Health Bits

posted 5/19/2019

June 2019 – Have fun in the sun, BUT…


June is finally here and everyone who is able will
be out and about enjoying “fun in the sun,” but we
need to be cognizant of its effects on our body.
Protect yourself with a hat, sunscreen and
sunglasses. But awareness to skin changes is
paramount! I am addressing moles here. Most are
harmless except for one, MELANOMA skin
cancer can be very serious and deadly!
Because many melanomas develop on the skin
where they can be seen, they have a good chance
of early detection. Regular examination of the skin
for any new or unusual growths or changes in
existing moles should be discussed with your
primary care physician and referred to a
dermatologist who is qualified to diagnose
melanomas. A normal mole is generally colored
evenly (brown, black or tan and about the size of
a pencil eraser). They can be flat or raised, and
generally do not change.
The first sign of melanoma is typically a new spot
of the skin, or a change in the size of an existing
mole. The ABCDE method may help you
determine whether an abnormal skin growth may
be melanoma.


Asymmetry: The mole has an irregular shape.

Border: The edge is not smooth, but irregular or

Color: The mole has uneven shading or dark

Diameter: The spot is larger than the size of a
pencil eraser.

Evolving or Elevation: The spot is changing in
size, shape or texture.

If you have any of these warning signs or questions
about an area or sore, have it examined by a
doctor. Have fun this summer, but be safe.

Nurse Barbara



posted 1/20/2019

February Health-bits

Tips for Staying Healthy During Winter

  1. Tread carefully:
    To help avoid falls, wear appropriate shoes outdoors and put road salt, sand or kitty litter on sidewalks and driveways.
  2. Avoid overwork:
    Find someone to handle snow shoveling and other strenuous outdoor tasks. Cold weather causes blood vessels to constrict, which increases the risk of heart attack for people with heart disease or other conditions that strain the heart’s ability to pump blood.
  3. Exercise indoors:
    Staying indoors doesn’t mean being inactive. Keep in shape by walking in place, using a stationary bike or working out with a fitness video. Daily stretching exercises help maintain flexibility. A number of classes are available at Verona Senior Center. Check with your physician before beginning any exercise program.
  4. Bundle up:
    Cold temperatures are a serious threat to seniors, especially those with dementia. A person who wanders from home without proper clothing in the winter can quickly fall victim to frostbite or hypothermia. Families should consider installing alarm systems that signal whenever an outside door is opened.
  5. Keep the heat on:
    Inadequate indoor heat also can cause hypothermia. Keep home temperatures above 65 degrees and dress in layers to maintain body temperature. If you have difficulty paying the heating bill, contact your gas or electric utility about ways to continue service through the winter.
  6. Clear the air:
    If you heat your home with a fireplace, gas furnace or gas-powered space heater, invest in carbon monoxide detectors, which can be purchased at a home improvement store for as little as $30. Carbon monoxide in the air can displace the oxygen in your blood stream, causing headache, dizziness, nausea, convulsions and even death within two hours. The effects can be even faster for people with heart or respiratory illnesses.
  7. Socialize:
    Depression is more common in winter months, and bad weather can mean social isolation for many seniors. Make efforts to spend time with family, friends and neighbors, and when weather makes visiting difficult, pick up the phone for a chat.
  8. Hydrate:
    We need just as much water in the winter as in the summer. That “puff” of vapor you see as you exercise outside is water vapor escaping from our body. Heating your home causes the air to dry out, so run a humidifier and drink more water. Dry noses and throats invite different virus and bacteria into our respiratory system.

*Source: University of Indianapolis online

– Nurse Barbara


posted 12/20/2018

January Health-bits

Happy New Year, 2019!!!

Now that we’re done with all the extra sweets for a time, (Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas) we need to concentrate how important keeping a healthy mouth is and its relationship to total body health. Make this number one on your resolution list!

Unhealthy balance of bacteria in the mouth can cause an inflammatory response and cause an oral infection. This leads to local inflammation and tissue damage. The evidence of this is redness, swelling, bleeding, receding gums, noticeable spaces between the teeth and gums, loss of bone support, and tooth loss. Untreated gum disease can lead to increased risk of Stroke, Respiratory Infections, Heart Disease and Uncontrolled Diabetes.

All of our body systems influence one another to our benefit or our demise. Adult periodontitis may cause increased risk of heart and cardiovascular disease and clotting concerns. The hazardous bacteria in the mouth can be inhaled into the lungs causing infections. Finally, smokers with diabetes increase their risk of tooth loss by 20 times and periodontal disease is several times as likely to develop in those with type 2 diabetes as in non-diabetics. Diabetics have difficulty controlling blood sugar levels if they have unhealthy balance of bacteria in the mouth.

See your dentist twice a year. Get your teeth cleaned. Your dentist will examine your mouth and under your tongue to make certain all is healthy. Floss before brushing and brush at least twice daily. If you notice any changes from your normal, make an appointment to see your dentist. It can make a difference in your total body health.



posted 11/10/2018

December Health-bits

While most of us enjoy the holiday season, we have to be aware if the STRESS in can cause. The rush of parties, gift shopping, and decorating can be overwhelming! Here are some tips for overcoming stress and depression during the Holidays.

