How to Keep Your Health in Check This Holiday Season

 The holidays are known for taking a toll on our bodies . Between the chilly temperatures, onset of flu season and the overabundance of sweet treats at every turn, it’s easy for physical health to fall to the wayside.And, with the excitement of the holidays many forget to take into account the emotional and mental toll that the winter season’s stressors can have on our overall wellness.One way to manage and keep track of your health during this time of year is through wearable devices and engaging with wellness programs, which may offer members a way to earn rewards with healthy activities. Through apps like Go365 by Humana, which is available to employers and groups across the country, rewards can be redeemed to purchase e-gift cards, fitness devices, apparel, charitable donations and product discounts.As the holidays kick into full gear, it’s important to prioritize your health so you can start 2019 off in health and happiness. Below are our top three tips to help you stay well this winter.1. Stay current on your exams, screenings and vaccinations. Ask your doctor what exams and vaccinations you need and when to get them – and make time to do so. A rewards program can help incentivize and drive you to stay up-to-date on these important appointments. In addition to getting your screenings and vaccines, wash your hands often to help avoid the spread of germs.2. Manage stress. Support your mental health through exercises that help relieve anxiety and worry, such as mindfulness, meditation and journaling. Many wellness rewards apps offer personalized meditation, mindfulness experiences and journaling exercises, which are designed to help improve your mental and emotional well-being.3. Eat well and stay active. It’s easy to overindulge during the holidays, but try to limit unhealthy foods as best you can: eating nutrient-rich foods can help you manage your energy levels and boost your mood.And don’t forget to stay active throughout the holiday season. Step challenges with family and friends can help you stay on track and connect socially with others who are working towards the same goal.The holidays are a perfect time of year to enjoy time with friends and loved ones. But they are also a great time to celebrate and protect your well-being. Improving and maintaining your health is a journey, and Humana and Go365 aim to support members in reaching their goals, no matter the time of year.

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Over-the-Counter Drugs May Not Be the Solution Pain Sufferers Think

Maybe it’s because of all the scary news surrounding opioid abuse, but a new study shows Americans now seem to be extremely wary of taking any kind of prescription medicine to relieve pain.A whopping 78 percent of those surveyed in a joint effort by Gallup and Palmer College of Chiropractic said they’d “prefer to try other ways to address their physical pain before they take pain medication.”What many may not to realize is that even over-the-counter (OTC) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) frequently used to treat mild and moderate pain come with risks. The likes of aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen and naproxen can trigger adverse effects such as ulcers, bleeding, gastrointestinal problems, and – in rare cases – increased risk of stroke or even kidney damage.”If over-the-counter medications are used, it should be remembered that just because it’s OTC doesn’t mean it’s completely safe for everyone,” says Velma Wilks, RPh, a practicing registered pharmacist in Lubbock, Texas, who believes people should consider non-pharmacological approaches first.She’s not alone. In fact, one alternative to both opioids and OTC drugs – drug-free chiropractic care – has grown so popular among those seeking relief from back and neck pain that it’s become something of a movement under the rallying cry of “chiropractic first.”Highly educated and trained in the structure and function of the human body, doctors of chiropractic use hands-on techniques to help enhance flexibility, muscle strength and range of motion. Most insurance and health plans cover its use.”One hundred million Americans suffer from chronic pain, and they deserve to know the risks about the OTC medications they’re taking,” says the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress’ Sherry McAllister, DC.To locate a nearby doctor of chiropractic, 

At-Home Infusion Gives Gift of Health to Patients

Hemophilia, a blood disorder in which the blood fails to clot properly, is a rare condition, but for those who have it, staying healthy can be challenging.The treatment for hemophilia is multifaceted, but it can include preventive care at home. Patients can give themselves infusions of clotting factors that are normally present in the blood to help prevent excessive bleeding episodes, which can be life-threatening and cause permanent damage.Repeated self-infusion as a preventive measure is associated with a lower incidence of the joint problems that can arise from excessive bleeding.In a recent study, 60 adult blood-disorder patients who self-infused experienced fewer joint problems by preventing the levels of clotting factors in the blood from falling below 1 percent of what is considered normal. Joint problems can become debilitating if left untreated, and patients may be unable to perform routine daily activities, attend school or work, or walk without a cane, walker, or other assistance.In addition, blood-disorder patients who self-infuse have reported feeling more confident and in- dependent, and appreciate the convenience of infusing at home, according to data from NCHS, a specialty pharmacy service for blood-disorder patients.Most importantly, the opportunity to infuse at home also may serve to motivate patients to take their medications as directed.”Working to improve non-adherence among patients who intentionally stop their medications or intentionally disregard their prescribers’ instructions can be more of a challenge than simply helping patients remember to take their meds,” according to a report from NCHS. “But if you understand why patients are making these choices, you may have better results.”Common reasons why patients with a chronic disease such as a blood disorder fail to take their medications as directed include:* Concerns about the high cost of the medication.* Concerns about the medication’s side effects and whether it’s necessary.* Complexity of the treatment.* Communication issues with doctors about the value and benefits of the medication.Service providers like NCHS can help patients achieve more independence by offering discreet home delivery of medications, education and support. Services include detailed explanations about the use, dosing, storage, and side effects of medications so patients feel confident in their at-home care, as well as reimbursement expertise and caregiver education and counseling.

