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Sun Safety for the whole Family

Just because Summer is winding down and coming to an end, it doesn’t mean that you can stop worrying about sun safety! The sun is more dangerous than many of us realize, and can even do harm when we don’t feel the weather being hot. Because of this, we should take the necessary steps to stay safe when we are having fun. 

How is the sun dangerous?

Though the sun gives us Vitamin D, it also emits harmful UV rays. These rays can increase the signs of aging with wrinkles and unevenness, burn your skin and cause painful immediate symptoms, or harm the eyes and worsen your vision over time.

The UV index is an index that standardizes how much UV is being emitted on a particular day. A low UV index of 1 or 2 is considered completely safe. A UV index of 3, 4, or 5, is considered moderate, where some damage may begin to occur. A UV index of 6 or 7 are high and 8, 9, or 10 are very high. If possible, you should avoid going outside on these days or take severe precautions. If the UV index is 11 or higher, this is considered extreme and should be avoided at all costs.

What should I do to stay safe?

The safest thing to do on days with a higher UV index is to avoid being in the sun, at all. However, we know that this is not always practical. It’s not always fully effective either, because you can still get burned through a window! If you are going outside, bringing a thin fabric to cover the skin can keep that skin from getting burned. A brimmed hat to provide shade can also keep you cooler on a hot day.

As well as this, you must remember the importance of sunblock. SPF 30 or higher is necessary to keep you safe. It is also important to choose your sunblock based on the conditions. Some sunblocks may not hold up to moisture or friction, so these are important to note when choosing your brand. You cannot just put on sunblock before a day in the sun and consider yourself safe, either. It is important to reapply sunblock as per package instructions, or every couple of hours. 

Sunglasses are the last and most stylish step to staying safe in the sun. It may be surprising to hear, but many people, especially children, do not know about the dangers of the sun on their eyes. Some kids stare into the sun until they’re in pain, so make sure to have that conversation with your kids. Sunglasses can prevent UV rays from getting into your eyes, but not all sunglasses are built the same. When buying your sunglasses, look for the “Polarized” label to ensure that you are getting something of high quality that can protect you.

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    Remedies for High Blood Pressure

    Blood pressure is a vital indicator of health, seeing that it is directly linked to the force and rate of the heartbeat. There is a strong correlation between high blood pressure and an increased likelihood in many detrimental health effects, such as stroke, heart attack, and diabetes. Blood pressure can be an indicator of overall health and a healthy blood pressure is important in order to maintain one’s overall health. However, high blood pressure is treatable and preventable. If you have high blood pressure, it is not too late to take control of your health.

    If you are suffering from high blood pressure, the first step on your health journey is to learn about your ailment. Being educated on a healthy lifestyle and how to control one’s blood pressure is important so that you can understand the steps you can take to better your health. We have compiled a list of the most common and effective ways to manage high blood pressure without invasive treatments:

    • Avoid alcohol and smoking: Smoking is detrimental to many aspects of your health. Cigarettes not only contain over 70 known carcinogens, but nicotine also acts as an adrenergic agonist, meaning that it can mimic parts of the sympathetic nervous system that increase things like blood pressure in the body. Alcohol also has many detrimental health effects, and even consuming excess amounts of alcohol in one sitting can temporarily increase blood pressure. Binge drinking and consistent routine drinking can also result in long term side effects. If you have issues with blood pressure and also alcohol or smoking, that may be the cause of your high blood pressure and it would be of value to you to manage your consumption of tobacco and alcohol.
    • Manage Stress: Though there is no proven causational link between stress and high blood pressure, stress hormones in excessive quantities can be damaging to your health. It is important for your overall health to understand your stress and know how to control it. One way to control and manage stress is exercise. Routine exercise not only helps to manage stress, but also has other health benefits, like improved mood and sleep. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, and massages are other ways to manage one’s stress. 
    • Eat healthy: Foods that are high in sodium, fats, and sugars can be damaging to your health. A healthy diet is essential for maintaining an overall healthy body, but it is also specifically beneficial for controlling blood pressure. A healthy diet that is high in vitamins, nutrients, and variety, while low in added sodium and overly processed foods is key to lowering or managing blood pressure. A healthy diet also reduces the probability of diabetes, heart disease, and more.

