Category Archives: Awareness

Celebrate Nursing Assistants!

images

Nursing assistants are a huge part in healthcare! Nurse aides, orderlies, and geriatric aides are other names associated with this occupation. Nursing assistants work under registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, plus other medical staff. The duties of nursing assistants seem endless! Some duties  include bathing and feeding as well as assisting with other patient needs. They also pass on information regarding their patients to the supervising nurse. Nursing assistants spend a lot of time with their patients and often build wonderful relationships with them!

Some work settings that may employ nursing assistants include hospitals, clinics, home health agencies, nursing homes, and many more. Requirements to become a nursing assistant vary. Most require a high school diploma or equivalent. Training also varies as it can be offered at vocational schools, community colleges, geriatric facilities, or by the employer.

The work that nursing assistants do is not always appreciated enough! That is why June 15-22 is Nursing Assistant Week! Although they should be appreciated regularly, take these next few days to give an extra special thanks for the work that nursing assistants do!

Sources:

http://www.mshealthcareers.com/careers/nursingassistant.htm

http://www.carepromotions.com/blog/Celebrate

Donate Blood to Save Lives!

index

Blood is vital to our lives, but sometimes we need to share a little bit of it with others! Blood Donor Day takes place on June 14th. It is a day to bring awareness for the need of blood. Every year, emergencies affect over 250 million people. This fact inspires this year’s slogan: “What can you do? Give blood. Give now. Give Often.” Donating blood is very helpful for emergencies. Blood transfusions are very common in healthcare and having enough blood in stock is important to ensure that the best care possible is provided to patients.

Some benefits of blood for the recipient include helping the patient live longer, improving quality of life, and supporting surgeries when blood loss could be significant. A single donation of blood can save up to three people!

To be eligible to donate blood and platelets, you must be healthy and feeling well, be at least 17 years old in most states, and weigh at least 110 pounds. To be a Power Red donor (donating two units red blood cells and keeping your plasma and platelets), you must be healthy and feeling well, be at least 17 years old, be at least 5’1″ for males or 5’5″ for females, and weigh at least 130 pounds for males and 150 pounds for females. Keep in mind that some of these requirements may vary by case. Before you donate, you will have a mini physical to record your temperature, blood pressure, and hemoglobin to make sure your blood is safe to use. If you have any health conditions that you know of, check with your blood donor site to see if you are still eligible.

Please consider to donate blood! So many people are in need, and so many people can be saved!

Sources:

https://www.askideas.com/42-world-blood-donors-day-2017/

http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-blood-donor-day/2017/event/en/

http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/eligibility-requirements

http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/types-donations/double-red-blood-cells-donation

Make Every Day World No Tobacco Day!

images

Every year on May 31st, the World Health Organization (WHO) sponsors World No Tobacco Day. The purpose is to spread awareness about the dangers of tobacco. Tobacco is the largest preventable cause of death in the United States. Around the world it is the cause of death for almost 7 million people. Cancer, heart disease, stroke, COPD, and lung disease are just a few health conditions that can be a result of tobacco use. Read the following facts to get an idea of how serious tobacco use is.

  • In the United States, 480,000 deaths per year are caused by smoking. 41,000 of those deaths are victims of secondhand smoke.
  • In the world, 890,000 of the 7 million deaths per year caused my tobacco are victims of second hand smoke.
  • Smokers die about 10 years earlier than those who do not smoke.
  • At the current smoking rate for American’s younger than 18, one in thirteen are expected to die prematurely.

Preventing tobacco use in middle school and high school students is an important part of stopping tobacco use. They are more at risk for nicotine addiction and are more likely to smoke into adulthood. Cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, hookahs, and electronic cigarettes are just a few of the tobacco products common in this generation.

What is happening to reduce the harmful effects of tobacco? Ideally, everyone who uses tobacco would quit, but that is a tedious process. One thing that has taken a step toward ending tobacco use is taxes. Higher taxes are used to discourage smokers from buying tobacco as many tobacco users are in low-income communities. Another tactic is the use of anti-smoking commercials. Have you ever seen those commercials where individuals with a stoma are interviewed? How about the ones where tobacco users have to pay for their tobacco products with some of their skin? There are many more, but the intent of these commercials is to encourage people to say no to tobacco. Laws are another tactic used to avoid smoking in public places. These laws are used to prevent harmful effects of secondhand smoking unto those who choose not to smoke.

