Supporting a Loved One Through Breast Cancer

When you have a loved one who is diagnosed with breast cancer, it is often hard to know how to help. You may feel lost, hurt, angry or fearful while feeling you have to keep it together for them because they are going through so much. Knowing what to say can also be hard, as things you mean as comfort can come off as anything but. So how do you proceed in this possibly terrifying new world you have found yourself in? How do you comfort and support your loved one? Keep reading, as we discuss some ways in which this can be accomplished.

 

Check Your Own Feelings

If you are not sure how you feel about cancer, it is likely that you will say something thoughtless when faced with it. Cancer is a terrifying prospect, and one we as a society are not taught how to properly deal with. Before you try to be there for the other person, then, stop and take a moment to think. Think about your past experiences with others who were diagnosed. Are you afraid? Angry? Unsure? Anxious? Recognize your emotions and keep them in mind as well as what the person with breast cancer may be feeling.

 

Listen

Above all, it is necessary to listen to what the person is telling you. Sometimes the only support a person needs is someone to vent to or rant with, someone they know has their back and can be a person to lean on until they can face the world again on bad days or someone who will let them celebrate the victories when things are going well. Be sure to show you are listening. Ask questions if you have them, and paraphrase what the person is saying to make sure that you understand. This is not the time for advice.

 

Offer to Be There

Cancer diagnoses are isolating. Offer to go with your friend or loved one to their doctor’s appointments. Appointments can be very overwhelming both physically and emotionally with a lot of information being flung at the breast cancer patient all at once. Take notes for them, to prevent information from getting lost.

See what else you can do- in practical terms. If your loved one has children, perhaps you could cook a meal for the family occasionally, help the children with their homework or do something else concrete to support them.

 

When In Doubt, Ask

No two people are alike, nor are any two breast cancer cases. If you know or have known two cancer patients, do not assume that your friend or loved one with breast cancer has the same needs or wants as the other person with cancer you knew. This should go without saying but when people are trying to be supportive, sometimes they forget to ask what sorts of support the cancer patient actually needs. Breast cancer makes people feel as if their life is spinning out of control, especially at first. Give that person back as much control as possible by listening to their wants and needs and doing as they ask.

 

Breast cancer diagnoses are difficult, both for the person diagnosed and their friends and family. Friends and family may be left feeling unsure, shut out and with no idea what exactly they can do to help. This article is not a definitive guide. However, it will give you a starting point, and ideas for supporting the breast cancer patient in your life.

Tips For Reaching Students With Autism

Teaching a student with autism can be a challenge. Their learning styles are often different from those of most other students, and it may even seem that they are taking no interest in the lessons. Usually, however, this is not the case, and the student is simply overwhelmed and needs lessons tailored to the way they learn. This article contains tips for reaching your autistic students and will help you understand their needs better. Before long, teaching a student with autism will be as easy as teaching a student who does not have autism.

 

Use Simple, Concrete Language

Due to the nature of autism, people with this condition do not always understand abstractions, idioms or figures of speech. They may take your words literally and attempt to do exactly what you said. This attempt on their part and your subsequent disappointment can be very frustrating. Simple, concrete language works better as there is no wording to confuse your student.

 

Put Tasks in Sequential Order

If what you are trying to teach is complex, put your tasks in sequential order. Some people with autism have difficulty recognizing the order in which things go, so it can be a help to give them the tasks in the order they need to be accomplished. Breaking down larger tasks into smaller chunks can also be a big help. This way, the student does not get confused or overwhelmed and can more effectively focus on their work.

 

Choices

Choices can be important to any child, but especially to a student with autism. However, too many choices can be confusing. If possible, give your students with autism only two or three choices. That way you do not overwhelm them. Further, do not leave choices open-ended. You are likely to get better results by asking the student whether they would rather read or draw than by asking them what they would like to do.

 

Avoid Distractions

Some students with autism can find colorful wall displays or noise to be distracting. If you are doing a task which requires concentration, allow your student with autism access to a quiet, distraction-free area. This minimization of distraction will help your students concentrate, and will make the task much easier for them.

 

Have a Clear Routine

Children with autism do best when there is a clear daily routine and clear expectations set for them. Avoid changing this routine. If your routine must change, then be sure to warn the child that there is a change in the routine so that they have time to prepare. Changes in routine can lead to anxiety for students with autism. This anxiety can then lead to outbursts and misbehaving.

 

Teaching a student with autism may seem daunting, but it does not have to be. With some preparation and patience and the tips listed above, there will be less frustration for both you and your student. They will have an easier time learning the material, and will not get nearly so anxious. The less anxious your student is, the fewer outbursts they will have and the more smoothly the school day will go. That is something

Fever: When to Seek Help

Fevers are miserable. Just moving takes effort, you lie in bed either too hot or too cold, and you may feel dizzy and clammy but fevers also have a purpose. They are your body’s way of fighting infection. Fevers are a sign your body’s immune system is working as it should. However a fever can get out of control if untreated, and can even become high enough to require medical treatment to avoid damage to your brain and other vital organs. It can be difficult, however, to know when to seek medical help for a high fever. In this article, we will discuss the warning signs of an overly high fever as well as when it is appropriate to seek help, information which could save your life or the life of a loved one.

 

High Fevers

If you or a loved one has a fever that is 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.3 degrees Celsius) or higher, then calling a doctor is necessary. A fever that high can begin to do damage to the brain and other organs. The human body was never designed to maintain that high of a temperature and if the temperature stays that elevated for too long, the cells will start to die. Going to an emergency room can allow doctors to monitor the body temperature and administer medications or employ other means to bring the temperature down and stabilize it so that you can recover.

 

Fever Lasting More Than Seven Days

A fever is part of a viral infection generally and will go away on its own. However, if you or a loved one has a fever lasting more than a week, it is time to seek medical help. Any fever is a strain on the vital organs. The longer the fever goes on, the worse the strain. An added concern is that the illness causing the fever may be more severe than previously thought and that prescription medication may be needed to treat it.

 

Worsening Symptoms

If you or a loved one has a fever above 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.3 degrees Celsius) that is steadily climbing toward 104 degrees Fahrenheit (39.4 degrees Celsius) then it is necessary to go to a hospital’s emergency department right away. A fever that high carries a large risk of damage, especially to the brain. Furthermore, a fever of 107 degrees Fahrenheit is likely to be fatal. Immediate measures are needed at this point to discover the cause of the fever and cool the person down before lasting damage is done.

 

Fevers are a natural part of most viral infections. They are the body’s attempt to fight off the virus causing the infection, which causes the core temperature to rise. However, a fever can also be deadly. It is imperative that you know when to seek help for a fever for the sake of both you and your loved ones. Knowing this information and remembering it could literally save a life. Share this information with everyone you know. The life you save could be your own.

5 Ways to Up Your Daily Water Intake

Health professionals agree. Drinking sixty-four ounces of water per day is vital for your health. This amount of water keeps all of the body’s systems running efficiently. However, getting the necessary amount of water is not always easy, especially for people who do not like the taste. If you are one of those people, or just find getting the necessary amount of water difficult, this article is for you. Read on as we discuss five ways to get that all-important water into your body.

 

Start Slowly

When first starting to increase the amount of water you drink, people generally try to start drinking eight glasses a day right away. This is not the best approach. For better results, it is much wiser to start with just one glass more per day than what you drink already. When you feel that you sufficiently have the habit of drinking one glass more a day down, then you can add another. You will be drinking the optimum amount of water before you know it.

 

Buy a Filtration System

Tap water does not generally taste good, due to the content of chlorine and other chemicals used in its purification. Water filtration systems remove these chemicals from the water, making it much more palatable.

Water filtration systems are very easy to find and can be purchased at most supermarkets. These days, there are even filtration bottles that can be bought which will filter water one serving at a time.

 

Stock Your Refrigerator

Cold water is tastier than room temperature or even tap water. Get some empty juice bottles or sports bottles and fill these with ice. Pour some tap water on the ice. Place the bottles in your refrigerator. The ice will melt slowly, cooling the water over it to create a cold, refreshing treat. As a bonus, cold water cools your body, making it burn more calories to regulate its temperature.

