Posts Tagged ‘howard county doctor’

Stress and Self Care

With the holiday season officially upon us, it’s a good idea to take a moment and consider the importance of self care. While it’s true that the concept of self-care is something that’s discussed ad nauseum this time of year, that doesn’t change the fact that stress can be just as detrimental to your health as poor eating or smoking.

How Stress Hurts Us

  1. Stress can physically damage your heart. According to the American Institute of Stress, the incidence rate of heart attacks increases after major stress events, such as hurricanes or earthquakes. Additionally, a Swedish 5-yr study concluded that stress leads to an increase in instances of angina, high blood pressure, and stroke.
  2. Stress leads to weight gain. Researchers at the University of Miami found that people who find themselves in chronically stressful situations tend to consume up to 40% more food than normal.
  3. High stress is a physical trigger, which means your immune system suffers. This means that you’re more susceptible to colds, infections, and the flu. Additionally, stress can lead to an increase in headaches, digestive malfunction, and emotional distress.


Ways to Take Care

It’s all well and good to know you need to take care of yourself, but it can feel impossible this time of year. There are presents to buy, meals to make, trips to take, and family gatherings to attend. How on earth can we be expected to fit in any time for self care?! Here are a few things you can sneak in between all the errands, letting you take care of everyone else – and yourself – all at the same time.

  1. 5 minute meditation. Insight, which is free and available for all platforms, provides timers and a large library of visualizations. Whether you are trying to eat mindfully, cut yourself some slack, or forgive a family member, there is something to help you get where you need to go.
  2. Pop a heat wrap in the microwave and sit with it around your neck for 10 minutes. While you sit, do something pleasurable: play a game on your phone, watch a funny Youtube, call a friend. Do not work on your to-do list.
  3. 10 minute HIT workout. High Intensity Workouts accomplish a whole lot in a small amount of time. In just ten minutes, you can work out your whole body and work up quite a sweat. These can be done with bodyweight exercises, so you don’t need to find time to get to the gym. Here are some examples to get you started:


Let’s Keep Those Lungs Healthy

You might know that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, but October is also Healthy Lung Month. As the temperature drops and seasonal allergies kick up, it’s the perfect time of year to give our lungs a little TLC.

Why it Matters 

COPD is the 3rd leading cause of death in the US. Currently, it’s estimated there are 24 million un-diagnosed cases and only 11 million diagnosed (ALA).

Pollutants and cigarette smoke are bad for everyone, but women are especially vulnerable.

Lung Cancer is the leading cancer in the US – causing more deaths than colorectal, breast, and prostate combined.

Symptoms to Pay Attention to (and tell us about) 

A cough that has lasted more than 3 weeks.

Shortness of breath even without heavy activity

Chest pain that’s lasted more than 2 weeks – especially if it’s caused by coughing

Mucus that has lasted more than 3 weeks


Healthy Lung Maintenance

If you smoke, please stop. We know it can be hard, and we would be happy to help you with smoking cessation counseling. It doesn’t matter how clear the air around you is, if you’re smoking, your lungs are going to suffer for it.

Be mindful of pollutants. Some of us are more sensitive to one thing over another (car exhaust versus industrial cleaners, for example). Listen to your body and try to avoid those things that trigger you. If you can’t avoid them, head over to your local hardware store and invest in a quality face mask.

Work your lungs out. Try to get daily aerobic exercise of some kind; walking, biking, and swimming are all low-impact ways to help your lungs reach their full capacity and strengthen their overall performance.


For more information, please view these resources:

Prevention Tips for Common School Ailments

School is officially back in session. So, it’s pretty likely that you – or someone you know – now has a child in school. With having to keep track of homework, sports schedules, and play dates, it can all get overwhelming. Fast. Here are the most common injuries/illness as well as some tips to avoid them.

Common Injuries: 

Between recess and physical education classes, the opportunities for injury abound. Given that students in elementary school and middle school are still growing, they are particularly at risk for breaks. What may seem like a sprained ankle might actually be a growth plate fracture. So, it’s important to see your doctor, and potentially an orthopedist, asap.

But, while you’re waiting for the appointment, you can use the RICE pain management program: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. You should also feel free to use children’s ibuprofen to help with the swelling.

Head Lice 

While the occasional injury may be unavoidable, lice can be avoided with the right rules in place. Teach your child to avoid sharing hats, combs, or pillows, and they’ll avoid the lion’s share of exposure. However, sometimes accidents do happen. If so, remember that lice are not the end of the world. For an overview of OTC treatments and their protocols, go here:

Pink Eye 

This can be tricky because red eyes can be just as easily due to sleep deprivation or allergies; as a result, pink eye is one of the most contagious illnesses during the school year. To avoid it, practice good hand-washing hygiene, avoid sharing towels, pillows, or eye makeup. If you think you have pink-eye, or if someone close to you has it, avoid touching your eyes with your hands and toss any potentially contaminated makeup or personal care products. And, of course, come see us for proper diagnosis and treament.


A Happy and Healthy Labor Day

As we say goodbye to summer with our Labor Day hoorahs, it can be easier to justify taking the day off from your health and wellness goals. But you don’t have to sacrifice your wellness gains in order to enjoy the day. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind:

Tip #1

Don’t skip meals. It can be tempting to save your calories for the big barbecue, but you’re far more likely to over-indulge if you want into a buffet with your low blood sugar and a hangry attitude.

Tip #2

Stay hydrated. Oftentimes, when we’re thirsty we mistake the signal for hunger. Make sure you drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids to set yourself up for the most success.

Tip #3

If you’re a meat-eater, stick to hamburgers and chicken instead of hot dogs. The average hot dog has over 500 mg of sodium!

Tip #4

Be mindful of the heat. We know most of you are pros at watching out for sunburn, but keep the heat in mind when you plan your alcohol consumption. Drinking alcohol in the heat can lead to quicker dehydration, and it can increase your risk of heat exhaustion and stroke. So, if you’re planning on imbibing, try to do so in the shade. Additionally, try to keep your drinking to a minimum between the hours of 12-3.

Tip #5

Find ways to enjoy yourself. If you’re trying to cut calories but have a wicked sweet tooth, sub out watermelon or greek yogurt for baked goods. Love fried food? Try some portabello mushrooms or zucchini. Love your plate slathered in barbecue sauce? Try to go for a long walk in the morning, or commit to swimming in the afternoon.

Whatever you do, we hope you’ll do it safely and have a wonderful Labor Day weekend.