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Dehydrated?

The human body is about two-thirds water, so you need to stay hydrated to keep your body functioning properly and feel your best. You need water for normal bodily functions such as lubricating your joints and eyes, keeping your skin healthy by eliminating toxins, and allowing for proper digestion. When the water in your body is reduced, it needs to be replaced because an imbalance between the salts and sugar in your body can have a negative effect on your body. When the human body has lost one to two percent of its entire water content, you will feel thirsty, a sign that you need to replenish the lost liquids.The Institute of Medicine recommends that women get about 12 cups of water per day and that me get about 15 cups of water per day.

Causes

Risk factors that increase your chance of becoming dehydrated include exercising or working outdoors when it’s hot and humid, and living at a high-altitude. Infants and children, people with chronic illnesses, and older adults are also at a greater risk of dehydration. Other causes of dehydration include diarrhea and vomiting. So, if you’re sick, sucking on ice chips is recommended to keep you hydrated. Diabetics also are more prone to dehydration because some medications may cause them to frequently urinate.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Heavy breathing
  • Fever
  • Low blood pressure
  • Very dry mouth and bad breath
  • Sunken eyes
  • Cramps and joint pain
  • Dry skin
  • Not sweating after an intense workout
  • Dark yellow urine

Serious complications can include heat stroke, seizures, or swelling of the brain.

Prevention is the best medicine for dehydration. Drink enough fluids throughout the day so you urinate every 2-4 hours. However, drinks like coffee, soda, and alcohol have a diuretic effect, so drink plenty of water to replace what you lose. Make a habit of keeping a bottle of spring or filtered water with you all the time. You’re more likely to sip on it throughout the day and less likely to feel thirsty.

If you’re looking for an alternative to sports drinks which contain high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners, coconut water is a great option. Not only does it hydrate you, coconut water has other health benefits due to its anti-inflammatory, amino acids, and antioxidants. Drink it in moderation since it does contain sugar, but it’s great for after a cardio workout when you need to replace minerals as well as fluids.

Eating the right foods like fruits and vegetables help your body stay hydrated. Skip snacks like chips, pretzels and crackers and replace them with yogurt, smoothies, and celery with peanut butter.

No one knows your body better than you. If you are already feeling thirsty or sweating profusely, take action and drink water immediately. Don’t want for severe symptoms to show, or you could be in danger of a more severe health hazard.

Summer Safety

Summer is heating up and that means more time outside playing sports, having picnics, and going on vacation. Along with all of these activities there are associated risks that you can avoid if you’re aware of them.

Avoid the heat

Whether it’s a tennis match, going for a run, or playing on the beach, getting overheated can cause a heat stroke. When the body gets hotter and hotter, blood gets thicker and you’re at a greater risk of heat stroke. Signs include:

  • Red, hot, dry skin
  • Rapid pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness

Be sure to stay hydrated with plenty of water or sports drinks and find some shade and take plenty of breaks throughout the day.

Water Safety

Living close to the water, it’s important to teach water safety at a very early age. Teach your kids how to swim when they are young. And, it’s critical to install proper fencing around a pool and keep your eyes on the kids when they are playing near water or swimming.

Even if you’re a strong swimmer, you should never swim alone. And, if you’re boating in the open water or kayaking on the river, wearing a life jacket is just as important as wearing your seatbelt when you’re in your car.

Food Safety

We all love our neighborhood gathering or church picnics. There’s lots of good food to enjoy along with the company. However, there’s a greater risk of food poisoning when food is left out in the sun. The basic rule of thumb is to keep hot foods hot and keep cold foods cold. Use separate coolers for cold foods and beverages. You can also use coolers to insulate hot foods (at least temporarily).

Proper cooking temperatures for meat:

  • 165° Poultry (whole and ground)
  • 160° Ground beef, lamb, veal, or pork; sausages
  • 145° Beef steaks, lamb, pork chops, and seafood (and let them rest at that heat for three minutes before serving to get rid of bacteria)

When it’s time to put the food out on tables, it’s important to not leave it out more than a couple of hours. Mayonnaise based foods, like potato salad, deviled eggs, and some pasta salad tend to spoil more quickly than other cold foods. Whatever you’re bringing to the party, be sure to pack an ice tray to keep it colder longer.

