Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls

Slips and falls aren't typically thought of as a serious risk to our health, but they can be deadly. Falls are the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths for all ages and the number one cause of death for those 65 and older, according to injuryfacts.nsc.org. The National Safety Council has provided some preventative that we can take to avoid falls and distracted walking.

How to Prevent Falls

Take these simple steps to prevent falls both at home and while out and about:

  • Remove clutter, including electrical cords and other tripping hazards from walkways, stairs and doorways.
  • Install nightlights in the bathroom, hallways and other areas to prevent tripping and falls at night.
  • Always wear proper footwear and clean up spills immediately.
  • Place non-slip adhesive strips on stairs and non-skid mats in the shower and bathroom.
  • For older adults, install grab bars near showers and toilets and install rails on both sides of stairs. Older adults can also take balance classes, get their vision and hearing checked each year and talk with their doctors and pharmacist about fall risks from medication.

Distracted Walking - A Serious Risk

Today, nearly everyone has a cell phone and consequently distracted walking has become a serious risk. One study, published in the Journal of Safety Research, found that over a 10-year period, distracted walking was responsible for more than 10,000 serious injuries.

To limit this risk:

  • Avoid cell phone use while walking, especially near crosswalks - talk with your friends and loved ones about this risk as well.
  • Pay special attention in busy areas, such as airports and shopping centers, and even your own house - more than half of distracted walking incidents happen at home.
  • Avoid other distracted walking risks, such as listening to headphones, when walking near intersections and other busy areas.
  • When driving, look carefully for pedestrians distracted by their phones - slow down and pay special attention in school zones.

Source: National Safety Council

National Safety Month: Wellness

Taking care of daily issues, household needs and pressing work deadlines seem to always take priority over taking care of ourselves.  Making a conscious effort to focus on our own wellness is critical to our overall wellbeing and health. As part of National Safety Month, the National Security Council has provided some tips on how to improve wellness at every stage of life.

Focus on Your Wellness Each Day

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or go for a walk at lunch to add physical activity into your daily schedule
  • Take advantage of workplace wellness programs and choose healthy snacks each day
  • Find nearby options for exercise classes through your local parks department
  • Take breaks throughout your day to refresh your body and mind - if you sit for long periods, stand up and stretch for a few minutes at a time
  • Get regular medical checkups, such as an annual physical and age-appropriate tests - ask a professional about the right tests, exercise and nutrition choice for your physical fitness and age
  • Talk to your doctor about alternatives to opioid pain medications - learn more at nsc.org/takeaction

Watch Out for Fatigue

Fatigue is more than just being tired.  If you’re missing out on the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each day, you could become sleep deprived and be at higher risk for the negative effects of fatigue.

  • Chronic sleep deprivation causes depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease and other illnesses
  • Fatigued driving is impaired driving – losing even two hours of sleep is similar to the effect of having three beers
  • Night shifts and rotating shifts put you at a higher risk of fatigue – if possible, work with your employer to align your sleep and work schedules to get restful sleep
  • To help combat fatigue, make your bedroom more conducive to sleep; a quiet, dark room that is not too hot and not too cold will help you relax and get to sleep sooner
  • Avoid chemicals that affect sleep; caffeine, nicotine and alcohol can all contribute to sleep problems
  • Help your loved ones get the proper amount of sleep – children and teens typically require even more sleep than adults

Additional Resources

Risks of Fatigue at the Workplace

Sample Employee Wellness Program

Source: National Safety Council

National Safety Month: Emergency Preparedness

It is important to prepare for the unexpected because an emergency can happen at any time. With the National Safety Council and in honor of National Safety Month in June, we have compiled some of the best tips and resources for preparation.

