An Apple a Day

Got pressure? Erase stress from your life | Back To Top
April 29, 2015

April is drawing to a close, but it’s not too late to recognize one of the events to mark the month – Stress Awareness.

flickr Alan Cleaver.jpgI am guessing there needn’t be just one month dedicated to recognizing the stresses in our lives. They follow us throughout the year, to be sure. It’s just the way the world is these days.

We have busy schedules, heavy with work and kids. Toss in an ailing parent, an anemic bank account and a worrisome health issue and you’ve got the makings of some real strain.

And even though the stress you experience may feel like it’s in your head, it can create some real adverse physical reactions, including increasing your heart rate, blood pressure and glucose levels.

There are some things you can do to alleviate the burden. The first thing is to step away. Yes, it’s just that simple. The world and workplace will keep turning and churning without you, I promise.

Once you do that, consider taking part in activities that will bring some relief. Take a walk. Read a book. Meditate. Brew yourself a cup of tea. Drink tons of water.

The main idea is to engage in tasks that you enjoy. If you like sports, consider doing more than just watching them on TV; go out for a run or play toss. If you love music, then listen to your favorite group, or even dance when no one is watching. Heck, dance when someone IS watching and invite them to join you.

Finally, take whatever is worrying you right now and set it down. Come back to it later. And accept the fact that worry is needless, especially if you are fretting over something that you cannot change.

Take some time out today for yourself and look for ways to lighten your load. You’ll be healthier and happier for it.

Follow me on Twitter @rivcodoc. And be sure to check out County of Riverside Department of Public Health’s Facebook page or visit our website at

Earthquake preparedness vital for So Cal residents | Back To Top
April 27, 2015

This past weekend’s devastating earthquake in Nepal is a deadly reminder of just how important it is to be prepared should Southern California experience ‘the big one.’
The good news is most of us have been preparing with duck and cover drills since we were kids, right?

The bad news is it’s easy to become complacent and assume that the real damage will happen somewhere else.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends having a home evacuation plan in place that you and your family practice and update regularly. Also, make sure you are familiar with your children’s school evacuation procedures with the knowledge of where and how to coordinate a reunion with your kids.

Establish a list of priorities or tasks that each family member will undertake in the event of an emergency. Who retrieves the dog? Who is in charge of locking up the house? How will you connect with extended family? Which of you will retrieve important papers?

Speaking of important papers, the CDC also recommends making a list of all vital information (e.g., phone numbers of neighbors, utility companies, doctor’s offices and bank accounts) and keep it with such items as birth certificates, social security cards, insurance documents all in one secured location.

It’s always good to have fresh water and canned, non-perishable food items on hand in the event that your kitchen appliances are rendered unusable. Don’t forget about other goods such as candles, toilet paper, flashlights and even some extra cash.

And, of course, stock up now on first aid supplies that will be crucial to your family’s comfort and survival. Gather everything from eye drops and aspirin to bandages and cold packs and keep the items in a location that all family members can easily access.

Finally, educate yourself on where all the utility valves and switches are in your home and how they can be turned off in the event of emergency.

You will find more information on earthquake preparedness here. Don’t delay in getting all the tips you need to be prepared for disaster. Your life may depend upon it.

Follow me on Twitter @rivcodoc. And be sure to check out County of Riverside Department of Public Health’s Facebook page or visit our website at

Need relief? How to cope with seasonal allergies | Back To Top
April 24, 2015   
‘Tis the season to be miserable. That’s how spring rolls in Southern California. Our noses have a way of sniffing out all the wonderful ‘gifts’ of blooms and bulbs this time of year.

Toss in a few windy days and a hazy layer of residual smoke from a fire and you have the makings of one sneezy, wheezy day. Flickr: Amanda

Read: World Asthma Day is on May 5

There are some things you can do for relief without having to scour the market shelves for an over-the-counter remedy.

