Local News Since 1890 Now Online!

Posts Tagged ‘water’

Water: Here’s to your health.

In Education, Health, Opinion, psychology, Religion, Science, Senior Lifestyle, Uncategorized on February 9, 2015 at 1:37 pm

DIH LOGOHi, I’m Gery and I’m a recovering soda-holic (or “pop”-aholic if you prefer). There was a time when I would drink a 12-pack of soda (generally Cherry Coke) within a couple of days. I was an addict – sugar and caffeine were my drugs of choice.

Since I come from a family with a propensity for diabetes, I’d have to guess that drinking that much soda would only push me closer to the Insulin fan club. But all of that changed for me when I was helping to care for my mother and discovered, first hand, the health-promoting properties of water.

My mother, Lois, had already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia when she broke her hip and entered a local nursing home for physical therapy. During her stay, her dementia symptoms seemed to worsen more quickly than anticipated.

Soon she more anxious and unresponsive and always seemed to be suffering from some kind of urinary infection. Most of these issues were waved away by the staff as “normal” for a medicated, bed and wheelchair-bound senior with Alzheimer’s disease. Not in my book it wasn’t.

I paid closer attention to her daily care and noticed that she rarely drank anything. Once in a while a staffer would fill a plastic hospital-style pitcher with water and place it on the night table. But that was all; they just sat it down and left.

By this time dementia had diminished Mom’s awareness of hunger or thirst and even if she had wanted a drink she wouldn’t have been able to get it herself. Unless I, or another family member, poured it for her, the water usually sat there, untouched.

Gery and his family used the green tumbler in the photo to measure the amount of water Lois Deer received. It was filled twice per day - apx 0.5 gallons total.

Gery and his family used the green tumbler in the photo to measure the amount of water Lois Deer received. It was filled twice per day – apx 0.5 gallons total. (Photo Copyright 2015 GLD Enterprises Communications.)

She seemed to get worse so we decided to take her home and care for her ourselves. First on the agenda was to increase her water intake to around a half-gallon a day. That may not sound like much but, since water makes up approximately 60-percent of a person’s body weight, at 78 pounds the volume was significant.

Mom was given water regularly throughout the day and at meal time. With proper hydration and more consistent, personalized care, her physical and mental health improved more than I can adequately express.

Alzheimer’s disease continued its rampage, but we cared for her full time until her death in 2011. Still, I am convinced that better hydration increased her quality of life over those last two years in ways no medication could have achieved.

I’ve also since learned we had been right about the relationship between her behavioral deterioration and dehydration. In seniors, dehydration can lead to serious health problems, such as constant urinary tract infections, skin deterioration, and even present symptoms such as confusion and behavioral changes, much like classic dementia.

Many seniors resist drinking water, but I couldn’t tell you why except there may be a generational component perhaps related to quality. My parents, for example, grew up in the Appalachian foothills of southern Ohio where most of the drinking water came from creeks and shallow wells where the water probably wasn’t too palatable.

While I was caring for Mom I nearly eliminated soda from my diet and quadrupled the amount of water. It was an acquired taste, to be sure, but now my glucose levels are much lower and I genuinely “feel” better. It may not seem like much but I consider this achievement significant, particularly since it was pretty much the only major change I’ve made.

I still have a Coke a couple of times a week (which I rarely seem to finish) but I’m convinced that more water has made all the difference in improving my overall health. Hopefully by starting now, I won’t be so hard to convince at age 70 when any level of dehydration could cause more serious problems.

As for how much you should drink, the typical recommendation for adults is 8 glasses of “fluid” each day. But there really is no precise amount. You’ll have to judge for yourself based on the needs of your own body. Either way, you’ll feel better.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is provided by GLD Enterprises Communications. More at gerydeer.com.

Advertisements

Rise in Near-Drowning Incidents Remind Ohioans of the Need for Water Safety

In Children and Family, Education, Health, Local News, World News on July 1, 2013 at 11:33 am
Prevent near drowning injuries with proper safety. (Photo courtesy Ohio.com)

Prevent near drowning injuries with proper safety. (Photo courtesy Ohio.com)

XENIA, OH—A recent analysis of the number of children treated in emergency departments for near drowning incidents has officials at the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Greene County Combined Health District emphasizing the need for safe water practices.

ODH tracks near-drowning incidents, which are reported to the state agency by emergency department personnel on a daily basis. The emergency department data show a clear seasonal trend in near drowning incidents from the months of May-August. Children and youth are at an increased risk for drowning during these summer months. Parents should  closely monitor their children’s play during water activities.

ODH also monitors death certificates to ascertain the number of drowning deaths. In 2012 in Ohio, 29 children and 69 adults died from drowning, according to preliminary ODH death certificate data. According to the Greene County Coroner’s office, there have been only 2 drowning deaths in Greene County in the last 5 years, one in 2008 and one in 2009.

While children can drown in water anywhere, young children (aged 1 to 9) are at greater risk of
drowning in swimming pools while older youth (aged 10 to 19) are at greater risk of drowning in
natural bodies of water and is the second leading cause of death in children aged 0-4 according to the CDC.

“Swimming and water-related activities are a great way to stay fit. There are risks, however, such as water-related illness, sunburn and the risk of drowning,” says Melissa Howell, Health Commissioner for the Greene County Combined Health District.

Here are some important water safety tips:

Fence it off. Install a four–sided isolation fence, with self–closing and self–latching gates, around backyard swimming pools. This can help keep children away from the area when a parent cannot supervise them. Pool fences should  completely separate the house and play area from the pool. If children can gain access to pools through the house or poorly-latched gates, they are at risk of drowning. Door alarms, pool alarms and automatic pool covers can add an extra layer of protection when used properly, but should not replace a fence and good supervision.

Never swim alone. Always have a buddy with you when you swim. It is also good to have a watch buddy as well in the event someone needs to contact emergency personnel.

Be on the lookout. Supervise young children at all times around bathtubs, swimming pools, ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water. Partner with other parents to take turns watching children at swimming pools. While parents often believe they will hear splashing or shouting, drowning is often silent and occurs quickly.

Begin teaching children to swim early. Experts suggest starting swimming lessons after age 4. Local YMCAs offer swimming lessons for children as young as 6 months (with a parent) to adults. Also, please note that water safety programs for infants and young children are not a substitute for good supervision.

Make life jackets a “must.” Make sure all kids wear life jackets (also known as personal flotation devices or PFDs) in and around natural bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers and ponds, even if they know how to swim. Ohio law requires children under the age of 10 to wear a PFD at all times on boats under 18 feet long, however older children will be safest when they wear PFDs too.

The PFD must be:

• U.S. Coast Guard approved Type I, II, III, or V
• In good and serviceable condition
• Of appropriate size
• Securely attached.

Learn CPR. Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and get re-certified every two years. Immediate CPR can help a child stay alive and reduce the chance of brain damage.

Install drain covers and safety releases. To avoid drain entanglement and entrapment in pools and spas, install anti-entrapment drain covers and safety vacuum release systems.
For more information on water safety and other safe and healthy summer practices, please visit: www.odh.ohio.gov. For more information about the Greene County Combined Health District, please visit www.gcchd.org.