December 2018 - Winter Wellness
A Message from Your Hometown Health Manager
'Tis the season to be healthy! Make sure to brighten this holiday season by making you and your loved ones’ safety and health a priority. Although this may be the most joyous season, many of us may encounter cold or flu viruses, elevated stress, and challenges maintaining a healthy diet.

Our Hometown Health/WebMD Health coaches are here to help you create a game plan to get through the holidays. Our coaches are available seven days a week by calling 855.667.2546.

Health coaching calls are a free, UNLIMITED benefit to you! Regularly participating in coaching will put you one step closer to not only earning your gift card incentive, but also a step closer to reaching your wellness goals and keeping you on track.

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy holiday season!

All the Best,

Gwen Mahabir
8 Ways to Fight Colds and Flu
Cough, sniffle, achoo! Cold and flu germs have some crafty ways of getting around.
Often these viral villains take to the air. They spread by airborne droplets when someone coughs, sneezes or even talks. They can also land on surfaces — and hitch a ride when you touch them with your hands.

Germ fighting 101 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older is the single best way to avoid getting influenza. But there’s more you can do. These stay-well strategies can help keep you and your family from getting — or passing along — a cold or flu bug:

1. Hit the sink. Be sure to wash your hands regularly to remove any germs. A good, thorough scrubbing is key. That means for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water.

2. Have sanitizer at the ready. Soap and water aren’t always available. So keep hand sanitizer in your car, your bag or tote, and your workspace too. Look for products that contain at least 60 percent alcohol.

3. Be hands-off! Try to limit how much you touch your face. Germs can enter your body through your eyes, nose or mouth.

4. Cover that cough. Make it a habit to cough or sneeze into a tissue or the crook of your elbow. Teach kids this trick too. 

5. Keep your distance. As much as possible, try to avoid close contact with anyone who’s ill. If you do get sick, stay home until you’re better.

Misconceptions about Flu Vaccines
Can a flu vaccine give you the flu?
No, flu vaccines cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines given with a needle (i.e., flu shots) are currently made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with a) flu viruses that have been ‘inactivated’ (killed) and that therefore are not infectious, or b) using only a single gene from a flu virus (as opposed to the full virus) in order to produce an immune response without causing infection. 

Is it better to get the flu than the flu vaccine?
No. Flu can be a serious disease, particularly among young children, older adults, and people with certain chronic health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes. Any flu infection can carry a risk of serious complications, hospitalization or death, even among otherwise healthy children and adults. Therefore, getting vaccinated is a safer choice than risking illness to obtain immune protection.

Do I really need a flu vaccine every year?
Yes. CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for just about everyone 6 months and older, even when the viruses the vaccine protects against have not changed from the previous season. The reason for this is that a person’s immune protection from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccination is needed to get the “optimal” or best protection against the flu.

Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer. Depressive episodes linked to the summer can occur, but are much less common than winter episodes of SAD.

Signs and Symptoms
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is not considered as a separate disorder. It is a type of depression displaying a recurring seasonal pattern. To be diagnosed with SAD, people must meet full criteria for major depression coinciding with specific seasons (appearing in the winter or summer months) for at least 2 years. Seasonal depressions must be much more frequent than any non-seasonal depressions.

Symptoms of Major Depression
  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Having low energy
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having problems with sleep
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide.

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