Differences and Similarities Between Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19

What is the difference between Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19?

Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses.

There are some key differences between flu and COVID-19. COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. It can also take longer before people show symptoms and people can be contagious for longer. Another important difference is there is a vaccine to protect against flu. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. More information about differences between flu and COVID-19 is available in the different sections below.

Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.

While more is learned every day, there is still a lot that is unknown about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it. This page compares COVID-19 and flu, given the best available information to date.


Signs and Symptoms


Both COVID-19 and flu can have varying degrees of signs and symptoms, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms. Common symptoms that COVID-19 and flu share include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Headache
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults



Flu viruses can cause mild to severe illness, including common signs and symptoms listed above.


COVID-19 seems to cause more serious illnesses in some people. Other signs and symptoms of COVID-19, different from flu, may include change in or loss of taste or smell.

How long symptoms appear after exposure and infection


For both COVID-19 and flu, 1 or more days can pass between a person becoming infected and when he or she starts to experience illness symptoms.


If a person has COVID-19, it could take them longer to develop symptoms than if they had flu.

Typically, a person develops symptoms anywhere from 1 to 4 days after infection.


Typically, a person develops symptoms 5 days after being infected, but symptoms can appear as early as 2 days after infection or as late as 14 days after infection, and the time range can vary.

How long someone can spread the virus


For both COVID-19 and flu, it’s possible to spread the virus for at least 1 day before experiencing any symptoms.


If a person has COVID-19, they may be contagious for a longer period of time than if they had flu.


Most people with flu are contagious for about 1 day before they show symptoms.

Older children and adults with flu appear to be most contagious during the initial 3-4 days of their illness but many remain contagious for about 7 days.

Infants and people with weakened immune systems can be contagious for even longer.


How long someone can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 is still under investigation.

It’s possible for people to spread the virus for about 2 days before experiencing signs or symptoms and remain contagious for at least 10 days after signs or symptoms first appeared. If someone is asymptomatic or their symptoms go away, it’s possible to remain contagious for at least 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19.

How it Spreads


Both COVID-19 and flu can spread from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). Both are spread mainly by droplets made when people with the illness (COVID-19 or flu) cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

It may be possible that a person can get infected by physical human contact (e.g. shaking hands) or by touching a surface or object that has virus on it and then touching his or her own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

Both flu virus and the virus that causes COVID-19 may be spread to others by people before they begin showing symptoms, with very mild symptoms or who never developed symptoms (asymptomatic).


While COVID-19 and flu viruses are thought to spread in similar ways, COVID-19 is more contagious among certain populations and age groups than flu. Also, COVID-19 has been observed to have more superspreading events than flu. This means the virus that causes COVID-19 can quickly and easily spread to a lot of people and result in continuous spreading among people as time progresses.


People at High-Risk for Severe Illness


Both COVID-19 and flu illness can result in severe illness and complications. Those at highest risk include:

  • Older adults
  • People with certain underlying medical conditions
  • Pregnant people


The risk of complications for healthy children is higher for flu compared to COVID-19. However, infants and children with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for both flu and COVID-19.


Young children are at higher risk of severe illness from flu.


School-aged children infected with COVID-19 are at higher risk of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a rare but severe complication of COVID-19.




Both COVID-19 and flu can result in complications, including:

  • Pneumonia
  • Respiratory failure
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome (i.e. fluid in lungs)
  • Sepsis
  • Cardiac injury (e.g. heart attacks and stroke)
  • Multiple-organ failure (respiratory failure, kidney failure, shock)
  • Worsening of chronic medical conditions (involving the lungs, heart, nervous system or diabetes)
  • Inflammation of the heart, brain or muscle tissues
  • Secondary bacterial infections (i.e. infections that occur in people who have already been infected with flu or COVID-19)



Most people who get flu will recover in a few days to less than two weeks, but some people will develop complications, some of these complications are listed above.


Additional complications associated with COVID-19 can include:

  • Blood clots in the veins and arteries of the lungs, heart, legs or brain
  • Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)


Approved Treatments


People at high-risk of complications or who have been hospitalized for COVID-19 or flu should receive supportive medical care to help relieve symptoms and complications.



Prescription influenza antiviral drugs are FDA-approved to treat flu.

People who are hospitalized with flu or at high-risk of flu complications with flu symptoms are recommended to be treated with antiviral drugs as soon as possible.


