Skip all navigation and go to page content
NN/LM Home About SCR | Contact SCR | Feedback | Help | Bookmark and Share

Archive for the ‘Consumer Health’ Category

Why is handwashing so important?

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

“clean hands” by Arlington County is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

washing hands

According to MedlinePlus, you should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. You may be more familiar with that rule of thumb to sing the “Happy Birthday” song at least two times through before turning off that faucet.

But while we’re admonished to do so, it’s difficult to say what’s actually put into practice even while we know it helps stop the spread of germs. In fact, it can even help stop the spread of superbugs!

How else is it important? The Center for Disease Control has put together some fast facts (and citations) on the importance of handwashing:

  • It is estimated that washing hands with soap and water could reduce diarrheal disease-associated deaths by up to 50%.
  • Researchers in London estimate that if everyone routinely washed their hands, a million deaths a year could be prevented.
  • A large percentage of foodborne disease outbreaks are spread by contaminated hands. Appropriate hand washing practices can reduce the risk of foodborne illness and other infections.
  • Handwashing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16%.
  • The use of an alcohol gel hand sanitizer in the classroom provided an overall reduction in absenteeism due to infection by 19.8% among 16 elementary schools and 6,000 students.

Read more and find additional resources on the Germs and Hygiene MedlinePlus topic page.

Like NNLM SCR on Facebook and like us on Twitter.

SCR Regional Highlight: Two Louisiana Cities Rank Top Five for HIV Diagnoses

Monday, March 20th, 2017

Views of the I-10 Mississippi River Bridge by Billy Metcalf Photography is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

patient

According to the 2016 America’s Health Rankings report conducted by the United Health Foundation, Louisiana is the second most unhealthy state in the nation, just behind Mississippi. The report uses a number of factors to create these rankings, but it has become increasingly clear over the years that the state’s high diagnoses of new HIV cases is one factor.

According to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report leading up to World AIDS Day in 2016, Baton Rouge ranks number one for newly diagnosed HIV cases; New Orleans ranks number three. In Baton Rouge, 44.7 out of every 100,000 people is diagnosed with HIV; in New Orleans, it’s 36.9.

HIV is a virus that weakens a person’s immune system by destroying the cells that fight infection and disease. There is no cure for it. AIDS is a condition that is considered the final stage of HIV. It is most commonly transmitted sexually or through sharing syringes, but can also be spread from mother to child through pregnancy as well as several other less common ways.

To combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic prevalent in the state, the Louisiana Department of Health launched the STD/HIV Program, designed to prevent transmission, ensure the availability of medical services and track the impact.

Unfortunately one of the biggest barriers health officials face is the stigma around the disease and an unwillingness to seek out treatment and report it. Timothy Young, head of the HIV/AIDS Alliance in the Baton Rouge area told The Advocate in a 2015 articlefear of being associated with HIV is so pronounced that more than 25 percent of those who are newly diagnosed with the disease in Louisiana have already progressed to AIDS.”

It’s important for these people to know that HIV/AIDS treatment has only continued to get better and it’s no longer the death sentence it used to be, if you get tested.

To read more about the SHP program, please visit the Louisiana Department of Health’s website.

To read more general information about HIV/AIDS, please visit the CDC’s website.

Like NNLM SCR on Facebook and like us on Twitter.

 

Poor Diets Linked to 400,000 U.S. Deaths

Monday, March 13th, 2017

“Healthy breakfast with eggs while camping” by Jakub Kapusnak is licensed under CC0.

patient

March is National Nutrition Month, so it comes at the perfect time that the results from a study are released explaining that a poor diet was a contributor to 400,000 U.S. premature deaths in 2015.

The study suggested that poor diets are caused not only by not avoiding certain things–like trans fat and salt–but also not incorporating other foods, like vegetables, nuts and seeds. Cardiovascular disease is the number one leading cause of death in the U.S., and a poor diet is the top risk factor, according to Dr. Ashkan Afshin, lead researcher from the University of Washington.

“The study results suggest that nearly half of heart disease and stroke (cardiovascular disease) deaths in the United States might be prevented with improved diets,” according to Afshin in the MedlinePlus article.

The study results stress that a healthy diet is not only avoiding certain foods–you have to take care that you are making sure to eat others. The study was even able to estimate what percent of the deaths were from too much or too little of certain foods, like 12 percent of the deaths probably could have been avoided had the people eaten more vegetables.

The good news is it’s never too late to change your diet.

To read more about the study, please visit “Bad Diets Tied to 400,000 U.S. Deaths in 2015.”

