(BPT) - According to a recent survey by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), which was sponsored by Meda Pharmaceuticals, nearly one-half of allergy sufferers (48%) are highly satisfied with their prescription allergy treatment and report high satisfaction for their children too, suggesting that a visit to a health care professional might be the best way to identify the right treatment.
The online survey included 1,001 U.S. adults (18 and older) and parents of children ages 12-17 with seasonal allergies. Most reported having moderate to severe symptoms in the spring, summer and fall.
Millions of adults and children have seasonal allergies and its prevalence continues to rise. Trees, grass, and/or weed pollens usually trigger seasonal allergies at certain times of the year. Some people are allergic to many types of pollens and experience seasonal symptoms throughout the year, while others have symptoms only for a few weeks out of the year. Common symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, congestion and nasal itching.
Allergy experts Eli O. Meltzer, MD, Allergy & Asthma Medical Group & Research Center, San Diego and William E. Berger, MD, FACAAI, Allergy & Asthma Associates, say the survey's results underscore the importance of knowing how best to treat your allergy symptoms and what is triggering them. There are many different types of prescription and non-prescription treatments available so it's important to have a discussion with your doctor about what the best choice is for you.
According to the survey, parents are more likely to seek out medical attention for their children with seasonal allergies, but not for themselves. For example, parents of adolescents with seasonal allergies reported their children are significantly more likely to be treated by an allergist (24%), primary care physician (35%) or pediatrician (30%). But adults surveyed reported receiving allergy care from a primary care physician (58%). Far fewer adults (14%) see an allergist for care.
"Involving an allergy specialist and having conversations about seasonal allergies can lead to higher rates of satisfaction, more symptom relief and appropriate treatment for individual success," explained lead author Eli O. Meltzer, MD. "Parents are already doing this for their kids to a large extent, which is good news, but they need to take the time to care for themselves too."
An allergy specialist can help determine what's triggering an allergic reaction and work with patients to control or prevent symptoms. Some treatments don't adequately control symptoms and others have unacceptable side effects for some people. An allergist can help navigate the options and help identify strategies and treatments that work best for every individual.
"Moderate to severe seasonal allergy symptoms can impact productivity, sleep and drain energy. Many people suffer miserably, yet there are very effective treatments to manage symptoms," notes Dr. Berger. "What is most important is taking the time to see a physician to learn how to best manage symptoms and not self-treating without first seeking a doctor's advice."
Dr. Berger suggests scheduling appointments well in advance of allergy season because treatment is more effective when it begins early. A professional can explain the different types of treatments and work with patients to determine what type of treatment is the best fit. "Many seasonal allergy sufferers don't take any action until they start to experience symptoms, which quickly can escalate from bothersome to debilitating," says Bryan Martin, DO, Ohio State University and president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). "But allergy treatments work best when they're taken before the onset of symptoms, so it's important to plan ahead, before the season hits full force, so you're armed with the tools and medicines that provide the most effective symptom relief for you and your family."
Highlights from the AAFA's National Online Symptom Management & Allergic Rhinitis Treatment Survey:
* 48% of adults and 57% of children are very or extremely satisfied with their prescription treatment
* 19% of adults reported they were not seeing any healthcare professional for their allergies
* 80% of both adults and children classify their allergy symptom severity as moderate or severe in the spring, summer and fall
The seasonal allergy survey was sponsored in collaboration between AAFA and Meda Pharmaceuticals Inc. This article was sponsored by Meda Pharmaceuticals Inc.
(BPT) - The dress, the tux, the guests, the honeymoon - there are so many details that go into your wedding day. All eyes are on you from the moment you walk down the aisle until the last dance of the night. Understandably so, brides and grooms often feel a lot of pressure to look their best on this important day - there's nothing like a wedding to motivate you to get serious about your health and fitness goals.
But crash diets or extreme exercise programs are never the answer. "It's usually best to start thinking about your specific goals three months before your wedding day to allow plenty of time to establish your routine and adjust to a healthier lifestyle," says Steve Bronston, certified personal trainer with Life Time, a healthy way of life company that operates more than 115 health and wellness centers nationwide. "This creates a great opportunity for the bride and groom to support each other and get in shape together."
