Category Archives: health

Enjoy National Trails Day on June 2, 2018

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Saturday, June 2 is National Trails Day! There are multiple activities that many people enjoy while on the trails including hiking, biking, bird watching, geocaching, and horseback riding. Which activity will you choose to celebrate this day?

The Fargo-Moorhead area is a great place to explore. It is covered in trails! While many of these trails aren’t your traditional hiking trails, you can still enjoy them! Some places you may want to check out include Gooseberry Mound Park and M.B. Johnson Park. Check out the links below to find some trails and parks near you!

 

Before you head out on the trails, make sure you are prepared:

  • proper footwear: trail shoes or hiking boots
  • map: even though we have easy access to GPS on our phones, bring a map just in case!
  • food and water: granola bars and trail mix work great! Bring extra food and water just in case your outing is longer than expected
  • rain gear and extra clothing: be prepared for anything! We live in an area where the weather can be unpredictable
  • first aid kit
  • sunscreen, sunglasses, hat

The American Hiking Society has great resources including hiking etiquette and how to prepare for any length of an outing on the trail. Check out their website if you would like more information.

In the end, it does not matter which activity you choose to do while celebrating National Trails Day, just get out and enjoy nature!

 

Sources: https://americanhiking.org/hiking-resources/#hiking-101

http://holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/June/national-trails-day.htm

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“Don’t Fry Day” is May 25th

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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!

 

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/resources/features/skincancer/index.htm

http://www.shieldhealthcare.com/community/news/2012/05/25/dont-fry-day-a-message-from-the-national-council-on-skin-cancer-prevention/

“Flat, Fast & Friendly” – Fargo Marathon 2018

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Yesterday marked the beginning of a week of fun and fitness. It’s marathon week here in Fargo-Moorhead! The Fargo Marathon is in its 14th year and has events for all! Registration is now closed but all are welcome to cheer the participants on! Here is a list of the events for the week:

Monday: Cylcothon

Tuesday: Furgo Dog Run

Thursday: Youth Run

Friday: 5K

Saturday: Relay, Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K

For more details about the Fargo Marathon, visit their website at fargomarathon.com.

The first marathon was held in 1886. At this time, the distance was 24.8 miles. In 1921, the distance was changed to 26.2. There aren’t too many marathon runners out there. About 0.5% of the population in the U.S. has run and completed a marathon. As we all may know, running a marathon takes a lot of training and energy. The average completion time is 4-5 hours. That is a lot of running! A 150 pound person may burn around 2600 calories during their marathon run, so it is important for them to fuel up and hydrate accordingly. What you may not know is the process of “tapering.” This is when a runner gradually decreases the intensity of their workouts as their event gets near. Runners will also participate in carbohydrate loading, which is the process of increasing their carbohydrate intake in the few day prior to their event. As you can see, running a marathon takes great physical and mental strength as well as proper nutrition. Take some time out of your day to cheer on all of the runners participating this week! They have trained very hard to get to where they are!

 

Sources:

http://fargomarathon.com/

http://www.marathontrainingschedule.com/blog/marathon-facts/

National Nurses Week! Thank A Nurse Today!

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This year National Nurses’ Week is from Sunday, May 6th through Saturday, May 12th. This week is dedicated to acknowledging and honoring nurses for all of their hard work and dedication. The week starts on May 6th, which is National Nurses Day and ends on May 12, which is International Nurses Day. Nurses are essential in delivering the high quality of patient care. This is a great opportunity to recognized the amazing work that they do. Take time this week and every week to thank a nurse for all of their amazing dedication and work that they do.

 

https://www.nursingworld.org/~490a9b/globalassets/education–events/national-nurses-week/ana_nnw2018_logo_color.

