Monday, March 25, 2013

Celebrate Your Health in March with National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month, which is a time to focus on eating right and healthy every day. This event was created to encourage personalized healthy eating styles and to help educate the public on nutrition education.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of National Nutrition Month. It is important that we eat healthy every day by making informed and healthy decisions regarding our food choices. Not only should we make healthy choices when eating, but we should also incorporate physical activity into our daily lives. By eating healthy, it does not mean you have to give up your favorite foods. It just means you need to be smart about how much you are consuming of certain foods, while making sure you are also getting plenty of fruits and vegetables.

At, they provide numerous tips and tools for eating healthy as well as interactive quizzes and games to test your nutrition knowledge. Below are a few tips that are easy to follow, but can make a great impact on your life and health.

Nutrition Tips

-       Increase your whole grains intake by choosing whole grain breads, cereals, rice and pasta.

-       Eat lots of veggies especially those veggies that are dark green, red and orange. Beans and peas are important too!

-       Incorporate more fruits into your diet. Fruits make for a great morning or afternoon snack and are much healthier than chips or a candy bar.

-       Try to have low-fat dairy products including low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese.

-       Eat less added sugars, solid fats (including trans fats), refined grains and sodium.

-       Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise three times a week. Your body will feel more energized and ready to take on the world!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Knowing How to Read Over-the-Counter Medication Labels

With all the over-the-counter medications available to us, it is important that we know how to read the labels that contain all the drug facts. Labels provide information for individuals to follow when using the medication. This information includes what the medicine is supposed to do, who should or should not take it, and how to take it properly.

Most drug facts labels are easy to read and should be understandable. But if you do have more questions, do not hesitate to ask a doctor, pharmacist or other healthcare professional about your concerns. The drug facts label is easy to read and uses simple language to explain directions, warnings and inactive ingredients.
Below, we have laid out for you the order in which all over-the-counter medication is required to be shown on the drug facts label.  We have also provided a sample of how a drug facts label will appear on the medication bottle.

Active Ingredients: The Active Ingredients section of the label tells you the names of the active ingredients and what those ingredients are used for (i.e., to relieve pain, suppress a cough or reduce a fever). There can be more than one active ingredient in each medication.
Uses: This section will list the symptoms the medicine is made to treat.

Warnings: This section will list possible side effects, if you should talk to a doctor before using the medication, and what medicines you should not take at the same time as that medication. It will also list any other important safety information such as when to stop taking a medication and when to talk to a doctor.

Directions: This section will tell you how much of the medication you should take and how often you can take it. It will also list the maximum amount you should take in one day. 
Other Information: This section of the label, you can find information regarding how to store the medication (i.e. what temperature it should be stored at, and when the medicine will expire)

Inactive Ingredients: This section will list ingredients such as preservatives, flavoring, food coloring and other ingredients not used to actually treat the symptoms. This is a good place to check for any possible food allergies.
Questions or Comments: This section should provide a number for the company who makes the medication, in the event that you need to contact them with comments or questions regarding the medication.

Here are a few points to remember when taking over-the-counter medication:
·         These medications need to be treated with the same care and caution as prescription medications.
·         If you have any questions regarding your medication, please do not hesitate to ask your doctor, pharmacist or a nurse practitioner.
·         Always follow the dosing recommendations listed on the medication.
·         Make sure medicine is put up and out of sight.

If you or someone you know has been poisoned or taken the wrong medication, please call 1-800-222-1222.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Celebrate National Poison Prevention Week

The number of people who die each year from accidental poisoning is staggering, but by getting information out, we can eliminate many poisonings and save lives. This week marks the 50th anniversary of Poison Prevention Week and is an important time to become better informed about how to keep yourself and your family safe from unintentional poisoning.

