June 2016 

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Heat Stress Prevention

As summer approaches, workers all over the country will experience the risk of heat stress.  Heat stress is especially prevalent in the summer months due to climate changes in July and August.

Heat stress is a signal that says the body is having difficulty maintaining its narrow temperature range. The heart pumps faster, blood is diverted from internal organs to the skin, breathing rate increases, and sweating increases, all in an attempt to transfer more heat to the outside air and cool the skin by the evaporation of sweat. If the body can't keep up, then the person suffers effects ranging from heat cramps to heat exhaustion, and finally to heat stroke.

Workers at risk of heat stress include outdoor workers and workers in hot environments such as firefighters, bakery workers, farmers, construction workers, miners, boiler room workers, factory workers, and others. Workers at greater risk of heat stress include those who are 65 years of age or older, are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or take medications that may be affected by extreme heat.  Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Prevention Tips
  • Drink water frequently and moderately. 
  • Take breaks and rest periodically out of the sun and heat.
  • Eat lightly.
  • Do jobs that are more strenuous during the cooler morning hours.
  • Utilizing ventilation or fans in enclosed areas.
  • Remembering that it takes about 1-2 weeks for the body to adjust to the heat; this adaptation is quickly lost - so your body will need time to adjust after a vacation.
  • Avoiding alcohol consumption. Many cases have occurred the day after a "night on the town".
  • Wear light-colored, cotton clothes, and keep your shirt on; desert nomads do not wear all those clothes for nothing.
Additional sources: CNA

Medicare Changes For 2016

It seems the federal government want to make changes with Medicare, and they are not good. Maybe our government want to make everyone unhappy with our healthcare systems. Here are some of the changes that will go into effect in 2016.
  • Medicare Part B has planned pricing increases. However, if you have your Part B premiums taken out of Social Security benefits, you will not have to pay the increase. This is due to a technicality. There is no cost-of-living adjustment, known as COLA, being given this year to Social Security beneficiaries.
  • According to the 2015 Medicare Trustees Report, Part B premiums are expected to increase for 30% of beneficiaries by 52% - from $104.90 to $159.30 per month. The trustees also predict that this increase will be accompanied by an increase in the Part B deductible for everyone - up to $223 from $147.
  • Medicare Part B deductibles will increase. While many Medicare beneficiaries have supplemental or other coverage that includes coverage of the deductible, many plan carriers will just pass along these increased costs to the premiums on those plans.
  • Drug coverage. Five of the 10 most popular Part D plans have announced plans to raise 2016 premiums by 16 percent to 26 percent.
  • The number of drug-plan choices for Medicare participants continues to drop. On average, seniors will have about 26 plans to choose from in 2016, which is down by more than half in less than a decade.