Category Archives: Health

Red Cross offers winter weather safety tips

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – As winter weather approaches our area this weekend, the American Red Cross offers 10 steps people can take to stay safe during the cold weather.

“As winter weather enters our area throughout this weekend, we want to make sure that families are safe,” said Jeremie Ballinger, executive director of Red Cross of Greater Kansas City and Northwest Missouri.

  1. Layer up! Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing your body heat.
  2. Don’t forget your furry friends. Bring pets indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
  3. Remember the three feet rule. If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.
  4. Requires supervision – Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
  5. Don’t catch fire! If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  6. Protect your pipes. Run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
  7. Better safe than sorry. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.
  8. The kitchen is for cooking. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
  9. Use generators outside. Never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
  10. Knowledge is power. Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.

Eat Well to Be Well: Hydration still important during cold weather

Just because cold temperatures have arrived doesn’t mean keeping hydrated should be an afterthought. In fact, hydration is just as important in cold winter months as it is during hot, humid summer days. Likely you’re not breaking out in a noticeable sweat on a frosty winter day, but drinking a sufficient amount of water still matters.

Since you do not store or make water, your body’s water needs must be replaced each day. The main sources of water losses from the body are urine and sweat, but water is also lost through bowel movements, and respiration and perspiration.  You likely could go for weeks without eating food but would last only a few days without water.

Why winter weather can cause dehydration

Here are ways cold winter weather can lead to loss of body water, making it vital to be aware of your hydration status during this time of year:

  • Breathing in cold, dry air, and spending more time in dry, heated environments such as our homes or vehicles – both can lead to water loss.
  • Exposure to cold air can reduce the body’s thirst sensation by up to 40 percent. Therefore, you tend to feel less thirsty, drinking less water, even though your body’s water needs have remained unchanged.
  • You still perspire in cold winter weather but it is likely less noticeable than during hot summer months, when perspiring reminds you to drink more water.

How mild dehydration affects the body

Your body is made up of about two-thirds water and no matter what time of year it is, you still need a sufficient supply to prevent dehydration. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body requires water to function properly. Water is necessary to rid your body of wastes and helps maintain body temperature, along with lubricating and cushioning joints.

During cold weather, we bundle up to keep warm and to conserve body heat. However, wearing long underwear, long sleeve shirts, hooded sweatshirts, and heavy coats makes your body work about 10 to 40 percent harder because of added weight. This leads to increased perspiration and sweat resulting in more fluid loss.

Boil water advisory issued for portion of Osage County RWD 8

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has issued a boil water advisory for water users in the portion of Osage County Rural Water District 8 located north of Kansas Highway 4 (in Wabaunsee and Shawnee counties.)

Customers in that area should observe the following precautions until further notice:

  • If your tap water appears dirty, flush the water lines by letting the water run until it clears.
  • Boil water for one minute prior to drinking or food preparation or use bottled water.
  • Dispose of ice cubes and do not use ice from a household automatic icemaker.
  • Disinfect dishes and other food contact surfaces by immersion for at least one minute in clean tap water that contains one teaspoon of unscented household bleach per gallon of water.
  • Water used for bathing does not generally need to be boiled. Supervision of children is necessary while bathing so that water is not ingested. Persons with cuts or severe rashes may wish to consult their physicians.

The advisory took effect Jan. 3, 2020, and will remain in effect until the conditions that placed the system at risk of bacterial contamination are resolved. KDHE officials issued the advisory because of a loss of pressure due to a water main break. Lack of pressure in a distribution system may result in a loss of chlorine residuals and increase the potential for bacterial contamination.

Eat Well to Be Well: Stress less, enjoy more this holiday season

Decorate the house, buy gifts, wrap gifts, address holiday cards, make holiday treats, host a party, go to parties, attend children’s school holiday events – and the list goes on. Ever feel a bit stressed out this time of year?

Relax. We all do.

Yes, it’s a wonderful time of year but the pressure to make it memorable and fun can be overwhelming. When we place sky-high expectations on ourselves and others, it’s no wonder the holidays become stressful. Consider the fact, nothing changes during this time – we still have to get up, go to our jobs, tend to our families, fix meals, workout, just like we do all year long. What changes is the month long (or more) anticipation and buildup towards a beautiful celebration that shouldn’t cause us stress and yet it does.

