Summer Screen Time Tips

Summer months can feel long with kids when school is out, and the heat keeps many of us indoors. Spending hours in front of a screen – television, computer, tablets, phones – can be tempting to pass the time but don’t lose the summer to screens. Let’s understand what safe and appropriate screen time is for kids of all ages.

Screen Time Guidelines

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, here are some good rules for screen time with kids:

  • Under 18 months – there should be no screens other than a video call with loved ones.
  • Under 2 years – limit screen time to no more than 1 hour a day of high-quality programs like Sesame Street.
  • Ages 2 – 5 years – screen time should be around an hour and be high-quality, educational shows that are made for young kids.
  • Older kids – it all depends on the kid and what they are doing on the screens. But experts agree, limit screen time for other activities like spending time with friends or family, exercise, or sports.

Busy Summer Without Screens

Turing off screens can make kids disappointed and even irritable at first, but it is good in the long run. Allowing children to be bored is actually very good for their development. There are some other things to keep kids busy this summer – even in this heat!

  • Chores – studies show that children who do chores (as young as 3) have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, and deal with frustrations better. So, make sure they clean their room, make their bed, and more. Examples of age-appropriate chores here.
  • Read – kids should either read if they can or be read to for at least 20 minutes every day.
  • Exercise – everyone should get active. It might need to be inside or early in the morning because of the heat, but get 30 minutes to an hour of sports, exercise, or other activities every day.
  • Creativity – make something or get creative. Help cook or bake, draw or paint, make music, or any number of other activities.

Screen time can be beneficial for education, something many parents and kids found out with virtual learning during the pandemic. But it’s not good for all kids, and you don’t want to overdo it! Plus it can be bad for a child’s (and adults) sleep. Read more about that here.

Remember that it is also important for parents and other family members to show the same behavior. If older siblings or parents are always on their phone, younger kids will want to do the same. Try to change up screen time in your home together and everyone will benefit!

Migraine & Headache Awareness

Headaches can be a mild discomfort or can disrupt your entire week (and more). Millions of Americans live with headaches for many different reasons. Let’s understand what headaches are, different types of headaches, what causes headaches, and how to prevent or treat them. Awareness about migraines and headaches can help you and other people in your life.

What are Headaches?

Headaches in general are a common pain condition with around 75% of adults experiencing at least one headache in the past year according to The Cleveland Clinic. A minor headache can be sharp or dull pain in the head, but can also include the neck, jaw, or shoulders.

What are the Different Types of Headaches?

According to Harvard Health Publishing at Harvard Medical School, there are more than 300 different kinds of headaches! Here are some of the more common ones:

  • Tension are the most common types of headaches and can be caused by physical or emotional stress or tiredness.
  • Sinus headaches aren’t recurring headaches. Pain is usually in the forehead, and around the nose and eyes. Expect a stuffy or runny nose and/or a fever with these headaches.
  • Migraines are much more severe than tension headaches and women experience migraines more than men. Migraine triggers are different for everyone but can include changing weather, foods, neck or back pain, and more.
  • Medication can cause headaches and many medications list headaches as a side effect.

What Causes Headaches?

The most common headache triggers are stress, lack of sleep, hunger, diet, and caffeine withdrawal. Different triggers cause different headaches in different people. Learning about yourself, your habits with stress, sleep, and food can help you and your medical provider understand what is causing your headaches.

How to Treat or Prevent Migraines and Headaches?

Knowing some of your headache triggers can help you prevent or prepare for a headache. If a change in weather and pressure triggers a migraine, you can be sure to have medication ready. Or if certain foods cause headaches, avoiding them can be an easy way to minimize the number of headaches you have.

General headaches like tension headaches can be treated by drinking water or coffee, eating something, lying down, or taking over-the-counter pain reliever like aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) – though be sure to talk to your doctor before taking anything new. Migraines and sinus may require a prescription or other treatment from your medical provider, and medication headaches need to be discussed with your provider.

If you have questions about headaches that you or a loved one get, talk to a NOAH provider today.

Summer Fun with Kids

By Noel Ugarte, MS, RD |Nutrition Educator

Every summer, as the sizzling sun sets, I still think back to my childhood when my family would go to the park to play a few friendly rounds of kickball. Afterward, we would cool down with snacks before walking home. I loved these park competitions when I was a child. They were the perfect opportunity to let loose, be myself, and have fun with adults. That’s what summer fun with kids is all about! The good news is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agrees that physical activity can help children grow strong bones and muscles, improve brain function, and prevent chronic conditions.

Ready to get started with a fun summer with your kids?

