential fatty acids required for the normal function of the heart, brain and vision. DHA contributes to the maintenance of normal brain function and vision, the beneﬁcial eﬀect is obtained with a daily intake of 250mg. Also eating 2 – 3 portions of oily fish a week will provides more essential fats for your body. Examples include salmon, mackerel and herring. Easy to cook in steam parcels in the oven with garlic, lemon and oil.
A good night’s sleep – Studying all night may seem like a good idea but if your child doesn’t get enough sleep, they are more likely to forget the information or under perform. When your mind is buzzing with exam questions, quotes and scientiﬁc theories, having something to help you switch oﬀ, relax and support deep sleep is a must. Try melissa-dreams which contains all-natural ingredients including the herbs lemon balm (Melissa oﬃcinalis) and Chamomile in combination with selected B-vitamins, Magnesium and the amino acid L-theanine. Magnesium contributes to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue while vitamins B6 and B12 contribute to the normal function of the nervous system. With no drowsiness or side eﬀects the next day, Melissa Dream helps you to wake up rested and full of energy.
Exercise – Even a 20-minute walk will help your child to relax and destress their mind, this will also help oxygenate the entire body.
Stress is the biggest obstacle to overcome. It’s so important to get enough B vitamins in foods like broccoli. Kale, spinach. Getting your 5-a-day is bound to be the least of your worries as exam time approaches; ironically this is when your nutritional and energy needs are at their highest. Make sure you keep your nutrient and energy levels up with One Nutrition® Organic Power Greens. This is a unique combination of nature’s ﬁnest green foods including kale, broccoli, spirulina, wheat grass and barley grass juice powders in a handy capsule or powder to add to your morning smoothie.
Take time out to do something you love such as walking your dog, reading a magazine, chat online to your best friend. Journaling is also therapeutic, to put your thoughts and feelings onto paper. Try family time such as playing a board game to distract your mind from the books for a while.
Don’t forget to celebrate – when the exams are over, go out and celebrate together, hopefully everything will be back to normal by then.
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