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September is National Food Safety Education Month!

September is National Food Safety Education Month

September is National Food Safety Education Month. Foodbourne illness affects about 1 in 6 Americans each year and can be very serious, with an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths annually. Bacteria and viruses are the most common type of food poisoning. However, the good news is that it is easily preventable. Private Home Care encourages you to take an active role this month in preventing food poisoning by educating yourself and others and implementing important, yet simple, food safety measures. 

Why is food safety so important? As the Greek physician Hippocrates said “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” Food safety is the foundation of nutrition, and nutrition is essential for a healthy and high quality life. Private Home Care is dedicated to promoting healthy practices, which includes keeping people safe from foodborne illnesses. 

Thankfully, many cases of food poisoning do not require hospitalization. Anyone who has had it can tell you that it is not at all a pleasant experience and often people have to miss work or school due to illness. Consuming dangerous foodborne bacteria will usually cause illness within 1 to 3 days of eating the contaminated food. However, sickness can also occur within 20 minutes or up to 6 weeks later. Symptoms of foodborne illness can include: vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain – and flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, and body ache. 

‘CSCC’ (Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill) are four key steps to remember when keeping you and your loved ones safe from foodborne illness in the kitchen. 

1. Clean

-Wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before cooking and after using the bathroom, handling pets, or touching raw meat. 

-Wash cutting boards, utensils, dishes, etc after using them with a generous amount of soap in warm water. In case of doubt, wash it in the dishwasher with a drying setting of ‘high temp’ or ‘sanitize’. 

-Rinse ALL  fresh produce thoroughly, scrubbing firm fruits and veggies with a clean produce brush and special produce soap. Even if your produce says on the package that it is rinsed, it is good practice to rinse it again at home.

-Wipe down or rinse cans or any packaged foods that have gotten dusty.

-Pat down or wipe preferably with paper towels, use kitchen towels only if they are freshly laundered.

2. Separate

-Separate raw animal products (such as meat, poultry, and eggs) in your shopping bag, grocery cart, and refrigerator. 

-Use separate cutting boards for veggies, raw meat, poultry, and seafood. 

-Never place cooked food on a plate or surface that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs unless the plate has been washed in hot, soapy water.

-Don’t reuse marinades used on raw food.

3. Cook

-Food must be cooked to the right temperature in order to avoid illness and kill off any germs, bacteria, or viruses. Contrary to popular belief, color and texture are actually unreliable indicators of safety. Using a food thermometer is the only way to ensure the safety of meat, poultry, seafood, and egg products for all cooking methods.

-Strive for eggsellence: Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm. Only use recipes in which eggs are cooked or heated thoroughly.

-When cooking in a microwave oven, cover food, stir, and rotate for even cooking. Always allow standing time, which completes the cooking, before checking the internal temperature with a food thermometer. This applies to all microwave products because even microwaved veggies may not be properly rinsed before being packaged and frozen, so they need to be cooked to destroy anything that could make you sick.

-Bring sauces, soups and gravy to a boil when reheating.

4. Chill

-Always keep your cool: Use an appliance thermometer to be sure the temperature of the fridge is 40 degrees or below, and the freezer is 0 degrees or below.

-Refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs, seafood,and other perishables within 2 hours of cooking or purchasing. Refrigerate within 1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90 degrees. 

-Never thaw food at room temperature, such as on the counter top. There are three safe ways to defrost food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave. Food thawed in cold water or in the microwave should be cooked immediately.

-Once you have thawed frozen raw meat, poultry, or seafood, do not freeze again!

-Always marinate food in the refrigerator. 

-Divide large amounts of leftovers into shallow containers for quicker cooling in the refrigerator. If storing in plastic tupperware, it is best to wait until the food has cooled so as to not melt the plastic. 

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World Coconut Day

World Coconut Day

World coconut day, also known as ‘Nariyal Poornima’, is observed on September 2cnd. It is celebrated in all the major coconut producing countries across the globe. Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC) decided to celebrate this day as World Coconut Day in order to spread awareness about the many benefits of coconut! This coconut palm fruit grows in tropical regions and is known for its impressive health and beauty benefits.

Coconuts are highly nutritious, and are especially high in manganese, which is essential for bone health and the metabolism of carbohydrates. They’re also rich in copper and iron, which help form red blood cells, as well as selenium, an important antioxidant that protects your cells.

