Rocket Blades: New app promotes brain safety – Health Briefs
A new app from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seeks to teach children ways to keep their brains safe while staying active.
Through a fun, racing adventure, HEADS UP Rocket Blades helps teach children the following.
• Hitting your head can cause a brain injury, called a concussion.
• You should tell your coach, parent or another adult if you hit your head.
• You should see a doctor if your brain is hurt and rest before returning to play.
New to HEADS UP Rocket Blades is the Hit Counter, which reminds children about the importance of avoiding blows to the head.
Download CDC HEADS UP Rocket Blades free by visiting the following links.
A handout about concussion safety can is also available for download.
Tips offers to reduce evening agitation in people with Alzheimer’s
Those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease may be familiar with sundowning — restlessness, agitation, irritability or confusion that can begin or worsen in the late afternoon or early evening for people with Alzheimer’s.
Researchers aren’t sure what causes sundowning, but being overly tired, in pain, or depressed may contribute to it. Alzheimer’s-related brain changes may also confuse a person’s sleep-wake cycles. Following are a few strategies from the National Institute on Aging that may help cope with sundowning.
• Make early evening a quiet time. Reduce noise, clutter or the number of people in the room.
• During the day, help the person with Alzheimer’s go outside or sit by a window. Exposure to natural light may help reset their sleep-wake cycle. In the evening, close the curtains and turn on inside lights to minimize shadows.
• Keep naps short and not too late in the day.
• Encourage daily physical activity or exercise. Many activities may be tiring, however, and make sundowning worse.
• Do not serve coffee, cola or other drinks with caffeine late in the day. Do not serve alcohol, since it can add to confusion and anxiety.
Relaxation techniques help conquer stress
The holiday season can be a stressful time, so it may be a good time to learn some relaxation techniques.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health recommends a number of relaxation techniques on its website nccih.nih.gov/health/stress/relaxation.
These techniques often combine breathing and focused attention on pleasing thoughts and images, with the aim of calming both mind and body. Guided imagery, deep breathing exercises and progressive relaxation are examples.
Like other skills, relaxation techniques need practice, and people who use relaxation techniques frequently are more likely to benefit from them.
Naloxone available over the counter in Colorado
Colorado drug overdose deaths are increasing dramatically. The life-saving drug naloxone can reverse overdoses of opioids and heroin, and the drug is now available at some Colorado pharmacies — including City Market pharmacies in both Steamboat Springs and Craig — without a prescription. Costs vary.
New partnership to help VA increase mental health services to veterans
A competition that began in 2014 may result in improved mental health care for veterans.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has awarded a contract to Potentia Labs to create a program specifically for veterans. The partnership, which aims to help the growing number of veterans with depression and post traumatic stress, began in 2014, when the VA Center for Innovation held an industry competition in search of ideas to expand mental health care options for its veterans.
“As someone who has served in the military, I’m grateful that the VA is holding innovative competitions like these to work to improve access to mental health care,” said Eric Lenhardt, a U.S. Army veteran and co-founder of Potentia Lab, in a news release.
Most mental health services focus on alleviating patients’ negative symptoms, whereas Potentia’s program takes the opposite approach, using the tenets of positive psychology to enhance traits such as confidence and optimism via an online platform and mobile app that reaches veterans wherever they are.
That accessibility is important, since studies suggest that, while many veterans seek help for depression and PTSD, a significant number never return after their first appointment.
“Most of the available options are aimed at addressing what’s wrong in veterans’ lives,” said Dustin Milner, CEO and co-founder of Potentia Labs, in the release. “Our approach is more in line with the warrior mindset, building on veterans’ existing strengths to help them become the best version of themselves.”
During the next year, Potentia Labs will customize and expand its technology for veterans, using a mix of gaming technology and instructional design, as well as the expertise psychologists, to deliver the tools of mental fortitude to this latest generation of veterans.
“Potentia combines the best science with the most adaptive developmental technology to date,” said Dr. James Avey, a professor at Central Washington University, in the release.
Avery has used his expertise to help develop Potentia’s curriculum, with the goal of helping users — including veterans — become more adept at bouncing back.
“As the grandson of a survivor of Pearl Harbor, it is very meaningful to me to help serve a group of people who serve us all,” Avery said.
For more information visit potentiaapp.com.
