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Lose weight with tools from the USDA and NIH


Science-based technology provides users greater customizing to help reach and sustain a healthy weight

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) have partnered to add the NIH Body Weight Planner to USDA’s SuperTracker online tool (https://www.supertracker.usda.gov) as a goal-setting resource to help people achieve and stay at a healthy weight.

Created in 2011, the SuperTracker tool empowers people to build a healthier diet, manage weight, and reduce risk of chronic disease. Users can determine what and how much to eat; track foods, physical activities, and weight; and personalize with goal setting, virtual coaching, and journaling. With science-based technology drawing on years of research, the Body Weight Planner will enable SuperTracker’s more than 5.5 million registered users to tailor their plans to reach a goal weight during a specific timeframe, and maintain that weight afterward.

The math model behind the Body Weight Planner, an online tool published by NIH in 2011, was created to accurately forecast how body weight changes when people alter their diet and exercise habits. This capability was validated using data from multiple controlled studies in people.

“We originally intended the Body Weight Planner as a research tool, but so many people wanted to use it for their own weight management that we knew we needed to adapt it with more information about how to achieve a healthy lifestyle,” said Kevin Hall, Ph.D., who led creation of the Planner and is a senior investigator at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the NIH. “The Planner is a natural fit within the SuperTracker as it lets people accurately determine how many calories and how much exercise is needed to meet their personal weight-management goals.”

The Planner’s calculations reflect the discovery that the widely accepted paradigm that reducing 3,500 calories will shed one pound of weight does not account for slowing of metabolism as people change their diet and physical activities. More recently, the math model was further validated using data from a two-year calorie restriction study of 140 people. With those data, Hall and colleagues showed the model can also provide accurate measurements of calorie intake changes by tracking people’s weight. Researchers are examining how to apply this method for public use.

“We are pleased to offer a variety of interactive tools to support Americans in making healthy lifestyle changes,” said Angie Tagtow, executive director of USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, which created and manages SuperTracker. “The NIH Body Weight Planner helps consumers make a plan to reach their goals on their timeline, and SuperTracker helps them achieve it.”

More than two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. Maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent complications related to overweight and obesity such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.

“NIH’s collaboration with USDA allows the public to quickly reap the benefits of the latest medical research results,” said NIDDK Director Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D. “Sharing resources and expertise lets us get out important information as efficiently as possible, empowering people to take charge of their weight and their health.”

The NIDDK, a component of the NIH, conducts and supports research on diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutrition and obesity; and kidney, urologic and hematologic diseases. Spanning the full spectrum of medicine and afflicting people of all ages and ethnic groups, these diseases encompass some of the most common, severe and disabling conditions affecting Americans. For more information about the NIDDK and its programs, see www.niddk.nih.gov.

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Regrets Spoken at end-of-life


“I wish I would have made amends with my sister.”

“We always said we would get married, we just never got around to it.”

“I always said I would finish my degree when I had more time. Now time is running out.”

Regrets. While many try to live without them, they have a way of creeping up. But it does not have to be too late to rid your life of regret.

Marnie Squire, social worker with Hospice of Michigan, explains that it is often not until patients begin hospice care that they examine their life and want to right any wrongs.

“Working through regrets at the end of life can be an important part of dying a peaceful death,” Squire says. “Hospice is about more than just the physical pain; it is about the emotional pain, too. Patients often need to work through that before they are ready to let go.””

When Hospice of Michigan begins working with a new patient, the team asks if the patient has any regrets and when regrets are shared, HOM makes addressing them a priority. This often involves all members of the hospice team: the doctor, nurse, social worker, aide, chaplain and volunteers.

“We’ve planned a lot of weddings,” Squire recalls. “We have planned baptisms, held ceremonies to honor veterans and have been a peacemaker between family members, all in an attempt to fulfill last wishes, rid the patient of regret and provide the opportunity to die a peaceful death.” ”

Squire explains that a common regret is a rift with a family member or friend. When people die, they often want to feel like they are leaving the world without feelings of contempt.

