PHYSICAL HEALTH ARTICLES
Making 2016 Healthy and HappyJanuary 14, 2016
It is a new year and a new opportunity to get healthy and stay healthy. This year, why not resolve to adopt a few habits that will boost your health and contribute to your overall happiness?
Both reorganizing and de-cluttering your surroundings can do wonders for your mental and emotional health. Even if you are generally organized, perhaps try a new system; move your furniture around, or invest in some space-saving storage containers.
Your new organization system could help you break free of old habits and stagnant routines. If your space functions differently, it might give you a boost to function differently as well.
When you get rid of unwanted clutter, it can help you achieve a sense of emotional freedom, without unnecessary “things” weighing you down.
Reorganizing and de-cluttering your kitchen can be especially beneficial, as it will make room for healthy and delicious ingredients that you have always wanted to try, but never had the space to work with.Practice Gratitude
Some people experience post “holiday funk,” where things seem gloomy, and all of the problems in their lives seem to come to the surface all at once to nag at them. One very effective remedy for the blues is to practice gratitude.
Make a list of everything in your life that you are grateful for, including people, pets, opportunities you’ve had, and positive qualities you possess. You may be surprised at how long your list is. Volunteer and stay involved with others.
Set Attainable Goals
When making lifestyle changes for health, choose goals that are realistic, and that you can actively work towards immediately. This way, you can feel the success that comes with accomplishing them. You may, of course, choose ambitious long-term goals as well. If you do this, however, break these goals down into smaller steps, so you will be well on your way to achieving them. Set goals that excite you, that are tangible and something with a finish line. Write your goals in the present tense… This will get you believing that they can be a reality.”
Have Personal Time
During the hustle and bustle of daily life, it is easy to forget to take time for yourself. This, however, is crucial, and can really contribute significantly to your well-being. Whether you enjoy writing, painting, reading, or taking walks, scheduling at least half an hour per day just for yourself to do whatever you feel can be very rewarding.
Exercise is one of the most powerful things you can do for your body and mind. This year, resolve to be active every day for 30 minutes or more daily most days of the week. You are more than likely to feel better as soon as you start, setting yourself up for a healthy and happy year.
Find an activity you like and actually want to do. You may choose to walk, take a dance or yoga class, go hiking or biking. Whatever you will do daily and consistently works. Just get your body moving.
Don’t just think about being healthy in 2016. By making these small changes you can experience your best year ever.
If you or your work / social group would like assistance in taking a 6 weeks healthy habits challenge for improved lifestyle behavior and long term health, contact Sandra Durrence, APRN, Winn Army Public Health 435-5071.
--Sandra Durrence APRN Winn Army Public Health
2nd IBCT conducts Spartan Performance TriadDecember 18, 2015
Soldiers of 2nd
health camp known as the Spartan
Performance Triad this week at Camp
Oliver, Fort Stewart.
The triad focuses on three target
areas and their respective behaviors,
sleep, activity and nutrition, to
improve individual Soldier performance, in addition to their Family’s
“[A healthy lifestyle] should be a
priority in every Family, Army Family,
every command, and every unit,” said
Megan Amadeo, project lead at the
Army Wellness Center on Fort Stewart.
“The Army has put these three target
areas as ways to improve readiness,
make sure you’re ready for your next
mission, and create an Army Strong
According to their website, the Fort
Stewart Army Wellness Center pro-
vides free programs for Soldiers, retirees, their Families and Army Civilians
to build and sustain good health. It
empowers them to set their own
health goals and achieve them with
individualized plans, while addressing
lifestyle changes for both the short
and long term.
Each morning started out with
physical training targeted to push
Soldiers at their current fitness levels,
and teach them proper technique to
avoid exercise induced injury.
Nutritional experts carefully planned
each meal the Soldiers were given.
Additionally, the participants attended classes ranging from how to get
good sleep, to meal planning, to the
dangers of using supplements.
A majority of the 88 Soldiers in
attendance were chosen to attend the
triad based on an identified need for
assistance meeting Army standards in
relation to physical fitness tests and
height and weight.
One Spartan, who achieved height
and weight standards last month,
elected to attend the training to learn
more about positive habits and how
to further improve his overall health
and combat effectiveness.
“I came to the performance triad
just to better myself, learn more about
nutrition, and overcome what obstacles I have to face,” said Pfc. Jeffrey
Novakovic, an infantryman with 3rd
Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 2nd
IBCT. Novakovic also expressed motivation to share what he learned at the
triad with others in his unit and hopes
the information will help them, like it
has for him.
At this time, the brigade is planning
to conduct additional triads on a regular basis, to ensure every Soldier who
can benefit from the program has a
chance to participate.
--- Staff Sgt. Candace Mundt, 2nd IBCT Public Affairs
Ho-ho-holiday hazardsDecember 4, 2015
Decorating the home for the holiday season is a
great tradition. Don’t forget, however, an essential part
of stringing the lights and putting up the Christmas
tree is keeping an eye on electrical safety. Here are a
few simple steps to help ensure you have a safe and
happy holiday season:
- Don’t overload electric circuits. Check fuses or
circuit breaker panels to see what your home can
handle and stay well within the limits.
- Avoid putting too many strings of lights together
and plugging them into a single outlet.
- Watch for flickering lights; sparks from appliances or wall outlets; warm plates, plugs or outlets;
and dimming lights or television screens. These signal
potential danger spots that could cause an electrical
- Make sure there’s a bulb in each socket. If a bulb
burns out, leave it in until you have a replacement.
Immediately replace any broken bulbs that have
- Use only Underwriters Laboratory-approved
equipment. Check for frayed cords, cracked insulation
and damaged plugs.
- Surge protector strips are a safe option if you need
more outlets, but don’t daisy chain them together.
- Match plugs with outlets. Never force a three-
pronged plug into a two-hole outlet or extension cord.
- Don’t run extension cords under rugs, around
furniture legs or across doorways.
- If you have children in the house or are expecting
young visitors, inspect your home for cracked or missing outlet covers. Use safety caps to cover outlets.
- Keep live Christmas trees watered to prevent bulbs
from igniting dry branches. Never use electrical decorations on metal trees. Instead, place colored spotlights
beside or above the tree. If using an artificial tree, make
sure you purchase one that is fire retardant.
- Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls
or other firm supports using plastic hooks or clips. Do
not nail, tack, pinch, nick or stress wiring.
- Outdoor lighting should have insulated electrical
cords and be plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter protected receptacle only. Keep all plugs and
connectors off the ground and away from puddles and
Don’t let your holidays end in tragedy. Make electrical safety a priority this Christmas and be sure to carry
it through the New Year and beyond.
---Matthew Church, Special to the Frontline
Dash into the Holidays with Healthy HabitsDecember 2, 2015
Holidays don't have to be a time when healthy habits go on hold. One good way to stay on target with heart-healthy eating is the DASH Diet, developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. DASH, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, follows heart-healthy guidelines to limit salt or sodium, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol, and focuses on increasing intake of fruits, vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat milk products. It is also rich in whole grain products, fish, poultry, and nuts. Try these tips during the holidays to stay on track with healthy eating:
* If you eat only one or two servings of vegetables per day, try adding one serving at lunch and another at dinner until ½ of your plate is full of fruits and vegetables for 2 meals per day.
* Gradually switch to fat-free or low-fat milk and reduce servings of soda or other sweetened beverages.
* Drink 2 glasses of water with each meal and one glass with each snack.
* Trim the fat off meat. Portion size should be the size of your palm. Choose baked, grilled, or broiled when possible.
* Choose whole grain foods, such as whole wheat bread or whole grain cereals to get added nutrients, such as minerals and fiber.
* When shopping, read the Nutrition Facts label on foods to find sodium content, and choose items lowest in salt or sodium (We need no more than 1 tsp. of salt per day or 2500 mg).
* Start with a simple 15-minute walk during your favorite time of day and slowly build up to 30 – 60 minutes of exercise on most days.
* Don't worry about a slip. Start again, and be sure to celebrate successes with nonfood rewards.
The DASH guide is available online here.
To promote healthy habits all year long, here are some holiday gift ideas to help your family and friends be more, not less, healthy.
Typical food gifts encourage unhealthy eating during the holidays. Instead of giving a box of rich chocolate, try something more nutritious, like a box of fresh fruit. You can also bring gift boxes of almonds, walnuts and other unsalted nuts.
You can find such healthy food gifts in stores or search for them online and have them sent directly. Many come in reusable metal boxes that can serve as a reminder of your thoughtfulness for years to come.
Another option is to prepare something yourself. You might put together a soup mix in a nice mason jar. Or you can simply get a gift card to a health food store or a quality grocery store to encourage them to pick out what they like themselves.
You can also give a healthy foods cookbook (See Fort Stewart Marne Webpage for the free Healthy Holiday Cookbook by Winn Department of Preventive Medicine).
In addition to healthy eating, physical activity, of course, is the other part of staying healthy. For kids, sports equipment can be a great gift. Even something small like a flying disc, boomerang, football or soccer ball can provide hours of healthy and fun family activity.
Exercise clothing, particularly outdoor clothes for cold weather exercise, can make a great holiday gift as well as accessories, like a pedometer, which is an inexpensive device you clip to your belt to measure how many steps you take per day (aim for 10,000 steps / 5miles per day). If you’re not sure what they’d like, consider giving a gift card for an outdoor or sports shop and let them pick something out themselves.
Soothing music, candles or soaps, a gift certificate for a massage or relaxation spa are also healthy gifts that help reduce muscle tension, blood pressure, and promote good circulation.
A gift certificate for dance lessons or any activity with movement can improve both mental and physical health.
You don’t even have to spend any money to give a great gift, either. You can make up a coupon for a run, bike ride or a workout together or even just to meet for a walk. Get creative and give a gift you know they’ll love, and that will love them back.
As you dash around this holiday season, remember to keep health a priority so that you will have many happy returns for years to come. Healthy Holidays to all from Winn Army Public Health.
If you or a group you are involved with is interested in taking the healthy habits challenge, contact Sandra Durrence, Army Public Health 912-435-5071 for more information.
By: Sandra Durrence, APRN, Winn Army Public Health
World AIDS DayDecember 1, 2015
World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day is held on the 1st of December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. Each year a theme is given and this year the theme is: “The Time to Act is Now”.
Around 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the United States, and 1 in 8 do not know it. The number of new HIV diagnoses has remained fairly stable in recent years.
According to the 2013 Georgia HIV Infection Surveillance Summary:
* Year to date Fort Stewart has 9 newly diagnosed cases of HIV this year.
* Georgia was ranked fifth highest in the nation for the total number of new diagnoses of HIV infection among adults and adolescents.
* There were 2,661 new diagnoses of HIV infection during 2013 in Georgia. The majority of these new diagnoses were among males (80%).
* The highest percentage of new HIV diagnoses was among those aged 30-39 (23%), and the highest percentage of AIDS diagnoses was among those aged 40-49 (27%).
* As of December 31, 2013, 3,742 people with HIV and 2,441 people with AIDS live in the Coastal Health District (Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties).
“The Time to Act is Now” calls us to act with urgency to implement the latest high-impact, evidence-based HIV prevention strategies. Although new prevention strategies are being implemented we must remember the basics.
* Have a conversation with your partner about sex.
* Do you have multiple partners, men, women or both?
* Are you meeting partners on social media?
* Are you having sex with known HIV infected partners? If so, are you interested in PrEP?
* Have you ever had an STI?
* When was your last HIV test?
* Is your sexual health and wellness important to you?
* Are you using protective barriers 100 percent of the time? (Male/Female Condoms, Dental Dams, etc.)
New HIV infections have fallen 35 percent worldwide since 2000. This shows that, if done correctly, the basics do work. Advocate, educate, and don’t become a statistic.
For more information please contact the Department of Preventive Medicine at 912-435-5071.
--- Juana Henderson, Army Public Health Nursing
Important information about your drinking waterNovember 12, 2015
In September and October 2015, the Fort Stewart
water system exceeded a drinking water standard.
Although this current incident is not an emergency,
as our customers, you have a right to know what happened, what we have done and continue to do to
correct this situation, and what you can do to help.
