Month: October 2017

No Health Care Coverage, Even with New Laws? How to Pay Your Bills

Even with the passage of the new Health Care laws, many individuals suffering from autoimmune diseases are still left without any access to health care. Many of these men and women are no longer able to work, so the possibility of health insurance through employment is not an option and neither is the cost of private health insurance. They are left to try and pay for medical services, doctor’s visits, and even much needed medications while trying to survive on a limited budget, with many having to make the choice of keeping a roof over their head or seeing the doctor. When faced with these questions and this dilemma, it may seem like there is no hope or possible options. However, there is assistance out there if you know where to look.

Many cities, and even many small communities, offer low cost or free health care clinics for members of their community. These clinics can be offered on a regular basis like once a week, or are offered on a more sporadic basis. They are usually staffed by volunteer doctors and medical staff. While they usually do not provide specialty health care, like that of a rheumatologist or neurologist, they do provide regular medical care. Provided you have copies of any of your medical records, you may find one of these doctors willing to continue a medical treatment plan designed by a previous specialist. If this program was working to treat your condition, this may work very well. However, if your old treatment plan is not working, this option may not provide much relief. It is always a good idea to look into these clinics as you may get lucky and find a doctor that is familiar with treating your condition.

Another problem many men and women diagnosed with an autoimmune disease face is the cost of their medications. With many of these chronic diseases, the medication alone can run into the thousands of dollars on a monthly basis. If you are unable to work and living on a limited budget, the high cost of medication tends to force many individuals to take themselves off of their medication because they simply can’t afford it anymore. While doing this with some medications may result in nothing more than an increase in pain or symptoms, there are many medications that can cause serious medical issues if stopped abruptly. Before you resort to stopping your medications, you need to find out the pharmaceutical company responsible for making your medications. Many of these pharmaceutical companies offer financial assistance, or even provide free medication to those patients in need. Usually this requires no more than filling out some paperwork and submitting it for approval. Once approved, the pharmaceutical companies will send your medications directly to your doctor’s office for you to pick up.

If seeing a doctor or having medical tests performed is what you need, another option is also available. Many hospitals and medical groups offer financial assistance to those in need. Again, this requires filling out forms and providing financial statements to the organizations, but, if accepted, may provide you with free or reduced cost medical care by doctors within the hospital network and the hospital itself. This is a wonderful option for those patients that will require specialists and medical testing, such as MRI’s, blood work, and more.

Should all of these options fail, and the need for money to pay for doctor’s visits, medical tests, and medical procedures, there is one more option that can be tried. Many people are now turning to the internet to try and raise money for their medical care. An organization called GiveForward has created a website designed solely for the purpose of raising money for medical costs and procedures. This company was started in 2008, and has since helped raise almost 3 million dollars for numerous people and their medical expenses. With people looking to raise money for things such as transplants, surgeries, medications, and even elective surgeries or medical services for their pets, GiveForward provides a place where the average person can start a fundraiser for their medical care. GiveForward does charge a small fee based on the amount raised in order to cover processing fees and such, but they are an organization with the sole purpose of helping people help those in need.

Those of us with autoimmune diseases and medical conditions are sometimes forced to get very creative when it comes to paying for medical expenses while still keeping a roof over our heads. With these possible options available to us, the need to choose whether to pay bills or receive medical care may not have to be a decision we have to make.

allergy free me

Sunscreen Tips: Protect Your Skin, Several Tips, And Allergy Free Me

Sun protection isn’t reserved for warm weather forays at the beach. If you want healthy skin — and who doesn’t — sun protection is a daily must for all skin types. Protect your skin from sun damage year-round by applying sunscreen. Below are some must-know tips for utilizing sunscreen to its fullest, as well as our suggestion for the best online store for high-quality natural sunscreen options (Allergy Free Me).

Using Sunscreen Tip #1

Pick a sunscreen that’s easy to apply. Grab a lotion or gel if you’re sharing the task, or a spray if you’re on your own and need to aim the product at your own back. Whichever style you choose, the American Academy of Dermatology suggests picking a product rated at a sun protect factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. If you freckle or burn easily, choose a higher SPF sunscreen.

