Health Tips from our Parish Nurses
From the Volunteer Parish Nurses:
Warm greetings to all of our parishioners. We miss you! Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. If you would like to speak with us, just call the parish office. We are here to help, as always!
As we continue navigating through these difficult times, remember we are never alone. Our Lord walks with us always. Our recommendation for the pandemic is to remain vigilant to the safety precautions clearly established. Wear your masks in all public spaces indoors and out when social distancing cannot be maintained. Do your best to keep tabs on your teens and young adult family members and plead with them to avoid closely packed, unmasked, social gatherings. Wash your hands with soap and water often, and avoid touching your face. These simple steps work.
We also want you to attend to all of your health needs. We are blessed to have outstanding medical facilities in our area who are well prepared to protect you and care for your health care needs. And finally, we want to remind you of symptoms of emergency cardiac situations. Please review the stroke and heart attack warning signs below from the American Heart.
Nancy Houser, Donna Hoscheit, Pam Papp, Lisa Carani, Jenny Schweitzer, Sue Barnett, and Sandra Gatehouse
February is Heart Month
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States (in fact worldwide). It causes more deaths than all forms of cancer combined. About 33% of American adults have some form of CVD.
Heart disease can occur at any age, but the risk does increase with age. Other risk factors for heart disease include family history, diabetes, high blood pressure, being overweight or obese, tobacco use, excess alcohol use, high cholesterol, an unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity.
What can you do to prevent, or stop the progression of heart disease? Try as you might, you cannot change your age or your family history (genetics). But you can follow the American Heart Association “Life’s Simple 7” ® to lower your risk or slow the progression of CVD.
- Stop smoking!
- Get your blood pressure (BP) into a healthy range – ask your healthcare provider your BP goal.
- Control your cholesterol numbers – if you do not know your numbers, get a blood test, and then talk to your healthcare team.
- If overweight or obese, try to lose weight. Aim for a slow, progressive loss of 1-2# a week.
- Keep your blood sugar (glucose) level in a safe range.
- Try to be as physically active as possible. Goal is to accumulate 30 minutes of activity at least 5 days a week. Even brief sessions of activity count!
- Follow a heart healthy eating plan:
* high in fruits and vegetables (4-5 cups a day)
* whole grain breads or pasta, beans, legumes, unsalted nuts (walnuts, almonds)
* lean animal protein, skinless chicken, or fish – broiled or cooked, not fried.
* limit salt intake (read food labels to see how much salt is in ONE serving).
* limit sweetened beverages, full fat dairy, processed/refined foods. AVOID trans-fat!
Other things you can do to lower your risk include staying positive and trying to reduce stress. Focus on the beauty in life, your faith, family, and friends.
Learn more at www.HEART.ORG/MYLIFECHECK or www.HEART.ORG/EATSMART
Please let us know if we can be of help. Stay warm, stay safe!
As we move into the cooler months, it is important that we all remember that Covid has not gone away. Precautions are incredibly important especially as we are spending more time indoors. Never forget the simple steps you take can keep you and your loved ones safer. Always wear a mask (over your mouth AND NOSE) when you go out into the community, make every attempt to keep safe social distancing, and wash your hands frequently.
We also wanted to provide Halloween recommendations: http://dph.illinois.gov/news/illinois-department-public-health-issues-covid-19-halloween-festivities-guidance
Here is the best link we have found for information about covid in our area: kanecountyconnects.com . You do not need to sign up for the newsletter, just scroll down to the covid information.
And finally, here is a very good summary regarding the things we have learned about COVID-19 which comes from Richard Fogel, MD, the Chief Clinical Officer, Clinical & Network Services of Ascension Health:
Over the past seven months, COVID-19 has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives. As we continue to find safe and creative ways to navigate our new reality with this virus, it’s worthwhile to reflect on what we’ve learned along the way.
Here are 10 observations about COVID-19 that immediately come to mind:
- The virus doesn’t care who you are. A virus is a piece of genetic material (in this case RNA) surrounded by a protein capsule. If you breathe in enough particles of the virus, you’re going to get COVID-19. It’s that simple. Anyone can get it.
- Testing isn’t 100 percent. Medical testing isn’t perfect and can sometimes lead to a false sense of security. There are false negatives (you have COVID but test negative) and false positives (you don’t have COVID but test positive). In general, rapid tests have higher false-negative rates. If you think someone might have COVID and a rapid test is negative, testing should be repeated with a more sensitive test.
- The respiratory spread is the most common way for COVID to be transmitted. The virus is spread through the air. An infected person breathes it out; you breathe it in. The closer you are to someone who is infected (whether or not they have symptoms), the more likely you are to become infected. The better the ventilation and airflow around you, the less likely you are to become infected. Close proximity indoors means higher risk; being socially distanced outdoors lowers the risk.
