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August 2008: Well, it IS Summer

             We’re in it now.  The deep muggy days of summer!  Sometimes it feels like you just can’t breathe in enough oxygen.  Why is that?  Well, listen to the weather channels and stations and you’ll hear or see that the ozone layer may cause problems for people – even those of us who are relatively healthy – in terms of breathing.  It just seems even tougher for some of us to get a good breath when it’s also very humid.  Be careful out there!  Stay in air conditioned environments if possible on days when air quality is in question.

            In August 2008, we celebrate community health centers (10-16 August).  It’s a tribute to those health care workers who assist us in our communities.  Take time to thank these people if you or your family members utilize their services.  Many times, these are the first stop for us or even the only viable option if they will assist us or our loved ones when we are uninsured.

            During the summer, we tend to wear sunglasses because we are outdoors much more.  Doing that, plus not smoking, will help keep us from developing cataracts.  For some, cataracts are going to develop with aging because of genetics and heredity.  But for many, there is a good chance you can prevent their development by taking good care of your eyes.

            In recent years, a lot of news about immunizations may have made some parents reluctant to obtain the full immunization panel at appropriate ages for their children.  This can prevent your children from attending school.  But more important than a fear of autism or other unproven links to immunizations is ensuring we keep childhood diseases from returning.  For instance, last month, measles outbreaks recurred after perhaps decades of no incidents because parents have not been getting their children immunized.  For those of us born before the 1970s, many of us had these childhood diseases (measles, mumps, chicken pox, “German measles” or rubella, whooping cough, etc.).  None of them are a walk in the park!  Some might cause permanent conditions or even death in rare cases. 

            And so, while we enjoy the summer season, let’s encourage more information gathering about immunizations and research and ensure we take care of one another so that no one passes on a deadly disease unnecessarily.

            Finally, here is to mothers everywhere who breastfeed their newborns:  August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week sponsored by the La Leche League International.

            Let’s be healthy out there!