Tips for a Healthy Holiday Guess what? You can have a very merry Christmas and stay healthy too. In this article we have a few tips and tricks to keep you healthy this holiday season. Don’t sit down all day during the holidays It’s tempting to watch every TV Christmas special during the holiday. Get outside, no need to sit on the couch all day. Encourage the whole family to get out for a walk at some point – ideally, after dinner to aid digestion. The more activity, the better, so take along any new outdoor gifts, like bikes, scooters, footballs or Frisbees, or play old-fashioned games. Get outside and play! Avoid having too many alcoholic beverages The drinks over the holidays can really add up. Mulled wine on Christmas Eve, Breakfast bloody Mary’s, wine with dinner, spiked eggnog… the list goes on! Monitor your alcoholic beverage intake and intersperse alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones. And make sure you drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated. Don’t give yourself a Christmas stuffing! On average, we consume approximately 3,000 calories in our Christmas dinner alone – much more than most should have per day. Feasting with that many calories can not only contribute to weight gain but also to indigestion and heartburn. It can also cause lethargy for the remainder of the day, reducing the chances of you burning much of it off. Instead of gorging yourself on Christmas dinner, eat a normal-sized meal and then take a 20-minute break to see if you are still hungry. The chances are, you’ll realize you’ve had enough. Keep stress to a minimum The holidays can be stressful! Many of us deal with the stresses of overspending, cooking, cleaning, endless ‘to do’ lists and visitors we could do without. Try to keep a sense of humor and proportion. Remember, Christmas is just one day of the year and isn’t worth stressing over. Enjoy it and it’s imperfections. Eat fruit and veggies Think you get your recommend fruit and veggie intake during the holidays? Most of us get through the entire Christmas break without eating much fruit and veggies. With all of the chocolate, cookies, and food indulgences, why would you? But at this time of late nights and overindulging, it’s more important than ever to get your vitamins and minerals, to help you stay in good health. Ensure that your Christmas shopping list enables you to fill up the fruit bowl and get your recommended daily portions of fruit and veggies. Do something for others It’s hard to avoid the craziness of Christmas, but it doesn’t all have to be about giving or receiving gifts. Try to do something for others this festive season, whether it’s baking some extra cookies for an elderly neighbor, inviting an acquaintance who doesn’t have family around them to your home or helping out with a local food bank or charity you believe in. We hope you have a very healthy and happy holiday.
The amazing effects pets have on mental health. Studies are continually showing that pets aren’t just fun to have around the house – there is health-boosting power among our furry, scaly or feathered friends. Everything from increasing activity to making you happier, pets have a wonderful impact on your psyche. It’s no surprise that owning a pet – particularly a dog – makes you more active, but the list of health benefits that come with that might surprise. Older adults who own a dog have a lower body mass index, make fewer visits to the doctor and do more exercise. Research also shows that the stronger your bond with your pooch, the more likely you are to walk, and spend longer walking. With all those walks, pets tend to be good for your heart too. The American Heart Association undertook a study about how owning pets affects your chance of developing cardiovascular disease, including conditions that affect your heart and blood, such as stroke or coronary heart disease. Researchers found that having a pet – a dog, in particular – is probably associated with reducing your chances of developing CVD, though they were careful not to overstate this. In a follow-up study researchers again looked at how having a dog or cat affected your health, and this time felines came up trumps. They found that having a cat is associated with a reduced chance of dying from cardiovascular disease, especially strokes. This shows that it’s not just the exercise associated with having a pet that helps you – the stress relief and companionship also have very physical benefits. Pets make you more sociable. Even though you might feel grumpy sometimes and think you like quiet, humans are social animals. It’s important for our physical and mental health to have contact with other people – and our four-legged friends are a brilliant way to get you talking. Pets increase the number of off-chance chats you have and help people trust you and are brilliant ice-breakers. Social isolation is a huge health problem, particularly for the elderly. In fact, social isolation can increase your chances of dying early. So, what may seem like a trivial chat over the garden wall when looking for your cat or in the park when walking your dog, can be hugely significant for your mental and physical health. Pets stop loneliness. It’s not just that pets help you build a wider social network – many people have pets as companions. They make you happy, give you a routine and are great company – all of which adds your quality of life and boosts your everyday mental health. Pets reduce your stress. If you want to try and control your stress levels, go and chat to your pet. Studies have shown that pet owners reacted less to stress – and recovered from it much quicker – when their pets were present. Another study took 48 people with high blood pressure and high stress jobs. Researchers measured how they responded to stress before the test. Then, some of them bought a pet and six months later researchers again measured their response to stress. The results were interesting: after 6 months pet owners had less of a physical response to stress compared with those who didn’t have a four-legged friend. Pets are great. And a lot of them need homes. Help out a pet (adopt!) while helping to improve your mental health.
