5 WAYS TO PREVENT TEXTING WHILE DRIVING 

Every year, there are over 300 thousand texting-while-driving related accidents across the United States. That is more than half of all the distracted driving accidents combined. These accidents can be as small as a fender bender to very devastating, even fatal, crashes. In Houston, the number of distracted driving-related accidents are staggering.

1. TURN OFF THE TEMPTATION

One of the most common, logical ways to avoid texting and driving is not to do it. For some reason, however, a lot of people find this one of the most challenging struggles of their lives, so there are a couple of other things you can do to help you practice self-restraint. Start by turning off your phone or putting your phone on silent when you get in the car. It is important to turn off vibrate and light sensors as well to makes sure that you don’t receive any alerts. A lot of people who don’t like this (because of the constant turning on and off their phone) may also consider keeping the phone out of reach, such as in a glove compartment, under a back seat, or even in the trunk, as many parents require of their teenage children. Removing the temptation completely is going to be the most effective way of avoiding text-related accidents.

2. UTILIZE APPS

If avoiding the temptation is not really your style, you can prevent temptations from happening altogether by utilizing your phone’s technology. There are several apps, many of which are free, that can help drivers block texts or calls while they are driving. Many of these apps will use GPS tracking and lock the phone anytime the vehicle is traveling at a certain speed, and they can include password protection to ensure your teenager won’t be able to tamper with the settings. Parents can also get apps that track driving habits, both for themselves and their children, and other apps will block calls and texts but send out immediate response texts if a car is in motion. Imagine if everyone were utilizing these technological practices for safe driving. Distracting text and calling accidents would dramatically go down across the states.

3. FIND OTHER WAYS TO TEXT

The previously mentioned apps may not be the style of some adults who struggle with texting and driving, but there are other ways they can figure out how to text if they are driving. Bluetooth voice activation is becoming more and more common in cars and there are also apps that immediate read texts as you receive them, eliminating the need to ever take your eyes off the road. These are safer alternatives, though studies have still shown that the conversation itself can be just as distracting as using a mobile device while driving. The best alternative is simply to pull over. If it isn’t worth your time to text and receive an answer, on the side of the road, it is probably not something worth your time while driving, either.

4. USE PASSENGERS IN THE CAR

Sometimes, there are still occasions where you may feel like you need to communicate with someone without stopping your vehicle. If there are passengers in the car capable of texting and reading texts, it may be advantageous to utilize them as a mediator. Hand the phone over to them to read texts and send messages if it is that urgent. If there are no other passengers in the car, there really is no other way around it – your only options are to pull over or just ignore the text or call.

5. TAKE A PLEDGE

AT&T took it upon themselves to start the “It Can Wait” initiative where a community of people can sign a pledge to say they will not text and drive. The commitment to safe, hands-free driving is the first step to saying “No!” to texting and driving in your life, maybe making some of these other suggestions to stop texting and driving a little easier to do.

Heat Stroke Symptoms and Prevention

Heatstroke is a condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. This most serious form of heat injury, heatstroke, can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher. The condition is most common in the summer months.

Heatstroke requires emergency treatment. Untreated heatstroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. The damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed, increasing your risk of serious complications or death. Grace ER is open 24/7 during the summer months to treat patients who get heat stroke. So what are the signs and symptoms?

Symptoms

Heatstroke signs and symptoms include:

  • High body temperature. A core body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher, obtained with a rectal thermometer, is the main sign of heatstroke.
  • Altered mental state or behavior. Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, seizures and coma can all result from heatstroke.
  • Alteration in sweating. In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, your skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. However, in heatstroke brought on by strenuous exercise, your skin may feel dry or slightly moist.
  • Nausea and vomiting. You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit.
  • Flushed skin. Your skin may turn red as your body temperature increases.
  • Rapid breathing. Your breathing may become rapid and shallow.
  • Racing heart rate. Your pulse may significantly increase because heat stress places a tremendous burden on your heart to help cool your body.
  • Headache. Your head may throb.

When to see a doctor

If you think a person may be experiencing heatstroke, seek immediate medical help. Call 911 or your local emergency services number.

Take immediate action to cool the overheated person while waiting for emergency treatment.

  • Get the person into shade or indoors.
  • Remove excess clothing.
  • Cool the person with whatever means available — put in a cool tub of water or a cool shower, spray with a garden hose, sponge with cool water, fan while misting with cool water, or place ice packs or cold, wet towels on the person’s head, neck, armpits and groin.

Causes

Heatstroke can occur as a result of:

  • Exposure to a hot environment. In a type of heatstroke, called nonexertional (classic) heatstroke, being in a hot environment leads to a rise in core body temperature. This type of heatstroke typically occurs after exposure to hot, humid weather, especially for prolonged periods. It occurs most often in older adults and in people with chronic illness.
  • Strenuous activity. Exertional heatstroke is caused by an increase in core body temperature brought on by intense physical activity in hot weather. Anyone exercising or working in hot weather can get exertional heatstroke, but it’s most likely to occur if you’re not used to high temperatures.

In either type of heatstroke, your condition can be brought on by:

  • Wearing excess clothing that prevents sweat from evaporating easily and cooling your body
  • Drinking alcohol, which can affect your body’s ability to regulate your temperature
  • Becoming dehydrated by not drinking enough water to replenish fluids lost through sweating

Risk factors

Anyone can develop heatstroke, but several factors increase your risk:

  • Age. Your ability to cope with extreme heat depends on the strength of your central nervous system. In the very young, the central nervous system is not fully developed, and in adults over 65, the central nervous system begins to deteriorate, which makes your body less able to cope with changes in body temperature. Both age groups usually have difficulty remaining hydrated, which also increases risk.
  • Exertion in hot weather. Military training and participating in sports, such as football or long-distance running events, in hot weather are among the situations that can lead to heatstroke.
  • Sudden exposure to hot weather. You may be more susceptible to heat-related illness if you’re exposed to a sudden increase in temperature, such as during an early-summer heat wave or travel to a hotter climate. Limit activity for at least several days to allow yourself to acclimate to the change. However, you may still have an increased risk of heatstroke until you’ve experienced several weeks of higher temperatures.
  • A lack of air conditioning. Fans may make you feel better, but during sustained hot weather, air conditioning is the most effective way to cool down and lower humidity.
  • Certain medications. Some medications affect your body’s ability to stay hydrated and respond to heat. Be especially careful in hot weather if you take medications that narrow your blood vessels (vasoconstrictors), regulate your blood pressure by blocking adrenaline (beta blockers), rid your body of sodium and water (diuretics), or reduce psychiatric symptoms (antidepressants or antipsychotics).

    Stimulants for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and illegal stimulants such as amphetamines and cocaine also make you more vulnerable to heatstroke.

  • Certain health conditions. Certain chronic illnesses, such as heart or lung disease, might increase your risk of heatstroke. So can being obese, being sedentary and having a history of previous heatstroke.

Complications

Heatstroke can result in a number of complications, depending on how long the body temperature is high. Severe complications include:

  • Vital organ damage. Without a quick response to lower body temperature, heatstroke can cause your brain or other vital organs to swell, possibly resulting in permanent damage.
  • Death. Without prompt and adequate treatment, heatstroke can be fatal.

Prevention

Heatstroke is predictable and preventable. Take these steps to prevent heatstroke during hot weather:

  • Wear loosefitting, lightweight clothing. Wearing excess clothing or clothing that fits tightly won’t allow your body to cool properly.
  • Protect against sunburn. Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool itself, so protect yourself outdoors with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every two hours — or more often if you’re swimming or sweating.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated will help your body sweat and maintain a normal body temperature.
  • Take extra precautions with certain medications. Be on the lookout for heat-related problems if you take medications that can affect your body’s ability to stay hydrated and dissipate heat.
  • Never leave anyone in a parked car. This is a common cause of heat-related deaths in children. When parked in the sun, the temperature in your car can rise 20 degrees F (more than 6.7 C) in 10 minutes.

    It’s not safe to leave a person in a parked car in warm or hot weather, even if the windows are cracked or the car is in shade. When your car is parked, keep it locked to prevent a child from getting inside.

  • Take it easy during the hottest parts of the day. If you can’t avoid strenuous activity in hot weather, drink fluids and rest frequently in a cool spot. Try to schedule exercise or physical labor for cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening.
  • Get acclimated. Limit time spent working or exercising in heat until you’re conditioned to it. People who are not used to hot weather are especially susceptible to heat-related illness. It can take several weeks for your body to adjust to hot weather.
  • Be cautious if you’re at increased risk. If you take medications or have a condition that increases your risk of heat-related problems, avoid the heat and act quickly if you notice symptoms of overheating. If you participate in a strenuous sporting event or activity in hot weather, make sure there are medical services available in case of a heat emergency.

