Baltimore County Now
Della J. Leister, R.N.
Deputy Health Officer, Baltimore County Department of Health
When you think about fall, what comes to mind - colorful leaves, cooler temperatures, getting a flu shot? For those of us at the Baltimore County Department of Health, fall is the time when we promote the importance of getting vaccinated to prevent the spread of flu.
The best way to prevent the flu is by knowing the flu FACTS.
Frequently wash your hands.
Washing hands with soap and water at for 20-30 seconds is the best form of protection to reduce the spread of germs. If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Always get an annual flu shot.
Flu viruses are always changing, last season’s flu vaccine may not protect against newer viruses, and an annual vaccination is the only way to maintain protection each season.
Cover your cough and sneezes.
Use a tissue to cover your coughs and sneezes; then throw it away. If you do not have a tissue, cough and sneeze into the crease of your arm (elbow area) to prevent your droplets from spreading. Never cough or sneeze into your hands.
Take time off from school, work, and social activities if you have symptoms.
People who have the flu often have these symptoms:
· Fever or feeling feverish/chills
· Sore throat
· Runny or stuffy nose
· Muscle or body aches
· Fatigue (tiredness)
Seek medical care if your symptoms get worse.
If your condition does not improve after taking over-the-counter medication to alleviate symptoms, and then call you doctor.
If you are looking to “stay in the game,” then plan to get flu shot. The Baltimore County Department will offer free flu shots on Saturday, October 25 from 9 a.m. to noon at seven locations across the county. For more information, go to http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/health/resources/flu.html or call 410-887-BCHD (2243).
Dave Sayler, Wellness Specialist, Baltimore County Department of Aging
Research has determined there is a direct link between the likelihood of healthy aging and the amount of exercise older people do. And it is never too early or too late to start! Even if you wait to begin being physically active around retirement age, you still will enjoy significantly better health later in life. Simply put, exercise is one of the best health boosters you can do for yourself. Just moving for 30 to 60 minutes three to five times a week boosts your health in eight impactful ways.
Every time you exercise, you…..
1. Lower your stroke risk. Studies show walking is associated with reduced risk of stroke.
2. Protect against osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, promotes the build-up of new bone reducing your risk of osteoporosis and broken bones.
3. Increase your metabolic rate. After exercising you still continue to burn calories, even if you are relaxing in a chair. But it won’t work unless you exercise first!
4. Prevent, and even reduce, high blood pressure. Physical activity helps to lower the levels of stress hormones circulating in your blood. This helps to reduce your blood pressure.
5. Alleviate depression. Exercise can directly affect your mood and increase your overall happiness and life satisfaction.
6. Reduce your risk of developing cancer. Research has proven that as little as three hours of moderate exercise per week, such as walking, can reduce the risk of cancer.
7. Lower your blood sugar. Walking can improve your body’s use of insulin and prevent insulin resistance and diabetes.
8. Reduce your risk of falls. Exercise strengthens your core muscles which helps prevent falls.
Exercise Is Time Well Spent
Every moment spent exercising is time well spent. If you don’t know how to get started exercising, and you are over 60 years of age, the Baltimore County Department of Aging provides wonderful opportunities to engage in fitness and wellness activities. To explore these options, visit http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/seniorcenters.
Help Seniors and Have Fun
Register you, your friends and your family members in Baltimore County Department of Aging’s eighth annual “Get Ready! Get Set! Get Fit! 5K Run-Walk / 1 Mile Walk” on Sunday, September 21, 2014. This family-friendly event will be held at the CCBC Essex campus, conveniently located near I95 and I695 off of Rossville Boulevard. Let yourself be caught up in the fun and enthusiasm for an event that promotes a great cause: older adult fitness and wellness.
Participating in the Run/Walk can result in financial rewards too! Walgreens has generously sponsored the “Fitness Pays” Grand Door Prize Drawing of $500. To qualify to win the $500, or any of the other wonderful door prizes, simply register for the “Get Ready! Get Set! Get Fit! 5K Run-Walk / 1 Mile Walk” either at www.getreadygetsetgetfit5k.com or a Baltimore County senior center. Once registered, show up at the event (you must be present to win) and turn in your bib tab (the small square on the bottom of your bib number) at the “Fitness Pays” table. The first 50 people to turn in their bib tab will receive a free SweatSTR towel.
So if you want a longer, healthier life remember to add exercise to your day!
For more information on the “Get Ready! Get Set! Get Fit! 5K Run-Walk/1 Mile Walk” or senior center fitness programming, call 410-887-2040 or visit www.baltimorecountymd.gov/seniorcenters.
Intern, Baltimore County Communications Office
As I continue to make the transition into adulthood, I often find myself taking trips down memory lane. I recall racing home from school and flying through my homework so that I could get outside to a game of touch football or pick-up basketball with the other neighborhood kids. Before we knew it the sun would vanish and we’d all be heading in, ready to do it all over again the next day. Those were the good days, as many older adults might say.
But it seems as though today’s youth has a different idea of what makes a day good. Hours upon hours of fast-moving images on a screen with accompanying sound effects have replaced carefree outdoor play. It’s hard to believe that the average American child today spends only four to seven minutes per day in unstructured outdoor play, according to the National Wildlife Federation and their “Be Out There” initiative. While it may appear to be cool to spend hundreds of dollars on and obsess over the latest gadgets, the real expense is our nation’s declining health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, more than a third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese in 2012. The fact is, the lack of outdoor physical activity decreases physical fitness levels, increases the frequency of ADHD, and increases stress levels in children. The National Wildlife Federation notes some surprising benefits to outdoor play which include:
· Healthier bodies with increased levels of Vitamin D, which helps to fight off serious health issues such as heart disease and diabetes.
· Improved distance vision and reduced chance of nearsightedness.
· Improved performance on standardized tests and critical thinking skills.
· Stress levels have been shown to drop within minutes of “green time,” and free play with others helps with emotional development and lessens the chances of children developing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
If you ask me, it sounds like a pretty simple solution to such a growing problem. Encouraging kids to go out and play in the fresh air creates fun childhood memories while helping to build the body, spirit and mind.