Using Sunscreen Tip #2

Apply sunscreen to dry skin 15 to 30 minutes before heading outside. Using a circular motion, rub a liberal amount of suntan lotion into your skin. On average, one application of sunscreen should fill a shot glass, advises the American Academy of Dermatology.

Make sure to apply sunscreen to hard to see areas including behind your shoulders, the tops of your ears, the back of your hands and the back of your legs. If you have a lotion-buddy, ask for help. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends keeping your complexion beautiful by using a face-specific sunscreen for your cheeks, forehead and chin.

Using Sunscreen Tip #3

Reapply sunscreen throughout the day. If you’re sweating from shoveling snow, raking leaves or from taking a dip in the pool, sunscreen will wash away. Dry the moisture of perspiration or water from your skin and rub on sunscreen every 40 minutes.

Using Sunscreen Tip #4

Sunscreen usually expires after three years. Just because your favorite suntan lotion that was tucked away in the bathroom closet still smells like coconuts or reminds you of a vacation to the Caribbean, it doesn’t mean it’s safe. Before slathering it on, check the expiration date.

Using Sunscreen Tip #5

Protection from the sun isn’t just for summer. Protect your skin year-round from UV rays, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Some makeup manufacturers advertise the inclusion of SPF in their products. Before trusting the makeup to completely protect your skin year-round, make sure it has a minimum SPF of 15.

Finish your look with additional protection from the sun. Sporting a funky wide-brim hat, cute sunglasses and shimmery lip balm infused with SPF keeps helps ward off damaging UV sun rays anytime of the year.

Using Allergy Free Me for Natural Sunscreen Products

Allergy Free Me offers sensitive skincare products for healthy, safe sun protection. With almost 80 natural sunscreen, sun protection and tanning options, you are sure to find something that fits your specific needs and requirements! Check out Allergy Free Me’s store here.

Healthy Foods for a Healthy New Year

The yearly impulse to diet beginning with New Year’s Day needs to be backed up with solid planning if you are to succeed this year. Start by stocking up on healthy, and versatile foods that will be easy on your waistline and simple to prepare.

1. Boneless, skinless chicken breast

Boneless, skinless chicken breast should be a staple in any health household. Because of its low fat, but high protein nutrition, chicken breast is a very healthy meat for everyone. It can be cooked in a number of ways, but for the healthiest choice try grilling it. Grilled chicken can then be add to vegetables for a stir-fry, to a nice salad for extra protein, or can be eaten cold in a sandwich. Chicken is incredibly versatile, overwhelmingly well liked and a great option for healthy cooking.

2. Vegetables

Obviously vegetables are necessary to a balanced diet. You have options of how to purchase and use them. Fresh vegetables are best, but often spoil before they are used, especially if you are just getting used to eating healthy. Frozen vegetables can be a great option too. Or you can buy fresh and freeze any that you haven’t used after a couple of days.

3. Salad

Salad doesn’t have to be boring, but one thing it can be is fast. Buying prepared salads in plastic bags is a great trick for quick and healthy eating. Salads can be the main course, with some healthy protein like chicken or shrimp added, or can be a side dish to accompany soup. Plus the lettuce can be added to sandwiches or wraps. Very versatile, very healthy and very easy.

4. Egg substitute

Egg substitutes, like Egg Beaters, are a great option for breakfast, lunch and dinner. High in protein and low in fat, egg substitutes can be made into omelettes, or can be substituted for eggs in other recipes like cakes and muffins. Omelettes in particular are very easy to make and offer a great opportunity to add in veggies like peppers and tomatoes.

5. Non-fat Milk

Milk, if you can handle dairy, is great because of its low fat, high calcium nature. It also provides protein, and can be a great after workout beverage. Non-fat milk, drunk instead of high caloric drinks like sodas, can result weight loss without even trying!

Having a good basis for many healthy meals can make eating healthy much easier. Knowing you have good options waiting at home will prevent you from hitting the drive-through on your way and will keep you moving towards your weight loss goal.