Unlike most fruits, coconuts are high in fat. However, don’t write them off just yet if you are trying to lose weight. Much of the fat in coconut is in the form of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which your body metabolizes differently than other types of fats. MCT’s are absorbed directly from your small intestine and rapidly used for energy. Counterintuitively, coconuts may actually aid in weight loss! One review on the benefits of MCTs in people with obesity found these fats may promote body fat loss when eaten in place of long-chain saturated fats from animal foods. Additional studies have found that eating coconut may improve cholesterol levels and help decrease belly fat, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

Coconut is low in carbs and high in fiber and fat, so it may help stabilize your blood sugar. The high fiber content of coconut meat can also help slow digestion and improve insulin resistance, which can help regulate blood sugar levels as well. In addition, coconuts contain powerful antioxidants, which helps reduce the risk of developing disease.

Coconut oil is also a wonderful beauty product. Using coconut oil as a hair mask makes it sleek and shiny. Coconut oil is a great choice for a natural and gentle facial cleanser and makeup remover, as well as healing skin conditions. In addition, you can swish your mouth or brush your teeth with coconut oil as an effective method – research has proven the dental and anti-tooth decay properties of coconuts. Your smile will thank you!

Perhaps most importantly, coconuts are delicious and can easily be added to your diet! In the 2000’s there was a ‘coconut boom’ in western countries when health benefits of the fruit became widely known to consumers. Here are some healthy and delicious coconut recipes, including coconut energy balls, coconut shrimp, curry, and vegan ice cream! Join us at Private Home Care and go nuts for coconuts!

https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Healthy-Coconut-Recipes-30827960

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Letter Writing and Exchanging is Especially Beneficial for Seniors

Writing and Receiving Letters is Good for the Soul, Especially for the Elderly.

Exchanging letters with seniors is particularly important and welcome right now. Older people living alone can experience loneliness and isolation in the best of times, not to mention during a pandemic. Thankfully there has been a strong initiative, often lead by young people (!), to write and send letters to the elderly.

Having a pen pal and writing more can help ease anxiety, loneliness, depression, and also relieve stress and improve physical health! While everyone can benefit from writing and exchanging letters, it is especially rewarding for seniors. Having a penpal helps combat loneliness and depression for the elderly. That’s because the act of sitting down to write a letter creates a mental shift. Just like a gratitude practice forces your brain to scan for the good, knowing that you have a letter to write forces your brain to scan for connections with the outside world.

And when your loved one is feeling down, the letter can be read over again and is sure to bring a smile to their face. This also applies to rereading letters from decades ago. It helps remind them of when they were younger and lets them relive those moments. Rereading letters is also healing because it helps us to feel closer to those who may no longer be with us.

By having penpals, seniors can stay socially connected and look forward to receiving and answering letters from others. Anticipating a letter along with the joy of receiving correspondence may elevate an older adult’s mood.

Boosts physical health – Seniors with arthritis are often advised to engage in mild exercise to alleviate the stiffness in their hands. Handwriting or typing requires fine motor skills and joint movements, which increases dexterity while alleviating arthritis symptoms. Knowing a penpal looks forward to hearing from them may create a sense of importance and make seniors more likely to take care of their health.

Encourages compassion and understanding – Having a penpal of a different age or from a different cultural background provides seniors a wider view of the world. They have the chance to impart compassion to someone who is going through a difficult time. Perhaps the penpal lives a lifestyle less fortunate than the senior, or the senior might have lived through an experience that a penpal is currently having difficulty with. The correspondence may include a way out of the situation or a means of managing an unpleasant circumstance. Older loved ones also gain compassion and comfort from their penpals.

When writing a letter to the elderly, you may not be sure what to write, but all you need to remember is keep it simple, cheerful, and sincere. Your words should be optimistic and uplifting. You may want to include a fond memory you have of yourself and the recipient of the letter. Or, if the letter is for a penpal that you have not met yet, you can write about something pleasant like your garden or a pet. Including a picture is even better! Any memory or life experience that triggers a smile or chuckle is a perfect addition to the letter.

In honor of World Letter Writing Day, Private Home Care invites you to write a letter to a senior through ‘Letters Against Isolation’. It will surely brighten their day, and it will bring you joy as well!

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World Letter Writing Day Pt 1

World Letter Writing Day Pt 1

On September 1st, people all over the globe celebrate World Letter Writing Day. Nowadays, letter writing is becoming a lost art. because instead people are communicating instantly with each other over email, text message, video chat or phone. World Letter Writing Day celebrates writing letters and encourages people everywhere to pick up a pen and simply write a letter!

