All Posts in Category: Texas

How Immunizations Help

Contrary to popular belief, immunization is more than getting a shot from the doctor’s office. So, how does the process of immunization affect your immune system?

In your body, there are white blood cells. These cells have the job of protecting your body from viral infections. When necessary, these white blood cells become a giant army to ward off any unwanted viruses or diseases.

Once a virus has been defeated, some types of white blood cells “remember” the virus, and how to defeat it when it enters the body again.

To create vaccines to a certain disease, scientists use dead or weak strains of the disease. The vaccination gives a body’s white blood cells a “taste” of that specific virus, so they know how to fight it off if that virus ever enters the body.

The vaccine itself does not cause the virus, but it can strongly affect your immune system, because it helps the body fight off certain diseases.

Additionally, by getting vaccinations and living in a community where others get vaccinations, it causes “herd immunity.” This means that members of the community who are too young or too weak to receive that vaccine also receive protection from the disease because it’s unlikely to spread through a group of people who have immunity to the infection.

So immunization isn’t just important for you, but also for the people around you!

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Sleep After a Stroke

Recently, researchers have found that insomnia may be a long-term effect of a stroke. But what does that mean for those who have had a stroke in the past?

Well, simply put, it means that the road to recovery may take a bit longer than expected.

After a stroke, there are many physical, emotional, and cognitive changes in a person. It all depends on what part of the brain was damaged, but frequent physical changes may include dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) or hemiparesis (muscle weakness on one side of the body).

If a stroke survivor develops insomnia, the rebuilding and healing of muscles can’t occur, which can lead to a slower recovery. Additionally, without this needed sleep, individuals may notice more emotional changes (such as crankiness) and cognitive struggles (such as difficulty concentrating).

If you’ve had a stroke and now experience insomnia, there may be options out there for you to get better sleep. These options include meditation and breathing exercises, trying to follow a stricter bed-time schedule (going to bed and waking up at the same time each day), and making sure to keep your bedroom dark and comfortable. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your physician.

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Help a Loved One Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease

After a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, an individual may feel frightened about what the future holds. Knowing that he or she has a friend or family member to lean on may help make things a bit more comfortable in their changing world. Here are 5 easy ways to help:

  1. Talk About Changes Your Friend or Family Member is Experiencing
    For someone with Parkinson’s disease, it can be scary to realize that tasks that were once easy are now difficult. Just being there for your loved one and talking things through can help provide more comfort with the new symptoms or thoughts he or she may be experiencing.
  2. Offer to Attend Doctor Visits
    If your loved one is okay with you coming along to his or her doctor visits, you can help by remembering specific instructions from the doctor. You also can help your loved one remember any important information he or she wants to share.
  3. Educate Yourself on Parkinson’s disease
    Educating yourself about Parkinson’s disease can show your loved one that you care about what he or she is going through. In addition, it can help you learn how to adjust to your friend or family member’s physical and emotional changes.
  4. Help Make Safety Changes to Your Loved One’s Home
    For someone with Parkinson’s disease, physical changes to his or her body may include loss of    balance and dizziness more frequently. You can help make safety adjustments to his or her home, such as safety rails and chairs in the shower or tub, removing tripping hazards, and tacking rugs to the floor.
  5. Encourage Your Loved One to Start Exercise or Physical Therapy Early
    An important way to help your loved one adjust to Parkinson’s disease is by encouraging him or her to exercise. Certain activities, such as yoga, stretching, and walking, can improve movement and balance. Activities that require memorization of movement can even help improve cognitive development.
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Healthy Eating After a Stroke

A healthy diet is key to recovery after a stroke. But according to the National Stroke Association, 8-34 percent of stroke survivors suffer from malnutrition.

Not eating healthy to begin with has its negative effects. Not eating healthy after a stroke, however, slows down the recovery process and increases the chances of having another stroke.

So, how do stroke survivors eat healthy while trying to manage everything else in their lives? Simply put…eat the rainbow.

Look for foods that are divers in color. You want to try and have a “rainbow” on your plate during every meal: such as fruit, vegetables, grains, meat/poultry/fish, and dairy.

