The articles in this section are brought to you by the Health Advocates Ministry.  This health ministry system is designed to maintain and promote good health and illness prevention in our congregation.  It integrates the concepts of physical, emotional and spiritual health to enrich the lives of our church community.

Educational Articles from the Health Advocates  | Please scroll down.

Flu Shots | October 2011

If you’ve passed any local pharmacy lately, you’ll know that flu season is here. “Flu Shot” signs are everywhere for good reason.  Influenza is not a disease to be taken lightly as deaths do occur.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older gets a yearly flu vaccine.

Our flu season generally starts this month, usually peaks in February, and can continue until as late as May.  It takes 2 weeks for your body to develop an immune response after you receive the vaccine, so getting vaccinated as soon as possible offers you the most protection.  Did you know that you can get infected by someone who has the flu one day before they develop symptoms and up to 5 to 7 days after they actually become sick?  How is it spread?  Can you get the flu from the vaccine?   Are “stomach flu” and influenza the same thing?  Take the flu IQ quiz at www.FLU.gov – or ask one the Health Advocates.

Sleep | September 2011

Sleep – a periodic state of rest enabling the body to renew a feeling of health and well-being.  We tend to think of it as something that we do once every 24 hrs., but at least half of the world’s population has an afternoon nap as part of their lifelong sleep-wake pattern.  How much do you need?  Some people need 5 hrs., while others need 9.  If you generally feel rested, and don’t constantly doze off at the movies or long meetings, you’re probably OK.  Exercise reduces stress when done within 3 hrs. of bedtime.  No, you can’t bank ZZZ’s in advance.  “Sleeping in” or going to bed earlier can help replenish a deficit, but the best option is to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day – even on weekends – to keep your natural circadian rhythm balanced.  Can’t fall asleep?  Clock watching only increases stress!  Get up, go to another room and distract yourself with something non stressful (knitting, reading, etc.) until you do feel tired.

Bee Stings | July-August 2011

For most of us, a bee sting is a minor nuisance. For others, however, a single sting can cause a dangerous, even deadly, allergic reaction – anaphylaxis. Every year 150 people in the US die from bee and wasp stings. Are you allergic? Within minutes (even seconds) after being stung, you feel dizzy and nauseated. Breathing becomes difficult. Your heart beat becomes rapid, then erratic. You may swell up – including the lips, tongue, and face -or turn red all over. An allergic reaction of this kind is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY and requires immediate medical attention! People with insect allergies often carry an oral antihistamine and an epinephrine self-injector prescribed by their physician – and use both if stung. During an allergic reaction, pressing the injector against your thigh automatically injects the life saving drug . Within seconds, the airways expand and the heart beats more regularly. In time, many of the symptoms are reversed, but, to be on the safe side, medical attention should still be sought as soon as possible.

Sleep | June 2011

Sleep – a periodic state of rest enabling the body to renew a feeling of health and well-being. We tend to think of it as something that we do once every 24 hrs., but at least half of the world’s population has an afternoon nap as part of their lifelong sleep-wake pattern. How much do you need? Some people need 5 hrs. while others need 9. If you generally feel rested, and don’t constantly doze off at the movies or long meetings, you’re probably OK. Exercise reduces stress hormones, and can help you fall asleep faster – except when done within 3 hrs. of bedtime. No, you can’t bank ZZZ’s in advance. “Sleeping in” or going to bed earlier can help replenish a deficit, but the best option is to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day – even on weekends – to keep your natural circadian rhythm balanced. Can’t fall asleep? Clock watching only increases stress! Get up, go to another room, and distract yourself with something non stressful (knitting, reading, etc.) until you do feel tired.

Asthma | May 2011

Chest tightness, inflamed airways, trouble breathing, wheezing – scary, common symptoms of an asthma attack. Asthma affects 20 million Americans, including 9 million children. It can be mild and recurring, or acute and severe, preventing oxygen flow to your organs. Your airways become inflamed. Then, when irritated (from things such as dust mites molds, mildew, cigarette smoke, scented products, certain food ingredients, medications, or even strong emotional reactions), the airways overreact, further narrow, and slow the flow of air. Cells produce more sticky mucus, muscles around the area tighten, and an attack occurs. Immediate medical attention is needed! If you have asthma, it is important that you work with your doctor to control the symptoms. Learn about your allergies. Avoid or control irritants and allergens that cause symptoms. Take medications as prescribed to keep your symptoms under control so that you can lead an active, healthy life. For more information, speak with one of the Health Advocates.

