Dancing for the kids

When DanceBlue started at the University of Kentucky more than 11 years ago, the group’s goal was simple: bring UK students and staff together to help support children and families fighting childhood cancer.

To say the group has been successful would be an understatement. Since it started, DanceBlue has raised more than $8.2 million for our pediatric oncology clinic at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital. And this weekend, they’ll add to that total.

The DanceBlue Marathon, which starts at 2 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Coliseum, is a 24-hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon that culminates in the group announcing how much money it’s raised in the last year. At the 2015 marathon, DanceBlue celebrated raising more than $1.5 million.

That money benefits children and families being treated at the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic – named in honor of the group.

The marathon is open to the public from start to finish but only dancers are allowed on the floor of Memorial Coliseum. Family and friends of dancers are welcome and encouraged to come support their loved ones.

If you’re interested in supporting DanceBlue, join us this weekend! Our dancers, children and families would love your support.

For more information about DanceBlue, registration information or to support its efforts, visit www.danceblue.org.

The DanceBlue Marathon benefits the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic

 


Next steps:

  • Read about R.J. Hijalda, a UK freshman dancing in this year’s marathon, who was diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkin lymphoma as a freshman in high school.
  • Learn more about the DanceBlue Clinic at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
  • Connect with DanceBlue on Facebook and Twitter. Use #FTK (For the Kids) to show your support.

UK HealthCare earns nursing’s highest honor

We’re thrilled to announce that UK HealthCare has achieved Magnet status – the highest institutional honor awarded for nursing excellence – from the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program.

Achieving Magnet status involves a rigorous and lengthy review, but what it means is simple: our nurses are the best at what they do.

Magnet status is the gold standard for nursing excellence. Out of nearly 6,000 health care organizations in the United States, fewer than 7 percent have achieved Magnet designation.

The status represents a solid commitment to continuing education and nursing specialty certification, a cultural transformation of the work environment involving a shared governance model and laser focus on patient safety.

Congratulations to our nursing team — you’re the best!


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Valentine's Day health tips from UK HealthCare

Make Valentine’s Day a healthy holiday

Valentine’s Day is Sunday, and whether you’re spending time with your loved one, your closest friends or by yourself, we have a few tips and fun facts to help make the day happy and healthy.

Skip the restaurant, cook at home

Instead of making reservations at a restaurant, consider cooking Valentine’s Day dinner at home this year. Not only will you save money, but chances are you’ll eat healthier, too. Cooking at home allows you to limit how much unhealthy stuff (like sugar, salt and fat) ends up in your food, and gives you a fun activity you can do no matter who you’re with.

Not only is Valentine’s Day this weekend, February is also American Heart Month and a great time to practice heart-healthy cooking at home. Check out our list of heart-healthy recipes.

Treat yourself

Nothing says Valentine’s Day like chocolate, and the good news is there is a healthy way to indulge. Research has shown that eating chocolate in moderation might lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Consider picking dark chocolate over milk or white chocolate, too. Dark chocolate is thought to be rich in flavonoids, an antioxidant that has been shown to improve blood pressure and blood flow as well as prevent blood clots and cell damage.

The benefits of love

Here’s an added bonus for those spending the holiday with someone special: research suggests being in love has a variety of health benefits for both men and women. One major survey found that married men were healthier than unmarried men, and another found that women experience an uptick in emotional health when living with someone else or getting married.

Single and happy

No date for Valentine’s Day? No problem. Another study suggests that with the right attitude, single people are just as happy as their peers who are in romantic relationships.


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What you need to know about Zika virus

What you need to know about Zika virus

Chances are you’ve heard about the Zika virus outbreak and its potential to cause birth defects and other pregnancy issues. Should you be concerned about the risk of infection for you and your loved ones? Unless you’ve recently traveled to an area where the virus has spread, the answer is no.

While it is unlikely to become infected unless you’ve traveled to an area where Zika has been reported, here’s what you should know about Zika virus.

What is Zika virus?

Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus, which is spread to people when they are bitten by an infected mosquito. The current outbreak of Zika virus has spread through the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Mexico, Samoa and Cape Verde. The illness is usually mild, so people may not realize they have the disease. If infected, symptoms will normally last several days to a week. Human-to-human transmission is rare but sexual transmission has been reported.