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has developed guidance on treatment of COVID-19, which will be regularly updated as new evidence on treatment options emerges.

While remdesivir is an antiviral agent that is being explored as a treatment for COVID-19 and is available under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), there are currently no drugs or other therapeutics approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent or treat COVID-19. Studies are in progress to learn more.




Vaccines for COVID-19 and flu must be approved or authorized for emergency use (EUA) by the FDA.



There are multiple FDA-licensed influenza vaccines produced annually to protect against the 3 or 4 flu viruses that scientists anticipate will circulate each year.


Currently there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. Vaccine developers and other researchers and manufacturers are expediting the development of a vaccine to prevent COVID-19.

How is HIV Transmitted

How Do You Get or Transmit HIV?

You can only get HIV by coming into direct contact with certain body fluids from a person with HIV who has a detectable viral load. These fluids are:

  • Blood
  • Semen (cum) and pre-seminal fluid
  • Rectal fluids
  • Vaginal fluids
  • Breast milk

For transmission to occur, the HIV in these fluids must get into the bloodstream of an HIV-negative person through a mucous membrane (found in the rectum, vagina, mouth, or tip of the penis); open cuts or sores; or by direct injection.

People with HIV who take HIV medicine daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners.


How Is HIV Spread from Person to Person?

HIV can only be spread through specific activities. In the United States, the most common ways are:

  • Having vaginal or anal sex with someone who has HIV without using a condom or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV. Anal sex is riskier than vaginal sex.
  • Sharing injection drug equipment (“works”), such as needles, with someone who has HIV.

Less common ways are:

HIV is spread only in extremely rare cases by:

  • Having oral sex. But in general, the chance that an HIV-negative person will get HIV from oral sex with an HIV-positive partner is extremely low.
  • Receiving blood transfusions, blood products, or organ/tissue transplants that are contaminated with HIV. The risk is extremely small these days because of rigorous testing of the U.S. blood supply and donated organs and tissues.
  • Being bitten by a person with HIV. Each of the very small number of documented cases has involved severe trauma with extensive tissue damage and the presence of blood. There is no risk of transmission if the skin is not broken.
  • Contact between broken skin, wounds, or mucous membranes and HIV-infected blood or blood-contaminated body fluids.
  • Deep, open-mouth kissing if both partners have sores or bleeding gums and blood from the HIV-positive partner gets into the bloodstream of the HIV-negative partner. HIV is not spread through saliva.
  • Eating food that has been pre-chewed by a person with HIV. The contamination occurs when infected blood from a caregiver’s mouth mixes with food while chewing. The only known cases are among infants.

Does HIV Viral Load Affect Getting or Transmitting HIV?

Yes. Viral load is the amount of HIV in the blood of someone who has HIV. Taking HIV medicine (called antiretroviral therapy or ART) daily as prescribed can make the viral load very low—so low that a test can’t detect it (this is called an undetectable viral load).

People with HIV who take HIV medicine daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.

HIV medicine is a powerful tool for preventing sexual transmission of HIV. But it works only as long as the HIV-positive partner gets and keeps an undetectable viral load. Not everyone taking HIV medicine has an undetectable viral load. To stay undetectable, people with HIV must take HIV medicine every day as prescribed and visit their healthcare provider regularly to get a viral load test.


Ways HIV Cannot Be Spread

HIV is not spread by:

  • Air or water
  • Mosquitoes, ticks or other insects
  • Saliva, tears, or sweat that is not mixed with the blood of a person with HIV
  • Shaking hands; hugging; sharing toilets; sharing dishes, silverware, or drinking glasses; or engaging in closed-mouth or “social” kissing with a person with HIV
  • Drinking fountains
  • Other sexual activities that don’t involve the exchange of body fluids (for example, touching).

HIV can’t be passed through healthy, unbroken skin.


How Do You Get AIDS?

You can’t “catch” AIDS.

AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection. If you have HIV and you are not on HIV treatment, eventually your body’s immune system will weaken and you will progress to AIDS.

People with AIDS have such badly damaged immune systems that they get a number of severe illnesses, called opportunistic infections.


HIV in America


The new initiative seeks to reduce the number of new HIV infections in the United States by 75 percent within five years, and then by at least 90 percent within 10 years, for an estimated 250,000 total HIV infections averted.

