Connect with us

Health

Officials urge Mississippians to get a flu shot

Published

on

(Photo by by LuAnn Hunt from Pixabay)

Officials are urging Mississippians to get a flu vaccine to help minimize the effect of the flu during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I plan on getting the flu vaccine,” Gov. Tate Reeves said during his live news conference Wednesday, adding that he will also get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is ready.

“I hope you will consider getting the flu vaccine as well,” he said.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs reiterated the governor’s words.

“It’s so very important,” Dobbs said.

“It’s going to be doubly challenging with the coronavirus pandemic because we do know people can get viruses simultaneously,” he added, “so you can get them both at the same time,” making the illnesses worse.

Dobbs said he anticipates a COVID-19 vaccine to begin becoming available in the first part of 2021, rolling out first to health care workers and first responders. It may be several months after a vaccine is approved before the general public has access to it, he said.

County health departments provide flu shots to all children and to qualifying adults who lack insurance coverage. The Warren County Health Department is located at 807 Monroe St., open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Flu shots are also widely available at pharmacies and retail centers. Find one near you by entering your ZIP code in the Flu Shot Locator.

Health

Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress

Published

on

Going for a walk with your dog can provide exercise (Photo by Manfred Antranias Zimmer from Pixabay)

Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management. Discover the connection between exercise and stress relief — and why exercise should be part of your stress management plan.

Exercise and stress relief

Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits.

  • It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity may help bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, any aerobic activity, such as a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike, can contribute to this same feeling.
  • It reduces negative effects of stress. Exercise can provide stress relief for your body while imitating effects of stress, such as the flight or fight response, and helping your body and its systems practice working together through those effects. This can also lead to positive effects in your body—including your cardiovascular, digestive and immune systems—by helping protect your body from harmful effects of stress.
  • It’s meditation in motion. After a fast-paced game of racquetball, a long walk or run, or several laps in the pool, you may often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements. As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you stay calm, clear and focused in everything you do.
  • It improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, improve your mood, help you relax, and lower symptoms of mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All of these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.

Put exercise and stress relief to work for you

A successful exercise program begins with a few simple steps.

  • Consult with your health care provider. If you haven’t exercised for some time or you have health concerns, you may want to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
  • Walk before you run. Build up your fitness level gradually. Excitement about a new program can lead to overdoing it and possibly even injury. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. Examples of moderate aerobic activity include brisk walking or swimming, and vigorous aerobic activity can include running or biking. Greater amounts of exercise will provide even greater health benefits. Also, aim to do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week.
  • Do what you love. Almost any form of exercise or movement can increase your fitness level while decreasing your stress. The most important thing is to pick an activity that you enjoy. Examples include walking, stair climbing, jogging, dancing, bicycling, yoga, tai chi, gardening, weightlifting and swimming. And remember, you don’t need to join a gym to get moving. Take a walk with the dog, try body-weight exercises or do a yoga video at home.
  • Pencil it in. In your schedule, you may need to do a morning workout one day and an evening activity the next. But carving out some time to move every day helps you make your exercise program an ongoing priority. Aim to include exercise in your schedule throughout your week.

Stick with it

Starting an exercise program is just the first step. Here are some tips for sticking with a new routine or refreshing a tired workout:

  • Set SMART goals. Write down SMART goals — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-limited goals. If your primary goal is to reduce stress in your life, your specific goals might include committing to walking during your lunch hour three times a week. Or try online fitness videos at home. Or, if needed, find a babysitter to watch your children so that you can slip away to attend a cycling class.
  • Find a friend. Knowing that someone is waiting for you to show up at the gym or the park can be a powerful incentive. Try making plans to meet friends for walks or workouts. Working out with a friend, co-worker or family member often brings a new level of motivation and commitment to your workouts. And friends can make exercising more fun!
  • Change up your routine. If you’ve always been a competitive runner, take a look at other, less competitive options that may help with stress reduction, such as Pilates or yoga classes. As an added bonus, these kinder, gentler workouts may enhance your running while also decreasing your stress.
  • Exercise in short bursts. Even brief bouts of physical activity offer benefits. For instance, if you can’t fit in one 30-minute walk, try a few 10-minute walks instead. Being active throughout the day can add up to provide health benefits. Take a mid-morning or afternoon break to move and stretch, go for a walk, or do some squats or pushups. Interval training, which entails brief (60 to 90 seconds) bursts of intense activity at almost full effort, can be a safe, effective and efficient way of gaining many of the benefits of longer duration exercise. What’s most important is making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle.

Whatever you do, don’t think of exercise as just one more thing on your to-do list. Find an activity you enjoy — whether it’s an active tennis match or a meditative meander down to a local park and back — and make it part of your regular routine. Any form of physical activity can help you unwind and become an important part of your approach to easing stress.


This article is written by Mayo Clinic Staff. Find more health and medical information on mayoclinic.org.

 

Continue Reading

Health

Check and print your child’s immunization records at home

Published

on

In an effort to ease the stress on parents during back-to-school preparation, the Mississippi State Department of Health now offers a convenient way for parents to check their child’s immunizations record online and print out the required Certificate of Immunization Compliance (Form 121) for school registration.

MyIR Mobile is an internet-based portal that gives consumers access to their official state immunization records based on information housed in the Mississippi Immunization Information eXchange.

MyIR Mobile allows users to not only see their own immunization records, but to also add family members to their profiles in order to see if their child is up-to-date or needs their next vaccination. If none are needed, a certified Form 121 can be downloaded and printed.

“Prior to this service, parents had to get the Form 121 from their pediatrician or healthcare provider. This always caused a huge rush in the weeks leading up to the beginning of a new school year,” said MSDH Director of Immunization Jennifer Fulcher in a statement. “This program will save time and save a trip to the doctor’s office or county health department.”

MyIR Mobile requires identity verification through a phone number or email address to keep records safe and secure. Only immunization records of Mississippi residents are accessible through this program. Mississippi is the first state nationwide that currently uses MyIR Mobile.

Mississippi state law requires children to be immunized against childhood diseases to enter public or private school, Head Start or daycare. There is also a vaccination requirement for 7th grade entry.

MyIR Mobile is available at www.MyIRMobile.com. Parents can visit HealthyMS.com/myIR for guidelines to using this new service.

Immunizations are available at county health departments by appointment.

Continue Reading

COVID-19

Complete your COVID-19 back-to-school checklist

Published

on

(Image by Innviertlerin from Pixabay)

Story by Susan Barber Lindquist, Mayo Clinic News Network

Families and school districts are weighing difficult decisions on whether to return to school in person, online or a combination of both during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“No matter what education model is chosen — in-person, distance learning or a hybrid of the two, we want to provide guidance to parents, children, teachers and staff on how to stay as safe and healthy as possible this school year,” says Nipunie Rajapakse, M.D., a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Mayo Clinic.

“These tips will be familiar, and they continue to be the most effective ways we have to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread. Certain strategies may be more effective for certain age groups of children. A combination of strategies is important because no single measure provides 100% protection from exposure,” says Dr. Rajapakse.

Watch: Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse discusses back-to-school recommendations

(Video courtesy Mayo Clinic News Network)

Practice safe distancing.

When possible, follow safe social distancing of at least 6 feet, even when wearing a mask.

“COVID-19 is primarily spread from person to person through respiratory droplets released into the air when coughing, sneezing, talking or singing,” Dr. Rajapakse says. “When you’re unable to wear a mask, such as when eating in the cafeteria, social distancing is even more critical to reduce the risk of virus transmission.”

Wear a mask.

Wear a mask to limit the spread of respiratory droplets.

“It’s a great idea for students, teachers and staff to keep a clean backup mask somewhere convenient, like their backpack, locker or desk,” notes Dr. Rajapakse. “Make sure to clearly label your child’s mask with his or her name, and teach children never to share or trade masks with others.”

Clean your hands frequently.

Wash your hands with soap and water, or apply and use hand sanitizer frequently. For appropriate use of hand sanitizer, follow these steps:

  • Apply one to two squirts of sanitizer to the palm of one hand ― enough to cover all surfaces of the hands.
  • Rub the sanitizer over all the surfaces of hands, fingers and nails until dry. This should take at least 20 seconds.
  • Keep a to-go size hand sanitizer container nearby.

“Cleaning hands regularly throughout the day is very important, especially before eating, after using the bathroom, or before and after touching shared surfaces or your mask,” Dr. Rajapakse says.

Disinfect high-touch surfaces.

Disinfect surfaces routinely and immediately if they become visibly soiled. Disinfect items frequently touched such as light switches, door handles, faucets and keyboards.

Perform symptom self-checks and stay home if sick.

Every day before going to school, check for symptoms of illness, especially COVID-19 symptoms, such as new-onset cough or shortness of breath. If you are sick, avoid spreading germs by staying home from school or other activities.

“Even though it may seem like just a minor runny nose or cough, staying home from school or work is the right thing to do to reduce the risk of exposing others to not only COVID-19, but other respiratory viruses like influenza, as well,” Dr. Rajapakse says. “Everyone over 6 months old is strongly recommended to get an influenza vaccine this fall. During this pandemic we have also seen many children fall behind on their routine vaccines so it is important to check with your primary care provider and ensure all of your child’s vaccines are up to date prior to returning to school.”

School year will be a challenge

No matter which learning model is chosen by communities, the school year is going to be challenging.

“We know how important schools and teachers are — supporting students’ education, social development and mental health,” Dr. Rajapakse says. “Ultimately, how to participate in school will be a family decision, weighing all the factors in your specific circumstances — your own family’s health risks, the academic needs of your children, your work demands and, of course, the amount of COVID-19 transmission in your communities.”

Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for additional updates on COVID-19.

Continue Reading

Trending