The connection between mind and body is extremely powerful. At our FSCS Health Centers, we often speak about the power that we all to take control of our eating habits in order to create a healthy life. When we incorporate certain principles and habits into our daily lives it becomes possible to take control of our mental health. It is possible, to gain control over our moods as well as reduce stress and anxiety by simply altering our diet.
Our wonderful interns at the health center, Mia Funcheon, and Diana Remache, have created an interesting document that guides you through the mind, body connection and explains practical ways to incorporate good habits into your life today. To access Diana’s guide, please click on the image below.
Everyday Preventive Actions That Can Help Fight Germs, like The Flu
The Center for Disease Control (or CDC) recommends a three-step approach to fighting influenza ( commonly known as The Flu). The first and most important step is to get a flu vaccination each year. But if you get the flu, there are prescription antiviral drugs that can treat your illness. Early treatment is especially important for the elderly, the very young, people with certain chronic health conditions, and pregnant women. Finally, everyday preventive actions may slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory (nose, throat, and lungs) illnesses, like flu.
How does the flu spread?
Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly from person to person through droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. Flu viruses also may spread when people touch something with flu virus on it and then touch their mouth, eyes, or nose. Many other viruses spread these ways too. People infected with flu may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. That means you may be able to spread the flu to someone else before you know you are sick as well as while you are sick. Young children, those who are severely ill, and those who have severely weakened immune systems may be able to infect others for longer than 5-7 days.Person washing hands
What are everyday preventive actions?
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• If you or your child gets sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you (or your child) stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. The fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine. • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol- based hand rub. • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
• If an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs, follow public health advice. This may include information about how to increase distance between people and other measures. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases What additional steps can I take at work to help stop the spread of germs that can cause respiratory illness, like flu?Man sneezing into a tissue
• Find out about your employer’s plans if an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs and whether flu vaccinations are offered on-site.
• Routinely clean frequently touched objects and surfaces, including doorknobs, keyboards, and phones, to help remove germs.
• Make sure your workplace has an adequate supply of tissues, soap, paper towels, alcohol-based hand rubs, and disposable wipes.
• Train others on how to do your job so they can cover for you in case you or a family member gets sick and you have to stay home.
• If you begin to feel sick while at work, go home as soon as possible.Mother taking care of sick child What additional preventive actions can I take to protect my child from germs that can cause respiratory illness, like flu?
• Find out about plans your child’s school, child care program, or college has if an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs and whether flu vaccinations are offered on-site.
• Make sure your child’s school, child care program, or college routinely cleans frequently touched objects and surfaces, and that they have a good supply of tissues, soap, paper towels, alcohol-based hand rubs, and disposable wipes on-site.
• Ask how sick students and staff are separated from others and who will care for them until they can go home. Everyday preventive actions can help slow the spread of germs that can cause many different illnesses and may offer some protection against the flu.
For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov, or call 1-800-CDC-INFO.
Source: Parent Flu information
Spring time is now here. For most children, this means more outdoor activities (swimming, camping, bike riding, etc.). For all parents, this means being extra vigilant to keep your child safe and healthy.
- Avoiding and Treating Spring Allergies, which can cause your child to have a lot of sneezing, plus a clear runny or stuffy nose, itchy and watery eyes and a cough, especially when he has spent a lot of time outside.Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is a common problem in infants and children. The most common symptoms include a stuffy or runny nose with clear drainage, sneezing, itchy eyes and nose, sore throat, throat clearing and a cough that may be worse at night and in the morning. These symptoms usually occur during certain times of the year for people with seasonal allergies, corresponding to being exposed to outdoor allergens, such as tree pollens, grasses and weeds. Other people may have perennial allergies, with problems occurring year round from exposure to indoor allergens, such as dust mites, pets, second hand smoke and molds.Other signs of having allergic rhinitis include the ‘allergic salute,’ a common habit of children which consists of rubbing their nose upward. This is usually because the nose is itchy and this practice can lead to a small crease in the skin of the lower part of the nose. Children with allergic rhinitis also commonly have ‘allergic shiners,’ which are dark circles under the eyes caused by nasal congestion.Allergic rhinitis does run in certain families and are more common in children that have asthma or eczema. It is also more common in children that are exposed to second hand smoke, air pollution and pets.Having uncontrolled allergies can put your child at risk for getting a secondary sinus infection, ear infections, and for having poor concentration at school. It can also make asthma symptoms worse.
