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Tips for navigating home health care in Illinois

Choosing a caregiver can be a daunting experience.

As a first step, make sure the home health company is properly licensed. The Illinois Department of Public Health offers a searchable or downloadable database of licensed providers on its website.

There are many different kinds of home health agencies. Some provide skilled nursing services with access to physicians. Others work as placement agencies to medical professionals or to housekeepers and aides to assist with daily living. The state health department offers a handy guide to navigate the various types of services.

Another consumer barometer is to determine if a home health agency is a member of the Illinois HomeCare Hospice Council, a private trade organization that represents about 160 companies that pay dues and agree to a code of ethics.

Experts and regulators also offer these tips:

•Never give out your Medicare number to strangers. Unscrupulous recruiters have trolled public places and asked older adults for their Medicare membership cards in order to fraudulently receive home health services.

•Be alarmed if a home health care agency fails to coordinate care with your existing primary physician.

•Be wary if a home health care company makes lots of visits but does little more than conduct a blood pressure check. Dishonest companies bill for as many visits as possible without delivering any care.

•Check your monthly Medicare statement to monitor the exact services that a home health care company claims to have provided.

If you suspect fraud, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services operates a tip line: 1-800-447-8477 or 800-HHS-TIPS. Information will be forwarded to the appropriate state or federal agency.

On the state level, if you suspect fraud, have suffered abuse or neglect, or know someone who has been victimized, the nonprofit AgeOptions operates a government-funded hotline: 1-800-699-9043.

Finally, tips or complaints involving in-home care can be registered with the state Department of Public Health at 1-866-800-1409.

Article source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/ct-home-health-consumer-tips-met-20180107-story.html

8 mental health tips to reduce holiday stress

The holidays can be especially difficult when your feelings or life circumstances do not sync up with the joy of the season. Some of us may be overwhelmed by the pressures of finding the perfect gift or preparing a flawless meal while others are experiencing grief, illness, or relationship issues. Kathleen Reckart, LICSW, a clinical therapist at the WVU Medicine Healthy Minds Center, provides mental health tips to help you navigate the season with self-care in mind.

1. Aim for realistic expectations.
The commercialization of the holiday season may tempt us to strive for perfection, but this often adds a lot of unnecessary stress to an already hectic time of year. If things do not go as planned with your menu or shopping, get creative and try something new. Stock your pantry with a few extra items in advance and have a backup plan if the food you’re cooking does not turn out as you had hoped. Crafts or coupons for services, like babysitting, cooking a meal, or cleaning, can be a great gift if your budget is tight. Do what you’re able to do within your means, and strive to compare yourself to others less often. Redirect your focus to the good company you’re in or what is going well at your celebration.

2. Recognize what you have control over.
The sooner we recognize what we lack control over the better. This is not a sign of weakness or defeat. Accepting our lack of control over various things is a way to reduce our suffering and gain empowerment. We can’t control the weather, traffic, and the behaviors of other people. What we can control is our own behavior and how we choose to respond and cope.

3. Say no if you feel overwhelmed or stressed.
Instead of trying to do it all, pick and choose ahead of time which gatherings and events are your priorities. It’s okay to say no to invitations instead of spreading yourself too thin. If you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, experiencing an illness, or enduring another stressor, be patient with yourself; it’s perfectly normal if you feel like skipping events or doing something totally different from your usual tradition. Explain to others that you’re not feeling well or you’re not able to do as much as you used to right now. If it’s helpful, consider turning off or unplugging your devices for a period of time.

4. Know who is attending an event and leave early if it suits you.
Ask who might be attending a get-together ahead of time if you’re going to an extended family gathering or party. If possible, prepare those who may not know about your situation ahead of time. This may help minimize questions and unhelpful comments from others who don’t know what to say. At events, surround yourself with compassionate, kind people, who will listen and be there for you without any judgment about what you’re going through. It’s okay to leave a gathering earlier than you normally would if you’re experiencing a difficult time this year.