Benefits of staying hydrated year round!

 

Water accounts for 60 percent of your body (or about 11 gallons or 92 pounds in a 155-pound person) and is essential to every cell. So it’s not to surprising that new research — reported on at a recent British Psychological Society Annual Conference — found that college students who brought water with them into an exam scored higher marks than their counterparts who didn’t have water. Staying hydrated doesn’t just impact your brain, though. Here are a few ways water benefits your body’s health.

1. Water helps prevent dry mouth.

Water keeps your throat and lips moist and prevents your mouth from feeling dry. Dry mouth can cause bad breath and/or an unpleasant taste–and can even promote cavities.

2. Water promotes cardiovascular health.

Dehydration lowers your blood volume, so your heart must work harder to pump the reduced amount of blood and get enough oxygen to your cells, which makes everyday activities like walking up stairs–as well as exercise–more difficult.

3. Water keeps your body cool.

Your body releases heat by expanding blood vessels close to the skin’s surface (this is why your face gets red during exercise), resulting in more blood flow and more heat dissipated into the air. When you’re dehydrated, however, it takes a higher environmental temperature to trigger blood vessels to widen, so you stay hotter.

4. Water helps muscles and joints work better.

When you’re well hydrated, the water inside and outside the cells of contracting muscles provides adequate nutrients and removes waste efficiently so you perform better. Water is also important for lubricating joints. Contrary to popular belief, muscle cramps do not appear to be related to dehydration, but, instead, to muscle fatigue, according to Sam Cheuvront, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist.

5. Water keeps skin supple.

When a person is severely dehydrated, skin is less elastic. This is different than dry skin, which is usually the result of soap, hot water and exposure to dry air. And, no, unfortunately, drinking lots of water won’t prevent wrinkles.

6. Water helps cleanse your body — inside and out.

Your kidneys need water to filter waste from the blood and excrete it in urine. Keeping hydrated may also help prevent urinary tract infections and kidney stones. If you are severely dehydrated, your kidneys may stop working, causing toxins to build up in your body.

Courtesy of One Medical

Do you need an allergy test?

Allergy season is currently at its peak in Houston. Grace ER can help you treat and manage your symptoms. While there is still no cure for allergies (or hay fever), there are ways to diminish allergy symptoms. There are three types of treatments that can be used in combination:

  • AVOIDANCE of the allergen,
  • MEDICATION (anti-histamines),
  • IMMUNOTHERAPY (allergy shots).

Avoidance of airborne allergens all of the time is virtually impossible. Pollen, for example, is present anywhere you go. Moving to another area to avoid allergies will most likely not resolve the problem. However, studies do indicate that allergen avoidance is essential to effective treatment of allergies and asthma. The weather forecast can provide valuable information about conditions that favor alerting your allergies. Being informed can lessen the suffering of hay fever! When considering moving, the destination’s weather forecast and climate is something that should not be overlooked.

What you need to do is to know when your allergens will be at its peak and avoid going out during those times.

You can also use allergy devices in your home, such as an air cleaner and air conditioner. These will help remove pollen and mold spores from the air. It’s important to keep the filters on these devices clean!

Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots) is a series of shots that can expose you to small quantities of allergens to stimulate your immune system. The purpose of those shots is to build up your antibodies, your defense cells. This increase in the number of antibodies will help your body not overreact when exposed again to these same allergens.

These three treatment options can be used individually or in combination. There are many over the counter medications that do not require a prescription, as well as herbal and home remedies.  Tests are available to determine which pollen sources are causing your allergies and they can assist in determining if a prescription medication or allergy shots are a good fit for your treatment.

Good Fats vs. Bad Fats

Most people view fat as something that needs to be avoided. This is only partially true, as the body needs fat to aid in the absorption of certain nutrients, support the growth of cells, for energy, and to act as a type of cushion for its organs. There are two categories when it comes to fat: good fats and bad fats. Because of the impact they can have on one’s health, it is important to be aware of the differences when buying and cooking food. There are also two types of bad fats and two types of good fats. Saturated and trans fats are both considered bad. Saturated fats are primarily from animal sources but also include tropical oils such as palm or coconut oils. Trans fats are oils that have been chemically processed so that they become more solid or semi-solid. Margarine is an example of trans fat. Eating foods that contain trans fats increases a person’s risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes and also elevates bad, or LDL, cholesterol and lowers good, or HDL, cholesterol. Saturated fats also raise cholesterol and are associated with coronary heart disease.

