Myths & Truths About Child Vaccinations Revealed

Children are more likely to live healthier, longer lives thanks to advancements made in medicine. Immunizations give you the power to give your child a healthy start in life. Vaccines have already reduced the number of diseases in the world. For example, measles was once a typical illness in the 1950s. However, the measles vaccine has reduced the disease. Now, very few doctors even see a case of measles.

Vaccines are still a relatively new concept, medically speaking. It wasn't until the 1990s that heavy education on the importance of child vaccines began. Even today, in 2018, some parents are still wary of the long term effects of child vaccines. However, it’s important to remember that vaccines are extremely safe. In fact, there is rarely a reason why anyone shouldn't get a vaccine.

Doctors and other healthcare professionals have been trying to debunk vaccine myths for years. Some parents refuse to vaccinate their children, even with numerous studies proving the safety of vaccines. This has created health consequences for their children and their entire community.

Don’t let any vaccine misconception keep you from making the best healthcare decisions for your family. Take advantage of the benefits vaccines create. Keep reading to learn the truth behind several popular child vaccine myths.

Myth #1: Infant Immune Systems Can’t Handle Vaccines

The immune system of an infant is stronger than you think. The amount of antibodies in an infant’s immune system makes it theoretically possible for an infant to receive 10,000 vaccines at a time.

There are 14 vaccines doctors recommend your child gets before the age of 2. Thanks to today’s vaccines, children exposed to fewer diseases than previous generations.

Myth #2: Vaccines Will Infect My Child With The Disease It’s Trying To Prevent

While there is a possibility vaccines can cause symptoms of the disease they’re trying to prevent, you have nothing to worry about. In the rare cases this does happen, the symptoms are mild and non-threatening. This is because the child is not actually infected. Instead the child’s immune system is responded to the vaccine, creating the visible symptoms you notice.

Myth #3: Other Kids Are Vaccinated, I Don’t Need To Vaccinate Mine

It is possible for your kid to remain unvaccinated and perfectly healthy. This is because of “herd immunity”. Herd immunity happens when the majority of the population is vaccinated. Immune citizens help protect the immunity of the unvaccinated minority. They make it harder for diseases to spread. After all, a disease has no one to infect if everyone is immune.

However, herd immunity can disappear if not enough people are getting vaccinated. Parents mistakenly believe they don't have to vaccinate their children. However, unvaccinated chiLack of vaccinations in children creates a dangerous situation. Diseases have more opportunities to spread and infect unvaccinated communities. In addition, diseases brought back from foreign countries can result in health problems at home. This is especially dangerous for newborns, pregnant women, and elderly citizens who have weakened immune systems.

Myth #4: Vaccines Can Cause Autism

Many parents fear vaccines causing autism in their children. One fear is that the thimerosal gives children autism. However, there is no evidence linking thimerosal to autism. Furthermore, thimerosal has not been used in infant or child vaccines for many years.

The MMR vaccine is another immunization accused of causing autism. This is likely due to most children getting diagnosed with autism around the same age the MMR vaccine is recommended. However, scientific studies from all over the world have found no connection between the vaccine and autism.

Myth #5: Natural Immunity Is Better Than Vaccine Immunity

There are cases when surviving a disease gives a person a stronger immunity against that particular disease. However, this doesn't mean you should try to get your child sick. The negative side effects of catching a disease far outweigh any possible benefits. Even if the benefit is immunity. Especially when a simple vaccine can do the same thing, without endangering your child’s health.

For example, if someone wanted to get an immunity to measles by catching the disease, they would face a 1 in 500 chance of dying. On the other hand, the chances of someone suffering an allergic reaction while getting the measles vaccine is one in a million.

Give Your Family The Vaccines They Need

After learning the truth about vaccines, you’re probably ready to take the first step towards protecting your children from vaccine-preventable diseases. But where do you begin?

Start by reaching out to your local healthcare provider to learn more. Schedule an appointment to discuss vaccine options with your child's pediatrician. Vaccines are an important life-saving tool and should be available to everyone. If you’re worried you can’t afford vaccines for your children, reach out to the Vaccines For Children Program . This federally funded program specializes in helping low-income families get free vaccines. Call their toll free number, 800-232-4636, to get started.

