Do your extremities often tingle or feel numb? Do your hands and feet frequently get cold? If so, these and other symptoms could indicate you have poor circulation. Here are three tips to improve blood flow throughout your body.
1. Eat healthy
Opt for food and beverages that are rich in flavonoids, omega-3, and vitamins C and E. These nutrients help strengthen blood vessels, improve circulation and prevent clots. Some top picks include salmon, watermelon, garlic, green tea, turmeric, dark chocolate, and goji berries. In addition, make sure to drink plenty of water.
2. Stay active
Exercises that get your leg muscles moving improve your circulation. Aim to spend at least 30 minutes a day walking, cycling, swimming, or doing yoga. Additionally, if you work all day sitting down, be sure to walk around for a few minutes every hour. Conversely, if you spend a lot of time standing, remember to sit down during your breaks and, ideally, put your feet up.
3. Laugh often
In addition to relieving stress, research shows that laughter can improve circulation and increase blood oxygenation. Look for opportunities to laugh throughout the day, whether it’s by watching comedies, spending time with friends, or playing silly games with your grandchildren.
In addition to adopting these healthy habits, it’s a good idea to consult your family doctor if you have symptoms of poor circulation. A medical professional can assess your overall health and recommend personalized solutions, such as wearing compression socks or doing specific exercises.
7 nutritious treats for Halloween
Along with carving a pumpkin and wearing a costume, eating candy is an integral part of celebrating Halloween. However, it’s a good idea to consume sweets in moderation to avoid getting stomach aches and cavities. Additionally, you might want to consider stocking up on treats for October 31 that provides a bit of nutrition without ruining the spirit of Halloween.
Here are a few tasty choices:
1. Dark chocolate
2. Flavored popcorn
3. Nutrition bars
4. Oatmeal cookies
5. Dried fruit
6. Salted seeds
7. Chocolate-covered nuts
These treats are a good source of nutrients, minerals, and fiber, and they’re sure to delight your family members and neighborhood trick-or-treaters.
Minimum age for prediabetes screening drops
The United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) has updated its recommendations for when physicians should start to screen patients for diabetes and prediabetes. According to a statement published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, USPSTF now recommends that physicians start to screen overweight and obese patients at age 35 instead of the previous recommendation of 40.
According to Medical Economics, earlier screening can help delay or prevent diabetes in adults whose screenings indicate prediabetes. Lifestyle changes like diet modification and increased physical activity have been shown to be effective in reversing prediabetes.
Are your thumbs killing you?
You might not think that you’re getting a workout when you flop down on the couch to text with a friend or scroll aimlessly through your social media accounts, but at least one part of your body might disagree.
“Texting thumb,” often formally diagnosed as de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, is a repetitive stress injury that results in inflammation in the tendons of your thumb, according to Houston Methodist.
When angry tendons rub in their narrow channel, the result is pain that begins at the base of the thumb, and in severe cases, can radiate up through the side of the wrist and to the lower arm. The pain usually occurs in the dominant hand.
The thumb is the most likely culprit, but other fingers aren’t safe from mobile device overuse — according to Healthline, “smartphone finger” might cause pain or stiffness at the base of the affected finger, clicking sounds when you move your pinky, stiff fingers in the morning and numbness at in your fingertips. Smartphone pinky or smartphone finger is often more common with larger devices, like our beloved iPads and Kindles.
If you’re experiencing texting thumb or smartphone finger, you can try a few things to see if the pain subsides.
* Take a break from your devices to see if your pain subsides.
* Hot and cold therapy can help. Try ice for inflammation or heat for stiffness.
* Over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol or Advil can relieve discomfort.
If your pain is especially persistent, you can try a splint or brace to keep those joints stable. But if the pain continues despite rest and remedies or if you experience recurring numbness, it’s time to call the doctor.
Try resistance bands for strength
Stronger, leaner, and healthier — according to the experts at the Mayo Clinic, regular strength training can provide all of those benefits. And if heading to the gym to hit the weights isn’t your speed, resistance bands and body weight exercises offer a portable, affordable option that you can do almost anywhere.
According to Harvard Medical School, resistance bands are a great addition to body weight exercises that can help you preserve and build lean muscle. Resistance band training can also help improve your balance, gait, and flexibility, and they’re user-friendly for even fitness novices, according to NBC News.
Resistance bands are available in various styles, including single lengths of stretchy elastic, closed loops, or rubber tubes with handles. You may want to invest in a few types of bands with varying levels of resistance — don’t worry, their compact size means that even several bands are easy to stow away.
Place a loop or mini-loop resistance band (a length tied in a circle also works) around your thighs just above your knees, and stand with your feet slightly more than hip-width apart. Slowly push your hips back into a seated position while bending your knees. When you reach a seated position and your knees are at a 90-degree angle, hold the position for a few seconds and then slowly move back into a standing position. Make sure to squeeze your glutes — these strong muscles provide the bulk of the power for this movement. Perform two to three sets of eight to 12 reps.
With the band around your mid-to-lower thighs, just above your knees, take a big step forward and lower down until your back knee hovers just above the ground. Lift yourself back into a standing position by driving through the heel of your front leg. Perform two to three sets of eight to 12 reps on each side.
Banded chest punch
Loop the exercise band around your back and under your armpits. Hold an end or a handle in each hand by your shoulders. Slowly and deliberately, punch your right arm out on a slight diagonal in front of your body, before repeating with the other side. This counts as a single rep — perform two to three sets of eight to 12 reps.
Seated resistance band row
Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you, feet more than shoulder-width apart. Loop your resistance band (a band with handles is best for this exercise) and cross the handles in front of you to make an X shape. Pull the handles slowly and carefully into your ribs, making sure to sit up straight and let your back muscles do the work.
Your health means everything – protect it by getting vaccinated for flu season
Shorter days and cooler temperatures are tell-tale signs that autumn has arrived. Unfortunately, another sign of the season is the beginning of increased flu activity. Flu season can last from autumn to as late as May – peaking between December and February. According to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), last year’s flu cases were historically low, thanks in large part to widespread practice of safety measures to combat another widely-circulating respiratory illness – COVID-19 – including school closures, mask wearing and social distancing. With less common practice of those measures over the past several months, we could see an uptick in flu cases like prior years’ levels. That potential – along with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic – makes it even more important that we each do what we can to minimize our risk, protect our health and protect the health of those around us. Getting vaccinated against the flu is a vitally important way to fight it.
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses and can cause mild to severe illness and even lead to death in certain situations. Everyone is susceptible to the flu, but individuals with a greater risk of developing complications from these viruses include children younger than five years old, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, and those with certain medical conditions like asthma, heart disease and blood disorders.
At Fauquier Health, one of the essential ways we’re Making Communities Healthier is making sure that our neighbors understand how to fight preventable diseases like the flu. As we have all learned during this time, our health means everything and it has never been more important to protect it.
And there are a few key strategies to protect yourself, your family and our community; prevent the flu from spreading; and even speed up your recovery if you do become ill:
First – and most importantly – get vaccinated. As we have witnessed this year with the safety and success of COVID-19 vaccines in decreasing transmission rates, similarly, flu vaccination is the single-best way to protect yourself from influenza viruses. While it is still possible to contract the flu after getting vaccinated, studies show that flu vaccinations will lessen the severity of symptoms if you do get sick. Getting vaccinated also affords you the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are doing everything you can to protect yourself against the flu.
The CDC recommends annual flu vaccination for everyone six months and older, with any age-appropriate flu vaccine. If you are considering a nasal spray flu vaccine, it is important to know that this option is approved by the CDC for use in non-pregnant individuals, ages two through 49, and there is a precaution against this option for those with certain underlying medical conditions. You should talk with your healthcare provider regarding which flu vaccination method works best for you.
Like COVID-19 vaccines, flu vaccines can take approximately two weeks to become fully effective, so you should plan to receive your flu vaccine before flu activity begins in your area. A good rule of thumb is to get vaccinated no later than the end of October.