Plan for Possible Emergencies

  • Research, prepare for national disasters common to your area, such as floods, earthquakes or tornadoes. Stay informed during watches and warnings.
  • Create an emergency kit for both your home and car
  • Create a home emergency plan with your family and learn how to shut off your utilities
  • Be a good participant in emergency drills at work and school by following instructions
  • Store important phone numbers with other documents in a fire-proof safe or safety deposit box
  • Learn first aid and CPR for children and adults and download the NSC First Aid app available on iTunes or Google App Store

Stock Your Emergency Kits Now

Your home emergency kit should contain:

  • Food and water for each family member for three days, as well as a can opener and nonperishable foods
  • Hand-crank or battery-powered flashlight and radio with extra batteries
  • Full first aid kit, including hand sanitizer and garbage bags
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape for broken windows or leaks
  • Whistle to signal for help

Your car emergency kit should contain:

  • A properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench, tripod jack and jumper cables
  • A tool kit, compass, duct tape and car charger for your cell phone
  • A flashlight with extra batteries, rain poncho and fire extinguisher
  • Reflective triangles and vest, and brightly colored cloth to make your vehicle more visible
  • A first aid kit and enough nonperishable food and water for three days
  • Cold weather items such as a snow brush, shovel, windshield washer fluid, warm clothing, cat litter for traction and blankets

Be sure to take advantage of special free and discounted offers during National Safety Month, sponsored by National Safety Council.

  • Free First Aid Online Course June 1-10. Register here.
  • Discount on Emergency Preparedness Course June 1-9.  Learn more here.
  • Family Safety & Health magazine discount.

For more information on how you can be prepared in an emergency, be sure to review our previous blog on You are the Help Until Help Arrives

Sources: National Safety Council, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response

State of the Health Depot Association 2018

At the recent Health Depot Annual Members Meeting, President Doug Abbott shared his thoughts on the progress of the association. The following is an excerpt from the meeting:

As the first quarter of 2018 comes to a close, we are pleased with the growth and progress of the Health Depot Association over the past year. Our membership has grown to more than 20,000 strong across the country – members all committed to managing their health and wellness for themselves and their families.  In 2017, we had some members hit hard with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. With donations to the American Red Cross and working with partners like Teladoc, we will continue to help support those affected by the recent hurricane and natural disasters as our members work to get their families safe and businesses growing again.  Our focus will continue to be on our members and providing the highest level of satisfaction with their membership and the benefits that Health Depot provides.

To provide more options and flexibility for our members, Health Depot created new membership levels and benefits for vision, dental and fixed-indemnity in 2017. We have also partnered with Pin Paws to create an affinity partner savings program for pet locating services. Additionally, through our newsletters, blog articles and social media community, our goal is to provide Health Depot members with timely and relevant content and resources to help as you research information and make decisions about health and wellness.

The remainder of 2018 promises to be an exciting year for associations like Health Depot. With a new executive order signed by President Trump in October 2017, the country is providing a new focus on Association Health Plans and Short Term Limited Duration plans, which we hope will make new opportunities and benefits available to you through Health Depot. We are receiving regular updates regarding this news as it develops and will share information with you as we learn more.

We are committed to researching industry-leading benefits and resources on your behalf so that you and your families have access to the health and wellness tools you need and look forward to continuing to serve you in 2018.

Sincerely,

Doug Abbott

National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month, an education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  It has been proven that a combination of making good food choices and creating exercise habits can help provide a healthier life for you and your family.

This year, the theme is to "Go Further with Food" and promotes the idea of starting with a healthy breakfast or fueling up with nutritious snacks before athletic activities as a great way to make your food work for your body and go further.  

Some key tips:

  1. Include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis.
  2. Consider the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store.
  3. Buy only the amount that can be eaten or frozen within a few days and plan ways to use the leftovers later in the week.
  4. Be mindful of portion sizes. Eat and drink the amount that's right for you, as MyPlate encourages us to do.
  5. Continue to use good food safety practices.
  6. Find activities you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.
  7. Realize the benefits of healthy eating by consulting with a registered dietitian nutritionist. RDNs can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.

