FOR YOUR HEALTH: Six Benefits of Adding Seafood to Your Diet

As you get older, your body can become more susceptible to chronic diseases, so it can be helpful to eat a healthy diet filled with essential nutrients. If you’re looking for an easy yet impactful way to be proactive in your health journey, try introducing seafood into your diet. By simply eating eight ounces or two servings of seafood a week, you may experience a multitude of health benefits that can contribute positively to your overall well-being. Here are some reasons why you should consider seafood for your next meal and several health benefits you may experience by incorporating it into your diet.

It’s High in Important Nutrients

Seafood is a source of essential nutrients that many people are lacking, including omega-3 fatty acids, protein, iron and vitamins D and B. Fatty fish, including salmon, trout, sardines, tuna and mackerel, are sometimes considered to be the healthiest option because they can provide fat-based nutrients that our body can’t produce on its own. But don’t take our word for it — listen to science. Studies indicate that seafood is a good source of fats, protein, vitamins and minerals that help promote overall health.

It May Help Improve Heart Health

According to the American Heart Association, fish and seafood are consistently associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease because they are concentrated sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fatty acid that may work to benefit heart health by helping to: Decrease triglycerides levels, increase beneficial HDL cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of irregular heartbeats, reduce blood pressure, reduce platelet aggregation and blockages that can clog arteries, decrease risk of stroke and heart failure.

It Can Help Prevent Vision Loss

Having a seafood-rich diet can help ensure that you’re getting plenty of omega-3 fatty acids that may not only help benefit your heart health, but can also help protect your vision. Evidence suggests that the omega found in seafood can help fight against age-related macular degeneration — a common eye disorder that causes blurred or reduced central vision and even blindness. While many types of seafood contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, the highest amounts can be found in salmon, tuna or mackerel.

It May Help Promote Bone Health

As you get older, your bones can naturally lose density, and while this can be a normal part of in the aging process, this can make you more susceptible to broken bones and fractures, which can be life-changing events for seniors. Consuming seafood is one proactive action you can take to help increase your bone density. According to this study, there may be a positive correlation between the consumption of seafood and bone health that may help seniors lower their risk of developing osteoporosis. Why is this? Seafood is rich in vitamin D, which may help the body use calcium and phosphorus, key minerals for bone health. Try eating salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines if you’re looking to find good sources of vitamin D.

It May Help Ease Joint Pain

Suffering from stiffness in your joints? Partaking in a seafood diet may help to provide some relief. Omega-3 fatty acids can help decrease the production of certain inflammatory chemicals in the body, and the vitamin D they contain can help decrease joint swelling and pain. Even if you don’t suffer from stiffness in your joints, by consuming omega-3 regularly, research suggests, you may be less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis.

It Can Help Promote Brain Health

Brain health is seriously important as you get older. Research suggests mild cognitive impairment, which is characterized by problems with memory, language, thinking or judgment, appears in 10 – 20 percent of adults aged 65 years and older. You can take proactive measures to help increase your brain health by regularly consuming fish, which has been shown to help improve cognitive ability. The omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fish can play a vital role in preserving cell membrane health and supporting cognition and memory — but since our bodies do not produce omega-3, it can be essential that we get them through our diet. The above content is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content, especially if you have a medical condition. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Prepare for allergy season in fall

Professionally cleaned air ducts can cut down on allergens in your home.

(NAPSI)—More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year and for many of them, there are some added anxieties. For example, many people don’t realize allergies can be deadly. Or that eating local honey, living in a dry climate or avoiding cut flowers won’t cure allergies or prevent an allergic reaction. And these days, there’s often the question: Is it allergies or is it COVID-19? Fortunately, there are tests doctors can perform that can help them make that distinction. Here are a few facts that can help you, too.

What To Look For

Allergy symptoms can include watery eyes, congestion, runny nose, itchy eyes, vomitting and/or stomach cramps, wheezing, shortness of breath, dizziness or feeling faint, pale or blue skin, weak pulse, hives, repeated cough and tight, hoarse throat, trouble swallowing, swollen tongue.

What is an Allergy?

Allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. An allergy is an overreaction of the body’s immune system to an ordinarily harmless substance. Allergies exist throughout the year, indoors and out, and affect people of all ages. Animal dander, house dust mites, foods, grasses, trees, weeds, and molds can all trigger an allergic reaction.