Beyond the rainbow, here are some additional healthy-eating tips:

  1. Never skip breakfast – Breakfast gives you the energy you need to start your day. Plus, you’ll feel fuller throughout the day which means you’ll snack a lot less.
  2. Say “Bye, bye, bye” to your salt shaker – Don’t add unnecessary salt to your foods. Replace salt with herbs and spices like basil or oregano.
  3. High-five high-fiber – Eating high-fiber foods such as beans, peas, nuts, salmon, and grains helps to reduce your cholesterol.
  4. Trick your brain – Have you ever seen an optical illusion that confused you of what you were seeing? Well, that’s essentially what you can do. Start using smaller bowls and plates for your meals to help control portion sizes. Your brain will see that the plate is full, helping to convince it that you are full once you’ve finished eating.
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Tips and Tricks to Help Your Memory

We’ve all had times when our memory has escaped us, and we know how frustrating that can be. Here are some easy tips and tricks to help improve your memory:

  • Tag, You’re It! – Attach new information with what you already know. It’s easier to remember something if you can tag it to something already stored in your memory. For example, you meet a man named Jesse. Attach the Jesse you met with the iconic “Jesse James” since Jesse James is already stored in your memory.
  • Picture Perfect – Picture in your mind what it is you want to remember AND BE DRAMATIC ABOUT IT! For example, your spouse asks you to pick up a loaf of bread after work. Visualize yourself at the grocery store with a gigantic loaf of bread 100 feet long.
  • Repeat, Repeat, Repeat – Go over again and again what it is you want to remember. And repeat it throughout the day.
  • Write it Down– Write things down. Start small by making a grocery list. Summarize important meetings. Keep a journal. Make it a habit.
  • Spend Time with Loved Ones – Being around those you love improves brain function, which can boost your memory, and your mood. It’s a win-win!
  • Make Life a Sing-a-Long – Just like High School Musical, start busting out into song randomly throughout the day. Studies show that singing your favorite songs can actually help improve your memory. Think of it like a “running-start” your brain needs to get going.
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Gender Puts Women More at Risk for Stroke

Priyanka Noorani, who goes by Pia, was pregnant with her first child just months ago. As her beautiful baby girl entered the world, Pia and her husband couldn’t have been happier. Just 15 days after the birth of her daughter however, Pia began to experience relentless dizziness. After two days of constant dizziness, Pia’s vision started to fail.

Her husband rushed her to the hospital. Once admitted, doctors came back unveiling that Noorani had a stroke.

In the battle of the sexes, here’s one that women like Noorani – often unknowingly – take the lead in: About 55,000 more women than men have strokes every year. Strokes kill more women than men annually, making it the #3 leading cause of death in women. In Texas, 48,103 women have suffered from strokes in the past eight years according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, 2017 Annual Report.

“Having a stroke never crossed my mind,” Noorani says. “I’m only 25. I thought that my husband would have a serious health condition before I did.”

This gender misconception about strokes is common, according to Dr. Maria Lomba, Medical Director for New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital. “Most people don’t realize that women suffer strokes more frequently than men,” she says. “If you’re a woman, you share a lot of the same risk factors for strokes as men, but a woman’s risk is also influenced by hormones, reproductive health, pregnancy, childbirth and other gender-related factors.”

For example, birth control pills may double the risk of stroke, especially in women with high blood pressure or who smoke. And, according to the American Heart Association, hormone replacement therapy – once thought to reduce stroke risk – in fact, actually increases it.

A recent study, shared through the National Stroke Association, found that the following factors are linked to increase stroke risk in women:

  • Menstruation before the age of 10
  • Menopause before the age of 45
  • Low levels of the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEAS)
  • Taking oral estrogen or combined oral contraceptives

The study also showed that a history of pregnancy complications can also indicate higher stroke risk. These problems include gestational diabetes and high blood pressure during or immediately after pregnancy.

“Add this to other general risk factors for stroke like family history, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, lack of exercise, and being overweight – and it becomes clearer as to why women can be more at risk for stroke than men,” Lomba says.

For the sake of her new baby girl, Noorani didn’t take any chances with her health. She went straight to the hospital when she became aware of her stroke-like symptoms. Being aware of her symptoms helped her get the care she needed quickly, which ultimately aided in her recovery. After fifty days of initial medical treatment, and another month of inpatient rehabilitation, Noorani was transferred to New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital for outpatient rehabilitation, which included speech, physical, and occupational therapy.

Noorani is still recovering, but she has shown great progress over the months. “You just have to keep fighting,” she says. “You have to hold onto whatever it is you love and fight for it. For me, I am fighting for my daughter.”

Due to the extent of Noorani’s condition, she couldn’t walk, talk, or take care of her baby when she was first admitted. But, after months of continual therapy and the support of her family, she now is able to do all of those things. “Getting to hold my daughter again is my biggest accomplishment,” Noorani says.