Bronston and Life Time offer a three-month countdown plan to get you ready for the big day:
Focus on changing your unhealthy habits. Nutrition is key when trying to lose weight, decrease body fat and increase your overall health. Work with a professional to lay out a detailed nutrition plan that consists of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats at each meal. Then, begin with a fitness program that incorporates weight training and cardio intervals. Arm exercises like overhead press, tricep push-ups and bicep curls, and back exercises like rows and rear flys help brides looking to tone up for a strapless or low-back dress. Bronston suggests starting with two or three days of weight training, two or three days of cardio and one day of Pilates or yoga.
Now it's time to switch up your exercise routines. It's a good idea to work with a personal trainer or join a group fitness class once or twice a week to shake up your routine and stay motivated. Your workouts should include one to two weight training exercises per body part throughout the week. If you can, try to shift the amount of weight you use and number of repetitions you do to help stimulate change within your body. Continue a cardio routine of two to three days per week and add in another day or Pilates or yoga.
It is important to keep up with your developing healthy habits as the weeks progress, but as your wedding day approaches, you're sure to feel the stress of planning. "A new focus on rest and relaxation during this time period is key," Bronston says. You can eat well and exercise perfectly, but without sleep, stretching, rest and recovery, your body is at risk of not functioning properly.
Planning a wedding can be stressful and tiresome, but if you commit to a healthy diet and fitness plan, you'll walk down the aisle feeling confident and ready for your new life ahead.
Healthier Living Made Easy
(Family Features) Living a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge when faced with a lack of time and the ease and availability of convenient foods. There’s no time like the present, however, to get your body in tip-top shape. The impact of good health on your quality of life, regardless of age or physical ability, can be far reaching. From controlling weight by eating right, even on a busy schedule, to making that smile shine a little brighter, use these ideas to help you become a happier, healthier you.
Balance Brings Results
Clean Your Teeth with Style
Stretch Your Limits
Monitor Activity on the Go
Photos courtesy of Getty Images (family, yoga mats, activity trackers)
(BPT) - It came out of nowhere. The sudden fever, aches, and chills you’re experiencing are unbearable. You crawl into bed, thinking there’s not much you can do. You already feel guilty for bringing the flu home to your kids and spouse. You can try to fight it, but the virus will likely make its way through your household. Right?
That’s what the majority of U.S. adults think. According to a recent national survey conducted by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) more than half of U.S. adults (55 percent) incorrectly think that when they get sick, others in the household are bound to get the flu and they just have to wait for the flu virus to pass. The survey also found that almost twice as many U.S. adults call a healthcare professional when their child experiences flu symptoms (46 percent) versus when they personally experience flu symptoms (25 percent).
“It’s important for adults to take care of themselves as well as those they care for, including children. The virus does not have to take down your whole family if one person gets sick,” says Dr. William Schaffner, MD, NFID medical director. “There are ways to fight flu. If you see a healthcare professional quickly, they may prescribe prescription flu medicines that may help you get better faster. Your doctor may also prescribe them to prevent others in your household from getting the flu.”
“Be proactive when it comes to the flu. It’s the considerate thing to do,” says Lizzie Post, great-great-granddaughter of etiquette guru Emily Post and co-author of Emily Post's Etiquette 18th edition. “Etiquette is all about consideration. Using basic good etiquette can help keep you and your family flu-free by preventing the virus’ spread.”
The Emily Post Institute offers the following etiquette tips to manage situations where the flu virus could spread:
* Know your F.A.C.T.S.: If you’re experiencing Fever, Aches, Chills, Tiredness and Sudden Onset, it’s likely flu. Realize that you’re contagious and quickly see a healthcare professional.
* Stay home: If you have flu symptoms, it’s okay to cancel plans or take a sick day. The polite thing to do is to stay away from crowds to avoid spreading the virus. Be sure to call your host, or the office to let them know you won’t be able to make it.
* Stock up: Keep tissues and hand sanitizers with you at all times. If it’s others who are sick, like that cougher or sneezer next to you, prompt them to protect others by offering a tissue or a spritz of alcohol-based sanitizer.
* Hands down. Keep your hands below your shoulders when in public. The idea is to avoid touching your face, which may also help keep you from getting sick after rubbing your nose, mouth or eyes with unclean hands.
For more flu-fighting tips, visit NFID.org and FluFACTS.com.
(BPT) - An estimated 3 million Americans have atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib), which is the most common cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat). AF increases in frequency and severity as patients grow older and can cause serious health complications, including stroke.
What is AF?
Dr. Shane Bailey, a cardiac electrophysiologist with Texas Cardia Arrhythmia in Austin, treats patients with AF, many of whom know very little about the condition and its symptoms before they are diagnosed.