Autumn Allergies

Some allergies are seasonal and more likely to occur at different times of the year. The most common culprit for fall allergies is ragweed, which grows wild almost everywhere, generally between August and November. A number of plants that thrive during cool nights and warm days also trigger fall allergies.

Who is Affected?

Twenty to 40 percent of the population—including at least one of every four children—suffers from allergies*. People with allergies are often sensitive to more than one allergen. Prevention or treatment can make the difference between chronic illness and a productive, healthy life.

Diagnosing Allergies

Unfortunately, many of these also show up when someone has a cold, the flu or even COVID-19 but doctors do have ways to tell the difference. The first step is to identify allergen-specific antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). This can be done two ways. 1. Skin Prick Testing: Commonly performed on the forearm and sometimes the back, the skin is cleaned with alcohol and an allergen extract is pricked into the skin. If an allergy is present, a small itchy bump and surrounding redness often referred to as a “wheal and flare” will appear in about 15 minutes. This indicates the specific allergen. 2. In-Vitro Testing: The doctor simply draws a small amount of blood and has it tested in a lab. It is a less invasive method and receives test results within 24 hours. Many professional medical societies recommend also using in-vitro tests such as the OPTIGEN® Allergy Test. So, once you know you have allergies, what can be done? Here are some options.

Treatments

Allergy management falls into three main categories: avoidance, medication and immunotherapy. Avoidance: Once the source of an allergy is identified, a solution may be to simply avoid it. This is most effective with food and animal allergies. Medication: Prescription drugs can reduce allergy symptoms. Many are effective immediately, though some may have side effects or not work for everybody. Immunotherapy: Allergy shots are given frequently in scheduled doses of gradually increasing concentrations using extracts containing relevant allergens. The idea is to slowly desensitize the body to the offending allergens. Ideally, an injection program can be discontinued after some years.

Learn More

For additional facts and tips on dealing with allergies, visit www.henryschein.com/MinarisMedical.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Don’t Let Flu Season Sneak Up On You

Flu shots are available at CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations nationwide

(NAPSI)—Get the facts, not the flu. For many people, the start of fall means busier schedules and longer to-do lists, but you shouldn’t let your annual flu shot fall to the bottom of that list.

What You Can Do About The Flu

With flu season approaching and COVID-19 cases still prevalent, Sandra Leal, PharmD, MPH, FAPhA, offers the following tips to help you fight the flu this season:

Get your annual flu shot as soon as possible: Getting your flu vaccine is the best way to help prevent the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting your vaccine as early in the fall as possible, ideally before the flu season begins. Not only can you help protect yourself from getting sick but you can help protect your family, friends and at-risk populations such as those who are 65 and older, people with certain immunocompromising or chronic medical conditions, infants or children under 5 and pregnant women. CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations nationwide administer the flu shot every day, with evening and weekend hours. New this year, you can schedule flu vaccination appointments for up to four family members at the same time for added convenience by visiting CVS.com, through the CVS app or by texting FLU to 287898.

Stay home if you’re sick: It’s important to know what the early symptoms of the flu are, such as fever, cough and body aches. If you experience them, you should stay home and away from others and, if you are sick, you should limit your contact with others as much as possible to stop the spread.

Practice good health habits: Beyond staying up to date with your vaccinations, you should wash your hands frequently, get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food. These are all healthy habits that can help support your immune system during flu season.

For seniors, take advantage of your vaccine options: For those over age 65, CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic offer three senior dose flu vaccines—Fluzone HD, Flublok, and Fluad. They may help create a stronger immune response and are preferred for seniors because they are at greater risk of developing severe flu-related illnesses. For protection against COVID-19, the CDC has also confirmed that patients can get any of the currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines at the same time as the flu vaccine, so don’t hesitate to get your flu shot and COVID-19 booster simultaneously during your next visit.

Learn More

Certain immunizations have age and location restrictions. For additional information on vaccines, visit www.CVS.com and www.MinuteClinic.com.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Tips For Maintaining A White And Healthy Smile

For the brightest smile, make sure you use safe and effective products.

