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Seasonal Health

Healthcare Insurance Options

Healthcare Insurance Options

At the end of every year, we come to the holiday season. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas all play a significant part of how we spend our time. But along with these celebrations, we are also very aware of another season. Open Enrollment Season. For a short period, at the end of each year, there is an opportunity to change your health care insurance options.

If you are already enrolled in a particular program before the open enrollment period begins, your provider will contact you and tell you if there are going to be any changes to your benefits or your premiums. This is particularly important to know so that you can assess if you are happy enough to stay with your current provider or if it is time to change so that your needs are better met.

Then open enrollment starts

This year it opened on October 15. During this time you have access to sign up for health insurance coverage or change your current provider. It is important to note that your signup date does affect the start of your coverage date. If you sign up between October 15 to December 15, then your coverage will begin on January 1, 2019.

But open enrollment does not end on December 15th. It continues until January 15, 2019. So if you find yourself overwhelmed by the holiday season, and have no time to review your health care needs, do not be worried. You have until mid-January to finalize your plans! Of course, your start of coverage date will be different. If you sign up between December 16 to January 15, then your start date will be February 1, 2019.

At Bernardini & Donovan, we love to help you make the best choice possible for your health care insurance coverage. We will help walk you through the process, help you see what tax credits may be available to you and help you sign up. Please call us today to so that we can help you during open enrollment season!

Flu Prevention

Last year’s flu season was one for the books. “Every year, influenza kills between 12,000 and 49,000 people and can send more than 700,000 people to the hospital,” the CDC says. With numbers like this, doctors are recommending that people get their flu shots early. What many people do not know is that it can take up to two weeks for the immunization to become fully effective with the flu vaccine; which means that if you get your flu shot later in the season, you are still in danger of contracting the flu during those two weeks. The flu shot is available at most pharmacies, doctor’s offices and various other locations at this time. We recommend getting a flu shot as soon as possible, especially during the fall and winter months.

Prepare For The Flu

There are also a few steps you can take to help you go through flu season.

Flu Prevention #1 – Wash your hands

This one simple step can help prevent the spread of germs. This step is critical before you handle your food, after coughing or sneezing, and after touching a new surface. Make sure that you are using warm water and plenty of soap to wash your hands.

Flu Prevention #2 – Cover your mouth

Keeping your mouth covered if you are feeling sick goes a long way in preventing the spread of germs. We recommend carrying tissues to help in this process.

Flu Prevention #3 – Don’t touch your face

The flu virus can be introduced through different mucous membranes like your eyes, nose, and mouth. It is best to avoid touch your face during flu season.

Flu Prevention #4 – Stay home if sick

This is a biggie! If you or a family member are feeling ill or showing flu-like symptoms, please do not go to work or school. Many people have reported that they do go to work or school while feeling ill, but you are putting your coworkers and schoolmates at high risk for the flu if you do this.

Flu Prevention #5 – Take your vitamins

Make sure that you are getting your needed amounts of vitamins C, D and omega 3’s. You may also want to keep Oscillococcinum on hand as it can reduce both the duration and severity of flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, body aches, chills, and fever.

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!

Get in Gear for Summer - Part 1

Get in Gear for Summer – Part 1

With June not far off, it’s time for many of us to start thinking ahead to the summer. For some, that means getting yourself beach body ready. While we may not be beach body ready, we are dedicated to pursuing good health all throughout the year. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep your body healthy during the summer months.

Drink water

This really should be a common health goal. But during the summer, when temperatures spike, we sweat out a lot of our hydration and need to keep drinking water to rehydrate ourselves. If you think that soda or coffee will help keep you hydrated, sorry, that’s just not true. In fact, other beverages do an excellent job of dehydrating you. Sticking to water will make all the difference.

Keep active but not during the hottest part of the day

Maintaining an active lifestyle is a favorite ingredient for health. But during the summer there can be some high temperatures that make working out difficult and can make you lose your motivation to get going. Make it a point to work out early in the morning or after the sun sets so that you can still

Berrys for better health

An excellent way to boost your antioxidants this summer is to include berries in your diet. This is as simple as throwing some strawberries or raspberries in your smoothie each morning or having them as a midday snack. And seeing as these delicious fruits are in season, there is no better time enjoy them. They also can help you fend off age-related illnesses and prevent damage that is done to your tissue. Can’t beat that!

