FOR YOUR HEALTH – Ask The Doctor: Early Morning Challenges With ADHD

(NAPSI)—ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder defined by impairing levels of inattention, disorganization, and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity. For people with ADHD, these behaviors are more severe, occur more often, and interfere with or reduce the quality of how they function socially, at school, or in a job.

Does your child with ADHD struggle in the morning?

Does your child with ADHD barely complete basic daily tasks, such as getting dressed, brushing teeth or simply eating breakfast? If so, you are not alone. In a survey of 200 parents with children diagnosed with ADHD, more than 90 percent felt that ADHD symptoms negatively impacted their early morning routine.

For families with children affected by ADHD, the early morning routine is challenging at best, chaotic at worst. Problems can impact every member of the family and set a negative tone for the rest the day. Dr. Ann Childress, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at Center for Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Inc. has many patients—and families—who struggle every morning simply to get out the door. Here are some of the most common questions she receives from these families—and her responses.

Why does my child with ADHD have so much difficulty in the morning?

The early morning routine can be especially challenging for people with ADHD. Getting ready for the day requires ongoing focus and depends upon our ability to remember and manage multi-step information, a capacity psychologists call working memory. Both children and adults with ADHD struggle with deficits in focus and/or working memory.

Getting ready for the day also requires us to finish many complex activities in a short time, such as completing a hygiene routine, making and eating breakfast, or packing a backpack, all before the school bus pulls up or the car pool arrives. Research shows that, when compared with typical peers, people with ADHD find it harder to gauge the passage of time—and thus find it more difficult to complete these early morning activities on time.

My child takes medication for ADHD that usually works. Why are mornings still so hard?

For individuals who rely on a stimulant medication to help them during the day, the early morning can still represent an ADHD blind spot. What does this mean? Most stimulant medications are taken in the morning with breakfast and they may take some time to work (anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours).6 Thus ADHD patients will not necessarily experience the benefits of ordinary stimulant medication in the early morning hours, making the morning routine one of the most difficult parts of the day for the patient-and for his or her loved ones.

My entire family has been negatively affected by one member’s early morning ADHD symptoms. What can I do to help?

Parents and caregivers can use behavioral strategies to improve specific behaviors that may prevent children from getting ready in the morning. Tactics to help children complete morning activities may include the following, either alone or in combination:

  • Setting multiple alarms to encourage timely completion of different tasks
  • Using behavior charts and incentive programs
  • Creating and using sequencing charts to outline the steps of critical activities
  • Utilizing checklists.

Some families choose to alter how they administer stimulant medications. In these cases, one parent or caregiver will wake and dose the child in the wee hours, approximately two hours prior to the family’s usual wakeup time. Next, the parent will encourage the child to go back to sleep, hoping the medication will take effect before breakfast.7 However, this routine often proves disruptive for both parent and child, both of whom may have difficulty returning to sleep.?

If you think ADHD has an impact on your mornings, consider taking a quiz at The interactive quiz helps identify ADHD symptoms that make the morning routine a challenge. You’ll also be given access to a Doctor Discussion Guide to help start the conversation about mornings with ADHD.

Tips for Managing ADHD in the Morning

  • Be a morning realist. Setting unrealistic goals can set you up for failure. Being realistic about the early morning routine and adding a little more time to get things done will benefit the entire family.
  • Alarms aren’t just for waking up. Set ‘as you go’ alarms to make sure you’re not running overtime on each task. Remember to be practical about how long things may take.

Talking to Your Doctor

Once you’ve made the appointment with your doctor, start writing down what you want to discuss about your mornings with ADHD. Here are some suggestions from the Doctor Discussion Guide that you’ll find when you take

  • Describe any challenges during the early morning routine.
  • How do these difficulties affect the rest of the day?
  • What specific ADHD symptoms are a problem in the early morning?
  • What actions have you taken to try to make mornings go more smoothly? How have those helped (if at all)?
  • Would it be helpful to have an ADHD medication that works when you wake up?

To learn more about morning challenges with ADHD, please visit

FOR YOUR HEALTH – Medicare Enrollment Season Is Here: 5 Tips To Make Sure You’re In The Right Plan

(NAPSI)—Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period runs from October 15 to December 7, 2019. This is your yearly chance to shop for insurance coverage that best meets your needs. People covered by Medicare will have even more plans with a host of new benefits to choose from for 2020.

Here are five things to keep in mind for Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period.

