Halloween wasn't always the fun holiday as it is known as today. According to History.com, the tradition originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 (which was the Celtic's New Year back then) as a time to honor all saints. The evening before All Saints Day was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over the years, it has evolved into a day of activities complete with trick-or-treating, wearing costumes, and parties.
Although many people just want to just forget about the pandemic and get on with their lives, it's best to stay vigilant and not let our guards down. We can still have fun this Halloween, just be sure to social-distance, wear a mask when you can't, and use hand sanitizer, while engaging in Halloween activities. And have a HOWWWLINGLY happy Halloween!
It has been a tough year for everyone. Not just in Iowa, but the entire world has been faced with adversities we never thought we'd have to deal with in our lifetime. Maybe this is what it felt like when the Spanish Flu became a pandemic and the Great Depression put pretty much everyone on the same playing board. Every adult over 30 has seen what war or "conflicts" look like. Maybe they weren't affected personally, but they knew of it, and 9/11 changed the way we view terrorists and terrorism. We didn't feel safe anymore.
All of these things I mentioned happened and somehow we got through it. Perhaps we are even stronger because of it. I think that is why, when the pandemic happened, most people didn't panic. Sure, you will always have people who refuse to look at the facts and think everything is a conspiracy devised by those who want to end the existence of humans. But, for the most part, everyone did their best to work together to stop the spread of the disease.
No one was expect eastern Iowa to be hit with a derecho, or the gulf to be hit with two hurricanes one after another, and no one could foresee the devastation caused by wildfires on the west coast. Riots and protests broke out across the country, demanding that we all stop and think about what "Black Lives Matter" really means. PLUS, we have to deal with an upcoming election, where both sides are not holding back and even crossing some lines that shouldn't be crossed.
Jokes started circulating earlier this year about how 2020 is the worst year ever. We wonder, how can so many bad things happen in one year? If we didn't already have the pandemic and the derecho storm hit our community on schedule, we might have just seen it as Mother Nature having a bad hair day. But, since we are dealing with COVID, too, everything bad that happens is like weights being thrown on top of the pandemic.
It is all about perspective - how you choose to perceive it. We can play the victim and see these things as happening to us, or we can understand they are just challenges, and we can do our best to learn from it.
We are all going to change somewhat because of this year; I would be surprised if we didn't. But I don't think it's a bad thing. Maybe dealing with the pandemic will help us appreciate life and understand what is important. Maybe the storm helped us realize how blessed we are and made us more grateful for electricity, internet, and good friends and neighbors. Perhaps what is happening in the rest of the world helps us become more aware of which direction we really want to go in as a society.
I believe we are stronger because of the challenges we face. And while we don't get to choose what those challenges are, we always have control in how we choose to perceive them and how we react to them.
Everyone in Iowa is about to the end of their ropes. We are all wondering, "How much more can we take?"
But we are a resilient community, one that takes care of our neighbors, and we will bounce back better than ever. However, we all need to remember to take care of our own needs, or we won't be able to help others. Below are a few ways we can do that:
The importance of self-care
It’s hard to take care of yourself during a crisis, especially when people depend on you. It’s unrealistic to be on the go 24/7 when your stress level is already high. Neglecting yourself puts you at risk for burnout, compassion fatigue and secondary traumatic stress. Think of your response to an ongoing crisis, such as storm recovery and COVID-19, as a marathon, not a sprint. The only way to get through it is to pace yourself so you can see to your own needs as well as those of others.
Three steps to self-care
We’re all in this together, both at work and at home. It’s important to lift each other up. Let your coworkers and family know you appreciate them. Be generous with praise, notice their accomplishments, and be helpful and kind.
10 Things you can do to take care of yourself:
Linn County Public Health strongly recommends all residents and visitors to consistently and correctly wear a cloth face covering in public settings and when around people who do not live in your household, especially when physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain. These recommendations are in alignment with the Iowa Department of Public Health’s recently launched #StepUpMaskUpIA campaign to encourage Iowans to follow important public health mitigation measures.
Linn County Public Health has recommended the use of cloth face coverings since April 3, 2020, when the White House Coronavirus Task Force and CDC recommended that persons wear a cloth face covering in public to slow the spread of COVID-19. This recommendation is based on evidence that a person with COVID-19 can transmit the virus to others before they develop symptoms or have an asymptomatic infection. Recent scientific evidence and case studies in hospital and community settings show universal use of cloth face coverings can prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.
Pramod Dwivedi, Linn County Public Health Director states, “I strongly urge our community to wear cloth face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19. By wearing a cloth face covering, you show you care about your neighbors, your friends, and your family. It is a simple way to protect the health and safety of our community, and benefits everyone.”
When wearing a cloth face covering:
For more information about cloth face coverings, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 webpage on Cloth Face Coverings.
For more information regarding COVID-19 visit https://www.linncounty.org/1372/COVID-19.
