The Whitworths of Arizona, bringing science to you in everyday language.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Recovering from Covid, Pt. 2

Last week’s blog was about using activity and posture to assist you or your loved one to recover from a bout of Covid.  It and this week’s blog are based on a list about “fighting Covid at home” that was circulated online by a woman who was sent home from the hospital to recover. It is important to note here that these blogs are NOT about preventing Covid, but about assisting the recovery after it been identified and treated. This week’s blog is about diet and nutrition. As I did last week, I have crossed out those items unsupported by science and added my own comments in italics.
  • Eat at least 1 - 2 eggs a day, plus bananas, avocado and asparagus. These are good for potassium.  (Good foods to eat anytime. While potassium does not prevent infection, it does promote recovery.)
  • Do not drink anything cold - have it at room temperature or warm it up. (There is a notion that cold water may cause lungs to become scarred. There is no evidence to support this claim.)
  • Do drink lots of fluids. Water with lemon, and little honey, peppermint tea, apple cider are good suggestions for getting in fluids. (Staying hydrated is important for maintaining good health and for supporting your immune system.)
  • No milk products. (Milk products are good sources of nutrition. Although once thought to create more phlegm in the lungs, they do not.  They do make existing phlegm thicker and more irritating, in which case they are best avoided just until the phlegm goes away.)
  • Drink a smoothie of blueberries, strawberries, bananas, honey, tea and a spoon or two of peanut butter. (Antioxidants, a natural sweet and a little protein--all healthy foods that will help to boost immunity. Use green tea for an even greater immune boost.)
The doctor also recommended the following supplements and drugs. Brand names are shown but you can buy generics for most of these items and they will usually be just as good--and much less expensive! Be sure to check with your doctor before using any of them. Normally you might not do this for yourself, but if you are already recovering from Covid, you and your doctor need to be on the same page. Don’t take anything that hasn’t been approved. And of course, Covid or not, check with your loved one’s doctor giving them to your loved one.
  • Sports drinks with electrolytes (Pedialyte, Gatorade Zero, Powerade Zero) to prevent you from becoming dehydrated. (Electrolytes help your immune system recover from Covid but drinking them will not prevent it.)
  • Vitamin’s D3, C, B, Zinc, Probiotic One-Day are good ideas. (As above, these all support your immune system as you recover from Covid but they will not prevent it.)
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) for fever. (An old favorite and fairly safe, used sparingly.)
  • Guaifenesin (Mucinex) for drainage, plus helps the cough. (Avoid giving your loved one those with additional ingredients such as Mucinex DM. They can cause problems with LBD.)
  • Famotidine (Pepcid) helps for cramps in your legs. (This is an antiacid used to treat heartburn and is unsupported by research for use with leg cramps. Try drinking more water!)
  • One baby aspirin everyday can help prevent getting a blood clot, which can occur from low activity. (While there is evidence that Covid patients clot more easily, evidence for use in milder cases is lacking. Ask your doctor if you need this.)
The bottom line is, stay active, stay hydrated and eat healthy with a focus on potassium-rich foods (not supplements, which aren't very helpful), antioxidant-rich foods and supplements that support your immune system. I hope this helps you, your loved one or someone you know.

For more information about Lewy body disorders, read our books:
A Caregivers’ Guide to Lewy Body Dementia
Managing Cognitive Issues in Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia
Responsive Dementia Care: Fewer Behaviors Fewer Drugs
Lewy Body Dementia: A Manual for Staff

Helen and James Whitworth are not doctors, lawyers or social workers. As informed caregivers, they share the information here for educational purposes only. It should never be used instead of a professional's advice.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Recovering from Covid, Pt 1

We all know our loved ones are often better off at home than in a hospital where the staff may not know how to treat their LBD-related symptoms safely. This does not mean you should try to treat your loved one’s Covid at home without a doctor’s guidance or that you should avoid using hospitalization when needed. However, with hospitals as crowded as they are, doctors are often encouraging home care and you may be faced with this task. If you are dealing with Covid yourself, you may also be dealing with it at home. The same goes for you as for your loved one. Don't try to treat yourself at home without a doctor's guidance.  Of course, if you have Covid  someone else needs to care for your loved one until you aren't contagious. (Yes, I know. This is often a difficult thing to make happen but it is still critical.)

