Sliding into Summer

     The way the weather has been in Pike County lately, some days feel like the middle of July, while others feel like we're back in February.  That sounds about right around here.  I think, however, that our summer-like days are soon to be more plentiful than not.  Spring has begun fading into those hot, humid dog days we are accustomed to from summer in Pike County.

    Fortunately, the pollen counts are dwindling, too.  Soon, all the beautiful flowers of spring will wither under the scorching June heat.  But that means, sunscreen is ESSENTIAL to heading outside for any length of time.  Only a few minutes in the summer heat can damage your skin.  More than just painfully red, sunburn indicates damage.  In addition to increasing the risk of skin cancer, unprotected sun exposure can increase aging, making skin appear "older" and more wrinkled AND contribute to dehydration.

Get the facts on sun exposure here:
 Sun Safety Alliance
Remember to protect children from the sun, especially.  Their sensitive skin is much more prone to damage if not protected.  Use sunscreen with at least SPF of 30 or greater and hats, shirts and/or cover-ups whenever possible.  And just because a sunscreen says waterproof does NOT mean it lasts all day!!  Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours while exposed to the sun, and directly after sweating a good deal or swimming.

Get more info on Skin Cancer Facts from the American Cancer Society here: 
 American Cancer Society Skin Cancer Facts

     Summer can be a busy, crazy time, just like any time of year, but for me it gets a lot less hectic without going to and fro with my kids.  If you have young ones, you can probably relate.  So for me, summer is a great way to get back on that exercise plan I've been too busy to maintain throughout the school year.  While the weather outside is getting less conducive to outdoor recreation, it doesn't mean workouts are impossible.  The best times of day to go for a walk or run are the early morning or late evening hours.  With the sunlight lasting longer, there's an even greater chance to involve the whole family.  Get the kids out of the house after dinner and stroll around the neighborhood.  A brisk walk at least 3 times a week will make a HUGE difference for everyone in the family's health.  Eating healthier is easier, too.  Use the added daylight hours to grill.  The kids can play outside while you cook up the evening meal.  

     Vegetables are ever plentiful right now, so you can get them fresh and provide a variety of healthy options for you and your family.  Don't have your own garden?  Why not start one?  In addition to the exercise benefit from working in a garden -- the tasty rewards you get when it's harvest time are hard to beat.  It's not too late to get some plants in the ground now for a summer harvest.  Others need to wait to July or August for a Fall harvest, but that gives you plenty of time to prepare between now and then.  Check out this very handy information sheet from the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service:

     And don't worry -- even if you are like me and have whatever the opposite of a green thumb is -- there's hope for a fresh veggie summer.  Pike County has no shortage of vegetable growers who are happy to help you out!  Check out the Pioneer Farmer's Market behind First Methodist Church (the corner of Oak and Academy Street) for home-grown produce from folks you know right here in Pike County.  What a win - win that is -- supporting your local growers and getting a healthy meal for yourself and your family!

     Need some ideas on what to do with those fresh vegetables (and fruits) you have now?  No problem!  Here's a few recipes to try this summer!

For Starters:
     Try this fiesta-inspired salad with beans, corn, and avocado

Pinto, Black, and Red Bean Salad with Grilled Corn and Avocado

Put the veggies on center stage with this yummy dish:

Refresh yourself with a delicious and nutritious drink:

Blackberry Limeade

Finish it off with this yummy treat that even the kids can pitch in to help make:


Marching Towards Spring

     March is here!  That means spring is just around the corner.

     The most exciting thing about that, to me, is that the bitter cold weather of this past season is soon to be behind us.  The bad thing, if you're like me, is that soon all that springtime pollen will be floating around and that can do a number on allergy problems.  If you have allergy issues, the best solution is prevention.  Start those allergy medications early.  If you have mild to moderate symptoms, a daily over-the-counter oral antihistamine may work well for you.  If your symptoms tend to be more moderate to severe, you may need an inhaled nasal steroid spray with or without the oral antihistamine.   Your doctor or other healthcare provider can help you decide what medications will be best for you.  As with any medication, consistency is key.  You must take it daily to see the most benefit.  

     March is also a big month for National recognition months.  Here are just a few of the observations for March:

National Nutrition Month
     What a great way to kick of spring...getting healthy!  The most important component to ANY healthy lifestyle is proper nutrition!  Eating right is essential, but that's the point...eating.  You can not starve yourself healthy.  Can NOT!  The Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition's website provides a wealth of information on eating right.  They offer links to great reading materials to learn more; there are links to resources; and even games for kids to help them learn about proper eating.  Trust me -- it is NEVER too early to teach your kids the fundamentals of proper nutrition.  A child who makes healthy choices becomes an adult who makes healthy choices.  If we can hope to change the nation's obesity problem, we must start with the children so that they can effect change on generations to come.

National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

     Did you know that among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States?  Every year about 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and more than 50,000 die from it.  As shocking as that statistic may seem -- the even more shocking fact is that many of these deaths could have been prevented if only they were detected earlier.  Even though recommendations have encouraged more and more people over fifty years of age to get screened for colon cancers, there are still people not getting screens according to national guidelines.  Talk to your doctor about how you can be screened for problems.  Everyone over fifty should get screened.  If you have a family history of colorectal disease, you are at even greater risk and should not delay seeing your doctor for more information.  Go HERE for more info!
     Either of our general surgeons here at TRMC, Dr Rick Gill or Dr Tom Peurifoy are always available to schedule your colonoscopy.  Dr Gill's office can be reached at (334) 770-2222 and Dr Peurifoy's office can be reached at (334) 670-5568.  

Women's History Month

Irish - American Heritage Month (St Patrick's Day)

St Patrick's Day in Troy is usually celebrated in quite a fun way.  Stay tuned to our facebook page for updates on any fun events in the area!

     And this year: Mardi Gras falls on March 4, giving credit to March coming in like a lion, huh?