Medical IDs for Kids Just Got a Whole Lot Cuter!

Medical IDs for Kids Just Got a Whole Lot Cuter!

Kid's Medical IDs just got a whole lot cuter!

Fishy Bubbles Action Bracelet

So the doctor recently told you that it would be a good idea to get your child a personalized medical ID bracelet or pendant to wear just in case of an emergency?

More and more doctors are recommending a medical ID for children with any of a number of chronic conditions like asthma, severe food or drug allergies, diabetes, and epilepsy.

Medical IDs are being recommended because they can drastically increase the speed and quality of care in an emergency situation. If a child is experiencing allergy related symptoms, wouldn’t they get faster and better care if the EMT knew that the child has a tree nut allergy and has an EpiPen in their backpack?

Kid's Medical IDs just got a whole lot cuter!

Dolphin Action Bracelet

Soccer Action Pendant

Soccer Action Pendant

Beware Bandits - Dairy Allergy Band

Beware Bandits – Dairy Allergy Band

However, your child probably doesn’t want to wear one of those old, stodgy rectangular medical IDs on a metal chain. Don’t despair, kid’s medical ID bracelets and pendants have come a long way and there are many different fun and functional styles to choose from. Just take a look at these!

Floral Butterfly Action Bracelet

Floral Butterfly Action Bracelet

 

pink shimmer

Pink Shimmer Heart Charm Bracelet

 

 

 

Is a Medical ID Tattoo Right for You?

Is a medical ID tattoo right for you?Tattoos have been around for a very, very long time.  This much we know, but as more and more young people are diagnosed with diabetes, tattoo art that often spoke in rebellious terms has found a new meaning.

By inking the universal medical symbol on their bodies, diabetics like Samantha Graham Vancouver, British Columbia, have turned to body art as an alternative to wearing medical ID jewelry that is often used to inform medical personnel and others of their condition during an emergency.

“I thought it was the perfect idea because a tattoo would be much harder to miss than a simple alert bracelet if I was ever in the situation of not being able to communicate,” Graham says.

Sounds like a good idea, right?

But not everyone believes tattoos are the healthiest way for people with diabetes to communicate their condition.  Todd Soard, president of the Florida Association of Professional EMTs and Paramedics, says a tattoo will not be the first thing a paramedic looks for when transporting a patient.

“It is no doubt going to be missed,” he says. “Most EMS personnel are not trained to look for a tattoo because a tattoo is a tattoo!”

Dr. Michael Zbiegien, medical director of emergency services for the Children’s Hospital at Sunrise Medical Center in Las Vegas, agrees. “There’s not a lot of body searching on the street; [EMTs] don’t have time.”

But he says that because patients’ immediate needs are met by EMTs, doctors may have more time to seek out tattoos once they reach the emergency room.

“Most physicians would honor a medical tattoo provided that [it] wouldn’t cause additional risk,” Zbiegien says.  But, he advises, “You want to put it in a place where we’re going to see it quickly.”

Of course, tattoos are not the only option.  Instead of a tattoo, Soard recommends that people opt for a tried-and-true solution: wearing a medical ID bracelet.  Medical ID bracelets that prominently feature the medical caduceus emblem can quickly notify emergency responders of a patient’s condition.  Information engraved on the bracelet communicates vital information to EMTs without needing the patient’s response.

Soard says first-response teams, as well as doctors, are trained to search for these items and are “not going to be looking all over [patient's] bodies for a tattoo. We don’t have time for that.”

But is a tattoo better than nothing? Absolutely!

Despite the numerous safety benefits of wearing a personalized medical ID bracelet, they are commonly discarded by the young adult demographic set because of how they look.  While designs and styles for these medical IDs have been updated over the years, there has always been a negative stigma associated with them being ugly.

“I bought a Medic Alert necklace and didn’t wear it when I went out with friends, as I didn’t believe it looked very classy,” admits newly diagnosed diabetic Hayley Jones of the West Midlands, U.K.  Instead, Jones designed her own medical tattoo with “a feminine twist” and had it inked onto her wrist this year.

