Class on caring, coping
The Maryville affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness wants friends and family of people with mental illness to start the new year with support and understanding.
Beginning Jan. 24, NAMI-Maryville will offer “With Hope in Mind,” a free series of classes about coping with the difficulties of caring for loved ones with mental illness.
Taught by NAMI volunteers who have taken NAMI-sanctioned training as course instructors and have personal experience caring for someone with mental illness, the confidential weekly course teaches problem management, communication and crisis planning, and coping skills for dealing with the cycles of illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, anxiety disorder, or eating disorder.
It will be 6-8 p.m. Tuesdays, Jan. 24-March 15 at the Blount County Public Library, 508 N. Cusick St. in Maryville.
The course is free, but space is limited, and pre-registration is required. Register by Jan. 17 by calling Trish Richert at 865-556-6635, or Judi Evans at 800-771-5491.
Points on pneumonia
With winter weather comes an increase in pneumonia — especially small children and elderly people, who make up the highest percentage of the U.S.’s annual 3 million cases.
Dr. Christian Terzian, a primary-care doctor with Tennova LaFollette Medical Center, said children’s still-developing immune systems make them more susceptible to both viral and bacteria pneumonia, which infects the lungs.
“They are also less likely to be vigilant about handwashing and nose blowing, making them more prone to contract the viruses and bacteria that can lead to pneumonia,” Terzian said.
Antibiotics don’t cure viral pneumonia; the virus must run its course. So it may hang around longer than bacterial pneumonia. Patients are given supportive treatments such as nebulizers for easier breathing, and steroids to speed healing and bring relief to the lungs.
Bacterial pneumonia is typically treated with antibiotics. Bacteria called mycoplasma cause “walking pneumonia,” which can be milder and less debilitating than other strains of pneumonia but is contagious and can last much longer — four to six weeks, compared with a week or two for most bacterial pneumonia.
“Initial symptoms of pneumonia often look much the same as the flu or common cold and include fever, cough, and nasal and chest congestion,” Dr. Terzian said. “In some patients, however, the only symptom is unusually rapid breathing and/or breathing accompanied by a wheezing or grunting sound.”
Pneumococcal, pertussis and flu vaccines, available at doctors’ offices, clinics and local health departments, can help prevent some of the most common illnesses that can lead to pneumonia.