Even a Little Dehydration can Affect Overall Health

August 15th, 2018

Glass of waterA growing body of evidence finds that just a little dehydration is tied to a range of subtle effects, from mood changes to muddled thinking.

Dehydration and the Body

Studies show that it does not take long to become mildly dehydrated in the summer heat, especially when you exercise outdoors.

Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Dry, cool skin
  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Not peeing very much
  • Thirst

For an average person, two percent dehydration equates to sweating out about a liter of water .You can lose more water than usual with:

  • A fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Peeing a lot
  • Vomiting 

It’s normal to lose water from your body everyday by sweating, breathing, peeing, crying, and salivating.

Keep Hydrated

People typically replace lost liquid by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water.

There are no exact daily requirements, but there are general recommendations for how much water a person needs. A panel of scholars convened several years ago, by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, concluded that women should consume, on average, about 91 ounces of total water per day. For men, the suggested level is even higher (125 ounces). Please note that that this total includes water from all sources, including food and other beverages. Typically, people get about 20 percent of the water they need from daily fruits, vegetables and other food.

The amount of water a person needs depends on climatic conditions, clothing worn and exercise intensity and duration.

A good rule of thumb is to sip fluids throughout the day. Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood throughout the blood vessels to the muscles and it helps the muscles work efficiently.

What IAA has to Say

In the summer heat it is important to keep hydrated! Insurance Administrator of America wants you to keep drinking liquids throughout the day. Something so small can go a long way. Remember, with IAA one call does it all. 

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New Technology Could Help Prevent Vehicular Heat Stroke

August 8th, 2018

Car seatHeatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicular deaths for children younger than 15, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. New technology could help prevent these deaths.

New Technology Sends Parents Reminders

New car technology, phone apps, car seats, and education efforts aim to keep drivers aware of young backseat passengers.

A number of car makers have come up with tools to remind parents to check out the backseat:

  • 2017 GMC Acadia: Rear Seat Reminder prompts the driver to check the backseat for something or someone left back there. There are audible chimes and a message on the instrument panel to check the backseat after the engine has been turned off.
  • Hyundai: Rear Occupant Alert program uses ultrasonic sensors to search for a child’s movement in the backseat. If a child is detected, the system sends a message to the driver through the car’s infotainment system. If the driver is not in the car, the program will send a message directly to his or her cell phone while simultaneously sounding the car’s horn and flashing its lights.
  • Nissan: System reminds drivers to check for occupants in the backseat. Nissan’s system will become standard on all four-door trucks, cars and SUVs with power locks by its 2022 model year. The system detects when the rear door is opened and closed before and while the car is on. After a trip ends, a reminder to check the backseat appears on the dashboard. If the rear door isn’t opened, the horn “chirps” six times.

Goodbaby International, maker of EvenFlo and Cybex car seats, in 2015 introduced a sensory system on some model’s chest clips, which chimes after the ignition turns off. The feature can be linked to the users’ cell phone, including notifying designated contacts if initial alerts to caregivers go unanswered.

Schools and daycare centers are using parent –communication apps which have notification tools to alert families when a child doesn’t arrive.

A Quick Look; Life-Saving Results

A majority of child vehicular heatstroke deaths occur when a distracted parent or caregiver forgets their child is in the car. This type is responsible for about 54% of the fatal incidents.

Parents and caretakers can help prevent these tragedies by remembering to ACT:

  • A-Avoid leaving children alone in a car by any means: This includes locking the vehicle when it is not being used to avoid a child getting inside on their own.
  • C-Create reminders: Parents can leave a stuffed animal in the child’s car seat during times when it’s empty, and then move the toy to the front seat when a child is riding in back as a visual reminder. Other tips include leaving a cell phone, briefcase, purse or other highly used object in the backseat while a child is in the car.
  • T-Take action: If you see a child unattended in a car, call the police or 911.

Even on cool days, cars can heat up quickly, rising nearly 20 degrees Fahrenheit in just 10 minutes. Because a child’s body heats up three to five times as fast as an adult’s, heatstroke sets in swiftly.