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      Mental Health

      We are often informed about the importance of physical health, via exercising, physical check ups, or eating healthy, but it is important that mental health does not get overlooked. To be an overall healthy person, one must pay attention both to physical and mental health. Mental health is something that everyone should be aware of, and many struggle with their mental health. Whether you are a parent or friend of someone struggling with mental health issues or are impacted yourself, it is something that everyone can benefit from learning about.

      Taking control of your mental health can be beneficial in enhancing your overall health, mood, and wellbeing. It’s important to feel your best, not only physically but also mentally. There are many ways to take and maintain control over your mental health, but we have compiled a list of some effective proven methods that you may be able to benefit from:

      • Exercise: Exercise can help relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety by releasing endorphins in the body. These endorphins and other linked hormones in the brain can improve your mood. Serotonin and dopamine are among these linked hormones that can improve your disposition, help you to feel more at ease, and more. Routine exercise can also improve one’s physical health and sense of self- esteem.
      • Eat Healthy: Eating a diet of well-balanced nutrients and vitamins can be good for both your physical and mental health. A diet high in “brain foods” like nuts, leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, lentils, and food high in omega-3’s can improve the symptoms of depression and anxiety. It’s also important to note that a healthy mind comes from a healthy body. 
      • Meditate: Meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, and other similar acts can help to ease tension and stress. Engaging in other calming mentally productive activities, like going on walks, laying in the grass, or whatever you may enjoy can also give you similar benefits. Taking a moment to focus on your mind and destress every now and then can be very beneficial in the long term and especially useful in managing stress.
      • Consider Therapy: Though we have provided a few ways to take control of your own mental health, it can often be helpful and productive to seek help externally. Therapy can help you share and diagnose problems that may be impacting your mental health. It can also help you to learn more about yourself from a professional.

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        Black History Month: Black Health & Wellness

        February is Internationally celebrated as Black History month and this year the theme is Black Health & Wellness.

        Some staggering facts around black health:

        1. In 2019, live births were 548,075
        2. In 2020, 18.7% of adults aged 18 and over in fair or poor health
        3. 38.7% of men above the age of 20 are obese
        4. In 2020, 14.5% of adults aged 18–64 without health insurance coverage
        5. Leading causes of death are: heart disease, Cancer & Covid-19

        In the United States, February is Black History Month, a month dedicated to honoring African-American history. It’s also a month dedicated to bringing attention to the highly inequitable treatment of Black people in the United States.

        This article highlights five of the numerous Black Americans throughout history who have had and continue to have a significant effect on people’s health and well-being in the United States and throughout the world.

        Dr. Patricia E. Bath

        Dr. Patricia E. Bath was an ophthalmologist, inventor, and laser scientist best known for her contributions to blindness prevention, treatment, and cure. Among her contributions with the most impact on public health was the invention of a new device and technique for cataract surgery known as the Laserphaco. When she filed for and received a medical patent for the device, she became the first Black American woman to do so.

        When asked what led her to her career path, she responded, “My love of humanity and passion for helping others inspired me to become a physician.”

        Dr. William G. Coleman Jr.

        Dr. William G. Coleman Jr. was the first permanent Black scientific director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Intramural Research Program (IRP). He directed the NIH’s National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. He took the leadership on transdisciplinary research that focused primarily on the biological and non-biological determinants of health disparities and their influence on the outcomes of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, among other chronic diseases.

        Upon his death, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) founded William G. Coleman Jr., Ph.D. Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Innovation Award designed to support high-impact one-year innovative research projects.

        Dr. Mae C. Jemison

        Dr. Mae C. Jemison is best known as the first Black female astronaut and the first Black American woman in space. Before becoming an astronaut, she earned her medical degree from Cornell University Medical College in 1981. While earning her degree, Dr. Jemison studied abroad in Cuba and Kenya and worked in a refugee camp in Thailand, which were experiences that ignited a passion for global health. In June of 1987, she became the first African American woman to be admitted into the NASA astronaut training program. After leaving NASA in 1993, she accepted a teaching fellowship at Dartmouth.

        Dr. Marilyn Hughes Gaston

        Dr. Marilyn Hughes Gaston is a pediatrician who became the first Black woman to direct a Public Health Service Bureau and whose groundbreaking research on sickle cell disease resulted in nationwide screening programs for children at birth.

        Because of her contributions to public health, she received the National Medical Association scroll of merit in 1999. She had a day established in her honor in Cincinnati and Lincoln Heights, Ohio. Additionally, a scholarship program at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine established a scholarship program in her name dedicated to giving full scholarships to economically disadvantaged minority students every year.

        Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett

        Dr. Kizzimekia Corbett, PhD, is a scientist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who is at the forefront of the development and production of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. At the beginning of the pandemic, she was among the few NIH scientists who briefed then-president Donald Trump on the coronavirus.

        Corbett was born in Hurdle Mills, North Carolina, and grew up in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Her teachers recognized her talent when she was very young, and they encouraged her mother to place her in advanced classes.

        Dr. Corbett’s work and what she represents is vital in a country where Black students are less likely to engage in STEM fields.

        As a health and wellness community, it is vital that we continue to honor Black individuals’ and communities’ presence and contributions in the health and wellness space—past, present, and future.

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          Let’s Fight Omicron With Omicron Variant Reaching North Carolina, Doctors are Urging People To Get Their Covid Shots


          Two days ago, North Carolina reported the first case of the Omicron variant in the state. Mecklenburg County health officials first reported the presence of the omicron variant on Friday, noting that the positive test came from a University of North Carolina at Charlotte student and had been discovered through the university’s sequencing program. According to the report, he had traveled outside the state for Thanksgiving. He was immediately isolated. Owing to the fact that he was fully vaccinated, he has now recovered.

          The World Health Organization (WHO) recognized the Omicron variation as a variant of concern on November 26, 2021, and the United States categorized it as such on November 30, 2021. Many countries, including the United States, have detected it.

          On Monday, state health officials verified the case of the UNC Charlotte student who tested positive for the omicron variety, but they found no more instances. Most instances do not undergo genetic sequencing, which is the only method to establish what variation someone has, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. Only a limited percentage of positive COVID-19 specimens undergo such testing, and more than 95 percent of viral specimens sequenced in North Carolina have the delta version.

          The state firmly believes that all the ‘existing variants of Covid ’ can be successfully treated with the existing Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

          While most adults are focused on obtaining their booster shots, health officials are concerned about poor immunization rates among children. Only 6.5 percent of children aged 5 to 11 are completely immunized, according to the CDC. Doctors are asking parents to safeguard their children as families prepare to meet in the coming weeks.

          Though new daily cases are increasing and hospitalizations are up more than 40% since Thanksgiving, the state’s case positive rate has remained relatively steady at approximately 7% over the past week.

          The officials stated that though there is not much research around long-term covid impacts on kids, however, the existing data sets indicate that children can have a long-term cognitive covid impact even if they have mild symptoms. Further, considering the upcoming holiday season, children can become a hotbed of viruses irrespective of the fact that they are symptomatic or asymptomatic.

          Doctors are urging that vaccination along with masks and other protocols are the only way to curb this menace.

          Dr. David Wohl, the infectious disease specialist at UNC-Chapel Hill, said unvaccinated people are the primary concern as they overwhelmingly make up COVID hospitalizations in North Carolina, stressing hospital systems. And those not vaccinated are vulnerable to any variant. In laboratory studies, a third-dose booster of Pfizer’s vaccine was found to have a considerably greater antibody response against omicron than the two doses alone, according to Pfizer.

          The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services continues to advocate immunization as the best COVID-19 preventative method. In comparison to those who are vaccinated, people who are unvaccinated are more than five times as likely to get COVID-19 and more than 25 times as likely to die from the illness as of Dec. 1, according to the most recently available statistics from DHHS.

          East Cary Family Physicians urge you to get your Covid shot as soon as possible.

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            Happy New Year!

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              The Office will be closed on Thursday, November 25th and Friday, November 26th

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                The Importance of Getting a DOT Physical


                Driving a commercial motor vehicle can be tough. The Department of Transportation requires that employers who are professional truck drivers or bus drivers get a physical to test their vision, blood pressure, and their overall medical history. The test ensures that drivers are able to operate commercial motor vehicles for public safety.

