Bacterial Vs Viral Infections

What’s the difference between a bacterial infection and a viral infection?

By Dr. Patience McCoy, ACNP, PhD

Viral or bacterial, it’s never fun to have an infection. But knowing the difference between the two can be the best way to get better. While bacteria and viruses can both cause mild to serious infections, they are different from each other. This is important to understand, because bacterial and viral infections must be treated differently. The most important distinction between bacteria and viruses is that antibiotic drugs usually kill bacteria, but they aren’t effective against viruses. Misusing antibiotics to treat viral infections leads to the problem of antibiotic resistance. Which means when you actually need an antibiotic- it won’t work as effectively anymore.

Both viral and bacterial infections are spread in similar ways:

  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Contact with infected people, especially through kissing or sharing drinks
  • Contact with contaminated surfaces, food, and water
  • Contact with infected creatures, including pets, livestock, and insects like fleas and ticks

There are several non-prescription drug measures you can try for relief of your symptoms. Besides getting ALOT of rest of drinking ALOT of fluids, here are some other suggestions:

Common Cold:

  • Use a cool mist humidifier or vaporizer
  • Avoid smoking, secondhand smoke, and other pollutants
  • Take nonprescription meds like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve pain or fever
  • Use saline nasal spray for congestion
  • Use honey for a cough

Sore Throat:

  • Ice chips, sore throat spray, popsicles, or lozenges
  • Gargle with salt water

Sinus Pain/Pressure:

  • A warm compress over the nose and forehead can help relieve sinus pressure
  • Take a steam shower to break up sinus congestion


Winter Wishes Gift and Fund Drive

On Thursday, November 30th the BoldlyU team went out to Joe Machens Toyota and spent the evening with the dedicated team of Great Circle. At their annual Winter Wishes Gift and Fund Drive, we dressed up in our BoldlyU attire and elf hats, ate cookies, and were delighted by the amount of compassion in the room.

The Winter Wishes Gift and Fund Drive allows the youth in their care to have gifts from the supporting community. Donations help fund new programs that allow their kids to gain their voice and build confidence. For Maggie Rotts, Advancement Coordinator, this was her first Christmas season spent with Great Circle. It was easy to tell that she was loving what she was doing. “This community is so big and giving, it’s incredible!” While reflecting on the mission of her first Winter Wishes, she says, “[These] kids deserve a loving Christmas and showing them that people care.”

We all know that BoldlyU is a huge fan of helping kids embrace who they are and share it with the world. Each month every issue is filled with articles and helpful tips, poems and drawings submitted by kids ages 10-16. This committee of BoldlyUs Tweens chooses all of the topics that will be in the magazine. We have seen first hand the confidence this can give kids when they have a strong support group encouraging them to share their thoughts. In the coming year, BoldlyU will be working out the chance to come to Great Circle’s campus once a month to work with these kids and hear all the creativity and passion they have.

From December 1st through December 20th, BoldlyUs Tweens will be doing their part to provide gifts and donations to help fund Great Circle’s new Art Therapy program. If you would like to support their efforts, reach out to to find a committee near you! Winter Wishes as a whole is going until December 31st, so it’s not too late to do your part and give this season. Visit their website to find out more details.


The Challenges of the Holiday as a Single Parent. 

The Challenges of the Holiday as a single parent. 

The holidays can be quite a bit of a challenge both financially and emotionally. What was once considered a wonderful time for your family when you were married can become stressful and emotionally draining. Below are a few tips to help provide support for you and your inner circle.

1 Budget, budget, budget. Do not feel as if you have to overcompensate for there only being one adult in the family. Often children don’t really want things when they can appreciate time spent. This may take a few holidays to teach this lesson, but it is one that will last a lifetime.

Create new traditions and hold onto some of the old ones. It’s important to create a couple of new traditions as you begin this new chapter. 

3 Ask for help. Many single parents who have a support system along with those who may not, are afraid to ask for help. Asking for help is essential to avoid being overwhelmed. You will find that those around you want to help! Seek support with friends, family or perhaps your faith-based community if you have one. You aren’t alone! 

4 Lean into the cry. Sometimes as single parents (or newly divorced parents) we become soldiers of life marching through task after task avoiding processing emotions. Sometimes you may feel sad. In particular, if this is not what you perceived your family would look like. Lean into a good cry. Essentially if we avoid leaning into the cry, it erupts in the most untimely fashion. One time I found myself standing in the checkout line at Walgreens succumbing to the quiet cry. With strangers around me trying not to make eye contact. The kind cashier checked me out as quickly as possible. With tears rolling down my face I attempted to wipe as quickly as they were coming. The emotion was unexpected, and the tears refused to be ignored. Now I lean into the cry. I cry, let it out and often feel much better. 

