Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Farm Safety

From MHC Healthcare's humble beginning in 1957 as a health center serving migrant farm workers in rural Marana, farming is integral to who we are as an organization. This past week, September 18-24, was Farm Safety and Health Week. There are a lot of hazardous materials when entering farmland, and is easy to miss. While Farm Safety Week has come and gone, this information still needs to be circulated. This article will show all the different hazards, how to stay safe, and how to ensure a visit to the farm will not cause health problems.

Some examples of the various dangers on the farm include:

  • Chemicals as well as pesticides
  • Highway Traffic
  • Toxic gas
  • Tractors
  • Livestock
  • Machinery as well as equipment
  • Tools
  • Piles of Manure
  • Wells
  • And many more
The biggest risk factors for injuries are usually children under 15 and adults who are over 65. The main culprit for injuries would be machinery. Seat belts when riding on tractors, as well as goggles and other protective clothing, can help in reducing injuries. Unfortunately, given farms are typically far from the cities, the ability to get to the hospitals in case of an emergency is not likely to happen.

How can I improve my farm safety as well as spread awareness to others?

Researching farming hazards, preparing for proper medical equipment in case of an emergency such as a fire, tractor accident, electric shock, and chemical safety is a great place to start. Be very cautious if you have elderly or children with you in case hazardous equipment or chemicals are nearby. The following are ways you can help to reduce injuries on the farm:
  • Thoroughly read the instructor’s manual for machinery and equipment as well as labels
  • Do a routine checkup on equipment to make sure nothing is out of the ordinary
  • Be sure to discuss safety procedures with the farm workers
  • After maintenance, ensure that guards on the equipment are replaced
  • Take precautionary measures to prevent injuries from silos and grain storage bins
  • Know that methane gas as well as carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and ammonia can form in silos and manure pits that are unventilated and that they can poison workers as well as explode.
  • Always take advantage of safety equipment
Following these safety guidelines can hopefully ensure safety of farm workers as well as those living on the farms and people who come to tour the farmland.

For more information on agricultural health and safety as well as other information, check out the following link:

Have a great September and thank you for reading!

Author: Beth Jeffries, MHC Healthcare Volunteer

Friday, September 9, 2016

Thyroid Cancer Awareness

September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness month. Thyroid cancer occurs when abnormal cells develop in the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland helps regulate hormones that help the way we use our energy as well as help our body to function normally. Exposure to radiation can increase the chances of getting cancer, so this means head, neck and chest x-rays. The unfortunate truth is that, even if treated, thyroid cancer always has a chance of creeping back.

Thyroid cancer has the following symptoms:
  • Pain in the neck and ears
  • Trouble breathing as well as wheezing
  • Hoarse voice
  • Frequent cough that is not related to illness
  • Troubles swallowing
  • Lump and/or swelling in the neck (the most common symptom)
If you know anyone with the symptoms listed above or if you have symptoms yourself, call your doctor. Where it could easily be something minor, it is best if the doctor finds what is causing the symptoms sooner than later.

Doctors determine that a patient has thyroid cancer by running a biopsy and finding cancerous cells. They remove a small piece of thyroid tissue and then send it for observation. In some situations, results may be unclear which lead to more serious procedures. For treatment, the patient has to go through surgery and radioactive iodine. A suggested way of helping cope with cancer is by joining cancer support groups.

There are many risk factors associated with thyroid cancer and the following are the most common:
  • Age plays a vital role
  • Females have a higher risk, but men can get thyroid cancer too
  • Family history
  • Radiation treatments
This article is meant to spread awareness to thyroid cancer. On a final note, if you or anyone you know has a family history of MTC (medullary thyroid cancer), it is best to get a genetic test to detect specific genes that carry the mutation found with the cancer. The earlier one gets help, the cancer can actually be prevented.

For more information on thyroid cancer awareness, check out the following link:

To find out more about MHC, check out the following link:

Wishing everyone a fantastic September and great start to the school year!

Author: Beth Jeffries, MHC Healthcare Volunteer

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Children's Eye Safety Month

August is the month for the awareness of children’s eye health and safety! Given that August is typically the time that children start attending their new year at school, it is important to get theirs eyes looked at. It is better to assure your children have excellent vision sooner than later on the off chance there is something wrong. 

Unlike having a fever, it can be difficult to tell if someone is having eye problems. A child can have eye problems, but not mention it because it is normal to them. It is a great idea to set up an exam every year to get them checked out. Children should get their eyes checked every time they visit their pediatrician. Age of three should be their first vision test. 

The following signs are what parents should watch out for:

  • Watch and see if your child occasionally gets cross-eyed
  • If they don’t seem enthusiastic about reading or have a hard time seeing objects in the distance
  • If there is an issue with others relatives having vision problems, that could also turn out to be genetic
  • If your child is often squinting during daily activities (or at all)

If you are worried your child may be color blind, crossed eyed, have a lazy eye, drooping eyelids, or if their eyes seem to favor farsighted or nearsighted, set up an appointment as soon as possible. The earlier the doctor can address the problem, the quicker your child can readjust as well as possibly fix the issue entirely. Special glasses are often used to take care of farsighted and nearsighted vision.

About 12 million children are visually impaired worldwide. One of the leading causes of eye injuries are sports that children participate in. 

To address your childrens' eye safety, ensure they are always wearing protective equipment during sports. Also ensure they are playing with toys that are age appropriate. Even though your child may appear mature, there is always a chance of an accident (stumbling and falling or they may not realize how close a toy is to their eyes). 

Hoping the best for this school year! 

For more information on eye safety and awareness, find information at this link as well as for adult vision care:

For more information on MHC Healthcare, check out the following link:

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Monsoon Season Safety

Arizona has been witnessing a lot of flooding and thunder storms from the monsoon season for a good part of July and through August so far. Weather forecasts on television, internet and even the radio are a good resource for weather information. Usually gray clouds are another indicator that there may very well be a storm on the way.

When listening or reading about the current weather, remember these key terms:

Watch: This means that a storm is possible.
Warning: Storms have been reported in the area and is the ideal time to prepare safety measures.
Flood Advisory: Rain is certain to cause flooding, mostly minor and is nothing life threatening. 
Flash Flood Warning: This warning means that the flooding is life threatening.

Given monsoon weather typically brings heavy rain, lightning, and at times even harsh wind, there are many ways to keep safe and out of harm. The following are in case of a flood:

  • Do not drive around barricades.
  • Do not try to cross streams in a flooded area.
  • If you are driving and your car gets caught by the water, leave your car and immediately swim or run to an area on higher ground.
  • During the event of the storm, when a traffic signal is not functioning, the light functions as a 4-way stop.
  • Do not attempt to drive through flooded waters.
  • Never let your children play in the flooded waters, especially near a wash area or a storm drain.

The following are safety tips in case of a thunder storm:

  • As soon as you begin to hear the thunder, know that it is not safe to touch any wires.
  • Cell phones as well as wireless phones are perfectly safe to use during a storm. However, it has been said that phones with cords have killed people before due to lightning traveling through the wires.
  • When you know a storm is approaching and the weather warnings are in place, it is best to unplug your electronics to avoid them from getting fried.
  • If you are outside during a thunder storm, seek shelter and be sure to bring outdoor pets indoors.

Following one safety tip could possibly save a life. If you are driving and lose visibility due to rain or a dust storm, pull aside to assure safety. It is also encouraging if you witness someone in danger (where you cannot risk your safety to help) or see a downed power line to call 911 as soon as possible. Your safety always comes first!

For more information about MHC Healthcare, click on this link:

Author: Beth Jeffries, MHC Healthcare Volunteer

Friday, August 5, 2016

Media Contact:
Paul O’Rourke/Bolchalk Frey Marketing

For Immediate Release

MHC Healthcare Celebrates National Health Center Week
Campaign runs August, 7 - 13

TUCSON, AZ (August 5, 2016) – MHC Healthcare, Arizona’s oldest community health center, is celebrating National Health Center Week (NHCW), August 7 – 13, 2016.  Patients who visit any of their 14 locations throughout Pima County will receive a gift bag and be able to test their artistic skills for a chance to win prizes in the MHC Coloring Contest.

