Newtown Bee For Better Health - Spring 2024

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For Better Health

Taking Care Of Teeth Brings Families Peace Of Mind

B y J enna V iSCa

Tooth decay is the most common preventable chronic disease among children in the United States. If left untreated, it can negatively affect a child’s physical and social development, as well as their school performance. Toothaches and cavities can cause pain, infection, and ultimately affect overall wellness, including children’s behavioral health. Mental health and oral health can be intertwined; mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression can lead to poor oral health, and dental health problems often exacerbate behavioral health issues.

As a parent or caretaker, there are steps you can take to protect your child’s oral health today — and overall health tomorrow. Through the dental health benefits provided through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), children will have access to essential oral health care, including regular cleanings, fluoride treatments, fillings, X-rays and more.

Schedule Routine Dental Care

Routine dental care is essential to preventing and treating many of the most common oral health issues children experience. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that a child’s first pediatric dental visit occurs before their first birthday and that as they get older, they see the dentist twice a year for cleanings, X-rays and treatment. Regular dentist visits can help identify and treat potential issues early. Once your child is old enough, visits can also include preventive care such as sealants, which help stop cavities from forming.

Newtown Smile Dentistry

owner Dr Sean Lee wishes that more families knew about the importance of routine preventative care, such as checkups, X-rays, and pro-

physical and social development, as well as their school performance. They say toothaches and cavities can cause pain, infection, and ultimately affect overall wellness, including children’s behavioral health. —photo courtesy of

fessional cleanings. He says that routine X-rays help make sure teeth and other structures in the oral cavity are in good health, while routine professional cleanings help clean teeth in ways home care products cannot.

Pursuing restorative needs also prevents further complications from cavities, cracked teeth, and more.

“Smaller problems are easier to fix than bigger problems, so being proactive is always better than being reactive to a bigger problem,” Lee said.

Use the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’

“Find a Dentist” tool to find dental providers in your area that accept Medicaid and CHIP.

Practice Healthy Habits At Home

Encouraging good dental hygiene is another way you can reduce your child’s chanc-

es of experiencing negative side effects from poor dental health. Helping them brush their teeth twice a day and flossing regularly can keep cavities, gum disease and tooth decay at bay.

“Children are typically higher at risk for cavities if routine check ups and oral hygiene instructions are not implemented on a regular basis,” Lee said. “Developing a good rapport and trust with a dental professional at an early age can help to fight apprehension and ensure good oral health throughout their lifetime.”

During pregnancy, you can even positively impact the health of your baby by taking care of your own teeth and gums. Daily brushing and flossing and regular dentist visits contribute to overall health and protect your baby’s teeth.

Dr Giovanni Cono of Brookview Dental says that

it is very important for kids to keep up with good dental habits, otherwise their teeth are susceptible to decay.

“Children should start flossing as soon as they have their permanent teeth coming in because, with their baby teeth, there’s a lot of space in between them. So flossing is not a very big issue in normal conditions.

But flossing is very, very important for anytime we have crowding in our teeth. If you don’t floss, we’re gonna have decay. It’s so important,” Cono said. “We only have one set of teeth after all.”

Cono also says that he wishes more people knew that research suggests a link between heart disease and dental plaque.

“So it’s very important for families, not just kids but adults as well, that they take care of their dental hygiene and make regular appoint-

ments so they keep their bacteria count low,” Cono said.

Get Insured With Medicaid And CHIP

Your child may qualify for free or low-cost health coverage through Medicaid and CHIP. The Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign wants families to experience the security that comes with knowing their child’s dental care and other preventive services are covered.

Medicaid and CHIP cover more than 39 million children in the United States and have helped ensure that more than 94% of the nation’s children have health coverage, even when their family may experience barriers to access such as language differences and low health literacy. Enrollment is open yearround, meaning your family doesn’t have to wait to see if you qualify. Dental care isn’t the only thing covered — preventive care, emergency care, behavioral health care, vision care, vaccines, prescriptions, and pre- and post-natal care are all covered when your child is insured through Medicaid and CHIP. Eligibility varies by state and depends on family income and how many people are in your household. In most states, children up to age 19 with family income up to $80,000 per year (for a family of four) may qualify for Medicaid or CHIP. You can learn more about finding coverage at InsureKidsNow. gov and explore the Find a Dentist tool to find care near you. Your child’s smile shouldn’t be a source of stress. For peace of mind, take care of even the tiniest teeth with regular check-ups, healthy habits and health coverage, such as Medicaid and CHIP. Provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. This article utilizes content from

What Foot And Ankle Issues Warrant A Doctor’s Visit

B y S tatepoint Most people have a foot or ankle problem at one time or another. So how do you know when to seek help? Many symptoms — even those you can tolerate — require the professional attention of a foot and ankle surgeon to keep the underlying condition from worsening. According to Danielle Butto, DPM, FACFAS, a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon and a Fellow Member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS), “It’s important to remember that foot health is an important part of your overall health. You need to take care of your feet, which includes going to the doctor when you have pain, sustain an injury or develop a condition needing professional evaluation and treatment.” Here are five examples of when you should make an appointment with your foot and ankle surgeon. When you have diabetes: Living with diabetes means being more prone to a variety of conditions that affect the feet, including foot sores and ulcers. At the same time, diabetic nerve damage makes it harder to detect when there’s a problem. Regular visits to a foot and ankle surgeon should be part of your holistic diabetes treatment plan. The doctor can screen for the loss of protective sensations in the feet, as well as diagnose and treat any structural issues leading to ulcers and wounds. Swelling, temperature and color changes in the feet, and calluses, are all telltale signs an ulcer may be around the corner and warrant a trip to a foot and ankle surgeon.

When children experience pain: When it comes to pediatric foot problems, early intervention is key to longterm successful treatment. As a parent, you may find distinguishing between grow-

ing pains and injuries or deformities difficult. But foot and ankle surgeons stress that pain isn’t normal and if it lasts more than a few days or is severe enough to limit your child’s walking, it should be evaluated. Foot problems commonly experienced by children include flat feet, ingrown toenails, calcaneal apophysitis and plantar warts.

When you’re at risk for falling: Falls have become the leading cause of injury deaths among Americans 65 and older, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the reasons falls occur are numerous, painful foot conditions are a contributing factor, as they make it difficult to maintain balance and coordination. Fortunately, many such conditions are treatable.

See a foot and ankle surgeon to alleviate pain and reduce your risk of a life-changing fall.