              • Firstly, there’s a vision test which tests your eyesight and ability to identify colors. Since you’ll be driving, recognizing signs and signals is important, you want to make sure that you are able to do so. Next is a hearing test to see how someone can hear with or without hearing aids. “A driver must be able to hear a forced whisper from less than five feet away,” according to DOCS Medical. There’s also a urinalysis, a blood pressure/pulse rate test, and a physical exam. Overall DOT Physicals help everyone on the road stay safe.
              • Although the test does seem easy to pass, you can fail for both reasons in and out of your control. If you have high blood pressure, epilepsy, missing extremities, cardiovascular or respiratory diseases, diabetes, poor eyesight or hearing, or a psychiatric disease, you might be deemed unable to drive commercial motor vehicles. There are some things that can be improved, for example eyesight and hearing. If you do fail, ask your doctor why you failed. Once you are aware of the reason why, ask them if there is anything you can do to pass the next time. If the reason that you failed is out of your control, you might be able to receive an exemption through proving that you can operate a commercial motor vehicle.
              • East Cary Family Physicians offers a DOT physical exam for only $100 (not covered by insurance and will be collected before the appointment.) Schedule an appointment now at eastcaryfamilyphysicians.com or call at (919) – 200 – 6587.

                https://www.driveco.org/blog/i-failed-the-dot-exam-now-what/

                https://docsmedicalgroup.com/docsurgentcare/dot-physicals-everything-you-need-to-know/

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                  3 Reasons Why You Should Get the COVID-19 Vaccine


                  As the COVID-19 vaccine continues to be approved for all age groups, there is a growing hesitancy to get vaccinated. At ECFP we care about our patients and would like to keep them safe through educating and providing the care they need. We are strong believers in the COVID-19 vaccine and here are a few reasons why:

                  1. The vaccine can prevent you from getting sick since it works with your immune system to fight off any potential viruses. With all vaccines, the body is left with memory B and T cells to fight off the disease if they encounter it again. The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are mRNA vaccines which mean that they contain information to create replica spike proteins from COVID-19 which our body learns to fight against. The memory cells remember this and can fight against the spike proteins if they are encountered again.
                  1. If not for yourself, do it for others. Getting vaccinated can help others in your community feel safer since they will be less likely to catch the disease. According to the CDC, “early data show the vaccines do help keep people with no symptoms from spreading COVID-19.”
                  1. Vaccinations can help us return to a sense of normalcy with increased immunity to the nasty virus. Everyone is growing tired of staying at home and we can help end quarantine by getting vaccinated! If you’re ready to get back to normal, get vaccinated now!

                  Visit eastcaryfamilyphysicians.com or call (919) – 200 – 6587 to learn more!

                  https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/covid19-vaccine-hesitancy-12-things-you-need-to-know

                  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/mrna.html

                  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/how-they-work.html

                  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/keythingstoknow.html

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                    What can & can’t Celiacs eat?

                    It can be a bit tricky for Celiacs to figure out which food to take or not. So, in this article, we would like to provide adequate information on this.

                    Why Celiacs cannot eat everything?

                    Do you know what are the causes of celiac disease? It is usually triggered due to the intake of a protein called gluten. A protein that is found in wheat, barley, and rye. Even a small amount of gluten can trigger this problem. There is yet no medication for it. But its symptoms can be prevented by changing the diet. If gluten is removed from the diet, the intestine starts to heal. If this disease is not diagnosed it can cause digestive issues, lymphoma, and some rare type of intestinal cancer. The earlier it is diagnosed the faster the healing process. People with celiac might experience diarrhea, bloating, gas, anemia, and also growth issues. 

                    Which food ingredients should Celiacs avoid?

                    Here are some foods gluten celiac patients should avoid at all costs: 

                    1. Wheat 
                    2. Rye 
                    3. Barley 
                    4. Triticale 
                    5. Malt 
                    6. Wheat starch 
                    7. Brewer’s yeast 

                    If you are a celiac, take care that you do not eat any food item which contains these ingredients. It can be difficult at first. But once you’ve figured it out once, you can plan your meals accordingly with dishes that are devoid of these. 

                    Which are the celiac disease foods to avoid?

                    Besides being careful of the ingredients, just ensure you do not go for any of these as they contain gluten, and you can be allergic to them:

                    1. Beer 
                    2. Bread, cereals  
                    3. Desserts, soups 
                    4. Crackers, flour tortillas 
                    5. French fries, Pasta 
                    6. Sauces, soups 
                    7. Candy bars, drink mixers 

                    What should Celiacs take? Celiacs might be deficient in some vitamins like B12, calcium, and vitamin D. But the absence of zinc, folic acid, and carnitine can take its place in producing energy. Chances of malfunction are huge, so a proper diet with the absence of such allergic proteins should be acknowledged. Usually, healthy foods are gluten-free like fruits, vegetables, legumes, animal protein, nuts, and seeds. So, you can easily include them in your diet.