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Stress and Self Medicating: A Deadly Combination

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There is no denying the fact that stress can be very damaging to a person’s physical and mental well-being. Stress is common and isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, when a person is unable to handle it effectively it can lead to serious issues. One method a person might be unknowingly using to mask the effects of stress is the abuse of substances such as drugs or alcohol. Often referred to as self medicating, it can easily lead to addiction.

stress and self medication
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Don’t Wait to Get Help

Only you know whether or not you’ve been using substances to gain temporary relief from stress. If you’ve been increasing your alcohol or drug intake just to get through the day, this is a serious problem that you want to address sooner rather than later. There are plenty of programs that offer substance abuse rehabilitation for women and men, which might be beneficial for helping you to deal with your stress and dependency or addiction at the same time.

What is Stress?

Stress is best defined as your body’s way of dealing with a level of demand or threat that is “out of the ordinary”. When you begin to feel taxed, your brain releases stress hormones known as cortisol and adrenaline which cause the body to go into an emergency reaction.

Though the average person can cope with stress fairly easily, enormous amounts of stress or ongoing levels of stress could lead to what is known as chronic stress. Stress is felt at different levels and in different circumstances depending upon the person. This ultimately means that everyone will respond to stress differently and thus show varying physical and mental signs of chronic stress.

Chronic Stress and the Dangers

When a person is under an extreme amount of pressure they can experience what is known as chronic levels of stress. This level of stress can result in physical and mental changes within the body. Some of the dangers of chronic stress might include:

  • Compromised immune system
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Digestive issues
  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of concentration
  • Substance dependency or addiction

Self Medication

Self medicating is the process of using substances such as drugs or alcohol to manage the effects of stress. Alcohol and certain drugs, can often act as a depressant giving the body a calm feeling. This in turn helps the individual to feel as if their problems are resolved for the time being as levels of stress tend to go down.

Alcohol and other substances are not to be used as a means for treating stress. Over time, the body will become immune to the amount of substances you’re using which them provokes you to use more and more of the substance to take the feeling of stress away. Once someone who is self medicating becomes dependent upon the substance, it can quickly turn to addiction which leads to another set of serious symptoms and adverse effects on the body. Some of the dangers of using substances to self medicate might include:

  • Addiction – at this point, using the substance is less of a choice and more of a must
  • Increased levels of stress – when a person becomes addicted they will notice that other issues start to occur in their life which causes increased levels of stress. Poor work ethic, financial issues, and destroyed relationships are all consequences of addiction.

Life certainly has a way of weighing on a person; however, there are more effective ways to deal with stress that don’t involve the use of harmful substances on the daily basis. If you or someone you know has been dealing with a great amount of stress lately, seek professional help. A counselor is best equipped to help you find healthy ways to cope that are a lot safer than self-medicating. If you have been self-medicating, you may want to consult with a rehab facility about receiving treatment before it turns into an addiction.

Better Caring for the Elderly: 5 Easy Steps to Take

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A visit to your aging parents, aunts or uncles can range from being fun to being rather stressful for a number of reasons. Adults who haven’t visited their aging parents for some time could be overwhelmed with feelings of surprise, shock, fear and possibly, even anger.

No matter where you’re from, aging loved ones do a great job at hiding their declining cognitive abilities and physical health from their family, particularly those who live farther away and visit ever so often. Their motivations behind this maybe for a number of reasons; they might not want their children to worry about them or they may lack the cognitive ability to realize that they indeed have a problem. Sometimes, aging loved ones are also in complete denial when it comes to their deteriorating health.

Better Caring For the Elderly
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Here, let’s discuss a few ways you can get a better grip on situations where your aging loved ones are concerned.

Access the Situation and Prioritize Their Needs

Start by focusing on the facts and think clearly. Are your aging loved ones in a health crisis or in an urgent situation, perhaps a chronic health decline? Your answers to these questions will determine how quickly you need to take action. Just ensure that you have the legal authority to make the decisions on their behalf.