When you can benefit from medical advances: A loss of cartilage once meant a loss of functionality. Today, joint reconstruction surgery with cartilage regeneration offers real hope for long-term functionality, nurturing the body’s own ability to heal itself — with a little boost from technology and a knowledgeable surgeon. Likewise,

new surgical techniques for ankle arthritis, including arthroscopic ankle surgery, total ankle joint replacements and bone or cartilage replacement, are helping people stay active. Finally, platelet-rich plasma therapy can promote the healing of bones, cartilage, blood vessels, tendons and tissue for

Newtown Health District Established in 1994 Working to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy Located at the Newtown Municipal Center 3 Primrose Street, Newtown, CT • Tel (203) 270-4291 e-mail: • Protecting our Environment: - Plan review, permitting, inspections - Ensuring code compliance • Food Protection Program: - Licensing, inspections, education/training • Health Promotion and Education: - Heart Health/Wellness - Substance Abuse Prevention - Immunization Information - Tick-borne Disease Prevention • Providing Exceptional Customer Service to Meet Community Needs • Collaborating with Community Partners/ Leveraging Resources StatePoint encourages families to be proactive in teaching dental hygiene in order to protect their child’s
many patients, and is associated with easier recovery than traditional treatments. If you suffer from a foot and ankle ailment, ask your healthcare provider about game-changing medical advances. When pain is sidelining you: It’s important for athletes and fitness enthusiasts to rest and recover rather than push through foot and ankle pain caused by an overuse injury. If the pain doesn’t improve in three to seven days however, it’s time to see a foot and ankle surgeon for evaluation and treatment.
the highest level of education, training and board certification, foot and ankle surgeons are the leaders in surgical and non-surgical foot and ankle care. For more information,
to find a foot and ankle surgeon near you, visit, the patient education website of American College of Foot
Ankle Surgeons.
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Confused By Nutrition Labels? You’re Not Alone

By Statepoint

Shopping for groceries can be like navigating a maze: so many choices in every aisle, food packages covered in marketing claims and little direction on what is truly healthy and what isn’t. People want to make healthy choices for themselves and their families, but how can they when the information available to them can be so overwhelming?

For years, the Nutrition Facts label on the back of food packages has provided important nutrition information, such as the amount of calories, fat, sodium, sugar, protein and vitamins and minerals. But all the numbers can be confusing, and they’re not readily visible. Given America’s high rates of diet-related disease and illness, advocates say that more must be done to make sure consumers have the information they need to make healthy choices.

That’s why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which sets standards for nutrition labeling, is developing a new labeling system that would appear on the front of food and beverage products, offering clear and concise information to help people quickly and easily identify

B y S tate p oint

healthier foods. Research from other countries shows that front-of-pack labeling helps consumers make healthier purchases and even gets manufacturers to make healthier products.

What could a front-of-pack label look like? More than 40 countries already require it. Some countries use stoplight colors like red, yellow and green, or a grading system like a report card — A, B, C, D, E

— to indicate how healthy a product is. Other countries use a warning system that indicates whether products include high amounts of added sugars, saturated fat or sodium. Approaches like these make it easy for consumers to understand with a quick glance what’s healthy and what’s not. The success of front-of-pack labeling in other countries suggests it will help people in the United States make healthier choices that can improve wellbeing and reduce high rates of diet-related diseases, including some forms of heart disease and cancer. In fact, the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) recommended such a system more than 10 years ago, and national polls show most Americans support it.

United States that can get everyone out of the food shopping maze. To stay informed and learn more, visit

The FDA plans to release a proposal for a front-of-pack food labeling system in the

“Clear, concise front-of-pack nutrition labeling is the answer. After all, grocery shopping shouldn’t require a degree in nutrition,” says Nancy Brown, CEO of American Heart Association. This article is courtesy of

How To Erase Negative Self-Talk And Feel Better

It’s been four years since the collective trauma of the pandemic created widespread grief, anxiety and isolation, but the psychological wounds of this period have not fully healed.

The American Psychological Association reports continued elevated rates of anxiety and depression among Americans, and mental health experts say that negative self-talk plays a large role in these conditions and other psychological issues. The good news? Individuals can work on subtracting a harmful inner monologue from the equation.

“Simple tools can help people break the cycle of negative self-talk and find some inner peace,” says Elizabeth Scott, PhD, a wellness coach, health educator and author of “8 Keys to Stress Management.”

That’s why Pilot Corporation of America (Pilot Pen) is supporting the Erase Self-Negativity Initiative in partnership with key mental health and wellness experts, including Scott, and with guidance from America’s largest grassroots mental health organization, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). As part of the initiative,

Excessive heat. Emerging diseases. Severe storms and off-season illnesses. The environmental hazards associated with climate change threaten the physical and mental health of children and families — and can be a source of anxiety.

It’s not just speculation. Communities are already impacted by such climate change effects as heat illness from dangerous temperatures, asthma hospitalizations from earlier and more severe pollen seasons, and trauma from severe wildfires and storms.

“When we talk with parents about what’s good for their kids, part of our job is connecting the dots between our changing climate and their children’s health,” said Dr Samantha Ahdoot, a pediatrician. “All children need exercise, nutritious food and stable communities to thrive. But climate change poses new challenges for our patients, from struggling to breathe due to wildfire smoke to flooded homes from extreme rainfall events to extreme heat. When we talk about the need to heal the planet, we are also talking about protecting our children’s ability to grow up in a safe, healthy world.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which has long recognized the impact of

Scott and NAMI have created a guided exercise to help individuals begin their journey toward erasing the disempowering influence that negative self-talk has on their lives.

The exercises include writing down the negative beliefs one

holds about themself and then destroying or erasing the writing, a practice that has been found by research to be helpful in minimizing those beliefs.

“Simply externalizing these negative thoughts empowers us to rewrite our narrative and opens the door to giving ourselves more grace,” says Scott. Scott stresses that similar to maintaining physical health, consistency is key with mental health. This is why every April 10 will be recognized as

Download guided exercises to erase negative self-talk and promote positivity.

climate change on children, recently announced a new strategic initiative on environmental health and disaster readiness as a priority outlined by its board of directors for 2024. The AAP is recommending steps not only for communities and policy makers, but also for families. Here are a few suggestions:

• Help your community adopt climate solutions. The AAP recommends a transition away from fossil fuels and toward clean, renewable energy such as wind, solar and geothermal. Join forces with a local group to help bring clean energy to your school, town, state or even country. The AAP also recommends that communities incorporate healthy transportation systems, including public transit and walkable, bikeable pathways that allow children to be outdoors and active. Families can get involved at the local level to help create safe routes to walk and bike where they live.

National Erase Self-Negativity Day and the initiative will use the 10th of each month, as a day to start or revisit the writing exercise and reflect on personal progress.

Here’s what’s needed to get started: A quiet, restful location, a desire to create change, paper, and a FriXion erasable pen, which offers more than just the ability to write and erase completely; but also symbolizes the power individuals have to change things and write more positivity into their story.

