Health briefs for Dec. 28, 2013: The Memorial Hospital to close clinic services for holidays

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The Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic will close early at 3 p.m. New Year’s Eve. The clinic will also be closed all day New Year’s Day, resuming normal hours Jan. 2.

TMH’s emergency services will be available at all hours, should anyone need immediate care.

Volunteers needed for hospice

Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association is seeking volunteers for their Hospice program. Direct service volunteers may provide transportation, run errands, provide respite to relieve the primary caregiver, do household chores, read to the patient or sit and listen to them. Volunteers also assist in bereavement, community outreach and fund development. Volunteers who work with patients must complete a 20-hour training program and make a commitment to be available for at least one year.

Those who are interested should contact Sandy Beran at 970-871-7682 in Craig or Katy Thiel in Steamboat at 970-871-7628.

January is awareness month for multiple medical issues

January 2014 will include observances for numerous medical topics, such as birth defects prevention, blood donations, cervical cancer and glaucoma.

Birth defects prevention — Women of childbearing age and their care providers need to know that folic acid promotes good health before, during and after pregnancy.

Daily consumption of the B vitamin folic acid beginning before pregnancy is crucial, as birth defects of the brain and spine known as neural tube defects (nTDs), including spina bifida, can occur in the early weeks following conception, often before a woman knows she is pregnant.

For more information on preventing birth defects visit marchofdimes.com or consult local medical experts about prenatal care.

Blood donations — Blood is traditionally in short supply during the winter months, especially January, due to the holidays, travel schedules, inclement weather and illness. A reduction in turnout can put our nation’s blood inventory at a critical low.

January has been designated as National Blood Donor Month to encourage donors to give or pledge to give blood.

For more information about donor eligibility, visit bonfils.org or contact your local medical organization.

Cervical cancer — During January, issues are highlighted relating to cervical cancer, human papillomavirus (HPV), and the importance of early detection, along with personal stories of women and caregivers battling persistent HPV, pre-cancer, or cervical cancer. In addition, recent advances and research in the prevention, detection, and treatment of cervical cancer and HPV, and the success of local early detection cervical cancer screening and treatment programs are acknowledged.

The Foundation for Women’s Cancer, the National Cervical Cancer Public Education Campaign and its partner organizations promote the message that cervical cancer is preventable — vaccinate early, Pap test regularly and HPV test when recommended.

For more information, visit wcn.org or nccc-online.org or consult with local experts on women's health.

Glaucoma — More than 2.2 million Americans age 40 and older suffer from glaucoma. Nearly half do not know they have the disease — it causes no early symptoms.

Prevent Blindness America will provide insightful information about this “Sneak Thief of Sight.”

For more information, visit preventblindness.org.

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