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A Washington Informer Quick Guide to Preventing & Living with Respiratory Ailments


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In Memoriam Dr. Calvin W. Rolark, Sr. Wilhelmina J. Rolark THE WASHINGTON INFORMER NEWSPAPER (ISSN#0741-9414) is published weekly on each Thursday. Periodicals postage paid at Washington, D.C. and additional mailing offices. News and advertising deadline is Monday prior to publication. Announcements must be received two weeks prior to event. Copyright 2016 by The Washington Informer. All rights reserved. POSTMASTER: Send change of addresses to The Washington Informer, 3117 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., S.E. Washington, D.C. 20032. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. The Informer Newspaper cannot guarantee the return of photographs. Subscription rates are $45 per year, two years $60. Papers will be received not more than a week after publication. Make checks payable to: THE WASHINGTON INFORMER 3117 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., S.E Washington, D.C. 20032 Phone: 202 561-4100 Fax: 202 574-3785 news@washingtoninformer.com www.washingtoninformer.com

PUBLISHER Denise Rolark Barnes STAFF D. Kevin McNeir, Editor Ron Burke, Advertising/ Marketing Director Shevry Lassiter, Photo Editor Lafayette Barnes, IV, Assistant Photo Editor John E. De Freitas, Sports Photo Editor Dorothy Rowley, Online Editor ZebraDesigns.net, Design & Layout Mable Neville, Bookkeeper Dr. Charles Vincent, Social Sightings columnist Tatiana Moten, Social Media Specialist Angie Johnson, Circulation REPORTERS Stacy Brown (Senior Writer), Sam P.K. Collins, Timothy Cox, Will Ford (Prince George’s County Writer), Jacqueline Fuller, Hamil Harris, D. Kevin McNeir, Kui Mwai, Dorothy Rowley, Brenda Siler, Lindiwe Vilakazi, Sarafina Wright, James Wright, PHOTOGRAPHERS John E. DeFreitas, Ja’Mon Jackson, Shevry Lassiter, Roy Lewis, Jr., Robert R. Roberts, Anthony Tilghman


Precious Breaths

Most of us take breathing for granted. Really, unless your ability to breathe becomes hampered by exertion, allergies, a cold or a condition, you pretty much take as a matter of function that your lungs are sound. Pastors speak of God breathing the breath of life into His creations, yoga instructors stress the importance of cleansing breaths, every laboring mother relies on her own breathing and those first screams of a newborn to signal healthy lungs and the beginning of life. Even comedians, like D.C.’s Andy Evans, (The Comedy Counselor), encourage laughter as a breathing technique to alleviate stress, depression, and grief. But what happens when breathing becomes impaired? Approximately 13 million U.S. residents have received a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – which includes conditions like chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma and an estimated 13 million more are unaware of their COPD diagnosis. And what was once believed to be a condition largely impacting white males, shows a steady increase among Black women. Rachel Chisholm, co-author of the study “COPD in a Population-Based Sample of Never-Smokers: Interactions among Sex, Gender, and Race,” found Black women had, by far, the highest prevalence of COPD among older adults who had never smoked. “We cannot determine causality with this data set, but poverty is associated with increased exposure to toxins, such as second-hand smoke in workplaces and air pollution in inner-city environments,” Chisolm said. “Future research needs to investigate if these factors play a role in the greater vulnerability of African-American women.” Further complicating the need for research, is the research itself, according to a study published in February 2019 that concluded lumping all Black communities under the category “Black” or “African American” negated the varying habits, lifestyles, and mores of U.S.-born and immigrant Black populations. “This brings into question the validity of current knowledge, which largely refers to all “U.S. Blacks” as a homogenous “African American” populace in a majority of studies. This assumption ignores the variations in socioeconomic status, tobacco or biomass smoke exposures, behaviors, access to health care, health insurance coverage, and disease management among Black individuals in America,” Chinedu O. Ejike and Mark T. Dransfield noted in “Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in America’s Black Population.” Historically, these nuances must be noted in order to bring about concrete and measurable positive results. It immediately brought to mind the recent text, Breathing Race into the Machine: The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics by Lundy Braun – that charts the role of innovation and misguided understanding of Black bodies in the use of the spirometer. Designed to measure lung volume and therefore vital capacity, race-adjusted spirometer data, instead, worked to naturalize racial and ethnic differences and misinform clinical diagnoses, preemployment physicals, and disability estimates. Breathe Easy: The Washington Informer Quick Guide to Preventing & Living with Respiratory Ailments encourages readers to take an active and proactive posture in preventing, diagnosing, and advocating for better breathing. Whether it’s a virus, like the looming COVID-19 or asthma, every breath is precious. Writers have found tips on household contaminants, food triggers, and preventative measures for keeping lungs healthy – and conditioning impaired lungs for optimum comfort. Read, Learn, Enjoy! Dr. Shantella Sherman Special Editions Editor

www.washingtoninformer.com / MARCH 2020 HEALTH WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT


Eat Right; Breathe Right By Lee Ross WI Staff Writer The diagnosis of emphysema came to Dora Ayo just days before her fortieth birthday. Until then, her occasional coughing and wheezing bouts were attributed to a return of childhood asthma – and formidable cigarette habit that spanned two decades. With the diagnosis and a managed care protocol that included input from a dietician, Ayo found that many of the foods she enjoyed contributed to breathlessness just as cigarettes once had. And like many of the roughly 65 million people around the world living with moderate or severe COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, -- a group of lung diseases that makes it harder to breathe, leaving behind her favorite foods proved daunting. “My physician made it clear that too much salt and processed foods would exacerbate my condition and cause flareups. It went in one ear and out the other because I believed I could eat things in moderation and be okay,” Ayo told the Informer. “I learned the hard way that moderation for me quickly became gorging and left me struggling for air.” Tobacco use is the primary cause of COPD in the United States, but air pollutants at home (such as secondhand smoke and some heating fuels) and at work (such as dusts, gases, and fumes), and genetic predisposition also can cause COPD. Additionally, women are increasingly diagnosed with COPD at later and more advanced stages making treatment less effective. Once diagnoses are made, adhering to quality of life regimens, as prescribed by a physician is important. Ayo says she now adheres to a strict diet to avoid flare ups. Here are some of the tips her

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physician provided of foods to avoid and help keep you breathing well.


Eating too much salt could be a problem as it can cause the body to retain water, which can hinder breathing. Salt substitutes may be high in potassium, which could interact poorly with COPD medications.


Due to their nitrate content, cold cuts, ham, bacon, and hot dogs can worsen COPD symptoms. Similarly, chemicals like sulfites are often added to shrimp as preservatives to help retain their color. Sulfites can trigger a narrowing of bronchial passages in people with sensitive airways, causing major flareups.

5 Maintaining a healthy lifestyle – including proper nutrition and the elimination of certain foods is critical to living well with COPD. / Courtesy photo

Check out the Congress Heights Wellness Space

at the Alabama Avenue Giant for FREE nutrition and wellness classes open to the entire community!


Milk can cause problems for some people with COPD because of the casomorphin, that naturally occurs in it and is believed to increase mucus production in the intestine. Many respiratory diseases, including COPD, are associated with increased mucus production from a similar type of gland in the lung during periods of inflammation.


Both fried foods and vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage cause gas and bloating, which can make breathing difficult. Similarly, carbonated soft drinks produce gas and bloat and may cause breathing discomfort. HS

Jillian Griffith, MSPH, RDN, LDN

MARCH 2020 HEALTH WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT / www.washingtoninformer.com

Whether you are concerned about diabetes, heart health, or just want to improve family meal times, nutritionist Jillian Griffith can answer your nutrition questions and help you make the best shopping choices for your family’s health and wellness. Schedule a personalized nutrition consultation or request a store tour! This spring, Jillian will launch a Sugar in Check program on diabetes prevention and What Can I Eat, a program for those navigating prediabetes and diabetes. Register today at giantfood.com/nutrition or email jillian.griffith@giantfood.com for more information!

How to Talk to Kids About Addiction Submitted by AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia One in four children in the United States has substance use disorder in their family, says the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). For children living with a family member with substance use disorder, home life can be chaotic, scary, lonely, and full of conflict and broken promises. Talking to kids about substance use can be hard, but it’s so important. Without information, kids may often conclude the conflict and problems are their fault. It’s never too early to explain the negative effects of substance use to a child. In fact, to support the large number of kids and their families dealing with substance use disorder, Sesame Street has even introduced a puppet whose mom is in recovery. Tailor your message to the age, maturity, and comfort level of the child. These guidelines can help: • Choose one person in the family, such as a parent or grandparent, to give the child information to avoid gossip and rumors. Help the child express and sort through his or her feelings. Let them know it’s OK to ask questions and bring concerns to that family member. Be careful not to place any blame on the person who has substance use disorder. • Explain addiction in a way the

child can understand. You might start with the child’s experience of a negative event, such as, “You know how Dad is loud when everyone else is quiet?” or “Remember when Grandma was being strange at dinner?” - Children under age 10: You might explain that addiction to alcohol or drugs is a brain disease. People who use alcohol and drugs might lose control over how they act, and do and say things they usually wouldn’t. Just like we don’t blame people for having a disease like diabetes or cancer, we do not blame people for having a brain disease like addiction. These people are not able to stop drinking or using drugs without special help from people trained to treat the disease. - Tweens and teens: Be open, honest, and direct, and give details if the tween or teen asks for them. Try not to lecture or speak down to teens, or they may tune you out. The National Association for Children of Addiction suggests teaching the “Seven Cs:” 1. I didn’t cause it. Hearing that a loved one’s substance use is not their fault is very powerful for a child. It lets the child be a kid again. 2. I can’t cure it 3. I can’t control it 4. I can help take care of myself by 5. Communicating my feelings,

Tailor your message to the age, maturity, and comfort level of the child.

