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Racing to bed for better performance

 

World-class triathletes incorporate sleep in daily training regime

Stockwell with her Purple Star and her Sleep Number bed.

Stockwell with her Purple Star and her Sleep Number bed.

(NAPS)—Swim…bike…run… sleep? Yes, that’s right. World-class triathletes Gwen Jorgensen and Melissa Stockwell say that sleep is as important as their training and nutrition routines.

Jorgensen and Stockwell represent the U.S. while competing against the world’s best athletes. Both agree that sleep is integral to their athletic performance and rely on Sleep Number® beds to ensure individualized comfort.

They’ve had very busy competitive seasons and both athletes will represent the United States at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio this summer. Jorgensen, a two-time world champion, has secured multiple World Triathlon Series wins, while Stockwell is a U.S. veteran, mom, Paralympian and three-time world champion. Given the pressure and the travel, you’d think they may want to skimp on sleep to get the most out of every training opportunity…but you’d be wrong.

Jorgensen training for her 2016 race season.

Jorgensen training for her 2016 race season.

The latest sleep science is clear: sleep optimizes performance. A study by Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory, published in SLEEP, showed that Stanford University basketball players were able to improve performance by increasing the amount of sleep they got each night. After an initial two- to four-week period of normal sleep, players were asked to increase sleep to 10 hours each night for five to seven weeks. The additional sleep resulted in faster timed sprints, improved shooting accuracy and decreased reaction times. With the additional sleep, subjects reported improved physical and mental well-being during practices and games.

“Sleep is often overlooked in training. I take my sleep very seriously when I’m preparing for a triathlon, it’s another discipline of my training,” said Jorgensen. In addition to prioritizing eight hours of shut-eye at night, Jorgensen schedules naps into her triathlon training plan to ensure her body is recovering properly. “I nap 30 minutes or less, six times a week,” she explained.

Jorgensen also loves the biometric sleep data provided by SleepIQ® technology, which is integrated into her Sleep Number bed. “I am so intrigued that my bed can track my sleep; not only do I know my biometrics—like heart rate and breathing rate—it also offers tips to help me sleep better; like a personal sleep coach!” she said. “Knowing how I slept helps me listen to my body and adjust when I need to rest or push myself in training.”

Stockwell also relies on her bed to deliver the sleep she needs in order to maximize her performance in the water, on the bike and on the road. “Our Sleep Number bed lets my husband and I individualize our comfort—to set separate Sleep Number settings. It has been wonderful to adjust the comfort of my bed as my training intensifies, and we can both sleep comfortably,” said Stockwell.

As these athletes gear up for this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, they rest assured knowing that their individualized, comfortable sleep is contributing to their training routine.

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West Nile Virus found in mosquitoes in Kent County 

 

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) Environmental Health division found the first positive specimens of West Nile virus this summer in the mosquito population. The infected mosquitoes were discovered in zip code 49506, which includes parts of southeast Grand Rapids and East Grand Rapids. This is not a human case; no human cases have been reported to KCHD.

This year in June, KCHD started capturing and testing mosquitoes in ten traps strategically placed throughout the County. These devices called “Gravid traps” collect mosquitoes that are then tested for the virus. The surveillance is possible thanks to a grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Kent County has received the State grant three years in a row. This surveillance allows the County to alert residents to step up prevention measures.

“Finding West Nile virus in one zip code does not mean that it is confined to that area,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer with KCHD. “The virus will likely be present in other neighboring zip codes to some degree, and the risk remains until at least the first frost of the season. We want people to be aware that they can greatly reduce their own risks by taking some simple precautions.”

The City of Grand Rapids said that it is beginning aggressive treatment to reduce the possibility of a widespread West Nile outbreak. Monday the City began treating identified areas with larvicide pellets into catch basins and areas of pooled still water.

Prevention is critical in the fight against West Nile, an illness that can be deadly in some people, especially those with weakened immune systems and the elderly. KCHD recommends wearing a mosquito repellant that contains 10-35 percent DEET, wearing light colored clothing and staying indoors during dusk. You can help stop mosquitoes from breeding by removing any standing water in your yard and keeping lawns and shrubs cut. Following these tips can be helpful in fighting other mosquito-borne illnesses as well.

 

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Critical blood shortage: Red Cross urges blood and platelet donors to give now 

 

LANSING, Mich.—While thousands of people from across the country responded to the emergency request for blood and platelet donations issued by the American Red Cross in early July, a critical blood shortage remains. The Red Cross urges eligible donors to give now to help ensure blood is available throughout the rest of the summer to meet patient needs.