Bug Bites and Bee Stings

There seems to be nothing worse than a picnic or other outdoor activity that is filled with nagging bugs. Mosquito bites cause itching, and can transmit West Nile, Zika virus, other viruses. Bee stings are painful, can itch for days and for some they can cause a serious allergic reaction. Ticks can transmit Lyme Disease, so keep them and other bugs away with outdoor citronella-type candles, and keep them off your skin with bug sprays containing DEET.

  • The current American Academy of Pediatrics and CDC recommendation for children older than 2 months of age is to use 10% to 30% DEET. DEET should not be used on children younger than 2 months of age.
  • The effectiveness is similar for 10% to 30% DEET but the duration of effect varies. Ten percent DEET provides protection for about 2 hours, and 30% protects for about 5 hours. Choose the lowest concentration that will provide the required length of coverage.

If you do get stung, scrape the area to remove the stinger, then use ice to reduce swelling. And apply an antihistamine cream to the affected area. If the reaction is more severe, seek immediate medical attention.

Sun Safety

Protecting your skin and eyes from the sun can not only prevent skin cancer, but also prevent damage to your vision. If you must be outside at mid-day, be sure to wear protective clothing like long sleeve SPF 50 clothing and hats, sunglasses and sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Be sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours, and whenever you have been in water — even if the sunscreen is waterproof.

Equip your First Aid Kit

Whether you are at home or on the road, having a well-equipped first aid kit is good to have on hand to help relieve cuts, pains and insect bites and stings.

  • Aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen
  • Bandages and adhesive tape
  • Antibacterial cream
  • Antacid
  • Anti-itch cream
  • Antihistamine (like Benadryl)
  • Aloe
  • Icepack

Start your summer off on the right foot and stop by one of our stores and pick up your first aid kit essentials so you have them in case of emergency. Also, write down your emergency contact numbers, including family members, doctors and pharmacy information, and keep them handy if need them.

The Behaviors of Alzheimer’s

There are three stages to Alzheimer’s and many behaviors that go along with the disease. As a caregiver, it’s important to understand what these behaviors are so that we can know what to expect as the disease progresses.

Aggression and Anger

This can be a reaction caused by frustration due to not being able to communicate effectively about their needs, or perhaps, they are in pain or experiencing physical discomfort. A person with Alzheimer’s also can have irregular sleep patterns and they may be tired, which can in turn, make a person more quick to anger. Sometimes an over stimulating situation such as loud noises or crowds can cause aggression. A possible side effect of medication can also be to blame.

As a caregiver,  try to identify the immediate cause of the behavior. Did something happen just before the outburst? Is the person in pain? Urinary tract infections are not uncommon in Alzheimer’s patients, so it’s important to rule this out as a cause of the stress.

Anxiety and Agitation

A direct result of Alzheimer’s is the inability to process new information.So, when their normal routine is interrupted and situations change, a person may experience profound anxiety and agitation. For example, there will most likely come a time when the patient must be moved out of their own home and into a home with a caregiver or a nursing home. This can cause fear as they are trying to understand and process the new routine. Caregivers may also change, or if new visitors or house guests arrive, they may experience anxiety with these changes.

It’s important listen to the patient and talk with them to help them understand what is going on. Again, don’t be dismissive of their feelings. Create a calm environment for them and tell them that they’ll be safe. Taking them outside for a short walk can also help calm their nerves.

Depression

Depression is very common among people with Alzheimer’s, especially during the early and middle stages. However, it can be difficult to diagnose. Symptoms such as withdrawing from friends, social activities and hobbies are common.

Caregivers can assist by creating a normal routine based on the best interest of the patient. For example, exercising early in the morning, celebrate special occasions and small successes, prepare their favorite food and let them help prepare for as long as they are able. Alzheimer’s patients, dare I say like everyone, want to feel like they are contributing to something and need to be reassured that they won’t be abandoned.