Sources:

Healthy Refrigerator. http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/healthtool-healthy-refrigerator. Accessed December 31, 2010.

Personal Experience

What is on Your Shelves? http://ezinearticles.com/?Stocking-a-Healthy-Pantry:-What-is-on-Your-Shelves? id;=259212 Accessed December 31, 2010.

Vitamin C for Kid Keeps the Doctor Away

I thought it appropriate to share with everyone a good way (that has worked for us) to help you keep your children healthy. As you know from previous articles, I have five children and they are all very active. I have two in school, and they constantly exposed to germs. I must say the school does do a pretty good job of fighting germs, with Clorox wipes and making the kids use tissues, and wash their hands before lunch, but sometimes that is just not enough.

With three little children at home, I am constantly worried about germs, and keeping the children healthy. My oldest is in fourth grade now, and he has never missed a day of school, we have the certificates to prove it. My second oldest in two years has never missed a day. I feel school is very important to their up bringing, and do not like them to miss school, so we must stay healthy, missing school they can fall behind on assignments, and it can be difficult to catch up. So it important not to miss school.

What we do every morning is set out a children’s multi-vitamin, and a children’s vitamin C, and we give each child one of each. This has helped them from getting sick along with a proper diet. Don’t get me wrong they still get the sniffles from time to time, but after taking their vitamins they always seem to perk up and feel better, much quicker.

With today’s foods we are just not getting the proper supplement’s / nutrients that we can get from a good program. Diet is also a very important part of your children’s health. Please consult with a doctor, on a proper diet for your children.

I hope this is helpful, and I would highly recommend from my experiences to put your children on a good vitamin regiment, however, please consult with your doctor before beginning any vitamin programs for your children.

Good day to all

The Health Hazards of Styrofoam

Up until the mid 1980s, restaurants served hot coffee and tea in Styrofoam cups. McDonalds packaged their sandwiches in Styrofoam containers. Environmental worries about Styrofoam largely led to its reduction in such use and toward the current trend of using paper cups and wrappers, but some health concerns about Styrofoam arose, as well. Since Styrofoam’s use as food packaging is less now, we don’t hear as much about health hazards, but there is some disturbing information about its danger.

What is Styrofoam

Styrofoam is actually a brand name and is the most commonly used name for polystyrene. Its primary ingredient, styrene, is the danger. It is used in carpets, insulation and general packing materials. People most often come in contact with it, however, as a product of tobacco smoke.

Manufacturing hazards

Workers in plants that are exposed to styrene may inhale the substance and so experience nervous system difficulties. According to the EPA, these include fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and problems with coordination. Those who work with manufacturing rubber and plastic are most often exposed to air-borne styrene.

Ingesting

Food products placed in containers may become contaminated with styrene according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Eating or drinking such contaminated products can lead to anything from general gastrointestinal difficulties to liver and kidney damage.

Cancer

Some studies even suggest styrene is a carcinogen, increasing the risk of cancers in those exposed. Leukemia and lymphoma are of particular concern to the EPA, which lists styrene as “a probable human carcinogen.”

Caution

Certainly, a cup of tea in a Styrofoam cup every now and then is not going to harm most people. But the cautionary information from the EPA suggests that the move to paper cups and wraps for food and drink was important not only for environmental health but for safety, as well.

References

EPA Styrene Summary. Epa.gov.

“Styrene Report.” Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Cdc.gov.

Healthier Snack Options for Popcorn and Chips

Microwave popcorn and chips are two popular snack products that can be unhealthy, containing a lot of calories, fats, and sodium. However, that doesn’t mean you have to cut them out of your diet to replace and them with healthier options. Here are tasty ways to make them healthier that may save you money while reducing your calorie intake in this associated content article. Learn Healthier Snack Options for Popcorn and Chips.

Nutrition of Microwave Popcorn

Popcorn itself can be a healthy, low calorie snack option; flavored microwave popcorn can be unhealthy. There is an easy way to make healthier popcorn that can save money and reduce your calorie intake. You don’t need a popcorn popper for cooking, just a microwave, plain/unflavored popcorn kernels, and a brown paper bag.

