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Back to School: Be Smart When It Comes To Backpacks!

Backpack Strategies for Parents and Students

Aching backs and shoulders? Tingling arms? Weakened muscles? Stooped posture? Does your child have these symptoms after wearing a heavy school backpack?

Carrying too much weight in a pack or wearing it the wrong way can lead to pain and strain. Parents can take steps to help children load and wear backpacks the correct way to avoid health problems.

Check out these tips from the American Occupational Therapy Association:

Loading a Pack

• A child’s backpack should weigh no more than about 10% of his or her body weight. This means a student weighing 100 pounds shouldn’t wear a loaded school backpack heavier than about 10 pounds.

• Load heaviest items closest to the child’s back (the back of the pack).

• Arrange books and materials so they won’t slide around in the backpack.

• Check what your child carries to school and brings home. Make sure the items are necessary for the day’s activities.

• If the backpack is too heavy or tightly packed, your child can hand carry a book or other item outside the pack.

• If the backpack is too heavy on a regular basis, consider using a book bag on wheels if your child’s school allows it.

Wearing a Pack

• Distribute weight evenly by using both straps. Wearing a pack slung over one shoulder can cause a child to lean to one side, curving the spine and causing pain or discomfort.

• Select a pack with well-padded shoulder straps. Shoulders and necks have many blood vessels and nerves that can cause pain and tingling in the neck, arms, and hands when too much pressure is applied.

• Adjust the shoulder straps so that the pack fits snugly on the child’s back. A pack that hangs loosely from the back can pull the child backward and strain muscles.

• Wear the waist belt if the backpack has one. This helps distribute the pack’s weight more evenly.

• The bottom of the pack should rest in the curve of the lower back. It should never rest more than four inches below the child’s waistline.

• School backpacks come in different sizes for different ages.

Choose the right size pack for your child as well as one with enough room for necessary school items.

Your physician, other health professionals, and your school district’s director of special education may also be able to recommend an occupational therapy practitioner.

 


Help Prevent Obesity and Support Healthy Growth in Children

September is National Childhood Obesity Month

Boys' baseball team eating applesLearn ways to promote healthy growth in children and prevent obesity.

About 1 in 5 (19%) children in the United States has obesity. Certain groups of children are more affected than others. National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month provides a chance for all of us to learn more about this serious health condition. While there is no simple solution, there are many ways communities can support children with their journey to good health.

Childhood Obesity Is a Major Public Health Problem

  • 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 than their normal-weight peers.
  • Children with obesity can be bullied and teased more than their normal-weight peers. They are also more likely to suffer from social isolation, depression, and lower self-esteem.
  • 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

Many factors can have an impact on childhood obesity, including eating and physical activity behaviors, genetics, metabolism, family and home environment, and community and social factors. For some children and families, obesity may be influenced by the following:

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

There Are Ways Parents Can Help Prevent Obesity and Support Healthy Growth in Children

To help ensure that children have a healthy weight, energy balance is important. There are many things parents can do to help their children achieve a healthy weight and maintain it.

Addressing Obesity Can Start in the Home, but Also Requires the Support of Providers and Communities

We can all take part in the effort to encourage children to be more physically active and eat a healthy diet.

State and local health departments, businesses, and community groups can:

  • Ensure that neighborhoods have low-cost physical activity opportunities such as parks, trails, and community centers.
  • Offer easy access to safe, free drinking water and healthy, affordable food options.

Health Care Providers can:

  • Measure children’s weight, height, and body mass index routinely.
  • Connect or refer families to breastfeeding support services, nutrition education, or childhood healthy weight programs as needed.

Early Care and Education centers and schools can:

  • Adopt policies and practices that support healthy eating, regular physical activity, and limited screen time.
  • Provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice these behaviors.

Working together, we all have a role in making healthier foods, beverages, and physical activity the easy choice for children and adolescents to help prevent childhood obesity.


Think it’s too late to “re-invent” yourself? Think again.