Fact Sheet

HIV in America

HIV has cost America too much for too long and remains a significant public health issue:

  • More than 700,000 American lives have been lost to HIV since 1981.
  • More than 1.1 million Americans are currently living with HIV and many more are at risk of HIV infection.
  • While new HIV diagnoses have declined significantly from their peak, progress on further reducing them has stalled with an estimated 40,000 Americans being newly diagnosed each year. Without intervention another 400,000 Americans will be newly diagnosed over 10 years despite the available tools to prevent transmissions.
  • The U.S. government spends $20 billion in annual direct health expenditures for HIV prevention and care.
  • There is a real risk of an HIV resurgence due to several factors, including trends in injection drug use; HIV-related stigma; homophobia; lack of access to HIV prevention, testing, and treatment; and a lack of awareness that HIV remains a significant public health threat.


Running Can Lift Your Mood

Running Can Lift Your Mood

No matter what the weather, there are times when you’re simply not your happy self. It’s even worse on rainy days or during the winter months, where the lack of sunshine can add to that downer you’re already experiencing. One simple thing you can do is get up and move. The brisker you move, the better it is. There are many studies that show aerobic exercise, like running, can improve your mood.

You may be anxious or depressed because of chronic stress.

Stress takes its toll on your body and can have a dramatic effect on your mental health, too. The body changes when there’s perceived danger and sends hormones out to prepare it to fight or run. If you don’t do either, those changes continue, leaving you with a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach and other unresolved physical issues, such as a rapid heart beat. By running, or doing some other form of aerobic exercise, you’re simulating the action the changes were meant to help and burn off the hormones of stress, allowing the body to return to normal.

Studies have shown that aerobic exercise can help lift your spirits.

More and more therapists are using exercise as adjunct therapy. In some cases, it’s prescribed instead of medication. There are a number of studies that show that doing aerobic exercise several times a week gets excellent results. It can be used with medication or instead of medication, to help with the problem of anxiety or depression. It burns off the hormones of stress and boosts the production of a hormone to help create new brain cells. Not only does that improve your mood, it improves the brain’s performance, helping memory in the process. It’s also used as an aid in treating mental decline and dementia.

Aerobic exercise, like running, is the best workout for depression, but other exercise helps, too.

If you’re working on strength-building, flexibility and aerobic exercises, you’ll also be improving your posture as you do. That improved posture not only makes you look more confident, it makes you feel more confident, too. That can be a real mood elevator. Feeling strong adds to that confidence and the feeling you can take on the world…and win. You’ll be amazed at how great you feel after you take on a well-rounded exercise program. You can start by running and add to it.

  • When you workout, not only does it burn off stress hormones, it triggers the brain to create hormones that make you feel good. These mood elevating hormones add to the great feeling exercise brings.
  • Whether you run, walk or workout with weights, having a workout partner helps. You’ll get the social interaction that is known to improve health and increase longevity, plus be held accountable for working out, while making it more fun.
  • If your depression, anxiety or mood prevents you from doing everyday things or is severe and reoccurring, seek the help of a professional. Start with a health care professional, since depression may be a sign of physical illness.
  • Not only will running or any other kind of exercise, lift your mood, it will also improve your overall health. It’s a great way to start a program of exercise that will boost your energy, lift your spirits and help make you look and feel years younger.

For more information, contact us today at Travel Trim

Pregnancy Safe Workouts

Pregnancy Safe Workouts

There’s no harm in exercising during pregnancy for most people. In fact, it actually could make delivery easier, while keeping you healthier and looking your best. It can improve your posture, which could aid in relieving backaches and fatigue. The activity may also prevent gestational diabetes and relieve stress. However, you also need to make sure you do safe workouts and not push too hard. If you worked out before pregnancy, ease up a bit on intensity and switch from high impact exercises to low impact. If you never exercised before, always talk to your health care professional first. Avoid taking up a strenuous activity and opt for walking, swimming and easy workouts.

There are some situations where exercise or unguided exercise should be avoided.

If you have a preexisting condition, such as heart disease, diabetes or asthma, exercise may not be recommended by your doctor. Since each person and each pregnancy is different, even if you exercised before, talk to your physician first. Conditions like spotting, recurrent miscarriage, low placenta, a weak cervix or a history of premature births are also reasons to get the advice of a physician or medical expert.

Just walking may be your best form of exercise.

