The sun is out and the temperature is rising! People are escaping the indoors to enjoy some time outside such as in the backyard, at the baseball field, or at the lake. Will you be doing the any of these? Whatever activity it is that you participate in, how do you protect yourself from the sun? Friday, May 25th is “Don’t Fry Day” and brings awareness to protecting our bodies from skin cancer.
Did you know that skin cancer is the most common and most preventable cancer out there? Skin cancer is caused by being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays. Where do UV rays come from? The sun and tanning beds both expose our skin to these types of rays. It is important to take precautionary measures to protect ourselves from them. Read the following bullet points for some tips to decrease your risk of skin cancer!
Spend your time outside in the shade, especially between 10a and 2p when the UV rays are strongest.
Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs
Wear a wide brim hat and sunglasses
Apply sunscreen at least every two hours and after you towel off or get out of the water
Avoid tanning beds!
UV rays from the sun can start causing damage to your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Even when it’s cloudy you still need to protect yourself. Keep an eye out for signs of skin cancer such as a new growth, sore that doesn’t heal, or change in a mole. The CDC has also posted a list of traits that may increase the risk of skin cancer:
A lighter natural skin color.
Family history of skin cancer.
A personal history of skin cancer.
Exposure to the sun through work and play.
A history of sunburns, especially early in life.
A history of indoor tanning.
Skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily, or becomes painful in the sun.
Blue or green eyes.
Blond or red hair.
Certain types and a large number of moles.
Even if you don’t have these traits, you can still get skin cancer. If you notice any changes in your skin, contact your doctor! Keep your body healthy and safe this summer by protecting it from the sun’s harmful rays!
It’s already June and summer weather is here! Growing season has kicked off, and soon we will have fresh produce! Whether you grow your own produce or check out the farmers markets, take advantage of the fruits and vegetables that go from the garden, field, or tree straight to you. It’s important to be getting enough fruits and vegetable as they are great sources of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, fiber, iron, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. Unfortunately, only about one in ten people are consuming enough fruits and vegetables. Daily recommendations include 2-1/2 to 3 cups of vegetables a day and 1-1/2 to 2 cups of fruits a day. There are many ways to get your fruits and veggies into you diet. Have a salad with a meal and add some extra vegetables to it. You can also make smoothies or add fruit to some yogurt. Reaching our daily intakes seems difficult, but it doesn’t have to be! Be creative and find ways that you can incorporate them into your diet.
Take a look around your area and find farmers markets near you. If you live in the Fargo-Moorhead area, check out the following farmers markets:
Farmers Market and Beyond
Downtown Festival Market
Whistle Stop Park Farmers Market
Gardener’s Flea Market
Great Plains Produce Assn. Community FM Farmers Market
Community Farmers Market
Many of these farmers markets do not begin until July, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until then to get some fruits and vegetables into your diet. Do some research to find recipes you may want to try with your fresh produce. Some produce that are in season during the summer months include radishes, cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, corn, rhubarb, cherries, blackberries, strawberries, peaches, tomatoes, and melons. Try to include a variety of produce into your diet. Your body will thank you!
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!
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.
Take a deep breath, now let it out. The air you just breathed in was probably refreshing at best, tolerable at worst. You might have noticed the onion or tuna you ate, but that was the worst of it. The next time you drink water, look at it. Is it clear? Probably. Is it colorless? Again, most likely. Is there water in your cup? Well duh.
Never before have these two things been at risk before, drinking and breathing, in the human existence time frame. With the help of globalization and a population boom, humans are having a profound effect on the world. We haven’t had to come to terms that it won’t last forever, because we’ve never had to worry about that in the past.
For the first time in human existence, carbon levels have risen above a threshold it has never crossed before. It didn’t just stop there; the current levels of carbon are sitting at 133% of that threshold. This rise in carbon is having an increased effect, often called the Greenhouse Effect. Due to this warming, there are many changes that are taking place in the world.
Professor Wallace recently gave a seminar on climate change here on campus and the effects that it has on human health. In her presentation she introduced us to some interesting points. A warmer world, even by 2 or 3 degrees Celsius shifts the mosquito habitat. More people will be exposed to mosquito borne disease and for longer times; Zika, Yellow Fever, Dengue, West Nile and the list goes on. Currently 3.6 billion are at risk for these diseases. With a temperature increase that number could rise up to 5 billion. Allergies will worsen as their window widens also. Flooding will increase, as will hurricanes and tornadoes.
Some cities have to issue warnings over smog exposure. It is estimated that of the 10 million deaths every year in China, 1 million is caused by pollutants. Exposure to all these new chemicals is wreaking havoc on our bodies and the environment. In addition to this smog exposure, there is an increasing amount of people with other respiratory problems such as asthma. In 2001, 1 in 14 people had asthma. In 2009, 1 in 12 people. That is the most recent number, although the CDC projects that as many as 1 in 10 people have asthma today.