The following list about "fighting Covid at home" has been circulating online and it's likely you've already seen it. A woman who had Covid and was being discharged from the hospital to finish recovering asked what she could do to fight the virus at home. Her doctor gave her this list. I liked the concept but decided I should check it out a bit before I passed it on. I found that there are several issues with it. I've left but crossed out the items that aren't supported by science and added comments in italics.

Your loved one may not be able to do some of even the more helpful  things or may need your help. But first, let me reiterate, this is for someone who has been treated for Covid and sent home to recover—not someone who is trying to avoid Covid.
  • Sleep on your stomach to give your lungs more room to work and prevent fluid from setting in.(No evidence that this benefits (or harms) a person who does not already require ventilation. And if you are that sick, you need to be in a hospital!)
  • Set your alarm for every two hours, then get out of bed and walk for 15-30 min, no matter how tired or weak that you are. (Getting adequate sleep is also important. Most seniors need to get up several times a night anyway. Instead of setting an alarm, use these times to do some extra walking. However, if that little bit of exercise tires you out or makes you feel winded, it can be a sign that pneumonia may be developing. Call the doctor!)
  • Breathe in thru your nose, and out thru your mouth. This will help build up your lungs, plus help get rid of excess fluid in your lungs. (Only important if you were sent home from the hospital recovering from Covid-related pneumonia.)
  • Move your arms around frequently, it helps to open your lungs. (However, it is important not to overdo. Exercise only as much as you can do without feeling out of breath.)
  • While watching TV - get up and walk during every commercial. (As above, exercise is good as long as it doesn’t tire you out or cause shortness of breath.)
  • When sitting in a recliner, sit up straight. (This helps your lungs work better.)
Next week's blog will finish this with some suggestions for diet and nutrition. Bottom line for this segment is to keep active without overdoing and use your posture to help your lungs function as well as they can.

Two other things: 1. In view of how much of the original online post was not scientifically supported or incomplete , check out what you read, especially online, before you accept it as fact! 2. Remember that this is about  how to help your body (or your loved one's body) recover once Covid has been identified and treated, not how to avoid it!

For more information about Lewy body disorders, read our books:
A Caregivers’ Guide to Lewy Body Dementia
Managing Cognitive Issues in Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia
Responsive Dementia Care: Fewer Behaviors Fewer Drugs
Lewy Body Dementia: A Manual for Staff

Helen and James Whitworth are not doctors, lawyers or social workers. As informed caregivers, they share the information here for educational purposes only. It should never be used instead of a professional's advice.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Forgiveness

This week I've invited Pat Snyder talk to us about forgiveness. This is a great subject to discuss right now when we are both so distant from so many of our loved one and so crowded up together with those with whom we live day in and day out. With this added stress, anger, blame and other negative emotions get closer to the surface. But expressing them hurts you a lot more than it does the person you are mad at. Let them go! Yes, I know, easy to say! But Pat makes it quite doable.

Here is her 11.5 minute video: Forgiveness 

Take what she tells you and use it! You will feel a lot better, I'm sure. I know I do when I let go and forgive.

We are taking a holiday break and so my next blog won't be until January 8, 2021. Merry Christmas and a Welcome New Year! 

For more information about Lewy body disorders, read our books:
A Caregivers’ Guide to Lewy Body Dementia
Managing Cognitive Issues in Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia
Responsive Dementia Care: Fewer Behaviors Fewer Drugs
Lewy Body Dementia: A Manual for Staff

Helen and James Whitworth are not doctors, lawyers or social workers. As informed caregivers, they share the information here for educational purposes only. It should never be used instead of a professional's advice.

Friday, December 11, 2020

How Serious is Covid-19?

This isn’t an LBD related issue, but in a way it is. We are all likely either at risk or closely connected to someone who is at risk for Covid-19. Just how serious is it? I thought you might like to see what I found out about some myths I’ve been hearing about Covid-19.

