Is Social Media Worth It?

28 02 2011

Nonprofits are noodling around with social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter . While trying it out, we’re thinking about next steps and determining if incorporating social communications tools into our everyday work is a productive route to take.

 Given the limited resources faced by most nonprofits (especially these days!), many of us are hesitant to make the leap. How can we determine whether the return on investment (ROI) for social media will ultimately pay off?

The funders and the board members and the directors all want proof of ROI before committing. If you’re working in a nonprofit and believe in the need to get into social media, here are a few calculations you can make to determine the ROI for your social media efforts. Some of the biggies are:

  • Staff time – most organizations don’t have the budget for a full-time social media manager, so determining how much time is required for Facebook and Twitter curating  is a good beginning.
  • Tools – even though social media is mostly free, the tools supporting it aren’t always. Make sure your computers and systems allow access to social media tools like Facebook.
  • Installation, set-up and monitoring – someone has to have the technical expertise to set up the various accounts and monitor them for glitches.

According to Beth Kanter, a key player in nonprofit and social media education, social media ROI is worth calculating and there are many viable considerations to make when putting together your program. 

Is social media for nonprofits ultimately worth it? We think it is for PKIDs, but the answer for your organization may be “it depends.”

To learn more about social media for your nonprofit or health department, don’t forget to register for PKIDs’ Communications Made Easy program  and also visit the archive, which is replete with many recorded webinars.





HCV+ Teen Tells It

24 02 2011

My name is Sabina, I live in San Diego, and I’m 15 years old. I have had hepatitis C (HCV) for about 13 years now and I have just recently decided to get rid of it and started treatment.

On MLK day I’m happy to say that I celebrated my first full week of being on the treatment. And let me tell you it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

I started the treatment on January 10, 2011, and now I take two drugs. Every Monday I have to give myself a shot at night. When I was about to get my first shot, I was so nervous and scared. I thought the needle was going to be inches big but it wasn’t. The needle was an inch if not half an inch big. And it didn’t hurt one bit. But still I’m scared for every Monday to come.

Every morning I take pills after breakfast, and in the evening I take another dose after dinner. And so far I haven’t gotten any serious symptoms. Though everyday I get headaches in the evening that really hurt, but as I was doing some research I found out that it’s better that you don’t take medicine to try to make it better. Instead you should eat and drink lots of water, and it really does help.

From talking to people that have gone through the process before, some tips I learned were carrying a water bottle around with you is smart so you can always have water to drink, to not overreact if something happens because its happens to everyone, and to make sure you tell your parents everything from itchiness to headaches to how you’re feeling.

Something that I’m always concerned about is forgetting to take my pills every morning and evening. But you don’t need to worry about that. You should know that if you forget to take your pills in the morning you should never take 4 that night at once. All of that medicine at once can put a dent into your body.

Another thing that I’m worried about is my sports. But I was told from the doctor that after a few months I should be ready to go back to my everyday activities and sports. I’m a volleyball player and club season is coming up, and the doctor says I should be healthy enough to play. Great news, huh? So if you are a sports person don’t stress about not playing.





Keep Your Illness to Yourself

17 02 2011

It starts with a sneeze and a sniff over the cubicle wall. “Ugh!” you think as you slather yourself in hand sanitizer, “Why is that person at work while they’re sick? I have a vacation next week, I cannot get sick!”

According to a recent study, nearly three out of four people go to work when they’re sick and about one in three Americans said they would show up to work no matter how sick they feel.

Image by Leonid Mamchenkov

Why do we do it?  Why do we insist on going to work sick and making ourselves and everyone else miserable?

Turns out there are reasons. We often have a lot of anxiety about taking a sick day. A study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 19% of Americans feel pressure by their boss or supervisor to go to work when they are feeling sick. Some of us don’t have the luxury of sick days and taking a day off means less pay. While this might seem unfair, it’s a reality for many.

The truth is — everyone loses when we go to work sick.

We can prolong our illness or exacerbate it by not getting the rest our body needs to fight the infection.

Our coworkers lose by being exposed to a microbe that can sicken them and that they in turn will share with their family and friends. More than half of workers have pointed a finger at a coworker as the source of their illness.

There’s also a cost associated with coming to work sick. Presenteeism, when an employee shows up sick and isn’t productive, costs the U.S. economy $180 billion annually in lost productivity.

OK, maybe that’s not the best motivation for staying home when sick, but we need to give our coworkers a break.  Don’t be the coughing, hacking, germ-spreading guy who ruins everyone’s weekend or worse, vacation, by making them sick.  Stay home, watch TV, eat ice cream, sleep.  Your body deserves it.





What Comes With a Kiss?

14 02 2011

A kiss can be a greeting between friends, or it can mean so much more. We enjoy it either way, don’t we?

