Manicures and Pedicures Aren't Always Enjoyable

June 6th, 2012

ManicureWith summer on its way, women (and well groomed men) may start going to the local salon for manicures and pedicures. Though manicures and pedicures are certainly not restricted to summer, sandals are back in season and so women are likely headed to the salon to get their toenails done. While this seems like a fun way to spend an afternoon, there are potential health hazards.

Hazardous to Your Health

Believe it or not, the cosmetic industry is not required to adhere to the same sterilization regulations as hospitals and medical offices for tools they use. This has led to an increase in transmissible diseases in nail salons.

There are quite a few health risks associated with nail salons:

  • Fungal Infections-Such as Athletes Foot and yellow fungal nails
  • Bacterial Infections-Such as Staphylococcus and other organisms, mandating oral antibiotic treatment
  • Viral Infections-Such as Plantar Warts and even Hepatitis B and C

Getting your finger and toe nails polished can be fun, but there are risks you need to consider before sitting down in the chair.

What to Look Out For

Don't be afraid to go to the nail salon, just be alert to what is going on around you. Here are ten warning signs to look out for:

  1. Salon uses bottles with unmarked containers
  2. Nail technicians cannot tell you what's in the products
  3. The products have an unusually strong or strange odor
  4. Skin is being abraded or cut
  5. The salon is not clean
  6. The instruments are not sterilized
  7. Licenses for the salon and operators are not visibly posted
  8. Skin or nails hurt
  9. Gels do not come off easily in solvents designed to remove them
  10. You see swelling or redness or other signs of infection

If you see or experience any of these things, don't feel embarrassed about leaving. There are plenty of nail salons that follow proper procedures.

Last Minute Tips

Here are a few tips that can help reduce your risk of getting an infection:

  • Carry your own nail tools to the salon
  • Clean your personal tools with rubbing alcohol every time you use them
  • Tell the technicians about any cuts, medications or health conditions that may affect your treatment
  • Manicures and pedicures should never be painful before or after treatment

Always remember that manicures and pedicures are for beauty, not for pain.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to get in the feel of summer, but not at the risk of your health. No one wants to spend the summer fighting off an infection. With these tips from IAA you can get your nails and toes polished, but in a healthy and safe environment. Just think of us as your self-funded insurance nail technician.

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Summer Insect Warning

May 30th, 2012

Bug sprayWith spring comes a lot of fun outdoor activities: barbeques, picnics, nature hikes, etc. Then there is the one part of outdoor activities that isn't fun--those pesky bugs and insects. They can ruin a good time, which is why Insurance Administrator of America is here to inform you on which bugs and insects to look out for.

Those Terrible Ticks

Ticks are small spider-like parasites that fasten themselves to the skin and feed on blood. Ticks are dangerous because they can become infected from deer they've bitten. An infected tick means a risk of Lyme disease. Lyme disease symptoms can include:

  • A red rash that starts small, but progresses in size over three to thirty days, often taking on a bull's eye appearance.
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Body Aches

Antibiotics can cure Lyme disease, but it is important to catch it as early as possible so there is no permanent damage.

If you find the tick on you, remove the entire body because the longer it remains in your skin the greater the risk for Lyme disease. Use fine tipped tweezers to remove the tick.

Mischief Making Mosquitoes

Everyone always claims that they're "mosquito magnets" and they very well could be. Mosquitoes are attracted to some people more than others. There are 3,500 species of mosquitoes around the world and most don't bite humans, preferring other animals instead. Those who do enjoy feasting on humans can be attracted by:

  • Sweat
  • Alcohol
  • Perfume
  • Dark Clothing

While most people are just annoyed about the itchy red welts they can get from mosquitoes, there are other concerns as well. Mosquitoes can infect people with certain diseases, West Nile Virus being the main concern. Severe symptoms are fortunately rare, but can include:

  • High Fever
  • Neck Stiffness
  • Disorientation
  • Coma
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Paralysis

There are other mosquito transmitted diseases, such as Malaria and Dengue. Coupled with West Nile Virus, these diseases affect more than 350 million people world wide each year, leading to more than 3 million deaths.