  1. Review your 2020 coverage options. Medicare Advantage plan details change each year, so the policy that was the least expensive or best match for you in 2019 may not be right for 2020. Changes to premiums, deductibles and co-pays can be costly. A recent eHealth analysis of people using to compare Medicare plans found that fewer than one in ten were enrolled in the lowest cost plan for their personal prescription drug regimen. Those who switched to their optimal drug plan stood to save an average of $900 per year.
  2. Look out for drug coverage changes. It’s common for insurance companies to tweak their list of covered drug and prices. That can mean higher out-of-pocket expenses. Check to make sure that the medications you need are still covered by your plan in 2020, and pay close attention to any special rules you need to follow to get the most coverage for your medications. Online tools, including’s prescription drug coverage comparison tool, can help you find the best option for 2020.
  3. Make sure your doctors are still covered. The doctors and hospitals that participate in your Medicare plan’s network often change each year as well. Make sure your preferred providers are covered under your current plan or any new plan that interests you. The amount you’ll pay when you get care from a doctor or hospital that does not participate with your plan will be higher than what you’ll pay if you stay within your plan’s network, and some health insurers won’t cover out-of-network providers at all, except in an emergency.
  4. Compare benefits. Along with price comparisons, be sure to review the full range of services and benefits offered by competing Medicare plans. These can include everything from preferred pharmacy and mail-order prescription discounts to dental, vision, hearing and even fitness benefits. And for 2020, many Medicare Advantage plans will offer supplemental benefits that provide additional assistance to people with chronic illness, such as non-emergency transportation, virtual medical visits, caregiver support, nutritional counseling and meal delivery, and air conditioning, among others.
  5. Work with a professional to understand your choices. To make sure you’re viewing a wide range of plans available on the market, work with an expert in Medicare products that represents more than just one insurance company. It doesn’t cost anything extra. A licensed agent can help you understand and make sense of all your options and select coverage that best matches your needs, budget, and lifestyle.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Debunking Common Medicare Part D Myths

(NAPSI)—It’s important to evaluate your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan every year. Your plan benefits can change, including your prescription drug coverage, premiums, deductibles and pharmacy benefits. As you do your research, you may run into a few misconceptions. Walgreens vice president of specialty and retail pharmacy operations Rina Shah debunks five common myths about Medicare Part D.

Myth 1: Your Medicare prescriptions cost the same at all pharmacies.

Fact: You often pay less on copays when you fill a Medicare Part D-covered prescription at a preferred pharmacy in your plan’s network. These savings can quickly add up.

Myth 2: Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans can require you to fill prescriptions by mail.

Fact: Medicare prevents plans from requiring patients to use a mail-order pharmacy exclusively.

Myth 3: Once you pick a plan, you don’t need to review it each year.

Fact: Changes in the prescriptions you take, plan design and coverage may cause your existing plan to no longer be right for you. Your insurance provider sends a letter that describes any changes to your plan. It is important to review these changes as they could impact your total cost.

Myth 4: It’s a good idea to pick a plan that a friend recommends.

Fact: While your friends may have good recommendations, their prescriptions and doctors are likely different from yours. Because copays for drugs are an important part of the overall Medicare costs, what works for your friend may not be the right choice for you.

Myth 5: Changing your plan means you must change your pharmacy.

Fact: Getting a new plan doesn’t always result in having to use a new pharmacy. When evaluating your plan options, always consider your preferred pharmacy as an important part of your evaluation.

When you start to research coverage, make sure your pharmacy of choice is in your plan’s preferred network. Walgreens is a preferred network pharmacy with many plans nationwide, which means you can save money on your copays.

For more information on tools to make prescription management easier, visit

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Removing the mystery from a prostate cancer diagnosis

(NAPSI)—According to the American Cancer Society, about one in nine American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. A leading cause of cancer in men, more than 173,000 new diagnoses are expected in the U.S. this year. Fortunately, this disease can be treated successfully, especially if caught early.

What To Do

If you’re 50 or older or have a family history of prostate cancer, you should speak to your doctor about whether screening for the disease is right for you.

Understanding Prostate Cancer

“In the early stages, the most common symptoms of prostate cancer are no symptoms at all,” says Deepak A. Kapoor, M.D., founder of the non-profit, Integrated Medical Foundation, and President of Advanced Urology Centers of New York.

There are four stages of prostate cancer. Stage one is diagnosed very early and confined to the prostate. At this stage, the patient is unlikely to be experiencing any symptoms. He may not need treatment beyond regular follow-up blood tests, exams and possibly biopsies. The disease is very treatable. When diagnosed early, the five-year relative survival rate is almost 100 percent.

