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, 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, Jacksonville Illinois, Kids, Springfield Illinois, Taylorville Illinois

Why do community health centers play such a vital role?

The first full week in August marks National Health Centers Week and provides an opportunity for us to reflect on the positive impact centers, such as Central Counties Health Centers, make on communities. Celebrating its 20th year, CCHC began in the basement of a church and was started by a group of physicians that saw a need for health care for the underserved. Two decades on and with purpose-built faculties serving 16,000-plus patients across Central Illinois each year CCHC has come a long way in providing primary and preventative medical and dental services.  

Staff at CCHC, like all community health centers, are on the frontline treating veterans, the homeless, children, addicts, and those most in need. We aim to reduce unnecessary hospitalization and emergency room visits, treat patients for a fraction of the average cost of an emergency room visit, lower the cost of children’s primary care, and serve the homeless and veterans. 

We are proud to be among those community health centers successfully managing chronic disease and medically vulnerable communities to help reduce health care costs for all. 

We are located in Springfield at 2239 E. Cook St, Hope Pavilion on South 6thSt, and Jacksonville and Taylorville. We also offer clinics at the Family Guidance Center, Salvation Army, and Helping Hands in Springfield. Our dental services are also available at HSHS St John’s Hospital in Springfield. 

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.

Central Counties Health Center, Children's Health, Dental Care, Healthy Lifestyle, Jacksonville Illinois, Springfield Illinois

Do you know how to care for your child’s teeth?

Most children will have a full set of baby teeth by the time they are three years old. Teeth are at risk of decay the moment they appear. However, tooth decay is preventable.

Start cleaning your baby’s mouth the first few days after birth by wiping his or her gums with a clean moist washcloth.

Begin brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they come through and continue to brush twice daily until your child is comfortable doing it itself. Be sure to use a child-size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount (for children three and above) of fluoride toothpaste. For children less than three years use a smear of fluoride toothpaste. It’s always a good idea to supervise children’s brushing and remind them not to swallow the toothpaste.

As soon as your child’s first tooth appears it’s time to schedule a dental visit. The first dental visit should take place within six months of the first tooth appearing and not later than your child’s first birthday. Our dentists will even go to the pediatric side to do a visual exam with a child when called by the pediatrician. This introduces the child and parent to the dentist and many times they establish care after that initial visual exam. This is just one of the things we do to improve the oral healthcare of the children we serve.

The first visit to the dentist is mainly to examine your child’s mouth, check growth and development, discuss diet and hygiene, but it’s also an opportunity to help make your child comfortable with the process.

Here are five ways you can help in the fight against tooth decay:

  • Don’t share utensils with your child as you could transfer cavity-causing germs.

  • Feed them a healthy and nutritious diet.

  • Use fluoride toothpaste.

  • Make sure your child’s initial dental visit is no later than his or her first birthday.

  • Brush your child’s teeth for two minutes twice a day.


We offer a range of dental services for adults and children in Springfield & Jacksonville.

Call 217-788-2300 for more information or to book an appointment.