Reduce Risk of Gum Disease With This Easy Rinse

It happens during any given dental appointment; that embarassing moment when your hygenist asks how often you floss, and your reply (most likely) is, “Not often enough,” at the same time he or she clucks disapprovingly and shakes his or her head.Turns out they know what they’re talking about.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nearly half of American adults aged 30 years and older (47.2 percent) suffer from some form of gum disease.Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is one of the main threats to dental health, but maintaining a healthy mouth goes beyond the benefits of a bright smile.Gum disease is a chronic, inflammatory condition, and recent studies suggest that gum disease and tooth decay may be associated with an increased risk of other inflammatory conditions, including heart attacks and strokes if left untreated.The CDC describes common warning signs of gum disease, including bad breath, gums that are red, swollen, bleeding, or tender; pain when chewing; loose or sensitive teeth; receding gums; change in bite; and change in the fit of partial dentures. Additional factors that increase the risk of gum disease include smoking, diabetes, stress, and poor oral hygiene.That said, most people can improve their dental hygiene and reduce their risk for developing gum disease by following a few simple steps:- Brush. Brush your teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste. Pick a toothbrush style that fits your mouth and feels comfortable, and you will be more likely to use it. If your teeth are sensitive or you want them to be whiter, look around; there’s a toothpaste for that.- Floss. Floss your teeth once a day. Dental floss is available in a variety of widths and thicknesses, although some people prefer disposable flossers, which are often easier for children to use.- Rinse. Oral rinses play an important role in a dental health routine. Gum disease is caused by bacteria, but an oral rinse formulated with bacteria-targeting ingredients can help keep gum disease at bay.Healthy Gums Oral Rinse from TheraBreath contains cetylpyridinium chloride, an ingredient approved by the FDA and clinically proven to kill the germs linked to gum disease.”Gum disease is more serious than people think. It starts out with just bleeding and sensitive gums, but in its advanced stages, it can cause tooth loss,” says Dr. Harold Katz, founder and chief researcher for TheraBreath.

Medicare Plans Offer More Health And Wellness Benefits for 2019

Beginning next year, Medicare Advantage plans will be allowed to cover a broader array of health-related services that may help people with Medicare improve their health.Starting in January 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has expanded the health-related benefits that insurers are allowed to include in their Medicare Advantage plans.Rides to the gym and in-home safety measures such as bathroom grab bars are among the new benefits added to certain Medicare Advantage plans for 2019.Original Medicare combines Medicare Part A, which helps cover hospital and other types of inpatient care, and Medicare Part B, which helps cover doctor visits, outpatient and preventive care. Original Medicare does not include coverage for most prescriptions.Medicare Advantage plans cover everything that Original Medicare covers and may include extra benefits, services and often prescription drug coverage through a private insurer such as Humana.Most Medicare Advantage plans offer extra coverage and services, such as vision, hearing and dental benefits, health and wellness programs, and a 24-hour nurse advice line. And most include Medicare prescription drug coverage.Health and wellness benefits often include fitness programs and gym memberships, and transportation to medical appointments. For 2019, Medicare Advantage plans provide members access to an expanded choice of over-the-counter personal care items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, pill boxes, cough and cold medicines, eye drops, vitamins, heating pads, compression stockings and other supplies for diabetics, plastic bandages and other first aid items.The new Medicare Advantage supplemental benefits approved by CMS for 2019 also include virtual medical visits and virtual psychiatry, in-home support services and caregiver support.People with Medicare can see which new health and wellness benefits are being offered for 2019 on Medicare Advantage plans in their neighborhood by going online to the Medicare Plan Finder, or for Humana Medicare Advantage plans at www.humana.com/Medicare.You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) (or TTY: 1-877-486-2048) 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or call Humana at 1-877-877-0714 (TTY use 711) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., local time, seven days a week.The Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Election Period takes place from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, 2018 for coverage that takes effect Jan. 1, 2019. Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, and PFFS organization, and stand-alone prescription drug plan, with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any Humana plan depends on plan renewal.This information is not a complete description of benefits. Call 1-877-877-0714 (TTY use 711) for more information. Telepsychiatry services are currently available to Humana Medicare Advantage members at selected locations. Limitations on health care and prescription services delivered via virtual visits and communications options vary by state. Virtual visit services are not a substitute for emergency care and are not intended to replace your primary care provider or other providers in your network.