Health Talk Today

Health Issues

Protect Yourself Against Swine Flu

The news is everywhere – On TV, radio, online and the newspaper. The speculation is that the Swine Flu breakout may become a pandemic. The key word is MAY. Right now, it is NOT a pandemic. Now is the time to take all the precautions we can to avoid this illness.

First we need to be able to recognize the Swine Flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “The symptoms of swine flu in people are expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.”

It’s time to take preventive measures:

  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish and soy.
  • Take your vitamins every day.
  • Keep your immune system strong. I like a natural interferon booster.
  • Drink lots of filtered water.
  • Wash your hands often. Soap and warm water kill most germs.
  • Use a hand sanitizer.
  • Use a saline nasal spray before you leave the house and when you return.
  • Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid public restrooms, crowded waiting rooms and anywhere lots of people gather.
  • Avoid sick people. Unfortunately, people are most contagious just before they get sick.
  • Don’t share personal items, food or drinks.
  • Keep a positive attitude.
If you get sick:

  • Visit your doctor. There are tests to determine if you have a cold, seasonal influenza or the Swine Flu.
  • Prescription medication is available to help you feel better, keep the flu virus from reproducing in your system and possibly prevent complications.
  • Stay home. You need the rest and you don’t want to infect others.
  • Follow the guidelines above for prevention. They work well when you’re sick, too.

Prevention is the best course of action. Living a healthy lifestyle keeps your body in the best shape to ward off illnesses of all kinds. You can’t go back and do things over, but you can start from today and make a better future.

What are you doing to get healthy and stay healthy?

Marilyn Kvasnok

Top 10 Reasons to Quit Smoking

Smoking – It’s one subject that conjurs up very strong feelings. Smokers believe they have a right to smoke. And non-smokers believe they have a right to smoke-free air. The non-smokers are winning, but it hasn’t been easy. Today, not only are public buildings smoke-free, there’s a no smoking ban around the perimeter of those buildings.

I can finally enjoy a meal at a smoke-free restaurant. When the hostess used to ask “smoking or non?” I would always answer “A non-smoking section in a restaurant is like a no-pee zone in a pool.” If I walked into a restaurant and smelled cigarette smoke, I would leave – But not before telling the hostess or manager why.

And now, I’m seeing signs outside public buildings warning that there’s no smoking around the building. I no longer have to walk thru a cloud of smoke to enter a medical building. And who was outside smoking? All the employees, of course!

So, what’s a non-smoking advocate to do? Speak up! Ban together and educate everyone I can about the dangers of smoking. I found another non-smoking advocate.

Joseph P. Weaver is the winner of the 2002 American Cancer Society’s Great American Smoke-out Award, for leadership in building a smoke-free environment in New York City. A former neuroscience researcher, Joe has studied yoga, reflexology, herbology, and meditation in Nepal and around the world, and has helped thousands of people quit smoking.

In his book, The Tao of Quitting Smoking, Mr. Weaver lists 100 Reasons to Quit Smoking. Here are my favorite Top 10, taken from his list:

  1. Because you can! (#1)
  2. Quitting decreases the overall risk of death (all causes combined) by 50 percent in fifteen years as compared to continuing smokers. (#2)
  3. Toxic tobacco smoke, a.k.a. secondhand smoke, harms others. (#26)
  4. Nicotine—a poisonous, addictive, drug, has been linked to cancer. (#34)
  5. You won’t feel like a leper in public. More than 70 percent of people don’t smoke. (#49)
  6. You will be a winner because you finally took control of your addiction. (#58)
  7. Because you know that you want to quit. (#69)
  8. Children tend to imitate their parents. (#84)
  9. Not socially acceptable anymore. (#87)
  10. Quit for yourself. (#100)

So, is there life after cigarettes? You bet! You’ll feel better, breathe better, look better, smell better and enjoy what you eat. And everyone around you will love you for taking control of your life.

Are You Still Smoking?
The Long Term Health Effects of Smoking Tobacco
The Smoker’s Body (Warning: It’s gross)
Quit Smoking Resources
Where There’s Smoke . . .

Marilyn Kvasnok

Living Wills ~aka~ Advance Health Care Directives

Two years ago, my aunt was in a nursing home. She was bedridden, weakened by years of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and rheumatoid arthritis. It was the first time I heard about a living will. My aunt didn’t want to sign a living will, even though her health was failing. There were no medical procedures or medicine that could help her. She understood that, but I believe her will to live was very strong. So, for months, we continued to spend hour after hour at the nursing home with her. We fed her, made her as comfortable as possible and made sure the nurses and aides were doing all they could for her.

I just took a survey for a Twitter friend. Marijke is a nurse turned blogger. She’s looking for information that tells her how many people have living wills, who doesn’t and what may be holding back people from drawing one up.

Do you need a Living Will? It’s also known as an Advance Health Care Directive. Do you know what it is and how it works?

Click here to take the survey. It only takes a few minutes and it will help Marijke.

Click here to follow Marijke on Twitter.

When you connect with Marijke, let her know you read about her living will survey on Health Talk Today Blog.

Marilyn Kvasnok

Migraine Headache Tips

If you’re getting a migraine, here are 4 things you can do that may help . . .

  • Take a walk. It relieves stress and stress can contribute to a migraine.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Warm your hands in a bowl of warm water to increase the blood flow to your hands and away from dilated vessels in your head.
  • Put a cold cloth on the back of your neck to take excess blood away from your head.

Changing your diet may help to avoid a migraine in the future. Foods that may trigger a migraine include . . .

  • White sugar
  • Red meat
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Safflower and canola oils

It’s difficult to make big changes to your diet. If you find you can’t quit these foods immediately, try to keep cutting back until you rarely eat them.

In addition to taking daily vitamins, here’s a list of extra supplements that have helped others . . .

Marilyn Kvasnok

Tribute to Randy Pausch

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”
–Randy Pausch

Like most of us, I followed Randy Pausch from afar. As a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, he taught all of us much more than computer sciences. He showed us how to live. Randy lived every day to the fullest.

I have a strong suspicion that his attitude was the same before he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. His positive attitude permeated his life. Thanks to the Internet, we all got to share in his journey. Randy’s website is a timeline of events from his diagnosis to his passing.

I will remember Randy. He was only 47, but into his short life he crammed a lifetime of memories for his family. He may have lost his battle with cancer, but he lived with integrity and courage to the end. And he won the hearts of everyone who met him – whether in person or virtually.

ABC News Report: Randy Pausch, ‘Last Lecture’ Professor Dies

Interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer

In his book, The Last Lecture,Randy has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come. — Amazon editorial review

Marilyn Kvasnok

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