Scrubin Uniforms Newsletter

Monday, February 12, 2018

National Cancer Prevention Month offers opportunities for education and awareness

Did you know that more than half of all cancers diagnosed in the United States might have been preventable? They are linked to smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and excessive exposure to the sun.

It doesn’t have to be this way, and it shouldn’t. That’s why National Cancer Prevention Month is so important. This is the time to stop smoking (or better yet, never start), take a look at diet and exercise and make changes where needed, and buy that sunscreen we keep saying we’ll apply when sitting poolside, or even doing yard work.

The American Cancer Society has all kinds of helpful information about cancer, and steps that can help reduce your risk.  One big thing you can do is see what tests you might need to look into, based on your age, gender and ethnicity. That includes colonoscopies, mammograms and other easy to schedule exams that will give you peace of mind, as well as hopefully catch any problems early.

Putting an end to cancer is still a ways away, but research is ongoing and comprehensive. If we do our part, we can cut down on the number of cancer cases in the meantime. For instance, the American Institute for Cancer Research estimates that one-third of the most common cancers in the United States could be prevented by eating healthier, exercising and keeping excess weight off. The AICR says that’s an estimated 374,000 cancer cases that would never happen.

That’s a number we can all get behind. So, for February, take one step toward preventing cancer. Maybe that’s just eating more fruits and vegetables, or maybe it’s finally using that gym membership you got during the holidays, or scheduling that long-overdue physical. Take the first step and be the change in your own life when it comes to stopping or preventing cancer.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Cardiac care is front and center during American Heart Month

A longer, healthier life is everyone’s goal, and there’s no better starting point for a personal wellness program than good heart care.

That’s been the core message of the American Heart Association (AHA), as well as its American Heart Month, an awareness effort that began back in February 1964. (Want to read the presidential proclamation? Here you go.) At that time, more than half the deaths in America were caused by cardiovascular disease, and heart disease and stroke remain the leading global cause of death — more than 17.3 million each year, according to the AHA.

The statistics are sobering:

• 220.8 people out of 100,000 die from cardiovascular disease
• one person dies of a heart attack, or has a stroke, every 40 seconds or about 2,200 deaths per day
• stroke accounts for one out of every 20 deaths in the United States

But enough of the bad news — heart disease is preventable. How? By making healthy choices, which can even be easy ones:

• Season food with spices instead of salt.
• Get in some physical activity every day, even if it’s just a short walk.
• Make sure you see your doctor for a regular, annual physical.

Want to get the word out? The AHA has lots of ways you can spread the news about heart health. There’s information for use in newsletters, and it’s never a bad idea to send out a tweet or post to social media about American Heart Month so more people become aware.

Heart disease is a killer, and we can help stop it. Be part of the solution for yourself, your friends and family, and your community. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Healthcare doesn’t take a holiday: Avoiding seasonal workplace stress

When someone goes into a healthcare career, whether that’s doctor or nurse, PT or OT tech, or any of the many other options, they do it because they want to help people. They’re willing to give up a lot, but often don’t realize that being home for the holidays may be on the list of sacrifices.

People don’t get sick, or need surgery, on a schedule. It’s a 24/7 business, and that’s why the holidays can be challenging not just for patients and their families, but also those who provide the high-quality care those people need and deserve. Here are a few ways to integrate the holiday season into your workplace, so that you don’t miss out on all the fun, and also to create a cheerier atmosphere for the people you’re serving.

Plan ahead. Assume that you may be working at least some holiday hours, and so organize family gatherings around those dates. Many people will visit relatives, or have far-flung relations come to them, several days ahead so that they do get to enjoy their company. Bonus: Traveling earlier in December, or even after Jan. 1, can be cheaper and less frantic.

Blend your families. If you're able, invite family members to visit you at work. And be sure to create some kind of event for your coworkers, as in many cases they are as close as your “real” relatives. That might come in the form of a potluck, or a gift swap.

Be mindful of emotions. As hard as it might be for you to be separated from parents, spouses, children or significant others, it’s even tougher for patients. Many of them have developed health issues during their own family gatherings, and are upset and nervous. A calm, empathetic approach will help them feel better, and make you feel good as well.

Don’t neglect worship. Many special religious services are held during the holidays, and missing those is tough. Speak to the hospital’s chapel or pastoral staff, and see if they are planning any interdenominational offerings that you could attend before or after work, or even on a break.

Keep in mind that with so much else in life, acceptance is the answer. Holidays will always be a time of juggling responsibilities for healthcare workers, and a little advance legwork and flexibility means that they can be as enjoyable and meaningful as they are for people in other professions.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Don’t forget handwashing during the holidays — and year-round!

“Did you wash your hands?”

