Children's Health, Flu Season, Healthy Lifestyle, Jacksonville Illinois, Springfield Illinois, Taylorville Illinois

National Handwashing Awareness Week

It’s not the most glamorous subject, we admit, but boy is it important. Here’s why handwashing should not be ignored. 

Experts recommend washing your hands with soap and clean water for at least 20 seconds. Be sure to get a good lather going and clean the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Dry your hands using a clean towel. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls handwashing a “do-it-yourself vaccine” and suggests using five easy steps: 

  1. Wet
  2. Lather
  3. Scrub 
  4. Rinse 
  5. Dry 

The four principles of handwashing are:

  • Wash your hands when they are dirty and before you eat (of feed a child)
  • Do not cough into hands 
  • Do not sneeze into hands 
  • Do not put your fingers in your eyes, nose, or mouth 

So why do we need to wash our hands? 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, handwashing can prevent one in three diarrhea-related illnesses and one in five infections, including the flu. 

The CDC also reports that only 31% of men and 65% of women wash their hands after using a public restroom. 

A typical human sneeze exits the body at about 200 miles per hour and emits around 40,000 droplets into the air. 

Thinks of how many things you touch during an average day. Now imagine how many of those things were touched by other people’s hands. Yuck! Remember to wash your hands to prevent the spread of germs. 

Children's Health, Diabetes, Get in shape, Healthy Lifestyle, Jacksonville Illinois, Men's Health, Springfield Illinois, Taylorville Illinois

Diabetes is a leading cause of death in the US

One in 10 Americans has diabetes, which is equivalent to 30 million people. It can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease, and other health problems if not controlled. It is estimated 84 million adults in the US are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, people who are at risk for type 2 diabetes can lower their risk by more than half if they make healthy changes such as eating healthy, getting more physical activity, and losing weight. 

So, what are the symptoms of diabetes? 

•    Urinating often 

•    Feeling very thirsty 

•    Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating 

•    Extreme fatigue 

•    Blurry vision 

•    Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal

•    Weight loss – even though you are eating more (type 1) 

•    Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2) 

Early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of developing complications of diabetes. 

Although there are many similarities between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the cause of each is very different – as is the treatment. Women with gestational diabetes often have no symptoms, which is why it’s important for at-risk women to be tested at the proper time during pregnancy. 

If you have any questions or concerns about diabetes symptoms speak with your health provider. At Central Counties Health Centers we offer FREE diabetes education classes each month. These take place at our Cook Street location and are taught by the SIU School of Medicine dieticians. You can reserve a seat at our next class by calling Vickie at 217-788-2381. Please leave a message and your name and number. Be sure to mention that you would like to attend the diabetic class.

There is a $50 gift card drawing at the end of each class, but you must attend the entire class to be eligible. Keep an eye out on our Facebook page for class dates. 

Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Breast self exam, Central Counties Health Center, Healthy Lifestyle, Jacksonville Illinois, Springfield Illinois, Taylorville Illinois

Breast cancer symptoms and signs

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and so there’s no better time to talk about symptoms. Many of the symptoms of breast cancer are invisible and go unnoticed without a professional screening, such as a mammogram or ultrasound. However, some symptoms can be caught early just by looking out for changes in your breasts and being proactive about your breast health. 

Symptoms and signs of breast cancer can include: 

A change in how the breast or nipple feels

  • Nipple tenderness or a lump or thickening in or near the breast or underarm area 
  • A change in the skin texture or an enlargement of pores in the skin of the breast 
  • A lump in the breast 

A change in the breast or nipple appearance 

  • Any unexplained change in the size or shape of the breast 
  • Dimpling anywhere on the breast 
  • Unexplained swelling of the breast 
  • Unexplained shrinkage of the breast 
  • Recent asymmetry of the breasts 
  • A nipple that is slightly inward or inverted 
  • The skin of the breasts, areola, or nipple that becomes scaly, red, or swollen or may have ridges or pitting resembling the skin of an orange 

Any nipple discharge – particularly clear or bloody discharge 

It is also important to note that a milky discharge present when a woman is not breastfeeding should be checked by her doctor, although it is unlikely linked with breast cancer. 

Most often these symptoms are not due to cancer, but any symptom you do notice should be investigated immediately. If you have any of these symptoms tell your healthcare provider so that you can receive a diagnosis and treatment. 

There are several resources available online, but if you do have any questions do not hesitate to speak with your healthcare provider. 

Central Counties Health Center, Get in shape, Healthy Lifestyle, Kids, Summer Health

Childhood obesity is a serious issue

About one in five, equivalent to 19%, children in the US are obese. Children with obesity are at higher risk for having other chronic health conditions and diseases, such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone, and joint problems, and type 2 diabetes. They also have more risk factors for heart disease like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. 

Children with obesity are more likely to have obesity as adults, this can lead to lifelong physical and mental health problems. Adult obesity is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many types of cancers. 

Childhood obesity is influenced by many factors including eating and physical activity, genetics, metabolism, family and home environment, and community and social factors. For some, obesity may be influenced by: 

  • Too much time spent being inactive 
  • Lack of sleep 
  • Lack of places to go in the community and get physical activity
  • Easy access to inexpensive, high-calorie foods and sugary beverages
  • Lack of access to affordable, healthier foods 

There are ways you can help ensure your children are a healthy weight: 

  • Be aware of your child’s growth 
  • Provide nutritious, lower-calorie foods such as fruits and vegetables in place of foods high in added sugars and solid fats. 
  • Make sure drinking water is always available as an alternative to sugary beverages and limit juice intake. 
  • Help children get the recommended amount of physical activity each day. 
  • Be a role model. Eat healthy meals and snacks and get the right amount of physical activity every day. 

