Category Archives: hygiene

How Is Technology Affecting Your Health?

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Technology is everywhere. Some people say it is great while others think the opposite. Whatever the opinion, technology can be both! Like many great things, there can be some setbacks. One of the main concerns with technology is the devices that are being invented. How do those affect our health?

First, let’s look at the benefits of technology! Some forms of technology such as phone apps, Fitbits, pedometers, and much more encourage users to exercise more! Computer programs also provide a variety of online videos to guide users through a workout. The websites fitnessblender.com and workoutz.com are just two with several videos. Check them out! Apps can also be used to track weight loss and calorie intake. It’s amazing how easy is can be! Some apps are even being created to help diabetics manage their blood sugar. There are also apps to track sleep. Do you know how much sleep you are really getting at night? One of the best benefits of technology is the ability to maintain social connections. Stay up to date with friends and family through texts or on social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Technology can also be bad. Although it can encourage users to exercise more, it can also lead to exercising less. Video games, television, games on phones, social media, the list could go on. These things are keeping people from being active. Other downfalls include back and neck pain which can be caused by someone who is a frequent user of phones and computers. Tilting of your head puts a lot of stress on your back and neck which can lead them to be sore. Another way technology can be bad is the germs that build up on our devices. Sure germs are everywhere, but when was the last time your devices were cleaned? Good thing this is an easy fix! Headaches and eye strain can also be caused by technology use. Take breaks by looking away from the screen. Also avoid technology use before bed to get a better night’s sleep!

All of this technology can be beneficial to our health. The list of these benefits could keep on going! However, moderation and proper care of these devices is necessary to maintain good health. Enjoy the convenience and fun of technology, but be careful with the amount of time you spend on them!

 

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/05/health-effects-of-technol_n_6263120.html

https://www.positivehealthwellness.com/fitness/8-ways-technology-improving-health/

https://thenextweb.com/dd/2014/09/19/smart-devices-can-disruptive-without-intrusive/#.tnw_R6bwFUAQ

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Calling All Users of Science

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This Saturday there is going to be a series of marches and protests occurring in 358 cities in the United States and over 500 world wide. The March for Science is the first event of it’s kind. It is a call for support from all students, science-based careers and anyone who benefits from scientific advances (psst that’s everyone). It’s a nonpartisan even that is urging policy makers to look at evidence based practices and scientific data to influence their policies and ruling instead of money.

You can find a city near you here that is holding a march. The Fargo/Moorhead area is holding a large one that is expecting several thousand visitors. Here are some of the missions or goals that the March for Science hopes to achieve.

  • Evidence-based policy and regulations in the public interest. They wish for policy makers to make decisions not altered by other agendas.
  • Cutting-edge science education. They believe that a science background isn’t only for a select few, the entire¬† majority of the population should be able to interpret scientific literature.
  • Diversity and Inclusion in STEM. This comes into play with the previous mission, they wish to have an outreach in education.
  • Open, honest science and inclusive public outreach. Several policies that have been passed recently have banned or limited the exchange of scientific literature and dialogue. By restricting access to the newest information, the governmental body is harming it’s people.
  • Funding for scientific research and its applications. Under the proposed 2018 budget, all scientific bodies with federal funding will see a cut from 10% to 31%. They wish to change so that we are capable of producing more advancements.

In the few months that this has been planned, they have partnered with over 300 different scientific agencies and centers. Here is their page for the MN marches specifically.  They have several social media accounts; check them out on Facebook, Twitter,and Instagram.

 

Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs by Michael Osterholm

Join us this Thursday night (23rd) for a presentation featuring the internationally recognized figure Michael Osterholm. Osterholm was a co-author for the book Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs. During the presentation he will be talking about several threats and topics concerning the public such as:

  • the reality and emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria
  • bio terrorism as a certainty
  • the increasing risk of a devastating influenza pandemic

After the event he will be having a book signing event. The presentation will be in Langseth Hall 104 at 7 pm on campus.

 

Protect yourself. National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2017

Every year 40,000 people are formally diagnosed with HIV. Currently there is an estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV. The number that should be getting diagnosed is actually much higher, as 13-20% of the 1.2 million are unaware that they are infected.

What most people don’t know about HIV is that there are three stages, AIDS being one of them.

