August is National Immunization Awareness Month. Did you know August is the month for getting up to date on your immunizations? Especially if you have school-aged children or kids heading off to college, you’ll want to make sure everyone has the proper and required immunizations before they go back to school. Vaccinations (or shots) help prevent dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases. Vaccines aren’t just for kids – adults need to get vaccinated to stay protected from serious illnesses like the flu, measles, and pneumonia. National Immunization Awareness Month is a great time to promote vaccines and remind family, friends, and coworkers to stay up to date on their shots. National Immunization Awareness Month How can National Immunization Awareness Month make a difference? Let’s raise awareness about vaccines and share strategies to increase immunization rates in our community. Here are just a few ideas:
- Talk to friends and family members about how vaccines aren’t just for kids. Shots can protect people of all ages from serious diseases
- Encourage people in your community to get the flu vaccine every year
- Invite a doctor or nurse to speak to parents about why it’s important for all kids to get vaccinated
End of Summer Blues Got You Down? Tips to brighten your mood. Feeling a little down with the idea of fall approaching. End of summer blues is a common affliction. Transitions are hard and the end of summer can be particularly difficult for a number of reasons. Symbolically, the end of summer signifies the end of a season of fun for many people. No more carefree summer days, no more Summer Friday hours, and no more summer barbecues or gatherings. And the thought of snow! Days are undeniably getting cooler and shorter and for those sensitive to light, this can contribute to the end of summer blues. Changing your mindset is easy with a few of the following tips.
- Look forward to all things fall. Wearing cozy sweaters, apple picking and apple cider, reading by the fire, enjoying going for long walks in the park with cooler temperatures, and pumpkin patches - just a few things to get excited about for fall.
- Reframe your thoughts on summer. The idea of thinking differently (psychologically known as Cognitive Reframing often a treatment for depression or anxiety) is to think differently and "reframe" negative or untrue thoughts into more positive ones. In other words, think about what you enjoy about the fall, instead of fixating on what you don't like about the end of summer.
- Plan a trip. Having something to look forward to and the anticipation of an upcoming event can change your entire mindset about your summer coming to a close. Several studies have shown, just thinking about a trip you plan to go on boosts happiness.
- Embrace every opportunity. Figure out what you don't like about the fall and plan ahead. Rather than falling back into old habits, create new ones that reduce stress. For example, if you dread going back to the gym instead of exercising outdoors now that the summer is over, create a new routine of exercising in the park.
- Take the best of summer into fall: Give yourself permission to take your summer mindset into September and beyond. Continue to have fun, to eat fresh produce from the farmer's market, to spend time outdoors, to go for walks after dinner and long bike rides on weekends.
School is starting - Your back-to-school checklist. Make sure you and your children are ready for back to school. Get bedtimes back on track. Summer allows you to spend more time outside and with more light during the day, it’s an easy thing to do. Before school starts, get back into the bedtime routine with the following tips:
- Power off the devices an hour before bedtime. Powering off gives brains (children and adults) time to unplug from the stimulation and the light from phones and computers. Reading a book can help relax and fall asleep.
- Consider darkening shades. The clock says it’s bedtime, but it’s still light out. That can interfere with a child’s sleep. Darkening shades can block out distracting light and help your child drift off more easily.
- Ease off caffeine. Your child or teen should stop drinking anything with caffeine, including sodas and energy drinks, after noon. That way, by bedtime, the stimulant will be out of their system.