December 2nd - 8th is National Influenza Vaccination Week. Now is the time to get your flu vaccine If you haven’t gotten yours yet. An annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect against the influenza virus. National Influenza Vaccination Week (December 2nd - 8th) highlights the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond. The Flu Vaccination Prevents Flu! Flu season is in full force. As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination can still provide protection against flu. Most of the time, flu activity peaks between December and February in the United States, although activity can last as late as May. Flu activity is expected to increase in the coming weeks; the sooner you get vaccinated, the more likely you are to be protected against flu when activity picks up in your community. Does everyone need the Flu Vaccine? According to the CDC, a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against seasonal flu viruses. Vaccination to prevent flu is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against flu. Everyday Actions to Prevent the Flu In addition to getting your flu vaccine this season, the CDC also urges you to take everyday preventive actions to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu. The CDC says everyday preventive actions include the following:
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- If you are sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or other necessities.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.
Clean Hands Especially in Healthcare Facilities Clean hands are important always. Regular and thorough hand washing helps stop the spread disease and can help keep you from getting sick. But while in a healthcare facility it’s especially important to keep your hands clean. According to the CDC, clean hands can protect you from serious infections while you are a patient in a healthcare facility. Why specifically while in a healthcare facility you ask? A lot of germs that cause serious infections in are spread by people’s actions. Hand hygiene can help prevent the spread of diseases and prevent infections. The CDC says, every patient is at risk of getting an infection while they are being treated for something else. Preventing the spread of germs is especially important in hospitals and other facilities such as dialysis centers and nursing homes. Hand Sanitizer Myths/Truths Everyone should know the truth about hand hygiene and alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Did you know alcohol-based hand sanitizer kills most of the bad germs that make you sick and is the preferred way to clean your hands in healthcare setting? BUT, alcohol-based hand sanitizers do not kill every disease including the Clostridium difficile Infection (also known as C. difficile), a common healthcare-associated infection that causes severe diarrhea. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are more effective and less drying than using soap and water, and does not create antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Soap and Water Myths/Truths Hand washing with soap is substantially more effective at cleaning your hands than hand washing with water alone. Rinsing hands with water is preferable to not hand washing at all, but hand washing with soap is more effective in removing dirt and germs from hands. Research has found that while use of water alone does help reduce the risk of diarrhea, use of soap is substantially more effective and has caused a decline in the spread of germs. Hand Hygiene and Your Healthcare Provider Hand hygiene should be a topic of conversation between healthcare providers and patients. If your healthcare provider does not shake your hand upon greeting, it is generally because they do not want to spread germs, so don’t take it personally. Your healthcare provider is just looking out for you. Patients and their visitors can protect themselves by cleaning their own hands often as well. Still have questions about hand hygiene? Bring it up next time you see your doctor. They may be able to give you even more tips.
