An Apple a Day

Lung disease spotlighted after death of Menifee’s first mayor
May 28, 2015

Menifee is mourning the loss of its city councilman and first mayor Wallace Edgerton, 81. Mr. Edgerton battled Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) before succumbing to the lung disease May 26.

Wallace EdgertonMr. Edgerton received a lung transplant in 2011, but developed complications as his body gradually rejected the new lung.

It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people are affected by the disease in the United States, with roughly 40,000 new cases diagnosed annually, according to the National Institutes of Health.

This disease is characterized by a scarring of the lungs that thickens the lungs’ lining so that oxygen cannot freely move. Symptoms can include a dry, persistent cough lasting longer than 30 days, chronic shortness of breath and a crackling sound in the lungs that can only be heard through a doctor’s stethoscope.

While it is believed that some occupational and environmental factors such as extensive exposure to toxins, smoke or medication overuse may play a role in the origin of pulmonary fibrosis, there is no known cause or cure for IPF.

Scientists are exploring a variety of drug treatments for IPF, clinical trials are underway and efforts are on-going to raise awareness for pulmonary fibrosis.

What can you do?

Get involved by participating in fundraiser events, including charity walks and golf tournaments, that are planned nationwide throughout the year to raise money for research.

Event sponsorships are available and donations are always welcome.

And September is Global Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month, so there is time for Riverside County to push for more research and finding a cure.

The County of Riverside Department of Public Health wants your best health! Visit us on Twitter @rivcodoc or Google +.  And be sure to check out our Facebook page or visit our website at

Health and fitness for seniors is a must

May 26, 2015

For more than 20 years, seniors have been kicking their health into high gear as part of National Senior Health & Fitness Day. The annual event planned for May 27, 2015 will see more than 100,000 seniors taking part in thousands of fitness events nationwide. National Senior Health & Fitness event day (Courtesy image)

So, what kind of fitness are we talking about? The activities are mostly non-competitive and feature low-impact exercises, health screenings and informative workshops.

Of course, regular exercise is vital for our health at any age as a mood enhancer, stress manager and disease fighter.

But, for older adults, inactivity can be dangerous. According to the, “When older people lose their ability to do things on their own, it doesn't happen just because they've aged. It's usually because they're not active. Lack of physical activity also can lead to more visits to the doctor, more hospitalizations, and more use of medicines for a variety of illnesses.”

If you are a senior and looking to get active, be sure to discuss increasing your activity level with your doctor. It’s possible that you’ll want to start off with a plan that includes a mild introduction to walking or hiking or even dancing.

When exercising, be sure to keep the following considerations in mind:

  • When starting an exercise program, begin slowly with low-intensity exercises.
  • Wait at least two hours after eating a large meal before doing strenuous exercise.
  • Wear appropriate shoes for your activity and comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that allows you to move freely but won't catch on other objects.
  • Warm up with low-intensity exercises at the beginning of each exercise session.
  • Drink water before, during, and after your exercise session.
  • When exercising outdoors, pay attention to your surroundings -- consider possible traffic hazards, the weather, uneven walking surfaces, and strangers.

Above all – have fun and enjoy all the many benefits that fitness affords.

The County of Riverside Department of Public Health wants your best health! Visit us on Twitter @rivcodoc or Google +.  And be sure to check out our Facebook page or visit our website at

Memorial Day Weekend: Beware too much sun fun
May 21, 2015

The Memorial Day weekend is nearly here and you know what that means – summer is just around the corner.

Who isn’t excited for the beach, barbecues and basking in the sunshine?

I’ll tell you who ISN’T excited – your dermatologist. While it may feel wonderful to soak up the Southern California rays and enjoy the rush of feels-so-good serotonin sizzling off your skin, the harsh reality is that increased sun exposure can place you at risk for skin cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.

Now, that’s something. In fact, most cases of melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light.

So what can you do to keep yourself protected this weekend and into the summer months? Try the following tips from the CDC:

·         Seek shade, especially during midday hours.

  • Cover up with clothing to protect exposed skin.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.
  • Use sunscreen with broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection and sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher.
  • Remember to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours and after swimming, sweating or toweling off.

As part of Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, learn more about how you can protect yourself and your family from the harmful rays of the sun at the American Academy of Dermatology.

The County of Riverside Department of Public Health wants your best health! Visit us on Twitter @rivcodoc or Google +.  And be sure to check out our Facebook page or visit our website at

It’s Global Employee Health and Fitness Month

May 18, 2015

The word has been out for awhile now – being fit and active is a vital part of a person’s health and wellness. By eating right and exercising regularly you can shed weight, improve your mood, boost your energy and extend your

No problem, right?

Actually, there IS just one complication. You have all kinds of health and fitness happening at home. But, what about at the workplace? Those break room doughnut spreads, super long lunch breaks and quick coffee runs have a way of spoiling even your best efforts at good health while you’re at work.

Considering that May is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, let’s consider what you can do to turn that trend around. This international and national observance of health and fitness has been established to encourage employees and their employers to embrace healthy behaviors in the workplace.

The benefits of a healthy workplace environment include less absenteeism, improved employee stamina, productivity and morale and better group participation.

