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NHIA Blog2018-10-03T17:48:50+00:00

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3004, 2021

Which Pain Reliever is Right for You?

By |April 30th, 2021|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|0 Comments

All boxes of medicine calling themselves a pain reliever might look and sound similar. However, the differences on a chemical level are enormous and worth understanding. While they are almost always safe to take when administered correctly, there are situations in which using them may be ill-advised. Using them before receiving a vaccination, for example, can create problems with monitoring side effects.

However, once you learn the differences between each pain reliever, it will soon become second nature. Then, you will never have to guess second which one to get again. Of course, asking your care provider will give you the best answers. However, this article can help you ask some educated and ultimately informative questions.

Ibuprofen, Aspirin, and Acetaminophen

The three most common pain relievers are all made of different chemicals. Consequently, they all behave slightly differently in the body, though they all can treat aches and pains. Ibuprofen and aspirin are both NSAIDs – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Medical professionals also use them to treat fevers, inflammation, and pain. They are in products such as Motrin and Advil (ibuprofen) and drugs such as Bayer and Excedrin (aspirins).

Ibuprofen Vs. Aspirin

While ibuprofen and aspirin treat the same symptoms and are both NSAIDs, they are not the same drugs. As a result, their chemical structures can interact a little differently with the body. Both drugs inhibit cyclooxygenase, also called the COX enzyme. This prevents the formation of chemicals that cause inflammation, which is part of the body’s immune system.

NSAIDs generally work overtime, typically the course of a few days. Do not take long term unless advised by a doctor. Because they reduce inflammation, they are more effective for certain types of pain.

Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen is not an NSAID. It does not reduce inflammation, but it can reduce pain all the same. While acetaminophen does not reduce inflammation, it works to inhibit pain reception in the body. It numbs the body to lower amounts of pain, requiring more severe pain to feel while using acetaminophen. It also explicitly tells the hypothalamus to reduce body temperature when the temperature is elevated through chemical action. Though it can typically be used longer than NSAIDs, it should still not be used longer than ten days unless advised by a doctor.

The doses also vary based on which medicine you are using.

  • Aspirins typically come in amounts of 325 milligrams.
  • Ibuprofens in 200 milligrams.
  • Acetaminophens in doses ranging from 325mg to 1000mg.

Which One is Best for Me?

Professionals usually recommend acetaminophen at lower dosages because, in high amounts, it can be toxic to the liver and is also far more effective at treating mild, temporary pain. Doses less than 3000mg per day are generally safe, but taking the minimum required is always recommended unless advised otherwise by your doctor. Care should be taken to consume lower doses of acetaminophen if you drink a more significant than average amount of alcohol because of its interaction with the liver. Mixing cold medication or prescription narcotics can also present risky interactions and be checked with a pharmacist.

However, NSAIDs and another drug – Naproxen – May be more effective than acetaminophen for situations where swelling and inflammation are present. These drugs tend to have more risk of side effects – Most commonly being stomach tenderness and irritation, though some patients may develop internal ulcers and bleeding in sporadic cases. They also carry a risk of heart attack and stroke when you take them at high doses for extended durations. This is why you should taper off use after symptoms abate. Your doctor may prescribe you a low-dose NSAID of 65 milligrams to help prevent symptoms of heart conditions from worsening, but you should always check with your care provider if you plan on taking any pain reliever in the long term.

In Conclusion

Base your decision on the intensity of your pain, whether or not swelling is present, and always be sure to contact your care provider to address any concerns or questions.

2304, 2021

When to Seek Treatment for a Fever

By |April 23rd, 2021|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|0 Comments

It can be alarming to realize that you’ve got a fever – Especially in these uncertain times. One of the most commonly reported symptoms of COVID-19 is a fever, after all. However, fevers are an indicator of far more than respiratory conditions, and this can do little to relieve anxieties about fevers.  Visits to the doctor’s office can be expensive and nerve-wracking, but don’t worry – This article will tell you what you need to know about fevers and when seeing a doctor is necessary.

What is a fever?

In the 1800s, a German doctor named Carl Wunderlich took a survey of temperatures using thermometers under patients’ armpits. He found that 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit was the average temperature after surveying enough people, and the standard persisted. While the medical community now agrees that the average temperature is closer to 97.5 F, the consensus is still that a fever can be considered present when the body’s temperature reaches 100.4 F.

A fever is usually the sign that something is wrong in the body, but they are not illnesses themselves. Even rigorous exercise can cause a short-lived fever, but they are usually part of the body’s way of fighting off invaders. Many viruses fail to replicate in hotter environments, and bacteria begin to die as temperatures rise. Fevers between 100.4 F and 102.2 F are considered low-grade fevers and often don’t require any treatment unless accompanied by other symptoms such as dizziness or confusion or if the fever is present in an infant.

However, if the fever causes discomfort, there are numerous options for home treatment.