Buzzing Bees

No one likes being stung by a bee and for some people it can even be life threatening. Here are some guidelines for handling bee stings:

  1. Remove any stingers immediately: No need to scrape off bee stingers, just remove them. It's ok to pull stingers out with your fingers, brush them off or get them out any way you can. The longer the stinger remains in the body, the more severe the reaction will be.
  2. If the victim is allergic to bees call 911 immediately. Do not wait for symptoms to appear. Symptoms of anaphylaxis can include: itching, redness, hives, and shortness of breath.
  3. Take the victim to the emergency room if stung more than ten times or if there are stings inside the nose, throat or mouth.
  4. Use Ibuprofen and ice for swelling.

Bee stings can produce different reactions ranging from temporary pain and discomfort to severe allergic reactions. Having one type of reaction does not always mean you'll have the same reaction every time you're stung.

What IAA has to Say

Summer is a time for fun and relaxation, not worrying about bugs and insects spoiling the party. Just remember to take care when drinking or eating outside. Also, tightly cover all trash can lids and food containers. With these tips from IAA  you can have your perfect outdoor party without the pesky bugs. Just think of us as your insect free party planner.

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Asking the Right Questions at the Doctor's Office

May 23rd, 2012

StethoscopeNo one ever wants to seem like a pest or a bother, but sometimes you have to speak up for yourself. The doctor's office is one of those times. Asking key questions can save you money and expensive medical risks. Insurance Administrator of America is here to hand you the tools for a more open and effective doctor's appointment.

Doctors are Trying to Improve Care

Here's the good news, doctors are volunteering to help create an open conversation by prescribing more conservative measures of care. This new trend will help curb wasteful spending and protect people from potentially dangerous over treatment.

Nine medical specialty societies representing 374,000 physicians recommended that doctors go slowly instead of reaching for tools they've been accustomed to grabbing right away. These groups released lists of the top five tests and procedures that are frequently overused. The overuse of these medical resources can happen for many reasons:

  • Doctors' longstanding habits
  • Fear of malpractice suits
  • Financial incentives that awards doctors for doing more, not less
  • Sometimes patients demand more tests and treatments than are necessary

These specialty societies are trying to make the patient/physician relationship the best it can be by making this information public. Use these lists to help you ask questions at your next doctor's appointment.

Open Communication With Your Physician

Quality healthcare is a team effort and one of the best ways to communicate with your doctor is by asking questions. Here are the five questions you should ask your doctor about a recommended test or treatment:

  1. What are my options?
  2. What are the risks and benefits of each option?
  3. What happens if we wait or do nothing?
  4. What does this test measure? And how will the results change the course of my treatment?
  5. Who will contact me about the results and what happens if they are abnormal?

Talking to your doctor builds trust and leads to better results, quality, safety, and satisfaction.

The questions you ask your doctor don't necessarily have to be about a recommended test or treatment. They can be about anything that is concerning you. Patients who ask questions and take an active role are happier with their care and see more improvement in their health than people who don't ask.

Last Minute Tips

A doctor's appointment does not have to be scary or overwhelming. It can be informative and helpful if you are willing to communicate. Here are a few more tips to help make that happen:

  • Prepare questions beforehand so you don't feel rushed.
  • Make sure you hear and understand the answers you get. Take notes or bring someone with you.
  • Utilize resources such as WebMD, but remember that the doctor is the expert.
  • Explain every issue you have in detail and in a clear, descriptive manner.
  • Ask for a second opinion if you want it.

What IAA has to Say

IAA wants you to remember that making the most out of your appointment is important. Keep IAA's tips in mind when you go to your next doctor's appointment so you can have a more effective dialogue with your physician. Think of IAA's tips like the study guides you might create before a test, helpful reminders of questions you need to know the answers to.

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Tackling Obesity: Our Nation's Big Problem

May 16th, 2012

Measuring tapeAccording to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than 35% of adults and 17% of children and adolescents ages 2-19 in the U.S. are considered obese. In 1996 no state had an obesity rate over 20% and as of 2010 no state had an obesity rate under 20%. What is causing this trend and how can America fix one of its biggest health problems?

The Blame Game

What is causing this growing trend of obesity? There are many factors that have been considered. One reason is that people's physical activity has gone down, but the intake of unhealthy food has gone up. Americans are leading more sedentary lives, which can lead to weight issues when coupled with unhealthy foods.

The economy could also be a factor. Many people are still out of work or have had to take a pay cut. This can equate to less money for food and with the rising food prices, the inability to afford healthy options. People are buying more processed food, which is cheaper than food high in protein and low in fat.