How do we keep ourselves from stressing out during what is supposed to be a time of joy and celebratory exultation?

We can start by telling ourselves, “It’s okay not to be perfect.” None of us are. Is it possible to remove all stress? Don’t we wish! However, we can lessen the burden of stress making our lives feel more carefree, lighthearted, and even at times, happy-go-lucky. Here’s how:

Keep connected with family and friends. This can be a huge stressor if you feel disconnected from those you care about and love. Take time to reach out with a phone call, visit, text message, Facebook message, or whatever you feel comfortable doing. All of us feel special knowing someone carved out precious time to want to spend it with you.

Distance yourself from negative influences. At the same token, there are unfortunately those people in our lives who bring us down. Unless you are able to look past their negativity and chalk it up to a personality issue, it’s best to avoid contact with someone who will only raise your stress level.

Nurture creativity. Each of us has a creative side to us whether you believe it or not. Maybe you can’t carry a tune or can barely draw a stick figure, but you have a special way with animals. Or maybe you’re talents are in creating beautiful cakes, caring for the elderly or taking amazing sunset photos. Discover, nurture and then share your talents so others will be blessed with them. Whatever we are good at we tend to feel less stress when doing it.

Practice meditation. This may not be for everyone, but for those who do it regularly they swear it immensely diminishes stress. Meditation can be as easy as simply closing your eyes and visualizing a peaceful, calm scene that will quiet the stress demons filling your mind.

Take a deep breath. By the same token, practicing controlled breathing, similar to meditation, is another guaranteed stress buster. In a seated or lying down position in a quiet room, inhale deeply filling up your lungs while counting to 5 and then exhale pulling your abdomen to your spine to a steady count of 5 once again. Breathe this way for at least a couple of minutes or more and notice the immediate blanket of serenity enveloping you.

Eat Well to Be Well: Stave off winter weight gain with these expert tips

Beginning with Halloween candy and ending with a New Year’s Eve toast, the last months of the year can challenge even the most disciplined weight watcher. By the time the New Year arrives, you may feel heavier, yet in reality most people have not packed on as many pounds as they think.

The average American gains about one to two pounds during the six-week stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. This doesn’t sound like much unless you gain that extra one to two pounds year after year, without losing it. Before you know it, in 10 years you could easily be 10 to 20 pounds heavier. Here’s the rub – this extra weight gain can be harmful to your waistline while increasing your risk for serious health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or joint problems.

So, how can you enjoy the holiday’s festivities and delicious food without sabotaging your waistline? Even though this time of year is filled with fatty and sugary treats, the truth is you can continue to make good food choices. Follow the expert tips below. They’ll point you in the right direction, allowing you to still revel in this beautiful season while avoiding holiday weight gain:

Practice the 90/10 rule – A simple trick to use year-round that can change how you eat forever. Ninety percent of the time, eat healthy along with exercise. But give yourself 10 percent wiggle room. Have a small indulgence here and there. No one can eat perfectly 100 percent of the time. It’s okay to enjoy and savor holiday treats, just make sure the majority of time you are focusing on healthy foods.

Prevent meal skipping – It may sound like a good idea to save your appetite for a holiday party later in the day but that plan can backfire. Likely by the time the party rolls around, you’re cranky and tired besides being ravenously hungry. Arriving at a party on an empty stomach only spells disaster – you’ll likely end up eating more calories than the ones you skipped earlier in the day. Instead, eat breakfast, a light lunch and before leaving the house, have a snack of fiber-filled foods. Fiber helps you feel full preventing you from overeating. Choose foods with minimal calories such as crisp, fresh vegetables, fruit, a small salad, nuts, or a small bowl of oatmeal.

Law enforcement agencies to collect unused medications Saturday

LYNDON, Kan. – Local law enforcement officers will join others across the state this Saturday in setting up locations to collect unused medications for safe disposal.

A collection site for Osage County will be 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 26, 2019, at the Osage County Sheriff’s Office, 131 W. 14th St., Lyndon, Kan.

The collection event is part of a nationwide effort to safely dispose of leftover medications to prevent accidental or intentional misuse. This year, the collection sites will also collect vapes and vape cartridges for disposal.

Since the Drug Take-Back Day program began in 2010, more than 88 tons of unwanted medications have been collected and destroyed in Kansas alone. The National Drug Take-Back Day is coordinated by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which collects and safely destroys the medications.

Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates opioid overdoses kill 130 Americans every day. According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, pharmaceutical opioids are a leading cause of drug poisoning deaths in Kansas.

Eat Well to Be Well: 5 spices to spice up your health

Did you know your spice rack is really your medicine cabinet? One look and you’ll be staring at some of the most powerful and effective secret weapons known for fighting inflammation, heart disease, cancer, and more.

These aromatic substances used for flavoring food have an impressive array of health potential. Before automatically shaking salt or dabbing a dollop of butter onto food, stop. Consider how they contribute to heart disease and high blood pressure. Opt instead to use spices to flavor your food. Besides providing a unique, appetizing appeal to your meals, take advantage of their disease-fighting compounds as they protect your body’s health.

While there are more than 100 spices used in cooking throughout the world, there’s no need to go on an exotic hunt. Your local grocery store will carry some of the best spices you need and here are five good examples to begin using in your meals:

1. Tumeric for fighting inflammation

Popular in Indian curry dishes, turmeric has become a trendy super food for its ability to reduce inflammation. A starring component of turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory substance called curcumin. Research has shown curcumin to be effective for reducing pain and swelling in people with arthritis. This same compound has also been found to inhibit growth of certain breast cancer cells while other research suggests it may also protect against stomach and pancreatic cancers.

How to use it: Try turmeric on vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, on brown rice or quinoa, or sprinkle onto chicken noodle soup.

Eat Well to Be Well: Foods helping you “C” better

As a nation, we are aging – fast. So fast that it is predicted that the number of Americans age 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060, and the 65-and-older age group’s share of the total population will rise from 16 percent to 23 percent.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to prioritize vision-protective nutrients and foods. In fact, the American Optometric Association has emphasized that consuming food rich in vitamin C can reduce and slow the progression of certain eye conditions and loss of visual acuity. One such nutrient having direct beneficial effects promoting eye health is vitamin C.

About Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a busy vitamin. This water-soluble vitamin, which our body does not store, has many functions keeping our body healthy. From promoting healthy capillaries, gums, teeth, and cartilage to enhancing the absorption of iron, almost all cells of the body depend on this nutrient also known as ascorbic acid.

Before it was discovered, vitamin C has an interesting and rich history. Back in the early eighteenth century, seafarers who traveled for months at a time over the ocean knew that fresh vegetables and fruits – especially citrus fruits – could cure scurvy, which is the deficiency disease of vitamin C.

Today, we now know far more about this vitamin and the vital role it plays in maintaining our body. One part of our body that clearly cannot do without this precious vitamin is our eyes. Vitamin C plays an important role in supporting the health of blood vessels leading to our eyes and is critical for maintaining good eye health.

There are two conditions affecting our eyes in which vitamin C can help reduce at least the progression if not possibly preventing them from occurring. One is age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and the other is cataracts.

Boil water advisory rescinded for Scranton

SCRANTON, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has rescinded a boil water advisory for the city of Scranton, today, Oct. 3, 2019. The advisory was issued because of a loss of pressure in the system and failure to maintain adequate chlorine residual levels. Failure to maintain required chlorine residual levels can put a system at risk for bacterial contamination.

Laboratory testing samples collected from the city of Scranton indicate no evidence of bacteriological contamination and all other conditions that placed the system at risk of contamination are deemed by KDHE officials to be resolved.

Boil water advisory issued for city of Scranton

Update: Oct. 3, 2019, KDHE rescinded the boil water advisory for Scranton, Kan., water system.

SCRANTON, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has issued a boil water advisory for the city of Scranton, in Osage County, Kan.

Customers should observe the following precautions until further notice:

  • If your tap water appears dirty, flush the water lines by letting the water run until it clears.
  • Boil water for one minute prior to drinking or food preparation or use bottled water.
  • Dispose of ice cubes and do not use ice from a household automatic icemaker.
  • Disinfect dishes and other food contact surfaces by immersion for at least one minute in clean tap water that contains one teaspoon of unscented household bleach per gallon of water.
  • Water used for bathing does not generally need to be boiled. Supervision of children is necessary while bathing so that water is not ingested. Persons with cuts or severe rashes may wish to consult their physicians.

The advisory took effect Sept. 30, 2019, and will remain in effect until the conditions that placed the system at risk of bacterial contamination are resolved. KDHE officials issued the advisory because the city cannot currently maintain the minimum required chlorine residual. Failure to maintain required chlorine residual levels may put the system at risk for bacterial contamination.

