Tag Archives: winter

Winter is coming. Are you ready for it?

I would like to add a personal word here. When I first started taking care of my aunt with Alzheimer’s some years ago I was concerned about her handling winter. We had always been close and I remember that winter’s short and dark days got her down. The doctor had told me that she would be able to live at home if she didn’t become aggressive. I had no idea how to keep her mood up but I stumbled upon an article about these full spectrum lights that mimic the sun’s rays.

So, I thought I would get her a couple of these lamps to fool her body and brain away from dark thoughts and moods. Long story short: it worked. She was able to live out her life in her own house. By the way, this was the house she moved into when she married my uncle more than 60 years earlier.


Tony

Our Better Health

Well with the forecast in mind, snow, wind, and all the things associated with it, I have to ask: Are you ready for winter?

The ten foot snow banks, the blizzards, the -38 C wind chills, the bad roads and everything else that I’d rather not even think about right now?

Hold on a second.

You might have assumed I was talking about the physical requirements to get through yet another Winnipeg winter, but I wasn’t. We all go through it every year right? Winter clothes are in good shape? Check. The furnace is in good working order? Check. Got the winter tires on? Check.

Sure all those things are necessary to get by in the six month Manitoba deep freeze, but what about mental preparation?

I never used to think about that very much because you just dealt with it, you handled it. You knew what to expect and…

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Filed under Alzheimer's, Alzheimer's disease, depression, full spectrum lights, winter

Flu Season Picking Up

We are experiencing an early flu season this year, the earliest since 2003.  There is good news in that the Centers for Disease Control reports that this year’s vaccine is a very good match for the common strains circulating. I repeat my suggestion of October 10, “Get a flu shot.”

With that in mind, I wondered what are a body’s chances of coming down with it. WebMD, gives some really useful statistics on the flu.

Of particular interest to seniors, are:

• One of the national health objectives for 2010 included getting 90% of people over age 65 and all nursing home residents vaccinated.
• In 2008, the estimated vaccination levels for people over age 65 was: 70% for non-Hispanic whites, 52% for non-Hispanic blacks, and 52% for Hispanics.”

I took a course from The Great Courses entitled “Lifelong Health: Achieving Optimum Well-Being at Any Age.”  The professor, Dr. Anthony Goodman, stated that for people over 65 influenza is the most common preventable cause of death. Additionally, vaccinations in adults could prevent about 80% of all influenza deaths.

influenza2
For the general population:

• Percentage of the U.S. population that will get the flu, on average, each year: between 5% and 20%.
• Number of Americans hospitalized each year because of flu complications: 200,000 on average.
• The number of people who die each year from flu-related causes in the U.S.: varies with a range of 3,000-49,000 people yearly
• In the U.S., influenza and pneumonia were the eighth leading cause of death in 2007.
• Number of flu vaccine doses available in the U.S. for the 2010-2011 flu season: 160 million to 165 million.
• In 2010, the CDC began recommending that everyone over six months of age get a flu vaccine as soon as it’s available.
• Flu activity usually peaks in January and February.
• The 2010-2011 flu vaccine protects against three different flu viruses: an H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus, and the H1N1 virus that caused the 2009 pandemic.
• It takes about two weeks after vaccination for an adult to develop antibodies against the flu.
• The typical incubation period for the flu is one to four days. Adults can be contagious from the day before symptoms begin through five to 10 days after the illness starts.
• A regular case of the flu typically resolves after three to seven days for the majority of people, although cough and fatigue can persist for more than two weeks.

Tony

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Filed under aging, flu deaths, flu season, flu shot, men's health, seniors, Uncategorized, winter

11 Cold Weather Exercise Tips

In these waning days of November with the advent of cold weather, it is a good idea to remind ourselves that inclement weather conditions are not an excuse to blow off exercise. Last week I wrote Cold Weather Cycling for bike riders like me who go year ’round.

The National Institute on Aging has a number of very useful suggestions for continuing to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities.

Outside exercise is really good for you

Outside exercise is really good for you

If you want to walk, run, ski, ice skate, or any other outdoor activities when it’s cold outside, (Please read Shoveling Snow is Dangerous.):

Check the weather forecast.
If it’s very windy or cold, exercise inside with a Go4Life DVD and go out another time.

Watch out for snow and icy sidewalks.

Warm up your muscles first. Try walking or light arm pumping before you go out.

Wear several layers of loose clothing. The layers will trap warm air between them.

Avoid tight clothing, which can keep your blood from flowing freely and lead to loss of body heat.

Wear a waterproof coat or jacket if it’s snowy or rainy.

Wear a hat, scarf, and gloves.

Know the signs of hypothermia:

Watch for signs of hypothermia: cold feet and hands, swollen face, pale skin, shivering, slurring words, acting sleepy, and being confused or angry.

Be on the lookout for later signs of hypothermia: moving slowly, trouble walking, slow heartbeat, shallow breathing, and blacking out.

Call 911 right away if you think someone might have hypothermia! Get the person inside and wrap him or her in a warm blanket.

Eat less; move more; live longer. We still need to do it regardless of the conditions outside.
Tony

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Filed under cold weather, Exercise, health, Uncategorized, Weight, winter