If your loved ones have impaired cognition, you will have to prioritize their needs for them. Start by making a list of all the things you think need to be resolved, handled, or fixed. Prioritize them and focus on the crucial steps accordingly.

Think of Safety along with their Independence

After you are done making a list of all the things that need to be done, consider the daily routine of your aging loved ones to ensure you can take the proper safety measures pertaining to their health condition.

Just do your best not to be overprotective and restrict their independence, such as confining them to their home completely or not letting them drive. If you do, you are likely to encounter a lot of resistance from them and that is only going to get in the way of their treatment.

Consider the Resources Available To You

In the same list, add another column to list the resources you and your family have available. These can include your siblings, neighbors, professionals or anyone else that can step up to the occasion when the need arises. In short, anything you can contribute to the wellbeing of your elderly loved ones. Manage these resources to the best of your understanding to make their life easier.

Make Plans and Follow them Religiously

Keeping all the due diligence you’ve conducted so far in front of you, plan out how you can best care for your aging loved ones. Divide the crucial tasks among the people and resources you have available and ensure a carefree life for your parents.

Communicate With Loved Ones and Let the Rest of the Family in On the Plan

It’s imperative that you involve the loved ones you are concerned about as well as the rest of the family with regard to the plan you’ve created. The more you include your family, the lesser resistance you are likely to face down the road.

Tips provided by Andy from PatientHandling.com.au

4 Natural Treatments For Insomnia

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Chronic insomnia is a growing health concern that affects about one in ten Americans. There are a number of factors that appear to be driving the epidemic, but increased sleep, electronic usage, and high carb diets are among the biggest culprits. If you are having regular sleep problems, then you should explore different treatments for your insomnia.

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Treat Your Insomnia Without Medication

A large part of the population tries to treat insomnia with medication. According to the Center for Disease Control, about nine million Americans take sleeping pills on a regular basis. Dependence on sleeping medication can exacerbate symptoms of insomnia, so you should consider using natural treatments instead. Here are some alternative treatments for your sleeping problems.

Exercise

Exercising is one of the best ways to treat insomnia. A number of studies have shown that patients that exercise at least 150 minutes a week are able to sleep much better. The reasons for the improvement aren’t entirely clear, but it might be due to help treating anxieties and depression, burning excess energy and changing circadian rhythms.

Natural Herbs

There are a number of herbs that have a track record for helping people sleep better. Here are some worth looking into:

  • Cannabis – Several new studies have shown that using cannabis can help treat sleeping disorders. There are a number of reasons for this, but one is that people are probably able to relax more before going to sleep. You will need a prescription if you want to purchase it and will need to find a dispensary in nearby.
  • Valerian Root – Valerian root is a natural supplement that can be found in virtually any drug store.
  • Lemon Balm – Lemon balm is an herb that has been used to treat insomnia for centuries. You should drink it for a few minutes about a half hour before going to sleep.

You will need to feel how restored you feel the following morning, because these treatments could affect your deep REM. However, using them may make you feel a lot better than if you didn’t sleep at all and won’t hurt your REM sleep as much as drinking alcohol as a sleep aid.

Stop Using Electronics before Bed

One of the biggest reasons that sleeping problems are on the rise is that so many people are using electronics late at night. The light from electronic devices suppresses melatonin production by tricking your brain into thinking that it is still daytime. You will want to avoid looking at your computer, tablet or smartphone for a couple hours before going to sleep. You will probably want to turn you clock to face the wall, because even that light may hurt melatonin production (you may also be tempted to keep looking at your clock and get agitated about being unable to sleep as well).

3 Proven Techniques to Help You Battle Morning Sickness

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During the first trimester of your pregnancy, you have plenty to consider. Choosing the right healthcare provider, building a birth plan, and making important medical decisions about prenatal genetic testing are all on your radar. But even these important events can be shadowed by the nausea and vomiting of morning sickness, making it hard to enjoy happy events or think seriously about others.

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What is morning sickness?

Morning sickness is nausea or vomiting that affects women during pregnancy. The exact cause of morning sickness isn’t understood, but researchers believe that hormonal changes and lower blood sugars may play a part.