Autism Awareness Month

autism acceptance monthApril is Autism Awareness Month. The designation of the month to bring awareness to autism is very controversial, as the organizations that participate in this month are rife with ableism. If you are unfamiliar with the term, ableism is the discrimination and social prejudice of society against people with disabilities. Many people with autism would rather the month be focused on acceptance more so than awareness. Autism Speaks, a widely known non-profit, is closely affiliated with Autism Awareness Month. It is disliked by the autistic community for multiple reasons, mainly that it does not accurately represent or serve the majority of autistic people, therefore failing in its purpose as a non-profit. It targets caretakers and parents of autistic people, and as a result treats actual autistic people as unable to contribute to conversations about their disorder. In order to combat some of the misinformation spread during Autism Awareness Month, we have complied information about what autism is, and how to avoid being ableist it your everyday interactions.


What is Autism?

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder, meaning it effects how a person’s nervous system develops. Because their neurology is different, autistic people experience the world differently, and this is part of the reason many people see being autistic as an indivisible part of who they are. An important part of autism diagnosis is the idea of a “spectrum”, with one side representing a person traditionally considered “low-functioning”, meaning that they have severe trouble communicating, issues with social interaction, and a low IQ (which does not necessarily correlate to intelligence), and the other side representing someone considered “high-functioning”, meaning someone who speaks “acceptably”, can “pass” while socializing, and has a high IQ. Many autistic people have issues with the terminology associated with the spectrum, specifically labeling people as high or low functioning.  It is considered oversimplified, and contributes to stigma around autistic people.

There are many characteristics of autism, however as everyone is different, these characteristics may present differently or not at all. Below we have listed some of the characteristics an autistic person may present with.

  • Problems Understanding Tone/Inflection 
    • People on the spectrum may have trouble picking up nuances in a person’s tone while speaking. This, combined with the tendency to take everything literally, can cause mixed messages to be communicated.
  • Sensory Processing Differences
    • Due to the neurological aspect of autism, autistic people interpret the world differently than someone without autism. This can effect all senses, but most commonly affects sight and sound. Things that may not seem all that loud and bright to a non-autistic person can be very overwhelming to someone with autism due to their neurological differences.
  • Stimming 
    • Stimming, or self-stimulating, is the process of repeating motions or vocalizations in order to self-regulate or self-soothe. There is some discussion as to whether stimming should be trained out of people with controversial therapy methods such as ABA (applied behavioral analysis), but since stimming can be extremely beneficial and is not shown to be harmful, many autistic people see this as an attempt to force people to hide their autism, therefore hiding and being ashamed of a part of themselves.
  • Following a Routine
    • Many people who fall on the spectrum are also diagnosed with anxiety. Maintaining a routine is a way to add order and structure to an otherwise uncontrollable world. Every person’s flexibility with their routine is different, as no two people are identical.
  • Eye Contact
    • Generally, autistic people have trouble making eye contact. It can feel unnatural, uncomfortable, and in some cases aggressive. Many people come up with coping methods to appear as though they are making eye contact, such as looking at someone’s eyebrows. There is debate around forcing autistic people to make eye contact, as it is less about helping the autistic person and more about making them acceptable for society.
  • Navigating Unspoken Rules
    • This falls along the same vein as problems with picking up tone and inflection. There are many unspoken rules about social interaction, such as personal space and acceptable topic conversations, that non-autistic people pick up subconsciously. However, for an autistic person, they may not recognize the rules and unconsciously break them.

Common Myths About Autism

There is a lot of misinformation about autistic people, and what is means to be autistic. Below is a list of common myths about autism.