The Fort Stewart drinking water is routinely monitored for contaminants. Each month, 30 samples are
collected throughout the water system to test for the
presence of coliform bacteria. During the months of
September and October, two of the 30 routine samples
detected the presence of total coliform bacteria. No
more than one sample per month is the acceptable
standard. Whenever we sample for total coliform
bacteria, we also check for other bacteria that are of
greater concern, such as E. coli bacteria. One of the
two total coliform bacteria samples collected in
September also showed the presence of E. coli, which
prompted the emergency action taken on Sept. 3,
2015, and the Boil Water Advisory sent to our customers.
What should I do?
The drinking water is safe, and
no actions are required or necessary at this time. This
notice is required by law to explain in more detail
what happened and the actions being undertaken to
protect the health of the community we serve.
What does this mean?
This is currently not an
emergency. Coliform bacteria are generally not harmful themselves. Coliforms are bacteria which are
naturally present in the environment and are used as
an indicator that other, potentially-harmful, bacteria
may be present. Coliforms were found in more samples than allowed, and this was a warning of potential
problems. Usually, the presence of coliforms indicate
that there could be a problem with water treatment
or distribution pipes.
What is being done?
Repeat samples taken on Sept.
3, 2015 to validate the positive routine samples indicated that well #2 was contaminated. Well #2 was
immediately disconnected from the water system
and is currently not in use. It was confirmed that
storm water collecting in the drainage ditch was
sucked back into the well through a cross connection
that has since been corrected. Although the well has
been disinfected, it will remain disconnected until
additional source water samples from this well are
negative for microbiological contaminants for a period of least six months to ensure the water complies
with the standards. Additional source water samples
were also collected and analyzed from other wells
throughout the Installation on Sept. 3, 2015. All of
those samples were negative for contaminants.
Disinfection levels were increased and lines were
flushed to purge the distribution system. As a pre
-cautionary measure, on Sept. 4, 2015 the Installation
collected and analyzed 15 additional samples
throughout the distribution system, all of which were
negative; thus the Installation issued an all-clear advisory on Sept. 5, 2015 allowing customers to drink the
water after they flushed the building’s interior piping.
Disinfection levels continue to be monitored and the
frequency of system flushing has increased to improve
water quality throughout the distribution system. A
review of sampling procedures has also been conducted to help eliminate potential false positive
analysis. For more information, please contact the
DPW Environmental Division at 912-767-2010.
How can I help improve water quality?
Water sitting unused in building plumbing for several days or
longer can become stagnant and requires internal
building flushing. Building occupants should flush
water fixtures the first working day of each week as
• Turn on cold water at the furthest point in the line
and run for 15 minutes.
• Flush additional taps for 5 minutes.
• Flush water cooler for 15 minutes.
By doing this, building occupants will pull fresh
water with adequate levels of disinfectant into the
building each week. Similarly, on-post housing residents should do the same thing when they leave their
homes/apartments for 48 hours or more.
Please share this information with all the other
people who drink this water, especially those who
may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools,
and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice
in a public place or distributing copies by hand or
--- Directorate of Public Works
Rethink your Drink! Choosing Better Beverage Options for a Healthier YouOctober 26, 2015
When it comes to weight loss, people often try to cut their calories by reducing the types or amounts of certain foods they eat. While this is an important step, a key component often overlooked is the consumption of calories through beverages. The high calorie and sugar content of many popular drinks is enough to derail even the most strict food-based diet and intense workout regimen.
WHY Rethink your Drink?
What you drink on a day-to-day basis has a big impact on your overall health. Popular drinks such as soda, flavored coffee drinks, vitamin-infused water, sports drinks, and energy drinks are loaded with unnecessary sugar and provide little more than empty calories to your diet. Regularly indulging in these drinks not only affects your diet but also has the potential to contribute to long-term, harmful health effects. According to Fletcher, Frisvold, and Tefft (2013) “high levels of added sugar may also lead to other poor health outcomes, such as diabetes, cardiovascular risk, and poor dental health” (para. 7). This information is particularly alarming due to the fact that over the past several decades, obesity and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption has drastically increased in the United States (Fletcher et al., 2013).
WHY ALL THE FUSS ABOUT SUGAR?
Sugar-loaded beverages are undoubtedly a major source of added sugar and calories to the average diet. According to Dr. Julie La Barba (2015), “nearly 50% of the average American’s increased calorie consumption is from sugar-sweetened beverages” (para. 8). In fact, there are approximately 16-18 teaspoons of sugar in one 20-oz. soda. Drinking just one soda or sugary drink a day (in excess of recommended daily caloric intake guidelines) can lead to an extra 25 pounds of weight gain per year (La Barba, 2015).
Figure 1. Adapted from “Choose Health. Drink Water” by California Department of Public Health, Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch, Rethink Your Drink Campaign Resources. Copyright 2014 by CalFresh.
BETTER BEVERAGE CHOICES MADE EASY!
Now that you understand the threat that sugary drinks pose to your health (and your waistline!) here are a few easy ways to implement smart beverage choices, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015):
* Choose water, diet, or low-calorie beverages instead of sugar-sweetened beverages.
* Choose low-fat or fat-free milk.
* For a quick, easy, and cheap thirst-quencher, carry a water bottle and refill it throughout the day.
* Don't stock the fridge with sugar-sweetened beverages. Instead, keep a jug or bottles of cold water in the fridge.
* Serve water with major meals.
* Make water more exciting by adding slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, or watermelon, or drink sparkling water.
* Add a splash of 100% juice to plain sparkling water for a refreshing, low-calorie drink.
* When you do opt for a sugar-sweetened beverage, go for the small size. Some companies are now selling 8-oz. cans and bottles of soda, which contain about 100 calories.
--- By: CPT Lauren Wicklund
California Department of Public Health, Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch
(2014). Rethink your drink campaign – resources.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and
Obesity. (2015). Cutting calories.
Fletcher, J., Frisvold, D., & Tefft, N. (2013). Substitution Patterns can limit the effects of
sugar-sweetened beverage taxes on obesity. Preventing Chronic Disease, 10, 1-3. doi:
La Barba, J. (2015). Fighting childhood obesity at home.
Flu, it’s no big deal or is it?September 28, 2015
Surely everyone has heard about the importance of
getting an annual flu shot. Now, getting a flu shot is
easier than ever!
Flu shots are offered at the Commissary, the PX, your
neighborhood pharmacies and even at the Fort Stewart
drive thru flu event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 14-15.