Even though it’s more common in the morning hours, symptoms can hang on until late in the day. Some women say they feel sick morning and night, so it’s not really fair to call it “morning sickness.” Nausea and/or vomiting usually resolve around the 14th week of pregnancy and, in most cases, isn’t dangerous to the baby at all.

How can I get relief from morning sickness?

Not every woman will choose to deal with morning sickness in the same way, and not every treatment approach will work all of the time. Try a combination of approaches and do what feels best for you. Here are a few techniques you can consider:

  • Grab a snack before you get out of bed. Keeping a few saltine crackers or other light snack beside your bed can be helpful. Before starting the day, eat a little something to help raise sagging blood sugar levels—a potential trigger of nausea during pregnancy.
  • Eat what sounds (and smells) good.A heightened sense of smell can make it hard to eat foods you once enjoyed. In fact, just getting a whiff could send you running for the bathroom. Thankfully this response does fade, but in the meantime try to eat foods that appeal to you. Some women find the salty/tangy combination of lemonade and potato chips soothing. Others enjoy watermelon, pregnancy pops, or ginger.
  • Consider acupressure. Sometimes called BioBands, these bracelets put pressure on specific points of the inner wrist. BioBands are used to treat motion sickness and can be very helpful in alleviating pregnancy nausea. They can be purchased in any pharmacy and are safe to use during pregnancy.
  • Try some herbal teas. Herbal teas can be very soothing on the tummy when dealing with morning sickness. Consider teas like ginger or peppermint as they have properties known to help ease the feeling of nausea. If you’re not much of a tea person, sucking on a peppermint is another alternative that can produce the same effects.
  • Add lemon to your water. If you’re looking to battle that nausea then add a lemon slice or two to your water.
  • Vitamin B6. Medical studies have shown that taking a dose of 10 to 25 mg of vitamin B6 can greatly improve the feeling of nausea. If you’re going to take a vitamin B supplement, be sure to run this by your doctor to prevent harming you or the baby. You can also find it in foods that include: chickpeas, beef, ready to eat cereals, potatoes, and certain fish like halibut (eat fish fully cooked).
  • Take a walk. Though you may not feel much in the mood to get up and get moving, walking can actually improve your nausea and extreme fatigue from morning sickness. Walking for about 20 minutes or so releases enough endorphins that helps to boost your energy and counteract fatigue.
  • Switch up those eating habits. Sometimes morning sickness is worse when your stomach feels empty. To keep that from happening, you should try eating more often yet in smaller portions. This prevents you from feeling stuffed and sluggish but keeps the tummy feeling fuller for longer periods of time.
  • Drink fluids. For those expectant mothers who are unable to keep much down it is extremely important that you drink plenty of fluids to keep you and the baby hydrated. Drinking water with lemon or a sports drink with electrolytes can help replenish your body. If you’re not really interested in drinking much you can also consider sucking on ice cubes made from water or with the sports drink.
  • Medication. If you’re really having a hard time dealing with your morning sickness your doctor may prescribe medication for you. The most common form of medication approved by the FDA for morning sickness is called Diclegis. This medication combines the B6 vitamin with other medications such as an antihistamine, and doxylamine (which is used to treat symptoms of a common cold or allergies). The pill is a slow release pill which is to be taken daily to ward off any symptoms you’re experiencing.

When to call your doctor

Even though most bouts of pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting are perfectly normal, you should call your doctor if:

  • Your nausea makes it impossible to eat or drink
  • You are vomiting more than three or four times a day and can’t hold anything down for a period of 24 hours
  • You are vomiting blood
  • You are fatigued or confused
  • You are not urinating or your urine has become very dark in color
  • Your eyes, mouth, and skin feel dry
  • You begin to feel weak or faint

Depending on the severity of your symptoms your doctor may need to treat you with prescribed medication, or a few days in the hospital to rehydrate with intravenous fluids.

