Taking care of the heart: what you should and what you should not

Taking care of the heart is easy: good nutrition and regular physical activity are two powerful medicines to keep an organ healthy that beats millions of times throughout life, but suffers a lot from cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes , smoking, stress, sedentary lifestyle …

take care of heart

On the occasion of World Heart Day, on September 29, cardiologists recall that the ailments associated with their malfunction, cardiovascular, are the leading cause of death in the world, ahead of cancer and respiratory diseases.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), deaths amount to 17.5 million a year in the world.

The organization itself highlights that 80% of premature heart attacks and strokes are preventable.

The worst thing is that these ailments may not appear until the disease is very advanced.

Chest pain, shortness of breath or a feeling of suffocation or fatigue, loss of consciousness or dizziness, palpitations … indicate that something is wrong.

The good news, they explain from the Spanish Heart Foundation is that  we have tools to take care of the heart and win the battle, starting with ourselves .

Gregorio Varela, professor of Nutrition at CEU-San Pablo University and president of the Spanish Nutrition Foundation,  explained to EFESalud that 70% of the causes for which you can have a cardiovascular problem are known.

Of this 70 percent of known factors, other than genetics, almost 60% correspond to diet and lifestyles.

This means that if a classification is made of known pathologies and factors that can influence their prevention or the opposite, “cardiovascular diseases in that sense are privileged”.

Of these, the influence of dietary factors and lifestyles is better known and therefore it is possible to intervene.

“Compared with other prevalent pathologies such as cancer or neurodegenerative ones, they are light years away in terms of knowing the role that diet and lifestyles play in the development of these pathologies.”

Healthy nutrition

It is one of the pillars of cardiovascular prevention because through what we eat we can improve our cardiovascular health.

And on the contrary: we can also  harm it if we choose unhealthy products , high in saturated fat, sugar or salt. Therefore, it is important to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks and juices, remembering that the most recommended option is water.

You also have to avoid sweets and replace them with fresh fruits. This way, you will be closer to meeting the recommendation of eating five servings of fruit and vegetables a day.

Another tip is to  limit your consumption of processed and packaged foods , as they are often high in salt, sugar, and fat.

And don’t forget to include fish, legumes and nuts in your diet, the latter in small amounts.

take care of heart
PHOTO EFE / Sáshenka Gutiérrez

Around with the fats

Gregorio Varela explains  that until a few years ago they only talked about the total amount of fat that should be ingested, and it was said that 30% of the total calories ingested should not be exceeded.

But when it was possible to quantify and analyze the type of fat in food, that is when it began to talk about saturated fatty acids ,  polyunsaturated and monounsaturated .

“Those who have normally been the bad guys in the movie , in quotes, are saturated fats, and I say they have been because now it is not possible to simplify and say that all saturated fats are bad and let’s banish them.”

“We are learning that some saturated fatty acids in certain foods, such as dairy, can have beneficial properties.”

As a whole, the nutritionist warns, saturated fats would be the most harmful from the point of view of cardiovascular health and should not account for more than 8 or 10% of the total kilocalories we eat each day.

These fats are found in foods of animal origin, red meat or processed meats such as cold cuts.

But it must be remembered that there are saturated fats of vegetable origin, “not so visible” and they are those that are found in foods processed with coconut or palm oil and that have been used more for industrial pastries or ready-to-eat foods .

“Although it is true that a significant effort has been made to reduce as much as possible the incorporation of these saturated fats in industrial processes.”

The  monounsaturated  are, without a doubt, the main food source in the Spanish diet, with olive oil at the fore.

“Taking into account that this food is accompanied by vitamin E, which is an antioxidant, and also the famous polyphenols, olive oil should be present in 20% of the total energy we consume each day.”

And although we have a good proportion, he warns, we did not reach what would be recommended, but we are better than other countries.

Finally fatty acids are polyunsaturated , two families: Omega – 6 and Omega 3.

The first is mostly in seed oils, like sunflower or corn.

Long-chain omega 3s are present in few foods, mainly oily fish: sardines, mackerel, salmon, horse mackerel …

Also in nuts, but to a lesser extent, and in some types of meat.

“Of these we should be taking around 6%, and we take a little more than indicated from the Omega 6 family, but we fall short in Omega 3”.

Physical activity

Along with healthy eating, exercise stands out as the other element in the equation to take care of your heart, have a better general and cardiovascular health in particular.

By engaging in  at least 30 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity five times a week , or at least 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity spread throughout the week, you will be bringing your heart to life.

That is why it is a good idea to increase your physical activity every day, because everything counts: take the stairs at home instead of taking the elevator and go to work on foot or by bike instead of using the car.

In case you have to isolate yourself due to current circumstances as a preventive measure, you can follow virtual classes with exercises from home. The important thing is to keep moving and active.

In a round table organized by the Spanish Heart Foundation , the  cardiologist Amelia Carro, explains which are some components that are altered with physical inactivity.

Cardiorespiratory component:  the coronary arteries are altered and ischemic heart disease may develop; At the level of the myocardium, it causes heart failure, it also lowers our defense system with which myocarditis may appear, it also causes hypertension, arrhythmias …

Morphological component,  our body composition changes, we become obese, more lipids accumulate, our bone mass is lost: osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, there is also a loss of muscle mass …

According to a 2019 study led by researchers from CIBEROBN and CIBERCV at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), in 2016 there were in Spain about 24 million cases of excess weight, that is, 70% of the men and half of women in adulthood.

According to this report, if this trend continues, the figure could reach 27 million people in 2030, affecting 80% of men and 55% of women.

Give up smoking

If you are a smoker, one step that you should not delay is to stop smoking.

Remember that  two years after quitting smoking, the risk of coronary heart disease is substantially reduced , while at 15 years it is similar to that of a non-smoker.

But also, says the aforementioned Foundation, quitting smoking improves your health, your quality of life and also that of those around you.

To make this big step easier for you, there are companies and health centers that offer tobacco cessation programs.

Fight the coronavirus

In this very complicated year, the Spanish Heart Foundation also asks that you use your heart to defeat the coronavirus.

