COVID-19 May Impact Your Sex Life

COVID-19 May Impact Your Sex Life

We’re all adults here, right?  If you’re not an adult, skip to the last blog post.  But for the rest of us, we need to have a frank talk about how COVID-19 may impact your sex life.  

Protected Sex Is A Necessity

COVID-19 has changed the way we maneuver our public lives, from mask mandates to social distancing. However, it’s crucial to stay safe in our private lives as well, especially when it comes to sexual encounters. Now more than ever, protected sex is a necessity. Whether hooking up or dating, it’s important to be conscious of our decisions when engaging in sexual activity, and remember how we can keep ourselves safer in these trying times.

Avoid Kissing

When it comes to physical contact, avoid kissing anyone who isn’t in your close circle of contacts in order to ensure you’re only mouth to mouth with people you know to be safe. Saliva can carry COVID-19, and kissing can quickly pass it into your system. Wear a mask during sexual interactions with those beyond your close contacts. Additionally, more intimate acts, such as Anilingus (mouth to anus) and Fellatio (mouth to penis) are also risky, since COVID-19 can be passed through fecal matter and it is found in semen. Make sure, if engaging in oral sex, to only do so with those in your close contacts or someone you know is negative for COVID-19.

Is COVID-19 Sexually Transmitted?

Condoms Remain Essential

It is currently  not confirmed if COVID-19 can be passed through vaginal or anal sex. Similar viruses do not, implying sex is not a primary point of transfer for COVID-19. Still, we know the virus is there.  It remains critically important to use a condom, regardless of the concerns of COVID-19, to help prevent the transfer of STDs. Also, there is no safer sex partner than ourself. Masturbation cannot spread COVID-19.  Aside from sexual activity with someone we’re isolating with, having sex with others will always carry some risk for COVID-19.

While getting your freak on, avoid having sex or performing sexual acts in public places, even if no one else is in the vicinity. Public spaces are, well, public.  Other people frequent these places, even if they’re not there now.  The point is: COVID-19 can linger on surfaces for days. Engaging in sexual activity in public increases the likelihood of you coming in contact with potentially contaminated surfaces.

COVID-19 May Impact Your Sex Life

Sex is a healthy part of normal life during normal conditions. During these days of pandemic, people will, and should, continue to find ways to safely improve their attitude and emotional state. Use risk reduction strategies to contend with COVID-19 and make things safer for ourselves, our partners, and our community. 

As always, we welcome you to check in with Usagi Medical Group and tell us what’s going on with you.  We look forward to working with you and your favorite con as things will eventually come back to full operational status.

Check On Each Other

Check On Each Other

This piece was co-authored with Jennifer Clark, LMSW.

Ah, the Holidays. The “Silly Season.”  I do wonder how much more mad the regular holiday madness will be as we continue to contend with issues of COVID-19 and other global stressors. 

Check On Each Other

Pandemic puts a big magnifying glass on existing stressors.  The frustrations that one normally feels–the family stuff, all the feelings of sadness, loneliness, or grief–all of it is likely to feel worse than usual.  I’m not telling you this to induce despair.  I’m telling you this so you can be ready and rationally know that what you’re feeling is likely normal, and that there’s actually less reason for despair than you want to make yourself believe.  

But, the Silly Season being what it is, some of us will simply have a harder time of it than others. Seasonal Affective Disorder may kick in, further complicating things.   So here’s what I’m asking you to do:

Check On Each Other

Reach out and touch someone.  Maybe set a goal for yourself, something like two or three reach-outs a week.  It’s important that we keep up our social connections and lift each other closer towards whatever relief is on the horizon.  Check on each other. The simple act of being asked “Hey, how are you doing?” can be a relief all by itself, never mind the heartfelt conversation that may follow.  So please do not isolate, and please try to help others stay connected.  

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Will You Accept Me?

Will You Accept Me?

National Coming Out Day is October 11th. UsagiMed has always had a special relationship with the LGBTQ+ community. Some of our own Bunnies (even in our senior leadership) identify as alphabet soup. No matter what letters you claim, we’re happy to work with you, to serve you, and to have you in our ranks.

New Pride Flag

Our team’s diversity is very important to us. It is one of UsagiMed’s greatest assets. In addition to providing more varied viewpoints, our diversity helps us to provide better patient care. The events that Usagi Medical Group services have a higher percentage of their attendees and crew identifying as LGBTQ+ than the general population. Our inclusivity makes it easier for GSM folks to seek care, for issues related to their alphabet status and in general.

