News

NHI's 2014 CNE Needs Assessment Survey NOW OPEN!

on Tuesday, 05 March 2013. Posted in News

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Authors Needed!

on Thursday, 25 October 2012. Posted in News

NHInstitute.com is always looking for new authors.  Our authors come from various fields including academia and experienced licensed professionals among others.

We are currently accepting courses for the following disciplines:

  • Nursing
  • Physical Therapy
  • Ocupational Therapy
  • Clinical Laboratory
  • Physician Assistant
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Dietitian / Nutritionist

What's in it for me?

  • We offer a generous royalty plan of 20% of the net sales of your course(s) for two years, paid quarterly.
  • Your courses will earn you income and recognition each time they are purchased.
  • Unlike traditional publications with a one-time publication and limited circulation, your courses are available 24/7 to professionals world-wide.
  • Your courses can be a notable publication addition to your resume, broaden your publishing credits and can even become living technical literature if you update them periodically.
  • Your courses will be actively promoted through NHInstitute.com's ongoing marketing strategy including our free app CE Vault Healthcare Edition.
  • You will receive personal attention by our Lead Course Planner throughout each stage of course development and submittal.
  • We are committed to rapid review and publication of each submittal.  Your course will be published within a few days of its acceptance by our Planning Committee.
  • You will be given full credit for your course and your name will be featured prominently in the description of the course on our web site, with hyper-links to the biographical information you submit.
  • You write the course and we take care of the rest, from publishing, marketing and administration, all free of charge to you!

How do I get started?

Once we receive and review your Author's Contact Form our Director of Course Development will contact you to further discuss this great opportunity.  First time authors will be required to submit a resume and brief biography upon submittal of their first course.  The resume will be held on file for possible review by state licensing boards and accrediting organizations.  The biography will be linked in the course description of your courses for review by students.

Our objective is to provide affordable, convenient and high quality continuing education material that not only enhances knowledge and skills but investigates current and emerging topics of interest as well as meeting state licensing board requirements.

Diverse CNE opportunities at NHI

on Saturday, 24 August 2013. Posted in News

Why Texting While Driving Will Never Work

on Sunday, 29 July 2012. Posted in News

Multitasking. Most of us have tried it since digital devices became unavoidable.

Now a study finds that some tasks are tougher to do at the same time than others.

Researchers had two groups of people complete a puzzle on a computer screen. One group also gave directions to another person via instant messaging. The other group gave the directions through an audio chat.

Subjects who performed the visual and audio task had a 30 percent drop in their puzzle performance. But those who performed two visual tasks—the puzzle and instant messaging—had a 50 percent drop in puzzle performance. The study is in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.

Using the same sensory system for two tasks actually uses up our attention capacity more quickly and completely than if the task requires two separate systems.

Both groups thought they did better than they actually did. But those who did two visual tasks thought they did even better than the other group did, though the opposite was true.

The researchers note that people may wrongly perceive visual tasks as effortless. Which might explain why some people continue to text while driving, sometimes with disastrous results.

Health Tip: Help Prevent Low Blood Sugar

on Thursday, 19 July 2012. Posted in News

Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can occur even when you're doing your best to manage diabetes, the American Diabetes Association says.

Recognizing the possible symptoms of hypoglycemia -- including shakiness, dizziness, sweating and hunger -- and checking your sugar often are key to recognizing and treating the condition promptly.

The ADA offers this advice:

  • Check blood glucose levels frequently, and check at different times of day.
  • Check blood glucose before you drive; eat a snack and re-check if your levels are below 100 mg/dl.
  • Talk to your health care team about your low blood glucose episodes and what can be done to prevent and treat them.
  • Make sure that friends, family and co-workers understand hypoglycemia and what to do if it happens to you.
  • Wear a diabetes identification bracelet.
  • Take a class on blood glucose awareness.

Hospitalization May Be 'Tipping Point' for Alzheimer's Decline

on Wednesday, 20 June 2012. Posted in News

For people with Alzheimer's disease, a stay in the hospital could lead to accelerated mental decline and increase the risk of going into a nursing home or dying, according to a new study.

