All posts by Health Alliance

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Epilepsy Awareness Month

Epilepsy Awareness Month

It’s Epilepsy Awareness Month, and epilepsy is the 4th-most common neurological disorder.

While epilepsy is a spectrum of many kinds of seizure types and levels of severity, misunderstandings of the disease from others can cause challenges sometimes worse than the seizures.

If you’ve ever had a seizure or seen someone have a seizure, they can be scary. Learn more about how they work.

Understanding Seizures

 

If you see someone having a seizure, knowing what to do can save a life. Know how to respond.

Seizure First Aid

 

Adults living with active epilepsy are more likely to have unhealthy behaviors or other chronic health problems, which can worsen the symptoms of epilepsy. A healthy lifestyle can help.

Healthy Lifestyles and Epilepsy

 

Many states have varying laws about driving with epilepsy, and transportation can be a challenge for those living with epilepsy. Learn more.

Epilepsy and Transportation

 

An important part of having and caregiving for epilepsy is knowing how it affects independence and day-to-day living. These resources can help.

Living Independently with Epilepsy

 

If you’re living with epilepsy and have suffered from discrimination, you have legal rights. Learn more about these and getting legal help.

Epilepsy and Legal Protections

Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month

Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month

It’s Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month. Gluten-free diets are commonly used to treat Celiac disease, sensitivities, and allergies. If you or your loved ones need this kind of diet, these recipes can help this holiday season.

First up is a transformed comfort food, Gluten-Free Zucchini Chicken Parmesan Bundles.

Gluten-Free Zucchini Chicken Parmesan Bundles

Gluten Free Zucchini Chicken Parmesan Bundles

 

Gluten-Free Gingerbread Oatmeal is ideal for family gatherings during the holidays.

Gluten-Free Gingerbread Oatmeal
Image and Recipe via The Blissful Balance

 

Whip up a perfect fall dinner with this Gluten-Free Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili.

Gluten-Free Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili
Image and Recipe via The Conscientious Eater

 

This Gluten-Free Creamy Mushroom Risotto makes an impressive light dinner for guests.

Creamy Mushroom Risotto (Vegan + GF)

 

Lighten up grab-and-go breakfast with these Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins.

Gluten Free Paleo Pumpkin Muffins with Almond Flour

 

Making pasta at home doesn’t have to be a challenge! Try Gluten-Free Ravioli with Spinach and Cheese.

Gluten-Free Ravioli with Spinach and Cheese:

Gluten Free Ravioli with Spinach and Cheese

 

These soft Healthy Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies will be a hit this holiday season.

Healthy Gluten Free Pumpkin Cookies

Vegetarian Month

Vegetarian Month

It’s Vegetarian Month, and whether you’re a longtime vegetarian, interested in trying it for a week, or just looking for Meatless Monday meal ideas, these healthy vegetarian recipes will be perfect for adding to your rotation.

First up are Breakfast Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce that make the most of eggs and potatoes.

Breakfast Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce
Image and Recipe via Little Spice Jar

 

Game day cravings don’t have to be heavy with this Creamy Vegetarian White Chili.

Creamy Vegetarian White Chili

 

This beautiful Mushroom Alfredo Pasta Bake is so delicious, no one will guess it’s also healthy.

Healthy Mushroom Alfredo Pasta Bake

 

Looking to lighten up your burrito bowl craving? Try this Taco Grain Bowl with Crispy Chipotle Chickpeas.

Taco Grain Bowl With Crispy Chipotle Chickpeas

 

Save on your takeout budget with this homemade Chickpea and Potato Masala that’s just $1.72 per serving.

Chana Aloo Masala (Chickpea and Potato Masala)

 

These Sugar Snap Pea and Carrot Soba Noodles are vegetarian but also protein-packed.

Sugar Snap Pea and Carrot Soba Noodles

Sugar Snap Pea and Carrot Soba Noodles

 

Whip up Enchilada Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms for an easy dinner that’s ready in just 25 minutes.

Enchilada Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Image and Recipe via Sweet Peas and Saffron

Bullying Prevention Month

Bullying Prevention Month

It’s Bullying Prevention Month, and it’s important to understand bullying, especially in the age of technology

Bullying is unwanted, repeated aggressive behavior, and it can be direct, happening in person, or indirect, like spreading rumors. It can also be physical, verbal, harming reputations or relationships, or damaging property.

What Is Bullying?

 

Bullying can happen in many locations, and sometimes that place is online or through phones. This cyberbullying can include social media and is usually verbal attacks or spreading rumors online.

The Reach of Cyberbullying

 

Bullying can affect any kids, but certain factors can increase the odds, like low self-esteem or traits that are perceived as different by their peers. Knowing these factors can help you prepare with your kids for possible bullying.

Most bullying takes place in middle school. Educating your kids about bullying can help them cope with being bullied and help prevent them from becoming bullied.

Coping with Bullying

 

Some kids are at risk of both being bullied and bullying, often taking it out on those younger or worse off than them. These youth are at the greatest risk for future behavioral, mental, and academic problems.

Youth Both Bullied and Bullies

 

Persistent bullying that leads to isolation can lead to suicidal behavior, but these kids also frequently have multiple risk factors, like anxiety. Knowing these problems can help you support and guide your children if bullying becomes a factor in the future.

The Risk of Suicide and Bullying

 

Bullying prevention isn’t simple, but when the community comes together to build support and respect, the results are better than strategies like zero tolerance.

Community and Bullying Prevention

Corn Month

Corn Month

It’s Corn Month, so make the most of the veggie with these healthy corn recipes.

First up is a simple and refreshing side that’s especially good with Mexican food, Fresh Cilantro Corn Salad.

Fresh Cilantro Corn Salad

 

This veggie-packed Southwest Chicken Skillet is the perfect, easy weeknight meal for the family.

Southwest Chicken Skillet
Image and Recipe via Barefeet in the Kitchen

 

This light Zucchini Corn Salad is the perfect fall replacement for heavy potluck sides.

Zucchini Corn Salad

 

Fish has never been easier with these refreshing Honey Lime Tilapia and Corn Foil Packs.

Honey Lime Tilapia and Corn Foil Packs
Image and Recipe via Delish

 

Substitute this delicious Basil Pesto & Roasted Corn Rice for your standard rice pilaf.

Basil Pesto & Roasted Corn Rice

 

Make the most of sweet corn with this tasty Fresh Sweet Corn Salad.

Fresh Sweet Corn Salad
Image and Recipe via Eating Well

 

Get your last taste of summer in with these Chicken, Tomatoes, and Corn Foil Packs.

Chicken, Tomatoes, and Corn Foil Packs
Image and Recipe via Delish

Contact Lens Safety Month

Contact Lens Safety Month

It’s Contact Lens Safety Month, and we’ll have tips to help protect your eyes each day this week.

Always make sure you get contact lens prescriptions from an eye doctor and get instructions on lens care when you first get contacts.

Lenses from Your Doctor

 

Don’t reuse contact lens solution. It loses its ability to disinfect them, so use fresh solution each time you take your lenses out.

Fresh Contact Solution

 

Don’t use saline solution for cleaning your lenses. Saline solution is best for rewetting your contacts, but it won’t clean or disinfect them.

When to Use Saline Solution

 

Never re-wet your contacts with saliva. Your mouth is not sterile, and it can easily cause eye infections.

Rewetting Your Contacts

 

If your contacts are bothering you, don’t ignore it. Irritation can be a sign of infections or other problems, so take them out as soon as possible.

Eye Irritation and Contacts

 

Take out your contacts before you shower or swim. Your lenses can trap bacteria from water against your eyes and cause serious infections.

Water and Your Contact Lenses

 

Unless your contacts are specifically designed to wear through the night, never sleep in your contacts. Your lenses can trap bacteria in your eyes, and it’s good to have oxygen flow.

Your Contacts and Sleeping

Recognizing Postpartum Depression

Dealing with Postpartum Depression

Giving birth can cause a number of powerful emotions, especially as your hormones change. While you’re experiencing overwhelming joy, you may also feel anxiety or fear. These rapid changes can trigger postpartum depression for many women.

Baby Blues

Many new moms experience something called the baby blues after giving birth. This usually starts in the first few days after delivery and can last up to 2 weeks. Signs of these blues include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Mood swings
  • Trouble sleeping or concentrating
  • Issues with appetite

But some new moms experience a more severe period of depression called postpartum depression.

What Is Postpartum Depression?

1 in 7 women will struggle with postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a serious depression disorder that affects women after childbirth or miscarriage. This depression can then make it difficult to recover from childbirth and care for and bond with a newborn.

This is a complication from giving birth, not a character flaw or weakness. While there are many risk factors for developing it, there are some causes that might be to blame.

Doctors believe that one of the causes of postpartum depression is the radical drop in your estrogen and progesterone levels that can trigger emotional responses.

Other causes include sleep deprivation and the load of emotional situations layered on top of one another. These issues might include:

  • Dealing with complications from childbirth
  • Feeling less attractive
  • Struggling with your sense of identity
  • Concerns about being a new parent

Symptoms typically begin a few weeks after childbirth, although they can also appear later. For many, these feelings are most intense at the beginning and ease over time. Postpartum depression can last up to 6 months after giving birth.

