Tag Archives: sleep

Contact Lens Safety Month

Contact Lens Safety Month

It’s Contact Lens Safety Month, and we’ll have tips to help protect your eyes each day this week.

Always make sure you get contact lens prescriptions from an eye doctor and get instructions on lens care when you first get contacts.

Lenses from Your Doctor

 

Don’t reuse contact lens solution. It loses its ability to disinfect them, so use fresh solution each time you take your lenses out.

Fresh Contact Solution

 

Don’t use saline solution for cleaning your lenses. Saline solution is best for rewetting your contacts, but it won’t clean or disinfect them.

When to Use Saline Solution

 

Never re-wet your contacts with saliva. Your mouth is not sterile, and it can easily cause eye infections.

Rewetting Your Contacts

 

If your contacts are bothering you, don’t ignore it. Irritation can be a sign of infections or other problems, so take them out as soon as possible.

Eye Irritation and Contacts

 

Take out your contacts before you shower or swim. Your lenses can trap bacteria from water against your eyes and cause serious infections.

Water and Your Contact Lenses

 

Unless your contacts are specifically designed to wear through the night, never sleep in your contacts. Your lenses can trap bacteria in your eyes, and it’s good to have oxygen flow.

Your Contacts and Sleeping

Recognizing Postpartum Depression

Dealing with Postpartum Depression

Giving birth can cause a number of powerful emotions, especially as your hormones change. While you’re experiencing overwhelming joy, you may also feel anxiety or fear. These rapid changes can trigger postpartum depression for many women.

Baby Blues

Many new moms experience something called the baby blues after giving birth. This usually starts in the first few days after delivery and can last up to 2 weeks. Signs of these blues include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Mood swings
  • Trouble sleeping or concentrating
  • Issues with appetite

But some new moms experience a more severe period of depression called postpartum depression.

What Is Postpartum Depression?

1 in 7 women will struggle with postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a serious depression disorder that affects women after childbirth or miscarriage. This depression can then make it difficult to recover from childbirth and care for and bond with a newborn.

This is a complication from giving birth, not a character flaw or weakness. While there are many risk factors for developing it, there are some causes that might be to blame.

Doctors believe that one of the causes of postpartum depression is the radical drop in your estrogen and progesterone levels that can trigger emotional responses.

Other causes include sleep deprivation and the load of emotional situations layered on top of one another. These issues might include:

  • Dealing with complications from childbirth
  • Feeling less attractive
  • Struggling with your sense of identity
  • Concerns about being a new parent

Symptoms typically begin a few weeks after childbirth, although they can also appear later. For many, these feelings are most intense at the beginning and ease over time. Postpartum depression can last up to 6 months after giving birth.

Risk Factors

Any new mom can experience postpartum depression, but your risk might be higher if you have:

  • Trouble breastfeeding
  • Multiple births, like twins
  • A newborn with health problems or special needs
  • A personal or family history of depression or other mood disorders
  • Experienced depression after previous pregnancies
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Had stress over the last year, like pregnancy complications, illness, or major negative life changes
  • Issues in your relationship with your significant other, support system, or finances
  • Doubts about the pregnancy because it was unplanned or unwanted

Knowing these risk factors can help you recognize your risk before giving birth. Then you can plan ahead with your doctor.

Prevention When You Know You’re at Risk

If you have a history of depression or postpartum depression, tell your doctor about it once you find out you’re pregnant.

During pregnancy, your doctor can keep an eye on any signs of depression. They may also have you take depression screenings before and after delivery. They might recommend support groups or counseling, or even antidepressants in some cases.

After your baby’s born, they might also recommend a postpartum checkup to check for depression. The earlier they find it, the earlier they can start treatment.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs that you might be struggling with postpartum depression include:

  • Trouble bonding or caring for your newborn
  • Fear that you’re not a good mother
  • Feelings of sadness, sometimes overwhelming, and crying excessively
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Anger and irritability
  • Severe or sudden mood swings
  • Feelings of hopelessness, restlessness, worthlessness, shame, guilt, or worry that you’re not good enough
  • Cutting yourself off from loved ones
  • Changes in appetite
  • Fatigue, loss of energy, and trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of interest in things you once loved
  • Trouble thinking clearly, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Dwelling on thoughts of death or suicide

Complications

If left untreated, postpartum depression can cause long-term issues in your family. It can last for months and sometimes become a chronic depression issue.

