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April is National Immunization Month

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April is National Immunization Month

Vaccines are very effective in preventing infections such as influenza, pneumonia, and hepatitis. The majority of Americans who die every year from vaccine-preventable diseases are adults.

Although children receive the majority of the vaccinations, adults also need to stay up-to- date on certain vaccinations including tetanus and diphtheria. In addition, those adults who have never had chicken pox or measles during childhood should consider being vaccinated. Childhood illnesses such as mumps, measles, and chickenpox can cause serious complications in adults.

Immunizations reduce the number of deaths and disability from infections such whooping cough, also known as pertussis. Unvaccinated people put others, including infants at risk of exposure and developing serious complications.

Immunizations are also an important part of healthcare for older adults, 65 years of age or older. You may be at increased risk for serious illness resulting from certain common infections, such as pneumonia. An annual flu shot is also recommended and especially important because the flu can cause major complications, hospitalization, and death. The best time for getting your flu shot is in September through mid-November, due to the flu season lasting as long as April of the following year.

The workplace offers many opportunities for co-workers to interact.  More interaction between co- workers in close contact increases the risk for illness. If you are feeling sick, stay home. Preventing illness in the work place can support healthy and steady workplace operations.

Which Vaccines Are Recommended?

  • Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) 1 dose every 10 years
  • Influenza (Flu) 1 dose every year prior to Flu Season
  • Pneumococcal (Pneumonia) 1 dose if unvaccinated or have chronic conditions such as asthma or other respiratory illness, liver disease, heart disease, diabetes or if you are a cigarette smoker.
  • Hepatitis B 3 doses on a 0, 1, and 6 month schedule to protect you from contracting the virus.



Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 April 2016 18:10

Starting Your Physical Activity Progrm

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Starting Your Physical Activity Program

Submitted by: Zac Townsend, MS

            One of the best New Year’s Resolutions you can set for yourself is starting a physical activity program. Regular physical activity has many health benefits and can lower the risk for several chronic health conditions such as Type II Diabetes, Hypertension, Heart Disease, and Stroke.


When starting your physical activity program, the first thing you should do is set a goal for yourself. This goal should be SMART:

1.Specific- Your goal should be clear and easy to understand. A common goal, “get healthy,” is too general. How do you want to do it? Is it losing weight? Start exercising?

2. Measurable- A goal to “lose weight” is not enough. Making your goal measurable means adding a number.

3. Attainable- Before you can add a number, you have to know how high or low you want to go. Don’t be too extreme or too easy. Research suggests that a 5-10% weight loss is attainable for most overweight people.

4. Relevant- Set goals that are important to where you are in your life right now. Don’t set a goal that someone else is pressuring you to attain-that isn’t very motivating.

5. Time-bound- Include an end-point. Knowing that you have a deadline motivates you to get started. Since healthy weight loss is about 1-2 pounds per week, set your deadline accordingly.”


After establishing your goal, you can now begin to plan your exercise schedule. The American College of Sports Medicine recommendations for exercise are as follows:

Cardiorespiratory Exercise (walking, jogging, bike riding, rowing, elliptical, treadmill):

Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. This can be accomplished by 30 minutes 5 days a week. If you do not have 30 minutes all at one time, your exercise can be broken up into shorter 10 minute sessions, 3 times a day. 

Resistance Exercise (free weights/machines, body weight exercises, resistance bands):

“Adults should train each major muscle group two or three days each week using a variety of exercises and equipment. Two to four sets of each exercise will help adults improve strength and power. For each exercise, 8-12 repetitions improve strength and power, 10-15 repetitions improve strength in middle-age and older persons starting exercise, and 15-20 repetitions improve muscular endurance. Adults should wait at least 48 hours between resistance training sessions.”

Flexibility Exercise (stretches):

“Adults should do flexibility exercises at least two or three days each week to improve range of motion.

Each stretch should be held for 10-30 seconds to the point of tightness or slight discomfort. Repeat each stretch two to four times, accumulating 60 seconds per stretch. Flexibility exercise is most effective when the muscle is warm. Try light aerobic activity or a hot bath to warm the muscles before stretching.”



            A few tips to help you stick with your program: use a workout tracker/journal, sign up for 5k/walk events (bring along a friend!), reward yourself for meeting goals along the way, use an activity tracker /step counter, try a new exercise class, and choose an activity that you enjoy! 


American Diabetes Month 2015

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The American Diabetes Association highlights November of each year for diabetes awareness and the theme for American Diabetes Month®2015 is “Eat Well, America”.  Eating well is one of life’s greatest pleasures and enjoying delicious, healthy food helps with diabetes management.  Everyone deserves to enjoy food that makes them feel happy, strong and empowered.  In fact part of the Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes is to maintain the pleasure of eating by providing positive messages about food choices while limiting food choices only when indicated by scientific evidence.  This gets overlooked.  Too often people make eating about what not to eat instead of how to eat healthy.  Healthy eating for diabetes should include a balance of foods with carbohydrate, protein and fat.  To read more about this special month and find recipes visit www.diabetes.org  and click on “It’s Time To Eat Well America”.

To make eating for diabetes a lot easier, consider scheduling a Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) appointment with a registered dietitian.  A registered dietitian can review your eating habits and help you plan specific strategies for blood glucose control, and if needed promote weight loss, manage cholesterol and/ or high blood pressure.  Medicare allows for up to 3 hours of MNT for the first year and ongoing Medical Nutrition Therapy for up to 2 hours every year as part of Medicare benefits.  Other insurance plans may cover MNT services so call your insurance company to find out about your benefits.   

If you want to learn more about diabetes, blood glucose targets, diabetes medication and diabetes complications as well as nutrition then consider enrolling in a Diabetes Self-Management Education Program.  Diabetes Self-Management Education is a recognized part of diabetes care and is covered as an outpatient service by Medicare and many health insurance plans.  Medical centers and hospitals offer Diabetes Self-Management Education as a class series and the session may consist of 3-5 classes.   Dietitians, nurses and pharmacists, many of whom are Certified Diabetes Educators, teach the classes.  Certified Diabetes Educators are required to obtain 1000 or more hours of experience in diabetes education and then take a rigorous exam to receive their CDE credential.  Continuing education hours are required to maintain the CDE credential or the individual may retake the exam. 

Don’t let November go by without evaluating your diabetes control.  Is your A1C where it needs to be?  Are you ready to lose weight or get your blood pressure under control?  If so take advantage of the professional services the registered dietitian and certified diabetes educators have to offer.   Call to enroll in Diabetes Self-Management Education Classes and/ or schedule a visit for MNT with the registered dietitian. 

Susan Cottongim, RD, LDN, CDE, is the Diabetes Education Coordinator at Peninsula Regional Diabetes Education Program 

Local Programs for Diabetes Self-Management Education:

Peninsula Regional Diabetes Education Program, Salisbury, MD 21804    410-543-7061

Apple Discount Drugs Diabetes Education Program, Salisbury MD 21804   410-749-8401

Atlantic General Hospital Diabetes Outpatient Education Program, Berlin MD   410-641-9703

Last Updated on Friday, 20 November 2015 19:21
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