Instructions can be found here to make homemade microwave popcorn in a paper bag. You don’t need to clip the bag and you don’t need to add oil for the popcorn kernels to cook. Without oil, you can save the bag and unpopped kernels to use again or compost unpopped kernels along with the bag or recycle it. Shake any flakes or tiny popcorn particles out before popping unpopped kernels.

Healthier flavor options for Microwave Popcorn

Fresh popped popcorn is good and you can eat popcorn plain but you don’t have to go without flavor. Adding your own gives you more options and puts you in control of calories, fats, cholesterol, and sodium that go into your popcorn. Adding flavor in the bowl means you can reuse the bag.

Remember the taste of freshly cooked naturally flavored popcorn? Instead of artificial butter flavoring like in typical microwave popcorn, you can add real butter, margarine, or olive oil. You can make spicy or sweet cinnamon flavored popcorn, or whatever you want. Pay attention to nutritional information on your added flavors. Compare nutritional information of your homemade popcorn to your usual microwave popcorn and see the difference or look it up at the USDA National Nutrient Database.

Nutrition of Chips

A lot of flavored chips can be unhealthy. An easy option to make chips healthier is to buy regular tortilla chips instead of flavored chips like Doritos. Some chips are available in lower salt varieties. Like microwave popcorn, adding your own flavor can make chips healthier.

Tortilla Chips and Salsa

For a healthier chips flavor option, pair tortilla chips with salsa or another vegetable based dip. Salsa is mostly vegetables and piling on salsa is a tasty way to add more vegetables to your diet and less chips, lowering your calories without reducing the amount of food you eat.

Chips and Homemade Hummus or other Dips

You can also make chips healthier with other vegetable dips. Guacamole can be high in fat, salsa or tomato paste can be mixed into it. Fresh homemade hummus can be made without added oils of store bought hummus and can be flavored with tomato paste, garlic, or whatever you want. Compare nutritional info of a can of chickpeas with your choice of flavoring to store bought hummus or look it up at the USDA National Nutrient Database.

Instead of buying flavored microwave popcorn and flavored chips, try these two popular snacks made healthier and add your own flavor for greater control over what goes into your favorite snacks. There’s a variety of options to choose from. Pay attention to nutritional information as adding flavors can also make microwave popcorn and chips less healthy. You don’t have to be an anorexic to loose weight; with simple changes you can greatly reduce your calorie intake. Consult your doctor before beginning any diet plan.

Sources:
Product Packaging of various microwave popcorn and chip products
USDA National Nutrient Database
http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/

What is Influenza Season?

Influenza season is the time of year when outbreaks of influenza, more commonly referred to as the flu, are more prevalent. The season is typically during the cold part of the year, which varies depending upon geographical location. For example, in the United States the influenza season is considered from October to May. In tropical environments, the season is considered to be year round because there is no time period when outbreaks of influenza appear to be more pronounced.

The cause of influenza season is the influenza virus. The virus, or germ, is spread through the air by coughing and sneezing. It can be contracted by touching an infected surface or inhaling the virus in a cloud form known as an aerosol, which is produced by someone coughing or sneezing. The most common symptoms are coughs, fever, and a sore throat. Other symptoms often show up as well, such as muscle cramps, chills, and a severe headache. The influenza virus is often confused with the common cold, but it is more severe and is caused by a different virus.

No one is sure why influenza season occurs during cold weather, but there are several theories that seek to explain it. The most common explanation is that since it is colder outside, more people stay indoors so they are in closer contact, and that leads to easier transmission of the influenza virus. Another common theory is that since it is colder, the influenza virus can linger longer on an infected surface, such as a countertop or doorknob. It has also been suggested that the cold, dry air dries out mucous membranes, which play a strong role in defending against infectious agents, and that makes it easier for the virus to penetrate the body.

