Heat Stroke vs. Heat Exhaustion: Avoiding both this summer

Sometimes it feels as though there are so many health hazards to be aware of during the hot summer months that it hardly seems worth it to step outside. Since that’s unrealistic, it’s good to be prepared when you do find yourself spending  a considerable length of time outdoors. Let’s talk a bit about two similar but different afflictions caused by exposure to extreme summer heat: heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

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Safety at the beach? There are a few apps for that!

Happy (official) first day of summer! Many of us will be seeking ways to stay cool  in spite of the heat, and sometimes that can mean packing up the family, the umbrella, and some cold drinks and heading off to the beach. While spontaneous trips can be fun, planning your beach trip ahead of time can mean the difference between a successful beach day and a rough one. To help you get the most out of your beach day,  try downloading a few of these apps to your mobile device.

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Focus on Healthy Vision

The irony of staring into a computer screen to write a blog post about healthy vision is not lost on me, but here we are. Even if you don’t spend the majority of your day stuck behind a monitor, it’s important to take good care of your peepers. Most vision problems are preventable and can be avoided by following a few healthy suggestions. Here are just a few simple tips for taking an active role in the health of your eyes.

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What’s the deal with dietary supplements?

Who remembers those commercials for Flintstones brand chewable multivitamins from back in the day? As a kid, I was happy to take one a day because, let’s face it, they tasted like candy. Now that I’m an adult, it’s definitely a little harder to feel like I should be taking a daily vitamin or other dietary supplement. There are so many bottles sitting on the shelf at the grocery store and so many labels; it can be overwhelming when you’ve just come to pick up some eggs. Understanding a bit more about these supplements and how they work can go a long way towards helping you determine whether or not they should be a part of your life.  As National Nutrition Month comes to an end, we’re providing you with an overview of dietary supplements to help you decide whether you need to boost your nutrition this spring.

What exactly is a dietary supplement?

Dietary supplements can contain one or more dietary ingredients like vitamins, minerals, herbs, or other substances. They usually come in pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid form, but can also come as powders and bars, too. They’re meant to supplement (not replace) the nutrition you get from your daily diet.

Do I even need to take a dietary supplement?

It depends. Your nutritional needs should technically be met as long as you’re eating a healthy and balanced diet full of a variety of foods. The foods we eat are full of naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, and other substances that are good for your health, but sometimes you might not be getting enough of a particular nutrient. This can be due to lots of reasons even outside of what you eat. For instance, if you’re getting insufficient exposure to sunlight, you might not be getting enough vitamin D; this is where a dietary supplement could be helpful.

What should I take then?

Before you pull every bottle from the shelf, it’s a very good idea to talk to your doctor first to determine what supplement may be right for you, or if you even need one. It can be dangerous to exceed the level of nutrients you can safely intake. Your doctor can tell you just how much of a particular supplement will be beneficial to your health. If you’re already taking one, make sure your doctor is aware – some supplements may not play nicely with prescription medication.

How much of a recommended supplement should I take?

The manufacturers label will suggest a serving size as it relates to the potency of the supplement ingredients, but this can get a little confusing depending on what your doctor has recommended for you. You don’t want to take more (or less) than what you need. Read the labels as carefully as you can, and follow up with your doctor to make sure you’ve picked up the right thing. You can also ask your local pharmacist for help with interpreting supplement labels.

Where can I find more information about the types of supplements that are available?

A good place to start is MedlinePlus. Powered by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), MedlinePlus presents information in an easy to read format and provides you with lots of links to other safe places to look for health-related information. The NIH also has a number of helpful Vitamin and Mineral Fact Sheets that can provide you with scientifically-based overviews about the many vitamins and minerals that are out there.

Resources

https://medlineplus.gov/dietarysupplements.html

https://www.nutrition.gov/dietary-supplements/questions-to-ask-before-taking-vitamins-and-mineral-supplements

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/DietarySupplements-HealthProfessional/

 

Heart Healthy Tips for Dining Out

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means plenty of people are going to be heading out to their favorite eateries for a meal. It’s a good excuse to order something indulgent and extravagant, but can you order good food from the menu that is also good for your heart? The answer is yes! There are plenty of ways to make heart-healthy menu choices no matter what type of restaurant you end up at. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

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Donating blood? Know before you go!

January is National Blood Donor Month, so there’s no better time to get to your nearest donation center and do what you can to help! If you’ve never donated blood before, there are a few things you should know – the experience is a little different than having blood drawn for a few routine lab tests. Be prepared by knowing some do’s and don’ts  of what to expect, before, during, and after you go.

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Spotlight on Resources for Veterans

Did you know that November is National Veterans and Families Month? Veterans Day is still observed November 11th, but this year the Department of Veterans Affairs decided to have the 98-year tradition of observance and appreciation for veterans last throughout the whole month of November!  There are a number of events planned all around the country, so check the official calendar to  see if something is happening near you if you’re interested in participating in some way.

This is also a good time to talk about some of the important health-related issues our veterans might face. If you or anyone in your family has ever served in the military, you may be familiar with some of the health risks that are associated with a career serving our country. Some are more obvious, like injuries resulting in disability or chronic pain. Others might be harder to pin down, like post-traumatic stress disorder or substance abuse. It’s important to remember that each service member will return home with their own range of experiences. Knowing how and where to go to address any issues that may present themselves is key! There are lots of helpful resources out there for veterans and their families should they need access to them.

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Tech Talk Thursday: Say Hello to the New iPhone(s)!

By now you’ve probably heard about the new phones Apple has announced this year, the Apple iPhone 8, the iPhone 8 Plus,  and the Apple iPhone X.  The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have just been released, while the iPhone X  is available for pre-order. If you’re in the market for a new phone, you may be wondering about the differences between the devices and if it’s better to buy one over the other. Today, we’ll break down the options with an overview of some key similarities and differences in Apple’s latest iOS mobile devices.

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