Traveling light is not only comfortable, it is healthy.

Planning a trip is a complex project that could be fantastic for you, or it can drive you crazy, depending on how you handle the situation.

The organization is the key. Is not a bad idea to write down every step of your plan, but overall, is never a bad idea to think ahead what you will need for your trip in terms of baggage, clothing, shoes, etc.

Yes, we all want to bring “all we need” to our vacation spot but, what is what we really need? That’s the first question you have to ask yourself, and please be honest while answering because you may end up carrying 4 suitcases instead of 2, or even 1.

What’s the difference between 1 or 4 suitcases if anyway all of them will go on the plane or the car? Well, every year thousands of people suffer from luggage-related injuries, and that’s a reality. In the simple act of lifting or carrying for a few minutes or even seconds your suitcase, you can get a painful injury that will ruin your trip before it actually starts.

Sports medicine physicians have a few tips for you so you can enjoy every step of your vacation without an unwanted injury caused by heavy or overloaded baggage. The process to avoid one of those injuries starts with the packing and the type of suitcase you use:

  • Large and heavy bags are difficult to control. Try using small or medium suitcases.
  • Wheeled luggage is the most comfortable and easy to move around.
  • Avoid buying a cheap suitcase. The wheels might not be strong enough.
  • It’s not only about how much you pack, but also how you pack it. Distribute the weight.

Once you are ready to check or carry your suitcases, have in mind these simple steps:

  • Bend your knees always.
  • Your knees and hips should be firmly engaged while lifting objects from the floor.
  • Keeping the suitcases close to your body will help you on the lifting.

Remember that your time off should be happy and enjoyable. Maybe you can live without that huge hair dryer, the dozen of high heels, or the 2 computers you plan to pack. After all, is vacation time, free time. Free yourself from that and enjoy a simpler, lighter and definitely healthier trip.

Telemedicine and Virtual Doctors

Do you remember when doctors were called by patients and they would actually do a home visit? Many years ago doctors were more like a family member, but times have changed.

We are living in a different era, one where a shortage of doctors is a national problem, and one where technology has become a daily helper for almost everybody, even for those who can’t visit the doctor or those who can’t go to an emergency room. Thanks to technology we are going back to the concept of having the doctor at home, but now, virtually.

Telemedicine is a reality and is an increasing practice in our country. Is not only that we don’t have enough primary care and some specialist doctors, but also that one-quarter of the population lives in rural areas where access to healthcare could be not only difficult but sometimes impossible.

So, we are talking about more than 10 million people using every year the services or virtual doctors. And by virtual doctors, we mean video chats, and video conferences with a physician using a smartphone, a computer or a tablet. Yes! Real-time conversations with doctors without the waiting room and the time that it involves.

Of course, there are certain limitations. Telemedicine, also known as telehealth, is perfect for monitoring chronic conditions or situations, or for minor issues’ diagnosis and prescription. It’s so popular and useful that now some health insurance companies are offering telehealth as part of their portfolio of services and plans.

Different studies have shown the benefits provided by this practice, especially in older adults, people with serious conditions limiting their mobility, patients with mental health problems, and residents of rural areas.

If you think that Telehealth or Telemedicine could help you, consult your health insurance company and ask about it.

The future is here to bring us a benefit from the past, have your doctor at home.

What You Need to Know About Food Allergies

When your body reacts to a food in a bad way, you may be experiencing a food allergy, and it’s something that you need to take seriously.

Food allergies can be deadly, but you can manage them with the help of specialists like allergists, dermatologists, and others.

The first thing you need to know is that a food allergy is different from a food intolerance. Food allergies are life-threatening because your immune system identifies a food protein as a threat to your body and proceeds to attack it releasing chemicals. Your reaction to those chemicals is what we can see as the allergy reaction.

It is important for you to know what is the food allergen causing your reaction. The best and more accurate way to know that is with the tests that an allergist can perform. So, once you experience the first allergies symptoms, look for a specialist People can be allergic to any food, however, in U.S there are eight main foods that cause most of the food allergy reactions: peanuts, eggs, milk, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy.