Good fats are unsaturated fats such as monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. At room temperature, these fats are typically liquid. They include plant oils and avocado and nut oils, and they include omega-3 fats that come from certain fish, such as salmon and mackerel, and from flaxseed, soybean, and other sources. Unlike bad fats, these good fats help lower bad cholesterol and protect against certain diseases, such as heart disease. Whenever possible, good fats should be used as substitutes for bad fats. But although they are considered good, they should still be used in moderation.

  • Fats 101 (PDF): This document has educational information for anyone interested in learning about bad and good fats found in food. Readers will find a chart on good and bad fats that covers what foods each can be found in, how they affect the heart, their characteristics, and daily limits. Additional information covered in this document includes the different types of good and bad fat, how to live sensibly, and whether switching to good fats aids in weight loss.
  • Good Fats, Bad Fats: Click on this page to review a chart on good and bad fats and to read information that will help explain both good and bad fats.
  • Fats Fact Sheet (PDF): Read this fact sheet on fats to learn about the different types of good and bad fats and their food sources. This page also includes some fun fat facts.
  • Good Fat, Bad Fat, Low Fat, No Fat: This article discusses all types of fat and why some are good for consumption and why others are not. In addition, the article also touches on understanding the fat information on product labels.
  • Fat Substitution and Low-Fat Cooking (PDF): Upon opening this document, readers will find facts on fats, information on good vs. bad fats including a chart, and how to make changes while cooking so that bad fats are reduced and good fats are increased.
Reducing salt intake can prevent high blood pressure.

      Reducing Sodium Intake

High blood pressure is one of the primary risks when it comes to too much sodium intake. Elevated blood pressure is a condition that can lead to other problems that can threaten one’s life, such as kidney disease, heart disease, or even heart failure. Excess sodium does this by causing water retention, which puts a strain on the arteries, kidneys, and heart. According to the latest dietary guidelines for Americans, people who are 2 years old or older should keep their daily sodium intake below 2,300 mg.

Certain people, including people with diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or high blood pressure, should limit their daily sodium consumption to 1,500 mg. This lower sodium intake is also recommended for African Americans and people who are 51 years old or older. People get sodium from a number of sources, most commonly salt. In addition to salt, sodium comes from sources that include baking soda and baking powder. Salt is added to many foods, particularly those that are processed and prepackaged.

Ask for unsalted french fries to reduce sodium intake

To reduce salt intake, people must check the labels of the foods that they purchase, which will tell them how much is in the product. They should also avoid foods that have the word “salted” in the name and purchase items that are low-sodium or have no salt added. Canned foods, frozen dinners, hot dogs, and luncheon meats are all examples of foods that contain heavy amounts of salt. People can also limit the amount of salt that they add when cooking at home by using herbs and spices as flavor substitutes. Using fresh vegetables and fruits is also a way to cut back on sodium

Diabetes: Don’t cut corners, get help

 

The costs of managing diabetes can take their toll. A year’s worth of routine care — medication, glucose test strips, syringes, and other supplies, as well as doctor appointments — can run about

$6,000. And that doesn’t include the costs for any complications.

 

However, cutting back on tests or treatments to save money may compromise your efforts to control your condition, according to one study. More than half of the people who were unsuccessful in managing their condition said they had put off going to a doctor, didn’t fill a prescription, or tried other cost-cutting measures.

 

Instead of skimping on care, get the most for your healthcare dollars. Check your health plan. Many insurance companies offer disease-management programs for people with diabetes so they can take control of their condition and reduce any health issues.

 

Many disease management programs offer 24/7access to a registered nurse. “Advice nurses” usually provide general tips on managing diabetes. Many have access to your medical records, so they can provide personalized recommendations.

 

Also, ask your pharmacist or health plan about lower cost glucose monitor and test strip combinations. Sometimes, an inexpensive monitor and more costly test strips can add up to higher costs than if you buy a more expensive monitor with less expensive test strips. Ask your doctor about whether she or he can suggest lower cost, equally effective medications to control your diabetes.

Urgent care or emergency room?

 

 

In a life-threatening situation, a call to 911 or a visit to an emergency room is always your best choice. For minor illnesses at times when you can’t see your own doctor, like weekends or evenings, an urgent care clinic or a trip to a standalone ER such as Grace ER can give you the care you need. Grace ER has locations in Houston and Pearland, TX.

