Central Counties Health Center, Healthy Lifestyle, Hydration, Men's Health, Springfield Illinois, Summer Health, Uncategorized

5 ways to stay hydrated in summer

It’s summer and that means temperatures are set to soar. If you’re working outside or spending more time outdoors with the kids during vacation, it’s important to stay hydrated or you could develop dehydration. Here are signs of dehydration to look out for and ways to help you stay hydrated during the warmer months.

Signs of dehydration include:

•    Feeling thirsty 

•    Dry mouth 

•    Feeling tired or sleepy 

•    Needing to go to the bathroom less often 

•    Headache 

•    Dizziness 

Here are ways to combat dehydration while at home, work, or on the go. 

1 Always carry a water bottle with you. If you have a bottle of water within arm’s reach, you’re more likely to stay hydrated and not get thirsty, which is an indication you are dehydrated. It is probably a good idea to drink half your body weight in ounces daily. 

Central Counties Health Center's 5 Tips for Staying Hydrated this Summer

2 Your food choices account for your intake of daily fluid. Luckily, many of the foods that are naturally rich in water are in season during the summer months, which makes them not only more accessible but affordable. Melon, cucumber, tomatoes, and strawberries are all rich in water. 

3 Keep an eye on the color of your urine. If you’re urinating every hour to two hours and your urine is a light color, you’re probably taking on sufficient water. However, if the color is darker and you’re urinating less frequently you could probably do with taking on more fluid. 

4 Coffee and alcohol are diuretics, which means they will not hydrate you. If you do choose to drink coffee or alcohol, make sure you are taking on plenty of water to counteract the effects of these drinks.

Healthy Lifestyle, Jacksonville Illinois, Men's Health, Springfield Illinois, Taylorville Illinois

Men’s Health Month

We are already half-way through 2019 (what!?) and boy, it’s been a year! January brought us National Blood Donor Month, Black History Month was in February. In March we celebrated Women, we told jokes and pulled pranks in April, and our nation honored America’s fallen Heroes in May. Oh June, what do you have in store for us? Let’s see, it’s Dairy Month, Adopt a Cat Month, Turkey Lovers Month – legit, and a plethora of other crazy and whacky holidays. Most importantly though, it is Men’s Health Month. So men, let’s talk about Y-O-U for a bit! 

The Nitty Gritty…

  • General Health: The average life expectancy for men is 76.2 years – that’s five years less than women. Why? Because men have higher death rates for all 15 leading causes of death in men and women (think heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.). 
  • NOTE: Men, MOST of your health issues are preventable by seeing a General Practitioner yearly, however, some of you don’t like taking time off of work. Seriously. According to Men’s Health Forum, because of not taking the time needed, 53% of women have seen their GP in the last three months versus 37% of men. 

Men and Mental Health – It’s Time to Talk About It: 

There are 151,781,326 men in the United States. Six million of you will be affected by depression this year alone. 

The 5 major mental health issues affecting men are: 

  • Depression – Male depression often goes undiagnosed. Symptoms in men are more likely to include irritability, fatigue, and/or loss of interest in work, hobbies and/or sex. 
  • Anxiety – Approximately 19.1 million adults ages 18-54 suffer from some form of anxiety. 
  • Bipolar Disorder (BPD) – BPD affects men and women equally. BPD and PTSD often have the same signs and symptoms. It is important you see a licensed psychiatrist who specializes in both disorders so a proper diagnosis can be given.
  • Psychosis and Schizophrenia – 3.5 million people are diagnosed with schizophrenia; 9% of those who are diagnosed are men under 30. 
  • Eating Disorders – Males account for 10% of patients with anorexia and bulimia and account for 35% of all binge eating disorders. 

Suicide is the 7th leading cause of death among men.

  • More than four times as many men die by suicide than women, in fact, in 2010 of the 38,364 reported suicides in the US, 79% of these suicides were by men. Gay and Bisexual men are also more likely to develop mental health disorders than heterosexual males and they are also at a greater risk for suicide attempts. Veterans are also at a greater risk of suicide with 22 deaths per day. 

Low levels of testosterone are correlated with depression, stress, and mood swings, especially among older men. 

Men are less likely than women to seek help for depression, substance abuse, and stressful life events due to social norms, reluctance to talk, and downplaying symptoms. 

Domestic ViolenceOne in four men will suffer from some form of domestic violence. This can include slapping, shoving, pushing, verbal & emotional violence, stalking, etc. 

NOTE: There is no shame in seeking help. Physical, verbal, and/or emotional violence is never ok. If you or someone you know is a victim of any type of domestic abuse, please reach out to someone you can trust or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help: 1-800-799-7233.

But Wait. There’s Good News…

These numbers don’t have to stay this way. Let’s take some time and see our General Practitioner on a regular basis and get consistent checkups. Use these checkups to talk to your doctor about health concerns and issues you may be having. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing violence at home; talk to your doctor if you are having thoughts of suicide, irrational outbursts of anger, or have lost interest in the things you love to do. Regular checkups could save your life. 