“When people realize they are nearing the end-of-life, it is common to look at past disagreements differently and reconsider the decision to cut ties with a loved one,” Squire said. “We do our best to help with this. We talk with the patient and family and determine if it is appropriate to reach out the estranged family member or friend with a phone call.”

If the patient can no longer communicate, it might be as simple as holding the phone up to the patient’s ear and letting the person on the other line talk to them. If a call is not appropriate, we can help the patient write a letter that may or may not be sent. Sometimes just getting the words out can bring the patient peace of mind.”

HOM does everything in its power to bring a patient peace as the final days draw near. Unfortunately, some regrets are too complicated or are impossible to undo.

“When we cannot fix the problem, we turn our focus from problem solving to acceptance,” said Karen Monts, director of grief support services with Hospice of Michigan. “We encourage the patient to talk about their regrets and we listen. Sometimes just sharing can bring peace. We also help patients recognize when they have done everything they can and the situation is out of their control.””

HOM not only helps patients work through their regrets, but they also help grieving families cope with remorse over things they could have done differently for their deceased loved one.

“When a loved one dies, it is common to feel like you could have or should have done things better or differently,” Monts said. “We help the grieving understand that this is a normal reaction to death. When one feels they have lost control, the normal reaction is to think about how they could have managed the situation differently.”

“We encourage the bereaved to share their feelings with a counselor or someone close to them.  We help them understand that they cannot go back and, instead, should focus on what they can do now. Sometimes the answer is writing a letter to the deceased or visiting the cemetery. Another option is to help loved ones the deceased left behind. They might be a shoulder for the spouse to cry on or help the child pay for college.””

Another regret of the bereaved is that they did not call hospice soon enough.  Many hesitate before making the call to hospice, thinking it signals they are giving up hope. But that is not the case, as Monts and others on the Hospice of Michigan team know.  What the family is doing is bringing in experienced resources who can help improve the quality of care their loved one is receiving at the end-of-life.

While regrets come in all shapes and sizes, Monts reminds people that as long as you are living, it is not too late.

“As hospice providers, we do all we can to help patients die without regrets but if you have regrets, hospice is not something to wait for,” Monts said. “Examine your life, look at what needs fixing and do your best to make it better now.””

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Feeling short of breath? It could be something serious

Pete Mulliner, PFF Patient Ambassador

Pete Mulliner, PFF Patient Ambassador

Pete Mulliner at eight months with his grandparents

Pete Mulliner at eight months with his grandparents

(BPT) – Unlike many Americans, Pete Mulliner knew of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) long before he was actually diagnosed with it. His grandfather died from pulmonary fibrosis the year Mulliner was married. “Granddad was the go-to guy in my world,” Mulliner says. “He taught me how to use tools, renovate houses, how to think clearly and logically and how to approach life.”

Three years after his grandfather’s death, Mulliner lost his great-aunt to pulmonary fibrosis. He didn’t know it at the time, but his own diagnosis of this deadly disease would come much later.

A Certificated Flight Instructor who teaches pilots to respond safely no matter what, Mulliner first began to question whether something was wrong with him in the summer of 2012. “My wife and I live on a small farm near my hometown,” he says. “I noticed that when I took a walk outdoors, I’d get out of breath. I figured I was out of shape and that I needed to walk more.”

But his concerns worsened after a common cold left him with a barking cough. He sought treatment at an urgent care center but the medications he was prescribed had little effect. They were meant to treat a cold, not IPF.

According to Dr. Gregory Cosgrove, chief medical officer of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF), misdiagnoses of the disease are common. “The symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis are non-specific and shared by many other and more common lung diseases,” he says. “As a result, patients are often misdiagnosed initially and an accurate diagnosis may be delayed by months or even years.”

Weeks after Mulliner’s first symptoms, he found himself in the ER with chest pains and an inability to breathe. “My coughing was so violent that I was pulling muscles in my chest,” he remembers. Additional physician visits and a CT scan discerned he had a lung disease but Mulliner wouldn’t learn he had IPF until he visited a pulmonologist.

He was at his daughter’s home, playing with his grandchildren, when his doctor first called and told him he had IPF. “It was like a kick in the gut,” Mulliner remembers. “I felt very alone. Then I realized I wasn’t the only one suffering from this.”

