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Thank you for subscribing to In Great Health, an Avera eNewsletter that provides you with information to help you live a healthy lifestyle.  To learn more about what Avera can do to partner with you to improve your health, visit

To your health,

The Avera Staff


People become more active outdoors after the long winter, and so do their allergies. Tree pollen is produced most often in early spring, while mold and grass pollens tend to show up in late spring and early summer. No matter what allergen sparks your allergies, some medications and preventive measures can reduce its effects on your daily life.

Dr. Thomas Luzier of Aberdeen Asthma & Allergy starts to see patients in the spring who are affected by mold allergens, especially as people start to use their mowers, which kick up mold. Patients often see their doctors when over-the-counter drugs don't relieve their symptoms anymore.

"Many over-the-counter drugs are good at helping with the sneezing and itching, but they are not great with congestion," he says. "Most people complain about the congestion."

Depending on the severity of your allergies, your doctor can prescribe a variety of medications, including antihistamines, nasal sprays, oral steroids and eye drops.

The simplest way to prevent allergy symptoms, of course, is to avoid the allergens. That often means avoiding outdoor activities, which can be difficult. However, you can wear a mask when the pollen count is high. Also, keep your air conditioner running with the windows and doors closed to keep allergens out of your home.

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Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in America, yet it's highly preventable and treatable when detected early. If you are 50 or older, make an appointment TODAY to get screened in March, which is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Colorectal cancers typically begin as polyps in the colon or rectum that grow very slowly. Since it often takes 10 to 20 years for the polyps to become cancerous, early detection makes the cancer highly treatable. Often people have no symptoms, so it's important to get screened.

Risk factors include age (50 or older), a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, a high-fat diet, smoking, heavy alcohol use, having diabetes, having inflammatory bowel disease and being overweight. Symptoms may include:

  • changes in bowel habits
  • blood in the stool
  • abdominal discomfort
  • unexplained weight loss
  • pain with a bowel movement
  • fatigue

To diagnose colorectal cancer, a doctor will perform a physical exam and order diagnostic tests, such as a stool test, sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.

Starting at age 50, people should have a colonoscopy, which examines the rectum and entire colon for polyps. Other screenings should be done every five years. If your family has a history of colorectal cancer, you should have a colonoscopy every three to five years, beginning at least 10 years before the age when your relative was diagnosed. Talk to your health care provider for more information about when you should be screened.

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Did you know that foods high in fiber have been shown to help prevent colorectal cancer? Foods that are good sources of fiber are cereals, dried beans and peas, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. This fiesta chili packs in an impressive 11 grams of fiber per serving.

1 lb. extra-lean ground beef or soy crumbles
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped green bell pepper
2 14-oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 15-oz. cans black beans, drained
1- c. low-sodium beef broth
1 Tbsp. chili powder
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1- tsp. ground cumin
tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp. pepper
Low-fat sour cream (optional)
Chopped fresh cilantro

Brown the ground beef with the onion and bell pepper in a stockpot, stirring until the ground beef is crumbly; drain. Add the undrained tomatoes, beans, broth, chili powder, garlic, cumin, oregano and pepper and mix well. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 15 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Ladle into chili bowls and garnish with sour cream and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Nutritional information per serving
Calories: 281; Protein: 27 g; Carbohydrates: 34 g; Total Fat: 6 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Fiber: 11 g; Sodium: 749 mg; Magnesium: 8 mg; Potassium: 164 mg. Recipe from Avera McKennan Foundation's Cooking for Life, vol. 2.

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In Great Health online archive.

In Great Health is one in a series of Avera eNewsletters that gives readers valuable information about health and wellness at Avera facilities. It is not intended to replace personal medical advice, which should be obtained directly from a physician.