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Strategies To Help Prevent Chronic Disease In 2021

It’s a sad fact. Chronic disease is THE LEADING CAUSES OF DEATH AND DISABILITY and the Leading Drivers of the Nation’s $3.5 Trillion in Annual Health Care Costs.

  • 6 IN 10 Adults in the US have a chronic disease
  • 4 IN 10 Adults in the US have two or more

In 2021, consider these strategies to help prevent chronic disease.

#1 Get Your Flu Shot
There’s still time to get your annual flu vaccine, the best way to help protect against flu.

By increasing the number of people vaccinated, we can reduce the number of flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths this fall and winter, which can in turn help reduce the burden on our medical system and save medical resources for the care of COVID-19 patients.

#2 Sleep
Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep per night.

DID YOU KNOW?

For a healthier sleep, be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends.

Lack of sleep is linked to several chronic diseases and conditions, including:

TYPE 2 DIABETES
HEART DISEASE
OBESITY
DEPRESSION

#3 Eat Healthy
Reach for healthy options like fruits and vegetables instead of salty or sugary treats.

Aim for a variety of colors on your plate.

Foods like dark, leafy greens, oranges, and tomatoes—even fresh herbs—are loaded with vitamins, fiber, and minerals.

Try this:

  • Sprinkle fresh herbs over a salad or whole wheat pasta.
  • Make a red sauce using canned tomatoes (look for “low sodium” or “no salt added”), fresh herbs, and spices.
  • Add diced veggies like peppers, broccoli, or onions to stews and omelets to give them a boost of color and nutrients.

#4 Move More, Sit Less
Adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, plus muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days a week.

Some Activity is Better than None

We know 150 minutes each week sounds like a lot of time, but it’s not. That could be 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. The good news is that you can spread your activity out during the week, so you don’t have to do it all at once. You can even break it up into smaller chunks of time during the day. Learn more about finding a balance that works for you.

#3 Rethink Your Drink
Substitute water for sugary or alcoholic drinks to reduce calories and stay safe.

Limiting sugary drinks can help you maintain a healthy weight and have a healthy diet. Many people don’t realize just how much sugar and how many calories are in their drinks:

Sugar in drinks
Drink (12-ounce serving) Teaspoons of Sugar Calories
Tap or Bottled Water 0 teaspoons 0
Unsweetened Tea 0 teaspoons 0
Sports Drinks 2 teaspoons 75
Lemonade 6 ¼  teaspoons 105
Sweet Tea 8 ½ teaspoons 120
Cola 10 ¼ teaspoons 150
Fruit Punch 11 ½ teaspoons 195
Root Beer 11 ½ teaspoons 170
Orange Soda 13 teaspoons 210

#4 Don’t Use Tobacco

It’s never too late to quit smoking. Quitting smoking now improves your health and reduces your risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses. You can quit today! Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free support.

#5 Be Sun Safe
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. Too much sun can cause skin cancer. Wear layered clothes and apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15.

DID YOU KNOW?
Even in cold weather, the sun can damage your skin. UV rays, not the temperature, do the damage.

#6 Brush Your Teeth
Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.

Visit the dentist regularly. Checkups can find tooth decay, gum disease, and other problems before they lead to more serious issues like tooth loss.

 


Reduce the spread of COVID-19 in 2021! CDC Tips

How can you do your part to make 2021 a safer, healthier year?

 

Here are a few tips from the CDC!

#1 Wear A Mask

We’ve heard it all year long, and we see it posted at the front doors of most businesses. But are you putting your guard down when it comes to being masked up in other public places?

The CDC recommends that you wear masks in public settings, like on public and mass transportation, at events and gatherings, and anywhere you will be around other people.

Wear a mask correctly and consistently for the best protection.

  • Be sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before putting on a mask.
  • Do NOT touch the mask when wearing it. If you have to often touch/adjust your mask, it doesn’t fit you properly, and you may need to find a different mask or make adjustments.

Reusable masks should be washed regularly. Always remove masks correctly and wash your hands after handling or touching a used mask.

  • Include your mask with your regular laundry
  • Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth used to make the mask
  • Use the highest heat setting and leave in the dryer until completely dry

#2 Practice Social Distancing

It’s the buzz-word of 2020, and it’s not going away in 2021. Continue to practice social distancing whenever possible. This step protects not only you but also your loved ones.

