Hello Students!

Welcome to the Student Body, a blog managed by your very own Lewis and Clark Family Health Clinic. This blog will not only inform you of what the clinic has to offer but also will talk about a variety of health topics. These topics will not only be about your health in a medical sense but also mental and dental.

The Family Health Clinic services the community and provides services to students, these services include treating acute and chronic health conditions, health promotion and preventive care.

Nurse practitioners and other health care members can provide health examinations, lab tests, treatment of illnesses and some vaccinations. They accept a variety of insurances and even have discounts for those who pay with cash.

From diabetes awareness to mental health to getting physically fit, this blog will cover health related issues and be an extension of the clinic by providing education to L&C students. While this blog will provide you with health information, you can always go to the clinic, located on L&C’s Godfrey campus in Fobes 1522, to receive more information or stop in for any of the services it provides.

Family Health Clinic
Lucy Chappee, HRSA project director, works with a patient in the L&C Family Health Clinic, which is becoming a one-stop shop for total patient care. Photo by S. Paige Allen, Lewis and Clark Community College photographer/media specialist.

 

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Featured post

Quitting Smoking Starts with One Day

The Great American Smokeout was Thursday, November 15.  It’s a great day to make a plan to stop smoking, but it’s not too late.

On the day of your choice, you can join thousands of Americans who decide to stop smoking for one day and then continue their journey to a smoke-free life.

Among American adult smokers, nearly two out of three want to quit and almost half have made an attempt to quit in the past year, according to the Center for Disease Control.  It’s not easy, but it is doable….with help.

That’s what the Great American Smokeout sponsored by the American Cancer Society is all about—getting you the help you need to quit smoking, vaping, and chewing tobacco—for good!!

See this link for tips from former smokers https://www.cdc.gov/tips.

You can also call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

In Illinois, special help is available.

Illinois Tobacco Quitline

Just click the links below for more info

Or you can call the tobacco Quitline at 1-866-QUIT-YES (1-866-784-8937).

The hotline is staffed seven days a week from 7 am to 11 pm with nurses, counselors, and smoking cessation specialists who can help you make a promise to yourself to quit smoking and access the resources you need to keep that promise.

Lewis and Clark Community College is proud to have participated in the Great American Smokeout. We encourage our staff, faculty, students, and our partners to commit or recommit to healthy, tobacco-free lives.

The Family Health Clinic is here to support you in your efforts to lead a long, healthy tobacco-free life. We have support resources and pharmaceutical resources to assist you to kick this habit for good.

Call the Family Health Clinic at 618-468-6800 or come by Fobes 1525 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to access our services.

Quit

Flu Season Strikes Again

One hundred years ago, the 1918 influenza pandemic swept across the globe killing more than 675,00 in the U.S. and 50 million worldwide.  More people died from flu that year than all civilians and military that died during World War I.  One hundred years later, we are still battling the flu and losing countless lives to a preventable disease.

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Flu season starts during the Fall every year and people arm themselves against it by getting a flu vaccine.  The CDC recommends a flu vaccine for every person over the age of 6 months.

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Once you receive your flu shot, it takes approximately two weeks for your body to develop the antibodies that protect against the flu.  That’s why you should protect yourself by getting a flu vaccine BEFORE flu season begins.

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Can I get vaccinated and still get the flu?

Yes.  It’s possible to get sick with flu because you may have been exposed to the flu shortly before you were vaccinated or during the period it takes for your body to develop antibodies that protect you.  Or, you may be exposed to a strain of flu not covered by the vaccine.  Usually, there are many different strains of flu and the vaccine is designed to protect against the most prevalent strains.  If you do become sick with the flu after getting vaccinated, you usually have a much milder case.  Flu vaccination is not perfect but it is the best way to protect yourself against flu infection.

1918 Recommendations
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What happens in your body when you have the flu?

Influenza viruses usually infect the respiratory tract (your nose, throat, and lungs.) You may develop a cough, fever, sore throat, body aches.  Most people recover in a few days but some people develop complications such as a secondary ear or sinus infection.  If that happens, see your primary care provider or come to the Clinic on campus to be treated.

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What should I do if I get sick with the flu?

Stay home!