In this dark moment, Mulliner thought back to his pilot’s training. “You can’t take the pilot’s seat to wonder ‘what-if’ and ‘why me’ so I didn’t allow myself to do it then.” He went looking for support groups and found the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. “It was comforting to know that there was an advocate out there – that there was a voice speaking that much louder about the need to find a cure for this disease,” Mulliner says. “I wanted to add my voice to it. I signed up on the PFF’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages and felt an immediate sense of connection. I wasn’t so alone after all.”

Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) may occur as the result of more than 200 different interstitial lung diseases. Dr. Cosgrove says one of the biggest ways the PFF can help patients is by sorting through the confusion that exists around PF. “With education and a better understanding of the different diseases that may cause PF, patients, family members and physicians not familiar with PF are often empowered,” he says.

Mulliner has felt the benefits of the support of PFF and he’s taking his battle with IPF one day at a time. “It has put finiteness to it,” he says of how IPF has affected his life, understanding that most people with IPF die only 2-3 years after diagnosis. “I am aware there is an end coming; I’m just trying to extend it. At this point in time, if I didn’t know I had IPF, I wouldn’t know I had IPF.”

And while Mulliner lives his life, others are working to save it.

In January, the PFF announced the expansion of its PFF Care Center Network, which is comprised of medical centers with specific expertise in treating PF and IPF, collectively utilizing a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to patient care and providing access to resources and support for both patients and caregivers. With the addition of 12 more sites to the Network, there are now 21 leading medical centers in 20 states. The PFF will further expand the PFF Care Center Network as funding permits, with the intention of adding additional sites to the Network later this year.

“As a leading advocate for the pulmonary fibrosis community, we are dedicated to advancing the care of people living with this deadly disease, and this starts with providing greater access to experienced care teams. The PFF Care Center Network fosters collaboration between sites and the sharing of best practices,” Dr. Cosgrove says. The PFF offers up-to-date information online as part of the PFF Patient Communication Center and in print, guidance on where to find treatment and support and information on regional and national events.

To learn more about the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, the PFF Care Center Network and the facilities involved, visit PulmonaryFibrosis.org.

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From reluctance to relief: Hospice offers peace of mind

Patricia Van Pelt with a photo of her parents. Hospice made a difference when dealing with her father’s death.

Patricia Van Pelt with a photo of her parents. Hospice made a difference when dealing with her father’s death.

When Harvey Van Pelt was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2012, his daughters knew he had a long and difficult fight ahead of him but the diagnosis was one that would likely kill him.

Patricia and her four siblings set out on a two-year journey with their then 84-year-old father to battle back the disease. He endured rounds of chemo and radiation, doctor visits and hospital stays that kept him from his Port Huron home and from the bedside of his wife of 60-plus years, Hazel, who was waging own struggle against the ravages of Alzheimer’s.

In fall 2014, Patricia, Nancy, Mary, Susan and John realized that the treatment for their father’s cancer had actually become worse than the disease itself. After talking with their father, they made the incredibly difficult decision to stop treatment but they still were not ready for hospice.

“We were still very reluctant to call hospice,” recalls Patricia, senior vice president and affiliate head of retail banking at Fifth Third Bank, who now lives in Grand Rapids. “You have to be ready to admit that you have reached the end. In the final few weeks, though, we could no longer keep my father comfortable. That tipping point finally pushed our decision. We wanted him to be comfortable. He did not want to die in a hospital with tubes everywhere. Our only option was to try hospice, so that is what we did.”

The family noticed an immediate difference in their father. Their Hospice of Michigan nurse brought in a different bed with a foam egg crate so Harvey would be more comfortable. The nurse started pain management, which provided the comfort that Patricia and her siblings could no longer give.

Their Hospice of Michigan nurse also answered their questions about what happens to the body at end of life, giving them signs to watch for in their father.  Together, they made decisions about who to contact when he died, what funeral home to call and how the service would be handled.