Myth: Repeated testing inflates the numbers. Truth: Each person has an ID and is counted only once no matter how many tests they take. (This is one I did wonder about, what with so many people getting tested and retested regularly.)

Myth: Only seniors are at risk. Truth: The 50,000 Covid deaths of people under 65 is 18.5% of the total number of 270,000 deaths!

  • Covid-19 has surpassed opioid overdoses as leading cause of death for ages 25-44. (This one surprised me!)
  • Anyone with an underlying health condition such as obesity, heart disease, cancer or diabetes is also at risk. (This group makes up 40% of our population. I'm in it. Are you?)
  • Asymptomatic younger people can pass the virus on to those who are at risk. (Like my daughter who lives with 2 ninety year-olds. Or many of you who live with, or want to visit, a loved one with LBD.)
Myth: Hospitals inflate Covid death numbers to get more money. Truth: Hospitals may receive money for Covid deaths, but doctors don’t and they are the ones that do the certifying. (Yes, hospitals get money but the cost per patient is more than they receive and so the hospitals really want this to go away! In addition, they only have limited staff. Here in Arizona, that is becoming a major issue.)

Myth: The 270,000 Covid deaths is very small compared to the total US population. Truth: True, something like .03%. But compared to other death tolls, it is one of the worst.

  • Wars:
    • Vietnam War: 58,000
    • Korean War: 37,000
    • World War II: 405,000
    • World War I: 116,000
    • Civil War: 600,000 to 850,000
  • Pandemics:
    • 2009 H1N1: 12,469
    • 1968 flu: 100,000
    • 1957-58 flu: 116,000
    • 1918 flu: 675,000
    • Covid-19 to date: 270,000 with 450,000 predicted

Myth: The virus is going to do what it is going to do. Protect the vulnerable and let everyone else get on with their lives. Truth: The “vulnerable” are all around us, but there is a lot we can do to stop the spread.

  • Since about 40% of Americans are in the at-risk group, even those who are not at risk are probably in close contact with someone who is.
  • We know that it is a respiratory disease that mainly infects via breathing, thus masks and social distancing provide protection.
And so, bottom line, stay home as much as possible, wear your mask and do social distancing when you go out. Use the computer and phone to keep in contact with your loved ones! And lets all pray that a vaccine comes quickly and works well!

References: Nicole Carroll, Why Do People Deny the Seriousness of Covid-19? USA TODAY, with number updates from the John Hopkins University. Friday, December 4, 2020,

 Gillian Brockell, 250,000 Lives Lost: How the Pandemic Compares to Other Deadly Events in U.S. History. The Washington Post, November 19, 2020.

For more information about Lewy body disorders, read our books:
A Caregivers’ Guide to Lewy Body Dementia, Ed. 2
Managing Cognitive Issues in Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia
Responsive Dementia Care: Fewer Behaviors Fewer Drugs
Lewy Body Dementia: A Manual for Staff

Helen and James Whitworth are not doctors, lawyers or social workers. As informed caregivers, they share the information here for educational purposes only. It should never be used instead of a professional's advice.

Friday, December 4, 2020

A Manual For Staff

Last week's blog was about our latest book, A Caregiver's Guide to Lewy Body Dementia, 2nd Ed. This week, I want to tell you a little about another book we worked on last year, Lewy Body Dementia: A Manual for Staff. 


It has much of the same up-to-date information in it as the new Guide, but it is written for your helpers and for facility care staff. It makes a wonderful gift for anyone who is helping you care for your loved one. You can find in on Amazon in print or eBook.  You can also buy it as a part of a set on our LBDtools.com website.

When you get the set, you also get a copy of our new Guide, and a copy of Responsive Dementia Care, which focuses on dealing with these frustrating behaviors. If you buy the Quad set, this includes the book that focuses more on early symptoms, Dealing with Cognitive Issues of Parkinson's & Lewy Body Dementia. While the information in these books overlap at times, each focuses on separate issues and all are helpful.

Of course, there are many other helpful books available besides those we've written. In January, we'll review several of them here.