Research the urgent care options available on your health plan. These guidelines can help you decide if you or someone else needs emergency attention:

 

EMERGENCY ROOM OR 911

  • Chest pain with shortness of breath and/or sweating
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Trauma or head injury
  • Sudden dizziness, difficulty seeing, slurred speech, confusion, numbness, or paralysis
  • Unconsciousness
  • Poisoning
  • Severe injury, burns, or electrical shock
  • Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy

Standalone ER/ URGENT CARE

  • Sore throats, coughs, congestion, fever, and other flu or cold symptoms
  • Cuts that require stitches
  • Mild or moderate asthma attacks
  • Earaches and eye or skin infections*
  • Insect bites or rashes
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Sprains, strains, deep bruises
  • Diarrhea*
  • Pregnancy tests and physical exams

 

 

If any of these symptoms seem severe, always consider them an emergency room.

Sprained Ankle

A sprained ankle is an injury that occurs when you roll, twist or turn your ankle in an awkward way. This can stretch or tear the tough bands of tissue (ligaments) that help hold your ankle bones together.

Ligaments help stabilize joints, preventing excessive movement. A sprained ankle occurs when the ligaments are forced beyond their normal range of motion. Most sprained ankles involve injuries to the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle.Treatment for a sprained ankle depends on the severity of the injury. Although self-care measures and over-the-counter pain medications may be all you need, a medical evaluation might be necessary to reveal how badly you’ve sprained your ankle and to determine the appropriate treatment.

 

Signs and symptoms of a sprained ankle vary depending on the severity of the injury. They may include:

  • Pain, especially when you bear weight on the affected foot
  • Tenderness when you touch the ankle
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Restricted range of motion
  • Instability in the ankle
  • Popping sensation or sound at the time of injury

Call your doctor if you have pain and swelling in your ankle and you suspect a sprain. Self-care measures may be all you need, but talk to your doctor to discuss whether you should have your ankle evaluated. If signs and symptoms are severe, you may have significant damage to a ligament or a broken bone in your ankle or lower leg.

 

Factors that increase your risk of a sprained ankle include:

  • Sports participation. Ankle sprains are a common sports injury, particularly in sports that require jumping, cutting action, or rolling or twisting of the foot such as basketball, tennis, football, soccer and trail running.
  • Uneven surfaces. Walking or running on uneven surfaces or poor field conditions may increase the risk of an ankle sprain.
  • Prior ankle injury. Once you’ve sprained your ankle or had another type of ankle injury, you’re more likely to sprain it again.
  • Poor physical condition. Poor strength or flexibility in the ankles may increase the risk of a sprain when participating in sports.
  • Improper shoes. Shoes that don’t fit properly or aren’t appropriate for an activity, as well as high-heeled shoes in general, make ankles more vulnerable to injury.

Complications

Failing to treat a sprained ankle properly, engaging in activities too soon after spraining your ankle or spraining your ankle repeatedly might lead to the following complications:

  • Chronic ankle pain
  • Chronic ankle joint instability
  • Arthritis in the ankle joint

Prevention

The following tips can help you prevent a sprained ankle or a recurring sprain:

  • Warm up before you exercise or play sports.
  • Be careful when walking, running or working on an uneven surface.
  • Use an ankle support brace or tape on a weak or previously injured ankle.
  • Wear shoes that fit well and are made for your activity.
  • Minimize wearing high-heeled shoes.
  • Don’t play sports or participate in activities for which you are not conditioned.
  • Maintain good muscle strength and flexibility.
  • Practice stability training, including balance exercises.

 

 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sprained-ankle/symptoms-causes/syc-20353225

Sugar, oh sugar, sugar

 

Sugar is sweet, but too much might have souring effects on your body. In fact too much sugar intake can lead to illnesses and complications that often lead people to the Emergency Room. To maintain good health, one needs to maintain a healthy diet.

 

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that naturally occurs in many foods such as in fruits (fructose) and milk products (lactose).

 

These sugars provide us with the nutrients and calories our bodies need. When we eat too many added sugars — such as white sugar, honey, corn syrup, and molasses — we may start to see side effects.

 

Some signs that you are getting too much sugar from empty calories include weight gain, elevated cholesterol, and cavities.

 

There are many ways to reduce added sugar in your diet:

 

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.

 

  • Drink fewer sugar-sweetened beverages, and keep in check how much 100% fruit juices and alcoholic beverages you drink.

 

  • Eat fewer and smaller portions of items containing added sugars.

 

  • Limit using added sugar to improve the flavor of foods.

 

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