Tools to use:

  • MyPlate - resource for building healthy portions and food choices
  • EatRight.org - education resource for food, health and fitness

Source: http://sm.eatright.org/NNMinfo

Healthy Travels

Have you ever wondered about staying healthy while flying in an airplane and traveling to new destinations during the winter months? It can be tricky, given colder temperatures, more germs hanging around inside, and sharing the air in closed places.

Here are some doctor-approved tips for staying on top of your health while traveling:

Drink Carbonated Water

Tap water can be unsafe to drink, especially in foreign countries and can cause traveler’s diarrhea due to bacteria present in local water sources. Carbonated water with an intact seal can give you peace of mind. Hydration is important though – so enjoy your sparkling water as often as possible.

Probiotics: Trust Your Gut

Your immune fighting power begins in your gut, so boost up your probiotics. Forms that contain lactobacilli and bifidobacteria may help prevent G.I. disorders. Eat and drink wisely and avoid overindulgence which can impact your gut health while traveling.

Vitamins and Medications

Don’t forget to bring an ample supply of medications. According to the FDA, many drugs sold in developing countries contain impure or toxic ingredients. Also, taking magnesium while traveling may help you get better sleep while traveling and also acts as a laxative - helpful when dealing with changing time zones, sleep patterns and diet during vacation.

Saline Spray

Airplanes are notorious for dry air – a potential problem for your immune system. Dry nasal membranes create a breeding ground for germs because the microscopic hairs in your nose that move germs through don’t work effectively when too dry. If you use a saline nasal spray or gel an hour before and after your flight, this may help prevent germs from traveling down into your throat or lungs.

Enjoy your travels and stay healthy along the way!

*Sources include FDA & Wellness by The Huffington Post

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Amidst the beauty of the orange and red leaves there’s one other striking color that catches eyes every October, pink! The minute we see the ribbons, balloons and NFL football players’ gloves and cheerleaders shaking pink pompons we know it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month. But, breast cancer awareness month is more than just wearing a pink ribbon or article of clothing or joining in on a walk or fundraiser, it’s a reminder to make sure you’re taking the necessary precautions to take care of yourself and loved ones.

In 2017, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer. Regular mammograms increase your chances of finding cancers before the symptoms become present. Those with an increased risk because of age, genetics, etc. are recommended to have MRI screenings as well.

Each year we see posts about how to do your own exams at home and early detection signs so instead of that we will give you some ways that you can join the fight against breast cancer.

Get the Breast Health Guide - Visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation site and sign up for your free Breast Health Guide. Then, share the link with your friends and family.

Become an Advocate - Stay up-to-date with legislative actions and current advocacy initiatives that support funding and treatment.

Volunteer or Hold a Fundraiser - Many programs are available through Susan G. Komen and the National Breast Cancer Foundation to raise money to provide mammograms, support and education.

Breast Cancer Awareness should be practiced year round but October is a special month in the fight. Celebrate the survivors and remember those whom lost the battle by wearing your pink this October. But remember, early detection is key in increasing survival rates. Set up your reminders and stay in-the-know with the latest research so you can make the right choices for you and your loved ones.

You are the Help Until Help Arrives

With all of the recent news about hurricanes and flooding, have you wondered how you would be able to help in a natural disaster? Emergency responders aren't always nearby and you may be able to save a life by taking simple actions immediately.

FEMA provides an overview that can be used for your own education, as well as your community.  The highlights are:

You Make a Difference - by acting quickly and purposefully, you can save lives.

Call 9-1-1 - operators are highly trained and will help you assess the situation, take appropriate action and be as safe as possible.

Stay Safe - use all your available senses like sight, hearing and smells to use your best judgement to determine your course of action.

Stop the Bleeding - identify the source of bleeding, finding something to put between the blood and your hands, and applying firm, steady pressure until EMS arrives.

Position the Injured - if a person is conscious and breathing, allow them to position themselves, but if unconscious, learn the proper positioning techniques.

