Stay Healthy and Safe this Holiday Season

While the winter holidays are a time of joy and celebration, the season is not without its pitfalls. Increased travel, family gatherings, and holiday decorations and gifts can bring unwanted stress, injury, and illness. Stay safe and healthy this season by following just a few simple precautions.

Travel Smart

Millions of Americans will find themselves on the road this December. Whether it’s flying cross-country to see family or driving across town to a holiday party, you’ll want to travel smart. Follow these tips to stay safe and healthy on-the-go.

  • Never drink and drive. Use a designated driver to help guests get home safely after a holiday party.
  • Don’t drive distracted. Put the phone away and don’t fiddle with the radio. Your complete attention should be on the road.
  • Pack healthy snacks. Whether gearing up for a flight or a road trip, you’re bound to be tempted by fast food and sugary snacks once en route. Keep water, fruit, and veggies handy to stave off hunger.
  • Fit in exercise. Go for a short jog at the rest stop or choose to walk to your airline gate. A little activity can go a long way for your health.
  • Buckle up. Always ensure that everyone in your vehicle is wearing a seatbelt, no matter the distance of the drive.
  • Wash your hands often. The Journal of Environmental Health Research found that you are 100 times more likely to catch a cold on a plane than during normal daily life. Avoid touching surfaces as much as possible, practice good hand washing, and try not to touch your face.

Decorate and Give Safely

A holiday tradition like hanging string lights might seem harmless, but an estimated 15,000 injuries involving holiday decorating were seen in emergency rooms during the 2012 season. Take preventative measures to avoid unwanted injuries while decorating and gift-giving this season:

  • Make sure your tree is stable and away from candles and the fireplace.
  • Decorate the tree with children in mind. Keep fragile, breakable ornaments out of reach.
  • Ensure there are no exposed wires, excessive kinks, or loose connections in string light decorations.
  • Turn off tree lights and decorations when not in use.
  • Always use a proper step ladder. Don’t try to stand or balance on furniture while decorating.
  • Give safe, age-appropriate gifts. Small children can choke on small or removable parts.
  • Avoid toys with button batteries and be aware of their risk.

We wish you and your family a very happy, healthy and safe holiday season!

Posted in Health Information and Tips

Could you have Prediabetes?

While a whopping eighty-six million Americans have prediabetes, 9 out of 10 of those people don’t even realize they have it.

So, what exactly is prediabetes? Educate yourself now on the all-too-common condition.

The Basics
Prediabetes means your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. The condition affects both adults and children and generally shows no signs or symptoms. You may be at high risk for prediabetes (and subsequently type 2 diabetes) if you:

  • are overweight
  • are 45 years of age or older
  • have excess abdominal fat
  • have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
  • are physically active fewer than 3 times per week
  • gave birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds
  • had diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes)

Without lifestyle changes and intervention, prediabetes is very likely to lead to type 2 diabetes– a chronic disease with disabling long-term complications, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and amputations. It’s also associated with extremely expensive medical costs. If you’re at increased risk of prediabetes, it’s important to make healthy lifestyle choices that prevent progression of the condition.

Prevention Tips

  • Avoid red meats, processed meats, high-sugar drinks
  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and olive oil
  • Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week
  • Lose excess pounds
  • Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in check
Posted in Health Information and Tips

How to Prepare for Cold and Flu Season

School is back in-session and temperatures are cooling down, which means cold and flu season is just around the corner. Learn what precautions you can take now to prevent cold and flu later.

Cold and flu are contagious respiratory illnesses that spread through droplets in the air. These droplets are made when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. You can catch a cold or flu simply by being near a sick person or by touching a surface where droplets are present. According to the CDC, people with flu can spread it to others up to 6 feet away! So, what can you do to stay healthy this fall? We outline 5 easy tips below.