At times, blood and platelets are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in, which impacts the ability to rebuild the blood supply. Right now, the Red Cross has less than a five-day blood supply on hand. The Red Cross strives to have a five-day supply at all times to meet the needs of patients every day and be prepared for emergencies that may require significant volumes of donated blood products.

“The Red Cross continues to have an emergency need for blood and platelet donors to give now and help save patient lives,” said Todd Kulman, External Communications Manager of the Great Lakes Blood Services Region. “We are grateful for those who have already stepped up this summer to give and want to remind those who are eligible that hospital patients are still counting on them to roll up a sleeve.”

Every two seconds

In the U.S., every two seconds someone like Ray Poulin needs blood or platelets. Poulin’s liver and kidneys failed following a serious blood infection. The situation became urgent when his liver hemorrhaged. He was given a 10 percent chance of survival. After receiving 77 units of blood, Poulin defied the odds.

“There was a lot that went into saving my life, but if the blood wasn’t available when I needed it, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Poulin.

Blood and platelets are needed for many different reasons. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all need blood.

All blood types urgently needed

Donors of all blood types are urgently needed to help restock the shelves. The Red Cross is thanking those who come in to donate blood or platelets between July 25 and Aug. 31 by emailing them a $5 Amazon.com gift card claim code.

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Blood donor app (redcross.org/bloodapp), visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of an online health history questionnaire (redcrossblood.org/rapidpass) are encouraged to help reduce wait times.

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Loss of spouse event

 

Registration is now open for a free Loss of a Spouse event, presented by Hospice of Michigan, for anyone experiencing the loss of a spouse or life partner in the Grand Rapids area. The event will be held 2-3:30 p.m. on Aug. 9 at the Hospice of Michigan office located at 989 Spaulding SE, Ada. Guest speaker Ron Gries will share excerpts from his book Through Death to Life and lead a discussion. By sharing the challenges of his journey of grief, Gries offers hope and encouragement to others.

All members of the community are welcome to attend the Loss of a Spouse event free of charge, regardless of whether their loved one received services through Hospice of Michigan. To register, contact Sue Glover at 616.356.5255. For information on the event and other services Hospice of Michigan offers to the community, visit http://www.hom.org/for-patients-and-loved-ones/grief-support-groups.

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First human case of West Nile virus for 2016 confirmed in MI

HEA-WestNile-mosquito

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) confirmed on July 22 the state’s first human case of West Nile virus (WNV) for 2016. The resident is an older adult from Livingston County and is currently recovering.

“Hot, dry summers are ideal for the mosquito that transmits West Nile virus, and this case is an important reminder to stay vigilant against mosquito bites throughout the summer,” said Dr. Eden Wells, Chief Medical Executive at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “All residents older than six months of age should use repellent and take extra care during peak mosquito-biting hours between dusk and dawn.”

To date, 13 birds have tested positive for WNV so far this season, and 3 WNV positive mosquito pools have been detected in Oakland and Saginaw counties. Infected birds and mosquitoes can provide an early warning of WNV activity in a community. For the most current information on mosquito-borne virus activity in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/westnilevirus.

Residents can stay healthy by using simple, effective strategies to protect themselves and their families by reading and following all repellant label directions. The following steps are recommended to avoid WNV:

  • Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes lay eggs.
  • Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.
  • Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other EPA approved product to exposed skin or clothing, and always following the manufacturer’s directions for use.
  • Wear light colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.

Most people who become infected with West Nile virus will not develop any symptoms of illness. However, some become sick three to 15 days after exposure. About one-in-five infected persons will have mild illness with fever, and about one in 150 infected people will become severely ill.

Mild illness may include headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting diarrhea, or rash. Severe symptoms of WNV are associated with encephalitis or meningitis, and may include: include stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, muscle weakness, convulsions and paralysis. People 50 and older are more susceptible to severe WNV disease symptoms.

For more information and surveillance activity about WNV, visit www.michigan.gov/westnilevirus.

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Tell your kids: go out and play

Kids need a well-rounded diet of play to develop into well-rounded adults.

Kids need a well-rounded diet of play to develop into well-rounded adults.

(NAPS)—The next time you tell your children to stop playing and hit the books, you may want to think again. The Genius of Play, a movement to bring more play into kids’ lives, wants you to know that playtime is critical to healthy child development. Through play, kids build physical skills, improve cognitive abilities, learn communication and social skills, process and express emotions, and increase creativity.

Parenting expert and author Meredith Sinclair, M.Ed., offers four fun tips to help parents encourage more playtime every day.

