How to Save a Life. Learn How to Administer the Heimlich Maneuver

Image to Learn the Heimlich Maneuver

You love it when your daughter laughs. Her wide grin and tightly closed eyes paired with her high pitched giggle are infectious. Making her laugh over family dinner is the best part of your day. Until something goes wrong—desperately, tragically wrong. Her laugh turns into a frightened, shocked expression. She’s gesturing toward her throat and banging her hands on the table, eyes wide and frantic.

She’s choking.

Would you know what to do? You’ve heard of the Heimlich Maneuver and seen the posters on restaurant walls for years, but in a moment when seconds count, would you know how to save the life of a loved one?

About 4,000 adults die annually from choking, and even more devastatingly, one child dies every five days in the U.S. as a result of choking. Every parent, child, friend, sibling, and adult should know how to administer the Heimlich Maneuver so that if the unthinkable happens, you can confidently respond with this life-saving tactic. Read on to learn the basics of how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver when someone—anyone—is choking.

What is the Heimlich Maneuver?

Also known as abdominal thrusts, the Heimlich Maneuver was invented by the American thoracic surgeon Henry Heimlich. It is a technique to aid a person who is choking by applying rapid, quick thrusts to the person’s abdomen to lift the diaphragm and expel air from the lungs, causing the expulsion of the object lodged in the airway.

How to Perform the Heimlich Maneuver

Note that the instructions below only apply when the victim is not:

  • You
  • A pregnant woman
  • An obese adult
  • An infant

Techniques vary when the victim is any of the individuals listed above. For more information, visit The Mayo Clinic.

  1. Determine if you need to intervene. If the victim is conscious and coughing (i.e., some air is coming out of their mouth), breathing, or speaking, then he or she may be able to dispel the object on their own. Give them a few seconds to attempt to work through the situation unaided. If the individual’s condition worsens, or they stop breathing, proceed to step two.
  2. Instruct someone nearby to call 9-1-1. If you are in public and are not alone with the victim, instruct someone nearby to call for emergency responders. Even if the victim recovers and regains their breath, they may suffer from damage to their throat as a result of temporarily having food or a foreign object lodged in their airway. Having the victim assessed by medical professionals is always a conservative and wise decision.
  3. Have the person stand up. You will need them to be erect to perform the Heimlich Maneuver.
  4. Stand behind the victim.
  5. Lean the victim forward and give five blows to his or her back with the heel of your hand. If the back blows do not dislodge the object, proceed to step number six.
  6. Place your arms around the victim’s waist.
  7. With one hand, make a first just above his or her belly button with your thumb facing in toward the victim’s body.
  8. Wrap your other hand around your fist.
  9. With your arms, firmly push simultaneously inward and upward on the victim’s abdomen five times. This movement is called abdomen thrusts.
  10. Continue until the object is expelled or the victim can breathe, cough, or talk, or emergency personnel arrives.

Any of us could find ourselves in a situation where we are someone’s first line of defense in a dangerous and potentially deadly situation. By understanding the basics of life-saving first aid, we could save the life of a stranger or a loved one. Regardless of who they are, theirs is a life worth saving, and knowing the Heimlich Maneuver could give you the confidence you need to become an everyday hero.

Can You Really Suffer from a Broken Heart? The Answer will Shock You.

Suffer from a broken heart

Valentine’s Day is upon us, which means for little kids, it’s a time for red and pink tees, heart-shaped candies, and handwritten greetings equitably distributed to every peer. However, for many of the 115.78 million single Americans—including those who are divorced, separated, and widowed, Valentine’s Day is anything but a happy occasion. Understanding that Valentine’s Day too often reminds us of those we lost, we are setting out to address a love-related myth: can one really suffer from a broken heart? The answer is yes. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy—broken heart syndrome—is real, and it’s named after an octopus trap (let us explain).

What is Broken Heart Syndrome?

Broken heart syndrome is not something made up by Country music singers (although we do love a good Achy Breaky Heart line dance). It is a temporary heart condition often triggered by extreme emotions or a stressful situation, such as the loss of a loved one. Surgery or physical illness may also trigger the condition.

