Category Archives: Parish Nurse

Nurse’s Notes: CDC’s Tips For Self Care – Find Out How To Manage Stress After a Traumatic Event

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the following information to help individuals cope with stress.

Strong emotions like fear, sadness, or other symptoms of depression are normal as long as they are temporary and don’t interfere with daily activities. If these emotions last too long or cause other problems, it’s a different story.  <!–split–>

Sometimes stress can be good. It can help you to develop skills needed to manage potentially threatening situations. Stress can be harmful, however, when it is prolonged or severe enough to make you feel over-whelmed and out-of-control.

Physical or emotional tension are often signs of stress. They can be reactions to a situation that cause you to feel threatened or anxious. Stress can be related to positive events (such as planning your wedding) or negative events (such as dealing with the effects of a natural disaster).

Common reactions to a stressful event include:

  • Disbelief and shock.
  • Tension and irritability.
  • Fear and anxiety about the future.
  • Difficulty making decisions.
  • Feeling numb.
  • Loss of interest in normal activities.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Nightmares and recurring thoughts about the event.
  • Increased use of alcohol and drugs.
  • Sadness and other symptoms of depression.
  • Feeling powerless.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Headaches, back pains, and stomach problems.
  • Trouble concentrating.

The best ways to manage stress in hard times are through self-care:

  • Avoid drugs and alcohol. They may seem to be a temporary fix to feel better, but in the long run, drugs and alcohol can create more problems and add to your stress – instead of taking it away.
  • Find support. Seek help from a partner, family member, friend, counselor, doctor, or clergy person. Having someone with a sympathetic listening ear and sharing about your problems and stress really can lighten the burden.
  • Connect socially. After a stressful event, it’s easy to isolate yourself. Make sure you are spending time with loved ones. Consider planning fun activities with your partner, children, or friends.
  • Take care of yourself.
    • Eat a healthy, well-balanced meal.
    • Exercise regularly.
    • Get plenty of sleep
    • Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out; for example, treat yourself to a therapeutic massage.
    • Maintain a normal routine
  • Stay active. You can take your mind off your problems with activities like helping a neighbor, volunteering in the community.

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

Nurse’s Notes – Your Recipe For Staying On Track No Matter What’s Cooking

‘Tis the season for family, festivity, and food – lots of food. Temptations are everywhere, and parties and travel disrupt daily routines. What’s more, it all goes on for weeks. How do you stick to your diabetes meal plan when everyone around seems to be splurging? Hare are 5 tips that can help. <!–split–>

5 HEALTHY EATING TIPS FOR THE HOLIDAYS

  1. Holiday-proof your plan. You may not be able to control what food you’re served, and you’re bound to see other people eating a lot of tempting treats. Meet the challenges armed with a plan:
  • Eat close to your usual times to keep your blood sugar steady. If your meal is served later than normal, eat a small snack at your usual mealtime and eat a little less when dinner is served.
  • Invited to a party? Offer to bring a healthy dish along.
  • If you have a sweet treat, cut back on other carbs (like potatoes and bread) during the meal.
  • Don’t skip meals to save up for a feat. It will be harder to keep your blood sugar in control, and you’ll be really hungry and more likely to overeat.
  • If you slip up, get right back to healthy eating your next meal.
  • Holiday hacks:
    • Have pumpkin pie instead of pecan pie. Even with a dollop of whipped cream you’ll cut calories and sugar by at least a third.
    • Break physical activity up into smaller chunks so it fits into your schedule, like walking 10 minutes several times a day.
    • Schedule some ‘me” time every day – a nap, dog walk, or hot bath to get your energy back for the next celebration
  1. Outsmart The Buffet. When you face a spread of delicious holiday food, make healthy choices easier:
  • Have a small plate of the foods you like best and then move away from the buffet table.
  • Start with vegetables to take the edge off your appetite.
  • Eat slowly. It takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to realize you’re full.
  • Avoid or limit alcohol. If you do have an alcoholic drink, have it with food. Alcohol can lower blood sugar and interact with diabetes medicines.
  • Also plan to stay on top of your blood sugar. Check it more often during the holidays, and if you take medicine, as your doctor if the amount needs to be adjusted.
  1. Fit In Favorites. No food is on the naughty list. Choose the dishes you really love and can’t get any other time of year, like Aunt Edna’s pumpkin pie. Slow down and savor a small serving, and make sure to count it in your meal plan.