For people with looking to get inked for any reason, consider following these suggestions:

  •  make sure blood sugars are in good control before getting a tattoo
  •  do not get body art if you have a hemoglobin A1c above 8 percent
  •  make sure you go to reputable a tattoo artist
  •  do not get a tattoo in an area with poor circulation such as your feet
  •  try to avoid tattooing common injection sites

If you are getting a tattoo specifically as a medical alert, Justin Noland of American Medical ID recommends, “keep it simple, direct and on a place that an EMT is most likely to see, like the wrist.  The more fluff and design that is added will make it look more like a memorial tattoo or one to raise awareness, not one to provide information in an emergency.”

Healthy Weight Loss Tips

Jan9-AMID-HealthyWeightLoss

Physical activity is a big factor in healthy weight loss and keeping the pounds off.

It’s that time of year again when you notice that maybe the holiday pounds have added up more than they used to or that you just need a fresh start and want to drop some weight. Well, our partners at the American Diabetes Association have put together a few tips on Healthy Weight Loss for us to share with you.

 

  1. Succeed by setting realistic weight loss goals.
  2. Learn the benefits of diabetes weight loss and diabetes prevention.
  3. Measuring BMI and how your body shape affects diabetes. 

Does this sound familiar? You got tired of hearing your doctor and family bug you about losing weight to prevent or manage type 2 diabetes.  So, you got a two-week diet plan from a friend.  You started gung-ho.  The first few days were great.  Then you found there were nights you didn’t have time to fix your food and the family dinner.  By the weekend your family wanted to have pizza.  And the diet went out the door when you left for your favorite pizza place.

Many people try to lose weight, but fewer people lose weight and keep it off. This happens for several reasons.  Sometimes people try to lose too much weight too fast.  Or they try to follow a food plan that isn’t how they can eat long term.  Reality is that losing weight in a healthy way and learning how to keep it off is not easy.  It takes a new way of thinking.  Are you ready?

Set Your Goals

Set a realistic weight loss goal. Think about losing 5, 10 or 15 pounds. One of your goals should be to lose a few pounds and be able to keep it off for a long time.  Here are some tips to help you make goals:

  • Choose a time to start when you think life will be as calm and in control as possible.
  • Do a self-check on what and when you eat. Keep honest food records for about a week. Write down everything you eat or drink. Use these records to set a few food goals. These food goals should be small changes you can easily make to your existing food habits.
  • Don’t look for a magic bullet diet. They don’t exist. You’ll do best if you base eating habits on what you found out in your self check food records. Do you snack a lot? Instead of chips or a candy bar, could you snack on a piece of fruit, pretzels, or some nuts? Are your portions too large? Do you eat too many sweets?
  • Be ready to change your food habits (and perhaps your family’s food habits) for good. Say good bye to some of your unhealthy habits and food choices.
  • Do a physical activity self-check. How much exercise do you get? How can you work more of it into your day? The tip sheet “Be Active, But How?” can help.

Be Ready to Start

Here are some tips to help you prepare to start your healthy lifestyle changes:

  • Learn about how much you should eat to eat healthy.
  • Get hints for how to make healthy eating happen in your life.
  • Clear the refrigerator and pantry of those tempting items. Having them out of the house makes it easier to say no.
  • Stock the house with healthier foods. If you have plenty of fruits and vegetables, it will make it easier for you to eat them. Keep the fatty foods and sweets to a minimum.
  • Use soups, salads, raw vegetables, and fruit to fill up. Eating fewer calories doesn’t mean facing an empty plate. You need to feel full to have long term success.
  • Think through how you will deal with common food problems. Don’t put these on hold. Sometimes you’ll have to grab a fast food meal. So, think about the healthiest and most satisfying options. You’ll want to enjoy a restaurant meal now and then. Ask your dining partner if they are willing to share. Can you order a doggie bag and put half the food away before you eat? How can you deal with work parties and holiday meals? Having a plan will help you.

Benefits of Weight Loss

There are many benefits of weight loss. Here are just a few. Some improve your health and others help you feel better. As you get ready to lose weight, make a list of how losing a few pounds will benefit you. Put this list on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror.

  • Lower blood glucose if your blood glucose is higher than normal.
  • Lower blood pressure if your blood pressure is higher than normal.
  • Improve your blood fats if they are not in a healthy range.
  • Lighten the stress on your hips, knees, ankles, and feet.
  • Move around easier and breathe easier.
  • Have more energy.
  • Play more with your children or grandchildren. 