Hallucinations

When individuals with Alzheimer’s have a hallucination, they see, hear, smell, taste or even feel something that isn’t really there. They usually occur in later stages of Alzheimer’s.

If a loved one is hallucinating, it’s important to evaluate the situation. Will it lead to dangerous behavior and cause harm to you or themselves? What is causing the person be afraid? Try to reassure them that they are safe and acknowledge their feelings.Distracting them by turning on lights, changing the conversation or listening to their favorite music can also help.

Memory Loss and Confusion

The beginning stages of Alzheimer’s brings a mild case of memory loss and confusion such as difficulty recalling events and understanding full conversations. The later stages brings greater memory loss including names and faces of family members, and the purpose of basic utensils such a pen or a fork. These more severe changes are some of the most difficult for family members and caregivers to witness.

Caregivers can help by remaining calm in a given situation, sharing photos and not being condescending when the patient doesn’t recognize someone or doesn’t know what a fork is used for. Even going back in time with them when they think they are somewhere else, can having a calming effect on them.

Repetition

A person with Alzheimer’s may say or do something over and over. They may ask the same question that you just answered. People with dementia who ask questions repeatedly may be trying to express a specific concern, ask for help, or cope with frustration, anxiety or insecurity.

They may be trying to communicate with the family member or caregiver about something. If they do ask the same question repeatedly, you may need to answer the question over and over. Or, if they are still able to read, you can try writing down the answer so they can be reminded of whatever it is that they are nervous about. They may also be bored. If so, you can try a change of scenery for them or go for a short walk.

There is an old saying that goes something like, “You may not remember what someone said, but you’ll never forget how they made you feel.” Your support and understanding of a person with Alzheimer’s will always be appreciated.

 

June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Memory loss? Confusion? Problems with thinking and reasoning? These are symptoms of declining cognitive health and a sad reality for many people right here in our community. Dementia is a term that describes the decline in cognitive health that’s severe enough to interfere with daily life and Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia.

Though the greatest known risk factor of Alzheimer’s is increasing age, it’s not just a disease for the elderly. About 5% of cases are early onset which often appears in someone who is in their 40s or 50s.

In its earliest stage, memory loss is mild, but as the disease progresses, it worsens over time. A person will usually lose the ability to have a conversation and respond to their environment.

Depending on the overall health and age of the individual a person with Alzheimer’s lives on average eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but the range is about four to 20 years.

Facts:

  • More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s
  • It’s the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • 1 in 3 seniors die from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia
  • It kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined
  • In 2015 15 million caregivers spent more than 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care
  • It’s estimated that family caregivers spend $5,000 annually specifically for someone with Alzheimer’s

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s though researchers are working everyday to find new treatments to change the course of the disease and improve the quality of life for those affected.

As Alzheimer’s progresses, brain cells die and connections among cells are lost, causing cognitive symptoms to worsen. While current medications cannot stop the damage Alzheimer’s causes to brain cells, they may help lessen or stabilize symptoms for a limited time by affecting certain chemicals involved in carrying messages among the brain’s nerve cells.

The FDA has approved two types of medications to treat the cognitive symptoms of the disease:

Memantine: (Namenda)

  • Regulates the activity of glutamate, a different messenger chemical involved in learning and memory.
  • Delays worsening of symptoms for some people temporarily. Many experts consider its benefits similar to those of cholinesterase inhibitors.
  • Can cause side effects, including headache, constipation, confusion and dizziness.

Cholinesterase Inhibitors (Aricept, Exelon, Razadyne)

  • Prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical messenger important for learning and memory. This supports communication among nerve cells by keeping acetylcholine levels high.
  • Delay worsening of symptoms for 6 to 12 months, on average, for about half the people who take them.
  • Are generally well tolerated. If side effects occur, they commonly include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and increased frequency of bowel movements.

Oftentimes, doctors prescribe both types of medications together. Plus, some doctors also prescribe high doses of vitamin E for cognitive changes of Alzheimer’s disease.

Source: alz.org