Health & Wellness

kids outside playing    Keep Kids Safe this Summer!

Posted from Re-posted from the CDC website 

Summer is a great time for kids to enjoy different indoor and outdoor activities.
Whether they are young children or teens, learn ways to keep your kids safe and
healthy while they enjoy the summer fun.

Master water safety

Water-related activities are popular for getting physical activity and have many health benefits. Here are some tips to stay safe while having fun.

Drownings are the leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 4, and three children die every day as a result of drowning.

  • Always supervise children when in or around water. A responsible adult should constantly watch young children.
  • Teach kids to swim. Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning.
  • Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Your CPR skills could save someone’s life.
  • Install a four-sided fence around home pools.

Recreational boating can be a wonderful way to spend time with family and friends. Make boating safety a priority.

  • Wear a properly fitted life jacket every time you and your loved ones are on the water.


Beat the heat and sun

Heat-related illness happens when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. Infants and children up to 4 years of age are at greatest risk. Even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather. For heat-related illness, the best defense is prevention.

  • Never leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
  • Dress infants and children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully, for morning and evening hours.
  • Stay cool with cool showers or baths.
  • Seek medical care immediate if your child has symptoms of heat-related illness.

Just a few serious sunburns can increase you and your child's risk of skin cancer later in life. Their skin needs protection from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays whenever they're outdoors.

  • Cover up. Clothing that covers your and your child's skin helps protect against UV rays.
  • Use sunscreen with at least SPF (sun protection factor) 15 and UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B) protection every time you and your child go outside.

Keep mosquitos and ticks from bugging you this summer

Protect yourself and your family by preventing bites and diseases, like Zika,  West Nile virus and Lyme disease, which can be transmitted by insects.




The flu is often confused with the common cold, but flu symptoms usually are more severe than the typical sneezing and stuffiness of a cold.

Symptoms, which usually begin about 2 days after exposure to the virus, can include:

       muscle aches
       loss of appetite
       sore throat
       runny nose
       nausea or vomiting
       ear pain

Infants with the flu also may seem fussy all of a sudden or just "not look right."


After 5 days, fever and other symptoms have usually disappeared, but a cough and weakness may continue.

All symptoms are usually gone within a week or two. However, it's important to treat the flu seriously because it can lead to pneumonia and other life-threatening complications, particularly in infants, senior citizens, and people with long-term health problems.


The flu is contagious, spread by virus-infected droplets that are coughed or sneezed into the air. People who are infected are contagious from a day before they feel sick until their symptoms have ended (about 1 week for adults, but this can be longer for young kids).

The flu usually occurs in small outbreaks, but epidemics — when the illness spreads rapidly and affects many people in an area at the same time — tend to occur every few years. Epidemics often peak within 2 or 3 weeks after the first cases occur.

When an epidemic spreads worldwide, it's called a pandemic. The most recent flu pandemic occurred in 2009-2010, with the H1N1 ("swine") flu.




Posted from - 10 Tips Nutrition Education Series
From the US Dept. of Agriculture -
Try (and download) these great resources!

Ten Tips Education Series

The Ten Tips Nutrition Education Series provides consumers and professionals with high quality, easy-to-follow tips in a convenient,
printable format. These are perfect for posting on a refrigerator.

These tips and ideas are a starting point. You will find a wealth of suggestions here that can help you get started toward a healthy diet.
Choose a change that you can make today, and move toward a healthier you. These tips are also available in Spanish.

  • Choose MyPlate [color; b/w]
  • Add More Vegetables to Your Day [color; b/w]
  • Focus on Fruits [color; b/w]
  • Make Half Your Grains Whole  [color; b/w]
  • Got Your Dairy Today?  [color; b/w]
  • With Protein Foods, Variety Is Key  [color; b/w]
  • Build a Healthy Meal  [color; b/w]
  • Healthy Eating for Vegetarians  [color; b/w]
  • Smart Shopping for Veggies and Fruits  [color; b/w]
  • Liven up Your Meals With Vegetables and Fruits  [color; b/w]
  • Kid-Friendly Veggies and Fruits  [color; b/w]
  • Be a Healthy Role Model for Children  [color; b/w]
  • Cut Back on Your Kid's Sweet Treats  [color; b/w]
  • Salt and Sodium  [color; b/w]
  • Eat Seafood Twice a Week  [color; b/w]
  • Eating Better on a Budget  [color; b/w]
  • Use SuperTracker Your Way  [color; b/w]
  • Enjoy Your Food, But Eat Less  [color; b/w]
  • Make Better Beverage Choices  [color; b/w]
  • Make Celebrations Fun, Healthy & Active  [color; b/w]
  • The School Day Just Got Healthier  [color; b/w]
  • Choosing Whole-Grain Foods  [color; b/w]
  • Be Food Safe  [color; b/w]
  • MyPlate Snack Tips for Parents [color; b/w]
  • Healthy Eating for an Active Lifestyle [color; b/w] NEW
  • Be Choosey in the Dining Hall [color; b/w] NEW
  • Mini-Fridge Makeover [color; b/w] NEW
  • Stay Fit on Campus [color; b/w] NEW
  • Be an Active Family [color; b/w] NEW
  • Be Active Adults [color; b/w] NEW

More tips coming soon!


For more print materials, click here.
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Manage Your Stress for Good Health

WebMD Feature
By Brenda Conaway
Reviewed By Laura J. Martin, MD

We live in a stressed-out nation, according to the American Psychological Association (APA) survey, "Stress in America." Most Americans feel moderate to high stress, with 44% reporting increased stress levels over the last 5 years. Many Americans have experienced stress from financial problems related to the economy. And many have found it difficult to balance work and home responsibilities and find the time to focus on healthy behaviors.