  • Keep Realistic Expectations
  • Learn to say NO
  • Laugh. Laughter is the best medicine
  • Get enough sleep
  • Start new traditions or stick with the old ones
  • Get enough sunlight and exercise
  • Limit your alcohol intake
  • Delegate responsibilities
  • Don’t pay for everything
  • Keep your eating habits healthy
  • Have a happy, stress free, healthy, Holiday Season!

Nurse Barbara


posted 10/19/2018

November Health-bits

November is Lung Cancer Awareness month.

Lung cancer often has no symptoms until it has spread. That is because there are few specialized nerves in the lungs. Remind your doctor of your medical history if you go in for a physical exam. That will enable him to find an accurate diagnosis if you present with particular symptoms. Some symptoms may include: Coughing; blood in sputum; shortness of breath; wheezing; pain in the chest; fatigue; pneumonia; hoarseness; difficulty swallowing; high pitched sound with taking a breath. It can also cause symptoms far from the tumor involving the brain, bone, and liver. There are some encouraging updates regarding lung cancer. They include: the FDA approval of a new drug for people with stage 111 non-small cell lung cancer who can’t have surgery to remove their tumor; American Assoc. for Cancer Research found new ways to use immunotherapy to treat certain types of lung cancer cells; and finally, trends show smoking has declined!! The jury is still out on the effects of E-cigarettes, but NYU School of Medicine finds there is DNA damage in the lungs, bladder and heart, which could increase the risk of cancer and heart disease.

November 19th is The Great American Smokeout.

The rewards of quitting are tremendous and begin immediately! Benefits can begin within 20 minutes of quitting. Quitting tobacco of any kind will improve your health, your finances, your self-esteem and your everyday life. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Most of all, quit using tobacco for the people in your life. You protect those you love from being around second hand smoke. Quit, so you can be around longer and healthier for your family and friends!!!!

Nurse Barbara



posted 8/19/18

Plan ahead: October 

Vendor Fair – Flu Clinic

Thursday, October 4 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

  • Flu Shots Available
  • Free Vision Screening
  • Free Blood Pressure Checks
  • Free Massages

This is a Health and Wellness event that you will not want to miss!
We will have over 30 vendors with a wealth of resources and information on many interesting and important topics.
Many of the vendors you enjoyed visiting with last year will be returning, and we’ll have some new ones for you to see, also!
We will also be serving some light refreshments. Please tell your friends and family to join us!


posted 9/15/2018

October Health-bits

Nurse Barbara
Don’t forget the “Flu Shot Clinic” on October 4, from 9-12 at the Verona Senior Center Health Fair.
The “flu season” is usually from October through May. Remember the vaccine is not effective for 12 – 14 days after receiving the shot. The flu is caused by influenza viruses and is considered a highly contagious respiratory infection. The flu virus usually enters the body through mucus membranes in the mouth, nose, or eyes and can live on inanimate objects for some time. Remember to cover your mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing, and wash your hands often. In public restrooms, remember to use a paper towel to dry your hands, and then use the paper towel to turn off the faucets and open the bathroom door before throwing it away. Normally older adults, young children, and those with specific health conditions are at higher risk for more serious flu complications. Some may need to be hospitalized. Complications are more frequent in people with underlying health problems such as heart disease, asthma, or emphysema.

The Fluzone High-Dose influenza vaccine, senior strength, will again be offered at the upcoming flu shot clinic at our Health Fair, which will be held on October 4th from 9 am-12 noon. This vaccine is a specialized dose with 4 times the antigen (a substance that causes the immune system to produce antibodies) of a standard flu shot. This makes it more effective. As we grow older our immune system slows down, so we need that extra boost to avoid the risks that come with the flu season. It is also a covered benefit under Medicare Part B.

Be aware and keep healthy this Autumn!!
Nurse Barbara


posted 8/21/18

September Health-bits

September, 2018, begins the preparation for Fall and Winter. This includes updating immunizations and boosters for certain infections. Vaccines and boosters are very important for our senior population and their good health. Some important vaccinations for adults to be aware of are:

  • Pneumococcal (Pneumonia);
  • Shingles;
  • Hepatitis A&B;
  • Tetanus/Diphtheria (Td);
  • and Influenza (Flu).

The flu shot is scheduled at the

  • Verona Senior Center on
  • October 4, 2018, from 9:00 to Noon.

Healthy Lifestyles program

  • Thursday, September 13 at 10:30
  • we will resume our Healthy Lifestyles program.

This month we will have Sara Hannemann, the coordinator for the SAFE at home program at SSM Health at Home. She will address the home environment, risk of falling, and how that affects independence. Please come and join in the program and discussion.

