HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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If you have hepatitis C, the NIDDK suggests you take care of yourself by following a good diet and exercise program. Avoid alcohol and keep regular appointments with your primary care physician. Use good hygiene to avoid transmission of the virus to others.

Hepatitis C is a virus, an inflammation of the liver, which could be acute but most often is chronic in nature. It is the leading cause of cirrhosis and the most common reason for liver transplants in United States.


The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports there were 19,659 hepatitis-related deaths in 2014; this was a record high. This disease now kills more Americans than any other infectious disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 3.5 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis C. Nearly 85 percent of all cases of hepatitis C are chronic. Hepatitis C is not treated until it becomes chronic in nature. There are today a number of new drugs that slow or stop the virus.


Some people with hepatitis C may not have any symptoms until the disease causes liver damage, often 10 years or so after they contact it. Others may have symptoms such as tiredness, muscle soreness, nausea, stomach pain, fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea, dark yellow urine, light-colored stools and yellowish eyes and skin, which indicates jaundice.


The National Institute of Diabetic, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) says anyone can get hepatitis C, but some individuals are more likely to acquire the illness. These include babies born to a mother with hepatitis C; hospital workers who come in contact with blood or infected needles; people who have had more than one sex partner in the past six

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HEPATITIS C

months or who have a history of sexually transmitted disease; people undergoing dialysis; people infected with HIV; people who have injected illegal drugs; people who work in a prison or who are incarcerated. People who had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992 and people who have hemophilia and received clotting factor before 1987 are also vulnerable to hepatitis c.


The NIDDK says you can-not get hepatitis C from shaking hands with, hugging, sitting close to or sharing tableware, water and food with someone who has hepatitis. Nor will you become infected if that person coughs or sneezes on you.


To avoid getting hepatitis C or infecting others, the NIDDK suggests the following tips:


•  Do not share needles or other drug materials.

•  Wear gloves if you have to touch another person’s blood or open sores.

•  Do not share toothbrushes, razors or nail clippers.

•  Use a condom when you have sex.

•  Tell your doctor and dentist if you have the disease.

JEAN JEFFERS

Jean is an RN with MSN from the University of Cincinnati. She is a staff writer for Living Well 60 Plus and Health &Wellness magazines. She has an article in the Fall 2016 issue of Today’s Christian in the Mature Years.

more articles by jean jeffers