The CDC says to stay at least 6 feet from other people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces. Avoid crowds.

Tips for Social Distancing

When going out in public, it is important to stay at least 6 feet away from other people and wear a mask to slow the spread of COVID-19. Consider the following tips for practicing social distancing when you decide to go out.

  • Prepare for Transportation
  • Limit Contact When Running Errands
  • Choose Safe Social Activities
  • Keep Distance at Events and Gatherings
  • Stay Distanced While Being Active

#3 Wash Your Hands

You know the drill. Whenever you can, make sure you’re taking the additional step of washing your hands. Especially after being in public.

Use soap and clean running water for 20 seconds at key times such as after using the bathroom or before eating.

DID YOU KNOW?
The 5 handwashing steps are wet, lather, scrub, rinse, and dry.

You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before and after eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

#4 Consider Your Family Gatherings

The holidays are behind us, but that doesn’t mean family gatherings will go away.

Take steps to protect yourself by wearing a mask, stay 6 feet apart, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often, even during small gatherings.

Several factors can contribute to the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 at small in-person gatherings. In combination, these factors will create various amounts of risk:

  • Community levels of COVID-19
  • Exposure during travel
  • Location of the gathering
  • Duration of the gathering
  • Number and crowding of people at the gathering 
  • Behaviors of attendees prior to the gathering
  • Behaviors of attendees during the gathering

Do not host or participate in any in-person gatherings if you or anyone in your household

  • Has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and has not met the criteria for when it is safe to be around others
  • Has symptoms of COVID-19
  • Is waiting for COVID-19 viral test results
  • May have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • Is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19

People at increased risk for severe illness
If you are an older adult or person with certain medical conditions who is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or live or work with someone at increased risk of severe illness, you should avoid in-person gatherings with people who do not live in your household.


8 Health Tips for a Safe and Healthy Holiday

8 CDC Health Tips for a Safe and Healthy Holiday

  1. Eat Healthy and Be Active

It may be tempting to spend all day watching Christmas movies on Netflix, but try to make sure you have balance! It’s important to stay active, even on those cold weather days.

  1. Get Your Flu Vaccination

Don’t neglect your vaccination! It’s more important than ever before to make sure you and your family are protected from sickness this holiday season.

  1. Food Safety

Avoid cross-contamination! A lot of helping hands in the kitchen means things can go unnoticed.  If you’re cooking for a holiday get-together, be aware of who was exposed to the food and when.

  1. Handwashing

You’ve heard it this year more than ever before… Wash and sanitize those hands! Make sure the sanitizer you’re using is an effective one.

  1. Cold Weather Safety and Home Heating

So many fires are started by a neglected space heater. Keep your family safe in both cold and hot situations this holiday season. As the weather changes, make sure your clothing choices change with it.

  1. Cope with Stress

It’s been a stressful year, and the holidays traditionally pile on even more stress. Make sure to manage it well by making safe and smart choices for your family holiday hang-outs.

  1. Travel Safety

If you are traveling, follow all the CDC guidelines for you and your family. And when you’re on the road, be vigilant. The holidays are notorious for drivers under the influence.

  1. Prevent Injuries

Don’t rush to throw up those holiday lights! Be safe when using ladders, equipment, and when these items are around your children.


National Influenza Vaccination Week

National Influenza Vaccination Week

If you’re seeing signs reading “Get Your Flu Vaccine,” you might ask “Isn’t it too late to get vaccinated?” No, it’s not too late! CDC recommends that flu vaccination efforts continue throughout flu season.

Vaccination throughout December is beneficial during most flu seasons, including this one. If you’re not convinced, listen to this:

  • You might not think of the flu as a serious sickness. It’s usually associated with:
  • a fever,
  • cough,
  • sore throat,
  • runny or stuffy nose,
  • muscle aches,
  • fatigue,
  • and miserable days spent in bed.

However, hundreds of thousands of people actually have to be hospitalized. Thousands to tens of thousands of people die from the flu each year.

That’s why the vaccine is so important. A 2017 study showed that flu vaccination reduced deaths, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, ICU length of stay, and overall duration of hospitalization among hospitalized flu patients. CDC estimates that during the 2016-2017 flu season, the flu vaccine prevented approximately 5.3 million flu illnesses, 2.6 million flu-related medical visits, and 85,000 flu-associated hospitalizations.