Will You Accept Me?

Coming out to family, friends and colleagues can sometimes be a risky and scary proposition for many. While we’re lucky to have a wonderful, accepting community within our fandoms, it can be more difficult to judge whether we’ll be accepted for who we are outside of that arena. To help address this, one of our own has built a free, secure tool to help LGBTQ+ folks gauge how accepting someone might be in a completely anonymous way. Check it out: https://willyouaccept.me/

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Working from Home: How to Find Decent Jobs In Your Field That are 100% Remote

Working From Home

“Do I go to work to make money, but endanger myself into getting the virus? Or do I quit my job to stay safe, but lose the ability to support my family?”

Sound familiar?

Financial Stress

Usagi Medical Group recognizes that mitigating financial stress remains a huge part of coping with conditions of pandemic.

COVID-19 has left millions of working Americans with this frustrating internal dialogue. You might be thinking “well, there’s no way there’s remote positions for my career or field.” However, whether you’re a chief estimator for construction, a psychologist, a software engineer, or an animator, you can probably find high-paying work that’s fully remote.

Remote work varies from small, part-time, online work all the way to full time jobs that pay past six figures (depending on your degree). Here, we’ll list great ways to find remote work that’ll help you achieve the best of both worlds!

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Living Life and Staying Safe in the Time of COVID-19

By Laura Block, PharmD, NREMT

We need to talk about the gorilla in the room… The same gorilla as before, but the guidelines, they keep changing. Why is that?

Because this is a novel disease, something we’ve never seen before. We’re pushing out information as soon as we think we have a handle on it, and then we get schooled by the virus again, and the information changes. Information flows faster now than it ever did before, so you get to see how science itself ebbs and flows. Science has always been this way, but we’ve never before had the ability to communicate it as fast as it happens.

Keep in mind that the United States is not the only country dealing with this. All around the globe, teams of scientists are learning about COVID-19 as fast as they can, looking for preventative practices, tests, treatments, and a vaccine. The best test or treatment or vaccine may come from somewhere else, so keep in mind that if things look bleak here in the US, it may look a lot brighter somewhere else, and we’ll all benefit soon from their new discoveries.

That all being said, here’s what we know at the end of May 2020:

  • Try to stay at least 6 feet apart from other people.

These are really the most important things to keep in mind. We are currently less concerned about inanimate objects (fomites) possibly transmitting the virus from person to person.

While we wait for a vaccine and effective treatments, take extra good care of yourself. Treat yourself. Go for a walk. Eat a vegetable. Listen to your favorite music. Reach out to friends and family over telephone or internet, and make sure you’re seeing some faces daily. Lower the bar a little: don’t beat yourself up because the house is messy, you put on some weight, or it’s hard to focus. Read a good book. Indulge in a bubble bath. Do a random act of kindness every day: not only will you make someone else’s day, it will make your day much brighter.

Sequestered Sanity: A How-To

by Jennifer Clark, LMSW, and Mickey Desai

So, here we are, social distancing.  We are working from home. We are ordering take out.  We are staying away from our favorite exhibits, restaurants, and events.  If you’re like us, you miss people. And even if you’re just a massive introvert, social contact is still a part of healthy living. 

Social Isolation and Loneliness are Serious Health Issues

A Brigham Young University study suggests that the conditions of isolation or loneliness can be as bad as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day.  But the public health world adamantly maintains isolating is the right way to flatten the curve of contagion.  And they’re right.  Isolating is the right thing to do, even if it makes us a little loopy.  But you are not alone. The whole world is isolating with you. Maddening paradox, right?  Look, even if we’re not physically together, we will pull through this pandemic together. Here’s our recipe for doing this the right way.  This is a long recipe, but you’re worth it. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

Stay Informed, But…

If you have to watch the news, partake mindfully.  Consider seeking out news online or via newspaper rather than by listening to the radio or watching TV.  When you use a live medium, the news–good or bad–pours over you without any control, and it’s sometimes difficult to filter out the unnecessary sensationalism.  If something triggering is announced on your television, it’s all over you before you can stop it. If you choose to read your news instead of watching or listening, you can pick and choose your sources and the articles you follow up on.

And if you do get your news online, remember almost all news agencies make a profit off of your clicks.  The headlines are as sensational as possible to get that click. Often the article itself is less interesting, or the headline might even be misleading.  Screen your sources. We encourage you to be very critical of the news, in general. If you are reading about COVID-19, we strongly encourage you to stick with information from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, or the National Institutes of Health.  Sometimes your local department of public health (usually a county-level entity) will have relevant, local updates, too.