5 Embrace this new chapter. Things may not have turned out the way you thought they would, but everything will end up fine. If you embrace the new normal of what your family makeup looks like now, you will find it is all for the greater good. Be prepared to ignore things that may have seemed really important at one time. I have learned that the new chapter may not “look” as pulled together as it did with two adults in our home but we are fine. My children are happy and healthy, and so is their mother. 

Dear Future Me – There’s No Such Thing as a Stupid Question

It isn’t much of a surprise that kids going through middle school and the early years of high school are sometimes hesitant to share all of their questions with their parents. Some topics are just hard to bring up:

I don’t know what to do about my parents divorce…

I found out my friends are underage drinking…

Is there something wrong with me?

I know that when I was in middle school I ran into many obstacles that I felt unprepared for; depression, self-harm, sexuality, and eating disorders. I was terrified to ask my parents or my counselor about these topics because I didn’t want them to think less of me or my friends. So instead I turned to the internet, where responses and opinions varied so much I only ended up more confused.

Dear Future Me is our BoldlyU advice column, where teens can anonymously ask the questions that are bearing down on them. These questions are met with helpful advice from their “future self”, someone who has dealt with a similar experience and have found hope on the other side.

By submitting anonymous questions to Dear Future Me, teens can get the  “no questions asked” kind of feedback they want and need. Each question is read and prayed over, before being given to a member of the team with the most experience in that particular subject to act as the reader’s future persona. All submissions are kept strictly confidential, any names or locations mentioned are immediately edited out to ensure anonymity for the submitter.


You’ve probably heard it a thousand times from your teachers, but there really is no such thing as a stupid question, and more often than not, there is someone out there with the same question as you. If this blog made you think or if you’ve also run into some of life’s difficult times, please don’t hesitate to submit your questions to our Dear Future Me column by emailing or messaging us on social media.

All questions are always anonymous and read with no judgment!

What is BoldlyUs?

The BoldlyUs Tween Committee is a talented group of kids aged 10-16 from all over Mid-Missouri. During monthly brainstorm meetings, hands are always in the air for their chance to share a new opinion or outlook on topics they choose all by themselves. Unlike the usual classroom setting, it’s never required to stay on the same topic once their mind wanders. They share more than articles; these meetings are where the kids get to show anything that is on their mind, because it all matters. The meetings are full of drawings and laughter, they share their accomplishments and their struggles, and they are always met with support from everyone in the room. Each month when they meet together is more than a meeting; it’s a chance to support their friends.


Why is BoldlyUs important?

Middle school is the age where these kids are told they need to start behaving like adults, but very rarely are they treated as such. I believe that this is because they don’t need to be adults. They are young and full of energy, creativity, opinions, and questions. They have new perspectives and ideas that blow me away everyday. We don’t need to treat them like more than they are, because they are already more than enough. They are people. People who deserve to have a voice and to be listened to; I mean really listened to. They have a million questions, but more importantly, they have answers.

But please, don’t take my word for it. Here’s what our BoldlyUs tweens have to say:


“The BoldlyU magazine has helped me learn about diversity and how listening to other teens benefits me and how I approach things in life. It shows me different point of views of other teens and in total just shows others the point of view of us teenagers.”


“I like that peers write to peers rather than adults, because we share similar experiences. I also like that the magazine is free, because it will be shared to many people. “


“The magazine has helped me by giving me an outlet to share my thoughts. Sometimes, even when you have someone you trust with all your heart, talking to yourself is the way to be truest to yourself. BoldlyU gives me an outlet to express myself, while at the same time educating the teen community.”


“What I love about it is that it’s not based on a specific person yes there’s a person on the front cover but it’s not what you think it goes over many kids life and gives kids opportunity to be apart of a magazine. I also love how it gives life stories about many kids over the world.”


“ I would tell people about this magazine is that it’s great and it gives you something to read and it’s not like any other magazine. It’s an inspirational magazine.”


Interest in being a part of the BoldlyUs committee? Just email to find a committee near you or to participate through email!


Be Brave. Be Bold. Be You.  