The investigators also found that those who experienced delirium, which is a state of heightened confusion or unusual mood or behavior, while in the hospital were even less likely to go back to the way things were after hospital discharge.

For the study, researchers followed nearly 800 people with mild Alzheimer's disease, about half of whom went to the hospital over the course of the study period due to falls, infections or other problems. Being hospitalized was associated with nearly twice the likelihood of having a poor outcome, including mental decline and death, and being delirious while hospitalized increased the risk by about 12 percent.

The study was published in the June 19 online issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

Previous research found that hospitalization and delirium can speed mental slipping in older adults and patients with Alzheimer's, but the current study is the first to dissect the risks associated with having delirium on top of being hospitalized on outcomes including institutionalization and death, according to background information in the study.

"Delirium can be quite a problem for patients even with mild Alzheimer's disease, and preventing it may be a more effective treatment strategy than the current medications," said Dr. Tamara Fong, an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and lead author of the study.

A number of steps can help prevent delirium in hospitalized patients, such as visiting with a family member or a familiar person, having eyeglasses or hearing aids available, getting out of bed for walks and not taking medications such as painkillers that can worsen confusion.

"There are some people who advocate keeping older people out of the hospital and treating them at home. This is an interesting [idea] because it does reduce the chance of delirium and reduces health care costs in other ways," Fong said.

People with Alzheimer's disease are three times as likely to spend time in the hospital. Between 20 percent and 40 percent of Alzheimer's patients are hospitalized each year for an average of about four days, the study authors noted.

The current study included 771 patients with mild Alzheimer's enrolled at Massachusetts Alzheimer's Disease Research Center where they were regularly evaluated for neurological function. Most of the patients were either living on their own or with family.

Among this group, 367 patients were hospitalized within 18 months of a research center visit and 194 of these patients had delirium during hospitalization. Delirium was the reason for hospitalization in only 4 percent of cases; the most common causes were fainting, falls, heart problems and abdominal pain.

The study authors found that 41 percent of the patients who were hospitalized with delirium had accelerated mental decline during the year following hospitalization, which they measured using a memory and concentration test. In comparison, only 23 percent of hospitalized patients without delirium and 26 percent of patients who were not hospitalized experienced increased mental decline during this time.

Whereas hospitalization on its own did not appear to drive up the risk of mental decline, delirium among patients who were hospitalized increased the risk by 20 percent.

Most Alzheimer's patients eventually have to be institutionalized, and many of them need help within five to 10 years of diagnosis, Fong said. Patients live between eight and 10 years on average after being diagnosed, and as Fong pointed out, usually die because of complications such as pneumonia.

In this study, the risk of going into a nursing home and dying in the year following hospitalization was higher for both groups of hospitalized patients. Those who developed delirium were 9.3 times more likely than nonhospitalized patients to be institutionalized and 5.4 times more likely to die, while those who were hospitalized and did not have delirium were 6.9 and 4.7 times more likely, respectively.

The researchers took into account the fact that hospitalized patients were generally older and sicker than patients who did not have to go to the hospital during the study.

However, the fact that the study involved only one research center and that the participants were predominantly white makes it harder to say the outcomes associated with hospitalization and delirium could apply to the overall population, Fong said.

"This study does a great job of saying, 'Look how serious this problem really is,'" said Dr. James Galvin, a professor of neurology and psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center, in New York City.

"Hospitalization is often the tipping point," he added. "The medical condition which may lead to hospitalizing may be a tipping point but clearly the hospital can be, too."

There is now a lot of focus on improving health in the home setting to avoid hospitalization and delirium, Galvin said. This includes getting the flu shot, maintaining good bladder and bowel hygiene to prevent urinary tract infections, and managing chronic pain medications that could lead to delirium.

More information

To learn more about Alzheimer's disease and delirium, visit the Alzheimer's Association.

Gene points to Achilles' heel in MRSA superbug

on Sunday, 22 April 2012. Posted in News

000_APW2003041402003

Asian outbreaks of a notorious antibiotic-resistant super-germ are being driven by a gene that helps the bug colonise the nostrils, lungs and skin and evade the immune defences, scientists said on Sunday.

