An Apple a Day


Welcome to my blog – An Apple a Day! This is where I hope you and I can have a conversation about all things health-related.

This column is meant to be an opportunity for you to learn my thoughts on everything from healthy living and fitness to immunizations and protecting yourself from infectious disease.

It’s a chance for me to share my ideas on how to optimize all we know about the latest and greatest in health science and innovation to keep you and your family happy and well. And you’ll get to read up on all the many things happening here at the County of Riverside Department of Health. Of course, there are a lot of pretty incredible things happening here— community forums, informative programs and comprehensive services, all designed to support your health and wellness goals.

Check in every week for a new blog where we will begin a journey towards your best health – together. And be sure to follow me on Twitter: @rivcodoc and Facebook.

                                      Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Public Health Officer 


Let’s get back to basics for a Happy New Year
December 18, 2018

As we approach the end of 2018 and look forward to a new year, this is a good opportunity to think about health -- for ourselves and the community we live within.

There have been so many advances in medicine and health over the generations that it might be hard to remember that some basic advice still remains the best ways to stay healthy: Get some exercise, eat healthier foods and drink more water.

It seems simple enough, but it is a message that seems to get lost in this results-now, magic-pill kind of world of today. As a society we seem to be looking for that silver bullet that will solve all of our ills. What is the latest diet fad? What magic drink will burn away the calories with little effort? Can I look 20 years younger by simply drinking this powder mix?

I’m not here to criticize any product or diet, but the real answer(s) is the same that health officials have been telling people for decades.

Get some exercise: That doesn’t mean hitting the gym every day for hours on end, but something simpler. Get at least 30 minutes of some exercise each day, which can mean take a break from work and walk, or spend 30 minutes on a cardio machine, or bike to the store. The idea is to get the blood flowing and your heart rate up.

Eat healthier foods: We know that daily visits to the local fast-food joint is not good for you, but doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself to a burger and fries once-in-a-while. Maybe trade those fries for a salad (with light dressing or lemon juice). Green vegetables can be a tasty treat as an alternative to fried side-dishes. Instead chopping down several pieces of white bread slathered in butter before a meal, maybe just a single slice without the butter. Moderation is the key.

Drink more water: Those sugary drinks are part of everyday life it seems and it’s hard to stay away from the sports drinks after a workout. Regular use of alcohol can also be hard on someone’s health. Maybe you can carry a reusable water bottle with you and make yourself fill it twice a day. You’d be surprised how quickly it becomes a habit and you stop reaching for the sugary drink.

Do better today than yesterday. Pretty soon it’s several weeks down the road and you can see the health difference. Have a healthy 2019!


Protect yourself against the flu
November 29, 2018

The recent death of a 60-year-old Riverside man who tested positive for influenza is a tragic reminder that the flu can be deadly, especially for the young, elderly and those whose health is already compromised.

The patient died in early November – the first flu-associated death this flu season in Riverside County – after being admitted to a local hospital in Riverside. On top of that, last year’s flu season for 2017-18 was one of the worst in generations: There were 23 flu-associated deaths in Riverside County of individuals 64 or younger and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over 80,000 flu deaths nationally.

The moral of this terrible story is that the flu still kills, and local, state and national health officials continue to recommend community members get their flu shot. Get your flu shot and get protected.

Although the individual had received a flu shot, he had underlying health issues which made him more susceptible, demonstrating individuals with chronic medical problems are among the greatest at risk. But even healthy people can get the flu and its complications. We recommend anyone 6 months or older get vaccinated against the flu, and the best time to get the shot is early in the flu season to give the body enough time for the immunization to work. But it’s not too late; there are plenty of doses available. Last year’s vaccination was shown to be about 40 percent effective – which is to say, getting the flu shot last year reduced your chance of getting the flu by 40 percent -- and this year’s is likely to be substantially better.

Is it possible to get the flu even if you get vaccinated? Yes. But it has been shown that the severity of the symptoms is reduced for those who have been vaccinated. And even though a few people may have a brief reaction, the flu shot can’t give you the flu. Most people will have no reaction at all.
Of course we have the common safety tips: avoid sick people, cover your coughs and sneezes, stay home from work or school when you are feeling sick and wash your hands frequently.

But from where I’m standing, the best weapon in our fight against the flu is to get your annual vaccination. It only takes a minute, but for some of us, it could honestly be the difference between life and death.

Riverside University Health System – Public Health wants your best health! Visit us on Twitter @rivcodoc or Google +.  And be sure to check out our Facebook page or visit our website at www.rivcoph.org