The best treatment for allergic rhinitis is to avoid what your child is allergic to by following prevention and environmental controls. For seasonal allergies, this includes keeping windows closed in the car and at home to avoid exposure to pollens and limit outdoor activities when pollen counts are highest (early morning for tree pollen in the spring, afternoon and early evening for grasses in the summer, and midday for ragweed in the fall).
The medications that are used to control the symptoms of allergic rhinitis include decongestants, antihistamines and steroids. If symptoms are mild, you can use over the counter medications as needed. Avoid using topical decongestants (such as Afrin) for more than 3-5 days at a time or frequent use of over the counter allergy medicines with antihistamines, as they can cause drowsiness and poor performance in school.
Prescription allergy medications include the newer, non-sedating antihistamines, such as Claritin and Zyrtec (usual dose is 1-2 teaspoons or 1 pill once a day), and topical steroids, such as Nasonex, Flonase, and Nasacort Aqua (usual dose is 1-2 squirts in each nostril once each day). If your child’s symptoms are well controlled, then you can decrease the dose of the nasal steroid that you are using for 1-2 weeks and then consider trying your child off of it and see how they do. Continue the antihistamine for 1-2 months or until your child’s allergy season is over. Allegra is another antihistamine that is commonly used in older children because it is only available in a pill form.
To be effective, your child should be using these medications every day. They will not work as well if just used on an as needed basis. They are in general very safe with few side effects, but the nasal steroids have been associated with growth suppression when used in high doses. This is however rare, and your pediatrician will monitor your child’s growth to make sure this does not happen.
If your child’s symptoms are not improving with the combination of the antihistamine and steroid, then we may also use a decongestant, such as Sudafed, AH-CHEW D, or as a combination (Claritin D).
For seasonal allergies, it is best to start using these medications just before your child’s season begins and then continue the medicines every day all through the season. For perennial allergies, your child may need to take these medicines year round.
Your child may also benefit from nasal irrigations using saline nose drops 1-3 times a day. This will help the sinuses drain.
If your child does not improve with these interventions, then we will consider having him see an allergy specialist for skin testing to figure out what he is allergic to and to possibly start immunotherapy injections (allergy shots).
See the guide to Allergies and Children for more information.
Welcome to 2014! Come and learn about new changes to NJ Family Cares policies and procedures at the FSCS Health Center.
Date: Thursday, January 23rd
Time: 9:00am & 5:00pm
Location: NRC Health Center, Room 1A 120
For more information: (973) 321-1000 x22489, NRC@outreachhealth.org
Date: Thursday, January 29th
Location: School 5 Health Center, Room 100B
For more information, contact: Masuma Begum (973) 321-2273, School5@outreachhealth.org
Date: Friday, January 30th
Location: School 4 Health Center, Room 105
For more information, contact: Kelly Domingues 973-321-1000 x20406, School4@outreachhealth.org
Compared with what adults face, it might seem like kids don’t have that much to stress about. But kids have their own concerns — and sometimes feel stress, just as adults do. And kids’ stresses can be just as overwhelming, particularly if they don’t have effective coping strategies.
A KidsHealth® KidsPoll explored what kids stress about the most, how they cope with these feelings, and what they want their parents to do about it.
The poll showed that kids are dealing with their stresses in both healthy and unhealthy ways, and while they may not say so, they do want their parents to reach out and help them cope with their feelings.
The poll underscored how important it is for parents to teach kids to recognize and express their emotions, and to use healthy ways to cope with the stress they experience. By guiding them to healthy coping skills, parents can help prepare kids to tackle whatever stresses they meet throughout their lives.
Results of the Poll
We asked kids to tell us what things cause them the most stress. Kids said that they were stressed out the most by: grades, school, and homework (36%); family (32%); and friends, peers, gossip, and teasing (21%).
These are the coping strategies kids said they use the most (they could give more than one response):
- 52% play or do something active
- 44% listen to music
- 42% watch TV or play a video game
- 30% talk to a friend
- 29% try not to think about it
- 28% try to work things out
- 26% eat something
- 23% lose their temper
- 22% talk to a parent
- 11% cry
About 25% of the kids we surveyed said that when they are upset, they take it out on themselves, either by banging their heads against something, hitting or biting themselves, or doing something else to hurt themselves. These kids also were more likely to have other unhealthy coping strategies, such as eating, losing their tempers, and keeping problems to themselves.