September is Healthy Aging® Month — Official News Release from Healthy Aging®

Think it’s too late to “re-invent” yourself? Think again.

According to Carolyn Worthington, publisher of Healthy Aging® Magazine and the Healthy Aging® multi-media platform, it’s never too late to find a new career, a new sport, passion or hobby.

Worthington is the creator of September is Healthy Aging® Month, an annual health observance designed to focus national attention on the positive aspects of growing older.

Now in its second decade, Worthington says September is Healthy Aging® Month provides inspiration and practical ideas for adults, ages 45-plus, to improve their physical, mental, social and financial well-being.

The numbers of people over 45 is growing every year. The attention used to be just on the baby boomers.

The generation x-ers are elbowing their way in and have many of the same interests as the previous generation – stay active and vibrant as long as possible.

There are over 72 million baby boomers today (those born between 1946 and 1964) and 65.4 million generation X-ers (those born between 1965 and 80).

“Use September as the motivation to take stock of where you’ve been, what you really would like to do if money was no object,” says Worthington. “And try it! Who says you have to do something related to what you studied in school? Who says, you can’t start your own home business later in life, test you’re your physical prowess, or do something wildly different from anything you’ve done before? Only that person you see in the mirror!”

Why Healthy Aging®?

According to Worthington, “We saw a need to draw attention to the myths of aging, to shout out ‘Hey, it’s not too late to take control of your health, it’s never too late to get started on something new.’ Why not think about the positive aspects of aging instead of the stereotypes and the negative aspects?”

September is a perfect time to celebrate Healthy Aging® Month since it is time when many people think about getting started on new tasks after the summer.

Drawing on the “back to school” urge embedded in everyone from childhood, the observance month’s activities are designed to encourage people to rejuvenate and get going on positive measures that can impact the areas of physical, social, financial and mental wellness.

10 Tips for Reinventing Yourself during September Is Healthy Aging Month:

1. Do not act your age or at least what you think your current age should act like. What was your best year so far? 28? 40? Now? Picture yourself at that age and be it. Some people may say this is denial, but we say it’s positive thinking and goes a long way toward feeling better about yourself. (Tip: Don’t keep looking in the mirror, just FEEL IT!)

2. Be positive in your conversations and your actions every day. When you catch yourself complaining, check yourself right there and change the conversation to something positive. (Tip: Stop watching the police reports on the local news).

3. Have negative friends who complain all of the time and constantly talk about how awful everything is? Drop them. As cruel as that may sound, distance yourself from people who do not have a positive outlook on life. They will only depress you and stop you from moving forward. Surround yourself with energetic, happy, positive people of all ages and you will be happier too. (Tip: Smile often. It’s contagious and wards off naysayers.)

4. Walk like a vibrant, healthy person. Come on. You can probably do it. Analyze your gait. Do you walk slowly because you have just become lazy or, perhaps, have a fear of falling? (Tip: Make a conscious effort to take big strides, walk with your heel first, and wear comfortable shoes.)

5. Stand up straight! You can knock off the appearance of a few extra years with this trick your mother kept trying to tell you. Look at yourself in the mirror. Are you holding your stomach in, have your shoulders back, chin up? Check out how much better your neck looks! Fix your stance and practice it every day, all day until it is natural. You will look great and feel better. (Tip: Your waistline will look trimmer if you follow this advice.)

6. How’s your smile? Research shows people who smile more often are happier. Your teeth are just as important to your good health as the rest of your body. Not only is it the first thing people notice, but good oral health is a gateway to your overall well-being. (Tip: Go to the dentist regularly and look into teeth whitening. Nothing says old more than yellowing teeth!)

7. Lonely? Stop brooding and complaining about having no friends or family. Do something about it now. Right this minute. Pick up the phone, landline, or cell and make a call to do one or more of the following: Volunteer your time, Take a class, Invite someone to meet for lunch, brunch, dinner, or coffee. (Tip: Volunteer at the local public school to stay in touch with younger people and to keep current on trends, take a computer class or a tutorial session at your cell phone store to keep up with technology, choose a new person every week for your dining out.)