Most people recover from the flu quickly with rest.  It is important to stay home, rest, and treat symptoms with over the counter analgesics and cough medicines.  Staying home helps you recover faster and keeps the virus from spreading.  Antiviral medicines are most helpful if used within the first 48 hours of illness.  The Family Health Clinic Nurse Practitioners can prescribe these medications for you.

Please call or come by the Family Health Clinic, 1525 Fobes Hall. 618-468-6800. The Clinic is open Monday-Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

And don’t forget to get your flu shot!

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Five Reasons Why Immunizations are Important

IMmunizations are IMportant

Here are five reasons why:

1. Immunizations can save your life.

Due to the advances in medicine, diseases that used to injure or kill thousands, such as polio and smallpox, have now been eliminated.  If a shot can save your life, isn’t it worth your time and effort to be vaccinated?

2. Vaccination is safe and effective.

The development of vaccines include rigorous testing and review to prove their safety and efficacy.  Comprehensive scientific studies have not found a link between vaccination and autism.  If a vaccine won’t hurt you and has been proven to protect you, why not get it?

3. Immunizations protect the people you care about.

Vaccinations not only protect you but also protect people you come in contact with such as babies who are too young to be immunized, and others who may have a weakened immune system, or who cannot be vaccinated. If a shot can protect you and protect your loved ones, isn’t it worth it?

4. Immunizations save your family time and money. 

Sick children must be kept out of school or daycare. A prolonged illness can take a financial toll due to missed work, medical bills, or long-term disability.  Vaccines are usually covered under most health insurance plans or are available low-cost from the Health Department. If a shot can prevent pain and suffering from illness and save you money in terms of medical bills and missed work or school, isn’t it worth your investment?

5. Immunization protects future generations.

Diseases that caused widespread illness and death have been reduced or eliminated due to vaccines. If a shot can protect the future of your children, grandchildren, and the world, won’t you please get vaccinated?

Who Needs Vaccines?

  • Babies need routine vaccination at developmental milestones.
  • School-age children need vaccination prior to entering kindergarten, in 6th grade, and before they graduate from high school.
  • Teenagers need vaccination to protect them from Meningitis and the Human Papilloma Virus (that can cause cancer.)
  • Adults need a Tetanus vaccine every 10 years.
  • Seniors need vaccines to protect them from Shingles and Pneumonia.
  • And EVERYONE needs an annual FLU shot!!

Summer is the perfect time to update your vaccines. The Family Health Clinic can help you determine which vaccines you require and help your children get ready for school with a physical.  Please call or come by today. We are open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Fobes 1525. 

We care for your health!

Oh My Aching Back!

Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work and keeping us on the sidelines when we want to be active. In fact, it is estimated that up to 80% of the population will experience a problem with their back sometime during their lives.

Back pain can be caused by:

Injuries — Whether it’s occupational or recreational, repetitive movements or even one wrong move can leave you hurting.

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Arthritis — Causes may include degenerative changes from overuse, inheritance, and immune system dysfunction.

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Poor posture — This puts stress on your spine and may constrict blood vessels and nerves which can result in pain.

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Obesity — Excess weight=excess stress.  When you carry excess weight especially around your middle, your pelvis is pulled forward and this causes strain on your low back.

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Stress — Anxiety and stress increase muscle tension which in turn increases pain.

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Conservative treatment is your first line of defense. Rest, ice or heat, and NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen are what you should try in the first 24-48 hours.

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But as counterintuitive as it may seem, too much rest may make your back pain worse.

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Gentle exercise such as walking and stretching can relieve back pain. And, when you are feeling better, you need to do exercises that strengthen your back and core muscles.

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If conservative measures do not bring you relief to your back pain, try alternative measures such as:

Massage

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Acupuncture

Ed's 1 second acupuncture treatment (man holding porcupine).
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Chiropractic Care

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The American Chiropractic Association recommends the following spinal health tips:

Standing

  • When standing, keep one foot slightly in front of the other, with your knees slightly bent. This position helps to take the pressure off your low back.
  • Keep your head level. Your earlobes should be in line with your shoulders. Do not push your head forward, backward or to the side.
  • Shift your weight from your toes to your heels, or one foot to the other, if you have to stand for a long time.
  • At all times, avoid twisting while lifting. Twisting is one of the most dangerous movements for your spine, especially while lifting.
  • If the item is too heavy to lift, pushing it is easier on your back than pulling it. Whenever possible, use your legs, not your back or upper body, to push the item.
  • If you must lift a heavy item, get someone to help you.