Why Do Some Men Resist Routine Screenings?

Many men are embarrassed by the digital rectal exam, concerned about treatment or fear they can’t afford it.

Some Answers

Testing: Since the 1980s, prostate cancer was being diagnosed with a simple blood test, the PSA. It checks the level of prostate-specific antigen in your blood.

In the past, there was controversy about whether having a prostate cancer screening done was beneficial or if it produced more harmful effects due to complications from over-testing. PSA testing was the best thing available for a long time.

New tools now exist that provide much more information, giving predictability about the aggressiveness of the cancer and data to help urologists safely manage their patients’ disease. With this information, urologists have higher numbers of appropriate candidates on active surveillance regimens. Using tests such as the Gleason grade score, overall patient health and risk factors—age, race, ethnicity, family history and exposure to Agent Orange—urologists can determine with confidence how aggressive the cancer is and which patients will do well on active surveillance. They will also know which therapy options will be the optimal for the patient.

Making it easier for doctors and their patients to do this testing is the full-range of diagnostic equipment and supplies available through the trusted advisors at Henry Schein Medical, a provider of medical and surgical supplies to health care professionals.

Treatments: There are many ways to treat prostate cancer, including hormone therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and cryoablation. The newest innovation being successfully utilized is immunotherapy, which uses your own immune system to identify, target and destroy the cancer cells without harming the body’s own “good cells.” Your doctor can help you decide what’s best for you.

It is important to remember that you have the most options available when prostate cancer is diagnosed early and is in the most treatable stage. It is important for men to be vigilant with their routine screenings.

Paying: Many insurance policies will pay for diagnostic tests and in some places, such as New York State, there’s no co-pay or co-insurance cost sharing responsibility for diagnostic prostate cancer screenings (with such policies). This puts PSAs on the same level as mammograms, thanks to efforts of advocates and doctors such as those at Advanced Urology Centers of New York, one of the largest urology group practices in the country.

Learn More

For more facts, visit the American Cancer Society at and Integrated Medical Foundation (IMF) IMF provides screenings, education and support services FREE.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Summertime Living is Easy with Plant-Based Butter-ed Foods

(NAPSI)—From blueberry pies with flaky buttery crusts to grilled buttered corn on the cob, summer is filled with delicious foods that bring people together. Now summertime eating is getting a makeover by swapping that pat, dab or dollop of regular dairy butter with dairy-free Plant Butter.

The trend toward plant-based eating has become a full-fledged food movement! With prominent foodies—chefs, celebrities, and authors—sharing their personal stories of switching to plant-based diets for taste, health, and better-for-the-environment reasons, more and more consumers are embracing delicious, nutritious foods derived from plants.

What’s a plant-based diet? It’s focused on foods mostly made from plants—not just vegetables and fruits, but also nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes and beans. Plant-based diets also tend to be healthier because they are rich in fiber, good fats and added nutritionals, like vitamins.

Plant-based foods are showing-up in grocery stores across the country—including the dairy aisle. Like Country Crock® Plant Butter—a dairy-free, plant-based butter that tastes like dairy butter. It’s made from plant-based oils and features avocado oil, olive oil, or almond oil in sticks and tubs. It’s gluten-free, kosher, and is suitable for vegan diets as it’s stamped “Certified Plant Based” through the Plant Based Foods Association.

So what about a dessert to round out that summer BBQ? A berry swirl butter cake made with Country Crock® Plant Butter is easy to make and delicious. It is sure to stir up some talk when folks find out it’s made with Country Crock’s dairy-free Plant Butter! Try more recipes on

Berry Swirl Butter Cake

Makes: 8 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

1 cup (2 sticks) Country Crock® Plant Butter, softened (you can use Country Crock® Plant Butter with Olive Oil, Avocado Oil or Almond Oil)
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
¼ cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ cup seedless raspberry jam

1.) Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch square baking pan and line with parchment allowing extra to hang over the sides. Grease parchment.

2.) Beat Country Crock® Plant Butter with sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

3.) Beat in eggs, one at a time, then milk and vanilla. Add flour and baking powder and beat on low speed just until blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.

4.) Stir jam until smooth. (If jam is thick, microwave 20 seconds then stir until smooth). Drop dollops of jam all over the top of cake and use a knife to swirl the jam through the surface.

5.) Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Let cool for 20 minutes before lifting cake out of the pan to cool completely.