Eat Well to Be Well: Are you under-consuming these key nutrients?

Let’s start with what many Americans over consume each day – excess sodium, unhealthy fats, and an abundance of overly sugary carbohydrates. This barrage of overabundance over time can be a major detriment to our health. But what about nutrients we under consume, also setting the stage for future health problems? Scientists with the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey* have identified five top nutrients many of us are lacking or what they refer to as “shortfall nutrients.” Let’s take a look at these five nutrients and how a few dietary changes can help make up some of the nutrient shortages:

Calcium – Calcium has the distinction of being the most abundant mineral in our body. It’s necessary for strong bones and teeth, lowers risk of osteoporosis and colon cancer, and may aid in weight loss. Despite the mineral’s importance in the body, many people fall short of the 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium they need daily. In fact, the average woman consumes only slightly more than half of her daily requirement.

Top tips for boosting intake – Each day, include two to three servings of dairy (cow’s milk, cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt) or calcium-fortified non-dairy beverages. Dark green leafy vegetables are also high in calcium. However, the human body absorbs more calcium from dairy foods than plant-based foods. Also, more calcium is absorbed from kale and broccoli than from spinach because they have less oxalate. Oxalate is an organic compound found in foods such as spinach that can bind with minerals like calcium carrying it on out the body, preventing some of it from being absorbed.

Fiber – Fiber has a multitude of important roles in our health. It prevents constipation, improves gut and heart health, and may lower the risk of colon cancer. Yet, few Americans are anywhere near meeting the recommended daily allowance. The average person in the U.S. gets about 15-16 grams of fiber daily. Ideally, men should strive for between 30-38 grams of fiber a day while women require between 25-30 grams per day.

Top tips for boosting intake – Begin by replacing white bread with 100 percent whole wheat bread. Have a fruit or vegetable at every meal and snack. Speaking of snacks, choose nuts and seeds for a fiber boost. Add dried or canned beans to soups, stews, taco meat, or to a pasta dish.

Kansas health officials report death in vaping related lung disease

TOPEKA, Kan. – Kansas health officials have confirmed the first death in the state associated with an outbreak of serious lung disease related to vaping or using e-cigarettes. The recent death was a Kansas resident over the age of 50.

Kansas State Epidemiologist Dr. Farah Ahmed said the patient had a history of underlying health issues and was hospitalized with symptoms that progressed rapidly. The national investigation has not identified any specific vaping or e-cigarette products linked to all cases. Many patients report using vaping or e-cigarette products with liquids that contain cannabinoid products, such as tetrahydrocannabinol. Kansas does not have detailed information on what types of products were used by the deceased.

“Our sympathies go out to the family of the person who died,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Health officials are working hard to determine a cause and share information to prevent additional injuries. As that work continues, I urge Kansans to be careful. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way, and please follow the recommendations of public health officials.”

Kansas State Health Officer and Secretary for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Dr. Lee Norman said health officials nationwide continue to work aggressively to gather information and determine what has caused these lung injuries.

“It is time to stop vaping.” Secretary Norman said. “If you or a loved one is vaping, please stop. The recent deaths across our country, combined with hundreds of reported lung injury cases continue to intensify. I’m extremely alarmed for the health and safety of Kansans who are using vaping products and urge them to stop until we can determine the cause of vaping related lung injuries and death.”

To date, Kansas has six reports associated with the outbreak. Three patients have been classified as confirmed or probable cases and three cases are still under investigation. State investigators determine if cases are confirmed or probable after examining the medical records of suspected cases and consulting with the clinical care team to exclude other possible cases. To protect patient confidentiality, no further information will be provided regarding each of these cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with the addition of the Kansas report, is reporting six deaths and more than 450 possible cases of severe lung injury in 33 states and one jurisdiction.

While investigations into these cases continue, CDC is recommending people avoid vaping or using e-cigarettes. Also, people with a history of vaping who are experiencing lung injury symptoms should seek medical care. Nationally, symptoms among cases included shortness of breath, fever, cough, and vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms reported by some patients included headache, dizziness and chest pain.

