Category Archives: Parish Nurse

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.

Instant Energizer

What if I told you that I had the secret to one of the greatest relaxation techniques available today? Something that not only relaxes the body, but also refreshes and invigorates it! Great men throughout history have known the secret, and yet not many people take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to sharpen our minds and improve our spirits. It’s something that comes naturally and we all learned it as infants, practiced it as toddlers, and fight the urge as adults. <!–split–>

The answer is: napping!

There is new respect for the notion of an afternoon nap. The list of famous nappers goes on and on, including Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Albert Einstein, and Thomas Edison. Not a bad club to join! The most common response in America to that mid-afternoon droop is to fight it with caffeine. But your brain is telling you that it needs a rest. And a rest is what will really jump start your system. Studies have shown  napping reduces accidents and mistakes, and actually increases productivity. One NASA study showed a pilot’s alertness and performance was greatly improved after a 42-minute nap. Research shows that humans need 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Those who receive less than 6 hours of nighttime sleep triple their chances of having an accident. Your internal clock is programmed to make you feel sleepy twice a day—usually between 1-3 pm, and again at night.

Napping is one way to avoid that lethargy in the afternoon. In some cultures, a nap after lunch is a way of life. Timing for your nap is very important. The time to schedule your nap is about 8 hours after you wake up. A nap too late in the day may make it difficult to fall asleep that night. Listen to your body. When you start to feel tired or sleepy, that is the perfect time to take your power nap.   The length of your nap is very important too—20 minutes seems to be the magic number. Any longer, and you tend to feel groggy instead of refreshed. Whether you are at home or at work, find a quiet place to stretch out, and just relax. A small blanket may make you more comfortable. Be sure you set either an alarm or ask someone to wake you at the end of 20 minutes. Cell phones have alarms that can be set too.  Pick your spot—peaceful, dim surroundings work best. Plan your nap for the time you usually feel sleepy during the afternoon. Don’t worry about falling asleep, try to direct your thoughts to non-work ideas. The more you practice falling asleep for a nap, the easier it becomes. Give yourself a few minutes to really wake up afterward—a good stretch and a drink of water can help.

If you are not in an environment where a nap is possible, or you just cannot turn your brain off and rest, there are other ways to boost your energy.

  • Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night
  • Eat a moderately sized lunch, and later eat a snack with a protein and complex carbohydrates (ex: cheese and wheat crackers) instead of a sugary snack or caffeine. Your energy boost will last much longer
  • Take a brisk 10-20 minute walk to increase your energy
  • Change your activities from passive to active if you can—even if it means walking down the hall to deliver a message instead of an e-mail

The thought that you can rejuvenate your body with something so simple is really quite amazing. So be good to yourself, and you may find a whole new world of energy and creativity opening up to you.

More info: www.pioneerthinking.com   www.longevity.about.com

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

Toy Safety

The safety of our children and the toys they play with is of concern to all parents. It is inconceivable that a toy maker would produce a product that might injure or kill a child, but this is the sad truth. While there are far more watch dogs and parent groups these days who evaluate the risk different toys pose, it is still up to those who care for children to make educated decisions regarding what toys end up in their homes. <!–split–>

Hospital emergency rooms treat about 217,000 toy-related injuries each year. An average of 15 children under the age of 14 die each year from one of these injuries. By following some simple guidelines, we can help prevent a tragic injury or death from something meant to be innocent and fun.

Balloons have been banned from pediatric wings of hospitals because they are the leading cause of suffocation deaths in children. This can happen while the child is trying to blow up a balloon, or from sucking or chewing on it. The un-inflated balloon gets stuck in the child’s small throat when he takes in a breath. While most deaths occurred in children under six years of age, some older children have also suffocated.

Crib toys that are strung across a crib or play pen must be removed when the baby is about five months old. Once they can pull themselves up, they can get tangled in the toy and strangle.

Necklaces, straps, and cords can also become wrapped around a child’s neck. Any toy with a string, cord, or strap should be kept out of the reach of a young child. The straps on toy guitars have been known to strangle youngsters.

The most frequent cause of a toy related death is choking on a small part. There are “small parts testers” available to help you determine what size is dangerous. You can also use an empty toilet paper roll. If a part fits inside the roll, it is too small for little children to safety play with it.