While most of us get our annual flu shot because we
want to stay healthy or maybe because it is necessary
for our jobs, some are still not convinced. For those of
you who fall into the latter category, here are just a few
reasons why everyone should be vaccinated every year.
When thinking about the flu, usually money isn’t the
first thing that comes to mind. But the cost of treating
annual flu epidemics, including lost wages and missed
work days reaches to the billions of dollars each year in
You don’t want to risk being around someone with
the flu because you can catch the flu. Flu viruses can
live up to 48 hours on hard, nonporous surfaces such
as stainless steel and up to 12 hours on cloth and tissues.
They can remain infectious for about one week at
human body temperature, over 30 days at freezing temperatures and indefinitely at temperatures below freezing. This is just another great reason to wash your hands
well and often, and get that important flu vaccination!
The flu is not like a “common cold.” Symptoms from
the flu can include chills, fever, aches and tiredness.
Other symptoms can be more serious and may include
difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion and severe or persistent vomiting.
In severe cases, the flu can lead to death. According
, in a typical year, approximately five to
20 percent of the population get seasonal flu. Alarmingly,
flu-related deaths range from 3,000 to 48,600 (average
23,600) per year. Not only will the flu make you very ill,
but it can lead to other complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections.
Getting an annual vaccine is even more important
for children, pregnant women, the elderly and anyone
of any age with a chronic illness such as asthma or
diabetes. During a regular flu season (October-May),
about 90 percent of deaths occur in people 65 years and
older. As a parent of young children, it is so very important to get vaccinated. If you choose not to receive a flu
vaccination this year, you are not only putting yourself
at risk to contract the flu, but you are also putting your
children at risk.
Often times, people do not get vaccinated stating
that “I have never gotten a flu shot” or “The flu shot
makes me sick every time I get it, so I won’t be getting
one this year.” The flu injection does not give you the
flu. Even if you receive the flu mist, you will only experience mild symptoms such as a runny nose. Whatever
the reasoning is, this year you might not be so lucky. So,
wash your hands often, get your annual flu vaccine and
stay well. Everyone will thank you!
Editor’s Note: Becky Shattuck has a Bachelor of Science
in nursing and is a registered nurse at Winn Army
---Becky Shattuck, Winn Army Community Hospital
Sexual health, wellness important to well-beingSeptember 21, 2015
Sexuality is part of being human. Love,
affection and intimacy all play a role in
healthy relationships that develop from
childhood through adulthood. Often we
are reminded of the importance of physical, mental and spiritual health, but feeling confident about your sexual health
also is very important.
According to the World Health
Organization, sexual health is defined as
a state of physical, emotional, mental, and
social well-being in relation to sexuality;
it is not merely the absence of disease, or
infirmity. Achieving sexual health allows
for healthy relationships, planned pregnancies, and the prevention of sexually
transmitted diseases also known as sexually transmitted infections.
Are you aware that STIs are a significant
health challenge facing the U.S.? The
Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention estimates that nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections
occur every year in this country, half
among young people ages 15–24. Each
of these infections is a potential threat to
an individual’s immediate and long-term
health and well-being. In addition to
increasing a person’s risk for acquiring
and transmitting HIV infection, STDs can
lead to severe reproductive health complications, such as infertility and ectopic
Did you know that Georgia ranks first
in rates of primary and secondary
syphilis, eighth in chlamydial infections,
and fifth in both HIV and gonorrheal
infections out of all 50 states? These numbers make it important that our community understands that there is no discrimination when it comes to the potential risk of exposure to STIs. With this
knowledge, it is crucial that we practice
preventive methods to decrease the risk of
STI exposure and maintain our overall
sexual health and wellness.
It is important to educate yourself and
others, and seek medical assistance as
needed. Bringing up concerns, asking
questions, or talking about sex may not
be a regular part of your doctor-patient
relationship, but it should be. Establishing
open lines of communication between
healthcare providers and our community will create opportunities to obtain
education, support, and other resources
focused on reducing exposure to STIs.
If you are ready to take charge of your
sexual health, come see us at the Sexual
Wellness Clinic (SWC) located at Hawks Troop
Medical Clinic from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m.
every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
Scheduled or walk-in appointments are
available to all active-duty Soldiers. The
SWC is run by the healthcare professionals from the Department of
Preventive Medicine that will gladly
provide you with education, resources,
and consultation concerning STIs and
other related health issues. Let us guide
you in the right path to achieving sexual health and wellness. Remember,
good communication is vital to healthy
To schedule an appointment or
inquire about services, call 912-435-
5071. Get yourself tested!
--- Juana Henderson, Winn Army Community Hospital
Fight disease before it startsAugust 18, 2015
This month, the Military Health System is emphasizing preventive care. TRICARE wants you to know
about your preventive care benefits and how to use
them so you and your Family can stay ready and
Preventive care starts with vaccines. Starting at a
young age children are immunized against harmful
illnesses and diseases. According to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, vaccines are the best
way to make children and adults immune to a disease
without them getting sick first. Antigens in vaccines
are dead or weakened. This means that they are not
strong enough to make you sick, but their presence
causes you to produce the antibodies you need to
fight the disease.
Screenings are another important part of preventive care. Children experience a number of screenings
or exams to ensure they are healthy as they grow and
develop. Their height, weight, vision and hearing are
checked regularly. Well-child care is covered for all
TRICARE beneficiaries from birth to five years old. If
you have TRICARE Standard, and get care from a
TRICARE-authorized provider, there are no out of
pocket costs. Prime beneficiaries can get well-child
care from their primary care manager or other network provider. There are no costs for well-child care
when you are seen by a network provider.
As we get older, we develop a higher risk for certain
diseases like high blood pressure, prostate or breast
cancer. There are additional screenings available for
these types of illnesses. Your TRICARE plan determines how you are covered for these screens. Certain
screenings are exempt from cost-shares and others
are covered only when received in conjunction with
an immunization or vaccine. You can see what’s covered on the TRICARE website.
Don’t forget about dental care as part of TRICARE’s
preventive services. Although dental coverage is separate from medical coverage, they are equally important. The American Dental Association, American
Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American
Association of Pediatrics all recommend children
have their first dental appointment before their first
birthday and every six months after. TRICARE has
three dental plans available and the plan you get
depends on your eligibility.
Everyone should see their doctor from time to time,
even if they are healthy. Preventive care is essential
to health care.
