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Halloween Safety Tips

It’s an exciting time for children of all ages. We get dress up in our craziest, cutest or scariest costume and go from house to house trick-or-treating. Hopefully, more treating than tricking! Here are some safety tips for all who are out and about on Halloween.

Before going out:

  • Test make-up in a small area first to make sure it doesn’t irritate your skin.
  • Don’t wear decorative contact lenses to lower your risk of serious eye injury.
  • Wear well-fitting masks, costumes and shoes to avoid trips and falls.
  • Wear flame-resistant costumes.
  • Swords, knives and other costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible.
  • Add reflective tape to costumes and bags so drivers can see you.

While out:

  • Children under the age of 12 should never go out without adult supervision.
  • Walk with a group and avoid trick-or-treating alone.
  • Carry a flashlight so you can see where you’re going and so others can see you.

Wear glow sticks so others can see you.

  • Never walk near lit candles or luminaries.
  • Walk on sidewalks when possible, or on the edge of the road facing traffic.
  • Look both ways when crossing the street.
  • Only visit well-lit houses and enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult.
  • Never accept rides from strangers.

When you get home:

  • Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.
  • Eat only factory-wrapped treats and avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.

 

Have fun and be safe this Halloween!

Fall Allergies – How to Manage Them

Fall is here and with the change of the seasons comes another season of allergies for those allergic ragweed. Odds are you’re among the 10-30% of Americans who suffer from hay fever. During the fall, dry leaves, grass, and hay harbor allergens such as mold spores and pollen.

Like most seasonal allergies, the symptoms of fall allergies include sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy and watery eyes. In addition to sneezing, sniffling, nasal congestion, and sleep disruption, ragweed allergy can cause red, puffy eyes, itchy throat, and even hives.Severe cases can lead to chronic sinus problems and even asthma attacks. These symptoms can interfere with your daily activities, impairing your ability to perform at work, school and sports.

Ragweed pollen is one of the most common reasons for fall seasonal allergy symptoms with the peak ragweed season starting in August and running through the month of October.

Tips for Managing Fall Allergies

  • Use a dehumidifier to decrease humidity in your house. Try to keep the relative humidity in your home at less than 50%.
  • Ask someone who is not allergic to clean visible mold with a diluted bleach solution.
  • Regularly clean room humidifiers to keep them from developing mold spores.
  • Have someone who is not allergic do yard work (raking leaves, mowing the lawn), or wear a face mask and goggles if you must do it yourself.
  • Keep the windows shut and the air conditioner running when ragweed pollen levels are high.
  • Shower after being outdoors and put your dirty clothes in a plastic bag until it’s time to do the laundry. Also keep your shoes out of your bedroom and closet.

If your seasonal allergy symptoms are interfering with your daily life or causing you bothersome symptoms, visit an allergist who can diagnose your allergy and recommend ways to manage it. Treatment for seasonal allergies may involve medications such as Benadryl, Singulair, steroid nasal sprays and decongestants and allergy shots for the most severe cases.

It’s Bone & Joint Health National Awareness Week

Bone and Joint Health National Awareness Week is October 12-20. This week long, global event, focuses on disorders including arthritis, back pain, osteoporosis and trauma. The events and projects organized
by individuals and organizations worldwide are designed to raise awareness of prevention, disease management and treatments as well as advances in a number of areas.

Arthritis is the inflammation of the joints and can refer to the more than 100 rheumatic diseases that can cause pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints. More than 40 million Americans suffer from some form of arthritis and many have chronic pain that limits daily activity. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting 16 million Americans, while rheumatoid arthritis, which affects about 2.1 million Americans, is the most crippling of the disease.

Back Pain includes lower back, middle back upper back or low back pain and sciatica. Nerve and muscular problems, degenerative disc disease, and arthritis can result in back pain. Symptoms can range from
persistent aching or stiffness anywhere along the spine to the inability to stand straight up without having pain or muscle spasm. Osteoporosis, or thinning bones, can result in painful fractures include aging, being female, low body weight, low sex hormones or menopause, smoking and some medications. Prevention and treatment includes calcium and vitamin D, exercise and prescription medications.
Many times, a person isn’t even aware they have osteoporosis until they fracture a bone. Generally, symptoms includes backache, gradual loss of height with an accompanying stooped posture, and fractures of
the spine, wrist or hip.