8. Start walking not only for your health but to see the neighbors. Have a dog? You’ll be amazed by how the dog can be a conversation starter. (Tip: If you don’t have time for a dog, go to your local animal shelter and volunteer. You will be thrilled by the puppy love!)

9. Make this month the time to set up your annual physical and other health screenings. Go to the appointments and then, hopefully, you can stop worrying about ailments for a while.

10. Find your inner artist. Who says taking music lessons is for young school children? You may have an artist lurking inside you just waiting to be tapped. Have you always wanted to play the piano, violin, or tuba? Have you ever wondered if you could paint a portrait or scenic in oil? What about working in wood? (Tip: Sign up now for fall art or music classes and discover your inner artist!)


It’s National Immunization Awareness Month! Is Your Family Up to Date on Vaccines?

 As your children head back to school this fall, make sure vaccination is at the top of your checklist.
 
August is also a key time to make sure you are up to date on all the vaccines you need to stay healthy.

Use CDC’s adult vaccine assessment tool to see which vaccines might be right for you.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM).

You have the power to protect yourself and your family against serious diseases:
 
like whooping cough,
cancers caused by HPV,
and pneumonia
 
Affinity Urgent Care encourages you to come talk to us. Make sure your family is up to date on recommended vaccines.
 
We also encourage you to visit CDC’s Interactive Vaccine Guide.
 
It provides information on the vaccines recommended during pregnancy and throughout your child’s life.
 
Help us spread the word! Follow the conversation and use #ivax2protect to share why you choose to vaccinate.
 

August: Psoriasis Awareness Month

It’s August: Psoriasis Awareness Month in the United States.

The condition affects about 8 million people in the United States.
 
Psoriasis is one of the most prevalent, chronic autoimmune diseases. It causes a rapid build-up of skin cells.

This leads to thick, scaly plaques that may itch or cause discomfort.
 
Other related symptoms include –
dry/cracked skin that may bleed,
small scaling spots,
swollen and stiff joints,
soreness
itching/burning sensation around the patches,
thick pitted nails,
and painful or swollen joints.
 
The skin condition can begin at any age, though the disease manifests in adulthood.
 
Treatment for this skin condition aims to reduce inflammation and clear the skin.

Empower parents, enable breastfeeding #WBW2019

“Global standards that are inclusive and promote decent work, sustainable economic growth and employment for all are essential. Decent work should include parental social protection that protects, promotes and supports breastfeeding”
– World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA)
 

Breastfeeding reduces maternal and child morbidity and mortality.

It’s actually proven that breastfed children have higher intelligence.
Choosing not to breastfeed results in economic losses of about $302 billion yearly.
 
Yet, only 40% of all babies under 6 months are being breastfed and 45% continue breastfeeding up to 24 months.
 
A mother’s return to work after childbirth is one of the leading reasons for this. More than 830 million women workers do not have adequate maternity protection.
 

World Breastfeeding Week 2019 campaign aims to address labor and gender inequalities. This is to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is a global campaign coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) that aims to inform, anchor, engage and galvanise action on breastfeeding and related issues.
 
The #WBW2019 theme is ‘Empower parents, enable breastfeeding.’
#WBW2019 advocates for (a) parental social protection policies and legislation, (b) parent-friendly workplaces in both formal and informal sectors, and (c) parent-friendly values and gender-equitable social norms.

Join The Fight: World Hepatitis Day 2019

Worldwide, 300 million people are living with viral hepatitis and don’t even know it.
Without finding the undiagnosed, millions will continue to suffer.

On World Hepatitis Day, we’re joining the initiative to find the “missing millions”.
World Hepatitis Day 2019 is on Sunday, July 28th.

It’s a chance for the public, the affected community, medical professionals and policy makers to come together.

In 2016, every country in the world signed up to end viral hepatitis by 2030. But currently, only 12 countries are on track to do this.

Viral hepatitis kills more than 1.34 million people each year, more than HIV/AIDs or Malaria.


But, there is a cure for hepatitis C. Also, there are vaccines and treatment for hepatitis B.
The 4,000 deaths each day caused by viral hepatitis are preventable.


This is what the World Hepatitis Alliance had to say about it:

“We are at a critical juncture. Unless we take action now, our chance to eliminate a cancer-causing illness will be missed. On WHD 2018, we are calling on all individuals and organizations to unite under the theme of “Eliminate Hepatitis” to drive action, build momentum and hold governments accountable. Only together can we eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030.”

#WorldHepatitisDay #FindtheMissingMillions #NOhep #hepatitis


International Group B Strep Throat Awareness Month

To help prevent the devastating effects of GBS, we’re joining the July campaign!

#startheGBSconversation

​WHAT IS GROUP B STREP?​

Group b strep (GBS) is a type of bacteria that is naturally found in the digestive and lower reproductive tracts of both men and women.

Almost 1 in 4 pregnant women carry GBS, the leading cause of sepsis and meningitis in newborns. That’s according to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

GBS can infect babies during pregnancy and the first few months of life.

Not all babies exposed to GBS become infected, but, for those who do, the results can be devastating.

GBS can cause premature labor, lifelong handicaps, or death. Even babies born to a mother who tests negative can become infected by group B strep.

There are many ways to help protect babies from group B strep.

Talk to your doctor if you’d like to get tested for GBS.


Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month

300,000 children in America have arthritis, and we need your help spreading the word.

July is #JuvenileArthritis Awareness Month.

Children get arthritis. It is a misconception that only “older” people have arthritis.

 

SIGNS OF JUVENILE ARTHRITIS

  • Joint pain
  • Swelling
  • Fever
  • Stiffness
  • Rash
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inflammation of the eye
  • Difficulty with daily living activities such as walking, dressing, and playing

A child’s immune system is not formed until 18. This “autoimmune” form of arthritis is especially aggressive in children.

It compromises their ability to fight diseases.

doctor

Together we can #CureArthritis!

Get involved today by sharing this article and talking to your loved ones.


PTSD Awareness Month

What is PTSD?

PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. It can occur when someone experiences or sees a traumatic event.

In 1980, it became recognized as a specific condition with identifiable symptoms. Now, it’s listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

Studies show that 70% of all Americans have experienced enough trauma to cause PTSD.

What are the symptoms?

bones

According to the military benefits website:

You may be suffering from PTSD if you experience one or more of the following for a prolonged amount of time after a traumatic event:

  • Recurring, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic events. Some people may be drawn to or be repelled by certain activities that remind them of the event(s). Children may express this through play or creativity that incorporates aspects of the trauma.
  • Repeated dreams that feels somehow related (or directly related) to the trauma.
  • Flashbacks
  • Any dissociative reaction that makes the sufferer feel that the trauma or aspects of it are happening again.
  • Intense distress to exposure to things that are reminders of the trauma.
  • Prolonged psychological distress at exposure to reminders of the trauma.
  • Physiological (bodily) reactions to reminders of the event(s).

You may be suffering from PTSD if you experience two or more of the following:

  • You cannot remember an important part of the trauma in ways that are unrelated to head injury, alcohol or drug use.
  • Exaggerated, negative, and persistent ideas or expectations about oneself, others, or the world.
  • A distorted sense of blame related to the cause or consequences of the traumatic events. The blame may be self-directed or outwardly directed.
  • Persistent fear, anger, guilt, or other strong negative emotions.
  • Reduced or lack of interest in activities or events you would otherwise take part in.
  • Feeling detached from other people or situations.
  • An inability to feel positive.

Today, the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are better understood and treatable.

Those experiencing suicidal feelings or self-destructive urges should get help immediately. Call the Suicide Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.