Balance | April 2011

Increasingly, people are telling me that they lose their balance when turning quickly, and/or find it difficult to walk on uneven surfaces without the fear of falling. Some even experience bouts of feeling like the room is spinning – for hours and even days! It often greatly hinders their daily activities. These problems can be the result of inner ear infections, migraines, or from a decrease in functioning due to inactivity as we age. Good news! There is relief for these symptoms – even for the “spinning” sensation – through physical therapy. Balance therapy usually includes balance exercises (with the assistance of the therapist), eye exercises, and simple manipulation of the head to correct inner-ear issues. Results usually occur within 4 weeks, returning the person to normal daily living.

Pneumonia | March 2011

It’s March. Can we breathe a sigh of relief that winter’s fury is over? It has been a busy season for pneumonia. Pneumococcal disease can cause serious infections: lungs (pneumonia), blood (bacteremia), and the brain’s covering (meningitis). Anyone can get a pneumococcal disease. Those at greater risk are 65 and older, the very young, and anyone with special health problems (heart or lung disease, kidney failure, diabetes, HIV, or certain types of cancer, etc.) The CDC reports that about 1 out of every 20 people with pneumococcal disease dies, 2 out of 10 who have bacteremia, 3 out of 10 with meningitis. The disease is now resistant to the effects of the old “stand by”, Penicillin, making treatment more difficult. But there is a vaccine (PPV) that protects against 23 types of pneumococcal pneumonia. It’s recommended for those 65 and older and for anyone over 2 years old who has either a long-term health problem or condition that lowers their resistance to infections. For more information, see the pamphlet, “VACCINE”, in the narthex.

Intelligence | February 2011

In 2008, the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, conducted intelligence testing of 70 children, ages 3 to 5. Amazingly, they found that those preschoolers who had poor vision significantly improved their IQ test scores within six weeks of consistently wearing prescription glasses! Generally, it is recommended that your child’s vision be tested before age 5. Some experts recommend testing in infancy. Your children may also need vision tests as they grow. Be sure to talk with your doctor if your child has any of the following vision warning signs: eyes turning inward (crossing) or outward, squinting, headaches, not doing as well in school work as before, or blurred or double vision.

Resolution | January 2011

Don’t look now but it’s “make a resolution” time again. The Bible encourages us to give of our time and talent to others. Jonni McCoy, founder of MiserlyMoms.com, claims that even with a tight budget, giving can increase your bottom line. “You get a better perspective on what you already have, which leads to a better sense of contentment, and less spending”. Your time is as valuable as your pocketbook. Have a teen on a mission? She can apply for a $500 grant to help her do-good dream start, or find “ready made” causes on the site. If you want to give back as a family, check thevolunteerfamily.org. Of course, our church bulletin also offers suggestions and lists needs. According to McCoy, helping others leads to a feeling of community, a sense that “we’re all in this together”. (Ten things You Can Change Right Now. Womans Day. Jan. 2010)

A snowball | December 2010

This article is brought to you by our Health Advocates Ministry.  This health ministry system is designed to maintain and promote good health and illness prevention in our congregation.  It integrates the concepts of physical, emotional and spiritual health to enrich the lives of our church community.

I made myself a snowball – As perfect as could be. I thought I’d keep it as a pet – And let it sleep with me. I made it some pajamas, And a pillow for its’ head. Then last night it ran away, But first, It wet my bed.
Merry Christmas and a happy

Remove Clutter | November 2010

This article is brought to you by our Health Advocates Ministry.  This health ministry system is designed to maintain and promote good health and illness prevention in our congregation.  It integrates the concepts of physical, emotional and spiritual health to enrich the lives of our church community.

The holidays can turn into a hectic time of rushing, Boxes of decorations are pulled from shelves, outside decorations go up, greeting cards go out, and so forth. Unfortunately, they are also a time of increased falls at home, particularly as we age. Reaction time slows, joints get stiffer, and balance decreases with medications, illness, and vision changes. Some people are no longer able to live at home due to a fall. You can make your home safer. Ideas? Remove clutter and any spills on the floor, and keep clear pathways around furniture. Toss throw rugs and any that are worn. Use nonskid pads under area rugs, and nonskid strips on the edges of uncarpeted stairs. Hold on to the stair rail. Use nonskid bathmats or strips in the tub, and grab bars. Keep a flashlight in each room and a nightlight along the path between your bedroom and the bathroom. Periodically survey your home for those things that could cause a slip, trip and fall. Accidents can be avoided.