Provide Comfort - use simple words to comfort and engage with the injured and provide practical assistance.

Learn more about how you can help your community in times of emergency at ready.gov/until-help-arrives.

Solar Eclipse Eye Safety

A total solar eclipse is targeted to sweep across the United States on August 21.  A solar eclipse occurs when the moon blocks any part of the sun.  Check here for the path that the total eclipse will take in North America. Our country hasn’t experienced a solar event like this since 1979, so you may not be aware of the potential dangers to your eyesight.

NASA has provided some safety tips that will allow interested viewers the ability to participate without causing permanent damage to the eyes. Highlights include checking the safety authenticity of viewing glasses for basic proper safety viewing standards, including:

  • Having a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard
  • Have the manufacter’s name and address printed on the product
  • Not be older than three years or have scratched/wrinkled lenses
  • Not be a homemade filter
  • Not be ordinary sunglasses – even very dark ones should not be a replacement for eclipse viewing glasses or handheld solar viewers

Check your glasses or viewers as indicated here.  After verifying you have the appropriate equipment, don’t forget about using them correctly:

  • Always supervise children using solar filters or viewers
  • Stand still and cover your eyes with the eclipse glasses or viewer before looking up at the sun.
  • Look away from the sun before removing your glasses/viewer.
  • Do not look at the sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other device.
  • Don’t look through cameras, telescopes, binoculars, etc while using your solar viewer or eclipse glasses.

Watching an eclipse without taking these precautions can result in solar retinopathy, an injury to the retinal tissues that can result in impaired vision, sometimes permanent.  Prepare ahead, so you can enjoy this amazing, natural phenomenon in a safe way.

Summer Travel Tips

If you’re taking a vacation this summer, planning your trip may already be underway. Here are some tips that can help you save money:

Find an Affordable Flight – Book your flight on the best days. Ticket prices fluctuate frequently. Booking flights earlier in the week is best for the least expensive fares. Most airlines offer lower prices on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  The more in advance you book your flight, the less your ticket will cost.  Be sure to shop around for the best fares. Don’t forget to be flexible on your travel days. It can save you money on your ticket. There are many travel sites, like Priceline, Travelocity, Kayak and Orbitz, even Google Flights, that can help you compare airfares. 

Consider Driving Even with gas prices on the rise, driving can still be more economical than flying.  Traveling by car adds convenience if you’re packing a lot of things – like beach gear (you’ll be able to avoid expensive beach rentals).  Plus, by driving, you can enjoy the scenery along the way. Although driving will take longer to get to your destination, making a few stops can help -- especially if you have children.  You may even find a fun new restaurant on your route.  If gas prices are a concern, you can visit www.gasbuddy.com to help you find the least expensive gas on your trip.

Use Vacation Rentals – Try a vacation rental instead of a hotel. Whether you select an apartment or house, rentals can save you money.  Rentals offer more space, which is perfect for accommodating larger groups.  Plus, rentals include a kitchen, which will help you to minimize eating out. You can stock up your kitchen with food from a local grocery.  You’ll be amazed how much money you’ll save compared to eating out at every meal.  Dining out is expensive, particularly in touristy areas. Check out www.vrbo.com or www.airbnb.com to look at options.

Dine at Lunch – Although dining in can save you money, going out to restaurants is still part of the fun experience of vacationing.  It’s nice taking a break from cooking and enjoying a fine meal – especially in a place with great ambiance. If you want to dine out but still want to save money, try eating out at lunch instead of dinner.  Menu prices tend to be 30% less, plus you’ll be less likely to order costly drinks when dining earlier in the day.  Plus, restaurants tend to be less busy at lunch. You may even find that after a long day of sightseeing, it’s nice to go back to your accommodations to wind down from the busy day and enjoy a relaxing meal.  For a time saver, you can prep food early in the day, like chopping vegetables and marinating meats.

Source: travelchannel.com