Do you or someone you know use tobacco? Become educated about all of the health risks associated with tobacco whether you do or do not use it. There are places to go for help to quit smoking. Becoming educated about all of the benefits from quitting tobacco will amaze you. Our bodies start to heal almost immediately after quitting. Tobacco affects everyone and the best way to prevent those affects is to eliminate tobacco use all together. The benefits of quitting can begin to happen in as little as 20 minutes and continue throughout life. Encourage your friends and family to be tobacco free!

 

Sources:

https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/world-no-tobacco-day.html

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en/

 

Are You Ready to Beat the Heat?

images

Summer is finally here! Now you can spend your time at the lake, going camping, attending baseball games, and going swimming! These outdoor activities are exciting and fun. It would be unfortunate if the high heat had to ruin it! Heat illnesses cause more deaths per year than the combination of hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods! Death can be the result of very severe cases of heat illness, but many people are victims of heat illness and are able to recover if proper action is taken. There are several factors that affect the risk of getting heat illness:

  • Climate – those who live in hot and humid environments have a higher risk
  • Exercise and Activity – these can make it even harder for the body to cool off
  • Age – the elderly and young children are more at risk
  • Pre-existing illness and conditions – these may affect how the body responds to heat
  • Drugs and Medications – Some may make a person more susceptible to dehydration

Here is a list of heat illnesses:

  • Heat Cramps: these are painful, involuntary muscle contractions that are a result of strenuous activity in high heat. Loss of fluids and electrolytes are the underlying cause
    • To treat heat cramps, rest then massage and stretch the cramped muscles. Also make sure to drink fluids.
  • Heat Exhaustion: this illness occurs when lost fluid is not replaced. Signs and symptoms include weakness, dizziness, rapid and weak pulse, heavy sweating, nausea, fainting, and more. Heat cramps can also occur.
    • The first thing you should do if you are experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion is to remove yourself from the heat. You will then want to cool your body down by removing excess clothing, spraying body with cool water or applying cool, wet cloths to skin, and rehydrating with an electrolyte drink such as Gatorade or just drinking milk.
  • Heat Stroke: this is the most serious heat illness. The body is not able to cool itself down. The main signs and symptoms include a body temperature above 104 degrees, flushed skin, decreased level of consciousness, altered mental status, convulsions/seizures, and unconsciousness.
    • To treat a heat stroke, the most important thing to do is to seek medical help immediately. Next you will want to try to cool the body using ice water soaked towels until medical help arrives. Bringing down the body temperature helps to reduce the chance and severity of brain damage, organ failure, and death.

It is so important to understand and know how to take care of heat illnesses. Although staying out of the heat is encouraged, at least try to limit your time exposed to the heat and take frequent breaks in the shade. Limit your time outside between 11am and 6pm which is when the heat is highest. It is also important to stay hydrated. Remember to wear sunscreen and protective clothing. Don’t let the heat put a damper on your summer fun!

 

Sources:

https://toolkit.climate.gov/nihhis/

http://www.weather.gov/rah/heat

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/social_media/spring_heat.html

American Red Cross emergency medical response. Yardley, PA: StayWell Health & Safety Solutions, 2011. Print.

 

 

 

What’s Your Risk? Mental Health Awareness Month 2017

index

May is Mental Health Month and this year’s theme is Risky Business. Mental Health America wants to educate people about how certain behaviors and habits can affect mental health. These include risky sex, drug misuse, internet addiction, excessive spending, and problematic exercise routines. Mental illnesses affect almost everybody whether it is short term, long term, severe, or mild. According to a study, after following people ages 11-38, only 17% were able to avoid some sort of mental illness! Depression, anxiety, and substance abuse were the top three findings in the study.

College is a huge life transition. It is an exciting experience, but it is also full of stress and pressure to do well academically and socially. Did you know that 75% of all mental illnesses begin to show up by age 24? That makes college a critical time to become aware of the signs and symptoms of a mental illness. It is important for students to get help as soon as possible. Fortunately, the rates of students getting help has been increasing over the years, although it is difficult to determine how effective their help and treatment is.

The following link is a guide to common mental illnesses in college students. It provides coping strategies and advice to those who may be struggling with a mental illness, or those whose friends may be struggling. This link is also a great source to learn more about each mental illness.

http://www.learnpsychology.org/mental-health/

Mental illness is serious, and it is not something to be embarrassed about. There are people available who want to help. Here at MSUM, Hendrix Clinic and Counseling Center is a place to go for help! Evaluate your behaviors. Are they risky? If you or a friend are showing signs of a mental illness, don’t be afraid to utilize your available resources!