  • Look for opportunities to make chores or activities you already do with your kids more playful. For example, grocery shopping can be a great chance to play “I Spy,” or you can make flash card drawings of items you want your child to help you find. When you’re doing the laundry, have your child roll the socks and make it a basketball -challenge.
  • Create a simple “Pops of Playfulness” jar for those moments when there’s “nothing to do.” Fill a mason jar with slips of paper that say such things as “tell us your best joke,” “pillow fight!” or “five-minute puppet show.” Whenever you need a spontaneous spark of playfulness, simply pull one from the jar and jump in.
  • Make a time for a playdate. Whether it’s playing with friends or family, playdates are an important part of childhood—a time when your children can learn to resolve problems and hone their social skills.
  • Check out nearby parks and playgrounds. They can be great places for your kids to make new friends and learn about other cultures. Don’t worry about language barriers. The language of play is universal.

Research shows that play is essential for kids to reach developmental milestones and learn. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children spend 60 minutes daily engaged in open-ended, unstructured play.

Here are three amazing facts about play:

  1. Play enhances the progress of early development from 33 percent to 67 percent by improving language and reducing social and emotional problems.
  2. Children with access to a variety of toys were found to reach higher levels of intellectual achievement, regardless of the children’s sex, race or social class.
  3. Research points to a direct correlation between play and stress reduction.

It’s Child’s Play: Great Ideas and Resources for Parents

Parents and other caretakers can get expert advice, play tips and ideas based on their children’s ages and developmental stages from www.thegeniusofplay.org. Created with the mission to help raise happier, healthier and more successful generations through the power of play, the Genius of Play website and social media channels show how to help kids build confidence, creativity, critical thinking and other skills that will serve them throughout their lives.

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Gym-free fitness ideas anyone can do

HEA-Gym-free-fitness

(BPT) – Visiting a gym to lift weights or take a class is great for your health. However, busy schedules, tight budgets and simply not feeling like the gym environment is for you are reasons that frequently cause people to stop going. Fortunately, being fit doesn’t require the gym!

Tavis Piattoly, a sports dietitian, expert nutritionist and co-founder of My Sports Dietitian, offers some no-fuss ideas for staying healthy without the gym.

Inside the home
Stuck inside? No problem. Try some squats or, if mobility is an issue, squat to a chair. Push-ups are another classic, highly effective option. If regular push-ups aren’t an option, do them from your knees or against the wall. Other amazing exercises: lunges around the house, shoulder presses with dumbbells, jumping rope, jumping jacks, running in place, planks and sit-ups.

Outside in nature
Being out in the fresh air is a great escape that offers loads of fitness possibilities. Try hiking, paddle boarding, kayaking, skiing, fishing, mountain biking or whatever else peaks your curiosity. Simply taking a walk around the yard or block is beneficial, too.

At the office
Overcome the sedentary office lifestyle by making time for fitness. Try taking the stairs every day and park far away so you walk to the door. Then, use a 5-minute break every hour to do something active such as chair squats or seated leg raises. Set an automated alert so you don’t forget.

Group fitness
Fitness can be more fun when you do it with friends or family. Play tag, organize relay races or create an obstacle course outside. Other enjoyable group fitness activities include hiking, swimming, basketball, soccer, Frisbee and bike rides.

When out and about
A busy schedule packed with errands still presents the opportunity for fitness. For example, walk or run the parking lot while kids are taking dance or music classes rather than passing the time on your smartphone.

Nutrients
A healthy balance of nutrients keeps blood sugar levels from crashing and gives you a steady source of energy. Piattoly especially recommends taking a Nordic Naturals supplement daily to get the omega-3s you need for optimal health. Extensive research has documented the health benefits of the two main omega-3s (EPA and DHA), which include not only support for a healthy heart, but also brain and cognitive function, joint mobility, eye health, pregnancy and lactation, healthy skin and hair, and a normally functioning immune response.

Balanced meals

To support fitness efforts, it’s important to eat well and regularly. The best foods for sustained energy are balanced meals of complex fiber carbohydrates, healthy fats and lean protein. Piattoly suggests eating every three to four hours. Some ideas to include in balanced meals: whole grain breads and crackers, chicken breast, legumes and fresh fruit and vegetables.

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PTSD: Not Just a Veteran’s Illness

HEA-PTSD-despairBy Mary Kuhlman, The Michigan News Connection

LANSING, Mich. Almost 25 million people in the United States are living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, according to the support group PTSD United. That includes thousands of Michiganders who have suffered a traumatic event, from crimes or natural disasters to events surrounding military service.

The diagnosis is only part of seeking help, said Dr. Matthew Friedman, senior adviser at the Veterans Administration’s National Center for PTSD.

“On the one hand, there are resilient people who meet the full diagnostic criteria for PTSD, but they can cope with the symptoms,” he said. “Then, there are other people for whom PTSD is completely debilitating.”

