Imagination comes to life when we take what we know, flip it on its end and see it in a whole new way.
Wiggle on broccoli, hop on a corn stalk, climb on a strawberry, and dance on a carrot. WIC children play while their parents
work out on cardio steppers nearby. You will see all
this on the front lawn of the McDowell Public Health Department in rural North Carolina. Enter the parking lot and fill your senses with a riot of colors and shapes enticing you to get out of your car and play, have fun, enjoy healthy foods and visit the farmers market.
This heart healthy play space was first envisioned by RPMHD Health Director, Jimmy Hines who believes that "health" is not a building or a department, but rather an attitude of well being. Play and family fun foster healthy behaviors leading to lifelong health and wellness. To send a strong visual message to local folks in rural WNC, Mr. Hines and the WIC team had play equipment and games custom made for the families served here in Marion.
The Heart Healthy Playground sends a powerful positive message to children and adults alike reminding everyone of the importance of healthy behaviors. WIC Staff use the Playground to enhance Child Health Learning Opportunities. It is part of the RPM Health District's Action Plan to increase opportunities for physical activity by enhancing the built environment. Plans are currently underway to connect the Health Department Playground with nearby the Greenway walking paths. The Greenway connects folks to the Senior Center, the YMCA, the McDowell Hospital and more.
Know The Terms!
Hurricane Watch – hurricane conditions (sustained winds greater than 74 mph) are possible. Watches are usually issued 48 hours before the beginning of tropical-storm-force-winds.
Hurricane Warning – hurricane conditions (sustained winds greater than 74 mph) are expected. Warnings are usually issued 36 hours before the beginning of tropical-storm-force-winds.
Tropical Storm Warning – tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within 36 hours.
Tropical Depression - contains winds up to 39 miles per hour (mph).
Tropical Storm - 39 - 73 mph winds
Category 1 – 74 to 95 mph winds
Category 2 – 96 to110 mph winds
Category 3 – 111 to 130 mph winds
Category 4 – 131 to 155 mph winds.
Category 5 – winds 156 mph or greater.
Be Safe! Act Quickly
- Build an emergency kit.
- Make a family communications plan.
- Know you're the routes you need to leave your home (evacuation routes). Locate your local emergency shelters.
- Closely watch/listen to the weather reports. Listening every hour as the storm nears.
- Put fuel in all vehicles and with draw some cash from the bank. Gas stations and ATMs may be closed after a hurricane.
- If authorities ask you to leave, do so quickly.
- If you leave (evacuate), be alert to flooded or washed-out roads. Just a few inches of water can float a car. Think: Turn Around, Don't Drown.
- Keep a photo I.D. that shows your home address. You will need it when asking police if it is okay for you to re-enter your area or home.
- Secure your property.
- Bring inside all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
- Cover windows with permanent storm shutters or board up windows with 5/8" plywood, cut and ready to install. Tape does not stop windows from breaking.
- Put in straps or extra clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will lower roof damage.
- Trim trees and shrubs around your home, so they are more wind resistant.
- Clear clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Reinforce garage doors. If wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
Download the ReadyNC App!
Another great tip is to download the ReadyNC App! The app has a lot of information that can help you before, during and after a disaster.
Drinking too much alcohol increases people’s risk of injuries, violence, drowning, liver disease, and some types of cancer. This April, during Alcohol Awareness Month,the Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department encourages you to educate yourself and your loved ones about the dangers of drinking too much.
If you are drinking too much, you can improve your health by cutting back or quitting. Here are some strategies to help you cut back or stop drinking:
- Limit your drinking to no more than 1 drink a day for women or 2 drinks a day for men.
- Choose a day each week when you will not drink.
- Keep track of how much you drink.
- Don't drink when you are upset.
- Avoid places where people drink a lot.
- Make a list of reasons not to drink.
Now that March has arrived we are inching closer to Spring. While we still have many cold days ahead, warmer times will be here soon. It’s a great time for your and your family to Get Out, Get Active. According to the Harvard School of Public Health “Getting regular physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your health. It lowers the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and certain cancers, and it can also help control stress, improve sleep, boost mood, keep weight in check, and reduce the risk of falling and improve cognitive function in older adults.”
Some of the resources we are featuring this month are:
Tips for Reducing Screen Time from the Institute of Health
5-2-1 Almost None
Healthy habits start at home, and 5-2-1 Almost None is a great place to start to help your family live
Kids In Parks