Staying Active as You Age

Mayor posts coronavirus misinformation on , falsely claims to be from Johns Hopkins

Staying Active as You Age | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Every day, we learn new information about the coronavirus (COVID-19), the pandemic that has changed the world. Wochit

LAS CRUCES – Mayor Ken Miyagishima shared an inaccurate post about coronavirus avoidance tips that falsely purported to come from Johns Hopkins University, an institution which has been researching the virus and providing expert information.

On Sunday, the mayor posted to the community page “las cruces community watch” a post that falsely claims “Johns Hopkins University has sent this detailed note on avoiding the contagion.”

The post then claims to lay out tips and tricks to avoid catching the virus. It describes the virus' genetic makeup, describes why hot water and soap can destroy the virus and explains that alcohol can kill the virus.

It claims the virus cannot go through healthy skin, claims keeping your fingernails short prevents the virus from hiding under them and claims you can prevent the virus from spreading by not shaking clothes or bedsheets.

While many of these claims seem to sound tips the public has heard from health officials, a spokesperson for Johns Hopkins confirmed to the Sun-News that the post is a hoax. It did not come from Johns Hopkins Medicine.

The Sun-News couldn't get Johns Hopkins to evaluate the veracity of each claim in the post, so it's unclear the degree to which each claim included is true or false. Johns Hopkins emphasizes the whole post lacks credibility.

“This is not something produced by Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM),” a spokesperson said in a statement. “We have seen rumors and misinformation about COVID-19 citing our experts and circulating on social media, and we have received several inquiries from the general public about these posts. We do not know their origin, and they lack credibility.”

More: Coronavirus in Southern New Mexico: What you need to know about the COVID-19 outbreak

Johns Hopkins has kept a detailed webpage about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, called the Coronavirus Resource Center that includes a map of infections and deaths, information about proper social distancing, information about the virus' behavior and updates from experts and researchers. 

You can find coronavirus information from Johns Hopkins at

Once another member of the group pointed out the post appeared to not have come from Johns Hopkins, the mayor removed it Monday morning.

Miyagishima said when the veracity of the post was called into question, he looked for the information on the Johns Hopkins website and couldn't find it. So he removed the post.

“I made an error in not verifying that it came from Johns Hopkins and that won’t happen again,” the mayor said.

More: Council gives mayor authority to declare state of emergency

The text of the post has been circling in dozens of posts and the mayor’s post appears to have been a direct copy and paste of the viral hoax's text. Before the mayor took the post down, his post was shared more than 480 times. 

Miyagishima told the Sun-News he takes responsibility for the mistake, saying he received the information in an email.

“I have an acquaintance who in the past has emailed me and it always seemed to be pretty much, well, I had no reason to dispute it,” Miyagishima said. “I took it for granted that it was good.”

He said he did research some of the claims online to see if they checked out and determined the information seemed true. 

“There was information on there that seemed credible,” Miyagishima said. “So I guess what I’m trying to say is, some of that, for example washing your hands, certain things that were on there (seemed credible).”

For the last few weeks Miyagishima has been sharing all sorts of coronavirus information with residents on “community watch.”

He's reminded residents that the Las Cruces tap water is available in the event of bottled water shortages. He's reminded travelers into New Mexico from certain hot spot cities to self-quarantine. And he's compiled and posted information about essential city services, grocery store hours for seniors and assistance for workers.

Miyagishima said to expect a further statement on about the false post.

For other places with trusted information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at and the New Mexico Department of Health website at

Michael McDevitt can be reached at 575-202-3205, or @MikeMcDTweets on .

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Treating Lupus with Steroids

Staying Active as You Age | Johns Hopkins Medicine

  • Prednisone
  • Prednisolone
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Methylprednisolone (Medrol)
  • Dexamethasone (Decadron)
  • Triamcinolone IM
  • IV methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol)
  • Topical Steroids

Steroids are a group of chemicals that make up a large portion of the hormones in your body. One of these steroids, cortisone, is a close relative of cortisol, which the adrenal glands in your body make as a natural anti-inflammatory hormone. Synthetic cortisone medications are some of the most effective treatments for reducing the swelling, warmth, pain, and tenderness associated with the inflammation of lupus. Cortisone usually works quickly to relieve these symptoms. However, cortisone can also cause many unwelcome side effects, so it is usually prescribed only when other medications—specifically NSAIDs and anti-malarials—are not sufficient enough to control lupus.