(NAPSI)—Taking care of your smile with a daily brushing and flossing routine is the best way to keep teeth clean and healthy. But more and more people in search of an ultra-bright smile are turning to the growing number of over-the-counter teeth whitening products—leaving many confused about the most effective methods and if ongoing use can damage teeth.

“Whitening products contain one of two tooth bleaches, which break stains into smaller pieces, making the discoloration less concentrated and your teeth brighter,” said Kyle Dosch, DDS, a licensed dentist and Delta Dental of Washington’s dental director. “There are several methods of bleaching, including in your dentist’s office or by using over-the-counter bleaching products and whitening strips. As with most medicaments, patients should use caution and not overuse whiteners. Excessive overuse of these bleaching agents may damage tooth enamel or gums, so always follow directions and talk to your dentist to brighten your smile safely.”

Teeth Whitening—What You Need To Know 

When deciding the best way to get your teeth whitened (also known as bleaching), consider these points, and have a conversation about your whitening goals with your dentist.

Do whiteners work on all teeth? Whiteners may not correct all types of discoloration. Whitening is only effective on natural teeth and does not work on veneers, caps, crowns or fillings, or tooth discoloration caused by medications or an injury.

What are my teeth bleaching options? Whitening options include stain removal toothpastes, in-office bleaching, at-home bleaching, over-the-counter bleaching products, and even LED lights. For the safest and quickest results, most dentists recommend professional whitening performed in-clinic by a licensed dentist or with at-home kits available through your dentist, which use custom bleaching trays molded to fit each person’s mouth. While over-the-counter trays are available, they often fit incorrectly, causing the bleaching agents to spill onto soft tissues or to be ingested.

Is whitening toothpaste safe to use? Whitening toothpastes are more abrasive to help with surface stains, but they can be damaging to enamel over time. It’s important to discuss with your dentist and, if using, be sure to limit use. Similarly, many whitening chewing gums contain abrasives which scrub the surface of teeth to help remove some surface stains. Because of potential abrasion over time, sugar-free whitening chewing gum should be used only in moderation.

Everything from mouthwash to rinses to dental floss are now offered with whitening ingredients, do these really work? Because effective teeth whitening results from the length of time teeth are in contact with active bleaching agents, mouthwashes, rinses and dental floss are a less-effective whitening choice. Similarly, rinsing with hydrogen peroxide is dangerous if ingested, and therefore is not recommended.

Do natural alternatives such as charcoal really whiten teeth? Activated charcoal whitening products are becoming increasingly popular as people aim to reduce their exposure to chemicals in health and beauty products. As a short-term solution to whitening, it can come with serious long-term damage and is not recommended. With its abrasive properties, it may lead to enamel erosion which may cause tooth sensitivity and make your teeth appear more yellow in color because it will expose the dentin of your teeth. The potential enamel deterioration can also lead to increased susceptibility to cavities.

Will I have side effects from teeth whitening? You may experience tooth sensitivity when beginning to use whitening products. In that case, stop using the product and have a conversation with your dentist about a better approach for you and your teeth. Temporary tooth sensitivity and gingival inflammation are the most common adverse effects of teeth whitening.

There are many reasons for teeth discoloration, including what you eat and drink. Coffee, tea and red wine are staining agents that can affect the white enamel portion of your teeth. Tobacco use, which includes tar and nicotine, can also stain teeth. Aging, some medications, and even injury or trauma to a tooth, can all make our teeth more yellow and less white.

Luckily, some surface stains can be removed during a regular cleaning and don’t require additional whitening treatments. To keep your smile bright and healthy, schedule regular visits to your dentist, maintain a daily dental health routine with brushing and flossing, and avoid foods that can stain your teeth.

Learn More

For additional information about teeth whitening, including an overview of in-office versus at home procedures, how white spots on teeth can potentially be treated through whitening procedures, and other bleaching questions, visit www.deltadentalwa.com/blog.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Back To School Season Can Present A Time For Smart, Supportive Conversations On E-Cigarettes

Parents can protect their kids from the dangers of tobacco use by following a few simple steps.

by Laura Corbin, Bureau Chief, Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida

(NAPSI)—Back to School presents parents and students with opportunities to have important discussions about life choices. One thing to connect on before the first bell rings is understanding and avoiding tobacco, including electronic cigarettes.