The Erase Self-Negativity Worksheet can be found by visiting eraseselfnegativity. com. For additional resources to understand how common, and treatable mental health issues can be, visit

“While we can’t control the negative messages we might receive from the outside world, we can work on what we tell ourselves. With just a few minutes of quiet time, we can harness the transformative power of writing in a way that will challenge the damaging assumptions we hold about ourselves and foster more self-compassion,” says Scott. This article comes courtesy of

Barnum Festival To Include Community Health Fair

BRIDGEPORT — As part of the 2024 Barnum Festival events, organizers have announced this year they will again include a Community Health Fair. Scheduled for Sunday, June 30, beginning at 11 am, the event will focus on health inequity including access to health care, health screening,

preventative medicine, vision screening, dental hygiene education and food insecurity through a collaborative partnership with health organizations, local food pantries and CT Food Bank. Admission is free. The health fair will be presented at Seaside Park, 1 Barnum Dyke in Bridgeport. Visit, send email to or call 203-3678495 for additional information. The annual Barnum Festival is a seasonal celebration of the City of Bridgeport and its tight-knit community. Dating back to 1948, the festival originated to help support local businesses and honor P.T. Barnum — a world-renowned showman and city leader. The Barnum Festival spans several weeks in an effort to build community spirit, and give back, culminating in a weekend-long Barnum Palooza that hosts parades, concerts, fireworks, and other family-friendly events.
know that their voices
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may be inspired
know that some of our most effective
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youth. Support their engagement in local, state
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own energy consumption
waste. Walking, biking, taking public transit, carpooling, and adopting a more plant-forward diet are all ways to help promote health for kids and the planet. • Show them you care. Let kids know that their adult caregivers — parents and pediatricians included — are committed to climate action solutions that protect their health and their world. More information is available at “What is healthy for the planet is also healthy for children,” Ahdoot said. “Pediatricians and parents share the same goal — to protect children’s health today, and ensure that they have a healthy future in adulthood. Protecting our planet helps preserve a healthy world that can provide all children the nutrition, play, and community stability that they need to thrive.” This article is courtesy of What Parents Need To Know About Climate Change And Children’s Health C-TWO THE NEWTOWN BEE, FRIDAY, MAY 10, 2024 172 Mt Pleasant Road Newtown, CT 203-426-0045 Family, Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry
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Pneumococcal Pneumonia Vaccination Can Save Your Life

Pneumococcal pneumonia is a potentially serious bacterial lung disease that can disrupt a person’s life for weeks. When severe, it can result in hospitalization and even be life threatening. Each year, pneumococcal pneumonia results in an estimated 150,000 hospitalizations in the United States, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But it doesn’t have to be this way.

According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CTDPH), penicillin is typically used as the primary treatment for presenting pneumococcal disease. However, they caution patients and professionals that “resistance to penicillin and other antibiotics has been on the rise” and “in some areas of the United States up to 35% of pneumococci are resistant to common antibiotics.”

“The increased difficulty of treating this serious bacterial infection makes prevention through vaccination even more important,” concludes the Department. Director of Health for Newtown Health District Donna Culbert also emphasized the potential severity represented by pneumococcal disease.

“Pneumococcal disease can be a severe illness and even a fatal one, depending on someone’s health status,” she explained, “if they’re immunocompromised or have a particular health condition such as diabetes. It’s certainly an illness that has some significant risk, and the vaccine is a really effective measure to either prevent it or lessen the severity.”

American Lung Association and Pfizer are partnering to raise awareness about pneumococcal pneumonia and encourage adults to get vaccinated if they are eligible. During World Immunization Week — April 24 to 30 — they highlighted the collective action needed to reduce the burden of pneumococcal pneumonia.

Here are some fast facts about the disease, along with tips and actions you can take to help stay healthy:

Common symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia include high fever, excessive sweating, shaking chills, coughing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Some symptoms can appear

American Lung Association and Pfizer are partnering to raise awareness about pneumococcal pneumonia and encourage adults to get vaccinated if they are eligible. During World Immunization Week — April 24 to 30 — they highlighted the collective action needed to reduce the burden of pneumococcal pneumonia. —photo courtesy Getty Images

quickly and without warning.

Pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines are available to help prevent the disease and are recommended if you are at increased risk. The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends pneumococcal vaccination for all adults aged 65 years or older and adults aged 19 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions or other risk factors, including: chronic lung disease such as asthma or COPD, chronic heart disease, diabetes, and smoking cigarettes.

“Pneumococcal infection is estimated to cause up to 6,000 deaths annually in the United States,” states the CTDPH.

“Approximately half of these deaths potentially could be prevented through the use of vaccine.”

According to Nuvance Health, a major healthcare provider to Newtown residents, patients with high-risk conditions such as “asthma, heart, lung or kidney disease, people who are immunosuppressed, smoke or have a nonfunctioning spleen” will require at least one vaccina-

tion as well as patients over 65. There are multiple different types of vaccinations available, so a consultation with a personal physician is essential for determining the correct course of action.

“The pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine is vital for preventing serious invasive infections such as pneumonia, bacteremia, sinusitis, meningitis and otitis media,” shared Physician’s Assistant Susan L. Olsen. “The vaccine can prevent life-threatening illness in vulnerable groups like young children, older adults and those with weakened immune systems.” Even healthy adults 65 years or older are at increased risk for pneumococcal pneumonia. Because the body’s immune system naturally weakens with age, it can be more difficult for your body to defend against pneumococcal disease. In fact, adults 65 years old and older are over 10 times more likely to be hospitalized with pneumococcal pneumonia than adults aged 18-49. What if I’ve had pneumonia before? You can get pneumococcal pneumonia

more than once and having pneumococcal disease does not protect you from future infection.

What if I’ve already been vaccinated? Even if you’ve been vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia in the past, it’s important to speak to your healthcare provider, as they may recommend an additional vaccination. Getting the word out about the importance of vaccination against preventable illness can help keep people healthier. Recent data from the National Health Interview Survey estimates that only 22.2% of adults 19-64 at increased risk of pneumococcal disease ever received a vaccination, and only 65.8% of adults 65 years or older received at least one dose. Unfortunately, rates of vaccination are lower among Black, Hispanic/Latino and Asian adults compared with their white counterparts, putting members of these communities at risk of infection.

“Have the conversation,” Culbert urged Newtown residents. “It’s great if you’re healthy. It’s great if you don’t have any health conditions, and if you’re younger — either actually or physically. Even if you’re active and don’t have any health conditions, it’s still good to have the conversation. Even if it’s not recommended now, it still may be something the healthcare professional may want to revisit.”

To learn more about pneumococcal pneumonia and your risk for it, visit

“It’s always the right time to discuss pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination with a healthcare provider. While cold and flu season is behind us, this disease can strike anytime, in any season and you can be vaccinated any time of year, too,” says Dr Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer of American Lung Association. The CDC advises that “a doctor’s office is usually the best place to receive recommended vaccines for you or your child.”

Readers who want to consider this preventative measure for their own health or for that of their loved ones should inquire for information at their pediatric or family practice office or at their local community health clinic. This article uses content originally generated by

NewSylum Brewing Company Partners With NYFS For Third Mental Health Month Fundraiser

NewSylum Brewing Company and Newtown Youth & Family Services (NYFS) are excited to announce their continued partnership to support Mental Health Awareness Month in May. Readers are invited to NewSylum Brewing, at 36 Keating Farms Avenue, any time this month, and order one of the local brewery’s favorites, Therapy Session.

