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8 Ways to Stop the Spread of Flu Germs

Unfortunately, you’ve caught the flu. Keep from spreading it to your friends and family by following these tips.

Flu season can last from October through May, usually peaking in January and February. The best way to avoid the flu is to get a flu vaccine. But if you or someone in your home is already sick, try to keep the virus from spreading to other family members.

Flu germs spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing, and by touching contaminated surfaces and objects. Here are some tips that may help you keep the illness at bay:

  1. Stay home. To get over the flu and to prevent spreading it to others, stay home from work or school while you have flu symptoms. These may include body aches, fever, stuffy or runny nose, cough, headache, tiredness, and sore throat, Sometimes vomiting and diarrhea occur, but this is seen more often in children.
  2. Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. This is the most important step you can take to stop the spread of germs. Dry your hands with a disposable paper towel. Carry an alcohol-based hand gel, spray, or wipes when you are out in case soap and water aren’t available. Wash your hands as soon as possible:

After:

  • Sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose
  • Caring for a sick person
  • Using the bathroom
  • Changing a diaper
  • Touching an animal or its environment
  • Preparing food

Before:

  • Preparing food
  • Eating
  • Caring for a sick person
  1. Cover your mouth and nose with a clean tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue away as soon as you use it. If you don’t have a tissue, cover your nose and mouth with your upper sleeve or the crook of your elbow, not your hands.
  2. Keep your hands away from your mouth, nose, and eyes. These are the places where germs can enter your body.
  3. Don’t share eating utensils, drinking glasses, or bottles with anyone else.
  4. Disinfect surfaces and objects that are commonly used, such as kitchen countertops, doors, sink handles, light switches, and telephones. Harmful germs can live on surfaces for days, so it’s important you clean them often with a disinfectant. Don’t forget computer keyboards, phones, and TV remotes.
  5. Clean clothes and bedding that may be contaminated with flu germs. Don’t shake sheets when you take them off the bed. Wash your hands after you handle dirty laundry and before you take clean laundry out of the washer or dryer.
  6. Avoid close contact with household members. Keeping your distance from other people may reduce their risk of catching the flu from you.

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How Is Gestational Diabetes Different From Other Types of Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is diabetes that only occurs during pregnancy. Learn how it differs from type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational (diabetes that occurs with pregnancy).

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes cannot be cured. Once you have diabetes, you have to treat it for life. But gestational diabetes often only lasts during pregnancy, and it typically goes away once the baby is born. But after you’ve had gestational diabetes, your chance of getting diabetes in future pregnancies – and type 2 diabetes later in life – goes up.

Diabetes 101
Diabetes occurs when there is not enough insulin, or the insulin doesn’t work right in your body. Insulin is a hormone that’s made by the pancreas. When we eat, our bodies break down food into glucose (sugar). Insulin is needed to move glucose from the blood into the cells for energy. When there is not enough insulin, or it doesn’t work properly, the glucose stays in the blood.

Types of diabetes
In type 1 diabetes,
the pancreas makes too little insulin because the body’s immune system destroys a special type of cell in the pancreas that produces insulin. In time, the cells stop making insulin entirely. People with type 1 diabetes need to watch what they eat, get exercise, monitor their blood sugar levels and take insulin shots to treat this condition.

In type 2 diabetes, the body is insulin-resistant. This means insulin is made by the pancreas, but the cells in the body can’t use it the right way. People with type 2 diabetes manage their diabetes by eating well, exercising and possibly taking medicine. They also must check their blood glucose levels.

In gestational diabetes, the body is unable to make or use all the insulin it needs to support the pregnancy. Pregnancy changes how insulin works in the body, which may lead to diabetes. Experts aren’t sure why gestational diabetes happens. Some research suggests the placenta (which works to nourish the growing baby) may block how insulin works in the mother’s body. Gestational diabetes is treated with a healthy diet, exercise, good prenatal care and sometimes insulin. Often, gestational diabetes goes away after the baby is born.

Not all pregnant women with diabetes have gestational diabetes. Women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes can get pregnant, but they will still have diabetes after the baby’s birth. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and want to get pregnant, see your doctor. You will need to take special precautions and need close monitoring throughout pregnancy.

Watch that blood sugar
No matter what kind of diabetes you have, it’s important to follow your diabetes care plan exactly as prescribed by your doctor. This is key because high blood sugar levels can harm your health over time. That can possibly lead to conditions like heart disease, kidney failure and blindness. During pregnancy, high blood sugar is also linked with miscarriage, birth defects and pre-term labor and delivery. Gestational diabetes can lead to macrosomia (a very large baby), preeclampsia (pregnancy induced hypertension), a higher chance of needing a Cesarean section, and problems with the newborn. These can include breathing problems, very low blood sugar, jaundice and problems with calcium and magnesium balance.

