Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Staying Safe and Healthy for the Holidays

Thanksgiving has passed and Christmas is right around the corner. With the holidays comes a lot of food, drinking, and sickness. Staying healthy for the holidays is far easier said than done, but there are some tips experts say can help. 

One of the main priorities experts say can help you to stay healthy is to prioritize fighting off germs. Disinfectant wipes as well as hand washing can help with this. Keyboards are dirtier than toilets and can carry a lot of harmful bacteria like E. Coli. If you work in an office with shared equipment, it is important to keep it clean! It is also a great month for getting vaccines and doctor checkups to make sure you are clear of viruses.
Working out and controlling portion sizes are great ways to stay healthy for the holidays, as well as any day. 

Given the holidays have a lot of unhealthy and tempting foods, it is hard to say no. If you have a lot of leftovers, you can save some of them in your freezer for down the road. Holiday foods are packed with a lot of fat and calories. Research from the Calorie Control Council states that the average amount of calories in a standard holiday meal is 4,500! That’s more than double your daily intake. Maybe with that in mind, all those desserts, casseroles and gravy won’t be as tempting.

As for working out, it can be hard to find motivation. It is cold outside, and I find myself in the winter feeling more fatigued and tired than usual. Not everyone has access to a gym either. For the best minimal exercise, you could take the stairs instead of the elevator. Getting up to take breaks to walk around the complex or the office is another good way to stay active. Diet and drinking a lot of water helps to feel better as well. A short 15-minute walk here and there adds up in the long run. If you do have access to the gym, weights and cardio are a good way to build up muscle and lose fat. Any cardio throughout the day helps!

Another way to stay healthy during the holidays is to stay warm. Wear layers and if you have a heater, ensure it is working properly. Clean out fireplaces as well as chimneys and it never hurts to have a smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector on hand.

If you decide to do a road trip somewhere colder, make sure you have all the proper materials for your car as well as an emergency kit. Being stranded in the snow could be a nightmare if you aren’t prepared. A typical emergency kit for the winter should include a flashlight, cell phone, food and water, blankets, first-aid kit as well as medicine, cat litter or sand for ice, batteries, and maybe winter tire chains.

For further information on more elaborate holiday health and safety, follow this link:


Happy holidays and safe travels!

Written by Beth Jeffries, MHC Healthcare Volunteer

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic is a very serious issue currently going on in the US, as well as other places in the world. In 2014 alone, drug overdoses was the leading cause of accidental death. That means more people died from drug overdose than they did in car accidents and other causes. Drugs classified under the opioid category include prescription pain killers such as oxycodone and morphine.

A lot of people take them to relieve pain, but a handful of people get too dependent on the drug. For many who get heavily addicted, that becomes all they think about. They neglect family and their routine because of the drugs. Opioids such as oxycodone is so powerful it can knock out the user. There was an incident a couple months back where a child told her bus driver her parents didn’t wake up in the morning. The bus driver called the cops who found out the parents over dosed and died. Many more similar articles are coming out which shows that this is becoming more serious of an issue.

According to 2014 statistics, 23% of people who were prescribed these medications became addicted. In the year of 2014 alone, 47,055 lethal overdoses occurred. Out of that 47, 055, prescription pain reliever deaths resulted in 18, 893. Statistics have yet to be given for 2016, but so far, it is not looking good. To add more mayhem, prescriptions being given have tripled over the past 20 years.

Earlier in the year, the Obama administration was taking measures to try and prevent this issue. Their measures include intensive outpatient programs for treatment, increasing intake of patient numbers for medications used to combat the addiction, and creating programs that give more access to health care treatments and educational opportunities for awareness. Many rehabilitation facilities already exist for people heavily dependent on drugs and alcohol.

I sure hope this situation becomes less frequent and people turn to their loved ones for support rather than pain killers. There are many alternatives to pain killers (such as the ways listed above), as well as other ways to take out frustrations (such as working out, punching bags, etc…). For MHC Healthcare, the behavioral health services provide substance abuse assessment and treatment for those suffering from the addiction.

For more information about MHC Healthcare, follow this link: http://mhchealthcare.org/

For a more thorough understanding of the epidemic and ways to combat it, follow this link: http://www.hhs.gov/opioids/about-the-epidemic/

Written by Beth Jeffries, MHC Healthcare Volunteer