HARLINGEN – A hectic schedule can often get in the way of the goals of living a healthy lifestyle.
Hard, stressful work and long hours can derail healthy eating habits, exercise routines, and sleep schedules, and when it comes to a career in Emergency Medical Services, stressful work and long hours are often part of the job.
But to help local EMS providers overcome those obstacles, both Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen and Valley Baptist Medical Center-Brownsville held “lunch and learn” events Wednesday as part of a full slate of events scheduled for EMS Week.
At Valley Baptist-Harlingen, Emergency Medicine Physician Dr. Doug Miesen talked to more than 20 EMS providers about the benefits of sleep, exercise, and general awareness of their health.
“A common misconception in the community is that you don’t need to see a primary care physician until you get sick. But a lot of the things we see in the ER are because of that mentality,” he said. “Issues like diabetes and hypertension can go unchecked for quite some time and do quite a bit of damage without regular check-ups. Kidney issues are a good example as well – you’re not going to know about them because you can’t feel them until they have progressed for some time.”
In addition to the tips provided by Dr. Miesen, Karina Longoria, Clinical Dietitian at Valley Baptist-Harlingen, discussed how to fit healthy eating habits into schedules that often do not revolve around the traditional “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” model.
“You all are on the run all the time, and sometimes it’s hard to make healthy choices,” she said. “But there are resources available to help you.”
Rene Perez, Director of Patient Transport Services for South Texas Emergency Care Foundation, Inc., said that maintaining good physical health is key for EMS personnel to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities, and healthy medics are critical to the health of the community.
“It is easy to forget about your own health when you are in the profession of caring for the health of others,” he said. “This event was a great reminder that for us to care for our community, we need to care for ourselves as well.”