How to make Black Friday Healthier! Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Since you may be out and about, we have a few tips to help you make your experience less stressful and healthier. Consider a few of the following tips to get your through Black Friday in a healthier way:
- Start your day with hydration. Since you more than likely overindulged on Thanksgiving, start your Black Friday with a big glass of water and lemon. This will help to hydrate you. You can also consider adding some electrolytes to it as well as long as they are low on sugar.
- Eat breakfast, even if you don't feel like it. You don't want to be starving later, when you only have unhealthy options at the food court. Make sure your breakfast doesn't include any processed foods or anything too sugary that might make you crash later.
- Stay on the move. You can make your Black Friday shopping into a workout by power walking or doing a few lunges, squats, calf raises or similar moves in between shopping trips or stores. If you would rather do your workout separately, plan on some light yoga or Pilates at the very least. Yoga will also help to calm you after the stress of a crazy shopping outing.
- Think ahead and pack snacks. Pack healthy, energizing snacks to take with you so you can avoid sugary and processed temptations.
- Get sleep the night before. Make sure you get enough sleep the night before. Thanksgiving stress can cause you to not sleep well. As a result your body will be tense and your muscles will be tight. If you only get a few hours sleep, the next day you can't function and set yourself up an unhealthy experience.
- Try not to leave all of your shopping to Black Friday. This will just stress you out. Consider waiting for Cyber Monday deals as well to keep your stress levels down.
Lung Cancer Awareness Month November is lung cancer awareness month and we’re spreading the word. Lung cancer in many cases is a preventable disease often caused by smoking or other inhalants or toxins into the lungs. It’s a complex disease to understand and treat. According to the American Lung Association, Lung cancer happens when cells in the lung change. They grow uncontrollably and cluster together to form a tumor. Unlike normal cells, cancer cells grow without order or control, destroying the healthy lung tissue around them. These types of tumors are called malignant tumors. When the cancer cells spread, they prevent organs of the body from functioning properly. Lung cells most often change because they are exposed to dangerous chemicals that we breathe. There are two main types of lung cancer, small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer is more common. Lung cancer symptoms usually do not appear until the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. At this point, it is harder to treat lung cancer. Malignant tumors are dangerous and can grow uncontrollably. When the cancer cells grow too fast, they prevent your organs from working normally. For example, if cancer affects the lungs, the tumor may grow so large it blocks a major airway so that part of the lung is not usable for breathing or an infection may develop because of the blockage. There are two main types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. A third less common type of lung cancer is called carcinoid. Small cell lung cancer There are two different types of small cell lung cancer: small cell carcinoma and mixed small cell/large cell cancer or combined small cell lung cancer. The types of small cell lung cancer are named for the kinds of cells found in the cancer and how the cells look when viewed under a microscope. Small cell lung cancer is almost always associated with cigarette smoking. Small cell lung cancer is usually treated with chemotherapy. Non-small cell lung cancer Non-small cell lung cancer is more common. It makes up about 80 percent of lung cancer cases. This type of cancer usually grows and spreads to other parts of the body more slowly than small cell lung cancer does. Carcinoid Lung carcinoid tumors are uncommon and tend to grow slower than other types of lung cancers. They are made up of special kinds of cells called neuroendocrine cells. They are usually classified as typical or atypical carcinoids. Carcinoids are very rare, slow-growing and most commonly treated with surgery. Just as each person is unique, each type of lung cancer is different. It is important to know the type of lung cancer you have, sometimes called “your lung cancer profile” because it helps determine what lung cancer treatment options are available. If you’re interested in learning more about lung cancer, or if you have any concerns about your lung health, make an appointment to see your doctor.
