A month has passed since the state of alarm for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus was decreed in Spain and, with it, the prohibition to go out without just cause. This time of confinement has meant a radical change in habits that is beginning to show in the body. These are the most common symptoms that can be experienced during such a long isolation, their origin and what must be done to alleviate them.
A headache that starts in the jaw
As Manuel Míguez, dentist and president of the Spanish Society of Dental Sleep Medicine, explains, “this crisis is causing stress and anxiety, which favors the onset of sleep-disordered breathing that could lead to greater dental clenching and the onset or aggravation of cases of bruxism, a problem that causes discomfort in the jaw, neck, headache ,breakage of dental pieces … “The best way to combat it is to wear a splint at night, so those who have it should not stop putting it on. For those who do not have this element, the recommendation is to reduce stress by maintaining schedules and good sleep habits as much as possible, and try to sleep on your back or on your side, as these are the positions in which the muscles of the face are more relaxed. To combat daytime bruxism, which also exists, the dentist recommends ” put reminders around the house [sticking a poster in the workplace, for example] to remind us that we have to keep our mouth muscles relaxed. ”
Míguez takes the opportunity to point out that if one has swollen gums, it is very likely that they have neglected dental hygiene. “The anxiety of these days has caused many to eat more than they should and, quite possibly, harmful food for the teeth, with excess flour and sugar,” he explains. To solve this problem it is vital to maintain good dental hygiene , scrubbing your teeth scrupulously after the main meals of the day.
From irritations to dermatitis
“A month ago, cases of hand and forearm irritations associated with frequent hand washing were common. However, outbreaks of dermatitis are now more common , ” says dermatologist at the San Francisco de Asís hospital, Esther Castaño. And he adds: “If the skin of the hands or forearms continues to bother, the solution is to apply moisturizing creams with silicone, which are fixed to the skin and resist water drag.” Some people have also noticed dry skin, something Castaño explains that “it was mainly due to heating; this dryness will disappear when the heat arrives and the radiators are turned off.”
It was not difficult to foresee both circumstances, but the increase in dandruff is something else. The cases are now more common because with the stress of the situation, many have experienced seborrheic dermatitis outbreaks that mainly cause itching and dandruff ( a problem that can be of two types ). “It can also manifest itself in reddening of the cheeks, nostrils, eyelids …”, says the expert. As for the treatment, he believes that “it is very possible that the anti-dandruff shampoo falls short [it only works in very mild cases] and that a treatment shampoo prescribed by a dermatologist is necessary.”
When the movement of internal traffic is also limited
“The digestive system is very susceptible to the changes we make in our daily life,” recalls Federico Argüelles Arias, president of the Spanish Foundation for the Digestive System (FEAD). The stress or nervousness to which we are currently subjected, added to the lack of movement and a dietsometimes poorly cared for, it may have produced alterations in our digestive tract, especially in people who previously suffered from these problems. “One of the most common symptoms these days is constipation, which is usually accompanied by hemorrhoids and even abdominal pain or bloating,” explains Argüelles Arias. The solution? “Eating a varied diet so that our digestive tract works properly, avoiding tobacco and excess alcohol, and doing some exercise no matter how small the place where we are confined,” he stresses. As a publication develops recent FEAD study, “it is essential to take at least two servings of vegetables a day, about three pieces of fruit daily, and four to six servings of cereals or derivatives, in the form of breakfast cereals, bread, pasta or rice, preferably whole grain or enriched with wheat bran, due to its greater contribution of fiber. ”
The same advice works to prevent heavy digestions, heartburn, regurgitation, gastroesophageal reflux and meteorism, which the expert links to “lack of activity, eating unhealthy meals and having different hours than usual.”
Why am I not sleepy, doctor?
