MARCH 2023 NURSE NOTES
DECEMBER 2023 NURSE NOTES
'Tis the Season
How To Cope With Holiday Stress and Depression
While many of us find the holidays a time of joy and celebration, others experience a completely different set of emotions. It can be a time of year rife with stress, sadness, depression and loneliness.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Psychologist Dawn Potter, PsyD, outlines the causes of this holiday depression, some of the signs you’re experiencing it, even if you don’t realize it, and how to manage these tough times.
The causes for holiday depression according to Dawn Potter are:
Putting pressure on yourself.
Separation from loved ones.
Dr. Potter says these are four main symptoms that may signal something bigger than normal stress.
Feeling depressed and hopeless for more days than not.
Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy.
Constantly feeling anxious, nervous or on edge more days than not.
Trouble sleeping over an extended time.
In addition to these, Dr. Potter urges anyone experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide to contact the 24/7 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline through phone, chat or text. It is a free resource that connects people in crisis to a local counselor. If you feel you’re in immediate danger, go to the hospital or call 911 and your doctor immediately.
As daunting as this all may feel, there are ways to cope and find support and emotional stability to get you through a tough time of year.
Dr. Potter says that finding a way to acknowledge a lost loved one at your holiday get-together can be a positive experience. “Holidays can be more challenging when the loss isn’t talked about because it can make that absence seem even stronger,” she says. Sharing memories or a toast to the departed might be a bittersweet moment but one that can ultimately help make your holiday a richer experience.
Difficult relationships are tested during the holidays, especially when it comes to families, but there are ways you can prepare. “It’s okay to decline an invitation or to leave an event early,”
“It’s okay to say no to attending an event you don’t feel comfortable with,” she adds. “You can’t make everyone happy so just do the best you can.
“Family isn’t just about the one you’re born into, it’s also about the people you connect with. Spend time with your chosen family, the people who bring you happiness and joy.”
The holidays are time with a multitude of volunteering opportunities, notes Dr. Potter. “Doing some type of charity work or helping out in some way really helps connect with others and can do go a long way to easing that loneliness.”
She also says that cutting down on social media can help you cut down on your own stress. “It can relieve you of feeling like you have to live up to something. Remind yourself that the holidays are about connecting, quality time and sharing joy with others and not just one ‘perfect’ photo.”
Even if you take some or all of these steps, you may still experience stress, depression and anxiety. A great way to alleviate those feelings is by seeking support. “If you have access to a therapist, be sure to discuss your feelings with them, especially at this time of year,” Dr. Potter says. “If you don’t have a therapist and think it might be a good idea, you should consider reaching out, too.”
March 2023 Spring Allergies Are ComingSpring Allergies Are Coming It's March, and spring allergies are right around the corner. Tree pollen is the cause of most spring allergy symptoms. If you have a tree pollen allergy, you will only have symptoms when the pollen that you are allergic to is in the air. Talk with your health care provider about your symptoms. If they suspect allergic rhinitis, they will likely recommend allergy therapies. Symptoms can include: stuffy nose runny nose sneezing itchy ears, eyes, nose, mouth red and watery eyes Tips For Managing Tree Pollen Allergies Watch the pollen count in your area. The news media often reports this data. When the count is high, stay indoors in central air conditioning if possible. Get a CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® air filter for your air conditioner. Prevent pollen from being tracked into your home. Take your shoes off outside. Wipe off pets before they enter your home. Don’t wear your “outside” clothes to bed. Cover your hair when outside or wash it at night. Shower after coming inside when you have been outdoors for a significant period of time.
May 2023 Safety Tips for SummerHere are some tips from the American Red Cross to keep your outdoor activities fun and safe. Water Safety Every year in the United States there are an estimated: 4,000* fatal unintentional drownings—that is an average of 11 drowning deaths per day, so water safety is critically important. Prioritize learn to swim classes for everyone and prevent unsupervised access to water. Camping Safety Always pack a first aid kit when you go camping. Share your travel plans with family, a friend, or a neighbor and make sure to bring nutritious food and water. Consider taking a Red Cross First Aid and CPR Course. You can download the American Red Cross first aid app for your phone. If help is delayed, access to this app could be life saving. Picnic Safety Summer is a great time to get outside for a picnic. Follow these safety tips to prevent illness and keep everyone safe: Wash your hands, utensils and workstation before preparing the food. Separate uncooked meats, poultry, and seafood from ready-to-eat foods like salads, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and desserts. Use separate plates and utensils to prevent cross-contamination. Bring hand sanitizer if your picnic site doesn’t have hand-washing facilities. Safety at the Beach Watch the weather and get out of the water when there is thunder or lightening. Stay indoors till 30 minutes after the thunder and lightening has stopped. Only swim at beaches with lifeguards in the designated swim areas. All boaters, children, and inexperienced swimmers should wear approved flotation devices. Mosquitoes and Ticks Outside summer activities make us more vulnerable to bites by mosquitoes and ticks. It is especially important to be vigilant of blacklegged ticks, more commonly known as deer ticks. Use insect repellents containing DEET. Be sure to follow the directions on the package. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and tuck your pant legs into your socks or boots. Use a rubber band or tape to hold pants against socks so that nothing can get under clothing. Avoid underbrush and tall grass. Check yourself several times during the day. Check in hairy areas of the body like the back of the neck and the scalp line. Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying sources of standing water outside of the home. READ MORE FROM THE AMERICAN RED CROSS
Fall 2023 Vaccines for Flu, COVID-19, & RSVFall Vaccines for Flu, COVID-19, & RSV As fall arrives, it is time to think about the yearly flu shot. Also available this fall: updated COVID-19 vaccines and a new RSV vaccine. To head off another “tripledemic” winter, enough people will need to get vaccinated at the right time. Flu Vaccine The flu vaccine is now available. The vaccine formulation was decided about six months ago, and the recommendations will be the same as they usually are: Everybody over the age of 6 months is recommended to get a flu vaccine. For younger kids, it's a two-shot schedule. For adults over the age of 12, it's one shot. September is a great time to get the flu vaccine. That September-October window is early enough so that if flu starts to emerge early—like it did last year at the end of October and into November—you still have a couple of weeks after your vaccine to build your immunity. And if flu emerges in December, January, or February, your vaccine immunity from September or October will still be helping you. Covid-19 Vaccine CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect against the potentially serious outcomes of COVID-19 illness this fall and winter. Updated COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna will be available. Vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19-related hospitalization and death. Vaccination also reduces your chance of suffering the effects of Long COVID. Receiving an updated COVID-19 vaccine can restore protection and provide enhanced protection against the variants currently responsible for most infections and hospitalizations in the United States. RSV Vaccine RSV is a common pathogen that's seen in very young children. It also causes a lot of severe disease in individuals over the age of 60. Adults 60 years and older should talk with their health care provider about whether RSV vaccination is right for them. There is no maximum age for getting RSV vaccination. RSV vaccine is given as a single dose. If you’re 60 or older, your health care provider might recommend RSV vaccination for you. Read more from John Hopkins & the CDC Preventing Another “Tripledemic” with Vaccines for Flu, COVID, and RSV CDC Recommends Updated COVID-19 Vaccine for Fall/Winter Virus Season RSV Vaccination for Older Adults 60 Years of Age and Over
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