Develop a Healthy Sleep Schedule as Kids Head Back to SchoolJuly 30, 2015
It might be hard for most parents (and definitely kids) to
believe, but the end of summer break is right around the
corner. In the midst of all the
back to school preparation, it’s important to remember that your children
are about to experience a dramatic
shift in schedules, which can potentially lead to sleep problems.
According to the National Sleep
Foundation, school age children need
between 9 to 11 hours of sleep each
night, and teenagers need 8 to 10
hours. However, most parents say their
children don’t get enough, and one
quarter indicated their kids should be
getting a full hour more per night to be
at their best.
Lack of sleep can contribute to
issues such as impaired performance
in school and behavioral or emotional
problems. It can also exacerbate health
concerns such as obesity and Attention
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, so it’s
not something to be taken lightly.
Here are five tips to help ease your
children into a new sleep pattern and
make sure they don’t start the school
year off on the wrong side of the bed.
1. Gradually re-establish school
schedules: If your kids have gotten
used to going to bed and waking up
later, use the end of summer break to
get into a school-day rhythm. Schedule
some morning activities outside the
house and start enforcing new bedtimes.
2. Develop a consistent bedtime
routine: Maintain a regular bedtime
and develop a routine of calming activities in the hours before bed. Taking
baths, reading books and listening to
music can help kids relax. Avoid TV,
web surfing, videos games, physical
activities and sugary foods or drinks
before bedtime. You might want to
remove iPad or computer tablets from
3. Keep it quiet once they’re in bed:
It can be tough for kids’ bodies to
understand that it’s time to go to sleep
if parents or older siblings are still
being active or loud. They feel like
they’re missing out on something.
Once your child is in bed, dim the lights
in the house and stick to relaxing, quiet
activities. Who knows, this could also
help improve your sleep habits.
4. Maintain a balanced schedule: At
the beginning of the school year, it’s
exciting to see all the great activities
and opportunities available to your
children, but be careful not to over-
commit. Evening activities and homework are commonly cited reasons for
a lack of sleep, especially among teenagers.
5. Be on the lookout for medical conditions that interfere with sleep: There
are a number of sleep disorders that
can affect children.
If your child is going to bed at a reasonable time but still showing signs of
sleep deprivation, they may have an
issue affecting their sleep patterns.
Common signs of sleep deprivation
include difficulty waking up in the
morning, taking excessive naps, acting
overly emotional, hyperactivity, or having trouble with concentration.
If your child is displaying these
symptoms, they could have an issue
such as sleep apnea, sleep anxiety, restless leg syndrome, allergies, or other
disorders. Consult your doctor if you
think they have a problem.
--- Dr. Mark Kishel, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia
Protect Your SkinJuly 17, 2015
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — It is finally summertime, so what better way to celebrate than by going out and enjoying the summer sun? You probably put on sunscreen before going swimming or going to the beach because you know that the sun’s ultraviolet rays can damage your skin in just 15 minutes. But wait, not so fast! You are in danger from the sun’s UV rays any time you are outside.
Ultraviolet radiation is defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the “part of sunlight that is an invisible form of radiation.” There are two types of harmful UV rays: ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B. While UVA is the most dangerous type, the CDC cautions that UVB rays can also have negative health effects.
Too much exposure to UV rays can cause sunburn, where the radiation literally burns your skin and causes it to age prematurely. Along with being painful, sunburn can have long-term consequences. The World Health Organization warns that UV rays cause damage to skin cells that can result in skin cancer along with other harmful effects to your eyes, skin, and immune system. The National Cancer Institute cautions that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States and getting just one blistering sunburn increases your risk.
The UV rays can reflect off a variety of surfaces like water, sand and pavement and cause havoc year round and anywhere outside. It is important to safeguard against the sun’s harmful rays to protect yourself and your skin. To protect yourself, follow these SUNSHINE tips:
S: Sunscreen. Always wear sunscreen. The CDC recommends wearing sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 15 and offers protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen should be worn any time you go outside for the most protection.
U: Use sunscreen correctly. Apply sunscreen at least a half an hour before going into the sun. Also make sure to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours or more often if you are swimming. If you are swimming, reapply sunscreen every time you dry yourself off.
N: No expired sunscreen. Always make sure to check your sunscreen’s expiration date, as all sunscreens expire. If you cannot find one, replace the sunscreen after three years or if the sunscreen appears discolored.
S: Sunglasses. Wear sunglasses. Look for sunglasses that offer 100 percent UVA and UVB protection. Sunglasses can help protect your eyes from cataracts and yellowing of the lens.
H: Have — and wear — protective clothing. Protective clothing includes a wide-brimmed hat that shields your face and neck from the sun, long sleeves and pants. The American Cancer Society advises that clothes that are dry, darker and have tighter knits are better at protecting your skin from UV rays. However, also wear sunscreen for ultimate protection.
I: Inside. Avoid being outside from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when possible. These are the peak hours for UV rays. If you are going to be outside during this time of the day, take precautions like staying in the shade.
N: No tanning beds. Tanning beds produce UV rays just like tanning outside. Getting a base tan before going to the beach does not protect your skin from the sun while at the beach.
E: Examine your skin. Look for moles that are growing larger, black or uneven in color and look for discolored skin patches. These marks could be signs of melanoma, a particularly dangerous type of skin cancer, and should be discussed with your doctor.
Although sun safety is important in the summer, remember UV rays can find you year-round. If you follow these “SUNSHINE” tips, you can be sure to enjoy your summer responsibly and protect your skin — the largest organ in your body.
--- Molly Francis, U.S. Army Public Health Command
Poison safety: Keep eyes open for home hazardsJuly 7, 2015
Poison is anything that can make your
child sick if they should taste it, smell it,
or get it on their skin or in eyes. There
are different forms of poisons and many
of them are located in containers in your
home. According to the American
Association of Poison Control Centers,
the most common forms of poison
exposure for children under the age of
six are cosmetics and personal care
products (13.4 percent), cleaning substances (9.8 percent), analgesics (8.2
percent) and foreign bodies (7.4 percent). The American Association of
Poison Control Centers also reports that
50.7 percent of poison exposures occur
in children under the age of six. This is
why poison safety is very important and
parents must take the appropriate steps
to prevent access to poison in the home.
