Uncategorized

Summertime Water Safety

It can happen in an instant. You’re enjoying the sun at your local pool, or relaxing on family vacation by the ocean. You take your eyes off your child to read a couple lines in your book, reply to a text, or to reapply sunscreen. Then tragedy strikes. A child or a weak swimmer can drown in the time it takes to do any of these activities.

Drowning incidents (death and/or injury) mostly happen in residential swimming pools; however, all it takes is one inch of water for heartbreak to strike. Buckets, bathtubs, wading pools, hot tubs, and even toilets pose a potential threat to the safety of your young children.

In addition to at home threats, open waters such as lakes, rivers, and oceans pose a drowning threat to older children as well. Most children who survive water submersion without brain damage are discovered within two minutes; 10 minutes is all it takes to lose a loved one forever.

As parents, caregivers, grandparents, and the like, what can we do to protect our kids, avoid risks, and respond appropriately in an emergency?

First, let’s look at the facts:

  • In the U.S. drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death in children younger than four and teens.
  • Emergency room care is typically needed for non-fatal drowning injuries with half requiring extended hospital stays.    
  • Surviving a drowning can leave someone with severe brain damage – 5%-10% of childhood drowning cases result in long-term disability.

How kids drown varies by age:

  • < 1: babies most often drown in bathtubs, toilets, and buckets.
  • 1-4: young kids often drown in swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs.
  • 5+, teens, and young adults: drowning incidents in these age groups are most likely to happen in natural bodies of water, such as oceans, lakes, and rivers.

Despite the risks of drowning, drowning injuries and deaths are 100% preventable. So how do we keep our kids safe?

Supervision is KEY. Supervision of your children around any type of water is an absolute must. This is true if your child is by a wading pool, fish pond, swimming pool, ocean, or lake. Age and swimming skill level are not an exception to this rule.  

Swimming lessons. Swimming lessons are an important part of water safety. Training can reduce the risk of drowning and teach important lessons in water survival, flotation, and basic swimming. As a parent, if you do not know how to swim, it is highly recommended you take lessons as well.

You can search for instructors by visiting the YMCA or Red Cross websites.

Responding appropriately in an emergency situation can sometimes be the deciding factor between life and death.

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs). PFDs are helpful, but should never be used in place of swimming lessons or as a permanent solution for protection.

Diving. Don’t allow your child to dive in water less than nine feet deep. The probability of a traumatic neck injury increases exponentially in shallow waters.

Responding appropriately in an emergency situation can sometimes be the deciding factor between life and death. Surviving a drowning incident depends on a quick and efficient rescue and restarting breathing as quickly as possible. So what should you do in a water related emergency?

Learning CPR is a must. CPR is a life-saving skill that can be useful in a variety of emergency situations.

If a child is missing: always check the pool or other body of water first. Survival is dependent on a quick rescue and restarting breathing as soon as possible.

If you find a child in the water: call loudly for help while getting the child out of water. If someone is nearby, give them a direct and clear order to call 911. Check to make sure the child’s air passage is clear. If the child is not breathing, start CPR if you are trained to do so. If you are not, follow the prompts given by the 911 operator.

If injury occurs from diving: keep the child on their back. Brace the neck and shoulders with your hands and forearms to keep the neck from moving about. Doing this can help prevent further injury to the neck and spine. It’s important to keep the child as still as possible and to speak in soft calming tones to keep the child comforted.

Summertime swimming is supposed to be fun and carefree – and it can be! We just need to make sure we stay alert, are prepared, and have the tools necessary to help us in the event of an emergency.

Information from this article was gathered from The American Red Cross and John Hopkins University.

2020, 2021, Change, Healthcare, Reflection, Uncategorized

2020: A Reflection and Hope for the Future

2020 has been…interesting to say the least. For many, 2020 seemed like a fresh start: a new year and a new decade. Many were making New Year’s resolutions and getting ready to dive into 2020 with a whole new perspective.

But almost as soon as the cheerful cries of a unified “Happy New Year” swept across the world a devastating reality hit; 2020 was not going to be all it was cracked up to be.

January started off with devastating wildfires in Australia where more than 47 million acres were destroyed. We were soon faced with a mysterious illness appearing in China and by the end of January we were facing a full-fledged global health emergency.

The US had her first reports of COVID-19 infected persons in February and by March, all 50 states had reported COVID-19 infections. Social distancing, isolation, and wearing masks would quickly become a part of normal everyday life. Hollywood and All-Star legends tragically passed. A President was impeached and our stock market crashed.

Unprecedented civil unrest swept over the nation and deeper divides seemed to tear our nation in two. The passing of loved ones. Murder hornets, livelihoods lost, the Beirut explosion, west coast wild fires, the election, and a new mutated strand of COVID-19 sweeping over the UK topped off an unimaginable 2020. 

It really is an understatement to call this past year anything short of a disaster.

However, if we leave it at that, if we all decide to wash our hands of 2020 with nothing of merit coming out of it, then we lose. But if we perhaps learned something new, grew closer to loved ones in their absence, slowed down a bit, or showed love to a stranger, then we WIN.

Yes, 2020 has been littered with devastation at every turn, but 2020 is full of stories of love, compassion, and moments of hope. Just as the phoenix rises from the ashes, we have learned to adapt and make the best out of our situations.

Medical clinics have been adapting to new ways to treat patients. Business and schools have moved to online meeting platforms. Locals have helped smaller businesses succeed by online shopping and curbside pick-up. Quarantine has helped us reconnect with old hobbies and learn new ones. Social distancing has made us reevaluate those who are important to us and connect with them on a deeper level.

