Memorial Day is a great time to fire up the grill and enjoy the company of friends and family. It’s also a great time to take a road trip or get into the mountains. Whatever your plans are for this memorial day, make sure you’re safe and healthy. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your holiday weekend. Grilling Tips Make sure your food is completely cooked! According to the Center for Disease Control and Protection, approximately 48 million people get food poisoning per year. To avoid getting sick from your grill, use a meat thermometer and make sure any meat you grill is completely cooked. Raw meat can ruin your weekend. Additionally, grills themselves can be dangerous, especially with younger children around. Adults should keep a kid free area of three feet around the grill. Also make sure your grill is clean to avoid flame flare ups and fires while cooking. Travel Memorial Day weekend generally means there are extra cars on the road as people are taking road trips. More cars on the roads is a sure bet that there will be more traffic accidents. According to the National Safety Council, 382 fatalities and 40,900 injuries are expected to occur over the holiday weekend. Drivers should take extra precautions when on the road this Memorial Day weekend. Sun Exposure and Insects It’s likely that many will be spending time outside this weekend. Make sure to cover up to avoid sunburns as well as insect bites. While insects may just be a nuisance to some, they're much more dangerous to others. For those allergic to insect stings, health officials recommend you carry an EpiPen on you in the event of a severe allergic reaction. Also be on the lookout for ticks if you’re planning to go hiking or be out on the trails. Tick season is here. Have a safe and happy Memorial Day!
Spring Allergies! How to prevent them before they start. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest 50 million Americans suffer from allergies every year. Allergies affect 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children. An estimated 10 percent of school-aged children in the U.S. have asthma, related to their allergies. Allergies may be seasonal and symptoms are typically triggered by pollen (weeds, grass, trees) or airborne mold spores. Since the predominant pollen types vary by geographic region and pollen levels can change day-to-day, it is important to monitor daily pollen counts to avoid being subject to large amounts of it. To reduce pollen exposure, we recommend the following measures:
- Close windows and doors when pollen counts are high
- Remove clothes that have been worn outside, and shower to remove pollen from skin and hair
- Avoid outside activity in the morning when pollen counts are highest
With busy, stressful lives, often comes sleep deprivation and overall just not getting enough sleep. According to the Huffington Post, “In their first study of self-reported sleep length, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 34.8 percent of American adults are getting less than seven hours of sleep — the minimum length of time adults should sleep in order to reduce risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, mental distress, coronary heart disease and early death.” Falling asleep may seem like an impossible dream when you’re awake at 3 a.m., but good sleep is more under your control than you might think. Here are a few tips that can help you get better sleep: Regulate your sleep schedule.
- Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day.
- Avoid sleeping in—even on weekends. The more your weekend/weekday sleep schedules differ, the worse the jet lag-like symptoms you’ll experience. If you need to make up for a late night, opt for a daytime nap rather than sleeping in. This allows you to pay off your sleep debt without disturbing your natural sleep-wake rhythm.
- Be smart about napping. While napping is a good way to make up for lost sleep, if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, napping can make things worse. Limit them to 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon.
- The more vigorously you exercise, the more powerful the sleep benefits. But even light exercise—such as walking for just 10 minutes a day—improves sleep quality.
- It can take several months of regular activity before you experience the full sleep-promoting effects. So be patient and focus on building an exercise habit that sticks.
- Deep breathing. Close your eyes and take deep, slow breaths, making each breath even deeper than the last.
- Progressive muscle relaxation. Starting with your toes, tense all the muscles as tightly as you can, then completely relax. Work your way up to the top of your head.
- Visualizing a peaceful, restful place. Close your eyes and imagine a place that’s calming and peaceful. Concentrate on how relaxed this place makes you feel.
Know the warning skins of skin cancer! Generally moles, brown spots and growths on your skin are harmless, but it’s important to regularly screen yourself for skin abnormalities. To help, doctors have come up with a warning sign acronym to help you keep track of your moles. This is called the ABCDE’s of Melanoma. A: Asymmetry: The benign mole, left, is not asymmetrical. If you draw a line through the middle, the two sides will match, meaning it is symmetrical. If you draw a line through the mole on the right,, the two halves will not match, meaning it is asymmetrical, a warning sign for melanoma. B: Border A benign mole has smooth, even borders, unlike melanomas. The borders of an early melanoma tend to be uneven. The edges may be scalloped or notched. C: Color Most benign moles are all one color — often a single shade of brown. Having a variety of colors is another warning signal. A number of different shades of brown, tan or black could appear. A melanoma may also become red, white or blue. D: Diameter Benign moles usually have a smaller diameter than malignant ones. Melanomas usually are larger in diameter than the eraser on your pencil tip (¼ inch or 6mm), but they may sometimes be smaller when first detected. E: Evolving Common, benign moles look the same over time. Be on the alert when a mole starts to evolve or change in any way. When a mole is evolving, see a doctor. Any change — in size, shape, color, elevation, or another trait, or any new symptom such as bleeding, itching or crusting — points to danger. Please call your doctor immediately if you think you have any of ABCDE warning signs.
April showers, bring May flowers... and May sun exposure! May also happens to be Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month to help bring awareness to the dangers of of skin cancer and the affects it can have on your skin. Skin Cancer Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. UV rays can also come from tanning booths or sunlamps. The most dangerous kind of skin cancer is called melanoma. Warning Signs Warning signs of melanoma include moles, brown spots and growths on the skin are usually harmless — but not always. Anyone who has more than 100 moles is at greater risk for melanoma. The first signs can appear in one or more atypical moles. That's why it's so important to get to know your skin very well and to recognize any changes in the moles on your body. Look for signs of melanoma, and if you see one or more, make an appointment with a physician immediately. The good news? Skin cancer can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early. But if it is not, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal. While it is not the most common of the skin cancers, it causes the most deaths. In 2016, an estimated 76,380 of these will be invasive melanomas, with about 46,870 in males and 29,510 in women.Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to prevent skin cancer or detect it early on. This month, spread the word about strategies for preventing skin cancer and encourage communities, organizations, families, and individuals to get involved. And talk to your doctor about your skin cancer risks.