So-called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major worry for hospitals because of its ability to hole up in wounds, tubes and surgical devices, infecting patients whose immune system is already weak.

MRSA outbreaks happen in waves as new strains of the bacterium take over from older configurations.

But how these epidemics become established is a process that genetically has until now been unclear.

Reporting in the journal Nature Medicine, researchers in the United States and China say they found the key gene, sasX, in samples taken from 807 patients who had been treated for S. aureus in three Chinese hospitals over the past 10 years.

Once extremely rare, sasX became more and more common, nearly doubling in frequency from 21 percent of samples in 2003 to 39 percent in 2011, they found.

At present, sasX is prominent in Asian strains of MRSA that have been detected, but it is likely to spread beyond the region, according to the report.

The gene is located in a so-called mobile genetic element, meaning that it is in a segment of DNA that can easily transfer from an old strain to a new one.

However, sasX "is a promising target" for drugs or vaccines, says the study, led by Michael Otto of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Tourette Syndrome: Facts and Resources

on Wednesday, 11 April 2012. Posted in News

Tourette Syndrome is a condition that affects the nervous system, causing people to have movements and vocalizations they cannot control. Learn more about TS and CDC's work to better understand it.

TouretteSyndrome_355px

Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a disorder that affects the nervous system. People with TS have movements and vocalizations they cannot control, called motor and vocal (or phonic) tics. Tics are often rapid, occur over and over again, and usually look or sound about the same each time. Examples of tics include uncontrollable eye-blinking, throat clearing, and humming (1). TS often is associated with at least one additional mental, emotional, or behavioral condition.

How Many Children Have Tourette Syndrome and Who Is Affected by It?

Tourette Syndrome:

  • Was diagnosed among 3 of every 1,000 children 6 through 17 years of age living in the United States in 2007; this represents approximately 148,000 U.S. children.
  • Is three times more common among boys than among girls.
  • Is about twice as common among children 12 through 17 years of age than among those 6 through 11 years of age.
  • Is mild usually, with about one-quarter of children having moderate or severe TS.

How is Tourette Syndrome Diagnosed?

TS is diagnosed by observing tics and determining how long they have lasted. There is no medical test that can identify this condition (2).

According to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3):

  • Both motor and vocal tics are present during the illness, although not always at the same time.
  • The tics occur many times a day (usually in bouts) nearly every day or off and on for more than a year, with never a tic-free period of more than 3 months in a row.
  • The onset of TS occurs before a person is 18 years of age.
  • TS is not caused by the direct physiological effects of medications or other substances, and is not the result of a general medical condition (e.g., seizures, Huntington's disease, or postviral encephalitis).

Is Tourette Syndrome Curable?

Symptoms (tics) of TS typically start when a child is 6 to 8 years of age. Although tics might appear, disappear, and reappear, TS is considered a chronic condition.

TS often is associated with at least one additional mental, emotional, or behavioral condition. The most common co-occurring conditions are attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive–compulsive disorder (4). Symptoms of TS and the associated co-occurring conditions can place individuals at higher risk for learning, behavioral, and social difficulties. Medicines and behavioral treatments are available to address tic symptoms and symptoms of the associated conditions.  Learn more about treatments for TS.

What Can I Do To Help Someone With Tourette Syndrome?

  • Learn About Tourette Syndrome―To help someone with TS or to make important decisions about managing TS, you need information about TS, and understand its treatment and management options. CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities has free educational materials to help you learn more about TS.
  • Educate people around you about TS―One way to help someone with TS with school, work, and other activities is to educate people about TS. When people know more about the disorder, they might be more understanding, helpful, and accommodating.
  • Get Involved―If you are the parent of a child with TS, you can help by creating a special plan for school. Such plans—called 504 plansExternal Web Site Icon—are written each year by a committee that includes parents and teachers. A 504 plan lists your child's disability and how the school can help your child succeed. This plan is updated once a year.

For more resources, visit the Tourette Syndrome AssociationExternal Web Site Icon.

What Is CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) Doing About Tourette Syndrome?