Other Ways to Keep your Mind & Body Healthy: 

  • Sleep – Everyone is different, but on average, adults needs seven to nine hours of sleep. Adequate sleep can help prevent diseases such as: 
    • Chronic Conditions
    • Diabetes
    • Cardiovascular Disease
    • Obesity
    • Depression
  • Move More – We need at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. 
  • Drink Water – Getting enough water every day is important for your health. Water helps regulate temperature, lubricates and cushions your joints, helps with brain function, helps control your calorie intake, and has so many more health benefits. 

Tame Your Stress – The best ways to manage your stress is through self-care:

  • Avoid drugs and alcohol 
  • Stay connected 
  • Seek help 
  • Stay active

Take care of you 

  • Toss out tobacco – Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits. It reduces your risk of cancers, lung disease, heart disease, and other smoking related illnesses. 
  • Eat to thrive – Getting enough of the good stuff is crucial. Focus on nutrients rather than calories. Fruits and veggies have many vitamins and minerals that may help protect you from chronic illness. 
  • Enjoy yourself – Participate in fun activities you enjoy every day. Take a hike, bike, get active in a sports team, relax, listen to music, visit friends and family. Look forward to each and every day. 


  • General Health Provider: 217-788-2800. Call Central Counties Health Centers and we will be happy to make an appointment for you. No insurance? No problem! We provide health services to ANYONE regardless of your ability to pay. 
  • Domestic Violence Help: If you are in immediate danger dial 9-1-1. If you feel comfortable reaching out to your physician, coworker, friend or family, please, do so immediately. If you would like to talk to the National Domestic Violence Hotline dial 1-800-799-7233.  
  • Mental Health Help: If you need immediate assistance dial 9-1-1. If you have thoughts of suicide and would like to talk to someone call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Talk to a friend, coworker, family member, pastor, or anyone you trust and please do so now – don’t wait. Talk to your physician if you are having issues with anxiety, stress, depression, and/or thoughts of suicide.                

Someone cares about you. Someone wants you here.

Kids, Springfield Illinois

FREE and affordable summer activities for the kids

Are you already dreading summer vacation and how you might keep the kids entertained? Well, we’ve put together a list of affordable activities that are right on your doorstep. 

Lincoln Library in downtown Springfield offers a host of activities during the summer that will not only keep the kids entertained but also encourage them to continue reading while they’re not in school. The Summer Reading 2019 Kickoff is on June 1 with a one-woman stunt show, door prizes, and a photo booth. You can find out more information on the Lincoln Library, The Public Library of Springfield IL Facebook page. 

The Salvation Army Clear Lake Corps and Supportive Services for Veterans are handing out free Mel-O-Cream donuts, coffee, and juice on Friday, June 7 from 8am to 11am at the Old State Capitol Plaza in downtown Springfield. 

Springfield Park District also offers a range of activities aimed at keeping the little ones entertained during summer. Movies in the Park is a popular example. On Friday, June 14 you can see Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time on the big screen at Comer Cox Park from 7pm. If you’re after daytime activities don’t forget the splash pad at Southwind Park as well as the Bike and Hikes in Washington Park every weekday evening. 

Twice every Tuesday, at 9.45am and 10.45am, for ages newborn to three years Chatham Public Library hosts Baby Talk with storytime that focuses on developing pre-literacy skills and introduces a love for books. 

One June 18 Kidzeum of Health & Science in downtown Springfield is opening up for Sensory Friendly time from 5.30pm. Lights and noises will be turned down to allow children with sensory differences and mobility issues to explore and discover the exhibits at their own pace. LINK/EBT cardholders pay just $3 per person for Kidzeum admittance Tuesday to Sunday during regular opening hours. 

Paint the Street 2019 takes place in downtown Springfield on Saturday, June 22 and is always good fun for the youngsters to explore. 

The Old Capitol Farmers Market has theme days, which includes Kids Day at the Market in July, and accepts LINK cards. At home, you can entertain them with coloring, painting, reading, and playing in the yard. 

Healthy Lifestyle, Weather

7 Sun Safety Tips

Warm weather is just around the corner (we hope!) and it’s natural to want to get outside and soak up the rays. However, too much sun can be damaging to your skin, eyes, and may cause premature wrinkling. Since May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, we thought we’d share our top tips for keeping you and your loved ones safe while you have some fun in the sun! 

  1. Cover up! When out in the sun, wear clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to try and protect as much skin as possible. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block UV light. 
  2. Seek Shade: Limit the time you are exposed to the sun, especially between 10 am and 4 pm, when the UV rays are their strongest. Try not to get sunburnt.
  3. Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps: Both can cause serious long-term skin damage and can contribute to skin cancer. 
  4. Lather up: Rub 1 to 2 table spoons of sunscreen on 15-30 minutes BEFORE you are exposed to the sun. Repeat at least every 80 minutes. Make sure you choose broad-spectrum protection with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Remember: “water resistant” does not mean “waterproof” so, if you are sweating or swimming, reapply sunscreen often. 
  5. You can get sunburn when it’s cloudy! What!? That’s right, the sun’s rays can be their harshest during cloudy and overcast days, so be sure to always wear sunscreen. 
  6. Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreen should be used on children 6 months and older.
  7. Look for changes in your skin. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, check with your doctor. 

