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You work hard every day to make sure your food is healthy and sanitary. You shop for the best food; you make sure your chicken is cleaned and your vegetables are scrubbed. But what about your kitchen tools? Do you ever wonder how clean they truly are, or if just a quick cycle in the dishwasher is enough to get them spotless? Everything from forks to ladles comes into contact with your food at some point, so isn’t it only logical to question their level of sanitation?
Your kitchen is home to an abundance of bacteria. Some of the most common species include Salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli), and Staphylococcus aureus (commonly known as Staph).
Researchers at the University of Georgia have found that kitchen utensils can spread this bacterium to your food – and then to you! These can lead to a hefty doctor bill that can cause a great financial burden without insurance. There’s no reason to fear, however! Here is a list of kitchen utensils most commonly infected, and what you can do about them.
Sponges are easily the grossest item in your kitchen. In fact, next to the human intestinal tract, kitchen sponges have on the highest densities of bacteria in the world. Sanitization isn’t effective on the bacteria that inhabit the sponge and trying to kill these bacteria can actually cause them to before more resistant. If you’re not willing to give up your sponge, try replacing it at least once a week.
Think of all the stuff you do with your knife. You cut meat; you slice and dice vegetables. It’s easy to see then why cross-contamination is such a huge issue with knives. Luckily, however, unlike your kitchen sponges, you don’t need to throw away your entire knife kit away after one use; you just need to take the extra steps to sanitize it.
Start by washing the knife in warm, soapy water. Taking extra precautions so you don’t cut yourself, wipe the blade on both sides and where it meets the handle. When you’re done, rinse and dry it – preferably with a clean paper towel. In a separate container – one large enough to submerge the knife completely – mix together 1 quart of water and 1 teaspoon of bleach; soak the knife for one minute and allow it to air dry. And, just like that, your knife is perfectly sanitized and ready to get back to work.
As someone who bakes regularly with citrus zest, I understand cleaning graters is difficult. However, all those micro bits of food that get trapped in the grooves become the perfect place for bacteria to grow and infect your food in the future.
The best way to prevent this is to clean it immediately. Run the grater under water and wipe with the blade. Using a toothbrush to scrub it can also be very helpful. When all else fails, run it through a cycle in the dishwasher.
Being mindful of these kitchen bacteria “hotspots” will go a long way in ensuring the health and safety of you and your family. If you do find yourself with any type of food poisoning, be sure to consult your doctor right away.
Many individuals begin taking probiotics for a variety of reasons. If you’re considering taking probiotics, but are a bit unsure of what to expect, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we will discuss the most typical and common expectations when it comes to taking probiotics. Be sure to consult your health care provider before making any decisions related to your diet and ensure that this course of supplementation is right for you before beginning.
What To Expect
Each individual is unique in how they respond to different stimulants and food. This is no different when it comes to the consumption of probiotics. Some individuals feel fantastic, full of energy with a brighter mood and complexion with a comfortable stomach. On the other end, others may feel worse in the beginning.
The most common outcome of taking probiotics, however, is that you won’t really feel any differently when you begin. As your body is just starting to develop a strong and diverse microbial community.
Will I Get Sick?
Many individuals wonder if things will get worse before they get better when it comes to taking probiotics. As you are introducing an array of beneficial strains of microbes into your digestive tract, this is a valid question. As these helpful florae begin multiplying and battling the bad types of bacteria, you may feel a bit ill as toxins are released. Your body will eventually flush them all out, and your immune system will work to help detoxify your digestive tract. In the meantime, you may experience some minor and temporary discomforts, including:
- Minor cramping
- Skin irritation
- Change in both frequency and texture of bowel movements
This is all part of the normal cleansing period of probiotic implementation into your body. We recommend keeping an eye on yourself and to call your health care provider if things appear to be getting out of control, as the saying goes when in doubt, consult a professional.
Will I feel any differently?
As stated above, sometimes when first starting out, if you’re like most individuals you won’t notice any differences at all. For many of us, it takes a while for the microbial communities to become established, and this is okay. The best routine is to relax and know that your probiotics are doing their thing. Much like vitamins, probiotics take time to build up in your system and can take several weeks or months before you begin to feel any different. Ensuring you have selected a high-quality and time-released probiotic will help ensure you are getting the right stuff for your gastrointestinal tract.