An increasing number of Florida school-aged children have either used an e-cigarette or know someone who does. While combustible cigarettes are almost entirely gone from our state’s schools, e-cigarettes were by far the most-used tobacco product among teens in 2021. In 2021, 18.3% of Florida high school students reported current use of e-cigarettes, a 16.6% increase compared to 2017.

Unsure how to address tobacco with your child? Here are some tips:

1.Study up. Before you have the conversation, spend some time making sure you’re aware of the most recent changes. Did you know the minimum smoking age is now 21 across Florida, or that some previously popular brands like JUUL are now less popular among teens and young adults?

2.Start the conversation naturally. Be patient and ready to listen, encourage open dialogue and avoid criticism. For example, if you and your teen see someone using an e-cigarette or you walk by an e-cigarette shop, try asking what they think about it and what they already know and believe.

3.Address the problem straight on. You can educate your kids about the dangers of tobacco use and change their minds. They will listen. Studies show that parents can significantly impact their children’s behavior, including whether or not they use tobacco products.

4.Become involved in your kids’ lives and social schedules. Young people whose friends use tobacco are more likely to use tobacco themselves, to try to fit in. Meanwhile, kids who do well in school and participate in structured, extracurricular activities are less likely to be susceptible to smoking.

5.Pay close attention to what your children bring home. Some of the most popular e-cigarette devices look like flash drives, pens, and inhalers, which can be easily concealed. Some e-cigarettes require charging, so check what devices are being charged or look for unusual plugs. If you don’t smell anything, don’t assume they aren’t using products with nicotine. E-cigarettes typically won’t make clothes smell of tobacco.

6.Team up. Ask your healthcare provider or other trusted adults (such as teachers, coaches or counselors) to talk with your child about the risks of e-cigarettes.

To address teen e-cigarette use, Tobacco Free Florida offers Live Vape Free, a program featuring free tools and resources. Live Vape Free provides teens with text support, interactive content and one-on-one coach support to help them quit e-cigarettes.

It’s an easy-to-navigate learning experience that teaches teens the skills needed to quit. Once enrolled, participants receive texts containing relevant content to help them on their quit journey. Live Vape Free features content that:

•Educates teens on the keys to quitting nicotine.

•Motivates, inspires and enlightens users on the importance of staying nicotine-free.

•Helps teens find their “why” when quitting.

•Boosts overall confidence among teens looking to quit.

More information on that program is available at www.TobaccoFreeFlorida.com/LiveVapeFree or by texting VAPEFREE to 873373.

Additional support, including free Quit Coach support and Web Quit, are also available depending on age.

Of course, in addition to being ready to discuss tobacco with your children, one of the most important things you can do is set the example by not smoking or using tobacco yourself.

Research shows that kids who have a parent who smokes are more likely to smoke and to be heavier smokers at young ages. But the good news is that when parents quit smoking, their kids become less likely to start. If you’re a parent who is ready to quit smoking, Tobacco Free Florida’s free tools and services can help. More information is available at www.TobaccoFreeFlorida.com or 1-877-U-CAN-NOW (1-877-822-6669).

Parents know this is a time for a lot of conversations that can mean a world of difference to the futures of their children. If you educate yourself, you can be there for your child and make smart decisions for years to come.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Three Summer Tips To Get You Fitter Now

Good news, there are lots of summer gym deals to help you get fit.

(NAPSI)—Summer is here, and Floridians seeking the best deals to help them get beach-ready and fit for swimming, surfing, biking, or family travel adventures have a variety of options to get active and fit. Here are three ways to take your fitness to a new level while saving some dough:

1.Take advantage of summer gym savings.

Many gyms are offering summer discounts to help you start a new fitness program or maintain your current one at a more affordable rate. You can search for individual deals at your favorite gym or fitness studio. Or, if you’re thinking about switching gyms but aren’t sure which gym is best for your needs, visit an “online market” or gym aggregator site that offers thousands of gym choices for one price, with no long-term contracts. For example, the Active&Fit Now™ program offers a fitness membership that lets you choose from more than 7,900 gyms for $29/month. Programs like this allow you to try multiple gyms and cancel at any time to find the one that suits your fitness goals without long-term contracts or any hidden fees.

2.Explore boutique fitness studios.