“Whatever stage of life a woman is in, it’s important that she be aware of all the risk factors of stroke,” Lomba says. “As it’s often said, ‘knowledge is power.’ And in this case, the more knowledgeable a woman is about her stroke risk factors, the more she’ll be able to understand how she can be affected and work with her physician or healthcare provider as appropriate to reduce them.”

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Take Steps to Stop Stroke

According to the National Stroke Association, physically active individuals have a 25-30 percent chance of lower risk of stroke than less active individuals. An easy way to incorporate exercise into your day is to walk. You can do it anywhere, it’s free, and it’s low impact so it can help build strong bones and muscles with a low risk of getting hurt.

Here are some tips to take a step in the right direction and get moving:

  • Before starting any exercise program, check with your physician.
  • Start small. Warm up at a slower pace for the first five minutes of your walk; then walk at a brisk pace to get your heart rate up. You should be breathing heavier, but still able to talk. Go back to a slower pace for the last five minutes of your walk.
  • Determine your own length of time that’s comfortable for you to walk at the beginning. Add a couple minutes to your walk every week.

Try to walk at least 5 days a week. Ultimately, you should aim for a minimum of 30 minutes per walk. But, if you can walk longer, go for it. This is one case where more can be better!

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Top 10 Reasons Being in Top 10% Matters to Our Patients

We recently were named in the Top 10% of inpatient rehabilitation facilities from among 870 facilities in the nation.
Here are our Top 10 reasons why we think this is good for our patients: 

10. Consistency.
This is our 6th year in a row of receiving this honor. Year after year, our care has been recognized as patient-centered, effective, efficient and timely.

9. The Proof is in the Pudding.
Our patients and their families can get a sense of reassurance knowing they are in good hands. We are passionate about patient care, and we strive every day to provide the highest level of care possible. It’s reassuring to know that our staff’s hard work and passion is paying off, especially when it’s recognized by an unbiased, third-party.

8. We’re Working with Our Peers to Make Things Better.
Not only for our patients, but for others around the nation. Through the UDSMR, our hospital collaborates with peers throughout the nation to share information and establish best practices for patients, helping to elevate rehabilitative care for everyone.

7. It Makes our Patients Feel Good.
When patients see that we’ve been ranked in the Top 10% in the nation, we hope it makes them feel good about being treated in our hospital.

6. More “Likes” on Facebook.
We know we’re not Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift, but we do love our fans; and we want them to love us. We like sharing good news and like it when others share it too. It always makes us feel good when we hear success stories, especially when those stories are of people being treated here in our community.

5. We get to have a party!
We’re going to celebrate this accomplishment with our patients and friends. We’re looking forward to camaraderie, music, and yummy food – and will probably eat way too much dessert. If we’re lucky, we might even get to see our CEO bust a move on the dance floor.

4. More Publicity, More Community Awareness.
We have a great work family here at the hospital, as our patients can attest. Our patients see our staff’s passion for rehabilitative care every day. As our reputation for excellent patient care continues to grow, the potential for more of our community to learn about our services grows, as well.

3. It Raises the Bar.
We’re like the Michael Phelps of rehabilitative care – top of our game. But there’s always room for improvement. Plus, we like a little challenge, especially if it means greater health care results for our patients.

2. It Brings our Community a Sense of Pride.
In the iconic lyrics of Lee Greenwood, “I’m proud to be an American.” And on behalf of our entire staff, we are proud to be part of some of the top performing rehabilitation facilities in the nation. Those in our community are able to receive some of the highest level of patient care right here in their backyard.

AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON…
1. It Matters!
We’re serious about our commitment to our patients to provide them with the highest level of rehabilitative care available. It matters. To us. To our patients. To our community.

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Recognized Among Top 10% in the Nation

New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital has been named in the Top 10 percent of inpatient rehabilitation facilities in the United States for the 6th year in a row. The hospital’s care was cited as being as being patient-centered, effective, efficient and timely.

“We strive to deliver this higher level of care as our standard,” says Mario Rodriguez, CEO of New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital. “We have graciously been recognized as a top performing facility for many years now, but we never take it for granted. Our staff is exceptionally passionate about helping patients reach their full potential through the care we provide. We work daily to ensure patients are reaching their highest levels of ability and independence.”