Trot before your treat - Run the Pueblo Turkey Trot. Thanksgiving is a holiday of food, family and fun, but where does the healthy aspect of Thanksgiving come in? Consider taking a jog before you indulge for the day. Join your community for the YMCA of Pueblo's Annual Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk and free 1K Kids Fun Run. Not only will you feel better about the amount of food you’re eating later in the day, you will have earned it. Plus every runner that signs up, your race fee contribution helps provide:
- FREE memberships for all 6th graders in Pueblo County
- Affordable Childcare
- Camperships to Camp Jackson
- Sports and Swim Lesson Scholarships
How to choose healthy school lunches and snacks Students have been back to school for a little while now, but families may still be discussing whether children should take a brown-bag lunch to school or purchase a meal at the school’s cafeteria. School lunches, have improved over the past few years, especially with the decrease in sugary beverages and emphasis on fruit and vegetables, but they may still offer some not-so-healthful options. Given the choice, many kids will choose the latter – like pizza every day, no veggies and high-sugar chocolate milk, etc. It’s really important to stay ahead of those choices and make sure your children have a healthy option. Homemade lunches are usually a better choice because a parent can tailor the meal to the child’s needs and tastes. If your child has a food allergy or dietary issue, for example, you can address that. School lunches also generally tend to be repetitive. School cafeterias have a rotating calendar of meals and generally serve the same thing each week. With a homemade lunch, you can have variety and make it healthy and what your child likes and will eat. Ideally, a healthful lunch – one-third of your child’s daily intake of nutrition – should include some form of lean protein, a whole grain, a vegetable, fruit, and a source of calcium, like milk, yogurt or cheese. The same dish served at school may not be nutritionally equivalent to the one made at home. Mac and cheese, for example is likely made from white pasta and processed cheese at school. At home, she uses high-protein pasta and natural cheese. Homemade lunches don’t have to be that elaborate. There’s nothing wrong with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread if you don’t have time to make something fancier. And all kids love sweets, so it’s OK to throw in a bit of sweet, such as a chocolate kiss or a mini candy bar as long as it’s in moderation. Sandwiches and wraps with whole-grain bread or tortillas, lean meat and veggies are a good standby. Raw veggies, such as carrots, celery, jicama and grape tomatoes are always a good choice. Or consider looking for baked veggie straws or baked potato chips in single serving pouches as a side to a sandwich. There are so many options for healthy simple lunches for your children. Consider packing it for them and making them as healthy as they can be.
Regular checkups are important. You aren’t feeling sick, your energy levels are up, you’re diet is great. You feel you don’t need for a regular checkup. If that’s your thought process, you may be wrong. Regular checkups are extremely important to everyone’s health. You provider will do screenings and exams that you need and when you need them. You may not even consider some of the screenings they do that can help avoid future illness or injury. Below are resources to help you and your health care provider determine what health services and screenings are best for you. Why Get Regular checkups? By getting the right health services, screenings, and treatments, you are taking steps that help your chances for living a longer, healthier life. Your age, health and family history, lifestyle choices (i.e. what you eat, how active you are, whether you smoke), and other important factors impact what and how often you need healthcare. Start with your UFMC doctor. The best place to go for health services is your regular health care provider. We are here to help you stay healthy and strong. Your doctor is a great sounding board whether you have illness or not, make sure to use them as your best resource. Encourage others to get a checkup. You may also want to start a campaign in your community to encourage others to make an appointment for a check-up or health screening. It’s important that everyone gets a checkup to make sure they are on track to great health. Make an appointment for your checkup today!
Child Passenger Safety Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children in the United States. According to the CDC, in 2016, 723 children ages 12 years and younger died in motor vehicle traffic crashes, and more than 128,000 were injured. But parents and caregivers can make a lifesaving difference. Whenever you’re on the road, make sure children are buckled in age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats, or seat belts. Children under age 13 should ride properly buckled in the back seat on every trip. Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat or in front of an airbag. Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat. Data shows that:
- In 2016, restraint use saved the lives of 328 children ages 4 years and younger.
- Car seat use reduces the risk for injury in a crashes by 71–82 percent for children when compared with seat belt use alone.
- Booster seat use reduces the risk for serious injury by 45 percent for children ages 4 to 8 years when compared with seat belt use alone.