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Happy Spring!

Today at 5:24pm (EDT) it is officially the start of spring called the Vernal Equinox.

If you live in the Northeast US you may have been surprised this morning to think that spring was almost upon us.  The temperature this morning was actually in the 20’s!  

Temperatures in the 20’s are not warm!  Fast forward to the afternoon and it has warmed up considerably so maybe there is something to the seasons changing now.

What exactly is the Vernal Equinox?

The Vernal Equinox is when the amount of day and night are almost exactly equal.  You can look for about 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness today.  Today the sun rose at 7:25am and it will set at approximately 7:32am.

The great thing about the beginning of spring is that each day you will notice more daylight incrementally.  This continues until the summer solstice on June 21 (at 10:58am EDT).

Astronomical times or Meteorological times?

You may already know that the times listed for the beginning of the seasons above are actually astronomical times.  These dates and times are based on the position of the Earth in relation to the Sun.

On the other hand, if you are thinking about seasons starting on the 1st of the month (March 1, June 1, September 1 and December 1) these are meteorological times.  

You can chalk this up to meteorologists and climate scientists wanting an easy way to keep track of weather and weather patterns each year.

Private Home Health Care knows that we could still get a snow storm in the Vernal Equinox but for today let’s celebrate this new season.


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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Who was St. Patrick?

Reading a bit about the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick you discover some interesting facts of what is believed to have been his early life.  

To start with, St. Patrick was actually born in Britain!  At age 16 he was taken prisoner from his family’s estate and brought to Ireland.  The Irish kept him in Ireland for six years.  During his captivity he did work as a shepherd and consequently became a devout Christian.  

Once he returned to Britain he heard an angel tell him that he should return to Ireland as a missionary.  Because of this vision he spent 15 years studying in order to become a priest.

You may be surprised to learn that St. Patrick did return to Ireland.  His mission was to minister and support the Christians in Ireland while likewise converting others to Christianity.

In order to help support the Irish people St. Patrick incorporated existing traditions and rituals into his ministries.  He could have come and tried to change the rituals but because he was accepting of native Irish beliefs he had success with his conversions.

Additionally, St. Patrick is responsible for creating the Celtic cross.  You may be familiar with this, especially if you are Catholic.  

The Celtic cross has a superimposed sun on it due to the fact that the sun was a potent symbol in Ireland.  Adding the sun made the cross more natural for the Irish.

You probably know that the Catholic Church has canonized many saints over the years.  St. Patrick lived so long ago that it was before the time canonizations began. Consequently, St. Patrick is not a saint of the Church but he is considered the patron saint of Ireland.

We will leave you with this Irish saying:

May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live. 

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Tomorrow is a National Day for a cultivated plant that has been around for centuries.  You will find much discussion on where these nutritious plants came from but does it really matter?

It’s all about artichokes and artichoke hearts!  You might wonder if artichokes are from the vegetable family?  Fruit maybe?  Would you be surprised if I said it was a thistle?

A delicious and healthful thistle.   Back in 1905 when they became popular in the United States it didn’t matter.  People interested because they were fascinated by their look and gourmet flavor.

Today you and I recognize the health benefits that artichokes provide.  Artichokes are low in fat and rich in fiber.  In one medium artichoke you can get 23-28% of your daily fiber needed.  You won’t find many calories either with about 60 in that same artichoke.

Likewise, you get protein and good vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  Vitamins include vitamins C and K.  Minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and iron are plentiful too.

Online, you will find that there are many studies on additional benefits from eating artichokes and artichoke hearts.  Artichokes may help with:

Cholesterol – lowering LDL counts

Blood Pressure – regulating blood pressure

Liver Health – improving liver health

Digestive Health – promoting “friendly gut bacteria”

Basically, all artichokes are grown in California.  They are a perennial plant that lives for 5-10 years.

Private Home Health Care hopes you try an artichoke, fresh and steamed or from a jar on a salad or other dish.  Artichokes are are another food to add to your healthy diet.


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Brain Injury Awareness Month

March is home to Brain Injury Awareness Month in the U.S.. These injuries comprise fall-related damage to the brain, forceful impact to the head, or penetration by sharp objects. At least 2.8 million people in the U.S. sustain traumatic brain injuries per year. Most people are at a loss of how to be around these injured people, which is part of the reason why Brain Injury Awareness month was created. In fact, professional sports organizations have dedicated a lot of time and money looking into making their respective games safer. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) has been a pressing issue in contact sports.

Brain Injury studies have become far more common in the sports world.

Brain Injury; CTE In Athletics

One issue that continues to cast a shadow over athletic events is the fallout from the intense play that can lead to short-term and long-term head injuries for many athletes. For instance, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE is a degenerative brain disease being linked physical sporting events. CTE is commonly found in athletes, military veterans, and others be linked to repeated head injuries and blows to the head. Obviously, contact sports like football, rugby and hockey come to mind when thinking of head injuries. Nevertheless, with repeated use of the head in soccer and elbows in basketball have seen problems with injuries to the head. How Sports Concussions and CTE can Impact an Athlete’s Mental Health – NextStep Solutions ( This link dives into the problem in sports and provides more information.

The brain is the most complex part of the human body.

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World Glaucoma Week

Have you heard of glaucoma?  Do you know that it is one of the leading causes of blindness across the world, including in the United States?

The goal for this week in March is to raise your awareness and to let people know that early detection is key.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is caused by damage to a nerve in the back of your eye called the optic nerve.  You may not have many symptoms or you could begin to notice changes in your vision. You often have higher pressure in your eye, but there are cases with normal pressure as well.

Are you at risk for Glaucoma?

  • Are you over the age of 60?
  • Do you have a family history of glaucoma?
  • Are you an African American over the age of 40 

How can you help prevent glaucoma?

There is really no way you can prevent getting glaucoma.  You can however get checked regularly by an eye doctor so that you have an early detection. Early diagnosis is very important to help manage and slow down the disease.

What treatments are available for Glaucoma?

You could have a combination of treatments or one of the following options:

  • Prescription eye drops
  • Oral Medicines
  • Laser Surgery
  • Surgery to help drain fluid from the eye

Private Home Health Care encourages annual eye exams for those at risk and every two years as a good general guide for others.  You can make an appointment with an optometrist or an ophthalmologist.

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Reviving Your New Year’s Resolution

In the United States, 38.5% of adults set a New Year’s resolution. Resolutions are goals that you set for yourself to become a better person, live a healthier lifestyle, continue to improve on yourself and climb the ladder of life. At this time, two months in the books, how are the resolutions you made holding up? Why not take some time today to reignite that vigor you began this year with?

Making a New Year’s Resolution is a tradition to start the new year.

Evaluating Your Resolution

Only 9% of the U.S. population successfully keep their New Year’s Resolution. In fact, only 36% make it through the first month. However, even if you don’t strictly adhere to your resolution, you can still have a positive change in your lifestyle. Now is a great time to revisit these resolutions. When you take the time to evaluate where you are in this process, small steps and little victories along the way can provide motivation. More likely than not, If you are resolving to lose 50 pounds, you will see a drastic change right away. This can be demoralizing and cause you to stray from our plan. Now, 2 months later, you may see more results. Immediate satisfaction does not go hand in hand with most new year’s resolutions. Maybe you have been straying away from your resolution or have lost your way.

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National Women’s History Month 

March is National Women’s History Month.  This began in 1987 to celebrate amazing women who strive to make our country and the world a better place for all.

You may have heard about many women from our past. Many have been pioneers.  One of those women is Sandra Day O’Connor.

Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman selected as a Supreme Court Justice and she is still alive today.  She held the position from 1981-2006.

Her life began on March 26, 1930 in El Paso, Texas.  She grew up on a large family ranch in Arizona.  She attended Stanford University where she received an undergraduate degree in 1950 and a law degree in 1952.

Sandra Day married John Jay O’Connor III in 1952 after graduation.  She had great academic achievements.  You may or may not be surprised to learn that she had trouble finding a job in law based on being a woman.

She was offered a job as a secretary in a law firm but instead she became a deputy district attorney for San Mateo, California. 

You will be amazed by her journey.  

In 1954 Sandra landed in Germany with her husband and she served as a civil attorney for the army until 1957.

When she returned to the US she began with a private practice in Arizona.  She then became attorney general, followed by an election to the Arizona Senate.  Furthermore, another first for her was to become the first woman to be the majority leader of that Senate. 

Consequently, she was then a Maricopa County Superior Court judge and then appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals in Phoenix.  In 1981, she was noticed by Ronald Reagan.

President Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor as the first woman to the United States Supreme Court.  She was unanimously confirmed by the Senate and was sworn in on September 25, 1981.

Private Home Health Care honors the many women who have helped to pave the way and created a land of opportunities for everyone.


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National Celery Month

As with every month of the year, March also contains many things to celebrate and one of those celebrations is for celery.  Celery really?  Yes.  

You will be surprised about this versatile green vegetable.  Basically, celery is one of those vegetables that is easy to find and it is full of health benefits.

Let’s start with what good things you can get from a cup or a stalk or two of celery. It’s super low in calories at just 16. In addition, celery is also rich in fiber.  Low in calories and rich in fiber.  Wow.

Furthermore, celery is a great source of Vitamins A, C and K and Potassium along with Folate.  (Folate is good for red cell formation and healthy cell growth and function.)

You can eat it with some peanut butter to bump up the nutrition or you can blend it with a green leaf smoothie.

Versatile is really a great word for celery.  You can eat it raw, in a vegetable tray with hummus or tzatziki or cooked.  Do you like to make soups?  Celery is a perfect addition.  

Likewise, you can add celery to a stir fry, a slow cooker pot roast or even a tunafish sandwich.  

Where do you think celery is grown in the US?  Most of the plants are grown in California, Florida and Michigan, (yes Michigan!).  

When buying celery you should look for tightly packed stalks.  Be sure to check that the stalks are crisp and snap off easily.  In addition, the leaves should not be wilted.

Celery is best if stored in a drawer in your refrigerator and wrapped in tin foil.  You have two weeks to use it if properly stored.  You can also freeze celery in a tight freezer bag.  If frozen it’s probably best to use it in a dish you are cooking rather than eat it raw.

Private Home Health Care loves to eat celery.  It’s easy to find, inexpensive and full of health benefits!

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Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race 2023

This past Saturday kicked off the Iditarod Sled Dog Race.  This has happened on the first Saturday in March since the first official start in 1973.

The trek is in Alaska and it spans 1,000 miles.  The kick off is in Anchorage then the race officially starts in Willow Lake and ends in Nome, Alaska.

The actual course can vary from year to year but it crosses two mountain ranges, travels along the Yukon River and traverses frozen waterways.  The weather is harsh and cold.

The land was actually first cleared in 1908 and marked by the Alaska Road Commission in 1911-1912.  When sled dog teams first started the main focus traveling through harsh arctic weather conditions was for communication and transportation.

The competition of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race has attracted many participants and a lot of visibility over the years.

The race has both men and women competing.  These men and women have been anywhere between 18 years old and 86 years old.  

The sled dog team consists of the driver called a musher and between 12 and 16 dogs. The sled dogs are not just any dog of course.  The dogs have a “natural fur” that can protect them. 

According to the American Kennel Club the dogs used are Samoyed, Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies and Chinook.  There is a lot of training and nutrition that go into these dogs in preparation.

In general, the race on average usually has about 63 teams.  This 2023 race is the smallest so far with a total of 33 teams.  There are nine rookie mushers and last year’s champion, Brent Sass among those teams.

It is a grueling journey but exciting and challenging.  The winner earns around $50,000.  The field is a bit smaller this year due to inflation and the rising cost of dog food among the factors. 

It happens once a year and it’s truly amazing what these mushers and dogs accomplish.   

Here is one place where you can follow the race:!

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National Kidney Month

One of the National days in March is on the kidneys.  The purpose of setting the day is to remind you to have your kidneys checked out by a medical professional.  

Those bean-shaped organs that sit in the lower back area of your abdomen are each about the size of a fist.  They are part of your urinary tract.

The kidneys main jobs are to clean toxins and waste out of your blood. They filter about a half of a cup of blood every minute.

Other important functions include: controlling the acid-ph balance of your blood and making glucose (sugar) if your blood doesn’t have enough. 

Kidneys also produce a protein that increases blood pressure and produces hormones that help with your calcium and with making red blood cells.

Your kidneys actually do quite a bit of work!

There are ways you can keep your kidneys healthy.  Check these out and see if there are any changes you should make.

  • Drink water.  On average, men should drink about 3 liters a day (about 13 cups) and women should drink about 2 liters a day (9 cups).
  • Quit smoking. You also stop using tobacco products.
  • Watching your salt intake is important. Foods contain sodium so monitor labels.
  • Keep a healthy weight. This has been said before and is key to keeping many areas of your body fit.
  • Monitor your blood pressure.  High blood pressure can cause damage to your kidneys.

Private Home Health Care knows that you can live with one kidney and that’s great news.  We also know that it’s important to raise awareness on how to keep your kidneys well.


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