New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital was ranked in the Top 10 percent from among 870 inpatient rehabilitation facilities nationwide by the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation (UDSMR), a non-profit corporation that was developed with support from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. The UDSMR maintains the world’s largest database of rehabilitation outcomes.

“If you take into account that a national study has previously shown that inpatient rehabilitation facilities provide better long-term results for patients, being ranked at the top of that group validates the quality of care we provide,” says Dr. Maria Lomba, Medical Director of New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital, referencing a study commissioned by the ARA Research Institute that showed patients treated in inpatient facilities experienced improved quality of life as compared to skilled nursing facilities.

“To provide the highest level of rehabilitative care available in the United States to our own community is truly rewarding,” Rodriguez says. “This means our family, friends, and colleagues don’t need to leave the area to receive the best care available.”

Through the UDSMR, New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital also will collaborate with peers throughout the nation to share information and establish best practices for patients. “This helps elevate rehabilitative care for everyone across the United States,” Rodriguez says.

New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital provides specialized rehabilitative services to patients who are recovering from or living with disabilities caused by injuries, illnesses, or chronic medical conditions. This includes, but is not limited to, strokes, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic injuries, cerebral palsy, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease.

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Recognize a Concussion

Any bump or blow to the head has concussion potential. Concussion symptoms may occur immediately or days/weeks later and can include:

  • Headache
  • Concentration or memory issues
  • Nausea
  • Change in sleep habits
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling sluggish/”foggy”
  • Blurred vision
  • Light sensitivity

If you suspect someone may be experiencing a concussion after a blow to the head, ask these questions immediately then again a few minutes later. If the individual doesn’t know the answers or seems confused, consult a healthcare professional immediately.

  • What day is it?
  • What month is it?
  • Repeat these words: Girl, dog, green (ask to repeat again a few minutes later)
  • Repeat the days of the week backward
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Heads up on Biking Safety

Bike riding is one of America’s favorite past times, especially for children. But every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26,000 bicycle-related injuries to children and adolescents result in traumatic brain injuries.

A brain injury in a child can have more of a harmful impact because a child’s brain is continuously undergoing development. An injury can alter, or even halt, certain developments of the brain.

The good news is that there are several easy ways to help prevent brain injuries while your child is riding a bike:

  1. Properly Fitted Helmet – wearing a properly fitted helmet every time you and your child ride a bike is the main way to prevent brain injury.
  2. Follow the Rules of the Road – by teaching your child to go with the flow of traffic on the right-side of the road, what hand signals to use and when, and what the different traffic signs and signals mean can help your child stay safe.
  3. Reflectors – attach a front headlight and a rear red reflector to your child’s bike. If your child is riding beyond daylight hours, have him or her wear reflective clothing, as well.

Be a role-model to your child. Go biking as a family and practice biking skills and safety together. Wear your properly fitted helmet, follow the rules of the road, and attach reflectors to your own bike so that your child can witness biking safety first-hand. By using these safety precautions, you can help prevent brain injuries in not only your child, but yourself, as well.

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Blood Pressure – Understanding the Numbers

New guidelines released this past fall by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have changed the way you should be looking at your blood pressure numbers. High blood pressure is now defined as 130/80 and higher, which differs from the older definition of high blood pressure as 140/90 or higher.

But what exactly is blood pressure, and what do these numbers mean?

Blood pressure is the pressure your blood puts on the walls of blood vessels as it circulates through your body. High blood pressure is when the force of the circulating blood is consistently too high, putting individuals at risk for health issues such as strokes, heart attacks, and heart failure among other conditions.

When an individual has his or her blood pressure taken, two numbers are given – a top number and a bottom number (i.e. 120/80). The top number represents the systolic number, which indicates how much pressure the blood is exerting against the artery walls as the heart beats. The bottom number represents diastolic pressure, or how much pressure the blood is exerting on the artery walls in between the heart beats when the heart is at rest.

According to the American Heart Association, ideal blood pressure is less than 120/80.

High blood pressure doesn’t usually have any signs or symptoms, so having your blood pressure tested by a healthcare professional and knowing your numbers is the best way to protect yourself. While it can’t be cured, high blood pressure can be managed through lifestyle changes and even medication when necessary. Be sure to discuss your blood pressure with your physician.

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Exercise – Put Your Heart Into It!

According to Strava, a social network for athletes, most people by now have given up on their New Year’s resolutions (“Quitters’ Day” was officially Jan. 12). For those whose healthy resolutions may have fallen victim to that day, here is something to consider: According to the American Heart Association, moderate-intensity exercise is important in preventing heart disease and stroke, which are the nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers, respectively.