Thus, it is advisable to strictly follow the  contagion prevention measures  maintaining social distance, using a mask and washing your hands frequently is key.

take care of heart
Cardiovascular mortality in Spain. Infographic produced by the Spanish Society of Cardiology and the Spanish Heart Foundation.

Taking care of the heart: managing stress

All cardiologists agree in pointing to stress as another great enemy of the heart.

It is an indirect risk factor because it increases the probability of suffering from diseases such as obesity, diabetes, smoking or a sedentary lifestyle.

And stress has been observed to be a trigger for cardiovascular accidents in people at high risk or who have experienced an event before.

To control stress, it is important to learn to identify it, in addition to following the appropriate psychological strategies that a professional can provide.

And it helps to get regular physical activity and follow good sleep hygiene habits.

Taking care of your heart: detecting that something is wrong

On the occasion of this World Day, the medical team of Melio , an online platform specialized in blood analysis, has published a guide to know what happens when the heart fails.

They state that heart diseases have different forms of manifesting themselves, and the symptoms will depend on what structure of the heart is involved: the blood vessels, the valves, the muscle or the electrical system.

Chest pain

It is the main manifestation in case of myocardial infarction or angina pectoris, and it is characterized by pain similar to a weight or pressure in the sternum area, which is not modified by movements or breathing.

It usually appears suddenly and does not disappear if a heart attack is taking place, while it is usually triggered with effort and subsides with rest in 10-15 minutes in the case of angina.

It is common for the pain to spread to the left arm, but also to the neck, jaw and back.

In the event of a heart attack, the pain is often associated with intense discomfort, cold sweat, and nausea or vomiting.

Dyspnea or a feeling of choking or fatigue

It appears initially with effort, but as the disease progresses it arises with small activities.

This symptom can be present in a large number of heart diseases and usually reflects an advanced stage of the disease.


They consist of the abnormal perception of the heartbeat, which can be accelerated, slowed or even absent.

Depending on the type of arrhythmia and the person’s heart function, only palpitations may be noticed or they may be accompanied by other symptoms.

Loss of consciousness or dizziness

It happens suddenly and without noticing any previous symptoms.

It can reflect serious situations, such as a heart attack, a “malignant” arrhythmia, or an excessive slowing of the heart rate.


Research is life and hope for cancer patients

Scientists, oncologists and associations have reiterated the importance of strengthening cancer research to increase survival rates to the disease and of having stable sources of funding to advance this challenge

CNIO cancer research

View of the National Cancer Research Center, this Wednesday, the eve of World Cancer Research Day, which is celebrated on September 24, in which the global scientific community unites with the aim of avoiding death and suffering of millions of people. EFE / JJ Guillén

But it has been a patient who has highlighted the role that science plays in society: “Research is life; research is our hope ”.

It was pronounced by María Luisa Villafranca , a breast cancer patient and president of the Rosae Association.

The testimonies and demands (more resources; less bureaucracy and a greater capacity to retain and attract talent) have taken place during the different events convened to commemorate World Cancer Research Day , September 24, which have been gathered in different places to some of the most prestigious, leading researchers involved in research against this disease

All virtual. A circumstance also used by scientists to warn about how the health, economic and social crisis caused by the coronavirus is having a very negative impact on cancer research and has slowed down the progress that was being achieved.

Or to warn that the fight against cancer was a global challenge before the pandemic arrived and will continue to be when the international community has managed, thanks to science, to stop the advance of the virus responsible for COVID-19.

It has been research, as scientists have shown today, which has allowed the survival rate to cancer to have passed (after five years of diagnosis) from 30 to 55 percent in the last thirty years.

And it will be science that will cause that cancer survival rate to rise to 70 percent by 2030, a goal of the international scientific community.

Maria Blasco

cancer research
The director of the National Center for Oncological Research (CNIO), María Blasco / EFE / Archive / Toni Galán

“Stopping science is stopping well-being”, has warned the director of the National Cancer Research Center (CNIO) , María Blasco , and has warned that a slowdown in research will make “disappear” hopes of making cancer a more curable disease.

In his opinion, the current crisis caused by the coronavirus has given “very crudely” a lesson on human fragility, and has influenced that after this threat will come others and has placed cancer as one of the “global challenges”.

In the event organized by the CNIO, led by the journalist Cristina Villanueva, Francis Mojica , professor at the Department of Physiology, Genetics and Microbiology at the University of Alicante and father of the genetic editing tool “CRISPR , has intervened with a” keynote speech. ”, Already considered one of the main advances of the last decades in the field of microbiology and medicine.

Mojica has reviewed the main advances that have been achieved in recent years thanks to this tool and the usefulness it has shown in agriculture, livestock and in many fields of medicine, including the fight against cancer.

The microbiologist has referred to the doors that this gene editing tool opens to design new therapies, to discover new drugs or to improve the prevention and diagnosis of the disease.

Barbacid and Tabernero

AECC Barbacid Cancer Research
Image provided by the Spanish Association Against Cancer of the debate in which the researcher, Mariano Barbacid, Head of the Experimental Oncology Group of the National Center for Oncological Research (CNIO) has participated. Credit: AECC.

While at the CNIO they debated the main challenges of cancer research and the necessary involvement of the whole of society to face them, at the headquarters of the Spanish Association Against Cancer ( AECC ), numerous scientists and oncologists detailed the consequences of the slowdown in cancer. research may have for patients.

There, Mariano Barbacid and Josep Tabernero , two of the leading cancer researchers in Spain, have warned of the “worrying” situation in science that, after suffering “brutal” cuts in recent years, continues to suffer from the same problems: lack of resources, bureaucracy and inability to retain talent.

“We had the hope that the creation of the Ministry of Science would serve to reverse the situation but the truth is that absolutely nothing has happened,” said Barbacid.

For his part, Tabernero recalled that a few years ago the financing objective for science was to reach 2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product in 2020, but “we are already in that year and we still allocate 1.2% of the GDP, a figure far from the fixed 2% and much further still from the 3% average for Europe ”.

The director of the Scientific Foundation of the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC), Isabel Orbe , recalled that in the last decade Spain has invested some 1,500 million euros in cancer research, a figure that “should be doubled” to live up to the European plan against cancer and reach the target of 70 percent survival.


The change that makes a mostly fatal lung cancer “curable”

A team of Spanish researchers has discovered that the administration of chemo-immunotherapy before operating on lung cancer significantly increases the survival rate of patients; a change that makes tumors “curable” that are mostly “lethal” today


X-ray of some lungs. EPA / EFE

The journal The Lancet Oncology has published the results of the “NADIM” study carried out by researchers from the Spanish Group of Lung Cancer (GECP), results that open the door to a change in the therapeutic approach of lung tumors when it is found in intermediate stages.

The research, which according to its authors is pioneering worldwide, yields survival results that are double those obtained so far with the traditional treatment to treat this type of tumors (chemotherapy after surgery).

The study has focused on patients with lung cancer in intermediate stages – those who can be operated on, but in which the tumor has already spread to surrounding lymph nodes.

“We are talking about making potential and mostly lethal tumors curable”, said Dr. Mariano Provencio, president of the Group and principal investigator, in a press release released last Friday.

lung cancer
The president of the Spanish Lung Cancer Group, Mariano Provencio, covers his face to demand more involvement against this tumor.

The study has yielded very hopeful data for this type of patient: 89.9 percent of the patients included in the study survived after two years and 77 percent had no progression of the disease in this period.

Furthermore, 63.4% of the included patients had a complete pathological tumor response when surgery was performed (tumor absence).

“These rates represent almost twice the survival rate of that registered so far with the traditional approach. This is important because only 30 percent of the patients survived after three years ”, stated the president of the GECP.

The “NADIM” study has also evaluated the safety of this treatment regimen, and researchers have concluded that it is safe.

“The side effects of the treatment only occurred in 30 percent of the patients and did not interfere with subsequent surgery”, explained Provencio.

The researchers further consider that this strategy provides protection to the patient since the presence of the complete tumor mass at the start of immunotherapy allows the induction of a stronger adaptive antitumor response and the early development of immune memory that can provide long-term protection. to the patient.

The CECP has recalled that lung cancer, despite being diagnosed in locally advanced stages, is a “terminal” disease, with little prospect of long-term survival.

Mariano Provencio has underlined that “research until now had focused on advanced stages of the tumor, so in the last 20 years there had been no progress”.

“The NADIM study is the first research worldwide that has analyzed the benefits (viability, safety, efficacy and survival) of administering chemo-innumotherapy before surgery to patients with lung cancer in initial or locally advanced stages”, Provencio highlighted .

And he recalled that until now the efficacy of this treatment had not been tested and the survival and cure prognoses in this group of patients (20% of all cases) “were very poor.”


What are corns or calluses and why do they appear?

This condition is often seen in athletes and in patients who are exposed to uneven frictional force from shoes or gait problems. Older adults, patients with diabetes, and amputees are included here.

What are corns or calluses?

Corns or calluses are common, uncomfortable, and thickened skin lesions. They result from repeated mechanical trauma due to friction or pressure forces that occur on the skin.

People with dark pigmented skin are more likely to develop corns. In addition, they are located more closely on the feet, in the regions of the back of the fingers, the last interdigital space and the soles.

What are the symptoms and signs?

This type of hyperkeratosis usually presents as a dry, hard, rough, flesh-colored papule with a whitish center. This central region is called the nucleus . In turn, they are preferably located on a bony prominence.

They are painful when walking and standing , but asymptomatic to the touch . On the other hand, as keratin growth and thickening increases, corns and calluses can cause severe pain.

Corns are sometimes difficult to distinguish from plantar warts. However, if the doctor exerts finger pressure perpendicular to the callus, the callus will come into contact with the bony prominence and the patient will feel pain. This maneuver is usually not painful in the case of warts.

Woman with inappropriate footwear and sore feet.
The use of the wrong footwear is a predisposing factor for the formation of calluses.

Why are corns generated?

The ill -fitting shoes , abnormal foot mechanics and high levels of activity produce pressure and friction that causes corns and calluses. This is why athletes are more prone.

Therefore, the repeated friction and pressure of the skin that covers the bony prominences leads to a thickening that will lead to the callus or callus. The increase in thickness is a protective body reaction that produces an excess of the horny epithelial layer to prevent ulceration of the skin.

This explains the preferential location next to the condyles of the metatarsals and phalanges, as well as the appearance of calluses in patients with a foot deformity. It is the lower extremities that are most affected by the pressure they bear.

Read also:  How to remove dead skin?

Types and classification of corns and calluses

There are two main variants of this type of condition . However, a third is often mentioned that manifests as multiple painless plugs within the plantar calluses, in areas of the soles of the feet that do not support pressure.

Heloma hard

The hard heloma is the most common type of calluses. It is most frequently located on the lateral and dorsal aspect of the fifth toe , as well as on the dorsal aspect of the interphalangeal joints of the lesser fingers.

Soft heloma

The heloma soft is a painful hyperkeratotic lesion that is observed in most cases in the interdigital spaces , especially in the fourth. This location often leads to maceration of the same and, sometimes, to the appearance of a bacterial or fungal infection.

What is the treatment of corns?

The injuries usually disappear when the causative mechanical forces are removed . Treatment is aimed at reducing pain and discomfort. Despite this, corns tend to recur .

Topical treatments for corns or calluses

Topical keratolytic medications, including salicylic acid, may be applied to corns. In this indication, 20% and 50% urea, silver nitrate and hydrocolloid dressings are also used.

These techniques are more effective for some injuries. In turn, topical keratolytic agents can also facilitate lesion removal by softening calluses. Physical removal of corns has been shown to improve quality of life and pain outcomes.

Ablative laser

Lasers can be used to treat corns, rather than exfoliating them with a scalpel. However, recurrence of lesions is observed in some patients , especially if the triggers are maintained.

Conservative treatment

Any mechanical problem and deformity should be treated with proper conservative treatment. That is, it is about using appropriate footwear and soft cushions that reduce friction and improve comfort.