When you're under stress day in and day out, it can take a toll on your physical and mental health. And if you have children, your stress may also be affecting them -- more than you realize. According to the survey, 69% of parents said that their stress levels didn't have a big effect on their children, yet 91% of kids knew when their parents were stressed. So it's smart to learn how to manage stress to ensure good health for you and your family.

Types of Stress

Not all stress is bad for us, says Bruce S. McEwen, PhD, a leading stress researcher and head of the Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology at Rockefeller University, New York, NY.

  • Good stress, says McEwen, "Is when you are presented with a challenge, you rise to that challenge, generally have a good outcome, and you feel exhilarated," he says. Good stress can help us learn and grow.
  • Tolerable stress occurs when something bad happens, such as a job loss, but you have the inner resources as well as people you can turn to who help you get through it.
  • Toxic stress is when bad things happen, says McEwen. "And they may be really bad, or you don't have the financial or internal resources to handle them." This type of stress causes emotional and physical problems.

How Your Body Responds to Stress

When something very stressful occurs, your body leaps into action. The brain triggers the release of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones travel to different parts of the body, putting it on high alert. Your breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure increase. Blood vessels constrict, directing more blood to your brain and muscles. These stress responses get your body ready to either fight or flee.

Of course, fighting or fleeing isn't something most of us need to do very often. "Early humans were exposed on a regular basis to many more real-life dangers than we are now," says Katherine C. Nordal, PhD, executive director for professional practice of the American Psychological Association. The problem, she says, is that as we evolved, our world became less dangerous, but our bodies still react to stress the same way.

"Even psychological dangers such as the threat of abandonment or loss of self-esteem produce the same physiological response that real, physical dangers present," Nordal tells WebMD. The daily grind, family and work conflicts, money troubles, and even world events create a certain level of stress and anxiety.

For this and similar articles, please visit the WedMD webpage:


Previous post:

Keep Summer Fun AND Safe!

While kids are outside more during the summer months, there's more opportunity for injury or other health concerns. Heat, spiders and rashes, oh my!

Never, never, never treat poison ivy w/ bleach! Don't ignore spider bites - assume the worst. Brown Recluse spiders are bad news! And children practicing sports in the heat, need frequent breaks out of the sun, and near constant hydration.

There are great websites with more detailed info on how to keep your family safe this summer. Make it fun - ask your child to become the RASH EXPERT - or the SPIDER SPY! Sit down in front of the computer screen together - there's an idea!

Here's just a few ideas:

  • Plan ahead - for activities, without over-booking;
  • Utilize free services, like your local library
  • Select books to read, and plan for down time for reading, and napping
  • Make family meals together, putting the kids in charge
  • Carry healthy snacks with you - put a bag of apples in the car, in an insulated bag
  • Pack a small cooler w/ water and cool fruit

Try these websites: - Printable Safety Guides - everything from heat exhaustion, to water safety, to spiders and more - Nutrition for Kids and Teens - from the American Dietetic Association
Recommended readings lists - based on grade levels. Scroll down mid-page for a couple sets of links. Good stuff!
Learn to lead - get involved in something bigger than you. - young people unite around their favorite causes.

If you need help finding local resources, visit our Database search page, or call us at 757-244-5373 during regular business hours.


Motivating Kids to Get Fit!

With childhood obesity increasing at staggering rates, parents and caregivers must play an active role in protecting children's health. Eating healthy foods is a key factor in maintaining their overall wellbeing. But, this has to be balanced with regular physical activity.

Children who are physically active on a regular basis will reap enormous benefits. Studies have shown that they:

  • Are less likely to become overweight
  • Have a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Have reduced blood cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure
  • Have higher self-esteem and reduced incidences of depression and anxiety
  • Are more likely to build strong bones and muscles
  • Are more attentive in school

Now that we know why children need to be active, it's time to get them up and moving. Here's how:

  1. Focus on fun. You don't have to call it "exercise," just consider it an activity. Find out which ones your child likes and encourage those.
  2. Limit TV and computer time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than "two hours of daily media exposure" for children ages two and older. When they are watching or clicking, make sure they take breaks and move around.
  3. Schedule play dates. The key word here is "play." Have your child get together with a friend and play a game of tag, race down the block or kick a ball around.
  4. Get fit as a family. Create some funny dance moves. Put up a net and shoot hoops. You could also visit a zoo, play miniature golf or enjoy other activities where a lot of ground is covered on foot.
  5. Choose fitness-oriented gifts. For your child's next birthday, consider giving him or her a jump-rope, mini-trampoline, hula-hoop -- something that will encourage movement.
  6. Clean up. Chores don't have to be a bore. Sing a silly song with your child as you both wipe tables and counters. See how long both of you can hold a funny face while folding and putting away clothes. Older kids can help wash the car. On a hot day, this can turn into water play.
  7. Skip the mall. Go to the playground. Sure, most malls have kids' play areas. But, when the weather is nice, enjoy a local park or playground instead. Fresh air always does a body good; especially a little one.
  8. Be a model of fitness. It's much easier to motivate kids to be active, if you lead an active lifestyle. Whether you follow a structured fitness program or are lucky to get in some morning stretches, let them see you moving. It will likely inspire them to do the same.
  9. Encourage walking or biking whenever feasible. This is easy to accomplish if you live near stores, libraries or other places you visit regularly. If you live in a remote area, establish a safe route to tour on bike or on foot with your child.
  10. Be a fitness advocate at your child's school. Do you know how much physical activity your child gets at school? Now's the time to find out. If you don't like the answer, gather support from other parents to enforce positive changes.

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