All profits from the purchase of the hazy New England-style pale ale, will go to NYFS, a leading mental health and youth services agency that serves the greater Newtown area.

NewSylum Founding Partners Dave Kingsley and Mark Tambascio spearheaded the fundraiser in 2022 to support the mental health efforts in the community.

NYFS Executive Director Candice Bohr said “partnerships with local businesses like NewSylum are very beneficial to promote awareness for our mission to help our youth and families reach their highest potential, and working with a business that prioritiz-

On April 25, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new rules to curb emissions of carbon pollution from new gas-fired power plants and existing coal-fired power plants. EPA also announced additional final rules today to clean up other emissions from the power sector, including mercury. In response to the finalization of the carbon pollution standards, the American Lung Association’s President and CEO Harold Wimmer issued the following statement:

“These rules are an important step in reducing the carbon pollution that causes climate change. Cleaning up greenhouse gas emissions from coal- and gas-burning power plants will help stave off the worsening of climate change and its many health impacts. These measures will also result in reductions of additional harmful emissions from existing coal plants, which are disproportionately burdening communities nearby now.

“The public supports these standards. A recent Lung Association poll found that 76% of voters support setting stricter limits on carbon

es the health of its community adds further value to this important fundraiser.” Kingsley said since the inception of NewSylum, “we felt an obligation and a privilege to support local mental health services and NYFS does a great job.”

Newtown Youth and Family Services is the largest provider of youth support and mental health services in Newtown. It is committed to providing the greater Newtown community with high quality health and youth services that promote wellness and allow everyone to thrive. For more information about NYFS go to

NewSylum Brewing Company, located on the Fairfield Hills campus in Newtown, was established in 2020. Offering a wide selection of brewed-onpremises beers, NewSylum also offers a variety of wines, wood-fired pizza, pretzels, hot dogs, and charcuterie. There is always live music on Wednesdays and Saturdays. For more information visit

emissions from new and existing power plants. Majorities were in support across party and ideological lines.

“Carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants is a major driver of climate change, which is a health emergency. To meet the goals of mitigating the most catastrophic impacts of climate change, the country needs to drastically cut its current carbon pollution levels. Today’s final rule will cut more than a billion metric tons of carbon pollution. It will also result in immediate benefits to health at the same time, reducing emissions of harmful oxides of nitrogen, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter. It would avoid at least 1,200 premature deaths in the year 2035 alone.

“Today is a good day for public health. We thank President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan for the leadership and work to get both the stronger Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and the carbon pollution standards across the finish line. “We also appreciate the agency’s

“To keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom, and keep our mind strong and clear. Water surrounds the lotus flower, but does not wet its petals.” ~Buddha

existing gas
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NewSylum Brewing Company and Newtown Youth & Family Services are collaborating this month for the third annual Mental Health Awareness Month fundraiser.

Why Summer Is The Best Time To Take Your Child To An Orthodontist

By Statepoint Barbecues, beaches and braces? Summertime may not typically be associated with orthodontics, but according to experts, it’s a great time of year to start orthodontic treatment and help kids enter a new school year with a confident smile.

“Braces can be a very exciting step, but like with anything new, there will be a short adjustment period as a child adapts to changes to their routine, as well as to the feel of aligners or brackets and wires in their mouth,” says Dr Vijay Bhagia of Space City Orthodontics, a board-certified orthodontist who has been practicing for over 20 years. “That’s why we recommend parents bring their kids into our offices in summer, when schedules are more relaxed and they have more time to adjust to the change of pace.”

Whether you’re considering orthodontic treatment for your child, your teen or yourself, these insights from Smile Doctors, a national network of leading orthodontists, can help: Is orthodontic treatment really necessary?

Straightening teeth through orthodontics is not just cosmetic. Poorly aligned teeth can affect the way one speaks, bites and chews and even breathes. An important part of oral health, braces can correct bite issues, gaps and crooked, crowded or overlapping teeth. When should my child see an orthodontist?

Orthodontics is for people of all ages — even adults. However, it might be surprising to learn that the American Association of Orthodontics recommends children see an orthodontist by age 7. This is because orthodontists are uniquely trained to evaluate children’s growth, as well as

the exchange of baby teeth for permanent teeth, and can help you get ahead of potential issues as adult teeth continue to come in.

How do I get my teen on board with the plan?

Teens now have more braces options than ever. From traditional braces with fun colors, to clear

aligners such as Invisalign,

Nine Ways To Support Mental Wellness

By Statepoint

When it comes to overall wellness, focusing on mental health is critical, especially for older adults, according to experts.

“As people age, they may experience stressors such as serious illness, losing close friends and family members, managing life on a fixed income, and coping with concerns about their own mortality. While seniors may show resilience to these dimensions of vitality, when they’re compounded, these losses and stressors can result in a myriad of behavioral health issues, including depression, anxiety, stress, and insomnia,” says Dr Lindsay Evans-Mitchell, board certified adult psychiatrist and behavioral health medical director for Cigna Healthcare’s Medicare Advantage business. Dementia, which includes memory loss and language difficulties, is another issue often more pronounced with age, and in earlier stages, it can often

mimic some symptoms of depression. Fortunately, Evans-Mitchell says making healthy choices can improve your quality of life, including your overall mental well-being, and potentially reduce your risk of both depression and dementia: Practice good nutrition: There is evidence that plant-based diets are associated with better health, including better emotional health. That’s another reason to add more green, leafy vegetables to your diet. Exercise: Regular exercise can positively affect cognitive ability. If you have a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan offering access to a fitness program at no extra cost, then make sure to take advantage of it. You can learn about Cigna Healthcare’s MA plans at

Hydrate: Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can negatively affect cognitive performance. Even mild dehydration can drain energy and cause


Enjoy some sunshine: Sunlight provides needed vitamin D. Getting sunshine may increase your serotonin and help you stave off depression caused by Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Also, according to the Alzheimer’s Associa-

tion, exposure to vitamin D can lower dementia risk by as much as 40%. Of course, make sure to take proper precautions, such as wearing a hat, using sunscreen, and wearing eye protection that shields against UV light. Get plenty of rest: Older

adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night, according to National Institutes of Health. People who get six hours of sleep or less a night are at greater risk of developing dementia later, the organization says. Additionally, poor sleep could be a sign of depression and should be discussed with your doctor. Stay away from harmful substances: Dealing with behavioral health issues in unhealthy ways, such as abusing prescription or illicit drugs or alcohol, will only worsen the situation. According to National Institutes for Health, research shows heavy alcohol use can increase the risk of both dementia and depression. Pick up a hobby: Hobbies such as gardening, cooking and solving puzzles can help improve your memory and your physical and mental health. Be social: Isolation can lead to depression, which only worsened for many during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reach

out to friends and family in person, via video chat, or over the telephone.