This surgical approach is aimed at removing the underlying cause of calluses, such as bony prominences. It is generally indicated in the event of failure of other conservative treatment modalities , according to American Family Physician publications .

Homemade tips to remove corns

It can be helpful to soak the corns in warm water for 20 minutes . After this, gently rub the callus with your finger or a pumice stone.
Plantar callus.
Treatments range from conservative approach to ablative surgery.

How to prevent the appearance of corns and calluses?

Management actually begins with prevention. Therefore, poorly fitting shoes and mechanical trauma to the affected area should be avoided. This is especially true for athletes with intense training.

Corns are not caused by viruses and are not contagious . In addition, nail trimming should be indicated to avoid any pressure or repeated trauma that could lead to the development of injuries.

The risk of corns and calluses

Although corns and calluses are a chronic and recurring problem, most of them gradually disappear when repeated friction or pressure is removed . However, if the corns do not go away or if they started to cause severe pain, the patient should be examined by a dermatologist or podiatrist.

People with diabetes or another condition that causes poor blood flow to the feet is at increased risk of complications. These patients need a strict control with revision of their extremities to detect in time the problem that can lead to ulcers.


Main diseases transmitted by mosquitoes

Many infections caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites are spread by insects. One of the biggest vectors around the world is mosquitoes. Next, we will tell you about the main diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and how they can be treated.

At present, insect-borne diseases are a serious public health problem in various countries. According to data from the World Health Organization ( WHO ), each year they kill 700,000 people around the world . Despite efforts to control them, various environmental and social factors complicate the task.

Mosquitoes as vectors of disease

All insects capable of transmitting diseases are known as vectors . In this way, certain arthropods such as mosquitoes, flies, triatomines and ticks stand out. All of them transport the microorganisms that cause infections from one host to another.

The transmission of pathogens can be both biological and mechanical, that is, related or not to the insect’s blood intake. In this sense, when the insect is biological it will be necessary for the virus, parasite or bacterium to complete its life cycle.

Of all the existing vectors, mosquitoes are the best known. This perhaps is due to the large number of diseases they can carry. All of them are transmitted biologically, that is, the mosquito must ingest blood from a sick patient to become a vector .

There are 3 different genera of mosquitoes; They all have different characteristics and are capable of transmitting specific diseases. The 3 known genera are Anopheles, Aedes, and Culex .

Mosquito repellent.
The use of repellants is indicated as a preventive measure to stop the vectors.

Read also: 3 homemade repellants to protect the skin from mosquito bites


One of the main mosquito-borne diseases is malaria or malaria. This word refers to bad air and is known in this way because it was believed that it was transmitted through the environment.

This infection is produced by parasites of the genus Plasmodium, although the species of the parasite can change depending on the geographical location. They are transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles , so it is very common to observe the disease in countries with tropical climates.

The life cycle of these parasites is complex. The main complication is anemia, since they infect the host’s red blood cells, multiply within them and, after 48 or 72 hours, break them.


The clinical manifestations appear between 10 and 15 days after the mosquito bite . The main symptom in people with malaria is fever over 38 ° C interspersed with periods when the temperature will be normal.

In addition, there may also be jaundice (yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes), chills and profuse sweating, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting, general weakness, and seizures in severe cases.


The treatment of infection vary depending on the species that is causing it . Taking into account that the most frequent etiological agents are P. vivax and P. falciparum,  treatment will be based on the use of chloroquine in combination with primaquine .

When resistance to chloroquine is suspected, it can be combined with some artemisinin derivatives , with antibiotics (doxycycline or clindamycin) or with mefloquine and artesunate. Also, intravenous fluids may be needed on many occasions.


Another of the most common mosquito-borne diseases is dengue. This infection is produced by the dengue virus that belongs to the Flaviviridae family It has 4 different serotypes called DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4.

This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Aedes , largely by the species Aedes aegypti. This is a characteristic disease of tropical and subtropical countries. However, according to WHO studies , cases have occurred around the world and up to 390 million infections are accounted for per year.


The incubation period of the virus within the human body can vary between 4 and 10 days after the bite. The main symptom presented is fever of more than 40 ° C, continuous and without hourly predominance . Sometimes there is also a body rash and swollen lymph nodes.

As if that were not enough, many patients have the following symptoms :

  • Pain in the muscles, bones and joints.
  • Weakness in the body
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Nausea and vomiting


Currently there is no specific treatment for dengue, so the therapeutic option will be aimed at treating the symptoms . The main medicine used is acetaminophen or paracetamol to reduce fever, in addition to adequate fluid replacement.

Symptoms, and the infection itself, usually resolve within 2 to 7 days. However, if there are any complications, you should be kept under constant medical supervision.

Yellow fever

This is one of the most dangerous and deadly mosquito-borne diseases out there. It is quite common in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. It is caused by the yellow fever virus that belongs to the Flaviviridae family .

Yellow fever is transmitted, to a large extent, by mosquitoes of the genus Aedes , specifically by the species Aedes aegypti. Although those belonging to the genus Haemogogus are also capable of transmitting it.

This infection owes its name to the jaundice that some patients present, so their skin may turn yellow. 15% of those infected develop serious complications and, on average , half of them die within 7 to 10 days.


Symptoms of the disease can appear 3 to 6 days after the mosquito bite. It is convenient to divide it into two phases : an acute and a toxic one. Each one will have a different symptomatology.

  • Acute phase : This is the initial period of the disease and patients present with fever, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. However, the signs disappear between 3 and 4 days.
  • Toxic phase : A small portion of patients may enter the toxic phase after the symptoms of the acute phase have subsided. At this point, there is a systemic compromise, leading to liver failure , kidney failure, and heart damage.


Unfortunately, there is no specific antiviral treatment for yellow fever. However, prompt care reduces the risk of complications . In this way, it is necessary to attack all the symptoms early, so the fever must be reduced and adequate fluid replacement must be had.

There is an immunization for prevention. In this sense, a single dose of the vaccine is sufficient to confer immunity and protection for life.