 

Spice Up Your Water

Plain water can be boring but it does not have to be. Spice up that plain water by adding fruit to it. Lemon is a classic fruit to add to water, but it is not the only choice. Cucumbers and strawberries are also good choices. Pick a fruit you like and experiment until you find a combination that makes your taste buds happy while allowing your body to flourish. If fruit is not your thing, there are also varieties of no-calorie flavor packets that can be added to make water much tastier.

 

Eat Water-Enriched Foods

If drinking water still is not something you want to do, why not eat your water? Tomatoes and watermelon are both delicious and healthy. They are also over ninety per cent water. Getting water from these tasty sources can really cut down on the amount you have to drink.

 

Drinking enough water on a daily basis can be a real hassle but it does not have to be. If you take the tips prevented in this article, you may actually learn to like drinking water. Failing that, you can at least make it taste more palatable. Before long, you will be getting all the water you need and perhaps enjoying the taste as well.

The Importance of Teacher Appreciation Year-Round

Most people have that one teacher that they will never forget, the person who taught them to think outside the box, to believe in themselves. Many communities have Teacher Appreciation Week. Sometimes, students buy their teachers gifts for the holidays. However, those are just a few days a year events. Teacher appreciation needs to be a year-round affair. Teachers who feel that they are appreciated have higher morale. This translates into a desire to work harder to make sure that their students succeed. Beyond that, appreciated teachers are less likely to quit their jobs. Showing our teachers how vital they are also improves the classroom atmosphere for everyone.

 

Increasing Morale

A teacher’s job is never easy. They have to deal with school restrictions, restrictions on their classroom funding, and depending on the school they may even have to deal with a lack of teacher support from their superiors. All these factors can really lower a teacher’s morale, making them feel like they are in an endless struggle to do their jobs. Teachers who feel as if their job is a constant struggle are more likely to quit their jobs to move to schools in which they are better supported or to leave the profession altogether. However, teachers who feel that their contributions matter are much more likely to stay at a school even if the support from the administration is low. In short, community support for teachers is just as important as support from within the school environment itself.

 

Showing Teachers They Matter

Teachers work very hard for their students. When their colleagues, students and parents show them that they have done well, it gives the teacher concrete proof that they are not teaching into a vacuum and that their students appreciate their efforts. The support from colleagues is especially valuable. It shows teachers that their co-workers also recognize what they are doing for the children under their care, and this show of support from parents, students and co-workers is important all year round, not just during Teacher Appreciation Week. Furthermore, if a teacher has positive feedback on their performance, they can use that input to tailor their methods to better assist the students. This then gives the students a better learning experience.

 

Teacher appreciation is very important. Under-appreciated teachers are 12% more likely to transfer to schools with better support. This transfer rate leaves schools with higher poverty rates and fewer resources understaffed. Teachers in less affluent districts who are not shown  appreciation are also 10% more likely to simply leave the profession entirely. Showing teachers that they matter is an excellent way to increase their morale. Teachers who feel appreciated and supported report higher rates of satisfaction with their jobs and are therefore much more likely to stay at their current schools instead of moving to other schools or finding other professions to go into.

It is not just about morale though. Showing teachers that they actually do help students  allows them to evaluate the things that they have done that have been a benefit and then to work to improve their teaching style. Without positive feedback, teachers would never know what they needed to improve or what they are doing well. Teacher appreciation does not even have to be complicated. Just a simple note to tell that teacher who helped you so much during high school is enough, and it will make you feel good as well.

How the School Library Promotes Independent Learning

Although school libraries’ role is shifting in the digital age, they are still a critical resource for students in fostering the skills for independent learning.

The Internet has changed how information is consumed, and some have even questioned whether libraries still have a role in the modern school system. However, libraries have and continue to adapt, offering critical support for student success. In fact, a well-equipped and staffed library is a key differentiator of the most successful schools.

Libraries continue to be important for student success because they don’t just offer access to books and resource materials—they also help students become independent learners.

 

What is Independent Learning?

As defined by Brightside, independent learning is “when an individual is able to think, act and pursue their own studies autonomously, without the same levels of support you receive from a teacher at school.”

In other words, independent learning is the ability to learn on one’s own, without outside support.

 

Why Does Independent Learning Matter?

