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Thu, May 14 12:11pm · Treating skin irritations from wearing face masks

a young Caucasian woman tying a face mask onto her head

Since many people are wearing face masks because of COVID-19 pandemic requirements, skin irritations on the face might be more prevalent.

“People are getting friction and irritation across their nasal bridge, behind their ears and perhaps under their chin,” says Dr. Dawn Davis, a Mayo Clinic dermatologist. “That happens because of natural wear but also because the masks are tight, which is well-intentioned, but can strangulate the skin.”

She says the mask should not be loose and should be worn firmly against the skin, but not so tight it bruises the skin.

Dr. Davis also recommends using zinc oxide. “That’s the white hypoallergenic chemical that’s in unscented diaper paste,” she says. “It has very nice anti-inflammatory properties, and you can put a thin layer across your nasal bridge, behind your ears or under your chin — in places where the mask will rub.”

She says that serves as a barrier to the friction without affecting or decreasing the effectiveness of the mask.

Dr. Davis says the first step for mask use and sensitive skin is after you’ve washed and patted your face dry, apply hypoallergenic moisturizer that’s identified as face moisturizer. Apply the lotion or cream twice, leaving a thick layer.

“Then do a vinegar soak with a washcloth and lay it across your face for about 15 minutes in the areas that are irritated,” says Dr. Davis. Her recipe for the vinegar soak is to put a teaspoon of white vinegar in a glass or small bowl of warm water, soak a clean washcloth, then rest it on your face.

“Repeat that two to three times a day, if possible, and you’ll find that this humidifying method is very helpful,” she says.

Also, skin issues on the face and neck that are not related to COVID-19, where the mask rests or rubs, are likely to be exacerbated by the friction of the mask and sweating, since some people get warm wearing them. Examples include acne, rosacea and psoriasis.

For these concerns, Dr. Davis encourages people to:

  • Wash the face gently with soap and water, twice daily.
  • Use medications as directed.
  • Consult your dermatologist or primary health care provider if a new rash erupts, or if the current skin condition changes appearance or is not responding to treatment.

Dr. Davis also stresses washing cotton face masks to keep them clean. She says washing by hand is gentler on the mask. However, remember to wash adequately with soap and hot water.

Dr. Davis offers other reminders, including:

  • Replace ties or elastic, as needed, if they wear.
  • Replace the mask if it tears or develops holes.
  • Wear the mask over the nose and mouth — not just the mouth.

Don’t forget about potential irritation behind the ears and under the chin.

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For the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. For more information and COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

Sun, May 3 11:37am · Connecting Patients: COVID-19 and transplant patients

Mayo Clinic Connect is an online community where you can share your experiences and find support from people like you. You can also read Mayo Clinic expert blogs and take part in educational events.

COVID-19 and Transplant Patients

a middle-aged Caucasian woman in jeans sitting on a brown couch, holding a coffee mug, looking thoughtfully and seriously out a window, seeming calm

“As a kidney transplant recipient I have been extra vigilant/worried about protecting myself as COVID-19 spreads. Like most transplant patients I am used to washing my hands, carrying hand-sanitizer, avoiding sick people, getting flu shots, etc. The COVID-19 outbreak has caused me to take additional steps to try to remain safe but I am worried for my health. I would like to hear what you are doing to stay safe and how you are feeling.” – Jolinda, Mayo Clinic Connect member

Stay connected virtually for your health on #MayoClinicConnect

“During this period of stay at home isolation, healthy at home, safe social distancing – whatever the terminology – I have learned a lot from what everyone who has shared here. I want to say “Thank You” to each and everyone who has participated in this discussion.” – Rosemary, Mayo Clinic Connect member

COVID-19 Concerns: How do you help others understand?

“I am 3.5 years post-transplant and am being very cautious. I have not been out in weeks except for walks in my neighborhood, which is a very spread out neighborhood. Only time will tell what the recommendations will be, particularly for those of us with risk factors, such as taking immunosuppressants. We are all in this together, and dealing with it the best we can. It is a major inconvenience but I value my health over going out and doing things.” JK, Mayo Clinic Connect member

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For the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. For more information and COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

Sat, May 2 1:11pm · Science Saturday: Regenerative approaches could foster healing from COVID-19

Center for Regenerative Medicine laboratory with a researcher placing droplets into a petri dish

Regenerative Medicine aims not only to repair or restore the function of cells, tissues or organs, but also the whole person. The latter is particularly important amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Regenerative approaches draw on the body’s natural abilities to heal, focus on establishing the healing environments and building new, healthy ways of functioning. These aspects of regenerative medicine may nurture healing in people who’ve contracted the virus, those who treat it and the broader community whose lives have suddenly been changed by the pandemic.

Creating safe, trusting environments

When people are diagnosed with COVID-19, their illness may go beyond physical afflictions to a breakdown of the mind and spirit. Some Coronavirus patients are immediately isolated, separating them from the people they love. That may trigger confusion, fear, anxiety and mistrust.

