Busting COVID-19 Myths

It’s easy to feel a sense of information overload these days. From news articles to government messages to social media posts, there’s a huge amount of information floating around about COVID-19. And while there’s no denying the importance of staying informed, it’s also crucial to be aware that not all of the information you hear or read about is true—there are many rumors, conspiracy theories, and bits of misinformation circulating on social media and other channels.

Coronavirus Myths

To help clear some confusion and separate fact from fiction, we thought we would highlight some of the most common COVID-19 myths. Here’s what you need to know:

Myth: If you can hold your breath for 10 seconds without coughing, you don’t have COVID-19.
The only way to truly know if you do not have COVID-19 is if you take an approved test and the results come back negative. According to the World Health Organization, breath-holding exercises cannot be used to confirm whether or not you have COVID-19.

Myth: COVID-19 only affects the elderly
COVID-19 is a serious illness that can affect people of all ages. Older individuals are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 and hospitalizations increase with age, but younger people are at risk as well and should take proper precautions like frequent hand washing, social distancing, and not touching your face to reduce the risk of transmission.

Myth: COVID-19 can’t be transmitted in warm or hot weather
There’s a lot of speculation that COVID-19 will become less of a problem during the warm summer months, but there’s no evidence to show that COVID-19 is not transmitted in warm climates. Additionally, cases of COVID-19 have occurred in countries with warm or hot weather. It’s also important to understand that there’s also no evidence to show that cold weather can kill COVID-19.

Myth: Drinking alcohol protects you from getting COVID-19
Drinking alcohol will not protect you from COVID-19. In fact, frequent or excessive alcohol consumption can raise your risk of health problems, as alcohol can weaken your immune system over time. Additionally, heavy alcohol consumption can increase the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which is one of the more serious health complications of COVID-19.

Myth: Hand dryers can kill COVID-19
Proper hand washing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is an important step in protecting against COVID-19, but using a hand dryer will not kill the virus, according to the World Health Organization.

Myth: COVID-19 is just like the flu
Many people believe COVID-19 is just like the flu—possibly because both are respiratory illnesses. But the reality is, COVID-19 and influenza are not one in the same. COVID-19 has a higher mortality rate and there is also a higher rate of severe infections from COVID-19 compared to influenza. The illnesses can also present with different symptoms, though there is a lot we still don’t know about COVID-19.

Myth: 5G technology causes COVID-19
There are lots of rumors circulating that link 5G cell phone technology and COVID-19, but these are nothing more than rumors. The government confirms that 5G technology doesn’t cause the novel coronavirus.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.

Keeping Your Kids Safe During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Even though the novel coronavirus appears to be milder among children than adults, this is still a high-stress time for parents. There’s so much we don’t yet know about this illness and many people are left wondering when life will return to normal. To help you get through this time we wanted to outline some advice on how to keep your kids safe.

Keeping children healthy

Here’s what you need to know:

Keep your hands clean.
Practicing proper handwashing techniques (for you and your child) is one of the simplest and most helpful ways to reduce transmission of COVID-19. We think you’ll find these UNICEF guidelines helpful:

  • Wash for 20-30 seconds each time. To make sure your kids are washing their hands for long enough, encourage them to keep washing for as long as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
  • Start by wetting hands under running water. Add soap and then scrub all parts of your hands (including between fingers and under your nails) for 20 seconds or more. Finally, rinse thoroughly to remove all soap, and dry your hands with a clean towel or cloth.
  • Here’s when to wash hands: before and after eating and cooking; after using the bathroom; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; after returning from a public space or touching any surfaces outside your home; after helping a child use the bathroom; before and after caring for someone who is sick; and any other time it feels right.
  • Depending how old your child is, consider setting up a stool at the sink so they are able to reach the water and soap.
  • Alcohol-based sanitizer is an appropriate substitute for hand washing, especially if you’re away from home and don’t have access to soap and water.

Teach your kids proper etiquette for sneezing or coughing.
Make sure your kids know to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or their elbow when sneezing or coughing, and always encourage hand washing afterwards.