The syndrome is characterized by a temporary disruption of the heart’s normal pumping function in a portion of the heart, while the rest of the organ continues to function normally. Echocardiogram imaging of the heart muscle in individuals experiencing broken heart syndrome typically shows abnormal movements in the left ventricle walls. Most often, the abnormality appears as a ballooning of the lower part of the left ventricle. During constriction, the bulging ventricle looks like a “tako-tsubo,” a Japanese pot used by fishermen to trap octopuses. It is this image that has lent the name takotsubo cardiomyopathy to the condition.

What are the Symptoms of Broken Heart Syndrome?

Symptoms of Broken heart syndrome are often mistaken for a heart attack. They include chest pain and shortness of breath. If symptoms persist, or you experience a rapid, irregular heartbeat, you may be experiencing a heart attack and should call 911.

What Causes Broken Heart Syndrome?

While the exact cause of broken heart syndrome is unknown, researchers believe it is caused by a surge of adrenaline or other stress hormones that temporarily damage the heart. Others believe symptoms are caused by a temporary constriction of the small or large heart arteries. What is known, however, is that broken heart syndrome is often triggered by an intensely emotional or physically traumatizing event, such as:

  • The death of a loved one
  • A frightening medical diagnosis
  • Job loss
  • Divorce
  • Abuse
  • A financial shock
  • An intense argument
  • A sudden, surprise
  • The anxiety associated with public speaking
  • Physical stress such as a broken bone, major surgery, or asthma attack

Some prescription medications or street drugs may also trigger broken heart syndrome, such as:

  • Epinephrine (EpiPen) that is used to treat an allergic reaction or a severe asthma attack
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta) that is used to treat nerve problems in people with diabetes and depression
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor XR) that is used to treat depression
  • Levothyroxine (Synthroid, Levoxyl) that is used to hypothyroidism
  • Illegal stimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine

Who is at Risk?

More than 90 percent of reported cases of broken heart syndrome occurs in women ages 58 to 75.

Treatment for Broken Heart Syndrome

Broken heart syndrome often reverses itself in a few days or weeks, further proving that time heals all wound (but don’t take that expression literally; if you have an open wound or laceration, visit one of our urgent care clinics).

When to Get Help

If you are unsure if the chest pain you are experiencing is a temporary case of broken heart syndrome, or something more serious, always seek medical care. If a heart attack is not the cause of your symptoms, your doctor can help you assess the cause of your symptoms, and if emotional in nature, he or she can provide you with resources to help you cope and recover.

Ten Types of Eating Disorders and How to Get Help

Eating Disorders and How to Get Help

At least 30 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder. That’s more than the population of the entire state of Texas. Even more startling, every 62 minutes, at least one person dies as a direct result of an eating disorder. With ever-present imagery from social media and the constant expectation to be fit, thin, young, and beautiful to be liked (or possibly more important for some, to earn intangible social likes), the prevalence of eating disorders is growing among all ages and genders. If you believe that someone you love may be suffering from an eating disorder, or if you are the one suffering, read on to learn about the current known types of eating disorders, and understand when it’s time to get help.

Types of Eating Disorders

A variety of illnesses characterized by varying behavior patterns and physical side effects make up the eating disorder diagnosis category. Such illnesses include:

  • Anorexia Nervosa – A preoccupation with weight, dieting, food restriction, and excessive exercise that results in dramatic weight loss.
  • Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) – Eating habits that restrict the consumption of certain foods based on smell, taste, texture, past negative experiences, or a fear of choking or vomiting.
  • Binge Eating Disorder – A frequent, recurring, overconsumption of food in a short period, often accompanied by feelings of guilt, shame, and a loss of control.
  • Bulimia Nervosa ­– A behavior pattern that involves overconsumption of food, a practice that is known as bingeing, followed by purging, or self-induced vomiting or the use of laxatives to rid the body of food before calories can be fully consumed.
  • Compulsive Exercise – Excessive exercise that significantly interferes with and impairs daily life occurs at inappropriate times or in improper settings, or continues despite an injury or other medical complications.
  • Diabulimia ­– A behavior practiced by individuals with insulin-dependent Diabetes who intentionally restrict insulin to lose weight.
  • Orthorexia – A preoccupation with “healthy” or “clean” foods and a refusal to eat certain food groups, such as carbohydrates or sugars.
  • Otherwise Specified Feeding Disorder (OSFED) – This diagnosis is used for individuals who present a specified eating disorder with atypical symptoms, such as an anorexic individual who, despite rapid weight loss, remains within or above a healthy weight range.
  • Pica – A persistent eating of non-food items that do not provide nutritional value, such as ice, clay soil, hair, dirt, paper, string, soap, chalk, metal, pebbles, charcoal, or starch.
  • Rumination Disorder – The repeated, involuntary regurgitation of food that is then re-swallowed or spit out.