So, how do you gauge if your exercise is at the “moderate” level?

First, pay attention to how hard you think your body is working (this is called perceived exertion). Take note of how heavy you’re breathing, how much you’re sweating, and how tired your muscles feel. Studies have shown that an individual’s perceived exertion correlates to his or her heart rate. This means that if you feel like you’re working hard, your heart rate is probably higher.

You can estimate if you’re reaching the moderate-intensity level of an activity by using perceived exertion. In general, on a scale of 1-20, a moderate-intensity activity would feel like an 11-14.
Other clues of this level of exercise include:

  • Breaking a light sweat at about 10 minutes into the exercise
  • Quickened breathing, but you’re not out of breath
  • Being able to carry on a conversation while performing the activity

Moderate-intensity exercises can include brisk walking, biking, pushing a lawn mower, water aerobics, doubles tennis, gardening, and ballroom dancing, among other activities. So, take your pick!

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Exercise for Older Adults — It’s Never too Late

This past July, 101-year-old Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins became the oldest female athlete ever to compete in the USA Track and Field Outdoors Masters Championship, shaving 6 seconds off the world record for 100 meters. Want to be more impressed? She took up running merely a year earlier when she was 100 years old!

It goes to show that it’s never too late to begin exercising. No matter your age, it’s possible to stay active at every stage of your life. Consider the benefits of exercise, which include disease prevention, energy boosts, pain and weight management, improved mood and memory, and more.

With any exercise program, be sure to get clearance from your doctor first.

Here are some ideas you may want consider in developing a well-rounded exercise program:

  • Balance & Flexibility Exercises – To help with standing, stability, and flexibility. Try yoga, Tai Chi or Qi Gong.
  • Cardio Exercises – To get your heart pumping. Try walking, swimming, hiking, dancing, tennis, classes at a local gym.
  • Strength Training – To build muscle and prevent loss of bone mass. Try free weights, weight machines, elastic bands, or exercises that use your own body weight.
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Heads Up on Preventing Brain Injuries

With the Winter Olympics on the horizon, many of us will be privy to some amazing athletic feats. But, a downside of this popular event includes the head injuries that have been known to come with the territory.

In the past, American Jackie Hernandez slid unconscious against the snow after hitting her head during a snowboard cross event. British halfpipe skier Rowan Cheshire suffered a concussion during a training session. Czech snowboarder Sarka Pancochova cracked her helmet during a fall during the slopestyle final. And at 20 years old, American snowboarder Trevor Jacob had already suffered at least 25 concussions.

While the majority of us don’t live the dare-devil lives of many of these athletes, we’re all at risk for head injuries with everyday activities. Brain injuries don’t discriminate and can occur anytime, anywhere…with anyone.

With a little planning, however, brain injuries can be prevented. And, it doesn’t take epic – or Olympian – effort:

  • Wear your seatbelt every time you’re in a car.
  • Buckle your child in the right safety seat, booster or seat belt based upon your child’s age and weight.
  • Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Shut your cell phone off while in the car. Don’t talk. Don’t text.
  • Wear a helmet. And, make sure your children wear helmets with appropriate activities.
  • For older adults, remove tripping hazards like throw rugs or clutter in in the home. Use non-slip mats in the bathroom and grab bars near the shower or toilet. Install handrails on all stairs. Improve lighting throughout the house.
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Brighten the Holidays for a Hospitalized Loved One

If you have a friend or family member in the hospital during the holidays, there are numerous ways to help brighten his or her spirits and spread some holiday cheer (with pre-approval from the hospital staff, of course):

  1. Help relieve the patient’s stress. If your family member is concerned or worried about tasks that he or she usually performs around the holidays, offer to help. Purchase presents or address holiday cards for the individual (you may even be able to shop online or work on cards together at the hospital).
  2. Decorate the patient’s room with a small tree, menorah, festive blanket, New Year’s hats, or even some drawings from children in your family.
  3. Bring the holidays to the hospital. If your loved one is receiving cards and presents at home, bring them to share. If you’re giving a holiday present, consider something that may be of use in the hospital, like a book or warm socks.
  4. If allowed, bring your loved one special treats or meals that he or she associates with the holidays. In addition, hospital cafeterias often provide special holiday meals that are offered to patients and visitors.
  5. Bring holiday DVDs or music to watch and listen to together in the room.

