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Back to Bed for Back to School

By Annette Liao, DO | Family Medicine PGY-1

Can you believe it? The end of summer is quickly approaching. With fall around the corner, many families are thinking about the school year and how to prepare their kids for the classroom. This could prove to be a bigger challenge this year, as schools reopen their doors for in-person classes after a very different year. Now, after a summer of staying up late and sleeping in, it is time to help kids get back on a normal classroom schedule, and that starts with a good night’s sleep.

Back-to-School Kids Sleep Tips

  • As their brains develop, school-aged children need more sleep than adults to do their best in school and to stay alert during the day. Here is how much sleep kids should have:
    • Preschoolers (ages 3-5) require 10-13 hours of sleep
    • School-age children (ages 6-13) require 9-11 hours of sleep
    • Teenagers (ages 14-17) require 8-10 hours of sleep
  • Start slow – most kids will not be able to suddenly switch from being night owls to morning birds. A slow transition over a few weeks is best. Move bedtime by 15 minutes each day until they are getting the amount of sleep they need.
  • Keep a clock in each child’s bedroom so that they know what time they should go to sleep and what time they should wake up.
  • Avoid using electronics at least 1 hour before bed, and no electronics in bed! The light from the screens on TVs, tablets, and phones tricks our brains into thinking it is daytime and keeps us from a good night’s sleep. It’s good for everyone to turn off screens starting two hours before bedtime.
  • Instead of electronics, establish a relaxing bedtime routine. This could involve reading, stretching, or meditation. Routines will train the body that it is bedtime and can decrease anxiety around bedtime in kids and adults. Make the environment as relaxing as possible.
  • Keep the schedule, even on weekends. Parents and caregivers should all be on the same page with the sleep schedule. Children over the age of 5 should be informed on what that plan is as well.

Having quality sleep is essential for success in school. Not getting enough sleep affects a student’s ability to function, learn, and grow. These tips will not only help to get your kids back on track for school, but also set them up for a lifelong healthy habit! Learn more about other back-to-school tips for a healthy and happy start to the new school year.

Time For Your Medicare Wellness Visit?

By: Dr. Linda Eller, DO

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 (MWV).

Dr. Linda Eller, Family Medicine

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

Why 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 MWV are specific and help to narrow down concerns while allowing your healthcare team to provide better care.

During the pandemic, many people skipped preventative and wellness appointments with their primary care provider. This included patients missing their MWV. Right now, we are contacting and encouraging patients to come in, starting with an MWV. Now is the time to get back to your doctor.

What to Expect at a Medicare Wellness Visit

At the wellness visit, we take a complete health history and use the MWV questionnaire from Medicare to understand a patient’s needs. If this is a patient’s first MWV, 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.

At the MWV, your provider can make referrals to specialists, order labs, and discuss necessary imaging and diagnostic tests like mammograms or colon 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 a Medicare Wellness Visit Isn’t

This isn’t a traditional physical. It may sound like it is, but there are distinct differences. The MWV 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. The MWV is specific to finding and addressing any new concerns and planning for the next year’s healthcare with the patient.

Having your annual MWV is important, and NOAH is ready to make sure you get back on schedule. If this is your first appointment at NOAH, we want to get to know you, your health history, and discuss preexisting or chronic conditions before your MWV.

Give our NOAH team a call today at 480-882-4545 to schedule an appointment and plan for a healthy and productive year ahead.

Exercise Options: Alternatives to the Gym

By By Nicole Vaudrin O’Reilly, MS, RD |Nutrition Educator

Physical activity is an important part of health and wellness. Not everyone can go to a gym, especially during the pandemic. Thankfully, there are many other exercise options. Always check with your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any physical or health limitations. Remember to follow COVID precautions, like wearing a mask and washing your hands, in public places.

Recommendations

  • For adults: at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (ex. brisk walking, riding a bike, and mowing the lawn). Preferably, also with 2 days a week of muscle strengthening exercises (ex. Lifting weights, using resistance bands, and some forms of yoga).
  • For children ages 6 to 17 years old: at least 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity most days and at least 3 days a week of muscle strengthening exercises.
  • For more information, please check out CDC guidelines.