Find help if you need it: Keep your regular medical appointments, and don’t hesitate to seek additional help from your network, if you need it. This may take the form of a financial advisor, a clergy member, or a mental health professional. Medicare generally covers the cost of behavioral health services, including depression and addiction treatment, as well as talk therapy. Virtual services are often available to those living in rural areas. And if you’re experiencing a crisis that includes suicidal thoughts, call 988 immediately.

“For some older adults, seeking help can be difficult,” says Evans-Mitchell. “But getting help is a sign of strength, not weakness. There’s no benefit to suffering in silence when help to improve your life is within reach.” This article is courtesy of

Cancer Survivors Reporting Loneliness Experience Higher Mortality Risk, New Study Shows

ATLANTA, Ga. — A new study led by researchers at American Cancer Society (ACS) showed people surviving cancer who reported feeling more lonely experienced a higher mortality risk compared to survivors reporting low or no loneliness. Researchers observed the highest mortality risk among the group reporting the highest levels of loneliness, even after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics. The findings are published today in Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (JNCCN).

“Loneliness, the feeling of being isolated, is a prevalent concern among cancer survivors as a cancer diagnosis and its subsequent treatment can result in long-term adverse health effects, which can negatively affect survivors’ social relationships and contribute to loneliness” said Jingxuan Zhao, senior associate scientist, health services research

By Statepoint

Over the last three decades, the United States has seen pregnancy-related deaths rise nearly 140%, and heart disease continues to be the leading cause. Furthermore, women who have prenatal complications, such as high blood pressure or gestational diabetes, have a significantly higher risk of heart disease and stroke later in life, yet many are not getting the care they need.

According to National Collaborative for Infants & Toddlers (NCIT), an advocacy collaborative working to pass policies that make it possible for all

at American Cancer Society and lead author of the study.

“There are more than 18 million cancer survivors in the US and that number is expected to increase to 22 million by 2030. We need to address this critical issue now.”

Researchers identified a cohort of cancer survivors aged 50 years and older from the nationally representative panel surveys of the 2008-2018 Health and Retirement Study. Follow-up for vital status was through 2020. Loneliness was measured using an abbreviated version of the UCLA Loneliness Scale (Version 3) which included items such as lacking companionship and feeling isolated from others. A score was assigned according to answers for each question where 1 was for the least, 2 for moderate, and 3 for the loneliest response option. Items were summed to create total loneliness scores for each individual, which were categorized into four lev-

expectant parents, infants and toddlers to thrive, the United States is in the midst of a maternal health crisis. This sentiment is echoed by “Opportunities in the Postpartum Period to Reduce Cardiovascular Disease Risk Following Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes,” a new scientific statement from American Heart Association (AHA), which was recently published in Circulation, the Association’s flagship peer-reviewed journal.

“Healthcare professionals and the public alike often think of heart disease as a man’s disease. While heart disease is also the

els: 11-12 (low/no loneliness), 13-15 (mild loneliness), 16-19 (moderate loneliness), and 20-33 (severe loneliness) based on the sample distribution and results from spline analyses. This study identified a total of 3,447 cancer survivors with

leading cause of death for women, fewer than 50% of women identify it as such. This is creating a dangerous situation for women, especially during higher-risk periods of their life, as their symptoms often go undiagnosed and untreated,” says Dr Sadiya S. Khan, one of the statement’s authors. “As adverse pregnancy outcomes become increasingly common, it’s important for women to be aware of their risk for heart disease, the actions they can take to lower their risk if they experience pregnancy complications, and for birth justice policy interventions to take place that will

improve their care during their pregnancy, and throughout their lifetimes.”

Many women face significant barriers in accessing primary care after delivery. Up to 40% of women do not access postpartum care, and only an estimated 18% to 25% of postpartum patients with pregnancy complications or chronic health conditions are seen by a primary care clinician within six months of delivery. Women of color, and women in rural areas are disproportionately impacted by barriers to care that could leave them vulnerable to further health complications.

5,808 person-years of observation, with 1402 (24.3%), 1445 (24.5%), 1418 (23.6%), and 1543 (27.6%) reporting low/no, mild, moderate, and severe loneliness, respectively. Compared to survivors reporting low/no loneliness, survivors reporting greater loneliness had higher mortality risk, with the highest adjusted hazard ratios (AHR) among the loneliest group (AHR:1.67, 95%CI:1.25-2.23, p-trend=0.004), following a dose-response association.

“What’s needed is the implementation of programs to screen for loneliness among cancer survivors and to provide social support to those in need,” added Zhao. “This action can prompt interventions such as mental health counseling, community support, social network involvement and the integration of these programs in cancer treatment and cancer survivorship care. This study is especially timely

According to NCIT, policy interventions such as expanded Medicaid coverage for 12 months postpartum in all states, expanded income eligibility for health insurance programs, paid family and medical leave, community-based doulas, and evidence-based home visiting programs can help promote ethnic, racial and socioeconomic birth equity, and help ensure all expectant and new parents have access to insurance, care and the supports needed to thrive. Also supporting women in all stages of life, and all

given the recent Advisory on the Healing Effects of Social Connection and Community by the US Surgeon General, which highlighted the adverse effects of loneliness for individuals and also for public health.”

“Investing in patient navigation services is critical to helping ensure a better treatment experience and better health outcomes including helping patients with social and emotional needs,” said Lisa A. Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), ACS’s advocacy affiliate. “No one should have to take on cancer alone and having a patient navigator helps ensure no one has to by providing necessary support throughout a complex and confusing diagnosis.”

Dr Robin Yabroff is senior author of the study. Dr Xuesong Han is a contributing author.

