May is National Stroke Awareness Month.
No matter your age, be sure to know the warning signs of a stroke. The faster you, or a loved one, get help, the better your chances for a positive outcome.
F: Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
A: Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S: Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
T: Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.
Stroke prevention is also key. Ask your provider for recommendations on a healthy blood pressure and make sure yours is checked on a regular basis. Exercise and maintain a healthy weight. Get your cholesterol checked annually. Take steps to reduce stress, such as daily walks, yoga, tai chi or meditation. If you have a heart condition or other health factors that may put you at increased risk for stroke, talk with your provider about other steps, tests or medications that may reduce your risk. If there is a history of stroke in your family, make sure your provider is aware.
For more information, visit the American Stroke Association at www.strokeassociation.org.
The Flu is Still Here
It is not too late to get your flu shot if you have not yet received one. The flu is typically still present until late March or early April.
Getting a flu shot not only protects you from this serious respiratory illness, it also helps protect you from spreading the disease to others. The Centers for Disease Control recommend that everyone over the age of six months get the flu shot. Those especially at risk for suffering severe complications from the flu are the elderly, those with asthma or other respiratory illnesses, those with compromised immune systems, and the very young.
Today, there is a flu vaccine that fits everyone. There are vaccines for those who are allergic to eggs (the flu vaccine is typically produced in an egg-based formula); there are vaccines for children, and there are nasal spray vaccines for those who are afraid of needles. Ask your doctor about which vaccine is best for you.
The Dangers of Marijuana During Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
With the recent legalization of medical marijuana in a number of states, there has been the incorrect assumption that marijuana must be safe to smoke during pregnancy. However, this is not the case. Marijuana is still a drug, and a drug with known harmful side effects to developing babies.
Medical research has shown that the chemicals in marijuana influence brain maturation.
Babies born to women who used marijuana during their pregnancies respond differently to visual stimuli, tremble more, and have a high-pitched cry, which may indicate problems with neurological development. As marijuana-exposed children reach school age, they tend to have difficulty with problem-solving skills, memory and the ability to remain attentive.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, breast-feeding mothers should also be leery of using marijuana as research suggests that THC is secreted into breast milk in moderate amounts. These amounts could also be harmful to a baby’s developing brain.
While marijuana may have positive uses in aiding certain medical conditions, it is still a drug that can put your baby’s healthy development at risk.
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