  • Acute infection. About 2-4 weeks after being infected, the individual will suffer many flu symptoms in addition to severally swollen glands and a borderline headache/migraine. Many people describe this stage as the worst flu of their life. The individual can transmit the virus to others as soon as 2 weeks after being infected.
  • Latency. After this the virus goes into hiding. It will continue to multiple at low levels in your blood. There will be no visible symptoms, and this stage can last anywhere from a few months to decades. The individual can still transmit the virus to others at this stage.
  • AIDS. The individual’s immune system crashes. It allows them to be easily infected by another infection. The life expectancy once you get to this stage is under 3 years. The individual is still contagious until the very end.

There are medications that can be taken to slow the rate or chances of one’s latency from progressing to AIDS, like ART (Antiretroviral Therapy). Two other drugs have recently come onto the market. PrEP and PEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis and post-exposure prophylaxis) work as precautionary measures to decrease the likelihood of infection. PrEP can be taken daily for as long as you are at risk and PEP can be taken after an encounter where you believe you were exposed. They work to lower the likelihood of infection by as much as 97%.

There are several things that one can do to lower their chances of infection.

  • Where a male/female condom during every sexual encounter. This includes oral and anal as well as vaginal. HIV is transmitted through blood, semen, pre-seminal fluids, rectal fluids and vaginal fluids. A condom decreases the chances that one will come in contact with one of these mediums. Women are even more likely to be infected during vaginal sex then their male counterparts. The infected semen has a large surface area to come in contact with and can remain in the vagina for several days, increasing the risk.
  • Be treated for other STDs. More so then men, women increase their chances of HIV by having by having another STD. The other STD lowers any barriers the body may have making it easier for the virus to get in.
  • Avoid injectable drugs. By sharing needles or using needles of unknown history, you may be contaminating yourself with infected blood.
  • Avoid the misuse of alcohol and drugs. These cause impairments in your decision making abilities. Doing so may decrease the chance of using a condom or increase the chance of using a needle.
  • Be monogamous. If that is not an option, talk to your sexual partners about their history. If someone is unsure of their status, have them get tested. For now, under Obamacare you can get tested for free.
  • Take PrEP. It may be expensive, but this preemptive move may save you more than what you would spend if you did contract HIV.
  • Take PEP. If something happens and you think you might have been exposed, begin taking the necessary doses of PEP within 72 hours of the contact.

There are also several threats that only effect women. This awareness day works to bring attention to both the above facts and these. Women are more likely to be the victims of sexual abuse.People that have histories of abuse are more likely to not go in for testing. They are also less likely to receive treatment for HIV if they are already positive. The abuse itself might give frequent exposure to the virus.

Women are also able to transmit the virus to their children through breastfeeding. Mothers are warned to not breastfeed their babies and to find a local breast milk bank or to use a formula. If the mother does, the chances of the baby becoming infected decreases to less than 1%.

For more information visit www.womenshealth.gov.

Sources:

https://www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad/about-national-women-and-girls-hivaids-awareness-day

https://www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad/what-every-girl-needs-know-about-hiv-and-aids

https://www.womenshealth.gov/hiv-and-aids/hiv-prevention

https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/statistics/

https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/just-diagnosed-with-hiv-aids/hiv-in-your-body/stages-of-hiv/

https://www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad/what-every-woman-needs-know-about-hiv-and-aids

Smile! It’s National Children’s Dental Health Month 2017!

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Mastering good oral hygiene habits in children can be a chore! Did you know that tooth decay is the most common, preventable, chronic disease in children? No wonder it can be frustrating for parents! Fortunately, there are several resources to use that can guide parents through this process as well as plenty of fun activities for children to help them understand why tooth brushing and flossing is so important!

Promoting the benefits of good oral health is the goal of National Children’s Dental Health Month. Every February a campaign slogan is released to spread the message. This year’s slogan is “Choose Tap Water for a Sparkling Smile” which promotes drinking tap water that contains fluoride rather than sugary drinks. The American Dental Association (ADA) provides printable activity and coloring pages at the following link:

http://www.ada.org/en/public-programs/national-childrens-dental-health-month

The ADA also provides resources such as brushing charts at this website:

http://www.mouthhealthykids.org/en/activity-sheets/choose-tap-water-for-a-sparkling-smile?source=promospots&content=topstories&medium=best_drink_childs_teeth

Good oral health is so important in children and good habits should be started early. Use the countless resources available to help children learn and become excited about taking care of their teeth! There are informative tools to help parents go through this experience, too! Nobody misses out in the promotion of good oral hygiene. Mouth Healthy Kids (mouthhealthykids.org) by the American Dental Association is a wonderful source for both kids and parents. Check it out and start promoting good dental health today!

 

Sources:

http://www.ada.org/en/public-programs/national-childrens-dental-health-month

mouthhealthykids.org