There are a lot of ways to deal with the annoyance and discomfort of morning sickness. To ensure that you and your baby are safe it is important to consult with your doctor if you intend to try any alternative medicine or daily supplements. There’s no doubt that morning sickness can be stressful and disruptive, it is important to remain calm as stress can take a toll on your health. In most cases, morning sickness will pass will pass with time. Try to focus your thoughts on the arrival of your baby and the importance of your physical and mental well being.

Natural Treatments for Back Pain

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Back pain is a serious problem that countless Americans every day. The American Spinal Decompression Association estimates that approximately 80% of Americans suffer from back pain at some point in their lives and 20 to 30% are affected by it at any given time. It is possible to fix lower back pain without resorting to treat it without taking narcotic painkillers.

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Tips to Address Lower Back Pain

Many patients turn to medication to seek relief. However, there are other ways that you can deal with pain treatment, some of which will be more effective long term. Here are some ideas that you should try.

Improve the Quality of Your Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is extremely important for the healing process. If you are suffering from insomnia, then you will want to find a way to improve your sleep quality to recover. One of the most important things that you can do is try to move around as much as possible. Limited mobility from back pain can make it difficult to sleep later at night, so getting more exercise is the best approach.

Get More Exercise

In addition to helping you sleep better, there are other ways that getting more sleep can help reduce back pain in other ways. One way is by strengthening your back muscles, which can provide more support to your lumbar. Working out also releases endorphins, which can help with the rejuvenation process.

Work on Your Posture

Poor posture is the cause of a lot of back problems. Sitting straight with your feet firmly planted on the ground will help reduce the pressure on your back. Mary Ann Wilmarth of the American Physical Therapy Association told WebMD that even small changes to posture can make a tremendous difference.

“Little things add up,” she stated. “You can increase the pressure on your back by 50% simply by leaning over the sink incorrectly to brush your teeth. Keeping the right amount of curvature in the back takes pressure off the nerves and will reduce back pain.”

Consider Natural Treatments

There are a number of natural treatments that can reduce the severity of back pain. In several states, cannabis has been legalized for medicinal purposes. While it may seem like a controversial approach, it can be very effective for treating back pain and may not carry the same side effects as narcotics. Of course, you will need to speak with your doctor to see if it is the right treatment.

Don’t Let Back Pain Ruin Your Life

Back pain is a growing problem for many people, but it doesn’t need to cripple your life. There are a number of ways that you can reduce the problems associated with back pain without resorting to taking prescription medication. You may want to consider these options to limit the risk of long-term liver or kidney damage.

How Do You Treat Glaucoma?

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Glaucoma is a visual disorder that affects over 3 million people across the United States. Most people try to treat the disorder with medication or laser therapies, but there are natural remedies that they can consider as well.

Glaucoma
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Natural Treatments for Glaucoma

If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, then you will want to be aware of the different treatments available. Here are some ways that you can alleviate your symptoms.

Reduce Sugar Intake

Consuming excess sugar forces your body to secrete large amounts of insulin. Insulin can boost your blood pressure, which causes pressure on your eyes. You may want to cut back on carbohydrates from simple carbohydrates such as bread, white sugar and crackers.

Shift Away from Trans Fats

Trans fats can also cause poor circulation, which exacerbates the symptoms of glaucoma. You will want to reduce your consumption of trans fats as much as possible. The FDA has recently banned them, but you may still find them in shortening and many other ingredients. You will want to avoid eating these foods if you feel that your glaucoma is worsening.

Consume More Antioxidants

Antioxidants are the best natural anti-inflammatories. You will want to increase your consumption of foods that are rich in them. You will want to specifically be eating foods that have a lot of:

  • Vitamin C. These foods include berries and citrus fruits.
  • Vitamin E. Fortified cereals and sunflower seeds are good sources.
  • Milk is a great source of meltonin. So are many fresh fruits such as apples and oranges.

Eating as many antioxidants as possible should help reduce pressure around your eyes, which is necessary if you are suffering from glaucoma.