How to Get Help with an Eating Disorder

If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, or believe that you are developing an unhealthy relationship with food, reach out to get help. Start with your doctor. He or she can provide a diagnosis and work with you to treat not just the eating disorder but any associated symptoms, developing physical health issues and accompanying emotional or mental health complications, such as depression or anxiety. For many patients, larger factors are causing obsessive thoughts and behaviors with food. By understanding your life, symptoms, and beliefs comprehensively, your doctor can help you put a plan in place to start redeveloping a healthy relationship with food—and your body.

Nova Health Launches New Occupational Medicine Services

roseburg Urgent Care

Services promote optimal workplace wellness and occupational injury response at Nova Health Roseburg clinic 

Nova Health, a comprehensive provider of quality urgent care, primary care, physical therapy, and musculoskeletal services in Lane and Douglas counties, announced today the launch of a new occupational medicine service line now available to local employers. Services are currently available at the Nova Health Roseburg clinic (780 NW Garden Valley Boulevard, Suite 310, Roseburg).

“Occupational medicine is a key service for employers in our community,” said Dr. James Daskalos, who https://www.novahealth.com/occupational-medicine/will be leading Nova Health’s Roseburg occupational medicine service line. “I’m thrilled to join Nova Health’s Roseburg team to bring a broad-spectrum of occupational medicine services to local businesses and community members. While furthering accessible healthcare in Roseburg and treating employees back to health with the injured worker program, these range of services also promote long-term employee well-being and the financial health of local businesses.”

As a provider of accessible and quality medical care to Lane and Douglas counties, Nova Health’s occupational medicine services include comprehensive testing, assessment and recovery treatments to help businesses minimize lost productivity, reduce healthcare costs, support long-term employee health. These benefits can ultimately save employers $5 to $161 with every dollar invested in personnel screenings. Nova Health is partnering with local businesses to help companies hire qualified job candidates who are fit-for-duty, maintain optimal wellness of all employees, and ensure a safe return to work after accidents while reducing employer costs.

“Nova Health knows first-hand the need for quality occupational medicine services in our community. These services are designed to ensure employers and employees have a reliable partner dedicated to the organizations safety and wellbeing,” said Bill Clendenen, Nova Health Chief Executive Officer. “It has been found that 25 percent of employer healthcare costs are related to unhealthy lifestyles. By taking proactive care of our employees, we can promote both the health of workers and the financial health our businesses.”

Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Nova Health will host a meet-and-greet with Nova Health providers to celebrate the availability of the new occupational medicine services. The celebration is February 11 from 5-7 p.m. at the Nova Health Garden Valley location (780 NW Garden Valley Boulevard, Suite 310, Roseburg, Oregon 97471), and local business owners, community members and media are invited to attend.

Nova Health’s occupational therapy services include an array of employer-based tests including Department of Transportation (DOT) physicals, drug and alcohol screenings, and even pre-placement strength examinations. With continuous employee wellness a top priority to many employers, Nova Health services also include prevention services, immunizations and vaccines, executive physicals, and Electrocardiogram (EKG) testing. This can help avoid nonfatal accidents, which can result in a median of eight days away from work. In response to onsite accidents, Nova Health is also equipped to thoroughly assess and treat injured employees through occupational injury response and treatment services.

For more information about Nova Health’s occupational medicine services, please visit https://www.novahealth.com/occupational-medicine/.

About Nova Health

Celebrating over ten years of serving patients throughout Lane and Douglas Counties, Nova Health is an outpatient healthcare organization that provides urgent care, primary care, physical therapy services, and musculoskeletal clinic services. Our focus is on providing high-quality patient care to the neighborhoods and communities we serve. Nova Health is a growing company that was established in 2008 with one clinic and nine employees and has grown to 14 clinics all within the Eugene, Springfield, Junction City, Veneta, Oakridge, Cottage Grove, Florence, and Roseburg areas. For more information, please visit novahealth.com.