If you’re unsure of which probiotic to use, be sure to consult with your health care provider. They will be able to provide recommendations on the right probiotic for you and will be able to help monitor your overall health during the colonization process of the healthy microbial bacteria.
Probiotics are a great first step in becoming healthy. As we have stated multiple times throughout this article, be sure to contact your health care provider before beginning any supplements.
If your eyes are the window to your soul, then your teeth are the window to your health. The CDC says the overall condition of your dental hygiene and health are directly related to the holistic health of your body. When you consider that significant fact, it’s easy to see why visiting the dentist regularly is so important for your health.
Going to the dentist is not free, however. Sure, you only need to visit the dentist around twice a year, but when you add in other costs outside of your exam – such as x-rays and treatments – the price quickly increases. Having dental health coverage is important; yet, most adults opt out of paying for dental insurance. When you look at the costs, it easy to see then why people without insurances are also not visiting the dentist nearly as much. If you’re wondering if dental insurance is right for you – hint, it is! -here are the top five reasons that owning dental health insurance is so important.
Helps Pay for Expensive Healthcare
Healthcare, in general, carries a hefty price tag, and dental healthcare is not exempt from this. The most important aspect of having dental insurance is that it eases the finical burden of visiting the dentist. More and more people are skipping out on regular dentist visits in order to save money, and it is causing an increase in many health issues including gum disease. By purchasing dental insurance, you will be able to regularly visit the dentist without the financial burden.
Maintains Dental Health
Once the price tag disappears, and you are able to visit the dentist more often, your dental health will improve. By purchasing dental health insurance, you will be able to attend the visit required for maintaining your dental health. Biannual dentist visits are recommended, but, based on your current dental health and your lifestyle, your dentist may suggest more.
Insurance is not a “one size fits all” product. Your lifestyle and health are unique to you, and your health insurance should be too. If you’re not sure where to start, you can contact a professional to get a free quote and see what type of insurance will be best suited for you.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, over 200 million productive hours are missed each year because of dental illnesses. By visiting the dentist regularly, you will be able to fix these issues before they become true illnesses – allowing you to save time in the future. Being able to save not only money but time, is one of the greatest benefits gained by purchasing dental health insurance.
Insurance Encourages You to Visit the Dentist
If you pay for a hotel for a month, you’re more likely to go on vacation at that time, right? Dental insurance works the same way. When you’re paying for dental insurance, you are much more likely to take the time to make use of your insurance by visiting the dentist. Owning dental insurance helps you stay responsible for your dental health.
Tuberculosis which is often referred to by its acronym TB is an infectious disease that primarily attacks the lungs and is caused by a bacterium known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This disease is spread via the air and has been around for thousands of years. It is best known for the TB epidemic in Europe and North America in the 18th and 19th centuries.
It wasn’t until the 1940s when the development of the antibiotic streptomycin was able to effectively cure TB, thus drastically reducing the number of infected.
How Is TB Spread?
As stated above, TB is spread through the air. It cannot survive on solid surfaces and is contracted directly from individuals who already have the bacterium via sneezing, coughing, and speaking.
What Are The Stages Of TB?
The first TB infection stage is when an individual first comes into contact with the bacteria and contracts it. Many individuals don’t immediately show symptoms, however, others may experience fever or even pulmonary symptoms. Most individuals with a healthy immune system are able to combat the infection, however, in others, the bacteria will remain dormant. During the dormant phase, TB can be diagnosed with appropriate testing however is not transferrable to others.
When TB becomes active, meaning the bacteria are actively multiplying, those infected will not only feel ill but be contagious as well. It is imperative that those infected receive treatment right away to avoid health complications and disease spread. Normally, a human body will be able to fend off TB with a strong immune system. Those who are immunosuppressant or have a compromised immune system will be at higher risk.
During active stages of TB, affected individuals may experience the following symptoms:
- A general sense of being unwell
- Coughing sometimes with blood or phlegm
- Chest pain
- Trouble breathing
- Weight loss with little to no appetite
- Night sweats
- Intermittent fever
- Generalized body aches
Is TB Common?