There is something special and personal about receiving a handwritten letter from someone, especially when it is now rare.

Writing letters is a great activity for everyone, including seniors. When you write letters, it is an exercise for your brain! For example, letter writing requires using language skills. There are many facets of language that go into writing a letter, such as spelling, vocabulary, grammar, sentence and paragraph structure, punctuation, organization, and more! Writing also requires working memory, so every time you write a letter you help strengthen your memory.

Best of all, you can be creative when you write letters. The writing itself and penmanship allows for creativity, and you can draw your own pictures in the letter – something that you cannot quite do via email or text message and is unique to letter writing.

You also utilize fine motor skills when you write a letter. Holding a pen and jotting down the letters strengthens the small muscles in your hand and wrist and supports precise muscle memory and movements. Writing a letter on paper is easier on the eyes because you are not staring at a screen. For many older adults, writing letters can be simply less frustrating! This is because they may not be as familiar with new technology as younger folks, and letter writing is more straightforward – you do not have to worry if the internet connection is down in order to send your message, and you do not have to worry about accidentally sending it to the wrong email address.

Letters are essentially living history, with museums and historical societies filled with millions of letters written over the centuries. Rereading old letters can bring back good memories and a sense of nostalgia. Important or meaningful letters are saved as family heirlooms, such as those from a great grandfather and great uncle from WWII. Letter writing and reading can be especially enjoyable for seniors because it takes them back to a time when they were young and people wrote letters to each other.

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National Lemon Juice Day

National Lemon Juice Day

August 29th was National Lemon Juice Day! This citrus juice is not only very healthy, but is very versatile and can be used in dozens of ways! Many nutritionists recommend starting off the day with lemon water due to its many health benefits. These include:

-Promotes hydration, especially for some people who don’t like the taste of plain water

-A good source of Vitamin C, which has a primary antioxidant that helps protect cells from damaging free radicals. Vitamin C may also reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, and lower blood pressure. Lemons are one of the most Vitamin-C rich foods, and are fantastic for helping boost your immune system.

-Improving skin quality – Vitamin C found in lemons may help reduce skin wrinkling, dry skin from aging, and damage from the sun. Lemon water hydrates you as well, and we know that If your skin loses moisture, it becomes dry and prone to wrinkles.

-Drinking lemon water or water with lemon juice aids digestion

-Lemon juice is antibacterial and can freshen breath.

-Helps when you are sick – lemon helps to cleanse the lymphatic system so you can gargle with some lemon juice to help with a sore throat.

-The citric acid in lemons may help prevent kidney stones. Citrate, a component of citric acid, paradoxically makes urine less acidic and may even break up small stones. Drinking lemon water not only gets you citrate, but also the water you need to help prevent or flush out stones.

-Aids in weight loss – Research has shown that polyphenol antioxidants found in lemons significantly reduces weight gain in mice that are overfed in order to induce obesity. In addition, consuming water helps flush your system out and further helps with weight loss.

-Lemon juice has powerful anti-inflammatory compounds!

Lemon juice is also a wonderful, healthy seasoning! You can use lemon juice as a replacement for unhealthy ingredients or high amounts of salt. Instead of salad dressing, sprinkle Lemon juice over a salad to instantly brighten it up, and squeezing some over seafood or fish enhances the flavor. It is also great to use in cocktails when you are watching out for calories!

There are many uses for lemons and lemon juice around the house as a fresh, natural alternative to chemical cleaners! Slice a lemon in half to shine pots and pans, remove stains from marble counter tops, as an air freshener and deodorizer for the garbage, polish wood, remove stains from dishes, remove rust of mildew stains, brighten laundry and remove stains, repel insects, descale tea kettles and coffee pots, remove rust, and more!

To get the most lemon juice out of a lemon, roll it on a hard surface before you cut it to loosen up the juices. Dealing with a particularly tight lemon? Pop it into the microwave for a few seconds!

Use National Lemon Juice Day to enhance your day and make lemonade out of lemons!

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National Beach Day

National Beach Day

National Beach Day on August 30th celebrates all the sandy beaches across the nation. Private Home Care has served the North Shore for years, and we have a special place in our hearts for the beach! National Beach Day also provides an opportunity to help keep those relaxing places clean, so we can continue to enjoy them long into the future. 