Consider Natural Herbs

There are a number of excellent natural herbs for people suffering from glaucoma. Cannabis is a great option if you are living in Colorado or another state that has legalized it for medicinal purposes, you can have several great options available for treatment. Make sure that you get a prescription first. Eyebright herbs can also be highly effective. If you find an alternative medical expert that had a traditional medical background, then you may want to consider working with them.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise is important for reducing blood pressure, which is necessary to keep your eyes healthy. You should seek to work out at least 30 minutes a day at least five days a week to keep yourself healthy and reduce the risk of glaucoma.

Consider Acupuncture

Many people turn to acupuncture as a treatment for glaucoma. There isn’t any hard evidence proving that acupuncture actually helps with it. However, it probably won’t hurt and many patients claim that it has been very helpful for helping with their side effects. You will want to make sure that you find a good acupuncturist though, because some people don’t have a very long track record in the profession.

Beat The Heat: How You Can Manage Diabetes in Summer

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Warm days mean more outside activities, fun with family and friends, and the recognition that you may need to manage your diabetes differently.  Increased activity and heat can have a direct impact on blood sugar levels and your overall health if you aren’t prepared.

Want to have fun in the summer sun? Here are a few ways you can enjoy it all and keep your sugar in check.

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1)  Talk to your doctor before starting new activities.  Exercise and fitness are essential for healthy bodies and good blood sugar control, but talk to your doctor before taking on a new or strenuous summer routine. Thinking of running your first 5K or hiking a mountain trail while on vacation? Consult with your healthcare provider first and make any adjustments they suggest to your carbohydrate intake or insulin dosing to avoid highs and lows.

2)  Consider the temperatures and your equipment.  Extreme temperature swings (especially heat) can damage your glucometer, testing strips and insulin. Keep essential testing tools out of hot cars or direct sunlight and make sure to pack your insulin on a cold pack as insulin can spoil when exposed to heat.  Insulin pumps will alert you if your insulin has been exposed to unsafe temperatures, but it’s better to avoid that scenario altogether.

3)  Avoid getting too hot. Men and women with diabetes are more likely to develop heat stroke. Avoid the sun at the hottest part of the day—between about 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. —and remember to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

4)  Use sunscreen. Some diabetes medications can make you more susceptible to sunburn. This happens most often with oral medications, but it’s always a good idea to use at least an SPF 30 and reapply often if you are sweating or swimming. Severe burns that blister could put you at risk for slow healing and infection.

5)  Protect your feet. Yes, even in summer remember to wear shoes that will protect your toes. Those trendy flip-flops may be cute, but they offer no security for your feet.

6)  Stick to your diet. Aunt Sally made her famous triple-chocolate ice cream cake for the potluck.  It may seem like a good idea to dive into a big plate of picnic goodies, but do your best to eat healthy foods and steer clear of sugar-surging treats.  Bring along snacks to help you avoid excessive hunger and poor food choices, and choose fruit, salads, lower-carbohydrate and lower-fat options when you can.

Don’t be afraid to enjoy summer to its fullest. Even with diabetes, it’s possible to enjoy every activity safely. Make sure those around you are familiar with your diabetes and know how to help if an emergency arises. Wear medical alert identification, carry emergency contact information with you at all times.

Words of Wisdom for Parents of Adult Addicts

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When your child enters the world you automatically realize the magnitude of responsibility you have in raising them. You have this innate understanding that every choice you make as it pertains to their life will ultimately impact how they turn out. You certainly don’t take this task lightly, and you constantly strive to make life the best it can be for your child.

But what do you do when you believe you’ve done everything right and things seem to somehow go wrong for your child? What if your child gets in with the wrong crowd and starts abusing drugs or alcohol? What if their choice to abuse those substances causes an addiction and a downward spiral in their life? Was it something you did wrong? Is there something you can do now to change it?

woman addict smoking
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As parents it is our job to worry. We worry about our children and their lives no matter how old they get. However, one mistake we make is putting the blame on us when our children make a poor decision. The truth is, once they reach adulthood it is their life to live, and your job becomes being there to provide support.