  1. Get the flu vaccine. A yearly flu shot is the best protection against seasonal influenza. It is the first and most important step you can take to avoid getting sick. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that the flu vaccine be given to everyone 6 months and older, preferably before the end of October.
  2. Wash your hands often. This simple, everyday action is an effective way to remove germs, avoid illness, and reduce the spread of cold and flu. Wash your hands with soap and water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t readily available, you can also use an alcohol-based sanitizer to kill germs.
  3. Keep a clean environment. Take extra care to keep your home and work spaces clean during cold and flu season. Use disinfectant sprays to sanitize any surface where droplets could land. Pay special attention to the bathroom and kitchen, and replace sponges and rags often to minimize the spread of bacteria.
  4. Don’t touch your face. Whether by rubbing tired eyes, itching the nose, or covering a yawn, we all subconsciously touch our face throughout the day. Each time we do, we increase our chances of transferring bacteria and viral particles on our hands to the face, where they can enter the body.
  5. Practice a healthy lifestyle. During cold and flu season, it’s important to eat right (think fruits, veggies, and lean protein), exercise, and get adequate rest. Studies show that regular exercise can strengthen the body’s immune system. It is also a good idea to avoid close contact with sick people.

Even with the best precautions, you might still come down with the flu. If you’re suffering from symptoms such as a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, cough, headache, and/or body aches, head into Omni-Med in Florham Park today. Our providers can evaluate your illness and get you the care you need.

Our goal is to help you stay healthy this cold and flu season! Walk in anytime for convenient, affordable vaccines and compassionate care.

Posted in Health Information and Tips

Make time for a Sports Physical this August

sports physical - a soccer cleat on turf
The start of the school year is just around the corner! And if you’re the parent of a student athlete, you’ll want to ensure that your child is physically and mentally ready to get in the game come fall. Head into our clinic now for a fast, affordable sports physical!

Most athletic leagues and schools require sports physicals –also known as preparticipation physical examinations (PPE)–, and it’s clear to see why. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 3.5 million children under 15 get hurt playing sports or participating in recreational activities every year. Sports physicals can help athletes discover and manage health problems that may interfere with their performance, as well as reduce their overall risk of injury. Don’t skip this important annual check-up on developmental health.

During a sports physical exam, a medical provider will:

  • Record height and weight
  • Take a blood pressure and pulse
  • Test vision
  • Check the heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose, and throat
  • Evaluate posture, joints, strength, and flexibility

The provider will review the athlete’s medical history and offer helpful tips on concussion and injury prevention. The exam also provides an opportunity to discuss the effects of using drugs, alcohol, and supplements.

To prepare for the exam, make sure to bring any required participation forms for the provider to sign. If your child wears glasses or contacts, you’ll want to bring those too.
In some cases, your child may need a follow-up exam, additional tests, or further treatment before the provider can sign off on participation. Allow time for this possibility, and hurry in for your child’s sports physical!

Posted in Health Information and Tips

Water Safety Rules Every Parent Should Know

water safety rules for parents - sunny poolOn hot summer days, many of us head to local swimming spots to cool off and have fun with our families. However, a trip to the pool can quickly turn tragic if the proper precautions aren’t taken. According to the CDC, “drownings are a leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 14, and three children die every day as a result of drowning.” Fortunately, parents can take practical steps to reduce this risk and keep kids safe.

Follow these key water safety rules to protect your children from drowning and water-related injuries.

Keep a close watch.

Never take your eyes off your child when he or she is in the water. Most children do not–or cannot–yell for help in drowning situations, so it’s imperative to actively supervise. Keep phones stowed away and minimize other distractions. In the time it takes to check a text message, your child can be submerged.

Use life jackets.

Life jackets are the best protection against drowning. Young children and weak swimmers should always wear a properly-fitted, Coast Guard-approved life jacket when near the water. Life jackets should fit snugly and be in good condition, as rips and tears can reduce effectiveness.

Learn how to choose the right life jacket (US Coast Guard Boating Safety Division).

Know CPR.

Make sure you have this life-saving skill to handle an emergency. If your child’s breathing or heart has stopped due to drowning, CPR can keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs until medical help arrives. Read up on the basics of CPR from the Mayo Clinic and consider signing up for a class through the American Heart Association or American Red Cross.

Raise strong swimmers.

Sign your kids up for swimming lessons to ensure they know basic water safety and swim techniques. For most children, the American Association of Pediatrics recommends beginning lessons at age 4. However, it’s important not to become overconfident in a child’s ability. Swimming skills are just one level of protection against drowning. Toddlers and young children still require active supervision.