To be late in catching the dream, to suffer insomnia , to misadjust the schedules of going to bed and waking up… This way one enters a vicious circle, or, rather, a spiral that turns until leading the body to a patent lack of energy. To get out of this situation, the coordinator of the MIP Salud Madrid Sleep unit, Óscar Larrosa, ensures that the biological clock should be synchronized with stimuli such as light, which is associated with activity, and darkness, which calls sleep. “It helps a lot to be exposed to very bright and intense light in the morning; if possible they come from natural sources, open windows, blinds, go out to the patio, to the balcony…. When going to sleep you have to do the opposite: favor the use of warm and dim lights. It is also important to follow a meal schedule and try not to dine too late. ”
Anguished dreams and nightmares have also increased due to the situation we are experiencing. “To stop them, it is important to avoid doing physical and mental activity at night,” explains the expert. Reading news about the coronavirus at the last minute will make it difficult to sleep, not only because its content will increase the level of anxiety, but also because the lights emitted by electronic devices alter biological rhythms, according to the neurophysiologist: “That is why it is recommended to put filters at night to reduce the intensity of the light from these devices and try not to look at screens an hour before going to sleep, much less to read news or work. ”
How to end back and knee pain
Spending many hours sitting can cause low back pain, especially if these hours of inactivity are spent on the couch. According to Silvia Parra, physiotherapist and director of the Princess Clinic, “when you are on the sofa, your knees do not form a right angle with your hips, but rather they are located above, which increases the risk of low back pain.” And after thirty days adopting this pose for many hours, pain can pass from the lower back to other parts of the back. The solution is simple: move around and, whenever possible, use seats that promote good posture.
The knees are also not free from pain ; spending all day in sneakers at home can end up causing discomfort in the joints of the lower extremities, especially if the footwear does not have the proper reinforcements. “It is advisable to take advantage of the confinement to walk barefoot; in this way the muscles of the feet are stimulated and a correct footfall is favored,” says Parra. In addition, “people who use templates should put them on these days when they are going to spend a lot of time standing in a static position, such as when cooking,” he adds.
Sitting for hours is also detrimental to the ankles, as this posture produces shortening of the posterior muscles. “The solution (in addition to trying to sit less time) is to perform calf stretching exercises every day,” advises the physical therapist. Pain and heaviness in the legs may also be due to a worsening of local circulation. “When you spend a lot of time idle, circulation worsens.” The solution is, once again, to move.
Why do I feel like I have grit in my eyes?
Before the pandemic, 2 out of 10 people worked at home; now 6 out of 10 do, and the vast majority need a screen for it. “Teleworkers spend between 8 and 11 hours looking at the computer, mobile, tablet … But not only do those who work watch the screens, but also those who have fun watching series, or asking for purchases, or making video calls to their loved ones ” , explains optometrist Jorge Rodríguez Fabuel, manager of Gran Óptica. “When I ask my clients how many hours they spend in front of a screen these days they tell me that it would be easier to tell me how many hours they don’t,” he adds. This new normality has increased visual fatigue and associated eye discomfortto it as itching, the feeling of having grit in the eyes or dry eyes, mainly due to the lack of blinking. “Vision problems also frequently cause headaches and neck pain,” says the expert.
To make matters worse, vision can worsen during the period of confinement. “Our eyes are designed to see long distances. We see worse because we spend many hours looking in the short shot and, furthermore, because the high-energy light emitted by the screens, added to the brightness and reflections they project, also affects very negatively to our vision, “says the optometrist. “To alleviate the ocular effects of an excess of screens it is recommended to follow the rule of 20-20-20:every 20 minutes look for 20 seconds at an object that is 20 steps (about 6 meters) or more. To combat reflections, glare and blue-violet light, it is best to use lenses with a specific filter for these emissions. Another option is to reduce the light intensity of the screens, use the night filters that these devices have to limit the emission of high intensity harmful light and not use them in the dark: it is always better to turn on an ambient light to look at a screen ” If vision problems persist or get worse, it is advisable to have a visual check in the optics when the confinement is finished, since it is possible that the graduation we had was not adequate for the current demands of focus: “In these cases,