To reduce the number of outbreaks during influenza season, the World Health Organization recommends getting a vaccination. Many large companies offer them free to employees now, and there are many clinics that offer inexpensive treatments. Although it is recommended most people get a vaccination, certain groups are at higher risk. It is strongly recommended that those with asthma, diabetes, cancer and HIV/AIDS receive the influenza vaccination. They will receive a specific type of shot, depending on the particular issue, as all of these diseases either cause, or are caused by, a suppressed immune system. Anyone who has a condition where there immune system is depressed is more at risk during influenza season.

“Flu Season,” Flufacts.com
“Flu Season,” CDC.gov

Best Foods for a Healthy New Year

O.k., you know you need to change your eating habits for a healthy New Year ahead, but how do you do that? Eat less? Eat better? Just how do you eat? And, what do you eat? What are the best foods for a healthy New Year? An informative article in this regard from Runner’s World January 2011 issue has a number of positive food choices to give you a great start. The nutrition in these foods will fortify your body, but making these food choices alone will help train you to move forward into a healthy New Year that lasts.

Black Rice

Generally speaking, the darker the color a food has, the more antioxidants and good stuff inherently in it. This food gets it’s dark color from anthocyanins, a dark pigment found in dark berries and other plant foods. Black rice is one of these foods chocked full of iron as well as carbs. This is a hearty and healthy breakfast food if you sweeten it with honey or maple syrup. Start your day with this food, and you’ll be running strong all day. Go ahead and make it a habit!

White Tea

Theanine, an amino acid (part of protein) that reduces anxiety and creates calming brain waves that combat high blood pressure, is prevalent in this type of tea. In comparison to black and green tea, white tea has the market cornered on keeping you on an even keel for more of a peaceful mindset. Sounds like a great alternative to coffee too.

Maple Syrup

For good muscle function you’ll need 2 key nutrients that largely compose a good portion of maple syrup, manganese and zinc. You’ll also have your immune system covered with these nutrients as well, making maple syrup a great alternative sweetener for many things like hot chocolate, or on top of granola, as well as things like almond milk.

Brussel Sprouts

These veggies get a bad rap most of the time, however they are on the top of the list when it comes to nutrient power. Among the healthy qualities of this food is they contain the highest amount of glucosinolates, compounds that help the body to rid itself cancer causing free radicals. These are also a rich source of vitamin C and K.

Making a commitment to change your eating habits for a healthy New Year is as easy as just becoming aware of the many healthy food choices that exist and then making a conscious effort to eat those foods rather than the other standard American foods that contribute to high fat levels as well as possessing little nutrient value. It’s as easy as making a better choice for a healthy New Year that goes the distance.

The Many Health Benefits of Walking

Walking isn’t just about keeping those few stubborn pounds at bay. There are far more advantages to walking than you may realize. It is known that blockages and general malfunction of our major internal organs can be attributed to a a stagnant lifestyle.

Looking at this more closely, we see that from simply taking a short walk, a series of miraculous events are occurring in our bodies.

the heart rate is a more healthy pace

more blood is delivered throughout the body including the muscles and the brain

oxygen is dispersed throughout the body more efficiently

our muscles burn fat

our immune system is enhanced

essential nutrients are being delivered to the brain

our lung capacity is increased

blood pressure is reduced

bone health is promoted

depression and anxiety are alleviated or can disappear altogether!

Of course there are far more advantages, too numerous to list. But looking at this short list of benefits relevant to each of the major systems of the body, we can readily see a cause and effect factor in play.

The High Cost Of Health Insurance:

If your insurance company called later today and bumped your premiums $100 per month, it is fair to assume you would be less than amused.

Yet people who don’t incorporate some physical component into their lifestyles are more destined to become ill from countless numbers of conditions which are 100% preventable simply by getting 30 minutes of daily exercise. If you are confined to a wheelchair, similar alternatives are available, but get moving the best way you can.

The choice is yours, higher medical insurance payments, doctor bills and medication, illness and feeling bad, or a free 30 minutes excercise each day.