Sitting

  • Keep your knees slightly lower than your hips, with your head up and back straight.
  • Avoid rolling your shoulders forward (slouching).
  • Try to maintain the natural curve in your low back.
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Reaching and Bending

  • When reaching for something above shoulder level, stand on a stool. Straining to reach such objects may not only hurt your mid-back and neck, but it can also bring on shoulder problems.
  • Do NOT bend over at the waist to pick up items from the floor or a table.
  • Instead, kneel down on one knee, as close as possible to the item you are lifting, with the other foot flat on the floor and pick the item up.
  • Or bend at the knees, keep the item close to your body, and lift with your legs, not your back.

Sleeping

  • Sleeping on your back puts approximately 50 pounds of pressure on your spine. Other positions may be better.
  • Placing a pillow under your knees while lying on your back cuts the pressure on your spine roughly in half.
  • Lying on your side with a pillow between your knees may also reduce the pressure on your back.
  • Never sleep in a position that causes a portion of your spine to hurt. Most often, your body will tell you what position is best.

Technology

  • When texting, bring your arms up in front of your eyes so that you don’t need to look down to see the screen.
  • When using a computer or mobile device, look down with your eyes, and if you wear glasses, make sure you also can scan the entire screen without moving your head.
  • When sitting at a device, make sure your feet are firmly flat on the floor or footrest with your knees lower than your hips. Make sure you can use the device without reaching.
  • Never pinch the phone between your ear and shoulder. Use a headset to reduce shoulder strain.

Family Health Clinic

Just remember, the Family Health Clinic cares about your aching back as well as the rest of you. Call or come by today. We can help diagnose and treat back pain as well as most other health conditions.

We are open Monday—Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call (618) 468-6800 for more information. We are conveniently located in Fobes 1525.

Additional Sources

1. Rubin Dl. Epidemiology and Risk Factors for Spine Pain. Neurol Clin. 2007; May;25(2):353-71.

2. https://www.acatoday.org/Patients/Health-Wellness-Information/Spinal-Health

Don’t Let Risky Drinking Ruin Your Fun

Summer is a great time for fun with family and friends. Many summer activities and social events feature alcohol. But, remember excessive drinking is dangerous during any season.

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The Family Health Clinic wants you wants you to be both safe and healthy when it comes to alcohol.

First and foremost, there are alternatives to consuming alcohol. There are numerous clubs, sporting events and activities that do not include it. Check out this link to see what student activities options are offered on Lewis and Clark’s Godfrey campus.

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Did you know it’s also against policy to possess or consume alcohol on campus or even be under the influence of alcohol on campus unless you are over the legal age of 21?

Or, that alcohol can only be consumed on campus at a function where it is provided under the College’s liquor license?

In addition to breaking Illinois law, violations of the Student Conduct Code are subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion.

But most importantly, we CARE about you. If you must drink, please drink responsibly. Recommendations for “safer” drinking advise people to consume no more than one drink per hour and no more than three drinks per day. But, what is “one” drink? It depends on the type of alcohol.

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According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Alcoholism is the nation’s #1 public health problem. It is a chronic, progressive disease, genetically predisposed and fatal if left untreated. Addiction to alcohol affects people of all ages regardless of income, educational background, country of origin, ethnicity, sexuality and community where they live.

Anyone can become addicted to alcohol or be affected by another person’s addiction—especially friends and family members. However, people can and do recover. In fact, it is estimated that as many as 20 million individuals and family members are living lives in recovery!!

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The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence wants you to remember: Addiction is a disease, treatment is available and recovery brings joy.

The Family Health Clinic is here to help you if you have concerns about your drinking. Please call (618) 468-6800 or come by today. We’re in Fobes 1525, Monday—Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Beware of the Chair!

You may have heard the phrase, “Sitting is the new smoking.” This means that sitting for long periods of time can be just as hazardous to your health as smoking. Numerous studies over the past 15 years have linked sitting to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and even depression.

“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.”
~ James Levine, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic

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Studies show that on average, we sit 86% of the time whether it is in class, on the job, in our cars, at home, in restaurants, in front of the TV, checking social media, and on and on and on…..