Select appropriate toys for the child’s age. There are written guidelines on most toys, and any toy store can guide your selection. Here are some general tips:

  • Under age 1: activity quilts, stuffed animals without button noses, bath toys, cloth books
  • Age 1-3: musical toys, large balls, shape toys, books, push and pull toys, blocks
  • Age 3-5: simple art supplies, dolls, musical instruments, tricycles, swings, slides
  • Age 5-9: crafts, jump ropes, puppets, books, trains, sports equipment, learning toys
  • Age 9-14: pick-up sticks, board games, outdoor and sports equipment, computers, marbles

To keep the toys of older children away from younger children, teach the older kids to put their things away after playing with them. Keep the toys for different age groups separated. Toy chests must have safety hinges to prevent them from accidentally closing on a child. If your toy chest doesn’t have these special hinges, take the lid off the chest. Actively supervise children who are playing with a toy that has small parts, electric or battery power, moving parts, or any potentially dangerous parts. Active supervision does not mean just looking in on the kids, but keeping them within sight and reach.

Follow these safety tips, and keep our kids safe.

  • Consider the child’s age before buying a toy
  • Read labels and follow safety guidelines
  • Keep small parts away from kids under 3
  • Throw away a toy’s packaging before giving it to a small child
  • Be sure caregivers and grandparents are aware of safety concerns
  • Store toys according to their age level
  • Check all toys (old and new) for small parts and sharp edges

For more information:  www.cpsc.gov  OR  www.toyassociation.org.

Kara Ade, Parish Nurse

Cutting Down On Sweets Can Help Kid’s Heart

Risk Factors Improved After Just 10 Days Of Sugar Restriction, Study Finds

“Tuesday, July 19, 2016 (HealthDay News) – Cutting sugar – not calories – is the key to reducing the risk of heart disease among obese children, a new study suggests.  <!–split–>

Curbing the kids’ sugar intake improved their triglyceride levels (a type of blood fat, or “lipid”) as well as levels of a protein associated with heart disease, known as ApoC-III, researchers found.

” ‘The blood lipid responses of these children is nothing short of astounding, and unrelated to calories or weight change,’ said study second author Dr. Robert Lustig. He is a pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco.

” ‘In order to get this degree of lipid and protein reduction by just eating less, a patient would need to lose…one-fifth of their body weight,’ Lustig explained in a university news release.

“The study involved 43 obese children aged 9 to 18 who had at least one chronic metabolic disorder, such as high blood pressure, high triglycerides, or a marker for fatty liver. For 9 days, the children ate and drank as they normally would with one exception: All sugary foods, such as sweetened yogurt and cake, were replaced with starchy items, including bagels and pizz. Overall, the kids’ dietary sugar fell from 28% to just 10% of their total calories, and fructose dropped from 12% to 4% of their total calories the findings showed.

“Blood tests before and after the study period found that cutting kids’ sugar intake resulted in a 33% drop in triglycerides and a 49% drop in ApoC-III.

“The study’s first author, Dr. Alejandro Gugliucci, said ‘While statins are effective in lowering LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol) they only reduce heart disease risk by 50%. The other villain is blood lipid triglycerides and the associated protein ApoC-iII.’

“Gugliucci, a professor and associate dean for research at Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine, added that the new study found ‘that just reducing sugar consumption did a wonderful job in lowering these 2 key risk factors by 30-50%.’

“The researchers noted small dense LDL, a type of cholesterol tied to heart disease, also disappeared. ‘Many researchers now believe that high LDL is bad only when is packaged in small containers – so-called small dense LDL. In our study we found that small LDL which is not normally seen in children, disappeared. We also discovered that the HDL (‘good’ cholesterol) particle got bigger, which is consistent with cardiovascular protection,’ Gugliucci said in the new release.

“Sugar calories are simply different from other calories, the study authors suggested.

“Lustig explained that ‘sugar is uniquely metabolized to fat in the liver, which leads to fat accumulation in the bloodstream, driving heart disease. As long as we focus on total calories rather than on what those calories are and how they are metabolized, the obesity, diabetes, and heart disease epidemics will continue.’

“The study finds were published on-line, July 19th in the journal Atherosclerosis. For more information, the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about risk factors for heart disease.”

SOURCE: UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, news release, July 19, 2016.

Your Parish Nurse,

                Kara