Now, once you know what are you allergic to, it’s important to take care of everything you consume. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Always read every food label
  • Carry your epinephrine auto-injector all the time
  • At restaurants always ask for possible cross contact of ingredients
  • Let your loved ones know about your allergies and what to do in case of a reaction
  • Wear medical IDs with all your information. This is especially important when you travel

To be informed, to plan ahead and to learn about your allergies and reactions, is the key to succeed in the treatment and fight against allergens. Don’t be afraid of them, just cautious.

If you think that you might have a food allergy or you don’t know if it is instead, a food intolerance, visit your doctor as soon as possible. As we said, food allergies are serious, but a good management of them can be decisive in your effort to avoid severe reactions.

Napping is becoming a world trending

It’s not a luxury, but a necessity.

If you feel sleepy and tired after lunch, if your energy levels decrease to the point that you can’t even think or focus, you are not alone. The number of people suffering from sleep deprivation in the United States grows alarmingly due to a lifestyle that doesn’t give a break to rest.

Nappers were popular in the past, but modernity ended up almost extinguishing them in our country. Personalities like Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison were known by the appreciation they had for a good nap before the end of their day. Seems like they got great benefits from their breaks to sleep in the middle of their day, right?

So, if important people like them benefited from naps, why not us? Although naps don’t restore the lost sleep, if you have the chance to sleep for at least 20 minutes when you feel tired in the middle of your daily routine, it would represent a boost in your energy, and in your state of mind.

Now, according to Sleep Experts, the length of your nap determines the benefits you can get from it. Therefore, if you nap for 20 minutes, you will perceive benefits in your motor skills, attention, and alertness. It sounds good, right? Well, this will sound even better to you: A 60 to 90 minutes nap not only offers all we mentioned before, but it also makes new brain connections and refreshes your creative functions.

Napping is so important that there is a whole classification of naps:

  • Emergency napping: When you feel suddenly tired and your regular activities, like driving, or operating a heavy machine are affected, an Emergency Nap could help you to fight fatigue and to continue with your day without risking your wellness.
  • Planned napping: You know your body, and you probably know at what point of the day you will feel tired. Prepare yourself to rest with a nap before the fatigue takes control over you.
  • Habitual napping: Just like babies take a nap around the same time every day, adults can do the same. Taking a recurrent nap when you know you will need it, is an increasing practice.

If you still have doubts about napping, don’t feel bad. The guilty will disappear when you know that big companies like Google, Zappos, Capital One, Ben & Jerry’s and PwC allow their employees to nap at work.

It is real! Addiction to smartphones is not a fantasy.

Find out if you are addicted to your smartphone

Just like happens with alcohol, food, or drugs, if you overuse your smartphone you might be at risk of developing an addiction.

This is not a mom theory, or the typical adult speech to a teenager, it is a reality proved by science and medical experts.

The most recent warning came from experts at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Behavioral Health, who have said that there are two warning signs we can detect for smartphone addictions. The first one is when your device is interfering with your life. The other one is when you get withdrawal symptoms when you try cutting back.

Now, as in any other addiction case, it’s not easy to accept we have a problem, and it’s even more difficult to take action to fight against it. However, there are certain things that we can start doing at least to determine if the use of the smartphone is already a problem or is on its way to become one. Here are some questions you should ask yourself, and be honest!

  1. Are you having concentration issues at work because of the use of your smartphone?
  2. If you don’t have your device at hand, are you constantly thinking about it and you get irritated?
  3. How often do you check your phone? Probably, more than it should be?
  4. Have you had comments or critics from friends and family about the overuse of your smartphone?

The first step is to recognize where are you on the addiction zone. If you are already there, or getting closer, it is time to do something.

Again, as in any other addiction problem, there is a process that might not be easy, but it could be your ticket to get out of a serious problem…because it is serious.

