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MARCH 2024 NURSE NOTES

March is National Kidney Month

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Did you know your kidneys filter all of your blood up  to 25 times a day? This kidney month, join us in getting to know your kidneys. Learn how you can protect these two fist-sized, bean-shaped organs that work around the clock for you. 

Learn about kidney health 

Your kidneys make urine and remove waste and extra fluid from your body. If your  kidneys are struggling, they will work harder to keep up. You can lose up to 60% of your kidney function before you notice any problems. That’s why it’s important to take steps to keep your kidneys healthy today. 

Understand your risk for kidney disease 

If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or a family history of kidney  disease, or if you are over age 65, talk with a healthcare professional about your risk for kidney disease. Checking on your kidneys is the best way to know if they are healthy. Your health care professional can help you get tested for kidney disease and  talk with you about your test results. 

You can protect your kidneys by preventing or managing health conditions that cause kidney damage, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. During your next medical visit, you may want to ask your healthcare provider about your kidney health. Early kidney disease may not have any symptoms, so getting tested my be the only way to know your kidneys are healthy. Your healthcare provider will help decide how often you should be tested.

How do my kidneys work

Each of your kidneys is made up of about a million filtering units called nephrons. Each nephron includes a filter, called the glomerulus, and a tubule. The glomerulus filters your blood and the tubule returns needed substances to your blood and pulls out additional wastes. Wastes and extra water become urine.

How do my kidneys work?

Embrace a kidney-healthy lifestyle 

Take steps to build healthy habits. This can include eating healthy foods you enjoy, being active for 30 minutes each day, and aiming for seven to eight hours of sleep at  night. Also quit smoking and limit your alcohol intake. If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to one drink per day if you are a woman and two drinks per day if you are a man. 

Make healthy food choices

Choose foods that are healthy for your heart and your entire body: fresh fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Eat healthy meals, and cut back on salt and added sugars. Aim for less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day. 

 

See a provider right away if you develop a urinary tract infection (UTI),

which can cause kidney damage if left untreated.

  

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National Institute.jpg
  • May 2023 Safety Tips for Summer
    Here 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, & RSV
    Fall 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
  • December 2023 Coping with Holiday Stress
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  • January 2024 Cervical Cancer
    Almost all cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can be passed from one person to another during sex. There are many types of HPV. Some HPV types can cause changes on your cervix that can lead to cervical cancer over time, while other types can cause genital or skin warts. ​ HPV is so common that most people get it at some time in their lives. HPV usually causes no symptoms so you can’t tell that you have it. For most people, HPV will go away on its own; however, if it does not, there is a chance that over time it may cause cervical cancer. ​ The most important things you can do to help prevent cervical cancer are to get vaccinated against HPV, have regular screening tests, and go back to the doctor if your screening test results are not normal. Vaccines​ ​ ·HPV vaccines protect against cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. Recommended for preteens aged 11 to 12 years, but can be given starting at age 9. Recommended for everyone through age 26 years, if they are not vaccinated already. Not recommended for everyone older than age 26 years. Adults age 27 through 45 years who are not already vaccinated may decide to get the HPV vaccine after speaking with their doctor about their risk for new HPV infections and the possible benefits of vaccination. Screening Tests​ ​ The HPV test looks for the virus (human papillomavirus) that can cause cell changes on the cervix. The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for precancers, cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated. Both tests can be done in a doctor’s office or clinic. If you are getting a Pap test, the cells will be checked to see if they look normal. If you are getting an HPV test, the cells will be tested for HPV. When to Get Screened If You Are 21 to 29 Years Old You should start getting Pap tests at age 21. If your Pap test result is normal, your doctor may tell you that you can wait three years until your next Pap test. ​ If You Are 30 to 65 Years Old Talk to your doctor about which testing option is right for you— An HPV test only. This is called primary HPV testing. If your result is normal, your doctor may tell you that you can wait five years until your next screening test. An HPV test along with the Pap test. This is called co-testing. If both of your results are normal, your doctor may tell you that you can wait five years until your next screening test. A Pap test only. If your result is normal, your doctor may tell you that you can wait three years until your next Pap test. ​ If You Are Older Than 65 Your doctor may tell you that you don’t need to be screened anymore if— You have had at least three Pap tests or two HPV tests in the past 10 years, and the test results were normal or negative And you have not had a cervical precancer in the past You have had your cervix removed as part of a total hysterectomy for non-cancerous conditions, like fibroids. Call AAHAA's Network Nurses with any questions or concerns. ​ Where to get HPV vaccines Find free/low-cost screenings Cervical cancer support (847) 395-2809 X 2 More About Cervical Cancer from the CDC
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