Enforce social distancing, but make sure to have conversations about it too.
Social distancing is an important way to slow the spread of COVID-19. But it’s not an easy concept for kids to understand, especially when you’ve put a stop to playdates and your kids start to miss their friends. One way to help your kids through this tough time is to help them have phone or video chats with their friends. Another is to speak candidly with them about the importance of social distancing. Finally, remember that social distancing applies to outdoor spaces, too. If your kids play outside, make sure they know to stay six feet apart from others who don’t live in their home.

Get in touch with a healthcare provider if your child develops a cough, fever, or has difficulty breathing.
Living during the time of a pandemic is scary, especially when you’re worried about the health of your children. But there is one thing to be grateful for—most cases of COVID-19 have been in adults so far and only rarely have children experienced severe cases of COVID-19. But it’s still important to be in touch with your pediatrician if your kids seem sick or develop any common coronavirus symptoms such as a fever, runny nose, cough, diarrhea, and vomiting. To avoid any unnecessary time in public where the chances of exposure are higher, always try to call your physician before heading to their office. These days, telehealth is often a suitable replacement for many in-person visits.

Clean surfaces regularly.
No one likes to hear that they need to clean more frequently. But to keep your family safe, it’s important to regularly clean counters, doorknobs, and other surfaces that may have come in contact with the virus.

Minimize time with older adults and those with underlying medical conditions.
Age and underlying medical conditions both increase the risk of experiencing serious complications from the coronavirus, so it’s best to do what you can to minimize interacting with these groups in order to keep them safe. This means postponing visits to see elderly family members and trying to find alternate caretakers if elderly family members typically watch your children. If you have elderly or immunocompromised people living in your house, you may want to try taking extra measures to keep them separated from your child.

Wear face coverings when outside of the house.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages all people who are two-years-old or older to wear a cloth face covering when visiting a public setting. This is important for preventing the spread of the virus to others. Remember that you can be a carrier of COVID-19 even if you don’t have symptoms, so it’s important to wear a cloth face mask even if you and your children don’t feel sick.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.

Can’t Climax? Here Are Some Tips

Having an orgasm tends to be an amazing experience, but many women struggle to have one. Research shows that up to 40% of women have trouble achieving orgasm, and orgasms only come easily for somewhere around 10% of women. If there’s one thing these statistics make clear, it’s that if you’ve been struggling in this area, you’re not alone.

Climax problems

You’ll also want to understand that just because many women have trouble achieving orgasm, this isn’t necessarily a lost cause. There are things you can do to improve your chances of having an orgasm.

Tense your muscles
Tensing your pelvic, leg, abdominal, and buttocks muscles can be really important in helping you achieve orgasm. In fact, sometimes it’s even necessary. For some women, tensing the feet or upper body can be helpful, too. Curious how and why this works? Muscle tension brings more blood to that part of the body, and this increased blood flow is an important step in reaching orgasm—just a small percentage of women are able to orgasm without any tension in the body. Next time you’re having intercourse, experiment with tensing your muscles and see if it helps you orgasm more quickly or easily.

Relax
Sure, this might be a bit confusing because we just told you about the importance of tensing your muscles. But when we say “relax” here, this isn’t necessarily about relaxing your muscles—it’s more about relaxing your mind.  Rather than overthinking and letting anxiety build, try to let your mind focus on the feelings and sensations that are taking place. If a thought arises, simply let it go rather than letting it distract you from whatever you’re experiencing. Anxious and negative thoughts inhibit arousal, rather than encourage it.

If you can’t seem to let your mind relax, focus on a positive phrase to keep your mind busy but not distracted. Another tip is to be mindful of your breathing. Pay attention to your breath as you breathe in and out and take note if you start feeling calmer and more relaxed—this tends to be a great way to get rid of distracting thoughts.

Be clear with your partner
Clear communication is a key step in achieving orgasm. This means letting your partner know what feels good to you and what doesn’t, as well as being honest with them when you’re feeling distracted during sexual intercourse or having trouble reaching orgasm.