A poison is considered as any substance, including medications, which can be harmful to your body if too much is ingested, inhaled, injected or absorbed through the skin. An accidental poisoning occurs when a person unintentionally takes too much of a substance and does not mean to cause harm.
More than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to the Nation’s poison centers. And according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, approximately 90 percent of poisonings happen at home, and 51 percent of them involve children under the age of six.

Poisons are all around us and can affect anyone. Learn how to protect yourself and others by learning how to prevent a poison from happening.
How to Prevent Poisonings

-       Only take prescription medications that are prescribed to you by a healthcare professional. By misusing or abusing prescriptions, you put your health at risk and could unintentionally get poisoned.

-       Always take the correct dosage of a medication prescribed to you. Never take more than the recommended amount.

-       Follow the directions on prescription medications and be aware of all the warning labels. Some medicines cannot be taken safely if mixed with other substances such as alcohol.

-       Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure different medications prescribed to you do not interact in a harmful way.

-       Always monitor the use of medicines prescribed to a child or teenager so that the correct dosage is always taken.

-       Never describe medicine to children as candy in order to get them to take it. If they think it is candy and get a hold of it, it could lead to an overdose and serious consequences.

-       Dispose of unused or unwanted medications. There is no need to have extra medication floating around the house that someone could accidently get into and take without your knowledge.

-       Store all medications and household products out of reach of children. Keep medications in a secure location.

-       Make sure to keep medications in their original containers so no one accidently takes the wrong medication.
What to Do if a Poisoning Occurs

In the event that you or someone with you has been poisoned, first remain calm. Then, immediately dial 9-1-1 if the person has collapsed or is not breathing. If the victim is awake and alert, call the toll-free Poison Help line right away, 1-800-222-1222, which connects you to your local poison center. Make sure to have the following information handy:

-       victim’s height and weight

-       the container or bottle that provides what the victim was poisoned with

-       when the poisoning occurred

-       the location of the poisoning
Stay on the phone with the poison control specialist or 9-1-1 operator and follow all the instructions you are given. For more information on accidental poisonings and what you can do to protect yourself and loved ones, visit

Texas Poison Control Network:

Monday, March 4, 2013

National Severe Weather Preparedness Week

This week (March 3-9, 2013) marks National Severe Weather Preparedness Week. This week aims to bring more awareness to the importance of planning and practicing how and where to take shelter when severe weather strikes your area. Being prepared for imminent weather is so important because it could be a matter of life or death, depending on the severity of the situation.

Not only is it important for your family and loved ones to be prepared for severe weather, but it is also important that your neighbors and friends are prepared as well. We can make sure that happens by spreading the word and inspiring others to make sure they are prepared for all types of weather that could come their way.
Every year people are killed or seriously injured by severe weather (this includes tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and other types of severe weather) even if they get advanced warning. Last year, there were over 450 weather-related deaths and almost 2,600 injuries. By being prepared for severe weather and acting when we are told to evacuate, we can diminish these numbers of tragedies.

FEMA and NOAA are asking families, communities and businesses to be a force of nature and take a pledge to be prepared. You can find the pledge here: Being prepared for severe weather includes developing a family communications plan, putting an emergency kit together, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place, and getting involved in your community preparedness plans for when severe weather strikes.
Here are a few tips from NOAA on what you can do to be prepared. Remember, this is the most important thing we can do to protect our families and each other when severe weather strikes. And remember, if you ever find yourself in an emergency situation and need help please do not hesitate to call 9-1-1.

·         Make sure you and your family members know about your surroundings and risk for specific weather. Stay informed with weather alerts.

·         Have an emergency plan in place. Practice this plan with your family and post it in a common area where visitors can see it.

·         Consider working with neighbors, friends and co-workers to create a network emergency plan. Discuss needs such as care for children, pets and those who utilize medical equipment and medication.

·         Identify an appropriate shelter in your home and community area.

·         Learn how to strengthen your home against severe weather.

·         Find out from local government how you will be notified of disasters and sign up for alerts if possible.

Be a Force of Nature: