Archive for September, 2016

Back to school: school nurses lead way to healthy year

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

The nationwide average ratio of school nurse to students is one to 1,150, which is higher than the one-to-750 ratio recommended by the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) and Healthy People. While there is a shortage of funded school nurse positions, many states are moving to improve their ratios; 38 states increased their school nurse-to-student ratio.

“The health care industry is shifting toward a community-based approach to health,” says Dr. Bonnie Saucier, president of Chamberlain College of Nursing’s Tinley Park, Ill. campus. “Community health centers, clinics and schools all play an important role in keeping the population healthy. As the health care industry focuses on prevention, the school nurse plays an even more vital role in delivering health and wellness programs to students and their families.”

School nurses serve to remove barriers to learning by providing early intervention services – like scoliosis and eyesight checks – to the entire student body. They also manage individual student cases, which include moderating allergy triggers or allocating prescribed medication. It is estimated that 20 to 30 percent of children have chronic health conditions. In many cases, the school nurse is the only health care professional students see on a regular basis; 9 percent of children do not have health insurance, which makes the role of the school nurse even more crucial.

Schools that employ a nurse report increased attendance as chronic illness is identified and managed; teaching staff can focus on teaching, rather than providing health care; and less strain falls on other health services because of reduced number of emergency calls, according to NASN.

“In order for a student to be successful in the classroom, he or she has to be physically and emotionally well,” says Jennifer Joseph, a school nurse in Oak Park, Ill., and graduate of Chamberlain College of Nursing’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program. “As a parent and school nurse, knowing my kids have access to a baccalaureate-prepared nurse in their schools makes me feel more at ease when I send them to school each day.”

BSN degree programs, like Chamberlain’s, enable students to earn their degrees in as few as three years of year-round study. Chamberlain’s program introduces students to a variety of work settings – including schools – through diverse clinical experiences, and allows students to enter the workforce faster than peers in traditional four-year programs.

“Nurses who choose to serve in schools have the unique responsibility to care for students in the absence of their families,” says Dr. Saucier. “The academic success and vitality of the community starts at the school, and the school nurse is at the center of it all.”

Five ways to fight fall allergies

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

“Ragweed blooms from August until November, and is unfortunately lasting longer every year,” says Dr. Michael Foggs, an allergist and ACAAI president-elect. “Research suggests the season lasts up to three weeks longer than it used to, and the further north you live, the longer you have to wait for relief.”

To help sufferers fight fall allergy symptoms, ACAAI offers these tips:

Know the culprits – The most common sneeze and wheeze trigger during the fall hay fever season is ragweed pollen. Ragweed can begin blooming as early as August in some regions. A single ragweed plant may release 1 million pollen grains in just one day, and one grain can travel up to 100 miles. Mold can also be particularly bothersome this time of year. Unlike pollen, mold doesn’t die with the first frost. Rather, spores stop growing during this time.

Avoid triggers – Ragweed pollen and mold spores can float in the air and linger on fallen leaves. After spending time outdoors, shower and change and wash your clothes. Clean your nasal passages, too, by using a salt water rinse. While working outdoors, wear a pollen mask, such as a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask. Be sure to also keep your car and home windows closed.

Find relief – If you wait until the first sneeze to take your medication, you may be too late. Allergists recommend taking your medication two weeks before symptoms begin, and continuing for two weeks after the first frost. Because of the nasal and eye symptoms associated with ragweed allergies, symptoms can linger after the pollen is no longer detected in the air.

Get tested – While hay fever may not seem serious, self-diagnosis and self-treatment can be. Many popular over-the-counter medications can cause sleep disturbances and mental impairment. If you have symptoms, make an appointment with an allergist for proper testing. Allergy testing can be done as skin tests or as blood tests, with positive results usually appearing in about 20 minutes.

Arm yourself – Allergy symptoms can be bothersome enough without flu symptoms getting in the way. Because the flu season overlaps with fall allergy season, be sure to get a flu shot. Recent studies have found even those with an egg allergy can safely get a flu shot. An allergist may also prescribe immunotherapy (allergy shots) to provide you with allergy relief during the fall months. While there is no cure for hay fever, this form of therapy can prevent and modify disease progression.

Seasonal allergies and asthma are serious diseases that should be properly treated by a board-certified allergist. More information and free allergy tools, including the My Nasal Allergy Journal, can be found at

Like fine wine, life gets better with age: Life lessons learned from a master winemaker

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

(BPT) – The things you pick up from past generations go well beyond how to catch a baseball and grill the perfect burger – even though those things are important. Traditions and lessons learned from fathers, grandfathers and even friends can be the most important in your life – they’ll shape who you are and how you live, as long as you live. And if you haven’t had the opportunity to ask your elders what they would choose to impart, there’s no time like the present.

The family behind the Louis M. Martini winery knows quite a bit about inherited wisdom. They have been crafting wines for 80 years and three generations – and that’s plenty of time to live and learn. They have learned not just how to pursue their trade, but to become masters – and the lessons they’ve learned over that time apply outside the wine world, too.

