Does Seasonal Affective Disorder Only Happen In the Winter?

As the winter months get colder, maybe you notice that you feel tired more often. You start to overeat—even when it’s not Thanksgiving or Christmas. And most importantly, you feel down, but you can’t quite put your finger on what caused your depressed mood.

These are typical symptoms of a type of depression called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.

Most people who have heard of SAD think that it is a type of depression triggered during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight, as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) explains.

Fewer people are aware that SAD can happen in the summer as well.

 

What is the Difference Between SAD in the Winter and SAD in the Summer?

In fact, 10% of people diagnosed with SAD have the lesser-known summertime variety, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Its symptoms—and their causes—are essentially the opposite of winter depression. Just as the lack of sunlight triggers winter SAD, some doctors believe that the sun’s abundance and the heat that comes with it triggers summer depression, according to Dr. Norman Rosenthal, one of the first doctors to identify SAD.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Winter SAD Summer SAD
Overeating Loss of appetite
Unexplained weight gain Unexplained weight loss
Sleeping more than usual Insomnia
Depression Irritability

Sources: National Institutes of Health, Dr. Norman Rosenthal

 

How is SAD Treated?

Winter SAD

Shorter days in the fall and winter month cause winter SAD, and treatment for winter SAD can come in the form of prescription antidepressants.

4 ways Seasonal Affective Disorder can be harmful:

  1. Decreases productivity at work
  2. Reduces your desire to socialize
  3. Can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts
  4. Can worsen symptoms for those who are already depressed

Source: American Psychiatric Association

Light therapy can be an effective treatment for people with winter SAD, according to the July 2009 study in the International Journal on Disability and Human Development. The idea is to imitate lighting conditions of sunnier months by regularly basking under a high-brightness light.

Summer SAD

People with summer SAD tend to be set off by the heat and the extended daylight hours of summer’s longer days. That means people with summer SAD don’t typically benefit from light therapy.

Dr. Rosenthal suggests via his blog that instead people with summer SAD reduce their exposure to daylight and spend time indoors with air-conditioning to curb symptoms. Also, beginning antidepressant medications early in the season is another course of action that can help.

An older study published in August 2007 in the Journal of Affective Disorders, pointed to allergies and high pollen count as another factor that may contribute to developing summer SAD.

 

4 Tips For Dealing With SAD

1) Inform friends and family of your condition

Social isolation can make depression worse, which is why having a support network aware of your condition matters so much.

Friends and loved ones can get you to stay active and social. Be open to having someone to confide in during your tougher months.

2) Exercise

Physical activity is a great mood booster. Whether your SAD hits in winter or summer, there are plenty of exercises you can do indoors without having to pay a hefty fee to join a gym.

Do a quick YouTube search for videos of yoga routines, make some space in your living room, and enjoy the double benefits of getting exercise and practicing relaxation techniques at the same time.

3) Remember that SAD is temporary

There’s hope around the bend, and in a few months the weather will change in your favor. Hang in there and remind yourself it’s only temporary, but also know when to get help.

4) Talk to your doctor about treatment options

Admitting that your feelings of sadness are more than just the blues is a great first step. The second step: Get help. Talk to a doctor or therapist to see therapies will work for you. There is no need to suffer in silence this season.

If you are struggling with seasonal affective disorder, schedule an appointment with a physician at Mountain View Hospital.

 

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5 Common Types of Headaches: Do You Know the Difference?

Headaches are painful and annoying, yes, but they usually don’t require a trip to the emergency room.

What you need to treat them, however, is an understanding of the different kinds of headaches. Here’s what you should know about the causes of and cures for common types of headaches.

What types of headaches can usually be treated at home?

1) Tension headaches

You can usually feel this type of headache on both sides of your head, starting at the back of your skull and spreading towards the front, says the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Your shoulder, neck, scalp and jaw muscles may tighten, causing soreness.

The level of pain will vary from person to person and episode to episode.

 

Causes of tension headaches include:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Holding your head or neck in an awkward position

Source: National Institutes of Health

If you have a tension headache, the NIH recommends you treat it with acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen.

2) Migraines

Migraines feel absolutely awful, but they usually aren’t a cause for a trip to the emergency room.

Symptoms of migraines often include:

  • Throbbing, pounding or pulsating pain that begins on one side of your head but may spread to the other
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Aura, possibly including visual hallucinations and difficulty speaking
  • Nausea

Migraines sometimes are triggered by foods or lifestyle changes, like not getting enough sleep, the NIH explains. In addition to taking over-the-counter or prescription medications, there are other things you can do when you feel a migraine coming on to reduce the severity of the symptoms.

