EWWWW…GERMS!

 

It’s that time of year again!  The time of year we are all confined to the indoors – okay not fully confined since winter seems to have taken a back seat to allow for a spring teaser, at least for the moment.  (Please note that if we are hit with a monster blizzard I take no responsibility!)

Unfortunately, it does not seem that this unseasonable weather has cut back on all the sickness that seems to be going around.

Of course, we all know that good sanitary practices like hand washing and coughing or sneezing into a tissue can help curb the spread of those pesky germs.   One group of people that have trouble with this can be children.  It’s not their fault, certainly.  I mean it isn’t like you can see a germ and if you can’t see it, is it really there?  They are just little people and need to be taught and retaught the best way to squelch the spread of germs.  Even some of us adults could use a refresher in how to cut down on the spread of germs.

Below are some resources available through Fontana Regional Library that can help children and adults better understand germs and how we can slow them down.

For Teachers and Homeschoolers

germs-kit

Check out this great Curriculum Kit!  It contains several books and some interactive things to use.  It is geared toward kindergarten but I can definitely see it being used with preschoolers all the way up to second graders.

 

For Parents

germproofyourkids

As I perused the catalog in search of germy resources I came across this title, Germ Proof Your Kids.  I will admit that I did not read it, but it looks interesting.  It was published in 2008 so I wonder what they say about hand sanitizers?

 

 

For Kids – right click on book cover for more informationiknowhowwefightgerms

 

thegermbusters

 

germzappers

 

blowyournosebigbadwolf

 

washyourhands

 

wahsyourhands2

A Fun Song to Teach Good Hand Washing – from our friends at Jbrary

 

Here’s to good hand washing and fewer germs to spread this winter season and throughout the entire year!

eHealth: Doctor-Patient Teamwork for Improved Health Outcomes

e-health-feat-imageeHealth is a growing trend in medicine- many doctors and hospitals are making patient records available electronically, allowing patients to log in to “health portals” to see their own records. In addition to the convenience these services provide, other benefits include better quality and more efficient health care, increased privacy and security of health information, reduction of paperwork through administrative simplification, and better patient involvement- all of which are expected to help decrease healthcare costs.

My own doctor has a patient portal available. On my computer and smartphone (yes, there’s an app for that, too!) I can login to check my medical records – see the medications and dosages I’ve been prescribed, see notes from all my visits, see lab results, scheduled appointments, and even send messages to my doctor. The health portal also includes built-in patient trackers- if your doctor has asked you to track things like your blood pressure or blood sugar at home, you can have your results sent right to your doctor in real time!

mobile-phone-health-appI think that’s one of the greatest benefits of eHealth: getting patients more involved in their own care. Often times, a visit to your doctor’s office is a blur and it’s hard to remember all the instructions given, discharge papers get lost in the shuffle, or you can’t remember the name of that antibiotic you took last year that you had a bad reaction to.  Patient portals let you review all of that information and also let you share more information with your doctor. If you forget to mention something at an appointment that you had meant to tell your doctor, send them a message! So much easier than trying to remember it for your next visit!

A World Health Organisation (WHO) study has shown that deploying eHealth technologies improves health behaviors and physiological outcomes: in one prenatal program in Sao Paulo, the proportion of pregnant women who completed their scheduled prenatal visits increased from 10% to 80% after the implementation of an eHealth program and health outcomes across several conditions saw a large improvement.

Doctors aren’t the only resources for eHealth. The library also has resources to help you manage your health care. Visit the NCLive Health and Wellness Information Center to access health eBooks, health databases, and other health resources.

Other Online Resources

MedlinePlus – this service from the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health provides information about health topics, drugs and supplements, and interactive tools and health tutorials.

Mayo Clinic – find articles on diseases, symptoms, medical procedures and much more! Their healthy lifestyle section offers articles on nutrition, fitness, and health, as well as access to healthy recipes.

NC Health Info –  get information on general health topics as well as local services. Check out their Being an Informed Patient page for more resources!

National Institute of Mental Health – provides information and resources for a variety of mental health conditions.

North Carolina Medical Board Consumer Resources – offers information about health providers and resources for filing complaints.


 

Information is always great- but remember that no website on the internet can diagnose or treat you or your health conditions. Use what you learn on your own to open a dialogue with your doctor so that he or she can address your concerns while offering you the benefits of their expertise and diagnostic tools. You and your doctor, working together, can more positively affect your health and well-being.

ADHD Awareness Month

October is Attention –deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) awareness month.  As of 2011, approximately 8.8% of children have been diagnosed with ADHD in the United States. Though it’s estimated that the rate of occurrence for ADHD is similar in adults, only 4.4% of adults are diagnosed with ADHD – a significant portion of the adult ADHD population goes undiagnosed and untreated.

216776_tomsan_adhd-bunnyThere are a lot of myths and misconceptions about ADHD and ADD (ADD has been somewhat recently re-categorized as a sub-type of ADHD- ADHD, Primarily Inattentive).