If you plan for it, no food needs to be on the naughty list.

  1. Keep Moving. You’ve got a lot on your plate this time of year, and physical activity can get crowded out. But being active is your secret holiday weapon; it can help make up for eating more than usual and reduce stress during this most stressful time of year. Get moving with friends and family, such as taking a walk after a holiday meal.
  2. Get Your Zzz’s. Going out more and staying out later often means cutting back on sleep. Sleep loss can make it harder to control your blood sugar, and when you’re sleep-deprived, you’ll tend to eat more and prefer high-fat, high-sugar food. Aim for 7-8 hours per night to guard against mindless eating.

Most of all, remember what the season is about celebrating and connecting with the people you care about. When you focus more on the fun, it’s easier to focus less on the food.

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

Antioxidants

What is an antioxidant? Antioxidants are organic substances found in many fruits and vegetables. They include vitamins A, C, and E, a mineral called Selenium and beta-carotene – the thing that gives orange vegetables their color. <!–split–>

In our bodies antioxidants “deactivate” free radicals. Free radicals usually are in the form of an oxygen molecule inside our body, and are produced as a byproduct of many of the body’s natural processes. They may also be created by exposure to certain environmental factors, such as tobacco and radiation. When left unchecked, free radicals can damage cell walls and the DNA in the cells.

Go back to basic chemistry, and you will recall that O2 molecules want to be oxidized, which is to say that they want to carry out a chemical change with oxygen. This process can sometimes create cancer cells. The role of antioxidants is to neutralize these free radicals that may lead to cell damage.

The human body cannot produce its own antioxidants, also known as micronutrients. It’s a simple matter to include antioxidants in our diet, but some people believe that we need to augment our diets with large dietary supplements. While scientific studies have shown that people who eat a good supply of fruits and vegetables have lower rates of cancer, none of these large, reputable studies have shown that dietary supplements give us the same results.

Why Eat Antioxidants? Solid research has shown that a good supply of antioxidants in our diet is good for the health of our eyes. They can actually prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. (Paul Harvey has been telling us that for years.) They support our immune system and are thought to prevent age-related declines of the brain and nervous system. By preventing DNA damage, they reduce the likelihood of cancer, and help prevent heart disease and strokes.

Where Can We Find Them?

  • Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin found in nuts, seeds, vegetables, fish oils, whole grains, fortified cereals, and apricots. The daily values (DVD’s formerly known as Recommended Dietary Allowances or RDA’s) are 15 units per day for men and 12 units for women.
  • Beta-carotene produces Vitamin A, and can be found in liver, egg yolk, milk, butter, spinach, carrots, squash, broccoli, jam, tomato, cantaloupe, peaches, and whole grains. There is no set requirement for these. The caution with these two is that Vitamin A and E are fat soluble, so any excess of these vitamins cannot simply be excreted in the urine. Instead they are stored in the liver and fatty tissues and pose a risk for creating toxic levels in the body.
  • Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin found in citrus fruits and juices, green peppers, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, kale, cantaloupe, kiwi, and strawberries. The DV for this is 60mg per day.

Studies.  According to the Wikipedia web site, high dose supplements may increase the number of free radicals causing the very damage they are taken to prevent. Studies of those who took antioxidant supplements showed no significant increase for overall survival for heart disease or cancer. However, there is a clear, positive connection between a diet consisting of at least 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables, and better, overall health.

Conclusion.  As with most things in life, the best course is balance and moderation. Your safest and healthiest approach is to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole rains, and forget the mega supplements unless ordered by a physician for a specific need. God has provided us with the resources we need to lead a healthy, productive life. It’s up to us to use common sense and wholesome nature to support and sustain us.