Whether we spend time on beaches oceanside, at a lake or river, they provide recreation all summer long. Swimming, water sports, and sunbathing are just a few of the relaxing things that come to mind. We also enjoy playing Frisbee, volleyball and long walks. Floating along in the surf on a hot summer day with friends creates summer memories we remember for years to come. Private Home Care loves to enjoy the beach any time of year – going for a walk on the beach in fair weather, collecting shells, or even just driving to the beach and watching the waves while sitting in your car are year-round ways that you can enjoy the coast. 

There are health benefits of going to the beach!

Stress Relief – Nothing is more relaxing than taking in a beautiful beach view! Listening to the sound of the waves is also very calming both because of the rhythmic sounds and our brain’s association with it as a non-threatening environment. Watching a beautiful beach sunset or sunrise is particularly helpful for stress relief! Being in an environment that promotes stress relief helps to lower blood pressure, as well as improve mood and overall well being.

Vitamin D – Spending just 10 minutes at the beach can help you get the recommended daily value of Vitamin D for the day! Vitamin D is an important nutrient but is difficult to get a sufficient amount through your diet, so it is important to get a little sunshine at a great place like the beach! Vitamin D promotes stronger bones, healthier teeth, and helping your immune system function properly. It is important to remember that a little bit of sunshine can go a long way. Always practice beach sun safety, even in cold weather! 

Improves sleep – The sea air is stocked with healthy negative ions, which accelerate our ability to absorb oxygen. This effect, in addition to the relaxing qualities of the beach, leads to better sleeps!

Exercise – You can get plenty of exercise at the beach! Whether you go for a gentle walk or an intense run, the sand is low impact and is great for athletic training. You can also do other fun beach activities like swimming, sailing, kayaking, surfing, and more!

Heals wounds – The saltwater of the ocean has antibacterial properties and helps to clean cuts and help them heal faster! It may sting at first going into the salt ocean with an open cut, but it’s worth it because it will heal better!

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Health Benefits of Nuts and Seeds Found in Trail Mix!

Health Benefits of Nuts and Seeds Found in Trail Mix!

At Private Home Care, we are nuts about healthy ingredients in trail mix! Trail mix can be a very healthy snack. Traditional trail mixes are loaded with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.

Nuts are winners with our favorite words – Antioxidants and the Mediterranean Diet! Why we love nuts:

-High in monounsaturated fats (most nut types) and polyunsaturated fats (mainly walnuts).

-Nuts may significantly lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. Eating nuts decreases “bad” LDL particle size and triglycerides while boosting “good” HDL cholesterol, which improves artery function.

-Low in saturated fats-Beneficial for Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome: Nuts are low in carbs and do not raise (or spike) sugar levels very much, rather they help regulate blood sugar. This means that by substituting nuts for higher-carb foods, it may lead to reduced blood sugar levels.

-Good sources of dietary protein, also a good alternative to animal proteins. Some nuts are also high in amino acid arginine, which keeps blood vessels healthy

-Free of dietary cholesterol

-High in dietary fiber. This means that eating nuts can reduce disease risk, aid in weight loss by helping keep you full, decrease calorie absorption, and improve gut health.-Rich in antioxidants, including the polyphenols in nuts, which can combat oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals — unstable molecules that may cause cell damage and increase disease risk. This is because nuts are rich in phytochemicals. One study found that walnuts have a greater capacity to fight free radicals than fish.

-Rich in vitamins E, B6, niacin and folate; and they provide minerals such as magnesium, zinc, plant iron, calcium, copper, selenium, phosphorus and potassium.

-Great food for a low carb diet

-Eating nuts may help reduce inflammation! Nuts have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is your body’s way of defending itself from injury, bacteria, and other potentially harmful pathogens. However, chronic, long-term inflammation can cause damage to organs and increase disease risk. Research suggests that eating nuts may reduce inflammation and promote healthy aging!

Private Home Care also loves the nutritious seeds included in trail mix! Here are health benefits of eating superfood seas:

Essential Fats: All seeds are high in essential fats like omega-3, which is excellent for heart and brain function and often lacking in most diets. Hemp seed also has a perfect balance of omega 6 -to- omega 3, which is considered to be optimal by health experts.

Protein and essential amino acids: Seeds are generally an excellent source of protein. Quinoa, amaranth, chia and hemp seeds are particularly noteworthy since they offer complete proteins, meaning that they contain all 9 essential fats required for optimal health. Using a balance of different seeds in your diet will also ensure a great supply of protein.

