Category - Healthy Lamoille Valley

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Holiday Drug Safety
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Rethinking the Role of Alcohol
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3-4-50 Lamoille
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Jessica Bickford, Healthy Lamoille Valley

Holiday Drug Safety

By: Jessica Bickford

Holiday drug safety

With the holidays quickly skipping in our direction through autumn’s gloriously, crunchy carpet, we will most likely soon have visitors or be a visitor in someone’s home. This is a prime time to think about medication safety. The majority of us have over-the-counter and prescription medicine in our homes. The question is, “How do we ensure they are secure and only taken as designed?”

Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Keep all medicines secured and out of reach of children. The medicine cabinet is not a good place, as it gives unrestricted access to anyone who visits your bathroom… including curious, climbing children. Locked boxes or closets are considered optimal for many prescription drugs, but well-monitored, high-up, out-of-sight areas will work too. Basically any area that can easily be supervised, but not on display.
  2. If traveling with medicines, consider asking your host the best place to safely store them while visiting.
  3. Clean out your medicines regularly keeping only what is needed in your home. This is especially true of prescription medications. Take a few moments to go through your medicines, checking for expired or unwanted leftovers. The Hardwick Police Department, Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department, and Morristown Police Department are all equipped to take unwanted prescription medicines year-round, no questions asked.

Parents have an added need for vigilance. When my kids were younger we visited my husband’s grandparents for Thanksgiving and our kids discovered a dropped pill under the television stand. It was just a Tylenol and we were able to dispose of it, but it illustrates the need for added attention. Here are a few tips for parents:

  1. Talk to your host about the importance of making sure their medicines are secured.
  2. Before you arrive, talk with children about safe medicine use and the need to be given medicines by a parent or caregiver. Also share the importance of not eating “candy” without checking in with an adult first – many medicines and prescriptions may look like candy, especially to a younger child. Another good conversation to have is about staying in well-supervised areas. For example, “Grammy and Grampa’s bedroom is their space, and we want to respect their privacy.”
  3. If you have younger children who may be playing on the floor, sit with them and play. While playing, scan the lower half of the room to discover any wayward pill or other small objects that may present a risk.
  4. Monitor your children and teens. Have fun, but know where they are and what they’re doing. ParentUpVT.org is a great resource with tips for conversations and ideas for checking in with children and teens.

A few minutes spent thinking about medicine safety may help your upcoming holiday visits stay merry and bright!

Looking for more resources on prescription drug safety? Here are helpful resources:

http://healthvermont.gov/adap/RxOTCabuse.aspx

Healthylamoillevalley.org


Jessica Bickford has worked as Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley for a little over two years, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.

Rethinking the Role of Alcohol

By: Jessica Bickford

lemonade recipe

This past weekend, many of us gathered together with friends and family to celebrate the Fourth of July. We often see these celebrations as a great time to kick back with a beer, glass of wine, or mixed drink.

Working in substance abuse prevention, I’d like to challenge you to rethink the role of alcohol at your next event. (This does not mean that you will necessarily eliminate its presence altogether, but take a look…) Below are simple tips to decrease the role of alcohol in your celebrations.

1) It’s easy for our children and teens to get the message that you need alcohol to have fun. When every gathering has alcohol it’s too easy for it to become normal, leading them to believe that they can increase their fun if they have alcohol.

Tip: Have festive, quality non-alcoholic drinks on hand so that youth can celebrate too and see adults choosing non-alcoholic options. (Keep reading for a recipe for homemade lemon/limeade.

 2) Alcohol at gatherings is often not monitored well enough – making it easier for youth to experiment.*

Tip: If you have alcohol present – assign someone to monitor it to ensure that underage guests are not helping themselves. Check out Parentupvt.org for more great tips to connect with your teens!

3) You may have guests who are in long-term substance abuse recovery. Having an alcohol-free party allows them to celebrate without concern that they may relapse.