Masturbate
Masturbation is a great way to explore your body and find out what stimulates and turns you on. For some women this is a really helpful way to figure out what feels good to you without the stress of having your partner present.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.

STDs in the United States – Get the Facts

Since 2013, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis have all greatly increased. In fact, the combined cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis reached a total higher than ever before in 2018, according to a yearly report released in October by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) called the Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance report. This is the fifth year in a row we’ve seen a rise in STD rates in the United States, making STDs a significant health challenge.

STD Rates

The report showed increases in syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia, and some of the rises were very large. Cases of primary and secondary syphilis rose nearly 15% to reach the highest number of reported cases since 1991. Syphilis cases among newborns saw a staggering 40% increase, and deaths related to congenital syphilis (passed from the mother to the child during pregnancy) increased 22% from 2017. Gonorrhea rates increased 5%, reaching the highest number reported since 1991, and chlamydia saw a 3% increase, with a total number of cases reaching higher than ever before. Additionally, the CDC says that many cases of these STDs and others, like herpes simplex disease and human papillomavirus, go undetected and unreported, meaning the actual rates could be far higher.

Why are STD rates rising?
Many different factors are coming together to push STD rates upwards, according to the CDC. These include a reduction in condom use among vulnerable groups including gay and bisexual men and young people; cuts to state and local STD programs that have resulted in closed health clinics and reductions in STD screening, staff, patient follow-up, and connecting patients with care services; as well as poverty, stigma, drug use, and unstable housing, all of which can reduce access to STD care and prevention services.

Can these STDs be treated?
Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis can all be treated and cured with antibiotics, but when left untreated, these diseases can contribute to vast problems including increased HIV risk, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and transmission of the disease to others. Syphilis can also be transmitted to a baby during pregnancy and can contribute to complications like stillbirth, miscarriage, newborn death, and health problems throughout the baby’s lifespan.

What is being done to slow these rising STD rates?
A number of public health efforts are in place to deal with our nation’s high STD rates. The CDC is providing STD prevention and monitoring resources to local and state health departments, funding health departments to strengthen STD prevention and control initiatives, and supporting health departments by training health care providers, helping investigate and respond to outbreaks, and helping with community engagement.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Health and Human Services is responding to the STD epidemic by working on an action plan—in short called the STI Plan—that is expected to be released this year. The government is also advising healthcare providers to include STD screening and timely treatment of STDs as a standard component of care, and encouraging health departments to make sure STD-prevention resources are directed toward vulnerable populations.

The CDC also encourages people to talk openly about STDs, get tested regularly, and use condoms or engage in mutual monogamy to reduce risk of STD transmission.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.

Tips for Parenting During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Parenting in the time of COVID-19 can be challenging—schools are closed and many parents are balancing their own careers while helping their kids with school assignments and keeping them occupied. Add in economic concerns and the fear of a deadly virus we don’t know much about, and it’s no surprise that stress is higher than ever for many people.

Parenting during COVID-19 Pandemic

But UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other trusted groups have some advice to help you get through this time and maybe even build stronger relationships with your kids in the process. Here’s what they recommend:

Set aside one-on-one time with your kids
Spending one-on-one time with your kids is a great way to make them feel secure and loved, while also reminding them they are important to you. Set aside some time each day to spend time alone with each of your kids —even 20 minutes will do.

Make sure to get input from your children to decide how you’ll spend this time together, because selecting activities can be enjoyable and help them build confidence. Ideas will vary based on your child’s age, but could include cooking, reading a story together, talking about one of their interests, doing an art project, dancing, or helping with school work.

Keep things positive
It’s easy to get stressed, flustered, and angry these days, but your kids are far more likely to do what you ask of them if you provide positive instructions and give plenty of praise for good behavior, the WHO says. Try to speak calmly, use positive words and phrases when telling your kids what to do, be realistic about what you ask of them, and provide praise and reassurance when they behave well. For teens, it’s also particularly important to help them stay connected with their peers.

