Health Tips

       The following Health Tips can be found on this page: SORE THROAT: Basic Information - Most people have suffered at one time or another from a sore throat. Sore throats have many different causes. Frequently sore throats are caused by viruses and often times are present during a “cold”. Other possible causes of sore throats include: low humidity, smoking, air pollution, yelling, over use of the vocal cords, post-nasal drainage, and stomach acid which refluxes up into the throat. Strep throat is a sore throat which is caused by a bacterial infection. A strep throat often starts suddenly and is characterized with severe pain. Other symptoms that may accompany strep throat include: general body aches, headache, stomach ache, nausea, vomiting, and listlessness. If a sore throat is accompanied by a runny or stuffy nose and or cough, it is probably caused by a virus not the strep bacteria, and antibiotics will not help. Self Care - The following treatments and home care will frequently help to prevent and ease the pain of a sore throat.
  • Gargle with warm salt water (1 tsp of salt to 8 ounces of water). The salt reduces swelling and discomfort.
  • Increase your fluid intake to as much as 8 to 12 glasses of water a day.
  • Drink more fluids that soothe a sore throat. Honey and lemon or weak tea may be soothing to your throat.
  • Try over-the-counter throat lozenges having a local anesthetic to deaden pain. Regular cough drops or hard candy may also help.
  • Acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen will relieve pain and reduce fever. Do not give aspirin to children and teens under age 20.
  • Stop smoking and avoid others’ smoke.
  • Throw away your toothbrush. Bacteria that has collected on the bristles of the toothbrush may be injecting germs into your system.
Call The Doctor - It is a good idea to check with a doctor if the following symptoms occur with your sore throat.
  • Difficulty breathing, swallowing, or opening the mouth
  • Fever of 101 degrees or higher
  • Rash
  • White or yellow coating on the tonsils
  • Joint pains, earache, or a lump in the neck
  • A sore throat lasting longer than 2 weeks
  • Known exposure to strep throat

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            SUNBURN & TANNING SALON BURNS:May, Sunshine, Prom, Tanning salons -- they are all associated with the beginning of those wonderful, happy months of summer! However, it is important that we don’t lose site of the dangers lurking behind all of the exposure to sunshine (and even tanning salons). Every year more than one million people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States. Contrary to popular belief, the UVA rays emitted from the Ultraviolet A light sources in tanning salons (actually two to three times more powerful than the UVA rays which occur naturally from the sun) can have multiple dangerous effects. Over time, the effects of too much UVA exposure can lead to eye damage, immune system changes, cataracts, wrinkles, premature aging of the skin, and skin cancers.It is estimated that 1 out of 7 people in the United States will develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime. The more severe and frequent an individual sunburns, the higher this risk becomes. One serious sunburn can increase the risk of skin cancer by as much as 50%. Remember, even if your skin is the type that rarely sunburns, sensitive areas such as lip, nose, and palms of the hands need to be protected. The following steps have been recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology and the Skin Cancer Foundation to help reduce the risk of sunburn and skin cancer.
  • Minimize your exposure to the sun at midday and between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
  • Apply sunscreen with at least a SPF-15 or higher, to all areas of the body which are exposed to the sun.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours, even on cloudy days. Reapply after swimming or perspiring.
  • Wear clothing that covers your body and shades your face (Hats can be great for providing shade of both the face and back of the neck). UV protective sunglasses are also a must.
  • Avoid exposure to UV radiation from sunlamps or tanning parlors.
Remember, it just takes one “blistering sunburn” in your teenage years to greatly increase your risk of developing melanoma or some other skin cancer later in life. Enjoy the summer sunshine ---- just don’t forget the “hat and shades”!!