Remember to stay hydrated during these hot summer months by drinking plenty of water throughout your day. Enjoy your time outdoors – just cover up, lather up, and keep your skin safe in the sun! 

Healthy Lifesyle, Springfield Illinois, Stress

Time to de-stress

April is Stress Awareness Month so what better excuse than to relax, unwind and de-stress. Stress can contribute to many health issues from headaches to weight and blood pressure to insomnia. Here are our top tips for avoiding stress at home and in the workplace. 

First and foremost, it’s important to keep a positive attitude. At the same time accept that there will be situations in your life that you cannot control. 

Instead of tackling issues in an aggressive manner work on being assertive. Restrain from becoming angry, defensive, or passive and instead assert your feelings and opinions. 

Learn and practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, or tai-chi. Breathing exercises, if you are stuck at your desk, can also help. 

Believe it or not, regular exercise is a great way to de-stress. Whether it’s going for a walk, playing a team sport, or taking part in an exercise class. 

Learn to say ‘no’ to requests that are likely to add stress to your life. 

Make time for yourself, your interests, or hobbies. Whether that’s reading a book, working in the yard, or going to dinner with friends. We all need time out from our daily lives. 

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Your body needs rest, especially if you are working towards a stressful event or after you have experience stress. 

Avoid alcohol, drugs, or compulsive behaviors. 

Spend time with those you enjoy the company of.

If you need to talk to someone there is always someone out there that will listen, including your doctor. It’s important to share your feelings so that we can provide support when needed. 

Central Counties Health Center, colorectal cancer, Healthy Lifestyle

March is colorectal cancer awareness month

You might be surprised to learn that colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the country and the second leading cause of cancer death. Colorectal cancer affects men and women of all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people 50 or older. However, the numbers of those diagnosed with colorectal cancer 50 or under are on the rise. More than 50,000 people die of colorectal cancer each year. 

So, what do you need to know about colorectal cancer? Well, colorectal cancer occurs in the colon or rectum. The colon is part of the large intestine or large bowel. The rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus. When discovered early on, colorectal cancer is highly treatable. 

So, what are the symptoms of colorectal cancer? Unfortunately, colorectal cancer first develops with few, if any, symptoms. Symptoms do include, however: 

Change in bowel habits: including diarrhea, constipation, a change in the consistency of your stool or your stools are narrower than usual.

Abdominal discomfort or pain: cramps, gas, feeling full, bloating, or that your bowel does not empty completely. 

Bleeding: finding blood in your stool. 

Weakness or fatigue: you may also experience weight loss, nausea, or vomiting. 

Screening is the number one way you can reduce your risk of colon cancer. If you are over 50, high risk, or have any of the above symptoms, talk to your doctor about getting checked. You are at risk if you have a family history of colorectal cancer. If you have symptoms but are under 50 and do not have a family history don’t put off speaking to your doctor. 

Flu Season, Springfield Illinois, Taylorville Illinois

Flu season isn’t over yet!

We don’t yet know if flu season has peaked. There’s still time to get the flu shot if you are at risk. Everyone six months or older should get vaccinated. Furthermore, the CDC recommends that children under two and individuals with medical conditions should also get a pneumococcal vaccination to prevent pneumonia. 

If you get the flu you’ll know about it. Flu symptoms are much worse than the common cold. They come on suddenly, whereas cold symptoms are gradual. If you have flu you can expect a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, chills, and aching muscles. If you suspect that you have the flu call your healthcare provider as they may want to prescribe antiviral drugs to help reduce the severity and duration of your illness. 

If you are still planning on getting a flu shot do so sooner rather than later because it takes 10 to 14 days for your body to develop immunity. Getting the flu shot doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get the flu but if you do it may lessen the severity of your illness. 

In addition to getting vaccinated, there are measures you can take to limit exposure to the virus. Flu germs spread when people who are sick don’t cover their mouth and nose when they sneeze and cough. If you use a tissue make sure you dispose of it quickly and wash your hands. If there is no tissue use the crook of your elbow. 

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Flu germs can live for two to eight hours on hard services, which is why the illness can spread so easily. Wash your hands regularly and teach your children to do the same. The most effective way to wash your hands is run them under warm water, add soap, scrub for at least 20 seconds, rinse and dry. It’s important to wash your hands every time you use the bathroom, before you eat, and when you arrive home.

If family or friends have symptoms stay away until they are back to full health. If someone in your immediate family is sick keep them home, limit close contact, change sleeping arrangements if necessary, and avoid sharing washcloths, towels, dishes, toys, and utensils. Most people remain contagious up to a week after their first symptoms. 

Clean frequently to avoid the spread of germs. Disinfect (or throw away) kitchen sponges and dishcloths, and regularly clean cutting boards, surfaces, floors, sinks, and toilets. 

In addition to the above, make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, drink lots of fluids, exercise regularly and manage your stress.