Getting Help for Your Child

Naturally, you see your child struggling with their substance abuse problems, of course you want to help out. If and when your child is willing to admit that they have an issue with drugs or alcohol, the best thing you can do for them is choose the proper substance abuse treatment for young adults. You want to select a program that will offer them the best level of care while also catering to the needs and demands of a young adult.

Though it might be tempting to think you can handle something like substance abuse or addiction on your own, this is one battle that a parent cannot fight for their children. It is something they must come to do on their own. Offering them help such as guiding them through their treatment options is the best level of support any parent can provide.

How to Cope and Not be a Crutch

Parents often make the mistake of becoming the enabler or crutch when they see their children doing bad. Truth of the matter is, this will only hinder their ability to live a sober life and recover from addiction. Below are some suggestions on how to cope with your adult child’s addiction without being the crutch they learn to lean on for the next few years:

  1. Have a Talk (Intervention) – you certainly can’t force your adult child to get help with their drug or alcohol abuse problem. However, what you can do is make them aware of how their actions are affecting the entire family. Having a talk or staging an intervention is one way in which you can provide support, voice your concerns, and allow others who care for your child to voice their concerns as well.
  2. Don’t Go Overboard with Financial Assistance – If you’ve ever dealt with an addict before, you understand that excuse making is often their first line of defense. “I’ve been drinking more because I’m stressed out about bills” or “I only use marijuana as a way to calm down after the divorce.” Naturally, you try to help them out by offering financial assistance. However, this could be a crutch. Instead only offer assistance in a way that will prove beneficial to your child’s life. If they need help affording out of pocket costs for treatment, help them out. If they say they have bills that are stressing them out, pay the bill but don’t hand them the cash.
  3. Don’t Blame Yourself – No matter how your talk or intervention goes with your child you have to remember not to blame yourself. It is a real possibility that they won’t be receptive to what you have to say and they may even refuse your help. Trying is all that you can do at this point and if it falls on deaf ears (like most things parents say to their children do), you have to accept that and move on.
  4. Get Counseling for Yourself – Whether your child decides that they want to get help or not you should consider getting help for yourself. Addiction is a family disease and counseling for family members affected by their loved one’s addiction can help them in coping with it all. Talking with a family therapist that specializes in addiction is ideal as they can touch on helping you to pull together as a family unit, while also explaining to you the difficulties of overcoming addiction.

It’s never easy learning that someone you care about – especially your child is suffering with something as serious as substance abuse or addiction. No matter how much you want to blame yourself for their poor choices and stage a “rescue mission” to save them from themselves, this is not the way to handle things. Love your child by showing them what you see addiction doing to their life, and offer support in a way that is not enabling or hindering their process. In the end all you can do for your child is continue to stand strong and be that rock they need when they finally decide to turn their lives around.

Four Reasons Why Engaging In Your Own Health Data Is Good For You

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The increase in availability of information, developments in new technology, and changes in public attitudes mean that one can interact differently with health services. The aspiration to involve people and give them more control over their health and care has a long history of initiatives and campaigns from policy-makers, professionals and patients and carers. mHealth has made is easier to let a person and a patient be more engaged and take control with their own health. There are several reasons why it would be beneficial to engage ourselves with our own health data:

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  1. Allows control on your own health to maintain a healthy lifestyle

People make choices and decisions every day about how to manage their lives and their health conditions. Supported self-management means giving people with long term conditions the support they need to increase the control they have over their own lives and to minimize the constraints imposed on them by their state of health or disability. In addition, it requires seeing patients not as passive recipients of care but as active partners in the healthcare value chain.

Also, having control over your own health allows responsibility to do something as part of your own self, such as taking your prescribed medicines. It also creates responsibility in your wider life to behave in certain ways for your own health, often in the long term, such as not smoking, or eating healthily.

  1. Able to manage chronic diseases and health conditions

With the understanding that patients need to be involved in the management of their health, patient engagement and patient activation have been recognized as crucial components of prevention and chronic disease self-management programs. To heal optimally, you must take on tasks associated with managing pain, symptoms, feeding and rehabilitation formerly performed by professionals.