Poison Safety Tips for Children
• Store medicines and household
products locked up, where children cannot see or reach them. This includes
make-up, plants, cleaning products,
beer, wine, art supplies, and pesticides.
• Store poisons in their original containers. Leave the labels on the products.
• Use child-resistant packaging. But
remember nothing is child-proof!
• Always read the labels. Follow the
directions on medicines and products.
• Children learn by imitation. Take
your medicines where children can’t
watch. Never call medicine or vitamins
• Poisons can look like food or drink.
Teach children to ask an adult before
eating or drinking anything.
• If you think your child has been
poisoned please call your poison center right away at 800-222-1222. Please
put this number on or near every home
telephone and save it on your cell
phone. The line is open 24 hours a day,
seven days a week.
For more information regarding poison safety, please contact your Fort
Stewart New Parent Support Program
at 912-767-2882 or Hunter Army
Airfield at 912-315-6816. You may also
receive more information and additional tips at the Infant Care class
which is offered monthly at Fort
Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield.
Please see the schedule on the Team Stewart website.
You can also call the numbers previously listed to register for the
class or register by logging onto the
Team Stewart website. We look forward
to seeing you there! For more information about poison safety, visit
--- Christa King, ACS, New Parent Support
Recipe for a good night's sleep: Get ready to take on the dayJune 18, 2015
Are you ready to take on the day? Sleep is a necessity--just like food, water and air. Sleep is essential
to good health, emotional well-being and performance.
Without enough sleep, everyone is at increased
• Motor vehicle accidents
• Increased obesity, diabetes and heart problems
• Increased risk for psychiatric conditions including depression and substance abuse
Numerous studies have shown that not getting
enough sleep may lead a person to:
• React slower
• Have trouble focusing and paying attention
• Get easily confused
• Have trouble remembering new information
• Get stressed more easily
• Make more mistakes and make poor judgments
When Soldiers do not get enough sleep, their ability to judge is diminished. Diminished judgment
causes bad tactical decisions, which leads to critical
errors such as falling asleep at the wheel, recognizing a threat or reacting too slowly to it.
Weight gain is another problem. A 2008 study in
the Sleep Journal showed that people with short
sleep times had gained weight and increased their
body fat. Lack of sleep has a negative effect on hormones that tell a person when to eat and when to
stop eating--this leads to a person overeating. The
good news is behavior changes can resolve sleep
problems. Proper sleep practices that promote optimal sleep duration and quality are important for
everyone. A person needs at least 7-8 hours of sleep
The National Sleep Foundation recommends these
• Stick to a sleep schedule. As best as possible, go
to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
• Reset your sleep patterns by establishing a wind-
down routine. Plan time to unwind. Relax with meditation, reading or listening to soothing music. It will
help cue your body and mind begin into recognizing
when it is time to sleep.
• Have a dark, quiet, comfortable and cool sleeping environment. Control light, noise and temperature to promote restful sleep. Do not sleep in areas
where there is regular activity. Reduce exposure to
noise and light by using earplugs, blackout shades
or a sleep mask.
• Use your bed only for sleeping, not for other
activities such as reading, watching TV, playing computer games or surfing the web. Turn off all electronic devices.
• Avoid large meals 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
A large meal can cause indigestion that interferes
• Avoid caffeine (coffee, colas, chocolate or teas)
and nicotine 2 to 3
hours before sleeping.
These stimulants can
cause a person not to sleep for up to eight hours.
• Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed. While many
people think a drink or two will help them fall asleep,
studies have shown that alcohol disrupts sleep.
• Avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep.
Some medications, such as heart, blood pressure,
asthma medications, over-the-counter medications
and herbal remedies for coughs, colds or allergies
can disrupt sleep patterns.
• Do not exercise at least three hours before bed-time. Exercise makes a person more alert and raises
the body temperature, which makes it harder to fall
• Do not lie in bed awake. If you find yourself still
awake after lying in bed for more than 20 minutes,
get up and do something relaxing (like reading or
listening to music) until you feel sleepy.
• Turn the bedroom clock around backwards if
you are clock-watcher who wakes up periodically to
see how much time it is before having to get up.
• If you are having trouble sleeping after using the
above tips, talk with your doctor. Your physician may
have other methods to help you to get enough sleep
or refer you to a provider for sleep disorders.
Tips for Soldiers
• Sleep whenever possible. Take naps that add up
to 7 to 8 hours for each 24-hour period in order to
sustain alertness and performance.
• Avoid using over-the-counter "sleep aids,"
which leave one groggy but do not induce actual
Tips for Leaders
If Soldiers are struggling to stay awake, then their
ability to function is already impaired. Consider a
"resupply" of sleep just as important as ammunition,
food and water. Provide time for quality sleep in the
operation plans. Develop a unit sleep management
program that gives Soldiers at least six and preferably 7 to 8 hours to sleep out of every 24.
Get ready to take on your day by getting a good
quality sleep. It benefits everyone and improves
---BethAnn Cameron, Health Educator
Prevention, early detection can improve men's healthJune 12, 2015
American men are at risk for living less healthy and
shorter lives than American women. According to the
Men's Health Network, this risk may be a "silent health
crisis" in the United States and is also one that we can
There are several reasons that men may be at higher risk for sickness and death than women. For example, a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention states that women are 100 percent more
likely to visit the doctor for annual exams and for services to support health than men.
Men are also more likely than women to smoke
cigarettes, to die in motor vehicle accidents and experience other preventable events. According to the Men's
Health Network, for younger men, much of the difference comes from increased risk-taking and suicide.
Society also often does not promote healthy behaviors
for boys and men.
Men are not the only ones affected by these health
issues and these risks. Since women generally live longer than men, they see their dads, brothers, sons, husbands and friends suffer or die early. Each June, the
nation celebrates Men's Health Month to increase
awareness of preventable health issues and encourage
early detection and treatment for men and boys. To
reduce men's health risks and identify and treat any
health conditions or diseases early, focus on the following three areas:
Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
• Get quality sleep, engage in physical activity and
improve nutrition. These are the focus of the Army
Medicine's Performance Triad campaign and they are
fundamental mechanisms to optimize health.
• Do not smoke and avoid secondhand smoke.
• Drink alcohol only in moderation and find a designated driver to ensure that no one drinks and drives.
