English English
Weather Related Closings Call To Book Appointment

News

Hello Summer Sand

6 COVID Safe Familiy Activities for the Summer!

COVID-19 has put a halt on mostly everyone’s summer plans. Families are not taking their previously planned vacations because of financial strain, travel restrictions and most importantly wanting to keep everyone safe. This doesn’t mean that you have to let COVID stop the fun you and your children can have together. Here a few out ideas on things you can to not only to keep your children occupied, but to build positive happy memories in a time where a lot of people are anxious and worried about the “new normal.”

 

Scavenger Hunt Hike

Scavenger hunts are fun, easy and FREE! Depending on the day & time, local hiking trails can be empty and a fun place to have your kids let out some energy. Make it fun by coming up with a list of nature related finds they can search for along the trail and offering a small prize once they’re done.

backyardcamping

 

Stay at Home Camping

You don’t have to go far to go camping with your family this summer. Local CT campgrounds may be open depending on current COVID-19 status, however if that’s not your thing stay at home and camp! If you have a backyard you can set up a tent and spend the night out with your family. Brand new tents can be cheaper than bringing a family of 4 to the movies on the weekends! You can have a night of fun right in your own backyard using blankets from your house, games, flashlights and anything else you can find.

 

Science Fun

If your kids enjoy science the CT Science Center has uploaded “Science at Home” activities on their website to keep your young STEM geniuses busy. From Movie Mondays to Virtual Field Trips, they have it all. To check out all of the options, visit the CT Science Center Website!

 

Geocaching

What is geocaching? It’s an outdoor real-world treasure hunt. Participants have to download an app on their smart phones & register for a free account. After this, you and your kids can follow GPS coordinates that others leave to find hidden treasure. There are rules to geocaching, so make sure to do your research before taking any of the hidden items. Children should be supervised at all times when geocaching. For more detailed information about Geocaching, check out this article from REI Co-op.

 popsicles

Make Homemade Popsicles

Popsicle molds are easy to find in the store this time of year! You can buy your favorite fresh fruit, blend it with unsweetened coconut milk or vanilla yogurt & fill the mold to have healthy fresh fruit popsicles. Your kids will have a healthier snack option and they can be proud that they made them!

 

Tie Dye Shirts

Tie-dye kits are also fun right now. They come with everything you need to create tie-dye masterpieces, the only thing additional you’d need to purchase is the items you want to tie-dye. You can get creative and tie dye t-shirts, headbands, pillowcases, shorts, etc. You can purchase tie-dye kits at most stores includeing JoAnne Fabrics and Amazon.com.

Any way you choose to spend time with your family this summer is great! Get creative! COVID-19 has been difficult for everyone to navigate, but it does not have to stop you and your family from spending quality time together. Your children are going to remember the time you spent being creative, doing things together. Enjoy!

 

Janet Peterson, LCSW

Behavioral Health Clinician/Manager

StayWell Health Center

 

emergency sign

Avoiding Unnecessary Doctors' Visits

Summer is a great time to get outside and be more active, but it’s also when doctors offices and emergency rooms see an increase in patient visits for bug bites, sunburns, and other illnesses. Here’s a few of the common issues that could have you spending time at the Doctors Office instead of enjoying your summer.

 

Bug & Tick Bitestick

Spending time outside means more exposure to ticks, mosquitos, spiders and other bugs. Wearing bug spray and lighting citronella candles while outside can reduce the risk of getting bit and keep those irritating bugs out of your hair! After coming inside from outdoor activities, you should check yourself and your children for any ticks or bug bites that don’t look normal. Some tick and spider bites could turn into a severe reaction so it is important to watch bites closely for a few days and call a doctor if you have any concerns. Keeping a picture of the progression of a bite can help doctors determine what type of bite it is and how quickly it changed. Ticks can also come into your home on pets, so make sure that you are protecting your pets too! To learn more about how to prevent bug and tick bites, check out this article!

 

Heat Related Illnesses

During the summer months it is very easy to get distracted and forget to stay hydrated, or more commonly, think that you are drinking enough when you aren’t. Heat Stroke and heat exhaustion are common during the summer months, especially when temperatures spike. Knowing the warning signs and who might be at a high risk is important. So who is at risk? While everyone is at risk, older adults, people who struggle with obesity and/or have underlying health conditions have a higher risk than most for dehydration and heat stroke. Learn how to recognize the warning signs and how to handle them if you or someone else is experiencing them!

 

Swimmer’s Earkidswimming

Swimmer’s ear is an infection caused when water gets lodged in the ear canal and creates bacteria that forms an infection. These types of infections typically occur during the summer when people are spending more time in the water to keep cool. Swimmer’s ear can affect people of all ages but is especially common in children. Symptoms of Swimmer’s Ear include itchiness, redness and swilling of the ear, pain, and pus draining from the ear. For more information about Swimmer’s ear and how to prevent it, check out these CDC Facts. If you are concerned that your child has swimmer’s ear, call the StayWell Health Center Pediatric Department at 1-203-756-8021 Ext. 3808.

 

Poison Ivy, Oak, & Sumac

As you spend more time outside when it is warmer, you run a higher risk of coming into contact with Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac while hiking, biking, or working in your yard. Coming into contact with these plants often results in a red, itchy, uncomfortable rash. In some cases, this may be severe enough to require medical attention by a doctor. To learn more about identifying these types of plants, and how to treat an allergic reaction, click here!