Media Contact:
Kristine Rice
541-870-3726
krice@novahealth.com

What is EVALI and Could Your Vaping Teen be at Risk of a Serious Illness?

Causes of EVALI

On December 31, 2019, Dallas County, Texas, reported its first death associated with E-cigarette, or Vaping, Associated Lung Injury (EVALI). The report was notable not only because it was the County’s first EVALI-related death, but because of the age of the victim: only 15 years old. The victim was not yet old enough to drive a car, vote, or legally buy cigarettes. Today, they are one more in a growing list of teen illnesses and fatalities that are among the reasons why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially classified EVALI as a recognized disease in August 2019.

Since the current national outbreak began in June 2019, the CDC has recognized more than 2,600 cases of hospitalized patients diagnosed with EVALI and 60 deaths. What is this new disease that is resulting in a growing number of teens presenting at hospital emergency rooms, and could your teen be at risk?

What are Vaporizers and E-Cigarettes?

A vaporizer (vape) is a device that heats and aerosolizes a liquid solution so that the user can inhale it. While vapes can be used to smoke marijuana, an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) is a type of vape used to inhale nicotine-based solutions.

What are the Symptoms of EVALI?

Symptoms of EVALI include cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, weight loss, and possibly death.

What Causes EVALI?

Researchers are still studying the causes of EVALI; however, what we know is that the liquid solutions used within vaporizers pose serious health risks. Many include particles associated with cancer and cardiopulmonary toxicity, such as formaldehyde and fungicide. When used to consume nicotine, e-cigarettes pose additional risks. Not only is e-cigarette and vaping use causing an uptick in adolescents being hospitalized for symptoms, but EVALI-diagnosed teens may also be at an increased risk of hospital readmittance.

A recent study of EVALI patients found that many were readmitted anywhere from five to 55 days post-discharge with a reoccurrence of symptoms. Health officials are researching if the readmittance is coming as the result of the lungs being weakened by the disease if patients are continuing to use unsafe products after being treated or other factors.

 The Risks of THC Vaping Products

When e-cigarettes and vaping products initially hit the market, their manufacturers attempted to market them as “safer” ways to smoke. Today, researchers have found a strong connection between THC products used with vaping tools and EVALI diagnoses. Approximately 82 percent of EVALI patients reported using THC products with their vaping devices, while 57 percent report using nicotine products. Due to these risks, the CDC encourages people not to consume THC-containing vaping or e-cigarette products, especially if they have been obtained from informal sources.

 Is Vaping Safe for Teens?

Based on the number of vaping-related lung illnesses and deaths over the past year, parents should encourage their teens not to form a vaping or e-smoking habit. If your teen vapes or uses e-cigarettes, talk to your doctor or pediatrician. He or she can speak to you and our teen about the risks and help your teen find the motivation to quit for good.

Five Must-Read Ice Skating Safety Tips

5 Ice Skating Safety Tips

Winter isn’t nearly behind us yet here in the Pacific Northwest, which means you still have plenty of time to adopt a new wintertime hobby to get you off the couch, out of the house, and expand your horizons. Ice skating is a fun and challenging activity that is perfect for families, couples, and friends of all ages. Before you lace up your skates, review our ice skating safety tips below. While we value our patients, we’d rather not see you in one of our urgent care centers with a nasty sprain or strain.

  1. Wear a Helmet. Every year about 50 out of every 100,000 Americans suffer a concussion—an immediate and brief loss of consciousness followed by temporary amnesia after a blow to the head. You wear a helmet to ride your bike, rollerblade, or skateboard (we hope!), so why wouldn’t you wear a helmet when you strap blades to your feet and glide across the ice? Ask your neighborhood ice rink if they have helmets for rent. If not, bring your own. Make sure it fits snug, and don’t obsess over what it will do to your hair. What’s most important is that you avoid a potentially dangerous concussion if you slip and fall.
  1. Ensure Your Skates Fit Properly. Whether you are buying, borrowing, or renting ice skates, make sure they fit comfortably. Be like Goldilocks and choose skates that are neither too tight, nor too large. A good-fitting pair of ice skates should support your ankles and feet. 
  1. Practice Falling. Seriously. Broken, strained, cut, and dislocated arms are among the most common ice skating-related injuries. Before you step onto the ice, take a few purposeful drops to the ground so that you can practice how to brace yourself. Your goal should be to protect your head and to keep your limbs away from sharp skate blades. Consider wearing wrist pads to make it easier to grip the ice and keep your arms from sliding out from beneath you.
  1. Check Your Blades. Dull ice skate blades put you at a higher risk of a fall, and trust us when we say that a broken coccyx (tailbone) can be extremely painful. A reputable ice skating rink will keep their rental skates in proper condition, but it is always a good practice to check your skates yourself. Properly sharpened blades should have a slight curve. If your blades appear flat, exchange them.
  1. Keep a Space Cushion Around You. Novice skaters can put those around them at risk by grabbing onto them if they start to fall. If you’re a newbie, try not to skate too close to others around you. The last thing you want to do is be the cause of a painful injury for someone else.