For more information on how to quit tobacco products, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Free workshops help parents, caregivers understand effects of childhood trauma

Practically everyone has experienced ACES whether they realize it or not. Adverse childhood experiences are serious childhood traumas that result in toxic stress that can harm a child’s brain. This toxic stress may prevent a child from learning or playing in a healthy way with other children, and can result in long-term mental and physical health problems into adulthood. ACEs can result in problems in school, increased difficulty making friends or maintaining relationships, and can result in risky behaviors like drug use, aggression, or suicide attempts.

Drug Free Osage County and Greenbush Educational Service Center are partnering to help Osage County learn more about ACES at workshops around the area next week.

The workshops will cover basic understanding of ACEs and how they can relate to overall emotional and physical health. Also discussed will be how to respond to the challenge by becoming sensitive to trauma and focusing on building resilience and helping relationships in our communities.

ACEs can include emotional, physical, or sexual abuse; physical or emotional neglect; or exposure to household dysfunction. Possible health risk outcomes into adulthood include drug use such as alcoholism or smoking, diabetes, depression, heart disease, cancer, COPD, stroke and obesity.

Attendees will also learn how resilience can help reverse the effect of ACEs. Resilience is the ability to return to being healthy and hopeful after bad things happen. Parents, teachers, and other caregivers can help by understanding ACEs, helping children identify feelings and manage their emotions, and by creating safe physical and emotional environments at home, in school, and in neighborhoods.

All interested people are invited to the free ACES workshops. Here is the schedule for workshops around Osage County:

  • 1-4 p.m. Aug. 12, 2019, Lyndon High School, 421 E. 6th St., Lyndon
  • 1-4 p.m. Aug. 13, 2019, Marais des Cygnes Valley High School, 508 S. Main St., Melvern
  • 1-4 p.m. Aug. 14, 2019, Burlingame High School, 417 N. Dacotah St., Burlingame
  • 1-4 p.m. Aug. 14, 2019, Osage City High School, 515 Ellinwood St., Osage City
  • 1-4 p.m. Aug. 19, 2019, Santa Fe Trail High School, 15701 S. California Rd., Carbondale.

Eat Well to Be Well: A+ after-school snacks enhance kids’ health

Summer is almost over with a new school year about to begin. You’ve bought new book bags, shoes, and school supplies to start your child’s school year off right.  But there’s one other important component enhancing your child’s school success and health – healthy after-school snacks.

The importance of after-school snacks

Who doesn’t remember coming home from school hungry and looking for something to eat? Children of today are no different. Keeping nutritious after-school snacks on hand allows kids of all ages the perfect opportunity to enrich their growth and nutritional needs.

As parents, we are responsible for forming our kids’ snack habits.  Think of the after-school snack as a mini-meal.  Healthy, nutritious snacks are a far smarter way to fill them up instead of offering overly-refined foods such as chips or Cheetos. Smart snack choices can provide key nutrients like fiber, iron, and protein that may otherwise be lacking in some kids’ diets.

The idea is to fuel your kids’ brains providing an energy boost while satisfying their hunger cravings helping them achieve academic success. For those participating in sports, busy student athletes will be wise to choose nutritious snacks supporting energy for growth and athletic performance. When smart snack choices are frequently made, this not only develops good eating habits, but also enjoyment of wholesome foods.

Algae blooms affect lakes statewide

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, in conjunction with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, has issued public health advisories for Kansas lakes, including two in Osage County.

Warnings include:

  • Big Eleven Lake, Wyandotte County (unchanged)
  • Jerry Ivey Pond, Saline County (unchanged)
  • Marion County Lake, Marion County (unchanged)
  • Gathering Pond near Milford (Hatchery Supply Pond), Geary County (unchanged)
  • South Lake, Johnson County (unchanged)
  • Lebo Kids’ Pond, Coffee County (unchanged))
  • Westlake in Gage Park, Shawnee County (upgrade from 7/25)
  • Melvern Outlet Pond, Osage County (new)
  • Melvern Swim Pond, Osage County (new)

When a warning is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions:

  • Lake water is not safe to drink for pets or livestock.
  • Lake water, regardless of blue-green algae status, should never be consumed by humans.
  • Water contact should be avoided.
  • Fish may be eaten if they are rinsed with clean water and only the fillet portion is consumed, while all other parts are discarded.
  • Do not allow pets to eat dried algae.
  • If lake water contacts skin, wash with clean water as soon as possible.
  • Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.

