Blog

breast cancer check-up

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! And out of all of the monthly awareness programs, this one might be one of the most well known in this area. Redlands has held an annual Believe Walk that runs throughout Downtown Redlands that many citizens have participated in. “The purpose of the Stater Bros. Charities & Inland Women Fighting Cancer Believe Walk is to raise critical funds that support cancer-fighting organizations in this region. Through the generosity of sponsors and donors; the Believe Walk will directly impact lives, by providing funds to improve cancer care and support services for cancer patients and their families in the Inland Empire communities of Southern California.”

The Believe Walk will take place on Sunday, October 7th and will start at 8 am! If you are interested in participating, volunteering or donating, please feel free to visit their website at – believeinlandempire.com

Breast Cancer Check-Up

The purpose of this month is to spread awareness of how early detection of breast cancer can save lives. This early awareness can be achieved through self-inspection as well as mammograms. A mammogram is a type of x-ray that allows the tissue in the breast to be examined for any form of cancer that could be there. It is recommended that women over the age of 40 on an annual basis. A mammogram has the potential to show changes in the breast two years before those changes should occur. And equally important is the self-examination which can take place at any time and should be done on a regular basis on women regardless of their age. It is through regular self-examination that many cases of breast cancer are found. Being aware of your own body and any changes that it may be going through is vital to tracking your health. Please be especially aware if anyone in your family has been diagnosed with breast cancer and be checking yourself on a monthly basis.

If you are in need of insurance to cover your annual breast cancer check-up, please speak to us. We can help you find health insurance that fits your needs and your price point. We hope to help everyone find health insurance that they love especially as open enrollment is soon to open.

What Happens After You Lose an Organ
This can sound like an ominous subject.

But the matter of the fact is that many people have different organs removed on a consistent basis. We are not talking about the vital organs like the lungs or liver. But we do regularly hear of people who have their gallbladder, tonsils, appendix or pancreas removed. So what happens after that? What is life like without these organs that you were born with?

Most people have their tonsils removed after having some complications with tonsillitis or suffering from sleep apnea.

Your appendix would only be removed if it has become infected. For both of these procedures, there is not much that will change in your day to day life. You should not suffer from sore throats as much if you have your tonsils out, and there will be no change good or bad when you have the appendix removed.

If you are getting your gallbladder removed, you most likely have had some issues with gallstones.

Passing a gallstone can be an excruciating process and if it should get stuck on the way out it can lead to some severe health issues. When your gallbladder is removed, you can no longer store bile in the same way. Bile helps break down fatty foods. Therefore, after getting your gallbladder removed, you would need to plan on changing your diet. All high-fat foods can lead to some potential problems for you, but you will also want to make sure that you are cutting down on foods that can cause gas as well. One of the more severe organs to get removed is your pancreas. Because the pancreas produces the insulin that your body needs to respond to glucose levels, when you get it removed you come out of the surgery a diabetic. This change will affect your diet, exercise and health care needs for the rest of your life.

These are all issues that could have an effect on the type of health insurance coverage that you may need. If you have gone through a primary medical procedure in the last year that will require more medical attention for you in the future, please talk to us for the best insurance coverage for your current health needs.

The numbers on Addiction

The Numbers on Addiction

There is much to be said about the many diseases that affect our country.
Often viewed as a disease while not given the same attention, addiction can take a deadly tole on a person’s life. Here are some addiction facts that show how widespread this issue continues to be:

 

Over 20 million Americans over the age of 12 have an addiction (excluding tobacco).
100 people die every day from drug overdoses. This rate has tripled in the past 20 years.
2.6 million people with addictions have a dependence on both alcohol and illicit drugs.
Rates of illicit drug use are highest among those aged 18 to 25.
Over 90% of those with addiction began drinking, smoking or using illicit drugs before the age of 18.
(source: Addiction Center)One of the fastest growing drug abuses has been the opioid Fentanyl. This is a drug that is used to treat pain after surgery. In the last 7 years abuse of this drug has grown significantly. Where it once was only associated in 14% of opioid overdose deaths, that number was raised to 50%.

Smoking and alcohol addiction still lead to some severe health issues. But addiction to these substances often goes untreated because it is legal to purchase and many do not think that they have a real problem with it. It is estimated that over 95% of people who need treatment for alcoholism do not feel they need treatment. But more people receive treatment for alcoholism than any other substance. There is a cost to these addictions. Including healthcare costs, loss of productivity and other aspects, Tobacco addiction costs the US over $190 billion. And tobacco-related deaths far exceed in number any other substance-related death.

If you or someone you know struggles with addiction, please get help. You can reach out to a variety of organizations including SAMHSA which has a 24/7 365-days a year treatment referral and information service. 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free and confidential treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

If you are uncertain what your insurance covers in terms of rehabilitation or issues with mental health or addiction, please call us today

i-Tech

i-Tech

Technology is part of our everyday lives.

Even when you may not realize its encompassing hold on your life, it is very much present. For many, their daily dose of technology comes in the form of screens. Most likely a computer screen, tablet screen or cell phone screen. While being on a computer is not a dangerous activity, it can be harmful to your eyes.

