A Successful School Day Begins the Night Before

By Holly Meyer, Grace Cottage Family Health RN

The lazy days of summer are behind us, and it’s back-to-school time.

After a long summer break, setting our kids up for a successful school day can be quite a production. Just like any production, it is important to set the stage in order to achieve a great performance. I think we can all agree that a great school day starts with a great night before. Here are a few tips to help your child to be a class act at school.

Encourage physical activity. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), children who exercise regularly have better attention spans and less behavioral problems. Go outside with your kids in the afternoon before dinner. Go for a hike, take a bike ride, or play tag. Just 30 minutes a day of physical activity on school days, or 150 minutes per week, is all it takes!

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Thoughts for a Successful School Year

By Eileen Arama, Grace Cottage Family Health MSW, LICSW

In just a matter of days, school will be added to families’ daily plans: getting up and ready for it, doing homework after it, hopefully enjoying friendships and feeling proud of accomplishments.

Three concepts can guide families through a successful school year: Structure, Communication, and Positive Stress.

It’s been said many times: routine and structure help both children and adults to function at their best. And it’s true; people do manage well when they set regular times for waking up and sleeping, meals and brushing teeth, homework and play. Initiating and maintaining these healthy routines and habits can provide predictability and stability for all ages.

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HPV Vaccine: Cancer Prevention for Teens and Beyond

Elizabeth Linder

By Dr. Elizabeth Linder

You’ve heard of the following potentially deadly childhood diseases—whooping cough (pertussis), diphtheria, and tetanus—but we rarely see anyone suffering from these serious illnesses these days. Why? Because almost all children in the U.S. have been protected from them by getting the recommended vaccine.

If you are willing to protect your child from diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, are you also willing to get them a vaccine that can prevent cancer?

The vaccine that I am referring to is the HPV vaccine, which is highly effective in preventing Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can lead to various cancers affecting reproductive and other vital organs in young women and men.

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Healthy Snacks for the Road

By Cheryl Shaw, Grace Cottage Community Health Team Health Coach

Time for a vacation? What will you eat while you’re away from home?

Packing good, nutritious food along with other vacation supplies will help you stay healthy. It will also keep your energy on an even keel, so you’ll arrive at your destination not ready for a nap, but ready for adventure.

It doesn’t take much thought or preparation to travel with enough healthy snacks to see you and your family through a car or plane ride. In an ideal world, we would spend time cooking and creating healthy, tasty homemade snacks and meals for the road. If you don’t have time for that, there are plenty of natural snacks and some pre-made alternatives that are helpful to have on hand. The next time you travel, pack a few of the food suggestions below, and avoid the roller coaster of energy dives that come with fast food. (Not to mention the cost! Feeding a family of four just one fast-food meal at a rest stop can easily cost $40-50!)

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Eating Healthy on a Budget: It’s Easy!

By Elizabeth Harrison, Grace Cottage Community Health Team Health Coach

Quite often, when I counsel my clients about nutrition, I find they have the mistaken idea that healthy food is more expensive. They believe they can’t afford to eat healthy. This just isn’t so.

The “Healthy Cooking on a Tight Budget” workshops that I have presenting along with two colleagues from the West Townshend Country Store is helping to dispel the myth that healthy food is high cost, and I would like to share here some of those insights we are presenting.

The first workshop, held in June, focused on soups. If you think about it, soup is one of the easiest ways to stretch a tight food budget.

Soup can be made out of any ingredients you have on hand, so it can save money by reducing wasted food that might otherwise be forgotten in the fridge and then end up being thrown away.

Speaking of food waste, what do you do with the ends when you cut up carrots, celery, onions and other vegetables? Do you throw them away? Next time,

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Healthy Food, Healthy Planet

By Danny Ballentine, Grace Cottage Emergency Department Physician Assistant

Food is medicine.

Chronic diseases are currently the leading cause of death in the developed world. A whole-foods, plant-based diet is excellent for decreasing the risk and treating chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and even cancer, and is very effective for weight control. Plant-based diets are also anti-inflammatory diets, which have been shown to enhance athletic performance, decrease recovery time after a workout or competition, and foster a strong immune system. There are athletes of all sports, from ultra-running to body building, who have adopted completely plant-based, or vegan, diets and have seen improvement in performance.

Dr. Andrew Weil, a physician and advocate of integrative medicine, has developed a food pyramid that helps folks move towards healthy plant-based eating habits and is easily accessible and simple to follow

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Prostate Cancer Screening? It Depends

By Dr. Moss Linder, Grace Cottage Family Health

Sometimes, a doctor can give medical advice that fits everyone, things like stop smoking, get regular exercise, and eat a healthy diet. Other times, a medical issue can’t be decided with a one-size-fits-all approach. Prostate cancer screening recommendations are one of those topics.

The prostate is a gland in a man’s body that surrounds the urethra, the tube through which urine flows. Prostate cancer is a disease that causes the gland to grow abnormally. Most prostate cancers have no symptoms at all, and the cancer grows so slowly that it does not cause any major problems. Some men may have urinary frequency or urgency or waking up at night to urinate.

Prostate cancer is the most common solid organ cancer in men and, behind lung cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death.

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Heading Out Into the Sun? Read This First!

By Natalie Harding, PA-C, Grace Cottage Family Health

We waited so long for summer, and now it’s time to get outside and go biking, hiking, get work done on the house or garden, or spend time on the beach. Maybe you earn your living working outdoors. Did you pack the sunscreen?

“Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun,” says Rudyard Kipling in his poem “Gunga Din.” There’s wisdom in that. The welcome, warm light from the summer sun carries a risk — UVA and UVB radiation. The risk is there all year, but in the summer we tend to be outdoors longer, have more skin exposed, and the days are longer, extending the risk. 

Ultimately, UVA and UVB can damage the skin and cause skin cancer. Here’s a mnemonic to help you remember the difference.

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How Can I Sleep Better?

Tips from the Medical Providers of Grace Cottage Family Health

Do you have trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep throughout the night? If so, you are not alone. In Vermont, more than one-third of adults report that they get less than the recommended seven-plus hours of sleep per night.

If you are among that 30 percent, you might benefit from learning about sleep hygiene. No, that doesn’t mean brushing your teeth and washing your face at bedtime. The term “sleep hygiene” actually refers to various lifestyle habits and the environment in which you sleep.

No doubt, some of the principles of sleep hygiene are familiar to you, but it’s worthwhile to review them and to keep them in mind.

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What is a Patient-Centered Medical Home?

By Elaine Swift, Grace Cottage Family Health Practice Director

Sometimes the language used by government agencies obscures the goal. The term “Patient-Centered Medical Home” is like that. People ask me all the time, “What does it mean, and why is it important?” I’d like to explain some of the ways that being a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) helps Grace Cottage provide the best care for our patients.

First, it’s helpful to know that, while all of the various services offered at Grace Cottage are important, the PCMH designation applies specifically to primary care practices. It is Grace Cottage Family Health, the part of Grace Cottage where patients go for their regular checkups and other primary care needs, that has received the PCMH designation. In fact, Grace Cottage Family Health was recently awarded Level 3 PCMH recognition, the highest level possible.

What does that mean for our patients?

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