“Having hospice really helped ease my father’s suffering toward the end,” Patricia recalled. “Just as important, though, it gave the family support and helped us understand what was going to happen when he passed. Those last few days were very difficult, but when it ended, we made one phone call and had someone step in to handle a lot of those details. The last thing you want to be worried about at that moment are the details.  You want to be with your family.”

Less than 18 months later, Patricia and her siblings found themselves facing the end of their mother’s life, although they did not know it at the time. As is often the case with Alzheimer’s, Hazel’s decline was long and slow. Her health had peaks and valleys, including a last bout of pneumonia.

When they noticed their mother was developing a sore on her leg, they agreed they needed to get an egg crate for her, but when they started calling around, they realized the closest place was a 90-minute drive.

Hazel Van Pelt died the following day, too quickly for Patricia and her siblings to call hospice. The difference in the deaths of her parents was startling, Patricia recalled.

“My mother ended up passing much quicker than we imagined she would,” Patricia remembered. “We were faced with not knowing what to do next. We did not have hospice to call, so we had to call the sheriff or 911. The ambulance had to come out to check my mother’s vital signs and see if they could revive her before pronouncing her dead. It was hours before the funeral home could remove her body. There were things that had to happen that I did not even realize because HOM handled them with my dad. I did not realize the difference until I had these two experiences side by side.”

Hospice of Michigan nurse Melody Walker knows firsthand how tough it is to make that call. Her father died in hospice care a year after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

“One of our final conversations was when he asked me, ‘How do you know when it is time to stop all this nonsense?’” Melody recalled. “I told him, as I tell all my patients and families, ‘you will know in your heart.’ Everyone’s journey is their own. All the things you have been through will impact that final journey.  As a hospice nurse, I cannot add more days to someone’s life but I can do my best to add more life to their days.”

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Spring clean your health


(BPT) – Spring is a time to reevaluate your daily routine and reduce any unnecessary clutter from your life. It is also a time to make positive changes for a happy and healthier lifestyle.

Simple changes, such as resetting your sleep pattern, updating your oral care routine and refreshing your diet can result in big changes to your overall well-being. To inspire consumers and their families to get a healthy start to spring, Dr. Nancy Simpkins, Internist and Medical Advisor for the State of New Jersey, shares a few healthful tips on behalf of Colgate Total:

Get moving outside: Spring is a great time to be outdoors, so ease back into your exercise routine with daily walks outside. This will help reduce stress and help lower your risk of heart disease and hypertension. Get creative and use apps to track and challenge your friends to walk at least 10,000 steps a day.

Reset your sleep pattern: With the arrival of spring come longer days and more daylight. Beat fatigue by setting a goal to keep your waking and bedtime consistent, even on weekends. This will help avoid mid-day burnouts while keeping your body in sync with its natural rhythms.

Think about your gum health: Most people don’t realize that proper oral hygiene can be a good step toward helping to improve their overall health. In addition to brushing your teeth, make sure to take good care of your gums – they’re the foundation of a healthy mouth. Switch up your daily oral care routine by using Colgate Total’s New Gum Health Mouthwash after brushing. It has an advanced germ-fighting formula (versus non-antibacterial mouthwash) that forms a protective shield along the gum line and protects against bacteria that can cause gingivitis.

Travel healthy and be prepared: As you begin to make plans for spring and summer travel, be sure to schedule your family doctor and dentist appointments and address any issues before your trip. Compile a list of medications, unique health issues or history, and physician contact information. This will be important and save time if you end up needing healthcare while you’re away.

Refresh your diet: Simple changes to your diet can bring more sustained energy and knock off a few pounds. Swap out snacks like potato chips with banana chips and replace red meat with lean protein from turkey and chicken. Also look to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season into your diet.

With these small changes to your lifestyle, you can upgrade your health for a better you. For more information on ways to spring clean your health and Colgate Total’s New Gum Health Mouthwash, visit www.ColgateTotal.com.

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Six strategies to boost your weight loss momentum


(BPT) – The rules of weight loss are constantly changing-eat this, don’t eat that, take this supplement and do this exercise routine. While eating less and exercising more sounds like a simple formula, finding the right weight loss strategy isn’t always as easy as it seems.

Paul Kriegler, registered dietitian with Life Time—The Healthy Way of Life Company, knows the latest trends and one-size fits all approaches are rarely the key to success. “Over the years, I’ve coached many clients who were diligent and focused and who showed up and gave their full effort, but some small aspect of their mindset or lifestyle became a hang-up,” he says. “Sometimes an element not even related to their health was holding them back.”

Kriegler notes that getting creative with your weight loss strategy will help you enjoy the full measure of your success and offers six strategies to help drive your weight loss goals and break through those hang-ups.

1. Give the scale a break. Don’t center your weight loss success on a number. A simple scale doesn’t come close to measuring the significant changes happening in your body during your weight loss journey. Keeping track of your daily weight may complicate your strategy as you experience daily highs and lows. Instead of focusing on a number each day, notice changes in how your clothes are feeling, and how you feel and move overall.

2. Adjust your media intake. Media is one of the biggest sources for weight loss and health advice, but these messages are typically generalized and based on observational research rather than proven methods and techniques. This can become frustrating and leave a negative impact on your weight loss success. Social media can also leave you feeling defeated. Take a break from the media and pay attention only to what truly inspires you to be your healthiest self.

3. Let your closet be a source of motivation. New clothes are exciting and you almost always want to wear them right away. But if you can’t, allow that wardrobe to fuel the power of your weight loss goals. Additionally, if you have favorite outfits that are a size or two bigger than they should be, consider donating them to nudge yourself in the right direction.

4. Pamper yourself. Whether it’s a manicure or a massage, some type of weekly or monthly reward for your hard work is well-deserved and also recommended as part of a healthy lifestyle. Rather than treating yourself with food as a reward, pamper yourself in other ways and reflect on how far you’ve come.

5. Take it one hour at a time. When you’re starting out, losing weight can seem like an overwhelming aspiration. Breaking it down into smaller increments can make it more manageable. Start by having one “healthy hour.” Take the stairs, take a lap around the office at work, or ask for a salad instead of fries with your meal at lunch. As you spend more and more “healthy hours,” pretty soon your entire week will become healthier. Focus on improving the present rather than the future.

6. Take pictures to document the process. While it may seem daunting at first, documenting your visual transformation can be a great source of motivation in weight loss. Not only do pictures provide important feedback, but you’ll be able to showcase the fun you’re having while gaining strength and energy living the healthy way of life.

Your individual idiosyncrasies and characteristics make you unique, so not everyone’s weight loss strategy will be the same. Sometimes it’s the unexpected offbeat methods that are key to boosting your weight loss momentum.

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Dangers of unattended children in cars


As warmer weather arrives, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Michigan State Police (MSP) and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson are reminding parents and caregivers to be diligent and never leave children alone in vehicles. Last year, at least 30 children died from heatstroke in vehicles in states all across the country. One of these deaths happened in Michigan.

“Every year there are heartbreaking child fatalities related to heatstroke in vehicles, even in moderate temperatures,” said Nick Lyon, director of the MDHHS. “Heat Stroke Prevention Awareness Day is an opportunity to remind everyone to help protect kids by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute.”

Children can get overheated in cars even with seemingly mild temperatures outside, as the temperatures inside a car can rise as quickly as 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes. Temperatures inside a car can easily be double the temperature outside. Additionally, a child’s body heats up three to five times faster than adult’s, making them more susceptible to heatstroke.

“It takes just a short time for a car to become dangerously hot for a child,” Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said. “Never leave your child alone in a car, and alert authorities if you see children by themselves in a hot car.”

Too many children have lost their lives to this preventable tragedy. Together, we can cut down the number of deaths and near misses by remembering to ACT.

• A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own.

• C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.

• T: Take action. If you see or hear a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.

“Heatstroke is a preventable tragedy,” said MSP Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue. “To save lives we must raise awareness of the need to ACT and make sure that parents and caregivers understand that leaving a child alone in a vehicle for any period of time is extremely dangerous.”

Safe Kids Coalitions across the state are working hard in their communities to increase awareness.  For more information and safety tips about preventing child heatstroke deaths, visit www.safekids.org/heatstroke.