  • Autistic People Have No Empathy
    • This is a multifaceted accusation, and does not look at all sides of what it means to be autistic. First of all, empathy is not the ability to care about people. Simply, empathy is the ability to “step in someone else’s shoes” and understand what they are feeling. The inability of an autistic person to do this harks back to their struggle to accurately look at a person and understand what they are thinking or feeling through body language or tone of voice. In fact, newer theories speculate that autistic people are overly empathetic, meaning that the issue they have is not relating to others, but instead being unable to place exactly what a person is feeling through body language and tone of voice. Like everyone, empathy levels vary regardless of a person’s placement on the spectrum, making their inability to feel empathy a myth.
  • Autistic People are Violent
    • Very simply, there is no evidence to suggest that an autistic person is more prone to premeditated violence that anyone else. In fact, autistic people are far more likely to be the victim of bullying and emotional/ physical abuse by parents or caregivers than other children.
  • There is an Autism Epidemic
    • While there is an increase in the amount of people being diagnosed, this is considered a result of an improvement in diagnosis as opposed to an increase in the autistic population. The term autism has only been around for a short time, and for the majority of its existence, the criteria for being diagnosed was very strict. As you have learned from this post, no two people present the characteristics of autism in the same way, making many autistic people fall outside of the antiquated criteria for diagnosis. In addition, when looking at the overall population of autistic people, there is around the same number of autistic adults as there are children, meaning there has not been an increase in the overall rate of autism, just improved diagnosis.
  • Vaccines Cause Autism
    • This is a very controversial issue, not just in the autism community but in mainstream media as well. It is an issue that many parents (not so much autistic adults or medical professionals) in the autism community are very passionate about. However, it is not true. Vaccines do not cause autism, and not vaccinating your child can leave them susceptible to many dangerous diseases.
  • All Autistic People Want to be Cured
    • This is incorrect, and a highly offensive statement to many members of the autistic community. As their most basic neurodevelopment is different than a non-autistic person’s, people with autism often see their disorder as being an indivisible part of themselves, and not something that needs curing or fixing.

How to Avoid Being Ableist

If you are someone who is unfamiliar with the autism community, or generally uneducated on autism or other disorders and disabilities, you may be participating in ableist language. We have included some common phrases people say to autistic or disabled people, and why they are ableist.

  • “You’re so Inspirational”
    • This implies to autistic and disabled people they are inspiring for living, as if being disabled or autistic is so bad it is a miracle they can continue to go on with their lives. This sends really negative messages about what you think of their lives.
  • “You Don’t Look Disabled/Autistic”
    • This is often said to people with “invisible disabilities”, such as neurological differences or chronic pain. This invalidates the person’s experience, and insinuates that the only real disabilities are ones you can see.
  • “Stop Complaining, Other People Have It Worse”
    • Just because there are things that are worse doesn’t mean that what someone is going through isn’t bad, painful, or hard. One person’s pain does not invalidate someone else’s. This is like saying “Stop being happy, other people have it better”. Just because other people are happy doesn’t mean someone else can’t be as well.
  • If You Just Tried Harder, You’d Get Better”
    • First of all, autism isn’t something to “get better” from. It is apart of someone, and not something that needs to be cured or fixed. Secondly, there is not a magic cure for things like depression or anxiety, two common comorbid disorders. It is incredibly insulting to insinuate that what someone is going through is completely in their control, and that they are not trying hard enough to get better.
  • “Try To Act More Normal”
    • This implies that there is something wrong with the way an autistic or disabled person is. Some things autistic people do may make others uncomfortable, like stimming in public or needing to wear earplugs or sunglasses inside, but there is nothing wrong about it, and there is no reason to need to change to act mo9re “normal”
  • “You’re Not a Disabled Person, You’re a Person With a Disability”
    • There are a few things wrong with this statement. First of all, telling somewhat how to identify is called tone-policing. It is not for anyone other that the person themselves to decide what they are or are not. Many people prefer identity-first language such as “autistic person”, as they feel it conveys that being autistic is an important part of who they are and their identity . The other option, which is still widely used, is called person-first language, and signals that the person and the disability or disorder are separate.

Sources Used

Below are a list of sources used to write this post. This blog is only the tip of the iceberg, and if you feel the desire to learn more about autism and ableism feel free to check out the links below. A special thank you to sisters Caley and Creigh of Autism Spectrum Explained. This website is a great resource to educate yourself about multiple facets of autism and the community.