- Masks work. Because the virus is predominantly spread through the air, masks can help to both protect you from inhaling the virus and also protect other people if you have the virus. Some masks are better than others. Properly fitted N95 masks offer optimal protection and have the best filtration. Surgical facemasks or medical ear-loop masks are also very good but don’t offer the same protection as an N95 mask. Cloth masks are not as good as medical masks but still offer some protection. On another note, unless you wear the mask over your nose and mouth, it probably doesn’t help very much. As always, be certain to practice good handwashing habits and stay home if you are sick.
- COVID-19 has many symptoms: some typical, some atypical. Most patients with COVID present with either a fever, cough, or shortness of breath. However, many also have other symptoms including headache, fatigue, gastrointestinal complaints, rashes, and more. In children, there can be an inflammatory syndrome that resembles Kawasaki disease. It’s important to be alert for these other symptoms. Too often the diagnosis of COVID has been delayed because the symptoms weren’t typical. Of importance, the sudden loss of taste or smell in an otherwise healthy person is very concerning for the diagnosis of COVID.
- Some people have symptoms for many months after infection. We call these cases “long haulers” and the cause is not completely understood. Most commonly, these individuals get over their acute symptoms but are left with disabling fatigue, marked exercise intolerance, and often a sense of heart racing with minimal activity. Some researchers think that the virus causes inflammation in the part of the nervous system that controls heart rate, blood pressure and temperature. Patients with such cases seem to be increasing in number and will likely further grow as the pandemic continues. It’s important to note that despite the presence of these “long haul” symptoms, people like this are not infectious.
- We’ve made a lot of progress on therapies. It’s hard to believe, but we’ve only known about COVID-19 for several months. However, in that short time, medical researchers have identified treatments that work to limit the disease or shorten its duration (remdesivir, dexamethasone), treatments that probably work (monoclonal antibodies), and treatments that likely show minimal or no benefit (hydroxychloroquine). Medical researchers have a lot of experience conducting studies to determine which treatments are most likely to be beneficial. Listen to the scientists who are doing good peer-reviewed research. Be wary of those who promote cures without good science supporting them.
- The mortality rate from COVID-19 in October is a lot lower than it was in March and April. We’ve learned a lot about this disease over the past several months. In addition to the therapies described above, we’ve also learned a great deal about the critical care of patients with COVID-19. We’ve learned how to best use oxygen, how to best position patients for maximal ventilation (“proning”), when and how to use mechanical ventilators. We’ve begun to understand how the virus affects the heart and other organs. We’ve found that the virus increases blood clotting and is doing research to understand when and how to use blood thinners. In the Ascension system alone, which serves 4 million unique lives annually, we’ve seen a 50% reduction in-hospital mortality over the past six months – remarkable progress in such a short period of time.
- COVID-19 isn’t going away any time soon. The pandemic will end when we have “herd immunity” to the virus. This will happen when either enough people have become infected and develop immunity, or when enough people are treated with an effective and safe vaccine. Unfortunately, it looks like that according to our best information only 10% of the population has reportedly had the virus to date and is immune for an undetermined amount of time. We’ve got many more months to go.
- We still have a lot to learn. The good news is we’re learning more all the time.
May you and your family rest in the peace and the love of our Lord.
Your Parish Nurses
Staying healthy is especially important in these challenging times. Your parish nurses would like to remind you of the importance of getting the flu shot. Consult your doctor if you have any questions if the flu shot is right for you.
In addition, we recommend eating a healthy diet. Here is an article with helpful tips for boosting your immune system: https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-that-boost-the-immune-system#red-bell-peppers
May your faith and love of our Lord continue to grow each day. Thank you for all you are doing to support all those around you and your parish community. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
8 Effective Ways to Deal with Stress
As we continue on this long journey of the pandemic, combined with teh additional flurry of the upcoming election, return to school, and civil urest, we thought we could offer a resource for dealing with stress, taken from Dynamic Catholic.
These are very trying times, but through our Catholic faith, we know we never walk this journey of life alone. May each of you feel the love of our Lord with you always.
Stroke Warning Signs
Stroke is a medical emergency. Every second counts, because time lost is brain lost! Know these stroke warning signs and share them with others.
5 Warning Signs of Stroke
Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech.
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
Sudden trouble walking or dizziness, loss of balance or problems with coordination.
Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.
If you or someone with you has one or more of these signs, don’t delay! Call 9-1-1 or the emergency medical services (EMS) number immediately so an ambulance – ideally with advanced life support – can come. Also, check the time so you will know when the first symptoms appeared. It is important to take immediate action.
Heart Attack Warning Signs
- Don’t wait to get help if you experience any of these heart attack warning signs. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense. But most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your body and call 911 if you experience:
- Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes – or it may go away and then return. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath. This can occur with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs. Other possible signs include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
(American Heart Association 2019.)
Stay healthy and if you would like to speak to us, call the office or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org