While we may not hear much news about TB, it is still present and has not been fully eradicated. Most cases of TB take place in Africa, Asia, and the Western Pacific regions. When looking at worldwide statistics, TB is one of the top 10 causes of mortality and is one of the leading causes of death for those with HIV.
Most common risk factors for TB include:
- HIV infection
- Being in jail or prison (where close contact can spread infection)
- Substance abuse
- Kidney disease and diabetes
- Organ transplants
- Working in healthcare
- Air pollution
- Smoking tobacco
Many of the above risk factors are revolved around individuals who have had their immune system compromised or weakened in some manner. As such, age is also a common risk factor for very young children and the elderly.
As stated above, TB only really affects those individuals who are immune compromised. Healthy adults don’t have anything to worry about, however, if you do find yourself experiencing these symptoms and have recently traveled outside of the country then contact your health care provider immediately.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that affects the recent memory of its patients. While people might not remember the recent events, they will be able to describe past events without any problem. However, memory is not the only part that is affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Some other common symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be drastic mood swings, disorientation, finding it tough to do daily tasks, problems in physical coordination and communication issues.
What Causes Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is mainly caused by malfunction of the nerves or them being damaged or killed. Two abnormal structures are responsible for nerve damage, namely the plaque and the tangle. Plaques are layers or deposits of beta-amyloid, which form in between two nerve cells in the brain.
On the other hand, tangles are twisted fibers of a protein tau, which builds up inside the nerve cells. Generally, most people develop plaques and tangles, as they grow old. However, according to research, in case of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, they are more in number and grow in parts of the brain responsible for memory retention.
Does Alzheimer’s Cause Death?
Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t directly cause death. However, patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease might find it difficult to lead their daily life without any support, which might lead to death. The probability of a patient dying from other causes after being affected by Alzheimer’s disease is high in case he/she is above 80. If the patient is younger, he/she can live up to a decade or more depending on the living conditions.
Unfortunately, there is no known treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, although medicine can be given for alleviating any pain the patient is facing.
Stages of Alzheimer’s disease
The condition can be divided into three main phases
- Early stage where the person is capable of functioning independently with friends and families noticing changes
- Middle stage where the person requires more care with pronounced dementia symptoms
- Severe stage where the patient develops serious dementia and is unable to respond to or interact with his/her immediate surroundings. In this case the patient needs constant care.
Facts About Alzheimer’s Disease
While Alzheimer’s is a cause of dementia in patients, it is not similar to dementia or partial memory loss. Additionally, the condition is not a normal part of aging but the major cause of the disease is aging, along with family history.
The condition worsens over time, where the patients first start off with dementia and then see a deterioration when the condition progresses.
In the US, Alzheimer’s is ranked as the sixth major cause of death. However, it ranks third after cancer and heart attack as a cause of death for elderly patients.
While Alzheimer’s doesn’t cause severe pain, it might cause afflicted individuals to become more violent, worried or emotional in general, especially during the later stages of the disease. At such time, these individuals need a caregiver who can be understanding and patient. In some cases, medicines can be used to calm the patient down or alleviate the condition temporarily unless the situation is resolved.
Cardiac arrest and stroke are the two leading causes of death in the United States every year, after Cancer. The risks associated with a stroke increases after the age of 55 with more than three-fourths of the deaths after this age being caused by strokes. With numbers like these, it is imperative that you know the details of a stroke and how to prevent it, should you get a chance. In case you come across someone who is having a stroke, you should know how to provide primary care as you wait for the paramedics to arrive.
What is A Stroke?
Just like a heart attack, a brain attack is called a stroke. In this condition, a blood vessel can be ruptured, or there can be a lack of blood flow in the brain. In both cases, the oxygen level of the brain is affected, causing immense pain and brain damage.
Symptoms of Stroke
A stroke can affect not only your brain but also your entire body. This, in turn, can lead to varying levels of disability. Some of the common symptoms of a stroke are
- Sudden numbness of the limbs or a body part
- Confusion or trouble in speech
- Dizziness, loss of coordination and/or balance
- Severe headache
How Can You Help?
While you might not be medically trained, you can detect if a person is under a stroke attack. All you need to do is look out for symptoms of stroke-like speech difficulty, dropping of eyes or weakness of limbs. When you see either or all of these symptoms on a person or experience it yourself, go ahead and call 911.
