Avoiding the Flu

Presented by TP Mechanical | Provided by HORAN


Flu season is worse than usual this year, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that this year’s flu epidemic is showing elevated activity.

Even if you got the flu shot this year, you might still be susceptible to getting sick. Each season, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the flu viruses that researchers determine are most likely to circulate that year. This is why the flu vaccine is more effective some years than others. This year, the flu vaccine may not protect well against the more severe influenza A (H3N2) virus that is circulating. However, the CDC still recommends the flu vaccine as it should offer at least partial protection.

According to the CDC, the flu commonly spreads through droplets made when people cough, sneeze and talk, as well as when people touch something with the flu virus on it and then touch their mouths, noses or eyes.

Children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with disabilities and other health conditions are at increased risk of getting the flu. Whether or not you have been vaccinated, you can still take measures to protect yourself and others from the flu. Vaccination Concept: Magnifying Glass

  • When possible, avoid close contact with sick individuals.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. If you can’t wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Don’t touch your mouth, nose or eyes.
  • Disinfect potentially contaminated surfaces, especially in shared areas such as the office kitchen.

In addition to keeping yourself healthy, you can help protect others from getting sick from your germs.

  • Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.
  • Stay home for at least a day after your fever is gone, with the exception of getting medical care.

If you do get sick, aside from keeping your germs to yourself, here are a few suggestions for getting better as quickly as possible:

  • Rest as much as possible.
  • Drink plenty of water, broth and other clear fluids.
  • Relieve symptoms by gargling with salt water, putting a humidifier in the room and covering yourself with a warm blanket.
  • Talk to your doctor about a prescription antiviral medication to help with the flu.

April Is Awareness Month for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Presented by TP Mechanical | Provided by HORAN

April is designated as National Autism Awareness Month, and April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. These observances are intended to raise awareness about autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 88 children in the United States have ASD, and the diagnosis is far more common among boys than girls. Despite autism being so common, many people do not know exactly what autism is.

According to the CDC, ASDs are a group of developmental disabilities that cause social, communication and behavioral challenges. “Spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms and levels of impairment that those diagnosed with ASDs can have. The National Institute of Mental Health lists five autistic spectrum disorders: autistic disorder (classic autism), Asperger’s disorder (Asperger syndrome), pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), Rett’s disorder (Rett syndrome) and childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD).

Research has yet to pinpoint the cause of ASDs, but studies suggest that both genes and environment are likely contributing factors.

Genes. Although family history does not seem to affect or predict an ASD diagnosis, once one sibling is diagnosed with an ASD, other siblings have 35 times the usual risk of also developing an ASD.

Environment. The environment includes anything surrounding your body that can affect your health, including water, air, food, medications and other materials you may come in contact with. Environmental influences on ASDs are still being researched, but various factors may each play a small role in ASD development.

There has been some concern that childhood vaccines cause ASDs. Although there may be other unknown causes of ASDs, the CDC states that there is no causal relationship between childhood vaccines and ASDs. Several regulatory bodies, including the CDC, continue to monitor vaccines for safety and effectiveness.

Early detection and diagnosis of an ASD is essential for providing the most effective treatment. Make sure an ASD screening is part of your child’s wellness checkups.

Protect Your Health

bigstock-The-word-Health-surrounded-by--43388209When you’re sick, you have to deal with visits to the doctor’s office or the hospital, bottles of medications and days in bed recovering. Wouldn’t it be easier to just stay healthy in the first place? If you’re not a fan of medication schedules and wasting days weakly lying in bed, you should consider the powerful role that prevention care can play in keeping you healthy.

The most important part of preventing disease and illness is healthy habits, including a balanced diet, sufficient sleep and enough exercise. Going to the doctor for recommended checkups and screenings is also a key factor in identifying and treating potential health problems before they develop or worsen. Recommendations vary depending on your age and gender, and sources such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer guidelines for various preventive screenings and tests.

Due to recent health care reform, you may be able to receive many preventive services at no cost. Non-grandfathered health plans are required to cover a variety of preventive services. Check out what is covered by your insurance and take advantage of preventive care that can keep you and your family healthy.

Presented by TP Mechanical | Provided by HORAN

Keep Your Heart Healthy

Presented by TP Mechanical | Provided by HORAN

This time of year, with Valentine’s Day just passing, you might associate hearts with romance and red roses. But there are two kinds of hearts—in addition to hosting Valentine’s Day, February also serves as Heart Health Month. Take some time this month to think about the blood-pumping kind of heart and what you can do to keep yours healthy.

bigstock-Heart-health-16855943Risk factors for heart disease include related health conditions, unhealthy behaviors and hereditary factors. Health conditions that can increase your chances of heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Cigarette smoking and tobacco use, poor diet, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol consumption are some behaviors that can adversely affect your heart health. Also, for some people, family health history can predict your risk of heart disease.

While you can’t change bad genes or eliminate all risks, there are a few choices you can make to lessen your susceptibility to heart disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you can engage in a few simple preventive measures to help ward off heart problems.

  • Eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables every day. Whole grains and low-fat dairy are also good for you.
  • Reduce your consumption of foods high in fat, cholesterol and salt.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Even if you’re busy, try to include at least 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise, such as biking or shoveling snow, into your daily routine.
  • Monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and, if you have diabetes, manage it as recommended by your doctor.
  • Don’t start smoking, or, if you already smoke, consider quitting.
  • Recognize the signs of a heart attack, and call 911 immediately if you think that you or someone else is suffering a heart attack. The symptoms of a heart attack typically include the following:
  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back
  • Feeling weak, lightheaded or faint
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath

When you know the risks of heart disease and the symptoms of a heart attack, you can help protect your heart for you and your loved ones.