Now, you can actually calculate how much time per day you spend sitting.

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Even if you work out the recommended 150 minutes per week, it doesn’t undo all the damage done by extended periods of time sitting.

“You can’t offset 10 hours of stillness with one hour of exercise.” ~ Dr. Marc Hamilton, Ph.D. of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center

That’s because your metabolism slows down by 90% after just 30 minutes of sitting! Muscles turn off; enzymes shut down, and good cholesterol drops 20 percent!

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However, the answer is not to increase your exercise. Dr. Hamilton claims the average person could never do enough exercise to counteract the amount of time she/he spends sitting.

The answer is to STAND and MOVE!!!! Our bodies were designed to MOVE.  Low intensity, non-exercise activities like standing and walking are much more important than you realize.

In fact, low-level activities play a crucial metabolic role and account for more of our daily energy expenditure than moderate-to-high intensity activities.

Check out how many calories you can burn each day just by standing more.

Here’s what else you can do: watch this one minute video but watch it standing up!

Show Your Heart Some Love

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, we are reminded that February is Heart Health Month.

updown copyThe good news is that the death rate from heart disease has declined in the U.S. over the past decade.

But, the bad news is that it is still the leading cause of death in America and what’s worse, the death rate due to heart disease is rising among young adults, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Risk factors like tobacco use, a sedentary lifestyle, and hypertension are increasing among young adults aged 35 to 64.

Million Hearts is an initiative by the CDC to increase awareness of heart disease and promote prevention activities that can reduce your chances of getting heart disease, developing high blood pressure or having a heart attack or stroke.

Watch the below video to learn about what you can do to take control of your heart health.

Want to determine the age of your heart? Check out The Heart Age calculator.

However, keep in mind that this quick calculator is no substitute for regular check-ups with your primary health care provider.

This information can seem overwhelming, but you are not alone. The Family Health Clinic cares for your heart.

We can help you develop a plan to reduce your risk for heart disease. Please call (618) 468-6812 or stop by for more information.  We are open to the public Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Fobes 1525 on the Godfrey campus of Lewis and Clark Community College.

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Seven Things to do when the FLU BUG Bites

You got your flu shot early; you carry hand sanitizer in your pocket, and you cross to the other side of the street anytime someone sniffles, but somehow you managed to get bitten by the FLU BUG!

NOW, WHAT?

First of all, it’s important to distinguish between true influenza and other garden variety illnesses.

Influenza is NOT a:

  • stomach virus characterized by vomiting and diarrhea
  • cold characterized by sniffling, sneezing and sore throat
  • sinus infection characterized by head congestion, drainage, and sinus pain and pressure

Influenza is a highly contagious upper respiratory virus characterized by chills, fever, coughing and body aches.

What can I do?

There’s really no cure for influenza and most times the disease runs its course.

You may want to see your medical provider for Tamiflu (oseltamivir), Rapivab (peramivir) or Relenza (zanamivir) to help ease the symptoms and lessen the severity of the disease.

Keep in mind that antiviral medications may not be effective unless taken within the first 48 hours of coming down with the flu. Antiviral medications often are expensive (over $100 per prescription) and may not be covered by your insurance.

There are other things you can do to ease your symptoms and speed your recovery:

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1. STAY HOME AND GET PLENTY OF REST.

The reason flu spreads so rampantly is not only because it is highly contagious but also that often people keep going to school or work or out in public.

When you have the flu, you are sick and you need to rest for several days while your body battles the virus.  Stay home until you are fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.

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2. DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS.

Drinking fluids keeps your respiratory system hydrated and turns that nasty, thick mucus into a thin liquid you can cough up and spit out.

Oftentimes, staying hydrated is the key to keeping a viral infection from turning into a bacterial infection that requires a trip to the doctor and antibiotics.

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3. TREAT FEVER AND BODY ACHES WITH ACETAMINOPHEN AND IBUPROFEN.

You’ll feel better and rest easier if you can keep fever and body aches under control.

NEVER give aspirin to anyone under the age of 19 because of its link to Reye’s syndrome, a serious disease that can cause brain and liver damage.

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4. TAKE CARE OF YOUR COUGH.