Diabetes Prevention Program Shows Weight Loss Benefits

A large study, called the Diabetes Prevention Program, showed that if people at risk for type 2 diabetes lost a small amount of weight and became more active for three years they could prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. People also had other benefits of weight loss like lowered blood pressure.

If you already have diabetes, losing 10 to 15 pounds may help you lower your blood glucose, blood pressure, and improve your blood fats. Losing this weight may also help you cut down on some of the medicines you take. If you lose weight, talk to your doctor about whether you need to make changes in your medicines.

For more information, visit http://www.diabetes.org

January is National Blood Donor Month

January is National Blood Donor Month

The need for blood is constant, especially in the winter months

Since 1970 January has been declared National Volunteer Blood Donor Month, and with good reason.  Above all other times of the year, it’s the month that presents the most challenges in recruiting people to give blood.  This January is no exception with the local Red Cross in an urgent need for more donors.

Changing weather like the current winter storms, increased cold and flu symptoms and even the winter blues can keep the most dedicated blood donors from making or keeping an appointment to give blood.  Yet winter weather can lead to more traumatic injuries on icy roads and may increase the need for blood.

The local Red Cross needs about 650 blood donors every day to meet the needs of patients at 41 area hospitals.  However, there has been a 10 percent dip in blood donations so far this winter.  Recent blood drive cancellations due to weather also meant the Red Cross was not able to collect nearly 500 donations it had planned on for patients.  And as the Red Cross is trying to recruit donors, a high number of people asked to give are reporting cold or flu symptoms, which make them not able to donate.

“There are so many unpredictable factors at play that can affect the blood supply during January; it’s a critical time to remind the public of the need for more donors,” said Rodney Wilson, communications manager for the American Red Cross Central Ohio Blood Services Region.  “If you are in good health, now is the time to share that good health with patients in need.”

The dip in donations has also caused a decrease in the local blood inventory of key blood types including O-negative, A-negative and B-negative.

The Red Cross and American Medical ID urge everyone to make donating blood a priority this winter. Your help could mean hope for those in need.  To find out where you can give blood and to schedule your appointment, go to redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS, for additional information.

Diabetes Resolutions for the New Year

resolutionsAt this time of year, when so many resolutions are being made only to be broken shortly after the first few weeks of January, here are some diabetes resolutions that you’ll want to keep!

Re-posted from the Joslin Diabetes Center website.  For the full article, click here.

New Years is a time to come up with resolutions to better your life for the future.  Why not use your resolution this year to set goals to better your diabetes management and overall health?

Your diabetes management goals for the New Year should be specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-limited.  Click here to view a printable handout you can fill out to help you reach your diabetes management goals.

Gillian Arathuzik, R.D., C.D.E., Nutrition Diabetes Educator, at Joslin Diabetes Center, reviews some examples of annual and daily goals for diabetes management to set for yourself this New Years:

Annual Goals

  • See your physician 2 to 4 times a year.
  • Follow your schedule for checking blood glucose levels.
  • Follow exact instructions for every diabetes medications you take.
  • Know and keep these numbers in check: A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Get a renal function test and microalbumin test each year.
  • Get moving.  Any form of physical activity is a step in the right direction.
  • Create a well-balanced meal plan with your diabetes educator.
  • Have a yearly eye exam.
  • See your dentist twice a year.
  • Get a flu shot in the fall.
  • Always be prepared for a low or high blood glucose reaction – know the warning signs.

Daily Goals

  • Check blood glucose X times a day (depending on what your physician suggests).
  • Take all diabetes-related medications.
  • Examine your feet for cuts and sores.
  • Bathe with mild soap and lukewarm water.
  • Brush and floss your teeth.

 

8 Holiday Tips for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

The below section is taken from the One Call Alert website blog, please click here for the original article.

Re-posted from Everyday Health, written by Jessica Firger.  

Holidays-and-alzheimers-articleThe holidays pose challenges for Alzheimer’s caregivers. But staying realistic about your loved one’s limitations can help make the season joyful for everyone.  The holidays are the time of the year to bring family and loved ones together. Cousins unite with cousins, in-laws meet other in-laws, and grandparents get to see just how much their grandchildren have grown.

But, if you are caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, this time of year can be incredibly stressful, because facing family festivities also means planning around the personal limitations that come with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Being an Alzheimer’s caregiver is hard enough, but hosting a holiday dinner, navigating a Christmas party, or making it to midnight mass or a New Year’s Eve champagne toast can feel like an impossible feat.