Friendships Change

I think it’s strange that some loose friendships can later end up as your closest friends, and some tight bonds can break in an instant. I believe that the word ‘friend’ is taken too gently and its meaning is being forgotten. I used to just call any classmate or everybody that I didn’t dislike a friend, but now that word means so much more to me. One of the biggest changes was probably switching from public school to homeschool. It’s not very easy to make friends in homeschool because my only two classmates are my older brother and my younger sister. Being homeschooled also means that I don’t get to meet with kids my age very often so it becomes harder to create friendships and to socialize. I experienced friendships changing when I moved into 6th grade, some of my elementary school friends either moved away or went to a different school than me, but there are some friendships that I feel could never be broken.
A while ago I also had my closest friend Shianne move to Georgia, and we haven’t seen each other in about four years now. Through all of these changes she still remains one of my best friends. We still send each other letters in the mail, FaceTime, and talk to each other about our problems as good friends do. Your best friends are the ones who stick with you through the toughest challenges. I stuck with her for a huge challenge, before she moved she was in a parade and she got ran over; I thought she was dead. However, she came out without a single broken bone or scratch. I was there with her encouraging her and FaceTiming her every night with a goal of making her smile. Despite how far apart we are we have high hopes of being reunited.
Friends are hard to make but even harder to keep. Unfortunately not everybody gets lucky enough to find the perfect friend that will stick with you through anything. I feel as though we all tend to forget that friendships are double-sided. We all have bad stories of friends ditching us or choosing somebody over us. I, as well as many others, tend to forget that we might be doing the same thing to somebody else. I encourage you to compliment your friends and to build up their self-confidence, try to be a good friend. You never know when somebody needed those words or when you could have been the highlight of their day. Remember to spread compliments, be friendly, and just do your best to make middle school a little more cheerful.

~ Sarah

A Web of Truth

Eight girls sit in a circle getting to know one another by holding onto a piece of yarn connected to a ball of yarn that has been passed from girl to girl creating a large web. One girl is asked to shake the piece of yarn that she is holding and as she does, other pieces move in unison. Another is asked to release her piece of yarn and suddenly, the web which had been pulled tight is now slackened. The girls giggle then instantly understand what has just happened. “We are connected!” one of them says excitedly! Just like the pieces of yarn we are holding onto we are connected and when one of us does something it affects the rest of us!” This insight from a ten year old girl demonstrates that kids understand the need to connect and are excited to build person-to-person relationships with their peers.
Developing and maintaining healthy, positive friendships among girls in elementary and middle school is one of the most important pieces of helping them become healthy, well adjusted adolescents and adults. So much can be learned through friendship and it starts at a young age. In their article, “The Importance of Friendship for School-Age Children” by Millie Ferrer and Anne Fugate from the University of Florida Extension, Ferrer and Fugate state that research has found friendship to be vital to school-age children’s healthy development and that children who lack friends can suffer emotional and mental difficulties later in life.
“Friendships help children develop emotionally and morally as they interact with friends and learn many social skills, such as how to communicate, cooperate and solve problems.”
While kids today may seem less connected emotionally due the internet and use of cell phones, the truth of the matter is that they still need the person-to-person connections that come from being part of a small group of friends. They need opportunities to spend less structured time together so they can just be kids and figure out how to navigate the world of human connection. Girls on the Run programming offers this.
Each time girls in the program come together they engage in activities and lessons that on the surface are structured but that girls to come to their own conclusions about things rather than predetermined conclusions. For example, in the activity shared above about the web of yarn, nothing was said to the girls about why they were tossing the yarn from person to person. In fact, their focus at the time of tossing the yarn was on learning names. But, once they all had the yarn in their hands and saw the beautiful design it created by criss-crossing strands as it was passed, they instinctively understood what the yarn web represented. Allowing them the opportunity to figure this out on their own made the lesson more meaningful and impacting. Throughout the rest of the practice the girls continued to reflect upon and talk about their connections with one another and celebrate these connections.
One of the core values of Girls on the Run is to embrace our DIFFERENCES and find STRENGTH in our CONNECTEDNESS. The girls who participated in the web of yarn lesson did just that. They found a web of truth in knowing that they share an important connection with one another and that they have a responsibility to be aware of how their thoughts, actions and words impact those connections. This is an important lesson about building and maintaining healthy, lasting friendships that will help guide and sustain them as they grow into adolescents and adults.
By: Cheryl Unterschutz, Executive Director at Girls on the Run

Helpful Study Tips

Helpful Study Tips:

Do you ever feel like you can’t study for something because you can’t focus or you don’t know how to study properly? A lot of times we try to study for long periods of time with no breaks and then we get frustrated because we can’t focus. That is very common for students. I even did that in school. A lot of times we try studying on our beds but then get really sleepy or even fall asleep. Then you realize studying isn’t going very well so you just end up not studying because you get frustrated and you don’t know how to study properly. Everything I just talked about is exactly what I use to do when I would try to study and I couldn’t focus. It wasn’t until I got older when I started learning how to study. This is why I am writing this today because I want to teach you some helpful study tips that you can take with you throughout life. Even if you are good at studying it is always good to go over what you already know. Here are some helpful study tips for you!