Want a stress-free vaccine appointment? Visit a local immunization clinic. For example, VNA & Hospice has an immunization clinic designed to serve the vaccine needs of citizens throughout California’s central coast. There are many options available. In fact, vaccinating  your children is easier now more than ever. Take the first step to protect them from dangerous diseases today.


National Infant Immunization Week: What You Need To Know

How much do you know about National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW)? From April 21, 2018- April 28, 2018, health care professionals all over the country discuss the importance of vaccines. This special week recognizes the benefits of immunizations for infants and young children. For many years, healthcare providers from all over the United States have been working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to discuss the positive impact of vaccines in children’s health. They also highlight noteworthy achievements of immunization around the world.

Infant immunizations are a powerful medical tool that improves the health and life quality of young children everywhere. However, not everyone thinks infants should get vaccines. Infant immunization is still a controversial topic.  Unfortunately, harmful vaccine myths only deepened the controversy.

April is the perfect time to reveal the truth about childhood vaccines. There are several ways you and your friends can do this. For example, you can stop the spread of misinformation. Or,you an help educate your community about the importance of vaccines. If all of this seems a little confusing, don't worry. Soon you'll know everything you need to know to make a helpful impact. Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about National Infant Immunization Week.

Why Was National Infant Immunization Week Created?

National Infant Immunization Week was created to help spread immunization awareness. Some of the main goals include:

1.) Have healthcare providers simultaneously promote the benefits of immunization.

2.) Improve the equity of the use of vaccines.

3.) Make universal vaccines a reality.

4.) Increase assistance with cross-border immunization activities.

5.) Educate parents on the importance of infant immunization.

6.) Create better communication between doctors and parents.

7.) Help low-income parents vaccinate their infants

National Infant Immunization Week has been very helpful. Since it's creation, many disease control milestones have been achieved. First, vaccines reduce the amount of infant deaths caused by preventable diseases. Vaccines also:

  • Protect properly immunized children under the age of two from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • Eliminate the spread of measles. Measles used to be a common in the 1950's for children to suffer to measles. Today, the measles vaccine has almost completely gotten rid of measles. Furthermore, few practicing healthcare professionals ever see a case of measles.

Why Are Infant Immunizations Important?

It can be tempting to think of diseases as a thing of the past. However, parents shouldn’t ignore the importance of infant immunizations. There are still children who catch terrifying vaccine-preventable diseases. This can happen even in the United States. Thankfully, routine child immunizations are making things better. Vaccines prevent nearly 381 million illnesses and 24.5 million hospitalizations. In addition, infant immunizations are a key factor in preventing an estimate of 855,000 early deaths.

Don't forget, infant immunizations also benefit the economy. Just think of how much money is saved by eliminating so many illnesses, hospitalizations, and untimely deaths. In fact, disease-preventing vaccines are estimated to create a net savings of $1.65 trillion in societal costs.

What Are The Dangers Of Immunization Myths

There are numerous records proving the success of infant immunizations. In fact, it may be hard to believe that some parents are opposed to the idea of vaccinating their children. Immunizations have achieved a lot of medical success over the years. Despite this, several myths about infant immunizations continue to flood the media. Unfortunately, this causes some parents to become distrustful of vaccines. As a result, they can place their children’s health at risk.

Parents who believe vaccine myths may end up choosing not to vaccinate their child. As a result, their child faces the risk of catching a vaccine-preventable diseases. For example, you may remember that few doctors today ever see a case of measles. This is mainly due to the measles vaccine. However, America experienced a large number of mesale cases in 2014. Twenty-seven states reported 667 measle cases to the CDC. The leading theory is this record number outbreak was caused by parents who chose not to vaccinate their children.

What To Do During National Infant Immunization Week

Anyone can participate in National Infant Immunization Week. In fact, there are a variety of NIIW opportunities for everyone. Are you a parent? Make sure your infant’s immunization records are current. Don't have any children? You can still help. Educate others about infant vaccines to put an end to preventable diseases.

