Tag Archives: symptoms

Hot Cocoa and Winter Health Risks

Long View: Cold Hands, Hot Cocoa

I always remember December from my childhood, when the weather got subzero, and the wind was playfully whipping snowflakes around. School was out for the holidays, and my sister and I always loved to play outdoors, despite the frigid temperatures.

We would come downstairs with our garb, and Mom would get us all bundled up to brave the weather. Snowsuits, scarves, hats, gloves, and boots were standard outerwear those days. My mom would secure the scarf so that it would stay put, and the hat would cover my ears and my forehead. When she was through, I could barely see and hardly move.

I remember stiffly walking out the door, hoping that with more movement, I would loosen up enough to enjoy some of the winter wonderland we called our yard. Hot cocoa would be waiting for us when we came in, and it was like magic what that cup of warmth could do!

Today, I run out of the house without a coat, hat, gloves, or scarf, thinking, I’m just going to the car, then running in to work. My days of bundling up are over. This is what happens when you go from 6 years old to 60. But honestly, what am I thinking?

Winter health risks should be a concern for our aging population. (Hey, that’s me too!) The most obvious risk is the weather itself. Midwestern winters can consist of ice and snow. Driving is a challenge. Walking is even more of a challenge. Slips on ice are a major risk, so it’s important to wear the right shoes or boots with good traction if you have to go out.  

Hypothermia is also a common winter weather health risk. Hypothermia means your body temperature has fallen below 95 degrees, and once it gets to that point for a prolonged period of time, you can’t produce enough energy to stay warm.

Symptoms include shivering, cold pale skin, lack of coordination, slowed reactions and breathing, and mental confusion. It’s good to pay attention to how cold it is where you are, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. Also, make sure you’re eating enough to keep up a healthy weight. Body fat helps you stay warm.

Frostbite is another health risk during the winter months. Frostbite means your skin has been over-exposed to cold temperatures, and it usually affects the nose, ears, cheeks, fingers, and toes. It can be severe and cause permanent damage to the skin, and even progress to the bone.

Frostbite can affect anyone who is exposed to below freezing temperatures, in particular, those who aren’t wearing the right clothing. It’s important to wear layers, preferably 2 to 3 layers of loose-fitting clothing, as well as a coat, hat, gloves, and a scarf. Covering up your nose and mouth will also protect your lungs from the cold air.

As for drinking a cup of hot cocoa, well, that is a winter weather health benefit! According to a study at Cornell University, hot cocoa has almost twice as many antioxidants as red wine, and 2 to 3 times more than green tea! This winter, enjoy the magic of the season by keeping yourself safe and warm.

Mervet Adams is a community liaison with Health Alliance. She loves her grandson, family, nature, and fashion.

Signs of Dyslexia

Dyslexia Awareness Month

October is also Dyslexia Awareness Month. Dyslexia is a neurological condition, which causes a difference in how people understand and process language.

Dyslexia Awareness Month

 

Since there’s no cure, a dyslexia diagnosis can feel overwhelming. While it makes reading more difficult, almost all people with dyslexia can learn to read.

Learning to Read

 

Dyslexia does not affect intelligence. Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Stephen Spielberg, and many more have excelled despite having dyslexia.

Intelligence and Dyslexia

 

Dyslexia runs in families, so if you have dyslexia, you should keep an eye out for signs of it in your children.

Dyslexia and Your Kids

 

Your child might have dyslexia if they have trouble learning their sounds or letters, or to speak, read, and write.

Getting special instruction that breaks down language structure can help your student cope with dyslexia.

Help Learning with Dyslexia

 

You have a right to get help or special considerations when taking certain tests, applying for colleges, or applying for jobs.

Your Rights with Dyslexia

National Protect Your Hearing Month

National Protect Your Hearing Month

It’s National Protect Your Hearing Month and National Audiology Awareness Month, and it’s the best time to start thinking about protecting your hearing, regardless of your age.

Get the facts about your risk for hearing loss.

Myth vs. Fact on Hearing Loss

 

At least 10 million adults under age 70 have hearing loss from noise in one or both ears. You might not realize how easy it is to damage your hearing.

Noise Ratings

 

Kids and teens are especially at risk to damage their hearing without realizing it. Help them learn more.