6. Making healthy choices, and 7. Celebrating me Research shows substance use disorder is genetic, so children from families in which loved ones have struggled with substance use are at greater risk of using these substances themselves. Give kids healthy living skills as a helpful form of prevention. You can find more information about substance use disorder and how to talk about it on the National Association for Children of Addiction’s website, www.nacoa.org. Sources: National Association for Children of Addiction (NACOA), “The Seven Cs” and “Kit for Kids,” accessed Nov. 4, 2019, https://nacoa.org/resource/the7cs/l and https://nacoa.org/wp-content/ uploads/2019/03/Kit-for-kids-NACoA-2019.pdf. National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Genetics: The Blueprint of Health and Disease,” accessed Jan. 5, 2019, www. drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/ genetics-epigenetics-addiction. All images are used under license for illustrative purposes only. Any individual depicted is a model HS


Three Ways to Power Up Your Breakfast Breakfast bars and cold cereal are no match for the filling boost of protein these choices offer: • Top a whole grain waffle with nut butter and dried or fresh fruit • Try savory oatmeal: Layer cheese and green onions or sautéed veggies over cooked oatmeal, and top with a fried or poached egg • A few cubes of cheese with fresh fruit and a handful of nuts is a healthy morning meal that helps you power through until lunchtime This is to help you learn about your health condition. It is not to take the place of your primary care provider (PCP). If you have questions, talk with your PCP. If you think you need to see your PCP because of something you have read in this information, please contact your PCP. Never stop or wait to get medical attention because of something you have read in this information.

www.washingtoninformer.com / MARCH 2020 HEALTH WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT


Help is available now If you or a loved one has a substance use disorder, there are many services in the District to help. • The Department of Behavioral Health’s Assessment and Referral Center (ARC), 1-202-727-8473, provides same-day treatment for substance use problems •

Aunt Bertha is an online search service that can help you link to resources in the District and across the United States. Go to www.auntbertha.com. Then, enter your ZIP code to find help near you. There are over 100 programs for addiction and recovery in the District.

AmeriHealth Caritas DC offers our enrollees several substance use disorder treatment options. Call Enrollee Services at 1-800-408-7511 (TTY 1-800-570-1190) for more information.

Find us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AmeriHealthDC / Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AmeriHealthCaritasDC Find us on Instagram: www.instagram.com/AmeriHealthCaritasDC


Rewards Program

I got a gift card for getting my annual physical. You can too. You can get a $25 gift card if you: • Are an AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia member • Are 12 – 21 years old • Get an annual physical exam

Visit www.amerihealthcaritasdc.com/giftcard to learn more. Note: A member cannot get more than $50 in incentives each year.


www.amerihealthcaritasdc.com AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia complies with applicable federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. English: ATTENTION: If you speak English, language assistance services, at no cost, are available to you. Call 1-800-408-7511 (TTY/TDD: 202-216-9885 or 1-800-570-1190). Spanish: ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-800-408-7511 (TTY/TDD: 202-216-9885 o 1-800-570-1190). Amharic: ማሳሰቢያ፡ አማርኛ መናገር የሚችሉ ከሆነ፣ ከከፍያ ነጻ የሆነ የቋንቋ ድጋፍ አገልግሎት ይቀርብልዎታል፡፡ በስልክ ቁጥር 1-800-408-7511 (TTY/TDD: 202-216-9885 ወይም 1-800-570-1190) ይደውሉ. 1-800-408-7511 ‫ اﺗﺼﻞ ﺑﺮﻗﻢ‬.‫ﺎن‬‫ ﻓﺈن ﺧﺪﻣﺎت اﳌﺴﺎﻋﺪة اﻟﻠﻐﻮﻳﺔ ﺗﺘﻮاﻓﺮ ﻟﻚ ﺑﺎ‬،‫ إذا ﻛﻨﺖ ﺗﺘﺤﺪث اﻟﻠﻐﺔ اﻟﻌﺮﺑﻴﺔ‬:‫ ﻣﻠﺤﻮﻇﺔ‬: Arabic .(1-800-570-1190 ‫ أو‬TTY/TDD: 202-216-9885 ‫)رﻗﻢ ﻫﺎﺗﻒ اﻟﺼﻢ واﻟﺒﻜﻢ‬

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MARCH 2020 HEALTH WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT / www.washingtoninformer.com

All images are used under license for illustrative purposes only. Any individual depicted is a model.

How to Keep Your Community Healthy from the Flu, Common Cold and Coronavirus (COVID-19) By Whitman-Walker Health At Whitman-Walker, we want to help keep you and the community healthy. If you are experiencing symptoms of a cough, cold, fever or the flu, it is important that you stay home to help prevent the spread of germs. Please consider the following tips to help keep yourself, your loved and the community healthy – and to prevent new cases of the common cold, flu, and coronavirus. Thank you for your help in preventing the spread of germs!