Learn More

For more facts, tips and recipes, go to

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Diabetes Makes Disaster Planning Even More Important

(NAPSI)—Everyone should plan for natural disasters, but this planning is especially important if you have a chronic health condition such as diabetes. Follow these nine steps to be ready:

  1. Do basic planning. Plan for where you will go if you must leave home, how you will get there and who will meet you there. Stay current with your vaccinations. Contact your county emergency management office for advice on transportation and other services for people with special needs.
  2. Pack a go-kit. In a waterproof container, pack first aid supplies including antibiotic cream, a flashlight and spare clothes. Include extra socks and shoes, because it’s important to keep your feet dry and free of infection. Keep on hand for quick packing a week’s worth of medicine plus supplies, medical equipment, spare equipment batteries and cash. If you use insulin, store it in the fridge with an insulated lunch bag nearby, ready to fill and go. Keep your kit by the front door.
  3. Put an information folder in your kit. This should include contact information for your healthcare professionals, pharmacy and emergency contact person; a list of your medicines, doses and dosing schedules; and the make, model and serial number of any medical device you use in case you need to replace it. Also include copies of recent A1C results or other lab work, your health insurance card and your photo ID.
  4. Include food supplies in your kit. Pack a three-day supply of water and nonperishable foods that fit with your meal plan. Include snacks to treat low blood sugar.
  5. Wear a medical alert ID. Ask your healthcare professional about how to get a free tag that states your medical condition. This is important if you need medical care but are not in a condition to talk.
  6. Do kidney care planning. If you are on dialysis for kidney disease, which often co-occurs with diabetes, talk to your dialysis center about their disaster plans. If you have a home dialysis or peritoneal dialysis machine, plan for how to power it if the electricity is out and how to stop dialysis if you lose power in the middle of a treatment. Register with your water and power companies for priority service restoration. In your information folder, keep a copy of your dialysis treatment plan, the phone numbers of your dialysis center and other nearby centers, and the kidney community hotline at (866) 901-3773. Talk with your doctor about what food to pack in your go-kit for an emergency three-day diet. This eating plan can save your life if dialysis treatments are missed or delayed, because it reduces water and waste buildup in your body. Finally, if a disaster is looming, try to get your dialysis treatment ahead of schedule.
  7. Be ready. Tune in to weather reports and listen for what local leaders say about evacuation. Keep your phone and any medical devices charged. If you have a car, keep it gassed up.
  8. Evacuate early. As soon as local leaders advise people to evacuate, go to your preplanned location. Don’t risk being trapped without access to electricity, clean water and supplies. Plus, early evacuation gives you a better chance of being housed in a special-needs shelter. When you arrive at a shelter, alert workers about your health conditions so you may get the support you need.
  9. Update your plan and restock your kit. At least once a year, review your emergency plan with your doctor. On an ongoing basis, swap out items with expiration dates.

To learn more about how to manage your diabetes, visit

FOR YOUR HEALTH – Don’t Let Mother Nature Sidetrack Your Health

Five Ways To Prioritize Your Family’s Physical And Mental Well-Being In Hurricane Season

(NAPSI)—The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts an average hurricane season this year, but as history has shown, the worst hurricanes are often unexpected. Last year, the seemingly mild Hurricane Michael rapidly turned into a category 5 storm, devastating parts of the Florida Panhandle. While many will stock batteries, flashlights and bottles of water, few will prep for health-related incidents or have a plan in place if a family member gets sick during a natural disaster. What’s more, such storms can be traumatic, causing stress and fear, even after they’ve blown over. It’s wise to prepare for that, too.

“In the wake of an imminent storm, many often forget that everyday life, including general illness, doesn’t stop in the midst of a natural disaster,” says Dr. Derek Bennetsen, a board-certified family physician. “Plus, the physical and mental health toll of a hurricane can be long lasting. Fortunately, you can learn effective and proven steps to prioritize your health. Have a hurricane plan that includes deciding how you and your loved ones will receive general medical care.”

Dr. Bennetsen suggests these steps you can take to prioritize your family’s health regardless of the weather:

1. Mind Your Medications. In the event of a hurricane or other disaster, getting to a pharmacy may be impossible, if it’s even open. Work with your treating physician or virtual care service to make sure your medications are stocked before a storm hits, and make sure you have a pharmacy finder in the event of evacuation.

2. Check Your First-Aid Kit. First-aid kits are rarely thought about until they’re needed. Make sure you have an ample supply of bandages, alcohol swabs and pain relievers, to manage everything from cuts and scrapes to headaches. Keep dust masks nearby and a whistle in case you need to signal for help.