Taking time to add a half hour brisk walk or three ten minute brisk walks, can go a long way in making you feel better. Other low impact activities like riding a stationary bike, step machines or doing low impact aerobics or yoga (preferably one that’s specifically for a pregnant women and run by a certified instructor) are also beneficial. If you were jogging before pregnancy, doing it in moderation should be okay.

Exercises that involve contact or falling should be avoided, like skiing, basketball or volleyball.

It only makes sense to avoid activities that cause a jarring or shock to the body or abdominal trauma. Jumping, hopping, bouncing or any jarring movements should be avoided, too. Leg lifts, full sit-ups, deep knee bends and touching your toes while keeping your knees straight are also dangerous during pregnancy. Be careful of your form. Don’t hold your breath or bounce if you’re stretching. Movements where you twist at the waist or exert a burst of energy, followed by a rest should be avoided, too.

  • Whether you’re pregnant or not, avoid working out in the heat. Error on the side of caution when you’re pregnant. You’re protecting not only your own health but that of your child.
  • Training out with light weights can help. If you worked out with weights before you were pregnant, the potential is high that you can keep it up, just taking it a bit easier. Avoid lifting where you lay on your back.
  • Make your aerobics safer by doing them in the water. There are normally special “Mother-to-Be” water aerobics classes in most towns and cities. These are low impact and the social experience is also great.
  • Both the kneeling and standing pelvic tilt are great to help relieve back pain. For the standing pelvic tilt, lean with your back on a wall and feet three inches out. Tighten your bottom and stomach as you press your lower back so it touches the wall.

For more information, contact us today at Travel Trim

Exercises For Reduced Mobility

Exercises For Reduced Mobility

Whether you’ve broken an ankle and temporarily have reduced mobility, or are older with many physical challenges, exercise is still important. Exercising when you have physical limitations may seem like it’s impossible, but it’s not. There are ways to modify every exercise and exercises that you can do laying down in bed. Many painful conditions, such as arthritis and back pain, improve when you workout regularly. It may not involve heavy weights in the gym or rigorous aerobics, but it still improves overall health.

Always talk to your health care professional before you start any program of exercise.

People with health conditions need be more vigilant and cautious when it comes to exercise. Osteoporosis, chest pain, swollen joints, fever, a history of blood clots and other symptoms of illness should be mentioned to your health care professional when discussing your situation. Most doctors encourage exercise for people with limited mobility and often suggest starting with short sessions. You can exercise ten minutes and get benefits, increasing the time as you get stronger or adding one or two more sessions each day until you reach 30 minutes.

You can do exercises sitting down, even if you’re in a wheel chair.

For those who are most frail or chair-bound, doing exercises sitting in a chair can improve flexibility, strength and endurance. They can also help prevent pressure sores that can occur from sitting too long in the same position. The first and the easiest is to work on posture. Lift your arms until they’re at right angles to your body and then bend your arms at the elbow so the forearm is pointing upward. Pull your arms back, stretching and trying to push shoulder blades together. Hold, relax and do again. It helps with posture and that helps with breathing and aids organ function. Use resistance bands affixed to a stationery item to build strength.

Don’t forget the pool.

Water aerobics is one of the best ways to workout if you have joint problems. The water provides resistance, without causing impact on the joints. You’ll feel less pain because of the buoyancy and have 12 times the resistance as you would if you did the movement on dry land. In fact, just walking in water can help build muscle, without causing additional joint pain.

  • Tai Chi is a gentle exercise, but that doesn’t mean it’s not tough. You’ll build strength and endurance, while boosting your mood, improving flexibility and balance. Group tai chi classes are a great way to interact with others.
  • You don’t need expensive equipment to workout. Use water bottles, soup cans and detergent or milk jugs for weights. If you want to get fancier, use resistance bands. They’re inexpensive and store easily.
  • Stretching throughout the day is a good exercise. It can be a stretch that’s specifically an exercise or simply moving your body in a different way and holding that position. For instance, if you can’t move your legs, use your hands to lift it off the chair and pull it to your chest.
  • Isometric exercises are a great way to get muscles stronger. Simply sitting up straight, taking a deep breath and tightening your abdominal muscles hard and holding for a count of ten builds abdominal strength.

For more information, contact us today at Travel Trim

Breathing Exercises

Breathing Exercises


Out with the old, stale air and in with new fresh air. That’s the theme of the two most useful breathing exercises—pursed lip breathing and belly breathing—taught by  pulmonary rehabilitation specialists to individuals with chronic lung diseases such as asthma and COPD.  Like aerobic exercise improves your heart function and strengthens your muscles, breathing exercises can make your lungs more efficient.


