All posts filed under “Winter

Hand Washing. Sept 2009Photo by Stephanie Schupska
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How to stay flu free in 11 simple steps

Chances are you know somebody with a cold or a flu right now. Find out how you can protect yourself and others with these simple tips below.

Tips on how to stay healthy

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing
  • Don’t share personal products (lip balm, eating utensils, etc.)
  • Try not to touch your face
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Get enough sleep
  • Reduce stress
  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Avoid large crowds of people
  • Use tissues and dispose of them properly
  • Wipe down commonly used items (door knobs, computer mouse, etc.)

Even if you are feeling a bit run down it is best to keep your distance from loved ones and take time to rest. The flu is contagious up to 1 day before symptoms occur and up to 7 days after becoming sick. If you have a cold you are contagious the first 3 days you have symptoms. Also if you know somebody who is sick make sure to take the necessary precautions such as those listed above so you stay healthy and happy.


caption-arrow  Feature photo by UGA College of Ag & Environmental Sciences

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Cold vs the Flu

It is the middle of the week and you’re looking forward to going to the Blazer game on Saturday night. You’re feeling a little tired but maybe it’s because you didn’t sleep well. You continue your day and by lunch you notice that your throat is also a little scratchy and your nose is a little stuffy. You think you maybe it’s a cold but the flu has been sweeping through the office. So how can you tell if you are coming down with a cold or with the flu? The chart below might help you out.

Cold Symptoms

  • Runny/stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Headache
  • Lasts 7-10 days

Flu Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Tiredness
  • Dry cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Last 5-7 days

Whether you have a cold or the flu it is important to take care of yourself. Make sure to get enough rest, drink plenty of fluids, and stay home from work so that you don’t get anybody else sick. One of the best ways you can prevent getting the flu is by getting a flu shot. If you have any concerns it is best to talk with your doctor. Stay healthy and have fun this winter.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Laura Taylor

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Recognize the signs of breast cancer

With October coming to a close, we have one last post on the topic of breast cancer awareness. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Knowing the signs and symptoms can help in early detection. Below are some common symptoms related to breast cancer.

  • A new lump in the breast
  • A new lump in the armpit
  • Swelling or thickening in part of the breast
  • Dimpling of the breast skin
  • Irritation of the breast skin
  • Pulling in of the nipple
  • Pain in the nipple area
  • Nipple discharge (other than milk)
  • Change in shape or size of the breast
  • Pain anywhere in the breast

If you are showing any of these symptoms it does not automatically mean you have breast cancer. These signs and symptoms can be caused by other medical conditions. It is important to be looked at by your doctor should you have any concerns.  On the other hand, some women have no symptoms at all. Even if you are not showing any signs of breast cancer it is important to get regular screenings.

Comment below how you plan to stay on top of your health. Also how will you share this information with others?

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  North Charleston

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The hidden health benefits of pumpkins

Oh October, the spiciest month of them all. Did you know that pumpkin spice is actually cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and ground cloves? These are the ingredients that give your pumpkin spice lattes that lovely aroma and taste.  They are staple ingredients in your pumpkin pies and pumpkin breads. But what about the actual pumpkin? Surely they are for more than just carving. Below are 5 surprising facts about pumpkins and 5 ways to incorporate pumpkin into your diet.

5 facts about pumpkins

  1. Pumpkins are one of the lowest calorie vegetables, one cup of cooked pumpkin is only 49 calories.
  2. Pumpkins are rich with vitamin A. One cup of cooked pumpkin  provides over 100% of your daily need of vitamin A; vitamin A is essential for healthy vision.
  3. Cooked pumpkin seeds are a great dose of daily fiber.
  4. Pumpkins are packed with vitamin C, helping boost the immune system.
  5.  The beta-carotene compound which gives pumpkin their orange color can help in disease prevention.

5 ways to add pumpkin to your diet

  1. Stir pumpkin puree into soup, stew or chili, it won’t change the taste much but will increase the nutrients in your meal.
  2. Stir pumpkin puree into yogurt.
  3. Add pumpkin puree to pancake batter.
  4. Add chopped and roasted pumpkins to  salads.
  5. Try adding pumpkin to a protein shake to boost its nutrients

Also note, there are edible pumpkins for eating and decorative pumpkins for carving.  You may eat either but the pumpkins labeled for eating taste better. Let us know in the comments below how you will add this low calorie, disease preventing, and vitamin rich vegetable (actually it is a fruit) to your diet.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by John Morgan

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month aims to encourage women to take steps to early detection. Prevention starts with awareness, here are 10 facts you need to know.
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10 facts you need to know about breast cancer

As you may know it is that time of year when we start to see football players, basketball players and athlete’s alike wearing pink during their games, and for good cause! October is known to many as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is an annual campaign to increase awareness about the disease. Prevention starts with awareness, here are 10 facts you need to know.

  1. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
  2. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide.
  3. Even though it is rare, breast cancer can occur in men.
  4. Exercise at least 150 minutes a week to reduce your risk of breast cancer.
  5. Healthy lifestyle choices can help reduce the risk of breast cancer and other diseases.
  6. Minimize alcohol intake to control risk, no more than one alcoholic drink per day.
  7. Complete a breast self-exam once a month.
  8. Stop smoking to support overall health.
  9. Make your mammogram appointment a priority.
  10. Early detection and treatment is key in fighting breast cancer.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month aims to encourage women to take steps to early detection. Together, we can bring the numbers down on breast cancer. We’re rallying with the Portland Trail Blazers during Moda Health Months to spread the word.