The idea that kids would do things to try to harm themselves may be shocking to parents. But for some kids, feelings of stress, frustration, helplessness, hurt, or anger can be overwhelming. And without a way to express or release the feelings, a kid may feel like a volcano ready to erupt — or at least let off steam.
Sometimes, kids blame themselves when things go wrong. They might feel ashamed, embarrassed, or angry at themselves for the role they played in the situation. Hurting themselves may be a way to express the stress and blame themselves at the same time.
The poll also revealed important news for parents. Though talking to parents ranked eighth on the list of most popular coping methods, 75% of the kids surveyed said they want and need their parents’ help in times of trouble. When they’re stressed, they’d like their parents to talk with them, help them solve the problem, try to cheer them up, or just spend time together.
What Parents Can Do
You may not be able to prevent your kids from feeling frustrated, sad, or angry, but you can provide the tools they need to cope with these emotions.
Notice out loud. Tell kids when you notice something they might be feeling (“It seems like you might still feel mad about what happened at the playground”). This shouldn’t sound like an accusation (as in: “OK, what happened now? Are you still mad about that?”) or make a child feel put on the spot. It’s just a casual observation that you’re interested in hearing more about your child’s concern.
Listen to your kids. Ask them to tell you what’s wrong. Listen attentively and calmly — with interest, patience, openness, and caring. Avoid any urge to judge, blame, lecture, or tell your kids what they should have done instead. The idea is to let a child’s concerns (and feelings) be heard. Encourage your child to tell the whole story by asking questions. Take your time, and let a child take his or her time, too.
Comment briefly on the feelings you think your child was experiencing as you listen. For example, you might say something like: “That must have been upsetting” or “No wonder you felt mad when they wouldn’t let you in the game.” Doing so shows that you understand what your child felt, why he or she felt that way, and that you care. Feeling understood and listened to helps kids feel connected to you, and that is especially important in times of stress.
Put a label on it. Many kids do not yet have words for their feelings. If your child seems angry or frustrated, use those feeling words to help your child learn to identify the emotions by name. That will help put feelings into words so they can be expressed and communicated more easily, which helps kids develop emotional awareness — the ability to recognize their own emotional states. Kids who can recognize and identify emotions are less likely to reach the behavioral boiling point where strong emotions get demonstrated through behaviors rather than communicated with words.
Help kids think of things to do. Suggest activities kids can do to feel better now and to solve the problem at hand. Encourage them to think of a couple of ideas. You can get the brainstorm started if necessary, but don’t do all the work. A child’s active participation will build confidence. Support good ideas and add to them as needed. Ask, “How do you think this will work?” Sometimes talking and listening and feeling understood is all that’s needed to help kids’ frustrations melt away. Other times change the subject and move on to something more positive and relaxing. Don’t give the problem more attention than it deserves.
Just be there. Sometimes kids don’t feel like talking about what’s bothering them. Try to respect that, give them space, and still make it clear that you’ll be there when they do feel like talking. Even when kids don’t feel like talking, they usually don’t want parents to leave them alone. You can help them feel better just by being there — to keep your child company and spend time together. So if you notice your child seems to be down in the dumps, stressed, or having a bad day — but doesn’t feel like talking — initiate something you can do together. Take a walk, watch a movie, shoot some hoops, or bake some cookies. Isn’t it nice to know that your presence really counts?
Be patient. It hurts to see your kids unhappy or worried. But try to resist the urge to fix every problem. Instead, focus on helping them grow into good problem-solvers — kids who know how to roll with life’s ups and downs, put feelings into words, calm down when needed, and bounce back to try again. Remember that you can’t fix everything, and that you won’t be there to solve each problem as your child goes through life. But by learning healthy coping strategies, kids can manage stresses in the future.
About the Poll
The national KidsPoll surveyed 875 9- to 13-year-old boys and girls regarding how they coped with stress. The KidsPoll is a collaboration of the Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth, the Department of Health Education and Recreation at Southern Illinois University — Carbondale, the National Association of Health Education Centers (NAHEC), and participating health education centers throughout the United States. Those centers include:
- Robert Crown Center for Health Education — Hinsdale, Illinois
- HealthWorks! Kids Museum — South Bend, Indiana
- Health World Children’s Museum — Barrington, Illinois
- Ruth Lilly Health Education Center — Indianapolis, Indiana
- Susan P. Byrnes Health Education Center — York, Pennsylvania
- Poe Center for Health Education — Raleigh, North Carolina