Nutrient dense: As well as protein, seeds are jam-packed with nutrients. Eating a variety of different seeds, over the course of your week, will ensure that you receive a healthy dose of phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, manganese, zinc, iron, copper, B vitamins, vitamin K and antioxidant rich vitamin E (and more). All of these nutrients are essential for supporting health on multiple levels.

Excellent source of fiber: Like most plant based foods, seeds are naturally full of fiber. Fiber is good for blood sugar control, helping to slow the breakdown of carbohydrates and absorption of sugar. It is also great for promoting healthy bowel movement, heart health and weight-loss management.

Lower cholesterol and blood pressure: Seeds (to varying degrees) possess important cholesterol-fighting fiber known as lignans. Flax, chia and sesame seeds contain exceptionally beneficial levels – more than most other foods. Studies also show that this beneficial action from seeds can in turn lower blood pressure.

Antioxidant Rich Seeds: All seeds have a beneficial level of antioxidants, whilst some seeds are absolute powerhouses full of the stuff. Flax is one of the highest rated antioxidants amongst plant foods, coming up top for polyphenols, which are superstars in the antioxidant world.

Here are the health benefits of standout seeds that are often found in trail mix:

Sunflower seeds: Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of folate which is essential before and during pregnancy. Like other nuts and seeds they also contain Vitamin E – an antioxidant which can help to support immune function and maintain healthy skin and hair. Sunflower seeds contain high levels of both monounsaturated and omega-6 fats, and may help reduce inflammation and cholesterol levels.

Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds are a source of B vitamins, including folate. They are also packed with the nutrients and minerals of iron (helps to make red blood cells), magnesium (helps to turn the food we eat into energy and keep our bones healthy), zinc (helps to make new cells and enzymes, process carbohydrate, fat and protein in food, and the healing of wounds) and protein. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of monounsaturated and omega-6 fats, and may help improve heart health and symptoms of urinary disorders.

Sesame seeds: Sesame seeds are packed full of calcium and are therefore perfect for people trying to protect their bone health. They are a great source of lignans, which may help improve sex hormone status for estrogen. Sesame seeds may also help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.

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National Trail Mix Day

National Trail Mix Day

It is National Trail Mix Day! Trail mix is a combination of dried fruit, grains, nuts, and sometimes chocolate, developed as a snack food to be taken along on outdoor hikes. It can be considered an ideal snack because it is tasty, lightweight, easy to store, and nutritious, providing a quick boost from the carbohydrates in the dried fruit and/or granola, and sustained energy from the mono- and polyunsaturated fats in nuts.

Another thing we like about trail mix is that it is easy and fun to customize! Depending on your preferences or dietary needs and restrictions, you can create the perfect trail mix. If you have nut allergies, you can use seeds, dried fruit and granola. Selecting a favorite combination of ingredients comes down to balancing flavor and nutrition. Want a savory trail mix? Try roasting the nuts and seeds with a spicy spice blend. Have a sweet tooth? Add some cacao nibs or dark chocolate, honey granola, or extra dried fruit. Try a combination of dried pineapple, papaya, brazil nuts, and cashews for a tropical trail mix. Protein-forward blends can include dried chickpeas, dried edamame, and dried wasabi peas. You can also add chia or flax seeds! We included some recipe ideas.

https://www.freshoffthegrid.com/trail-mix-recipes/

Two California surfers claim the creation of trail mix. In 1968, they blended peanuts and raisins for an energy snack. However, in the 1958 novel The Dharma Bums written by Jack Kerouac, the two main characters mention trail mix when planning meals for their hiking trip.

Trail mix is not just for hikes! It is a super snack to help you get through your day. A handful of good, nutritious trail mix can help you power through the rest of your workday during an afternoon slump. Trail mix is also a great go-to portable snack to stash in the car, and it does not spoil easily because most of the ingredients are dried. The mix of hearty superfoods (nuts and seeds!) usually found in trail mix also help to keep your blood sugar stable.Although it is very healthy, it is important to remember that trail mix is usually calorie dense. This is a reason why it is a favorite for hiking and outdoor activities where you need energy. But, it is not diet friendly when you consume large amounts when watching TV. Usually a handful or so (about a quarter cup) is enough to serve as a healthy snack. Also, just because something says ‘trail mix’ does not mean it is healthy! Sometimes store bought trail mix can be high in sugar (especially if there is a high ratio of chocolate to trail mix) or salt. As always, make sure to read the nutritional label and ingredients!