Discover: Vaccination Calendar 2020


Zika virus test.
Zika has had recent outbreaks that underscored its importance in current epidemiology.

Zika is a viral infection discovered in the 1940s. It is caused by a flavivirus and transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Aedes . This disease is common in countries with tropical climates in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

At present, outbreaks of this disease have been registered in more than 83 countries around the world. Although it is not usually fatal, it can cause spontaneous abortions in pregnant women and serious birth defects such as microcephaly , joint and eye damage, brain damage and reduced body movements.


The symptomatology of this disease is very mild . In fact, most patients are asymptomatic . In those cases in which the clinical presentation is evident, the symptoms usually appear between 3 and 14 days after the mosquito bite with a mild fever, skin rashes, joint and muscle pain, general weakness and red eyes.

On the other hand, few cases have been reported where the Zika virus is related to damage to peripheral nerves and the appearance of Guillain-Barré syndrome .


Because the symptoms are not serious, no specific treatment is necessary . Just lowering the fever and reducing muscle aches will be enough. In addition, the symptoms resolve spontaneously after a week.


This is an infection caused by the chikungunya virus and is transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes However, other species of the same genus can also carry the virus.

The word chikungunya comes from Africa and its literal translation is ‘doubled from pain’. This is due to the severe muscle aches it causes . Before 2013, the pathology was only found in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Indian Ocean. However, at the end of that year, several outbreaks were reported in Latin American and Caribbean countries.


The symptoms of chikungunya do not usually vary much from those caused by other mosquito-borne diseases. In this sense, between 3 and 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, patients may present the following symptoms :

  • High fever: higher than 39 ° C.
  • Pain: severe muscle and joint with  headache .
  • Inflammation: in the joints and lymph nodes.
  • Rashes.


As with Zika, this disease does not have a specific treatment and symptoms usually resolve within a week . However, it is recommended to drink plenty of fluids, rest, and reduce fever with various antipyretics such as paracetamol.

Fumigation in houses.
Fumigation of homes and work environments is imposed in areas with high circulation of these diseases

How to prevent mosquito-borne diseases?

If you are in countries with tropical climates where these diseases are endemic, the most advisable thing is the constant use of repellent . In addition, using mosquito nets at night will prevent them from biting you while you sleep. In the specific case of yellow fever, you must have up-to-date vaccinations.

On the other hand, the best way to prevent this type of infection is to eradicate the vector’s habitat . For this it is necessary to eliminate all types of stagnant water in the home, since this is its means of reproduction. Another helpful tip is constant spraying of the home and work area.

Physology Health

Our interior support points

We all have within us a series of strengths or resources that sustain us in difficult or critical moments. They are like rocks to lean on to get ahead. An expert in transpersonal psychology reveals the keys to discover and cultivate those traits of our deep self

interior support points

When difficulties appear on the horizon we have to search within ourselves to find strength and walk the way out. Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

“We are a wonderful coherent unit in which the four key pieces that make up the human ‘puzzle’ – the mind, the sensitivity, the deep self and the body – are harmoniously interrelated, keeping a very close connection with each other. Each one influences and affects the others, ”says Enrique Martínez Lozano.

Martínez Lozano is a psychotherapist, sociologist and theologian , who develops workshops and therapies based on transpersonal psychology. In them he combines psychological and spiritual content, meditation and learning, based on his own experience.

“The core of transpersonal psychology could be expressed like this: we are more than the mind, more than the self, more than the person our mind thinks we are. We are consciousness itself, a conscious presence experiencing itself through temporary forms such as our psychophysical body ”, he points out.

“If classical psychology emphasized the strictly psychological, transpersonal psychology makes us see the need for a deeper understanding of who we are. Because only thanks to it is harmony and fullness possible ”, he adds.

Transpersonal Psychology for Everyday Life

From this perspective, Enrique Martínez proposes in his latest book ‘Transpersonal Psychology for Everyday Life’ a series of reflections and practices to approach our two dimensions, the psychological (or personality) and the spiritual (or identity), some of which they can be especially helpful in living without suffering in the “COVID-19 era.”

interior support points
Image of Enrique Martínez Lozano, psychotherapist and theologian (photo Bibiana Ripol).

For example, it invites us to ask ourselves : What are our strengths, “the rock” on which we lean in times of difficulty or suffering, our inner support points? What parts of us support us, when we have had a crisis, and help us to move forward …?

” Strengths or inner support points are solid points in our psyche, resources on which to support ourselves to get ahead when difficulties arise in our lives,” he explains.

“Those interior strengths or points of support are like rocks to which we can turn when we experience setbacks, dislikes, illnesses, age ailments, crises of all kinds,” he says.

He assures that if we exercise ourselves to rely on them, we will notice that our “abilities” grow to face, with greater peace and strength, adversity and everything that can make us suffer.

Martínez describes some of those “interior rocks or points of support” , of those traits or elements of our psychological identity , that “we need to know, believe in them, feel them slowly inside us, let them impregnate us and choose to live them in a way conscious and voluntary ”.

They are as follows :

Acceptance of what happens to us

“Accepting does not mean resigning or giving up, but simply recognizing what there is. Accepting it radically changes our relationship with the problem. In this way we will be able to begin to rest, because we will have stepped into our truth, and the truth is always rest ”, he says.

The certainty that there is a way out

“Whenever we have come out of a problematic situation, without knowing where we have supported ourselves, it is likely that we have done so in this certainty (that there is a way out). Because even in the midst of the greatest difficulty a voice appears within us that tells us “You will get out of this,” he points out.

The force of life

“The so-called inner strength is closely related to the previous certainty. Even in the worst moments, there is “something” in us that continues to support and encourage us: it is life, inhabited by a powerful dynamism and meaning in the depths of our body, seeks to get ahead, despite all setbacks ” , considers.

The trust

The psychotherapist explains that “it is a deep feeling, not easy to understand rationally, which assures us that everything has a reason for being. In this sense, the feeling of confidence is not the voice of frivolity but of the deepest wisdom ”.