“I think with the holidays it’s really important for us to take a practical approach and really adjust our expectations,” said Ruth Drew, director of family and information services at the Alzheimer’s Association.”Maybe there are traditions in the family but they’re more of burden than a blessing.”

For a person with even advanced Alzheimer’s disease, holiday events and extended family time can be overwhelming because they break up the regular routine. A person with dementia feels safest and most comfortable when every day is more or less the same. “During the holidays our schedules tend to be different from our usual,” said Drew. “Oftentimes we might be traveling, we might have house guests, we might have activities that are planned and different. While this may be exciting, it might not be so helpful for people with Alzheimer’s.”

Preparing Your Guests for Grandpa

If you include your loved one with dementia in holiday celebrations, you may worry that the person will act out inappropriately or behave differently in a social setting, and you may ask yourself if you should warn other guests in advance.

Elaine Pereira, author of I Will Never Forget: A Daughter’s Story of Her Mother’s Arduous and Humorous Journey Through Dementia, thinks explaining the situation to friends and relatives before an event can help alleviate some anxiety and stress.

“Say something like: ‘Grandpa has dementia and he will be here for Christmas dinner,'” Pereira suggested. “‘Please be aware that he is loud, easily angered, chews with his mouth open, etc.’ If your guest can respect the unique parameters that having grandpa there requires, fine. If not, don’t invite them.”

But Barry Reisberg, MD, director of the Zachary and Elizabeth M. Fisher Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Resources Program in New York City, thinks it’s unnecessary to to talk with your guests beforehand. Someone in an early stage of the disease is more than likely equipped to handle social situations as they normally would, he said. But if something does go wrong, Reisberg recommends briefly acknowledging it to your guests later. “At some point, maybe at the conclusion of the dinner, you might look for ways to explain the person’s behavior,” he suggested.

When you’re making any holiday plans, keep in mind the stage in the person’s disease to determine what sort of presence and role the person has in a family celebration, said Amy Ehrlich, a spokesperson for the American Geriatrics Society and director of the geriatrics fellowship program at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. “You may have to scale down because it’s a lot of work,” Erlich said. “And as the disease progresses you should give yourself permission to live your life.”

What that means is being selective about which invitations you accept, asking for help, and coming up with ways to keep your loved one occupied and comfortable during social events — and knowing when it might be best to go alone.

Tips for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Here are some ideas that will help you keep your stress levels down and enjoy the holiday season:

  • Consult a doctor before hitting the road with an Alzheimer’s patient. Long-distance air and car travel can be difficult even for a cognitively healthy person. Drew said caregivers don’t need to rule out holiday travel completely, but it’s always best to check with a doctor before you pack your mom’s bags and book a flight. Always keep in mind that holiday travel tends to be more stressful for everyone.
  • Don’t make too many commitments. As a caregiver you probably already find it challenging enough to balance your life demands on a daily basis. Don’t lose sight of this. If planning your traditional Christmas dinner for 12 seems a little insurmountable, consider inviting fewer people or ask another family member or friend to host the event.
  • Scale down the meal. Passionate foodies love to cook for a crowd, but caregiving obligations often make it challenging.This may be the year to ask for help in the kitchen, go potluck, or even order food for delivery.
  • Bring the holiday celebration to your loved one. If you find it’s too stressful to include an ailing parent in the traditional holiday festivities, consider bringing Christmas to them. Many assisted living facilities  are happy to help with this, and some even hold parties for families of residents.
  • Ask for help. If you’re having company be sure to have a “second in command” to help care for the person when you’re tied up in the kitchen or busy greeting and socializing with guests.
  • Give your loved one a task or job. Ehrlich said events that involve a person with Alzheimer’s disease tend to run smoothly when you provide the person with a job or task to stay busy. This can include things such as helping set the table, wrap presents, chop vegetables, or fold laundry — anything that will make them feel like an important part of the family.
  • Play familiar music.  Music stirs memory and emotions. A person with Alzheimer’s disease is likely to take comfort in familiar tunes such as classic Christmas carols, which may bring up pleasant memories of joyous holiday celebrations from the past.
  • Take out the family photo albums. Similarly, looking at family photos can jog your loved one’s memory, which may encourage conversation with guests about childhood and family.