Like NNLM SCR on Facebook and like us on Twitter.

Being a Part of Your Own Healthcare: Questions to Know

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Oncology Doctor Consults with Patient by National Cancer Institute is licensed under CC0.

doctor with patient

Recently, I taught a class on how to help older adults find health information. One of the issues that came up during the class was patient safety, which has been a trending topic for us this past year.

Unlike the patient-doctor relationship of the past, patients today are encouraged to be active partners in the healthcare team in order to, in part, reduce the errors that occur in routine processes. According to Sir Liam Donaldson, named by the World Health Organization as the Envoy for Patient Safety, these errors occur in 10% of hospital admissions and sometimes lead to fatal outcomes.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “develops the knowledge, tools, and data needed to improve the health care system and help Americans, health care professionals, and policymakers make informed health decisions” as stated on their profile.

One of these tools is a set of questions that patients can ask their doctors. They also have additional information on what one might ask pre- and post-appointment, along with a guide on building your own set of questions. The basic set includes:

  1. What is the test for?
  2. How many times have you done this procedure?
  3. When will I get the results?
  4. Why do I need this treatment?
  5. Are there any alternatives?
  6. What are the possible complications?
  7. Which hospital is best for my needs?
  8. How do you spell the name of that drug?
  9. Are there any side effects?
  10. Will this medicine interact with medicines that I’m already taking?

One of the participants in the course suggested an additional question to ask the doctor that resonated with the other professionals in the class:

“What happens if I do nothing?”

Asking the right questions is an important part of taking care of one’s health. Find more on AHRQ’s Questions to Ask Your Doctor.

Like NNLM SCR on Facebook and like us on Twitter.

Hearing Loss Predicted to Grow Tremendously by 2060 in U.S.

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Untitled by Joel Mwakasege is licensed under CC0.

back of head

According to a recent study by Johns Hopkins Medicine, hearing loss among the U.S. population could jump from 44 million in 2020 to 73.5 million by 2060; the 2060 number would comprise 23 percent of the adult American population, compared to 15 percent in 2020. And in 2060, 55 percent of adults with hearing loss will be over 70.

This sort of growth for this health condition is unprecedented, according to Neil DiSarno, chief staff officer of audiology at American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

The most common cause of hearing loss is exposure to loud noise. To prevent this, it is recommended that people should lower their earphone volume and to limit exposure to firearms, fireworks and loud noises you may hear at work.

And besides just not being able to hear as well, hearing loss has other effects on a person as well. Older adults who have hearing loss are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, and have a higher risk of falling. There also appears to be evidence between hearing loss and mental decline.

To read more about hearing loss increasing, please visit “Hearing Loss May Double in United States by 2060.”

Like NNLM SCR on Facebook and like us on Twitter.

March is National Nutrition Month

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Untitled by Isidor Emanuel is licensed under CC0.

salad

Are you putting your best fork forward this month? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is encouraging you to! National Nutrition Month is a campaign hosted annually by the Academy focusing on the importance of informed food choices and healthy eating and physical activity habits to in turn help you lead a healthier lifestyle.

This year’s National Nutrition Month theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward” reminding everyone that making just small changes in your diet habits can add up over time. Some easy recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are eating:

  • Lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free milk products
  • Lean meats, poultry and fish
  • Foods low or without saturated fats, trans fats and added sugar.

To begin partaking in a healthier diet, one of the most important things to do is ensure you understand nutrition labels; the Academy has written an article that explains just that as well as shares what daily value is considered low or high.

To get children interested in nutrition, check out these games from ADNA by visiting “National Nutrition Month Games.”

To read more about National Nutrition Month, please visit the Academy’s website.

Like NNLM SCR on Facebook and like us on Twitter.

Outreach Librarians receive training in connecting with the Aging Community

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Executive Director Lisa Smith kicks off the 2017 Annual Outreach Librarian training session.

Lisa speaking at training

The NNLM SCR was excited to host its annual Outreach Librarian training session at the UNT Health Science Center campus in February. Outreach Librarians from the eighteen (18) Resource Libraries within the NNLM SCR participated in the two day training session. Practitioners in the field of Geriatrics and Community Outreach shared information with the group to increase librarian awareness of issues facing the elderly community. Educational sessions included practical tools and suggestions for providing programming to the Aging community. Dr. Jennifer Severance, Assistant Professor, Center for Geriatrics and Program Administrative Director for the Workforce Enhancements in Health Aging and Independent Living Program (WE HAIL) assembled the team of experts and coordinated the training program. An expert panel was also convened to describe services offered by several community based agencies and the United Way.