 

Sources:

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/when-your-adult-child-breaks-your-heart/201705/mental-health-awareness-month

http://time.com/4473575/college-mental-health-guidebook/

https://namiwilmington.org/mental-health-month-2017/

Just Breathe! It’s National Clean Air Month 2017!

GoodBadAir1

We can all agree that air is an important part in our everyday lives. Without it, there is no life. What do we do when it starts to cause more harm than good? Education is a start! May is National Clean Air Month and the purpose is to educate people about the affects air quality can have on our lives. Clean air has been a hot topic for years as pollution increases and air quality decreases. Certain amounts of oxygen, carbon dioxide,  and nitrogen come together to create clean air. It does not include pollutants or allergens.

It’s important that we understand what clean air is and what is not clean air. Poor quality air causes harm to all living things. It affects plants, bodies of water, and animals. It also causes cancer and serious respiratory disorders such as bronchitis and worsens symptoms of those with asthma. Other health conditions caused by air pollution include nausea, difficulty breathing, skin irritation, birth defects, developmental delays, compromised immune systems, and the list could go on. Low quality air affects the entire body!

Currently, about 39% of people living in the United States are living in poor air quality areas. Do you think that percentage is high? It is, but good news! This percentage is lower than last year! Our country has been working hard to improve air quality thanks to many factors including carpooling, walking, biking, or taking the bus to work; decreasing the output of pollutants from factories; recycling; and so many more. The Clean Air Act was established in 1970 and has created the base to our efforts towards clean air. Many decisions in the government that involve air quality are influenced by the Clean Air Act. Since 1970, there has been an increase in energy use, economy, and miles driven. You would think that air quality would get worse due to these factors, but thanks to the Clean Air Act, air has actually improved in quality!

Having clean air to breathe is vital for good health. Some places in our country need more work, but our efforts to improve the quality of the air that we breathe is working! Let’s continue to work toward a clean environment! Check out the following link to look at the rankings for cleanest and most polluted cities in the United States and see if you can find where Fargo-Moorhead area ranks!

City Rankings

Interactive Map of Quality

 

Sources:

http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/sota/

http://www.whathealth.com/awareness/event/cleanairmonth.html

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0269749107002849

http://breatheproject.org/news/clean-air-dirty-air/

 

 

International Nurses Day May 12th, National Nurse Week May 6th-12th

Florence1
Florence Nightingale is an important figure in the world of nursing and healthcare. She was born in May of 1820 and  belonged to a prosperous British family. From a young age, she believed her purpose was to become a nurse, administering aid to the poor and the ill. Her parents were unsupportive of her career decision and were disgruntled by her refusal to settle down and marry a man of social affluence. Florence wasn’t distracted from her goal and received her nursing degree at the Lutheran Hospital of Pastor Fliedner in Kaiserwerth, Germany.

Florence worked as a nurse in a hospital at Constantinople during the Crimean war in 1853 and worked to improve on the unsanitary and inhumane living conditions of the wounded soldiers there. She tended to their wounds and illnesses during every time of the day, earning her the nickname “the Lady with the Lamp.” Once the war was over, Florence returned home to the praise of the public, earning awards and monetary prizes from the Queen and the British government. Throughout the rest of her life, she campaigned for the improvement of health standards and hospital designs, as well as for the reform of professional training for nurses. Florence remains a notary figure today whom many people still consider to be an important role model.

Florence Nightingale survives in our history as an inspired nurse and a compassionate statistician.  She changed the world of nursing and will always be remembered as an important figure in healthcare and nursing.

International Nurses Day is celebrated worldwide every May 12, on the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. It is celebrated to recognize the life-changing contributions nurses make to society. Though mainly commemorated around May 12 each year, IND activities are carried on throughout much of the year by nurses and others.  In addition to International Nurses Day, the United States also celebrates National Nurses Week. The first time the suggestion to create this week was in 1953. It failed. It was suggested again in 1954. It failed again. The next time it was suggested to the president was 2 decades later in 1972 when it finally passed. The American government also decided to honor Nightingale by finishing off a week of awareness on her birthday.

Some of the goals of these two events are to improve the image of nurses while also influencing healthcare policies around the world.  One of the easiest ways to show your respect and to help these goals is to say thank you to a nurse you know or meet.

Photo: http://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk

Sources:

ICN

ANA

http://www.biography.com/people/florence-nightingale-9423539?page=2

http://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk/the-collection/biography.html

http://nursing.advanceweb.com/Features/Articles/Empowering-Nurses-with-Data.aspx

http://plus.maths.org/content/florence-nightingale-compassionate-statistician