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Help for Caregivers: Geriatric Care Managers

Learn how a geriatric care manager can help you with the give and take of caring for an ill loved one.

Understanding and taking care of your elderly loved one’s needs can be a full-time job. And if those needs are complex or if you live a distance away, it can be very hard to do that job well. But before you throw up your hands in frustration, you may want to consider hiring a geriatric care manager.

What is a geriatric care manager?
Geriatric care managers are trained professionals. Many of them are licensed social workers or nurses who have extra training. Their job is to help older adults and their families identify and meet various needs. Depending upon their training and what services your family needs, geriatric care managers may:

  • Assess the situation
  • Identify needs and come up with solutions
  • Arrange for necessary care, including hiring home health workers and accessing medical and social services
  • Coordinate and monitor care for families who do not live close by
  • Help with or provide referrals for medical, legal and financial needs
  • Provide counseling and crisis intervention
  • Assist in moving an older person between home, retirement community, assisted living or other facilities

How do you find a geriatric care manager?
You can find a geriatric care manager through various sources. These include your local hospital or government senior citizen agency. You should make sure that a care manager is properly trained and licensed. One way to do this is to hire one certified by the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM). To be certified, a care manager must pass required tests and take part in continuing education.

As of January 1, 2008, NAPGCM requires a care manager to earn one of four certifications to be accepted in their membership:

  • Care Manager Certified
  • Certified Case Manager
  • Certified Social Worker Case Manager
  • Certified Advanced Social Worker Case Management

To find a certified geriatric case manager in your area, visit www.caremanager.org and click on „Find a Care Manager.“

When you interview a potential care manager, find out:

  • What services they offer
  • What fees they charge for each service
  • Whether they are licensed and/or certified
  • How communication will be handled
  • How their past clients felt about their services (ask for references)
  • If he or she is available for emergencies

The right geriatric care manager can improve the quality of life for both the older adult and family members. They can take a load of responsibility and worry off family members’ shoulders. They can also help an older adult live as well and as independently as possible.

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Healthy Eating Tips for Busy Families

If your family’s evenings are jam-packed with activity, you may find there’s no time to eat – or only time for fast food. Try these convenient tips for eating healthy when you don’t have much of time.

Evening baseball games, piano lessons, homework, PTA meetings, soccer practice … the list goes on and on. Is your family’s nutrition suffering because of hectic schedules? Focus on some easy and convenient ways to improve your family’s nutrition so you won’t need to rely on fast food every night. Check out the suggestions below.

  1. Stock the pantry, fridge and freezer with healthy foods.Cupboard
    Spaghetti
    Brown rice (quick-cooking), barley
    Potatoes (white and sweet)
    Low-fat crackers
    Canned tuna and salmon
    Canned beans
    Lentils, dried peas
    Canned low-sodium soups
    Whole-grain breads, pitas, muffins
    Rice cakes
    Low-fat refried beans
    Raisins
    Bananas
    Olive oil, canola oil
    Cooking sprayRefrigerator
    Light cheese
    Parmesan cheese
    Low-fat cottage cheese
    Low-fat yogurt
    Skim or 1% milk
    Eggs
    Natural peanut butter
    Fruits and vegetables
    Mini carrots
    Trans-fat-free margarine
    Low-fat mayonnaise

    Freezer
    Frozen vegetables
    Chicken breast
    Lean hamburger
    Lean ground turkey
    Salmon burgers
    Veggie burgers
    Frozen fruit
    Frozen shrimp
    Waffles

  2. Use convenience foods mixed with fresh foods.
    • Saute onions, carrots and garlic in olive oil. Add a can of tomato soup and a can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas). Heat and serve.
    • Saute onions, mushrooms and zucchini. Mix with leftover brown rice or pasta. Add a can of stewed tomatoes.
    • Use frozen dinners as a base, and add to them. Beware of the sodium content. Serve with a large salad and a whole-grain roll to round out the meal.
  3. When you have time, prepare foods in advance.Use small amounts of leftovers for the next day’s meal. Be creative! Use leftover chicken in a salad for lunch. Put extra chili on a baked potato for dinner. Add extra pasta to soup or a casserole, or make it into a pasta salad with leftover veggies and bottled low-fat dressing.
  4. Try freezing the following:
    • Soup, stew or chili
    • Meatballs
    • Casseroles
    • Chili
    • Turkey
    • Meatloaf
    • Homemade muffins or quick breads
    • Pot of brown rice, lentils or barley
    • Lasagna

Enjoy fall’s bounty and reap the benefits of eating pumpkins and other winter squash.