Outdoor exercise options

  • Walk or jog around your neighborhood
  • Hike at a local trail
  • Play basketball, frisbee, tennis, etc. in your own yard or a park
  • Jump rope in your garage or outside
  • Take a bike ride
  • Do gardening and yard work

Home options

Join a team or take a group class

  • There are less options during the pandemic, but joining a team or taking group classes is a fun and social choice. Many places are offering virtual options.
  • PHXPlays is the largest organization in the valley that provides classes and team sports for youth and adults. Check them out here.
  • Your local gym may have classes, or you can go to a specialized studio for things like martial arts, spin, barre, yoga, etc.

Physical activity is one very important piece to overall health and wellness. Learn more about the many services our nutrition team can offer in NOAH’s individualized, comprehensive healthcare.

Get Well with Food: How nutrition helps you recover

By Stephanie Olzinski, MS, RDN & Nicole Vaudrin O’Reilly, RDN

Proper nutrition helps the body fight infections and heal from surgery or wounds, colds, the flu, COVID-19, and other illnesses and injuries. When your body is going through the healing process, it generally increases the need for calories and specific nutrients. When an illness, like COVID-19, affects appetite, taste, and smell, eating well can be even harder.

Here are recommendations to have a balanced, healthy diet to help your recovery.

Hydrate: Fever, vomiting, and diarrhea can all contribute to dehydration, not to mention being hydrated is helpful for relieving cold symptoms as well.  Try to increase how much water you drink. Adults should try to drink eight 8-oz glasses of water every day when they aren’t sick. Adults who are recovering from an illness should drink 3 liters / 100oz / 12 8-oz glasses of mostly water every day. If you really want to help your body, add 1-2 servings of electrolyte drinks, like Pedialyte, Gatorade, or Emergen-C per day to stay hydrated. That can feel like a lot but sipping on small glasses of water every 15 minutes throughout the day can make it easier.

Food Frequency:  Small, frequent meals and snacks can help with meeting your increased needs, even when you’re not hungry. Try to eat small, healthy snacks or meals, or drink broth, supplement shakes, or smoothies every few hours.

Protein: Protein is essential for maintaining muscle mass and for building and repairing body tissues. So as your body is healing, you will need more protein. We recommend eating a variety of protein-rich foods like chicken, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, and seeds. Protein powders or drinks can be helpful if you need to increase your protein, especially if your appetite, taste, and/or smell are impacted because of your illness.

Nutrient-Dense Foods: These are foods that have a lot of vitamins and minerals – important for health. Examples of nutrition-dense foods includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meat, skinless poultry, peas and beans, and healthy fats like avocado, nuts, and seeds. Nutrition helps when you’re recovering from being sick or injured, so try to eat as many of these foods as you can.

Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamins D, C and E, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids help your immune system heal from being sick or injured. Taking a daily multi-vitamin with these nutrients can be a good way to have enough but ask your doctor before taking any vitamins or supplements. The best way to get these important vitamins and minerals, though, is in what you eat. Eat as many nutrient-dense foods (listed above) as you can every day – at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables (frozen, fresh, canned, blended in smoothies, vegetable-based soups, etc.). Choose whole grains (brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta, corn, or whole wheat tortillas) and include plenty of eggs, meat, dairy, healthy oils (olive, canola, avocado, flaxseed), nuts/seeds, and seafood.

Probiotics: Antibiotics are a powerful tool against bacterial infections, but they can disrupt your gut microbiome (the good bacteria and other microbes living in your intestines that help you digest your food), leaving you with side effects like diarrhea. If you need antibiotics, consider taking a supplement or eating plenty of probiotic foods during and after treatment. Since probiotics are also bacteria (what the antibiotic will be fighting), be sure to take your antibiotics and probiotics supplements or foods a few hours apart. Fermented foods are the best source of probiotics and include yogurt, kefir, cheese, sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, and probiotic drinks – Yakult or Bio Salud.

It is amazing what nutrition can do for our bodies and our daily lives. Nutrition helps our overall health by assisting our body in fighting diseases, recovering from illness and injury, and so much more. NOAH’s team of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) works with our patients because nutrition is a big part of your overall health. Talk to one of our RDNs today to learn more.