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!


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 .


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.

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.