FACTS:

  • Nearly half the American population over the age of 18 are affected by musculoskeletal (bone and joint) conditions, according to The Burden of Musculoskeletal Conditions in the United States.
  • Bone and joint conditions are the most common cause of severe long-term pain and physical disability worldwide affecting hundreds of millions of people.
  • Musculoskeletal conditions include back pain, arthritis, traumatic injuries, osteoporosis and childhood conditions.
  • Unless actions are taken now, the global prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions is predicted to increase greatly due to increasing life expectancy, changes in risk factors and availability of appropriate
    prevention measures.
  • Musculoskeletal conditions can lead to significant disability plus diminished productivity and quality of life. Treatment and lost wage costs associated with musculoskeletal diseases in the U.S. alone was
    estimated at $950 billion in 2004 to 2006 – equal to 7.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Research funding is currently less than 2 percent of the National Institutes of Health annual budget, despite the high costs associated with these conditions.

Since 2011, when “Baby Boomers” became beneficiaries of Medicare, the economic and societal cost of bone and joint health began to escalate and is expected to continue for decades.

When should you call your doctor?

  • if you feel numbness, tingling or weakness in your arms and legs;
  • if the pain increases when you cough or bend forward;
  • if you begin to have problems controlling your bowels or bladder,seek immediate medical attention;
  • if your pain lasts more than a month;
  • if it gets worse even after you rest;
  • if you experience nighttime pain.

Sources: U.S. Bone and Joint Initiative and WebMD

Are you going to be 1 in 8? Learn the risk factors and facts about breast cancer.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we wanted to take a moment to share some information about some of the facts and risk factors involved in getting diagnosed.

  • Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women.
  • About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point if they live to be at least 85. The good news is that many women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early.
  • If you are a woman age 40 to 49, talk with your doctor about when to start getting mammograms and how often to get them.
  • If you are a woman age 50 to 74, be sure to get a mammogram every 2 years. You may also choose to get them more often.
  • Two-thirds of women with breast cancer are over 50, and most of the rest are between 39 and 49.

Breast cancer develops in the breast tissue, primarily in the milk ducts or glands. The cancer is still called and treated as breast cancer even if it is first discovered after the cells have travelled
to other areas of the body. In those cases, the cancer is referred to as metastatic or advanced breast cancer.

Breast cancer usually begins with the formation of a small, confined tumor (lump), or as calcium deposits and then spreads through channels within the breast to the lymph nodes or through the blood stream to
other organs. The tumor may grow and invade tissue around the breast, such as the skin or chest wall. Different types of breast cancer grow and spread at different rates — some take years to spread beyond the
breast while others grow and spread quickly.

Some lumps are benign (not cancerous), however these can be premalignant. The only safe way to distinguish between a benign lump and cancer is to have the tissue examined by a doctor through a biopsy.

Men can get breast cancer, too, but they account for just 1% of all breast cancer cases. Among women, breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths after lung cancer.

A woman’s exposure to estrogen and progesterone rises and falls during her lifetime. This is influenced by the age she starts menstruating and stops menstruating (menopause), the average length of her menstrual cycle, and her age at first childbirth.

A woman’s risk for breast cancer is increased if she starts menstruating before age 12 (less than 2 times the risk), has her first child after 30, stops menstruating after 55, or does not breast feed.
Current information about the effect of birth control pills and breast cancer risk is mixed. Some studies have found that the hormones in birth control pills probably do not increase breast cancer risk or
protect against breast cancer. However other studies suggest that the risk of breast cancer is increased in women who have taken birth
control pills recently, regardless of how long she has taken them.

Fortunately, breast cancer is very treatable if detected early. Localized tumors can usually be treated successfully before the cancer spreads; and in nine out of 10 cases, the woman will live at least
another five years. However, late recurrences of breast cancer are common.

Sources: WebMD and Healthfinders.gov

Protect yourself for Flu season

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness in all age groups. More serious flu infection can result in hospitalization or even death for high risk patients like the elderly, people with certain medical conditions and infants. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

You can’t predict the flu season and how severe or mild it will be from year to year. And, it’s not unusual for new flu viruses to appear each year.

Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May.

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. While there are many different flu viruses, the seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect against the top three or four flu viruses that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season. People should begin getting vaccinated soon after flu vaccine becomes available, ideally by October, to ensure that as many people as possible are protected before flu season begins.

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.

Children between 6 months and 8 years of age may need two doses of flu vaccine to be fully protected from flu. Your child’s doctor can tell you whether two doses are recommended for your child. Those children who need two doses of vaccine should receive the first dose as soon as possible to allow time to get the second dose before the start of flu season. The two doses should be given at least 4 weeks apart.

Children younger than 6 months are at higher risk of serious flu complications, but are too young to get a flu vaccine. Because children younger than 6 months cannot get a vaccine, but are at high risk for serious flu-related complications, safeguarding them from flu is especially important. If you live with or care for an infant younger than 6 months of age, you should get a flu vaccine to help protect them from flu.

In addition to getting vaccinated, you and your loved ones can take everyday preventive steps like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading influenza to others.