#1. Choose an Activity

Having summer fun with kids is always going to be active! School-aged kids and adolescents should get at least 60 minutes of moderate or harder physical activity every day. Whatever activity you pick, it should increase heart rate and breathing. Think of fun activities you can do as a family and if it’s too hot outside (hello, Arizona summer!), get active inside!

Here are some ideas to get started: 

  • Water balloon toss or tag
  • Hiking/biking at a local location or National Park
  • Tug of war
  • Swimming
  • Jump rope
  • Races – one-on-one, relay, sack races (hopping)
  • Dance party or dance-off competition
  • Obstacle course race

#2. Fuel and Hydration

It is really important to keep your body fueled when you’re doing activities – especially in the Arizona heat! The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has easy suggestions for how much water kids should drink but remember it might be more with exercise or hotter temperatures. Be sure to drink lots of water throughout the day. NOAH’s team shares these recommendations.

Age RangeGenderTotal Cups Water Each Day
4 – 8 yearsBoys and Girls7
9 – 13 yearsGirls9
14 – 18 yearsGirls10

What kids eat is important too. Food gives us energy and important nutrients. Keep snacks available to refuel before, during, and after physical activities. Try to find non-perishable foods – things that won’t spoil or melt at high temperatures – to pack if you’re going outdoors. Some food examples include: 

  • Trail mix
  • Peanut butter crackers
  • Popcorn
  • Almonds, walnuts, peanuts
  • Tuna pouch and crackers
  • Chewy or crunchy granola bars (if hot, avoid chocolate chips!)
  • Pretzels

Taking perishable foods is still a good idea if you can keep them cool with ice packs or in a cooler. Some suggestions include: 

  • Fresh cut fruit or vegetables
  • Dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, milk
  • Meat, poultry, eggs

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends packing cold perishable foods between at least two cold sources (frozen gel packs, frozen water bottles, frozen juice packs) to prevent foodborne illness. 

Enjoy a safe, happy, healthy, and active summer with the kids in your life!

Living with PTSD

We are all living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (known as PTSD) either personally or as a community. Someone, somewhere in our lives is living with PTSD and understanding it is important.

PTSD is when a person has difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying or traumatic event. And PTSD can affect anyone. Thankfully in recent years, the public conversations and understanding around PTSD has grown. The more we know and understand this often-serious disorder, the better.

PTSD Causes

A wide range of events can lead to symptoms of PTSD such as:

  • Car crash.
  • Assault or abuse.
  • The death of a loved one.
  • War.
  • Surviving a natural disaster.
  • Diagnosis of a life-changing medical condition or any other event where you fear for your life.

Symptoms of PTSD

Most people experience short term symptoms associated with PTSD like trouble sleeping and flashbacks. This is known as an acute stress reaction and these symptoms will usually go away in a few weeks. However, some people experience symptoms that last much longer. 

Long term symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Reliving aspects of the event that happened.
  • Feeling on edge or overly alert.
  • Avoiding memories or feelings and difficult beliefs.
  • Experience hyper vigilance.
  • Nightmares.
  • Physical symptoms.
  • Difficulty with relationships, education, or employment.

Living with PTSD

If you or someone you know might have PTSD and has some of the symptoms above, NOAH recommends:  

  • Learn more to help yourself or a loved on. The National Center for PTSD has great resources for everyone, but a lot for those veterans living with PTSD.
  • Get professional support like a counselor or psychiatrist. NOAH has a full team!
  • Know your triggers.
  • Confide in a friend, family member, or professional when you are ready.
  • Try peer support groups online or in person.
  • Keep up with your physical health.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol to cope with difficulty feelings.

There are many treatments for people living with PTSD or PTSD symptoms. A behavioral health professional can help an individual process trauma in a healthy and effective way. There are also medication options to assist in alleviating symptoms. You and your behavioral health team can work together to decide which treatment will work best for you. NOAH has a team of medical and behavioral health professionals to support you on your journey to healing.

If you are ready to talk with someone about questions or challenges you or a loved on has that may be PTSD, contact NOAH today.

Heat Safety: Staying Safe in Arizona’s Extreme Heat

Summer in Central Arizona is always hot. Always! Even “normal” summer temperatures in Phoenix are dangerous. Then we get a few days or weeks of extreme heat that can be even worse. Know the risks with heat safety, understand the signs of heat illness, and be prepared.

Risks for Extreme Heat

We might be used to high temperatures here in Phoenix, but above 110, 115, or higher are serious. And, when we have more humidity – before or after summer rains usually – it can make the heat much worse. Knowing about heat safety is important year round in Central Arizona.