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Fight the bite


As people spend more time outdoors and the weather continues to warm, it is important to take precautions against mosquito and tick bites. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) would like to urge all residents, especially those recreating outdoors and children at camps, to protect themselves from mosquito and tick-borne diseases.

Seasonal activity varies from year to year, but mosquitoes in Michigan can carry illnesses such as West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and ticks can carry illnesses such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Mosquito and tick-borne diseases can cause mild symptoms, severe infections requiring hospitalization, and even death.

“One bite from an infected mosquito can lead to a severe and possibly life-altering illness,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive for MDHHS.  “Preventing bites from mosquitoes is the key to protection.”

Nationally in 2014, there were 2,122 WNV cases and 85 deaths reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). WNV cases have been seen every summer in Michigan since 2002.  Those with the highest risk of illness caused by WNV are adults 50 and older.

In addition to presenting a greater risk for older people, EEE is more likely to cause illness in children 15 years of age or younger. People in outdoor occupations like construction and landscaping are at increased risk of getting bitten by an infected mosquito, but the mosquito that carries WNV also likes to get indoors.

Protection against mosquito-borne disease is as easy as remembering to take these key steps:

• Avoid mosquito bites: Use insect repellent when outdoors especially from dusk to dawn. Look for EPA-labeled products containing active ingredients, such as DEET, Picaridin (KBR3023), or oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-menthane 3,8-diol). Reapply as needed according to label directions. Use nets or fans around outdoor eating areas to keep mosquitoes away.

• Mosquito-proof homes: Fix or install window and door screens and cover or eliminate empty containers with standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs.

• Help your community: Report dead birds to Michigan’s Emerging Diseases website (www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases) to help track WNV and support community-based mosquito control programs.

• Vaccinate horses against WNV and Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus.

Michigan is also home to a number of tick species that will bite people. Ticks are typically found in wooded or brushy areas with tall grass and leaf litter. The ticks mostly commonly encountered by people in Michigan include the American dog tick, which can carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and the blacklegged tick, which can spread a number of human illnesses, including Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is considered to be an emerging disease due to the expansion of tick populations in Michigan’s western Upper and Lower Peninsulas and is the most common tick-borne disease reported in the state, with 128 human cases reported in 2014, the second highest number ever seen in Michigan. The period from June to September is of concern because of the poppy-seed sized nymphal-stage tick, which is responsible for much of the Lyme disease in the U.S. While rare, human cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever have also been documented in Michigan.

Many tick-borne diseases have similar symptoms. See your healthcare provider if you develop signs of illness such as a fever, body aches and/or rash in the days after receiving a tick bite or recreating in tick habitat. Early recognition and treatment can decrease the chance of serious complications. You can prevent tick bites by:

• Avoiding tick-infested areas. This is especially important in May, June, and July. If you are in tick infested areas, walk in the center of trails to avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter at trail edges.

• Using insect repellent. Spray repellent containing a 20 percent concentration of DEET or Picaridin on clothes and on exposed skin. You can also treat clothes (especially pants, socks, and shoes) with permethrin, which kills ticks on contact or buy clothes that are pre-treated. Permethrin can also be used on tents and some camping gear. Do not use permethrin directly on skin. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying any repellents.

• Bathing or showering. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within 2 hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you. Ticks can get a ride indoors on your clothes. After being outdoors, wash and dry clothing at a high temperature to kill any ticks that may remain on clothing.

• Performing daily tick checks. Always check for ticks after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Because ticks must usually be attached for at least a day before they can transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, early removal can reduce the risk of infection. Inspect all body surfaces carefully, and remove attached ticks with tweezers. Grasp the tick firmly and as closely to the skin as possible. With a steady motion, pull the tick’s body away from the skin. Do not be alarmed if the tick’s mouthparts remain in the skin. Cleanse the area with an antiseptic.

For more information about the diseases carried by mosquitoes and ticks, visit www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases, or the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov. 

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New health service for students


N-CherryHealth-logoBy Judy Reed

Parents of middle and high school students at Cedar Springs Public Schools now have a new option to address their kids’ medical needs. Cherry Health received a grant to open a new office at Red Hawk Elementary and now offers services to students ages 10-21 and their siblings. The Cedar Springs School Health Center opened April 13.

