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Why do the holidays sometimes not bring the Christmas spirit, but rather bring sadness and even a feeling of depression? The holiday blues can happen for a number of reasons. We tend to expect something special around the holiday season, especially during Christmas time. This might be because since childhood we associate it with miracles and wish fulfilment. This is why we also tend to have very high expectations of these days. This can lead to a holiday blues, as these expectations are often unrealistic. We should try to remember that these are still ordinary days, despite the fact that for most they coincide with holidays. Thus, a person is expecting something special from an ordinary day, for example, he/she is not satisfied with the life he/she leads and hopes that everything will magically change overnight. We often treat the New Years and birthdays, especially anniversaries, as a kind of “deadline” for certain goals we have. It becomes difficult to keep up with them if these goals are unrealistic or abstract, such as “to take care of my physical and mental health”, “to have a professional career”, “to find harmony with myself.” It’s okay to have goals, but it’s very important to make them realistic. And it is also important not to forget to take notice of everything we have actually done and achieved during the year and not concentrate on what we wanted and could not do.On the other hand, social media contributes to the development of unrealistic expectations. Seeing how everyone boasts that they have been very productive all year and have achieved all their goals can negatively affect the mood. All of this can result in feelings of worthlessness, frustration, and eventually lead to holiday blues. One should remember that social media do not represent reality and, what seems ideal, is most likely far from being so. Let’s also remember that in real life, if a friend makes us feel bad, we will usually try to avoid any contact with him/her. Likewise, if we feel bad about some of our subscriptions, we can simply unfollow these people. Additional stress is generated by new burdens added to those we already had: deadlines at work, organisation of parties and vacation planning, alterations in diet and sleep schedule, gifts purchasing… If the latter is added to the already existing financial problems, it can become a real problem. And if we have to spend the holidays in isolation due to COVID or simply because it was impossible to reunite with our family and friends, we can feel alone and depressed, while the media show a reality of jovial holidays that are very different to ours.Let’s remember that holiday are just a couple of days. Don’t be overwhelmed planning the perfect parties with the perfect food, gifts and decorations, but rather think about what is truly important to you these days.
How to consume alcohol?
Some people say that alcoholic beverages with different degrees of alcohol should not be mixed when consumed, otherwise the hangover will be worse. On the eve of the holidays we explain why that is not true and how to consume alcohol to minimise its negative effects on the body. Of course, to minimise the harmful effects of alcohol, it is best not to consume it at all, but if you choose to drink during these holidays, the following information may be helpful for you to feel better and to have more fun. First, the degree of hangover depends on whether a person drinks on an empty or full stomach. Alcohol consumed during lunch or dinner will not bring an intoxication and/or hangover as strong as the same quantity of alcohol consumed on an empty stomach. It is also important to drink plenty of water to reduce the negative effects of alcohol. But it is important to note that water is not the same as soda. Carbonated soft drinks cause a faster absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, so alcohol intoxication takes place more quickly. On the other hand, it is the amount of alcohol consumed that affects the degree of hangover, and not the mixing of drinks with different degrees of alcohol. A person who starts out with a lighter alcohol, such as wine or beer, is more likely to drink less quantity of strong alcohol later compared to a person who starts out with a strong alcohol from the first drink. This is because a person tends to consume more quantity of strong alcohol before feeling drunk than a person who has already had a beer and feels a bit drunk when they start consuming strong alcohol. For example, a person who has four drinks of tequila and then a beer wakes up the next day with more hangover than a person who first drank a beer and then only had two drinks of tequila to feel more drunk. As for the exact amount recommended by health professionals, it is not to exceed 40 g of alcohol per evening for a healthy man and 30 g for a healthy woman. The calculation of the grams of alcohol is made by multiplying the degrees of the drink by the millilitres consumed, and then dividing by 100. For example, 1 litre of beer with 5.5º of alcohol is (5.5º x 1000 ml) / 100 = 55 grams of alcohol. Don’t rush to drink too much alcohol all at once if you don’t feel drunk enough. Give it time to affect your body, otherwise you may feel a sudden and very strong intoxication, which you will no longer be able to control and hence enjoy the party.
Responding to questions about the pandemic
The strategy against COVID-19 involves vaccination, personal protection measures (such as wearing face masks, ventilation, hand washing and safety distancing) and epidemiological control of cases and contacts. Not only in developed countries, but worldwide. The pandemic is not over yet, so we are asking our GP, Dr. Celedonio Perea Marcos, some questions related to the pandemic. How long does the vaccine can protect us for, for 6 months or for a year? The vaccine currently provides only partial immunity and is not “sterilising”, and the infection is possible, although somewhat less likely with the same exposure, and transmission as well. It is not known how long it protects for exactly, but it is known that the level of antibodies decreases over time. Despite that, cell-based immunity persists. Should everyone get revaccinated, or only those who no longer have antibodies? The amount of antibodies in blood is not the determining factor. The need for the third dose of the vaccine is primarily advised to those who belong in the following risk groups: Those older than 70 years of age, provided that six months have passed since the vaccination was completed. Later it will be extended to other age groups.Health and social health staff members.Population vaccinated with the Janssen single dose.Patients with solid organ transplants and hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT).People on anti-CD20 drugs.Oncohematological disease and solid organ cancers.All primary immunodeficiencies, excluding IgA deficiency and antibody production defect.Very high risk patients on certain immunosuppressive treatment.People with renal replacement therapy (hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis).Cystic fibrosis.Down syndrome with 40 or more years of age.People residing in retirement homes, given their profile of frailty, multiple pathologies and closed environments. Why is the number of cases rising if the majority of the population is already vaccinated? The vaccine protects against becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID-19, greatly affecting the morbidity and mortality rates of the disease, and only slightly affecting the transmission rate. That means personal protection measures remain crucial, and further restrictions may become necessary. Personal protection measures are currently being relaxed in Spain. Correct epidemiological control of cases and contacts during the pandemic is also essential (easier to do when the incidence is low). What do we know about Pfizer COVID-19 medicine? The pharmaceutical company Pfizer has obtained an experimental drug designed to prevent the virus from making copies of itself and invading the infected organism, representing a very promising step in treating the coronavirus, as it is capable of reducing the risk of hospitalisation and death by almost 90% among those who got infected. In line with the new Omicron variant, which has just been detected in South Africa, it must be said that we still cannot know the extent of its severity, and that it is very important that vaccination advances worldwide, together with personal protection measures and community epidemiological control, because it is the only way to prevent potentially more dangerous new variants.
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