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1 week ago · by · 0 comments

5 Things You Should Know About STRESS

Everyone feels stressed from time to time. But what is stress? How does it affect your health? And what can you do about it?

Stress is how the brain and body respond to any demand. Every type of demand or stressor – such as exercise, work, school, major life changes, or traumatic events – can be stressful.

Stress can affect your health. It is important to pay attention to how you deal with minor and major stress events so that you know when to seek help.

Here are five things you should know about stress:

1 Stress affects everyone.

Everyone feels stressed from time to time. Some people may cope with stress more effectively or recover from stressful events more quickly than others. There are different types of stress – all of which carry physical and mental health risks. A stressor may be a one time or short term occurrence, or it can be an occurrence that keeps happening over a long period of time.

Examples of stress include:

  • Routine stress related to the pressures of work, school, family, and other daily responsibilities
  • Stress brought about by a sudden negative change, such as losing a job, divorce, or illness
  • Traumatic stress experienced in an event like a major accident, war, assault, or a natural disaster where people may be in danger of being seriously hurt or killed. People who experience traumatic stress often experience temporary symptoms of mental illness, but most recover naturally soon after.

2 Not all stress is bad.

Stress can motivate people to prepare or perform, like when they need to take a test or interview for a new job. Stress can even be life-saving in some situations. In response to danger, your body prepares to face a threat or flee to safety. In these situations, your pulse quickens, you breathe faster, your muscles tense, your brain uses more oxygen and increases activity – all functions aimed at survival.

3 Long-term stress can harm your health.

Health problems can occur if the stress response goes on for too long or becomes chronic, such as when the source of stress is constant, or if the response continues after the danger has subsided. With chronic stress, those same life-saving responses in your body can suppress immune, digestive, sleep, and reproductive systems, which may cause them to stop working normally.

Different people may feel stress in different ways. For example, some people experience mainly digestive symptoms, while others may have headaches, sleeplessness, sadness, anger or irritability. People under chronic stress are prone to more frequent and severe viral infections, such as the flu or common cold. Routine stress may be the hardest type of stress to notice at first.

Because the source of stress tends to be more constant than in cases of acute or traumatic stress, the body gets no clear signal to return to normal functioning. Over time, continued strain on
your body from routine stress may contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, as well as mental disorders like depression or anxiety.

4 There are ways to manage stress.

The effects of stress tend to build up over time.Taking practical steps to manage your stress can reduce or prevent these effects.The following are some tips that may help you to cope with stress:

  • Recognize the Signs of your body’s response tostress, such as difficulty sleeping, increased alcoholand other substance use, being easily angered,feeling depressed, and having low energy.
  • Talk to Your Doctor or Health Care Provider.Get proper health care for existing or newhealth problems.
  • Get Regular Exercise. Just 30 minutes perday of walking can help boost your moodand reduce stress.
  • Try a Relaxing Activity. Explore stress copingprograms, which may incorporate meditation,yoga, tai chi, or other gentle exercises. For somestress-related conditions, these approaches areused in addition to other forms of treatment.Schedule regular times for these and other healthyand relaxing activities. Learn more about thesetechniques on the National Center forComplementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)website at (www.nccih.nih.gov/health/stress).
  • Set Goals and Priorities. Decide what must getdone and what can wait, and learn to say no tonew tasks if they are putting you into overload.Note what you have accomplished at the end ofthe day, not what you have been unable to do.
  • Stay Connected with people who can provideemotional and other support.To reduce stress, askfor help from friends, family, and community orreligious organizations.
  • Consider a Clinical Trial. Researchers at theNational Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), NCCIH,and other research facilities across the country arestudying the causes and effects of psychologicalstress, and stress management techniques.Youcan learn more about studies that are recruitingby visiting www.nimh.nih.gov/joinastudy orwww.clinicaltrials.gov (keyword: stress).

5 If you’re overwhelmed by stress, ask for help from a health professional.

You should seek help right away if you have suicidal thoughts, are overwhelmed, feel you cannot cope, or are using drugs or alcohol to cope.Your doctor may be able to provide a recommendation.You can find resources to help you find a mental health provider by visiting www.nimh.nih.gov/findhelp.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Anyone experiencing severe or long-term, unrelenting stress can become overwhelmed. If you or a loved one is having thoughts of suicide, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (http:// suicidepreventionlifeline.org/) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone.All calls are confidential.

For More Information

For more information on conditions that affect mental health, resources, and research, visit www.mentalhealth.gov, or the NIMH website at www.nimh.nih.gov. In addition, the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus service has information on a wide variety of health topics, including conditions that affect mental health.

National Institute of Mental Health
Office of Science Policy, Planning and Communications
Science Writing, Press, and Dissemination Branch
6001 Executive Boulevard
Room 6200, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
Phone: 301–443–4513 or
Toll-free: 1–866–615–NIMH (6464)
TTY: 301–443–8431 or TTY Toll-free: 1–866–415–8051
Fax: 301–443–4279
E-mail: nimhinfo@nih.gov
Website: www.nimh.nih.gov
NIH Publication No. OM 16-4310

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1 month ago · by · 0 comments

Tips for You, Your Home and Family

Ticks and Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a bacterium that’s often carried by mice and other small rodents. The disease can be transmitted to humans if they’re bitten by a tick that previously fed off an infected animal.