3. Download the Right Apps. If power is out, conserve your cell phone battery. Get information from trusted sources. Download the Red Cross app at:, to monitor more than 35 different emergency alerts that can help keep you and your loved ones safe. The FEMA app is also available, at, for regular alerts from the National Weather Service. In case of evacuation or the need for care, seek out Red Cross shelters at There you can get the help you need, including virtual access to doctors.

4. Be Smart About Stress. Hurricanes are stressful, even traumatic. Coping with the emotional effects of disasters is important for all ages. In the moment, try breathing exercises or tackling one item at a time on a to-do list and always consider talking to a psychologist or therapist. Telebehavioral health services such as BetterHelp ( and Teladoc ( are growing in popularity for successfully providing support on your terms, regardless of time of day or location.

“The need for quality mental health care in the face of disaster is so well documented and needed, and now, fortunately, with the prevalence of virtual care, we can connect people with the right therapist for their needs,” explains Dr. Chris Dennis, a Miami, Florida-based psychiatrist and tele-behavioral health provider.

5. Know Where to Access Care: A fever or infection is not going to wait for the storm to pass and may very well get worse if you wait. In many areas, doctors may also have evacuated or care will be difficult to access. Find out before the storm hits whether you have access to virtual care services. Disaster preparedness resources such as have thousands of physicians across the country including those who are board-certified to provide medical care.

“Whether it’s a child’s fever in the wake of a storm, or breathing issues, infections and or other illnesses incurred days or weeks after, we’ve helped patients get much needed care over the years. It’s so critically important to prioritize your health and know your options for care before you need it,” adds Dr. Bennetsen.

Learn More

For more information, visit or

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Breathe Easier, Have Your Kids Tested For Asthma

(NAPSI)—The school year can be a hectic time for the families of America’s estimated 57 million schoolkids—but it’s also a good time for parents to bring their children to the doctor to get tested for asthma.

Asthma Affects Academics

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Asthma is a leading cause for chronic absenteeism, which is defined as missing 10 percent or more of school days for any reason, excused or unexcused. It detracts from learning and is a proven early warning sign of academic risk. This affects young children in particular in ways that can shape academic outcomes for their entire school career.

Understanding Asthma

Asthma causes swelling and narrowing of the airways that carry air from the nose and mouth to the lungs. Allergens or irritating things entering the lungs trigger asthma symptoms. There’s no cure, but it can be managed with proper prevention of asthma attacks and treatment. More than 25 million Americans have asthma, 7.7 percent of adults and 8.4 percent of children. Additionally, diagnosed asthma cases have increased since the 1980s.

Asthma Symptoms

Asthma symptoms vary from person to person. A person may have infrequent asthma attacks, have symptoms only at certain times—while exercising, for example—or have symptoms all the time.

Asthma signs and symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing
  • A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks are worsened by respiratory viruses.

If your child shows any of these symptoms, it’s even more important to have him or her visit a pediatrician for testing.

How Asthma Is Diagnosed

In order to accurately diagnose asthma, a doctor will take a detailed medical history of the patient, conduct a physical exam, and test lung function with spirometry. A spirometry test measures the volume and speed of air that a patient can expel from the lungs, this helps determine the type of asthma and the optimum treatment plan.

Asthma Treatment

Treatment generally involves a blend of medication and avoiding triggers such as pollen, chemicals, extreme weather changes, smoke, dust mites, stress and exercise.

The good news is your child can live a normal life with asthma as long as it’s properly managed and monitored. Even many professional athletes have asthma.

More good news is that doctors now have better equipment than ever to help them accurately diagnose the condition. For example, the EasyOne® Air Spirometer created by ndd Medical Technologies and available through Henry Schein Medical, helps doctors make diagnoses confidently. Built for healthcare providers large and small, it uses TrueFlow™ ultrasound technology for unprecedented accuracy and reliable diagnosis.

A portable stand-alone spirometry solution helps doctors stay flexible. The device is extremely robust and calibration-free TrueFlow technology provides a lifetime of worry-free operation. The color touch screen lets doctors view real-time curves, easily enter data, and navigate using a premium touch screen interface while it easily connects wirelessly via Bluetooth for real time incentives, data exchange, and electronic medical record connectivity.

It’s just one of the many medical devices available through Henry Schein Medical, a provider of medical and surgical supplies to health care professionals.

