Manage stressBURLINGTON — Holidays can be a time of love, giving, reflection and unfortunately, also a time of stress. A Journal of the American Heart Association 2016 report noted heart-related deaths spike during Christmas. Researchers suggest emotional stress, changes in diet and alcohol consumption, less staff at medical facilities and changes in physical environment (i.e., visiting relatives), could play a role in the spike in deaths. Also, patients hold back in seeking medical care during the holiday season.

To protect your heart, follow these tips:

1. Maintain healthy habits, i.e., eating healthy, balanced meals, moving more every day and getting at least seven hours of sleep each night.

2. Beware of party perils. Try eating a healthy snack, such as salad or vegetable soup, before a party to avoid overindulging later.

3. Give yourself the gift of peace. If you start to feel overwhelmed, recharge by doing yoga, meditation or going for a brisk walk.

4. Make a plan for the New Year. When the winter blues set in, challenge yourself with realistic, sustainable goals for a healthy, happy New Year.

Heart attack warning, call 9-1-1 immediately:

Discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

Discomfort in other areas of the upper body, including pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort.

Other signs may include breaking out into a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Stroke warning, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately:

Face Drooping — Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.

Arm Weakness — Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech Difficulty — Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

Cardiac Arrest warning, call 9-1-1 immediately and start hands-only CPR by pressing hard and fast in the center of the chest:

Sudden loss of responsiveness — The person does not respond to tapping on shoulders.

No normal breathing — The victim does not take a normal breath when you tilt the head up and check for at least five seconds.

Home horticulture

BURLINGTON — The University of Vermont (UVM) Extension Master Gardener online course will run from Jan. 17 to May 22, four to six hours a week for course work, assignments and quizzes. Interactive webinars with lectures and live Q&A sessions will be offered, as well.

For more information, visit, call 656-9562 or email

Turkeys donated

BERLIN — Central Vermont Medical Center employees donated 238 turkeys to two local nonprofit organizations, Vermont Youth Conservation Corps Health Care Share program that connects Vermont families with fresh, healthy food and nutrition education at their doctor’s office and the Vermont Foodbank.


Gifford Medical Center

A girl, Mikayla Harper LaFrance, was born Nov. 15, 2019, to Erika Blake and Brian LaFrance, of Waitsfield.

A girl, Luna Gloria Buckner, was born Nov. 17, 2019, to Heather Buckner and Sean Ogle, of South Royalton.

A girl, Zoey Bryan, was born Nov. 19, 2019, to Dakota Arbuckle and Bruce Bryan Jr., of Braintree.

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