Different types of ticks live in the United States and while some can transmit diseases, others are only a nuisance. In general, infected blacklegged ticks can transmit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

Symptoms of Lyme disease typically develop within two weeks of a tick bite and can include fevers, chills, swollen lymph nodes, neck stiffness, fatigue, headaches, and joint or muscle aches.

To avoid contracting Lyme disease, do the following:

  • Wear light-colored clothing, including long-sleeved shirts and pants when in wooded areas. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and keep long hair tied back.
  • Wash your body and clothing after all outdoor activities.
  • Look periodically for ticks if you’ve been outdoors, especially if you’ve been in wooded areas or gardens.
  • Remove ticks within 24 hours to greatly reduce the risk of contracting Lyme disease.
  • Check your pet’s coat if it’s been in an area known for ticks.

Remember to consult your health care provider as soon as you experience Lyme disease symptoms. If possible, send any ticks that you’ve removed to a public health laboratory in your area. Click here to learn more.

Keeping Mold Out of the Home

A mold problem in the home can cause serious health effects, especially for young children, the elderly, those who suffer from allergies or asthma, and those with prior respiratory conditions. Mold can cause eye irritation, nasal stuffiness, shortness of breath, wheezing and infections in the lungs.

Though most molds grow outdoors, they can get inside a home through open windows and doors, air conditioning systems, pets, clothing and shoes. Try these prevention tips to keep mold out of your home:

  • Clean up any water damage or flooding thoroughly and immediately.
  • Use a dehumidifier and a wet-dry vacuum to remove water quickly.
  • Remove carpeting that can’t be dried out within 48 hours. If your carpet was contaminated by sewer water or a flood, it needs to be replaced.
  • Repair basement cracks so that moisture can’t seep in.
  • Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to reduce indoor moisture, especially during humid months. Empty the drip pans in your air conditioner, refrigerator and dehumidifier on a regular basis to prevent water buildup.
  • Fix plumbing leaks immediately. Mold will begin to grow within 24 to 48 hours after a leak forms.

Protecting Your Vehicle from Hail

Hail can strike anywhere and at any time, causing major damage to your vehicle. When a hailstorm occurs, take the following precautions to keep you and your vehicle safe:

  • Don’t get out of your vehicle if you’re driving during a hailstorm. If you can pull over to the side of the road, do so safely.
  • Park your car on an angle so that the hail hits the front of your car. This protects your side and rear windows, which aren’t made of reinforced glass.
  • Find covered parking to protect your car, like a parking garage or awning. If you live in a hailstorm-prone area, it may be a good idea to purchase or build a covered parking solution for your home, like a metal canopy or garage.
  • Use blankets or a hail car cover. These items can be very effective in protecting vehicles from damage, especially if you’re far away from shelter.
  • Locate a body shop that you trust to make any necessary repairs. Discuss the extent of the damage with the body shop and your insurance broker.

Hotel Safety Tips

Hotels provide a home away from home whenever you travel. However, hotels aren’t always safe, and vacationers are at risk of things like break-ins, fires and natural disasters.

The following are some general hotel safety tips to keep in mind to protect yourself from a variety of risks:

  • Check reviews for security concerns. Guest reviews can provide information on the area’s crime level and steps the hotel takes to protect guests.
  • Use hotels that restrict access to guest floors.
  • Check your room lock to confirm it’s working properly. Make sure that the door has a deadbolt and keep it locked whenever you’re in the room.
  • Lock away valuable items you won’t be carrying with you in the room’s safe. This can include things like money, jewelry, laptops or other electronics.
  • Be wary of people that come to the door claiming to be hotel staff.

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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

Therapeutic Treatments Can Help You Recover

You’ve probably heard a lot about opioids lately, and for good reason—the CDC estimates that more than 115 people die from opioid overdoses every day.

One of the biggest reasons for widespread misuse of these drugs is that they’re both effective at short-term pain management and highly addictive.

Luckily, to combat what some now call the “opioid epidemic,” researchers from the American College of Physicians (ACP) have published guidelines that promote alternative noninvasive and therapy-based pain treatments.

Although these guidelines recommend the use of opioids and other medications as a last resort, therapeutic treatments may help strengthen your body and help you heal naturally. However, you should always consult your physician for the best way to treat your pain.

Here are some common pain treatments based on the ACP’s guidelines:

  • Use heat or ice packs to reduce pain and swelling. Regulating how much blood flows into affected areas can be a simple and effective way to reduce pain.
  • Avoid overexertion. Rest will allow any injured tissue and nerve roots to begin to heal. However, too much rest can cause your muscles to weaken.
  • Exercise when possible. Although exercising to relieve pain may sound strange, even low-intensity activity like stretching or walking can help strengthen your muscles and relieve pain. Consult with a health care or fitness professional to customize a safe and effective exercise routine for any severe or chronic pain.
  • Engage in relaxing activities such as yoga and meditation. Research has shown that the mental aspect of physical pain can cause it to be much more intense than it would be otherwise.
  • Explore your options. Talk with your doctor about alternative pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications. You could also discuss when to use or how to wean off strong narcotics. Opioids should only be considered as a last resort.

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