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Health // Category

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10 Oct

You woke up sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head just like in those well-known cold and flu medicine commercials. Now what? Do I have the flu or the common cold? Besides knowing what you need to treat, knowing the difference could be the difference between a minor irritation and serious illness. While a cold can make you feel bad for a few days, the flu can make you feel awful for a few days to weeks. The flu could also lead to other health problems such as pneumonia.

Although we’re going to let you self-diagnose yourself with our handy dandy Cold vs. Flu chart (courtesy of WebMD), you should never rely solely on articles find on the Internet. When in doubt, always seek medical advice.

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Symptoms

Cold

Flu

1

Fever

Sometimes, usually mild

Usual; 100-102 F; lasts 3 to 4 days

2

Headache

Occasionally

Common

3

General Aches, Pains

Slight

Usual; often severe

4

Fatigue, Weakness

Sometimes

Usual; can last 2 to 3 weeks

5

Extreme Exhaustion

Never

Usual; at the beginning of the illness

6

Stuffy Nose

Common

Sometimes

7

Sneezing

Usual

Sometimes

8

Sore Throat

Common

Sometimes

9

Chest Discomfort, Cough

Mild to moderate; hacking cough

Common; can become severe

 

Complications

Sinus
congestion; middle ear infection

Sinusitis, bronchitis, ear
infection, pneumonia; can be life-threatening

 

Prevention

Wash hands often; avoid close contact with anyone with a cold

Wash hands often; avoid close contact with anyone who has flu
symptoms; get the annual flu vaccine

Treatment

Decongestants; pain reliever/fever reducer medicines

Decongestants, pain relievers, or fever reducers are available
over the counter; prescription antiviral drugs for flu may be given in some
cases; call your doctor for more information about treatment.

If you already have flu or cold symptoms, it’s important to call your doctor if you also have any of the following severe symptoms:

  • Persistent fever: A fever lasting more than three days could be a sign of another bacterial infection that should be treated.
  • Painful swallowing: Although a sore throat from a cold or flu can cause mild discomfort, severe pain could mean strep throat, which requires treatment by a doctor.
  • Persistent coughing: When a cough doesn’t go away after two or three weeks, it could be bronchitis, which may need an antibiotic. Postnasal drip or sinusitis can also result in a persistent cough. In addition, asthma is another cause of persistent coughing.
  • Persistent congestion and headaches: When colds and allergies cause congestion and blockage of sinus passages, they can lead to a sinus infection (sinusitis). If you have pain around the eyes and face with thick nasal discharge after a week, you may have a bacterial infection and possibly need an antibiotic. Most sinus infections, however, do not need an antibiotic.

In some cases, you may need to get emergency medical attention right away. In adults, signs of a crisis include:

  • Severe chest pain
  • Severe headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Persistent vomiting

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should get a flu vaccine before flu season begins. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against flu, so make plans to get vaccinated by the end of October, if possible. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later.

You’ve worked hard all year long to stay healthy and fit. Don’t let the fall and winter seasons do you in. Get your flu shot. Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently, especially after using fitness equipment. Stay active and healthy!

Do you work through your cold or flu, or do you grab a hot toddy and curl up in your bed? We want to hear from you. Comment below or on our Facebook page.

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19 Sep

The weather is starting to change. The leaves are turning colors.  These things can only mean one thing … It’s football season!

It’s also time to start thinking about your skin.  Men are more likely to suffer from dry and itchy skin due to cold weather than women are. Why is that? Because women are more aware of how to take care of their skin.  Remember last year when you were outside in that cold, dry, windy weather? Did you put any cream on your hands?  Of course not, that’s why your chapped hands cracked and started bleeding.

Here are a few tips from the American Academy of Dermatology to help you be at your best.

  1. Hit the showers, but only briefly and keep it warm. Hot showers can strip your body of essential oils that protect your skin. These oils act as a defense against cold weather. Use enough water and a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser to remove dirt and oil. And don’t scrub your skin! If you take a bath, keep it to less than 10 minutes or so. After you get our, towel blot your skin gently dry.

