Thursday, October 6, 2011

Health Care and Autumn

Ahhhh, the fall! What a gorgeous time of year. The season is changing, leaves turn colors and start to drop off floating gently to the ground, and the air is a little cooler and crisper than those late summer days of August and September. During Autumn, school is back in session, business starts to rev up for the Holiday Season, and employers start promoting new health care choices and insurance options for their workers. During the fall, more people start to focus on making decisions on what they will do for their primary care coverage for the coming year. Since most Americans now typically are covered by their company where they work for health insurance, Autumn is when most open enrollments take place.

Also, Autumn is when many seasonal health issues appear. According to HubPages, when Autumn is here and the days of a normal and progressive transition between the seasons have long passed, these days there can be drastic weather fluctuations. Here is a list of the most common five afflictions caused by the heavy fluctuations in temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure that are ever so present in the fall:

1.) The common cold: Rain, strong wind and humidity variations are all factors that contribute to lowering your immune system, making it easier for you to catch a cold. The good thing is these autumn colds usually aren't as sever as those in the winter season, however it is still important to see a doctor and treat them to prevent the risk of a viral infection.

2.) Asthma and other allergic diseases: Autumn just like spring is a season that favors allergies, but out of all the allergies the one that manifests itself most often is asthma, specifically allergic asthma or dry asthma. Allergic asthma doesn't manifest along with bronchitis and thankfully has a seasonal character, the most common symptom being difficulty in breathing.

3.) Gastroduodenal ulcer: Another common disease during this time of year is ulcer, which can have many underlying causes like smoking, alcohol, stress, poor eating habits, chronic diseases, genetical factors or bacterial infections with Helicobacter Pylori. The most common symptoms are variations in appetite, pain and vomiting. Gastric ulcer pains are more common immediately after a meal while duodenal ulcer pains are more common a few hours after a meal. Either way if you experience pain or vomiting after meals you should see your doctor.

4.) Heart failure: Heart failure or cardiac insufficiency can be a real dangerous threat to people with heart problems during the autumn months. The body struggles to adapt to the changes in climate and that can overload the cardiorespiratory system, causing serious consequences. Caution is advised especially during this time of year, as well as strictly following any treatment prescribed.

5.) Rheumatic diseases: Rheumatic diseases such as arthritis are very common as well causing increased sensibility and joint pains due to exposure to low temperatures. Hot baths, acupuncture, anti-inflammatory and analgesic ointments and simply avoiding to go on walks in cold or rainy weather are all measures one can take to avoid suffering the symptoms of this disease.

According to Holistic Health Tools online, this Autumn season follow these tips to help you and yours stay in top health and be your best during the seasonal and all year long:

1.) Flu Shots - Check with your doctor or your local public health department to find out when the annual flu shot is available. If your doctor can give you the shot in the office combine it with a check-up. If your doctor does not give the shot check on local events for flu shot administration. You may also want to get a pneumonia shot also. Remember that the flu shot is recommended for all adults, especially those with a health condition such as diabetes or heart disease that makes them more at risk for the serious complications of the flu.

2.) Exercise - Exercise is important all through the year, but can help you get in shape for the winter months. If you exercise by walking outdoors, it may be time to locate other places you can walk that are protected from harsh winter weather. Indoor shopping malls are great places to walk and often have walkers clubs that offer discounts. With the days getting colder, take a few extra minutes to warm up your body and stretch your muscles before you exercise. Also wear a handkerchief around your nose and mouth if it's really cold to warm up the air before it enters your lungs.

3.) Diet - Add all the fall vegetables to your diet. Many of the root vegetables are in season now and are an inexpensive and nutritious way to add variety to your diet.

4.) Drink More Water – You can experience dehydration even during the winter. Dry central heat robs your body and skin of vital moisture. If you keep hydrated your mucous membranes also stay hydrated, working much more effectively to filter our disease causing organisms. It's also a great way to help prevent nose bleeds which can be common in the Fall.

5.) Sunscreen – Yes, even in the fall and winter months you should be thinking about sunscreen. If you're a skier, don't forget your sunscreen. The snow reflects the sun's rays and can quickly burn your skin. Don't let the cold temperatures fool you.

6.) Second-Hand Smoke - Watch out for the effects of second-hand smoke. During cold weather, you may find yourself behind closed doors and windows with a smoker. Avoid inhaling smoke and check your home for proper ventilation.

7.) Cold and Flu - Cover your face when you sneeze or cough, and wash your hands often to help stop the spread of the season's cold and flu germs. Get a flu shot if you are 65 or older; or if you have a chronic disease of the heart, lungs or kidneys.

8.) Hats and Gloves - Wear a hat and gloves when you go outside. The hat keeps warmth from escaping through the top of your head—a major source of body heat loss. And the gloves help prevent painful frostbite.

Also, be aware of allergies that develop in Autumn. Late Summer and early Autumn bring on another season that triggers allergic reactions. Outdoor molds become plentiful in the fall in gutters, soil, vegetation, rotting wood and fallen leaves. You can reduce your exposure to Fall allergens. For example, avoid being outdoors in the morning hours between 5:00 and 10:00 a.m. when pollen dispersal is peaking; avoid lots and fields where ragweed grows; shower and wash hair immediately after coming in from outside activities, and especially before going to bed; keep the windows and doors of your home and car closed.

Here are a few more suggestions, according to Holistic Health Tools, to take into consideration so that you can enjoy what this time of year has to offer.

--Enjoy the year's most beautiful season. In many parts of the United States, Autumn is a near-sacred season, with its warm, sunny days, cool evenings and postcard perfect colors. Get outside and enjoy the season by bicycling, walking, hiking, jogging, and playing golf and tennis. In many parts of the country, Autumn is synonymous with the apple harvest. Rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, both of which reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, inhibiting the growth of dangerous plaques along blood vessel walls, and dietary fiber, apples are a delicious and nutritious snack that can be enjoyed any time of day. Remember, it is important to do what you can to stay healthy all year long and now is the time to focus on how to stay healthy and well during the approaching Fall and Winter months.

As far as your next year's health coverage is concerned, work with your employer to choose the best plan for you and your family. Be careful not to overlook the bottom line financially of how your health insurance plan affects you for the coming year, and choose wisely when it comes to maximizing all your benefits. Remember, it's your health, and your paycheck. Often, cheaper is not always better. Make good use of the materials provided by your employer and the insurance company in order to pick the plan best suited for you. If you are buying personal health coverage, find an agent you know and can trust to guide you in the right direction. Do your homework, and don't leave the choice up to someone else.

Now, go enjoy the Autumn. Jump into the leaves, take a long drive through the country and look at God's creation. Stop at a local market and sample the Autumn produce, and maybe drink some good apple cider with a cinnamon stick. Visit a pumpkin patch with the kids, or run through a haybale maze. (Just make sure you take your allergy meds before you go). You'll thank yourself that you took time to see, smell, and taste all the good things about Autumn.

Until next time.

No comments: