Alcohol Awareness Month

By: Catie Wiseman, Education Manager, Idaho State Liquor Division

Drinking too much alcohol increases people’s risk of injuries, violence, drowning, liver disease, and some types of cancer. The good news? We can all do our part to prevent alcohol misuse or abuse. This April, during Alcohol Awareness Month, the Idaho State Liquor Division encourages you to educate yourself and your loved ones about the dangers of drinking too much.

In 2017, there were 245 fatal crashes in Idaho1 and 24.7% of those were the result of drunk driving2. Over 5,450 people were arrested for driving under the influence with 48 of those people being under the age of 213. These numbers do not include arrests for drunkenness, domestic violence incidents where alcohol is present or other various social harms that are happening to our friends and family members throughout our community.

If you are drinking too much, you can improve your health by cutting back or quitting. Here are some strategies to help you cut back or stop drinking:

  • Limit your drinking to no more than 1 drink a day for women or 2 drinks a day for men.
  • Keep track of how much you drink.
  • Choose a day each week when you will not drink.
  • Don’t drink when you are upset.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you keep at home.
  • Avoid places where people drink a lot.
  • Make a list of reasons not to drink.

If you are concerned about someone else’s drinking and/or behavior when drinking, encourage your friend or family member to seek help. If you are in Idaho, the Department of Health and Welfare’s Idaho’s Careline 2-1-1 is a great first start. Anyone can call 2-1-1 or visit https://211.idaho.gov/ for alcohol and substance abuse resources.

Listed below are some other resources available to you at the local, state and federal levels:

Sources:

1Idaho Transportation Department, Office of Highway Safety, 2017 Idaho Traffic Crashes Report
2Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility – 2017 State Facts
3Idaho Transportation Department, Office of Highway Safety, 2017 Idaho Traffic Crashes Report



Rock Your Role!

By: Rebecca Sprague, MPH, Health Education Specialist, Suicide Prevention Program, Division of Public Health

National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week is September 9-15. This will be a time when some of us honor loved ones lost to suicide. Many will renew efforts to prevent suicide deaths. It is also important to focus our attention on hope, help, strength and recovery!

We all have a very important role to play in suicide prevention and intervention.  Here are just a few ways that you can Rock Your Role!

  • Learn the warning signs
  • Watch for signs in friends, family & co-workers
  • Take action when you see signs of suicide in a person and get them to help

Suicide Warning Signs

  • Talking about suicide
  • Isolation & withdrawal
  • Agitation & sleeplessness
  • Nightmares
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increased use of alcohol/drugs
  • Talking about feeling hopeless
  • Previous suicide attempts

Taking Action

  • Call/Text/Chat the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 208-398-HELP or idahosuicideprevention.org/chat/
  • Take them to a crisis center near you (see crisis center information below)
  • Take them to the emergency department or doctor’s office
  • Schedule a visit with a behavioral health provider
  • Contact your employee assistance program

What are Your Strengths?

We’ve all got ‘em! But sometimes it can be hard to identify them, especially when we’re feeling down. Helping others identify their strengths or healthy ways to cope can be just the thing they need to get them back into a place of hope and recovery. These strengths can be any number of things. For some it means connecting with nature, for others it means singing, reading a good book, spending time with a pet, hanging out with a positive friend or talking to a counselor.

Crisis Centers

Idaho’s Behavioral Health Community Crisis Centers (BHCCCs) provide services to adults in need of mental health and/or substance use disorder crisis services. The BHCCCs are open 24 hours, seven days a week to assist adults 18 and older in crisis to become stabilized and connect them with community resources to help them effectively deal with their situations and avoid further crises.