Research
NCBDDD works with partners to conduct research to better understand TS, including the prevalence of TS, the quality of life among people affected by TS, risk and protective factors associated with the impact of TS, and health risk behaviors associated with TS. Results from this research are used to better inform public health efforts, which in turn are used to improve the lives and health outcomes of people affected by TS, and to inform future research.

NCBDDD recently completed a summary report Adobe PDF file [PDF - 410KB] on Tourette Syndrome that highlights gaps in knowledge and resources that can be addressed by public health. The report was informed by a literature review and expert panel, and describes public health activities that are needed to improve the epidemiology of TS, and the health and well-being of people affected by TS.

Education and Training
NCBDDD funds a cooperative agreement with the national Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA) to educate physicians, allied professionals, school personnel, and the general public about TS by providing accurate, up-to-date, evidence-based information about the recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of TS.

More Information

References:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Fact Sheet Adobe PDF file [PDF - 135KB]National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Tourette Syndrome Fact SheetExternal Web Site Icon.
  2. Tourette Syndrome Association Fact Sheet Adobe PDF file [PDF - 16KB]External Web Site Icon.
  3. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington (DC), American Psychiatric Association; 2000, pp. 111-114.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevalence of diagnosed Tourette syndrome in Children in the United States, 2007. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2009;58:581–5.

Healthy Pets Healthy People

on Sunday, 08 April 2012. Posted in News

There are many positive benefits of owning a pet; however, it's important to know that some animals may carry germs that can be spread to people and cause illness.

HealthyPets_355px

Pets can appear to be healthy even when they have germs. Here are a few tips to keep you and your family healthy.

Picking the Right Pet

Before you purchase or adopt a pet, make sure that it is the right one for you and your family. CDC recommends the following:

  • Households with children under 5 years of age should not own reptiles, such as turtles, or amphibians, such as frogs.
  • Pregnant women should avoid contact with pet rodents to prevent exposure to lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, which is a virus that can cause birth defects.
  • Pregnant women should avoid adopting or handling stray cats, especially kittens.  They particularly should not clean litter boxes to avoid getting toxoplasmosis from them.
  • Immune-compromised persons and persons with HIV infection or AIDS should take extra precautions when choosing and handling pets. Talk to your veterinarian and health care provider to help make this decision.

To pick the right pet, do some research beforehand about the specific needs of the animal. Some questions to ask are: How much exercise does the pet need? How large will it become? Is the type of animal aggressive? What does the pet eat? How much will it cost for veterinary care? Do I have enough time to properly care for and clean-up after the pet? What exactly does this pet need in its habitat to be healthy? Are pets allowed in my apartment or condominium? How long will this animal live? See additional information about adopting a petExternal Web Site Icon from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Wash Hands Right after Touching Your Pet

  • Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching a pet, their housing, or anything (for example, food or treats) that comes in contact with them or the areas where they live. It is especially important to wash your hands after touching a pet and before preparing, serving, eating, or drinking.
  • Adults should assist young children with hand washing. See more information on hand washing. See the CDC's Clean Hands site for more information on hand washing.
  • Running water and soap are best for hand washing. Use hand sanitizers if running water and soap are not available. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water as soon as a sink is available.
  • Call your health care provider if you or a family member are concerned about illness and be sure to tell them about the pets you have contact with.
  • Contact your pet's veterinarian if you are concerned that your pet may be sick.

Many pets, such as dogs, cats, reptiles, rodents, and birds, carry germs that can be spread from animals to people. Always wash hands upon leaving areas where animals live (i.e. coops. barns, stalls, etc.) even if you did not touch an animal, after going to the toilet, before eating and drinking, before preparing food or drinks, and after removing soiled clothes or shoes.

It is also important to wash your hands right after handling pet foods and treats, which can be contaminated with bacteria and other germs. Pet food and treats might include dry dog or cat food, dog biscuits, pig ears, beef hooves, and rodents used to feed reptiles.

