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Autumn Health Care Checklist: Top 5 to-dos

Teri Dreher, RN, CCRN, iRNPA, BCPA, is an award-winning RN patient advocate and a pioneer in the growing field of private patient advocacy who wrote for the Daily Herald Newspaper that ‘Tis the season to not only anticipate the holidays and brace for winter but to handle some essential annual healthcare activities.

They’re too important to delay or shortchange, so take out your calendar and get ready to check these off your to-do list one-by-one this fall.

1. Get your flu shot
It’s simple: if you don’t want to get the flu — or give it to your loved ones — get your flu shot now.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, last year’s flu vaccine reduced America’s risk of infection by about 50 percent. Considering that about 150,000 people are hospitalized from the flu every year, and tens of thousands of people die from it, this is a precaution you can’t afford to take. The CDC recommends getting your flu shot by the end of October. That’s because it takes two weeks to fully take effect, and flu season runs from October to May. So, hustle over to your doctor’s office, clinic or local pharmacy — or, if your employer offers on-site vaccines, be the first in line.

2. Sign up for your 2019 health plan … thoughtfully
This is the time of year when most Americans sign up for their coming year’s health insurance.
Unfortunately, because few people enjoy dealing with insurance, too many of us rush through the plan selection process. Yes, it can be confusing (America’s health care system needs work). But remember: this is a decision you and perhaps your family will live with all year long.
So don’t wait until the last minute and rush through enrollment. Put aside an evening or two to educate yourself on all your plan options.

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Smoking at Home

The Team at  Porch recently surveyed 1,000 people to see how they felt about smoking in the home and uncovered some surprising trends.  In an article they posted at they stated that shared that by now, you probably don’t need anyone telling you smoking cigarettes is bad for your health. With the U.S. implementing “no smoking” laws, running mass media campaigns designed to educate people on the dangers of cigarettes, and increasing access to quitting helplines and solutions, the number of adults who still smoke regularly has declined dramatically in recent years.

But it hasn’t stopped everyone, and there’s more than just smoking combustible cigarettes. In fact, many people now have relatively easy access to marijuana as mainstream acceptance (and laws)surrounding it continues to evolve.

Have you ever wondered about smoking on more than just your health? We surveyed over 1,000 people—smokers and nonsmokers alike—about their perceptions of smoking around the house, whether involving combustible cigarettes, vaporizers, cigars, or marijuana. Keep reading to see what we learned.

How dangerous does it seem?

When asked how well they understood the dangers of smoking to their health, both men and women rated cigarettes as the most dangerous form with ratings of 4.4 and 4.6, respectively. Most people perceived other exposures to smoking, like cigars and secondhand smoke, as less dangerous, though. All tobacco smoke (including secondhand smoke), however, contains dangerous chemicals that have been linked to cancer and lung and heart conditions, as well as other oral and dental diseases. Read more

New flu recommendations

Advocate Children’s Hospital shared with the Daily Herald that fall may have just arrived, but a warning has already been issued about the upcoming flu season.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released flu vaccine recommendations for the 2018-2019 flu season that advise all children ages 6 months and older receive a flu shot as soon as possible, and no later than the end of October.

They also recommend the injectable flu vaccine be used as the first choice for children rather than the nasal spray vaccine, which has not provided consistent protection against all strains of the flu virus in past years, per the AAP. The nasal spray has limitations on who can use it, and due to unclear effectiveness, especially against influenza A, the injectable form is preferred.

“The very best defense against the flu is the annual flu vaccination, and the sooner your child is vaccinated, the sooner they will be protected,” says Dr. Shrinal Vyas, a pediatrician at Advocate Children’s Hospital.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are a sad reminder of what can happen when children are not vaccinated. Last flu season, 180 children died of flu-related deaths, and thousands more were hospitalized.

The CDC reports that about 80 percent of children who died had not been vaccinated. Read more

How to motivate yourself to exercise

According to Angie Ruggiero, ACE Certified Personal Trainer with Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness, we all have our own fitness goals, including weight loss, muscle gain or just wanting to be healthier. Though we set out to reach these goals, many of us struggle to stay motivated.