Wal-Mart has joined other big businesses in requiring customers to wear face-coverings while they are shopping in their stores, in an effort to stop the spread of COVID. Other stores include Costco, Walgreen, CVS, Dollar Tree, Menards, Best Buy, Aldi, and The Apple Store. It was pointed out by AARP that some of these store strongly suggest, but don't require the use of a face covering. It's best to take one, just in case.
The pandemic is showing no signs of slowing down. If anything, it is ramping up. Hot temperatures are driving people to Florida beaches, where officials announced July 11 that 15,299 people tested positive for COVID; a daily record-breaking number for that state. Other states had record-breaking positive cases as well, including Texas, Arizona, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania.
It was announced July 14 that Chicago will require anyone traveling from Iowa to quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival to the Windy City. This is just the latest city/state to require Iowans to quarantine this summer while traveling. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania also require Iowans or anyone visiting Iowa to quarantine for two weeks.
Just a reminder: The best way to combat the spread of the virus is use common sense; quarantine when you are sick, wear a mask or face covering when you are in a public setting, and practice social distancing. Visit Iowa's official COVID site for more information and updates.
The summer is starting to heat up, but you don't have to suffer in the Iowa heat and humidity.
Here a few tips to keep you cool!
Probably the biggest single complaint most people have about wearing masks is that they are hot and make the person wearing them sweaty and uncomfortable. Since it looks like it might be a while before masks are not needed, below are a few tips from AARP about how to make you more comfortable this summer:
Choose a lighter material for your mask. Whether you are making your masks or buying them, you should try to stick to a fabric that is light-weight and breathable, but still able to contain the contagion. Lighter, softer cotton coverings can also help you avoid chafing, heat rash or inflaming a skin condition like eczema or dermatitis,
Keep your mask dry. Cotton traps less air and moisture than standard medical and industrial masks, and it's more absorbent, but if it gets damp due to breathing and sweating it can be less effective in filtering particles, not to mention uncomfortable and abrasive to the skin.
Keep extra masks handy. On especially hot and humid days, pack multiple masks. Just make sure to follow the other CDC safety recommendations when changing masks, like avoiding crowds and washing or sanitizing your hands.
Time your trips to beat the heat. Avoid going out at the hottest parts of the day and for extended periods. Stop at home between errands if you can, to cool off and doff your mask. When you do have to be out, stay well-hydrated and seek the shade.
Skip the make-up. Heat and perspiration mixed with makeup or oily skin care products makes for a gunky mess under your mask.
Don't forget to wash your hands often, use sanitizer, and practice social-distancing. As I have said before, although many things have been cancelled due to the pandemic, we can still have a fun summer. be safe!
The pandemic may have side-lined many events, but it doesn't mean summer is cancelled; we just have to be a little more creative (and cautious!) when choosing social activities.
Hiawatha parks and splash pads are open, as are the pavilions and sports areas. While the City wants people to have fun, they want to remind park-goers to use hand-sanitizer and do their best to social distance. Using common sense is the key to staying safe. Below are a few other fun activities you and your family can enjoy this summer:
It has been a crazy year so far, and although we need to practice social-distancing and be mindful of our contact with others, we can still make this a great summer.
Summer is finally here, and while most people know enough to take care of their skin, sometimes we need a reminder that our eyes need care, too. The American Dermatology Association (ADA) recommends a sunscreen that's labeled “broad-spectrum,” because this means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
UVA rays are the ones that prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkles and age spots, while UVB rays cause sunburn. SPF is a measure of how much UVB light a sunscreen can filter out. Dermatologists recommend using an SPF of at least 30. Health care professionals suggest applying a base coat of SPF 30 all over the body a half-hour before leaving the house and then reapplying every two hours. If you run out of sunscreen or forget it at home, you should stay in the shade as much as possible.
According to healthline.com, eyes can get sunburned the same way skin can. Sunburned eyes are caused by overexposure to UV (ultraviolet) rays, like those emitted by the sun. This condition is known as photokeratitis. Photokeratitis, or ultraviolet keratitis, is an inflammation of the cornea, which is the clear covering of the front of the eye. Protecting your eyes from UV rays is the only way to avoid getting them sunburned. Sunglasses are the best way to do this. Just like sunscreen, they come in different strengths, so you will want to be sure they are decent quality, or they won’t block the sun’s harmful rays. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) suggests you look for sunglasses that block 99 percent or 100 percent of all UV light. Some manufacturer's labels say "UV absorption up to 400nm." This is the same thing as 100 percent UV absorption.
As with skin, eye sunburn can vary in intensity. The longer your exposure to UV rays, the more intense your symptoms are likely to be. The symptoms of photokeratitis can be uncomfortable. They include:
If you come home from a day at the beach and your eyes hurt, it could be they got too much sun. Here are a few things you can do:
Be sure to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor if the pain does not go away in a few days. Limiting your exposure to sun and wearing shades and sunblock will not only keep you safe from the sun’s harmful rays, but it will also increase your chances of having a fun summer.