When a child becomes an independent learner, limits on their education begin to dissolve. An independent learner is free to discover new books and pursue what they are curious about, from bugs to baseball to why the sky is blue.

This can, in turn, reinvigorate the learning process for students, even in the classroom, and turn them into lifelong learners who will continue to grow and learn long after they graduate.

These are critical life skills that will help their grades in school, their job performance in adulthood, and overall life enrichment.

 

How do Libraries Support Independent Learning?

To start, libraries offer access to a wide range of books and materials, both print and digital. Studies have shown that students are better, more avid readers when they have a wide range of engaging materials available to them.

Perhaps even more importantly, librarians help students become critical researchers. Mainstream search engines tend to produce results based on what a person has searched for and clicked on in the past. This means that search results reaffirm the searcher’s bias. But a school librarian can help students learn to apply strong research methods, evaluate the quality of provided information, and seek out balanced resources.

In a digital world, these are important skills not just for the classroom, but for life.

 

A Skill Set to Get Ahead

An independent learner is motivated, curious, and able to overcome challenges. These are qualities that would serve every child well and help them reach their potential. School libraries have a big role to play in developing this skill set in children, and schools can help their students get ahead by supporting them.

Music As Therapy: The Healing Power Of Music

For ages, people have turned to music to get excited, calm down, share experiences, and more. Over time, scientific research has shown that this natural affinity for tunes is much more than a feeling—music can have powerful healing qualities.

Music therapy applies those scientific findings to enhance music’s power and help people heal to improve their physical, emotional, mental, social or even spiritual well-being.

Many different groups have been shown to benefit from music therapy, including:

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Music therapy has been shown to improve social behaviors, boost focus, reduce anxiety, and even enhance body awareness and coordination for people with ASD, as detailed in a study in Journal of Music Therapy.

Oncology patients
Music therapy can enhance the quality of life of oncology patients in many ways, including by reducing pain and anxiety, boosting mood, and improving heart rate and blood pressure. Cancer.org cites a review of studies reflecting these impacts, and music therapists are part of many cancer management teams.

Soldiers with PTSD
Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) gained an opportunity to better express and control their feelings and build a sense of connectedness through improvisation on hand drums, as cited in this Huffington Post article.

Special needs children
Most children engage with music quickly, so it can serve as a strong motivator to encourage kids with special needs to make requests, develop motor skills, and complete challenging activities. This post from Friendship Circle shares how.

Alzheimer’s patients
For dementia patients, an aptitude and appreciation for music is one of the abilities that stays with them the longest. Music can be used to improve patients’ mood, manage stress-induced agitation, encourage positive social engagement, and prompt cognitive functioning, according to Alzheimers.net.

Individuals with depression
For people suffering from depression, music can provide a catharsis and much-needed way to connect with others through joint improvisation. Creating music also enables people to positively experience their physical being. These are critical elements of depression recovery, as explained in this BJPsych article.

For pain management
Music provides sensory stimulation that causes patients with chronic pain to relax, reduces stress, boosts their mood, and reduces the patient’s perceived pain level. As explained by Everyday Health, patient learns to relax automatically while listening to music with practice.

Combining the Art and Science of Music

These are only some of the ways music therapy is improving lives. When the art and science behind music combine, they create a powerful therapy technique that can stimulate and heal us, both body and soul. With thousands of certified musical therapists in America today, many different kinds of patients experience the healing powers of music each year.

Eating Right For Asthma

If you have asthma, you probably have an inhaler which you use for daily relief of your symptoms or for emergency asthma attacks. You probably also avoid smoke or other substances that can trigger the coughing, wheezing misery of an asthma attack. You probably are also careful when you exercise. What you might not have known is that there is another thing you can do to help manage your condition. Though there is not an “asthma diet” and no specific foods are known to cause bronchial dilation on their own, a healthy diet is good for everyone including people with asthma. If you are curious how a healthy diet can benefit an asthmatic then please read on.

 

A Healthy Diet Reduces Obesity

Obesity is bad for everyone. Extra fat clogs your arteries and makes every cell in your body work harder to do its job. Those who are obese generally have lung problems, tire easily and become short of breath. If you are asthmatic, obesity can worsen the condition. Extra fat around the lungs causes them to not expand fully. This then cuts off the already compromised oxygen supply reaching your other organs and can make asthma attacks worse.

