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Educational health information to improve your well-being.

Couple at the airport wearing masks

Traveling during the COVID-19 Pandemic

November 3, 2020

As the fall and winter holidays approach, families begin to plan traditional gatherings to celebrate. Most of these celebrations involve travel of some family members. Thanksgiving is the often the busiest travel weekend of the year. This year, though, is the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it's impacted travel and holiday plans. Planning is more complex and includes additional safety considerations. Here are some facts and tips to incorporate into your holiday travel plans. First, a fact to remember: Staying home is the very best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. You can... Continue Reading

Man with diabetes checking his blood sugar

Complications from Diabetes and COVID-19

October 26, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the United States, more research has been published regarding devastating outcomes for diabetic patients who get the disease. As of October 26, 2020, there have been 6,710 reported cases of COVID-19 in our local Central Shenandoah Health District, which includes Waynesboro, Harrisonburg, and Staunton. Information on how many of those cases were in diabetic patients is not currently available. What is COVID-19? COVID-19 is an infectious respiratory illness caused by a new strain of coronavirus. It spreads from person-to-person through droplets of... Continue Reading

Woman at her kitchen table looking at a tablet

Working to prevent breast cancer in high risk patients at Augusta Health

October 23, 2020

Perhaps the best way to treat or cure breast cancer is to prevent it from occurring at all. Called a "preventive oncology strategy", breast cancer prevention is the goal of the High Risk Program at Augusta Health's Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. For those at high risk of developing breast cancer, the program provides a framework to reduce that risk and prevent cancer from occurring. "Through our community genetic screening program, and with referrals from radiologists who identified patients through mammograms, we realized we'd discovered a fairly sizeable pool of people who were at... Continue Reading

Mother putting a fabric mask on her daughter

Halloween Safety: How to celebrate the holiday that has always had masks!

October 21, 2020

As summer fades into fall, the leaves change, the weather cools and we begin a season with many traditional holidays. One of the first of these is Halloween. Each community will probably determine its own official Halloween activities, but it's important to remember that many traditional Halloween activities could present a high-risk for spreading the virus. So the first consideration is: If you or anyone in your family is suspected of having COVID-19 or if you have been exposed to COVID-19, you should not participate in any Halloween activities—including passing out treats to trick-or-... Continue Reading

Provider listening to a child's chest

COVID-19 & Seasonal Flu: What are the Similarities and Differences?

October 6, 2020

As the flu season begins and the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the community faces the possibility of a 'twindemic'. Both are respiratory illnesses that are contagious, but because they are caused by different viruses, it is possible to have both at the same time. They share some symptoms, so telling them apart based on symptoms alone is difficult. Testing might be required to confirm a diagnosis. COVID-19 is still very new, and researchers learn more about it every week. According to the CDC, this is the best information available to compare flu and COVID-19: What are the symptoms? The... Continue Reading

Staff members wearing masks and socially distancing in the atrium

Need Healthcare During the Pandemic? Your Safe-Space is Here.

September 30, 2020

A global pandemic causes changes in behavior: Concerns for health and safety give people pause when deciding to leave their homes to go places that will have many people. Especially if there are additional concerns that some of those people will actually be sick with COVID-19. But the need for regular, routine healthcare—especially for those managing chronic conditions who might be at greater risk for complications from COVID-19—does not change. So Augusta Health is taking extraordinary measures to be sure that its facilities are the safe space for all who need healthcare. It all starts with... Continue Reading

Older woman touching her temples while looking into a mirror

FAST is important, but now it’s important to BE FAST

September 24, 2020

When it comes to recognizing and treating Stroke, FAST has always been important. For years, health educators and stroke experts have used the acronym FAST (Face-Arms-Speech-Time) to help people identify stroke symptoms and those having a stroke. Recently, though, the acronym has been tweaked to BE FAST. B alance loss and E yesight are the two additional symptoms that have been added to acronym. And it's not just change for changes sake: there's much research behind the addition. "Research studies were done, retrospectively, on patients who had experienced a stroke," says Amy Markham, MSN, RN... Continue Reading

Best friends wearing masks and chatting

Risk of suicide and the COVID-19 pandemic

September 22, 2020

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many have been overwhelmed and experienced feelings of anxiety, fear, loneliness and sadness. People feel stress related to the disease and stress related to the economic impact of the pandemic. The pandemic has progressed at a time that suicide rates were already rising in the United States. According to an article published in JAMA Psychiatry in April, 2020, the data for 2018 show the highest age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States since 1941. Local data also reveals a concern about suicide. The 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment coordinated by... Continue Reading

Staff wearing masks while working together at a computer

Why do you need to wear a mask?

September 15, 2020

Because they work to slow the transmission of COVID-19. Perhaps because the first advice was that it wasn't necessary to wear a mask. Perhaps because, culturally, Americans don't generally wear masks at other times, such as flu season. Perhaps because some just don't understand the benefit. Regardless of the reason, many people around the country and around our community do not wear masks, or face coverings, when they should. The question many have is, "Why do I need to wear a mask?" The Infection Prevention staff at Augusta Health is happy to provide answers. "I think there may have been... Continue Reading

Senior couple playing jenga

An inside look at how the body ages (and how to slow the process!)

September 10, 2020

When we think of aging, changes in appearance are usually the first thing that comes to mind. Beyond wrinkles and graying hair, the entire body goes through remarkable evolutions as we get older. While modern culture inundates us with anti-aging products and strategies for remaining youthful, aging doesn’t have to be a negative experience. Let’s take a look at how the body ages and what you can do to slow the process! The Inner Workings of Aging Aging is a result of certain biological changes within the body. These biological changes can be categorized into nine processes: Telomere shortening... Continue Reading