Pathways Community Crisis Center of Southwest Idaho
7192 Potomac Drive
Boise, Idaho 83704

North Idaho Crisis Center
2195 Ironwood Court, Suite D
Coeur D’Alene, Idaho 83814

Behavioral Health Community Crisis Center of East Idaho
1650 N. Holmes Avenue
Idaho Falls, Idaho 83401

Crisis Center of South Central Idaho
570 Shoup Avenue West
Twin Falls, Idaho 83301

Stay Well with Idaho Libraries

By: Allison Floyd, LiLI Librarian, Idaho Commission for Libraries Health may be wealth, but free is still everybody’s favorite price, right? Did you know there are several health resources freely available to all Idahoans on lili.org? LiLI stands for Libraries Linking Idaho, and lili.org is a collection of electronic resources—mainly databases, but some eBooks as well—for a variety of information needs, including all things wellness-related! LiLI is brought to you by the Idaho Commission for Libraries, with additional support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Read on for an overview of some of the great health and wellness eBooks and databases available at lili.org:
  • Alt HealthWatch: This database focuses on many perspectives of complementary, holistic, and integrated approaches to healthcare and wellness.
  • Consumer Health Complete: Comprehensive resources for consumer-oriented health content. Designed to support the needs of the patient and to foster an overall understanding of health-related topics. Covers all areas of health and wellness. Includes fact sheets and pamphlets, drug and herb information, alternative sources, and content from popular journals like Yoga Journal, Men’s Fitness, and Fit Pregnancy.
  • Gale Encyclopedia of Prescription Drugs: This online encyclopedia features entries on the most commonly prescribed drugs. It describes potential side effects, drug and food interactions, recommended dosages, and warnings and precautions.
  • Health Source: Consumer Edition: Contains content from consumer health magazines, current health-related pamphlets, and full-text health reference books.
  • Life and Career Skills Series: Health & Wellness: This eBook guides readers in making healthy choices about hygiene, diet, exercise, and medical care. It contains easy-to-understand information about healthcare coverage options and offers overviews of different types of available medical care, from general practitioners to alternative medicine and mental health providers.
  • MedicLatina: A collection of Spanish-language periodical content on health and wellness topics.
For these and other great health resources, visit https://lili.org/dbs/category/9.

Healthy Eating While Vacationing

By: Jackie Amende, MS, RDN, LD, University of Idaho FCS Extension Educator

If you are road tripping or traveling abroad to a new and exciting place, you can still enjoy all the fun foods that come with traveling without compromising your healthful eating plan. Here are some tips for your upcoming summer vacation:

  • Focus on portion sizes. You don’t have to avoid those new and exciting foods that come with traveling. Share large food portions with your travel partner or go with the small size for just yourself.
  • Keep your regular meal times on vacation. It can be easy to graze on food all day while on vacation but try to stick with your usual eating pattern.
  • Watch what you’re drinking. Focus on water or other unsweetened beverages. Skip the sweetened and various adult beverages which are often loaded with unnecessary calories.
  • Pack non-perishable foods with you. Dried fruit, nuts, and pretzels make for relatively healthy snacks that are nutrient-rich. These non-perishable foods are perfect for a quick snack to satisfy you until your next scheduled meal time.
  • If you are road tripping, pack a cooler with fresh pre-cut vegetables and fruits. Try slicing some bell peppers and cutting up some celery sticks. In addition, keep whole fruit or sliced fruit ready to go.
  • Be physically active! Get outside and walk to enjoy the sites where you are vacationing. If you are on a road trip, schedule frequent stops where you can get out, stretch your legs, and take a short walk.

With these healthful eating tips, food safety is still a priority, especially if you’re road tripping. Bringing perishable foods with you like meats and cheeses may cause some unwanted foodborne illnesses if these items are not stored properly. Don’t store perishable foods unrefrigerated for longer than 2 hours. If stored in a cooler, make sure coolers are 40 degrees or cooler. In addition, don’t leave your cooler directly in the sun or in the trunk of your car on road trips. Putting the cooler in the backseat of the car will generally be cooler than the trunk. Finally, keep hand sanitizer or moist towelettes with you if you don’t have access to a restroom to wash your hands before and after eating. Now, enjoy your trip!