These are just a few of examples of how to prepare for summer. In our next blog, we are going to cover some of the less heard of tips and tricks to get your ready for summer!!

hard hitting flu season

A Hard Hitting Flu Season

If you’ve been reading the news recently, you’ve most likely seen some articles about this year’s flu season. California is counted in one of the most affected states in the nation. The state officials look at how serious a flu season is based upon the deaths of people under the age of 65. Unfortunately, people over the age of 65 are highly susceptible to the flu, and it does lead to many deaths each year. At the time of this article being written, we have seen 36 deaths in Los Angeles County and 91 deaths in San Diego County. Those numbers are up from last year.

 

Why are we seeing such high death numbers due to influenza this year?
Because of the activity of the strain of the H3N2 virus which provides symptoms which are much more severe. While symptoms may be very similar to what you would expect; with this strain, they are usually prolonged, harsher and more likely to lead to death.

 

If you have not yet received your flu shot, it is not too late.
Flu shots help you in many ways. They may not be 100% effective in keeping you from getting the flu but they can help with the severity of the symptoms should you find yourself with the flu. It can also help you get over the flu quicker and get back on your feet. But maybe most importantly, it aids in not spreading the virus to those who are very susceptible to it. Each year, the elderly and children are hit hard with the flu and usually make up the majority of deaths related to the flu. Where you may not worry about getting the flu yourself, you can do a great help to others in your community by getting the flu shot. We hope that you have a happy and healthy February. As always, contact us if you are in need of health insurance or wish to make sure your account is all up to date. We are here to make sure you are covered where you need to be and when you need to be.

image source: www.npr.org

New Year, New You

New Year, New You

‘Tis the season of the new year’s resolution! Many people will start the new year with plans of how to improve their life. Here are a few resolutions that we would like to recommend:

 

Intentionality
One of our most significant assets in life is our time. Everyone is given the same amount of it every day. But what matters is what you do with that time. At the end of every year, it is easy to reflect back and realize that much of your time was spent doing things that don’t matter. Instead, we suggest doing this reflection much earlier. At the end of each day, at lunchtime, as you wake up, reflect over your last few hours. Think about what was important, what added something to your life and goals, and what detracted. What made you a better person and what was a waste of time. What can you do differently in your next few hours so that your precious time is used wisely?

 

Be your best you
For some of you, this may sound like “I want to drop 20 pounds” or the even more ambiguous I want to lose weight. Some will add the more positive spin saying “I want to eat healthier” or “Workout more.” While these are excellent goals, we want to point out that health looks different on every person. We all have our unique chemistry and genetic health history that causes us to need different markers for health. One of the best things you can do is go to your doctor and speak about what you would like. They can help you formulate different diets, exercise plans and offer you various options that are better for you than what your friend Sally did that worked for her. If you need help getting in to see a doctor, that’s where we can help. Its open enrollment right now and we can help you find an insurance plan that will let you see the doctors you want for a price that works for you. We hope that your New Year’s is terrific and that 2018 brings in the opportunities to be your best you.
Healthy Christmas
Christmas is around the corner and what an exciting season it is! Everywhere you go you see lights and decor and the children are getting more and more thrilled about how soon Santa is coming. We want you to have the happiest and healthiest Christmas you can. So here are a few options on how to have a healthy Christmas:

 

Keep your immune system strong
One of the best ways to ensure that you are not sniffling and coughing during Christmas is in the weeks before Christmas be taking care of yourself. Make sure that you are eating healthily and exercising before the big day. You will also want to wash your hands often and if at all possible, avoid others who are sick.

 

Talk a Walk
It’s easy around this time to want to plop yourself down on a couch and enjoy the massive amounts of holiday specials and movies. We all have our favorites ones that bring back sweet memories. But days of sitting while eating fatty foods can add to your waistline pretty quickly. Instead, take a family walk especially after a large meal which helps in digestion. If the kids got new bikes or scooters, take them out for a test drive. Create family experiences that are not around a television, and you will help yourself in the long run with health and many good memories.

 

Practice Portion Control

Tis the season for sumptuous foods! We all have our favorite holiday treats; maybe yours is that dessert that you only get this time of year or perhaps it’s Grandma’s special recipe that no one can recreate. But in this season of excess, have a little portion control can seriously help you. Try eating from a small plate if you don’t think you can stop yourself from filling up a full plate. Also, be mindful of all the little snacks that you pick up throughout the day. Being mindful of what you are putting in your mouth lets you make smarter choices during this time of year. Try to not eat in front of the television. You tend not to realize that you are full until it’s too late when your mind is on the plot line and not on your waistline.