Come fall, is there anything more beautiful than a farmer’s market filled with a rainbow of inviting fruits and veggies? Autumn’s bounty isn’t just a feast for the eyes, it’s also good for the body. Pumpkins and other winter squash are rich in fiber and full of healthy carotenoids. These nutrients have been linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers, heart disease and age-related eye problems. Pumpkin seeds, which taste great roasted, also pack a punch. They are a good source of zinc, iron, copper, protein and magnesium. Here are some sweet and savory ideas for showcasing squash.

Play with Pasta: Blend winter squash with ricotta cheese and a dash of nutmeg to create a flavorful filling for stuffed shells.

Add Savor to Soups: Mix up an easy and exotic soup with apples, pumpkin and a dash of curry.

Batter Up: Boost the nutritional value of breads, baked goods and puddings by adding canned pumpkin to the batter.

Top It: Create rustic homemade pizza with chunks of butternut squash, grated Parmesan and a sprinkling of sage.

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Get Prune Power!

Prunes, also known as dried plums, do more than stimulate the digestive system – they may help slow osteoporosis.

Prunes, also known as dried plums, have long been known for their ability to, er, get things moving. But dark, sweet, chewy prunes may also help contribute to bone health by slowing osteoporosis, which is the thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density. In addition to managing bone health by taking vitamin D and calcium, getting regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco and limiting alcohol, here are some delicious ways to enjoy the power of prunes:

  • Put prunes in oatmeal for a heart-healthy, high-fiber breakfast.
  • Combine with unsalted nuts, raisins and cranberries for a homemade trail mix.
  • Sprinkle chopped prunes on salads to add sweetness, texture and fiber.
  • Pair prunes with baked chicken for a sweet and savory entrée.

Please consult your doctor or nutritionist to create your own nutritional plan.

Get walnuts out of the holiday nut bowl and into your pantry, as they may provide many wonderful benefits to your body.

Walnuts, often a crunchy addition to holiday festivities, are a great option in your diet year-round. They may help your body to better use its stored fat, reduce LDL (low-density lipoprotein), or „bad cholesterol,“ and slow osteoporosis.

Add crunch to your lunch-or any meal-by putting walnuts in the mix.

Chop, Chop: Add finely chopped walnuts to pumpkin bread for more texture and taste.

Mix It Up: Fold coarsely chopped walnuts into the filling of your favorite butternut squash ravioli recipe.

Let It Rain: Sprinkle walnuts on your Waldorf salad for a timeless treat. Switch out the full-fat mayo for a low-fat version!

Make It Sweet: If chocolate chip cookies are your favorite „once-in-a-while“ treat, mix in finely chopped walnuts for a mouth-watering bonus.

If your child has asthma, help avoid serious complications by making sure he or she gets a flu shot.

If your child has asthma, be sure he or she gets a flu shot.

A flu shot?

Yes. That’s because the flu can cause complications like pneumonia, which can send a child to the emergency room. Add asthma to the mix and the health-risk meter jumps even higher. If the infection is severe, it can be life-threatening. About 17 million Americans have asthma. More than 7 million are under age 18. Each year, influenza sends 200,000 people, including young children, to the hospital.

Late fall, early winter
The flu roars into millions of American homes around December and January. The best time to get a shot is before it peaks, starting in September. Many doctors offer flu shots before and during the flu season. So do some grocery stores, drug stores, and local health departments.

In addition:

  • If someone in the family has asthma, all family members should get a flu shot to help reduce the chance of spreading the flu virus to the person with asthma.
  • Last year’s flu shot will not protect you from this year’s virus. Each year’s vaccine is based on strains of the virus predicted to be prevalent in the upcoming season. The vaccine changes every year to match those strains, so a yearly flu shot is needed.
  • Since influenza peaks from January through March, a flu shot may still be helpful in December and even later in the season. High-risk groups should be vaccinated in September or as soon as the vaccine becomes available.

Remember, the flu is just one of many possible triggers for asthma attacks. There are also allergens like animal dander, dust mites, and cigarette smoke that can cause problems year round. But by eliminating as many triggers as possible, your child has a better chance of staying healthy.

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