Blooming algae closes Melvern Outlet Park River Pond and swim beach

MELVERN, KS – The U.S Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District announced Thursday a hazardous algae bloom at the Outlet Park River Pond and Outlet Park swim beach downstream of Melvern Lake. Kansas Department of Environment and Health has confirmed that cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae with low levels of the toxin microcystin, have been identified in the two ponds below Melvern Dam.

Hot and sunny weather conditions combined with high nutrient levels create ideal conditions for harmful algae bloom growth. Swimming is not allowed in the Outlet Park River Pond and all wading and contact with algae is discouraged. The Outlet Park Swim Beach is currently closed to all public use.  The primary risks for this scenario are for pets that may come in contact with the algae accumulated near shore and floating on the water surface.

Blue-green algae blooms are unpredictable. They can develop rapidly and may float or drift around the lake, requiring visitors to exercise their best judgment. If there is scum, a paint-like surface or the water is bright green, avoid all water contact and keep pets away.

Pet owners need to be particularly mindful of the presence of blue-green algae. Dogs are highly susceptible to algae toxins and frequently ingest concentrated toxins from shoreline areas. Pets that swim in or drink water affected by a harmful algal bloom, or eat dried algae along the shore, may become seriously ill or even die.

The present algae bloom is isolated to the Outlet Park River Pond and Outlet Park Swim Beach located below Melvern Lake Dam. Boat ramps and lake activities are not affected. Marinas, lakeside businesses and park camping facilities are open for business. Drinking water and showers at parks are safe and not affected by algae blooms. Boating and fishing are safe under current conditions. It is safe to eat fish caught during a harmful blue-green algae outbreak, as long as the fish is rinsed with clean water. Consume only the fillet portion and discard all other parts. Hands should also be washed with clean water after handling fish taken from an affected lake.

Eat Well to Be Well: Simply sidestep metabolic syndrome

Results from your annual physical were not the best – high cholesterol, elevated blood sugar, high blood pressure – should you be concerned? Yes. You may have a condition called metabolic syndrome that can erupt into multiple health worries. The good news is making lifestyle changes can significantly blunt the advancement of this health problem. But what is metabolic syndrome and how would you know if you have it?

Understanding metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions significantly increasing your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. If you have this condition, it’s not a matter of if you will have a heart attack or stroke; it’s a matter of when.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, there are five conditions considered to be risk facts for metabolic syndrome: high blood pressure, high fasting blood sugar, abnormally high triglyceride levels, a low HDL cholesterol level (good cholesterol), and excess body fat around the waist (waist measurement or circumference). Below are the criteria for each of these conditions indicating if you are at risk:

  • Blood pressure – equal to or greater than 130/85 mmHg.
  • Fasting blood sugar – greater than 100 mg/dl.
  • Triglycerides – equal to or greater than 150 mg/dl.
  • HDL cholesterol – equal to or less than 50 mg/dl for women or equal to or less than 40 mg/dl for men.
  • Waist circumference – equal to or greater than 35 inches for women or equal to or greater than 40 inches for men.

Anyone with at least three or more of the risk factors has metabolic syndrome. Currently, a whopping 34 percent of American adults have metabolic syndrome, up from 25 percent two decades ago. And just recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has found that the gains made in improving death rates from heart disease and strokes have stalled, which is driving down life expectancy in the U.S. This is after decades when Americans could expect to live longer than the generation before them.

Public drinking water notice rescinded for Carbondale

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has rescinded a public drinking water notice for the city of Carbondale, Kan. The notice was issued because of low levels of microcystin, a blue-green algae toxin being detected in the drinking water. While the levels and water remained acceptable for drinking, food preparation and household uses, the EPA and KDHE believed it was important to inform consumers.

Samples collected by the city of Carbondale have indicated microcystin levels below laboratory detection levels for drinking water since July 1, 2019. The city’s drinking water has remained below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 10-day health advisory levels of 0.3 micrograms per liter and was acceptable for drinking, food preparation and all household use for the entire public notice period.

Microcystins entered the supply due to blue-green algae blooms occurring in Strowbridge Reservoir, the source water for Carbondale’s water supply. The Carbondale Public Water Supply has joined the KDHE Public Water Supply Harmful Algal Bloom Voluntary Monitoring Program and will continue to treat and monitor the public water supply for microcystins through October 2019.