Why Breathing Exercises Help


When you have healthy lungs, breathing is natural and easy. You breathe in and out with your diaphragm doing about 80 percent of the work to fill your lungs with a mixture of oxygen and other gases, and then to send the waste gas out. Lung HelpLine respiratory therapist Mark Courtney compares the process to a screen door with a spring, opening and shutting on its own. “Our lungs are springy, like the door. Over time, though, with asthma and especially with COPD, our lungs lose that springiness. They don’t return to the same level as when you start breathing, and air gets trapped in our lungs,” Courtney explains.


Over time, stale air builds up, leaving less room for the diaphragm to contract and bring in fresh oxygen. With the diaphragm not working to full capacity, the body starts to use other muscles in the neck, back and chest for breathing. This translates into lower oxygen levels, and less reserve for exercise and activity. If practiced regularly, breathing exercises can help rid the lungs of accumulated stale air, increase oxygen levels and get the diaphragm to return to its job of helping you breathe.




Pursed Lip Breathing


This exercise reduces the number of breaths you take and keeps your airways open longer. More air is able to flow in and out of your lungs so you can be more physically active. To practice it, simply breathe in through your nose and breathe out at least twice as long through your mouth, with pursed lips.




Belly Breathing, aka Diaphragmic Breathing


As with pursed lip breathing, start by breathing in through your nose. Pay attention to how your belly fills up with air. You can put your hands lightly on your stomach, or place a tissue box on it, so you can be aware of your belly rising and falling. Breathe out through your mouth at least two to three times as long as your inhale. Be sure to relax your neck and shoulders as you retrain your diaphragm to take on the work of helping to fill and empty your lungs.




Practice Makes Perfect


Courtney warns that although these exercises seem simple, they take some time to master. “You don’t want to first try these exercises when you’re short of breath,” he says. “You want to try them when you’re breathing OK, and then later on when you’re more comfortable, you can use them when you’re short of breath.” Ideally, you should practice both exercises about 5 to 10 minutes every day.

How Do Dividends Work?

So, there’s an old saying, “It pays dividends.” It just means that something you do now can pay off in the future. In the world of stocks, sometimes it actually does—in the form of, well, a dividend. So, what are those? Dividends are regular payments of a company’s profits to shareholders. They’re sort of like rewards for putting your money into their venture.


Most often, companies pay out dividends in cash, but they can also give additional stock to their shareholders as the reward.


So why would a company do that? For one, it’s a way of rewarding their investors for putting their trust—and cash—in the company. But dividends also tend to have a positive effect on an investor’s outlook on the company. If an investor is consistently getting paid good dividends from a company, they’re likely going to be pretty loyal!


Now that you’ve got a little of the  why, let’s dive a little deeper into  how they work.




How Does a Dividend Work?


Say you buy 10 shares in a company and they announce a $1 dividend per share for this quarter, so you get a $10 dividend payment. If they do this for each quarter throughout the year, you’ll end up with a total dividend of $40 for that year. Pretty simple, right?


Some companies also offer dividend reinvestment programs, called DRIPs (I know, not a great acronym). These let you reinvest the cash dividend back into the company’s stock—often at a discount. And of course, if the company pays the dividend in new shares of stock instead of cash, it just means you own a little more of that company.


The company’s board of directors makes the call on how the company pays its dividends and how frequently they’re paid out—monthly, quarterly (most common in the U.S.), or annually. The catch is that the board also has to get shareholder approval on the distribution of the dividends through a vote.




Types of Dividends


On top of getting bonus money, a lot of folks like dividends because they can come with some tax advantages. But these advantages depend on the  type of dividend you’re dealing with—qualified or unqualified.


  • Qualified: If you’ve owned the stock for more than 60 days before the ex-dividend date(or ex-date)—aka the day that determines your eligibility to receive the dividend—and the dividend was paid by a U.S. company or qualified foreign corporation, that dividend is  Qualified dividends get better tax rates because they’re actually taxed at long-term capital gain rates rather than income tax rates.1
  • Unqualified: Also known as ordinary dividends, these dividends are unqualified because you didn’t own the stock for more than 60 days before the ex-date. These dividends are taxed at your regular income tax rate.



