HIV Awareness Day is Friday, Dec. 1 – Health Briefs |

HIV Awareness Day is Friday, Dec. 1 – Health Briefs

Each year, the global community commemorates World AIDS Day on Friday, Dec. 1. It is a time to honor those who have lost their lives to AIDS, communicate our ongoing commitment to assist those who are living with or at risk for HIV and celebrate the caregivers, families, friends, and communities that support them.

It is important for everyone to know his or her HIV status, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which also cited the following facts.
• One in two people with HIV have had the virus at least three years before diagnosis.
• About 40 percent of new HIV infections come from people who don’t know they have HIV.
• Seven in 10 people at high risk for HIV who weren’t tested last year saw a health care provider during that year.

Getting an HIV test is the first step for people living with HIV to receive care and treatment and control the infection. Taking HIV medications as prescribed helps people living with HIV to live a long, healthy life and protect their sexual partners from HIV.

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Diabetics urged to treat feet to daily exam
Between 60 percent and 70 percent of people with diabetes have diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage), and feet and legs are most often affected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When nerve damage causes a loss of feeling in the feet, a person could get a cut or blister and not know it. Without treatment, a small sore can become a hard-to-heal infection that can threaten health. Daily foot checks can help stop these problems in their tracks.

The following tips can help protect the feet and keep them healthy:

• Always wear shoes and socks or slippers — never go barefoot.
• Trim toenails straight across.
• Get active with foot-friendly activities, such as swimming or walking.

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Tips to reduce holiday stress for people with Alzheimer’s

Holiday traditions can be a comforting link with the past for people with Alzheimer’s disease, and celebrating together can be a treasured experience for families. But the changes in routine, busy schedules and many visitors may also be stressful for a person with Alzheimer’s.

Those who are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s are encouraged to consider these tips from the National Institute on Aging for making the holidays an enjoyable experience.

• Help the person with Alzheimer’s maintain his or her routines as much as possible, and be sure to take time to rest.
• Involve the person in holiday preparations and activities as they are able. Though they may not be able to participate as much as they once did, they can still enjoy taking part in holiday traditions.
• Show the person with Alzheimer’s pictures of visitors and talk about what to expect. Talk with visitors about what they can expect, especially if they haven’t seen the person in a while and may not be prepared for personality changes.
• Be safe. Avoid clutter in the hallways, and do not leave candles unattended.
• Take part in enjoyable holiday activities. If the person being cared for cannot go to an event, ask family members to stay with them.

New West Springs hospital to go solar

The new West Springs Hospital has received the gift of solar energy thanks to an anonymous donor in Eagle County.

“The gift of solar panels, allowing us to tap solar power, is a gift that will continue to give for years to come,” said Executive Vice President of West Springs Hospital Kim Boe, in a news release. “I can now add ‘solar’ to the list of efficient and effective innovations that are going into a state-of-the-art facility the Western Slope can be proud of.”

The rooftop-mounted photovoltaic solar system will include 68 panels and in-panel inverters and provide approximately one-eighth of West Springs Hospital’s annual power requirements.

“I was excited to have the opportunity to contribute to such an important and needed project and to do so in a way that also encourages our non-profit infrastructure to be environmentally sustainable,” the Eagle County-based donor said. “I hope those in the private and public sector throughout the Western Slope will continue to invest in needed community resources and infrastructure, while being conscientious about the environmental impacts of those projects.”

The system, which is expandable and has a lifespan of 30 to 50 years or more, is expected to save the hospital hundreds of dollars per month in energy bills.

“Solar generation of electrical energy translates down the road to reduce the amount of electrical energy that our utility company, XCEL Energy, must produce,” said Rob Jenkins AIA, owner’s project representative for Mind Springs Health. “XCEL recognizes this contribution and will provide monthly Renewable Energy Credits to Mind Springs Health over the next 20 years.”

Mind Springs Health is the Western Slope’s largest provider of counseling and therapy for mental wellness and also assists individuals and families dealing with and recovering from substance abuse and addiction. Covering a 23,000-square mile area in Eagle, Garfield, Grand, Jackson, Mesa, Moffat, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, Routt and Summit counties, Mind Springs Health offers a continuum of mental health care, with 24/7/365 crisis response services, 13 offices for outpatient treatment and West Springs Hospital in Grand Junction, the only psychiatric hospital between Denver and Salt Lake City.

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