In case you are suffering from stroke, call for medical help immediately, or let the person next to you know about the medical emergency. Quick medical attention can help in overcoming long-lasting and unpleasant effects of stroke.
How Can You Prevent A Stroke
Brain stroke is more common in African Americans, and the best way to prevent it is by taking care of your health. Sometimes your family history plays a crucial role in your physical ailments. At other times, your health condition is the culprit. Some of the steps you can undertake are
- Quitting smoking
- Taking care of diabetes and your blood sugar level
- Maintaining a healthy blood pressure level
- Reduce weight, if you are overweight and start exercising regularly
- Don’t wear yourself out
In case of a stroke, every minute is important, as the human brain cannot function without oxygen. So each minute the brain is deprived of oxygen through lack of blood circulation, more are the chances of permanent damage. The time window of treating stroke patients for maximum effectiveness is three hours. However, the golden hour is essential for coming out unscathed.
Strokes or any physical ailment can be scary. This is why health insurance is a viable option. If you need a professional and dedicated agency to help you manage your health insurance needs, you can try out National Health Insurance Agencies Inc. Contact now for a free health insurance quote!
Any type of insurance can be handy, especially if you want to save on payment in case of an emergency or an accident. While regular dental care and checkup are essential for dental health, most of us forego the checkups and only visit the dentist when we have an emergency. This is where having a dental insurance plan for you and your family can be helpful.
A dental insurance plan covers the accumulating costs of a dental checkup. With insurance, you can cover the costs of accidental injuries or treatment. So, if you have a kid in the house, it is prudent to invest in a good dental plan before accidents happen. However, before you do that, you need to know about the different types of dental insurances available in the market.
Types of Dental Insurance
Just like other medical insurance plans, there are three types of dental insurance plans available in the market. They are
- Dental maintenance organization plan
- Indemnity Plans
- Preferred provider organization plan
In case of dental maintenance organization plan, the insurance provider restricts coverage only to a couple of dentists in the network. On the other hand, for a preferred provider organization plan, you can visit dentists outside the network. Lastly, the indemnity plan helps you choose any dentist, without restrictions. It provides the most freedom out of the three types of plans. The American Dentist Association is advocating for the best coverage for both patients and dentists. In the meantime, we will continue our dental health insurance review.
How Dental Insurance Works
Now that you have an idea of what the different types of dental insurance are available in the market and why it is important, let’s have a look at how it works. Most dental insurance agency follows the 100-80-50 rule. This means you get paid 100% of your dental related expenses, which include annual checkups, and preventive measures.
80% of the costs are paid for medically necessary treatments like root canals or fillings. While 50% is paid for emergency services like bridge works, crowns and other dental procedures. Before you choose a plan, speak with your insurance agency, because some agencies might not cover the emergency services, or might have a set of rules for you to follow.
You can choose a standalone dental insurance plan or you can also choose a medical insurance plan, which comes with a dental coverage option.
However, you cannot buy a marketplace dental plan unless you are buying a standalone health plan or have bought one before. Additionally, dental coverage is a necessary health benefit for children. So, if you are buying insurance for anyone below the age of 18, they are automatically covered for dental insurance. However, it is not essential for adults, and your insurance company is not liable to provide you with added dental benefits on the same health coverage.
Dental insurance or any form of health insurance can be quite confusing. However, you can always speak to the professionals at National Health Insurance Agencies Inc. We offer you a free consultation to help you choose the best plan. So, what are you waiting for? All you need to do is call us, and we will get back to you!
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, more commonly known by its acronym COPD is used to describe as an all progressive lung disease similar to asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. One of the common symptoms of this disease is that the patient often feels breathlessness.
Since this is a progressive disease, there are no known forms of complete cure. However, with medicine and a healthy lifestyle, COPD can be managed to make the patient feel better and breathe easily.
Symptoms of COPD
While shortness of breath and coughing can be signs of aging, it can also be signs of COPD. If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or your family members, it is time to speak to your healthcare professional
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent coughing without mucus
- Tightening of your chest
How to Diagnose COPD?