The Complications of Obesity

People who are obese are at a much higher risk for certain diseases and health complications. The following are just a few examples:

  • Diabetes
  • Coronary Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Arthritis
  • Sleep Apnea

Diabetes is the number one concern in the U.S. when it comes to the link with obesity.

Children and Obesity

Childhood obesity rates have more than tripled in the U.S. in the last four decades. Are gadgets playing a role in this growing trend? Nowadays kids are more likely to be playing inside on whatever type of game console they own, rather than taking part in some physical activity. Parents lead by example; adults are now less physically active, leading their children to believe that's ok. If adults don't turn off the television at home, why should their children?

Most children and adolescents could avoid significant weight gain by cutting out 100-200 calories per day. Encourage your child to make healthy food choices and to just go out and play!

Attacking the Problem

The Institute of Medicine is an independent body that advices the federal government on health policy. The Institute has issued a report on obesity that lists five goals that could help attack this growing health problem:

  1. Make it easier for people to work physical activity into their daily lives
  2. Create an environment where healthy food and beverage options are the routine easy choice
  3. Improve messages about physical activity and nutrition
  4. Expand the role of healthcare providers, insurers, and employers in obesity prevention
  5. Make schools a national focal point for obesity prevention

These five goals could help lower the Nation's obesity rate and create a healthier population for generations to come.

IAA Wants You to Become More Active

Finding time in your schedule to exercise or make a healthy meal can seem unrealistic. The reality is you need to make the time. Insurance Administrator of America is here trying to get you to make some healthy changes in your life. Speaking with clients on a daily basis, IAA knows how busy your lives are. But is it worth your health? IAA wants you to be happy and healthy and sometimes that takes change. Just think of us as your personal (insurance) trainer, that voice pushing you to go the extra mile.

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Diabetes Awareness: Know Your Risk Factors

May 9th, 2012

AppleAccording to the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 25.8 million children and adults have some form of diabetes. Diabetes costs in the United States have grown swiftly since 2002 and now for every $10 healthcare dollars one of those is attributed to diabetes. Furthermore, on average people with diagnosed diabetes have medical expenditures 2.3 times higher than people without diabetes. These statistics are startling, which is why Insurance Administrator of America is informing you about risk factors and ways to live with diabetes.

Are You at Risk?

Like any disease, it is important to know if you are at risk. Risk factors for diabetes are:

  • People over age 45
  • People with a family history of diabetes
  • People who are overweight
  • People who do not exercise regularly
  • People with low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides or high blood pressure
  • Certain races or ethnic groups
  • Women who had gestational diabetes or who had a baby weighing 9 pounds or more at birth

These risk factors are specifically for Type 2 diabetes, not for Type 1 also known as Juvenile diabetes.

Prevent or Delay Type 2 Diabetes

Are you at risk for Type 2 diabetes? You can prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes through lifestyle changes. You can create a healthier lifestyle by:

  • Change in diet
  • Increase level of physical activity
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Start making changes today to help reduce your risk.

Living With Diabetes

Being diagnosed with diabetes does not mean  life as you know it has to end. After diagnosis people may feel deprived or restricted in their diet. That does not have to be case; just be more aware of the food choices you make. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Eat non-starchy vegetables. Eat fish 2-3 times a week and choose lean meats like cuts of beef and pork that end in loin (tenderloin, sirloin). Watch your portion sizes.
  • Don't be afraid to eat out, just plan accordingly! Try to eat the same portion size as you would at home. If you take diabetes pills or insulin shots, it pays to think ahead about when you'll eat.
  • Remember to keep the ground rules of good nutrition in mind: eat a variety of foods in moderate amounts, limit the amount of fat you eat, and watch the amount of salt in food.

Diabetes is a manageable disease, but if you don't make changes the complications from diabetes can be pretty severe.

Children and Diabetes

Before the 1990s diabetes was hardly seen in children, but now as obesity rates in children have climbed so has Type 2 diabetes. The disease progresses more rapidly in children making it harder to treat. Parents, help your children avoid this disease by teaching them about healthy lifestyle choices.

What IAA Has to Say

Diabetes can seem scary and overwhelming, but with proper management it does not have to be. IAA  just wants clients to lead a happy and healthy life, so read over and think about the tips provided. Learn about your risk factors today to create a healthy tomorrow!

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