Tip: Check in with your guests before the party and always provide non-alcoholic options.

4) The drive home. Unless your guests are spending the night, you may be putting them and others at risk if they get behind the wheel.

Tip: Monitor your guests’ drinking and if someone is buzzed or intoxicated, arrange for them to stay or get a ride home.

5) The expense. Alcohol is expensive.

Tip: If you limit alcohol, you can invest in nicer food and have your guests talking about your party for years to come!

 6) Less stress. Limiting or skipping alcohol can minimize stress. No one has to worry “Uncle Bill” drinking too much and getting out of control.

Tip: Focus on fun and being together. Provide activities that your guests enjoy, like horseshoes, cards, volleyball, etc.

Celebrate well and make safety a priority!

 

Bonus Recipe: Lemon/Limeade for a Crowd

Homemade Lemonade/Limeade is a hit at our celebrations! I love that I don’t have to worry about who drinks it or how much they consume. Plus, I can usually make it for under $5!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pound bag of lemons/limes
  • 3 Cups of sugar (Less if you like it tart, but I’ve found this ratio to be good for a crowd)
  • 3 Gallons of Water
  • Ice
  • Fun garnish of your choice… paper straws, sliced up lemon peels, mint, berries, etc.

(Makes 3 Gallons. For less, us 3-4 lemons/limes, 1 cup sugar, 1 gallon water.)

Directions:

  • Juice your citrus.
  • Add sugar and about ½ of the water.
  • Stir until sugar is mostly dissolved.
  • Add your ice, then top off with water.
  • Garnish and enjoy!

* According to SAMHSA, youth who experiment with alcohol are more likely to have substance abuse dependence requiring treatment between the ages of 18-30. 


Jessica Bickford has worked as Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley for a little over two years, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.

3-4-50 Lamoille

By: Valerie Valcour

Vermont has ranked as the number 1 and number 2 healthiest state for the past 7 years. That’s good news! Yet according to the Department of Health, 55% of all deaths in Vermont result from chronic diseases caused by 3 behaviors: lack of physical activity, poor diet and tobacco use. These 3 behaviors can lead to 4 diseases: cancer, heart disease and stroke, Type 2 diabetes and lung disease. These 4 diseases lead to more than 50% of all deaths in Vermont.

3-4-50 is a new prevention campaign to support the health of Vermonters. The 3-4-50 concept is a helpful tool when supporting families to live longer, healthier lives, in safe and vibrant communities.

3-4-50

So what is our local Department of Health doing to help families live healthier lives? One example is helping local businesses become Breastfeeding Friendly Employers. Check out the list of employers here. Another example is helping the Lamoille Regional Planning Commission include health, recreation and healthy food practices in the regional plan. Yet another example is the creation of the Healthy Lamoille Valley coalition, which is made possible by a grant from the Vermont Department of Health and the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration.

You may recall, I recently wrote about the benefits of walkable communities. Celebrate summer and get out to enjoy the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, sidewalks, backroads, and other local resources in your communities. Bring a friend or family member for added support, safety and fun. Grab an apple or banana instead of that candy bar the next time you shop for a snack. Go to 802 Quits for resources to help you or a loved one quit smoking.

Visit 3-4-50 to learn more about active living, healthy eating and tobacco prevention. Live Well Lamoille!


Valerie Valcour is a Public Health Nurse and specializes in chronic disease prevention and emergency preparedness at the community level for the Department of Health in Morrisville. Valerie has lived in Lamoille County most of her life. She graduated from People’s Academy in 1983 and worked as a nurse at Copley Hospital for several years. In addition to her work, she volunteers as a board member of both Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley and the Lamoille County Planning Commission.

Jessica Bickford, Healthy Lamoille Valley

Jessica BickfordJessica Bickford has worked as Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley for a little over two years, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s Community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.

Jessica lives in Johnson with her husband, two children, a cat, and a dog.