In a normal health care environment, patients might be soothed by welcoming faces and warm touches of medical professionals. But in the new world of a virus to which no one is immune, caregivers must wear personal protective equipment for their own safety. The face masks that allow patient and clinician to come together safely may also be a barrier that increases isolation and fear.

“It creates a new population of people who are traumatized,” says Victor Montori, M.D., an endocrinologist at Mayo Clinic and expert leader for the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine. “This trauma is a response to the difficult and unbearable aspects of COVID-19. It manifests itself as emotional and physical responses. In addition to fostering conditions to prevent trauma, the regenerative approach to healing in this case might mean that as people recover from COVID, they go on to receive additional care from psychologists and social workers that would help them build trust to overcome their trauma.”

Read the rest of the article on the Center for Regenerative Medicine.

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Other Mayo Clinic medical research websites:

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For the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. For more information and COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

Fri, May 1 4:20pm · What COVID-19 does to your lungs

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For the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. For more information and COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

Fri, May 1 5:29am · How can you calm your mind?

an African American woman sitting at a desk near a window with the light coming in and resting her head on her hands in a prayer-like position, perhaps worried or stressed

Dr. Amit Sood is a former internal medicine physician at Mayo Clinic. He was director of research in the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and was chair of the Mind-Body Medicine Initiative at Mayo Clinic.

He also contributed to the weekly “Something to Think About” posts on the Mayo Clinic News Network. Dr. Sood has graciously offered to share his reflections and encouraging thoughts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Imagine it is spring 2025

Tucked in your blanket, trying to sleep at night, your mind travels back five years.

You remember the fear — fearing doorknobs, grocery bags, light switches, sneezes, handshakes and hugs.

You remember the sadness — the loss of freedom, time with colleagues, birthday parties, sleepovers, visits to the mall.

You remember the anger — anger at human greed, irrationality, willful ignorance.

You remember the grief — sobbing at the loss of fellow beings who breathed their last breath alone in an ICU to the sound of a ventilator.

But it’s not all negative.

You remember the love — sticking hearts on the windows, spending quality time with loved ones.

You remember the kindness — making small sacrifices, giving an extra tip, supporting those struggling.

You remember the gratitude — grateful for the gift of food, deep breath, and togetherness.

You remember the meaning – coming closer as a family, choosing to forgive, working on personal wellbeing.

Coming back to today

COVID-19 is one of the worst threats our world has seen. It has disrupted our lives, finances, freedom, relationships and a sense of security. It has brought loneliness, furloughs and job losses. No one knows when this will end. Are we looking at a second wave, a third wave, a fourth wave? How can you calm your mind, let alone feel upbeat?

Here are three thoughts shared as three steps.

  • The first step: Acknowledge that COVID-19 has created a heavier load than your mind can lift. Accept that the feelings of fear, sadness, anger and grief are natural. The negative feelings are part of the mental potpourri. No need to stifle them. When you accept these feelings, they loosen their grip. They free your attention to embrace the present moment.
  • The second step: Spend more time in the present moment with your attention tethered to your senses — flowing with your breath, watching the sunset colors, smelling the aroma of coffee, feeling your feet on the floor, admiring your loved one’s eyes and more. Externally focused attention frees your mind from its fatiguing wanderings.
  • The third step: The present moment opens the door to a well of comfort and positivity, experiencing compassion, gratitude, love, and meaning. You think about those who have it worse. You feel grateful for the ordinary and simple. You prioritize affiliative moments. You think about the larger meaning of your life.

Once your brain fills with these uplifting feelings, fear and anger slowly fade. They are still there, but no longer dominate your thought flow. 

With repeated practice, the feelings you nurture start multiplying. Thus, the more you focus on compassion, gratitude and meaning, the bigger space they occupy in your brain’s real estate. 

Acknowledge your fear and convert it into proactive actions that help you secure safety. Once you have done that, embrace the splendor of the present and fill it with uplifting thoughts and perceptions.

On a peaceful night in spring 2025, tucked in your blanket, when you will think about this day in 2020, you might remember the fear and sadness, but I hope you will quickly move to love and kindness. You will turn on your side, smile and lose yourself into the world of your dreams.

Amit Sood, M.D.

Follow @AmitSoodMD on Twitter and visit his blogpost resilientoption.com

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For the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. For more information and COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

Thu, Apr 30 10:50am · Connecting Patients: Tips to cultivate mindfulness at home

While social distancing, many of us face a common problem — our home environments are becoming too familiar.

a poster board with a lot of hand drawn pictures and writing directions about mindfulness, positive thinking, relaxing, breathing

This article is authored by Stella Tran, Ph.D., a clinical neuropsychology postdoctoral fellow at Mayo Clinic in Florida. She wrote this article for the Mayo Clinic Connect community.

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Remember when the living room couch felt like an inviting place of repose after a completing the day’s errands? Now that that pandemic has taken hold of our routines, that same couch may feel less like a reward. Your house slippers, which you used to wear only at night, have now become your daily kicks. The rest of your footwear is gathering dust.

When we shelter in place, our relationship with our place of shelter changes.

Yet closer proximity to everyday, boring objects offers an opportunity to be intentional and mindful of the spaces we occupy. To borrow the language of art, we can make “the familiar strange.”

Within the confines of our familiar walls, you can still find many things to explore. Here are some ideas of how to apply the principles of mindfulness to unlock familiar strangeness.

The Museum of Your Home

We all accumulate a lot stuff over time. Consequently, we are surrounded by artifacts from our lives that have gone unnoticed for years. Take a moment to identify and appreciate an object from your past. Do you have an heirloom from a parent? Do you have a drawing from a grandchild? Do you have a series of portraits on your fireplace mantle that you usually pass without notice? What is the story of that item? Share that story with a friend or family member, in person or via video call, and invite them to share their object’s story with you.

Mindful Activity

Identify a regular activity where you can commit full presence and awareness. Washing dishes is a great activity to cultivate mindfulness because it’s a multi-sensory experience, and it’s usually done on autopilot. When washing dishes, pay attention to the smell of the soap, the temperature of the water, the sound of the silverware clanking against the sink, the texture and color of each dish.  We can use the same principle when washing our hands (for 20 seconds each time throughout the day).

Date Night

Staying at home shouldn’t stop you from sharing a romantic evening with your partner or yourself. Transform your dining room by turning on ambient light, breaking out the special tableware, playing relaxing music, or trying a new recipe. You may even want to change out of those house slippers!

Consuming News

While it’s important to stay updated on local and state recommendations for staying safe, be intentional of where and when you consume news. For some, being inundated with reports about every aspect of the pandemic can be a source of stress. Consider restricting media intake. Watch for a half hour in the morning and/or afternoon, then save your nights for reading or other relaxing activities. Consider designating a stress-free zone (such as the bedroom) and avoid consuming news in these spaces.

We would love to hear your creative ideas on how to be intentional about your living spaces!

Join members in the COVID-19 group sharing creative ways that they’re spending time at home.

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For the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. For more information and COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

Tue, Apr 28 1:11pm · AskMayoExpert's COVID-19 information made available to public

Mayo Clinic is making parts of its AskMayoExpert clinical knowledge resource for providers available to the public to make trusted knowledge on COVID-19 easily available to other health systems and providers.


AskMayoExpert, Mayo Clinic’s primary clinical knowledge resource for providers at the point of care, is sharing its COVID-19 content with the public.

“Mayo leadership has requested that we make all COVID-19 information available to the public,” says Dr. Scott Eggers, medical editor of AskMayoExpert. “There’s a great desire and need right now by other hospital systems and providers for trusted clinical guidance on COVID-19 management. By making this content available publicly, Mayo is not claiming expertise on treating COVID-19 but is instead sharing the knowledge we are using to guide our practice.”

Anyone outside of Mayo Clinic can now access AskMayoExpert’s COVID-19 information by typing “askmayoexpert.mayoclinic.org” into a web browser address bar or into a search field. External searchers will land on AskMayoExpert’s intuitively designed navigator page with Outpatient, Inpatient and Emergency Department headings.

The Outpatient information offers guidance on screening, transmission, symptoms, clinical monitoring, treatment options and management of multiple conditions. The Inpatient information provides recommendations on screening, evaluation, isolation, personal protective equipment for procedures, drug treatments, respiratory management, resuscitation and dismissal planning. And the Emergency Department information offers guidance on screening, evaluation, isolation, personal protective equipment, resuscitation, respiratory management and disposition to a given disease.

Established in 2009, AskMayoExpert represents 56 areas of Mayo’s specialty practice. Each area has a corresponding provider group, known as a knowledge content board, which meets on a regular basis to create, update and review its clinical content.

AskMayoExpert has about 1,400 topics and 270 clinical algorithms, known as care process models. The public will have access only to COVID-19 information.

Dr. Eggers and Michelle Felten, AskMayoExpert’s editorial director, have a dual approach as they work across the practice to bring provider-facing COVID-19 recommendations into AskMayoExpert. They would like AskMayoExpert to serve as a hub for this knowledge, and they are hoping to ease clinical burden by having the team of writers, editors, user-experience designers and technical staff take responsibility for content curation and updates.

“By having different areas of practice publish their provider-facing COVID-19 recommendations in AskMayoExpert, we can more efficiently help them make updates to this quickly changing information versus trying to keep recommendations in sync on multiple web sites, SharePoint sites, individual drives and department pages,” Felten says. She notes that AskMayoExpert is collaborating with Infection Prevention and Control and the COVID-19 Information Center on creation of COVID-19 information for internal and external audiences.

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Check the CDC website for more information on caring for someone with COVID-19 and for the latest updates on the pandemic. For more information and COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

Sun, Apr 26 3:44pm · Infographic: Informed but not overwhelmed

For the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. For more information and COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.