Agency reports dental care expense on the rise
The average annual expense for dental care was $696 in 2015, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. That compares to $374 ($564 when adjusted for inflation) in 1996.
To read more about trends in dental care, visit the AHRQ, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Research Findings #38: Dental Services: Use, Expenses, Source of Payment, Coverage and Procedure Type, 1996-2015.
Institute offers tips for snow thrower safety
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute encourages home and business owners to ready snow throwers now for wintry weather and to review safe operating procedures
“Weather today is more unpredictable than ever, and you need to have your snow thrower serviced and ready to power up,” said OPEI President and CEO Kris Kiser in a news release. “You want to have the right fuel on hand and review your owner’s manual now so you can use your equipment safely.”
Kiser said preparation is key, adding that home and business owners should consider the following tips.
• Prepare before it snows: Review owner’s manual for safe handling procedures. Most manuals can be found online. Review how to operate the controls, and be able to shut off the equipment quickly.
• Check equipment: The snow thrower should be completely powered off when for maintenance checks. The fuel tank should be drained, the cables adjusted and the auger checked.
• Store equipment for easy access: Move equipment to a convenient and accessible location, so it can be easily accessed when needed.
• Purchase fuel: Often, gas stations are closed following a storm. Be sure to use the correct fuel, as recommended by the equipment’s manufacturer (for more information about proper fueling, visit lookbeforeyoupump.com). Fill the fuel tank outside before starting the engine and while the engine is cold. Never add fuel to a running or hot engine.
• Store fuel properly: Place fuel in a fuel container, and label it with the date purchased and the ethanol content of the fuel. Fuel more than 30 days old can phase separate and cause operating problems. It’s important to use fresh fuel in snow throwers. Make sure fuel is stored safely and out of the reach of children.
• Tidy the area to be cleared: Snow can sometimes hide objects. Doormats, hoses, balls, toys, boards, wires and other debris should be removed from the areas to be cleared. When run over by a snow thrower, these objects may harm the machine or people.
• Dress for winter weather: Locate safety gear, and place it in an accessible closet or location. Plan to wear safety glasses, gloves and footwear that can handle cold and slippery surfaces.
Operate your equipment safely by following these tips.
• Never put hands inside the auger or chute. Use a clean out tool (or stick) to unclog snow or debris from snow throwers. Hands should never go inside the auger or chute.
• Before removing debris or unclogging snow, always turn off the snow thrower. Wait for all moving parts to come to a complete stop before clearing any clogs or debris.
• Only use a snow thrower in visible conditions. Never operate the snow thrower without good visibility or light.
• Aim the snow thrower with care. Never throw snow toward people or cars. Do not allow anyone to stand in front of a snow thrower. Keep children or pets away from snow throwers while in operation.
• Use extreme caution on slopes and hills and when changing directions on slopes. Do not attempt to clear steep slopes.
• For electric-powered snow throwers, be aware of where the power cord is at all times. Avoid tripping. Do not run over the power cord.
• Children and pets may love to play in the snow, but it’s best to keep them inside and under supervision while using a snow thrower to clear a path or drive. Do not allow them to play in the snow as it is tossed out of the snow thrower’s chute.
For more safety tips, visit opei.org.
Checklist offered for pharmacy visits
The National Institute on Aging recommends checking the following seven things when filling a prescription, especially for a new medication.
• Check the label for the correct name and instructions from the prescribing doctor. If the label doesn’t have directions, talk with the pharmacist before taking the medicine.
• If the medication has been used before, check to ensure it looks the same. If the medicine looks different, ask the pharmacist to double check that it is correct.
• Those who have trouble swallowing pills should ask if a liquid medicine is available. Do not chew, break or crush pills before consulting a physician or pharmacist.
• Ensure the medicine’s name, directions and any warning stickers on the bottle are read and understood. If the label is difficult to read, ask the pharmacist to use a larger type.
• Be sure the container can be easily opened. If not, and if children are not 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.
• Give doctors and pharmacists an up-to-date list of any allergies and other medications currently being taken to avoid potential interactions. Check the label to ensure none of the ingredients might cause an allergic reaction.
For questions about a medication or any of the written information that comes with a prescription, talk with the pharmacist or a doctor.
Read more about taking medications safely at the NHI website.