 

Sunburn

During the summer months the sun is stronger which increases your risk for getting a sunburn. Wearing 30 spf sunscreen and reducing your exposure to sun during the prime hours of the day can lower your risk of getting a sunburn. To learn more about sunburns and how to prevent them, check out information provided by the Skin Cancer Foundation.

 

If you are experiencing any of the issues above, you should speak with a medical professional immidiately. Call 1-203-756-8021 to speak with one of our providers at StayWell Health Center. If you believe that treatment can not wait, please go to your nearest walk-in clinic or emergency room.

 

Allison Hall

Marketing & Communications Manager

StayWell Health Center

flower

The Importance of Self-Care

In our busy society, the idea of slowing down to focus on Self-Care is often an unfamiliar concept for many. Over the years of working with patients, I have helped patients implement self-care practices as part of their journey toward wellness.

Below are some tips that can be part of a good self-care plan.

healthy food

Healthy Eating

It is not always easy to go for healthier food choices, in our busy daily life. As I suggest to patients that I work with, implement one healthy choice that you can with meals, focus on small gains. For more on benefits of healthy eating, check out this article in Medical News Today.

Sleep

Getting enough rest is important to self-care. Yes, easier said than done sometimes right? However, your body needs time to recuperate as well as your mind. Good sleep can improve your physical health and your mental health. Health.com has a great article on the benefits of sleep. 

Keeping your body moving

Exercise is one way that I have heard from patients is important to their self-care. Whether it is taking a walk, hike, working out, or simply moving your body for a few minutes a day. These activities can increase physical health and help prevent anxiety and depression. 

Waterclean clear cold drink 416528

Keeping hydrated is essential for you body and health. Water helps keep your organs functioning normally, helping you feel healthier. To learn exactly how your health is improved by drinking water, check out this article from everydayhealth.com.

Have Fun!

When was the last time you did something fun? I hear often; “I haven’t done some of the activities I used to enjoy anymore.” Part of self-care is being able to de-stress by doing what you enjoy such as a hobby or recreational activities (being outdoors, etc.). Make some time to get back to doing something that you enjoy and find fun!

If you liked the information in this article, keep tabs on the StayWell Health Center Blog as we will have more self-care tips to come! The StayWell Behavioral Health Department can be contacted at 203-756-8021, option 5.

 

Janet Peterson, LCSW

Behavioral Health Clinician/Manager

StayWell Health Center

kid eating watermelon

Pediatric Nutrition with Dr. Jody Navitsky M.D.

As we live our modern lives that tend to be sedentary and fast paced, our childrens nutrition has suffered.  We used to make meals with our family three times a day as a routine.  Now we often reach for what is quick and tasty, satisfying our hunger while compromising our own nutrition.   Our children as a result have been gaining weight.  Early onset Type 2 Diabetes, Fatty Liver Disease, Hypertension and other obesity complications are now commonplace, and unfortunately, lower the life expectancy of our kids by many years.  

 

As a pediatrician, I counsel families on a daily basis to go back to the meal sharing and preparing they were raised on.  I have a few basic recommendations, that when followed, can greatly improve pediatric nutrition and allow children to grow healthy and strong while avoiding too much weight gain.

vegetablesI encourage families to prepare meals in their head first then plan and cook them. Try to plan some weekly meals the kids like and the rest based on what you have available to you.  Include vegetables into every meal.  We all should be taking between 5 to 9 servings of fruits and veggies a day.  This single habit can improve your nutrition greatly.  When kids refuse the veggies you have included in the meals don’t worry or force them to eat them, just model eating them yourselves and sooner or later they will come around.  Hidden veggies sautéed and pureed also count as veggies and often can be cooked into meals without the kids noticing. 

You do not need to cook every meal for your kids based on what they want, please do not even ask what they want for dinner.   If they refuse your food that you have chosen to cook its ok to let them go to bed hungry.  Ultimately, when they are hungry enough they will choose to eat what they are given.   Human kids have not ever been known to starve themselves on purpose.  Hunger will always win if food is available.

Try to make most snacks whole fruits, this will help to get in the 5-9 servings a day.  Frozen fruits are just as nutritious as fresh, canned not so much as they are usually prepared into a juice liquid.  Fruit snacks are not real fruit.

Avoid all sugary beverages; this includes fruit juice or other juices.  Try to serve only water and 3 milk servings in a cup daily for liquid needs.  Do not add sugar to the milk in the form of syrup or powder. 

We all know the foods that are not healthy for us, try to leave these at the store rather than taking them home.   Kids don’t need access to snack foods all day, if there are no chips to snack on they will find something else with more nutrition for a snack.

Try to avoid fast foods that have drive through attached.  There are many chemical additives to these foods that are not healthy for us or for our kids.  Read the ingredients to your favorites on the web, if you come across something you can’t pronounce it is a sign your body has no need for it.

When you talk about nutrition with your kids focus on making their bodies grow strong and healthy rather than commenting on their weight specifically.   

I hope you have enjoyed these nutritional tips and can work on trying some out at your home this summer!

 

Dr. Jody Navitsky M.D.

Pediatrician

StayWell Health Center

Contact Us

Phone Number: 203-756-8021
Fax Number: 203-465-5222

Email addresses:
publicrelations@staywellhealth.org
staywellhr@staywellhealth.org

Staywell Health Care,Inc

This health center is a Health Center Program grantee under 42 U.S.C. 254b and a deemed Public Health Service employee under 42 U.S.C. 233(g)-(n)