The word “steroid” often sounds frightening because of the media attention given to the anabolic steroids that some athletes use to put on muscle. However, it is important to remember that steroids make up a large group of molecules with different functions, and the steroids given to treat lupus—specifically, corticosteroids—are different than those you may hear about on the news.

How do corticosteroids work to reduce inflammation in the body?

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to events such as injury, infection, and the presence of foreign substances—things your body doesn’t recognize as a part of itself.

Sometimes, however, as with lupus, your body’s immune system does not function properly, and the inflammatory response works to damage your own tissues, causing stiffness, swelling, warmth, pain, and tenderness in different parts of the body.

Corticosteroids help to slow and stop the processes in your body that make the molecules involved in your inflammatory response. These steroids also reduce the activity of your immune system by affecting the function of cells in your blood called white blood cells.

In reducing inflammation and immune response, corticosteroids help to prevent damage to the tissues in your body.

What steroid medications are commonly prescribed for lupus?

Prednisone is the steroid most commonly prescribed for lupus. It is usually given as tablets that come in 1, 5, 10, or 20 milligram (mg) doses. Pills may be taken as often as 4 times a day or as infrequently as once every other day. Usually, a low dose of prednisone is about 7.

5 mg per day or less, a medium dose is between 7.5 and 30 mg per day, and a dose of more than 30 mg qualifies as a high dose. Your doctor may also prescribe a similar drug called prednisolone, especially if you have had any liver problems. Prednisolone and prednisone are very similar.

In fact, the liver must convert prednisone to prednisolone before the body can use it.

Sometimes lupus flares can be treated with an intra-muscular (IM) injection of a drug called Triamcinolone.

These injections are usually given at your doctor’s office, and they often reduce flares without some of the side-effects that would accompany an increase in the dosage of an oral steroid prednisone.

Usually, the only noticeable side effect of these injections is a dimple or loss of pigmentation at the injection sight.

Steroids can also be given intravenously (IV) in the form of methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol), and your doctor may prescribe higher doses of methylprednisolone (1000 mg) given over 3-5-day period. These treatments are often referred to as “pulse steroids.

” Other forms of steroid medications commonly given for lupus are hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone (Medrol) dose packs, and dexamethasone (Decadron) tablets. These medications vary in potency. For example, hydrocortisone is weaker than prednisone, methylprednisolone is stronger, and dexamethasone is very potent.

Ointments containing corticosteroids are also commonly prescribed for lupus rashes.

What are the side effects of steroid medications?

Steroid medications can have serious long-term side effects, and the risk of these side effects increases with higher doses and longer term therapy.

For this reason, steroid medications are usually prescribed only after other less potent drugs have proven insufficient in controlling your lupus.

Your doctor will work with you to determine the lowest dose of steroids necessary to control your lupus symptoms and will prescribe steroids for the shortest possible amount of time. Steroids are sometimes combined with other drugs to help reduce some of these side effects.

Possible side effects of taking these steroid medications are:

  • Changes in appearance
    • Acne
    • Development of round/moon-shaped face (sometimes called “Cushing’s syndrome” after the physician who first described it)
    • Weight gain due to increased appetite
    • Redistribution of fat, leading to swollen face and abdomen, but thin arms and legs
    • Increased skin fragility, leading to easy bruising
    • Hair growth on the face
  • Psychological problems
    • Irritability
    • Agitation, psychosis
    • Euphoria/depression (mood swings)
    • Insomnia
  • Increased susceptibility to infections
  • Stomach irritation, peptic ulceration
  • Irregular menses (periods)
  • Potassium deficiency
  • Aggravation of the following preexisting conditions:
    • Diabetes
    • Glaucoma
    • High blood pressure
  • Increase in:
    • Cholesterol
    • Triglycerides
  • May suppress growth in children
  • Long term side effects:
    • Avascular necrosis of bone (death of bone tissue due to lack of blood supply):
      • Usually associated with high doses of prednisone taken over long periods of time.
      • Produces pain, including night pain. Pain relief usually requires either a core bone biopsy or total surgical joint replacement.
      • Occurs most often in hip, but can also affect shoulders, knees, and other joints.
    • Osteoporosis
      • Thinning of the bones.
      • Can lead to bone fractures, especially compression fractures of vertebrae with severe back pain.
    • Cataracts
    • Glaucoma
    • Muscle weakness
    • Premature atherosclerosis – narrowing of the blood vessels by cholesterol (fat) deposits.
    • Pregnancy complications –Doses of 20mg or more have shown to increase pregnancy and birth complications, such as preeclampsia.