Check out:  www.wikipedia.org and www.goaskalice.columbia.edu.

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic-depressive illness, is a condition with extreme swings in mood. These vary from deep depression to a high, manic state. This is very different from the normal highs and lows we all feel because these extreme mood swings interfere with daily life. Over 2 million Americans suffer with this condition, which usually begins in the late teens or early 20’s. It can be difficult to diagnose because people typically seek help only when they are deeply depressed. They are often misdiagnosed with depression, and do not get the treatment they need. <!–split–>

There is no single cause of bipolar disorder, but it does tend to run in families. There is certainly a chemical imbalance in the brain and possibly hormone imbalances that are felt to be the prime factors in this condition.

Symptoms vary between manic and depressive episodes. Typical symptoms of mania may include:

  • Very high energy and activity levels.
  • Excessively high euphoric mood.
  • Extreme irritability and anxiety.
  • Inability to concentrate; racing thoughts.
  • Very little sleep; excessive spending.
  • Increased sexual drive; drug abuse.
  • Denial that anything is wrong.

Symptoms of depression may include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
  • No interest in previously enjoyed activities.
  • Too much sleep, or insomnia.
  • Change in appetite, with weight gain or loss.
  • Physical symptoms with no physical cause.
  • Thoughts of suicide.

There can also be a “mixed state” with manic and depressive symptoms happening at the same time. For nearly everyone, there are long periods between episodes whey they feel perfectly normal.

While treatment varies from one person to the next, it generally consists of medications, psychotherapy, and educating one’s self on how to manage the condition. For most people treatment is a lifelong requirement. Medications should be prescribed and monitored by a psychiatrist. They are the experts on the condition, and are up to date on the latest research in this area. Generally, a mood stabilizer is prescribed and possibly an anti-depressant also. A thyroid glad that is producing too much or too little thyroid hormone can change the amount of energy a person has, and needs to be monitored too.

Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is very useful to support patients and their families. Therapists can check a patient’s progress, and teach them about their illness and ways to identify triggers, which can propel a person into another episode. They can help the patient identify early signs of an episode, allowing them to seek help before progressing to a full-scale episode.

With the proper treatment and motivation, people who are bipolar can live a relatively normal life. Regular daily activities that are good advice for all of us can be especially important to maintain a relatively constant mood. Regular sleep and mealtimes, 30 minutes of exercise day, and avoiding illegal drugs are very important for anyone with bipolar disorder. Some stressful events such as holidays, weddings, arguments, funerals, and job problems cannot be avoided. That’s why it is so important to have a relationship with a therapist who can give support when needed. We are fortunate to live in an age where there is abundant help for anyone with this serious condition.

For more information:  www.bipolar.com or www.mayoclinic.com.

Kara Ade, Parish Nurse

Keep Mosquitoes And Ticks From Bugging You This Summer

Taking steps to prevent bites allows more time for children to play outdoors, but when kids are covered with bug  bites after spending time outside, parents may start to worry about disease spread by ticks, such as Lyme disease, or by mosquitoes, such as West Nile Virus. Luckily, parents can take simple steps to prevent bites and diseases spread by bugs. <!–split–>

Use An Effective Insect Repellent

Parents may feel overwhelmed by the many bug protection products in the grocery aisle, wondering which ones are best. CDC recommends a variety of effective products. Check the label for one of the following active ingredients:

  • DEET
  • Picaridin
  • IR 3535
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus

Most pediatricians recommend using products with 30% or less of these ingredients on kids. Once you’ve bought an insect repellent, use it whenever you and your children are outdoors. Put a few bottles or packets of repellent anywhere you might need them – in the car, by the door, in your bag. Make it easy so you’ll remember. As hard as it may be to think about, any single bug bite has the potential to bring illness, so it’s worth taking a moment for prevention.

Make Your Backyard A Tick-Safe Zone

While you may think that ticks only live in the woods, ticks can also lurk in backyards. You can take some simple steps to make your backyard more tick-safe. Keep patios, play areas, and playground equipment away from shrubs, bushes, and other vegetation. Also tick control chemicals are available  for use by homeowners, or can be applied by a professional pest control expert.