It can also interfere with your ability to bond with your baby, which can impact them in the future. Children of mothers who suffered from untreated postpartum depression have more emotional and behavioral problems. They’re more likely to:

  • Cry excessively
  • Have development issues, especially delays in language skills
  • Have trouble sleeping

Treatment

Many people feel guilty or embarrassed that they’re depressed after giving birth, which can make it hard to admit they’re struggling. But it’s time to see the doctor if your symptoms:

  • Don’t fade after 2 weeks
  • Get worse
  • Make it hard to care for your baby or complete normal tasks
  • Include thoughts of self-harm

Your doctor will talk to you about your symptoms, rule out other issues, and might ask for you to take a screening or questionnaire to learn more.

From there, they’ll help you decide on the best treatment depending on how serious it is and your medical history. Common types of treatment include:

  • Therapy where you talk with a mental health professional in a safe environment
  • Support groups for new mothers
  • Medication, like antidepressants
  • Healthy lifestyle choices, like getting plenty of sleep and water, a healthy diet, and regular exercise

If you have suicidal thoughts or think about harming your baby, it’s important to talk to your loved ones and get help from your doctor as soon as possible.

If you need help immediately, call a suicide hotline, like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Postpartum Depression in Fathers

New dads can also have postpartum depression, making them feel sad, fatigued, overwhelmed, or filled with anxiety.

Young fathers with a history of depression, relationship problems, or financial issues are the most at risk. It’s also more likely if the mother is also struggling with depression.

Left untreated, it can have the same negative effects on relationships and child development that a mother’s postpartum depression can.

If you’re a new father dealing with symptoms of depression or anxiety during your partner’s pregnancy or after your child’s birth, talk to your doctor. Similar treatments are available to help you.

Postpartum Psychosis

In extremely rare cases, mothers can also experience postpartum psychosis. This condition is more severe and dangerous. Symptoms usually develop within the first week after delivery and include:

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Hallucinations, delusions, or paranoia
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Agitation and obsessive thoughts about your baby
  • Attempts to harm yourself or your baby

Postpartum psychosis is very serious and can lead to life-threatening thoughts and actions. It needs immediate attention and treatment. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience or see signs of it.

Helping a Loved One

People with depression may not see the signs in themselves or may struggle to acknowledge they’re depressed at a moment usually portrayed as nothing but joyous. If you suspect that a loved one is struggling with postpartum depression or is developing postpartum psychosis, talk to them and their support system about getting help immediately.

Waiting and hoping for improvement is dangerous. Talking about postpartum depression as a normal part of pregnancy for many women helps them feel better about their struggles with it.

As this issue is talked about more in the public, more women will recognize the signs and feel comfortable talking about it and dealing with it.

How to Stay Healthy While Traveling

5 Tips to Stay Healthy While Traveling

Traveling is amazing! What’s not to love about discovering new places, meeting new people and trying new foods? But, traveling also means that your fitness, eating, and sleep habits are disrupted, which can affect your overall health. Assist America, our travel emergency assistance partner has tips for helping you stay healthy while traveling. 

  1. Adopt a Go-To Travel Exercise Routine.

To-Go Travel Routine

If you travel regularly, create an exercise routine that can easily be adapted to your environment and that you can commit to when you’re on-the-go. Your routine should be simple and short, with exercises you can do in a hotel room, a gym, a park, or even on a beach.

If you are a runner, make sure to pack your running gear with you. Running is a great way to discover a destination from a different angle.

If working out isn’t your thing, simply set aside 10 minutes in the morning to stretch before you start your day and another 5 minutes at night to wind down. It will help you relax and energize your body. 

  1. Choose Walking Over Cabs or Public Transportation.

Choose Walking

Whenever you can, choose to walk rather than hop in a cab, bus, or subway since walking is beneficial for your health. It helps improve circulation, sleep, and breathing. It also strengthens muscles, supports your joints, and can lead to weight loss. 

  1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Reusable water bottles are your best travel ally. Once you get through airport security check points, fill up your bottle at a nearby water fountain and make sure you keep drinking water on the plane.

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, fill up before you leave your hotel room if it’s safe to drink the tap water at your destination. If it’s not, ask the hotel for unopened water bottles or buy some at a store nearby. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water at restaurants or even hanging out by the pool.

  1. Commit to One Healthy Meal a Day

One Healthy Meal a Day

While there’s nothing wrong with trying new foods and enjoying big meals, having several rich meals per day can be hard on your body.

If you’re staying at a rental or an apartment-hotel, take advantage of the kitchen by cooking simple meals depending on your schedule. If you’re going to be eating out a lot, opt for vegetarian dishes, choose grilled options over fried, try some fresh seafood, and look at the salad menu. 

  1. Sleep! 

Get Enough Sleep While Traveling

Changing time zones, walking all day, carrying suitcases, all of these can be harsh on your body and your energy. Just being away from your own bed can make it hard to fall asleep. Make sure to rest and to get plenty of sleep by blocking out the lights, reducing the noise, and turning your phone off.