(NAPSI)—Summer is here, and Floridians seeking the best deals to help them get beach-ready and fit for swimming, surfing, biking, or family travel adventures have a variety of options to get active and fit. Here are three ways to take your fitness to a new level while saving some dough:

1.Take advantage of summer gym savings.

Many gyms are offering summer discounts to help you start a new fitness program or maintain your current one at a more affordable rate. You can search for individual deals at your favorite gym or fitness studio. Or, if you’re thinking about switching gyms but aren’t sure which gym is best for your needs, visit an “online market” or gym aggregator site that offers thousands of gym choices for one price, with no long-term contracts. For example, the Active&Fit Now™ program offers a fitness membership that lets you choose from more than 7,900 gyms for $29/month. Programs like this allow you to try multiple gyms and cancel at any time to find the one that suits your fitness goals without long-term contracts or any hidden fees.

2.Explore boutique fitness studios.

If you’re more motivated by the idea of joining a smaller, more specialized, and personal gym, a boutique studio may be the perfect option. Boutique studios tend to offer a more tailored fitness experience with like-minded people who want a focused approach. These studios are surging in popularity and offer specialties like Pilates, or yoga, or even spinning. Others focus on dance, barre, or strength training. The point is, a boutique studio can help you find your fitness vibe and maybe even your workout “tribe.”

If you think you can’t afford a boutique studio, shop around for summer discounts. Or check whether fitness membership programs include studios, too. If you shop around, you’ll likely find a program that offers the right boutique option for you with discounted rates ranging from 20%-70% off. Be sure to look for no long-term contracts, or initiation or cancellation fees. You’ll want the flexibility to find the focused fitness activity that meets your needs.

3.Train in the cool comfort of home with online classes.

Sometimes you just don’t have time to make it to the gym, but you don’t want to skimp on your workout routine—so, let technology be your workout buddy. Many fitness programs allow you to train in the comfort of your home with on demand workout videos you can tailor to your needs. Some programs even offer free workout classes on streaming platforms like YouTube. Simply go to YouTube and put in your gym or program’s name to see if they offer a workout playlist. The Active&Fit® family of programs, for example, offers hundreds of free YouTube classes, including dance, cardio, strength training, and yoga. By joining one of the Active&Fit programs, like Active&Fit Now, you can gain access to more than 5,500 videos from top video workout producers like Les Mills, Shift, and Cycling Fusion.

It’s not too late to get active and fit for summer fun. Take the first step today by exploring the many gym and fitness program offerings and summer deals in your area.

Always remember to consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine and to discuss what types of exercises are safest for you. Persons depicted are not Active&Fit program members.

FOR YOUR HEALTH – Maternal Health And Dental Health: How They’re Linked

(NAPSI)—Every step of the way, women, especially mothers, have a lot to juggle. While trying to conceive, being pregnant, raising children and going through menopause, their to-do lists are long. One important task which may not be the first to come to mind is maintaining good oral health.

“Oral health plays a role in all stages of life and it pops up often for mothers,” said Kyle Dosch, DDS, a licensed dentist who serves as Delta Dental of Washington’s dental director. “Demonstrating and teaching the importance of good oral health habits is critical to the overall health and well-being of you and your family.”

Pre-pregnancy

There is evidence to suggest a correlation between oral health and fertility. Women with periodontal disease took nearly seven months to conceive, whereas women without periodontal disease took only five months, on average.

Early Pregnancy

Many expectant mothers experience morning sickness and, as bothersome as it is to go through, it can also have negative effects on a woman’s oral health, particularly her teeth. Stomach acid can weaken tooth enamel, leading to greater risk for cavities. Dentists recommend rinsing your mouth with water after vomiting to help wash away the acid. Choosing healthy snacks such as fruits and vegetables, which can help clean bacteria off teeth, as well as plenty of water, are best for when pregnancy cravings kick in.

During Pregnancy: What To Do When You’re Brushing For Two

Up to 75% of pregnant women have gingivitis, an early stage of periodontal disease. Periodontitis has been linked with having a negative effect on pregnancy, inducing premature birth or low birth weight of the baby. Regular dentist check-ups, brushing and flossing can help prevent this.

