TO YOUR HEALTH

February 2013

Flu

As New Jersey’s Gov. Christie would say, “Don’t be stupid, get a flu shot”. Whereas this article should have appeared in our Newsletter last fall, we believed at the time that there were enough warnings around that our prudent members would hie themselves to their local drugstore, doctor or wherever to have the shot administered. Since then, the flu epidemic has blossomed and there are still some who have adamantly refused vaccination. To those few who haven’t done it, please get your shot. The flu season lasts from November to April so there’s still time to get that shot.

Flu starts one to two days after infection. The flu victim is contagious from the day before he gets any symptoms until up to seven days later Flu can be transmitted three ways: direct transmission when someone sneezes or coughs on you, the airborne route when you inhale the virus hanging around in the air shortly after someone has sneezed or coughed and, also, when you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes. The virus can survive one to two days on hard surfaces like metal or plastic, five minutes on the skin and up to 17 days such as when it is in mucus on dollar bills. One sneeze can release up to 40,000 droplets and it takes only one droplet to give you the flu. One report indicates that smoking can increase the risk of infection as well as producing more severe disease symptoms. Flu is a viral infection and is especially dangerous for those with pre-existing conditions and for infants due to a weakened or not fully developed immune system.

Simple rubbing alcohol, bleach or antiseptics can be used on surfaces to kill the virus effectively.

It can be difficult to distinguish between the common cold and influenza in the early stages, but a sudden onset with high fever and extreme fatigue are key signs. Fatigue can last one to two weeks. The occurrence of a sudden relapse after you are feeling better is a dangerous warning sign. You may be experiencing a secondary bacterial infection such as pneumonia. Simple flu is usually treated with acetaminophen fever reducers and pain killers (such as Tylenol) but should bacterial infections occur, it’s time to take antibiotics (see your doctor). You should get plenty of rest, drink plenty of liquids and avoid smoking and alcohol. Flu has an interesting history. Hippocrates described it clearly 2,400 years ago. The early explorers spread it from Europe to the Americas. Almost all of the people in the Antilles were killed by flu in 1493 after the arrival of Christopher Columbus. The 1918-1919 worldwide flu epidemic was the worst of all recorded with an estimated 50 to 100 million people killed. The 1918-1919 epidemic had a fatality rate of roughly 2% as compared with the usual flu mortality rate which is around 0.1%.

The effectiveness of flu shots is roughly 62% but if you do come down with it, the symptoms will be less severe. If you haven’t gotten a flu shot, please give it serious consideration.


September 2012

We have two articles this month.

Sunglass Saavy

Sunglasses are not just a fashion accessory. They can add greatly to your comfort, health and safety if you choose the proper pair. 

UV radiation, whether from natural sunlight or artificial UV rays, can damage the eye, affecting surface tissues and internal structures, such as the cornea and lens.  Long-term exposure to UV radiation can lead to cataracts, skin cancer around the eyelids, and other eye disorders.  In the short term, excessive exposure to UV radiation from daily activities, including reflections off water, snow, pavement and other surfaces, can burn the front surface of the eye, similar to a sunburn on the skin.

Wear sunglasses that have 400 UV protection or more. A dark lens does not necessarily have UV protection.   Avoid blue tinted sunglasses - they may look cool but blue tint actually emits ultra violet light, which is what you are supposed to be blocking out.  Your best bet is plain gray, with green as a second choice.

Certain brands of contacts do protect eyes from the majority of UV rays. Look for contacts that are guaranteed to block more than 90 percent of UVA rays and 99 percent of UVB rays. To block the 10 percent of UVA rays and 1 percent of UVB rays that are not covered by your contact lenses, be sure to pair your UV-protecting contact lenses with certified UV-blocking sunglasses.

When choosing sunglasses for children consider the following:

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MEN less likely than women to believe that STRESS can have an impact ON THEIR health

Men tend to report less stress and put less of an emphasis on the need to manage it than women, according to results from a recent survey by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Although men are more likely than women to say they do enough to manage stress, in reality, their rate of stress-related illness appears to show that they’re not doing enough at all. According to the APA survey, Stress in America™: Our Health at Risk, men tend to put less emphasis on managing stress than women (52 percent vs. 68 percent, respectively, reporting that it is very/extremely important). Men are less likely than women to report using healthy stress management strategies, including reading (31 percent vs. 51 percent), spending time with family or friends (32 percent vs. 44 percent), praying (22 percent vs. 41 percent), going to religious services (17 percent vs. 24 percent), and seeing a mental health professional (1 percent vs. 5 percent). At the same time, men are more likely than women to report having been diagnosed with the types of chronic physical illnesses that are often linked with high stress levels, such as high blood pressure (32 percent vs. 23 percent), type 2 diabetes (12 percent vs. 7 percent), and heart disease or heart attack (6 percent vs. 2 percent).

 Here in New Jersey, men have been particularly stressed out due to economic factors and additional worries about being able to provide for their families.

“We spend a lot of time talking about the impact of stress on mothers or women,” said New Jersey Psychological Association (NJPA) Public Education Chairperson and member of the staff at Overlook Medical Center, Rosalind S. Dorlen, PsyD. “However, the stress fathers and men face is just as real and gets far less attention, which, as research shows, is bad news for their health. It is important that men take action to manage their stress in healthy ways to avoid chronic illnesses.”

The NJPA recommends these approaches to men and fathers for healthier stress management: