Prevent the flu during flu season!

14 Jan

I know I have been a huge advocate in the past, but again, here is my shout out for flu shots!

Flu season is still here! I work at the BYU Health Center. I can tell you that currently the appointments I am setting are all for Flu Symptoms or some sore throat mixture.

So, Tip #1 for keeping flu free: Get a flu shot.
Flu shots are available at your local dr.’s office, Walgreens, Walmart. Pretty much everywhere!

Now, for the $free.99 tiparoos-
Tip #2: Always wash your hands after getting any liquid or particles on your hands.
Tip #3: Use Hand sanitizer regularly if you don’t have any particles on your hands, but just want to get germ free.
Tip #4: refrain from being near someone who is feeling sick.
Tip #5: Use the new and improved “vampire Cough.” Don’t know what that is?

pretend you have a vampire cape on. You know how count dracula would swoop his cape over his face pulling his arm across his mouth and nose? That’s what a vampire cough is. Essentially, coughing into your elbow crease as compared to your hand that touches EVERYTHING.

Those are my simple tips from keeping the flu away from you!

I am THAT girl.

15 Dec

You know that girl that sits in the testing center next to you & sniffles.  You know, the girl that sits down the hall from you while studying for finals & sniffles.  Over. and over. and over. and over.

That is me right now.

I have yet to master the fine line of manners & courtesy.  I cannot keep going to the bathroom to rid my nose of the awful mucus, but I can’t blow it out here in the hall bc let’s be honest…that’s gross.  What do you do?

How do you conquer the sniffles?

Inside my head is this nasty bug, but meanwhile, I’ll be battling the finals week cold, tackling tests, and acing presentations!

BYU Services

1 Dec

For those of you who are BYU students, there are many BYU services offered to improve students’ overall well-being.  The best way to make sure these services stay alive are to use them.  BUT how do we use them if we don’t know about them?

Y-Be Fit

Website: http://wellness.byu.edu/content/12

 

Y-Be-Fit is a program set up to allow students to analyze their personal health.  The BYU Wellness program is designed to help students in a group setting to improve their health, while Y-Be-Fit the individual can meet one-on-one with a trained employee and discuss their current physical health state, how to improve it, and what goals to set.

Contact:
Monday – Thursday
8:00am – 6:00pm
127 RB, (801) 422-4494

 BYU Wellness

Website  http://wellness.byu.edu/content/72/

The BYU Wellness Program is to help BYU students improve their help through various programs.  It aims to:

“Promoting positive change in the following six areas:

Emotional: Recognizing and managing feelings.

Financial: Developing a value-based approach to personal money management.

Intellectual: Acquiring new knowledge through stimulating mental activities.

Physical: Implementing positive lifestyle habits and physical activity.

Social: Maintaining and building healthy relationships.

Spiritual: Integrating gospel principles into personal behavior.”

Contact:

Phone: (801) 422-5884

Email: wellness@byu.edu

Address:
Brigham Young University
2001 JKB
Provo, UT 84602

BYU Career and Counseling Center

Website: http://ccc.byu.edu/cc/counseling-and-career-center

The Career and Counseling Center is here for emotional and mental health services.  Their website states that “The role of the CCC in Student Life is to provide counseling, advisement instruction, and support services that promote the balanced development of BYU students.”   They offer a wide variety of services from counseling from psychiatrists, to stress management assessments and counseling, marital counseling, academic counseling, and other workshops.

Have yall used the services? What did you think of the BYU offered Services? Have any others you’d like to share?

If ya snooze, ya lose!

30 Nov

How many of us cut our sleep hours short?
How many of us have exams that we just “have to study for all night?”

How many of us have that late night Rockstar or bag of potato chips to munch on so we can stay awake?

Sleep deprivation is the cause of our bodies to either gain or not lose weight as easily. If we’re wanting to achieve an all-around healthy body, we are going to need to give our bodies the appropriate amount of sleep. We all know how much we need. If we combine a proper diet, with regular sleeping and exercise, we will be happy as can be! But, since life isn’t perfect and we don’t always treat our bodies like we should, let’s talk about how low sleep is harmful to our body health.

Cortisone is a hormone released from our bodies when we are in fight-or-flight mode. We are stressed out. When we become stressed, our bodies release cortisone. When we don’t get enough sleep and have constant stress, our body thinks it needs a constant release of cortisone. Cortisone makes our bodies think they need to cling onto the energy it has, for a reserve.