Learn More

For further information, parents and doctors can go to and

Vaping may put you at greater risk to contract the flu

by Nancy Bostrom

If you think vaping is bad for your heart and your lungs, a new study shows it can also up your chances of getting the flu, especially if you are a woman.

As we enter the official flu season, local doctors with American Family Care (AFC) are warning patients about the health dangers of vaping as well as other habits that could put you at a higher risk of picking up flu infested germs over the next few months.


Research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine reveals puffing on an e-cigarette disrupts your normal immune response to viral infections, like flu. The study also concluded that vaping really can take a toll on a woman’s immune system.

A study that appears in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) found e-cigarette vapors can trigger substantial inflammation in the lungs making them more likely to get infected by bacteria or viruses like the flu.

The CDC has issued a health advisory encouraging medical providers to educate patients about an escalating outbreak of severe lung disease. Federal health investigators are looking into at least 450 possible breathing illnesses associated with vaping, including five deaths.

“These studies and all the recent reports of vaping related respiratory illnesses across the country, amplify the dangers of e-cigarette use during flu season. The red flags continue to pop up, vaping is a health hazard and doing it this time of year puts you at high risk to catch the flu,” says Dr. Benjamin Barlow, chief medical officer of American Family Care, a national healthcare network with a local medical facility. “The number one defense during flu season is getting a flu vaccine, but you also need to avoid habits, like vaping, that can up your chances of getting the flu.”


Going Low Carb – Ditching bread and certain fruits is at the center of several low carb diets, but whole grains are good for your gut during flu season. Rice, oats and buckwheat can build healthy bacteria in your stomach. Research by the American Physiological Society concluded a substance found in fruit and vegetables called quercetin reduced the likelihood of flu in mice.

Doing It All – If you are starting to feel sick, don’t try to be a superhero and do it all. No one wants to be exposed to your germs. Stay home from either work or school and don’t even run errands like to the drug store to get medicine. When you have a fever, you should always stay home at least 24 hours AFTER your fever is gone.

Stressing Out – A heavy load at work or school can create a mountain of daily challenges. When you let stress take over, you are more susceptible to getting sick. A study by Carnegie Mellon University found long-term stress could weaken someone’s ability to fight infection.

AFC physicians advise it’s also important to take a few everyday preventive measures to boost your chances of avoiding the flu.


  1. Avoid sharing pens. Whether at work or signing a credit card receipt at a store, never pick up a public pen because they’re covered with other people’s germs. Keep a pen handy for any situation that could pop up.
  2. Knuckle it. When using a debit card machine, get into the habit of punching in your card pin with a knuckle instead of a fingertip. This way if you rub your eye or mouth with your fingertip, you’re not transferring germs.
  3. Play it safe at the pump. Drivers must get gas for their vehicles no matter what, sick or not. Protect yourself at the pump, grab a paper towel before picking up the gas nozzle. You can also use the paper towel as a barrier when punching in your debit/credit card info.
  4. Shake and Wash. People are more germ-conscious these days so avoiding a handshake is not as rude as once thought, especially during flu season. If you must do it, wash or sanitize with your hands immediately.
  5. Hands off, please! You are constantly using either your phone or computer tablet to show friends and coworkers pictures or videos. This means other people are putting their germs on something you are constantly touching. Get into the habit of wiping your phone down with a disinfecting wipe to cut down on spreading germs. OR just text your friends photos and videos!

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Breathe easier

(NAPSI)—Many people may be surprised to learn that some things used to keep their homes looking good and feeling fresh—scented candles, air fresheners, cleaning products, paint, furniture—actually contribute to indoor air pollution.

The Problem

These items—and many others—produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which, the EPA says, can irritate skin, eyes, noses and throats and cause headaches, nausea and dizziness. Extended exposure, the EPA warns, can even cause asthma, liver, kidney and nervous system damage.

Some Answers

Fortunately, you can reduce your exposure. Here’s how:

  • Improve your ventilation.
  • Store products containing VOCs outdoors.
  • Seal surfaces containing dangerous compounds.
  • Keep your HVAC air ducts clean.

Indoor air gets pulled into the system and contaminants can build up in the ductwork. Getting your air ducts properly cleaned can improve the ventilation throughout your home and lessen the number of pollutants in the air you breathe.

Be sure the duct cleaning company is a member of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA). They pledge to a Code of Conduct and clean according to strict standards.

Learn More

For further facts, see To find a NADCA member nearby, visit the Find a Professional Directory there.