• Max Robinson Center (health center) – 2301 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave, SE • Max Robinson Center Pharmacy – 2303 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave, SE • Whitman-Walker Youth Services – 651 Pennsylvania Ave, SE • Whitman-Walker (health center) & Pharmacy at 1525 – 1525 14th Street, NW • The Corner at Whitman-Walker – 1701 14th Street, NW • Whitman-Walker at LIZ – 1. Call first. It is important that 1377 R Street, NW, Suite 200 you call Whitman-Walker at 202(2nd Floor) 745-7000 and share information about your symptoms before visitLearn facts about the coronaviing any of our locations. To limit rus at whitman-walker.org/coroyour exposure to additional illnessnavirus and get more information es, our team will evaluate and treat on general prevention for the coroyou over the phone. navirus from DC Health at coronavirus.dc.gov. 2. After your phone evaluation.  If after your phone evaluation, you still need to come into a Whitman-Walker location, we will coordinate with you to be seen as quickly as possible when you arrive for your appointment.


• Stay home if you are coughing and/or sneezing! • Use a tissue to cover your coughs and sneezes and throw your used tissue in the trash.  If you do not have a tissue, turn away from people and cough into your shoulder or your sleeve. If you have a mask you can wear one, but this won’t fully protect the people around you. • Do not use your hands  to cover your coughs and sneezes. • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth  as these are the easiest areas for germs to spread through. • Wash your hands often  to avoid getting sick. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds -- aka the equivalent of singing the “Happy Birthday” or “¡Feliz cumpleaños!” song twice. If soap and water is unavailable, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer. Wash your hands before you eat. • Clean and disinfect frequent-

ly touched objects, like your cell phone, door knobs, reusable beverage containers and work space using disinfectant wipes or sprays. • Consider buying a digital thermometer so that if you do get a cough or cold, you can more easily monitor yourself at home and share changes in your temperature with our Whitman-Walker care team. • Will wearing a mask protect me? Wearing a mask will not help to keep you healthy. We are not recommending that patients and community members purchase or obtain masks to prevent infection.


is to follow the hand washing and cleaning instructions above. You can also keep your immune system strong by taking your medications as directed, drinking water and being kind to your body by getting enough sleep and regular exercise. A simple walk every day goes a long way in minimizing stress and keeping you healthy.

These small steps combined make a big difference in preventing the spread of the common cold, flu and coronavirus. We appreciate your help in keeping the communities of greater Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia healthy.


• How to Manage Your Cough at Home: whitman-walker.org/ careforcoughs • About the Coronavirus: whitman-walker.org/coronavirus • Prevent the Spread of Germs: whitman-walker.org/preventgerms HS

3. Visiting a Whitman-Walker location? Please let us know that you have a cough immediately. We will give you a mask to wear and get you in a private room when you arrive. Before receiving a mask, cover any coughs and sneezes with a tissue to help prevent the spread of germs and throw all used tissues in the trash.

www.washingtoninformer.com / MARCH 2020 HEALTH WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT




Coughing or Sneezing?

Please take and wear a mask. Be sure to cover both your nose and mouth when wearing the mask.

Take these steps to keep yourself and the community healthy. If you are sick, STAY HOME. Call us at 202.745.7000 and tell us about your symptoms. These small steps make a big difference in preventing the spread of the common cold, flu and coronavirus.

If you are sick, STAY HOME.

Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick or who are presenting symptoms of frequent coughing or sneezing.

Cover your mouth & nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

Throw away any used tissue in the waste basket.

Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as these are the easiest areas for germs to spread through.

Pay close attention to your symptoms and seek medical care if your symptoms worsen.

If you have not gotten your flu shot yet, get vaccinated for the flu.

Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dry your hands completely before touching additional surfaces.

If soap and water is unavailable, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Call our team at 202.745.7000. We will evaluate and treat you over the phone – and help limit your exposure to additional illnesses. If after your phone evaluation, you still need to come into a Whitman-Walker location, we will coordinate with you to be seen as quickly as possible after you arrive for your appointment. We will also share instructions for wearing a mask.

Additional Resources How to Manage Your Cough At Home whitman-walker.org/careforcoughs About the Coronavirus whitman-walker.org/coronavirus Prevent the Spread of Germs whitman-walker.org/preventgerms

Copyright © 2020 Whitman-Walker Health.

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MARCH 2020 HEALTH WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT / www.washingtoninformer.com

5 Foods to Fight The Flu By Elaine Moquette-Magee Safeway Wellness Services Corporate Dietitian So you want to avoid getting those winter colds and the flu this season but you may not know that your best defense is to visit your grocery store! Washing your hands frequently and getting your annual flu vaccine are the best ways to limit exposure to flu viruses (and your grocery store can help you do both). But eating foods that help fight the flu by strengthening your immune system is another great way grocery stores can help. Getting plenty of key nutrients and preventing deficiencies which can compromise the immune system is a major key to optimizing your immunity. Enhance your immunity further by including foods contributing key plant compounds with anti-viral and anti-histamine action. 1. Dark green leafy vegetables (such as spinach, kale and brocco-

li) contribute all three antioxidant vitamins thought to improve immune function (Vitamins A, C, and E) plus they contain Saponins, a plant compound with anti-viral activity. Enjoy a dose of dark green leafy vegetables daily. • Check out these recipes: Simple Sesame Broccoli, 15-Minute Beef, Bean & Spinach Enchiladas 2. Select citrus often! The anti-viral compounds in citrus tend to be in the pulp and white soft flesh around the segments. So eating rather than drinking citrus is ideal. If you are drinking OJ, make sure to buy the type with pulp because that’s where much of the helpful compounds are. Citrus is also bursting with vitamin C and other antioxidants! 3. Maximize mushrooms! They give the immune system a boost in part by enhancing natural immunity! Some mushroom com-

