Summer Fun – Pool Safety Tips

By Amit Jain, MD FAAP MBA | Pediatrician

Swimming is a great way to beat the summer heat here in Arizona and is a fun activity for children to pass the summer by. Drowning is the third most common cause of unintentional – injury related deaths. Among children aged 1-4, drowning stands as the leading cause of unintentional deaths, placing them at the greatest risk. As such, we here at NOAH wanted to share some important water safety tips!

  • Never leave children alone, even for a moment, in or near pool areas or other bodies of water (lakes, beaches, and even bathtubs or buckets of water)!
  • Install a fence at least 4 feet tall around the pool, which should ideally surround the pool on all 4 sides and completely separated the pool from your home and yard. It should not have any gaps that a small child could slip over, under, or through. The gate should be a self-closing and self-latching gate that cannot be opened / reached by a small child.
  • Newer technology offers alarms, both for the gate and within the pool, that can alert you to anyone around the pool.
  • When any inexperienced swimmer is around the pool area, make sure there is a designated adult for supervision. This adult should not be under the influence, should not have any distractions (cell phone turned off or handed off to another adult), and preferably knows how to swim and perform CPR.
  • Keep rescue equipment such as a shepherd’s hook and a life preserver to reach / throw for rescues.
  • Avoid inflatable swim aids such as floaties, as they are not a substitution for proper life-preserving equipment such as life jackets.
  • Consider swim lessons for your child if over the age of 1, as it may reduce the risk of drowning. Talk to your NOAH Pediatrician about your child’s developmental readiness to take swim lessons.
  • Talk to your pool operator to make sure your pool / spa and its drains are compliant with the pool and spa safety act.

At NOAH, we want to make sure that you have the proper tools, education and resources to protect you and your family while swimming. Most importantly, we hope you have a safe and fun-filled summer!

Who Should get Tested for HIV?

The only way for someone to know if they are infected with HIV is to get tested. The CDC recommends everyone age 13 to 64 get tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime as part of routine health care. People who participate in high-risk activities should get tested more often.

High-risk activities include:

  • Men having sex with men
  • Having sex with a partner who is HIV positive without using a condom or taking Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)
  • Multiple sexual partners in the last year
  • Having sex with someone who participates in the high-risk activities above or, you don’t know their sexual history
  • Exchanging sex for drugs or money
  • Sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment

Other risk factors that require testing more often:

  • Previously diagnosed with, or treated for, another sexually transmitted infection, hepatitis, or tuberculosis

It’s recommended that high-risk individuals get tested once a year. Intravenous drug users should get tested every six months. Women who are pregnant and haven’t been tested previously should also talk with their healthcare provider about getting tested for HIV. Infected pregnant women can reduce the risk of passing the virus on to their child to as little as 1% with proper treatment.

How do you test for HIV?

NOAH offers HIV testing as part of routine blood work as well as rapid testing which only requires a simple finger poke and produces results in as little as 30 minutes.

How much does it cost?

HIV testing at NOAH is free but does require an appointment with a medical provider. As preventative care, this appointment is typically covered in full by most insurance carriers.

Maricopa County is an HIV Hot Spot

A federal program launched in 2020 “Ending the HIV Epidemic” identified 50 jurisdictions and seven states accounting for more than half of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States. Maricopa County is on the list of HIV “Hot Spots” with new infection rates per 100K people ranking higher than the state and national average. Allocating additional government funds to geographical areas like Maricopa County improves access to HIV testing, treatment and prevention with the goal to reduce new infections by 75% in five years (2025) and by 90% in ten years (2030).

Now more than ever, people living with HIV can lead long healthy lives with proper treatment. The earlier the virus is detected, the sooner treatment can begin. For more details on HIV treatment and prevention, check out our blog post “What if You Test Positive for HIV?” or schedule an appointment with your NOAH provider.

Charcuterie – The New PB & J

A French term roughly translated as cured meat, charcuterie found popularity back in the 15th century largely due to its ability to be stored at room temperature. While lack of refrigeration is no longer a factor, charcuterie is all the rage these days. From casual at home snacking to formal black-tie events and every kind of restaurant in between, you’ll find yourself enjoying little bits of a lot of things rather than meal-sized portions. Even better, we don’t have to eat what we don’t like. Bingo! This type of eating is perfect for picky eaters – especially kids.

