Discover Your Health

Blog to share and gain information about community health issues and possible solutions that are available.

Don’t Let The Bed Bugs Bite August 19, 2010

Filed under: General Health — fennbrad1 @ 2:12 pm

The Harvard School of Public Health recently published a document to help people combat bed bugs which are increasingly becoming a problem within residences of all kinds, including homes, apartments, hotels, cruise ships, dormitories and shelters. They have drafted this document to provide basic information about the biology and health significance of these pests, and to offer guidance on how to safely and effectively manage an infested residence.  Here is a small list of facts to help you.  More information can be found at http://www.uos.harvard.edu/ehs/pes_bedbug.shtml

Bed bugs are small wingless insects that feed solely upon the blood of warm-blooded animals. Bed bugs and their relatives have evolved as nest parasites. Certain kinds inhabit bird nests and bat roosts and await the return of their hosts; others have adapted well to living in the ‘nests’ (homes) of people.

Bed bugs seek out people and animals, generally at night while these hosts are asleep, and painlessly sip a few drops of blood; additional bites may then result in mild to intense allergic responses.

Despite what you may have heard or read elsewhere, bed bugs are not known to transmit any infectious agents.

Because bed bugs readily hide in small crevices, they may accompany (as stowaways) luggage, furniture, clothing, pillows, boxes, and other such objects when these are moved between apartments, homes and hotels. Used furniture, particularly bed frames and mattresses, are of greatest risk of harboring bed bugs and their eggs. Thus, one should carefully scrutinize and consider the history of any used furniture, particularly ‘street’ items so plentiful at the beginning and end of each academic year. Because they readily survive for many months without feeding, bed bugs may already be present in apparently ‘vacant’ and ‘clean’ apartments. Bed bugs can wander between adjoining apartments through voids in walls and holes though which wires and pipes pass.

What if you discover bed bugs?

Reduce clutter to limit hiding places for bed bugs.

Thoroughly clean the infested rooms as well as others in the residence. Scrub infested surfaces with a stiff brush to dislodge eggs, and use a powerful vacuum to remove bed bugs from cracks and crevices. Dismantling bed frames will expose additional bug hiding sites. Remove drawers from desks and dressers and turn furniture over, if possible, to inspect and clean all hiding spots.

Mattresses and box springs can be permanently encased within special mattress bags. Once they are installed, inspect the bags to ensure they are undamaged; if any holes or tears are found, seal these completely with permanent tape. Any bugs trapped within these sealed bags will eventually die.

To prevent bed bugs from crawling onto a bed, pull the bed frame away from the wall, tuck sheets and blankets so they won’t contact the floor, and place the frame legs into dishes or cups of mineral oil.

Caulk and seal all holes where pipes and wires penetrate walls and floor, and fill cracks around baseboards and cove moldings to further reduce harborages.

If you own your residence, we suggest you contact a licensed pest control operator who is knowledgeable and experienced in managing bed bug infestations. Ask the pest control company for references, and ask at least a few of their customers about their experiences before you agree to any contract.  

 Most importantly don’t panic.

Richard Pollack, Ph.D. and Gary Alpert, Ph.D.

 

Nine Habits That Will Shrink Your Stomach May 22, 2010

Filed under: Fitness,General Health,Uncategorized — fennbrad1 @ 10:26 am

Sick of crunches? So are we. Luckily, abdominal exercises alone do not a flat belly make. In fact, there are loads of little things—from what you drink to the way you handle stress—that can make or break your middle. Here are 9 easy ways to start shrinking without crunching.

1. Calm down. Too much stress can contribute to a potbelly. Stress increases levels of cortisol, a hormone that seems to direct fat to our middle, says Jacob Seidell, PhD, of the National Institute of Public Health in Bilthoven, Netherlands. To keep levels low, try this 5- to 10-minute stress reducer: Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit. Next, take several slow, deep breaths to help clear your mind. Continue breathing deeply and repeat the word one to yourself as you exhale. (If you get distracted, just bring your focus back to the word one.) Practice this for 5 to 10 minutes once or twice a day.

10 silent signals you’re stressed
2. Skip the alcohol for a week or so. That glass of wine with dinner may be part of the reason your jeans are too tight. Alcohol also tends to raise cortisol levels, sending fat to your belly, Seidell says.

3. Stop smoking. “It keeps me thin,” proclaim many smokers. But the truth is that smokers tend to have more abdominal fat than nonsmokers, says Seidell. (The stress hormone cortisol seems to be the culprit here too.) “When people stop smoking, the amount of abdominal fat actually decreases,” he says.