Keep Your Pet Healthy

Whether you have a horse, parakeet, or iguana, providing regular, life-long veterinary care is important to having a healthy pet and a healthy family. Keep up with your pet's vaccinesExternal Web Site Icon, deworming, and flea and tick control. Provide your pet with a good diet, fresh water, clean bedding, and exercise. By keeping your pet healthy, you keep yourself and your family healthy. Regular veterinary visits are essential to good pet health. Contact your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet's health.

Your pet may carry ticks that can spread serious diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever to people. In areas with plague, fleas present a risk to both animals and their owners. Consult your veterinarian about ways to prevent ticks and fleas on your pet.

Practice Good Hygiene Around Your Pet

Make sure to wash your hands right after touching an animal, cleaning up after your pet, and before eating or preparing foods. Make sure to remove your dog's feces from your yard or public places by using a device or bag, and dispose of in proper areas. Dog feces contain many types of bacteria, some of which can be harmful to people. Keep young children away from areas that may contain dog or cat feces to prevent the spread ofroundworms and hookworms. Cover sand boxes so cats don't use them as a litter box. Clean the cat's litter box daily. Pregnant woman should not change a cat's litter box, because cats can carry a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, which is a disease that can cause birth defects. Get more information on toxoplasmosis and cats Adobe PDF file [PDF - 203KB].

Prevent Rabies

Rabies can kill your dog or cat and can even kill you. Get your pet, especially dogs, cats, and other mammals, vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Talk to your veterinarian about whether or not other pets need a rabies vaccine. Make sure your pet gets and wears a tag with its vaccine history, name, and your contact information. Keep your pet in a fenced yard or on a leash. See more information about preventing rabies and dog bites.

Keep Wildlife Wild

Though they may be cute and cuddly, don't encourage wild animals such as raccoons, prairie dogs, or wild rodents to come into your home by feeding them. You may find a young animal that appears to be abandoned and want to rescue it, but often its parent is close by. Refrain from touching wild animals and their habitats, as many carry germs, viruses, and parasites.

Teach Children How to Appropriately Care for Pets

Children younger than 5 years old should be supervised while interacting with animals. Teach children to wash their hands right after playing with animals or anything in the animals' environment (e.g., cages, beds, food and water dishes). Children younger than 5 years old should be extra cautious when visiting farms and having direct contact with farm animals, including animals at petting zoos and fairs. See more information on safety at petting zoos and animal exhibits.

Enjoy Your Pet!

There are many health benefits of owning a pet. The companionship of pets can help manage loneliness and depression. Pets can increase your opportunities to exercise, participate in outdoor activities, and socialize. Therefore, regular walking or playing with pets can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels. Remember, healthy pets = healthy people!

Changing Climate and Public Health

on Sunday, 08 April 2012. Posted in News

The changing climate endangers human health, affecting all parts of society. Scientists and public health experts are studying how quickly and how much the climate is changing, and ways in which humans can adapt to these changes.

ChangingClimate_355px

The environmental consequences of climate change are happening now and are expected to increase in the future. Signs of a changing climate include:

  • sea-level rise,
  • changes in precipitation causing flooding and drought,
  • heat waves,
  • more intense hurricanes and storms, and
  • poor air quality.

These climate changes will affect human health both directly and indirectly.

Addressing the health effects of climate change is challenging. The issue is broad and complex. Both the surrounding environment and the decisions people make can influence human health. Research is needed in a number of areas, especially in how the changing climate affects the spread of diseases such as Malaria and Dengue Fever which are spread by mosquitoes.

CDC launched the Climate-Ready States and Cities Initiative funding 8 state health departments and two city health departments to support climate and health programs. As the nation's lead public health agency, CDC is using its prevention expertise to help state and city health departments investigate, prepare for, and respond to the health effects of a changing climate.

A CDC-funded program will engage climate change observers in Alaska. Over the last several decades, Alaska has warmed twice as fast as the rest of the country. Dozens of Alaskan natives will become part of the sentinel surveillance system, created by the Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies at the University of Alaska Anchorage. They will document changes in weather, harvesting, and food and water safety. They will also record health changes, such as shellfish poisoning caused by "red tide" algae blooms. In addition, Alaskan villagers will be trained to collect data on temperature and precipitation in eight communities. In isolated villages, some effects of climate change may have gone unnoticed by the scientific world, but this study could help fill in those gaps.