 

Avoid Allergens

Foods that you are allergic to can be really bad news for your asthma. Allergic reactions can often include swelling of the bronchial tubes in the same way that asthma does. They also can lead to coughing, which can actually start an asthma attack. That is why it is imperative that you avoid foods and other substances which you are allergic to. Your body will thank you.

 

Get Your Vitamins

The rates of asthma in the United States have been steadily rising over the last thirty years, and researchers are attempting to get to the bottom of this puzzling mystery. Studies are inconclusive so far but recent findings show that people who eat a diet high in vitamins E, C and Beta Carotene along with flavonoids, Omega III fatty acids and other components have less likelihood of developing asthma whereas those who eat processed foods and very few fruits and vegetables have a higher chance. If eating a healthy diet could prevent asthma in some people, then it stands to reason that it might also help lessen the condition in those already suffering. Beyond that, eating a healthy diet full of vitamins and minerals helps build new cells, restoring the ones asthma damages.

 

Eating a well-balanced diet is very important, especially for asthma sufferers. Doing so lessens the likelihood of obesity which prevents the lungs from expanding fully or properly. This type of diet also promotes cell growth and healing, which means the body repairs the damage to the lungs asthma causes much faster. As an asthma sufferer, it is also necessary to avoid allergens as allergens can trigger an asthma attack. Asthma can be a debilitating disease, but it doesn’t have to be. With good management and a healthy diet, you can be breathing easier in no time.

Ways to Relax

Let’s face it, life is busy. Sometimes it catches up with us, leaving us feeling stressed and overwhelmed. When this happens, you need a way to fight back.

Fortunately, even just a few minutes can be enough to help you recharge. Here are 26 ways to relax.

  1. Breathe
    Take 5 deep breathes, give it your full attention, notice the pause but in and out.
  2. Write
    Journaling about your feelings can help relieve them.
  3. Be grateful
    Write a list of what you’re grateful for—nothing is too small.
  4. Make a plan
    Knowing what you need to do today (and what you don’t) can help relieve the stress.
  5. Play
    Adults can sometimes forget how to play, but anything that is purposeless and pleasurable and help us unwind.
  1. Use visualization
    Whether you’re really standing at the ocean or just imagining it, your brain responds the same way.
  1. Talk to someone
    One of your best tools for coping with stress are social connections.
  2. Go green
    Immersing yourself in nature can help you unwind. Go for a walk along the river or find a good bench under a tree.
  3. Sleep on it
    It may feel counterintuitive, but take 20 minutes and catch some zzz’s. It can refresh your mind, while the brief time frame keeps you from getting groggy.
  4. Change the tunes
    Listening to upbeat or calming music can quickly shirt your mood.
  5. Meditate
    Even a few minutes can ease anxiety, especially when practiced daily.
  6. Be present
    Stop your thoughts and take a minute to be present in your body to be aware of it.
  7. Warm up
    Place a warm compress over your neck and shoulders for 10 minutes, lean back, and close your eyes to relax those tense muscles in your face, neck, and back.
  8. Laugh out loud
    Reduce your levels of stress hormone cortisol and increase feel-good endorphins with a good laugh.
  9. Stare at the ceiling
    Tilting your head up lowers blood pressure and slows your breath. Count down slowly from 60 while doing this to help still your mind.
  10. Set your worries aside
    Write down all of the things that are causing you stress, then put them aside to deal with tomorrow.
  11. Sip green tea
    Green tea has L-Theanine in it, which helps relieve anger.
  12. Go dark
    With some dark chocolate. A single square (1.4 oz) can regulate your cortisol levels.
  13. Chew gum
    The repetitive and thoughtless nature of chewing gum can reduce anxiety within just a few minutes.
  14. Count down
    This simple action demands enough attention to stifle the sources of your stress.
  15. DIY a hand massage
    Hands carry a lot of tension, so stop wringing your hands and massage them instead.
  16. Grab a golf ball
    But forget the irons. Instead, roll it against the bottom of your feet to release tension.
  17. Squeeze it out
    On a stress ball. They didn’t become a common desk tchotchke by accident.
  18. Get some sun
    Take a quick walk outside and soak up some rays to lift your spirits.
  19. Practice yoga
    The smooth deliberate motion of yoga is great for calming and re-centering.
  1. Cuddle with a pet
    A good snuggle with a furry friend is a proven way to de-stress.