If you want to head out for an evening of ice skating that will make you feel like you’re living in a Hallmark original movie, then make sure you take precautions to skate safely. Even though what’s terrific about ice skating is that anyone can do it, don’t take the safety realities for granted. Gear up, stay aware and be safe out there, skaters.

Nova Health Brings Urgent Care Services to West Eugene

Nova Health West Eugene Location

Local Provider Nova Health Brings Urgent Care Services to West Eugene

The long-standing community partner in wellness hosts ribbon cutting and blood drive with Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce

Nova Health, a comprehensive provider of quality urgent care, primary care, physical therapy, and musculoskeletal services in Lane and Douglas Counties, announces today the opening of its newest urgent care clinic in West Eugene.

The Nova Health Urgent Care – West 11th clinic offers immediate access to care seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. This clinic represents Nova Health’s mission to provide more access points for immediate healthcare in the Eugene community. Nova Health has five additional facilities in the Eugene Springfield area providing urgent care, primary care, and physical therapy services. Across Lane and Douglas counties, Nova Health is equipped to serve Western Oregon healthcare consumers with quality, patient-focused care in its 15 clinic facilities offering an umbrella of services.

“It is critically important to Nova Health that we continue to build our provider network to provide more access points and support rural and underserved communities with necessary medical services,” said Bill Clendenen, Nova Health Chief Executive Officer. “Eugene is where our story began, and it is rewarding to extend our urgent care resources into West Eugene.”

Nova Health and Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce will host a blood drive, ribbon cutting and open house for the West Eugene community to celebrate the clinic’s opening and continued care practices. Everyone who attends the event will be entered to win a Nova Health gift basket. Details below:

WHAT:

Nova Health – West 11th Ribbon Cutting and Blood Drive

WHEN:

January 22, 2020
Bloodworks Northwest Blood Drive from 3 to 6 PM
Ribbon Cutting and Open House from 6 to 7:30 PM 

WHERE:

Nova Urgent Care – West 11th
4040 West 11th Avenue, Eugene
RSVP here on the Nova Health Facebook page

WHO:

Richard Abraham, MD,
Founder and Jeff Myers, Chief of Staff Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce

VISUALS:

Community members donating blood and clinic tour

WHY:

Recent studies show that young people (ages 18-34) are increasingly relying on “immediate care” services in non-emergency situations including urgent care clinics compared to older generations. Nova Health understands the need for immediate access to medical care is more and more prevalent and is therefore committed to providing such services and options for patients to receive affordable and consistent healthcare.

About Nova Health

Celebrating over ten years of serving patients throughout Lane and Douglas Counties, Nova Health is an outpatient healthcare organization that provides urgent care, primary care, physical therapy services, and musculoskeletal clinic services. Our focus is on providing high-quality patient care to the neighborhoods and communities we serve. Nova Health is a growing company that was established in 2008 with one clinic and nine employees and has grown to 14 clinics all within the Eugene, Springfield, Junction City, Veneta, Oakridge, Cottage Grove, Florence, and Roseburg areas. For more information, please visit novahealth.com.

 

Media Contact:
Kristine Rice
541-870-3726
krice@novahealth.com

National Blood Donor Month—Easing Your Fears to Earn Your Donation

January is Blood Drive Month

Few of us get an opportunity to be a genuine hero. While police officers, doctors, and firefighters regularly earn the title “savior,” most of us, fortunately, don’t find ourselves in positions where life and death are on the line. However, there is one easy way to become a hero and to save not just one life, but as many as three, and to do it over and over, multiplying the impact of your generous actions—and all it takes is one pint of blood.