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             LACERATIONS AND ABRASIONS (Cuts and Scrapes):Spring and summer months often times reintroduce us to many outdoor activities including skating, biking, hiking, baseball, track, and multiple other high-impact sports. With an increase in these activities comes an increase in falls and accidents, frequently resulting in lacerations and abrasions.A laceration is a “cut” caused by a sharp object. It goes through both layers of the skin, and may also penetrate down through the adipose (fatty) tissue and into the muscle layer. An abrasion, commonly called “road rash”, or “carpet burn” is defined as a loss of a portion of the dermis and epidermis (two layers making up the “skin”) usually caused by scraping or rubbing against a hard surface. An example of an abrasion would be when a child runs down the street and falls resulting in a scraped knee. Primary first aid treatment for both minor lacerations and abrasions is to control bleeding and prevent infection.
  • Wash the laceration or abrasion well with soap and water. DO NOT use rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, iodine or mercurochrome on cuts as these agents have been proven to harm tissue and actually slow the healing process.
  • Stop any bleeding by applying direct pressure over the wound for 10 to 15 minutes. Bleeding from minor cuts will usually stop on it’s own or with a little direct pressure.
  • Cover the wound with a sterile or clean, dry bandage.
Lacerations (cuts) that continue to bleed after 15 minutes of direct pressure, or cuts that extend deep into the skin and have edges that pull apart may require stitches and should be evaluated by a physician as soon as possible. It is important to remember that all wounds that break the skin should be taken seriously. Even minor wounds must be cleansed and cared for to prevent the introduction of infection causing bacteria and germs into the body.

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                    INFLUENZA (FLU):Suddenly this morning you feel nauseated, begin vomiting, and are making frequent trips to the bathroom, you tell your mom that you believe you have “the flu”. Although you are undeniably ill, are these truly the symptoms of “the flu”? What you probably have is a viral, bacterial, or even parasite-caused infection that is affecting your stomach and intestines --- sometimes known as “gastroenteritis”. Influenza (the flu) is actually a contagious disease caused by the influenza virus that attacks the respiratory tract in humans (nose, throat, and lungs). The flu usually comes on suddenly and may include the following symptoms:
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness (can be extreme)
  • Cough (with or without mucus)
  • Nasal congestion / discharge
  • Body aches
Individuals can spread the flu starting one day before they feel sick and then for another 3-7 days after symptoms begin. The flu is transmitted (spread) when a person who has the flu coughs, sneezes, or speaks and sends flu virus into the air, and other people then inhale the virus. The virus enters the nose, throat, or lungs of the person and begins to multiply, causing symptoms of the flu. Less often, flu may also be spread when a person touches a surface that has flu viruses on it (a telephone, for instance) and then touches his or her nose or mouth. The best treatments for the flu include:
  • Rest
  • Drink plenty of liquids
  • Avoid use of alcohol and tobacco
  • Take medications to relieve the symptoms (NO ASPIRIN FOR CHILDREN OR TEENAGERS!)
Because Influenza is caused by a virus, antibiotics (like penicillin) will not work to treat this illness. The best way to prevent the flu is to get an influenza vaccine (flu shot) before the start of the flu season. Check with your physician to see if he/she recommends the flu shot for you.