Fresh, fast, delivered

pounds are thought to have inhibitory effects at the first stage of virus replication. Some mushrooms may also have anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-parasitic effects through favorably changing the microbe population living in the intestine, according to recent animal studies. Look for light exposed mushrooms with 100% daily value for vitamin D—vitamin D may help activate the immune system. 4. Seek out surf and turf— Lean beef and select seafood are the top sources of zinc (oysters, crab, beef pot roast, sirloin steak, ground beef, and dark-meat turkey) and zinc is important for the proper functioning of the immune system. You can also find good amounts of zinc in turkey, chicken, lamb, pumpkin seeds, clams, soynuts, and nuts and seeds in general. T cell function declines with age and a recent study with nursing home patients showed that an increase in serum zinc levels was associat-

ed with an enhancement of T cell function and number of T cells. (AJCN March 2016 vol. 103 no. 3 942-951) 5. Enjoy your favorite red fruits! Apples, red grapes, tomatoes, berries and cherries give you a nice dose of the plant compound quercetin, which acts as a strong antioxidant and may reduce infection risk and have anti-viral/anti-histamine action in the body. Kale and broccoli, garlic, onions and tea also contribute a dose of quercetin. PROBIOTIC TIP: Include probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kefir with “live active cultures” and vitamin D each day to help boost immunity and increase good bacteria in your intestines (70% of your immune system is located in your digestive tract.) Also consider a probiotic supplement with good-quality evidence behind it—look for the term “clinically proven” on the label and discuss their use with your

5 Sesame Brocolli

doctor, pharmacist, or dietitian. Keep in mind probiotic benefits are strain and dose specific. BEVERAGE TIP: Drinking hot green/white tea (and to a lesser extent black tea) helps lubricate your sinuses with steam as you drink and adds key compounds with antiviral, anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory action. HS

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www.washingtoninformer.com / MARCH 2020 HEALTH WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT




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Tips for Ridding Homes of Respiratory Triggers By Lee Ross WI Staff Writer Americans spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors. Indoor

allergens and irritants play a significant role in triggering breathing troubles, including asthma attacks, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Triggers are things that can cause symptoms, an episode or attack or make breathing worse and often are overlooked as sources of distress within our homes or in our neigh-



FOR HEALTHY MOMS AND STRONG BABIES Two babies die every hour in the U.S. And about every 12 hours a woman dies as a result of complications from pregnancy. It’s not fine. But together we can do something about it.

Use fragrance-free detergents Laundry detergents smell so nice, so we wouldn’t see them as a suspect. But we are all clearly wrong with this one. Fragranced products are made of chemicals, so they can contribute to the issue of indoor air pollution. To deal with this, replace the traditional ones with fragrance-free laundry detergents. Replace the filters - The filters on the air conditioning and heating system play a vital role in keeping your air clean. They trap the particles from the air, such as dust mites and pet dander. If you haven’t checked on the filters, hurry up and do it. You are recommended to do at least 4 checks per year to make sure that the filters are in good shape. If there is lots of accumulated debris, it means that the filters need to be replaced. This is a simple and affordable project that you can do by yourself. Click here to find out more about the best changing practices. Keep the air dry - A high percentage of humidity in the air contributes to the growth of mold. The mold can release spores in the air, which can trigger asthma and allergies. Make sure that the bathroom is well ventilated. Turn on the exhaust fan after showering or open the window. Another way to keep the humidity away is to check for any leaks in your home. To be on

MAY 9, 2020

NATIONALS PARK REGISTRATION 8:30 am WALK 10:00 am SIGN UP at MarchforBabies.org

National partners

borhoods. For instance, stuffed animals – carried about by small children are rarely washed or disinfected. Here are few other tips to ridding your home of respiratory triggers to breathing ailments.

the safe side, check the roof and plumbing often. Keep the dust mites away - Dust mites are a common reason for allergies. They also thrive in a humid environment, so get a dehumidifier to keep the humidity levels low. Remove the carpets where they aren’t necessary, and make sure that you frequently clean every piece of upholstery in your home. Wash the bedding once a week in hot water to get rid of the dust mites. Ventilate Daily - Bringing in cleaner outdoor air by opening up windows is the easiest way to dilute the contaminated air in your home. However, you’ll want to keep the windows closed on highpollen-count days or when it’s very humid outside, which can raise the risk of mold. When cooking and bathing, make sure to ventilate the kitchen with an exhaust fan or nearby open window during cooking, and for at least 15 minutes after you are done preparing the meal. Vacuum Often and Slowly - Dust is a leading source of air pollution because it absorbs toxic gases, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and radon. It can also contain pollen, animal dander, mold spores and dust mites, which are known allergens. Vacuuming slowly and methodically captures the most dust, whereas vacuuming quickly just raises the dust, which defeats the purpose. Vacuum slowly at least twice a week, and step outside to empty the vacuum cleaner bag or canister and avoid inhaling any dust as you do so. HS