We heard it all the time as kids (and often fibbed), and if you work in healthcare it’s a near-constant reminder thanks to posters and other reminders. Of course, none of that is a bad thing — good hand hygiene goes a very long way toward avoiding illness, as well as passing infections along.

That’s why National Handwashing Awareness Week, which rolls around during the first full week of December every year, is a worthy event to celebrate. Thanks to cheerful mascot Henry the Hand, there are lots of great materials for kids to enjoy, as well as those for adults to remind everyone about handwashing.

OK, to the facts. Here are the Principles of Hand Hygiene endorsed by the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians:

  •       Wash your hands when they are dirty and before eating;
  •       Do not cough into your hands;
  •       Do not sneeze into your hands;
  •       Above all, do not put your hands into your eyes, ears, and mouth.

And why is this so important? Here comes the icky part. When we cough into the open air, or into our hands, some 3,000 droplets are forced out the body at around 50 miles per hour, according to InsideScience, a news site supported by the American Institute of Physics. Sneezing is even more impressive: 40,000 droplets blast out of us at 200 miles per hour.

The big deal here is that while some of these droplets are big enough to float to the floor or another surface, others are quite small. Those hang around and can be moved out further by air movement such as making a hospital bed, or opening a door.

Even if you shield your mouth and nose for coughing and sneezing with the vampire move, you’re still putting all those droplets out into the air. So, to break the chain of infection, wash those hands!

The Centers for Disease Control tells us that washing with soap and water is the best way to lower the number of microbes on the hands. No water? Use a hand sanitizers with at last 60% alcohol.

And of course, there’s a technique! If you’re using hand sanitizer, apply enough to remain on the hands for 20-30 seconds. For soap and water, the whole process should take 40 seconds to a minute.

When we’re in a hurry, it’s easy to let the little things slide. But if less than a minute can help improve our own health, not to mention that of everyone around us, it’s worth taking the time to slow down and keep those hands clean.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Breast Cancer Awareness Month reminds us to not skip regular exams

Every year, October shows up right after September, on schedule and no surprises. Our annual physical should be that way as well, and so should things like mammograms and self-checks for lumps or anything else abnormal.

But we’re often not good about such self-care, which is why Breast Cancer Awareness Month reminds us, once again, to do the work necessary to minimize the risk of, and hopefully prevent, breast cancer. And while nobody likes scare tactics, it’s necessary sometimes to look at the statistics for a sobering reminder of what’s at risk here according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation:

  •       One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime.
  •       Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.
  •       Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women.
  •       Each year it is estimated that more than 252,710 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,500 will die.
  •       On average, every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and one woman will die of breast cancer every 13 minutes.
  •       More than 3.3 million breast cancer survivors are alive in the United States today. 

The World Health Organization reports that breast cancer is the most common cancer among women around the world, with hundreds of thousands dying each year. The good news is that in recent years, a gradual reduction has been seen in women aged 50 and older, and death rates have been declining for more than 25 years thanks to early detection, more awareness and the growing number of treatment options.

All that said, it still begins with you. Not sure where to start? Download this handy guide that will walk you through self-exams, when to see a doctor and much more. And whether you’re unaffected, a survivor or have a survivor in your friends and family tree, learn how to pitch in to support education, awareness, research and treatment here. This is one fight we all need to take on, so that breast cancer (and all other cancers) become a thing of the past!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Use National Yoga Month to get limber during these (downward) dog days

Trying to start some kind of exercise regimen as we move into fall? Or maybe you’ve been pretty serious about getting cardio or working out in the past, but have let that slide? Whatever the case, why not use National Yoga Month as a nudge to take a look at a centuries-old style of exercise and movement that has a ton of benefits.

All around the world, hundreds of thousands of people practice yoga every day. (The fact that it’s called a “practice” should be encouraging to any newcomers — yoga has many types, one of which will meet you right where you are.)

Yoga takes place in studios, in parks … wherever fellow practitioners can get together with their instructor. Many people start out with DVDs or stream how-to and beginners’ programs, and then search out opportunities in their community. Whether you’re new to the physical and mental benefits of “meditation through movement,” here are some ways to engage during September:

·    •  Do yoga in the park. During temperate times of year, many classes take place outside.
·    •   Visit a studio. If you’re nervous, don't be — working on your poses and balances with a group of helpful, supportive people is a great way to grow your practice.
·   •   Look into meditation. Many yogis say that their gateway to an enriching meditation practice began with yoga classes.

One of the best things about yoga is that it’s a great way to step away from a hectic day and have some “me” time. Calming, centering and sometimes physically challenging, yoga is a great exercise program all on its own, or in addition to other activities you already enjoy. Find a local class or group and see what you’ve been missing! Namaste.