Posted in Health Information and Tips

Ultimate Summer Safety Guide

summer safety tips - man grilling hot dogs

Make summer safety a priority.

Summer should be a time of lighthearted amusement, and not unnecessary trips to the doctor! Learn these key summer safety tips to prevent injuries while enjoying all of your favorite seasonal activities. We walk you through the basics of safe grilling, swimming and fireworks.

 

Safe Grilling and BBQs

Each year, thousands of people seek medical care for injuries involving backyard grills. Reduce the risk of fires and thermal burns with these rules:

  • Never use a grill indoors.
  • Place your grill away from the home, deck railings and out from under overhanging branches and/or decorations.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
  • Clean your grill regularly. Fat and grease buildup add fuel to the fire and can cause flare ups.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.

 

Smart Swimming

Ready to hit the pool? You’ll want to memorize these water safety tips beforehand. According to the CDC, about ten people die from unintentional drowning every day. Water-related injuries and deaths are highly preventable. Make sure to follow these basic rules for safe swimming and water fun:

  • Make sure your children and family members are strong swimmers. Enroll in age-appropriate swimming lessons.
  • Swim in designated areas with a lifeguard present.
  • Don’t let anyone swim alone. Use the buddy system.
  • Always supervise children near water. Accidents happen quickly so active supervision is key. Avoid distractions and maintain awareness at all times.
  • Have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear a life jacket.
  • Avoid alcohol use.

Learn more about water safety from the Red Cross.

 

Fireworks Safety

Our best advice for fireworks safety? Leave them to the professionals!

If you do choose to use fireworks, the National Safety Council provides the following safety guidelines:

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks
  • Older children should use them only under close adult supervision
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
  • Never light them indoors
  • Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material
  • Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
  • Never ignite devices in a container
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
  • Soak unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire

 

We hope these tips help you stay safe and have fun this summer!

If you find yourself in need of medical care, Omni-Med is here for you. Just walk in for fast and affordable treatment.

Posted in Health Information and Tips

How to Detect and Prevent Skin Cancer

May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, and a great time to learn about strategies to detect and prevent skin cancer.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with 1 in 5 Americans developing it in their lifetime. Fortunately, when diagnosed and treated early, skin cancer can almost always be cured.

Skin Cancer Basics

Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of skin cells. It can affect people of all colors and races, but is more likely to occur in those with fair skin. The two most common types of skin cancer are basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. Both cancers are highly curable, though if left untreated, can cause serious damage and disfigurement. Melanoma is the third most common—and deadliest—skin cancer. Melanoma generally develops in a mole or appears as a new dark spot on the skin.

The majority of skin cancers develop due to overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. UV light is a type of radiation produced by the sun, tanning beds and sunlamps. It is invisible to the human eye, but can penetrate and damage skin cells. Minimizing exposure to harmful UV rays is key in skin cancer prevention.

Reduce Your Risk

Stay out of the sun as much as possible.

The sun’s rays are strongest between 10am and 2pm, so seek shade during these hours or protect your skin with clothing. Consider wearing long sleeves, pants, sunglasses and a wide brim hat. Be especially aware if you’re near water, sand, or snow. These surfaces can reflect and intensify the damaging effects of the sun.

Always wear sunscreen.

It doesn’t matter what time of year it is or what the weather is like. If you’re spending time outdoors, it’s important to apply sunscreen to all exposed skin. Choose a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply it every 2 hours and after you swim or sweat.

Check your skin regularly for changes.

Check out this infographic from the American Academy of Dermatology for how to spot signs of skin cancer. Early detection is crucial for successful treatment.

Infographic: How to Spot Skin Cancer

Posted in Health Information and Tips

Help End Distracted Driving

distracted driving awareness - man holding cell phone while driving

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “in 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed, and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.” This April, let’s educate ourselves on the hazards of distracted driving and learn how to make the roads safer for everyone.

Driving safely requires your full attention and awareness of the road. Sending a quick text might seem harmless, but accidents happen in a split second. Texting, talking on the phone, talking to passengers, or changing the music are all distractions that take your attention away from the task at hand. Engaging in these behaviors while driving leads to delayed braking times, missed traffic signals and an increased risk of crashing. When you’re in the driver’s seat, it’s critical not to get sidetracked by these extraneous activities.

