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Your Healthy Summer

The official start of summer is around the corner. Warmer, longer days usually mean squeezing in as much activity as possible. That’s why now is the perfect time to take stock of your health and strive for improvements.

Start out in the right direction by heading outdoors. According to a study from Environmental Science & Technology, just 5 minutes of activity in natural areas resulted in improvements in self-esteem and mood. Also, an article on the American Society of Landscape Architects website reports that, in 1984, researcher E. O. Wilson coined the term Biophilia, which suggests outdoor preferences are an evolutionary response and there is an intuitive link between nature and well-being. For many, Biophilia explains the stress reduction connected to gardening, so it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get busy. IMG_0193Plant a small garden and if space is limited plant a few flower pots—indoors and out. Enthusiasts will confirm there is something cathartic and grounding about feeling the crumbly soil trickle through your hands. 

You may also want to try skipping the gym and  embrace green exercise by hiking, cycling, walking, roller blading or swimming. Both your brain and body will feel revitalized after breathing in fresh air and observing nature.

While out in the summer sun, remember to shield your eyes from intense rays with sunglasses that block at least 99% of ultraviolet A and B rays. Sunglasses can also help prevent cataracts as well as wrinkles around the eyes. The thing is, the closer you travel toward the equator, the harsher the sun’s UV rays, so all types of sun protection can be powerful tools.

Other healthy summer suggestions include taking advantage of California’s summer crops by loading up on seasonal berries. A cup a day of blackberries, blueberries, or strawberries will provide a healthy dose of fiber and antioxidants. The fiber helps keep cholesterol low and may help to prevent some cancers, while the antioxidants may help prevent damage to tissues and reduce the risks of age-related illnesses.

When entertaining, acknowledge the fact that food-borne bacteria thrive in warm weather. The picnic-without-food-poisoning rule-of-thumb is that no food should be left out for four total hours then eaten. Food should only be out in the sun two hours max, and if it’s
90 degrees or hotter, cut that to one hour.

You won’t be able to enjoy summer picnics and parties if your teeth and gums aren’t in top condition. Your dental hygienist isn’t wasting her breath when she goes into floss sermon mode. Do it every day. According to several dental associations, flossing reduces oral bacteria, which improves overall body health, and if oral bacteria is low, your body has more resources to fight bacteria elsewhere.

Ultimately, embrace your summer and take a vacation—or even a staycation. Studies have shown multiple benefits from R & R including lowering your blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones such as cortisol, which contributes to a thick waist and an increased risk of heart disease.

To verify the license of a dental hygienist, visit the Dental Hygiene Committee of California’s website at www.dhcc.ca gov; for an optometrist, visit the Board of Optometry website at www.optometry.ca.gov, and for a Landscape Architect, visit the Landscape Architects Technical Committee’s website at www.latc.ca.gov.

May is Mental Health Month

Do you know how it feels to be adrift in one’s own mind? According to Mental Health America, one in four American adults lives with a diagnosable, treatable mental health condition. May is Mental Health Month, which began more than 65 years ago by Mental Health America to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of mental wellness. Home

Last month, in support of mental health wellness, Assembly Bill 89, authored by Assemblymember Marc Levine, (D-Marin County), and sponsored by the California Board of Psychology, passed out of the Assembly. The bill requires applicants for licensure with the California Board of Psychology to complete a minimum of six hours of coursework or applied experience under supervision in suicide risk assessment and intervention.

“Suicide kills twice as many people in California as homicide, but not all mental healthcare providers have the training they need in suicide risk assessment and prevention,” said Assemblymember Levine. “AB 89 will save lives by making sure that psychologists have the training they need to identify suicidal individuals.” 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s data, suicide is the third leading cause of death for Californians ages 15 to 34, and the tenth leading cause of death for Californians of all ages.

Moreover, in Sacramento County, nearly 355,000 residents live with mental illness, but research shows that only one-third of those individuals will seek help primarily due to the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. 

