Spring Break Health Tips

spring breakIt’s that time of the year when millions of high school and college students are planning a long-time tradition-spring break. Although it is a time for friends and fun, it is also a time that can quickly take a turn for the worse. If you are planning a spring break trip, one of the most important things to add to your “trip list” is spring break safety. Here are a few tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable spring break.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

If you are of legal drinking age and you are planning to include drinking alcohol as part of your spring break, it is extremely important to keep in mind that alcohol can impair your actions and your judgment. Every 31 minutes someone dies in an alcohol related motor vehicle crash and non-fatal injuries occur every two minutes as a result of motor alcohol related accidents, so don’t drink and drive. There are plenty of tasty non-alcoholic alternatives, so choose your beverages with safety in mind.

Protect Skin from the Sun

After a cold, snowy winter, it can be extremely tempting to stay out in the warm sun longer than what you should. Although getting some sun can be beneficial for you, excessive and unprotected sun exposure can lead to changes in your skin texture, premature aging and even skin cancer. Remember to always wear sunscreen and reapply after getting in the water. The ideal sunscreen is one with an SPF of 15. Protect your eyes from the sun by wearing wrap-around sunglasses that provide 100% UV ray protection.

Drink Water & Eat Healthy

It requires a lot of fuel and energy to have fun, so be sure to eat a variety of healthy foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables. It’s also recommended that you include lean meats, fish, poultry and low-fat dairy products in your diet. Be sure to drink plenty of water and try to limit the amount of salt, sugar and saturated fat you eat.

Stay Active

If you’re like most high school and college students, the winter months typically include a lot of sitting in class working on the computer and studying, so during your spring break take an opportunity to start a fitness program. While you’re away on break, participate in a variety of fun activities, such as dancing, playing volleyball, swimming and walking. Remember activity doesn’t have to been strenuous to be beneficial. Part of spring break safety is to avoid getting an injury so, start all new activities slowly and try to include activities that help to increase your breathing and heart rate as well as strengthen your muscles.

Surepoint Emergency Center is open 24 hours a day and is located at I-35E and Loop 288 on the east side of the highway. At Surepoint, you are seen by a doctor within 5 minutes of your arrival. No waiting in the hospital emergency room waiting when you are sick.

Patient Safety Awareness

patient safety


Patient safety is the prevention of adverse effects and errors when it comes to the health care of patients. It is also about medical providers and facilities protecting their patients from mishaps while under their care. Unfortunately, mistakes can happen anywhere, including medical facilities so organizations like National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF), United for Patient Safety, and Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) are dedicated to enhancing health care and promoting awareness for patient safety.

What is Safety Culture?

Safety culture is generally links to error rates in health organizations. Improving the culture of safety within health care organizations is a critical component for reducing or preventing errors as well as improving the overall quality of health care. There are specific measures that prove to improve safety culture, such a teamwork training, unit-based safety teams and executive walk rounds.

What is Patient Engagement?

Patient engagement is a term that describes a patient’s ability and willingness to manage their health and care with less formal intervention. It includes everything from patient portals to tracking vitals; patient engagement allows patients to participate in their own health and well-being because it provides the patient with a better understanding of their illness. They can keep track of things they can do to improve their health and it generally encourages a better outcome for the patient, while lowering medical costs.

What Do I Need to Know as a Patient?

  • Communicate with your health care team. If you see something or feel that something is wrong, discuss your concerns with your nurse and/or doctor. It is always best to ask questions this way you and your doctor has all the information about the situation.
  • If you or a loved one are a victim of medical error, say something. Speak with an employee of the medical facility so that they can investigate the issue and address it as soon as possible. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking with a member of your immediate health care team, contact the customer service or patient advocacy department.
  • Educate and encourage your friends and family. Share your personal experiences, good and bad, with your community and urge them to do the same. This helps others know it’s okay and important to speak up to ensure quality health care and patient safety.
Surepoint Emergency Center is open 24 hours a day and is located at I-35E and Loop 288 on the east side of the highway. At Surepoint, you are seen by a doctor within 5 minutes of your arrival. No waiting in the hospital emergency room waiting when you are sick.

Sources: Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, World Health Organization

What Do I Need to Know About Kidney Disease?

The kidneys (two bean-shaped organs about the size of a fist) are located on either side of your spine, just above your waist and in the abdominal cavity. Your kidneys are extremely important for your overall health. They help to remove waste products, release hormones that regulate your blood pressure, regulate the production of red blood cells and help to produce an active form of Vitamin D, which is necessary for bone health. They also help to maintain an equal balance of water and a concentration of minerals, such as potassium, sodium and phosphorus in the blood.

Kidney function generally declines with age; however, there are certain factors that can put you at a higher risk of kidney disease. In many situations, people aren’t aware they have a problem until it becomes critical. Kidney disease means there is damage to your kidneys and they aren’t able to filter blood the way they should.

Causes of Kidney Disease

Anyone can develop kidney disease; however, some people are at a greater risk than others. The main risk factors for developing kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, and a family history of kidney failure and/or cardiovascular heart disease. Diabetes is the number one cause of kidney failure and high blood pressure is the second leading cause. Autoimmune diseases, such as Lupus, birth defects and other problems, such as an obstruction of the flow of urine and the use of analgesics, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen may also cause kidney disease.

Stages of Kidney Disease

Glomeruler filtration rate (GFR) is a term used to determine how well your kidneys are filtering blood; the lower the rate, the less filtering (how well your kidneys are cleaning the blood) is being done. A normal GFR is 90% or better. There are 5 stages of kidney disease, including:

  • Stage 1, which includes signs of mild kidney disease but with a normal of better GFR greater than 90%.
  • Stage 2 is mild kidney disease with a reduced GFR of 60-89
  • Stage 3 is moderate chronic renal insufficiency with a GFR of 30-59
  • Stage 4 is severe chronic renal insufficiency with a GFR of 15-29
  • Stage 5 is end-stage renal failure with a GFR of less than 15. At this stage the person will require dialysis or a transplant.

Symptoms of Kidney Disease

In many cases, early problems of kidney disease don’t exhibit many noticeable symptoms, so it can be difficult to diagnose the disease. However, being aware of possible symptoms may help to reduce the chances of suffering from advanced kidney disease. Symptoms of kidney disease to be aware of include:

  • Change in urinary function (amount and frequency of urine you pass)
  • Getting up more often at night to urinate
  • Urge to urinate more often, but unable to do so
  • Urine is darker than usual
  • Foamy, bubbly or bloody urine
  • Swelling in your body
  • Severe weakness and fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Unexplained back pain
  • Itching and skin breakouts
  • Ammonia breath

It is extremely important to protect your kidneys by preventing or managing health conditions that may cause kidney damage, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Talk with your doctor about your kidney health; remember getting tested may be the only way to know how healthy your kidneys are.

Surepoint Emergency Center is open 24 hours a day and is located at I-35E and Loop 288 on the east side of the highway. At Surepoint, you are seen by a doctor within 5 minutes of your arrival. No waiting in the hospital emergency room waiting when you are sick.