CDC has developed an Extreme Heat Communication Toolkit. As a result of the changing climate, heat waves are expected to become more severe and more frequent, particularly in the northern latitudes. The toolkit is designed to provide information for older adults, people with a chronic medical condition, children, the homeless or poor, outdoor workers, and athletes at risk of heat sickness. Learn more about how to protect yourself from heat related illness.

Keep Your Cool in Hot Weather

on Sunday, 08 April 2012. Posted in News

Learn more about heat-related illness and how to stay cool and well in hot weather.

extremeHeat_355px

Getting too hot can make you sick. You can become ill from the heat if your body can't compensate for it and properly cool you off. Heat exposure can even kill you: it caused 8,015 deaths in the United States from 1979 to 2003.

These are the main things affecting your body's ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather:

  • High humidity. When the humidity is high, sweat won't evaporate as quickly, which keeps your body from releasing heat as fast as it may need to.
  • Personal factors. Age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use can play a role in whether a person can cool off enough in very hot weather.

Here are some facts about which people are at greatest risk for heat-related illness and what protective actions to take to prevent illness or death:

  • People who are at highest risk are the elderly, the very young, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases
  • But even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.
  • Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. If a home is not air-conditioned, people can reduce their risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned.

You can take these steps to prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths during hot weather:

  • Stay cool indoors.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Replace salt and minerals.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen.
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully.
  • Pace yourself.
  • Use a buddy system.
  • Monitor people at high risk.
  • Adjust to the environment.
  • Do not leave children in cars.
  • Use common sense.

Men's Health

on Friday, 06 April 2012. Posted in News

Men: Take daily steps to live a safer and healthier life, and protect yourself from disease and injury.

HealthyMen_355px

Men can be safer, stronger, and healthier. Take daily steps to prevent disease and injury and stay well. Improving men's health starts at home with individuals and families taking steps to live safer and healthier lives.

Get Your Check-Ups

Just because you may feel fine doesn't mean you don't need your annual check-up. Certain diseases and conditions may not have symptoms, so check-ups help diagnose issues early or before they can become a problem. See your doctor or nurse for regular check-ups.

Need Affordable Healthcare?

Health services for individuals with no or low health coverage are available through federally-funded health centers, where the fee is based on what the individual can pay.

Know and Understand Your Numbers

Keep track of your numbers for blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), or any others you may have. These numbers can provide a glimpse of your health status and risk for certain diseases.  Be sure to ask your doctor or nurse what tests you need and how often you need them. If your numbers are high or low, he or she can explain what they mean and make recommendations to help you get them to a healthier range.

Practice prevention and make health an everyday option

There are numerous things you can do every day to improve your health and stay healthy. Many of which don't take a lot of time and cost very little, if anything.  Make healthy living a part of your daily routine.

Get Enough Sleep

Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Also, insufficient sleep is responsible for motor vehicle and machinery-related accidents, causing substantial injury and disability each year. Adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Be Smoke-Free

Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Inhaling other people's smoke causes health problems similar to those of smokers. Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits. Within 20 minutes after smoking that last cigarette, your body begins a series of changes that continue for years.

Be Physically Active

Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Include activities that raise your breathing and heart rates and that strengthen your muscles. You don't have to do it all at once. Spread your activity out during the week, and break it into smaller chunks of time during the day.

Eat What Counts

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol. Choose healthy snacks.

Get Vaccinated

Some adults incorrectly assume that the vaccines they received as children will protect them for the rest of their lives. Generally this is true, except that:

  • Some adults were never vaccinated as children.
  • Newer vaccines were not available when some adults were children.
  • Immunity can begin to fade over time.
  • As we age, we become more susceptible to serious disease caused by common infections (e.g., flu, pneumococcus).

Far too many adults become ill, are disabled, and die each year from diseases that could easily have been prevented by vaccines. Take a few minutes to find out if you are at risk for any of the diseases that can be prevented by immunization. Some immunizations are vital for most adults, especially senior citizens. Others are appropriate for only certain people.