PS It’s time to update your FILE OF LIFE information. If you need a File of Life emergency packet for your refrigerator, contact the Health Advocates.

Physical | October 2010

This article is brought to you by our Health Advocates Ministry.  This health ministry system is designed to maintain and promote good health and illness prevention in our congregation.  It integrates the concepts of physical, emotional and spiritual health to enrich the lives of our church community.

It’s Fall – time for Joe’s annual physical exam. But Joe told his wife that he’s not going. “Why should I have a physical exam when I feel fine?” Sound familiar? But why wait for illness to “smack you in the face”? Yearly exams help with early diagnosis and treatment of existing health problems and prevent future ones. They are a great time to bring up problems that seem too minor to warrant a visit on their own. But these exams are only good if you do the following: Provide your entire medical history , including doctors you have seen, past illnesses, treatments, and even family history, so your doctor can look for warning signs. Take a list of your medications, both prescribed and over-the-counter. Take a list of questions for your doctor to discuss – about your medicines, that ache that you have, etc. And finally, be honest when the doctor asks about your behaviors, like smoking, diet, exercise, etc. Your answers will help to determine your diagnosis and treatment.

PS It’s time to update your FILE OF LIFE information. If you need a File of Life emergency packet for your refrigerator, contact the Health Advocates.

Asthma | September 2010

This article is brought to you by our Health Advocates Ministry.  This health ministry system is designed to maintain and promote good health and illness prevention in our congregation.  It integrates the concepts of physical, emotional and spiritual health to enrich the lives of our church community.

Every day 34,000 people in the US have an asthma attack due to episodes of narrowing of the bronchial tubes of the lungs. Normally these tubes narrow only to prevent harmful substances from entering the lungs. But in asthma, they narrow too much, too often, and too easily to many substances (“triggers”) that ordinarily would not damage the lungs. These triggers are different for everyone. Many common triggers are avoidable. Pollen: using an air conditioner with a clean filter, and keeping windows closed. Dust mites: covering bedding and choosing furniture and flooring that can be easily cleaned. Pet dander: limiting contact or at least keeping the bedroom “pet free”. Mold: keeping basements and bathrooms dry with a fan or dehumidifier. Stress: learning ways to reduce tension. If you have asthma, it’s important to know your triggers so you can avoid them. Of course, also take your controller medicine as directed by your doctor.

PS It’s time to update your FILE OF LIFE information. If you need a File of Life emergency packet for your refrigerator, contact the Health Advocates.

Healthy Routines | August 2010

Can certain routines at home help to curb that high rates of obesity among preschoolers – a growing problem in the US?  Robert Whitaker, Temple professor of pediatrics at the Center for Obesity Research and Education, coauthored a sturdy to find out.  He found that preschool-age children who were exposed to three household routines were 40% less likely to be obese than those who were not.  Any guesses what those routines were?  (1) Regularly eating the evening meal as a family.  (2) Obtaining adequate nighttime sleep.  (3) Limiting time in front of the television. Each of these routines performed alone also had an effect on decreasing the risk of obesity.  The same results were found in children from low income households, and with children whose mothers are obese.  Childhood obesity is associated with an increase in medical problems, such as heart disease, later in life.

Salt | July 2010

Did you know that there is a “salt lobby” in Washington? They have complained about the Food and Drug Administration’s push to decrease salt intake by US consumers. The FDA recommends consuming a maximum of one teaspoon of salt per day. The Salt Institute has warned that this was not scientifically sound. “They could be harming people”. But it has long been know that diets high in salt contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, and other health problems. For now, the FDA is working with the food industry to voluntarily decrease the amount of salt in food and beverages. Many food items already have low salt or no sodium versions available. So, how much salt do you consume? Check those food labels when you shop for the words “salt” or “sodium”, and avoid using it at your table.

Skin Cancer | June 2010

What is the most common form of cancer in the US? – skin cancer! Protecting your body from the sun’s harmful rays is important no matter the season. Let’s review the basics that could save your life: Regardless of whether you are young or old, limit your time in the sun, especially from mid-morning to early afternoon when the UV rays are the strongest. Wear sunscreen year around with SPF 30 or higher and UVA / UVB protection. Put on a wide brim hat, long sleeve shirt, and long pants. Wear sunglasses that absorb UV rays. Avoid sunbathing, sunlamps, and tanning salons. Of the three types of skin cancer – squamous cell, basal cell, and melanoma – melanoma is typically the most serious. Although they do not look alike, all usually appear as a change on the skin. If you have a question or concern about something on your skin (including a change in the color, size, shape, or feel of an existing mole) talk with your doctor.