January is National Blood Donation Month, a time for all those who can to resolve at the start of the new year to become a regular blood donor. If you’ve thought about donating blood in the past, but have found yourself stacking reasons why you can’t, or shouldn’t give blood, we’ve compiled answers to your questions and solutions to your concerns so that this January, you can become a hero too.

I Don’t Like Needles.

It would be rare to hear someone say that they enjoy the temporary discomfort that comes with a needle stick. Understand that the minor sting and discomfort that you will feel when the needle is inserted is minimal compared to the pain of someone who needs regular blood transfusions due to life-threatening conditions such as cancer, liver disease, or sickle cell anemia. Even if you have Trypanophobia, a severe fear of needles that affects 20 percent of people, a blood draw staff member can make the experience as comfortable and reassuring for you as possible if you are honest and upfront about your concerns.

My One Donation Won’t Make an Impact.

Every single pint of donated blood makes a difference. Every three seconds, someone needs blood. As a result, 32,000 pints of blood are used daily in the U.S. alone. Since whole blood only has a shelf-life of 42 days, and platelets only have a shelf-life of five days, the constant need to bolster our blood banks is ongoing.

Donating Blood Will Put Me at Risk of Contracting a Deadly Infection or Disease, like HIV.

Donating blood with a reputable service provider such as the Amerian Red Cross is safe. New, sterile, disposable equipment is used for each donor, eliminating the risk of contamination and of contracting a disease such as HIV.

I’ll Pass Out.

Every precaution is taken during blood donations to minimize discomfort and adverse side effects for donors. As part of the donor screening process, your blood iron levels will be checked, and you will be asked to verify that you meet height and weight requirements. Donors who do feel light-headed during or after a donation are cared for closely by donation staff. Typically, a few extra minutes of laying down and rehydrating is enough to end any feelings of lightheadedness. Keep in mind that the average person has ten pints of blood in their body, and a whole blood donation only takes one, which most people replenish within a few hours.

Final Words of Encouragement

More than one million people are diagnosed with cancer each year, and many will need blood—possibly daily—during chemotherapy treatments. The simple act of donating blood takes less than an hour, involves minimal discomfort, and can save as many as three lives, turning everyday good samaritans into genuine heroes. To make a blood donation appointment with the American Red Cross today, click here.

New Year, New You. Three Health-Related New Year’s Resolutions to Make in 2020

There’s something magical about the New Year, isn’t there? Something about seeing the calendar flip over gives us an immediate feeling of the promise of new opportunities and fresh starts. January 1 is the perfect time to recommit to a healthy lifestyle. If you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution that is good for you emotionally, mentally, and physically, we’ve got three wellness-related resolutions for your consideration. Each is easy to commit to and offers the possibility of a significant impact on your overall wellness in 2020.

  1. Walk for 30 Minutes Every Day (Cumulatively)

Walking is one of the easiest physical commitments you can make that will have a significant impact on your cardiovascular health. If the idea of finding 30 minutes within your already jam-packed schedule seems like an impossibility, know that you can carve out small chunks of time throughout the day that will give you thirty minutes total.

For example, walk your dog down the street and back when you get home from work instead of letting him out in the backyard. Park at the back of the grocery store parking lot and walk to the front door. Walk to pick your child up from the bus stop instead of driving to the end of your block. These small choices will quickly add up to 30 minutes throughout your day.

Commitment Tip: There are a variety of smartwatches and fitness trackers across cost ranges to help you track your walking minutes, which will make it easy to hold yourself accountable.

  1. Cut Back on Your Alcohol Consumption

You don’t need to entirely give up enjoying a glass of red wine with your pasta, or having mimosas with your friends during Sunday brunch. However, if you are consuming more than three alcoholic beverages per day, if you’re a woman, or four if you are a man, then it’s time to cut back. Too much alcohol consumption can lead to such health risks as heart disease, hypertension, stroke, cancer, and liver complications. 

Commit to cutting back how much you consume. Save your drinking for special occasions, or enjoy only a beer or two while watching sports over the weekend. By drinking in moderation, you’ll sleep better, feel more alert, and give yourself a lower risk of developing a serious health complication later in life.