And while we’re on the subject of COVID-19 vaccines, if you have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19, there’s no better time than now – especially as COVID-19 cases continue to spread and the potential for flu activity increases. You can even conveniently get both vaccines on the same day, to save you from having a second visit. If you have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 yet, ask about getting it when you get your flu shot. Being vaccinated against both viruses is your best defense against becoming infected with one or both diseases.
You can visit a walk-in clinic or pharmacy, or your primary care provider’s office to receive a flu vaccination. If you don’t have a provider, we can connect you with one. Visit our website and browse our Find a Doctor tab FauquierHealth.org/find-a-doctor, or call 540.316.DOCS.
In addition to getting vaccinated, there are other simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your family, and help prevent the spread of flu and other infections like COVID-19 during flu season and year-round, including:
- Washing your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, or using a hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol-based
- Wearing a face mask in indoor, public spaces
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Avoiding sharing food, cups or eating utensils
- Regularly disinfecting your home and belongings, such as doorknobs, light switches, children’s toys and play areas
- Staying home from school or work if you are sick to prevent the spread of germs
- Covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with a tissue, your sleeve or elbow, and NOT your bare hands
- Calling your primary care provider with any questions
At Fauquier Health, we are taking additional steps to help prevent the flu, COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses from spreading by:
- Implementing universal masking for patients, providers, employees, visitors, and anyone entering our facility
- Setting up stations stocked with alcohol-based sanitizers and hands-free trash cans throughout our facility
- Continuing stringent cleaning and disinfection protocols
- Encouraging all patients, staff, and visitors to get their flu and COVID-19 vaccinations
If you or someone you know notices symptoms including coughing, sore throat, fever, or other upper respiratory symptoms, please see your healthcare provider right away. Many of the most common symptoms of flu are consistent with COVID-19, so it may be hard to tell the difference between them. Testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Don’t ignore your symptoms. Limit your contact with others as much as possible when symptoms appear and stay home (or keep your child home) for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone, except to seek medical care (If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to self-isolate for a longer period of time).
The good news is that when you act on your symptoms, visit a provider and flu is detected early, prescription antiviral drugs can often help treat the illness and shorten the time you are sick by one or two days.
For additional information about the 2021-22 flu season, visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/flu or contact your local health department.
By Christine Hart Kress, Fauquier Health, Chief Nursing Officer
Epinephrine auto-injectors: an ally for allergy sufferers
Anaphylactic shock is a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that can occur within seconds of exposure to an allergen and requires rapid intervention. Fortunately, there’s a portable device that can be used to temporarily reverse symptoms in an emergency. It’s called an epinephrine auto-injector and is available under the brand names EpiPen, Auvi-Q, and Emerade.
Also known as adrenaline, epinephrine is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands that are responsible for your body’s fight-or-flight response. Among other things, it increases your heart rate and relaxes the muscles in your airways to improve your breathing. A synthetic version of this hormone is used in auto-injectors to ease symptoms of anaphylactic shock, which can include:
· A swollen tongue or lips, or tingling in the mouth
· Red, itchy welts (hives), flushed skin, or sudden paleness
· Wheezing, difficulty breathing, or feeling like you have a lump in your throat
· Confusion, dizziness, or fainting
· Sudden drop in blood pressure
· Abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
· A weak or rapid pulse
Since anaphylactic shock can recur hours later without further exposure to the allergen, it’s vital to head straight to an emergency room for observation and treatment after using an epinephrine auto-injector. Additionally, a second dose may be needed within five to 20 minutes of the first injection if the person’s symptoms don’t improve. Therefore, it’s best to have several auto-injectors on hand, especially if you live far from a hospital.
To learn more about these life-saving devices, consult an allergist.
Know how to use it
You shouldn’t wait until a fire breaks out to learn how to use a fire extinguisher. Similarly, waiting until you have an allergic reaction to read the instructions on your auto-injector is dangerous. It’s also important that close friends and family members be familiar with the device in case you can’t administer it yourself.