The amount of training licensed psychologists receive varies widely from as few as six hours, to over 50. Assembly Bill 89 will standardize the minimum number of hours of suicide prevention training required for licensure in the State of California. This training can be completed through coursework, continuing education, or through applied experience.

On May 24, join mental health advocates on the East Steps of the State Capitol  for Mental Health Matters Day 2017.  The Each Mind Matters coalition has come together to plan and host this event to better the lives of people with mental illness.

In addition, learn more about reducing stigma and discrimination at StopStigmaSacramento.org and show your support on social media by following the project on Twitter @StopStigmaSac and be sure to ‘like’ the project on Facebook . Engage in positive mental health messages using the hashtag #StopStigma.

To check the licensing status of a psychologist, please visit the Board of Psychology’s website at www.psychology.ca.gov.

To learn more about Mental Health America, visit their website at www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clearing the Air on Speech and Hearing Disorders

Maintaining harmony in life is a balancing act—keeping that balance may be more challenging for those who can’t hear well or have speech problems. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has designated May as Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) in order to raise awareness about communication disorders, remove the mystery surrounding them, and let everyone know where to seek help.

Even just going through a normal day can affect your hearing:

 

Speech disorders occur when a person can’t produce sounds correctly or fluently, or has problems with their voice. Language disorders occur when a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language) or sharing thoughts, ideas and feelings completely (expressive language).

Fortunately, there are professionals who can help.

Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems? The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and the Hearing Health Foundation reports that:

  • 40 million Americans have communication disorders
  • 6–8 million Americans have some form of language impairment

Audiologists provide care in the prevention, identification, diagnosis, and treatment of hearing, balance, and other auditory disorders for people of all ages. Statistics show that:

  • Approximately 36 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss
  • One in five Americans have hearing loss in at least one ear
  • Approximately 26 million Americans, ages 20–69, have high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises

The Department of Consumer Affairs’ Speech-Language, Pathology & Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensers Board regulates licensees in both of these professions. To check on the license of a hearing aid dispenser, speech-language pathologist or audiologist, please visit the Board’s website at http://www.speechandhearing.ca.gov/

 

A Cannabis Cure-All for Your Pet? Proceed With Caution

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Watching a loved one suffer is stressful. Medical cannabis users say the drug alleviates levels of pain, but could it also help your sick furry friend?

Although many pet owners are already using the drug as medicine, experts warn it’s wise to take caution.

“The problem today is that there is no scientific data that supports the benefits of using cannabis products on pets and therefore, the medical claims are not evidenced based,” said Annemarie Del Mugnaio, Executive Officer with the Veterinary Medical Board.  “Veterinarians are treating a higher number of toxicity cases where dogs have come into contact with cannabis and ingested enough to cause them to become very ill.  We really have no idea what’s in the hemp/cannabis pet products to be able to confirm their intended use or benefits and these products are not FDA approved or regulated.”

According to the DCA Veterinary Medical Board, veterinarians in California cannot prescribe medical cannabis because it’s deemed a schedule I drug and licensees are prohibited from writing a prescription or recommendation for the drug. A veterinarian may be subject to disciplinary action for violating state or federal prescribing laws.

Meanwhile, a growing number of companies are marketing cannabis products for pets despite questions over legality, and pet owners are giving cannabis edibles and topical ointments to sick pets.

Most of these pet products, which aren’t regulated, contain cannabidiol or CBD, a chemical compound found in cannabis that doesn’t get pets or humans high. They contain little or no tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the cannabis compound known for its psychoactive effects.

Medicinal cannabis for pets is being sold as pet medicine at many licensed medical marijuana dispensaries.

The DCA is tasked to regulate both medical and recreational cannabis through the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation (BMCR) and is responsible for issuing distribution, transportation, laboratory testing, and dispensary (sale) licenses beginning in 2018.

Medical cannabis is legal in 28 states, however, it remains illegal under federal law.

For updates on prescription medical cannabis for animals, or to check the license and license status of a Veterinarian, please call the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Veterinary Medical Board at (916) 515-5220, or visit their website at vmb.ca.gov.

For more information about the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, visit their website at bmcr.ca.gov.