Take Your Meds

If you have been prescribed medications, keep taking them on schedule.  I know we tell you this over and over, but it’s true. You can’t keep healthy if you don’t practice your baseline health measures.  

Stay on Schedule

Try to stay on a steady schedule.  Circadian disruption seems almost unavoidable, but it’s important to keep a healthy schedule.  If you don’t have a good schedule, adopt one for yourself today. Right now. If you are struggling with depression or anxiety and you stay awake in the dark, gaming all night and sleeping-in all day, this is assuredly going to make things worse for you as we get deeper into quarantine.  Don’t catch up on the news just before you go to bed. By the way, sleep is critical to keeping your immune system happy.  

Daylight

Also, while we are talking about daylight, get out in it.  Sitting in your backyard or on your front step still practices safe social distancing and gets you out in the light.  Do you do the meditation thing? It’s a great time to do some mindfulness exercises. Maybe even some yoga. Listen to the birds–they’re happy Spring is here.  Can you see the newly growing tree buds? Feel the grass under your feet?

Uplifting Entertainment

Consume books, movies, and music that lift you up and inspire you.  Be aware of your choices and avoid selections that might feed anger, despair, or loneliness.  We’re not going to judge you for watching Contagion back-to-back five times in five days if it was already your favorite movie.  If your jam is Childish Gambino’s “This is America” and that gets you motivated, go you! But if it makes you stabby, another choice might be better.

Got a Pet?

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Remembering Marco Rizk

With a heavy heart, UsagiMed marks the passing of our dear brother Marco Rizk. Marco succumbed to his long battle with depression and PTSD.

Marco was a Corporal in the Georgia State Defense Force, an EMT, and an amateur radio operator.

Within UsagiMed, Marco was a fantastic medic, treating his patients with the utmost of care and empathy. He genuinely cared about people. One only needed to spend ten minutes with Marco to discover him to be among the kindest of souls–pure and giving of his love and loyalty. His smile never failed to brighten the room. Marco was our friend. And we will miss him.

Coronavirus, Conventions, and You

We’re all concerned about COVID-19.  Whether or not you’re one of the people who are buying out all the toilet paper on the eastern seaboard, we here at Usagi Medical Group would urge everyone to try to put their anxieties in check when it comes to COVID-19 and what it might do to the local convention scene.  Panic seems almost reasonable these days, but panic creates more trouble than it solves.

UsagiMed’s Advice for Convention Organizers

UsagiMed looks to our local (state and county) health departments, along with the CDC for the best and latest information on the virus, its current reach, and all the research being done to combat it.  We encourage you to do the same.  

UsagiMed cannot help you make the decision to cancel or postpone your show.  We can help inform you based on recommendations made by your local health departments, who are also in touch with the CDC and are taking their knowledge and data into account.

There are some innovations your con can make, not the least of which is making public health messaging a visible priority for your con attendees.  Emphasize the 20-second hand-washing regimen, 5-2-1 Rule, and the importance of staying hydrated.  UsagiMed does this with a series of posters, videos, and social media posts. While you’re at it, make sure water is freely available throughout the con.    

Consider implementing a policy that anyone who has any kind of illness should stay home, and that you’ll defer their membership to next year if they do.  Every year we see people show up to their con with the flu because they don’t want to waste their membership fees. Make it easier for people to stay home.  You care about your fans. You want to keep them safe. And you want to party with them when they are well.  

Continue reading “Coronavirus, Conventions, and You”

UsagiMed COVID-19 for Anime/Fandom Convention-Organizers

By Laura Block, PharmD, NREMT

The only thing that we can predict about COVID-19 is that we can’t predict much.  This is a novel virus, and while the scientific community is discovering an amazing amount of information very rapidly, our society and this virus move even faster. 

As a convention-organizer, the best thing you can do is to develop a close relationship with your venue’s county, local, or state health department—specifically, their epidemiologists.  Invite them out for a beer. Studies have shown that the majority of scientists love beer, almost as much as they love sharing their science with others. As your event gets closer, four weeks out, two weeks out, one week out…, find out what their recommendations would be with regards to preventing viral spread at your event, up to and including postponing or cancelling your event. 

Let me reiterate, you want to talk to your local experts—the more local, the better.  Your local epidemiologists know best what’s going on in your specific community. The CDC has a ton of useful information, but is probably not going to have much to say about your locality or your event.  They are the big picture/guideline folks, and your local health department already takes their advice and knowledge into account. 

Stay in close touch with your venue and hotels.  Let them know that you are working in cooperation with the local health department.  Find out when the deadline is for cancelling/postponing without losing (much) money.  Keep them in the loop on what you’re hearing from the health experts and how that message may change the closer you get to your event date. 

You will need to innovate.  At the time of this writing (March 5th, 2020) CDC is recommending that people not touch each other, that we cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue that we immediately throw away, that we wash our hands frequently and use hand sanitizer when we can’t wash, that we not touch our faces, and that we keep about six feet of distance from each other. 

Now think about the last anime convention you went to.  How often did people maintain a distance of six feet from you?  How often was everyone touching the same door handles, escalator handrails, elevator buttons, and registration pens?  What innovations can you think of that might help? A “bring your own pen and box of tissues” drive for a special piece of convention swag?  Encourage sing-alongs in the bathrooms while people wash their hands? Provide hand sanitizer at the end of the registration line and at the elevator doors?  Perhaps a large tent outside to encourage more fresh-air mingling where it’s safer, regardless of the weather? How can you prevent bottlenecks and spread people out?  How can you encourage sick folks to stay home? Perhaps institute a program for exchanging a 2020 membership for a 2021 registration? 

Internally, your first-aid team and your administration need to agree on consistent messaging to convention attendees on how to stay as healthy as possible (such as the 5-2-1 Rule and the currently recommended infection control practices).  Work with your venue on creating signage and communication that will be permitted to remain posted during the duration of your event. Find out if they have stands for displaying signage together with hand sanitizer. 

We know that conventions put us at risk of the “con crud.”  This oft joked-about side-effect of fandom has its own entry in Urban Dictionary, and usually involves a respiratory infection that can be hard to shake.  Recently published articles suggest that attendees who get at least 5 hours of sleep a night are less likely to fall ill. And using the above interventions for social distancing and hand hygiene in a less extreme way can also be used to reduce the risk of flu and con crud.

Lastly, how can we help each other?  How can you communicate your best practices, innovations, successes, and misses to other convention organizers so that everyone stays as healthy as possible and so that our shows not just live, but thrive another year?  Do you collaborate with other events in your state? This is a good time to establish those relationships and collaborative efforts, and to support each other. And let us know what you think. Let’s start a dialogue. You can be sure we’ll be talking about this more on our Facebook pagePlease do join us there.

Dude, Are You Dehydrated?

When we’re at the convention we’ve been looking forward to all year, we want to feel our best. We want to be in fighting form to be able to squeeze every drop of fun out of our weekend! Much like training to run a race, we’ve got to take extra good care of ourselves to be able to withstand the feats of daring-do! If we’re going to walk 5 times as far as customary, sleep ½ as much as usual, and perhaps enjoy some adult beverages, we’ve got to check under the hood and make sure to top off the oil!

What if I told you there was something you could do to support your brain, muscles, and internal organs that was free and doesn’t have to take up any precious convention time? DRINK WATER. Most conventions have water stations conveniently located throughout the event venue. Use them! Quaff a glass of water with your favorite anime, and if you’re at a dance, make sure you’re drinking enough to keep up with your sweating.

Hydrate!

How do you know if you’re drinking enough water? Well, if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. But if you need a more concrete indicator, take a look at the color of your pee. Ideally, your urine is mostly colorless and transparent (except in the mornings when it will be more concentrated). If it’s bright yellow, or heaven forbid, cola-colored, DUDE, you’re dehydrated! Drink water now!

Handy-dandy urine color chart.

What are the consequences of pretending you’re a camel and not keeping hydrated? The most common thing folks notice, something that sends them to first aid in droves at conventions, is headaches. Sure, the bright lights, noise, and crush of fellow fan-folk doesn’t help, but if you’re dehydrated, you’re going to have the Lord Orc of all Headaches. Along with your headache, you’ll be tired and cranky, have bad breath, and you’re likely to crave sweets that are going to make you feel worse when you get that sugar crash. Ignore those warning shots across your bow, and you’re looking at dizziness and muscle cramps. Keep that up, and you risk falling down a dangerous dehydration cliff that can end in rhabdomyolysis, which is even less fun that it sounds. Then you have to go to the hospital, which means you miss that late-night panel you had your eye on.

So, keep an eye on your pee, and drink enough water to stay out of the yellow zone. It’s a free and easy way to help ensure that your convention is the most fun it can be!