COPD cannot be diagnosed by a single test. It needs a complete physical examination, along with answers on your lifestyle and family history in certain cases. A physician generally uses spirometry to assess lung function.
Additionally, invasive tests like arterial blood gas test, which measures the oxygen and carbon dioxide content in your blood is also a way to determine if your lungs are functioning properly.
Once you are diagnosed with COPD, the next step is treating your condition. Based on the symptoms and the diagnosis, your doctor can provide various forms of treatment. The most common ones are given below.
Medications and dilators help relax your airway muscles, making it easier for you to breathe. You can take it through a nebulizer or an inhaler. In order to lower risk of any type of infections while taking in these medicines, you can take a flu shot along with a tetanus shot to prevent whooping cough.
Under dire conditions, a patient can be administered oxygen through a cannula or a mask. Portable oxygen cylinders can also be used in case the patient needs to be moved from one place to another. This method is administered only when the oxygen level of blood is too low.
This is the last measure against COPD and is undertaken when other methods have failed. However, not all forms of COPD can be cured or alleviated with surgery. When you have severe emphysema, bullectomy can be conducted. In this procedure, your surgeons would remove abnormal air spaces from your lungs.
If you are looking forward to alleviating your breathing problems, you should also undertake some lifestyle changes. Common steps include
- Regular sleep cycle
- No smoking or alcohol
- Avoiding exposure to smoke and fumes
- Balanced diet
Try drinking plenty of fluids all around the year and limited caffeine intake when you are looking for progressive changes.
When you are suffering from COPD, try to relax as much as possible to prevent exerting your lungs. Sometimes patients who have lung cancer also experience COPD, however, the opposite is not always true. At the end of the day, if you maintain a healthy lifestyle, you can always see progress despite your health conditions.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, over 26 million Americans suffer from Asthma. Asthma is a chronic lung disease that narrows the airways and causes inflammation in your respiratory tract. It causes several problems like wheezing, short of breath, tightness of chest and coughing. While it attacks people of all ages, the most often stage of its development is during childhood.
What Causes Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic disease, the causes of which are not clinically proven. While some researchers think that it is genetic, others have cited different reasons. Some of the most common ones are
- Atopy or an inherited tendency of allergies
- Parents suffering from asthma
- Childhood respiratory infections
- Contact with allergens
- Lack of proper hygiene, especially with children
Symptoms of Asthma
Not always breathing problems are caused by asthma. Sometimes a simple panic attack can also seem like an asthma attack to the inexperienced eye. This is why you should know about the common symptoms of asthma. They are
- Coughing at early mornings or late at night, causing erratic sleep patterns
- Tightness in chest
- Shortness of breath
The best way to diagnose asthma is to do a lung test if you experience one or all of these symptoms. Remember, that asthma can be kept under control with proper medication and a healthy lifestyle.
Prevention of Asthma
Since it is a chronic disease with long-lasting effects, asthma cannot be clinically prevented or cured. However, once you or a person is diagnosed with it, you can try preventing its symptoms by
- Learning about asthma and what causes the stimulation
- Following a proper plan of action and using prescribed medicines
- Get regular checkups
- Avoid things that trigger an asthma attack
What Can You Do?
If you are a primary caregiver to an asthma patient, then you need to make sure that the patient gets ongoing medical support and care. If you are a parent who has a child affected with asthma, you should avoid smoking in confined areas or cars.
As for employers, having a healthy workplace with fresh air and ventilation is a must – have in the office space. Moreover, the employers should promote measures to counterattack the asthma attack by providing medical benefits, reimbursement for inhalers and any long-term medicines or promote educational sessions about the chronic ailment.
In order to provide care to the asthma patient everyone should be knowledgeable about the Asthma Action Plan Stages. It is divided into three stages
- Green zone meaning little to no symptom and the patient is doing well
- Yellow zone meaning moderate symptom and the patient is getting worse
- Red zone means that the patient needs medical intervention and it is an emergency
While asthma patients need to be handled with care under certain situations, they are not invalid, and it should be kept in mind. It is also the responsibility of an asthma patient to stay away from the sources that cause the attack, while it is the responsibility of the family members, friends and colleagues to not do anything to trigger the attack. Only through mutual work can everyone achieve a healthy lifestyle.