9 “harmless” habits that age you
4. Eat more fiber. Not only is fiber great for overall weight loss (it fills you up so you don’t eat as much), but it also prevents constipation, which can cause your tummy to bulge, says Lawrence J. Cheskin, MD, a gastroenterologist and director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center in Baltimore. To stay regular, aim for 22 to 25 g of fiber a day by eating more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables

5. Drink up. For premenstrual bloating, drink lots and lots of water. This will actually help flush away bloating, not make it worse

Convenient, budget-friendly packaged foods

6. Keep bones strong. Osteoporosis can lead to fractured bones in your spine, causing you to slump. That shortens your abdominal cavity, giving your belly no place to go but out, says Willibald Nagler, MD, physiatrist in chief emeritus at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center in New York City. Be sure to get 1,000 mg of calcium every day from the foods you eat and/or from supplements.

7. Get your heart rate up. All the ab exercises in the world won’t do a thing unless you get rid of the fat hiding your abdominal muscles. The best way is to do aerobic exercise for 45 to 60 minutes, 5 times a week.

Download this 8-minute fat blasting workout

8. Tuck your tummy. Imagine there’s a magnet pulling your belly button back toward your spine. Practice the tuck until it becomes comfortable, and soon it will come naturally–like breathing. Do it every chance you get.

9. Get a bonus ab workout. Stand as much as possible when doing weight-lifting exercises. That way your abs work too. “They help to balance and stabilize your body,” says Tammy Strunk, an Emmaus, PA, fitness instructor. Concentrate on keeping your abs tight and maintaining good posture, but don’t hold your breath.

Flatten your abs with yoga
More Beach-Ready Body Tips from Prevention

 

Too Fat to Fight April 21, 2010

Filed under: Children,Fitness,General Health,Teens — fennbrad1 @ 10:44 am

A new flash was released today that potential candidates for the U.S. Military are becoming too fat to serve.  They are suggesting that because of the lack of nutrition in school lunches students are becoming too fat to fight. 

Obesity is a national epidemic. Three in four military-age Americans is unqualified to join the military. The No. 1 reason: obesity. One in five military-age Americans is too fat to serve. The military has turned away 48,000 overweight recruits since 2005, more than all the American troops fighting in Afghanistan.  When thinking about the strength of our Country’s defense, the thought of this,  makes me shutter.  Where will obesity leave our country in the future? Unprotected!  So because of obesity if we fail to make drastic changes we will become, the fattest, the sickest and now the most defenseless country.  Who would have thought that too many french fries would have this type of lasting effect on the United States as a whole?  People have to wake up and start making some serious personal changes. 
Stefen  sfennell@co.durham.nc.us

 

Loosing Weight February 18, 2010

Filed under: General Health — fennbrad1 @ 10:53 am

At the end of each year consumers are bombarded with television and radio advertisements of products that help you kick off the new year loosing unwanted weight. I hate to make new year resolutions because I feel that you can make positive changes in your life anytime during the year. Having said that , well this year I decided that I was going to try to lose some unwanted pounds! So far I have been able to shed a few but not because of my own discipline and will power but because I joined a weight loss challenge at work. With this challenge there is a monetary incentive, and I am held accountable by my assigned team by being forced to weigh in each week. So far this techniques is working. We choose our own method of losing the weight and we weigh in weekly in private. If I win some money that will be good but being able to go shopping in my own closet and wear things that I have had packed away is even better. So if you are trying to lose weight be encouraged, stay focused on your goal and get a reliable partner that will hold you accountable if you don’t already have one.

Click here to take a look at the books we have at the library on Weight Loss

Stefen
sfennell@co.durham.nc.us

 

STD’s and Teens January 27, 2010

Filed under: Children,Minority Health,Relationship,Teens,Women — fennbrad1 @ 4:00 pm

So much wrong information about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) gets passed around that it’s no surprise the diseases do too. Of course, the only way to be 100% sure you won’t get an STD like herpes, chlamydia, or HIV, is not to have any type of sex (abstinence). But if you do decide to have sex, you’ll need to stay informed and learn what’s true — and what’s not.
Here are 5 of the more common things that people get wrong about STDs.

Myth: Only “trashy” people get STDs.
Fact: STDs don’t discriminate.

Rich people get STDs. Poor people get them. Athletes get them. Math geeks get them. CEOs and professors get them. Even someone having sex for the first time can get an STD. The only people who have no risk of getting an STD are people who haven’t had sex or any kind of sexual contact.

What can you do? If you decide to have sex, always use a condom every time. Even if you’re already on another kind of birth control, like the Pill, you should still use a condom. That’s because condoms are the only type of birth control that reduces the risk of getting an STD.

Myth: If your partner has an STD, you’ll see it.
Fact: There’s often no sign that a person has an STD.

Even doctors often can’t tell by looking if people have STDs. So they need to do tests, like bloodwork. People with STDs might not know they have them: STDs don’t always cause symptoms. But it is possible to carry and spread the virus without ever having an outbreak. Untreated STDs can add up to serious health problems, like infertility (the inability to have a baby) or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which may land you in the hospital.

What can you do? Even if you both think you’re clean, get checked out before having sex. Then use a condom every time, just to be sure. It can take a while for some STDs to show up on tests.

