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Dec - Jan 2021

Take Charge of Your Healthcare by Becoming Your Own Advocate

Looking back on the year 2020, one can't help but acknowledge the stark differences from the beginning of the year to the present. Individuals with chronic illnesses have likely faced unprecedented situations and overcome obstacles never before thought possible. The COVID-19 pandemic started as a whisper with barely a mention in the news, then very quickly ravaged our country and our world. To date, the virus has infected more than 38 million people and taken more than one million lives globally.… 
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Protecting Mental Health When Dealing with Chronic Illness

More than 45 million Americans are living with a mental illness. As one of the most common causes of disability, it is important to address what causes mental illness and how to manage it. This is especially true for those with a chronic illness, which increases the chances of developing a mental illness such as depression and anxiety. Indeed, the connection between physical health and mental health is significant, which is another reason proper mental healthcare is important when also battling a chronic illness.…  full article (pdf)

COVID-19 Mask Facts and Best Practices

Face masks are the new norm. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is calling on Americans to wear face masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and face masks are now mandated at indoor public spaces, as well as outdoor public spaces where social distancing of six feet is not possible, in 30 U.S. states (with exceptions for certain ages and conditions). Yet, the fashioning of face masks began in mid-March when the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers made headlines — far before CDC's recommendation. Feeling the need to do their part to help essential workers fight the pandemic and keep themselves, their friends and families safe, people began making face masks at home, often creating their own patterns with elaborate designs and some with size adjustments. And that was just the beginning. As of this writing, some 15 major retailers, including Old Navy, Disney and Anthropologie, have debuted their own lines of stylish masks. But, while face masks are a part of today's wardrobe, do they all meet the criteria to qualify as PPE? And, are individuals properly donning them to ensure they are protective against the coronavirus?…  full article (pdf)

Understanding Cytopenias in Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases

In general, primary immunodeficiency diseases (PIs) are characterized by dysfunctions of the immune system that result in undue susceptibility to infections. The majority of PIs involve some form of antibody deficiency. In the past, it was believed immunodeficiency was a consequence of decreased immune function and autoimmunity was essentially the opposite caused by overactive immune function. However, as the specific genes involved have been identified, it is now recognized that mutations in the same gene can result in immunodeficiency in some persons, autoimmunity in others and immunodeficiency and autoimmunity in the same individual. Therefore, with certain gene mutations, antibody deficiency and cytopenias may occur together due to altered gene function. Hence, these are not mere "low immunity" and "high immunity" situations.… full article (pdf)