Check For Ticks

After playing out outside, don’t make ticks an uninvited guest in your home. Ticks can ride-in on parents, kids, and even the family pet, so check your gear and pets as soon as you get inside, even if your outdoor adventures were only in the backyard.

Parents should check themselves and their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in the hair. If you find a tick, remove it using fine-tipped tweezers as soon as you notice it. If a tick is attached to your skin for less than 24 hours, your chance of getting Lyme disease is extremely small. But to be safe, watch for signs of symptoms, such as rash or fever, and see a doctor if they develop.

Bathing when you get inside can also help you find ticks and remove them. Additionally, you can tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill any remaining ticks.

By following simple prevention steps, parents and kids can keep pests away so they can focus on fun outdoor activities like gardening, camping, hiking, and just playing outdoors.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/westnile or www.cdc.gov/lyme, or call CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO.

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

Regular physical activity is good for everyone’s health, and people of all ages and body types can be physically active.   National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is a great time to spread the word about the benefits of getting active.    <!–split–>

Here are just a few benefits of physical activity:   Children and adolescents – Physical activity can improve muscular fitness, bone health, and heart health    Adults – Physical activity can lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.  Older adults – Physical activity can lower the risk of falls and improve cognitive functioning (like learning and judgment skills).

Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for everyone to get more physical activity.  Make a difference: Spread the word about fun ways to get moving!   How can National Physical Fitness and Sports Month make a difference? We can use this month to raise awareness about the benefits of physical activity.

Encourage families to make small changes, like taking a walk after dinner or going for a bike ride.  Motivate teachers and administrators to make physical activity a part of every student’s day. Identify youth leaders in the community who can talk to their peers about the importance of being active.

Get Involved:  Take action to promote physical fitness in your community.

  1. Encourage community groups and families to support physical activity programs for kids.
  2. Ask people to share their stories and tips for success.
  3. Motivate others to increase their physical activity and sports participation by taking the President’s Challenge. Sign up individually or as a workplace or church group.
  4. Work together to share free information about physical fitness and health.

Adapted from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition and healthfinder.gov.
For more information and materials, contact the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition at fitness@hhs.gov.

Wells4Wellness:  Walk to Niger Update

 Can you believe we are starting week 6 already?  Time passes quickly when we can walk for fun and fitness!  So far the accumulated totals from all the teams is 12,000 miles!  We have already walked to Niger and back!  Our team alone has walked over 1,000 miles.  We have some power walkers on our team!

Pat Herath, founder of Wells4Wellness has organized a group walk for all the teams. Anyone that would like or is able can meet May 4th @ 6:30pm at Butterworth Parkway in Moline. Start at the end by East Moline boarder. The official walking path starts there. Walk as far as we want.  Pat will have t-shirts available if you any one would like to purchase one $15.00.

Walk To Niger Continues . . . .

We have now completed a couple of weeks of our Walk To Niger to help bring wells of fresh, safe water to villages in Niger, Africa. The miles keep adding up! Our team is doing a great job wearing the tread off their sneakers! Next month I will have an up-to-date mileage to report.

If you aren’t walking, you can still help by sponsoring one of our walkers. Donations may be made to Bethel Wesley UMC with “Wells” written in the memo line. 100% of your donation goes to digging, building, and installing new wells.

Thanks to all who are participating in any way.  <!–split–>

Wells4Wellness is a local non-profit organization dedicated to building wells in Niger, Africa.  In the rural, sub-Saharan desert there is little access to clean water.  Unfortunately, a child dies every 20 seconds from the effects of contaminated water.  Join the Bethel Wesley team as we walk here in the Quad Cities to support life-saving clean water for those who live in Niger. It is 6,000 miles from here to Niger.  With enough walkers on our team, we can walk all the way to Niger!  Join our team today!   There are 3 ways you can participate in the Walk for Good Health:

  • Walk and record your miles/steps.
  • Acquire pledges from family and friends (i.e. .10/mile x 300 miles= $30)
  • Make a donation to Wells4wellness.

