Friday, December 4, 2020

How to face the flu and common cold

Precisely what is the dreaded "Flu"?

	It's an acute respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses A or B. While most people who get the flu recover in a week or two, others can develop severe and potentially life-threatening complications. According to the Mayo Clinic, those most threatened are children under five and adults older than 65, nursing home and long-term care residents, pregnant women up to two weeks postpartum, and others with weakened immune systems. So too are people with chronic illnesses or who are extremely obese.
	If the flu strikes, stay home. You're sick and highly contagious. Embrace your downtime and heal your body with it. Curl up on the couch, read, watch TV, and nod off to sleep anytime.  Get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night--your body is fighting a virus.
	Drink plenty of fluids for both the flu or a cold. Fluids hydrate your respiratory system and convert thick mucus into a liquid you can spit out. An expectorant will thin the mucus, too. For congestion, the Mayo Clinic recommends over-the-counter decongestant tablets like Sudafed and nasal sprays. Studies suggest they narrow blood vessels in the lining of the nose and help reduce swelling.
	Remember that protein is essential to maintaining body strength. Among your best sources for it are lean meat, poultry, fish, legumes, dairy, eggs, nuts, and seeds. 
	For your cold, recent studies suggest that chicken soup may indeed degrade its symptoms. Nobody really knows why, but the evidence implies this time-honored remedy helps subdue inflammation.  According to the American College of Chest Physicians, chicken soup appears to slow the movement of neutrophils, the white blood cells that harbor acute infection. Tests indicate the vegetables and chicken pieces combine to produce "inhibitory activity."
	If you try zinc for a cold, be sure to follow dosage instructions carefully: Harvard Medical School recommends 15-25 mg per day.
As always, consult your doctor or healthcare provider if you have any health issues or symptoms.

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Thank you
Nurse Practitioner

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Get the Flu Vaccine


Why Should You Get the Flu Vaccine

You may be asking yourself why you should get the FLU vaccine?  After all, it’s only 40-60% effective.  First of all, it is difficult to determine which FLU viral strain there will be in the upcoming FLU season.  The FLU vaccine components are determined based on the previous year’s strain.  This is how the FLU vaccine is made because how well the FLU vaccine works can vary from season to season.  According to the CDC website, “ At least two factors play an important role in determining the likelihood that flu vaccine will protect a person from flu illness: 1) characteristics of the person being vaccinated (such as their age and health), and 2) the similarity or “match” between the flu viruses the flu vaccine is designed to protect against and the flu viruses spreading in the community.” 1

Benefits of the FLU shot

·        One of the benefits of getting the FLU vaccine is that it can prevent you from getting sick with the FLU.  Receiving the FLU vaccine can prevent millions of people getting sick with the FLU virus.  It can also prevent FLU-associated hospitalizations for children and adults.

·       Another benefit is that “Flu vaccination has been associated with lower rates of some cardiac events among people with heart disease, especially among those who have had a cardiac event in the past year.” 1

·       Even if you do get sick with the FLU, if you were vaccinated, the illness may be less severe than if you did not get the vaccine.

·       If you have a chronic disease like diabetes, cardiac disease, asthma, or COPD, the FLU vaccine may help with reduced hospitalizations. 2

·       You can reduce the risk of passing the FLU onto high risk individuals.

I’ve heard that the FLU vaccine can give you the FLU?

This myth is entirely not true.  You cannot get the FLU from the FLU shot.  This has been a misconception from the very beginning.  People may tell you that they got the FLU virus after they received the vaccine.  In fact, these are just mild side effects from receiving the vaccine and can last from 1-2 days.  Again, this is an expected side effect but not everyone gets this.  It is important to remember and tell others that you will not get the FLU virus after receiving the FLU vaccine.


So now that you know some of the benefits of getting the FLU vaccine, don’t you owe it to yourself and other people to get one?  Get the FLU shot today!  It is especially important during this COVID-19 pandemic.


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Friday, February 28, 2020

Good, Healthy Habits

     Good health is of prime importance to all of us. We need to be healthy, filled with abundant energy, sound sleep, and a fit and disease-free body, which will give us a sense of overall well-being. In order to be fit and healthy, we need to practice healthy living styles with proper food habits and exercise. We cannot be healthy if we are lazy. All of us need to work hard, both physically and mentally, to be fit and healthy. Besides exercise, people need to eat healthy foods and avoid junk foods, which make us lethargic and dull. If you are overweight and obese you can suffer from health problems. So, you need to maintain an optimum body weight to be healthy. 

     The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has put out physical activity guidelines for healthy adults.  Essentially, all adult should avoid inactivity.  The CDC recommends that adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.  Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably, it should be spread throughout the week.  Aerobic activity or ‘cardio’ gets you breathing harder and your heart beating faster.

     Also, you will need to follow healthy and positive habits. Positive thinking is very essential to be healthy. You need to clear your mind and fill it with positive thoughts. Try to remove all the depressing and negative emotions and thoughts from your mind and replace it with healthy and positive thoughts. These positive thoughts can be extremely energizing and can lead to good things in life. You can get involved in practices such as meditation and yoga to get rid of the negativity and fill yourself with positive thoughts.  Studies have proved that this is essential and worthwhile.

     Additionally, people need to eat healthy foods in order to be fit and healthy. Simple foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, lean meat, etc can keep you healthy and strong. Try to avoid refined foods and simple sugars. One reason for ill health and diseases is improper food habits. Because of this, many people suffer from diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, obesity etc. Simple changes in your diet and exercise habits can cause a great difference within a short period of time and can improve your health drastically. Moreover, avoid smoking and alcoholic drinks. Exercising in the morning can leave you with a refreshed feeling throughout the day. Exercising can put you in a good mood and can help you to think positively. You can also get involved in activities such as swimming, biking, walking or playing your favorite sport to keep you healthy. Do not go for an activity which you do not enjoy. Try to do your work outs in the open air, if possible. This way, you will feel more refreshed.  But, more importantly, do the exercises whether indoors or out.  Don’t make drastic changes in your life style all at once. Start with simple changes and make sure that you enjoy it.  Try to make these simple changes into a regular habit to achieve long term success. It is very important to improve your health which can help lead to a happy and enjoyable life.

     Besides exercise, people need to have good sleep and rest in order to be healthy. Sound sleep can refresh your mind and make you feel healthy.  All of these simple changes in your life style can improve your health and make you feel strong and fit. You will feel a sense of well-being, both emotionally and physically. The CDC recommends that adults ages 18-60 get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.  Ages 61 to 64; 7-9 hours and ages 65 years and older; 7-8 hours per night.  Some tips for a good night rest include the following:
  • ·       Be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night.
  • ·       Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.
  • ·       Remove electronic devices or shut them down, such as TV’s, computers, and cell phones.
  • ·       Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.

     Always check with your healthcare provider before starting an exercise regimen.  You may also check with your healthcare provider if you have difficulty sleeping or do not feel rested in the mornings as this may be a sign of a health problem.

Mike Polich, MS, MBA, FNP-BC
Certified Family Nurse Practitioner