It’s not uncommon to hear people dismiss ADHD as a behavioral issue: “If only he’d try harder!,” “If her parents just made her…,” “She just doesn’t want to pay attention!” However, brain scans show that there is a significant difference in the brain activity of people diagnosed with ADHD versus neurotypical or “normal” participants. Nearly every mainstream medical, psychological, and educational organization in the United States recognizes ADHD as a real, brain-based medical disorder- which can benefit from treatment.

imagesAnother misconception about ADHD is that only rambunctious little boys are affected- which can be detrimental to girls and adults affected with ADHD. It’s common for teachers and parents to advocate for assessment and treatment for hyperactive boys, while girls (and boys with the inattentive subtype of ADHD) struggle through school with the disorder undiagnosed and untreated.

Similarly, there’s an expectation that children who are diagnosed with ADHD will outgrow it, and while some will “grow out of it” (generally by learning ways to cope with and overcome their symptoms), many others will continue to struggle into adulthood.  Some untreated students may perform well in school, but find it difficult to cope with new challenges when they reach university or adulthood. In addition to the toll untreated ADHD takes on school and work performance, ADHD can negatively impact relationships for children as well as adults– including marriages.  The risks for those undiagnosed into adulthood can be devastating.

ADHD: The good

Adult-ADHD-vidya-sury-3ADHD isn’t all negative- and it’s important to note that ADHD isn’t an indicator of the lack of intelligence, moral fiber, etc. It just means the brain works a bit differently than normal, which can lend itself to a lot of good traits: creativity, problem-solving, spontaneity, sensitivity and compassion, intuition, flexibility, enthusiasm, and so much more!

Athleticism can be another benefit of ADHD. Michael Phelps began swimming as a way to release the excess energy from his ADHD. He went on to become the most decorated Olympian of all time.

Leadership is another; many leaders throughout history have displayed traits of ADHD including Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, and Bill Gates.

If you or a family member have ADHD or suspect you may, the absolute best thing you can do for yourself and family is to research and read about it. There are tons of online forums where people with ADHD post about their own experiences living with ADHD. Knowing that you’re not alone in the struggle to cope with ADHD is often a great relief and can help get you on the road to treatment, whether that’s medication, ADHD coaching, or implementing ideas from others that can help you keep on top of your life!

Online Resources

ADHD/ADD Expert Webinar and Podcasts – from ADDitudemag.com

Facts About ADHD – From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC ADHD Homepage)

What is ADHD or ADD? – from National Resource Center on ADHD

Best Blog Posts on ADHD – from ADHD Awareness Month

Related Reading

Driven to distraction : recognizing and coping with attention deficit disorder from childhood through adulthood   -Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey.

ADD and ADHD  -George Capaccio.

ADHD and me : what I learned from lighting fires at the dinner table  -Blake E.S. Taylor.

Succeeding with adult ADHD : daily strategies to help you achieve your goals and manage your life  -Abigail Levrini and Frances Prevatt.

ADHD in HD : brains gone wild  -Jonathan Chesner.

Putting on the brakes : understanding and taking control of your ADD or ADHD  -Patricia O. Quinn and Judith M. Stern

¡No puedo estar quieto! : mi vida con ADHD   -Pam Pollack y Meg Belviso

CyberKnife® Radiosurgery

CyberKnife

By Loretta

Last year was a very hard year for my family:  we lost a brother and a great-nephew.  And another brother, Ronnie, learned he had cancer in both lungs.  We were devastated.

The Big C.  It is so daunting, we don’t even want to say it out loud.  Ronnie’s attitude, from the beginning, was very positive, though.  He said it was going to be fine.

When cancer happens, treatment begins with lots of running back and forth between doctors.  Ronnie was given some choices for treatment, along with probabilities, his chances of making it through the treatments alive.  He was a poor risk for surgery, already being on a daily dose of blood thinner.  And he was very much opposed to chemotherapy.  In the end, he chose a treatment that I had never heard of before: CyberKnife Radiosurgery.

CyberKnife –  sounds like a futuristic bad guy, doesn’t it?  It turned out to be something quite different.  The treatment begins with gold balls (fiducials) being surgically implanted in the tumors.  (Ronnie had five in each lung).  The fiducials are used to guide the CyberKnife’s radiation beams to the spot where they are needed. The incision for implanting the fiducials was about an inch or so long, long enough to be a concern about blood loss.  Not only was there a danger of blood loss because of the blood thinner, but the doctors also warned him that his lungs might collapse.  And they did – which was painful for him and scary for all of us and explains why they work with only one lung at a time.

The next step was the casting of a body mold, the purpose of which was to limit movement during the procedure.  Ronnie lay on a table and the technicians sculpted the form around him from a material much like pliable Styrofoam.  When they were done, the mold hardened and was kept on hand to be used each time he came for treatment.