"I describe AF to my patients as a chaotic, uncontrolled heart rhythm that occurs when the upper chambers of the heart - the atria - contract rapidly and irregularly, from 300 to 600 times per minute. A normal heart beat is 60 to 100 times per minute," says Bailey.
AF results when the heart's electrical system, which provides the basis for heart muscle contractions (heartbeats), fails to send electricity through the heart in a regular, measured pattern. Sometimes the electrical signal gets blocked or travels the same pathways repeatedly, creating a "short circuit" that disturbs normal heart rhythms.
During AF, blood pools in the upper chambers of the heart, where it can clot. If a clot travels from the atria to the brain, it can cause a stroke.
Dr. Bailey says while some people with AF have no symptoms, others may experience symptoms such as heart palpitations, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue, fainting and anxiousness.
Bob Whitehurst, an AF patient from Houston, decided to pursue treatment after the symptoms began to significantly affect his life.
"AF saps your energy because your heart isn't pumping blood efficiently," Whitehurst says. "I was taking medication, but knew I had to do more when episodes started happening at work. After receiving ablation, I no longer have AF symptoms - the procedure is such a blessing."
Medications treat only the symptoms of AF; ablation treats the underlying problem causing the condition. A recent FDA review found ablation had at least a 47 percent greater success rate than medication.
It is important to note there are risks and potential adverse events associated with ablation procedures, including but not limited to cardiovascular related complications, such as hematoma, effusion and infection. Contact force ablation may not be appropriate for patients who have certain recent heart surgery, prosthetic valves, active systemic infection or patients who have undergone other major vascular procedures. Patients should consult with their physician to learn more about their options.
Is ablation right for you?
Diagnostic procedures help physicians determine the best course of action to successfully manage and treat AF so patients can lead full and active lives. Some people experience side effects from the medications used to treat AF, such as blood thinners.
"Many people don't like the idea of being on a blood thinner indefinitely," says Dr. Bailey. "For that reason, I consider ablation to be a first-line treatment for many of my AF patients, as the procedure can mean they'll eventually discontinue using these medicines."
A checklist of questions patients can ask their doctor can be found at www.sjm.com/AfibAnswers, a site provided by St. Jude Medical, a leader in technologies that treat atrial fibrillation.
How to Take Action in Tough Times
(Family Features) When things go awry for someone you love, it can be hard to know just how to help. Don’t let fear of saying or doing the wrong thing prevent you from taking action. It’s important to remember that some gesture, whether big or small, is better than doing nothing at all.
If you find yourself unsure of how you can lend a hand in a time of need, start by envisioning what you might find helpful if you ever found yourself in the same situation. Also take into account special circumstances that may hinder delivering on that need and seek alternatives. For example, a child fighting a severe illness may be desperately missing friends from school, but visitors are limited due to his compromised immune system. Your answer for taking action: work with the child’s teacher and have classmates make cards or funny videos you can share.
Overcoming emotion and channeling that energy into action can be a challenge when times are tough, but these ideas will help give you the inspiration to get started:
Acknowledgement. Sometimes the greatest help can be hearing that you’re not alone. A simple call or a card letting your loved one know that you’re thinking of them is a small but important gesture in a time of need. Not knowing what to say or fear that talking about it will bring more pain keeps many people quiet in the face of tragedy. A support system that helps chase away a sense of isolation is important.
Crowdsourcing. Relying on the vastness of social media is a smart strategy for gaining financial support, whether it’s helping defray expenses or raising funds in honor of a special person or cause. For example, iPads from Isaac, a crowdsourcing campaign through Move Your Mountain, has raised more than $10,000 in a little over six months to fund iPads for non-verbal children like Isaac, who passed away at the age of 7. Choosing the right platform can help ensure the success of your campaign. Move Your Mountain offers mentors to support new users via email and live chat, helping tell a compelling story and even select impactful photos and videos. The service also offers the lowest fees currently available with no campaign time limits.
Donations. When casseroles have been delivered, cards sent and other immediate needs seen to, you may find yourself asking what next. That’s when a thoughtful gesture such as donating your time, money or things to a related charity is sure to be appreciated. Your contributions may or may not directly affect the individual you’re acting on behalf of, but the show of support sends a strong message.
Gifting differently. If you have a gifting occasion on the horizon, take advantage of the opportunity. Ask others to forego the gifts they may have sent you, and instead direct those resources to your loved one in need, whether in the form of money or items they need, such as books, new pajamas or a cozy blanket. On the flip side, if you’re the one giving, let your recipient know a contribution has been made in his or her name and share some information about the cause in a thoughtful card.