Links

http://www.autismacceptancemonth.com/resources/101-3/ways-of-thinking-about-disability-2/disability-rights/ableism/

https://adayinourshoes.com/ableist-ableism/

https://everydayfeminism.com/2016/03/ableist-phrases-to-eliminate/

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/7-reasons-not-support-autism-speaks

http://www.autismacceptancemonth.com/what-is-autism/

https://www.identityfirstautistic.org/what-is-ableism-

https://www.cnn.com/2012/12/17/health/connecticut-shooting-autism/index.html

http://www.autistichoya.com/2012/07/georgetown-say-no-to-autism-speaks.html

https://www.autismspectrumexplained.com/our-blog/vaccines-and-autism

https://www.autismspectrumexplained.com

https://thecaffeinatedautistic.wordpress.com/new-autism-speaks-masterpost-updated-62014/

http://nationalautismassociation.org/pdf/MedicalComorbiditiesinASD2013.pdf

https://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/06/04/speaking-out-against-autism-speaks-even-if-it-means-no-ice-cream/

http://neurowonderful.tumblr.com/autismmasterpost

http://autisticadvocacy.org/

 

Fargo-Moorhead Event on March 21! Keeping Tech/Social Media Positive & Healthy

Cyber Bulling statistics show that over half of teens have been bullied online and have engaged in cyber bulling. They also show that more than 1 in 3 teens have experienced cyber threats online. Come join Professor Dave Eisenmann on March 31st for a presentation for parents and students about keeping technology and social media positive and healthy for students of all ages.  This is a FREE event and is open to the community. Eisenmann will be giving the presentation from 7PM-8:30PM at the First Lutheran Church in Fargo. This presentation will cover topics about cyber bullying and harassment, sexting, and the dangers of pornography. Why students should be careful about information that they share online through Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter and how this a permanent digital record will also be covered in the presentation by Eisenmann. Attend this event to help students all ages understand how to keep their technology and social media positive and healthy.

For more information about this event click here:

http://y94.com/events/event/community/27230/keeping-techsocial-media-positive-healthy/

 

http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/cyber-bullying-statistics.html

https://makeawebsitehub.com/social-media-sites/

Poison Prevention Week 2018

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2016 statistics show that there is an average of 1 poison exposure reported to U.S. poison control centers every 14.6 seconds. Fortunately, not all reported incidents resulted in an actual poisoning. Do you know how to avoid a poisoning incident or what to do in the case a possible poisoning does occur? The Health Resources and Services Administration has dedicated March 15-21 as Poison Prevention Week to bring awareness. Read on to learn more about poison prevention and care.

  • A good start to preparing for or handling a poison incident is to have the Poison Help line written in a convenient location. That number is 1-800-222-1222. Keep the number in your phone and have a magnet on your fridge.
  • Poison proof your home. Keep medications in properly labeled containers and stored appropriately. Have properly functioning carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms and furnaces. Keep cleaning supplies in proper containers and out of reach of children. Keep an eye on children when they are using craft supplies that may be made with chemicals and wash all surfaces after contact with the supplies. Use proper food preparation and storage techniques such as washing hands before handling food and storing foods at proper temperatures. Know what animals, insects, and plants are in your area that may be poisonous such as snakes and mushrooms.
  • What do you do if you suspect a possible poisoning? Do your best to stay calm and call the Poison Help line. Doing so may save you a trip to the Emergency Room. However, if the person is not breathing you must call 911. When you call the help line, an expert will be able to help you by giving first aid advice. If the poison was inhaled, get fresh air immediately. If the poison came in contact with the body, take off clothing that has been touched by the poison and rinse the skin with running water for 15-20 minutes. If the poison in in the eyes, rinse the eyes with running water for 15-20 minutes.

Being aware of possible poisoning incidents will help you be better prepared when a real incident occurs. Know what materials and organisms may be putting you at risk. Finally, if an incident does occur, do not wait for signs of a poisoning to call for help.

 

https://poisonhelp.hrsa.gov/what-can-you-do/raise-awareness-about-the-poison-help-line/index.html

https://www.poison.org/poison-statistics-national

https://www.motivators.com/blog/2015/02/raising-awareness-national-poison-prevention-week/