Mike Martini, now the third-generation master winemaker of the Louis M. Martini Winery, shares eight lessons from his family’s expertise – which you might just learn from, too.

1. Great creations reflect the personality and strengths of the person who created it. Your strengths shine through when you’re passionate about something. Whether it’s your secret-recipe barbecue sauce or the way you play a favorite song on a guitar, your own style will make something not just great – but uniquely your own.

2. There are many different paths to the same goal. Not everyone approaches their work the same way – and that’s OK. As long as the goal is the same, keep an open mind about how to reach those goals, particularly when working with others.

3. You’ve got to learn to make your own mistakes. While you can learn from others’ mistakes, sometimes the knowledge that comes from making your own mistakes can be just as valuable. Don’t be afraid of mistakes; instead, see them as an opportunity to improve.

4. The most fundamental skill is patience. With winemaking, you get one shot a year at harvest, and just about any good wine is worth waiting for. Develop your patience as you would any other necessary skill and in the end, you’ll be happier with the result.

5. If our neighbors succeed, we all succeed. There’s a saying that you’re as only as strong as your weakest link, but if you flip that, you can also be as strong as your strongest link. Over time, the success of any one of us brings all of us up.

6. Perseverance pays off. There will be times in life when giving up seems like the best option – but really, it’s only the easiest option. Stick to your plan through the difficult times and you’ll be rewarded in the end.

7. To master anything, you need to learn everything that goes into it. When times do get tough, you need to rely on more than just surface-level information. A deep understanding will make it easier for you to think creatively, find solutions and excel.

8. If you’re passionate about what you do, the clock doesn’t matter. How many golfers check the clock while they’re on the course? How many surfers abandon the waves to go see what time it is? Not many. If you have a passion for something, it’s no longer work but a pursuit of doing what you love. If your job is something that you enjoy as much as a hobby, putting in the time and effort won’t ever feel like a burden.

Life is what you make of it – you can ignore the wisdom of the years and past generations, or learn and grow from it. Keep these tips from a master in mind – or learn from him in person when classic cabernet meets classic rock in the Louis M. Martini and Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp Napa Valley “Wine, Wisdom and Rock Experience” this August. Join Mike Martini, multiple Grammy Award-nominee Joe Satriani and other rock legends as they explore firsthand the wisdom passed down and lessons learned from making great wine and great rock. For more information, visit or Louis Martini Winery on Facebook.

Affected by diabetes? Important facts and developments you should know

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

(BPT) – A disease so prevalent that it is labeled an epidemic in America, diabetes affects nearly 26 million children and adults, according to the American Diabetes Association (the Association). As this number grows, so does the urgency of finding a cure.

Health experts around the world research type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes in hopes of discovering a cure. More than 13,000 top scientists, physicians and other health care professionals will share their cutting-edge research, treatment recommendations and other diabetes advances at the Association’s 73rd annual Scientific Sessions in Chicago.

Although Scientific Sessions is primarily for medical professionals, its core is about improving the lives of people affected by diabetes – shaping the direction of research, technology and care with a focus on treatment and prevention and ultimately finding a cure for this devastating disease.

You don’t need to be a health expert to benefit from the information shared at the conference. A special video News Bureau translates the in-depth scientific findings into an easy-to-understand format available through the Association’s social media channels. Visit to view short briefings and interviews produced onsite last year, as well as information as it becomes available this year at the event.

Staying informed is an important part of managing a diabetes diagnosis. The Association helps those affected by diabetes sort through the information out there and better understand the facts. Here are some of the top myths and misconceptions about diabetes:

Myth: Diabetes is not that serious of a disease.

Fact: Diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.

Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.

Fact: Being overweight is just one risk factor; other risk factors are family history, ethnicity and age. Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight.

Myth: People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods.

Fact: A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy diet for anyone – low in fat (especially saturated and trans fat), moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on whole grain foods, vegetables and fruit. Diabetic and “dietetic” foods generally offer no special benefit.

Myth: People with diabetes can’t eat sweets.

Fact: If eaten as part of a healthy meal plan, sweets and desserts can be eaten by people with diabetes. The key to sweets is to have a very small portion and save them for special occasions.

Myth: People with diabetes are more likely to get colds and other illnesses.

Fact: You are no more likely to get a cold or another illness if you have diabetes. However, people with diabetes are advised to get flu shots. This is because any illness can make diabetes more difficult to control, and therefore serious complications are more likely to develop.

For more information, visit

Pack a school lunch they won’t want to trade

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Packing school lunches filled with healthy, appealing and creative foods is an excellent start to encouraging children to make sensible food choices now and in the future. But if lunch items you pack are less than appetizing, it could be the next item of trade in the cafeteria: a risk not worth taking in the age of nutrient-deficient and calorie-heavy school lunches.