Everyone can get sick when the temperature and/or humidity go above normal. But some groups are in more danger of getting sick, including people who are:

  • Pregnant
  • Infants or young children
  • Older adults
  • Living with chronic medical conditions or on certain medications

Signs of Heat Illness

There are different levels of heat illness and knowing the symptoms can help a person recover and may even save their life.

  • Heat rash – red cluster of pimples or small blisters around the neck and chest areas typically. Get the person to a cool, shady place and keep the rash dry.
  • Heat cramps – muscle cramps, pain, or spasms in the legs, arms, or stomach. Drink water and eat something but avoid salt.
  • Heat syncope – dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting. The person should sit down and slowly sip water or clear juice.
  • Heat exhaustion – is when your body has a serious loss of water and salt, and the person has a headache, nausea, heavy sweating, dizziness, or weakness. Remove the person from the heat, remove unnecessary clothing, give them liquids, put cool compresses on head and neck, and go to a doctor or hospital.
  • Heat stroke – the most serious illness and can cause death if not treated quickly. The person may have a seizure, be confused, have a very high body temperature, may sweat a lot or have hot dry skin. Call 9-1-1 immediately and begin trying to cool the person down with an ice bath (best action), cool compresses on head and neck, soak clothing with cold water, and use a fan to keep air moving around them.

Prepare for the Heat

It comes every year, so we should all be prepared for the heat. Starting as early as May and going through October, temperatures and humidity can get uncomfortable or dangerous and heat safety is even more important.

First, never ever leave any person or pet in a car. In Arizona, even in cooler weather, cars can get dangerously hot quickly. Never leave anyone or any pet in a car.

Next, limit outdoor activities and exercises if possible. People make the mistake of thinking because they (or their pets) have hiked, run, walked, etc. during hot weather before, that they are somehow immune to the dangers with sometimes devastating results. If you must do activities outside or work outdoors, avoid the hottest part of the day, try to avoid days with extreme temperatures, leave pets at home, seek as much shade as possible, and be sure to take plenty of cold water, a charged phone, and wear appropriate clothing.

Lastly, check on older family, friends, and neighbors. When older people have mobility issues or live alone, the risks can be even worse. Call or better, visit them in person to make sure they are safe.

If keeping the power on is a concern, NOAH’s Community Resource Team may be able to help find utility assistance or other types of help. Also, most power companies in Arizona cannot shut off power from June 1 – October 15 for late payments. So even if you, or someone you know like an elderly neighbor is behind on payments, they will be cool and safe at home during the hottest months.

Throughout Maricopa County there are cooling stations for people who need water or don’t have access to cool, indoor spaces for safety. Find one near you but be prepared so hopefully you never need it.

Healthy Eating for Men

By Brandon Bolton, RDN |Nutrition Educator

June is Men’s Health Month. That means it’s time to bring awareness to men’s health and the potential health issues all men face. It is a month dedicated to spreading awareness, education, prevention, detection, and treatment of disease among men, but men’s health is important all year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Infection’s National Vital Statistics Report men, on average, die almost five years earlier than women. One reason for this may be that men are more reluctant to go to the doctor and preventable health problems aren’t detected early. In fact, some studies show that women go to the doctor twice as often as men. It is important to encourage all men to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for injury and disease.   

Taking men’s health seriously starts with a healthy diet. Men have specific nutritional needs, and regardless of age, all men need the nutrition from a healthy diet. Food is more than just fuel for the body, and an unhealthy diet can put you at an increased risk for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

What’s in a Healthy Diet?

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a healthy diet for men includes:

  • 2+ cups of fruits and 2½ cups of vegetables each day for vitamins, minerals, fiber and helpful phytochemicals
  • Whole grains like barley, brown rice, and oatmeal should be at least half of the grains you eat every day. So swap that white bread/pita/tortilla for a whole wheat version.
  • Get enough fiber, at least 38 grams per day for men under 50; 30 grams of fiber per day for men older than 50. Good sources of fiber include berries, popcorn, avocado, apples, nuts, and whole grains listed above.
  • 2 – 3 servings of fish per week.
  • Unsaturated fats such as oils, nuts, and oil-based salad dressings instead of saturated fats like full-fat dairy foods, butter, and high-fat sweets.
  • 3,400 milligrams a day of potassium from fruits, vegetables, fish, and dairy.
  • Eat a variety of protein foods and include seafood and sources like beans, lentils, nuts, and peas.

