Wondering about COVID-19 vaccines if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding?

Now that COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out, pregnant and breastfeeding people have many questions around risks and benefits. At first, many of those receiving vaccines in US will be healthcare workers, although the circles for vaccine eligibility are widening.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine agree that the new mRNA COVID-19 vaccines should be offered to pregnant and breastfeeding individuals who are eligible for vaccination.

Here are answers to some basic questions you may have about getting a COVID-19 vaccine if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding — or are considering a pregnancy. Keep in mind that information is evolving rapidly. Your obstetric provider or medical team can advise you more fully, based on your personal health risks, exposures to the virus that causes COVID-19, and preferences.

What do we know about how COVID-19 affects people

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The 6 Best Winter Thru-Hiking Trails in the U.S.

Winter can be a cold albeit magical time to go backpacking. The crowds are minimal, the air is fresh, and the views are unparalleled. While cozying up next to the fire with a good book is enticing, getting outside and experiencing the beauty of the natural world is worth it every time. With a little extra planning and the proper gear, wintertime thru-hiking can be the adventure of a lifetime. And it’s not just a shift in attitude that’s necessary; often a shift in latitude helps as well, rethinking the wilder options in southern climes with milder winter temps. Here, we’ve rounded up six overlooked, yet enticing long-distance hiking and backpacking routes to unplug, escape the depths of winter and go trek in the contiguous United States.

A cascade on Spirit’s Creek off the Ozark Highlands Trail. Shutterstock

Ozark Highlands Trail

Winslow, Arkansas

Located in Northwest Arkansas, the Ozark Read more

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Can gout be prevented?

To many people, gout seems like a disease of the past. Cartoons from 200 years ago depicted it as a condition afflicting the wealthy (“the disease of kings”), whose gluttonous consumption of food and drink was thought to bring on the attacks of debilitating arthritis.

All these years later, much about gout is still misunderstood. Shame, derision, and the belief that the gout sufferer deserves the condition linger. And rather than being a disease of the past, gout is quite common — and rates are rising. Estimates suggest gout affects nearly 4% of the adult population in the US, an increase from prior decades. And it’s not a disease limited to the well-to-do; it affects people of all economic classes.

The most likely explanations for the rising rates of gout are an aging population and excess weight. Both are major risk factors for the disease. The expanding waistline of the … Read more

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3 Easy Ways to Boost Your Immune System

While maintaining a high-functioning immune system is always important, nowadays, it really seems to take on an added level of importance. A global pandemic is a scary event to deal with, and having a strong immune system––along with socially distancing and wearing a mask––is your best line of defense.

Of course, knowing exactly how to give your immune system the boost it needs is a little more complicated than putting back a couple glasses of OJ––but that’s a start. While staying active and fit is extremely helpful, you can still strengthen your immunity without breaking a sweat––or even opening your eyes, for that matter. Begin with incorporating these three simple changes into your life to give your immune system the boost it needs to keep you healthy and safe, during flu season and beyond.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Don’t be this guy. Shutterstock

16 hours should be more than enough … Read more

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Hormonal therapies for advanced prostate cancer linked to a higher risk of falls and fractures

Falls rank among the top causes of death and injuries among the elderly, and the risk increases significantly in older people being treated for cancer. Now, investigators are reporting that a newer class of drugs for advanced prostate cancer is associated with a significant increase in fall risk.

Called androgen receptor inhibitors, or ARIs, these drugs target testosterone, a hormone that accelerates the growth of prostate tumors. Unlike traditional hormonal treatments that interfere with the body’s ability to make testosterone (known as androgen deprivation therapy, or ADT), ARIs work by preventing testosterone from binding to its receptor on cancer cells. Three ARIs were evaluated in the study — apalutamide, enzalutamide, and darolutamide — and each can limit prostate cancer progression and extend survival. The investigators emphasized that the benefits of using ARIs outweigh the risk of falls and fractures, which are rare even in treated patients.

What the investigators did

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These Outdoor Jackets Are the Best Alternatives to Puffers

We all love a good down jacket—they offer a ton of warmth in a featherweight package. But they’re inefficient when wet and you can look like the Michelin Man come to life. Admittedly, the newest down puffys have slimmer silhouettes and use more modern materials, but they still don’t cut a very stylish profile when strolling around town after a day on the slopes. Thankfully, there’s a new breed of outdoor jackets that are as fashionable as they are functional.

 

 

These hybrids mix old-school fibers, like wool and cellulose, with cutting-edge materials, like synthetic blends, that boast all the benefits of down with none of the negatives. Of course there’s still a time and place for your beloved puffers—just keep it to fast alpine adventures or treks when packability and lightness are required. If you’re trying to get style points, pick one of these 10 innovative jackets instead. They’re … Read more

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COVID-19 and the heart: What have we learned?

Early in the pandemic, epidemiologists made a striking observation. Compared to the general population, people with cardiovascular disease (CVD) were more than twice as likely to contract severe forms of COVID-19. In the last six months, death rates from COVID-19 have dropped significantly, but CVD remains a major predictor of poor outcome. What have we learned about heart disease and COVID-19 in that time?

Pre-existing heart conditions and poor metabolic health increase risk of severe COVID-19

As I described in a blog post back in April, some health conditions, like diabetes, increase risk of severe COVID-19 by suppressing the immune system; others, like asthma, increase risk by weakening the lungs. However, in the early months of the pandemic it was not entirely clear how CVD increased the risk of severe COVID-19. We now have two explanations.

The first is that pre-existing heart conditions, such as damaged heart muscle or blocked … Read more

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Adversity Lessons Learned the Hard Way in the ‘World’s Toughest Race’

Dark had set on the Fijian rainforest. In the mud and rain, Jason Magness and his teammates happened upon a bamboo frame. They draped a tarp over, and made camp for the night. The last few hours the group had clambered their way through a dense, steep valley they believed would bring them to the base of Vuwa Falls—a tiered, thousand-foot cascade they needed to ascend—only to discover they made navigational errors and had just spent the day traversing the wrong valley.

7 Reasons to Watch the 'World’s Toughest Race'

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Magness, Daniel Staudigel, Melissa Coombes, and Stephen Thompson of Team Bend Racing were in Fiji participating in the 2019 Eco-Challenge, an 11-day, 400-mile adventure race aired on Amazon Prime Video in August 2020 as the World’s Toughest Race. Team Bend started the multi-discipline event sprinting to a lead in their outrigger canoe. Then trekking on the island … Read more

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We’re supposed to make resolutions now?

After everything that’s happened in 2020, setting goals seems like a big ask. Resolutions inherently mean discomfort and require resolve, and most of us have had enough of the former and don’t have much left of the latter. The response to the annual tradition might involve a collective groan, eye roll, and require a censor.

The question is, is it okay to take this year off?

“It’s always okay,” says Dr. Inna Khazan, clinical psychologist and lecturer in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Why do we make resolutions?

Resolutions have their use in pushing us out of our comfort zones, but they aren’t required. Some people stick to them and benefit, but others have a different relationship with resolutions: they make them without any intention of keeping them, and repeat this cycle year after year.

Khazan says that the result can be almost like doing less than nothing. “It … Read more

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WSL Cancels Jaws Challenge and Sunset Open; Postpones Santa Cruz Open

The World Surf League’s (WSL) attempts to restart professional surf competition have already suffered a major wipeout.

After completing their season-opening contest at the Pipeline Masters in Hawaii––with John John Florence and Tyler Wright taking the Mens and Womens wins, respectively––the 2021 WSL season is going on an extended hiatus.

John John Florence on His Long-Awaited Pipeline Win, His New Brand and a New Yea…

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As a result of Hawaii’s suspension of all surfing competitions until further notice, the upcoming Championship Tour (CT) event, the Sunset Open––scheduled for January 19-28, 2021––and the Big Wave Jaws Championship Pe’ahi have been canceled. And with Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations continuing to surge in California, the WSL also made the decision to postpone the CT Santa Cruz Pro, which had been scheduled for February 2-12, 2021.

The decision was made due to the length of time surfers would have to be away … Read more

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When You Can’t Find The Motivation

When You Can’t Find The Motivation

I have felt like a LOSER before and self beat up is real. What I’m about to share is for you if your current circumstances have you feeling bad and you don’t know where to find the motivation.

I’ve failed a LOT. More times than I can count. I’ve been overweight. I’ve been financially broke. I’ve been heart broken, divorced, I have been in PHYSICAL pain. I’ve been a struggling single mom, I’ve been someone who experienced gut wrenching grief.

I’ve been hopeless, anxious, lost and depressed.

At 49 there is not a lot I have not experienced. And it has NOT all been positive. I AM however grateful for those times as it’s shaped me and allowed me to tech others now.

AND NOW… I’m always motivated. But it was a process to get to this place.

It is easy to get and … Read more

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3 easy ways to eat a healthier diet

While many people might be taking a pass on formal New Year’s resolutions this year, others may mark a fresh start this month by resolving to make up for poor eating habits of the past. But this motivation is often focused on a diet that’s too ambitious, or too restrictive. Without a solid plan, you may fail quickly. So consider a compromise: start with these three easy ways to eat a healthier diet.

Aim for real food only

Look at your plate and note what’s processed and what isn’t. Maybe it’s the whole thing (like a frozen dinner), or maybe it’s just part of your meal (like the bottled dressing on your salad). Think of where you can swap processed foods for healthier versions. Ideas include

  • eating whole-grain pasta instead of enriched white-flour spaghetti
  • having quinoa instead of white rice
  • making your own snacks like baked chickpeas, instead of
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John John Florence on His Long-Awaited Pipeline Win, His New Brand and a New Year As Surfing’s No. 1 Seed

On Dec. 20, Hawaii’s John John Florence emerged from the water at Pipe with his first Pipeline Masters win. The headline wasn’t so much that he won, but that he hadn’t won it up to that point. The long-awaited moment of victory itself was also marked by what it lacked: flanks of fans, as Florence couldn’t be chaired up the beach, thanks to social-distancing safety rules. Pandemic precautions, however, did not snuff out the significance.

“Not winning all those times definitely stung a little,” Florence explained recently to MJ, “especially the times I made the finals. You get so close, you make all those heats and you can’t get the win. It wasn’t getting to me too much, but it’s definitely an event I’ve wanted to win—it’s in my backyard.”

And when he says backyard, he’s not talking the figurative neighborhood; it’s his literal backyard.

Florence famously grew up … Read more

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