How’s Your Life Through Social Media?

It’s #SMDay!

Happy Social Media Day! Yes, there is a commemorative day for that. Actually, it’s a global celebration that today completes 8 years. If you think about it, is not crazy. After all, we basically live in two worlds simultaneously: the real one, and the virtual one. The virtual world is the one that helps us to escape from the real one and is a mix of social media platforms.

Thanks to social media we have our loved ones and life friends within the reach of a click. We know now what happened to old classmates we never saw again. We know who’s marrying, divorcing, having babies, dying or welcoming a new life era into this crazy world.

But social media is responsible also for the lack of personal communication between us and the people who live under our own roof. Social media is keeping us far away from our kids, our partners, our parents, and our siblings. A conversation is almost a rarity during a family meal because everybody is busy posting and eating…in that order.

Social media is the heart of the communication around the globe and there is nothing we can do to stop its accelerated and overwhelming growth. What we can do is to be conscious about its use and abuse. There is no reason why we can’t enjoy the benefits of social media and its speed, its immediate effects and its incredible flexibility to find or post content.

Every day is a learning process. Social media offers updates, tools, and developments made to facilitate our lives, not to hinder our interpersonal relationships. Itś in our hands, literally!

We carry the world in our hands, we can connect with whoever we want with a simple click, but we can also use those wonderful technological benefits only when we really need so.

Every app, every platform, and every site are there, always! We make the decision to use them or not, and how.

Let’s celebrate these great tools that modern times and technology are giving us thinking about the relationship we have with social media. We can commemorate this anniversary evaluating how healthy or not is our link to those platforms.

It is #SMDay and we can make it bigger and more important for our own sake. Again, it’s in our hands.

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!

Support and Service Animals, What You Need to Know

They are loyal, unconditional, always happy to see us, never mad at us. Pets are without a doubt the most pure love we can find, only after the one between parents and children. A pet won’t expect from you nothing more than love and care.

Over time we have discovered that dogs, for example, are great for kids and sick people. Now some dogs are not only allowed, but required to be present at certain hospitals where they can offer that unique love to lonely, depressed or very specific patients. They are considered Therapy Animals and they need to have obedience training. Their primary purpose is to provide affection and comfort to people in hospices, disaster areas, hospitals, nursing homes, or retirement homes. They are great also for patients with learning disabilities.

Now, Service Animals, just like those who are a guide for blind people or patients with other physical conditions are dogs, or in some cases miniature horses, trained to perform major tasks to assist people with physical disabilities. In order to be a service animal, they have to be certified on their training, and those who qualify to have a Service Animal are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Now, there are patients who suffer from other kind of conditions like phobias, anxiety, depression, or stress due to a specific situation. They might find relief having an animal by their side. In this case, they could qualify to have an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), and usually, they are dogs, cats or other animals that are not required to be trained to perform a specific task. However, in order to have an ESA, the animal has to be prescribed for a person by a licensed therapist, like a mental health professional, in a formal letter that should state the need of the animal for the treatment of that person.

ESAs are protected by the Air Carrier Access Act  and the Fair Housing Amendments. Those laws protect an emotionally disabled person and his or her Emotional Support Animal. However, and different from the Service Animals, other businesses, places or institutions, like restaurants, hotels or stores are not obligated by law to admit your ESA.

While we have seen an increase on the number of Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals, it is important to understand the difference between those categories and over all, the importance and seriousness of their role in someone’s life. If you believe you may qualify to have a Service Animal or an Emotional Support Animal, talk to you physician and ask all the questions you need.