There are NHCW events scheduled across the country, including health fairs, visits by Members of Congress and state officials to local health centers, press conferences, back-to-school drives, community breakfasts, patient appreciation events, free health screenings and dental cleanings, and much more.

One of the bright spots in America’s healthcare system, health centers started over 50 years ago as a pilot project during President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. Today, they have compiled a significant record of success that includes:
  • Producing $24 billion in annual health system savings
  • Reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and unnecessary visits to the emergency room
  • Treating patients for a fraction of the average cost of one emergency room visit
  • Maintaining patient satisfaction levels of nearly 100 percent
  • Generating $26.5 billion in economic activity and over 230,000 jobs
  • Reducing infant mortality rates 
MHC is proud to be a part of America’s Health Centers’ legacy by serving over 45,000 people in Tucson, Catalina, Picture Rocks and Marana.  MHC delivers high quality, cost effective, accessible care while serving as critical economic engines helping to power local economies.  MHC Healthcare provides services to all people, regardless of the ability to pay or their insurance status.

MHC Healthcare is Arizona’s oldest community health center, providing continuous healthcare since its incorporation, as Marana Heath Center, Inc. in 1957, and was the first facility to offer integration of primary care and counseling and wellness health services in one location.  MHC Healthcare is a recognized participant of a Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH), a model of primary care that focuses on the patient’s entire well-being. As such, the PCMH includes a team of care providers who work closely with patients and their families, recognizing the unique needs, cultures and beliefs of each patient. In short, as part of a PCMH, MHC Healthcare is dedicated to providing the most complete level of care for each patient.

To learn more about MHC Healthcare and NHCW, please visit:

You can also follow the conversation using #NHCW16 or #CHCsInnovate on Twitter.



Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Heat Safety

With the summer comes intense heat. Temperatures for the month of July have been between 103 to 112 degrees already in the Tucson/Marana area. Dehydration in the heat can have severe consequences. This article shows ways to fight the heat and stay comfortable in the summer.

In the heat, it is very important to drink plenty of water. It is said that even those who stay indoors should be drinking between 1 to 2 liters of water a day. For those who are outdoors, it should be between 1 to 2 liters of water every hour. Alcohol and caffeine are both culprits that lead to dehydration.

  • When going outside, dress light. Light-colored clothing will also help to deflect some of the heat. Also be sure to wear a hat and sunglasses, or as some people prefer, carry an umbrella. As stated in a previous blog, always wear sunscreen too!
  • If possible during excessive heat waves, stay indoors.
  • When it comes to strenuous activities, aim to do them very early in the morning or later at night. 

Symptoms that you could be developing heat related symptoms.

  • If you are noticing you’re thirsty, you’re likely becoming dehydrated
  • Heat cramps can happen from the loss of water as well as excessive sweating. 
  • Heat exhaustion is dangerous and can cause shock to your body. This means your body is having a hard time trying to cool you down. If you have flushed red skin, excessive sweating, are developing a headache or migraine and possibly have nausea, dizziness, and exhaustion, find a cool place as soon as possible and drink a lot of water.
  • Lastly is the heat stroke. Heat strokes are life-threatening. The sweating that occurs to try and cool the body stops functioning during a heat stroke. Heat strokes can result in brain damage or even death if the body cannot find a way to cool down properly. Signs you may be having a heatstroke involve red dry skin, lack of awareness, rapid or weak heart pulse, and finding it difficult to breathe. In this situation or if you notice someone is having a heat stroke, call 911 as quickly as possible!

Always take precautionary measures in high temperatures. Water is very important! It is still possible to have fun in the sun, but always keep safety your first priority. 

For more information about MHC visit the following link:

Author: Beth Jeffries, MHC Healthcare Volunteer