Health Is Vital

Health is taken for granted, until you can't any more. In this blog I hope to put down on paper some of the articles I come across and want to remember, about health. I will be personalizing these articles to apply to me. I am diabetic, over weight, have high blood pressure and tinnitus, so these are the things you will find here. I will include nutrition, exercise, and holistic health, and many other ideas. I work in the health profession, particularly mental health, and have an interest in suicide prevention; so these topics will also be covered in this blog. Please, if you are suffering reach out. Our county health and crisis line is 1-855-278-4204.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Breast Cancer Prevention: Know Your Lemons

Knowyourlemons is a website devoted to breast cancer prevention.  Using lemons it includes descriptions of 12 different signs of breast cancer.  It also promotes regular medical exams and mammography to prevent or detect breast cancer.  It also provides information on self-exam.
I was informed of this website from the Utah State Magazine in an article about Corrine Ellsworth Beaumont, USU alumnus.  Her own grandmothers had succumbed to the disease which motivated her to look for information on breast cancer.  This website is the result.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

America Red Cross: Taking Care of Emotional Health after a Disaster

Disasters can bring about significant stress. This is especially true if you have experienced a previous disaster. The good news is that many people have experience coping with stressful life events and are naturally resilient—meaning we are designed to “bounce back” from difficult times.
In the days following a disaster, it is common for you, your family and friends to experience a variety of reactions. Feelings of exhaustion, worry, and anger can surface, especially if you’ve had to leave your home or have had to contend with the frustrations of having no electricity, have had to clean up disaster debris, or have had to wait in long lines for disaster assistance... Here is some information on how to recognize your current feelings and tips for taking care of the emotional health of you, your family and friends.
• Feeling physically and mentally drained
• Having difficulty making decisions or staying focused on topics
• Becoming easily frustrated, on a frequent basis
• Frustration occurring more quickly and more often
• Arguing more with family and friends
• Feeling tired, sad, numb, lonely, or worried
• Experiencing changes in appetite or sleep patterns
Most of these reactions are temporary and will go away over time. Try to accept whatever reactions you may have. Look for ways to take one step at a time and focus on taking care of your disaster related needs and those of your family. If You Still Don’t Feel Better Many people have experience coping with stressful life events and typically feel better after a few days. Others find that their stress does not go away as quickly as they would like and it influences their relationships with their family, friends and others. If you find yourself or a loved one experiencing some of the feelings and reactions listed below for two weeks or more, this may be a sign that you need to reach out for additional assistance.
• Crying spells or bursts of anger
• Difficulty eating and sleeping
• Losing interest in things
• Increased physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomachaches,
• Fatigue • Feeling guilty, helpless or hopeless
• Avoiding family and friends What You May Be Feeling Now
When we experience a disaster or other stressful life event, we can have a variety of reactions, all of which may be common responses to difficult situations. These reactions can include: Taking Action Getting ourselves and our lives back in a routine that is comfortable for us takes time. Each positive action you take can help you feel better and more in control. Here are some helpful tips that may help put your priorities in place and help you take care of yourself and your loved ones:
• Take care of your safety. Find a safe place to stay and make sure your physical health needs and those of your family are addressed. Seek medical attention, if necessary.
• Eat healthy. During times of stress it is important that you maintain a balanced diet and drink plenty of water.
• Get some rest. With so much to do, it may be difficult to have enough time to rest or get adequate sleep. Giving your body and mind a break can boost your ability to cope with the stress you may be experiencing.
• Stay connected with family and friends. Giving and getting support is one of the most important things you can do.
• Be patient with yourself and with those around you. Recognize that everyone is stressed and may need some time to put their feelings and thoughts in order.
• Set priorities. Tackle tasks in small steps.
• Gather information about assistance and resources that will help you and your family members meet your disaster-related needs.
• Finally, stay positive. Remind yourself of how you’ve successfully gotten through difficult times in the past. Reach out when you need support, and help others when they need it. Each positive action you take can help you feel better and more in control
After a Disaster For additional resources, contact your local Red Cross Disaster Mental Health or community mental health professional. Please seek immediate help if you or someone you know is feeling that life isn’t worth living or if you are having thoughts of harming yourself or others. You can also call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

The Eclipse Is Here: Save Energy

Never stopped to think about the effect the eclipse could have on solar energy.  Her our some ideas from our boss at work:

Dear County Employees,

On August 21st, the first total solar eclipse visible in the contiguous United States since 1979 will temporarily darken skies across the country. In California, the eclipse will impact energy supply by reducing solar energy supplies for more than two hours, and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is asking for our help.

Government buildings and other facilities are significant users of electricity. With that in mind, the CPUC is requesting local governments across California to join the State Government in drastically reducing its power consumption between 9 a.m. and 11: 30 a.m. on Monday, August 21st. The less energy those facilities consume, the less additional unclean power needs to be generated. As less sunlight falls onto the Golden State, one of our greatest sources of “clean” power [solar] will see its output fall significantly.

The good news is that our Facilities teams here at the County have already been doing projects to reduce energy consumption at our buildings through lighting retrofits, recommissioning heating and air conditioning, and general ongoing maintenance.  Nonetheless, they may raise temperature set points a little and reduce lighting where there is little or no impact to operations or services.

Additionally, to reduce the anticipated additional demands on the electric grid, we are asking employees to help shave energy use in our County facilities on August 21st, between 9 – 11:30 a.m.