Also, if you would like some ideas on some healthier recipes to serve or share at Christmas time check out this list: http://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/g4738/healthy-christmas-recipes/

Active during fall and winter
Why You Should Be Active In The Fall And Winter

 

Sometimes when Fall and Winter come, we tend to start to behave as though we are bears. No, not in that way. But some of us will want to pack on the layers and get ready for winter hibernation aka nesting under the covers. And trust us, we get the appeal. However, that mindset can hurt your health in the long run. Here are some reasons why you should be active during the fall and winter:

 

It helps your mood.
Getting a bit of sunlight gives you vitamin D which is just one way that you can help fight off seasonal affectedness depression or SAD. If you don’t know about SAD, you can read about it one of our previous blogs here. Also, when you work out, you’re releasing endorphins which also help raise your mood. There’s something to be said about feeling accomplished after a good workout.

 

Stay healthier
This is the season for colds. We almost seem to expect that sooner rather than later we will wake up with a scratchy throat and a few sniffles to boot. However, if you are working out regularly, you are helping your immune system be able to fight off colds better.

 

You know you’re gonna eat
Tis the season to be jolly, merry and maybe just a little bit gluttonous. It seems that everyone is at home baking and bringing in the fruits of the labor in the form of cookies, pies, cakes, and any other sweet treat. It’s hard not to indulge every once in awhile. But with these desserts, you are also celebrating big holidays that call for feasts. A workout can help offset any damage that these indulgences could have on you.

 

Get some good air
When you spend the majority of your hours indoors, you are breathing mostly recycled air that travels through air vents and other contraptions. Going outdoors and getting a bit of exercise can help your lungs to detox as well as breath fully without fear of picking up anyone else lingering germs and illness.
Don't Lose Your Beach Body

You worked hard for that beach body. Hours at the gym, making sure that you ate food that was fueling your body and not packing on the pounds! But fall is here, and winter is coming *cue game of thrones theme song here*. And sometimes that is a natural excuse to let yourself fall into bad habits. We can start to indulge in not working out as much because it’s colder now or allowing ourselves have a second helping of dessert because apparently, this is the season for baked goods and candy. But here are some suggestions to help you keep fit during the fall and winter:

Join a Gym

Some of you may already have your gym membership, but for those who don’t, having a membership can be a great motivator. This is especially helpful if you purchase a few one and one sessions with a trainer. They can tailor your workouts to help you reach your goals.

Buy some DVD workouts

If going to the gym is not a good fit for you, working out in your home is a great option. You can find such a range of workouts that will fit your level of intensity. There are also countless options for types of exercises. If you like to dance, you should try Zumba. Want to be more limber, try yoga. If you’re going to hold off on buying DVD’s there are thousands of workout videos available on Youtube.

Switch it up

For those of you that work out regularly already, sometimes it’s good to switch things up in the fall and winter months. If you work out in the evenings, it can be helpful to move your workouts to the mornings. When the sun sets earlier, it’s easy to feel like your day is done and working out is not as big of a priority. But if you start your day out with a workout, it can help with motivation, your mood, and metabolism.

These are just a few options for how to stay motivated during the winter months. Keeping your health a priority helps you live longer and enjoy your life more.

Flu Season

Flu Season

The beginning of October not only ushers in the fall season, but it also ushers in the Flu Season. Many people experience sickness during the fall and winter, but the flu can be much more dangerous. Especially for children, adults over 65, people with compromised immune system and pregnant women. One of the best ways to help yourself during this flu season is to participate in preventative care:

 

Get the Vaccine:
Getting a flu vaccine can help significantly lower the probability that you will get the flu. You develop antibodies to the flu just two weeks after getting the shot. You can get the flu shot at your doctor’s office, but they are also available at most pharmacies as well. Click on this link to find where you can find the vaccine locally: https://vaccinefinder.org/

 

Don’t be around sick people
One of the easiest ways to avoid getting sick is to avoid going around people who are sick. But that can be difficult. You can’t just avoid going out of your house from October to May. But to the best of your ability, try and avoid being in close contact with people who are ill.

 

Stay at home if sick
Another great way to avoid spreading the flu is to avoid going to work or school if you are sick. One of the best ways to get over your illness is to rest, and you are not getting sufficient rest when you are working. Also, you are helping all of your work and schoolmates by not spreading your germs to them.
Cover your mouth and wash hands.
This may seem like common sense, but these ordinary acts can help a lot. Whenever you sneeze or cough, you can cover your mouth and keep the spread of germs to a minimum. We also suggest that you wash your hands regularly and with soap. You will want to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth if at all possible. And disinfectant hand gel is always good to have on you if you don’t have access to soap and water.

 

We hope that these suggestions will help keep you and your family healthy during flu season. If you are in need of changing your health insurance coverage, please feel free to call us at any time.