Pay Attention to Signs and Symptoms

Discharge? Excessive thirst? Rash or sore? Problems with urination? Shortness of breath? These are only a few of the symptoms that males should pay attention to and see a doctor if they occur. If you have symptoms of any kind, be sure to see your doctor right away.

Reducing Access to Sugar-sweetened Beverages Among Youth

on Friday, 06 April 2012. Posted in News

Youth should drink fewer sugar-sweetened beverages and more water and low-fat or fat-free milk, or limited amounts of 100% fruit juices. Families, schools, and other institutions need to provide healthy beverage choices.

HealthyBeverages_355px

Sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest source of added sugars in the diet of U.S. youth.1Consuming these beverages increases the intake of calories—a factor potentially contributing to obesity among youth nationwide.

Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. Obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. Among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years, obesity increased from 5.0% to 18.1%.3,4 In recent decades, consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among children and adolescents has been increasing.5,6 Boys aged 12–19 years consume an average of 22.0 ounces of full-calorie soda drink per day—more than twice their daily intake of fluid milk (9.8 ounces); girls consume an average of 14.3 ounces of full-calorie soda and 6.3 ounces of fluid milk per day.7

Results from the 2010 National Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Study (NYPANS)—a school-based survey that collected information on physical activity and dietary behaviors among a nationally representative sample of high school students—underscore the need to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. Survey findings, published in a CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) entitled "Beverage Consumption Among High School Students—United States, 2010," show that although water, milk, and 100% fruit juice were the beverages most commonly consumed during the 7 days before the survey, daily consumption of regular soda or pop, sports drinks, and other sugar-sweetened beverages also is prevalent in this population, especially among male and black students. In addition, among high school students, nearly two thirds consumed any combination of these beverages on a daily basis, and almost one third of students consumed any combination of these beverages two or more times per day.

The percentage of high school students who drank a can, bottle, or glass of selected beverages one or more times per day during the 7 days before the NYPANS*

Soda or Popa

Sports Drinkb

Other Sugar-sweetened Beveragec

Total

24.3

16.1

16.9

Female

20.3

11.1

16.3

Male

28.4

21.1

17.6

White, non-Hispanic

24.0

13.4

15.5

Black, non-Hispanic

32.2

25.4

24.2

*National Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Study, 2010
a Drank a can, bottle, or glass of soda or pop, such as Coke, Pepsi, or Sprite, not including diet soda or diet pop.
b Drank a can, bottle, or glass of a sports drink, such as Gatorade or PowerAde, not including low-calorie sports drinks such as Propel or G2.
c Drank a can, bottle, or glass of a sugar-sweetened beverage such as lemonade, sweetened tea or coffee drinks, flavored milk, Snapple, or Sunny Delight, not including soda or pop, sports drinks, energy drinks, or 100% fruit juice.

What You Can Do

Youth should

  • Reduce their consumption of regular soda or pop, sports drinks, and other sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Increase their consumption of water and low-fat or fat-free milk.
  • Drink limited amounts of 100% fruit juices.

To support youth in making healthy beverage choices, families, schools, and other youth-serving institutions should

  • Reduce youths' access to sugar-sweetened beverages to decrease consumption.
  • Encourage adolescents to drink water and low-fat or fat-free milk, or limited amounts of 100% fruit juices, as an option.

Moreover, because youth spend a significant portion of each weekday in school, making sure that healthy beverage choices are available—and that less nutritious ones are not—is critical. Implementing school policies restricting access to sugar-sweetened beverages is an especially important public health strategy for addressing childhood obesity and improving students' nutritional health.

Action items to improve the overall school nutrition environment (beverages and foods) include

  • Supporting strong state and district school nutrition standards for foods and beverages offered or sold outside of school meals, such as those recommended by the Institute of MedicineExternal Web Site Icon.
  • Reviewing district-level school wellness policies to ensure they include nutrition guidelines so that only healthy foods and beverages are available during each school day.
  • Examining the actual foods and beverages that are available to students—including competitive foods and beverages sold in cafeterias, snack bars, school stores, and vending machines—and determining if they meet strong nutrition standards.
  • Educating students about nutrition and offering only healthy food and beverage choices to ensure a consistent message on healthy eating.