First, limit your outdoor activity, especially on blustery days, and hand over your lawn-mowing chores to another family member or professional landscaper in order avoid stirring up allergens.

Pollen has a way of floating on a breeze, so by being outdoors or even drying your clothes on an outside laundry line, you are exposing yourself to irritants.

In fact, stay inside if you can, keep your doors and windows closed and use the air-conditioning to recycle clean air in your home or car whenever possible.

And, clean. Yes, clean. By keeping your home’s floors and furnishings free of dust and swirly dirt, you can reduce your exposure to miniscule irritants that have a way of making big trouble for allergy sufferers.

Have you been experiencing seasonal allergies? If so, have they been wild or mild? You can research more about how to cope with allergies here. Then, tell me about it on Twitter @rivcodoc. And be sure to check out County of Riverside Department of Public Health’s Facebook page or visit our website at

Out with the old car seat, in with the new | Back To Top
April 20, 2015

Did you know that children’s car seats actually have expiration dates? It’s true. Just like the eggs or milk in your refrigerator, car seats can become unfit for use after an extended period of time. Where we once passed down car seats in our families just as we did hand-me-down clothes and shoes, experience now tells us that old car seats are not safe.

(CDC: Amanda Mills)Things like water damage or excessive heat can weaken the hard plastic structure of the car seat, rendering it flawed and dangerous. Additionally, any time the car seat has been involved in a crash, parents should no longer consider it a viable safety option for their children.

Our kids are our most precious cargo, after all. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, “road injuries are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the United States. Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent.”

When is the best time to toss the old one? Most manufacturers will provide an expiration date label. Be sure to look for it on the date of purchase. If you can’t find a date label, call the manufacturer or consult the car seat owner’s manual.

The good news is, if you have any questions or concerns about the installation or proper usage of your child’s car seat, the County of Riverside Department of Public Health’s Injury Prevention Services enjoys a qualified staff of trained technicians who can advise you on the best child safety options for car seats and so much more.

They’ll not only help you, they’ll teach you all you need to know about car seat safety. And for those who qualify, there are a number of options as part of the Low Cost Distribution Program.

Check out our website at  to learn more. Follow me on Twitter: @rivcodoc and be sure to check out County of Riverside Department of Public Health’s Facebook page.

Community forums have concluded; our work continues | Back To Top
April 15, 2015

We wrapped up our series of
community forums on Tuesday, April 14 in Idyllwild. In all, I would have to say the series was a great success.

You’ll recall that the forums were part of an effort to hear from our residents about what most concerns them in all matters of health.

Over the course of these past few months we heard from hundreds of residents throughout Riverside County about their health concerns. We heard from even more residents --thousands of folks -- who took part in the health survey.

And while we are working on compiling those results right now with plans to announce our findings in June, I can tell you that a few of the health issues to top the list included: homelessness, drug prescription use, obesity and air quality.

Good stuff, right? Well, sure. Especially because the plan is to take all we’ve heard from you and then look for ways to create, address and enhance programs that serve this great county.

The County of Riverside Department of Public Health understands the importance of creating and sustaining the good health and wellness for all county residents. And this is a great step towards learning your concerns and needs as we strive to make that happen.

So, let’s keep this conversation going. Get ready to hear from us again. And we’re always happy to hear from you!

Check out our website at where you will find all the latest information on achieving optimum health for you and your family. Follow me on Twitter: @rivcodoc and be sure to check out County of Riverside Department of Public Health’s Facebook page.

Lace up and start walking for improved health | Back To Top
April 13, 2015

Welcome back from the weekend, Riverside County! Hopefully you all had a chance to step outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. And if you did get a chance to step outside, perhaps you put a few of those steps together for an actual stroll around the neighborhood.

If you did, that is one of the best things you can do for your health.

According to the American Heart Association, walking or exercising just 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk of heart disease. In fact, walking can also help improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels, maintain body weight, lower your risk of obesity and reduce your risk of osteoporosis, breast and colon cancer and Type 2 diabetes.