Stress relief. When crises occur, day-to-day concerns get pushed aside. But over time, worries such as lawn care and household chores can wear on caregivers and injured or ill individuals alike. Work together to create a task list, then enlist help from others to tackle the list and eliminate unnecessary stress.
When bad things happen, it’s natural to feel helpless. Taking charge and taking action can help you constructively manage through a time of need, encourage others to do the same and make a meaningful difference in your community.
Learn more at moveyourmountain.org.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
(BPT) - Diet fads, new workout regimens, exotic health supplements - every day, people are inundated with headlines about health trends. Out of the clutter and confusion a new, arguably more sensible, health movement is gaining traction: holistic living.
Taking a holistic health approach means looking at your overall wellness from a big picture perspective. That means you take thoughtful steps to better your mental and physical health while doing things that bring you joy.
Wellness expert and culinary nutritionist Katie Cavuto embraces holistic living and believes the best path to health is to look at each person's journey through a broad lens. In honor of Almond Day 2016, she offers her 10 best tips to help anyone get started living healthier by prioritizing mind, body and earth benefits.
1. Savor each bite.
Take time to delight in the eating experience. Doing so helps you feel more satisfied with smaller portions of your favorite foods. Slow down to notice flavors, textures and changes as you chew each morsel.
2. Embrace mindful snacking.
Focusing the mind is nearly impossible when hunger strikes. Almonds are the perfect portable snack to stave off hunger. Forget bland snacking by trying a new flavor of almonds to energize your taste buds.
3. Shift your intentions around food.
Instead of focusing on dieting and will power, focus your energy on creating a nourishing, nutrient-dense plate of whole foods, and find bliss in your intention to care for yourself.
4. Try new nutrient-dense ingredients.
From almond butter to almond milk, almond flour to whole almonds, there are many ways to incorporate almonds into your daily snacks and meals to ensure you're consuming adequate amounts of key nutrients. Get easy ideas for wholesome meals and snacks at www.almonds.com.
5. Snack for heart health.
Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of almonds (28g) has 13g of unsaturated fat and only 1g of saturated fat.
6. Eat with gratitude.
Gratitude practices can bring happiness. The same can be said for creating joyful eating experiences. Shared meals with loved ones can be uplifting and provide a positive boost to any day.
7. Create convenience foods.
Resist unhealthy vending machine temptations by preparing wholesome convenience foods. For example, just one serving of almonds contains 6 grams of protein. Keep servings in your car, gym bag, purse or office so you have a crave-worthy, crunchy snack on hand at all times.
8. Grow something.
Growing your own food is healthy and rewarding. Indoor container gardens are easy to maintain all year. Plus, the presence of plants in the home can improve air quality while reducing stress and anxiety.
9. Preplan breakfast.
Ensure you have time for this essential meal by preparing breakfast foods ahead of time. Make smoothie packets and store them in the freezer, or blend up a smoothie the night before. Add a scoop of almond butter to create a more satisfying meal.
10. Embrace Meatless Monday
Become part of the "Meatless Monday" movement and incorporate plant-based proteins, like almonds into your meals. Plant-based proteins often contain good, unsaturated fats that offer many health benefits.
Try this recipe to kick off your holistic living efforts with a burst of refreshing flavors:
Cucumber Salad with Lemon Almond Dressing
2 tablespoon almond butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup olive oil
Red pepper flakes (optional)
1-2 tablespoons of water
Salt and pepper
In a blender, combine all of the ingredients for the dressing.
In a bowl, toss the cucumber with Â¼ cup of the dressing. Garnish with almonds.
Building a Disaster Preparedness Kit
(Family Features) Natural disasters – hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and earthquakes – can be unpredictable. That’s why organizations like the American Red Cross urge people to prepare ahead of time. You may have an emergency plan in place, so everyone in your family knows what to do and where to go if a disaster strikes. What you may not have is a disaster preparedness kit.
In the event of an emergency, there often isn’t much time to search for or stock up on supplies. You can create your own disaster preparedness kit ahead of time with some basic household items.
First aid supplies
Flashlight and batteries
“Clorox is an invaluable partner to the American Red Cross,” said Trevor Riggen, regional chief executive officer, Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region. “Their donations help victims of disaster recover during the most difficult times.”
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (emergency checklist)
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