 

Allergic to Christmas: Trees, Treats Can Trigger Reactions

Re-posted from an article on ABC News, written by Lauren Browne, M.D.  For the full article, click here.

christmas_allergiesThe holiday season is in full swing. And while many people around the nation gear up for a joyful time with family and friends, those with allergies prepare for an onslaught of wheezes and sneezes that can wreck the holiday fun.

“The winter holidays are a particularly difficult time for people with allergies,” said Mike Tringale, vice president of external affairs at the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. “There are respiratory allergies.  There are food allergies. There are skin allergies. There are eye allergies.  The list goes on.”

But with a few simple tips and tricks from the experts, surviving and thriving during the season can be easier than cooking the holiday meal. The secret to success is planning in advance, well before common food, pet, and mold allergies turn Christmas and Hanukkah into a Halloween nightmare.

The Tree

A Christmas tree is a smoking gun for people with allergies, according to Tringale. Real trees harbor mold spores that can trigger reactions, and fake trees are often stored for months or years in dusty attics and basements. They can also be coated with allergy-inducing chemicals.

“People may just assume they have a cold or cough that isn’t going away when in fact it’s from the allergens circulating in their home from the tree,” said Dr. Neeta Ogden, an allergist in New York City.

The Fix: Keep fresh trees in the home for less than two weeks and wipe the trunk thoroughly with a solution of warm water and bleach (1 part bleach to 20 parts water). Consider hosing off a fake tree outside and letting it dry before bringing it indoors. And when the holidays are over, store the fake tree with a protective air-tight covering to prevent next year’s dust mite invasion.

The Fireplace

“Fireplaces are great for Santa’s visit, but the burning wood, which can be moldy, dusty, and have chemicals, also causes respiratory symptoms,” said Dr. Marjorie Slankard, director of the allergy clinic at Columbia-New York Presbyterian Medical Center.

The wood smoke from the fire can also trigger itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose, or a scratchy throat.

The Fix: Stack your firewood outside and bring new logs in only when you are ready to use them in your fireplace or wood-burning stove. And make sure the fire burns in a well-ventilated area to avoid unnecessary smoke inhalation.

The Food

‘Tis the season of candies, cakes, and cookies. But for those with food allergies, decadent holiday parties can be a set-up for serious missteps.

Common holiday ingredients like eggs, milk, soy, and nuts abound, and can cause potentially life-threatening allergic reactions if accidentally consumed. Even if a food does not seem to contain allergens, it may have been cross-contaminated if it was prepared alongside known allergens.

Alcohol at holiday parties adds to the danger, according to Dr. Scott Sicherer of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. It can lower inhibitions and increase the risk that you mistakenly eat an unsafe food.

The Fix: Ask what’s in the buffet before you eat. If you’re unsure of the ingredients of a certain food, completely avoid it. Consider making and bringing your own food to a holiday potluck. And most importantly, you should always have your emergency epi-pen ready in case of an unexpected emergency.

The Cat

Your aunt’s cat Fluffy may be adorable, but you’ll need to steer clear if you’re sensitive to the numerous allergens spread by domestic pets.

“A frequent issue is that pet-allergic individuals visit homes of relatives and friends where there are pets, which can cause nose and eye reactions as well as asthma with cough, wheezing and shortness of breath,” said Dr. Mark Dykewicz, director of allergy and immunology at Wake Forest University.

The Fix: If you’re hosting a party, clear the air of pet dander with the aid of a HEPA air filter. If possible, minimize the time that pets and guests are indoors together. But if exposure is inevitable, Dykewicz recommends taking over-the-counter antihistamines, like nasal cromolyn, 15 to 20 minutes before entering an allergic environment and every six hours thereafter, until the party ends.

The Makeup

Holiday party season inspires many women to apply make-up more frequently, but extra layers of foundation and cover-up could lead to dry and irritated skin, according to Ogden.

Not only can this “holiday skin” be socially isolating, but when compounded with cold weather, it can trigger uncomfortable eczema flares in those who suffer from the condition.

The Fix: Peoplewith sensitive skin should use only small amounts of make-up. Don’t over-cleanse and dry out the skin, but do moisturize frequently. And if you have known eczema or other serious skin conditions talk to your doctor about ways to prevent winter flares.