Additional National Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Study (NYPANS) Information

Scarlet Fever: A Group A Streptococcal Infection

on Thursday, 05 April 2012. Posted in News

Scarlet fever results from group A strep infection. If your child has a sore throat and rash, their doctor can test for strep. Prompt treatment with antibiotics can protect your child from possible complications.

ScarletFever_355px

Not as common as it once was, scarlet fever – scarlatina – is a bacterial infection caused by group A Streptococcus or "group A strep." This illness affects a small percentage of people who have strep throat or, less commonly, streptococcal (type of bacterial) skin infections. Scarlet fever is treatable with antibiotics and usually is a mild illness, but it needs to be treated to prevent rare but serious complications.

Although anyone can get scarlet fever, it usually affects children between 5 and 18 years of age. The classic symptom of the disease is not the fever, but a certain type of red rash that feels rough, like sandpaper.

How Do You Get Scarlet Fever?

Common Symptoms of Scarlet Fever

Group A strep bacteria live in a person's nose and throat. The bacteria are spread through contact with droplets from an infected person's cough or sneeze. If you touch your mouth, nose, or eyes after touching something that has these droplets on it, you may become ill. If you drink from the same glass or eat from the same plate as the sick person, you could also become ill. It is possible to get scarlet fever from contact with sores from group A strep skin infections.

Scarlet Fever: What To Expect

Illness usually begins with a fever and sore throat. There also may be chills, vomiting, and abdominal pain. The tongue may have a whitish coating and appear swollen. It may also have a "strawberry"-like (red and bumpy) appearance. The throat and tonsils may be very red and sore, and swallowing may be painful.

One or two days after the illness begins, the characteristic red rash appears (although the rash can appear before illness to as many as 7 days later). Certain strep bacteria produce a toxin (poison) which causes some people to break out in the rash—the "scarlet" of scarlet fever. The rash may first appear on the neck and chest, then spread over the body. Typically, the rash begins as small, flat red blotches which gradually become fine bumps and feel like sandpaper.

Although the cheeks might have a flushed appearance, there may be a pale area around the mouth. Underarm, elbow and groin skin creases may become brighter red than the rest of the rash. These are called Pastia's lines. The scarlet fever rash generally fades in about 7 days. As the rash fades, the skin may peel around the finger tips, toes, and groin area. This peeling can last up to several weeks.

Scarlet fever is treatable with antibiotics. Since either viruses or other bacteria can also cause sore throats, it's important to ask the doctor about a strep test (a simple swab of the throat) if your child complains of having a sore throat. If the test is positive, meaning your child is infected with group A strep bacteria, your child's doctor will prescribe antibiotics to avoid possible, although rare, complications.

Complications from Scarlet Fever

Complications from scarlet fever may include:

  • Rheumatic fever
  • Kidney disease (inflammation of the kidneys, called poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis)
  • Ear infections (otitis media)
  • Skin infections
  • Abscesses of the throat
  • Pneumonia
  • Arthritis

Most of these complications can be prevented by treatment with antibiotics.

Preventing Infection: Wash Those Hands

The best way to keep from getting infected is to wash your hands often and avoid sharing eating utensils, linens, towels or other personal items. It is especially important for anyone with a sore throat to wash his or her hands often. There is no vaccine to prevent strep throat or scarlet fever.

Antibiotics: Bacteria-Busters

Group A Streptococcus, or group A strep, is a type of bacteria commonly found in people's throats and on their skin. Group A strep can cause a range of infections, from a sore throat, called "strep throat", to skin infections, like impetigo. It also can cause extremely dangerous, life-threatening infections.

The word antibiotic comes from the Greek anti meaning 'against' and bios meaning 'life' (a bacterium is a life form). Antibiotics are also known as antibacterials, and they are used to treat infections, like scarlet fever or pneumonia, caused by bacteria.

Antibiotics target only bacteria. They do not attack fungi or viruses. If you or your child has an infection, it's important to know the cause and follow the right treatment. Improper use of antibiotics has resulted in many bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics.