The Importance of Immunizations

The Importance of Immunizations

August is National Immunization Awareness Month- a time to highlight the importance of vaccines for people of all ages. A vaccine stimulates the immune system to provide active acquired immunity to a certain disease. Vaccines are designed to prevent a disease rather than treating it by helping the immune system prepare to protect the body.

Vaccinations are essential in preventing diseases. They give you the necessary immunity to a disease without you getting it first. How so? A weakened version of the disease or virus is injected into the body. The injection is usually given by a shot into the leg or arm. Your body will then detect the antigens, or the germs, injected and will produce antibodies to fight them off. The antibodies produced will stay in the body for a long period of time, and sometimes even for a lifetime. In a case where you might be exposed to that disease again, the immune system will fight the necessary antibodies in place to off the disease.

Vaccines are important at all ages, from infancy through adulthood. Failure to get vaccines can lead to serious health issues. It can also prevent the spread of a particular disease to others who may have weakened or compromised immune systems.

For adults it is important to take vaccines because:

  • Some vaccines received at a younger age can wear off over time as we get older
  • There are some illnesses that are common in adults
  • They have an increased risk of new and different diseases
  • Availability of new/improved vaccines
  • They slow the spread of a disease

As we grow older, changes in our lifestyles or health conditions may expose/increase your risk of contracting diseases. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following vaccines for adults ages 50 and over:

  • Seasonal Influenza (Flu) Shot: This helps to protect the body against infections caused by influenza viruses and should be received annually.
  • Shingles: This helps to prevent shingles and any complications from the diseases. You should get this vaccine if you had chicken pox as a child, if you want to decrease your chances of getting shingles or have had shingle case before.
  • Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV13): This protects the body from the most common bacteria that is known to cause pneumonia.

Older adults and seniors are at a greater risk of contracting infections and bacteria. This is because as we grow older the immune system weakens and is not able to fight off diseases as well. Let us take care of our health as we get older by making sure to get the recommended vaccines.

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Must Have Essentials for Home Fitness

Must Have Essentials for Home Fitness

In light of the novel coronavirus pandemic and the transition to doing our daily activities at home, we have had to pivot and find creative ways to stay connected while being apart. This has been possible by one of man’s greatest invention, the internet. During this time we have found new ways of utilizing technology for work, school and also entertainment. But what can be more important than health and keeping fit? Statistics shows that in this era, peoples’ priorities have evolved to reflect higher importance on wellness and self-care. We have also found ways of incorporating video technology when it comes to health and fitness.

There is a new wave and interest to have access to virtual fitness classes and online videos to be able to get a good workout right in from the comforts of our homes. With the gyms and fitness studios closed, coaches and gym instructors have moved online. Creating content and video workouts that can be accessed right in our living rooms.

One of the advantages of gyms and fitness studios was the access to exercise equipment that assisted/aided in our workouts. With the transition to shifting workouts from the gym to our homes, there is a desire to have the same exercise equipment at home. This is so because of the routine we were used to and wish to maintain a good fitness regime.

Here are my recommendations of 4-must have exercise essentials for quality fitness a home:

  • Exercise Mat: This is perfect for providing cushion and comfort to the back, hips, knees and elbows for yoga, pilates and other floor-based exercises.
  • Resistance Bands: Improve your strength, flexibility and range of motion in targeted ways for the muscles in a way that protects the joints.
  • Small Hand Weights: Increase your muscle tone, strength, endurance and other training needs.
  • Foam Roller: This it helps to loosen tight muscles to relieve soreness and inflammation by applying pressure to the underlying tissues as a form of recovery.

All the above mentioned exercise tools (and more) are available for sale in the Dance to Wellness (DTW) Wellness Shop. Please visit the website at: https://dancetowellness.org/wellness-shop/

#fitnessathome

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Summer Hydration with Food

Summer Hydration with Food

Proper hydration is essential for our health and well-being. This is particularly true for older adults and seniors. This is because as we get older our bodies retain less water, which can make one may not feel regularly feel thirsty until they are very dehydrated. So why is important to keep hydrated?