Treating a Fever Yourself

Low-grade fevers can be treated with a variety of home remedies and over-the-counter medications. With any fever, you should drink plenty of water. Avoid sugary drinks as these can dehydrate you quickly – Especially with a fever – Rather than keep you hydrated. Drinking cool water can reduce fever, as can bathing in cold or lukewarm water. Wearing thin and loose clothing also helps heat escape the body.

Over-the-counter remedies include drugs with acetaminophens such as Tylenol or others, and ibuprofens such as Advil, Motrin IB, or others. These work to reduce inflammation and fever and are found in many cough medicines and pill forms. It is essential not to give medication to an infant or toddler without speaking with a doctor and to follow the directions on the packaging of any medicine you use. Mild fevers can also be a sign of infectious disease, so you may still be wondering when to seek help.

When to See a Doctor

Even a higher grade fever – At or above 102.2 degrees – Will usually resolve itself in a few days. Fevers that don’t resolve after five days are one such reason, as this could be a sign of an ongoing condition that needs treatment that you won’t be able to provide at home. If you are using medication, switching from acetaminophen to ibuprofen can cause side effects. If your fever doesn’t respond to them and lowers within a few hours of a few doses, you may also have a more severe condition.

Consider seeking medical care if your fever spikes abruptly. Fevers in infants three months old or younger should always receive medical attention, as should anybody who has a fever and the following symptoms:

  • Seizure
  • Confusion
  • Stiff neck
  • Ear pain
  • Persistent sore throat
  • Purple mottled rash
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Confusion or cognitive changes
  • Painful urination
  • Respiratory distress such as irregular breathing

In Conclusion

Fevers are usually not something to worry about in and of themselves and can generally be treated at home easily. Most fevers are caused by things other than COVID-19. However, some situations require medical attention, and having access to healthcare services is the first step to getting that attention. Chat with an NHIA Agent today to learn more.

1504, 2021

Common Vaccine Side Effects

By |April 15th, 2021|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|0 Comments

As the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations continues, some of your friends and loved ones may experience side effects that seem to imply the vaccine was making them sick. This can create a great deal of anxiety for those who are unsure about the vaccine, but vaccine side effects are a normal part of the body’s defensive response, and symptoms will subside in most people within a few days.

Whenever something unidentified enters the body, the body begins mounting a defensive response to remove the new material. As it attacks the foreign body, your body may experience symptoms that resemble sicknesses that you are being vaccinated against. This is a well-understood phenomenon that often occurs with flu vaccinations, for example. Unlike flu vaccinations, however, the COVID-19 vaccines do not contain live COVID-19 virus bodies. Instead, the vaccines contain protein blueprints that help your body recognize and fight COVID-19 without ever encountering the virus.

What to Expect

Fever, fatigue, and headache are some of the most common side effects of vaccinations. Some people may even develop a cough if inflammation occurs in the lungs. Not everyone will experience these side effects, and there is a potentiality for rare side effects that are more severe. It is essential to talk to your physician or care provider about what side effects you can expect.

As a vaccine enters your body, your body will not differentiate between something helpful and something harmful. It only knows that something new and unexpected is present in your bloodstream and begins producing antibodies to fight and disable the newcomer. Most vaccines do not contain live viruses – And those that do contain weakened or dead viruses. Instead, they contain a piece of a virus that is incapable of causing harm on its own. Your body will still recognize these pieces if it encounters a live version of the virus and will have antibodies ready to go in such an event.

The COVID-19 vaccines being developed do not always include part of the virus, either. Instead, they contain an mRNA sequence – Which is sort of like a blueprint – Which temporarily causes some of your immune cells to produce proteins that resemble parts of the COVID-19 virus. Your immune system will recognize these proteins as foreign and start to mount an immune response despite being produced by your body. Side effects are a sign that your immune system has recognized the “threat” and is forming a reaction against it.

Though this is a relatively new form of a vaccine, the processes behind it are well understood. Even though your body produced parts of the proteins found in COVID-19, it will still recognize those proteins if it encounters wild COVID-19 and more effectively eliminates it.

How to Handle Side Effects

Be ready to call out from work if you begin to feel sick. While the vaccine will not cause you to develop COVID-19, the symptoms can be similar. The CDC advises people not to take acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), or antihistamines (Benadryl) before taking the vaccine. These medicines can mask symptoms you are experiencing and make catching side effects more difficult.

Achiness

Most side effects will be mild and not require medical attention, and nearly all will subside in a few days. If the shot hurts after being given, administer a cold, clean towel to the injection site, and be sure to exercise and move your arm to prevent it from stiffening up.

Fevers

If you develop a fever from the vaccine, drink plenty of fluids and wear light clothes. For more information about fevers, see our article here. The same advice applies here. After a fever develops, you can take acetaminophen to reduce your temperature and discomfort.