Then there are the stories of hope and unity like the 103-year-old grandma who beat COVID-19 and celebrated by having a Bud. Beloved restaurants shared their recipes so we could make them at home. People helped people by making masks for friends, family, and community members. There was an influx of pet adoptions during the pandemic. We discovered new ways of celebrating milestones like zoom parties and drive-by birthdays. And so much more.

So yes, 2020 was hard and devastating at times, but 2020 also helped us see the beauty in small things and delight in the every day.

So what now? 2020 is gone and 2021 has officially arrived. Once that glittery ball dropped and the year officially became 2021, a collective sigh of relief could be heard from every direction.

There is a lot of hope riding on this New Year.

We have a vaccine that has been developed in record time and has been distributed all over the world. Hope.

A newfound appreciation and realization of the importance of our healthcare workers. The need for well operating healthcare systems has been pushed to the forefront of decision-makers minds as they realize no society can properly function without it. Hope.

Humanity has shown us great strengths though these times of difficulties. Dancing and singing from balconies. Messages of peace, love, and support for our wonderful medical personnel. Neighbors helping neighbors. Hope.

There are many more reasons to hope in the New Year. Sometimes reflecting on what was and what is to come helps bring in some perspective. If you wish, here are some prompts to help you reflect on the goings of 2020 and the comings of 2021.

For 2020

  • What is the most important lesson(s) you learned?
  • What is the best thing that happened to you?
  • What did you overcome?
  • What did you learn about yourself?
  • How did you fail?
  • What would you do differently if you could?

For 2021

  • How will you make this year matter?
  • How will you help others?
  • What do you want to change? About yourself? About life in general?
  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • What is your overall intention for this New Year?
  • If you need help, will you ask for help? From who?

2020 was a significant year in our lives, in the world, and in history. Our lives have been forever impacted. Let us learn from the lessons 2020 has taught us individually and as a nation. Let us move forward in unity.

We are better together.

Healthy Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Summer Fun.

Summer has officially arrived and it’s time to have fun outdoors taking in everything the season has to offer. It’s important for you and your family to stay safe in the hot summer heat. Here are a few tips to keep you and the kids happy, safe, and healthy during the summer months.

Stay Hydrated.

Drinking enough water throughout the day can sometimes be difficult, but it’s an important habit for us to form.

A good way to get extra hydration is to eat foods with a high water content. Water hides in a lot of the foods we eat accounting for almost 20% of our daily water intake. Foods with high water content include:

  • Watermelon
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Strawberries

Another good way to make sure we stay hydrated is to drink a glass of water with every meal and snack. This will also help with digesting foods.

We should also be aware of the types of liquids we put in our body. Try to avoid drinks high in sugars like fruit drinks and sodas as they can actually dehydrate us.

Water is a first choice for hydration, but sometimes water can be too plain. For some added flavor, try infusing water with fruits, herbs, or cucumber! Yum!!

Stay Safe in the Sun.

It’s important to always practice sun safety, but especially in the summer months when the sun is at its hottest. One of the best ways to practice sun safety is to avoid it altogether. Only joking…sort of! Between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm we should try to remain in shaded areas and wear protective clothing as much as possible.

But for a day out at the pool or running around the park, shade is not always possible – that’s why it’s a good idea to lather up in some sunscreen. It’s important to know what to look for when choosing a sunscreen. Experts recommend the following:

  • Sunscreen should have an SPF of 15 or higher
  • Look for a broad spectrum sunscreen which helps block UVA and UVB rays

Other tips to remember:

  • Apply sunscreen 30 minutes BEFORE going out into the sun
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours
  • Waterproof sunscreens are not always reliable, so you should still reapply every two hours and after swimming or playing in the water

We hope you and your families have a safe, healthy, and F-U-N summer!

Uncategorized

Does the Census Really Matter?

Do our schools matter? Our hospitals? Do roads, bridges, transportation, and community programs matter? Yes, all of these things matter. They are the foundation and building blocks of communities around the nation and without them – without proper funding for them – it can be difficult for communities to thrive and grow.

Just like schools, hospitals, and roads are important, so is the census. But first, what is the census exactly?

The U.S. census is kind of like a survey. It asks about 9 questions designed to help the government get an accurate count of how many people are living in the United States. That count includes citizens, legal residents, long-term visitors, and undocumented immigrants. The census also helps the government determine individual’s age, sex, marital status, race, income, education, and languages spoken in the home.

Why does the government need to know this about me and my family?

The data gathered from the census helps to distribute funds to communities across America. Cities and towns have programs that are funded by the federal government (think Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, food pantries, etc.) and the government has about $900,000,000,000 (that’s $900 billion) to spread out across the states – that’s a lot of zeros. The funds distributed are determined by a community’s size, income, age, and some other factors.

So, do I really need to fill out the census?

Yes! Why? Because you matter. The people living in your home matter. Back in March and the beginning of April, you should have received some mail from the 2020 Census. This is your census form. You can fill it out and pop it back in the mail. If you want to fill out the census online you can go to http://www.2020census.gov or, you can call 1-844-330-2020 and fill out the census over the phone.

If you prefer to speak to someone local or have questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us at Central Counties Health Centers: 217-788-2300. We will be more than happy to speak you .

Uncategorized

2020 Census

What is the census? Why is it important? Does it really affect me? What does my community get out of it? Is my information safe?

You may find yourself asking these questions, and more, wondering why the big deal surrounding the census and what’s the point if I do it anyways? Well, hopefully we can help answer some of these questions for you! In the below video, you will find some answers and other great information to boot.

Still have questions? Leave a comment below and someone from our census team will be more than happy to answer any questions you have.