Let’s start by setting aside the phone for a few hours every day. It could be as soon as you get home, it could be during your lunch break, or at any time of the day, but it is important to be constant, to have goals and to keep those goals in mind.

Talk to your friends and family to establish together some rules of use while being on a social activity or at meals time. It will help all of you.

Once you start learning how to separate from your device for a few hours every day, you can go to the next step. Instead of charging the smartphone in your bedroom, do it in a different place of your home. It will help you to avoid the temptation to use it at night or early in the morning.

Nobody said it was going to be easy but it is definitely possible and it will be very positive!

The Opioid Epidemic and Our Responsibility as Patients

It’s not a secret. The headlines are all over the place: TV, radio, magazines, newspapers and social media are talking about the opioid epidemic that is killing thousands of Americans. We hear the stories, sometimes we know someone who lost a loved one due to an overdose, but how many times do you think about your own responsibility on this epidemic?

Probably never. If the tragedy doesn’t knock on our door, there is not a real reason to look at it in depth, right? Well, no. Reality is that according to statistics revealed in 2016 by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, in 2015 we had 20.5 million Americans 12 or older with a substance use disorder. From them, 2 million had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers.

To continue with the numbers, between 1999 and 2010, 48,000 women died of prescription pain reliever overdoses. That was 7 years ago and unfortunately, the numbers have increased.

Yes, it is a declared epidemic and it involves all of us. Why? Because we all are patients, and at some point we may need, use or be prescribed pain relievers or painkillers. According with the CDC and other experts, it is important to be informed, to talk to your doctor, to ask all the questions you need to be answered, and to be proactive as a patient while in treatment.

Pain relievers are prescribed not only to adults, but also to children after a sports injuries, or a surgery. While doctors and medical personnel are aware about the risks of opioid medicines, it is also important that parents and patients understand the importance of following the physician’s instructions, and also the importance of understanding the consequences that opioids might have if they are misused.

A big portion of addicts to heroin started using painkillers and developed the addiction due to misuse of those medicines. It is not about doubting your doctor’s recommendations, or questioning your treatment, it is about knowing and understanding how those medicines work, what they do to your body and, at the end of the day, it is probably about you making the decision to use them or not, or to ask for possible alternative treatments to your doctors.

The patient-doctor relationship should be a two-way one. Information is the key and this one in particular should be openly shared with our families, children, and other people. Don’t be afraid of asking more to your doctor. The next time you see your physician, start that conversation.

Little Things Make Big Memories

We recently celebrated Mother’s Day for our Senior patients. We wanted not only to thank them for entrusting us to take care of their health, but also to offer them a nice evening, a moment of happiness and joy that sometimes is difficult to have in the middle of the crazy routines we all are immersed on.

We spend weeks planning every detail to make of this one, a beautiful event. The idea was to show our appreciation and love with little things that together would make a great memory for all of us.

Well, we ended up receiving the presents and the gifts, because every single person who attended our Mother’s Day Celebration brought a big smile, the best attitude and the lovely intention to spend a couple of hours with us. They gave us the gift of their presence and their joy…they made our day!

Sometimes is difficult to appreciate little things that can make a big difference in someone’s life. We take for granted moments, people, situations and feelings, and reality is that we don’t even take the time to enjoy those things, but our wonderful guests at this beautiful celebration knew exactly why they were there. They were excited about the music, a simple balloon ripped the smile out of some of them, some muffins and pastries made them happy, and you can’t imagine how long the line was for a massage!

They probably have all that at home, or they could if they would want to, but what we realized is that all together, at the same time, in the same space, was what made the magic.

Hopefully new friendships arose from that event, and some stress was liberated, or maybe someone forgot a problem at least for those hours. If we accomplished at least one of those things, we can say we did good! To all the patients, their relatives and friends who brought them, to the new faces that visited us for the first time, and to all our great staff, Thank You! One more time, we confirmed that we are serving a great community!.