Loyalty to oneself

“It is a very strong point of support for certain types of difficulties. It allows us to free ourselves from other tyrannies – our own needs and fears, the image or the opinion of others – and introduces us to a space of rest, freedom, assertiveness and respectful coherence ”, he says.

The wisdom of not shrinking

“Although we accept something painful, we do not reduce ourselves to it, because we are always ‘more than’ our difficulty, illness or suffering. In addition to the fact that this is true because our life is never reduced to something that can happen to us, the recognition of that ‘more what’ is restfully liberating and mobilizing, and moves us to what we can do ”, he points out.


For this psychotherapist, gratitude “is a force that takes us out of self-centeredness, causing us to distance ourselves from our small interests and opening us to a deep understanding that, ultimately, everything is a gift.”

Free and unconditional love

Enrique Martínez refers to love, in the double direction of offered and received, because “both when we feel loved and when we love someone unconditionally, that love becomes in us a ‘rock’ of solidity and courage, which makes you experience the extraordinary force that accompanies it. “

The experience of meaning

“Having a“ what for ”means having discovered a meaning for one’s life: when we have it, it infuses us with such dynamism that we will be able to face everything”, assesses this expert, who highlights that the psychiatrist Víktor Frankl founded a school of psychotherapy ( logotherapy) based on the same experience that helped him survive in a Nazi concentration camp, “discovering a meaning to life”, in the certainty that the experience of that meaning is healing.

Come to the present

For this psychotherapist “we are made in such a way that we can always face what we have to live in the present moment. On the contrary, when we leave the here and now, impotence and anguish appear .

“To ward off the” ghosts of an imagined future “(since the future does not exist and can only be imagined ) that make us suffer, the only sensible thing is to” put light “so that they fade, and that light consists of staying in the present , only at this very moment ”, he concludes.

Physology Health

Psychology and coronavirus: How to promote responsible behaviors, by María Jesús Álava

“From psychology we must contribute and help as much as possible in the current situation when outbreaks, sources of transmission, infections and infections are multiplying dangerously. How can we encourage responsible behavior? ” Article for EFEsalud by the psychologist María Jesús Álava Reyes in which she also addresses the consequences of confinement “that has changed our lives”.

coronavirus Álava

The psychologist María Jesús Álava Reyes in her office.

This professional is the director of the Álava-Reyes Psychology Center and presides over the foundation that bears her name aimed at promoting the study, research, training and dissemination of psychology, as well as providing assistance to people with limited financial resources.

In addition, she is president of  Apertia-Consulting , specialized in business advice, and has made the list of TOP 100 Women Leaders in Spain 2012.

She is the author of books such as “The uselessness of suffering”, “The best thing in your life is you”, “The 3 keys to happiness” or “The truth of the lie” , among others.

Psychology and coronavirus: How to encourage responsible behaviors

By María Jesús Álava Reyes

“The coronavirus has turned our lives upside down. Suddenly, we felt that we had to defend ourselves from a virus as they did in the Middle Ages, isolating and confining ourselves; trying to make the doors of our houses serve as protective walls.

From psychology, the effects of this pandemic on the population are very clear. We know that sustained psychological stress is generating pictures of anxiety and depressive states , as documented by the studies by Rodríguez Cahill, Books et al. (2020), who have carried out a review of 24 studies that address the psychological effects of confinement on mental health, finding that quarantine is associated with:

  • Increased psychological distress (negative stress)
  • Post-traumatic stress symptoms
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability and low mood
  • Emotions of fear, nervousness, sadness and guilt

Effects that can be maintained over time. In China, there has been an increase in panic, anxiety and depression disorders (Qiu et al., 2020), with women, students and people with previous mental disorders being those who suffer a greater impact derived from confinement , with levels higher levels of anxiety, stress and depression (Wang et al., 2020).

Children who have been quarantined have average levels of post-traumatic stress four times higher than those who have not been quarantined. The negative effects of quarantine are significantly greater if it lasts more than 10 days.

In addition, after confinement, many people are showing avoidance behaviors : not wanting to go out into the street; experiencing great nervousness when someone coughs; avoid public spaces …

The psychology consultations have been filled with people who manifest problems of coexistence with their partners, with their children, with their family …; people who have discovered a different reality and who feel overwhelmed.

Professionals who have been on the front line, fighting the pandemic, are suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder; have many difficulties to rest; they constantly recall heartbreaking scenes they have lived through: people dying, begging them for help; families broken by pain, who could not accompany their loved ones, or be by their side to say their last goodbye.

Responsible behaviors

From psychology we must contribute and help as much as possible in the current situation in which we find ourselves, when outbreaks, sources of transmission, infections and infections multiply dangerously.

In this context, many people argue that large sectors of the population are engaging in highly irresponsible behavior; But how can we encourage responsible behavior?

Psychology teaches us that a large part of our behaviors are determined by the antecedents and the consequences of them.

If we analyze the background (the information that came to us about the virus, the contradictions about the origin and scope, how it would affect us, what we had to do, the effects of the disease in the short, medium and long term …), today we know that this information was deficient and more than helping, it confused the population; in such a way that a series of erroneous ideas were established that have largely conditioned the behavior of many people, especially those who are in the younger age groups.

coronavirus Álava
A rose seller passes a group of young people on the beach of Barceloneta after the closing of nightclubs. EFE / Quique Garcia

Another mistake was to mask reality and not show the true reality that we were living; Those images were stolen that could have impacted the sensitivity of the most insensitive person, and that could have awakened the responsibility of the most irresponsible.

Remember that ignorance of the facts favors the irresponsibility of behaviors. But again in the de-escalation there is a lot of improvisation and lack of coordination.

Psychology shows us that the consequences must affect those who commit acts of irresponsibility, and must be immediate, consistent and proportionate to the damage caused.

But if the consequences of non-compliance by young people are paid by the adults they live with and they can continue to engage in the same risky behaviors; If for establishments that do not comply with the rules, the immediate consequence is that their collection increases and that the sanctioning measures take time to arrive, if they do arrive, where is the deterrence?