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                           COLD WEATHER EMERGENCIES:Winter in Colorado can be fun, beautiful, and dangerous. Living with the Rocky Mountains in our backyard leads to many fun-filled weekends skiing, snow boarding, and ice skating. However, it also means that we are often exposed to extremely cold weather conditions – often times for excessive amounts of time. It is important that Colorado residents understand the danger involved with exposure to cold weather, as well as prevention and treatment of the cold weather emergencies that may occur.Hypothermia (hypo, meaning “low” and thermia, meaning “heat”) occurs when the body is losing more heat than it can generate and can be deadly. Symptoms of hypothermia begin with the individual feeling chilly, tired, and “irritable”. If he/she does not manage to get out of the cold, he/she will begin to shiver. Soon the shivering becomes violent --- the body’s attempt to try and generate heat, which is actually the body’s only defense against hypothermia. The victim becomes unable to think clearly and is unable to take care of him/herself. Often times the individual will stumble and fall. If the victim continues to become chilled, the shivering will stop and death may occur. The best treatment for a victim showing signs of hypothermia is to warm the individual by moving him/her indoors or into a warm vehicle. Remove any wet clothing and wrap in dry warm garments or blankets. Warming MUST take place slowly! Do not place them in a warm bath. Sudden warmup may place the victim in shock and the shock, not the cold, may cause death. Do no give an unconscious victim anything by mouth. Call for help immediately! Frostbite occurs when flesh has been exposed to low temperatures causing freezing of a body area. The longer the exposure, the more damaging the injury. Body parts farthest from the core of the body are most susceptible to frostbite (IE: toes, fingers, cheeks, ears and nose). As flesh freezes, it may become painful and then numb. If the freezing continues, the area will stiffen and become a grayish or whitish color.Treatment for frostbite is get the affected area warm and keep it warm. Fingers can be thawed by placing them beneath your clothes and under your armpits. Press a bare palm over a frosted nose, ears and cheeks. Wrap toes and feet in a warm blanket. DO NOT use hot water or hold the injury close to a heat source. Excessive heat and abrasion can cause serious tissue damage.Prevention of cold weather emergencies can be accomplished by remembering to dress appropriately. Wear several layers of clothing (air is trapped between layers and acts as insulation against the cold). Always wear a hat or scarf (70-80% of body heat can be lost from an uncovered head). Avoid wet clothing, shoes, or socks, as they may contribute to a loss of body heat. Consumption of alcohol must also be avoided (although common belief is that alcohol is beneficial for the treatment of cold weather injuries, alcohol can actually be detrimental to someone exposed to the cold).

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                                     IS YOUR BACKPACK TOO HEAVY?:Every school day, 40 million students carry a backpack to school. If used improperly, a backpack can damage your posture, causing shoulder or lower-back pain. The following tips can help reduce your risk:
  • Don’t overload the pack. It should not exceed 20% of your own body weight.
  • Wear both straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder interferes with proper posture and strains muscles.
  • Distribute the load if the backpack has several compartments. Dispersed the weight evenly across the back to create a proper center of gravity.
  • Keep the heaviest weight close to the body. Arrange contents so the heaviest objects are closes to the back. Secure the straps to keep the weight close to the body.
  • Select a pack with heavily padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
  • Consider making use of your locker between classes.
Adapted from the Rocky Mountain News Health section, Dennison PRIDE newsletter, and CPTA Bulletin.

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                              WHY BREAKFAST?:Can you Imagine not eating or snacking for 8 to 12 hours every day? Of course you can! That is exactly what we do daily from the time we eat supper at night until we eat breakfast the next morning. The word breakfast is defined as "the first meal of the day (literally to break the fast)".A daily breakfast meal is needed by the brain to help replenish its primary energy source of blood glucose. The brain cannot reserve glucose and must constantly have its supply replenished. And yet many students do not take the time to eat breakfast and provide this important energy source to the brain. It is no wonder that each morning students complaining of fatigue, difficulty concentrating, nausea, and headache visit the health clinic. The brain has to complain and get your attention someway!! Research studies are all in agreement. Individuals who eat breakfast have been proven to have higher concentration levels, higher cognitive performance levels, less fatigue, and less irritability. Breakfast is an extremely important aspect of an individual's day. But what if you just do not have the time for breakfast, or you cannot stand the typical breakfast foods? Studies have shown that it is not important what you eat as much as that you eat a nutritionally well-balanced meal. Stay away from high sugar breakfast choices. They can cause quick rise in energy, followed by a subsequent crash, just as you are sitting down to class work or beginning a test. Some examples of possible breakfast solutions include:
  • cereal bar, string cheese, and juice
  • toaster waffle with berries and flavored yogurt
  • whole-grain English muffin with cheese and juice
  • shake with fruit, yogurt and milk, plus a bagel
  • burrito with salsa, egg, cheese, and juice
  • tortilla with warmed cheese or peanut butter and fruit
  • yogurt parfait with fruit and granola
  • grilled cheese sandwich and tomato juice
  • leftover pizza and juice
  • bowl of rice, cheese, and juice or fruit
Give breakfast a try! Get up 10 minutes earlier. Scoop up some healthy dry cereal into a plastic bag. Grab a banana. East a bagel or slice of bread. You may be surprised how much better you will feel and how easy that math problem really is!

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