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braces can help them express their personality. Of course, it also helps to remind teenagers that when they’re done with treatment, they’ll have a healthy smile. How do I know which braces are right for me or
child? There are several types of orthodontic treatments. Metal braces use a combination of stainless-steel brackets, arch wires and elastic ties or bands to gently move teeth as prescribed. Ceramic braces are tooth-colored or clear brackets made of ceramic, porcelain, or plastic. Clear aligners such as Invisalign are a removable and discreet orthodontic treatment consisting of a series of aligners worn for 1-2 weeks at a time. Some orthodontists, including those within the Smile Doctors network, will provide a free consultation to discuss affordability and treatment options that best suit your needs. What steps should we take between visits? Have your child brush around each bracket and floss between each tooth right after eating to avoid permanent white marks, cavities, or gum disease. Doing so prevents the acidity and sugars from settling into the crevices in between the brackets. Opt for mouthwash without blue or red dyes for further cavity protection. Do braces hurt? There is sometimes mild discomfort during treatment, but it’s manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers. To reduce swelling, try rinsing with warm salt water. For bracket pain, your orthodontist will usually give you dental wax and show you how to apply it. You can also avoid some discomfort by sticking with softer foods at first. Smile Doctors has more than 430 affiliated locations in 29 states and is the largest Invisalign provider in the world. To find a leading orthodontist near you, visit Use the downtime of summer wisely this year. Put your child on the path toward a healthy, confident smile that will last a lifetime.
downtime to get the process started.
Braces can be an
important step.
tips for mental wellness. —Image courtesy of Getty Images.
stages of pregnancy is Go Red for Women, an AHA initiative empowering women to take charge of their heart health. One way they can do that, according to the initiative, is by understanding their heart disease risks, and coming to their doctors’ appointments prepared to discuss their personal and family health history and other factors that could impact their chance of a healthy pregnancy. Women can also proactively manage their heart disease risk factors during pregnancy and after delivery using the AHA’s Life Essential 8 cardiovascular health metrics as a framework. These include: eating better, being more active, quitting tobacco, getting healthy sleep, managing weight, controlling cholesterol, managing blood sugar and managing blood pressure. “Stemming the tide of this maternal health crisis is vital for families, and it starts with bringing light to the tremendous need for better delivery of care to moms and soon-to-be moms with a focus on heart health,” says Khan. This article is courtesy of What Every Mom And Soon-To-Be-Mom Needs To Know About Their Heart Community Helping Hands “Where Your Worries Are Our Concern” Our Personal Care Homemaker Companion Services can HELP! Need Help? during the day/night? after surgery or a hospital stay? 203-790-5577 ESTABLISHED 2001 Bathing | Dressing Medication Reminders Meal Preparation | Shopping Light House Care Transportation | Mental Stimulation Insured & Bonded 2 Hour Minimum Reg. #HCA0000.200 58 Division Street, Danbury, CT Visit us on Facebook •Diagnostic hearing evaluations • Hearing aids, repairs, service and accessories •Custom earmold products • Assistive listening devices • Participating with most health insurances Accepting new patients 18 years and older Office Hours by Appointment 203-304-9744 107 Church Hill Rd, Suite 2E Sandy Hook, CT 06482 Anne H. Lynn , MS, CCC-A, FAAA Licensed and Certified Clinical Audiologist Serving CT Residents Since 1985

newS In every family, there’s often one person who takes charge of everybody’s health care needs. Who makes sure everyone gets an annual health exam. That they get their teeth cleaned and their prescriptions filled. And that all the insurance claims get filed.

If a child gets sick, this person stays home to care for them. And when an aging parent’s health fails, they take on their care as well.

Chances are, this person is a woman. Studies suggest women — especially mothers — shoulder an estimated 80% of the family’s medical decision-making responsibilities. And federal survey data shows one in four caregivers are women, compared to one in five men.

Why Women?

“I think women are the default caregivers in a family because they manage all the logistical and household things,” said Dr Grace Lin, a professor of medicine and health policy at University of California, San Francisco. “It is natural for medical decisionmaking to become part of that.

It’s likely a holdover from societal expectations about what women are traditionally expected to manage.”

Women also use the health

Families Often Have Chief Medical Officers, And They’re Almost Always Women

care system more than men, so they are more well-versed in navigating it, said Lindsey Miltenberger, chief advocacy officer for the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Society for Women’s Health Research.

“Regardless of the why, in today’s society, women are no doubt the chief medical officers in the family,” she said.

It Takes A Toll

Being chief medical officer does not come without cost.

Studies show caregiving can affect a person’s physical and mental health. It can increase feelings of depression and anxiety and lead to women neglecting their own care.

“There’s a saying that you can’t pour from an empty cup,” Miltenberger said. “If women try to take on too much and try to go it alone, it can affect the people they are caring for and it can also take a toll on their own health.

“They don’t have as much time to exercise or follow a healthy diet or take care of their own relationships, all of which are important to a woman’s health,” she said. “Caregiving also can affect women in an economic sense, because it can decrease their work hours or force them to take a leave of absence.”

Shared Decision-Making Encouraged Over time, the burden of

Studies suggest women — especially mothers — shoulder an estimated 80% of the family’s medical decision-making responsibilities.

making health care decisions may gradually shift, said Lin, as health care professionals encourage greater shared decision-making with patients. Lin was co-author of a 2023 American Heart Association report that describes the benefits of this process. The report encourages health care professionals to explain the full range of treatment options to a patient, taking into account the patient’s preferences and values, rather than dictating a course of treatment.

“Most things in medicine are not black and white,” she said.

“There are different risks and benefits for different treatment options, and everybody values those differently.”

But Lin said shared decisionmaking can get complicated when the family is accustomed to deferring to a single person.

“I’ve seen situations where the woman is so used to this dynamic of making all the decisions that if I ask the patient their preference, they look to the caregiver to see if she disagrees,” Lin said. Miltenberger said families need to have more conversations about how to share

health care responsibilities so that one person isn’t carrying such a heavy load. Dads can take on more responsibility for taking children to the doctor, even if it’s mom who makes the appointments.

Sharing the load is especially important when helping an older family member, such as a parent, who might not be able to manage their own care, she said.

“They have to think through what’s needed and who can fill each role,” Miltenberger said.

“They should think about how to utilize different family members’ strengths. A sibling who lives nearby may handle taking a parent to medical appointments, while one who is not local could manage making payments and reviewing insurance, things that can be done virtually.”

Younger family members should learn to begin taking responsibility for their own care, as well, Lin said. “We should be, from a young age, taking responsibility for our own health.”

The bottom line, Miltenberger said, is that women “don’t have to do all of this themselves.”

“They should feel empowered to ask for help from their families as well as friends,” she said. “Women need to know their limits and give themselves grace to recognize what they can handle without feel-

Five Things To Know About Asthma And Summer Heat

Nearly 25 million people of all ages in the United States are living with asthma, a lifelong chronic disease that makes it harder to move air in and out of the lungs. Here’s what American Lung Association wants everyone to know during summer, when extreme heat can make asthma harder to manage.

1. New challenges are emerging.

Beyond traditional asthma triggers such as respiratory infections, secondhand smoke and pets, new challenges are emerging. The effects of climate change include extreme heat, poor air quality, increased allergens, extreme weather events, and more frequent and intense wildfires, all of which are making asthma more difficult to manage.

Excessive heat and humidity increase the risk of asthma exacerbations, asthma-related hospitalization and asthma-related deaths, especially for children and women. Patients should limit time outdoors during heat waves, seek access to air conditioning and take steps to improve indoor air quality, as humidity allows dust mites and mold to thrive.

2. City dwellers are particularly vulnerable.

Two-thirds of the average US city is made up of roads, parking spaces, sidewalks and roofs. Since these surfaces are typically dark and non-porous, they contribute to flooding, increased air pollution, poor health and what is known as “urban heat,” a phenomenon in which cities experience warmer temperatures than surrounding areas. Urban heat, combined with pollutants from power plants, motor vehicles and other pollution sources, creates ozone pollution, also known as smog. Those with asthma can experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing from both ground-level ozone and particle pollution, as well as from the impacts of extreme weather and airborne allergens. Sadly, these issues disproportionately impact certain communities. Due to a history of discriminatory prac-

about dealing with asthma in summer heat. —Image courtesy of Getty Images

tices such as systematic denial of mortgages, insurance loans, and other financial services on the basis of race and ethnicity, Black and Indigenous people, and other people of color, are more likely to be living in areas impacted by urban heat and poor air quality.