And besides all that, walking can help you feel good! Research actually suggests that a daily walking regimen is proven to chase away the blues and enhance a person’s overall sense of well-being.

What’s that? You have no one to walk with? No problem. The American Heart Association is so serious about your health that they will help you find a “sole” mate with tips and information on how to start your very own walking club.

Not sure where to walk? They can give you a head start on that, too. Their handy web feature has mapped out some scenic walking areas near you. All you need to do is enter your zip code and you’ll be off and walking.

Now, how’s that for keeping us on our toes?

You can make it official by participating in the 2015 Southwest Riverside County Heart & Stroke Glow Walk beginning at 6 p.m. on May 9 at Lake Skinner in Winchester. Check out for information on getting started.

Don’t forget to check out our website at where you will find all the latest information on achieving optimum health for you and your family. Follow me on Twitter: @rivcodoc and be sure to check out County of Riverside Department of Public Health’s Facebook page.

Got a Minute? Let’s Have a Conversation | Back To Top
April 8, 2015

Did you know there is power in dialogue? It’s true. Most experts agree that when two or more parties participate in a constructive exchange of ideas that’s when all kinds of good things can happen.

Information is learned, policy is formed and minds and hearts are directed towards a better future. Yes, those are all kinds of good things.

In case you haven’t heard, the County of Riverside Department of Public Health has been having a conversation with residents throughout the county as part of its Community Forum initiative.

I guess you could say it was long overdue, but the dialogue is part of an exciting effort to hear from you about all of the health-related concerns and questions you may have.

Our representatives have been in your communities – from Temecula and Murrieta to Blythe and Mecca – posing questions, jotting notes and listening.

Best of all, we have heard from hundreds of residents, both in person and through surveys regarding such topics as health concerns, mental health and support and even the importance of compiling a community-wide resource list.

We have loved every minute of it! But, we’re not done yet.

We’re getting ready to wrap up our last event to be held at 6 p.m. on April 14 at the Idyllwild Library, located at 5440 Village Center Dr. in Idyllwild.

Ultimately, we plan to compile all we have learned at the community forums and will share it with the goal of helping you and your family take advantage of all of Riverside County’s comprehensive resources.

Are you ready to join the conversation? You can learn more on our website at For more updates, follow me on Twitter: @rivcodoc and be sure to visit County of Riverside Department of Public Health on Facebook.

Healthy Living: The Gift That Keeps Giving | Back To Top
April 6, 2015

Let’s face it – in these modern times of hustle and bustle, we all can tally up tons of excuses for clinging to some not-so-healthy habits. We love our occasional junk food, right? And who wants to be sweating it out at the gym after we’ve been working hard for a living at the office all day?

I get it. The problem is it’s easy to forget just how much of a pay-off we  get when we embrace healthy living. With healthy living you will improve your mood, boost your energy, ward off illness and increase your chances for a long and happy life.

Exercise and eating right play a vital role in our good health. We know that. But, just as important is how we use our free time.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work or meeting the needs of your family? Hiking and biking? Reading and writing? Perhaps you love to dance, crochet, golf or game. Whatever it is that floats your boat, make a commitment today to embracing a healthy lifestyle that meets the needs of your body and your mind.

It’s National Public Health Week, after all. And that means the Riverside County Department of Public Health plans to reach out and spread the word about healthy living and all of its many benefits.

Come out and see us at the Health Expo on April 7 at the County Administrative Center, located at 4080 Lemon St. in Riverside.

Or swing by and take part in the Healthy Living Extravaganza planned for April 11 at the Rancho Jurupa Park. There will be free health screenings, nutrition and meal planning, a Kids zone, entertainment and the chance to win prizes.

Also, visit our website at where you will find all the latest information on achieving optimum health for you and your family. Follow me on Twitter: @rivcodoc and be sure to check out County of Riverside Department of Public Health’s Facebook page.