Want to learn more about healthy eating and/or food safety? University of Idaho Extension teaches many classes and programs in the area, like Eating Healthy on a Budget, Nutrition for Healthy Aging, Diabetes Prevention Program, Dining with Diabetes, and more. Check out the Canyon County UI Extension website at https://www.uidaho.edu/extension/county/canyon or call 208-459-6003 for more information.

Three Ways to Move More

We all know that physical activity is good for us, but it can be a challenge to fit fitness into a busy schedule. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults accumulate 150 minutes of moderate (or 75 minutes of vigorous) physical activity every week. This may seem like a lot, but every minute adds up! Activity bursts of five minutes here and there throughout your day  accumulate to help you reach your movement goals.  Here are three simple ways to add more movement to your day!

Set an Alarm Use an app on your smart phone or set periodic appointments on your calendar to remind yourself to stand up at least once every hour. Movement breaks can include standing to stretch, a quick walk around your office, or some chair squats to really get the blood flowing!

Be an Ele-voider If you think you don’t have time to take the stairs, think again! A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal showed that taking the stairs rather than waiting for the elevator saved about 15 minutes each workday. That’s a 3% savings of time per workday, which could translate into more productivity as well as increased fitness.

Take Your Breaks Break times and lunch hours are the perfect opportunity to get some movement in! Make it a goal to get up and walk for 10-15 minutes each day during lunch. After the work week you will have added 50-75 minutes of activity to your weekly total! The added bonus is that mid-day activity has been shown to boost mood and increase one’s ability to manage stress.

Reflections

Another year gone by. Some of us are happy; some can’t wait to hail in 2016. No matter where you sit with 2015, it is worth reflecting on what has been. Here are some questions to ponder as you close out the year…
  • What happened in 2015 that you will remember for the rest of your life?
  • What are you most proud of accomplishing?
  • What do you wish you had done more of … or less of?
  • What was the biggest risk you took?
  • What was the smartest decision you made?
  • What was the most unexpected joy or obstacle?
  • What was the nicest thing someone did for you?
  • What was the nicest thing you did for someone else?
  • What would you change about 2015, if you could?
  • What was the biggest personal change you made?
  • How has your wellness journey changed?
  • Who or what had the biggest impact on your life?
  • How are you different this year than last?
  • What are the top three fun or exciting events you participated in?
  • What do you need to let go of?
  • Pick three words that describe 2015 for you
  • Ask your significant other to choose three words that he/she thinks describes your year … discuss!
  • For what are you most grateful?
Share your favorite question(s) you like to reflect upon at the end of the year.

Are you a sitting target?

I was talking with a group of women last week about breast cancer. It seems the majority fell into two groups…”I don’t want to hear any more about breast cancer; I am sick of it” and “I am scared to death; I don’t want a mammogram – I just hope for the best”. I can appreciate both perspectives but doesn’t it just make us sitting targets? Cancer feeds on ignorance and fear; they are cancer’s allies. Idaho has a low mammography screening rate and we need to change that. Please know that you don’t have to participate in a cancer walk, you don’t have to wear pink, you don’t have to pledge support, you don’t have to listen to surviviors. All you have to do is get a mammogram. No more excuses. Make the call; get it done. For breast cancer resources, visit Health Matters. For financial assistance with a mammogram, visit Women’s Health Check and Operation Pink Bag. Do you have a breast cancer story you would like to share?

Being last isn’t good.

In 2011, Idaho had the lowest breast cancer screening rate in the United States. More than 1/3 of Idaho women over the age of 40 did not receive important breast cancer screening. Girls, GIRLS, GIRLS! Get in the game. If you are over 40, read the guidelines, get screened. Grab your Blue Cross of Idaho ID Card and call the Customer Service number on the back; ask about your preventive screening coverage. Don’t put it off. When you finish reading this post, make the call. Early detection literally means the difference between life and death. I know it’s uncomfortable, inconvenient, and takes time. So does cancer treatment; I know. You may think you have better things to do, but really you don’t. Being last isn’t good. Make your appointment. Now.