Regional partner

© 2019 March of Dimes

5 Guarding our homes against allergens that negative impact breathing is the first step to having a healthy breathing space. / Courtesy photo

www.washingtoninformer.com / MARCH 2020 HEALTH WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT


Promoting Balanced Lifestyles America’s leading beverage companies all want the same thing - a strong, healthy America. That’s why the beverage industry, including The Coca-Cola Company, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo, are putting aside competitive differences and working together to support consumers’ efforts to balance what they eat, drink and do. Our companies have introduced more options with zero sugar or less sugar than ever before. We are expanding our offering of smaller portion sizes and we voluntarily removed full-calorie sodas from schools. This unprecedented effort slashed beverage calories in schools by more than 90%. We’re placing clear calorie labels on the front of every bottle and can we sell and we’ve added calorie awareness messages on millions of vending machines and fountains. Today, half of all beverages purchased have zero sugar. So, next time you go to your local grocer, take a look at the beverage aisle. You’ll see more low- and no- calorie beverages, many more flavored waters, and smaller package sizes such as mini-cans. America’s beverage companies are committed to working together to achieve real change in people’s lives. Together, we will continue our work to educate consumers about our beverages so they can chose what’s best for themselves and their families. Learn more at BalanceUS.org HS

America’s beverage companies are working together to bring you more choices with less sugar and smaller portion sizes. And we’re adding new signs to encourage you to consider these choices. See what else we’re doing at BALANCEUS.ORG.


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Making Sense of the Coronavirus By Lee Ross WI Staff Writer The World Health Organization reported the Coronavirus outbreak has 105,586 confirmed cases (3656 new) – with China registering 80,859 confirmed cases and 3,100 (27 new) deaths. With the U.S. confirming 164 cases and 11 reported deaths, across 19 states (including California, Maryland, and D.C.), health bodies, including the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health, are wading in to determine how best to treat those infected and halt the spread to healthy populations. This, as many Americans continue to debate the strength of outbreak claims and the potential seriousness of the virus. “How is the Coronavirus any different than the flu itself? It this something that is being blown out of proportion because of outside factors, politics, or even xenophobia? I do not trust the media reports, but I am also concerned that not taking precautions – in the event this is actually serious – could be deadly,” University of the District of Columbia senior Jordan McAllister told the Informer. “I feel like I need more information.” McAllister’s sentiments echoed across the nation’s capital, with many residents saying the news of contaminations had yet to hit the District and so they felt relatively safe. To that end, the rituals of socializing publicly and traveling had not altered. Others, like grocery store shelver Royce Bullock, said that they were taking serious steps to ward off the virus – as they would germs in general during cold and flu season. “I work in the public, I handle boxes, cans, jugs and store items that folks are picking up and putting back all day long. For me it’s like working with children where you have to assume that no one has washed their hands, everything has some type of bacteria on it, and you have to work accordingly,” Bullock said. He noted that he works with gloves on that start out white and by mid-shift have dust, oils, and indiscernible stains all over them. “I do not touch my face and I wash my hands for at least two minutes – soap, scrub with a brush under the nails, and up to the elbow, like

the doctors,” he said laughing. “My apron is placed in a bag before I leave the store and tossed into the washing machine at home immediately because I don’t want those germs spread to my car or inside my home.” The added precautions are necessary as health organizations continue to investigate the outbreak and work to develop suitable treatment protocol. In a February 28 CDC Telebriefing to update media on the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, described measures undertaken by CDC to identify and investigate those suspected of coming in contact with COVID-19. “At this point in our investigation, we are most focused on symptomatic people who are closely linked to confirmed cases or had travel history. But our criteria also allows for clinical discretion,” she said. “As public health professionals, we know that there is no substitute for the astute clinician on the frontlines of patient care.” Messonnier said during any infectious disease response there is a great need for test manufacturers to rapidly make testing available in clinics, in hospitals, and at the bedside for People Under Investigation (PUIs). “This is part of a huge effort within the U.S. government led by HHS,” Messonnier said. “CDC will continue to report case counts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Our priority continues to be getting accurate diagnostic capacity—and doing so quickly—because we know public health surveillance is critical to our fight against this novel coronavirus. To date, our strategies have been largely successful. As a result, we have very few cases in the United States. And while we may be confronting the first instance of community spread, we are working very hard with our state and local public health partners to find out more.” Naturopathic Doctor Dr. LaJoyce Brookshire told the Informer that being proactive against the Coronavirus will help keep Americans healthy when it arrives. “The CDC announced that it is not a matter of if the Coronavirus is coming to America with an epidem-

ic, but when, so we need to stay on the side of prevention. I need you to keep your hands clean with things like wintergreen alcohol and witch hazel – I like to make a mixture with peroxide so I can spray my hands and spray down surfaces,” Brookshire said. “What’s dangerous about the Coronavirus is that it lives on surfaces and that makes it especially dangerous.” Brookshire also advises that Americans boost their immunity by adhering to the lifestyle wisdom of elders that included listening to our bodies and resting as needed. “Go to bed, drink your green juices, drink plenty of water, eat healthy soups and fresh meals that you make at home so that you are able to stay on the side of wellness instead of trying to repair the body afterwards,” Brookshire said. HS

5 Forewarned, is forearmed in the case of the Coronavirus, which American health officials believe will impact the nation’s respiratory systems in coming weeks. / Photo courtesy of CDC

Tips to Avoiding Coronavirus WI Staff Report Courtesy of The World Health Organization


Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.