Postpartum

Mothers with tooth decay can pass cavity-causing bacteria to their babies by doing such things as cleaning pacifiers in their own mouth. Rinsing with clean water is a safer way for mom to keep an eye on a baby’s oral health.

Motherhood

Children of mothers who have high levels of untreated cavities or oral health problems are three times more likely to have cavities. This can be due to poor education on oral health or from sharing drinks and utensils. This can transfer cavity-causing bacteria from a mom’s mouth to a child’s. Taking time to brush and floss each day together can help keep mom and kids on track for their oral health goals.

Perimenopause And Menopause

Teeth and gums are highly susceptible to hormonal changes which take place before and during menopause. Because of these hormonal changes, a woman’s body can have a harder time fighting off minor infections and maintaining a healthy balance between useful and harmful bacteria within the mouth and on the gums. These hormonal changes can also cause increased sensitivity for teeth.

Visiting the dentist regularly will help keep these risks at bay.

Learn More

For further information about your oral health, visit Delta Dental of Washington’s blog at www.deltadentalwa.com/blog.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Peanuts Deliver Good Food Fast

Peanuts deliver a plethora of health benefits and this delicious ramen dish incorporates both peanuts and peanut butter.

(NAPSI)—Life today often seems to be in overdrive, leading many Americans to make snack and meal decisions quickly without really thinking about the nutritional makeup of what they’re consuming—but it doesn’t have to be that way. 

 Think Twice

“Being mindful about what you eat each day can have a significant impact on so many aspects of your life. Food choices can influence your mood, energy level, cognition and memory, as well as your overall health and well-

being,” says Samara Sterling, Ph.D., director of research for The Peanut Institute. 

 Unfortunately, most “fast food” is overly processed and relies on sugar, salt and saturated fat to make it taste good in the moment, but it can end up having detrimental effects down the road and may even increase the risk for certain cancers. 

 Food As Medicine

Peanuts and peanut butter, on the other hand, are convenient and healthy superfood choices that satisfy immediate hunger while delivering lifelong benefits. 

 According to numerous research studies, regular consumption of peanuts has been shown to: reduce Alzheimer’s disease risk by 70%; reduce diabetes risk by 53% and cardiovascular disease risk by 13%; and aid memory, cognitive function and concentration. Daily consumption can even help reduce anxiety and depression.

“Peanuts deliver such a plethora of benefits. A single serving of peanuts, which is about a handful, is packed with 19 vitamins and minerals and contains seven grams of plant-based protein,” adds Sterling.

The Science

The benefits of plant-based protein are becoming more and more apparent. Research that compared nuts and legumes to animal protein showed higher intake from meat was associated with increased mortality risk. Another study found that replacing animal-based protein with plant-based protein can substantially lower the likelihood of developing diabetes. Finally, an interesting study of older adults found that faster walking speed was associated with a higher intake of plant protein, while slower walking speed was associated with greater animal protein intake. 

 To easily incorporate peanuts and peanut butter into a busy schedule, check out The Peanut Institute’s collection of simple yet tasty recipes.

Learn More

For other recipes and further information, visit www.peanutinstitute.com or follow The Peanut Institute on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

• The Peanut Institute is a non-profit organization supporting nutrition research and developing educational programs to encourage healthful lifestyles that include peanuts and peanut products. It pursues its mission through research programs, educational initiatives and the promotion of healthful lifestyles.

FOR YOUR HEALTH – Get A Boost Against COVID: What You Need To Know About Boosters

It’s still vital for residents to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID.

(NAPSI)—COVID vaccines and boosters have reduced the threat of COVID, allowing many people to gather, travel, and celebrate with more peace of mind. Vaccines and boosters provide the best protection against the worst outcomes of COVID, yet people still have many questions around boosters.

“We’ve entered a new phase of the pandemic, and we know more about the virus than ever before,” said Dr. Bhagy Navalkele, associate professor at University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, MS. “We know that vaccines provide the best protection from COVID-related hospitalization and death. Boosters then add an extra layer of protection.”

Here is what people should know about the COVID boosters:

Boosters provide the best protection against severe illness and death. Over time, vaccines may become less effective at preventing COVID, and just because you’ve had COVID doesn’t mean you can’t get it again. Getting boosted extends your protection and keeps you safer from emerging variants. A booster shot is another dose that—as the name suggests—boosts immunity to the virus as time passes. Vaccinated people who have also had a booster are less likely to get sick; but if they do catch the virus, the illness is usually less severe. For adults ages 65 or older, boosters can more than double their protection.