For more information about Lewy body disorders, read our books:
A Caregivers’ Guide to Lewy Body Dementia
Managing Cognitive Issues in Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia
Responsive Dementia Care: Fewer Behaviors Fewer Drugs
Lewy Body Dementia: A Manual for Staff

Helen and James Whitworth are not doctors, lawyers or social workers. As informed caregivers, they share the information here for educational purposes only. It should never be used instead of a professional's advice.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Our Latest Book is Out!


Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is coming soon. We have the perfect gift for your helpers and family members who want to know more about LBD. 

A Caregiver’s Guide to Lewy Body Dementia, first published in 2010, has been called the LBD caregiver’s Bible, or Go-To-Book for years. And now there’s a 2nd Edition, with the newest facts as well as more information. For example, we’ve learned more about non-drug management of behaviors since the first book was written and this edition shows that. One of the complaints about the first edition was that the resource section was lacking. The resource section in this one is robust! Readers of our other books will recognize our easy-to-read but informative style using personal stories to illustrate well-researched facts.

Springer, our publisher, is offering our readers a great introductory deal, good only for two weeks, starting today. Go to the Springer website and use the code  WHITWORTH20 for a 20% discount and free shipping in the continental US. There's no limit on the number of orders you can do. Therefore, in addition to the book or books your order for yourself, you can make separate orders and have Springer send books directly to distant relatives or friends. A great way to cross off some of the people on your Christmas list!

The book sells for full price on Amazon, with free shipping only if you are an Amazon Prime member. Be sure to check that you aren't buying from a 3rd person seller. The first edition is out there all over and if you get it instead of the 2nd, you may be stuck with it. Amazon is also offering a digital version but it costs almost as much as the paperback! I wouldn't bother unless you especially love digital books!

We found a few other places online that offer the book, but we'd recommend staying with Springer or Amazon where you have a better idea of what you are getting.

For more information about Lewy body disorders, read our books:
A Caregivers’ Guide to Lewy Body Dementia
Managing Cognitive Issues in Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia
Responsive Dementia Care: Fewer Behaviors Fewer Drugs
Lewy Body Dementia: A Manual for Staff

Helen and James Whitworth are not doctors, lawyers or social workers. As informed caregivers, they share the information here for educational purposes only. It should never be used instead of a professional's advice.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving. It won’t seem like it for us…and for many of you, I’m sure, because we won’t be having any big family get-togethers.

But we still have so much to be thankful for:

Our heath. As most seniors, we have our issues, but for the most part, we are doing very well. And in Arizona, we have good health care. We’ve learned to use telehealth and email for some of our doctor visits and I suspect that won’t change when things get back to “normal.”

Our home. We are so grateful to have a comfortable home in which to ‘”shelter in place.” We have stopped traveling to the PNW in the summer and so we appreciate our home even more now.

Our family: We don’t get to see them as often, especially now that we don’t travel, but we know they are there and they keep in touch with us.

Our finances: We aren’t rich but as retired seniors, we haven’t lost our jobs and we can pay our bills.

Our friends: We feel so fortunate to live in a small community where we can gather with a few friends albeit, at an acceptable distance, but still face to face (or mask to mask!).

Our readers: Of this blog, our website and especially our books. You keep us active and involved!

What is on your list? It is likely different from ours but similar too. We hope you are taking care of yourselves, getting the help and respite you need and staying in contact with family and friends, digitally if not in person.

We have one last thing for which we are thankful:

Our most recent book has just been published: A Caregivers Guide to Lewy Body Dementia, 2nd Edition. Next week’s blog will be all about it and the special offer that our publisher is offering just in time for Christmas presents.

For information about Lewy body disorders, read our books:
A Caregivers’ Guide to Lewy Body Dementia
Managing Cognitive Issues in Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia
Responsive Dementia Care: Fewer Behaviors Fewer Drugs
Lewy Body Dementia: A Manual for Staff

Helen and James Whitworth are not doctors, lawyers or social workers. As informed caregivers, they share the information here for educational purposes only. It should never be used instead of a professional's advice.