Protect Teens' Ears

 

Do you need a hearing test? This quick quiz can help you find out.

Getting a Hearing Test

 

Know the signs and symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss and help prevent it.

Signs of Damage

 

Move away from loud noises that you can’t lower. Distance improves the likelihood your ears will be protected.

Move Away From Loud Noises

 

Lower your volume and wear hearing protectors, like earplugs, when you’re doing loud activities, like mowing.

Protect Your Hearing

PCOS Awareness Month

PCOS Awareness Month

It’s Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS Awareness Month. PCOS is an endocrine disorder that affects 1 in 10 women, more than 7 million total.

Learning About PCOS

 

More women suffer from PCOS than the number of people diagnosed with breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus combined.

Unity in the Face of PCOS

 

With PCOS, many women develop cysts because of a hormonal imbalance. Insulin may also be linked to it.

Insulin Levels

 

PCOS Symptoms can include infertility, abnormal menstrual cycles, weight gain, pain, and more.

PCOS Symptoms

 

Your doctor can perform an exam or tests to check for signs and symptoms of PCOS. Ask about them at your next well-woman visit.

You and Your Well-Woman Visit

 

If you suffer from PCOS, you’re more likely to have serious health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea.

More Serious Health Risks that Go with PCOS

 

There isn’t a cure for PCOS, but your doctor can help you treat it and its symptoms. You can also donate time or money.

PCOS Treatment and Support

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National Eye Exam Month

National Eye Exam Month

August is National Eye Exam Month, and 12.2 million Americans require some sort of vision correction but don’t use any, according to the Vision Council of America.

Almost 50% of children under 12 have never seen an eye care professional. Eye exams can help you fix issues early.

Eye Exams for Kids

 

1 in 4 kids have vision problems, and it’s a common reason for them to fall behind in school. Eye exams could help stop reading problems in their tracks.

Read Better with Glasses

 

Many eye diseases have no symptoms. Eye exams can help your doctor catch serious issues early.

 

Many eye conditions can be improved if they’re caught early, especially in children. Schedule an eye exam for your kids.

Fight Eye Problems Fast

 

Eye exams can also help spot other problems, like high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

Window to Your Health

 

If you’re having unexplained headaches, your eye doctor might be able to help. It may be as simple as updating your prescription.

Fighting Headaches with Your Eyes

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Beat the Summer Heat

Summer Heat

It’s officially time for summer fun, which means lots of outdoor activities. But it’s important to protect yourself in the summer heat.

In 2014, 244 people died in the U.S. from excessive heat exposure, and these problems are avoidable.

You can help yourself avoid heat-related illnesses by drinking more liquid than you think you need and avoiding alcohol.

Stay Hydrated

 

Wear loose, lightweight clothing, hats, and plenty of sunscreen on any exposed skin. Sunburns affect your ability to cool down.

Dress for the Sun

 

If you’re sweating a lot, replace lost salt and electrolytes by drinking juice or sports drinks.

Replace Your Salt

 

Avoid spending time outside from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the hottest part of the day, and try not to over-exert yourself.

Hottest Part of the Day

 

Babies, the elderly, pets, those with heart problems, and people who exercise or work outside are at the highest risk of heat-related issues.

Risk of Heat-Related Issues

 

If you think someone is experiencing heat exhaustion or cramps, move them to the shade or AC, give them water, use wet towels to cool them down, and if you’re worried or symptoms don’t ease, call 911.

Cooling Down Fast

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National Lyme Disease Awareness Month

National Lyme Disease Awareness Month

It’s National Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and experts warn that this summer could be a bad one for ticks.

Tick Season 2017

 

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you should know some of the ways Lyme disease can show up.

Tick Safety Outdoors

 

Wear long, snug clothing to protect you and light colors, which make it easier to see ticks, when you’re hiking.

Hiking Smart

 

You should change and wash your clothes immediately when you get home from hiking or camping in thick grass or wooded areas.

Avoiding Ticks with Your Clothing

 

Use repellent on your skin or clothing to deter ticks, and know where they like to hide, like hair, underarms, and inner legs.

Tick Repellent

 

Worried that you have Lyme disease? Fill out your symptoms and find out.

There are 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year, and only 50% of those people find a tick, so know what to do.

Preventing Lyme Disease

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