Water systems purchasing water from Carbondale, including the city of Scranton and Osage County Rural Water District No. 5, should be aware of the rescinded notice and be assured the water is acceptable for use.

For more information, contact your local water supplier or KDHE Public Water Supply Section at 785-296-5514.

Eat Well to Be Well: Why choosing cow’s milk still matters

Going to the grocery store to “get milk,” is not always what it used to mean. Open up the refrigerator in many homes, and the “milk” might instead be a nondairy milk alternative. From soymilk, almond, coconut, rice, cashew, oat, hemp, quinoa, or hazelnut, just to name a few, cow’s milk has competition.

Traditional cow’s milk still dominates the milk market, but research shows that U.S. nondairy milk sales are growing, causing cow’s milk sales to sag. Nondairy milk alternatives have gained popularity among consumers. But are nondairy milk alternatives as healthy for us as cow’s milk and why are consumers dropping dairy milk for plant-based alternative milks anyway?

Reasons for the switch to nondairy milk alternatives

The consumer consumption switch on buying more nondairy milk alternatives is being fueled for several reasons:

  • People with a milk allergy have a safe alternative to cow’s milk.
  • People with lactose intolerance – however, dairy milk manufacturers make some varieties of cow’s milk with the lactose already broken down.
  • People who are vegans and consume no animal products.
  • People who have health concerns over consuming dairy milk believing it is fattening or unhealthy.
  • There is public perception that nondairy milk alternatives are healthier than dairy milk.
  • Some consumers question modern milk production practices.

How does the nutritional profile of cow’s milk compare to plant-based milks? This is where it is very important for consumer’s to read the nutrition facts label on all types of nondairy milk alternatives. While it’s tempting to follow the trend of drinking plant-based milk alternatives, before deserting cow’s milk, know the nutritional differences between them.

Let’s be clear, cow’s milk is still the gold standard with a high nutritional profile for several reasons:

Stomach ache serious, yet common horse ailment from many causes requiring awareness

Colic in horses in simple terms means a bellyache. It is a much more complicated and serious issue, according to Dr. James Moore, University of Georgia veterinarian, Athens, Ga.

“Colic in horses is defined as abdominal pain, or most simply a stomach ache. But it is a clinical sign rather than a diagnosis,” Moore said.

The term colic encompasses all forms of gastrointestinal conditions which cause pain as well as other causes of abdominal aches.

“Most common forms of colic are gastrointestinal in nature and are most often related to colonic disturbance,” Moore clarified.

There are a variety of different causes of colic, some of which can prove fatal without surgical intervention.

“Colic surgery is usually an expensive procedure as it is major abdominal surgery, often with intensive aftercare,” the veterinarian said.

An indication of colic is when a horse frequently looks at and even nips at the flank.

Among domesticated horses, colic is the leading cause of premature death. “Incidence of colic in the general horse population is between 4 and 10 percent in their lifetime,” Moore said.

Numerous clinical signs are associated with colic. The most common include pawing repeatedly, kicking, looking at the flank, lying down, rolling, and curling the upper lip.

Other indications of colic are repeatedly raising a rear leg, kicking, sweating, arching the neck, and stretching out.

Additional apparent colic signs include straining to defecate, distention of the abdomen, loss of appetite, depression, and decreased bowel movements.

“It is uncommon for a horse with colic to exhibit all of these signs,” Moore said. “Although they are reliable indicators of pain, particular signs do not indicate which portion of the gastrointestinal tract is involved.”

A diagnosis can be made and appropriate treatment begun only after thoroughly examining the horse.

Eat Well to Be Well: Why making every bite count matters more as we age

Humorist, novelist, and journalist Mark Twain was famous for his wit and wisdom. One of my favorite quotes he coined was, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” However, what does matter is how healthfully we age, at least to me. I personally hope to live a long healthy life, with the emphasis on “healthy.”

So, is healthy eating more important as we get older? Good nutrition is important at every stage of life. But as the decades go by, likely, health issues will start to appear. Your food choices often have a significant role of what we may or may not develop. Smart nutritional choices do make a difference. That’s why it’s never too late to start afresh with eating habits promoting your health.

When you look at each decade of life nutritionally, they bring certain phases and changes to focus on. Anyone who has lived long enough has seen and felt bodily changes. That’s why starting young is best for building a strong nutritional foundation. Let’s look at what to focus on as the years go by:

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