  2. Apply moisturizer immediately after washing. Moisturizers work by trapping existing moisture in your skin. Apply a moisturizer after showering and washing your hands and face. Look for ointments and creams that contain olive oil, jojoba oil, or Shea butter since they are more effective and less irritating than lotions.

  3. Wear lip balm.Choose a lip balm that feels good on your lips. Lip balm won’t work if you left it on the sink. So keep it in your pocket.

  4. Use only gentle skin care products. When your skin is dry, stop using deodorant soaps and skin care products that contain alcohol, fragrance, retinoids, or alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). Look at the ingredients in your laundry detergent, too. Avoiding these products will help your skin retain its natural oils.

  5. Watch the open flames.Sitting in front of a campfire is a cool experience. Too much of this good thing can dry out your skin – either bundle up or be prepared to slather on the moisturizer.

  6. Add moisture to the air. Plug in a humidifier to add moisture in your home. It will be good for your skin as well as your breathing.

Don’t be afraid to pull out that moisturizer. You’ll be at your best as you cheer on your team.

How does dry skin affect your outdoor activities? We’d love to hear from you. Comment below.

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16 May

You started an active lifestyle for your own personal reasons. You may have gone down the path of trying to lose a few pounds or maybe you wanted to run your first marathon. Whatever your motivation, we’re glad you did.
In your daily routine, you probably also noticed other benefits in your life.
1. Diet and weight
Depending on the physical activity of your choice, you can burn a few hundred to over a thousand calories in a session. Out of curiosity, I calculated that I burnt 1,800+ calories in one of my half-marathon runs. When you consider that you have to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound of weight, you can see how intense exercises can help you lose weight. Conversely, you tend to eat better because your body craves better food – food that it can burn efficiently and use to repair your muscles.
Even if you’re not running for an hour and a half, you are walking around your office, going up stairs instead of using the elevator, cleaning up the apartment, or maybe chasing the kids around the yard, these cumulative physical activities add up. You’ll still get the benefits of exercise because you’re physically active.
2. Better sleep and rest
Do you remember when you first started working out, and you were ready for bed much earlier than normal? It was your body telling you that your muscles needed rest and recovery time. Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Deep sleep means you will be better rested when you wake up. Try not to exercise an hour before bedtime. Your adrenaline levels may not decrease enough to let you fall asleep right away.
3. Mood enhancer
Combine physical activity and well-rested sleep, and what do you get? A more relaxed and happier you. Exercise and other physical activity stimulates various brain chemical reactions that may leave you with more positive thoughts, which can boost your confidence. After knocking out 200 push ups, what is there that you can’t do?
Whenever you need a pick me up, turn to the gym and not the coffee shop. A walk or pumping some iron may be all you need. Plus, you may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly.
4. Energy booster
It’s almost contrary to what many people think about exercise. You become more energized because regular physical activity improves your muscle strength and boosts endurance. Exercise builds your cardiovascular system to more efficiently deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. Exercise will also help regulate your blood sugar to keep your energy levels throughout the day.
5. Reduce health risks
Physical activity is a good way to keep healthy at a micro-cellular level. Exercise boosts high-density “lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. HDL helps minimize plaque buildup in your arteries which in turn decreases your chances for strokes. Regular exercise helps prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, a number of types of cancer, arthritis and falls.

The health benefits of an active lifestyle are hard to ignore. Anyone can benefit from exercise, regardless of age or physical ability. Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, boost your health, and have fun.  Work in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. Your program should be a combinatio
n of vigorous and moderate aerobic exercises, such as running, walking, or biking. Strength training at least twice per week by lifting weights (free or machines) or body weight exercises. 

For those of you laying on the couch waiting for an invitation to get started. Here it is: Get off that couch! And start living. (Just make sure you check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you haven’t exercised for a long time, have chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis, or you have any health concerns.)
For the rest of us, let’s keep it going!
What other benefits have you realized since you began an active lifestyle? We want to hear from you. Comment below.

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