Calm your cough with an over the counter expectorant which thins mucus so you can cough it out.

A cough suppressant will help give you a break from all that hacking. Try a lozenge to soothe your raw throat and quiet your cough.

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5. GET SOME STEAM.

Turning on a hot shower to allow your bathroom to fill with steam is a good way open your airways, ease congestion and make it easier to breathe.

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6. RUN A HUMIDIFIER.

Try a cool humidifier to keep the air moist to ease congestion and coughs. Warm humidifiers promote the growth of mold and bacteria.

Remember to keep your humidifier clean.

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7. BE KIND TO YOURSELF.

Now is the time to take care of yourself. Surround yourself with comfort.  Special pillows, blankets, food, drink, books and movies may help you feel better and speed healing.

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The Family Health Clinic cares for you and your health.

Call us at 618-468-6800 or come by Fobes 1525 to find out how we can help you.  We are open Monday—Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm for your convenience.

 

Cultivating Optimism: 7 Ways to Embrace the Bright Side

As we head into the holiday season, it’s natural to feel stressed and overwhelmed on occasion. While we often have little to no control over stressful life events, like finals, meals with relatives we may not get along with, and bills that keep piling up, we can control how we react to those situations that stress us out.

One way we can control our reactions to stressful life events is to cultivate an optimistic attitude. Research has proven the benefits of optimism.

Optimists:

  • live longer
  • have stronger immune systems
  • suffer less stress and pain
  • enjoy better cardiovascular health
  • achieve a better quality of life
  • have better survival rates after diagnoses of cancer, diabetes, and HIV
  • get more and better sleep
  • exercise more
  • have more friends and stronger social support networks

But the question is, do optimists enjoy all those benefits because of their rosy, outlook on life or do healthier people have more optimism because of the benefits they enjoy?

Experts tend to believe the former is true. Optimistic people see the glass half-full regardless of their life circumstances.

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Optimists are not born that way. Optimism is a skill you can develop over the course of your lifetime.

Optimists don’t see only the bright side all the time. They are realistic and honest. When something negative happens in their lives, they don’t just ignore the negative feelings or deny them; they allow themselves to fully experience the sadness or anger of those negative emotions and then think of a plan to change their circumstances. In other words, they are resilient.

How do you cultivate optimism?

Here are 7 things you can do:

1. Focus more on the problem itself rather than on reducing or managing emotions associated with the problem.

If an exam does not go well, analyze your approach to studying the material and make changes in your study habits.

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2. Change your expectations.

If you know a certain aunt will loudly ask you why you don’t have a boyfriend in front of everyone at every holiday gathering, lose the burden of expecting her to be different. Anticipate instead how you will be different by not reacting to her insensitive comment.

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3. Develop a worry-later list.

If a worry disrupts your day, jot it down and allot 15 minutes at the end of your day to ponder your list of worries.

Just making that to-do list takes it off your radar for the time being and allows you to focus on the more important task at hand. At the end of your day, you may find those worries are not as big as you thought.

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4. Keep things in perspective.

Instead of generalizing that all is lost, step back and look at the big picture. You may have bombed the presentation but that doesn’t mean you have failed the class. You will have another chance to improve your performance.

Keep in mind there’s a big difference between thinking I feel unhappy versus I am unhappy.

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5. Look at history, not headlines.

Bad news comes to us instantly through our phones and social media but checking history takes effort.

“According to just about every indicator of human well-being, we’re better off than any other time in history,” says Marian Tupy, editor of humanprogress.org.

In fact, if you want to see just how much the world has changed for the better since you were born, go to www.yourlifeinnumbers.org and plug in the year of your birth.

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6. Think of things you are looking forward to.

Reminisce. Just thinking good thoughts whether they be from past memories or future expectations creates positive feelings, and boosts confidence which in turns leads to optimism.

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7. Get enough sleep.

Getting enough sleep alone will help you feel more optimistic about life and improve the quality of your life.

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Finally, practice makes perfect. Optimism is a skill you can learn and develop. It’s like a muscle. The more you practice optimism, the stronger it becomes in your life.

 

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Keep in mind that the Family Health Clinic is here to help with health and mental health issues.

Please call us at 468-6800 or come by Fobes 1525 to find out more about ways we can help you. We are open for students, faculty, staff and the general public Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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