Eating Disorders, Climate Change and Vulnerability to Illness

Wisdom-Reid-HighsmithEating Disorders and climate change can have a powerful impact on your health.

If you have an eating disorder active or not, please pay attention to trends in illnesses. Eating disorders weaken your organs and your immune system.  Plus, mental obsessions that are symptoms of an eating disorder can block your awareness of the personal danger you may face because of illnesses like the flu or various illnesses more prevalent because of climate change.

*Picture is Wisdom. We need wisdom now.

People whose health is compromised for any reason are more likely to be susceptible to disease and can have more severe symptoms than a healthy and robust person. 

A body ravaged by an eating disorder may be an ideal place for viruses or bacteria to take root and thrive.
A mind ravaged by an eating disorder may be incapable of understanding the necessity for stepped up personal health care.

For example, the flu is dangerous, even lethal to people with existing illnesses and your eating disorder is an illness. Please look at these two articles and connect the dots. 

Flu Outbreak In 2013 Earliest, One Of The Worst In A Decade

Medical consequences of eating disorders

Remember your basic healthy care to help you be sturdy and resilient in the face of health challenges.  Do your best to subdue eating disorder thinking and behaviors so you can either prevent yourself from
getting ill or, if you become ill, have a mild experience and a speedy recovery.

  • Eat nourishing food throughout the day at regular intervals.
  • Drink eight glasses of water a day to keep yourself hydrated.
  • Sleep eight to nine hours at night.
  • Nap in the day if you are tired. 
  • Rest, i.e. take it easy.
  • Do your best to reduce stress. Laugh. Watch relaxing videos. Enjoy nature if weather permits. Create gentle fun experiences for you and your family. Pet your dog or cat.
  • Find a way to think and feel nice things about yourself.
  • And most of all, keep your awareness up.

If you have an eating disorder you are vulnerable. Take your self care seriously.

See what the Center for Disease Control has to say about flu prevention.  

Are you taking particular care of yourself?  
What can you do to help yourself be more sturdy in the face of new global health challenges?

Information Resources

Climate Change Bites

Climate Change and Infectious Disease

Climate Effects on Health

How Climate Change Could Spread Diseases Like Zika

*Wisdom, mural by Robert Lewis Reid. Second Floor, North Corridor. Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C. Caption underneath reads "KNOWLEDGE COMES BVT WISDOM LINGERS". 1896


Laura R
0 # FluLaura R 2013-01-16 22:18
I would add that for those of us who have a weakened immune system or are taking immune suppressants due to autoimmune disease that it's equally important for us to encourage those around us (people you live and work with) to also take measures to lessen their chances of getting the flu so that we don't catch it from them. For some households that may mean everyone getting flu shots. For others it may mean lots of handwashing and many of the strategies that Joanna lists above. In my house it's both. At my workplace I've made it clear to those I work closely with that I have a weakened immune system and I need them to be very mindful about being near me if they are not feeling well. Sometimes that means I ask that we do phone call meetings even when we are both in the office. Not always an easy conversation but one I force myself to be assertive about.
0 # assertive for healthpinkjoanna 2013-01-16 23:04
Thank you, Laura.  This is excellent information and may help others to be more assertive in establishing a health conscious environment as you have done.  

0 # getting sickKymL 2013-01-18 09:11
It's interesting that I actually never got colds or the flu when I was deep in my ED, but as I got more recovery I startd to get sick and now I've had over my share of contagious things this year.  I use to bring this up as a challenge to my recovery tream who couldn't give me a good answer.  But I just figure it out.  Being the introvert that I am, I use to stay away from people.  Even at work I would close my door as much as possible.  But part of my recovery has been to get myself out and make myself be social (respecting my need for down time of course). 

Now that I've realized this, I'm not as resentful about still having a bad cough for the last 3 weeks!!!
0 # No fluPTC 2013-01-19 05:56
I've been washing my hands more and using more hand sanatizer, ESPECIALLY at the gym.  Out of all the places I go to, the gym is probably (I'm assuming) the most infested with different germs. (Flu, colds, stomach bug).  Luckily I don't take the subway too much, and when I do, I don't hold onto the bars with my hands.

No flu for me!
0 # getting sickpinkjoanna 2013-01-19 10:50
Good point, Kym.

Coming out of the eating disorder shell and more into the world requires that we take care of ourselves in many more ways than needed when in isolation.  This holds emotionally and physically.  

Still, three weeks seems a long time for a bad cough.  I hope you've had input from your medical professional!
0 # no flupinkjoanna 2013-01-19 10:56
Dear PTC,

What an excellent point to raise.  Washing your hands often at the gym makes abundant sense.

Now that I'm thinking about it I'm reminded of the antiseptic cloths many grocery stores offer to patrons for washing their hands and the handles of the grocery carts.  It might be a good idea to
wipe down the hand contact part of any exercise equipment you use.  

This may or may not be practical, but it's something to think about.
Laura R
0 # Your faceLaura R 2013-01-19 11:25
Another tip I've been told is to try not to touch your face when you are out and about, especially your nose and mouth.

I do wash my hands after dance class but I think I will start bringing some wipes to wipe off the bar before I use it.
0 # your facepinkjoanna 2013-01-19 12:10
Great reminder, Laura - keeping hands away from your face is important.  We have so many openings to our inner space via eyes, nose and mouth.

Wiping off the dance bar is a good suggestion.  It reminds me, as I set off on a longish car trip, that I should use wipes on my steering wheel, gear shift and door handles too.

And while I'm thinking about it and writing this, the keypads on our electronics could use a wipe:
computers, ipads, iphones and telephones - especially mouthpieces.
0 # clothsPTC 2013-01-20 05:29

If I'm doing the elliptical, if I remember, I wipe down the handles before I use it.  I usually don't think about it, so I wipe them down when I'm down and sanatize my hands right away.  I also try to be conscious to not touch my face.  As for free weights, I can't really walk around with those wet cloths when I'm teaching my aerobics class and we're doing weights, so the first thing I do is wash/sanatize my hands.  :-)   Those cloths at the grocery store are a good idea though.  Those cart handles can be pretty nasty even when it's not flu season.

Hopefully all of us will stay healthy.  Besides the fact that it would suck to be sick, that would really kill my workouts.  I usually go to the gym when I'm sick, unless I'm really, really sick, or throwing up with the stomach flu. 

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