Vaccines and boosters protect vulnerable populations against COVID. Everyone 5 or older who has completed their initial COVID vaccination series should get a booster. Individuals who are up to date on COVID vaccines not only receive protection for themselves, but they also help reduce the spread of COVID to people who are at high risk due to age or compromised immune systems.

Second boosters provide added protection for people at higher risk. Adults age 50 or older and immunocompromised individuals can improve their protection even more with a second booster. CDC recommends second boosters, with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, for:

•People age 50 or older who got their first booster four months or more ago,

•People who got a Johnson & Johnson vaccine and their first booster with a Johnson & Johnson dose at least four months ago,

•Residents of long-term care settings,

•People with certain underlying medical conditions that impact their immune systems, and

•Pregnant and recently pregnant people.

Boosters are readily available to all vaccinated people ages 5 years or older. Just like the vaccines, booster shots are available at no cost to anyone living in the U.S. People who got Pfizer or Moderna vaccines should get a booster five months after the initial doses. Vaccinated adults 18 or older may choose any available vaccine as a booster, regardless of the type or brand of vaccine received previously. Only the Pfizer vaccine is available as a booster for those ages 5 to 17.

Learn More

For more information and to find a vaccine, visit www.vaccines.gov.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: 10 tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle

A happier, healthier you can start with a quality fitness program.

by Yiqing Song, Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology, Fairbanks School of Public Health

At this extreme moment, we began working from home, away from campus, and keeping social distance for as many people as possible. As we stay home and are stuck with the foods that have been in our fridge or pantry for a while, we are temporarily living a sedentary lifestyle with increased odds of physical inactivity, excessive eating and sitting, stress, anxiety, and depression. In particular, many of us will gain some weight during the pandemic and may keep the extra weight permanently, which may carry considerable health risks for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, stroke, and other health problems.

Here, I’d like to share some basic tips and resources for how to maintain your healthy lifestyle, body weight, and overall well-being while staying home and engaging in social distancing.

1. Measure and Watch Your Weight

Keeping track of your body weight on a daily or weekly basis will help you see what you’re losing and/or what you’re gaining.

2. Limit Unhealthy Foods and Eat Healthy Meals

Do not forget to eat breakfast and choose a nutritious meal with more protein and fiber and less fat, sugar, and calories.

3. Take Multivitamin Supplements

To make sure you have sufficient levels of nutrients, taking a daily multivitamin supplement is a good idea, especially when you do not have a variety of vegetables and fruits at home. Many micronutrients are vital to your immune system, including vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, and E, as well as zinc, iron, copper, selenium, and magnesium. However, there’s currently NO available evidence that adding any supplements or “miracle mineral supplements” to your diet will help protect you from the virus or increase recovery. In some cases, high doses of vitamins can be bad for your health.

4. Drink Water and Stay Hydrated, and Limit Sugared Beverages

Drink water regularly to stay healthy, but there is NO evidence that drinking water frequently (e.g. every 15 minutes) can help prevent any viral infection.

5. Exercise Regularly and Be Physically Active

At this time, at-home workouts may be a good idea. But you can also walk your dog or run outside.

6. Reduce Sitting and Screen Time

Exercise can’t immunize you from your sedentary time. Even people who exercise regularly could be at increased risk for diabetes and heart disease and stroke if they spend lots of time sitting behind computers.

7. Get Enough Good Sleep

There is a very strong connection between sleep quality and quantity and your immune system. You can keep your immune system functioning properly by getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

8. Go Easy on Alcohol and Stay Sober

Drinking alcohol does not protect you from the coronavirus infection. Don’t forget that those alcohol calories can add up quickly. Alcohol should always be consumed in moderation.

9. Find Ways to Manage Your Emotions

It is common for people to have feelings of fear, anxiety, sadness, and uncertainty.

10. Use an App to Keep Track of Your Movement, Sleep, and Heart Rate

A reminder: People with serious chronic medical conditions, including extreme obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are at a higher risk of experiencing complications and getting very sick from the COVID-19 infection. They should talk to their medical providers and listen to their advice.