The following are actions you can take to shave energy while at work:
  1. Use and operate your laptops on battery
  2. Do not charge any electronics during the eclipse
  3. Turn off desktop CPUs and monitors when not in use
  4. Turn off unnecessary lighting in your work area
  5. Unplug appliances vampire loads such as TV monitors, electronic chargers, etc.
  6. Avoid running toasters, microwaves, etc.
  7. Also make sure you are as unplugged as possible at your home even if you are at work.
Thank you for your continued commitment to our environment and consideration to take part in this effort. We encourage you to take the pledge now at CALECLIPSE.ORG .

Jeffrey V. Smith M.D., J.D.
County Executive

Monday, August 7, 2017

Human Trafficking Resources

Human Trafficking 

Community Solutions’ program for Survivors of Human Trafficking provides counseling, therapy, advocacy, and case management services to assist adult or child survivors of human trafficking in regaining strength, hope, and control in their lives.  

We also provide counseling, therapy, advocacy, and case management services to Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC). Commercial sexual exploitation includes the prostitution, child pornography, and other forms of transactional sex where a child engages in sexual activities to have key needs fulfilled, such as food, shelter or access to education.

Referrals for these programs can be made through agency referrals, walk-ins, or via telephone. Walk-ins are accepted daily at the Gilroy and Morgan Hill offices. Services are available in English or Spanish. There are no fees for this program. 

24-Hour Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Crisis Line
(South Santa Clara County & San Benito County)
1.877.END. SADV

This link is to a documentary review on human trafficking of children, I Am Jane Doe

Diabetes: Lowering Your A1C

A1C is a blood test which can let you know how you are doing with regards to diabetes management.  Mine has been too high for some time, 10.2 first of 1026, then down to 8.9 and 8.5 but my last lab back up to 8.8.   have gone through several medication adjustments to try to get this under control, adding januvia and then later gong to extended release metformin.  These have done some good.  However I am looking at these points from Everyday health to bolster my results.  Anything over seven is considered too high.  Below 5.7 is considered normal.
1. Move more.  At least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week is needed.  However this does not have to be formal exercise.  Participating in a sport, walking, or other activity requiring movement will do the trick.
2. Eat a balanced diet with proper nutrition sizes.  Ideas include using a salad plate instead of a dinner plate, be mindful of portion sizes when eating fruit starchy foods and fats, avoid processed foods, and avoid sugary drinks.
3.  Stick to a schedule.  Skipping meals, and then overindulging, or going too long without eating between meals can lead to unhealthy drops and spikes in blood sugar.  I have heard small meals with regular snacks in between is best.
4. Follow you treatment plan.  Best to take medications when they should be taken.
5. Check your blood sugar levels regularly.  This is one I am not doing regularly.  Unless I am on the train, I usually don't check my level.  It is important to check so you can learn how you level responds to certain activities and foods.
Consultation with your doctor about your A!C levels is always a good idea.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

National Preparedness Month is September

The theme for national Preparedness Month is "Disasters Don't Plan Ahead, You Can."  By going to the link above you can access information on planning ahead.  This website is from FEMA.  It includes how to make a disaster plan.  It suggests practicing, even with you animals, driving them in the vehicle, so they won't be so scared in an emergency.

The Power of Self-Compassion

This article I found in the Wellness Publication at work.  It does not give credit for the article.

Having compassion means that you offer understanding and kindness to others when they make mistakes. When you have compassion for others (i.e. a family member, friend, coworker), you realize that suffering, failure and imperfection is part of the human experience.
Self-compassion is acting the same way, but towards yourself, when you are experiencing a difficult time or notice something you do not like about yourself. Instead of ignoring your pain or judging yourself for personal flaws, try to stop yourself and say “This is really difficult right now” and ask, “How can I comfort myself in this moment?”
Balancing work, family, and other commitments can be difficult. We often put most of our energy into taking care of others and not giving ourselves the love and kindness we also deserve. Here are a few ways you can embrace self-compassion:
 • Be gentle with yourself when confronted with a painful or difficult experience
 • Accept that imperfection is part of being human – there is no need to criticize yourself
 • Recognize that you are not alone, or the only person who makes mistakes
 • Try your best to not isolate yourself when you are facing stress or suffering
The reality of life is that things will not always go the way you want them to. You may encounter frustrations, make mistakes or fall short of your ideals. The more you accept and open your heart to this reality rather than fighting it, the more you will be able to feel compassion for yourself and others. In doing so, you’ll begin to notice improved strength in the face of failure, an increase in ability to learn from mistakes and to “bounce back” with greater enthusiasm.
"Having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others." Kristin Neff Author 'Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself'

Saturday, August 5, 2017

FEMA Guidelines for the Upcoming Solar Eclipse

Prepare for the Solar Eclipse

Solar EclipseOn August 21, the United States will be experiencing the first total solar eclipse since 1991 and the first to move across the entire mainland of the country since 1918.

A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes in between the earth and the sun. While this rare occurrence may be exciting, safety is a concern. Looking directly at the sun during an eclipse could severely hurt your eyes. 

Protect your eyes and view the eclipse safely with these tips from theNational Weather Service:
·         Make sure to wear special solar filtered sunglasses if you plan to stare directly at the eclipse.
·         It is only safe to stare at the sun during the eclipse when the moon is totally covering the sun. This only happens for a brief period and will only occur in a very narrow path about 70 miles wide from Oregon to South Carolina.
·         You can also safely view the eclipse through a solar filtered telescope or Welder’s glass #14 and darker.
·         If you are going camping to view the eclipse, visit the U.S. Forest Service website for safety tips. Also, check  for signs of low humidity and high temperatures, which are a recipe for wildfires.

For more information on the solar eclipse or for a solar eclipse party kit,