Since men typically are larger and have more muscle mass than women, they require more calories throughout the day. On average, moderately active males need 2,200-2,800 calories and at least 50 grams of protein per day. Keep in mind, these are just averages. Specific energy needs are determined by your height, weight, age, activity level, and medical history. Consider working with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to help determine your energy needs and help you develop healthy eating patterns that can last a lifetime.

June is LGBTQ Pride

By Andres Jaramillo | LPC

During the month of June, you may see more color around your workplace or community as the rainbow flag flies in windows, porches, stores, and websites, but why? Pride month.

June is LGBTQ Pride Month

June was first officially declared lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) pride month by President Clinton in 1999. But the real start of this story, woven into the fabric of American history, goes back to the 1960’s and before, when brave and thoughtful LGBTQ people stood up to raids, rejection, and harassment, paving the right to be supported and loved.

For some, the image of pride month is only rainbow flags, festivals or parades, which are held all around the world, and a chance for the LGBTQ and ally community to come together and celebrate the historical events and progress in the story. Deeper though, Pride month, and the Pride movement that began decades ago, has a much more important message.

When a person is seen or feels “not normal,” because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, the risks of emotional distress, mental health concerns, and even suicide goes up. Around 2/3 of LGBTQ youth report that someone in their lives tried to convince them to change their sexual orientation or gender identity and suppress who they are. LGBTQ youth contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of their heterosexual counterparts, and 40% of LGBTQ adults have experienced rejection from a family member or a close friend.

We must choose to accept that what we have been taught or seen as “normal” needs to be challenged for the wellbeing of our family, friends, and neighbors. Recent studies and polls show that about 5.6% of US adults, or about 18 million adults, identify as LGBTQ, so chances are someone around you identifies as LGBTQ and Pride month reminds us to think about the role we have in their lives. What is normal is to choose to stand by someone’s side and be their support. By doing that you can have a positive influence in their emotional, mental, and even physical wellbeing.

Everyone experiences hardships – at work, in our family or relationships, with our friends, with ourselves – and we can all relate to the idea that when we know we are loved and supported, we have more courage, confidence, and flexibility to take on life’s difficulties. It is normal to stand together and support our LGBTQ family, friends, and neighbors. Afterall, we’re all just trying to live our best life.

Happy Pride!

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental or emotional health, NOAH’s comprehensive team of counselors and psychiatrists. Contact us for an appointment today.

Is it Time for Your Medicare Wellness Visit?

By Dr. Linda Eller | Family Medicine Provider

Are you or a loved one on Medicare insurance? If so, wellness should be top-of-mind and the good news is, it’s covered starting with the Medicare Wellness Visit.

Dr. Linda Eller, Family Medicine Provider

The wellness visit through Medicare isn’t the traditional head-to-toe physical that most people are familiar with. The Wellness Visit covered under Medicare is an annual visit to identify and reduce any health risks your healthcare provider might find.

Wellness Visits Matter

The Medicare Wellness Visit, while not a traditional physical, is a tool for your medical provider to find gaps in your healthcare. The questions asked during the visit are specific and help to narrow down concerns while allowing your healthcare team to provide better care.

What to Expect at Your Appointment

At the wellness visit, we take a complete health history using a questionnaire from Medicare to understand a patient’s needs. If this is the patient’s first Medicare Wellness Visit, we will start with an EKG. Then your provider will discuss findings from the questionnaire and address concerns about your health and wellness.

Providers will do a limited physical exam to check blood pressure, weight, vision, and other things depending on a patient’s age, gender, and health history.

During the visit your provider can make referrals to specialists, order labs, and discuss necessary imaging and diagnostic tests like mammograms or colorectal cancer screenings. We will also talk about the risks and signs of depression, trips and falls, and other health and wellness concerns.

Our goal is to create a personalized prevention plan together to help prevent disease and disability according to your health and risk factors.

What Not to Expect at Your Appointment

This isn’t a traditional physical. It may sound like it is, but there are distinct differences. The Medicare Wellness Visit allows healthcare providers to have a baseline for health and wellness that Medicare knows is important to this patient group.

Providers don’t generally address existing chronic health conditions or refill prescriptions at this appointment. The visit is specific to finding and addressing any new concerns and planning for the next year’s healthcare with the patient.

Scheduling a Medicare Wellness Visit every year is important and NOAH is here to help you stay on track.

If this is your first appointment at NOAH, we recommend you schedule a primary care appointment before your Medicare Wellness Visit. We want to get to know you, your health history, and discuss preexisting or chronic conditions ahead of time in order to create the best healthcare plan for the year ahead.