Insights shared by our presenters included an overview of trends in aging demographics. The increased number of the U.S. population that will be age 65 or older by 2050 (1 in 5 individuals) and the rapid increase in the growth of individuals that are 85 or older were highlighted as trends that will shape the face of healthcare in the coming years. Additionally, the role caregivers play to support their loved ones and the support that may be provided to this community were explored. An introduction to the Aging Network was provided to encourage partnerships between libraries and these agencies. National, State and local agencies were featured including the Area Agency on Aging, Sixty & Better, Alzheimer’s Association, and the North Central Texas Chapter and Meals on Wheels, Inc. of Tarrant County. Featured services and programs that were discussed included: benefits counseling, Medicare training, nutrition education, legal services, transportation, respite care and home meal delivery.

Presentations were provided by:

Dr. Janice Knebl, DO, MBA, the Director for the UNTHSC Center for Geriatrics, HRSA GWEP WE HAIL PI, provided training in trends and issues facing the aging patient and trends in the field of geriatrics.

Don Smith, Director, Tarrant County Area Agency on Aging, VP Community Development Health Initiatives United Way of Tarrant County

Christina Bartha, Director of Programs for Sixty and Better (formerly Senior Citizens Services, Inc.)

Susanna Luk-Jones, Director of Programs and Services, Alzheimer’s Association – North Central Texas Chapter

Sherry Simon, Vice President of Nutrition and Health Programs, Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County

The NNLM SCR Staff would like to extend a special thanks to the practitioners and agencies who shared their time and expertise with our Outreach team!

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Arkansas Sees Tickborne Diseases

Monday, February 27th, 2017

Untitled by PublicDomainPictures is licensed under CC0.

red hands

Recently, the Arkansas Department of Health announced it had discovered two diagnosed cases of tickborne diseases, which meet the surveillance definition for Lyme disease–this is the first time the state has had cases that meet this definition in 10 years.

Arkansas is generally considered a low-incidence state for Lyme disease, but several other tickborne diseases are more prevalent in the state, including tularemia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Ehrlichia, all of which can be fatal.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans by infected blacklegged ticks. The symptoms are similar to flu and include fever, headache, and fatigue as well as a bullseye rash. If you observe any of these symptoms and have recently had a tick bite, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control encourages you to visit a doctor.

To prevent tick bites and in turn tickborne diseases, avoid wooded, brushy, or high-grass areas, use trails, and use repellents that contain 20 to 30 percent DEET.

To read more about Lyme disease in Arkansas, please visit “Tickborne Diseases in Arkansas.”

To read more general information about Lyme disease, please visit the CDC’s website.

Like NNLM SCR on Facebook and like us on Twitter.

More Fruits and Veggies Will Lead You to a Long Life

Monday, February 27th, 2017

Untitled by Luke Michael is licensed under CC0.

red hands

Currently, many health agencies recommend about five servings of fruits and vegetable per day, but a new analysis suggests eating 10 servings per day could add years to a person’s life.

The analysis found that more servings of fruits and vegetables lead to decreased rates of heart attacks, stroke, cancer and early death. Researchers even went so far as to estimate that if everyone at 10 servings per day, 7.8 million premature deaths would be avoided every year.

Researchers did note that there is no direct cause-and-effect link between eating more fruits and vegetables and a longer life.

“Most likely it is the whole package of beneficial nutrients you obtain by eating fruits and vegetables that is crucial in health,” said Dagfinn Aune, study author.

Aune stressed the importance of eating whole plant foods as opposed to taking vitamin or antioxidant supplements.

To read more about the study, please visit “10 Daily Servings of Fruits, Veggies a Recipe for Longevity.”

Like NNLM SCR on Facebook and like us on Twitter.

Arkansas Sees Flu Cases Rise

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Flu Vaccination Grippe by Daniel Paquet is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

marshall islands

In the midst of flu season, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) has announced the flu has become “widespread” in the state, meaning the disease has been reported in all areas of the state. As of Feb. 17, 19 people had died from flu-related illnesses, 11 more than the 2015-2016 flu season.

ADH is urging those who have not already gotten this season’s flu vaccine to get it–it is not too late. The vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older, particularly those with higher risk for complications like young children or adults over the age of 65.

To find out where the closest location to get a flu vaccine is to you, please visit healthy.arkansas.gov.

To learn more about this season’s flu, including what the current vaccine protects against and symptoms of the illness, please visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

To learn more about the flu in Arkansas, please visit “Flu Cases on the Rise.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.