Our walk started Sunday, March 19 and continues through May 20.  Any activity can count.  We convert the activity into miles. I will have sheets available to convert activities and to keep track of your miles/steps. If interested, see Kara Ade to sign up.

About Wells4Wellness:  Founder Pat Herath is a retired nurse who has traveled on wellness missions to Africa many times.  A missionary friend encouraged her to learn more about the people of Niger and their need for self-sustaining help. Wells4Wellness has committed to building 33 safe and sanitary wells.  Water is essential to reducing poverty and changing lives.  All necessary drilling equipment has been purchased and we have trained a native Niger team to drill and install these wells.  To date, 2 wells have been completed with 6 more in sight.  The drilling team is capable of moving from village to village as the build out continues.  Wells4Wellness is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization.  All contributions are tax deductible.

Your walk, their water.  Destination: Niger

Your Parish Nurse,  Kara

Let’s Walk For Good Health

Wells4Wellness is a local non-profit organization dedicated to building wells in Niger, Africa.  In the rural, sub-Saharan desert there is little access to clean water.  Unfortunately, a child dies every 20 seconds from the effects of contaminated water.  Join the Bethel Wesley team as we walk here in the Quad Cities to support life-saving clean water for those who live in Niger. It is 6,000 miles from here to Niger.  With enough walkers on our team, we can walk all the way to Niger!  Join our team today!   There are 3 ways you can participate in the Walk for Good Health:

  • Walk and record your miles/steps.
  • Acquire pledges from family and friends (i.e. .10/mile x 300 miles= $30)
  • Make a donation to Wells4Wellness. <!–split–>

Our walk will start on Sunday, March 19 and continue through May 20.  Any activity can count.  We will convert the activity into miles. I will have sheets available to convert activities and to keep track of your miles/steps. If interested, see Kara Ade to sign up.

About Wells4Wellness:  Founder Pat Herath is a retired nurse who has traveled on wellness missions to Africa many times.  A missionary friend encouraged her to learn more about the people of Niger and their need for self-sustaining help. Wells4Wellness has committed to building 33 safe and sanitary wells.  Water is essential to reducing poverty and changing lives.  All necessary drilling equipment has been purchased and we have trained a native Niger team to drill and install these wells.  To date, 2 wells have been completed with 6 more in sight.  The drilling team is capable of moving from village to village as the build out continues.  Wells4Wellness is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization.  All contributions are tax deductible.

Your walk, their water.  Destination: Niger

Your Parish Nurse,  Kara

Who Do You Call When There Is Nowhere Else To Turn? DIAL 2-1-1

United Way funds 2-1-1 , an information and referral line that connects Quad Citians to the services they need, including help with childcare, food, rent, or any other health and human services need.  <!–split–>

Representatives are trained information and referral professionals who can answer your questions and will direct you to the best resources in the Quad Cities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential.

In the last year, call specialists fielded over 12,000 calls, connecting people to a wide variety of programs. Simply dial 2-1-1 to get connected.

Your Parish Nurse, Kara 

Make Healthy Holiday Choices

The holiday season brings thoughts of family, friends, fun and food. However, each year millions of Americans struggle to maintain their waistlines during the holidays while surrounded by tempting treats. Consider the following healthy tips to enjoy all your holiday parties – while also staying in control of your eating:   <!–split–>

  • Do not leave the house on an empty stomach – this promotes overeating.
  • Make socializing your top priority; conversation will keep you occupied and away from the food table.
  • Abstain from or limit your drinking, as alcohol increases hunger and lowers willpower.
  • Reduce your portion sizes and stop eating when you feel satisfied rather than stuffed.
  • If you are the one hosting a holiday event, use this to your advantage.

Substitute high-fat or calorie-laden ingredients with more healthy choices. Remember… the holidays are no time to abandon your healthy habits or feel pressured to eat and drink more than usual. Make sure you get plenty of sleep, exercise and plan your meals ahead of time.