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Showing posts from August, 2017

How Education Affects Health

Photo courtesy of It's long been recognized that healthier kids do better in school. However, the reverse is true as well. The more educated a person is the better their health. How is this so? Research has shown that educated people have higher income levels, greater social opportunities, better employment status, improved literacy, and increased life expectancy. All of these concepts are intertwined and not one truly stands alone. However, they all work together to make education a social determinant of health. According to the CDC, social determinants of health are the "conditions in the places where people live, learn, work and play" and how they affect health and health outcomes. That is, where someone goes to school, what they learn at school, what jobs they get after school, and even how they play before, during, and after school can affect their health. Healthy People 2020 identifies four areas to improve educational outcomes to improve health

The HPV Vaccine: Public Health or Profit?

As students go back to school and receive physicals and vaccines, parents may be asked if they want their child to receive the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination.  The HPV vaccination is recommended for boys and girls ages 11 or 12 but can be received by males or females from ages 9 to 26, according to . The vaccine protects against certain strains of HPV, which can lead to cervical cancer, penile cancer, rectal cancer, and oropharyngeal cancer. What Is HPV? In order to make an informed decision about whether or not to vaccinate their children against HPV, parents need to know what HPV is.  HPV is a sexually transmitted infection.  It is transmitted through contact with the genitals or the rectum of an infected individual.  HPV is a virus, so it is easily transmitted on contact.   The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  has indicated there is a prevalence rate of 45.2% of any type of HPV in men.  There is a prevalence rate of  39.9% of any type

It's Not Too Late to Vaccinate

Back to school is right around the corner.  In my area, the first day of school is only days away. Unfortunately, some parents still have not vaccinated their children.  All 50 states require students to receive certain vaccinations before they can go back to school. For example, the state of Missouri requires DTap/DTP/DT, IPV (Polio), MMR, Hepatitis B, and Varicella prior to the start of kindergarten. Tdap (pertussis) and MCV (meningococcal vaccines) are required for students entering eighth grade or higher.  For students receiving the MCV vaccine after the age of 16, only one dose is required.  Otherwise, two doses are required by grade 12. Why Get Vaccinated? When some parents hear that they are required to vaccinate their children, they get upset.  They feel like it is something they are being made to do.  In reality, vaccinating children is not only protecting the health and safety of their children, but also those around them. The more people that are vaccinated, the more

Back to School Physicals for Band Students

It's a hot day in August.  Students are lined up.  They have gone at least two miles on the city streets. They are tired, they are sweating.  Their backs and knees are hurting.  Their mouths are dry, and they badly need a drink of water.  One student had an asthma attack already this week.  Other students are complaining that they are tired of moving and that they need a break.  Still, to them, it's just another day at marching band practice. In high school and college, my fellow band members and I spent hours on the field preparing for marching band competitions, parades, and half time shows at football games. I remember running half the distance of the track just to get in line in time for the half-time show after cheering the rest of the game.  Our band was one of the best in the area, and we proudly wore our gold wool uniforms and the gold hats with white plumes.  We were very serious. Each step, each moment was important. Each one of us hoped we wouldn't be that on

Address Back to School Stress

I was one of those kids who admittedly loved school.  I could not wait for school to start in the fall. I was excited to see my teachers and my friends, to get involved in school activities, to go to school, and to learn.  In fact, I liked school so much that I rarely missed school.  I was afraid I would miss out on something.  In the summer time, I would take my workbooks home and play "school" with my stuffed animals and dolls all in a circle.  I would complete the assignments the class didn't have a chance to get to during the school year.  On top of that, my parents were very organized.  School supplies, clothes and shoes were purchased well ahead of time. Since I liked school, it was natural for me to continue to go to school after high school. Then, I ultimately was an adjunct faculty member for three universities. For me, back to school was an exciting time...not a source of anxiety. Unfortunately, back to school is not like this for everyone. Many people includ