Myth: You can avoid STDs by having oral or anal sex.
Fact: Where there’s sex (oral, anal, vaginal, or even just sexual contact), there can be STDs.

The viruses or bacteria that cause STDs can enter the body through tiny cuts or tears in the mouth and anus, as well as the genitals. Some STDs, like herpes or genital warts, can spread just through skin-to-skin contact with an infected area or sore.
What can you do? Use a condom or a dental dam every time you have oral or anal sex. If the taste of latex isn’t your thing, there are flavored condoms made specifically for oral sex.

Myth: Once you’ve had an STD, there’s no chance of getting it again.
Fact: You can get some STDs more than just once.

Some STDs are yours for life, like herpes and HIV. Others, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, can be treated, but you may get infected again if you have sexual contact with someone who has them.
What can you do? Protect yourself with condoms, of course! And if you’re having sex, let your doctor know so you can get tested regularly. If you do get diagnosed with an STD, your partner should be treated at the same time you are. That way your partner will avoid future problems — and avoid reinfecting you.

Myth: If you get checked and you’re STD free, your partner doesn’t need to get checked as well.
Fact: Your partner could have an STD and not know it.

Who wants to make the effort to get tested, find out they’re clean, and then end up catching an STD from a partner anyway?
What can you do? Get tested together. It may not be your most romantic date, but nothing says “I care” like trying to protect a boyfriend or girlfriend from illness.

STDs are more than just an embarrassment. They’re a serious health problem. Left untreated, some STDs can cause permanent damage, such as infertility and even death.
There are tons of myths out there about sex and STDs — the ones above are just a few of them. Luckily, you only need to remember two essential truths:
1. Use condoms.
2. Get tested.

Reviewed by: Krishna Wood White, MD, MPH
Date reviewed: June 2009
The Information for this blog was found on Kidshealth.org to find this article and more information on teen and sex.

 

Lack of Sleep January 25, 2010

Filed under: Children,Fitness,General Health,Men,Minority Health,Seniors,Teens,Women — fennbrad1 @ 4:30 pm

Lack of Sleep Can Affect Your Health

From the July 6, 2003 edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution comes an article about how loss of sleep over a period of time can have dire consequences on your health.  The article states, “Recent research indicates that chronic under-sleeping does more than undermine productivity or make people more irritable. It also increases the risk of accidents and may contribute to serious, long-term problems such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.”

The article notes that according to the National Sleep Foundation up to 60 percent of Americans report at least occasional sleep problems.  A national study published this year tracking 71,617 nurses found that women who got five hours of sleep or less nightly over a decade had a 39 percent greater risk of heart attack than those who managed eight hours.  Scientists at the University of Chicago also found that building up a sleep “debt” over a matter of days can impair metabolism and disrupt hormone levels. After restricting 11 healthy young adults to four hours of sleep for six nights, researchers found their ability to process glucose (sugar) in the blood had declined, in some cases to the level of diabetics.

Dr. Carl E. Hunt, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research in Washington notes, “Basically healthy adults who are acutely sleep-restricted tend to eat more, and what they eat more of tends to be carbohydrates and high in fat.”  One study published this year found that after two weeks of four-hour sleep, a group of healthy young adults performed as poorly on tests of alertness, memory and mental agility as those who had gone without any sleep for two nights. And they didn’t seem aware of their gradually deteriorating performance.

Sleep also adds benefits to health. Researchers who scanned sleepers’ brains found that the areas involved in learning new tasks remain active in slumber.  This suggests that sleep plays a role in storing information for future retrieval.  Dr. Steven M. Scharf, medical director of the University of Maryland Sleep Disorders Center summed up the situation nicely when he said, “I like the old days, when they played ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ on TV everybody went to bed.”

Tips for getting better sleep:

Change Your Day to Maximize Sleep

  • Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, even on weekends.
  • Limit your intake of alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco products during the day, especially in the hours before sleep.
  • Finish eating 2 to 3 hours before bedtime, avoiding big meals.
  • Exercise regularly. Finish your exercise a few hours before bedtime.
  • Eliminate napping or limit the duration to 20 to 30 minutes.

 

Create the Best Possible Sleep Environment

  • Remove electronics like computers and televisions from your room.
  • Keep the room cool, comfortable, quiet, and dark.
  • Use a comfortable mattress and pillows.
  • Use the bed only for sleep and intimacy.
 

World AIDS Day December 1, 2009

Filed under: Children,General Health,Men,Seniors,Teens,Women — fennbrad1 @ 7:09 pm

There are Five things you can do to Respect and Protect.

1. Find out the facts about HIV and make sure the people you talk to know the facts not the myths.

2. Know your HIV status: get tested

3. Talk to all new partners about using condoms during sex: protect yourself and your partner

4. If someone tells you they are HIV positive, treat them with respect. Don’t tell their status without their consent.

5. Wear a red ribbon as a symbol of support for everyone affected by HIV and to raise awareness.