Nausea: When To Seek Medical Advice

Nausea is very common symptom that is associated with a wide range of health conditions, referring to the physical discomfort that gives a person the feeling that they may be about to vomit.

Often the cause of vomiting or nausea can be determined fairly easily by looking back at a person’s recent actions (such as a particularly stressful day, or that gas station sushi s/he ate for lunch). But there are times when nausea and vomiting are very serious.

Knowing how to recognize when it’s time to see doctor can be the difference between a quick recovery and a life-threatening situation.

What’s serious enough to warrant a doctor or ER visit depends on age and condition. Here is a breakdown of what warning signs to look for by group:

Children
When a child is nauseous, the most common causes are overeating, motion sickness, blocked intestines, milk allergy, viral infections, food poisoning, or illness with a high fever. Another common cause is dehydration, particularly for those too young to communicate the symptoms.

If a child is nauseous and vomiting, look for these signs that s/he needs to seek emergency treatment:

  • Vomiting lasts longer than 24 hours, or longer than 12 hours for infants under 2
  • S/he shows symptoms of dehydration (dry lips, drymouth, sunken eyes, rapid breathing or rapid pulse)
  • S/he hasn’t urinated for longer than six hours
  • S/he is confused or lethargic
  • S/he has a fever of 102°F or higher for children 6 or older (100°F for infants)
  • Any infant with both vomiting and diarrhea
  • Any time an infant has projectile vomiting
  • If a child has vomited continuously for more than two hours
  • S/he hasn’t been able to keep liquids down for eight hours

Adults
When an adult feels nauseous, it’s usually easy to determine the cause—motion sickness, food poisoning, a virus, or emotional stress are common triggers.

Most of these causes are not serious, and pass within a matter of hours. But there are times when it is important to seek emergency treatment. On occasion, extensive vomiting can serious damage the esophagus.

An adult should seek medical treatment if:

  • S/he suffers from nausea for more than seven days
  • S/he shows signs of dehydration
  • She suspects she could be pregnant
  • If there is a known injury such as a head injury or infection
  • If vomiting continues for more than 24 hours
  • Blood is in the vomit (red or something appearing like coffee grounds)
  • If the person experiences a stiff neck or headache
  • S/he is lethargic, confused or lacking alertness
  • S/he has abdominal pain
  • S/he is unable to eat or drink for 12 hours

Pregnant women
Nausea is common during pregnancy, especially early on. However, frequent vomiting can lead to hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition in which a fluid and mineral imbalance develops. This is a serious medical condition that can endanger the fetus.

If this nausea is affecting a woman’s everyday life, it’s worth discussing with a doctor, but if an expecting mother experiences any of these, she should seek medical attention right away:

  • She vomits several times a day
  • She is unable to eat or drink without vomiting
  • She is losing weight

Cancer patients
For cancer patients undergoing radiation or chemotherapy, nausea is very common. Patients should be aware of associated risks including dehydration and choking, and always call your cancer team in the following situations:

  • The patient may have inhaled some of the vomit
  • S/he vomits more than three times an hour, for longer than three hours
  • Blood, red, or a coffee grounds-like substance appears in the vomit
  • S/he can’t eat for more than two days, or can’t consume more than 4 cups of liquid or ice chips for more than one day
  • The patient cannot take his/her medications
  • S/he shows signs of dehydration
  • S/he loses two pounds or more within 48 hours or less

Know the Signs and Risks

Most of the time, nausea is not a serious health threat, and it generally passes within a matter of hours. But nausea is a symptom for a wide range of conditions, from anxiety to a concussion.

While some of the most serious causes of nausea are rarer, there are some situations in which a nauseous and vomiting individual requires immediate medical care. Know the signs to keep you and your loved ones safe, and when in doubt, seek assistance.