Health-wise, locking lips can be both a benefit and a burden.

Scientists don’t completely understand why we kiss, but humans are not the only lip smackers on the planet. Animals, including apes, also practice kissing-like behaviors.

The Good Kiss

We get a serious physical response from a good kiss. Kisses cause a brain fireworks show. Sensory neurons from our lips send signals to our brain and body, kicking off sensory sparks, intense emotions, and physical reactions.

Getting to first base can be a huge stress reliever, and holding hands and kissing has been known to lower blood pressure as well as boost our immune systems.

When we get a passionate kiss, our brain oozes a bit of dopamine in the ventral tegmental part of the brain, which is the same region that is tickled by addictive drugs like cocaine. Our body sure does like getting love pecks.

Swapping spit can also help keep your teeth pearly white. Saliva acts as a natural lubricant, slipping under plaque and washing it away. It can even protect teeth from decay by neutralizing harmful acids.

Finally, a good make-out session can benefit your heart. We burn 12 calories for every five seconds of vigorous kissing .

The Bad Kiss

While Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle said, “If you are ever in doubt as to whether to kiss a pretty girl, always give her the benefit of the doubt,” there are some good reasons to put a pause in your pucker.

Kisses can spread germs and infections. One milliliter of saliva contains about 100,000,000 bacteria. And, according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), with just one kiss, couples can share more than 500 different types of disease-causing bacteria and viruses.

Not exactly romantic, huh?

Cold sores are caused by the herpes virus and spread by skin-on-skin contact. Flu and cold viruses can be shared lover-to-lover through necking. Also, mononucleosis, heralded as the kissing disease “mono” is easily spread through a good French kiss, as well as by sharing food, a cup, utensils or straws with an infected person.

With a sloppy kiss, we pass on the bacteria that cause cavities. This can also happen when a parent sucks on a child’s pacifier or eating utensil with their mouth.

We don’t need to get worked up about this, but it’s good to know that along with fireworks can come cavities.

As your thoughts turn to love on this Valentine’s Day, consider Shakespeare’s words: “I can express no kinder sign of love, than this kind kiss.”

Smooch on, dear readers, smooch on!





Preventing Baby Strep

10 02 2011

Group B strep (GBS aka Baby Strep)  is the main cause of meningitis and sepsis in newborns.  If left untreated, this bacterial infection can cause serious harm, but with the proper course of treatment, only five percent of newborns exposed to the bacteria will develop GBS disease.

One out of four pregnant women carries GBS bacteria in their vagina or rectum, although some pregnant women remain free of symptoms (vaginal burning or irritation, unusual vaginal discharge, or bladder infections), making infection a silent risk for newborns.

Symptoms of a baby infected with GBS include red or tender skin, discolored skin due to lack of oxygen, and difficulty breathing. Group B strep in babies can cause sepsis, pneumonia, meningitis and other serious illnesses.

Coupled with the potential impacts of GBS infection on pregnant women (preterm labor and early onset of water breaking), the lack of symptoms led to the U.S. and Canada specifying screening for GBS as the proper standard of care for women who are 35 to 37 weeks pregnant.

The CDC suggests the following for the prevention of GBS:

  • Testing of all preterm deliveries
  • Closer monitoring and treatment for pregnant women who are allergic to penicillin
  • Following the recommended testing guidelines at 35 to 37 weeks pregnant
  • Testing of pregnant patients who report bladder infections, unusual vaginal discharge, or vaginal irritation and burning.

Pregnant patients and their families should be aware of these recommendations and check with their doctor to ensure compliance.





Ryan and HCV

7 02 2011

Ryan’s mom Nora talks about Ryan and his daily struggles with the difficulties in treating hepatitis C infection.

Listen now!

Right-click here to download podcast (7.5 mins/3mb)





Poop Does the Trick!

3 02 2011

We’re cringing at reports that some doctors are successfully treating an intractable superbug with a poop  transplant.

Apparently, in a small number of cases, fecal transplantation has been successful in conquering “C. diff,” or Clostridium difficile. This pesky bacterium, particularly disabling to the elderly and infirm, scoffs at antibiotics like Superman scoffs at bullets.

As with too many other bugs, C. diff loves hospitals, and also thrives in the community, making control of the infection routes that much more difficult.

Probiotics have been making the rounds for years as one type of treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and the like, on the theory that intestinal disorders are caused by a lack of good bacteria in the gut, and fecal transplantation works along the same lines, placing healthy bacteria from a normally functioning bowel into the bowel of a sick person.

It’s too soon to tell if the risks associated with this bacteriotherapy outweigh the potential rewards.  We don’t even know what all the risks might be—there haven’t been enough studies done on this procedure to prove it safe and effective, or not.