Every benefit walking can give you will greatly reduce the need for frequent doctor visits. If you pay out monthly for medication to maintain healthy blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, or any anti depressants, you will already know the pain that is associated with delving into your pocket book. Now, try it again without prescription benefits and watch the cost soar to where you simply cannot afford to buy it. Will you survive or become another statistic? The number of people without health care in this country alone is at almost epidemic proportion. At the time of this writing, an estimated 47 million Americans do not have any health insurance whatsoever. With the cost of an unplanned trip to the emergency room at an approximate $700 to $1000, depending on the nature of the visit and an added X-Ray, followed by a prescribed medication and you will understand at least the financial necessity of taking care of yourself.

The Mayo Clinic offers a great 10 week walking planner which starts off at just 30 minutes per day. I recommend visiting their site to see how it works.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/walking/SM00060

If you’d like to get a free pedometer, take the pledge to be healthier. You’ll also get some healthy recipes and even coupons to use when making your new healthier food choices.

http://www.eatjustonemore.com/pledge.aspx

*I am not a licensed medical physician, please consult your Doctor before embarking on any new exercise routine.

Walking for Good Health

Walking for good health

Walking daily has a lot of benefits. It helps you get in control of yourself. It reduces the chances of diabetes, cancer and heart attack. It helps to keep them in check should you already be suffering from any of these. Yes, even those who have had heart attack before can take up walking.

In fact, doctors allow the heart patients to slow walk before getting discharged. Walking helps to dissolve fats, improve the circulation of blood and gives a boost to your sexual life. Walking helps improve our moods and suppress anxiety and fear. And above all, its free. Moreover, It improves the overall lifestyle.

Walk regularly, preferable at the same time everyday. Pick a time to walk. Preferably mornings. Our body is stiff early in the morning. A walk would loosen it up and allows allow fresh oxygen to flow which lifts our health. Be disciplined and wake up 30 minutes early to accommodate this new sport. If mornings are a hassle, pick any time that is suitable for you. However, make sure you get 20-30 minutes of uninterrupted walk.

Walk in a pollution free environment. Parks are ideal. Beaches are also welcome. If you prefer walking on a thread mill, make sure the air con is turned off.

Warm up. It is important to tell your body what you are up to. This would signal to get ready for the rush. Start with rolling your hands forward and backward. Move your head from side to side. Take deep breaths. Otherwise, start with a slow walk, gradually increasing speed. Exercise every prts of your body. Swing your arms from side to side while walking. Vary the steps you take. Long strides, short strides, 2 lefts 1 right etc. Smile. Work your jaws.:D.

Always follow up the walk with a relaxing exercise. Deep breathing exercises are the best. Remove all air, exhaling from our body followed by inhaling and holding. Repeat for a few times. 5-10 minutes are ideal for a relaxation.

Never strain yourself. Always start slow, allow your body to adjust and gradually increase the speed. Never wear heals or slippers when you go walking.Invest in a good walking or jogging shoes. It is very important to protect your feet. The strain on your legs are immense as you work out. Hence, do not let up on this one.

It is evident that you will feel pain the first time and subsequent walks. However, this is your body getting used to the routine. Should you let up at the first pain, you will never be able to religiously follow it through and take walking up as a regular exercise. Endurance is the key. Even after a month of regular walking you feel the pain, do consult your doctor.

Do not wear clothes that hinder movement. Wear comfortable and preferably, cotton clothing. This helps the body to breathe and helps with the sweat.

Don’t drink water or health drinks immediately after a workout. Allow yourself to relax first. Give yourself 10-15 minutes. Wait till you unwind and do your deep breathing exercise before quenching your thirst.

As with any other form of exercises, care should be taken. If you feel nauseated, giddy, heart ache or temporary blindness, stop walking. Consult your doctor immediately to diagnose the symptoms. Get a go-ahead from the doctor before continuing with the walk.

Patients who have suffered heart attacks should take extra precaution. Never walk on inclines or steps. Always walk on flat surface. Monitor your speed. Should you feel that you are unwell (breathlessness) during or after walk, place a Sorbitrate pill under your tongue for immediate relief and consult your doctor immediately.

There you have. After a 30 minute walk, and the 10 minute deep breathing exercise, a new you, ready to face the day, confidently.