What can I do to stay as healthy as possible while taking my steroid medications?

While taking steroid medications such as prednisone, it may seem that your body’s reactions to the things you do and the food you eat are your hands.

If you feel overwhelmed or frustrated with some of the outward effects of your medications, your doctor can help you to come up with some strategies to minimize side-effects.

However, it is important to realize that you play the most important role in helping yourself to stay as healthy as possible. There are many things you can do on a daily basis to help minimize the side effects of both steroid medications and your lupus symptoms.


A healthy diet is important for everyone, but it is especially important for people with lupus and those taking steroid medications. While taking steroids, your cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood sugar levels may increase.

For these reasons, it is absolutely essential that you not increase your calorie intake and follow a low sodium, low-fat, and low-carbohydrate diet. You do not need to cut out all of the foods you love, but concentrate on eating whole grain breads and cereals and lean sources of protein such as chicken and fish.

* When you need a snack, look to vegetables—they are low in sugar and calories and provide the perfect food for “grazing.” Try to eat them without Ranch dressing or vegetable dip, because these items carry lots of fat and calories. If you need something to accompany your vegetables, try lighter dips hummus.

It is also important that you minimize alcohol intake when taking steroid medications, since steroids may already irritate your stomach. In fact, it is best not to drink alcohol at all, because combining alcohol with certain lupus medications can be very harmful to your liver.

Steroids may deplete certain vitamins in your body, such as vitamins C, D, and potassium. Your doctor may recommend for you to take supplemental vitamins or increase your intake of certain foods in order to make up for these deficiencies.

Usually it is beneficial to take a multivitamin every day, but speak with your doctor to see which one is right for you, since some vitamins can adversely affect certain conditions.

For example, people with antiphospholipid antibodies, especially those taking anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin), should avoid vitamin K because it can increase the risk of blood clots.


Steroids can also contribute to a thinning of the bones known as osteoporosis, which may put you at an increased risk for bone fractures. Your doctor may prescribe a drug for osteoporosis or advise you to take a calcium or hormone supplement.

Bisphosphonates such as Actonel, Fosamax, and Boniva are commonly prescribed, as are parathyroid hormone (Forteo) and other medications. To help keep your bones as strong as possible, try to increase your intake of calcium and vitamin D. Calcium helps to keep bones strong and vitamin D helps your body make use of calcium.

Foods high in calcium include milk and milk products, tofu, cheese, broccoli, chard, all greens, okra, kale, spinach, sourkraut, cabbage, soy beans, rutabaga, salmon, and dry beans.

Staying Active

In addition to increasing your risk of osteoporosis, steroid medications can weaken your muscles. Staying as active as possible will help you to maintain strong muscles and bones. Weight-bearing activities such as walking, dancing, and running will help your muscles stay strong and healthy.

Many people report that these activities make them feel better mentally as well. In fact, there are actually chemicals in your brain triggered by significant exercise (usually about 30 minutes per day) that help you to attain a “natural high.” Your doctor can help you to assess your personal condition and decide on an exercise routine that is best for you.

However, you should never put yourself through more than reasonable discomfort when exercising.


People with lupus should never smoke due to their increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Steroid medications increase this risk by upping blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol. Smoking, steroids, and lupus make a very bad combination.


Steroid medications can also increase the risk of infection; this risk increases if you are also taking immunosuppressive drugs. For this reason, it is important that you try to avoid colds and other infections. Washing your hands regularly is perhaps the best way to keep germs at bay.

More serious infections can lead to serious—even fatal—illness. The infections that most worry doctors are kidney infection, a type of skin infection called cellulitis, urinary tract infections, and pneumonia.