The Centerpieces

Strong odors from potpourri, candles, incense, and scented decor can wreak havoc on allergies and can even exacerbate asthma, according to Dr. Tara Carr, director of the adult allergy program at Arizona Health Sciences Center.

Being trapped indoors with heavily-perfumed family and friends can also make for an uncomfortable celebration.

The Fix: Besides the obvious advice to not buy products with strong odors, the best way to avoid this one is to talk to your doctor or see an allergist about preventative medications you can take for up to a week prior to exposures.

Celebrate a Diabetes-Friendly Christmas

Re-posted from an article by Birgit Ottermann on Health 24.  For the complete article, click here.

TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS FOODFor many people with diabetes Christmas can be a tough time of the year – how do you resist temptation when it’s lurking around every corner?

The good news is that, with a bit of planning, you can also have fun, while keeping your blood sugar levels under control and your waistline in check.

Here’s how:

1) Eat moderately and watch your portion sizes

If you have diabetes, you don’t have to eat a different plate of food as the rest of your family. By making a few changes, opting for healthier foods and keeping the “naughty treats” at a minimum, you can also join in the fun.

Breakfast:

“On Christmas morning it’s important to not eat a huge breakfast or even your regular breakfast,” says Liesbet Delport, dietician and co-author of the Eating for Sustained Energy low-GI low-fat cookbook series.. “Rather eat just a bit of low-GI fruit salad (not more than a cup), together with two to three heaped tablespoons of low-fat yogurt and maybe just a sprinkle of muesli, as the rest of the day a lot of food is probably going to be consumed.” 

Lunch:

“For lunch on Christmas day, try to eat a normal plate of food,” says Delport. “Your plate should look like this: 1/4 meat, 1/4 low-GI starch and 1/2 vegetables and/or salads.”  If there’s more than one type of meat and more than one type of starch, all the meat should still have to fit into 1/4 of your plate and so does the starch! Choose the lower GI options.

“Don’t feel tempted to have another lunch-time helping,” Delport cautions, “if you’re not hungry, just eat salad to ‘compensate’ for eating more than usual on this day. The Christmas day lunch foods are probably going to be on the menu for the next two to three days, so you won’t miss out!”

Dessert:

“Try to postpone the dessert until coffee time or after your Christmas afternoon nap or, even better, after a brisk walk, as blood glucose levels soar higher when too much is eaten in one sitting.”

“Strawberries and low-fat ice cream are the best choice for dessert, but if you want to have a Christmas treat, rather have a piece of lower-GI lower-fat fruit cake, with just a little bit of low-fat ice cream or low-fat low-GI custard,” says Delport.

Dinner:

Christmas dinner should be very small, perhaps salad or soup, vegetables, etc.

2) Make wise food choices

Choose dishes with minimal sauces and dressings, Diabetes South Africa says. Cut back on salt, remove visible fat from food, including chicken or turkey skin, and give deep-fried foods and pastries a miss.

The traditional turkey that is served for Christmas is actually a good choice of white meat, as it is low in fat (if served without the skin and if it’s roasted, not fried) and high in protein. The real culprits are the rich  gravy and stuffing that are usually served with the turkey – so, steer away from these.

3) Eat your veggies

Vegetables are an important source of nutrients for everyone. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always feature very high on the Christmas menu. Why not add some color to the table with a choice of veggies? A fresh tossed salad or steamed non-starchy veggies are not only low in carbs, they will also help you fill you up and stop you from overeating on foods high in fat.

Says Delport: “See to it that there are enough salads and/or vegetables at lunch and if you get hungry, have a helping of salad so long instead of nibbling on nuts and chocolates that might be standing around. If you have to have some of these snacks, just have a few nuts and dried fruits and try to skip the chocolates.”

4) Think about the timing of your meal

Many families eat their big festive meals a bit later than usual. For example, your Christmas lunch could only be ready by the middle of the afternoon. It’s therefore good to have a healthy snack on standby, to ensure that your blood glucose levels don’t fall too low. “If you are visiting friends or family, don’t be shy to ask for a healthy snack, to keep your blood glucose levels steady,” Diabetes UK advises.

“If you take insulin injections or a pill that lowers blood glucose, you may need to have a snack at your normal meal time to prevent a low blood glucose reaction,” the American Diabetes Association says. “You can also delay your injection until you are about to eat, however, if you are uncertain about adjusting the timing of your injections, first talk to your diabetes health care team for advice.”

5) Drink in moderation

Remember that alcohol is high in calories. “If you drink alcohol, have some dry or light wine with your meal,” says Delport. “Also stay clear of sugary, non-alcoholic drinks. Rather opt for artificially sweetened cold drinks or water.” Keep a jug of ice water flavored with lemon slices or mint leaves nearby.

6) Don’t forget to exercise

During the holidays we all tend to get lazy when it comes to exercise. However, physical activity is a good way to manage both your weight and blood glucose levels.

“If you manage diabetes without medication or insulin, a brisk walk after a meal will help reduce your blood sugar levels. Even if you manage diabetes with medication, exercise can help reduce your blood sugar, as long as you find the fine balance between high and low blood sugar. Test often during exercise,” the American Diabetes Association advises.

7) Focus on friends and family instead of food

And finally, remember that the festive season is a time to slow down and focus on your loved ones. Enjoy some quality time with family and friends, doing the things that you love best.

 

10 Tips to Make Winter Easier on Your Asthma

The following article was posted on Everyday Health, written by Beth W. Orenstein.  To read the complete article, click here.

October Snowstorm Hits The NortheastDon’t let the cold, dry air or a common cold worsen your asthma symptoms this winter.

Unless you love stepping outside to cold, dry air that smacks you in the face, winter (post-holidays, of course) can be a dreary season. For people with asthma, the cold weather can worsen their symptoms.

“There are two issues with winter for people with asthma,” notes Marilyn Li, MD, an allergist and immunologist with the LAC+USC Healthcare Network in Los Angeles. “One is that the air is cold and dry, and the other is people have more sinus and upper respiratory infections, either of which can trigger or worsen asthma attacks.”

To keep a handle on asthma attacks during the cold-weather months, here are 10 things you can do.

  1. Wash your hands. Properly (and frequently!) washing your hands with soap and water is one of simplest and best ways to avoid spreading or catching colds and other viruses, Dr. Li advises. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers and moist towelettes also do the trick. Also emphasize the important of good hand washing to your children to even further reduce the chances of spreading germs around your house.
  2. Get a flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that most people age 6 months and older get an annual flu shot to help protect against the flu virus. Having asthma won’t make you more susceptible, but if you do get the flu, the results could be more serious, even if you keep your asthma symptoms under control. “It’s important that people with asthma get the injectable form of the flu vaccine made with inactivated [killed] flu virus,” Li says. She advises that people with asthma shouldn’t get the nasal spray (FluMist) vaccine because it contains live virus. Your doctor may also recommend that you get a pneumonia vaccine for extra protection.
  3. Don’t sit by the fireplace. While sitting by the fire sounds lovely and cozy, it’s not so great for your asthma. “The more evidence we have, the more we realize that burning wood is like burning tobacco,” explains Todd Rambasek, MD, of ENT & Allergy Health Services in Cleveland. “Smoke is smoke, and smoke can irritate your lungs, especially when you have asthma.”
  4. Keep your mouth closed. If this sounds like something your mom told you as a kid, you’re not alone. But keeping your mouth closed is good for more than simply social graces — it’s better for your lungs. Ideally, you want to breathe through your nose, not your mouth, when you’re out in the cold because the nose warms up the air for the lungs, Dr. Rambasek says. Another way to warm and humidify the air you breathe is to wear a scarf or muffler over your nose and mouth. Some people find a ski mask or face mask helpful, he says.
  5. Replace filters. Your home heating system may blow dust and debris throughout your house, especially when you first start it up for the winter. It’s important to clean and replace filters before turning on your system so as not to release the debris and trigger an asthma attack. Clean and check the filters periodically throughout the heating season to avoid issues with winter asthma. Also, try to keep the temperature and humidity levels in your home consistent.
  6. Exercise indoors. On days when it’s bitterly cold outside and the wind chill makes it feel like it’s below zero, Li recommends going to the gym instead of exercising outside. “The temperatures and the humidity in the gym are less likely to cause a problem,” she says. If you still want to exercise in the fresh (albeit cold) air, choose a time of day when it might be warmer, such as the midafternoon.
  7. Warm up before working out. A recent study showed that people with asthma recover faster and have greater lung function after exercising when they are warmed up. This is important whenever you work out, but especially in winter, according to Rambasek. “Consider doing your first 20 minutes of your run on a treadmill before heading outdoors in the cold,” he says.
  8. Take steps to prevent asthma flares. Take a preventive dose of your asthma medicine before heading outside, whether to exercise, walk the dog, or run errands. “You may need a bronchodilator at least a half-hour before you’re heading out in the cold,” Rambasek says. Your inhaler will help open your airways and give you the extra protection you need.
  9. Have an asthma action plan. No matter what the season, you should always know what to do if your asthma symptoms flare. Your action plan should detail how to control your asthma over the long run and what to do if you have an asthma attack. Be sure you know when to call your doctor and when to go to the ER.
  10. Take your medications. Work with your doctor or asthma specialist to create an effective treatment plan, and continue to get regular checkups, Li says. It’s important to follow your treatment plan regardless of the time of year. Don’t let a busy work or social schedule cause you to ignore your health. If you find your asthma symptoms worsen in the cold weather, talk with your doctor about possibly changing the mediations you take and when you take them, advises Rambasek.