Parkinson’s Group

  • Thursday, September 20 at 10:00
  • Speaker: Laurie Couillard, Director of Group Engagement from the WPA

Laurie Couillard, Director of Group Engagement from the WPA, will speak to us at the Parkinson’s Group. She will address the basics of Parkinson’s, but elaborate on treatments, as well as new exercise programs, such as Rock Steady Boxing, PD Dance, etc. Please come. I welcome your feedback.

Nurse Barb


posted 7/17/18

August Health-bits

AUGUST is here and many of us are doing lots of outdoor cooking and picnics. There are ways you can minimize your family’s risk of food poisoning by following some simple guidelines about food safety.


CLEAN: Wash hands and surfaces often to avoid the spread of bacteria.

SEPARATE: Keep raw foods separate from cooked foods to avoid cross-contamination.

COOK: Make sure you kill harmful bacteria by cooking food until it reaches the proper temperature.

  • (Hamburger 71 degrees C. (172F); and
  • Poultry at 74 degrees C. (178F).
  • Reheat leftovers to at least 165 degrees F.
  • Always use a meat thermometer.

CHILL: Keep cold foods cold at 4 degrees Centigrade (approx..32-38F) or colder.
Letting food sit at unsafe temperatures puts you at risk for foodborne illnesses.
Keep Hot foods Hot and Cold foods Cold!

  • Remember the 2-hour rule.
  • Keep ALL raw meat wrapped separately.
  • Always use a meat thermometer.
  • Chill leftovers as soon as possible and reheat them to at least 165 degrees.

Have a great time at that next bar-be-que and picnic by being safe!!

Nurse Barbara

(Information from Environmental Health Dept.)


posted 6/20/18

from Barbara

July – Stay Hydrated

Happy Safe Summer! It is important to stay hydrated. Here are just a few reasons why you should drink more water! 

  1. Water increases energy and relieves fatigue. Your brain is mostly water and water helps you to think, stay focused, concentrate, and be more alert. Start your day with a full glass of water! It will also help your metabolism and boost your mood!
  2. It promotes weight loss by reducing eating intake and removes by-products of fat.
  3. It flushes out toxins. It gets rid of waste through sweat and urination which reduces the risk of kidney stones and UTIs.
  4. Water improves skin complexion. Our skin is the largest organ in our body. By drinking water, the color and texture of your skin improves by building new cells.
  5. Water boosts your immune system and various research says staying hydrated can reduce the risk of colon and bladder cancer. It also helps fight against flu and some heart problems.
  6. Water prevents headaches, joint and muscle pain.
  7. Eating more fruit and vegetables will also help with your water intake.

Be good to yourself and feed your body. Water is essential for the proper circulation of nutrients in the body.

– Barbara


Posted 5/17/2018

Health Bits

from Barbara

June – Ticks & Mosquitoes

This summer ticks and mosquitoes are even more prevalent in our beautiful Midwest. The CDC and the Weather Bureau states it is because of our increased rainfall and warmer temperatures.  Whether you believe in global warming or not, it seems things are changing in our environmental surroundings.

There are several ways to deter mosquitoes. The first one people always think of are the products using DEET.  Most of us would rather use something as effective, but not use DEET. One product is anything containing oil of eucalyptus. Another is made by Avon and called Skin so Soft Bug Guard plus picaridin. This new product is supposed to repel against mosquitoes and deer ticks too.

Ticks love the Wisconsin humidity. The infected blacklegged ticks are those that can cause Lyme disease.  It can usually be treated with antibiotics if caught soon enough. To protect against ticks, avoid brushing up against vegetation. For protection against mosquitos and ticks, wear a hat and light clothing, long–sleeved shirts and long pants tucked in your socks.

Wear a hat for sun protection, shoes with good support, a reputable sun screen product, apply a mosquito repellent, and you are set to go for a great outdoor adventure this summer!




posted 4/23/18

from Barbara


What a wonderful time of the year. Our environment has new beginnings in plants, flowers, and even some animals. The scents can be wonderful or overbearing. And as your nurse, I have to bring to your attention another prevalent substance that Spring brings—Allergies!

An allergy is when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance, called an allergen. It could be something you eat, inhale into your lungs, inject into your body or touch. This reaction could cause coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, a runny nose and a scratchy throat. The change in Wisconsin weather and temperature brings many allergens in the air. In severe cases, allergens can cause rashes, hives, low blood pressure, breathing trouble, asthma attacks and even death.

There is no cure for allergies, but you can manage them with prevention and treatment. More Americans than ever say they suffer from allergies. It is among the country’s most common, but overlooked, diseases.

Allergy treatment is based on your medical history and can include three treatment types: Avoiding allergens, medicine options and/or immunotherapy “allergy shots”, or allergens placed under the tongue. The best of these, if possible, is to avoid the allergen. Remove the source of allergens from your home. You can also reduce your symptoms to airborne allergens by using a nasal saline rinse daily. Nasal rinses are effective and inexpensive. Your pharmacist is a good resource on how to do them correctly.

Have a wonderful Spring!

– Barbara