From choosing the right insurance plan, avoiding the flu and keeping your allergies under control there’s a lot you can do to ensure a healthy year.

Remember, you can help take your health into your own hands by using a proactive approach to wellness.

Choosing the Right Insurance Plan

Healthcare can be expensive; it is important to have a plan that can help you when problems arise. Health insurance is a way to reduce costs to an amount that you can manage by sharing the risk with others.  When choosing which plan to use, it is important to ask yourself these questions:

  • What does the plan cover?
    • Insurance must cover 10 “essential health benefits.” These include things like emergency services, hospitalization, laboratory tests and maternity and newborn care. With the new healthcare reform act that took effect in 2014, some older plans may not cover this whole list of services. Under certain circumstances these plans can be renewed even though they don’t have all the consumer protections available with newer plans.
  • How much will this plan cost me?
    • The cost of your insurance plan includes both the monthly premium that you pay to purchase your plan and the out-of-pocket expenses you pay when you receive medical care. This can be a combination of deductibles, coinsurance, and copays. Plans range from bronze to platinum and have varying premiums and deductibles to fit your budget.
  • Does this plan include my doctor and hospital?
    • If a doctor is not in your plan’s network, the insurance company may not cover the bill, or may require you to pay a much higher share of the cost. If you have doctors you want to continue to see, you will want them to be in the plan’s network.

Managing Your Allergies

One of the easiest ways to manage your allergies is to avoid the allergens that you are sensitive to. Some of the most common allergens are found in your home – no matter how much you clean. Dust mites, pets and mold are dirty triggers that can spark an allergic reaction.

To protect yourself against these allergies at home, vacuum carpets, soft toys, and upholstery regularly, wash and groom pets outdoors and keep rooms dry and ventilated.

Not sure what is causing your allergic reaction? An allergy skin test may be needed to find out what actually is causing the allergic reaction, because even if you think you know what the cause might be, that’s not always the case.

There is also a blood test called the radioallergosorbent (RAST) test that can be used to find out which allergens you suffer from.

However, if simply changing the environment isn’t enough to provide relief for you, you may want to consider one of the many over-the-counter medications available for allergy relief such as:

  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Eye drops
  • Nasal steroid spray

Discuss with your doctor to determine the best option for you.

Avoiding the Flu

The first step to preventing the flu is getting a flu shot. It is recommended that everyone six months and older get a shot. In addition to the vaccination, everyday precautions should be taken to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. These include:

  • Washing your hands with soap and water regularly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Practice healthy habits. Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.

Promoting Overall Health

At Windermere Medical Center we take pride in being able to provide you with overall healthcare. From pediatrics to chiropractic care, we’ve got you covered. The key to a healthy and happy year is putting your health first and knowing ways to promote overall health.

This year, resolve to never miss a routine checkup and learn to use moderation when indulging in your favorite treats. Take care of yourself by choosing the right food, exercising regularly and get enough sleep each night.

Kick your unhealthy habits like smoking and cut back on your alcohol consumption to improve our cardiovascular health and well-being.

Preventative wellness is the best plan because it allows you to be aware of what is going on with your body if a problem were to arise. Regular checkups with your physician, combined with a healthy lifestyle can ensure a happy, healthy year.

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