Symptoms of Zika virus include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes).

Women and Zika virus

Women who are pregnant or who are thinking about becoming pregnant should take special precautions. Zika virus has reportedly been linked in Brazil to microcephaly, a condition that causes a baby’s head to be much smaller at birth and can also lead to intellectual disability.

If you’re pregnant, it is recommended that you not travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. If travel is unavoidable, speak with your health care provider about your travel plans and discuss mosquito bite prevention methods.

What can I do to protect myself?

When traveling to countries where Zika virus has been found, practice mosquito bite prevention. Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants and using Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellents is recommended. You should also stay in places that use air conditioners or window and door screens that keep out bugs.

Sexual transmission of Zika virus is of particular concern during pregnancy. Men who have traveled to an area of active Zika virus transmission who also have a pregnant partner should abstain from sexual activity or consistently and correctly use condoms during sex for the duration of the pregnancy.

If you have recently visited an area currently affected by the outbreak and have developed symptoms of Zika, please call UK HealthCare at 859-257-1000 or (toll-free) 800-333-8874.

For more information about Zika virus, watch a video featuring UK HealthCare experts.


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Dr. Gretchen Wells talks about why awareness is so important to women’s heart health

Dr. Gretchen Wells

Dr. Gretchen Wells

Are you ready to support women’s heart health? The truth is that heart disease is a major killer of women, and some of the reason for that is women’s symptoms are different from men’s — and often go unrecognized until it’s too late, which is why raising awareness is so critical.

Dr. Gretchen Wells, director of the Gill Heart & Vascular Institute’s Women’s Heart Health Program, took time to answer some of our questions on women’s heart health.

Why is it important to raise awareness about women’s heart health?

People assume all heart attacks feel like a crushing in the chest, but often, and for women in particular, the symptoms of a heart attack can be quite different. More women are aware of this now than they were 20 years ago, but that’s still not good enough. So it’s important we take the opportunity to teach women what to look for and how to take the best care of your heart.

Why is it important for a place like Gill to have a specialized heart health program for women?

We’re the leaders in up-to-date diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. Each year, we have new technologies that expand our abilities to prevent and treat heart disease. We also offer leading-edge research and patients can participate in trials. All of us here come to work in the morning asking “How can I push the envelope and do better?”

What are the most common concerns you hear from patients in your program?

I just had this insight this week. Many women bring their daughters to clinic. I always thought that it was for the patient to have a support person, a ride, or maybe someone to take notes. But just yesterday, I had a patient with her daughter. After the visit, as we were closing, the patient said “I don’t want my daughter to have the heart problems that I did. I want her to know her risks and get treated early. All of this is preventable.” What great insight – and a sign of motherly love.

What led you to specialize in women’s heart health?

I didn’t start out doing this, but women gravitated towards me. Several trials evaluating women’s heart disease symptoms and prevention came out, and they raised some thought-provoking questions in my mind as to how to treat women. More importantly, I saw how these women presented differently from men. My first reaction was “we need to study this.” And then family members started having cardiac events, so it became personal.


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Safe sleep tips for newborns and infants

Did you know that unintentional suffocation is the leading cause of injury-related death among children younger than 1? Safe Kids and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend the following tips to help create a safe sleeping environment for newborns and infants:

  • Always place infants on their backs to sleep, even for naps.
  • Keep your baby’s sleeping area free of anything that may obstruct their airway and increase the risk of suffocation, such as loose bedding, blankets, quilts, stuffed animals and pillows. This includes other children and adults.
  • Babies should sleep alone in their own safety-approved crib or bassinet. For information on crib safety standards, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.
  • Sharing your room is a safer option than having your baby sleep in bed with you.
  • Do not allow your baby to sleep in sitting devices such as couches, chairs or even car seats.
  • Keep your baby’s sleeping areas smoke free and at a comfortable temperature.
  • Try not to be tempted to dress your baby in too many layers. Consider using a sleep sack to keep him snuggled comfortably without the risks associated with loose blankets.

Next steps:

  • Visit Safe Kids Fayette County for more information about preventing childhood injuries and keeping the kids in your life safe.
  • Follow Safe Kids Fayette County on Twitter.