Study Tips:
Tests- one thing at a time!
• When studying for tests, be intentional
• Don’t mix yourself up. Be sure you understand something before you move on to another concept.
• Take breaks. Study for 30mins at a time if needed
• Make flashcards or write what you are trying to remember down on paper and keep writing it until you remember it in your head
• Sit at a desk or someplace not comfy to study so you don’t fall asleep
• If needed put in your headphones with non lyrical music playing or have the music you listen to on low to help cancel out all the distractions around you.
• Try not to really look at your phone. Put it on do not disturb or silent so it doesn’t distract you.
• Don’t wait until the last minute to study
Write it down and plan:
• Make sure to write down all your assignments somewhere, e.g., a planner
• Plan in your head when you will have enough time to complete your work
• Be realistic and always make time for your school work
Mindset is everything!
• Try your very hardest to be disciplined. It will get better over time.
• Push yourself and realize that your hard work will pay off later.

Why Should Tweens Be Mindful of What They Post On Social Media?

Tweens, just like every person out there, need to be more cautious and mindful about what they post on social media. In the type of world we live in right now, it is very easy to ruin your self-image with just one click of a button. I know that this is something you have heard like a million gazillion times, but it is a VERY real issue! More and more these days, future employers will look at your social media platforms and try to figure out what type of person and worker you are or if you would be a good fit for their company; and yes they will look back on all those photos, statuses, videos, etc. that you have posted on your page.

Being in your tweens can be hard, because you have so many emotions and different hormones running through you that it’s hard to keep them in check. I get it, I have been in your shoes before and thought that it was okay to tell my friends of Facebook or Twitter what kind of mood I was in that day or that someone had upset me (I never named names), but that’s something you should save for discussing with your parents or a friend or even your journal if you have one. Once you post on social media, it is out there for the world to see. And honestly, I don’t believe that something truly ever gets deleted from the internet, which is a scary thing to think about.

I believe that as a growing individual, it’s best to keep your business off of your social media platforms, just in case later on you regret posting something just because you were upset. This has happened to me before, if I am being totally honest. When I was in my teens, I got really upset at one of my friends and posted a status about them. Again, I didn’t actually tag them in the status or name names, but they knew who they were and it really hurt their feelings that I did that. My friend might have hurt my feelings, but putting it all out there on social media was not a good way to get ‘revenge’ on them or ‘get back at them’ for hurting me. It was honestly the most immature thing I could have done.

So the next time that you think it would be okay to write a status telling all your Facebook friends that you are angry at someone or post a racy looking picture on Instagram that you think is ‘no big deal,’ just know that it IS a big deal. Your social media platforms are a representation of who you are and how you are perceived by others. I am definitely not telling you that you shouldn’t be yourself or express who you are to others, because being yourself is awesome and amazing, and that is definitely something to embrace. All I want to get across to you all is that you need to think before you post something. It’s as simple as that!

Why You Should Take Your Parents Advice

I know when you started reading the title of this post you probably started rolling your eyes thinking, “here is another person trying to tell me what to do and how to live my life.” That is actually NOT what I’m doing, but I do want to give you my two cents on this topic, because I used to be you not too long ago.

I was a tween who desperately wanted to grow up and show my parents that I didn’t need the advice that they constantly and willingly gave me every day. I would always think to myself, “Times have changed, my mom and dad don’t really know what it’s like to be a tween these days,” and oh boy was I wrong! Just because time had passed for them, didn’t mean that they had forgotten their tween days. Now that I am older, I have realized that you don’t forget what it’s like to be any age; you carry those experiences with you for the rest of your life.

It was hard for me at that age to realize how lucky I was to have parents who cared about me so much to give me their advice. Not everyone gets parents like that. But if you do, then be sure to treat them with enough respect to listen to what they have to say. Advice doesn’t even have to come from a parent for you to need to be listening; teachers, aunts, uncles, older siblings and cousins are also good people to take advice from. They are the ones who are watching out for you, so don’t get angry at them or feel like they are trying to judge you. Everyone is just trying their best at life and learning as we go, so there is no need to feel alone with any issue you may have.

You don’t always have to take your parents advice, because you are your own person and there are some things you have to do in order to grow up and learn from mistakes on your own. But, your parents have been living life a lot longer than you have, so they might have a point when they tell you it’s not a good idea for you and your friends to go somewhere by yourselves that’s unsupervised. It stinks to hear at the time, but they are just trying to keep you safe. You might feel like your parents are trying to take control of your life, but you have to remember that they too are learning how to best parent a tween and how to give you the best advice they can. Try to take it easy on them every once in a while and listen to what they have to say. Who knows? It might be the best advice that you have ever been given.