Know how to prevent an opioid overdose – Health Briefs |

Know how to prevent an opioid overdose – Health Briefs

Prescription opioids, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and morphine, and illicit opioids, such as heroin and illegally made fentanyl, are powerful drugs that have a risk of a potentially fatal overdose. Anyone who uses opioids can experience an overdose, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, certain factors may increase risk. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following.

• Combining opioids with alcohol or certain other drugs.
• Taking high daily doses of prescription opioids.
• Taking more opioids than prescribed.
• Taking illicit or illegal opioids, such as heroin or illicitly-manufactured fentanyl, that could possibly contain unknown or harmful substances.
• Certain medical conditions, such as sleep apnea or reduced kidney or liver function.
• Age greater than 65 years old.

Death from an opioid overdose occurs when too much of the drug overwhelms the brain and interrupts the body’s natural drive to breathe. Know the signs. Save a life. Learn more about opioids, opioid abuse, addiction and overdose by visiting

‘Building a Healthy You’ starts for high school begins Tuesday, Jan. 23

A free educational series for middle- and high-school students offers youth a comfortable setting to learn and talk about making responsible decisions for their health and futures. The high-school series begins at the school with a parent information session Tuesday, Jan. 23.

The schedule is as follow.

• Parent’s Night: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Jan. 23
• Reproductive health and skills to wait: 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. Jan. 30
• Healthy relationships: 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. Feb. 1
• Drug and alcohol education: 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. Feb. 6
• Depression and suicide: 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. Feb. 8

There will be a $15 prize drawing at each session. Attend all four sessions to be entered into a drawing for $150.

For more information, call 970-314-8539 or email

Battling a bulging hernia: Don’t ignore groin pain

The abdominal wall is strong and helps keep the intestines in place, but if there’s a weak spot, the intestines can push through and form a hernia. A person may be born with a weakness there, or the weakness may develop over time later in life.

“It’s like when you look at an old tire on a car, and you see kind of a bulge on the sidewall of the tire. That’s because there’s a weakness in the wall of the tire, and the air is pushing the wall of the tire outward to create that bulge,” said Dr. Dana Andersen, a National Institutes of Health hernia expert.

A hernia developing in the abdomen is extremely common and can affect infants, children and adults, however most hernias are diagnosed in men older than age 40.

If there is a weakness in the wall of the abdomen, lifting heavy objects can result in a hernia

“The majority — three-quarters — of abdominal wall hernias are in the groin,” Andersen said.

The groin region is the lower abdomen.

The first sign of a hernia is a small bulge in the lower abdomen. It may only be noticed when standing up, coughing, jumping or straining, because those activities increase the pressure within the abdomen. Pressure can make a part of the intestine pop out of an area of weakness. Lying down may make the bulge go away.

A doctor can usually detect a hernia during a physical exam and rule out other conditions that cause bulges or lumps.

If the bulge is very soft, a doctor may be able to massage the intestine back into the abdomen. A small, soft hernia that does not cause pain may not need treatment right away. The doctor may suggest watching and waiting for changes, such as pain, to develop. If a hernia is painful or large, a doctor may suggest a visit with a surgeon to determine if an operation is required to repair the hernia.

When the intestine can’t be massaged back into the abdomen, it’s trapped. A trapped intestine is dangerous, because its blood supply can be cut off or strangulated.

“The rim of the defect is forming a sort of a noose around the abdominal contents,” Andersen said. “If that noose is tight enough so that the loop of intestine can’t be eased back through the defect, then the concern is that the intestine, itself, could be injured by strangulation.”

A strangulated hernia can be very serious and even life-threatening. Symptoms include severe pain that doesn’t go away, nausea and vomiting.

Surgery is usually needed if the intestine is trapped — and emergency surgery if it’s strangulated. A hernia is one of the most common reasons for surgery in the United States.

“It’s a successful and low-risk procedure done about 800,000 times a year in the United States,” Andersen said.

Anyone with sudden pain in the groin or suspicion of a hernia should immediately seek medical help.

7 things to check before leaving the pharmacy

Pharmacists work to help patients take medications safely and reliably. The National Institute on Aging recommends checking these seven things when filling a prescription, especially for a new medication:

• Make sure the label has the correct patient name on it and the directions from the doctor. If it doesn’t have directions, talk with the pharmacist before taking the medicine.
•  If the medicine is one that has been taken before, see if it looks the same. If the medicine looks different, ask the pharmacist to double check that it is correct.
• If swallowing a pill is difficult, ask if a liquid medicine is available. Do not chew, break or crush pills until learning that the drug will still work.
• Read and understand the medicine’s name, directions and any warning stickers on the bottle. If the label is hard to read, ask the pharmacist to use a larger type.
•  Make sure it’s possible to open the container. If not, and if there are no children in the house, ask for medicine bottles that are easier to open.
•  Ask if the medicine needs to be stored in a particular way, such as in a refrigerator or a dry area.
• Doctors and pharmacists should be given an up-to-date list of any allergies and other medications the patient is taking so they won’t prescribe medicines that would trigger an allergic reaction.

Read more about taking medications safely at

 Man Therapy offers mental health resource

Created for working-age males approaching a crisis, as well as their loved ones, the website is a tool that helps men examine their own mental health and take a wide variety of actions that will put them on the path to treatment and recovery.

Using humor to cut through the denial and age-old stigma that mental health issues are unmanly and signs of weakness, Man Therapy reshapes the conversation about depression, anger, stress and suicide by speaking to men, as men.

Featuring Man Therapy’s iconic fictional therapist, Dr. Rich Mahogany, the site offers online self-help therapies, cognitive behavior therapy tools, connections to third-party mental health apps, and even telehealth resources. With wit and humor, Man Therapy meets men where they are.

Since its launch in 2012, Man Therapy has helped more than 800,000 visitors from all over the world. The campaign is the result of a unique partnership between Cactus, a Denver-based advertising agency, and the Office of Suicide Prevention at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.


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