When you are staring at a screen for extended times during the day, your eyes can become dry and overstrained.

The reason for this is that we tend not to blink as much when looking at a screen as opposed to reading a book. Every time that you blink you are replenishing any moisture that has escaped while your eyes are open. Also, when you read, you tend to look down so that most of your eye is covered by the lid. When looking at a screen, you tend to look straightforward, so more of your eye is exposed.

There is also blue light that is emitted from screens.

Blue light during the day can actually help with your circadian rhythm, and help you be more alert during the daytime. However, if you are spending a reasonable amount of time looking at a screen before bed, it can keep you up at night. There are also studies being done that blue light can affect children more than adults.

If you have noticed that you are experiencing headaches, dry eyes, eye strain, trouble sleeping or back pain; there are a few exercises you can do to help.
Make sure you are taking regular breaks from staring at your screens. A good rule of thumb is every 20 minutes stare at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Make sure that you are blinking regularly. You can also adjust the blue light on your phone at night. If you are still experiencing issues, please get a comprehensive eye exam. A doctor will be able to let you know what other changes you may need to make.
Seeing in 20/20

Seeing in 20/20

There are many that know the value of health insurance and how it helps you to be able to get care for you and your loved ones.

There are some who go without it, but most people would at least want to have health insurance. But that thought process does not always extend to vision insurance. It is recommended that you get your eyes checked every two years, but without the insurance, many pass over this timeline. If you are in need of corrective lenses then you are supposed to have your eyes checked yearly. This is where having vision insurance is very helpful.

Vision insurance works a bit differently than health insurance in that it can be more of a discount program.

You hope to use your “insurance” to help offset cost rather than hope that insurance will cover your expenses if something should happen like you would with car or homeowners insurance.

If you are looking at vision insurance there are a few basics that you will want to make sure are covered.

Those basics include an eye exam, glasses, and contacts. But depending on the type of insurance, the discounts available or even the timing of when your coverage kicks in can change. Some plans will only offer glasses every two years for example. You should also pay attention to any extras that would come with your plan. Will it cover transition lenses or daily contacts? Small extras that cost extra may add up on your final bill and it is important to know what will come from our out of pocket expenses.

If you or a family member have a need for vision insurance please speak to us. We can inform you on all of the ins and outs of various plans to find the best fit for your needs. We love to make your insurance work for you.

Will they, Won't they

Will They, Won’t They – Immunization Edition

If you’ve ever dipped your toe into the vaccination debate you are bound to find some highly impassioned arguments. Each side will call out logical fallacies and pull out research to prove their points. In this blog, we will talk about the objections that are given over getting your child vaccinated.

Parents who chose to not get their children vaccinated will cite research that shows that vaccines have a higher chance of not helping your child become immunized but will instead infect the child.

They will also point out that illnesses that have been wiped out by vaccinations were already in decline by the time the vaccine was invented. For example, polio was already in vast decline because of better hygiene and understanding of how illnesses spread before the vaccine was made public. They will point out that vaccines not only have trace amounts of the bacteria or virus but will also have toxins like formaldehyde or mercury.

But probably the most talked about aspect of vaccine objections is the subject of autism.

In its shortest form, the argument is that vaccines cause autism. Parents may even know a couple who had a happy and healthy child who was vaccinated and changed drastically after the injection. The child has now been diagnosed with autism. While there are many different studies that have shown that there is no direct correlation between vaccinations and autism, this fear has kept many parents from choosing to get their child vaccinated. The theory behind vaccinations is that they are perfectly safe and will help your child from getting a terrible illness. However, many parents are not willing to risk the livelihood of their child on a theory.

Every parent loves their child and wants the best for them. When it comes to vaccines, you need to make the best decision for your child. Talk to your friends, talk to your doctor, talk to your partner, do your research, be informed.  We are in no way trying to pose an opinion in the blog and just want to look at this issue. We care about the health and wellness of all of our clients and hope to help you find the best healthcare for your needs.

Immunizations & What They're For

Immunizations & What They’re For

Immunizations have caused quite a stir in the last past and in some circles are still a point of contention.

An immunization is actually the end product but is synonymous with a vaccine. A vaccine usually comes in the form of an injection that includes small amounts of a bacteria, virus or lab-based protein. The idea behind vaccinations is that when a small amount of this harmful bacteria or virus is injected, the body’s immune system is triggered. It starts to create antibodies that will fight off whatever was in the injection. That way if the person should come in contact with a full-blown strain of the disease the body is more prepared to fight it off or completely keep the body from being overwhelmed by the illness.

 

The majority of people who are given vaccines are children from the ages of 0-6.

During that time, most children will receive a vaccine for Hepatitis B, Rotavirus, Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Haemophilus influenza type B, Pneumococcal, Poliovirus, Influenza, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Chickenpox, and Hepatitis A. The reason that these are given to children is because there was a period of time not that long ago when thousands of children would suffer or die from these diseases each year. With the invention of the vaccine for these infections, many of them have become obsolete like the mumps, smallpox or polio. Another reason why these vaccines are recommended is that it is more cost effective to prevent a disease than to treat it. Most of these are highly infectious diseases and to treat a mass amount of people infected by these is very expensive.