Contact a Medical Professional

You should call a doctor immediately if you experience shortness of breath or swelling in the face or lips. This can be a sign of an allergic response that does require medical attention. You should also seek attention if the injection site remains red and tender 24 hours after your shot or if any symptoms are beginning to worry you.

904, 2021

Trypanophobia: A Fear of Needles

By |April 9th, 2021|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|0 Comments

Medicine isn’t always pretty. There’s the whole field of digestive medicine, there’s reconstructive surgery, but there’s also the need for needles. Whether it’s bloodwork or essential vaccinations, some people can’t stomach the idea of needles entering their skin. According to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, approximately 25% of adults suffer trypanophobia. Trypanophobia is the fear of needles. As many as 7% of adults avoid procedures involving needles because of this fear.

If anxiety over needles interferes with your ability to seek out medical care, or you know somebody who might be suffering, keep reading to learn what you can do to counteract this surprisingly common fear.

Trypanophobia 101

People who are nervous about needles likely outnumber those who genuinely suffer from a fear of needles. A more severe phobia that should be brought up to your doctor can cause symptoms ranging from feeling faint at the sight of needles to more severe things. You may have increased blood pressure, your heart could race, and you might even develop tremors or nausea as your respiration speeds up. Some rare cases may even progress into full-blown panic attacks and a loss of consciousness, but even in mild cases, it pays to understand what is happening and how to deal with the fear.

Widespread Anxiety

Many childhood fears persist into adulthood, and a fear of needles is pervasive in children. Up to half of all children experience a fear of needles, and those up to a third continue to be afraid – Though the fear is more common in women than in men. Physiologically speaking, women have more nerve receptors than men and are more sensitive to pain and discomfort as a result. As children undergo regular inoculations, the natural response is to want to avoid the pain of injections. This is more severe in some people than others, but the answer may even be genetic.

The anxiety of needles can be made worse by assuming that the fear is irrational. However, the fear is a perfectly normal response. From there, learning how to manage the response when it comes to necessary medical procedures is essential.

How to Handle Trypanophobia

You’re not alone if needles make you nervous – Even if they make you start to panic. It’s such a common fear that there are methods to overcome it. Many people, when they see a needle, worry about the size. Even long needles rarely push in all the way and usually only need to get just under the skin to reach the right veins.

Looking at pictures of them to understand more about how they work, and how much is used, can help. It will make you uncomfortable, but by letting the discomfort mount and dissolve, you build up a tolerance to the idea of needles. You can take this further by watching videos of medical professionals drawing blood or administering injections.

It is essential to remain calm as you expose yourself to your fear. By breathing deeply and exhaling slowly, the blood is saturated with oxygen, and fear hormones have a more challenging time reaching the brain. A good technique is to sit up straight and breathe through your nose – Exhaling through your mouth. Try counting “one-one thousand, two-one thousand” as you inhale, and then through to “five-one thousand” as you exhale.

The Day of Your Procedure

When it finally comes to sit down and face the needle, it is crucial to let the professional know about your anxiety. They will help calm you down and reassure you that everything is okay. Closing your eyes can help, as can squeezing a stress ball or applying over-the-counter lidocaine cream to numb the pain a half hour before your shot or extraction. Most injections and blood drawings are over in less than a minute. Your time spent with the needle will be at a minimum. Working together with your care provider and taking a thoughtful approach will help you to overcome this fear once and for all.

2603, 2021

Weight Loss Surgery and Insurance

By |March 26th, 2021|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|0 Comments

According to the CDC, the estimated population of American adults with morbid obesity is roughly 40%. The crisis of obesity is quickly becoming an epidemic in the U.S., many  people are seeking to lose weight. As a result, they are curious if insurance providers might assist their road to weight loss through weight loss surgery. Procedures like gastric sleeves, bypasses, and duodenal switches are all potentially covered beneath your insurance plan. In this article, we include the basic premises and what to look for when deciding to undergo an operation with your physician’s assistance.

Diet and Exercise

Providers usually have steps before seriously considering the push for surgery. They will first require you to put some serious effort into your weight loss with diet and exercise. Begin by first, speaking with your physician and finding a routine fit for you and following it. Without effort and proof of attempts, the insurance companies will not cover your operation.

Common Prerequisites of Various Providers

With each provider, there are ‘underlying checks’ that you must pass before they consider you for coverage for surgeries. Some of the most basic are things like minimum age, which is usually eighteen but can be lower with some specific plans. Others are things like your body mass index being at least forty or lower with risk factors that will jeopardize your health further.

Before treatment, you must also have no evidence upon checkup of substance abuse. You’ll also undergo psychological testing and be required to quit smoking beforehand, so prepare for the surgery by preparing to give up nicotine. An unfortunate reality for many, but necessary for your health.