Women’s Health: Did you know that new moms experience a 4th trimester? Pregnant moms spend a lot of time learning what to expect from pregnancy and how to care for their newborns. But, while pregnancy anecdotes and birth stories take top billing at baby showers and get-togethers, girlfriends and family members tend to leave the challenging aspects of the “fourth trimester,” the first six weeks postpartum, left unsaid. Changes that happen to a woman’s body during and after childbirth are not usually widely discussed with soon-to-be moms. There are so many exciting things to look forward to with a new baby. But pregnancy and childbirth can also have some less-than-desirable effects on a woman’s body, especially her pelvic floor. About 15 percent of new mothers need treatment for childbirth ailments such as urinary and fecal incontinence, complications from obstetrical tears, pelvic pain and other pelvic floor issues. Navigating the fourth trimester Know that help is out there. Whether it’s breastfeeding trouble or sleep deprivation, experts are ready to throw a lifeline when needed. Seek that help. Just having a lactation consultant watch a baby latch on can ease any fears of mom feeding baby incorrectly. It’s easier to make the decision to get help when you have that list of where to turn to for help ready before a baby arrives. Focus on what works for you and your baby. From your pediatrician to the nurse at your OB-GYN’s office, everybody doles out different advice. Whose do you take? Try them all to find what works and keep your and your baby’s health in mind. Consider if lanolin is right for you. Lanolin, a popular gift at baby showers, is a natural substance used to prevent nipples from cracking, blistering or drying out from breastfeeding. Pasque says Vaseline is tolerated easier. She has many new moms who come into the office with rashes because they are allergic to lanolin. Stock up on healing supplies. Warm-water sitz baths, ice packs, doughnut pillows, peri bottles (i.e., squirt bottles to rinse with water instead of wiping after toileting for the first few weeks) and 100 percent cotton pads help heal the vaginal trauma caused by delivery. Consider physical therapy or massage. If incontinence issues arise, see a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the muscles that hold up the bladder and uterus. Therapists will ensure the exercises are done properly, and they have gadgets that monitor progress. Moms who delivered by cesarean section also may benefit from a therapist massaging the incision scar. The tightness of the collagen fibers in the skin can make bending over painful, among other issues. Manipulating the tissue can promote blood flow and accelerate healing. Avoid constipation. Chronic straining, especially if mom had a perineal tear, can put tension on the stitches and is hard on the pelvic floor muscles. Consider using a laxative like Miralax (rather than a stool softener) daily until the constipation subsides. It’s safe for breastfeeding moms as well. Try walking. If it still hurts to walk nearly a month after giving birth, see a doctor. The spine could be out of alignment, or a pelvic bone may have broken during delivery. Watch for postpartum depression. More intense than baby blues, which is marked by crying, sadness, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed, postpartum depression affects 13 percent of mothers and may appear a year after giving birth. Extreme irritability, insomnia and fear of the baby getting hurt in unusual ways are symptoms that are sometimes dismissed. If you’re a new or expecting mom, you probably have a million more questions. Contact your doctor for more info.
Alcoholic Liver Disease in Young Adults Is On The Rise. Alcohol use disorders have also increased over the last decade, with an 80 percent spike among women. As the craft beer, spirits and “mommy juice” wine cultures surge, doctors across the country are seeing a growing problem: sick livers. More people are drinking too much alcohol, causing a rise in alcoholic liver disease (ALD). The diseases of the liver are fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver cancer. Some of the early symptoms of ALD include chronic fatigue, poor appetite, itchy skin and abdominal pain and swelling. In most cases, moderate drinking — one drink a day for women, two drinks a day for men — will not lead to ALD, but overindulging can. And for those already suffering from liver disease — some of whom may not know it — even small amounts of alcohol can exacerbate their liver damage. Death rates increase One of the scariest statistics out there that the mortality related to alcohol use is increasing the most in people 25 to 34 years old. The number of drinkers in that age bracket who died nearly tripled between 1999 and 2016, with an average increase around 10 percent every year. That same study reveals that women had a 50 percent increase in alcohol-related cirrhosis during that seven-year period; the rate for men rose 30 percent. In the United States the rate of alcohol use disorders, a medical term that combines alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence, has shot up 50 percent in the past 10 years — reflecting an 80 percent spike for women, according to the most recent National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III, sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the alcohol research arm of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Discovering the cause Because women absorb and metabolize alcohol differently, it makes women more susceptible to damaging the liver than men. The hypothesis is that certain hormones play a role, Mellinger says. Women also have less body water, so women have higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood when compared with men who drank the equivalent amount. Women also have a new attitude about drinking.There is this ‘mommy juice’ culture, this ‘mommy juice’ humor involving wine that’s normalizing over-drinking. Unfortunately, there is nothing funny about alcoholic liver disease. Think you have a problem or could be at risk of ALD? Make an appointment with your doctor today.