5. Make time for self-care.
Schedule some time for yourself on your calendar. Nap, listen to music, soak in the tub, or enjoy any healthy activity that helps you de-stress. There’s nothing selfish about self-care. When we make time to recharge our batteries, we function better in our daily lives, relationships, and all areas of life.

6. Remember to breathe.
It sounds way too easy, but taking a pause for a few deep breaths can be very beneficial to your physical and mental health. Take a deep breath, hold it, and then exhale out of your nose or out of your mouth with or without sound. Do this two more times. Or inhale to a count of five, then hold for two seconds, and exhale to a count of seven or whichever numbers work best for you. Be sure your belly extracts as you inhale and relaxes when you exhale. You can use a positive statement to focus on your breath too, such as, “Inhale peace, exhale stress.” There are also many free guided meditations online that you could try. Making time to breath mindfully can help you redirect your focus away from negative thoughts.

7. Volunteer at a local charitable organization.
Doing something good for someone else is a great way to get out of your own head. Helping others will boost your mood, reduce your stress levels, and introduce you to new people. It may also help you put things in perspective by interacting with people who are facing hardships greater than your own. Consider visiting people in hospitals or long-term care facilities, preparing or serving meals at a soup kitchen, or donating gifts to families in need.

8. Schedule a therapy appointment.
If you’re experiencing anxiety, depression, or other difficult feelings that impact your quality of life, think about making an appointment with a mental health professional. If left untreated, mental health conditions can be lethal, affect your personal relationships, impact your job, etc. It’s a sign of strength to ask for help, not weakness. A mental health professional can help you become aware of any harmful thought patterns or behaviors and make suggestions about how you could manage your stress in a healthier way.

Would you benefit from talking to a mental health professional this holiday season? Make an appointment: 855-WVU-CARE.

Article source: http://wvumedicine.org/news/article/8-mental-health-tips-to-reduce-holiday-stress/

Cruising This Holiday Season? Follow These 4 Health Tips

Cruises can be a fun and exciting way to vacation during the holidays.  From the onboard activities to the amazing destinations, you are sure to have an amazing time. However, it is important to stay informed and take preventive measures about potential health risks while aboard a cruise. Check out these 4 health tips while cruising this holiday season:

  1. Make sure that vaccines are up-to-date.

Educate patients to ensure that all of their vaccines are up-to-date, especially the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), varicella, and season influenza immunizations.1  Crew members and onboard travelers may come from countries where these diseases are more common than in the United States and where vaccinations are not routine. Cruise ships have had outbreaks of chickenpox and rubella (German measles).  Consult the CDC Travelers’ Health destination pages for further information on vaccines based on travel plans.2 
 

  1. Prevent illness from norovirus.

Outbreaks of vomiting and diarrhea due to norovirus have been reported on cruise ships. Frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before eating, and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and touching surfaces touched by others (eg stair railings) is the best way to prevent gastrointestinal illness. If soap and water are not available (eg shore excursions), then use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.1 
 
During shore excursions, especially in developing countries, educate patients to eat only food that is cooked and served hot, drink only beverages from sealed containers, and avoid ice.  Pharmacists can direct patients to the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program website to search for cruise ship inspection scores.3  The website provides information by cruise ship and cruise line with the latest inspection scores.  Cruise ships with a score of 86 or higher are considered to have a satisfactory score, while those of 85 or lower are not satisfactory.3
 

  1. Prevent Zika transmission.

Advise pregnant patients and those planning to become pregnant to avoid traveling to areas with active Zika transmission, as infection can cause serious birth defects. Consult the CDC travel health website for a map and list of areas with active Zika transmission.4
 

  1. Stay up-to-date on travel health information through mobile apps.

Patients with smartphones can download free CDC apps to help them stay up-to-date with travel health information.  The CDC’s TravWell app helps individuals plan for safe and healthy international travel.5  The app allows patients to obtain destination-specific vaccine recommendations, a travel checklist, and healthy travel packing information.  Patients can also keep a medication and immunization record and set reminders for vaccine booster doses.  The app features are also available offline to access more easily during a cruise.5  The app Can I Eat This? helps prevent traveler’s diarrhea and can be accessed offline.5  Patients can determine whether food and drink choices are safe during international cruise travel.

References

  1. CDC. Cruise ship travel.  https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/cruise-ship.  Accessed December 1, 2017.
  2. CDC. Travelers’ Health.  https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.  Accessed December 1, 2017.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vessel sanitation program.  https://wwwn.cdc.gov/InspectionQueryTool/InspectionSearch.aspx.  Accessed December 1, 2017.
  4. CDC. Zika travel information.  https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-information. Accessed December 1, 2017.
  5. CDC.  Mobile apps.  https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/apps-about.  Accessed December 1, 2017.

Article source: http://www.pharmacytimes.com/contributor/jennifer-gershman-pharmd-cph/2017/12/cruising-this-holiday-season--follow-these-4-health-tips

Health tips for inversion season | fox13now.com

SALT LAKE COUNTY – On Monday afternoon the air quality in Salt Lake County reached a red level, unhealthy for all groups.

“When we go from good air to bad air, we’re probably increasing the rate of heart attacks from 4 to 10 percent,” said Dr. Robert Paine, a pulmonary and critical care physician at the University of Utah hospital in Salt Lake City.

The jump in heart attack rates applies to people with pre-existing conditions. Many more people suffer minor irritations like a sore throat, dry eyes or irritated nose.

“I just feel like I really need to cough a lot and really hard,” said Trevor Allen of West Valley City.

If you are feeling some of these symptoms there are things you can do to feel better.

“I think humidity helps, humidifying your home actually helps with that sense of scratchiness in your chest and there are over the counter medications to help with sinus congestion,” said Dr. Paine.

In home humidifiers and nasal saline sprays can both help. However, over the counter anti-histamines can both help or hurt depending on the person.

“One of the challenges some of the medications that we use for your nose and sinuses, they actually dry you out. As you dry out, you have more problems with the particulate pollution,” said Dr. Paine.

Every person experiences the impacts of bad air quality in different ways.

“You need to listen to your body. If you are starting to have problems, seek medical attention,” said Dr. Paine.

Some major warning signs, according to Dr. Paine, are shortness of breath or chest pains.

To check the hourly air quality levels in all of Utah’s counties, you can go to http://air.utah.gov/

Article source: http://fox13now.com/2017/12/11/health-tips-for-bad-pollution-days/

Health Tips: This lazy habit is linked to throat Cancer, according to …

Sure, you do what you can to brush your teeth twice a day, but it’s easy to conk out at night before you actually make it to the bathroom to get things done.

It seems like a pretty harmless habit, but new research has found that doing this repeatedly could be way more serious than you’d think.

A study published in the journal Cancer Research now links periodontal (a.k.a. gum) disease, which can be caused by not brushing your teeth on the regular, with esophageal cancer, or cancer of that tube that runs from your throat to your stomach. Seriously? Could not brushing your teeth be a cause of throat cancer?

It just might be: For the study, researchers took mouth samples from 122,000 people and, after 10 years, 106 people had developed esophageal cancer. The researchers discovered that people who developed esophageal cancer were more likely to have higher levels of certain types of bacteria in their mouths. Called Tannerella forsythia and Porphyromonas gingivalis, these two types of bacteria are also linked to gum disease. (Tannerella forsythia in particular was linked to a 21 percent increased risk of developing esophageal cancer.) These bacteria can take hold in your gums when you don’t brush regularly, increasing your odds of developing periodontal disease.

However, it’s worth pointing out a few major caveats: One, the researchers didn’t have complete information on the study participants’ oral health, so it was hard for them to say if the bacteria alone caused throat cancer or if the participants actually had to have periodontal disease to have an increased risk.

Also, it’s important to remember that this study looked at the types of bacteria linked to esophageal cancer, not teeth-brushing habits. So it’s possible that the people who developed esophageal cancer also just happened to have crummy oral hygiene.

Still, the results are pretty disturbing. After all, periodontal disease has already been linked with some types of oral, head, and neck cancers, so clearly keeping your teeth clean is important for your overall health.

So seriously: Make it a point to brush your teeth twice a day. It could do a lot more for your overall health than you’d think.

Article source: https://www.pulse.ng/lifestyle/womens-health/health-tips-this-lazy-habit-is-linked-to-throat-cancer-according-to-new-research-id7707788.html

5 tips to overcome morning grogginess

Life often feels like it is made up of two types of mornings – where you feel amazing after three hours of sleep versus waking up tired after eight hours of sleep or more.

You feel exhausted and annoyed, which leads to irritability and often low productivity.

Here are five easy steps to minimise those groggy mornings that demotivate us for the rest of the day.

GET TO YOUR WINDOW

Once you are awake, draw your curtains open and let some sunlight in. It helps reduce melatonin levels, which control your sleep and wake cycles. When melatonin levels are low, you are more likely to feel awake.

WORK OUT FIRST

We know, it sounds like a chore. You are already tired, why put yourself through a round of torture before heading to work?

Well, getting some exercise in the morning sends oxygen throughout your muscles and gets your heart pumping.

Set in a place a jogging routine to help trim fat from your stomach.

This will help you stay alert at a faster rate. Stretches, lunges and jumping jacks are awesome exercises that you can do once you get out of bed.

TAKE A SHOWER

Showers will wake you up. Turn up the temperature of the water to as hot as you can take it – this will aid in increasing your blood flow.

End off with 30 seconds of cold water to stay alert through the day.

DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST

It is true that it is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast increases your glycogen levels and in turn, keeps you feeling energised throughout the day.

Stay away from foods loaded with sugar, and try to eat foods like apples and eggs.

They are great sources of vitamins and protein, which will surely help you stay awake and get moving.

SUPPLEMENTS

Vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, thiamine and niacin all support the energy metabolism process long-term, so introduce these into your morning daily routine and your body will soon start showing you positive effects.

This article first appeared in Her World Online (www.herworldplus.com)

Article source: http://www.tnp.sg/lifestyle/health/5-tips-overcome-morning-grogginess

COLUMN: Cambridge Health Alliance offers tips for good holiday health

Gratitude. Its easy to overlook at any time but especially during the busy and hectic holiday season when we may be distracted by material things as well as happenings in the world around us.

Think about ways to be present with your family and friends. Start new traditions that involve doing something together, sharing, volunteering and giving. Agree to limit gifts to a few; theyll seem all the more special and meaningful.

?Help your children to make gifts or bake for friends and family. ?Read together and play games! Put phones away and have a meal together without distractions. Make a family contribution of money or time to an organization important to you.

Here are a few reminders during the holiday season so we can all continue to be grateful for the gift of good health:

Keep tinsel out of the reach of pets and small children

Keep any holiday greenery, especially trees, well-watered

Mistletoe, holly and poinsettia plants can be harmful if ingested by children and pets

Stick to bedtime routines to help everyone get the gift of a good nights sleep

Cook meats to the recommended temperature. A meat thermometer is essential and makes a great gift

Refrigerate leftovers promptly to avoid spoiling and food poisoning

Sharpen all knives; dull knives are the cause of many holiday emergency hospital visits!

Include fresh vegetables, salads and other light fare in all holiday meals

Encourage everyone to drink lots of water and stay well-hydrated?

With every best wish to the Cambridge Health Alliance family and our patients for a healthy, happy and grateful holiday season, and for the same in? 2018?.

Lisa Dobberteen is a pediatrician at CHA Cambridge Family Health.