Keeping your asthma under control may take a little more effort in the cold of winter, but these strategies should get you through the season without worsened symptoms.

 

Ten Videos Every Senior Caregiver Should Watch

The below section is taken from the One Call Alert website blog, please click here for the original article.

Whether you are new to senior caregiving, looking for enhanced elder care training, or are looking for ways to support another caregiver, online education offers a world of opportunities. Here’s a collection of 10 great videos compiled by Melody Wilding of HealthWorks Collective that every caregiver should watch. Remember, these clips are no replacement for expert medical advice from your doctor or physician. 

  1. How to give an insulin shot – If you care for someone with diabetes, you’re probably wondering how to properly inject insulin. This video for CVS Pharmacy guides you through important steps for preparing and storing insulin and the steps to administering a shot.
  2. How to test your blood sugar – Testing blood sugar levels helps you and your loved one make informed decisions about diet, activity and even insulin dosing to most effectively manage diabetes. This video guide from Diabetes.co.uk shows you everything you’ll need to get starting and how to test blood glucose (sugar) levels.
  3. How to successfully manage medications – This video from the Alzheimer’s Foundation Education Series provides an emotional, real-life look at the importance of medication management. Caregivers play an invaluable role in assisting their loved ones in establishing daily routines for taking medication and communicating with healthcare providers about concerns and side effects. These lessons span beyond dementia caregiving and are useful to any caregiver with an elderly loved one living at home.
  4. How to protect your elderly loved one from fires – Does Mom or Dad forget to shut off the stove-top? For many reasons, older adults are at a higher risk of dying in a home fire. Find out how to protect your loved one with these safety tips.
  5. How to maintain balance & stay active at home – Exercise can improve a senior’s flexibility and strength, reducing risk of injury and guarding against the deleterious affects of illness or chronic disease.  Kathy Shillue of Rehabilitation Services at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston shows a series of exercises seniors can perform safely from the comfort of their own home.
  6. How to measure blood pressure – If you or your loved one suffers from high blood pressure, knowing how to achieve an BP accurate reading from home is essential to staying healthy and preventing problems before they start. Here physician and ConsumerReports medical expert, Marvin Lipman shows you how.
  7. How to help prevent trips and falls in home – For the elderly, trips and falls are the most common type of accident that occurs in the home. In this video, The Visiting Nurse Service of NY shows simple modifications you can make today to prevent falls and keep your loved one’s home environment a safe place.
  8. How to prevent bedsores – Bedsores, or pressure ulcers are a serious problem for many home-bound elders and are actually lesions caused by prolonged pressure to a part or side of the body. This video from LiveStrong will help you learn about treatments and symptoms.
  9. How to measure vital signs – During this video Sandi Flores, RN of Care and Compliance Group reviews step-by-step procedures for taking blood pressure, temperature, pulse, respiration, and weight. Documenting and reporting vitals signs are also addressed.
  10. How to live to 100 – To find the path to long life and health, Dan Buettner and team study the world’s “Blue Zones,” communities whose elders live with vim and vigor to record-setting age. In this absolutely fascinating TED talk, he shares the 9 common diet and lifestyle habits that keep aging people around the world spry past age 100.

 

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