3. Flooding can harm lung health.

Increased severe storms due to climate change results in more flooding, which can harm lung health. Chemicals, sewage, oil, gas and other dangerous substances found in floodwaters can pose health risks, and mold, associated with asthma attacks, can grow anywhere there is water or dampness.

4. Advocacy efforts are underway.

The Smart Surfaces Coalition is made up of 40 national and international organizations committed to making Smart Surfaces the global urban design standard. Smart Surfaces encompass a suite of cut-

ting-edge technologies, including reflective (cool) roofs and pavements, green roofs, trees, solar panels and rain gardens. Designed to mitigate urban heat, enhance air quality and improve health, these transformative urban features can cool cities by 5 degrees F, reduce flooding, provide economic benefits and potentially advance environmental justice.

American Lung Association, an active member of the Smart Surfaces Coalition, encourages cities to take these actions:

• Install light-colored roads, parking lots and driveways to reflect sunlight and reduce heat.

• Install solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity and provide shade for roofs.

• Plant trees to increase shade.

• Select porous surfaces to collect polluted stormwater, soak it into the ground, and filter out pollution. Other strategies to reduce urban heat, air pollution and ozone levels include using public transportation, carpooling, increasing green spaces and installing cooling centers in extreme conditions.

5. Resources are available.

Educational programming can help people better manage the disease in summer and year-round. Patients can check out the self-management education programs, information and tools available at or call American Lung Association’s Lung Helpline at 1-800-LUNGUSA. Living with an illness, or being the caretaker to someone who is, can take a physical and emotional toll. Patients can get support and knowledge, and connect with others by joining Lung Association’s Patient & Caregiver Network. For the 24.8 million Americans living with asthma, extreme summer temperatures and emerging environmental threats can make life more difficult. Fortunately, new educational resources and expanded programming can help patients navigate new and old challenges alike. This article is courtesy of

One In 10 CT Adults Has Diabetes; Disparities Remain

Estimates released in March by Connecticut Department of Public Health show that 10.7% of Connecticut adults had diagnosed diabetes in 2022, down from 10.8% the previous year but up from 8.3% in 2013. The estimates are likely an underestimate, officials say, since many people go undiagnosed.

That one in 10 figure amounts to 309,000 adults in the state who have diagnosed diabetes. Across all states, Connecticut’s rate of diabetes is lower than the national average, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC’s survey and methodology differs from what state researchers did, so the numbers may vary from year to year.

Researchers who analyzed the state survey data noted that the results don’t distinguish between the types of diabetes, while prediabetes and gestational diabetes are excluded from the findings. Other limitations include the fact that the survey responses are self-reported, are subject to the respondent’s memory, their understanding of the question, bias and willingness to answer


Obese adults and those with no leisure time physical activity were twice as likely to have diabetes than adults who weren’t classified as obese or who had physical activity.

The disparities follow other demographic factors, such as educational attainment. Adults who didn’t complete high school were more than twice as likely to have diabetes than college-educated residents.

As for racial disparities, Black residents had the highest rates of diabetes at 15%, compared to 13% for Hispanics and 9% for white residents.

And of those over 65 years old, one in five had diabetes, compared to not even 3% for adults under 44 years old. Almost one in five people, 19.3%, who made less than $25,000 a year had diabetes in 2022. Meanwhile, only 7% of those who made more than $75,000 had diabetes. Researchers do note that this is one of the variables that sees decreased disparities when doing a statistical analysis that removes the influence of any other social or demographic factor, like age, that could affect the rates. In this case, higher income is associated with older age, so the prevalence of diabetes will be higher for those with more money. The same analysis to limit the influence of other factors was performed on other groups, and the results revealed increased odds only for the racial groupings, mainly attributed to age distributions for Black and Hispanic adults

ing burned out.”

Finding Credible Information To Make Decisions Regardless of who’s doing the looking, finding credible health information to make decisions can be a challenge. Searching online can turn up a lot of misinformation, so the best place to start is with a health care professional, Lin said.

“I try hard as a physician to direct my patients to good resources,” she said. While she may send a patient online for information, she’s careful about the sites she recommends.

“It can be hard to distinguish credible sources from poor ones on the internet,” Lin said.

She recommends government sources such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health or sites associated with medical organizations because they have well-vetted information.

Miltenberger suggests people consider certain things before accepting what they find.

“See who the author is,” she said. “Does this person have something to gain? Was it factchecked by a health professional? Who owns the site where the information lives? When was it written or updated? Make sure it is evidencebased information. Even if you find it online, it’s best to check with your doctor.”

being lower than white adults.

State researchers found that disparities have remained fairly consistent.

“These results highlight the need to concentrate type 2 diabetes prevention and diabetes management efforts in communities with populations at highest risk and to address social and individual factors. Furthermore, promoting the diagnosis of diabetes at younger ages should be emphasized.”

The Newtown Bee is a proud partner and is sharing this story originally appearing at, the website of The Connecticut Mirror, an independent, nonprofit news organization covering government, politics, and public policy in the state

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—Jonathan Borba photo American Lung Association notes tips
Connecticut’s rate of diabetes is lower than the national average, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. —Nataliya Vaitkevich photo As of 2021, 9.3% of Connecticut adults had diabetes. This is lower than the national median (9.7%) and the national average (9.9%). —Kat Struhar/CT Mirror graphic

How To Keep Feet And Ankles In Tip Top Shape This Summer

to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, here’s how to

feet and ankles from the most common

Be DIY Safe DIY projects such as

roofing and decking require ramped up

measures. Always wear closed-toed shoes with traction to prevent injuries, splinters, puncture wounds and falls. Mowing can be particularly hazardous. The US Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates more than 37,000 Americans suffer a power mower-related injury annually.

“Lawnmower blades whirl at 3,000 revolutions per minute. Yet we see patients who’ve been hurt operating a mower barefoot,” said Dr Matthew Dairman, DPM, FACFAS, a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon and a Fellow Member of American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS). “Foot injuries range from dirty, infection-prone lacerations to severed tendons to amputated toes. People need to take lawn mowing safety seriously because the injuries can, indeed, be very serious.” To avoid becoming a statistic, follow these sensible guidelines:

Don’t mow a wet lawn. Losing control from slipping on rain-soaked grass is the leading cause of foot injuries caused by power mowers. Wear heavy shoes or work boots — no sneakers or sandals. Never pull a running mower backward. Keep the clip bag attached during operation to prevent projectile injuries. Use a mower with a release mechanism that automatically shuts it off when hands let go. Always keep children away during mowing. If an accident occurs, even a minor one, consult a foot and ankle surgeon right away.