Maintain at least a 3-foot distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Why? When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.


Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.


Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.


Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority. Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

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Your Kids and Asthma By Lee Ross WI Staff Writer Asthma, a chronic lung disease, is accompanied by symptoms like wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. During an asthma attack, the sides of the airways swell, and the airways shrink, making it harder to breathe. Children suffering with asthma often experience fear and anxiety, along with the physical symptoms – especially when not with parents. Once considered rare, asthma is now a common disease in childhood with roughly 6 million children impacted in the U.S. alone. Respiratory therapist Fuanmbai Turay told the Informer that small children may be more sensitive to environmental triggers of asthma and therefore, parents should ensure they have an action plan for the child whether at school or at home. “Children naturally want to run and play or may have a favorite blanket or toy that they latch onto that has not been cleaned in years that trigger breathing difficulties – or full attacks,” Turay said. “The goal is to ensure

that children entering school are able to communicate their discomfort to teachers and other staff.” The American Lung Association advises that children with asthma need a bronchodilator (or rescue inhaler) – like Albuterol -- to treat coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath that occur with symptoms or an asthma attack. Rescue inhalers should be with asthmatic chidlren at all times for use at the first sign of symptoms. Some children may require an anti-inflammatory as well, to manage swelling of the bronchial tubes and prevent flare-ups. Turay said that as many young children and teens travel to school daily without a parent, it is important that they understand what environmental agents can trigger attacks. “Triggers can be almost anything, because all children are different. One client experienced breathing difficulty on morning commutes on public transportation when she encountered lots of perfumes, hair sprays, and deodorizers while on closed-in subway cars; another encountered dangers doing research surrounded by moldy

books in the stacks of a library,” Turay said. “When you also factor in things like second-hand cigarette smoke, pollen, pet dander, and abrupt changes in the weather, a child must be prepared to fight for their breath at any moment.” Asthma remains one of the leading causes of missed time from school and work. Severe asthma attacks may require emergency room visits or hospitalizations and can be fatal. And while asthma impacts children of all ethnic groups, Black children are 4 times more likely to be admitted to the hospital for asthma, compared to non-Hispanic white children. A study presented at the 2017 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) Annual Meeting called “Where Do Children with Asthma Die? A National Perspective from 2003 to 2014” addressed where and which demographics of children faced death related to asthma in the United States. The researchers used National Center for Health Statistics data to examine 2,571 pediatric asthma deaths between 2003 and 2014 and found that

No matter what pops up, getting care has never been easier


5 Knowing what triggers a child’s asthma attacks and ways of managing the condition are keys to better breathing in children. / Courtesy photo

the mortality rate among Black children was six times higher than among Hispanic or white children. “Deaths from asthma, especially among children, are sentinel events that can be avoided with timely interventions,” said Anna Chen Arroyo, MD, MPH, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and lead author of the study. “Studying the location of asthma deaths provides important insight that can help target efforts to prevent future deaths.” Turay stressed the importance of


teachers, school administrators, and childcare providers being made aware of a child’s asthma and ways to manage it in the absence of the parent. “I recommend parents have what is known as an Asthma Action Plan that lists known triggers, medications, and contact information for parents in case of an attack,” Turay said. “Some children are too young to recognize what is happening, while others may be under duress and unable to help themselves, so we all play a part in helping our children breathe better.” HS

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Recent & Recommended Books on Living with Breathing Ailments UNDERSTANDING ASTHMA

By Lee Ross WI Staff Writer Breathing troubles – whether attributed to environmental triggers, chronic conditions, or failing organs – impact millions of Americans daily. Always consult and follow the instructions of your physicians, and when in need of additional information, search it out. Here are a few recent and recommended books on living with breathing ailments that make a great start.

By Holly Duhig - Asthma is a very common condition among children and adults. In fact, a recent study found that 1 in 12 children had asthma. This informative book introduces readers to asthma symptoms, how it affects the body, and treatment in a clear, straightforward way. It simplifies complex medical concepts into age-appropriate text. Full-color photographs and fact boxes highlight important information. This accessible book is perfect for readers who are learning to care for their own asthma, or who have loved ones with asthma.


By LaJoyce Brookshire In this REMIX of the 2011 Edition, New York Times Bestselling-author Dr. LaJoyce Brookshire presents a stepby-step full-body detox in 7 easy steps with food and product suggestions, that will boost your immune system against viruses. Dr. Brookshire defines a detox as shortterm intervention designed to eliminate toxins from the body to promote health by creating the perfect conditions within to support the body do its job. So, if you constantly feel fatigued, experience frequent headaches, have lack of mental clarity, seasonal allergies, packing on excess pounds, and have sluggish eliminations ... then it is time to tune-up by initiating a detox.