Army Wellness Centers, and installation resources
such as athletic centers and recreational programs can
help make and continue these important changes for
Taking care of mental and emotional health is also
of key importance. Men often experience stress and
suffer from depression. They are also less likely to seek
help for depression than women are and are four times
as likely to commit suicide as women. Depression
affects overall health and well-being and shouldn't be
ignored. To help improve mental and emotional health:
• Find ways to de-stress, including maximizing physical activity and sleep.
• Talk to a chaplain or health care professional if there
is a struggle with negative thoughts, excessive worries
• If there are suicidal thoughts or plans for suicide,
speak to a chaplain, behavioral health professional,
healthcare provider or to a member of the chain of
Get Regular Health Exams
• Schedule an appointment to see a health care provider for a health check-up at least once per year.
• Go to the exam prepared to share personal medical
history, including current or past substance use, risk
factors for sexually transmitted diseases, diet and exercise habits and symptoms of depression. Although it
may seem hard to share, it is important to communicate
this information to the medical provider.
• Bring up any questions or concerns about any particular health issues, signs, or symptoms, with the provider during the exam.
Get Screened for Early Detection
Early detection of many conditions or diseases can
lead to early treatment and can often reduce suffering
or risk of death. To ensure appropriate preventive
screenings are received and to increase chances of
finding any health issue early:
• Know your Family medical history and share it with
your health care provider. If a Family Member was
recently diagnosed with a disease, be sure to update
this information with the provider. Knowing your
Family medical history can help the provider identify
any screenings that might be of special importance.
• Keep any follow-up screening appointments that
the provider recommends. Screenings like colonoscopies, blood pressure checks and blood tests are all
important parts of prevention and early detection of
illness and disease.
For more information on how to make healthy lifestyle choices, obtain a health exam or seek early screening, contact your primary care provider.
--- Lauren Shirey, U.S. Army Public Health Command
Patrons asked to help Pet Boarding Center staff keep the facility free of “dog flu”May 5, 2015
Fort Stewart’s Pet Boarding Center is asking its patrons to examine their dogs for any possible symptoms of what is commonly called dog flu, before bringing them to the center for day care or boarding.
“We have not had any cases of dog flu at our facility,” said Susan Chipple of Directorate of Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s Outdoor Recreation Division. “To ensure that we do not, we are asking our patrons to check their pets and, if they see any signs of dog flu, to get the pets proper medical attention.”
A question arose recently about what effect an outbreak of the highly contagious “canine influenza” in the Midwest might have on the Pet Boarding Center at Fort Stewart. The outbreak caused one Chicago kennel to shut down for five days in late March.
“We checked with the on-post veterinarian and with two off-post vets and confirmed that the protocols we had in place and the chemicals we use to clean the kennels are effective in preventing infections and disease – including dog flu,” Chipple said.
“But our staff members are being more stringent because we are trying to ensure that the animals who come into our facility don’t appear to have any flu-like symptoms. We have always been careful, but we are being even more so with something as contagious as what is out there now.”
What are dog flu symptoms?
”Just like when people get the flu, you can expect your dog to sneeze, have a runny nose, and cough,” says Barry N. Kellogg, senior veterinary advisor to the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. Other symptoms are tiredness and lack of appetite. Some dogs also can have a fever of 104-106 F.
--- Bob Matthews, FMWR Marketing Publicity Specialist
Sledgehammer Soldier sheds weight and fearsApril 21, 2015
Fort Benning, GA
When faced with a nearly impossible challenge, how should one react? Run away in fear? Fight tooth and nail? Analyze the problem and find the solution logically?
Everyone is different. Every reaction is different. Just like every obstacle, the solution for the problem is different.
Over the past year, one Sledgehammer Soldier was faced with such a challenge and ended up showing herself and her leadership how unbreakable she could become.
Specialist Chelsea Demieri, a native of Oceanside, California and an All-Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic with the Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, found out in March of 2014 that her weight and physical fitness levels had degraded below acceptable standards.
“When I took my first physical fitness test here, I did awful,” Demieri said. “At that point, I was almost 80 lbs. overweight.” “I knew that I had a problem, but no one was really addressing it with me,” Demieri said. “My family; I don’t think they wanted to be mean to me and I wasn’t really admitting it to myself.”
After speaking with her leaders, Demieri was in shock. It took her running her 2-miles in 28 minutes and failing an Army Physical Fitness Test for her to realize how bad the situation had become.
After failing the Physical Fitness Test, Demieri was prescribed to go through nutritional training and body fat testing. Demieri and her leadership discovered that she weighed 225 lbs., and was 47 percent body fat. Her leadership followed regulatory guidelines and placed her in the Body Composition Program to monitor her progress.
In section 3-9 of the Army Body Composition Program, Army Regulation 600-9, it states, “a monthly loss of either 3 to 8 pounds or 1 percent body fat are both considered to be safely attainable goals that enable Soldiers to lose excess body fat and meet the body fat standards. Soldiers that meet either of these goals are considered to be making satisfactory progress in the ABCP.”
“I didn’t think that I was going to be able to accomplish losing that much weight,” Demieri said. “My unit told me that I needed to pass the APFT and lose all of this weight, or I could be chaptered out,” Demieri said. “That’s when I realized that I had a really big thing coming; it was do or die.”
One of her biggest supporters after facing the difficult truth, was her husband, Demieri stated.
“My husband has always been super supportive of whatever I have chosen to do,” Demieri said. “When I was sitting there describing everything that I needed to do and accomplish, he became my coach and kept saying, ‘yeah, you can do this.’”
To Demieri, it still seemed like an insurmountable goal, but she refused to let that stop her. In seven months following that APFT, Demieri had managed to not only lose more than 70 lbs, but also she had started to lead the pack when it came to PT.
Staff Sergeant Darrell Owens, the Scheduled Maintenance NCO for BSTB, 3rd IBCT, 3rd ID, became Demieri’s section sergeant right before the March 2014 APFT.
“To see her come from that, to where she is now, is a complete transformation and has really motivated other Soldiers around her,” Owens said. “We have tried to motivate her as best we can, but she is just on another level by herself,” Owens said.
According to Owens, Demieri is now coaching other Soldiers within her section and organization that are on the Weight Control Program.