Sleep deprivation also causes us to become munchier. How come it is when a group of girls has a sleepover and everyone steers clear of the bag of chips and bowl of M&M’s at the beginning of the night but then once midnight hits everyone’s grabbing fists full? Maybe because everyone realizes they’re human and really want the chocolate and so they just go crazy because they’ve held off for so long…but not likely. The reason we get so munchy later into the night, is because our bodies are tired. They need sleep; our minds need sleep. BUT because we’re not giving them what we need they’re scrounging for every source of energy they can find, but still not feeling satisfied they’ll want to continue munching until we put our stubborn selves to bed!

Then we end up lookin like this at 10am the next morning.

It always seems like such a worse idea, the morning after!

Sometimes, however, we just plum can’t sleep.  If this has bothered you and you’re looking for some help. Try THIS website for tips on getting better rest each night!

Meditation is also good for getting our minds relaxed before getting sleep each night.  Or counting sheep actually worked for me in high school!

 

Have you noticed the affects of sleep or lack of in your life?

Skinniness does NOT equal healthiness.

15 Nov

I remember watching an episode of House.  Where one of the girl doctors, who is extremely skinny, made a snide comment about a girl coming into the hospital ill because she was ‘fat’.  The blond boy with the wavy hair responded with a comment “yeah, since you’re 90 lbs. is healthy”.  She was judging the health of this girl because she was visually larger than most.  She had some extra meat on her.  But her chunky body could be just as ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’ as that extremely skinny doctor. 

Skinny may be what the TV shows or the magazines are telling us where it is to be, but what they are stressing is the visual.  They are selling an unnattainable body for most, as what everyone ‘should have’.  This mindset is sick and our media needs to start changing now.

One of my favorite movies of all time is Return to Me.  It was made in the 90’s.  My husband gladly watches it with me and enjoys the movie.  Every time we watch that movie we are reminded the extremes of today’s media.  The nineties tv shows and movies used actors and actresses that were ‘normal.’ They had normal, healthy bodies.  Our media today is becoming more extreme.  This is not to suggest that extremely skinny people are unhealthy.  I am emphasizing that no two people were built the same.  If people, particularly girls, have these extremely skinny bodies from unhealthy measures, such as eating a ridiculously low amount of food so that they can only have bones in their bodies, then this is where it crosses the line.  These practices make the individual look ill and the skin loses its glow because it does not have the adequate vitamins.  The bones lose density.  The reproductive system takes hits and many of these women are unable to bear children.  Hair becomes unhealthy and gross because of lack of vitamins.  The person feels lethargic and low on energy, simply because they don’t supply their bodies with what it needs.

Dr. Nelson, a Brigham Young University professor, emphasized the importance of never telling a girl she needs to lose weight or anything of that manner.  He focused on the importance of the body, of body image and how no bodies are the same.  He lectured regularly on his disgust for the media and what is now accepted as ‘normalcy’ and what our bodies ‘should’ look like.

An ignorant girl in a past semester of mine was as skinny as most models in the media limelight and that is great. However, Professor Cal showed pictures of a ton of diseased anorexic and bulimic girls on the slide show and asked the class what we thought about if all girls should like this.  That particular girl raised her hand and stated that “if everyone exercised and took care of themselves, every girl could look like that.”  Boy, oh boy, the mental fireballs were being shot in her direction.  It was the most ignorant comment I have ever heard.  I was a chubby child and have always dealt with weight issues.  I began watching EVERY thing I ate and exercising regularly, but even when I could run 26.2 miles, my body never looked like that, nor will it ever. I am okay with that.  When I have a healthy lifestyle I feel great about myself.  I wish everyone who thought that if someone just worked hard enough they would look like that model would be able to live a year in the shoes of someone who is not built that way.  That girl in my class was skinny, beautiful and looked healthy to most people, but who knows, my bigger marathon running body could more than likely have been healthier than hers.  So what are we striving for? Health or to be visually pleasing to a world that seems to never be pleased.

What do you think about the media’s push for skinniness, do you think it is for visual or health purposes?

Cancer Hits Home

12 Nov

This is Natasha Nicole Brinkerhoff.  She is a beautiful, vibrant teenager.  She attended high school in a small town and is a pretty big deal.  She was a cheerleader in high school and competed in the county scholarship pagaent as well.  She is a joy to be around and lights every room she walks in with her great and loving personality.  She is a good girl and her it radiates.  In October 2009 her mom found a mole on her head that looked abnormal.  They casually went to a dermatologist where they biopsed the mole and found out in a couple weeks that it was cancerous. 