Most importantly, remember that your loved one is in the hospital to heal, so don’t overwhelm him or her. Typically, you’ll want to keep your visiting time short to allow plenty of time for rest and sleep, which is critical to recovery.

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Tis the Season…for Colds & the Flu

It’s that time of year again. Cold and flu season.

A common cold and the flu are similar because they’re both respiratory illnesses. Even though they’re caused by different viruses, they share many of the same symptoms. This makes it hard to know for sure which you may have unless you visit your doctor.

Symptoms for both illnesses can include a cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, fever, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. However, flu symptoms tend to be worse than cold symptoms, and people with colds are more likely to have runny or stuffy noses.

A cold usually doesn’t result in serious health problems, but the flu can. While most folks can recover from the flu in less than a couple weeks, it can lead to respiratory complications like bronchitis, pneumonia, and bacterial infections. In the worst cases, these complications can lead to hospitalization.

While anyone can get severely sick from the flu, groups at higher risk for complications include adults older than 65, young children, pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions, or individuals with compromised immune systems.

So how can you prevent these illnesses? Some suggestions include:

  • Stay away from anyone who is sick, and stay away from others when you’re sick.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often throughout the day with hot water and soap. Use an alcohol-based sanitizer if hand-washing isn’t possible.
  • Don’t share utensils, cups, toothbrushes, towels or any other personal items.
  • Keep your hands away from your nose, eyes, and mouth.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
  • Limit what you touch when in public, such as stairway rails. Wash your hands soon after touching.
  • Get plenty of sleep, eat right, and exercise regularly.
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10 Tips for Family Caregivers

Caring, giving, sharing.

For most people, the holidays bring out the best in us when it comes to going the extra mile. But for those who are family caregivers, this is a description of everyday life.

Whether you became a caregiver suddenly (grandma had a stroke), or gradually (aging parents), taking care of a loved one in addition to having a career, family, and children can be a challenge. So, how can a caregiver do it all?

Below are 10 tips for family caregivers provided by the Caregiver Action Network:

  1. Seek support from other caregivers. You are not alone.
  2. Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
  3. Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you.
  4. Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.
  5. Take respite breaks often. Caregiving is hard work.
  6. Watch out for signs of depression. Don’t delay in getting professional help when you need it.
  7. Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.
  8. Organize medical information so it’s up-to-date and easy to find.
  9. Make sure legal documents are in order.
  10. Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!
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Diabetes, Diet & Exercise

For many, a healthy diet and regular exercise are self-prescribed ways to feel better. But for people with diabetes, diet and exercise are key to managing the disorder.

If you have diabetes, be sure to speak to your doctor about developing a healthcare plan that balances what you eat with regular physical activity.
When reviewing your diet, consider creating meal plans that include foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, such as:

  • Beans
  • Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Citrus Fruit Nuts
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Fish High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Tomatoes
  • Nuts
  • Whole Grains
  • Milk and Yogurt
  • Berries

When it comes to adding exercise to your plan, a combination of both aerobic exercise and resistance training can have the most positive effect on glucose levels. Aerobic exercises help your body use insulin better, while resistance (or strength) training makes your body more sensitive to insulin and can lower blood glucose.

Examples of aerobic exercises include brisk walking, dancing, biking or hiking – anything that helps get your heart rate up. Strength training exercises can be done by lifting weights, using resistance bands, or using your own body weight to do squats, push-ups, or lunges.

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3 Stretches for a Good Morning

Can’t quite wake up in the morning?

A few good stretches can help you relieve muscle tension, increase circulation, and even help release endorphins (those hormones that make you feel good).
“Wake up” your muscles and add a little energy to your mornings with these three stretches below*:

  1. Knees to Chest
    This stretch lengthens tight lower back muscles and can decrease back pain. Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and both feet flat on the floor or bed. Brings your hands to rest either behind the knees or right below the knee caps. Slowly bring both knees toward your     chest using both hands to gently pull the knees inward. Hold 20-30 seconds, return to start position.
  2. Upward Stretch
    Lace your fingers together and raise your hands above your head, palms facing upward. Elongate your spine and feel the stretch in your ribcage and arms. Hold for a count of 10.
  3. Neck and Shoulder Stretch
    To stretch the muscles on the right side of your neck, turn your left ear over to your left shoulder and hold for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side to stretch out your left side. Relax for a moment and then roll your shoulders to the back, and then to the front. Then lift them up to your ears, tensing the muscles, and allow them to drop completely.

As a reminder, always check with your doctor first to make sure these exercises are safe for you.

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