Join us in keeping breast cancer top of mind. Follow us at #modahealthmonths on Facebook and Twitter.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by williami5

Pacific Northwest Hiking
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No-nonsense tips for safe hiking

There’s still so much of summer left.  Have you ventured out to a hiking trail in the beautiful Pacific Northwest?  Whether you’re a novice or seasoned hiker there are many simple steps to keep yourself safe and enjoy your hike.

Follow the Hiker Responsibility Code.

Be prepared:

1. With knowledge and gear.  Become self-reliant by learning about the terrain, conditions, local weather and your equipment before you start.

2. To leave your plans.  Tell someone where you are going, the trails you are hiking, when you will return and your emergency plans.

3. To stay together.  When you start as a group, hike as a group, end as a group.  Pace your hike to the slowest person.

4. To turn back.  Weather changes quickly in the mountains. Fatigue and unexpected conditions can also affect your hike. Know your limitations and when to postpone your hike.  The mountains will be there another day.

5. For emergencies.  Even if you are headed out for just an hour, an injury, severe weather or a wrong turn could become life threatening.  Don’t assume you will be rescued; know how to rescue yourself.

6. To share the hike code with other. 

REI, the leader in outdoor equipment, also has a great list of 10 day hiking essentials to make your day fun and safe.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  Loren Kerns

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5 tips for staying active in the winter

We all know that getting outdoors in the summer months is a lot easier than in the winter. But don’t let that deter you! There are still plenty of fun outdoor activities you can participate in. Just follow these simple tips to staying warm the next time you venture outside.

  1. Layer it up: By wearing layers not only will it keep you warm, but if you begin to get too hot you can easily remove a layer or two. You can also add your favorite accessories – think headbands, hats, or even your sunglasses.
  2. Do a warm up: Just a 5 minute routine like jumping jacks or running in place will help get you going. Just make sure to stop before you begin to sweat. Play the Rocky theme song if you must.
  3. Be Aware: Make sure you know the weather conditions in the location of your work out. Modify your routine to accommodate the weather. If it is snowing, perhaps a snowshoeing adventure is better than a run.
  4. Be noticed:  Stay in an open area or wear a bright piece of clothing. We are loving the bright neon yellow jackets and reflective gear for bicyclists.
  5. Stay Inside: There is always an alternate way of completing a similar exercise in doors. Know when to say no if the conditions outdoor are not ideal.  Use what is accessible in your home (like hand weights, resistance bands or even your heavy everyday objects like milk jugs) to create a satisfying routine.

Your mind is a powerful tool. As long as you put your mind to completing your exercise routine, it will happen.  Self-determination is the key! Now bundle up, have fun, and be safe out there!

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Dustin Gaffke

John Martinez Pavliga
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U of O championship game – TBI Awareness month

As we anxiously await the 2015 college football playoff national championship game on tonight, we are rooting for a win, as well as a game played safely. As we tune in to the game,  we often cheer for the rough tackles, interceptions and sacks. The excitement of that moment’s first down overcomes our emotions. We get especially excited about winning that bet and having the ability to brag to our friends  when our team is better than theirs. However, keep in mind that real injuries may occur and the safety of the players is also important.

January is National Winter Sports Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Awareness month. This month, let’s take into consideration the risk that these athletes take for our enjoyment. We are happy that their safety is being talked about and that our teams are guided by the leagues with the necessary safety precautions in place.  Hoping for a safe game and an Oregon win!

The  University of Oregon Ducks play the Ohio State Buckeyes tonight, January 12th. Their last big game was in 2010 for the Rose Bowl in which the Buckeyes took home the victory. Oregon is looking for a win with their 2014 Heisman winning quarter back Marcus Mariota. 

caption-arrow  Feature photo by John Martinez Pavliga

candy cane heart
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Quick holiday safety tips

Winter holiday’s are one of my favorite times of the year. My family and I go and buy a tree to decorate, hang  lights, bake, head to the mountains, and shop till we drop!

The last thing on my mind is safety when I am having so much fun! Holidays are fun, but it is important to remember that there are also added hazards that you don’t have the rest of the year.  Some general reminders that I would like to share with you all to help you have a safe and fun holiday are:

  • If you purchase an artificial tree, make sure that it is fire resistant
  • Place fire-prone decorations like paper snowflakes, wrapping paper, and your tree away from electrical outlets and the fireplace
  • Be sure to keep small decorations and toys away from children as they can be a choking hazard
  • If your cooking or going out for the holiday, don’t eat food that has been sitting out for more than 4 hours
  • Try to stay as stress free as possible (hard to do I know)

Keep these quick safety tips in mind so you and your loved ones can have a happy holiday! Any safety tips to add to my list?

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Shandi-lee Cox

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Don’t say “achoo” because you can beat the cold and flu!

It is the time of year when everyone is starting to catch a cold, or is recovering from one. I am somewhat of a germaphobe, so being in the office this time of year makes my germ senses go off the radar.

How do I get over my germ phobia? First of all, I try not to think about it too much and I definitely don’t go anywhere without my hand sanitizer! Some other things that I make sure to do are:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Get enough Zzz’s
  • Get my flu shot
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Wash my hands constantly (and then apply hand sanitizer)
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Wish on my lucky stars that I don’t get the cold or flu!

This has been a good strategy for me the last few years and I have not had the flu while using this method (knocking on wood now). I hope these simple little tips will also help you fend off the cold and flu this season!

Do you have any methods to avoid the cold and flu this season? This germaphobe would appreciate any tips and tricks to staying healthy all the way through the holidays!

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Allan Foster