Chest Pain: Tell-Tale Sign | May 2010

Chest pain – the typical “tell-tale sign” of a heart attack. But the National Institutes of Health found less than a third of women reported having chest pain or discomfort before their attack (43% had no pain). Most women experienced a list of on-going symptoms up to 6 months before their attack, including extreme fatigue, sleep disturbance, shortness of breath, indigestion, and anxiety. The symptoms that caused them to seek immediate treatment included shortness of breath, weakness, unusual fatigue, cold sweat, and dizziness. Those who had discomfort experienced it in the back and high chest (mostly as pressure, an ache, or tightness). According the NIH, white, middle age men reported “typical” symptoms: pain or uncomfortable pressure or squeezing in the chest, or discomfort in the arms, neck, back or stomach, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, nausea and sweating, and “indigestion” like discomfort. Women have a greater incidence of sudden cardiac deaths perhaps because their symptoms are not “typical” and are not recognized.

Spring is here: Time to do a health check | April 2010

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush”. (Doug Larson) Those words seem especially true this season, after all of that snow! Hope that you have been out enjoying this lovely weather that God has provided. It’s time to not only renew your spirit but also to kick start those goals that you listed in January. Remember, maybe something about eating a healthier diet, losing weight, exercising, regularly wearing a sun block, or ceasing to smoke? Check your list and get busy! Talk to one of the Health Advocates if we can help. Incidentally, if avoiding skin cancer is your goal, there is a free skin cancer screening being offered by Lansdale Hospital on May 8, 8 – 11 AM. Preregistration is required. Check the HA bulletin board for more details. “The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day He created spring”. (Bern Williams) See you outside!!

Baby Teeth: Who Needs Them | March 2010

“Baby teeth” , who needs them!? For years, they have been the domain of tooth fairies. Pediatric dentists, however, say that these teeth are the basis for good digestion. They also hold the spaces for permanent teeth. A missing or decayed baby tooth can cause speech problems. Here are some tips on how to promote your child’s dental care: Give limited sweets – only after a meal, not many times a day, and brush afterward. That brushing is important. Sugar can stay on the teeth for hours, promoting decay. Start cleaning teeth as soon as they come in, using a washcloth or soft brush for babies, and “practice” brushing sessions for toddlers. ( It can take until age 8 or 9 for a child to do a good brushing job on his own.) Start flossing when the teeth come together, usually at ages 5 or 6. Age 1 is the recommended time for the first dental exam. Dentists report seeing more 2 year olds with cavities. Finally, if a baby tooth gets knocked out, don’t try to re-insert it before seeing the dentist. That could injure the permanent tooth bud underneath. Permanent teeth that are knocked out, however, have a good chance of survival if reimplanted quickly. Gently rinse off the dirt, put it back in the socket, and immediately see the dentist. That’s something to smile about!

Meditation: How Much Do You Know | February 2010

Today, many of us take medications on a regular basis. These medicines have often improved both the quality and duration of life. How much do you know about the medications that your doctor has prescribed? Do you read the instructions and warnings on the bottle? Some foods, or even supplements in your cabinet, may inhibit the action of a medication. Do you take your medications any old time? Some are better acting if the doses are spaced at regular intervals. Having a set routine for taking your medications means that you are less likely to forget your meds altogether. Also, keep a copy of your prescription and check it against what is written on your bottle. If you can, look up what the pill actually looks like ( at pdrhealth.com) before you go to the pharmacy. Make sure that what you get looks like the picture. If not, check with the pharmacist. Finally, keep your prescription pills to yourself. Sharing them with others exposes them to risks, such as a potentially dangerous interaction with something that they are taking.

New Year Resolution: Improve Your Health | January 2010

Yes, it’s time again to make those new year’s resolutions. How about adding ,“improve my health”, to that list?  Add a green vegetable to one meal each day.  Take the dog for a walk rather than put him in the yard.  Decrease by one the number of cigarettes you smoke each day.  Go biking with the kids ( or skating, walking, etc.) rather than watch them sit in front of the TV; do the daily crossword puzzle in the paper.  Park your car just a little further from the entrance to the stores.  Join the choir.  Refuse to get buttered popcorn when you go to see a movie; don‘t bring soda into the house.  The opportunities are endless!  Why not brain storm with your family to come up with ideas?  Remember, 1 Corinthians 6: 19 – 20.  Or do your not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.