Article source: http://cambridge.wickedlocal.com/news/20171210/column-cambridge-health-alliance-offers-tips-for-good-holiday-health

BY ANITA LONGAN: 14 tips for preventing type 2 diabetes in children

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Article source: http://www.scnow.com/living/health/article_f92f9c70-dd30-11e7-b1e8-670eb19d348c.html

Anne Arundel Health Offers Holiday Tips For Baby Safety – Patch

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MD – The Anne Arundel County Department of Health is working to promote healthy pregnancies and healthy babies by offering tips on travel safety, home safety and healthy eating during the holidays. Tips are available on the “Healthy Moms and Healthy Babies” webpage or by calling 410-222-7223.

Travel Safety:

  • Always use a child car safety seat that is installed correctly and is appropriate for the child’s height and weight. By Maryland law, all children under 8 years old must ride in a car safety seat unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches.

Home Safety

  • Always provide a safe sleep environment for infants and young children. Infants should never sleep on a chair, sofa or adult bed, or with other people. Infants should be placed on their backs in a crib or portable crib without blankets, stuffed animals or pillows. Remember the ABCs of safe sleeping – Alone, on their Backs, in a safe Crib.
  • Closely supervise children at all times when visiting other people’s homes. Make sure that poisons, medicine and household cleaners are secured and out of children’s sight and reach.
  • Avoid secondhand smoke, which is especially dangerous for pregnant women and infants.

Healthy Eating:

  • Pregnant women and other family members should maintain a healthy diet. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables, and cook with fat-free or low-fat substitutes.
  • Drink plenty of water, 100 percent juice and low-fat milk. Avoid sugary drinks. To avoid foodborne illnesses, check expiration dates on all food. Do not eat foods that have been sitting out more than two hours and use leftovers within four days.

The Department of Health offers free Healthy Pregnancy and Baby Care Kits to Anne Arundel County residents. Kits can be ordered online or by calling 410-222-7223.

Image via Shutterstock

Article source: https://patch.com/maryland/annapolis/anne-arundel-health-offers-holiday-tips-baby-safety

Health Tips : This lazy habit is linked to throat Cancer, according to new research

Sure, you do what you can to brush your teeth twice a day, but it’s easy to conk out at night before you actually make it to the bathroom to get things done.

It seems like a pretty harmless habit, but new research has found that doing this repeatedly could be way more serious than you’d think.

A study published in the journal Cancer Research now links periodontal (a.k.a. gum) disease, which can be caused by not brushing your teeth on the regular, with esophageal cancer, or cancer of that tube that runs from your throat to your stomach. Seriously? Could not brushing your teeth be a cause of throat cancer?

It just might be: For the study, researchers took mouth samples from 122,000 people and, after 10 years, 106 people had developed esophageal cancer. The researchers discovered that people who developed esophageal cancer were more likely to have higher levels of certain types of bacteria in their mouths. Called Tannerella forsythia and Porphyromonas gingivalis, these two types of bacteria are also linked to gum disease. (Tannerella forsythia in particular was linked to a 21 percent increased risk of developing esophageal cancer.) These bacteria can take hold in your gums when you don’t brush regularly, increasing your odds of developing periodontal disease.

However, it’s worth pointing out a few major caveats: One, the researchers didn’t have complete information on the study participants’ oral health, so it was hard for them to say if the bacteria alone caused throat cancer or if the participants actually had to have periodontal disease to have an increased risk.

Also, it’s important to remember that this study looked at the types of bacteria linked to esophageal cancer, not teeth-brushing habits. So it’s possible that the people who developed esophageal cancer also just happened to have crummy oral hygiene.

Still, the results are pretty disturbing. After all, periodontal disease has already been linked with some types of oral, head, and neck cancers, so clearly keeping your teeth clean is important for your overall health.

So seriously: Make it a point to brush your teeth twice a day. It could do a lot more for your overall health than you’d think.

Article source: https://www.pulse.ng/lifestyle/womens-health/health-tips-this-lazy-habit-is-linked-to-throat-cancer-according-to-new-research-id7707788.html