The goal of Earth Day is to bring awareness to all these issues. It is trying to create scientifically literate people who will in turn be scientifically literate voters on environmental policies. They aim to change the direction of the world towards more green energy, jobs and technology. They hope that by 2020 a majority of the population will be able to understand the scientific literature that affects their lives and environments.
The first Earth Day was held in 1970, and attendance was well above what anyone was expecting. 20 million people, roughly 10% of the population, joined the rallies and marches. It has been one of the most effective awareness days because it is bipartisan for the most part. After that first celebration, the government felt pressured into creating the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air, Clean Water and the Endangered Species Act were also created.
Here are some more facts about Earth Day and our environment.
There is roughly 155 billion pounds of plastic in the ocean and roughly 9 billion is added every year
We will only be able to fill 60% of the world’s water needs by 2030 without better management
The Montreal Protocol signed in 1987 banned many chemicals that were ripping a hole in the ozone. Thanks to that act, the ozone is now healing and the hole is closing.
A convention was held in 1997, the Convention on Biological Diversity. Here many countries around the world pledged that they would work to sustain a diverse biosphere starting in their own countries.
The Renewable Portfolio Standard is an aggressive self- proposed bill in California that says that the state has to get half their energy from renewable sources by 2030. Many states followed, but theirs is the most ambitious.
In 2012 the Earth Day Network planted 1 billion trees to try and bring back forested areas.
Every year on April 7th we celebrate World Health Day to remember the day that the World Health Organization was formed. (W.H.O.) Every year this day has a theme, and this year it’s Depression. Their slogan “Depression: Let’s Talk” is trying to get people to open up about their disorder and get the help they may need. They have several goals about what they want to see happen:
the general public is better informed about depression, its causes and possible consequences, including suicide, and what help is or can be available for prevention and treatment
people with depression seek help
family, friends and colleagues of people living with depression are able to provide support
WHO defines a case of depression when a person has gone at least 2 weeks with persistent sadness and they don’t enjoy doing any of their normal activities, which prevents them from carrying out every day activities. There are a few more symptoms that people who are afflicted by depression may have:
a loss of energy
a change in appetite
sleeping more or less
feelings of worthlessness, guilt or hopelessness
thoughts of self-harm or suicide
The number of people that have being diagnosed every year with depression has seen an 18% increase in the last decade. The low estimates have depression affecting 322 million people worldwide, about 4.4% of the population.
Depression can be effectively prevented and treated. Treatment usually involves either a talking therapy or antidepressant medication or a combination of these. Overcoming the stigma often associated with depression will lead to more people getting help.
Here’s a question for you, let’s see if you can get it. Which of the following are duties, accomplishments or topics based in Public Health?
Creating local food markets
Seeing patients and diagnosing illnesses or disorders
Setting the Minimum Wage
Eradication of smallpox and near eradication of polio
Setting speed Limits
Advises individual treatment options to patients
The answers are local food markets, setting a healthy minimum wage, the eradication of smallpox and speed limits. The other two options, diagnosing illnesses or disorders and advising treatments, may seem like the right answer, but these are actually the duties of healthcare professionals.
Public Health is population focused while healthcare is individual focused. Food markets are encouraged by public health specialists because they give local fresh food instead of fast food which would possibly lower the obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease rates for that neighborhood or city. Setting the minimum wage at an appropriate level that it would allow individuals to cover their basic health needs and decrease the amount of money lost in the healthcare system and economy do to poverty. By use of mass vaccination, Public Health specialists were able to make it so that next to no one gets polio and no one gets small pox. Instead of treating, they prevented and averted the continuing disability and death caused by these diseases. Speed limits was a tricky one, but they are set by public health at levels that decrease accidents.
It took hundreds of thousands of generations to get the life expectancy up to about 40 years at the beginning of the 1900’s. Thanks to public health efforts and an advancement in medicine we have added 30 years to that in three generations. While this is great, the United States is ranked 34th for life expectancy. One of the goals of National Public Health Week is to create the healthiest country in just one generation, by 2030.
Now, can you think of some careers or people that you would consider in public health? You can probably think of health educators, either in high school or community level. If you know the fancy term epidemiologist you’re right on the money. Here are some examples of people that this week is honoring.
All High School teachers- By educating the young to graduation, you decrease the chances of poverty
Environmentalists- Having a healthy environment, both for work and play, has a tremendous impact on our overall health
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counselors- A healthy mind is also included in being considered a healthy person.
Environmental Health Emergency Response Expert- These are the people that coordinate for disaster relief during an earthquake, hurricane, flood or other disaster.
Consumer Safety Officer- These are the people that make sure producers are following the FDA’s regulations and guidelines to ensure that the food supply is health.
Researchers- Be it Vaccine, Treatment, Development or any other kind, they play an essential role in moving our health forward.
There are many more and the list would go on and on if everyone was put on here.