Some of the worst symptoms of obesity include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Asthma
  • Cholesterol Issues
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Urinary stress incontinence

With surgery, It’s been heavily documented that conditions such as these will begin drastically improving as the stress on your body lowers from your weight loss.

Common Providers

Some of the most common providers that Americans are using are insurance companies such as Medicare, Medicaid, CIGNA, and Aetna. Though, if you aren’t within these major companies, be sure to request a copy of your provider’s insurance policies to review them yourself. Additionally, a few calls to discuss the terms and requests for the surgery to your provider might be a good idea.

Medicare covers some surgeries, but you need to meet their BMI requirements above 35, serious health issues arising, and years of attempts to lose weight with diet and exercise. CIGNA has similar rulings regarding BMI requirements and health issues and differentiates by requiring a weight-loss program directed by a physician. They’ll also require several recommendations, evaluations, and more before paying for the procedure. Aetna’s program is roughly the same as CIGNA’s.

If They Decline You

If your provided information isn’t enough for them to warrant the surgery, you still have options to appeal. Every health insurance provider has documented materials to assist you in the appeals process; find them, study them, and follow them to the letter. Keep in mind, some providers give you a limited amount of time to appeal the process. So if you get denied, work fast to reach the next steps necessary to attempt fighting their rejection.

Average Cost of Weight Loss Surgery

The surgery’s average cost appears to be roughly anywhere between a low of $17,000 to a staggering high of $26,000. Of course, each pricing is a variable factor depending on your age, size, the operation you choose, and other factors.

Even the highest price of the surgery is still a far cheaper option than treating the various long-lasting consequences of staying within the morbid obesity bracket, as the stress of large amounts of weight upon your body will quickly cause it to break down.

1903, 2021

Stem Cell Therapy and Health Insurance

By |March 19th, 2021|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|0 Comments

Stem cell therapy is a rising star in the treatment methods for various debilitating diseases and illnesses. It can help treat everything from leukemia to diabetes. However, such treatments’ costs vary from a modest $2,500 to a staggering $100,000 and up.

It is also not suitable for everyone and is not a magical ‘instant cure’ for every condition. If you have active cancers, infections, or a history of bone marrow cancers, stem cell therapy might not work. As an addition, those with blood-related conditions might also end up on the ‘no treatment’ list for stem cells. This is due to the risks attributed to their illnesses.

What Are Stem Cells?

Stem cells are the basic building block of most of our bodily tissue. This includes blood, bone, organs, and everything else within our creation. Researchers can harvest cells from one of the body. Then, they redistribute the cells to another part in order to assist in repairing your body.

Alternatively, this may also refer to the far more controversial cells that are harvested from human embryos. Thankfully, this has been battled on various legal platforms and, with some amount of research, is now considered ‘unviable’ by a majority of the healthcare field.

Insurance and Stem Cell Therapy

Medical debt being one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in the US. So, some potential patrons of stem cell treatment look to health insurance to help pad the blow to their finances.

Unfortunately, despite the positive research showing their usage effectiveness, the FDA has not yet approved their use. Most insurance providers won’t cover in-clinic stem cell injections on principle, but they will cover SCT for various cancers. Exceptions can only be made if the physician presiding over your case assures the insurance company that the treatment is absolutely necessary. Though, even then, they’ll still be hesitant to pay for the procedures.

Before you begin researching, a few notable companies that do not consider stem cell treatment necessary:

  • Anthem
  • Aetna
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare

These are some of the most notable and widely covering providers for Americans. If your illness calls for stem cell treatment, the general recommendation would be to contact your provider and discuss the topic at hand with them. Collect as much information as possible, be a well-informed dependent.

Suppose you wish to explore all treatment options. In that case, you could possibly be covered to discuss treatment consultations by your provider, even if the topic is to discuss a treatment option they don’t necessarily recommend or desire.

Preapproval

Before moving forward with anything, even if you do not believe your insurance will provide coverage, still put forth the effort to contact your insurance company and attempt to reach an agreement and expand on the situation at hand.

Paying For Stem Cells Without Insurance

A majority of stem cell therapy providers are more than happy to assist those interested in the treatment with personal payment plans that, when insurance is unavailable, may make their recovery far more affordable. A variety of financing options exist, be sure to discuss the terms by contacting the treatment provider you’re interested in and discussing the terms of payment at hand with them.

Medical Tourism

Suppose you cannot find assistance from your insurance provider, and all other alternatives are at an end. In that case, another potential and sometimes popular option for Americans is to take trips to other countries for alternative treatment. It is recommended to speak with your presiding doctor and specialists before moving forward and only use this option as an absolute ‘last resort’ as the treatments can be made at less-than-adequate unlicensed facilities that may do more harm than good.

Your doctors can at least point you in other potentially usable directions or, at least, give the facility you’re thinking of a once-over for the accuracy and likelihood of success.

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