Eating healthy on a budget is doable 

Make a plan before heading to the store: 

  • Plan your weekly meals 
  • Make a grocery list – and stick to it 
  • Look for discounts and deals 

Central Counties Health Centers receives deliveries of fresh fruit and vegetables from the Central Illinois Foodbank every Tuesday and Thursday. You can grab what you need at the Cook Street location year-round. 

If you have any concerns about your child’s eating habits or involvement in physical activities speak with your health provider.  

Central Counties Health Center, Children's Health, Healthy Lifestyle, Kids, Springfield Illinois

September is Fruits & Veggies – More Matter Month!

Most Americans don’t eat enough fruits and veggies. Fewer than one in four adults eat the recommended amount of fruits every day and fewer than one in seven eat the recommended amount of vegetables every day. It might seem that fruits and vegetables are too expensive to include in your diet, but there are ways to do so on a budget. 

Why is it important to eat more fruits and veggies? 

  • To stay strong and active – healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables have the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs 
  • To lower your health risks – eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables can help lower your risk of chronic health conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes 
  • To manage your weight – eating healthy and being physically active can help you stay healthy 
  • To set a positive example – if you have children, how you eat can impact their food choices for years to come, so set them up for success! 

It may surprise you but eating fruits and vegetables doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many affordable options. It is also easy to include more fruits and veggies in your diet. Buy ready to eat fruits and vegetables, such as bananas and apples, or add chopped veggies to a pasta sauce. 

Here are seven ways to get more fruits and veggies in your life: 

1 Try a new veggie recipe – try the recipe with a new vegetable (one in season)

2 Keep a bowl of fruit handy where the whole family can see it 

3 Cut up fruits and vegetables to grab and eat on the go 

4 Frozen fruit and veggies are just as good for you as fresh ones so great for making smoothies or adding to sauces

5 Involve the children in preparing meals and educate them about what they are eating  

6 Plant tomatoes, beans, and lettuces in your yard, or in pots on your deck, or balcony and you will have a supply of fresh veggies next summer 

7 Buy seasonal fruit and veg as it is much cheaper – and tastier than out of season produce 

Did you know that Central Counties Health Centers receives deliveries of fresh fruit and vegetables from the Central Illinois Foodbank every Tuesday and Thursday? You can come and grab what you need for FREE at the Cook Street location year-round. This is a great resource for anyone struggling to afford enough food for their families and wanting to also provide nutritional meals. 

Central Counties Health Center, Children's Health, Flu Season, Healthy Lifestyle, Jacksonville Illinois, Springfield Illinois, Taylorville Illinois

Flu season is approaching!

Believe it or not, flu season is approaching so it’s time to book your child’s flu shot. At Central Counties Health Centers, we are expecting to begin administering flu shots to children by the end of September. 

Children younger than five years of age – especially those younger than two years old – are at high risk of serious flu-related complications. The flu vaccine offers the best defense against getting flu and spreading it to others. Getting vaccinated can reduce flu illness, visits to the doctor, missed work and school days, and prevent flu-related hospitalizations. 

The flu is more dangerous than the common cold for children. Complications from the flu among children under five years of age can include pneumonia, dehydration, worsening long-term medical problems such as heart disease and asthma, brain dysfunction, sinus problems, and ear infections, and in rare cases, it can lead to death. The CDC recommends that everyone six months of age or older get a seasonal flu vaccine each year by the end of October. 

Flu vaccines are updated each season as necessary to protect against influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common. Immunity from the flu vaccination sets in after about two weeks. 

We encourage all adults to utilize Schnucks pharmacy for their flu vaccine. 

If you have any questions about the flu vaccine, please speak with your health care provider. 

Central Counties Health Center, Healthy Lifestyle, Springfield Illinois, World Hepatitis Day

World Hepatitis Day

What is hepatitis? 

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can affect anyone. The condition can self-limiting (non-serious) to potentially life-threatening by progressing to serious health issues such as liver cancer. Hepatitis virus is the most common cause of hepatitis in the world but other infections, toxic substances (alcohol and other drugs), and autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis. 

What types of hepatitis are there? 

There are five main hepatitis viruses: types A, B, C, D, and E. These five types are of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and the potential for epidemic spread. In particular, types B and C lead to chronic disease in hundreds of millions of people. It is estimated that around 400 million people are infected with hepatitis globally.

How do people get hepatitis? 

Hep A and E are typically linked to contaminated food and water. Hep B, C, and D usually occur as a result of contact with infected bodily fluids. The most common modes of transmission of these viruses include coming in contact with infected blood, unclean tattoo/piercing equipment, transmission from mother to baby at birth, family member to child, and also by sexual contact. 

What are the signs and symptoms? 

An infection may occur with little to no signs however, common symptoms include dark urine, extrema fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and sore that form around the mouth. One of the biggest problems facing the hepatitis epidemic is that around 90% of those that have contracted hepatitis don’t know they have it therefore, spreading the infection to others. 

How can I prevent hep viruses?

First, you should see your doctor or go to a local health center and request a Hepatitis test. Testing is done through a simple blood test. Second, use caution and be proactive by practicing safe sex, and don’t share bodily fluids with others (this includes oral sex, sharing drinks, and kissing). 

A lot has been done over the years to help prevent and treat hepatitis. There are now vaccines for both hepatitis A and B. If you have not received these vaccines, talk to your doctor. Hepatitis C is now more easily treated with life-long medications, and hepatitis D and E are rarer. 

World Hepatitis Day takes place on Sunday, July 28 so let’s be proactive and get tested. For more information about hepatitis, testing, or vaccinations against the virus, speak with your doctor or give us a call at 217-788-2300 and we will be happy to schedule an appointment with one of our providers.