 

If you incorporate these tips into your travel routine, we guarantee you will feel refreshed and full of energy to enjoy each of your trips to their fullest!

Family Wellness Month

Family Wellness Month

It’s Family Wellness Month, and we’ve shared great ideas to help you improve your family’s wellness each day this week.

An easy way to get extra steps as a family? Park farther away at the store and ask the kids to count the steps it takes to get to the door.

Take More Steps

 

Go grocery shopping together and have everyone help plan the meals. Kids are more likely to get interested in cooking and be less picky when they’re involved.

Shopping and Eating with the Family

 

Set goals together as a family, especially healthy goals, and share your dreams with one another. Talk about how to support and help each person achieve those goals and dreams.

Setting Goals Together

 

Develop family rituals that connect you together, like holiday traditions, reading as a family, or weekly yoga or meditation sessions.

Give each child alone time with parents. One-on-one time helps you forge strong relationships and can make them feel special and heard.

One-on-One Time with Each Child

 

Listen and fight fair with your loved ones. Your kids learn from how you handle these difficult moments. If this is something you struggle with, a therapist can help.

Learn to Fight Fair in Your Family

 

Set bedtimes for everyone in the family so that they get a healthy amount of sleep for their age, which is especially important for growing children.

Bedtimes for the Whole Family

Pregnancy Discomforts

Dealing with Pregnancy Discomforts

Pregnancy Discomforts

Some parts of pregnancy can be uncomfortable, and that’s normal. While you should still tell your doctor about small pregnancy discomforts, here are some tips that can help:

Nausea & Vomiting

  • Eat small meals regularly
  • Eat carbs, especially in the morning after you get up
  • Avoid greasy and spicy foods

Fatigue

  • Rest or nap when you can
  • Ask for help with tasks
  • Go to bed earlier than you would’ve before your pregnancy

Dizziness

  • Stand up slowly
  • Hold onto walls or other supporting structures for balance
  • Ask your doctor about taking a vitamin supplement

Hemorrhoids

  • Drink plenty of water and juice
  • Eat more fruit and veggies for fiber
  • Ask your doctor about medication

Swelling & Fluid Retention

  • Lay on one of your sides
  • Elevate your legs while resting
  • Wear support hose

 

Make sure you pay attention to your body and that it’s not just a discomfort though. These signs of early labor can help you know when you need to get to the doctor.

Beat Holiday Stress

Beat Holiday Stress

Holiday stress takes a toll on everyone, even the most prepared among us. Our tips can help you reduce it.

Are you traveling this week? We can help prepare your family.

The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Travel with Kids

 

Make the most of nice days and get some sunshine. It can help you produce serotonin and also helps relieve seasonal affective disorder, which affects millions of Americans.

Soaking Up Sunshine

 

Walk away. Taking a walk can have a tranquilizing effect on your brain, lower anxiety, and improve sleep.

Go for Holiday Walks

 

Don’t lose your daily routine in the holiday rush. Go to the gym, plan your meals, and schedule “me time.” Don’t squeeze in more than you can handle.

Maintain Your Routine

 

If your family always fights during holidays, think about getting together for your holiday meal at a nice restaurant. Being in public can discourage the fighting.

Family Meals Made Public

 

Abandon customs you don’t love. If the kids are all grown, stop bringing presents for everyone to family gatherings. Hate putting up the tree? Get a little one instead. Find ways to make the holidays work for you.

Adjust Holiday Traditions for What Your Love

 

Know when to say no. Don’t feel bad for missing the holiday office party or not bringing a dish. Your priority should be enjoying the holidays, not perfection!

Well-Child Visits

Well-Child Visits – Ages 1 to 4

Getting your kids to their well-child visits helps them be their healthiest. These visits with your doctor are for a full checkup to make sure they’re healthy and developing normally. This is different from other visits for sickness or injury.

Your child needs to go to these visits at:

  • 12 months old
  • 15 months old (1 year and 3 months old)
  • 18 months old (1 year and 6 months old)
  • 2 years old
  • 2 years and 6 months old
  • 3 years old
  • 4 years old

What Happens at Well-Child Visits

Your child needs to have regular well-child visits with their doctor to focus on their development, health, and wellness. At the appointment, some of the basics your doctor will cover are:

  • Checking that your child is developing at a healthy rate and tracking their history
  • Getting a physical exam
  • Staying up to date with their preventive care
  • Getting education and counseling
  • If needed, setting health goals

Your Child’s Development

Your child’s doctor can help you keep track of your child’s key developmental milestones, which can include physical, mental, social, and language skills.

At each visit, your doctor will ask you questions to help make sure your child is reaching milestones on schedule. This can help them recognize signs of problems early on, and put your mind at ease.