Dividends  From  Other Sources


Now, dividends don’t only come from single stocks. Other investments, and even some insurance companies, also pay dividends. For example, mutual funds contain shares of multiple companies’ stocks, so you’re considered a shareholder and can receive dividends.


In the case of mutual funds, the dividend is based on a fund’s net asset value (NAV) calculation (that’s just a fancy way to say assets minus debts) when the stock market closes. If your shares in the fund earned a profit, the mutual fund company can choose to use that money to reinvest in the company, pay down debt, or give you a cut of the profit in the form of a dividend.


Bonds are another type of investment that can pay dividends. As a refresher—when you buy a bond, you’re lending money to a company or government entity. In exchange for your loan, the company or government agrees to pay you a fixed rate of interest, aka a dividend. Unlike stock dividends, bond dividends are a legal obligation, but I don’t recommend betting your retirement on bonds—you’re better off investing your money in a mix of  growth stock mutual funds.


Another vehicle that might pay a dividend is a surprising one— life insurance. Some insurance companies are called  mutual insurance companies, because they’re not publicly traded and the policyholders  own the company “mutually.” If the company makes a profit, they can declare a policyholder dividend. But remember, people: Life insurance is  not  an investment—it’s  insurance. So, skip the gimmicks here and go for a solid term life insurance plan.




How Do Dividends Affect Stock Prices?


Once the news of a dividend payment becomes public, you can see a rush to purchase the stock before the ex-date. (Have you ever seen the running of the bulls? It’s like that.) In this case, you’ll see the share price go up. Another thing you’ll often see is the price going down after the ex-date because anyone buying the stock on or after that date won’t receive the dividend, so people sell the stock.




Should You Invest in Something for the Dividends?


While dividends might feel like a bonus or reward, it doesn’t make sense to invest in something  just for the dividends. That’s like playing football for the shiny helmet.


When you get to the point where you’re investing 15% of your income so you can retire inspired, stick with employer-sponsored plans, like a  401(k) or  403(b), and  Roth IRAs with good growth stock mutual funds. And, hey, some of those mutual funds might pay dividends, so you may still get a reward after all! Just look at it as the icing on the cake.


Get  With  a  SmartVestor  Pro


Look, there’s a lot to take in when you’re trying to figure out what makes an investment worthwhile, but you can do this! And you don’t have to do it alone. Connect with an investment professional, like one of our SmartVestor Pros, who can walk you through your best options. Our program connects folks with qualified investment professionals who are familiar with what we recommend and can guide you in creating a retirement plan with your goals in mind.


Find a SmartVestor Pro in your area today!


Causes and Risk Factors of Stomach Cancer



It’s not clear what causes stomach cancer, though research has identified many factors that can increase the risk.


Doctors know that stomach cancer begins when a cell in the stomach develops changes in its DNA. A cell’s DNA contains the instructions that tell the cell what to do. The changes tell the cell to grow quickly and to continue living when healthy cells would die. The accumulating cells form a tumor that can invade and destroy healthy tissue. With time, cells can break off and spread (metastasize) to other areas of the body.


Risk factors


Factors that increase the risk of stomach cancer include:


  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Obesity
  • A diet high in salty and smoked foods
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables
  • Family history of stomach cancer
  • Infection with Helicobacter pylori
  • Long-term stomach inflammation (gastritis)
  • Smoking
  • Stomach polyps


Signs and Symptoms of Stomach Cancer

Early stage stomach cancer rarely causes symptoms, making early detection very difficult. Stomach cancer may or may not present with vague gastrointestinal symptoms, including indigestion, abdominal pain or discomfort, nausea and vomiting, bloating, or the feeling of fullness when eating a meal (also called early satiety). These symptoms can also be associated with other gastrointestinal illnesses, however, and should be discussed with a doctor who can perform tests to determine the cause of the symptoms.


Signs and symptoms of stomach cancer can include:


  • Indigestion, heartburn or ulcer-type symptoms
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Abdominal pain or vague discomfort in the abdomen, usually above the navel
  • Nausea and vomiting and/or bloating after meals
  • Vomiting blood, or blood in the stool
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Sense of fullness after eating small amounts of food (also called early satiety)
  • Symptoms may mimic other conditions, such as GERD, gastritis or peptic ulcer

Signs and symptoms should not be ignored. Most of these symptoms may be caused by things other than stomach cancer. They may also occur with other types of cancer. People who have any of these symptoms, especially if they don’t go away or get worse, should see their doctor to determine the cause and be treated.