Here are few fitness tips to keep you focused:


  • Create a workout schedule. Let’s be honest, our schedules can get hectic. When you make time on your calendar for exercise, it becomes part of your regular routine. It may be rough the first few days, but you’ll be less likely to decline a workout once it’s become a habit. How do you do it? Review your upcoming week and figure out the most practical time to exercise. For instance, exercising before work may give you time to relax and complete other tasks later. Or, hitting the gym after work may make more sense for you.
  • Use S.M.A.R.T. goals. S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. These are elements that help you create effective goals.
  1. Specific – What muscle groups are you targeting? What exercises are you doing to target those muscle groups? Avoid being vague.
  2. Measurable – How much are you lifting, running, etc.? How many sets or repetitions are you completing? How much distance or time? Make sure you can measure your baseline and future progress.
  3. Attainable – Can you reach your goal? Pick a goal that you will be able to achieve, yet one that still challenges you.
  4. Relevant – Why does this matter to you? What is the purpose behind your goal? Make sure you have a reason behind what you are doing.
  5. Timely – When do you want to accomplish this goal? How long will it take? Identify your timeline and make an appropriate progression.

Read more

How Important Is Stretching Before Training

Luke S. Mitchell is an MS Undergraduate in Sports Journalism shared that before training, it’s incredibly important to properly stretch your joints. There are countless benefits that come with flexibility training, including to reduce pain and stiffness, reduce the risk of injury, lower stress levels, improve bodily functions, and improve range of motion.

Some of the stretches you should consider doing includes dynamic and neck/back stretching.

Here’s what you need to know about stretching before working out your body and just how important it is.

1. Reduce Pain and Stiffness

Muscular tension can cause several problems and common discomfort to your body if you don’t stretch before working out. Recent studies have shown that stretching can help reduce stiffness and pain levels in your back and neck. Flexibility training can even lower the risk of developing muscle cramps as well. Stretching can also minimize wear on your joints while you are working out too.

As muscles tense and tighten, other muscle groups become weakened, which can cause wear and tear on different joints. However, regularly stretching before working out or training can help protect muscle groups from becoming sore or stiff and help prevent damage to your joints. If you have pre-existing joint problems, stretching prior to a workout is even more essential. But remember, stretching after your workout is just as important as stretching before.

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FREE Health Fair – October 17, 2018

The Glenbard Parent Series will host a  pre-meeting Health Expo at 6:15pm-7pm prior to Brain Rules for Peak Performance / Attack of the Teenage Brain with Dr. John Medina on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at Glenbard North.

Eye rolling. Moodiness. And of course, the drama. Teens can be hard to parent. The good news: It’s not you. It’s not them. It’s their brains. In this humorous, and enlightening presentation, University of Washington neuroscientist, and authority in brain science Dr. John Medina will explore the factors that drive behavior and affect peak performance, achievement, and engagement. Here are the surprising brain rules to help both teens AND adults thrive and survive. We will examine executive function (the best predictor of academic success), and the importance of ” Rules” such as exercise and sleep to learn how the brain and body really work for optimal healthy functioning to assist us all!

Through the use of Medina’s fascinating and entertaining stories, all will benefit from the transformative ideas and practical information to enhance our mind and body to get the most from it.  Dr. Medina is the best -selling author of ten books including “Attack of the Teenage Brain”, ” Brain Rules”, Brain Rules for Baby, and Brain Rules for Aging Well,

Health Expo 6:15p.m. to 7:00p.m.
Arrive early at Glenbard North High School, and receive free health assessments and giveaways from over 20 organization-in partnership with Healthy Lombard.

Drug abuse and mental health top concerns in DuPage County

Assistant City Editor  wrote for the Daily Herald that drug abuse and mental health problems rank as the two most important health concerns in DuPage County, according to a recent survey of residents.

The survey was conducted by Impact DuPage, a group of community organizations committed to creating a common understanding of local needs, gaps, and priorities that will advance the well-being of county residents. The poll of 1,577 people was conducted between February and April as part of Impact DuPage’s 2018 community assessment.

“Part of the whole process for Impact DuPage is to get the community voice,” said Karen Ayala, executive director of the DuPage Health Department and the co-chairwoman of the Impact DuPage steering committee. “We want the factors and priorities that are important to our residents so we can create a responsive framework.”

According to the survey results released Friday, the three most important health concerns in DuPage are drug abuse (44 percent), mental health (43 percent), and too much screen time/technology use (21 percent).

Survey respondents also listed the top three risky behaviors in DuPage to be drug abuse (58 percent), alcohol abuse (34 percent) and too much screen time/technology use (30 percent).

The fact that residents are concerned about drug abuse and mental health problems doesn’t surprise Ayala.

“There’s an increasing recognition — not only across DuPage County but across the country — that behavioral health issues impact and influence the health of a community,” Ayala said. “So I think it is something that we’re coming to grips with as a country.”

DuPage in recent years has been trying to combat the opioid crisis. In May, the county announced it is contributing $100,000 to kick-start two new projects. Read more