 

When migraine symptoms start it’s important to:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Rest in a quiet, dark room
  • Place a cool cloth on your head
  • Practice relaxation techniques

Source: National Institutes of Health

3) Cluster headaches

These headaches are sharp and painful, according to the NIH. While the pain usually lasts for an hour or less, cluster headaches can occur a few times a day for months at a time, usually at the same time each day.

When you have cluster headaches, the pain is often experienced as a steady burning or sharp sensation on one side of your face, the NIH says.

Cluster headaches can be managed with prescription medication, so it is worth seeing your doctor if you experience these symptoms.

4) Sinus headaches

Sinus headaches are caused by swelling behind your cheeks, nose and eyes, the NIH explains. Sufferers typically experience pain in the front of the head and face, and it gets worse first thing in the morning or when you bend forward.

These headaches can generally be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers or decongestants.

5) Rebound headaches

This type of headache just keeps coming back, says the NIH. The cause is usually taking too much pain medication.

If you take pain medication regularly for more than three days per week, you may develop rebound headaches. Consider scheduling an appointment with your doctor to see if anything can be done to manage the pain.

So when should you go to the ER if you have a headache?

While the NIH says that headaches rarely warrant a trip to the ER, be on the lookout for signs of serious illness.

Get medical help immediately if:

  • The headache appears suddenly and feels severely painful right from the start
  • You experience confusion or memory loss
  • The symptoms worsen over the course of the day
  • You also have a fever, stiff neck, nausea and vomiting
  • You have recently experienced a head injury
  • You have a history of cancer
  • Your speech is slurred
  • You have difficulty moving your arms or legs or can’t stay balanced

These last two are signs of a potential stroke. The American Stroke Association recommends you call 911 right away if you also have facial drooping or weakness or numbness in one of your arms.

If headaches are getting the best of you, talk to one of Mountain View’s physicians about managing the pain.

 

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What You Need to Know About Enterovirus or EV-D68

You may be aware that an increasing number of children in several U.S. states have been diagnosed with Enterovirus D68.  Following are some facts and information that can help you to understand why this virus is gaining national attention and how to reduce your child’s risk of contracting it.

Enteroviruses are quite common, as there are over 100 different types. Each year, 10 to 15 million enterovirus infections occur in the United States, usually during the summer and fall. Most people infected with enteroviruses have only mild symptoms like a common cold. Some people do not appear to be sick at all. However, enteroviruses can cause more serious symptoms that may require hospitalization.

EV-D68 is one strain of enterovirus that has been linked to repository illness that ranges from mild to severe.  While this strain has been around for more than 40 years, it is less common and rarely reported in the United States. It is not possible to confirm which specific strain the children have (such as EV-D68) without further testing at one of a limited number of CDC facilities.

However, our specialists note that there’s no need for parents to become overly concerned about the number of children who have contracted EV-D68 across the country. Their advice is to closely monitor children who have been exposed to this virus or have a mild cold-like illness because respiratory symptoms caused by enterovirus can progress quickly. Young children and people with asthma are particularly vulnerable to EV-D68 and severe respiratory illness.

Common Enterovirus Symptoms

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Lethargy
  • Mild fever (sometimes a fever is not present)
  • Runny nose, sneezing, cough
  • Skin rash
  • Body and muscle aches
  • Mouth blisters

For children with asthma:

Children with asthma should continue to follow their asthma action plans and speak with their doctor regarding yellow and red zone instructions. According to the CDC, 68 percent of the children with lab-confirmed EV-D68 nationwide have a history of asthma or wheezing (Sept. 8, 2014).

When to Seek Treatment

  • If you are concerned for any reason, notify your doctor.
  • If your child is experiencing signs of respiratory distress, such as wheezing, shortness of breath, feeling of “not getting enough air,” call your doctor immediately or go to your local ED.
  • If your child is unresponsive, turns blue or stops breathing, call 911.

Prevention

Since many people who come down with an enterovirus do not have symptoms, it is difficult to prevent it from spreading. However, these tips can help keep your family to remain healthier now and during the cold and flu season:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. (Hand sanitizers are not as effective against enterovirus as thorough handwashing)
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, handrails and toys, especially where has respiratory illness symptoms.
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, shaking hands, or sharing cups and eating utensils with sick people.
  • Stay home when feeling ill and consult with your doctor if your child is experiencing symptoms.

At Mountain View Hospital, we’re well prepared to take good care of anyone who is experiencing serious symptoms of any respiratory illness including an enterovirus. Our emergency medicine specialists can provide evidence-based treatments for symptoms that would not need to be adjusted even if the virus could be confirmed as EV-D68. They are ready to provide appropriate and effective patient care plans for anyone with severe respiratory symptoms.