Break up the mundane sandwich routine with well-rounded lunch combinations that will have kids eating well and growing strong with every bite. Here are some important components to a lunch they’ll think is worth keeping and eating:

* A main meal – Taste is important to children, and feeding the occasional “picky” eater can be quite a challenge. A tortilla roll-up with enticing ingredients like avocado, tomato or cucumbers with turkey, fish or chicken will show even the finickiest of eaters that there is more to lunch than the same old sandwich. Use the main meal as an opportunity to offer kids different textures and flavors and make a lasting impression about the many possibilities of food.

* A fun food – Making lunch food exciting is the first step to discourage trading and motivate kids to try something new. A well-thought-out presentation can inspire a healthy curiosity, and kids will naturally want to give it a taste. Cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls and fresh basil alternating on a toothpick is a fun and healthy salad-on-a-stick with easily-controlled portions. Sweet potato chips are another fun make-at-home option that are packed with vitamins A, B6, C and more. Bake up a batch on Sunday and pack them in lunches all week.

* Something that goes “crunch” – Carrots, apples and pretzels provide a lunch box with plenty of crunch to keep things fresh. Crunchy snacks are the secret to waking up your child’s brain before afternoon lessons begin, allowing them to finish off the day strong. Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels are available in more than three dozen shapes, flavors and gluten-free varieties so everyone can have their own favorite. Grab a 10-count of single 100-calorie snack packs in sticks, snaps or minis to change it up from day-to-day and keep kids wondering, “what’s next?”


* A thirst quencher – Many kid-friendly drinks are loaded with empty calories like sodas and sweetened iced tea. It’s important for a school lunch to include liquids that keep kids hydrated so they can think, move and perform at their best. Limit caffeinated and sugary beverages like sodas and iced teas, and instead encourage your children to get in the habit of drinking water, milk or real fruit juice.

* A love note – Lunchbox food is important, but so is a reminder that the menu was made with love. Encourage your children to do well in class by slipping a note inside their lunchboxes. Consider painting the inside of a lunch box with chalkboard paint so you can write and erase messages daily. Include a hand-written note or draw a picture for a sack lunch bag.

* After-school energy boosters – Kids experience the afternoon slump just as much as parents. With smaller stomachs, children are often in need of snacks to keep their energy levels going strong – especially after school. Keep some Snyder’s of Hanover 100 calorie packs handy. Kids can pair the snaps or minis with cheese or meat slices for an extra energy boost. With less fat and less sodium than many other salty snacks, these portion-controlled packs are the perfect snack that won’t spoil any appetites before dinner.

These essentials will have you thinking outside the (lunch) box and make your lunches the envy inside the cafeteria. Try planning a menu with your kids at the beginning of each week and let them choose what meals and snacks they want to eat on which day. Homemade lunches are an easy way to control what your children eat and you’ll know that they’re getting the healthy nutrition needed to perform well in school. Not only will they not want to trade it, they’ll keep coming back for more.

Keeping on top of your child’s asthma care during allergy season

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

For many with seasonal allergies, the start of spring means itchy eyes and a runny nose, but for the almost 25 million Americans suffering with asthma, the season can be much more threatening. In fact, according to a recent survey, Asthma Insights and Management, conducted by the national public research organization Abt SRBI Inc., 21 percent of asthmatics note “pollen” as a trigger for their asthma symptoms.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways, and may cause chest tightness, shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing. When not properly managed, these symptoms may sometimes become life threatening.

For parents of the nearly 7 million children living with asthma, monitoring of the condition and identifying when symptoms are becoming problematic can be difficult any time of year, but can be even more challenging during allergy season.

“During allergy season, assessing whether my child symptoms are asthma- or allergy-related is even more stressful as exacerbations become more frequent,” said Denielle Goshinsky, mother of an 8-year-old asthmatic. “I’m often asking myself whether my child’s cough is from a cold or allergies, or whether it’s asthma-related and potentially more serious.”

But for parents of asthmatics, there is a new tool available to help monitor and assess their child’s symptoms anytime and anywhere. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recently cleared to market Spiro PD, the first and only personal spirometer that allows patients to measure their lung function outside of the doctor’s office. The device measures the amount and speed of air individual’s exhale which helps evaluate how well lungs are working. It is easy-to-use, portable and affordable.

“While the National Institute of Health Clinical Guidelines call for regular spirometry, the location of the test was previously limited to doctor’s offices,” said Michael S. Blaiss, MD, the Board of Director of World Allergy Organization and a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, Division of Allergy and Immunology, University of Tennessee. “With the availability of Spiro PD, patients or parents of asthmatics are able to measure lung function and share data with their doctor anywhere and anytime, empowering patients to take an active role in managing their disease, always knowing exactly how their condition is doing and informing them as to when they may need to seek further medical attention.”

Other features of Spiro PD allow patients to view their lung function trends over time; manage medications; set reminder alarms to take medicine, run spirometry tests or do breathing exercises; and, quickly upload data to their computer and share it with their health care provider. For more information visit