Let’s share the goal of making a Healthy Community our #1 Priority.

By Dean E. Schraufnagel Breathing in America: Diseases, Progress, and Hope explores the nature and causes of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep disorders, their prevalence and burden, the benefits research has brought, and the research challenges that remain. Written for educated laypersons, the book presents basic facts about twenty-three different respiratory conditions, features a case study for each condition, and highlights the most promising areas of research.


Spread your message in The Washington Informer’s 2020 Health, Wellness and Nutrition Special Sections

Celebrating Nurses On the Front Line of Health Care Publication Date: May 14 Deadline: April 29 (National Nurses Week Observances)

Raising a Healthy Child Publication Date: August 13 Deadline: August 5

Holiday Health & Nutrition Publication Date: December 12 Deadline: December 4

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By Jonathan A. Bernstein, Louis-Philippe Boulet, Michael E. Wechsler Using illustrative case examples, this book thoroughly reviews similarities and differences between asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and the overlap syndrome. It is important to highlight the distinctions because these commonly encountered conditions in respiratory and primary care share many similarities but have important differences often mistaken for each other. This practical guide shows how to distinguish between the diseases on a pathological and clinical basis so that appropriate management and treatment may be pursued.


By The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Program CDC’s National Asthma Control Program plays a critical role in helping America breathe easier by learning more about asthma and how to control it. Four thousand people die each year from asthma-related causes, and asthmas is a contributing factor in another 7,000 deaths every year. In asthma, something – air pollution, allergens, exercise, stress, certain chemicals in the workplace – causes the airways of the lungs to narrow or become blocked, making it hard to breathe. HS

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SHIRE Wellness Circles Supporting Empowerment for Our Health and Well-Being One evening in March 2010, SHIRE representatives sat with 20 Ward 8 residents in a meeting room at Matthews Memorial Baptist Church. Everyone had diabetes, hypertension or another chronic illness. They wanted to know how to manage these conditions and how to prevent complications. They wanted to know about medications. They asked for information to equip them to take charge of their health. SHIRE listened and realized that they were talking about being as well as possible even with a chronic condition. They were transcending the concept of health, which traditionally has been the absence of disease. They were talking about wellness, which encompasses not only physical health but the totality of an individual – mind, body and spirit. It became crystal clear that our participants wanted to

learn how to be well even while living with a chronic condition and they needed tools and support to achieve that goal. SHIRE’s mission since 1997 has been to help eradicate health disparities, and aid African Americans and other people of color attain optimal health and well-being. Aware of the disproportionately high levels of diabetes (nearly 1 in 5 adults) and hypertension (nearly 2 in 5 adults) in Ward 8, we have implemented many programs involving youth and adults in southeast Washington. Our discussions in Ward 8 became a springboard. Wellness Circles became the vehicle to translate mission into action in a new way. With the nurturing of Canary Girardeau, SHIRE’s senior program associate, Wellness Circles took shape. First, we refined the message. We can be well while living

with diabetes, high blood pressure or any other condition if we do three things: First, we learn all we can about our condition so we can hold informed discussions with the health providers who serve us. Second, we make the lifestyle changes needed to manage, control and ideally improve or reverse the condition. Third, we empower ourselves to become our own best health advocates and coaches. Key to the achievement of these aims would be creating a “circle” of support from others experiencing similar challenges to encourage Wellness Circle participants to make changes that enhance wellness. Our next step was to develop Wellness Circles that supported participants in achieving these goals. We created a series of 6-8 sessions with these features: • Presentations by down-toearth experts on chronic con-



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ditions; healthy eating, wise shopping and food preparation; reducing stress; medications and their purpose. • Physical activity (e.g., chair exercises, yoga, Tai Chi) at each session. • Goal setting, participant interaction, testimonials • Healthful meals • Incentives, such as gift cards for each participant, door prizes, and prizes for setting healthy living goals and achieving them • Celebration and recognition ceremonies with awards for health improvement and attendance Key to the success of Wellness Circles are peer educators who recruit participants and stay in communication with their recruits to encourage sustained attendance. These SHIRE team members live in the neighborhoods where they recruit and are former Wellness

Circle participants. To date, with support from AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia and the Government of the District of Columbia SHIRE has engaged over 1,000 community residents. Documented results confirm the power and impact of Wellness Circles. In our last series for example, 81% reduced their blood pressure levels and similar results have been posted in previous series. Our vision is to see Wellness Circles for DC residents of all ages in every part of the city and we welcome partners who share our dream. For more information, please visit our website @ www.shireinc. org and contact SHIRE at rperot@ shirienc.org Authors: Ruth T. Perot, Canary Girardeau and Dawn Covin, Summit Health Institute for Research and Education, Inc. (SHIRE) HS

America’s beverage companies are working together to bring you more choices with less sugar and smaller portion sizes. And we’re adding new signs to encourage you to consider these choices. See what else we’re doing at BALANCEUS.ORG.


www.washingtoninformer.com / MARCH 2020 HEALTH WELLNESS & NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT


Profile for The Washington Informer

March 2020 Health Wellness and Nutrition Supplement