While many of you may be aware of the mechanics of immunizations you may have also heard that there is a movement of people who do not want to give their children vaccines. To read more about this topic, please read our next blog “Will They, Won’t They.”

At Bernardini & Donovan, we are dedicated to giving you more information about your health and your health care. If you have any questions about your health care insurance please feel free to call us.

when to see a doctor

When to see a Doctor

Whenever you start to get that scratchy throat or a runny nose; there’s always a moment that you have to decide if it’s time to go to the doctor or wait it out. Do your symptoms need to be treated with some antibiotics or is your immune system strong enough to fight it? If you go to the doctor and get drugs that you don’t need you can be contributing to an antibiotic immunity. However, if you have a bacterial cold, antibiotics will help cut your time sick quickly. So when do you know that you need to go to the doctor?

You should go to the doctor if you….

Have a high fever. 

For adults, a low-grade fever ranges around 100.8. But if you are experiencing a temperature of 102 or higher, than it is likely that your body is fighting off something that is stronger than a cold and you should be looked at by a professional.

Have a cough that lasts over ten days. 

It is most likely because you have a postnasal drip, but it could be indicative of other issues like asthma or GERD. In either case, it is best to see your doctor.

Feel like you have been hit by a truck.

If your illness has made it hard for you to get out of bed, then you may need to see a professional. The winter cold virus can produce body aches; however, if the experience is more along the lines of exhaustion or general weakness, then it is best to go to the doctor’s office. You could have the flu, and there are treatments for that illness.

Have a severe headache. 

Most headaches can be solved if you take a couple of over the counter pain relievers. But If you are having a hard time concentrating and always seem to have a fuzzy or hazy feeling, then this could be a sign of meningitis and should see your doctor right away.

If you need to see your doctor more often than you were expecting when you signed up for health insurance, please make sure to make a note of it and speak to us. We can help you find the best health insurance for your needs during open enrollment.

when to change your plan

When to change our plan

Its July now, and for many of us, we have had our current health insurance plans for seven months out of the year. This timeline has walked us through flu season, allergy season and an extended enough period to get a good read on whether or not your current health insurance plan is a good fit. At this time of year, we always recommend going back over your year and checking off your health needs.How many times did you need to go to Urgent Care?

How many times did you go to the Emergency Room?

How many times did you need to visit a specialist?

How many times did you need to visit your doctor?

Was there any unexpected change to your health this year?

Were there any diagnoses that would potentially need extended lasting care?

All of these questions can have a significant impact on the type of insurance that is best for you and your family. For example, let’s say that you have a Bronze level plan which is known for their low monthly premiums but high costs when you need care. In this last year, you have gone to urgent care more than expected and required more time with your family’s doctor. This plan would not be very affordable for you as you are continuing to pay more out of pocket with each doctor’s visit and care that was provided.

If you have seen significant changes in your health or your family’s health, now is an excellent time to make a note of it. You cannot make changes to your health insurance plan unless there is a qualifying life experience (lose current coverage, changes in household…). But you can make a note of how many times you paid out of pocket for care. If this number is significant enough, we recommend talking to us during open enrollment to change your plan. With information like this written down, we can help you find the best health insurance plans for your needs and finances. Please feel free to call us at any time of the year for any guidance on your health insurance needs.

Nip it in the bud

Nip it in the bud

In the winter we expect to get a cold. It seems to come with the territory. We all get flu shots and hope that we don’t get too sick during that whole season. But when summer hits and you get a cold, it seems to be even worse. This is the season to be on vacation and outside enjoying the warmth. Instead, you’re inside feeling miserable. Actually, it’s not just the sense of injustice that makes summer colds worse; it’s also the virus itself. In summer the enterovirus is more active and its symptoms include runny nose, headache, cough, upset stomach, and body aches.

One of the best ways to beat the summer cold is to nip it in the bud before it turns into a full-blown thing. Here are a few ways that you can help keep your immune system strong during the summer:

Sleep:

When the sun is out longer, it can also prolong your bedtime. The cool summer evenings can be perfect for a late night stroll or an outdoor concert, but lack of sleep is the number one cause of a weak immune system. When we sleep, disease-fighting substances are created and when you don’t rest; they are not produced. So make sleeping a priority!

Exercise:

The enterovirus, prevalent during the summer, can become worse if you exercise. Now, we are not saying that you should not exercise at all! But if you have been mostly sedentary during the winter months, it would be smart to ease into a fitness routine and not jump in full force.

Boost your system

If you regularly take a multivitamin, it would be a good time to take some extra vitamin C. You may also want to introduce a probiotic into your diet. The majority of your immune system resides in your gut, so good gut care can make a big difference in how you fight off a cold this summer.

Summer is a beautiful season! Stay healthy so you can enjoy it the entire time!