Even with all these numbers, fewer than half of the people in the United States reported getting a flu vaccine during that season. This is leaving millions of people unprotected.

If just 5% more of the population had gotten vaccinated during the 2016-2017 flu season, an additional 504,000 illnesses, 233,000 doctor’s visits, and 6,000 hospitalizations would have been prevented.

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older. It is the first and most important step in protecting against seasonal flu viruses.

Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including your urgent care provider.

For more information about the seriousness of flu and the benefits of flu vaccination, talk to your doctor or care professional, or call CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO.


October is Health Literacy Month

October is Health Literacy Month

Since 1999, organizations around the world have been observing October as Health Literacy Month.

There is so much misinformation being shared these days, so it’s more important than ever to make sure you have the right sources.

During Health Literacy Month, we take time to recognize the importance of making health information easy to understand and the health care system easier to navigate.

That’s why Affinity Urgent Care wants to be your source for all your urgent care concerns. If there is a health-related issue or question, we want you to call us so we can help steer you in the right direction.

This month is also a great time to celebrate health literacy with your family. At-home education is becoming a central part of our world these days.

This year, we’re also celebrating Healthy People 2030’s updated health literacy definition! A team of experts recently split the definition into 2 parts: personal health literacy and organizational health literacy.

You can help spread the word about health literacy! Start by taking a look at resources from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) — like the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy and Health Literacy Online. And be sure to check out ODPHP’s list of some key Healthy People 2030 objectives related to health literacy. You can use it as a starting point to build your own list — and easily track progress toward these objectives throughout the decade. Finally, share MyHealthfinder for easy-to-understand consumer resources.

Together, we can make health literacy a priority — and ultimately improve health outcomes across the nation.


National Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

It’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Each year in the United States, more than 250,000 women get breast cancer and 42,000 women die from the disease.

Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older. But, this doesn’t mean younger women are immune. Breast cancer also affects younger women.

That’s why it’s important to talk about mammograms.

Multigenerational women with pink ribbons

Apart from skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women.

It’s important to find it earlier when it is easier to treat. However, this is usually before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms.
That’s why mammograms are so important. Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early.

Some main factors that affect your chance of getting breast cancer include the following:

  • Being a woman
  • Being older. Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older
  • Having changes in your BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes

You may be wondering what the symptoms are for breast cancer.

There are different symptoms of breast cancer. Actually, some patients experience little to no symptoms at all.

Symptoms can look like:

  • Any change in the size
  • Pain
  • Nipple discharge
  • A lump in the breast or underarm

If you are at risk, don’t lose hope. You can do things to help lower your chance of having breast cancer.

  • Keep a healthy weight and exercise regularly
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
  • If you are taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills, ask your doctor about the risks
  • Breastfeed your children

Of course, talk to your primary care physician if you are experiencing any symptoms, or if you have any questions.


It’s National Women’s Health and Fitness Day!

National Women’s Health and Fitness Day

This one is for the ladies! It’s September 30th, which means National Women’s Health and Fitness Day.

It’s time to promote the importance of health and fitness for women of every age. And it’s a great time to go through your exam checklist.

These health screening are suggested if you’re over 18:

  • Blood pressure screening – every three to five years if within the normal range
  • Cholesterol screening – every five years if within the normal range
  • Diabetes screening – If blood pressure is above 135/80 mm Hg or body mass index is above 25
  • Eye exam – every two years
  • Pap smear – every three years starting at age 21, every five years after age 30 (if previous results were normal)

If you’re over 40, you can add a few more to the list:

  • Blood pressure screening – Every year
  • Cholesterol screening – every five years
  • Diabetes screening – Every three years starting at age 44
  • Colonoscopy – every 10 years starting at age 50 if there’s no history of colon cancer in your family
  • Eye exam – every two to four years between ages 40 and 54 and every year starting at age 55
  • Mammograms – every one to two years
  • Osteoporosis screening – Women under age 65 who have risk factors should be screened
  • Pap smear – every three to five years

Not sure where to start? We’re happy to help! You can visit us at Affinity Urgent Care for recommendations on where to get the specific tests you need.

The day is also a great time to try a new exercise routine. Regular physical activity is super important for women of every age. Talk to your primary care provider if you’re unsure if an exercise is safe or right for you.

Happy Women’s Health and Fitness Day!


September is National Cholesterol Education Month

September is National Cholesterol Education Month

More than 102 million adults in the US have received the dreaded diagnosis of high cholesterol. That’s why September is National Cholesterol Education Month. It’s a great time to learn about how to prevent high cholesterol before it happens.

High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.

If you haven’t yet, now is an important time to get your blood cholesterol checked and take steps to lower it if it is high.

The CDC recommends that adults over 20 have their cholesterol checked every 5 years.

Doctors can do a simple blood test to check your cholesterol. A reading of 200 mg/dL or above is usually a high reading, putting you at risk for heart disease.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in your body and many foods. Your body needs cholesterol to function. However, too much cholesterol can cause build up in your arteries.

High cholesterol isn’t only a risk for adults. In the United States, more than one-fifth of teens have a high cholesterol reading. Children over two years old can diagnoses if they have a family history of health issues.
There are many ways to treat high cholesterol. Medication is not your only option. For example, having a diet of both low-fat and high-fiber food. Exercising every day is an important way to lower your risk.

Visit us at Affinity Urgent Care to make sure your cholesterol levels are normal. And help us spread the word, using #NationalCholesterolEducationMonth on social media.


What is the Difference Between Coronavirus and COVID-19?

What Is the Difference Between Coronavirus and COVID-19?

What Is the Difference Between Coronavirus and COVID-19?You’ve undoubtedly been bombarded by information regarding COVID-19, masks, coronavirus, symptoms, testing, and all sorts of related topics lately. At Affinity Urgent Care, we understand that this information overload can be a little overwhelming, so we’re here to answer some common questions and help clear up any confusion. For example, what is the difference between coronavirus and COVID-19?

Coronavirus vs. COVID-19

Coronavirus is a type of virus. There are actually a few different kinds of coronaviruses, and some have been around for several years. In December 2019, a new (novel) coronavirus—labeled as SARS-CoV-2—was identified in China. This new coronavirus is the organism that causes COVID-19, an infectious disease that affects the respiratory system and triggers symptoms like shortness of breath, fever, fatigue, coughing, and sore throat. In some cases, though, COVID-19 doesn’t cause any symptoms.

In short, coronavirus is a type of virus that causes the disease known as COVID-19.

Your Partner in Care

Affinity Urgent Care’s fully equipped centers in La Marque, Alvin, and Galveston, Texas, offer convenient and important medical services to patients during this unique time. Currently, we are providing rapid COVID-19 testing, Virtual Visits, and in-person urgent care while adhering to the most stringent of sanitization and infection control protocols.

To receive COVID-19 testing at Affinity Urgent care, contact our friendly staff today. To reserve a Virtual Visit, check out our website our give our team a call if you need assistance.  Otherwise, you can stop by one of our convenient locations to receive the convenient care you need. We look forward to helping you feel your best!


What is Social Distancing?

What Is Social Distancing?

Social distancing—you’ve probably heard this term a lot lately. And, you’re likely aware that avoiding crowds and unnecessary close contact with others play a big role in slowing the spread of COVID-19. But do you know exactly what social distancing entails?

Here’s how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—the nation’s foremost authority on public health matters—defines social distancing:

  • Staying at least 6 feet apart from others, or about two arms’ length
  • Avoiding crowded places and mass gatherings
  • Not gathering in groups

If you must go to a crowded area, such as a grocery store or an essential workplace, be mindful of how close you are to others and consider wearing a face covering, such as a mask or scarf.

Social distancing guidelines are important to follow, even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19. This is because the disease’s symptoms are often vague or subtle—sometimes, there are no symptoms at all. It is particularly critical for people who are at a heightened risk of COVID-19 complications to practice social distancing, including individuals who are 65 or older, have a compromised immune system, are obese, or have chronic conditions such as heart disease, COPD, and diabetes.

Your Partner in Health

As long as social distancing is recommended, Affinity Urgent Care in La Marque, Galveston, and Alvin, Texas, will be here to answer any questions you may have. We’re also pleased to provide virtual visits to patients who would prefer to consult with our professionals from the safety of home. If you need to visit one of our clinics, you can rest assured that we’re taking every possible measure to keep our reception and exam rooms sanitized and safe for patients. Contact us today to learn more!