If you are an employer, health and fitness at your organization may include:

·         Flextime for morning and afternoon outdoor walks during breaks and lunches

·          Partnering with local gyms for employee workouts

·         Social support for walking, hiking, biking or sports clubs

·         Healthy snack options such as fruits, vegetables and granola bars and refreshing water stations

If you are an employee, you can encourage co-workers in adopting healthy habits by modeling the same behavior. You can also lobby your employers and take an active role in creating healthy moments for your co-workers by visiting

The County of Riverside Department of Public Health wants your best health! Visit us on Twitter @rivcodoc or Google +.  And be sure to check out our Facebook page or visit our website at

Doctor’s Orders: Make an appointment today
May 11, 2015

Ladies -- yes, I know. A doctor is sometimes the last person you want to have to see in your day. You are so busy taking care of other people that you rarely have the time or inclination to take care of yourself. So, when you finally do make a visit to the doctor’s office, it usually means that you are very sick or worried or both.

CDC Amanda Mills womens health.jpgYou are so good at everything you do. You take care of the kids. You are a dedicated wife, co-worker, nurse, home manager and classroom volunteer. You are a make-things-happen kind of person.

In fact, you are in charge of just about every other aspect of your life, so why not your health?

As we mark National Women's Checkup Day today, May 11, it’s important that we remember why getting an annual check-up is vital to your good health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, regular health exams and tests can:

-- Help identify problems before they start.

-- Help find problems early, when your chances for treatment and cure are better.

-- Give you a chance to live a longer, healthier life.

Once you’re there, don’t miss the chance to talk with your doctor about your family history and any questions or concerns you may have regarding family planning or even some of your personal habits such as alcohol or tobacco use. advises it’s also the perfect time to “schedule necessary tests, such as screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, and colorectal cancer. Also, set health goals, such as being active and maintaining a healthy weight.”

Ultimately, by getting an annual checkup, you will give yourself the best chance to remain an active and healthy force in the lives of your family and friends.

Now, make that appointment today!

Don’t forget to visit me on Twitter @rivcodoc or Google +.  And be sure to check out County of Riverside Department of Public Health’s Facebook page or visit our website at

Remembering pioneering nurses during National Nurses Week
May 6, 2015

Next to our parents, nurses are among some of the most vital caretakers we have. They work tirelessly and often in very difficult circumstances -- always on their feet, always in motion and always serving others. 

Nursing is the nation's largest health care profession, with more than 3.1 million registered nurses nationwide. Of all licensed RNs, 2.6 million or 84.8 percent are employed in nursing, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

In fact, nurses comprise the largest single component of hospital staff, are the primary providers of hospital patient care, and deliver most of the nation's long-term care.

Since today marks the start of National Nurses Week, let’s remember some historic figures that were considered pioneers in this noble profession. Some of the names might surprise you:

--Florence Nightingale, named after her birthplace of Florence, Italy, inspired the nursing profession through her advocacy for improved care and cleanliness. She died on May 12, 1910, a day that coincides with final day of National Nurses Week.

 --Linda Richards, America’s first professionally trained nurse mentored by Nightingale, is responsible for creating the created the first system for keeping individual medical records for hospitalized patients.

--Mary Eliza Mahoney was the first African-American professional registered nursed and was the co-founder of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses, which later became the American Nurses Association.

--Nurse Margaret Sanger is credited with working tirelessly to help women have access to birth control and sex educated and in 1921 established the organization that eventually became known as Planned Parenthood.

--Clara Barton began her nursing career at the age of 11 when her brother was injured in a fall and is credited with helping to establish the American Red Cross.

And did you know that Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of President Abraham Lincoln, was a volunteer nurse in Union hospitals ministering to wounded soldiers during the Civil War? Additionally, famed writer Walt Whitman served as a nurse during the Civil War, volunteering to care for the soldiers after he was traumatized by what he saw on the battlefield.

Take some time show your appreciation – Honor a Nurse today!

Don’t forget to visit me at Twitter @rivcodoc or Google +.  And be sure to check out County of Riverside Department of Public Health’s Facebook page or visit our website at

Wash your hands for good health, peace of mind

May 4, 2015

You can go ahead dip into your wallet and then scour the store shelves for just the right drug or vitamin to boost your health and wellness.

Flickr: US Department of AgricultureOr you could take advantage of one of the easiest, least expensive things you can do to ward off disease.  Just wash your hands.

Sounds simple enough, right? Since May 5 marks Hand Hygiene Day, it’s a great time for a reminder about the importance of hand-washing.

Every year, millions of patients become needlessly infected and sickened by disease. According to the World Health Organization, “most health care-associated infections are preventable through good hand hygiene – cleaning hands at the right times and in the right way.”

Knowing this, it’s important to make hand-washing a can’t-miss, daily routine. The Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) offers the following guidelines on when to wash:

·         Before, during and after preparing food

·         Before eating food

·         Before and after caring for someone who is sick

·         Before and after treating a cut or wound

·         After using the toilet

·         After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet

·         After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

·         After touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste

·         After touching garbage

Become a part of the #safehands movement by spreading the word to your friends and family and encouraging hand hygiene for good health and peace of mind.

Don’t forget to visit me at on Twitter @rivcodoc or Google +.  And be sure to check out County of Riverside Department of Public Health’s Facebook page or visit our website at