Commit to being an attentive driver.

In honor of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the National Safety Council is urging us all to take the Just Drive pledge:

I pledge to Just Drive for my own safety and for others with whom I share the roads. I choose to not drive distracted in any way – I will not:

  • Have a phone conversation – handheld, hands-free, or via Bluetooth
  • Text or send Snapchats
  • Use voice-to-text features in my vehicle’s dashboard system
  • Update Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media
  • Check or send emails
  • Take selfies or film videos
  • Input destinations into GPS (while the vehicle is in motion)
  • Call or message someone else when I know they are driving

Visit the NSC site to officially take the pledge »

Taking the pledge is a great first step in tackling the issue of distracted driving, but how else can we initiate change? Choose to be a voice in your community. Support local laws and educate those around you on the dangers of driving distracted. If you’re a parent, make sure your teen driver understands the importance of being an attentive driver and encourage them to spread the word amongst their peers. We all have a role to play in the fight to save lives by ending distracted driving.

Posted in Health Information and Tips

Make Heart Health a Priority

February is American Heart Month, and the perfect time to make your heart health a priority.

Did you know that heart disease accounts for a whopping 1 in 4 deaths in the United States? It’s currently the leading cause of death for both men and women. As a country, we must start taking heart health seriously.

No matter what your age, you can reduce your risk of heart disease through simple lifestyle changes and by managing existing medical conditions with appropriate treatment. For a healthy heart, follow the advice below:

Quit Smoking! (Or, if you don’t smoke, don’t start!)

Smoking causes real damage to your heart and blood vessels. To reduce your risk of developing and dying from heart disease, avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. No matter how much or how long you’ve smoked, quitting will benefit you and can even help reverse heart damage. Need help quitting? Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW quitline (1-800-784-8669) for free resources and assistance.

Keep your blood pressure under control.

Left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to coronary artery disease, an enlarged left heart and heart failure. It is a leading cause of both heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure can occur with no signs or symptoms so it’s a good idea to have your blood pressure checked annually. Follow these healthy lifestyle choices to help keep your blood pressure under control:

  • Limit the amount of salt and alcohol in your diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Manage stress.

Depending on your overall health, your doctor may also recommend medication to lower blood pressure.

Know the symptoms of a heart attack.

According to the CDC, the five major symptoms of a heart attack are:

  1. Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back
  2. Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint
  3. Chest pain or discomfort
  4. Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder
  5. Shortness of breath

If you are experiencing these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately. The sooner emergency treatment begins, the higher your chances of survival.

Posted in Health Information and Tips

Donate Blood this January

donate blood


Our new year’s resolutions often look inward and focus on personal improvement. Lose weight. Exercise more. Get organized. But what if this year, we looked outward instead? How can we, as individuals, positively impact our communities in 2017?

One simple way is to donate blood.

Every January, the American Red Cross celebrates National Blood Donor Month and this year, their mission is even more critical. Several cities across the country are facing emergency blood shortages. Complex therapies such as chemotherapy, heart surgeries and organ transplants require a large amount of blood and blood products. A shortage in our nation’s blood supply can delay urgent medical care for our community’s most vulnerable patients. Donating blood is a simple, life-saving act. It takes less than 1 hour and a single donation can help up to 3 people

If you’re able to donate blood, now is the time to do so. Below, we’ve outlined the blood donor eligibility requirements, tips to prepare for your appointment and how to find a blood drive near you.

Blood and Platelet Donors Must:

  • Be in good general health and feeling well*
  • Be at least 17-years-old in most states, or 16-years-old with parental consent if allowed by state law – see more information for 16-year-old donors »
  • Weigh at least 110 lbs

Other aspects of your health history will be discussed prior to blood collection. Your temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin are also measured beforehand. If you have specific questions about eligibility, the Red Cross offers in-depth information on donor Eligibility Criteria by Topic.

Tips to prepare for your appointment:

  • Eat a healthy, low-fat meal
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Stay hydrated
  • Bring your donor card, driver’s license or two other forms of identification
  • Bring the names of any medications you are taking
  • Wear clothing with sleeves that can be lifted above the elbow

Click here to find a blood drive near you »

Posted in Health Information and Tips