Commitment Tip: Ask your spouse or friends to resolve to cut back with you. Together, you can find non-alcohol related activities that you enjoy, such as taking a yoga class or running your first 5K.

  1. Make an Annual Primary Care Appointment

If you haven’t seen your primary care physician since 2008, you are long overdue for some critical wellness screenings. Healthy adults should have a primary care visit with their physician annually. During this time, your doctor will listen to your heart and lungs, measure your height and weight, take your blood pressure, check your abdomen, thyroid glands, and lymph nodes, and check your hearing and vision. He or she will also address any other needs you may have or screenings that may be in your best interest based on your personal and family history, age, and other health factors.

Your annual visit to see your physician is also your time to ask any health-related questions that you may have—including all those things you’ve been Googling and then drawing conclusions about, potentially incorrectly.

If what keeps you from making an annual wellness appointment is the hassle of taking time off from work, the potential cost, or a general dislike of doctor’s offices, then be sure to find a clinic that is conveniently located to your home or office, that participates with your insurance plan, and that makes you feel comfortable during your visit.

Commitment Tip: At Nova Health, many providers across our 14 clinics are accepting new patients. Click here to find a conveniently located clinic near you and book an appointment.

This Near Year’s, resolve to lead a healthier lifestyle so that you can enjoy countless years to come. By making some simple lifestyle changes, you’ll welcome significant changes in your life. Now that’s something to celebrate.

Seven Safe Holiday Travel Tips

seven safe holiday travel tips
The holidays are a time to be with friends, family, and loved ones—not in an emergency room. During winter months, all of our popular forms of transportation become more hazardous, including planes, trains, and automobiles. This holiday, get to your destination safely, even if more slowly, so that you can take full advantage of all that the season has to offer. Before you hit the road, review these seven holiday safety travel trips.

1. Prepare Your Car for a Winter Road Trip

If you are driving through the Pacific Northwest to your holiday travel destination, you may experience snow, rain, sleet, or ice on the roads. Ensure your vehicle is in proper working order before you begin your journey. Have your car inspected, ensure your tires are properly inflated, check your windshield wiper fluid, and gas up. Also, keep an emergency road kit in your vehicle that includes a flashlight, bottled water, blanket, and kitty litter or sand in case you get stuck in mud or snow and need to create traction under your tires.

2. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1 in 25 adults report having fallen asleep while driving in the previous 30 days. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also reports that drowsy driving claimed 795 lives in 2017 alone. Be well rested before you begin your road trip. Instead of starting your drive after a long day of work and traveling through the night, get a good night’s sleep and drive feeling refreshed the next morning. Your family certainly wants to see you as soon as possible, but they’d rather have you arrive safely.

3. Hide Your Valuables

Unfortunately, some people aim to take advantage of holiday travelers. Hide your suitcases, laptops, and electronic equipment in your trunk or out of sight whenever you leave your vehicle, and keep your doors locked at all times.

4. Follow Flight Attendant Instructions

While the odds of a plane crash are extremely rare, there are occasions where flights are delayed, need to be rerouted, or passengers are asked to deplane while crews address an unexpected maintenance issue. Listen to the instructions of the flight attendants and airline personnel, and do your best to keep your frustrations in check. If your plane does experience an emergency event and passengers are instructed to evacuate quickly, leave your bags behind. They aren’t worth your safety. 

5. Bring Emergency supplies on Your Train

If traveling by train, you, too, should be prepared for an unexpected delay or an emergency event. Bring an emergency kit with you that includes a spare cell phone charger, flashlight, bottled water, snacks, and a blanket.

6. Always Carry a Cell Phone and Spare Charger

No matter how you are traveling, being able to contact emergency personnel at any time is critical. Always carry your cell phone on you and ensure you have a  spare battery or charger in your possession.

7. Bring Contact Information for Your Medical Team

One study found that airplane passengers are 100 percent more likely to get sick than non-airplane passengers. With 51 million people traveling during the holidays, that’s a lot of germs flying across the country and arriving in people’s homes. Make sure you have the phone numbers for all your physicians and physician offices in your phone. If you or your child gets sick while you’re away from home for any reason, you may want the advice of your regular physician or pediatrician. If you experience a true medical emergency while traveling, call 911. From all of us at Nova Health, we wish you and yours a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season. As always, we’re here if you need us.