Packing the perfect lunch at 6 a.m. while trying to get your kids (and maybe even yourself) out the door can be challenging. What’s worse is finding the same perfectly packed lunch untouched at the end of the day because “effective immediately, your child no longer likes _________” (insert item here).

With picky eaters and food allergies, the traditional peanut butter and jelly might not make the grade anymore. Next time you’re packing school lunch, mix it up with charcuterie-inspired options. Even if two or three items come home, you can rest assured that your child had at least some nourishment during the day.

Choose one from each column for a well-balanced lunch:

GrapesCarrot SticksBeef JerkyString CheeseWhole Grain Crackers
Apple SlicesSnap PeasCubed Chicken BreastYogurtPretzels
Cubed MelonBroccoli FloretsEdamameCheese Slices or CubesPopcorn
Raisins or Dried CranberriesJicama SticksAlmondsYogurt or Sour Cream Based Ranch DipDry Cereal (low sugar)
BerriesEdamameTofuCottage CheeseWhole Grain Toaster Waffle
Sliced BananasSliced Bell PeppersHard Boiled Egg SlicesLow-Fat Cream CheesePita Chips

How to Pack

For a simple, disposable option – fill sandwich or snack size bags with dry ingredients and disposable two-ounce sauce cups with sauces and other ingredients that might leak or spill. Pack it all in a paper lunch bag and skip the dirty dishes.

Reusable lunch containers are the perfect size – just fill with disposable or reusable cupcake liners to create individual cups for each food. Or try two-ounce little containers that come with lids. Reusable containers are easy to find and won’t break the bank – especially if you want to trash any that have been lurking in the bottom of a backpack for two weeks.

For items that need to stay cold, a frozen bottle of water is a perfect option and makes for an icy cold drink at lunchtime.

Looking for more ideas to enhance your child’s lunch options? NOAH’s team of registered dietitians are available for creative suggestions. Schedule an appointment today!

What Should I Expect When I go in For an HIV Test?

By Andrea Leuser, BSN RN ACRN | Partners in Prevention (PIP) HIV Nurse Navigator

Taking the test is taking care of you. Your HIV testing experience might be a little different depending on where you get tested. Regardless, the decision to prioritize your health through taking proactive steps is a significant milestone that should be acknowledged and celebrated.

Who Should Get Tested for HIV?

The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. People should get tested more often when they have had more than one sex partner or are having sex with someone whose sexual history they don’t know.

HIV Testing at a NOAH Healthcare Facility

A medical provider visit is required to get your HIV test at a NOAH healthcare facility. Your test can be part of your routine labs, or a point of care rapid test done by a fingerstick. Depending on the test you may be able to wait for results, but result times can vary.

Your health care provider or counselor may talk with you about your risk factors, answer any questions you might have, and discuss next steps with you.

Remember, there is no concept of a “wrong” outcome for an HIV test. Your value as an individual is not dependent on the result of the test.

How Much Will an HIV Test Cost?

As required by the Affordable Care Act, HIV screenings are covered by most health insurance and Medicaid programs.

Can an HIV Test Detect the Virus Immediately After Exposure?

No HIV test can detect HIV immediately after exposure. Discuss your risks with your healthcare provider and timing for getting your HIV test. Please note If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours, talk to your health care provider about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), right away.

Now more than ever, people living with HIV can lead long healthy lives with proper treatment. For more details on HIV treatment and prevention, schedule an appointment with your NOAH provider today.

June is LGBTQ Pride Month

By Andres Jaramillo, LPC | Counselor

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 1960s 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. LGBTQ youth contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of their heterosexual counterparts and are placed at higher risk because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society. In fact, according to a survey conducted by The Trevor Project, in the last year 41% of LGBTQ youth seriously contemplated suicide and 14% attempted suicide.

Research conducted by GLAAD indicates support for equal rights for LGBTQ people by non-LGBTQ people is now at an all-time high of 84%, up five percentage points from 2021. Additional studies show that while acceptance is growing, the need to continue educating society as a whole is critical with 55% of non-LGBTQ Americans stating they do not understand the dimensions of the LGBTQ community or how to describe individuals that make up the LGBTQ community.

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. A recent Gallup poll shows that 7.2% 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, consider talking with one of NOAH’s counselors or psychiatrists for help. Contact us for an appointment today.