If the irresponsible behaviors do not have sufficiently dissuasive consequences, those behavior patterns will remain, even increase.

On an emotional level, it is easier for us not to question what we consider positive than to face a harsher reality, which implies sacrifices and restrictive behaviors.

Deceiving ourselves will increase our weakness in the face of the virus, favor our lack of protection and make us vulnerable to this pandemic that we will only overcome through scientific rigor, responsible behavior, healthy habits and collaborative work.

Let’s not make the same mistake again! Let’s rectify immediately and show reality! If we anesthetize the population, their response will not come from consciousness, but from numbness ”.

Physology Health

Children without labels, educate children without pigeonholing them

Children without Labels, a book that analyzes how labels pigeonhole and affect children during their growth, by psychologists Alberto Soler and Concepción Roger

Recently published by Ediciones Paidós, Children without Labels reviews different stages of the growth process of children. EFE / Alberto Morante

Labels condition the development of children: this is one of the conclusions of Niños sin Labels , the new book by Alberto Soler and Concepción Roger, psychologists, in which they analyze which labels are most used with children and what effects and consequences have on them.

Recently published by Ediciones Paidós, the book reviews different stages of the growth process of children, attending to the problems that usually arise and offering a series of tips so that parents can properly educate their children without pigeonholing or comparing them.

“We have been working with children and families for many years and for quite some time we have seen how the issue of labels affected the development of children because it does not allow them to develop freely and completely “, explains the psychologist Alberto Soler at EFEsalud.

Soler, who understands labels as a mechanism that helps us simplify the world, sees them as a problem when we start to apply them to people, since “they are very easy to apply, but very difficult to remove.”

“It is something that in a very important way ends up limiting the development of the person,” he says, “since when it comes to relating or perceiving himself, he ends up behaving according to the label that has been put on him .”

This fact, he points out, is especially notorious among siblings, where comparisons are inevitable and conflicts are common.

“When you have siblings, many times one of them has been labeled in a certain way, which causes the other to behave in a different way because he needs to differentiate himself,” he explains.

“Many times we also put on the labels that they put on us as part of the need we have to differentiate ourselves, to show what our identity or personality is to others,” he adds, and advises: “We have to try to be as descriptive as possible to when talking to our children, enter into the minimum value judgments and not correct by making a comparison with another person ”.

Grow in a safe environment

Fear, jealousy, gender differences, dependency or disobedience are some of the themes that are explored throughout Children without labels, but a fundamental idea underlies all of them: the importance of growing up in a safe environment that Allow children to express themselves freely and respond to their needs.

“Normally, we take into account needs such as food, security, health or shelter, but they are not the only needs that children have,” says Soler.

And it is that children, despite the fact that “they are in a struggle for autonomy”, are people who “depend on their family to survive and get ahead on a daily basis.” ” Children need to feel that they belong to their environment, that they can participate, ” says Soler, who adds: “All that in the end ends up having an impact on that feeling of security and on the way in which they face their day-to-day life. its environment”.

kids without labels
The economic and social conditions in which we find ourselves make it difficult to reconcile work and family. EFE / ATIENZA

For Alberto Soler, it is necessary that the dedication that we give to children “ helps them feel safe and accompanied ” because, otherwise, they will end up having significant repercussions on their future.

The psychologist considers that the economic and social conditions in which we find ourselves make it difficult to reconcile work and family, which can affect the education we offer our children.

” Conciliation is still a pending issue  that is especially affecting women,” says Soler, who defends demanding that the public powers “have a serious, important and decisive involvement in policies to support and promote paternity.”

Public aid

Soler demands that the public authorities place childhood as a priority, “that not only the needs of adults are noticed, but also that of children”, and that they begin to “listen to the voice of childhood”, a right recognized by the Convention on the Rights of the Child . “Today decisions are made about them but without listening to what their preferences are or what their needs are,” he criticizes.

In addition, it calls for an “ increase in maternity leave ”, since “they are among the lowest within the European Union”. “They are not even enough to be able to accompany babies during the six months of exclusive breastfeeding recommended by the WHO, ” he says.

In this sense, he points out that these permits must be “flexible”, that families can “freely choose how to organize them” to adapt them to their “reality”, and recalls a historical request: ” direct aid per dependent child that is universal for all families ”, since the economy plays a decisive role in ensuring that children’s basic needs are covered.

“They are a series of measures that are present in many other countries, but in Spain we have not managed to start with real commitment,” he laments.

Changes in education

In recent years, the way in which parents educate their children has evolved, moving away from certain violent attitudes that prevailed in the past.

“There is a progressive awareness of this issue,” says Alberto Soler, who highlights that ” we have more and more families who are concerned about educating and raising their children in a conscious way .”

However, the psychologist also admits that “there is still a long way to go”, and that there needs to be “more depth at the social level” so that the rights of children are “recognized” and put “at the same level as children. of the rest of the people without any type of discrimination ”.

In this sense, Soler emphasizes the tone with which we address children, sometimes with implicit violence that we would not tolerate if we spoke with an adult, and calls for us to increase “the awareness that children are fully Right to which we must be able to respect ”.

Physology Health

Ten sports activities for ten psychological disorders

Regulating your body to learn to control your mind is possible thanks to physical activity and perseverance. The study “Sports and mental health” lists which ten sports practices are most recommended according to the ten most frequent psychological disorders in the Spanish population

sport mental health

Greater self-esteem, better humor or more confidence in oneself are some of the innumerable benefits that the habitual practice of sport has on mental health. Balance between mind and body is even more essential when suffering from a psychological disorder .

Under this premise, Gympass, a corporate wellness program, and Ifeel , an online psychologist application, present the study Sports and Mental Health . A report that collects the sports activities that best alleviate the most common psychological disorders in Spanish society.

“From the point of view of psychology we belong to the field of mental health and any aspect that can enhance it is of interest to us”, explains Rafael San Román to EFEsalud, a psychologist from the Ifeel platform, about how the idea of This studio.

The report is based on the knowledge of the experts from both entities and on the stimuli perceived by the patients who come to their service. San Román emphasizes that it is important to know yourself, your goals and limits, since not all sports activities are suitable for everyone.

active aging
Women exercising in a park to lead a healthy lifestyle. Moderate physical activity contributes to the health of the body and mind / EFE / Alejandro Ernesto

“The question is to find what type of exercise works well for each one depending on the objective pursued,” says the expert.

The key for the psychologist when proposing physical activity as a complement to therapeutic work is not to be guided by stereotypical recipes that may be applicable to anyone .

The characteristics of the individual, the objective pursued and its context are elements to take into account when recommending a physical activity. “You have to dialogue with each individual to know within their characteristics and their tastes what is realistic for them to do,” says the Ifeel expert.

Consistency is another fundamental point. “Learning to regulate your body with sport is not a matter of five days or five minutes,” stresses San Román. The key between mental health and sport lies in perseverance and in the correct choice of activity according to the disorder suffered.

sport mental health

A sport for every problem

  1. Anxiety-Yoga:  This physical and mental discipline that helps control breathing, manage emotions and achieve awareness of the body.
  2. Depression-Boxing : Whether in the ring or against a bag, large amounts of endorphin are released, a natural mood booster. In addition, it enhances confidence and self-esteem.
  3. Panic Attacks – Pilates:  This activity helps those who are prone to panic attacks to master their body and control impulses. Provides the ability to concentrate, useful in the event of a possible panic attack.
  4. Insomnia-Running:  for this type of pathologies it is very beneficial to practice sports such as running. Improves blood circulation and heart rate allowing the body to relax and facilitate rest.
  5. Lack of social skills-Team sports:  the difficulties of interaction with others are related to the lack of communication skills and self-esteem problems. Sports like soccer, basketball, or volleyball are great for improving social relationships. Simple and clear messages are key in this type of practice.
  6. Difficulties with loneliness-Swimming:  swimming is a sport that is practiced individually, so it can be convenient for those who do not tolerate being alone well. It isolates from the outside and helps to focus attention on oneself in a space where we are alone.
  7. Couple problems-Ballroom dancing  any sport as a couple can be effective, but ballroom dancing is the best allies. They encourage physical contact, the coordination of both, they can be fun and keep the couple entertained in a shared action and not arguing.
  8. Low self-esteem-Indoor cycling:  sport in general is very beneficial for self-esteem problems. It favors the production of neurotransmitters related to pleasure, relaxes and helps to have a more toned body. All of this improves the way we see ourselves. Indoor cycling helps you burn fat and tone while you enjoy some time in company and music.
  9. Duel-Karate:  For those who have lost a loved one it is beneficial to practice sports such as karate. It helps to unload emotions and favors anchoring in the here and now.
  10. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) -Taichi:  Taichi requires rigorous training, high concentration, coordination and control over the body. Developing these capacities is very beneficial when dealing with ADHD.
Physology Health

Do we know how to live in solitude?

Living alone is not as easy as it seems. Dealing with constant loneliness can lead to discomfort or the feeling of not feeling worthy of company. To learn how to cope with this lifestyle Francie Healey, wellness advisor and nutritionist, publishes her new book Honjok, the art of living alone, a manual with recommendations

summer cancer patients

EFE / Villar López

The current coronavirus pandemic has forced many for the first time to confront home confinement and experience what it means to live alone.

Although living alone, with its advantages and disadvantages, has become a true lifestyle trend, do we know how to live alone?

This is the question that the American author Francie Healey , a graduate in Sociology and Criminal Justice and counselor for well-being and nutrition, tries to solve in her new work Honjok, the art of living in solitude  (Dome Books, Planeta publishing house).

Honjok is a South Korean term for those who identify as loners . Nowadays, more and more people choose to live alone as a result of the isolation that technology and social networks represent.

Live in solitude
Francie Healey, Wellness and Nutrition Counselor, author of Honjok. The art of living alone / Photo courtesy of Planeta editorial

This book is a personal growth manual that tries to make the most of loneliness . Based on practical advice and strategies, the author helps the reader to make plans alone.

Healey invites you to consider the benefits of living alone through self-reflection. Living alone forces oneself to know our wants and needs while exploring loneliness, self-worth, and freedom from the inside out.

For this expert, this process is essential to achieve the necessary well-being “to establish our own limits and direct our lives in an authentic and meaningful way.”

Divided into four headings, Honjok, the art of living in solitude , deals with the following aspects:

  1. Tribes of One: Dedicated to Korean Honjoks
  2. A state of mind: to be alone or to feel alone?
  3. The art of awareness
  4. Acts of loneliness

Loneliness is a state of mind

One of the lessons in this manual is that being alone, comfortable or not, is a state of mind.

For some, loneliness is a very precious state and they enjoy their own company. Others, however, have serious problems tolerating loneliness and need others.

The difference is that while there are people who take it as an opportunity for reflection and rest, a part of the population considers that they are not enough and they fear the stillness that it entails.

Francie Healey believes that the key is to understand that  “being alone is a choice; loneliness, no ” .

Acknowledging the feeling of loneliness is the first step in alleviating the feeling of loneliness. The author indicates that once this has been achieved, the next step is to adopt measures that lead to small changes.

Interacting with others to gain confidence, connecting online with people who share your likes, volunteering or adopting a pet are just some of the expert’s recommendations.

Importance of healthy relationships

Mutual support is another essential component of wellness, but choosing the right people is important.

psychology, loneliness
Honjok cover. The art of living in solitude by Francie Healey / Courtesy image

Healey indicates that we can come to perceive great loneliness when our connections are a fake “because not all connections are the same . 

Some are support-based, enriching, and allow you to thrive. Others are destructive, stressful, and disappointing.

The fact that the latter cause anxiety and frustration is one of the reasons, he notes, that drives many people to adopt a honjok (tribes of one) lifestyle .

Finally, explain that being alone has nothing to do with being an introvert. “Introverts do not have a monopoly on the enjoyment of alone time, just as the enjoyment of company is not exclusive to extroverts . 

The sociologist clarifies that introverts can also enjoy with others, only that they tend to prefer small groups and more intimate connections.