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National Women’s Equality Day

National Women’s Equality Day

Tomorrow, August 26th, is National Women’s Equality Day. The United States Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution granting women full and equal voting rights on this day in 1920. Every year on August 26, we commemorate this right with National Women’s Equality Day.

National Women’s Equality Day also celebrates all women and their achievements. Private Home Care is a woman-owned business that was founded over 30 years ago. We value women as leaders of businesses and organizations, and are proud to support female professionals in our community. We encourage women and girls to pursue their dreams, especially in healthcare and business.

Women’s Equality Day commemorates the passage of women’s suffrage in the U.S. and reminds us of the hurdles overcome by the heroic women who faced violence and discrimination to propel the women’s movement forward.

In the early 19th century, American women, who generally couldn’t inherit property and made half of a man’s wages in any available jobs, began organizing to demand political rights and representation. It wasn’t until women’s involvement in the World War I effort made their contributions painfully obvious that women’s suffrage finally gained enough support.

Because a Constitutional amendment requires approval from two-thirds of the states, 36 of them had to ratify the 19th before its passage. The deciding vote in the Tennessee legislature came from Harry T. Burn, a young state representative whose mother’s plea to support the amendment became a deciding factor in his vote (which he switched at the last minute).

Today we celebrate 100 years of women’s right to vote! We can celebrate by thanking the women in your life for everything that they do. This includes your mother, grandmother, aunts, sisters, female friends, and partners. Take some time today to thank them for all the physical and emotional labor they do for others! Another great way to observe National Women’s Equality Day is to support female owned businesses, like Private Home Care! Lastly, a great way to commemorate the suffragist movement is to register to vote.

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August is National Eye Exam Month

August is National Eye Exam Month

This August, observe National Eye Exam Month by learning about ways to keep your vision clear and healthy. If you’re one of those people who can hardly remember the last eye exam they had, then let this August be the month that you get back on track.

It is a good health practice to get regular eye exams, and it is even important to get a check up at an ophthalmologist’s office as we age. getting a baseline eye exam can detect early signs of disease or damage to your eyes. Ophthalmologists recommend periodic eye exams every 2-4 years from the ages of 18-60, and every 1-2 years after the age of 60. While most symptoms are often disregarded, getting a simple checkup and following a doctor’s orders can greatly lower risks of more severe and future damage, and you can continue to enjoy healthy vision.

Here’s something to think about–over 70% of the country’s workforce requires some form of vision correction. That means there’s a good chance that you may need some sort of vision correction during your lifetime.Here are some reasons about why they should have an eye examination:

-Save a headache. If you have been having unexplained, constant headaches, your solution could be visiting your optometrist. An eyecare professional can pinpoint the problem of your headaches.

-Perform well in school. One out of every four children has vision problems. A common reason children fall behind in school is poor, undetected vision. Taking your children to the optometrist can detect an eyesight problem that can contribute to learning and reading difficulties.

-Determine prescription. Your eyes change over time. An optometrist can determine if you need eyeglasses or contact lenses, or if you need a stronger prescription to reduce eyestrain and help you see better.

-Detect eye conditions. An optometrist is able to spot the early onset signs of diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma, and high cholesterol just by conducting an eye exam.

-Prevent conditions. Many serious eye diseases often have no symptoms. An optometrist will see the early signs of diseases, such as macular degeneration or cataracts. Early detection is important to prevent serious damage.

-Safety. Driving with problem vision can be a danger to you and other drivers. If you cannot see signs well, or have blurred vision when driving at dusk or at night, glasses or contacts can help you see and keep you safe on the road.

-Signs of other problems. Here’s another thing to remember—your eye doctor may be able to alert you to overall health problems, too. Many people think the eye doctor can only tell you if there’s a problem with your eyes. But the truth is, a comprehensive eye exam can tell you about other problems, as well. Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other diseases can be spotted through an eye exam. The doctor will examine the blood vessels, retina, and other parts of the eye to determine if there’s a problem that isn’t directly about your vision. It makes sense when you think about it. Your eyes are part of an extremely complex system, and when something goes wrong, there’s a good chance it will affect them, too.Keep the sparkle in your eye and get your eyes checked out during National Eye Exam Month!

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