When the patient is ready to begin treatment, he/she is placed on a table inside the mold and a robotic device (that looks something like a praying mantis, according to Ronnie) moves around them, zapping the tumors with gamma rays from many different directions.  The gold beads guide the rays, keeping them away from all other organs and tissues.  (This is where it differs significantly from the usual form of radiation, which hits everything in its vicinity.)  The first treatment lasted three hours, but the time lessened with subsequent visits to two hours or so.  Ronnie had to have three separate treatments on each lung, totaling six treatments altogether.  He drove himself to and from the Asheville hospital each time.  I wouldn’t say he felt fine, but he did very well throughout the treatment process.  The doctors told him to expect one post-treatment side effect: tiredness.  And, sure enough, after the treatments were done, the tiredness came.  But in less than two weeks, he was back out, working in his garden and mowing his lawn and doing all the things he enjoys, though I am sure he had to push himself at first.  When he went back for his post-treatment checkup, about three months later, there was only scar tissue and no traces of the cancer could be found.

Some folks, for different reasons, may not be good candidates for this treatment, but many will be. Your doctor can tell you.  In Ronnie’s case, it was the best option.  At the time of Ronnie’s treatment, he was told there were only 30 locations in the U.S. where this treatment was available, but as of this writing there are over 100.   One of those places is Mission Hospital in Asheville.  We are very lucky in that.

I wish no one would ever have to face this type of crisis, but if you do, remember there is another option for you.  According to Mission Hospital, “CyberKnife® Radiosurgery offers new hope for patients who have been diagnosed with surgically complex or inoperable tumors and for anyone who is looking for a painless, noninvasive alternative to cancer surgery.”  I would think that would be almost everyone.

You can find more information at these websites:

http://www.cyberknife.com/ 

http://www.missionhospitals.org/cyberknife

May is National Mental Health Month!

By Rand

Mental health has always been a fascinating topic to me. Psychology was one of my favorite subjects in school. Over the years it has affected my life in many ways, simply by watching certain family members and a number of friends having to live with this illness. Sadly, it is still widely ignored as a disease perhaps of the fact that it is misunderstood. Like many things that are misunderstood,  people tend to turn a blind eye to it. Hopefully folks will become aware that it is real. Here’s one story. A few weeks ago, a close family member blacked out at work, complaining of heart attack symptoms. He was rushed to the hospital to find out that his heart was fine,  but he had suffered a major anxiety attack.  Mental illness is not to be taken lightly. Saying it’s “All in your head”, “Snap out of it” and other phrases aimed at someone who’s suffering are pointless. It is a serious disease that can lead to a myriad of other medical problems including heart disease, addiction to many substances, and suicide.

Like any disease, there are various methods of treating, or rather maintaining the symptoms of the various disorders that fall under the category of “Mental Illness”. Here are some books available in the library system that can be very helpful in trying to either help a loved one, friend, or someone who is trying to learn more about this topic.

“Straight Talk About Your Mental Illness” by James Morrison, MD is a great starting place with many ideas, theories and options explored.

Helping Someone With Mental Illness” by Rosalynn Carter is a book for family members, friends, and caretakers to help them understand the mechanics of mental illness, and is a very helpful guide for anyone who has a loved one suffering.

An Unquiet Mind” by Kay Redfield Jamison is a biography/memoir in which the author recalls her battles with Manic Depression.

Apart from books, the internet is yet another source for all kinds of information. The following websites may be of some help for anyone who is curious and seeking information, to someone who might be very ill.

http://www.nmha.org/go/may

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

These are two websites that offer information, links, and other resources for people from all sides –  from professionals, to the patient, to friends and family seeking answers.

The key factor in helping someone who is not well is by showing compassion to them. Not knowing what to say is obviously a very common problem, but ignoring the problem will not help. Hopefully this will be of help to someone, and perhaps will save a life.

Yea Dr. Oz!

By Elizabeth

I am so impressed with the education, and common sense given by Dr. Mehmet Oz  about our health care. We have many of  his books, he has a television show, and video info on Dr. Oz.com .   The show is a “Sesame Street” format of quick information spots presented very creatively and also longer spots of actual experiences  that folks have had.

A  real eye opener is to try Real Age.Com.  There is a difference between your biological birthday years and the years your body thinks it is.  If you have good nutrition, exercise and good genes you  can subtract many years from the biological years.  Like wise if you don’t take care of yourself, you can be much older by Real Age.  I am 12 years younger than my biological years, and learning more to improve on even that!  This  site also shows  free evaluation  about what you are doing that is harmful, and what you are doing that is helpful. It is all free.

Another concept from RealAge  is throw away your scales and go by your waist measurement!  It’s the “belly fat” that is most harmful.  Men should measure no more than 40 inches, women no more that 37 inches.  The premise is that there are many more health issues that appear if the waist measurement is higher.  Like wise, many issues disappear when the goal waist measurement is attained.

“People are much more concerned  now with living a healthy life style.” said Rodney Morris from Franklin Health and Fitness Center.

Once you are acquainted with this foundation, you will be eager to grab the great books you will find at your library!

You can even read your Dr. Oz books while on the elliptical!

See you Healthy in your local library!