We want to raise awareness about different health observances you can learn about to stay healthy each and every month.
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) sponsors Alcohol Awareness Month each April to increase public understanding of alcoholism, its causes, effective treatment, and recover.
Alcohol misuse is a major health problem in the United States. It casues more than 85,000 deaths every year, making it hte third leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
In addition to negatively affecting families and entire communities, alcohol abuse can play a role in many health problems, including:
|High blood pressure|
|Inflammation of the pancreas|
|Problems with mental functioning|
|Accidental injury and deaths|
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Each April we acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect.
CountyCare is committed to preventing child abuse and neglect. Our goal is providing the support needed to develop safe, stable, healthy relationships and environments that nurture the physical and emotional wellbeing of children.
THINK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH THIS MONTH
Raymond struggled with addiction and depression. He knew he needed help. So his CCHHS primary care provider referred Raymond to an agency in the Behavioral Health Consortium. The Consortium is a network of providers offering mental health care services in Cook County. With coordinated care and support from the agency and his CountyCare provider, Raymond was able to get his life back on track.
Now is the perfect time to share Raymond’s story. Why? May is Mental Health Month.
Mental Health Month raises awareness about the importance of effective behavioral health care. This year’s theme is Fitness #4Mind4Body. The goal is helping people understand that personal wellness includes both physical and mental health.
We agree. In addition to providing medical care, CountyCare covers behavioral health care services, including:
|Mental health assessments|
|Substance use assessments|
|Medication monitoring and management|
|Medication substance use disorder treatment|
|Medical and non-medical detoxification services|
|Residential rehabilitation programs|
|Intensive, family, individual, group counseling and treatment|
|Intensive outpatient & partial hospitalization programs|
|Assertive community treatment (ACT) and community support teams (CST)|
CLEARING THE AIR ABOUT ASTHMA
Last spring, Anna’s 6-year old daughter, Celine, was having trouble breathing. Celine spent many nights awake coughing, wheezing and complaining about not feeling well. Celine’s parents were up all night, too, worrying. She was missing school and they were exhausted. During Celine’s annual well-child visit, Anna told the doctor about Celine’s symptoms. He checked Celine’s lungs, ran some tests and diagnosed her with asthma.
Anna wasn’t sure what that meant, so the doctor explained.
Learning About Asthma
Asthma is a chronic disease that makes your airways swell so breathing becomes difficult. Symptoms vary from person to person. Some are mild and go away on their own or after minimal treatment. Sometimes they get worse and cause an asthma attack.
You should see a doctor right away at the first sign of any asthma symptoms. Common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or tightness
- Whistling or wheezing sound when breathing
Allergies can make asthma worse. Breathing in common allergens, like smoke, pollen, pet hair, dust mites, mold, scented products and air pollution, can trigger asthma.
The doctor created an action plan to help manage Celine’s symptoms. Anna makes sure Celine takes her medications and schedules regular check-ins with a CCHHS physician. She also follows these tips to help Celine breathe easier at home.
- Keep the kitchen and bathroom clean and dry to prevent mold.
- Insist on a smoke-free home, no tobacco, fireplace, candles, or incense.
- Keep pets out of the bedrooms and vacuum pet hair daily.
Now, Celine and her whole family are sleeping and breathing better.
In June we celebrate Men’s Health Month and National Men’s Health Week. Their purpose is encouraging men and boys to take charge of their own physical and mental health.
The good news is they don’t have to do it alone. You can support the health and safety of all the men in your life. Here are some suggestions based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Set A Good Example
Living a healthy lifestyle can inspire those around you to make healthy choices, too. Set a good example for your fathers, husbands, sons, and brothers to follow:
|Eat right. Include a variety of fruits and vegetables in the family’s diet every day, and limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol.|
|Keep moving. Regular physical activity contributes to weight control, a stronger body, reduced stress levels, improved mental health, and a lower risk of getting heart disease, diabetes, and cancers such as prostate and colorectal cancer.|
|Don’t smoke. It’s one of the worse things you can do to your body. If a man in your life is a smoker, help them quit! Quitting can have immediate and long-term health benefits.|
|Go to the doctor. Men are notorious for avoiding doctor visits. Remind them to get regular check-ups, undergo recommended tests or screenings, and discuss their family health history with their provider so they can identify potential issues early.|
William is a CountyCare member and always considered himself to be pretty healthy. He was lean, never smoked and walked a few blocks to and from the train each day for his work commute. That seemed to be enough to stay healthy - no matter what his kids said.
But William’s world changed one recent morning when he woke up with chest pain. He called his primary care provider (PCP), who told him to call 911.
The pain turned out to be an early sign of heart blockage. “We dodged the bullet on that one!” he said after.
William’s daughter Kenya was relieved to hear the news but wasn’t surprised. “He’s always eaten whatever he wants and is glued to the tube almost every night,” she said.
“True true,” William laughed. “But I learned my lesson.”
Now William walks at a nearby park or the track at the community center most nights after a healthy dinner. He also makes sure he’s on the right track by getting regular check-ups with his PCP.
“I’m getting used to ‘the new me’, he said. “And most important is I’m feeling better and my cholesterol is way down.” That makes William - and Kenya - happy.
Explore Outdoor Fresh Food Markets
Summer offers a lot of healthy, fresh food options. These include juicy red apples, crisp green beans, fiber-filled okra, and more. CountyCare and Cook County Health & Hospitals System (CCHHS) has now made it easier for you to enjoy fresh produce. We have opened three outdoor Fresh Food Markets with the help of Black Oaks Center and Healthy Food Hub. At these markets, you’ll find all kinds of healthy, affordable food. This includes produce as well as whole grains, lentils, spices, and teas. You can even use your active LINK card and double your value, dollar for dollar, up to $20. In addition to the LINK card, the Fresh Food Markets accepts senior farmer’s market coupons, Women Infant Children (WIC) farmer’s market coupons, cash, and debit/credit cards.
Get Healthful Tips
At the markets, you can learn more about eating healthfully. Dr. Jifunza Wright-Carter hosts a talk at the markets called “Therapeutic Foods Sessions.” During the program, you can learn about how foods keep you healthy. You can also find out ways to prepare foods to get the most health benefits.
Visit a Fresh Food Market
The outdoor Fresh Food Markets are open starting the first week in June. The locations and days open are as follows:
CCHHS Cottage Grove Health Center
1645 Cottage Grove Avenue in Ford Heights
Open: Mondays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
CCHHS Oak Forest Health Center
15900 S. Cicero Avenue in Oak Forest (entrance on 159th Street)
Open: Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
CCHHS Robbins Health Center
13450 S. Kedzie Avenue in Robbins
Open: Fridays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information on accessing health foods, visit http://www.cookcountyhhs.org/healthy-living/.