Wear Sunscreen Many people skip their feet

when applying sunscreen, but did you know that the skin on your feet is highly susceptible to melanoma? In fact, it’s the most diagnosed and fatal site of this form of

skin cancer. Other types of skin cancer can also be found on the foot, including squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma. To keep your feet safe this summer: Lather up with sunscreen from head to toe — literally. Check your feet and toes regularly for abnormal looking moles or freckles, even under toenails and on your soles. Promptly schedule an appointment with your foot and ankle surgeon to have suspicious marks examined. Schedule routine exams so your foot and ankle surgeon can track suspicious, changing marks. Early detection is key.

Limit Flimsy Footwear While it’s nice to let feet breathe in flip flops and they’re a great choice for locker rooms and pools to avoid fungus and athlete’s foot, they shouldn’t be your main footwear of choice all summer. Flip flops lack arch support and stability, so wearing them too often can cause stress on the plantar fascia — the band of tissue extending from the heel to the base of the toes. This can result in plantar fasciitis, causing heel pain upon getting up in the morning and after inactivity. To avoid developing issues,

which can take a long time to treat and subside, consider wearing structured sandals with proper shock absorption and arch support. If you can’t live without flip flops, wear them sparingly to keep your feet in good shape. And if you’ll be traveling, pack tennis shoes for sightseeing, hikes and other weight-bearing activities.

Be Mindful of Diabetes

People living with diabetes should never go barefoot, because their nervous system may not “feel” an injury and their circulatory system will struggle to heal breaks in the skin.

“Most patients living with diabetes know they shouldn’t walk barefoot but can be more inclined to disregard this precaution in summer. However thirddegree burns on the soles of feet can occur in a matter of minutes,” says Dairman. This summer, be smart. Take care of your feet so they take care of you. If you suffer a foot and ankle injury this summer, visit for valuable foot and ankle health information and to find a physician near you. This article is courtesy of

A Year After Launch, ‘HUSKY For Immigrants’ Sees Strong Demand

A Connecticut law expanding statesponsored insurance coverage to certain children regardless of immigration status has seen explosive demand since it went into effect nearly 14 months ago. More than 11,000 children 12 and under who wouldn’t otherwise qualify for Medicaid because of their immigration status now receive state-sponsored Medicaid-like coverage. Before the measure went into effect in January 2023, the Department of Social Services (DSS) estimated that roughly 4,250 kids would enroll.

“Sometimes there is trepidation on the part, especially of non-citizens, to participate in government programs,” said Peter Hadler, the deputy commissioner at DSS. “The good news is that that has not proven to be a barrier, and people are enrolling at strong rates, and they’re

seeking this out.”

Hadler credits the high enrollment in large part to the work that community partners have done to spread the word and make people feel comfortable enrolling. The coverage expansion has also gone beyond just children. In April 2022, pregnant people regardless of immigration status became eligible for prenatal coverage and, the following year, that was expanded to also include 12 months of postpartum coverage.

As of January 2024, 1,900 residents who wouldn’t otherwise qualify based on their immigration status were enrolled in prenatal coverage and roughly 2,000 were enrolled in postpartum coverage.

Since the expansion, Bianca Noroñas, the director of the Maternal Health Center at the Hispanic Health Council, said she no longer sees patients skipping appointments for fear of the cost.

“We have seen the difference. Now the families don’t have these economic concerns when they need to go to prenatal visits,” she said. She’s also seeing patients take advantage of the coverage during pregnancy and postpartum to address other health needs, such as dental work and mental health care. In general, advocates said they’re pleased with the number of people enrolling in coverage and appreciate how collaborative DSS has been since the rollout. But they say they won’t be satisfied until they achieve coverage for everyone, regardless of immigration status.

The Newtown Bee is a proud partner and is sharing this story originally appearing at, the website of The Connecticut Mirror, an independent, nonprofit news organization covering government, politics, and public policy in the state.


How To Raise A Healthy, Active Child

By Statepoint

Many factors impact your child’s or teen’s wellness, including where you live, genetics and other influences. According to experts though, you can encourage a healthy lifestyle for your child, and help prevent obesity and other illnesses that can extend into adulthood.

“Raising a healthy, active child is about much more than nutrition and physical activity,” says Dr Natalie D. Muth, a pediatrician and registered dietician. “It also entails adequate sleep, a positive approach to screen use and social-emotional wellness, and to the best of your ability, helping ensure your surrounding environment supports healthy routines.”

At a time when few children and adolescents meet the recommendations for nutrition and activity, a new clinical report from American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “The Role of the Pediatrician in the Promotion of Healthy, Active Living,” offers guidance to help optimize a child’s health regardless of their weight, as well as strategies based on the best science that can also help prevent obesity at every stage, from infancy through adolescence. Here are some practical tips from AAP that you can use to tackle issues within your control:

Learn about good nutrition.

Visit for great ways to take a team approach to planning and making meals so that kids have an active role in what they eat. The site takes into account cultural traditions, giving examples of healthy meals that include familiar foods. Reach for water. Sugary drinks such as 100% fruit juice, sodas, sports drinks and fruit drinks, account for 24% of added sugar intake in the US diet in people 1 year and older. Consumption contributes significantly to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes and other health risks, according to USDA statistics. Ideally, aim for one sugary drink or fewer per week. Bonus: drinking water cleanses teeth and gums, preventing

insure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.”

~William Londen

cavities now while setting the stage for lifelong dental health. Limit ultra-processed foods. It may not be realistic to avoid ultra-processed foods altogether, but try to limit their access and help children and adolescents learn the benefits of eating whole foods like fruits and

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seasonal hazards:
power washing,
vegetables. You can also talk with them about the health risks of too much “junk food,” which is generally loaded in sugar and salt, doesn’t increase feelings of fullness,
prompts overeating.
a family media plan. Everyone benefits from sensible screen time limits that make room for healthy activities. Engage kids in creating a plan for the whole family. Move more. It can be challenging to get up and move more, but when you make it a priority, kids benefit. Organized sports aren’t the only option. Your family can also enjoy walking, biking, swimming and dancing. Indoors, you can try active gaming or online fitness classes to strengthen muscles, build coordination and release tension. Manage stress. If your schedule is jammed with so many commitments that there’s no room for healthy downtime, consider what you can let go. Rest rebuilds the body’s systems after the challenges of a tough day or week, so reserve time for it. Lean on support. Not all neighborhoods have safe places for children to play and walk to school, or offer nutritious and affordable food nearby. Additionally, factors such as racism, toxic stress, housing or food insecurity and safety risks can impact your child’s health. Creating a safe environment at home, and leaning on the support of schools, health care systems and the wider community can create a healthier life for your child. One important resource is your pediatrician. Talk to them about ways to support an active, healthy lifestyle for your child. For more tips and resources, visit “Remember that feeling loved, seen and appreciated are just as central to your child’s health as nutrition and exercise. The brain and the body are one system — so when kids feel safe and secure, their bodies function well,” says Muth. This article is courtesy of
Some tips from American Academy of Pediatrics on raising a healthy, active child. —Image courtesy of Getty Images
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While it’s tempting to let feet breathe in flip flops — and they are a great choice for locker rooms and pools — sturdy sandals allow feet to breathe while providing arch support and stability. —Carissa Rogers photo

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