“Anybody can use her as an example,” Owens said. “All it takes is a little bit of hard work and some motivation. Just take a look at her and know that it is possible.” Some of Demieri’s most recent accomplishments are scoring a 276 on the APFT, as well as being nominated by her battalion for the 3rd ABCT Soldier of the Year. “She’s a one of a kind Soldier,” Owens said. “With what she has gone through and what she still goes through on a daily basis, she is living proof, that you can go through anything and overcome it.”
According to Owens, his Soldier is living proof that regardless of what anyone is struggling with, whether it is PTSD, depression, or weight loss, there is hope.
---Staff Sgt. Aaron R. Knowles, 3rd ABCT Public Affair
Fun in the Sun April 8, 2015
Grab your bathing suit, flip-flops, and beach towel but most importantly do not forget sunblock! Spring is here and the sun is out so now is the time to make sure you are equipped to ensure a safe summer.
You might be thinking, “well, I still have a bottle from last summer” and you are ahead of the game. Not really. Over time the medication in sunblock loses it’s potency. Just like other medications, sunblock has a shelf life. Try to get into the habit of using the entire bottle before the weather starts to cool down and winter takes over. If you are liberally and constantly applying sunblock throughout the summer meeting that goal should not be hard.
Children are particularly at risk for sun damage because they are known for playing and jumping in and out of the water without stopping. It is especially important that sunblock is reapplied multiple times while they are in the sun. When children come out of the water be sure to dry them off before reapplying sunblock.
Men and Women:
Men and women still need to guard against sun damage. Many products that women use, such as makeup and moisturizer, contain sunblock with SPF 15 or higher. However, men are not as fortunate and should seek out protection with a daily sunblock. Also, it is important that men, women, and children alike remember to moisturize their lips with balm that contains SPF of at least 15.
-30 minutes before stepping out into the sun apply sunblock. It takes up to a half-hour for sunblock to absorb.
-Choose broad-spectrum sunblock to provide protect from UVA and UVB radiation.
-Seek out sunblock with SPF 15 anything lower does not provide full coverage.
-SPF higher than 15 should be used on more sensitive areas such as face and ears.
-Make sure you are applying sunblock every two hours. Apply more often when swimming or sweating.
Take these easy steps to guarantee your summer days are filled with fun. And do not forget, hat and protective clothing while in the sun is always a great choice too.
---Amber Brown, U.S. Army Public Health Command Intern
The Brain Game April 8, 2015
Concussions in sports have gotten a lot more attention over the past few years. Many times we hear of male athletes, especially football players, suffering from concussions but the cases of female athletes are not mentioned as often. The long-term effects of concussions on the brain do not discriminate and it is important that everyone knows the dangers of the injury.
A concussion, as stated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a blow to the head or body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. When a concussion happens, the normal brain functions are impaired for that moment. For female athletes, sports such as cheerleading, soccer, and basketball are among the highest risk activities for TBI.
Many times concussions go unnoticed because few athletes lose consciousness from the blow. Far too often players return to the game and play through injuries. Slight symptoms of a concussion, such as temporary blurred vision, are a key sign of a possible injury. However, more severe symptoms, which involve sensitivity to light or sound, ringing in ears, or difficulty concentrating, can show up later.
Anytime an athlete suffers from a concussion it is important that they stay out of the game. Oftentimes, the rush from the game overcomes the athlete and their focus is not on their body. Putting a few games on hold is key to recovery. If an athlete jumps back into a sport too soon, it can cause more severe damages, additional concussions, and even put the player out of the game forever.
It is important that awareness of concussions is a topic that is regularly talked about with athletes. Despite the fact that football receives the most attention when it comes to concussions, it is crucial that all athletes are aware of the risk. Knowledge is the fundamental piece in keeping sports safe for all to enjoy.
---Amber Brown, U.S. Army Public Health Command Intern
TBI, not just a combat injuryApril 8, 2015
December 5, 2014 will live with Spc. Kimberly Watson possibly for the rest of her life.
At five-thirty in the morning, Watson was on her way to work as a military police officer with the 293rd MP Company, 385th MP Battalion. The weather was clear, yet chilly. As she sat at the light on Airport Road and Highway 196 in Hinesville, Georgia, the light turned green and Watson proceeded to travel through the light. She had the right of way, but the car on the opposite side of the street did not. Watson crashed into the other car in a T-bone accident.
Watson said her airbags did not deploy, but the other car’s airbags did. Experiencing a rush of adrenaline and feeling no pain at the time, she declined going to the hospital. An hour and a half later, Watson was in the emergency room with symptoms of a concussion. The Computed Tomography better known as a CT scan, proved the symptoms to be true.
“By the time we cleared out of the hospital I was already complaining about a major migraine that was forming behind my eye,” Watson said.
Watson spent the next two weeks on bed rest. She said she had a hard time staying awake. On her first visits to her primary care physician, Watson received another CT scan. Although her initial swelling had subsided, she explained experiencing neurological misfires. She was diagnosed with having a traumatic brain injury.
The side effects of Watson’s TBI would send her into an emotional rollercoaster. It was difficult for her to be around people without suffering severe panic attacks.
“Any one new who would come around me I would instantly start crying because ... I was scared to be around them,” she said. “I didn’t want them to know that something was wrong with me. So I would try to hide it, and the more I tried to hide it the more I would break down.”
Watson wanted to return to work, but found the task difficult. She could not drive, she stopped laughing, her speech was slow, loud noises would cause panic or put her to sleep, therefore Watson found it difficult to return to work. A safe place for Watson was her home she shared with friend and roommate, Pfc. Levi Bundy. He was the only person she felt comfortable around.
“He would find ways to make me laugh,” she tearfully said. “I would let my guard down around him. He played a key role in my healing.”
With the help of the six phase system, speech therapy and other treatment at the Winn Army Community Hospital's TBI clinic, Watson was able to eventually return to work fulltime.
“The program builds you back up to where you are supposed to be,” Watson said.
Watson said looking back she would have gotten help sooner, and for others who suspect they may have experienced a head injury, for them to do the same.
“Don’t even question it, if you think you have a head injury go to the TBI clinic,” she said.
For more information about traumatic brain injury read “What is TBI” on page 11B of the March 26th edition of The Frontline or call the Warrior Restoration Center at (912) 435-7027/7016.
---Kaytrina Curtis, Fort Stewart Public Affairs