Friedman said treatment has advanced to include cognitive behavior therapy and medication that can help people work through their illness. While it’s normal to experience stress after a traumatic event, Friedman said you should seek professional help if it lasts longer than three months, disrupts home or work life, or you find yourself reliving the event frequently and experiencing flashbacks.

“We really want people to recognize that they’ve got PTSD and, if they’re not sure, they should see a professional who can help them sort that out—and if they do, then we have treatments that work,” he said. “People who think they have PTSD, or their loved one has PTSD, should seek treatment.”

The annual cost of anxiety disorders to society is estimated to be significantly more than $42 billion, often due to misdiagnosis and undertreatment. This includes the costs of psychiatric and nonpsychiatric medical treatment and prescription drugs, plus indirect workplace costs and mortality costs.

More information is online at ptsd.va.gov.

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State confirms case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever 

Residents reminded to protect against all tick-borne illness 

LANSING, Mich. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has confirmed a case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) in a child in Cass County. This is the first confirmed case of RMSF contracted in Michigan since 2009.

RMSF is a tick-borne disease caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii, and can be fatal if not treated promptly and correctly, even in previously healthy people. Symptoms typically include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting and muscle pain. A characteristic rash may develop a few days later. The rash typically consists of small, flat, pink, non-itchy spots on the wrists, forearms, and ankles that spreads to include the trunk, and sometimes the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. However, some people never develop the rash, or the rash may have an atypical appearance.

“Like all tick-borne illnesses, the best way to protect yourself against Rocky Mountain spotted fever is to prevent tick bites,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive of the MDHHS. “Let your doctor know right away if you develop signs of illness such as fever, rash, or body aches in the days after a tick bite or potential exposure. Early detection and treatment are essential to preventing serious health complications.”

RMSF can be challenging to diagnose because it can mimic other common diseases. Early treatment is essential to preventing serious complications, including death. If RMSF if suspected, the antibiotic doxycycline is the first line treatment for both adults and children, and should be initiated immediately.

There are a number of ticks in the United States that can transmit RMSF including the American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis, which is the most common tick encountered in Michigan. Other ticks that transmit the disease outside of Michigan are the Rocky Mountain wood tick, Dermacentor andersoni, and the brown dog tick, Rhipecephalus sanguineus.

Residents can protect themselves by using the following tips to prevent tick bites:

• Avoiding tick-infested areas. This is especially important in the spring and summer in Michigan. 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. Dogs and cats can come into contact with ticks outdoors and bring them into the home, so using tick prevention products on pets is recommended.

• Using insect repellent. Apply repellent containing DEET (20-30 percent) or Picaridin 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 RMSF Michigan Case 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 two 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, dry clothing should be tumble-dried in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. The clothes should be warm and completely dry when finished.

• Performing daily tick checks. Always check for ticks on yourself and your animals after being outdoors, even in your own yard. 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 RMSF, visit http://www.cdc.gov/rmsf/index.html. Additional tips on tick bite prevention can be found on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/avoid/index.html.

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Report could be a wake-up call for antibiotic reform

HEA-Antibiotics-in-farming

By Mary Kuhlman, Michigan News Connection

A new report calls for banning or restricting the use of antibiotics in farm animals to curb the global spread of infections.

Cameron Harsh, senior manager for organic and animal policy with the Center for Food Safety, explains continuously dosing animals creates stronger strains of bacteria, which makes antibiotics less effective at fighting infections in people.

He says the report is a wake-up call for policymakers to reform common factory farming practices.

“Producers can crowd animals, have higher stocking densities, and they’re getting animals to grow faster on less feed,” he explains. “So, in the long run, these have been misused as a tool to raise more meat and poultry products faster and more cheaply.”

According to the report from the Britain based review on Antimicrobial Resistance, some 700,000 people die each year worldwide from antibiotic-resistant infections, and that number could rise to 10 million per year by 2050.

Industry groups say they’re using antibiotics to keep animals healthy, and maintain the practice is necessary to keep costs down.

Harsh notes making sure animals have good feed, can access the outdoors and have enough space to lie down helps boost their natural immune systems.

And he says an increasing number of people are willing to pay more for drug-free meat, dairy and eggs.

“And you’re seeing a lot of companies make strong statements about antibiotic use in their supplies, and make strong commitments to reduce use,” he adds. “But transparency is going to be an important step moving forward, so that consumers can make informed food decisions in the marketplace.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has introduced guidelines that would require farmers to get antibiotics from licensed veterinarians, instead of over the counter at the local feed store, and has asked drug makers to voluntarily remove growth promotion claims from labels.

Harsh says those moves don’t go far enough.

The report can be accessed at

http://amr-review.org/sites/default/files/160518_Final%20paper_with%20cover.pdf

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