Mostly popular tools are paving the way for better chronic care management i.e. increased patient engagement leads to reduced health care costs, better patient outcomes, and higher quality of care, particularly for those with chronic disease. These are done with real time communication with physicians via a smart phone or wireless device application and wearable technology. For example, diabetes patients, for instance, can have their insulin pen with Bluetooth Enable Technology that keeps track of every time it is used. This way the patient can sit down with the provider or look at the data himself and figure out trends.

  1. Shared decision making

Shared decision-making is a process in which clinicians and patients work together to make decisions about care and treatment based on both clinical evidence and the patient’s informed preferences. A central part of shared decision-making is the recognition that patients and clinicians bring different, but equally important, knowledge and expertise to the process.

  1. Encourage public health improvement

In terms of public health and health improvement, role of patients as independent agents of their own health, arguing that only by people becoming ‘fully engaged’ in their own health and health care can we hope to limit the escalating costs of health and social care provision associated with the growing burden of disease.

For health care to deliver on its promise of improved health and better quality of life, a renewed commitment by all stakeholders is required to ensure that each person has the opportunity to participate knowledgeably and effectively in their care to the extent they are able. Better information about who does and does not perform each of these behaviors will allow stakeholders to make strategic decisions about the kind of information, guidance and support that are needed by their patients, members or constituents to participate effectively in their care.

Cold and Flu Season: How to Prepare the Most Vulnerable Patients

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The flu season can be scary for almost anyone. Nobody ever wants to get sick. Working individuals may not be able to afford to take time off from work and children do not want to miss too much school. While nobody wants to get sick, there are a group of people that the flu can be harmful to. Seniors, small children, pregnant mothers and even the homeless can be hit by the flu harder than others. It is especially important for these groups of individuals to be vaccinated and to stay healthy during flu season.

Flu Season

In order to reach out to the most vulnerable patients during flu season, community groups should network in order to distribute public health information and immunizations. People with specializations in Health and Human Services working in hospitals, clinics, schools and health departments should work together to reach out to those who would be affected the most during flu season.

Flu Clinics

It is important that at-risk individuals know about flu clinics. Community organizations and other public facilities need to be informed about where to send seniors, small children, pregnant children and homeless so that they can be informed about the upcoming season and how a flu-shot could be helpful for them. There also needs to be volunteers or people who are willing to assist individuals who need help filling out the necessary paperwork to receive their flu-shots. Some also need help learning about their health insurance (if they have it) or how they will pay for the flu-shot. Most low-income residents, children or seniors can have their shots paid for through Medicaid or Medicare. Local and federal governments offer insurance for those who are unable to pay for healthcare. This insurance can help pay for preventable measures for flu season.

Personal hygiene should be a lesson learned both by children and adult. In schools, public facilities and nursing homes, it is adamant that everyone learn proper hand-washing. After using the bathroom, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing or before preparing food, hands should also be washed. Individuals also need to be taught to cough and sneeze into a tissue or the crease of their elbow to keep germs from spreading. With proper hygiene, less flu germs can be spread to those who may be more susceptible to them.

Curbing Transmission

During flu season, it is also extremely important to prevent transmission. Nursing and assisted living facilities should keep those that are sick in quarantine to prevent others from getting ill. Homeless shelters should allow people to stay longer so that they don’t spread illnesses from shelter to shelter. Parents should also be advised to keep their children at home when they are sick. Illnesses are often spread in school because parents will send sick children to school because they are unable to miss work or find reliable child-care. It is advisable that anyone who is sick, to stay home. This prevents illnesses from being transmitted.

If local organizations can work together in a community, they can help prevent illnesses from spreading. By keeping sick people quarantined and offering vaccinations to those who are vulnerable, it can keep sicknesses at bay. Everyone must remember to check on the elderly during flu season to make sure they are healthy and getting the necessary vitamins and nutrients too. With everyone working together, we can make our homes and community a healthier place.

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