It is important to be on the lookout for any changes in your health, because people taking steroids may not run a fever even though they are very ill. If these infections go untreated, they could enter the bloodstream and pose an even bigger threat, so it is important that you notify your doctor at the first signs of an infection or illness.

In addition, live virus vaccines, such as FluMist, the small pox vaccine, and the shingles vaccine (Zostavax) should be avoided because they may cause disease in individuals taking steroid medications.

Eye Exams

Finally, since medications can increase your risk of cataracts and aggravate glaucoma, try to get an eye exam twice a year. Notify your doctor of any major changes in your vision.

Do not abruptly stop taking steroids

You should not stop taking steroids abruptly if you have been taking them for more than 4 weeks.

Once your body has adjusted to taking steroids, your adrenal glands may shrink and produce less natural cortisone.

Therefore, it is important to slowly reduce the dosage of steroids to allow the adrenal glands to gradually regain their ability to produce cortisone on their own.

Are there other drugs that I might take while taking steroids?

Steroids are often given in high doses, which may increase the risk of side effects. Medications called “immunosuppressive” drugs are sometimes prescribed in addition to steroids to help spare some of these undesirable side effects.

However, as their name suggests, immunosuppressive work to suppress the immune system, so when taking these drugs, it is important to watch out for infection and notify your doctor at any sign of illness.

If you do acquire an infection, you may be prescribed an antibiotic or other medication, but be sure to stay away from Bactrim, since this medication can cause flares in some people with lupus.

Because of the risk of osteoporosis, your doctor may also prescribe a bisphosphonate such as Actonel, Fosamax, or Boniva. She/he may also recommend taking calcium or vitamin D supplements to reduce bone thinning. Your doctor may also prescribe a diuretic to deal with bloating, fluid retention, and hypertension (high blood pressure).

In addition, since cortisone can cause elevated cholesterol, your doctor may prescribe statins such as Lipitor, Crestor, Vytorin, or Caduet. These medications work to lower cholesterol.

∗ The omega 3 fatty acids in fish and fish oil also have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to reduce some of the discomfort in your joints and muscles.


Myths About Exercise and Older Adults

Staying Active as You Age | Johns Hopkins Medicine

From the WebMD Archives

Have you given up on exercise? A lot of older people do — just one four people between the ages of 65 and 74 exercises regularly. Many people assume that they're too out-of-shape, or sick, or tired, or just plain old to exercise. They're wrong.

“Exercise is almost always good for people of any age,” says Chhanda Dutta, PhD, chief of the Clinical Gerontology Branch at the National Institute on Aging. Exercise can help make you stronger, prevent bone loss, improve balance and coordination, lift your mood, boost your memory, and ease the symptoms of many chronic conditions.

Here are some common myths that stop older people from exercising — along with some expert advice to get you started working out.

Exercise Myth: Trying to exercise and get healthy is pointless — decline in old age is inevitable.

“There's a powerful myth that getting older means getting decrepit,” says Dutta. “It's not true. Some people in their 70s, 80s, and 90s are out there running marathons and becoming body-builders.

” A lot of the symptoms that we associate with old age — such as weakness and loss of balance — are actually symptoms of inactivity, not age, says Alicia I.

Arbaje, MD, MPH, assistant professor of Geriatrics and Gerontology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Exercise improves more than your physical health. It can also boost memory and help prevent dementia. And it can help you maintain your independence and your way of life. If you stay strong and agile as you age, you'll be more able to keep doing the things you enjoy and less ly to need help.

Exercise Myth: Exercise isn't safe for someone my age — I don't want to fall and break a hip.

In fact, studies show that exercise can reduce your chances of a fall, says Dutta. Exercise builds strength, balance, and agility. Exercises tai chi may be especially helpful in improving balance. Worried about osteoporosis and weak bones? One of the best ways to strengthen them is with regular exercise.

Exercise Myth: Since I'm older, I need to check with my doctor before I exercise.

If you have a medical condition or any unexplained symptoms or you haven't had a physical in a long time, check with your doctor before you start exercising. Otherwise, go ahead. “People don't need to check with a doctor before they exercise just because they're older,” says Dutta. Just go slowly and don't overdo it.

Exercise Myth: I'm sick, so I shouldn't exercise.

On the contrary, if you have a chronic health problem — such as arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease — exercise is almost certainly a good idea. Check with a doctor first, but exercise will probably help.

“Exercise is almost a silver bullet for lots of health problems,” says Arbaje. “For many people, exercise can do as much if not more good than the 5 to 10 medications they take every day.”

Exercise Myth: I'm afraid I might have a heart attack.

We've all heard about people who had heart attacks while exercising. It can happen. However, the many health benefits of exercise far exceed the small risk. “Being a couch potato is actually more dangerous than being physically active,” says Dutta. “That's true for the risk of heart disease and many other conditions.”

Exercise Myth: I never really exercised before — it's too late to make a difference in my health.

It may seem too late to atone for a lifetime of not exercising. “That's absolutely not true,” says Dutta.

Studies have found that even in people in their nineties living in nursing homes, starting an exercise routine can boost muscle strength.

Other research shows that starting exercise late in life can still cut the risk of health problems — such as diabetes –and improve symptoms. “It really is never too late to start exercising and reaping the benefits,” Dutta tells WebMD.

Exercise Myth: Exercise will hurt my joints.

If you're in chronic pain from arthritis, exercising may seem too painful. Here's a counterintuitive fact: studies show that exercising helps with arthritis pain. One study of people over age 60 with knee arthritis found that those who exercised more had less pain and better joint function.

Exercise Myth: I don't have time.

This is a myth that's common in all age groups. Experts recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week. That might sound a lot. Actually, it's only a little over 20 minutes a day.

What's more, you don't have to do it all in one chunk. You can split it up. For instance, take a 10-minute walk in the morning and pedal on a stationary bike for 15 minutes in the evening — you're done.

Exercise Myth: I'm too weak to start exercising.

Maybe you just recovered from an illness or surgery and are feeling too weak even to walk around the block. Maybe you only get the chair each day to go to the bathroom. If so, start there. Decide today to get in and your chair 10 times. As you do it more, your strength will increase and you can set higher goals.

Exercise Myth: I'm disabled, so I can't exercise.

“A disability can make exercise challenging, but there really is no excuse for not doing some sort of exercise,” says Arbaje.

If you’re in a wheelchair, you can use your arms to get an aerobic workout and build strength. Even people who are bedridden can find ways to exercise, she says.

Talk to a doctor or a physical therapist about ways you can modify exercises to work around your disability.

Exercise Myth: I can't afford it — I don't have the budget to join a gym or buy equipment.

Gym memberships and home treadmills can be expensive. Still, that's no reason to skip exercising, Dutta says. You can exercise for free. Walking doesn't cost anything. Look into free demonstration classes at your local senior center.

If you want to lift weights at home, use soup cans or milk jugs filled with sand. Use your dining room chair for exercises that improve balance and flexibility. If you have a health problem, insurance may cover a few sessions with a physical trainer or an occupational therapist, says Arbaje.

There are lots of ways to get fit at low or no cost.

Exercise Myth: Gyms are for young people.

“The gym scene can be intimidating for older people,” says Dutta. Look to see if gyms in your area have offerings for seniors or people new to exercise. If you're retired, try going in the middle of the day, so you can avoid the before and after-work rush. “Find an environment where you feel comfortable exercising,” says Arbaje.

Exercise Myth: Exercise is boring.

If exercise is boring, you're not doing it right. Exercise doesn't even have to feel exercise.

Remember that any physical activity counts. Whether it's catching up with a friend while you walk the mall, or taking a dance class, or chasing your grandchildren, or bowling, or raking, or gardening, or volunteering at your local school system or park, it's physical activity.

“Don’t forget sex,” says Arbaje. “That's good exercise too.”

The key is to figure out something you enjoy doing and do that. When you get tired of it, try something new. “The type of exercise doesn't matter,” says Arbaje. “The best exercise is the one that you actually do.”


Alicia I. Arbaje, MD, MPH, assistant professor, Geriatrics and Gerontology; associate director of Transitional Care Research, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore.

Chhanda Dutta, PhD, Chief, Clinical Gerontology Branch, Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity: Strength Training for Older Adults: Introduction.

National Institute on Aging — Go4Life: Being physically active without spending a dime, Fitness Centers Aren't Just for Kids, Stay Safe, 4 Types of Exercise, How Exercise Can Help You, New Go4Life campaign focuses on fitness for older adults.

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