 

 

My, then, 17 year old sister-in-law was diagnosed with Melanoma skin cancer.  At that time, she was in stage II.  They caught it at the perfect time.  One year ago today she went in for surgery.   I had just started dating her brother and my first weekend there someone made a comment about it, but I didn’t understand how blessed she was.  I thought…okay…skin cancer, you get it removed and it’s okay, right?  I did not even realize my ignorance, even being in public health and taking all the health classes that I have.  I researched it and learned about it in more and more classes.  Skin cancer kills a surprisingly large number of people in the United States each year.  How?  If the cancer on the skin reaches the lymph nodes it then spread through the blood in the body.  Tasha was curious and took her health into her own hands.  She was proactive.  She went and got the curious mole checked.  She didn’t think she was able to get skin cancer when she was 17. 

Below is a picture of the affected area after her surgery, I’m sorry, this picture is graphic.

 

 

 

She underwent surgery where they had to shave a large portion of her long brown hair from behind her left ear. She was a trooper. She dealt with the healing process well. The staples itched.  Her head hurt.  It sometimes would get bumped.  She wore beanies and other cute hats at school and during cheerleading. She ignored any stares if anyone caught a glance of the then gruesome wound.  She didn’t care.  She knew what she had overcome and new the stares just didn’t matter.  She was highly admired by her school staff, coaches, and fellow students. Newspaper articles were written, she was called onto stage by her high school principle.  It was all touching.

Below is the staging scale for skin cancer.  She was in stage II, which states that it appears to just be on the skin, but they weren’t sure if it had spread to the lymph nodes yet.  That is why  they cut out skin so far around the mole and down her neck.  They used iodide testing to see if the cancer had spread.  It had drained down her neck, so they though that skin was cancerous as well.  Luckily it wasn’t, but precautions were taken, still.

Stage 0: The melanoma is in situ, meaning that it involves the epidermis but has not spread to the dermis. This is also called Clark level I.

Stage I: Based on the Breslow measurement, the melanoma is a low-risk tumour (less than 1½ mm or about 1/16 inch in thickness). Using the Clark system, this can be level II or III. It appears to be localized in the skin, and has not been found in lymph nodes or distant organs.

Stage II: The melanoma has a Breslow thickness of greater than 1½ mm (about 1/16 inch). It still appears to be localized to the skin and has not been found in lymph nodes or distant organs.

Stage III: The melanoma has spread to lymph nodes near the affected skin area.

Stage IV: The melanoma has spread beyond the original area of skin and the nearby lymph nodes to other organs such as the lung, liver, or brain, or to distant areas of the skin or lymph nodes.

 I got that Staging Scale HERE.

Still, ignorant comments were made by strangers. One time at a basketball game a girl from the opposing team’s cheer squad made a comment, “Wow, you think their school would be more uniformed and wouldn’t allow some of their cheerleaders to wear hats.”

We celebrate Tasha’s recovery and her beating cancer.  Her scars have healed nicely, though the skin area is still numb and her hair isn’t growing on the scarred tissue.  She is still vibrant, still beautiful, still happy, still outgoing, still as radiant as ever.  She is cheering now as an 18 year old college freshman.  She does not dwell on her cancer but she is an awesome health advocate and is strongly against tanning beds.  We need to all follow Tasha’s example.  We need to spread awareness from our experiences.  We need to be proactive about our health.  If something isn’t right, catch it before it is magnified and affects your quality of life.  What can you contribute to the health scene?



Cancer

5 Nov

If you stand in a room with 3 people probably one of you knows someone personally who has had some form of cancer.

Why is cancer so prevalent?

Is there anything we can do to reduce our risk of getting cancer ourselves?

There are many different ideas to answer these questions, some swear that it’s microwaves mutilating the cells in our food, others believe that radiation mutates the cells in our body creating cancerous cells.  Some swear tanning beds will give skin cancer.  I do believe that skin cancer is received through tanning beds.  I do believe that our health effects our susceptibility.  I think that if we are doing our best to protect our bodies, that we will be the least susceptible to cancerous chemicals and other catalysts. 

In the words of BYU Professor Mark Stevenett, “Often times, we take better care of our cars than our bodies.”  This is true, and I am guilty!

 Check out THIS LINK to look at a picture slide show of foods presented by Dr. Cynara Coomer.  She says that “antioxidants, vitamins and polyphenols are paramount in staving off this devastating disease.”

Do you think our diets can affect our risk of cancer?

I think that diet affects our overall health and our bodies can be affected by our diet in numerous ways. I am no scientist, but according to many of my class lectures and information I have crossed in my Public Health career, I understand that whether directly or indirectly unhealthy diets and obesity can increase chances of cancer. 

The key is to keep ourselves all-around healthy.

Know somebody with cancer currently?  Want resources, support and more information about cancer?  The American Cancer Association has a great website, check it out HERE.