Risk Factors

Any new mom can experience postpartum depression, but your risk might be higher if you have:

  • Trouble breastfeeding
  • Multiple births, like twins
  • A newborn with health problems or special needs
  • A personal or family history of depression or other mood disorders
  • Experienced depression after previous pregnancies
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Had stress over the last year, like pregnancy complications, illness, or major negative life changes
  • Issues in your relationship with your significant other, support system, or finances
  • Doubts about the pregnancy because it was unplanned or unwanted

Knowing these risk factors can help you recognize your risk before giving birth. Then you can plan ahead with your doctor.

Prevention When You Know You’re at Risk

If you have a history of depression or postpartum depression, tell your doctor about it once you find out you’re pregnant.

During pregnancy, your doctor can keep an eye on any signs of depression. They may also have you take depression screenings before and after delivery. They might recommend support groups or counseling, or even antidepressants in some cases.

After your baby’s born, they might also recommend a postpartum checkup to check for depression. The earlier they find it, the earlier they can start treatment.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs that you might be struggling with postpartum depression include:

  • Trouble bonding or caring for your newborn
  • Fear that you’re not a good mother
  • Feelings of sadness, sometimes overwhelming, and crying excessively
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Anger and irritability
  • Severe or sudden mood swings
  • Feelings of hopelessness, restlessness, worthlessness, shame, guilt, or worry that you’re not good enough
  • Cutting yourself off from loved ones
  • Changes in appetite
  • Fatigue, loss of energy, and trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of interest in things you once loved
  • Trouble thinking clearly, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Dwelling on thoughts of death or suicide

Complications

If left untreated, postpartum depression can cause long-term issues in your family. It can last for months and sometimes become a chronic depression issue.

It can also interfere with your ability to bond with your baby, which can impact them in the future. Children of mothers who suffered from untreated postpartum depression have more emotional and behavioral problems. They’re more likely to:

  • Cry excessively
  • Have development issues, especially delays in language skills
  • Have trouble sleeping

Treatment

Many people feel guilty or embarrassed that they’re depressed after giving birth, which can make it hard to admit they’re struggling. But it’s time to see the doctor if your symptoms:

  • Don’t fade after 2 weeks
  • Get worse
  • Make it hard to care for your baby or complete normal tasks
  • Include thoughts of self-harm

Your doctor will talk to you about your symptoms, rule out other issues, and might ask for you to take a screening or questionnaire to learn more.

From there, they’ll help you decide on the best treatment depending on how serious it is and your medical history. Common types of treatment include:

  • Therapy where you talk with a mental health professional in a safe environment
  • Support groups for new mothers
  • Medication, like antidepressants
  • Healthy lifestyle choices, like getting plenty of sleep and water, a healthy diet, and regular exercise

If you have suicidal thoughts or think about harming your baby, it’s important to talk to your loved ones and get help from your doctor as soon as possible.

If you need help immediately, call a suicide hotline, like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Postpartum Depression in Fathers

New dads can also have postpartum depression, making them feel sad, fatigued, overwhelmed, or filled with anxiety.

Young fathers with a history of depression, relationship problems, or financial issues are the most at risk. It’s also more likely if the mother is also struggling with depression.

Left untreated, it can have the same negative effects on relationships and child development that a mother’s postpartum depression can.

If you’re a new father dealing with symptoms of depression or anxiety during your partner’s pregnancy or after your child’s birth, talk to your doctor. Similar treatments are available to help you.

Postpartum Psychosis

In extremely rare cases, mothers can also experience postpartum psychosis. This condition is more severe and dangerous. Symptoms usually develop within the first week after delivery and include:

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Hallucinations, delusions, or paranoia
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Agitation and obsessive thoughts about your baby
  • Attempts to harm yourself or your baby

Postpartum psychosis is very serious and can lead to life-threatening thoughts and actions. It needs immediate attention and treatment. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience or see signs of it.

Helping a Loved One

People with depression may not see the signs in themselves or may struggle to acknowledge they’re depressed at a moment usually portrayed as nothing but joyous. If you suspect that a loved one is struggling with postpartum depression or is developing postpartum psychosis, talk to them and their support system about getting help immediately.

Waiting and hoping for improvement is dangerous. Talking about postpartum depression as a normal part of pregnancy for many women helps them feel better about their struggles with it.

As this issue is talked about more in the public, more women will recognize the signs and feel comfortable talking about it and dealing with it.