Each child grows differently. Some kids take longer to start talking than others. Most of these aren’t a sign that something’s wrong. Your doctor can help you understand what differences could be because of something serious.

By 12 months, most kids:

  • Have started to get their teeth in
  • Stand up by pulling on furniture
  • Walk with help or on their own
  • Copy animal noises
  • Say mama and dad and maybe a few other words
  • Can follow simple directions

See more milestones for 12-month-olds.

By 15 months, most kids:

  • Bend to the floor without falling
  • Can put blocks in a container
  • Make scribbles
  • Bring and show toys to you
  • Listen to stories and look at pictures

By 18 months, most kids:

  • Walk up steps
  • Run or try to run
  • Climb onto low furniture or chairs without help
  • Build short block towers
  • Use spoons and cups
  • Take off socks and hats
  • Point towards things they want
  • Play simple pretend, like feeding a doll

See more milestones for 18-month-olds.

By 2 years, most kids:

  • Have 16 or more teeth
  • Stand on tiptoe
  • Kick a ball
  • Can tell you they’re hungry or thirsty
  • Understand instructions with 2 steps
  • Copy others
  • Name things in a picture book

See more milestones for 2-year-olds.

By 2 years and 6 months, most kids:

  • Can point to different body parts when asked
  • Play simple games with other kids
  • Brush their teeth with help
  • Jump up and down in place
  • Put on clothing, although they may still need help

By 3 years, most kids:

  • Have all 20 of their baby teeth
  • Use the toilet during the day
  • Can copy simple shapes while drawing
  • Put one foot on each step to walk up the stairs
  • Speak in short sentences
  • Ask questions
  • Know their name, age, and if they’re a boy or girl

See more milestones for 3-year-olds.

By 4 years, most kids:

  • Hop on one foot or balance for a short time
  • Can use child-safe scissors
  • Count to 4 or higher
  • Ask a lot of questions
  • Play with imaginary friends
  • Can name some colors
  • Play simple board and card games

See more milestones for 4-year-olds.

Health Information & History

At well-child visits, your doctor will ask you to answer some questions about your kid’s health, and maybe even your family history.

  • Health questions, like:

    • Do they ever complain of headaches, stomachaches, or other kinds of pain?
    • Do they have trouble breathing?

  • Eating habit questions, like:

    • What do they eat on a normal day?

  • Activity questions, like:

    • Do they play pretend and how?

  • Safety questions, like:

    • Do they ride in a car seat?

  • And family questions, like:

    • Have there been any changes in the family, like a new sibling?

Physical Exam

At your child’s appointments, you can expect their doctor to:

  • Measure their height, weight, and blood pressure
  • Check their body and limbs
  • Take their temperature
  • Check their vision
  • Give them any shots or screenings they need

Education, Counseling & Health Goals

Your child’s doctor can help you with important information about caring for your child, managing any conditions or diseases they might have, and preventing future problems.

Their doctor might have valuable handouts, websites, and advice to help or might want to refer you to a specialist who can help with specific issues further.

Their doctor can also help you set health goals to maintain or improve your child’s health, like maintaining a healthy weight.

Prepare for Well-Child Visits

Preparing yourself with questions to ask and answers to your doctor’s questions can help you make the most of your well-child visits.

Know Your Family and Child’s History

Make sure you bring any medical records you have that the doctor might not, especially to a first appointment with a new doctor, like a record of shots and screening results.

You should also make a list of any important changes in your child’s life, like being sick or hurt, changing caregivers, or starting daycare.

Your family’s history of health and wellness is also an important part of your child’s health record. Histories of illness and disease can help doctors look out for issues that run in families and more.

This family health history tool can help you track your family’s health, so that you’re always organized to talk to your child’s doctor. Not sure about your family history? Filling this out is the perfect time to talk to family members for firsthand details.

Talk to Your Doctor

Prepare for your well-child visits by knowing any questions or issues you want to talk about ahead of time. Some things you might want to ask about:

  • Worries about their development
  • Growth and normal development
  • Sleep schedule
  • Getting enough physical activity
  • Healthy weight
  • Getting them to try different foods
  • Getting siblings to get along
  • Disciplining them
  • Screen time
  • Preventive care they need
  • What to do if they get sick

Know What’s Covered

Learn more about what immunizations are covered for your children. And log in to Your Health Alliance or search by your or your child’s member number to see what children’s preventive care your family’s plan covers.

You can use our general preventive care guidelines and prescription drugs to get an idea of what our plans cover.

If you’re not sure what’s covered and what you’ll need a preauthorization for, you can check your coverage and preauthorization lists at Your Health Alliance.

Now that you’re ready for your children’s physicals, log in to Your Health Alliance if you need to set a Primary Care Provider (PCP) for your child or start searching for doctors in our network.