What IAA has to Say

Parents remember to ACT! Your child depends on you to keep them safe. Insurance Administrator of America hopes you and your family have a safe rest of the summer. Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

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Food Additives Harmful to Children’s Health

August 1st, 2018

Kids cooking veggiesChemicals used to preserve, package and enhance food can harm children’s health, a leading pediatrician’s group says.

Chemicals Alter Normal Development

The American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement argues that evidence has linked certain chemicals to changes in children’s hormone systems, which can alter their normal development and increase their risk of childhood obesity.

Chemicals that affect food safety include:

  • Artificial food colors: These have been associated with worsened attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms.  
  • Bisphenols: Used in plastics and the lining of metal cans. They can act like estrogen in the body, affecting onset of puberty, decreasing fertility, increasing body fat, and affecting the nervous and immune systems.
  • Nitrates and nitrites: These are used to preserve food and enhance color, particularly in cured and processed meats. These chemicals interfere with thyroid hormone production, and have been linked with gastrointestinal and nervous system cancers.  
  • Percholate: Added to dry food packaging to control static electricity. It is known to disrupt thyroid function and can affect early brain development.
  • Perfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFCs): Used in grease-proof paper food packaging. They might reduce immunity, birth weight and fertility, and can affect the thyroid system.
  • Phthalates: Found in plastics and vinyl tubes used in industrial food production. These chemicals can affect male genital development, increase childhood obesity and contribute to heart disease.

The new policy statement was published July 23 in the journal “Pediatrics.”

Steps to Avoid Chemical Additives

The American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement recommends a more rigorous and transparent “Generally Recognized as Safe” designation process, including new requirements for toxicity testing before use in the marketplace and retesting previously approved chemicals.

Some ways parents can avoid chemical additives in their children’s diet are:

  • Avoid plastics with the recycling code 3 (phthalates) and 7 (bisphenols), unless the plastics are labeled as “biobased” or “greenware”
  • Avoid processed meats (especially during pregnancy)
  • Choose fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables over canned
  • Don’t microwave plastic containers of food or place plastics in the dishwasher. The heat causes plastics to leak BPA and phthalates into the food.
  • Use the recycling code on the bottoms of products as a way of determining whether the plastic packaging is safe

Today, there are more than 10,000 additives approved by the Food and Drug Administration

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America knows that parents want their children to be healthy. It might be time to start rethinking the food you buy, how you heat food and how you clean it. IAA wants you and your family to live the healthiest life possible! 

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FDA Approves First Drug to Treat Smallpox

July 25th, 2018

Prescription pill bottleOn Friday, July 13, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first drug to treat smallpox.

Smallpox Treatment

TPOXX is a small-molecule antiviral treatment. Until now, smallpox treatment consisted of managing symptoms and treatment with three antivirals that are not proven to treat the disease, but have been the best potential line of defense.

Studies were conducted in rabbits and non-human primates infected with viruses closely related to the virus that causes smallpox. TPOXX was then evaluated in 369 healthy human volunteers without a smallpox infection.

The results of the trial were published in the July 5 issue of the “New England Journal of Medicine.”

TPOXX will be available initially only through the U.S. government’s Strategic National Stockpile.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Russian State Centre for Research on Virology and Biotechnology are the only two labs in the world approved and known to have smallpox.

 The World Health Organization (WHO) had declared smallpox eradicated in 1980, but the U.S. governments fear smallpox could be used as a bioweapon.

The Stages of Smallpox

According to the CDC, the last natural outbreak of smallpox in the U.S. happened in 1949. The last naturally spread case in the entire world happened in 1977.

The disease is highly contagious. You get it mainly by breathing in the virus during close face-to-face contact with an infected person.

