Disclaimer: This information here is not a substitute for the advice of and/or the treatment by YOUR personal healthcare provider. The information presented is for educational purposes. The reference websites for each topic is listed after each section.
April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Alcohol Awareness Month is a public health program organized by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence as a way to increase outreach and education regarding the dangers of alcoholism and issues related to alcohol. Initially, it started as a program to target college-aged students. Alcohol Awareness Month has become a national movement to draw more attention to the causes and effects of alcoholism and how to help families and communities deal with drinking problems. In a 2020 post, the CDC lists 5 things we need to know about alcohol.
- Alcohol can affect the normal functions of the cells in our bodies, causing them to grow out of control into cancerous tumors. Drinking alcohol raises one’s risk for a least 6 different types of cancer which include mouth and throat, larynx (voice box), esophagus, colorectal, liver and breast cancers.
- This risk of cancer increases with the number of drinks consumed. Even one drink a day increases the risk of developing some cancers.
- Although drinking one drink a day increases one’s cancer risk, binge drinking is particularly risky. Binge drinking is consuming 4 or more drinks for women or 5 or more drinks for men on a single occasion. 1 in 6 American adults binge drinks about 4 times a month.
- All types of alcoholic drinks are linked to cancer. This includes red and white wine, beer, cocktails and hard liquor.
- Some people may not realize how much alcohol they are drinking. A standard drink is 14 grams or 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol which is equivalent to…
- 12 ounces of beer
- 8 ounces of malt liquor
- 5 ounces of wine
- 1.5 ounces or a shot of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (such as gin, rum, vodka and whiskey)
April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a functional disorder of the stomach and gut that affects 10% to 15% of the American population. It’s characterized by abdominal pain and changes in the consistency of one’s bowel movements. IBS was previously called spastic bowel or nervous colon. There are 4 types of IBS: mainly diarrhea, mainly constipation, a combination of both diarrhea and constipation or neither. The cause is not clear. However, IBS onset can be triggered by an infection of the gut or a stressful life event. The International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders recommends the following tips:
- Relax to find relief.
- Better sleep for less pain.
- Breakfast is important to help bowel movements.
- Probiotics may be helpful.
- Opioid-based (narcotic) pain medications should not be used for IBS pain and may cause constipation.
- Keep things moving with exercise.
- Keep a symptom diary.
- Women with IBS may also have painful menstruation or periods.
- Eat consistent, small meals before large events.
- Remember the 4 common food offenders for IBS-caffeine, chocolate, fiber and nuts.
April is International Cesarean Awareness Month. Cesarean Section Awareness month was started by the International Cesarean Awareness Network to to bring awareness to all topics surrounding cesarean sections including cesarean section rates, reducing preventable cesarean sections, supporting cesarean section recovery and advocating for vaginal birth after Cesarean section or VBAC. Based on data from 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 31.7% of births are by Cesarean Section. For a reference, the Cesarean Section rate in 1985 was between 10-15%. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG) states in its Obstetric Care Consensus that “although cesarean delivery can be life-saving for the baby, the mother or both in certain cases, the rapid increase in the rate of cesarean births without evidence of concomitant decrease in maternal or neonatal morbidity or mortality raises significant concern that cesarean delivery is overused”. ACOG reports that the most common indications for a primary a first time Cesarean delivery are abnormalities in labor progress, abnormal or indeterminate fetal heart tracing (previously know as non-reassuring fetal heart tracing), non-head down presentations of the baby, more than one baby in the womb and suspected large baby. As of July 2020, the Joint Commission, the entity that accredits US hospitals, started reporting individual U.S. hospital’s cesarean section rates.
In non-emergency situations, where Cesarean section is recommended, women should fell empowered to…
- Ask for and receive a clear explanation for the indication(s) for Cesarean section,
- Ask for and receive information on the risks of Cesarean section for both her and her baby,
- Ask for and receive information on alternatives (if there are any available)
If a woman has had a Cesarean section, in a future pregnancy, she should ask if she is a candidate for vaginal birth after c-section (VBAC). If she is a candidate, she should receive information on her likely success rate and the risks, benefits and alternatives to VBAC.
April is National Minority Health Month. National Minority Health Month is a time to raise awareness about health disparities that affect racial and ethnic minority populations in American. It’s also a time to encourage action through health education, early detection and control of disease complications. The 2021 Awareness campaign according to the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities is #VaccineReady. The focus will be on the impact that COVID-19 has had and is having on these communities and underscoring the need for these vulnerable communities to get vaccinated as more vaccines become available. It will also focuses on sharing accurate vaccine information and encouraging participation in clinical trials.
April is Stress Awareness Month. Stress Awareness Month is a time to increase public awareness about both the causes and the cures for our modern stress epidemic. Learning to cope with our stress and finding healthy ways to deal with stressful situations can go a long way in living a healthy and positive life. American Psychological Association 2017 study found that the most common sources of stress for Americans were the “future of our nation” (63% of respondents), Money (62%), Work (61%), the Political Climate (57%) and Violence/Crime (51%). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 5 healthy ways to cope with stress.
- Take care of yourself. Eating healthy, exercising, getting plenty of sleep and giving yourself a break if you feel stressed out.
- Talk to others. Share your problems and how you are feeling and coping with parents, friends, a counselor, a doctor, or a pastor.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. These may seem to help, but they can bring additional problems and increase the stress you are already feeling.
- Take a break. If new events are causing your stress, take a break from listening or watching the news.
- Recognize when you need more help. If problems continue or you are thinking about suicide, talk to a psychologist, social worker, or professional counselor in addition to seeking care from a psychiatrist (doctor).
There has been more than 550,000 COVID-19 deaths in the United States. Praise the Lord, we have 3 vaccines available (Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson). Through prayerful contemplation, it is up to each individual to decide with his or her healthcare provider whether to be vaccinated, when to be vaccinated and with which vaccine. Remember, the vaccine is just one weapon in our armory. We still need to remain vigilant in taking precautions to avoid getting and spreading the virus.
STOP THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 and GERMS (CDC.gov/coronavirus)
- Wear cloth facial coverings or masks when out in public
- Social distance: stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people not in your family
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- DO NOT touch your eyes, nose and mouth
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- STAY HOME when you are sick except when getting medical care
- WASH YOUR HANDS often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19
Fever (temperature greater than or equal to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius)
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste and/or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
For Fully Vaccinated People
What has changed:
- You can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask
- You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19
- If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
What has not changed
You still need to take steps to protect yourself and others in many situations including in being public, gathering with unvaccinated people and traveling. This means continuing to wear a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others and avoiding large crowds and avoiding poorly ventilated spaces. You should still watch for symptoms of COVID-19 if you have been around someone who is sick. And finally, follow guidances at you workplace.
According to the CDC, we know that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, serious illness and death. We are still learning how effective the vaccines are against the new variants of the coronavirus. We know that other prevention steps help stop the spread of COVID-19. We are still learning how well the COVID-19 vaccines keep people from spreading the disease. And finally, we are still learning how long the COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.
2 Chronicles 7:14 “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive theirs sins and heal their land.”
John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
|NAD Health Ministry|
|Adventist Hospitals||NEWSTART Lifestyle program|
|Uchee Pines Institute||WebMD||Veggie World|