If you have questions or concerns about enterovirus or its symptoms, contact your family doctor or pediatrician or visit www.health.utah.gov. If you do not have a physician, you can schedule an appointment as soon as possible through our “See Me Same Day” service at 877-870-3745.

 

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How Poor Posture, Mobile Devices and Back Pain Go Hand in Hand

Raise your hand if you consider losing your smartphone or tablet a slight emergency. Now keep your hand up if you’d stop what you were doing immediately to look for it and buy another one the same day if it didn’t turn up.

Exactly.

We’re addicted to our gadgets—smartphones, tablets, e-readers, laptops and whatever else our favorite tech companies come out with. So much so that nearly ⅓ of us say we can’t live without them, according to a November 2012 study from the Pew Research Internet Project.

And while nobody’s knocking the love we have for our gadgets, if you’re starting to feel pain in your neck and back from spending hours slouched over to thumb a text message, it may be time to do something about it.

 

80% of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives

Source: American Chiropractic Association

 

Having Text Neck

This excessive use of smartphones and other mobile devices is creating similar strain on the neck and back that developed when people started to spend hours a day hunched over using a computer, says a November 2009 study from the American Public Health Association.

People with a habit of dropping their heads forward pay for it over time. Most cases of back pain are caused by mechanical issues, like slouched posture, and not by diseases and illnesses, according to the American Chiropractic Association.

The red flag is when the head, neck and shoulders are overused from leaning forward to look down at phones, laptops and tablets, according to the Text Neck Institute (Yes, that’s really what it’s called).

This, in turn, leads to a curved posture that resembles a slight hump back—plus neck and back pain, according to a June 2013 study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science.

 

Good Posture Is Important

Where’s my phone?!

 

29% of cell phone owners say they “can’t imagine living without” their cell phones.

Source: PewResearch Internet Project, November 2012

 

If you’re used to hunching over to use your mobile device, send yourself a text message that says, “Sit up straight.”

 

Because the habit has probably become so ingrained that you’re not conscious of it, you’ll have to take extra effort to walk and sit tall, according to the North American Spine Society.

 

This starts with sitting and standing with your chest up and shoulders back. Then, instead of dropping your head forward to see the screen, bring your elbows in to touch your waist and lift the screen closer to your face. There, isn’t that better?

 

If you’re sitting to use your laptop or tablet, sitting up straight will ensure that the weight of your head is supported by the spine; this decreases the stress placed on disks and also supports the ligaments in the neck, says the North American Spine Society.

 

Sit as straight as possible by getting a separate keyboard and mouse for your laptop. Now you can sit further back from the screen and keep it at eye level, rather than slouching over that tiny keyboard. You can also get a stand to raise your laptop closer to eye level or drop the height of your chair.

 

The goal is to get yourself in a position where your shoulders are squarely facing ahead, instead of rounded forward and your head is raised to a straight, neutral position, not dropped downward.

 

Sitting up straight supports the body against gravity, which tends to pull our heads and shoulders forward even more when we slouch. It allows the correct amount of muscle tension and provides balance, according to the American Chiropractic Association.

 

Exercise To Improve Text Neck

There are also a couple of exercises that the North American Spine Society suggests doing twice a day to increase the strength and range of motion in the neck. This will prevent your neck from becoming too stiff. You can do these just about any place where you can send a text message.

 

●     Neck rotations. With your head in a neutral position, slowly turn your head to the left as far as you can and hold it for 5 seconds–do the same to the right. You can do this exercise either sitting or standing. Do this in sets of 5.

 

●     Scapular retraction. Stand with your arms at your side and the head and neck in a neutral position. Pull your shoulders blades back and downward. Hold this position initially for 10 seconds and work up to 30 seconds. Do this in sets of 5.

 

If your neck or back pain persists or gets worse, use that beloved smartphone to make an appointment with our orthopedic specialists, who can help manage your pain.

 

 

Posted in Healthy Lifestyle, Orthopedics, Spine | Tagged | Leave a comment

Mountain View Hospital welcomes first baby of the year

Mountain View Hospital staff helped Archer and Laura Hardy welcome their healthy newborn baby boy into the world at 12:17 p.m. on Jan.2, 2014. His name is William Brimhall Hardy and he weighed 6 pounds 14 ounces and is 12 inches long.

The Hardy’s are from Santaquin, and this is their first baby.

The family of the baby received a special gift basket from the hospital in honor of delivering the first baby born in 2014 at Mountain View Hospital.

“We are privileged that families in our community have chosen Mountain View Hospital to help welcome their children into the world and be part of their memories that will last a lifetime,” said Lisa Taylor, CNO of Mountain View Hospital. “Our team delivered more than 900 babies last year and we are committed to providing the best possible care for each mother, baby and family. We wish all the families in our community, a happy and healthy new year.”

 

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