A person with smallpox goes through several stages as the disease progresses. Each stage has its own signs and symptoms:

  1. Incubation period: This stage can last anywhere from seven to 19 days (although the average length is 10 to 14 days). During this period a person usually has no symptoms and feels fine.
  2. Initial symptoms: This stage lasts anywhere from two to four days. The first symptoms include: high fever, head and body aches, overall discomfort, severe fatigue, severe back pain, and sometimes vomiting. People are usually too sick to carry on their normal activities.
  3. Early rash: This stage lasts about four days. A rash starts as small red spots on the tongue and in the mouth. These spots change into sores that break open. Once the sores in the mouth start breaking down, a rash appears on the skin, starting on the face and spreading to the arms and legs and then to the hands and feet. Usually it spreads to all parts of the body within 24 hours. As this rash appears, the fever begins to decline, and the person may start to feel better. By the fourth day, the skin sores fill with fluid and often have a dent in the center. Once the skin sores fill with fluid, the fever may rise again and remain high until scabs form over the bumps.
  4. Pustular rash and scabs: This stage lasts about 10 days. The sores become pustules. After about five days, the pustules begin to form a crust and then scab. By the end of the second week after the rash appears most of the sores have scabbed over.
  5. Scabs fall off: This stage lasts about six days. The scabs begin to fall off, leaving marks on the skin. Three weeks after the rash appears most scabs will have fallen off.
  6. No scabs: Four weeks after the rash appears all scabs should have fallen off. The person is no longer contagious.   

In the U.S. routine smallpox vaccination ended in 1972. This means most people born after that year are not vaccinated against smallpox.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to know what is going on in the world of health. Keep up to date with IAA! Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

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Sesame Place Designated as Certified Autism Center

July 18th, 2018

Sesame Place signThe Sesame Place theme park has been given the distinction of being a certified autism center. This makes Sesame Place the first theme park in the world to receive that designation from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards.

Theme Parks Turn Into Safe Spaces for Autistic Children

To earn the certification that Sesame Place did, the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards requires at least 80 percent of a park’s staff to complete rigorous training on autism sensitivity and awareness.

In addition to training, Sesame Place has created quiet rooms: small, dimly lit spaces with comfortable armchairs and sensory bead mazes on the walls to provide a break from the stimulation. The park also offers noise canceling headphones as well as designated “low-sensory zones” along parade routes. Guests who may struggle with standing in line or require special assistance boarding a ride can also use a fast pass called “Abby’s Magic Queue.”

There is also a planning website with a sensory guide that tells the visitors what to expect.

With the prevalence of autism on the rise (according to the Centers for Disease Control one in six children have the condition) Sesame Place is not the only theme park to be making strides:

  • Disney parks: There are designated quiet rooms and extensive planning guides are provided. The parks also offer special fast passes.
  • LEGOLAND (FL.): Works with autism specialists to train staffers in sensitivity and awareness. The park provides Blue Hero passes to help children who may have difficulty waiting in line and hosts special days for children with autism.
  • Morgan’s Inspiration Island Water Park (TX): Designed to be fully accessible for guests of any ability.

Resorts are also trying to find ways to help accommodate families with autistic children.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior.

Autism is known as a “spectrum disorder” because there is a wide variation in type and severity of symptoms people experience

While it is now considered a spectrum disorder, until recently, scientists talked about “types” of autism. The types were considered:

  1. Asperger’s syndrome: This is on the milder end of the autism spectrum. A person with Asperger’s may be very intelligent and be able to handle daily life. The person may be extremely focused on topics that interest him/her and discuss them non-stop. He/she has a much harder time socially.
  2. Pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS): Included most children whose autism was more severe than Asperger’s syndrome, but not as severe as autistic disorder.
  3. Autistic disorder: This older term is further along the spectrum than Asperger’s and PDD-NOS. It includes the same types of symptoms, but at a more intense level.
  4. Childhood disintegrative disorder: Rarest and most severe part of the spectrum. It describes children who develop normally and then quickly lose many social, language and mental skills, usually between the ages of two and four. Often these children also develop a seizure disorder.

While scientists don’t know the exact cause of ASD, research suggests that genes can act together with influences from the environment to affect development in ways that lead to the disorder.   

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America is glad that theme parks are taking the initiative to create a welcoming environment for families with autistic children. A little bit of understanding can go a long way. IAA hopes that more theme parks go in this direction!   

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