According to site manager and nurse Kristina Paliwoda, they offer a pediatrician, registered nurse, counselor/social worker, and support staff. They do well-child checks, sports physicals, treat minor illnesses, rashes, vaccinations, and provide assistance with chronic health issues such as asthma, diabetes, etc. They can also do blood draws, urine testing, write prescriptions and phone them in, and make referrals for urgent care if needed.

Their onsite social worker offers individual counseling or family counseling, if that’s appropriate.

Also offered is onsite Medicaid enrollment for the child and family.

“We provide services regardless of the ability to pay,” explained Paliwoda. “If they have insurance, we will bill it. If not, we will charge it to the grant.”

Students could be referred for things that happen during the school day, or parents can call for appointments. “We are open 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and we will be open year-round, even during the summer months,” said Paliwoda.

Grant funding is primarily for the adolescent population. But Paliwoda said that once an adolescent is a patient, their younger siblings could be seen there also. “It’s just part of the grant,” she said.

Paliwoda said that Cedar Springs is the first school outside of Grand Rapids Public Schools to have this service by Cherry Health.

To make an appointment or get more information, call 616-696-3470.

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Do your supplements stack up? 


HEA-Supplements4 tips to ensure they make the grade

(BPT) – Maintaining a healthy diet that includes all the recommended vitamins and nutrients can be a challenge, particularly when the current food landscape is full of overly processed foods that rarely contain essential nutrients. Supplements can provide a great way to enhance a healthy diet with those elements you might be missing, but how do you go about figuring out what you need?

“Everyone stands to benefit from adding high quality supplements to their diets,” says Registered Dietitian Paul Kriegler, Life Time weight loss and training supplementation expert. “The supplement industry, which is regulated by the FDA, though loosely, has a tarnished reputation with many consumers. There are irresponsible manufacturers who routinely make low quality products with inflated claims. However, there are also highly-reputable supplement producers who routinely earn the support and praise of medical professionals and fitness enthusiasts alike; the trick is finding out which companies are out for profits and which are focused on your health.”

When looking for supplements, keep these tips from Kriegler in mind, so you know you’re getting exactly what you need:

1. Read the label – Nutrient forms can vary dramatically from one like product to another. The nutrient form not only determines the price of a product, but also influences whether that nutrient will be absorbed or not. After all, if you don’t absorb what you’re taking, you throw away a lot more money than when you spend more for something that actually works. Look for methylcobalamin over cyancobalamin, natural folate (5-methyl-tetra-hydro-folate) over folic acid, and mineral bisglycinates over cheaper carbonate and oxide forms.

2. Know your needs – Each body functions differently and has different supplemental needs. Life Time Fitness offers a variety of lab tests and assessments that give valuable insight into how your body operates. On-site registered dietitians can evaluate results to determine which supplements would best suit your body composition, diet, hormone, stress and sleep needs to ensure you’re supplementing accurately. Cliff Edberg, registered dietitian at Life Time, notes that you are not what you eat, but what you eat, digest and absorb.

3. Look for certification – There are several certifications you can look for to ensure the supplements you buy follow a good manufacturing process and contain high quality ingredients. Certifications to look for include: Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CMPG), Therapeutic Goods of Australia (TGA), National Science Foundation (NSF) and United States Pharmacopeia (USP). For fish oil, look for International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS). In its clubs across the country and online, Life Time offers a line of branded products that carry only the highest quality, most efficacious and purest nutritional ingredients available.

4. Be wary of over-promising in the messaging – If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is when it comes to supplements promoting weight-loss miracles. Supplements are designed to enhance missing nutrients from a daily diet that the body needs. So if the label – or the commercial – is promising a huge change in your life from a simple pill, be suspicious and don’t waste your money.

In the end, Kriegler encourages men and women to eat high quality, whole foods to get the nutrients they need, adding a high-quality multivitamin to fill in where your natural diet may be lacking in addition to other supplements recommended by a registered dietitian to enhance a healthy way of life.

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