Create routines and structure
Routines are a great way to help everyone get through this time. Try creating a daily routine that’s consistent yet flexible and allows for both structured activities and free time. Keep in mind that your kids are more likely to follow a schedule if you allow them to help you make it.

You’ll also want to incorporate daily exercise to help kids deal with stress and excess energy. This could include heading outdoors if that’s allowed in your region. Remember to model positive behavior around hand washing, treating people with compassion, and keeping a safe distance from others. Your children will learn from this behavior, the WHO says.

Know how to manage bad behavior
Remind yourself that it’s normal for kids to misbehave, especially when they’re afraid, hungry, tired, or learning independence. But there are still some important ways you can manage bad behavior. The WHO recommends catching bad behavior and redirecting your child’s attention toward good behavior. If you notice your kids getting restless, stop bad behavior before it starts by suggesting a fun activity you can do together.

If you feel yourself getting angry, give yourself time for a 10-second pause before reacting—usually this results in a calmer response. Finally, use consequences to provide controlled discipline and teach your children responsibility for their actions.

Manage your stress so you can stay calm
In order to support your kids, you need to take care of yourself. This includes taking a break to do something fun or relaxing from time to time and finding someone you can talk with about what you’re feeling. The WHO suggests avoiding social media if it makes you feel panicked. Relaxation and breathwork might also be helpful. You can find some tips on those here.

Talk with your kids about COVID-19
Honesty and openness are important during a time like this. The WHO suggests asking your kids questions to find out what they know and answering their questions honestly—this includes letting them know if you don’t know the answer, and being supportive when they’re scared or confused. When speaking with your children about COVID-19, highlight stories of people who are doing heroic work to fight the outbreak, encourage compassion, and remind them that the virus is unrelated to the way someone looks, the language they speak, or where they’re from. Finally, remind your child that you’re always there for them with support or to answer questions.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.

Five Signs You May Be Ovulating

If you’re thinking of getting pregnant anytime soon, it’s important to understand how ovulation works. Ovulation is when one of your ovaries releases a mature egg. If this egg is fertilized by sperm, you can become pregnant.

Ovulation

Among women who are in their reproductive years, don’t have any fertility issues, and are not pregnant, ovulation typically happens every month. But the exact timing can vary widely. For most women, there are about six days during each menstrual cycle when you can get pregnant, but you’re most likely to get pregnant sometime in the three days leading up to ovulation.

That said, it can be tricky to know exactly when you’re ovulating or when you’re most fertile. One option is to use an ovulation tracker that can calculate the most fertile days of your cycle using information like the average length of your menstrual cycle and the day your period started.

You can also look for some signs and symptoms within your body that provide some insight into when you’re ovulating. Here are a few changes you may notice:

Your body temperature may rise
After ovulation, your basal body temperature (this is your body temperature right when you wake up in the morning) will rise slightly. In order to detect changes to your basal body temperature, you’ll need to take your basal body temperature every morning before you get out of bed.

Your vaginal mucus may change
You may have a change in vaginal mucus and discharge when you’re ovulating and in the days prior. This mucus may be more slippery, stretchy, and clearer than usual. Often the consistency is compared to raw egg whites. This mucus plays an important role in allowing sperm to move its way into your uterus and fallopian tubes where it can fertilize an egg.

You may feel some pain
You may feel a slight pain, twinge, or cramping in your ovaries or lower abdominal area about halfway through your menstrual cycle.

Certain hormone levels will be higher
Levels of luteinizing hormone (which helps signal to your body that it’s time to release an egg) rise somewhere around 36 hours before ovulation and hit their highest levels about 12 hours before ovulation. Sometimes doctors will check luteinizing hormone levels with blood or urine tests to determine how fertile a woman is on certain days.

Your saliva may be different
Increased estrogen levels prior to ovulation can change the consistency of saliva so that it forms a fern or crystal-shaped pattern when dry. You can look for these patterns using an at-home saliva test kit.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.