Not drinking enough water can lead to a number of health issues such as:

  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Low blood pressure

It is particularly important to make sure that we are hydrated during warmer weather, especially in the summer. Lack of hydration when it is hot can lead to heat-related illness. There are two main type of illness to note:

Heat exhaustion: This is a condition where your body has been exposed to heat for an extended period of time. As a result, your body overheats followed by dehydration. There are two types of heat exhaustion, one is depletion of water in the body caused by exposure to high temperatures and fewer intakes of fluids. Symptoms can include excessive thirst, body weakness and sometimes unconsciousness. The second one is salt depletion. This usually occurs after several days to those who replace the fluid, but do not to replace the salt. Symptoms may include headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, paleness, profuse sweating. In the treatment of heat exhaustion, it is essential for anyone suffering from this to immediately get out of the heat and lying down to rest. If one can get inside in an air conditioned room, that is better.

Heatstroke: This is a heat-related injury of the body overheating as a result of prolonged exposure to high temperatures. Symptoms can include dry hot skin, bright red skin color, labored breathing, body temperature of more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Heatstroke should be treated as an emergency. If it is not treated immediately, it can lead to serious effects like brain damage and failure of the kidneys and/or heart. The longer the treatment is delayed the higher the risks of damage which can also lead to death.

Heat-related illnesses can be prevented by:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids- this will enable sweating and help to maintain a balanced body temperature
  • Allow time to get acclimated- it takes time before your body adjusts to the hot weather, until then, spend less time until your body gets accustomed to it
  • Keep cool- in case of heatstroke, cool the body down as much as possible. That can be done by wet towels, ice pack or fan
  • Wear sun screen. This helps in preventing sunburns which may lead to damaged skin.
  • Wear hat and loose/free clothes

Although water is the best way to stay hydrated, alternatively, you can also consider eating water-rich foods. In addition to these foods having a high water content, they also have other important nutrients than the body needs for normal functions of the body. These foods can include:

  • Cucumbers
  • Watermelons
  • Lettuce
  • Peaches
  • Oranges

Let’s stay cool and hydrated!

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Summer Fun During a Pandemic

Summer Fun During a Pandemic

It’s Summer time! It’s the time of the year where we go on vacation and spend time outdoors with family and friends. However, our lives have and continue to be turned upside down by the novel coronavirus. We want to stay safe while keeping healthy, while still wanting to have the simple joys of life. Summer time is definitely one of them. So how can we still enjoy the summer amid a global pandemic?

If you have been working remotely, you have a bit more difficulty taking time off with the pressure of an increased workload. You may have unexpectedly lost your job or had a significant decrease in your source of income. As a result, you now don’t have the funds to do the activities as you once did. With travel restrictions as ordered by governments around the world along with limited flights and hotel stays, travelling may seem like a daunting activity that is a long way off.

Traditionally summer time especially in the NYC area, is usually a time of free concerts, carnivals/fairs, BBQs, hanging out at the beach and enjoying the great outdoors. But now you must remain socially distant not to mention that you are limited to gathering guidelines in your area. With all this in place, how can we still have fun during the summer? Well here are some few ideas you can consider:

  • Drive-in Movie Theater. Many sport arenas, churches and places with large parking lots are turning their open spaces into a drive-in movie theater. This is a great way to get the family out of the house and take a break from your home routine to safely watch a movie while maintaining social distance at the comfort of your own car. You can research on some options in your neighborhood.
  • Summer book club. Love to read? Remember that reading list you wrote some time ago? Well now is the perfect time to tackle some of the books on that list. You can even consider getting a small group together to meet via video conferencing to discuss a chapter a week.
  • Summer cooking. With the warm/hot weather, standing in front of a hot stove to cook is definitely not a top priority. Well at least not mine! With that said, now is the perfect time to try those recipes that does not require you to stand in front of the blazing stove for longer. Try out some salads or “no-bake” recipes.
  • Go for a walk/hike. Taking walks or going for hikes is a great way to stay active while observing social distancing rules. It not only keeps you in shape but also provides you with great scenery. Nature is a good way to reduce anxiety, speeds recovery time after a case of sickness and improves short term and working memory.
  • Master one new skill. You can perfect a task you are already good at or learn a whole new skill. It can be a dance move or cooking or knitting. I personally have been crocheting, am looking into cross-stitching.

 

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