One of the best ways you can help is by sharing important infant vaccine information with the parents and caregivers in your community. Try doing any of the following:

  • Educate parents and caregivers about the crucial role vaccinations play in protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • Work with local healthcare providers to facilitate better communication between doctors and parents.
  • Discuss the dangers of vaccine-preventable diseases to young children.
  • Highlight the achievements immunization advancements have made over the years.
  • Inform parents, caregivers, and teachers about a Vaccines for Children's number, 800-232-4636. This program was created to help low-income parents get vaccines for their children. One can call toll free number for assistance. This includes finding local vaccine areas.
  • Use the power of your social media account to share stories that highlight the importance of childhood immunizations.
  • Take the time to thank the volunteers in your community for their efforts to provide childhood immunizations to everyone.

Do your part to help the children in your community. Spread awareness about the importance of infant immunizations in your area. Speak out against false immunization information.

Spread Awareness In Your Community

Serious diseases are a terrifying thing. However, medical advancements now prevent once common illness. Vaccines have nearly removed measles from the population. Take a moment during National Infant Immunization Week this month to recognize the important role infant immunizations play in your hometown. Let's work together to educate others about the infant vaccines. In addition, discover new ways to collaborate and spread immunization awareness. Lastly, work with the members of your community keep children safe. This April, work towards a future where no child ever suffers from a vaccine-preventable disease.


How To Reduce Daily Stress

In the modern age, it’s very common for people to experience stress. In fact, nearly 70% of adults living in the United States claim to feel stressed every day. This may come as no surprise when you look at the way the majority of today’s population conditioned to always be on the go 24/7. People are working longer hours, getting less and less sleep, taking less vacation time, and putting self-care last. This type of lifestyle can greatly increase a person’s stress levels and even lead to depression, burnout, and even declining health.

You can live a longer, happier life it you take the proper steps to prevent stress from affecting your health. In fact, studies have shown that people with low levels of stress enjoy a great deal of benefits. Keep reading to learn how you can reduce the daily stress in your life.

Reduce Your Caffeine Consumption

Caffeine is a stimulate commonly found in tea, chocolate, energy drinks, and coffee. While ingesting caffeine is viewed as a normal way to get the energy one needs to start the day, too much caffeine can be a bad thing. People have different thresholds for how much caffeine their bodies can tolerate. If someone drinks too much caffeine, they can experience the following negative side effects:

  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Digestive problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Caffeine addiction
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent Urination

If you are noticing an increase in stress of anxiety after your mid-day cup of coffee, consider scaling back in your caffeine consumption. While caffeine can be healthy in moderation, too much of it can leave you feeling stressed and anxious throughout the rest of your day.

Laugh More

Laughing is a great way to reduce stress. Not only does laughing at a good joke stimulate and relieve your stress response, it can also relax muscles and bring more oxygen to your brain and organs. Overtime, daily laughter breaks can also help improve your immune system and your overall mood.

Learn to look for the humor in your daily life, spend time with friends with a great sense of humor, or watch a funny comedy to relieve any stress lingering around at the end of your day.

Exercise Regularly

One of the most effective ways to combat stress is to exercise on a regular basis. Physically exerting your body can help you relive mental stress. This could be why people who exercise regularly tend to experience less anxiety than inactive people.

There are several reasons why exercise is a great way to reduce stress. First, it lowers your body’s stress hormones while releasing endorphins at the same time. The effect acts as a natural painkiller and can improve your mood.

Second, exercise can improve your quality of sleep. While stress can make you anxious and keep you lying awake in bed all night, exercise helps you relax and gets you tired enough to sleep until morning arrives.

Third, many people who exercise notice an increase in confidence. Regular exercise leads to a healthy body that is easy to feel competent and confident in. This in turn promotes mental-well being and eradicates stressful self-doubt and social anxiety.

Spend Time Outdoors

A breath of fresh air can do wonders for your stress levels. Studies have shown spending time in nature not only decreases stress, but also lowers blood pressure, restores mental health, and can create an overall sense of wellbeing.

Add more nature to your life by taking a walk outside, visiting the local beach with friends, or even sipping your morning cup of tea on your patio. You can even bring the positive benefits of the outdoors inside by adding indoor plants to your home or work area.

Take A Break From Technology

Did you know the average person checks their phones eighty times a day? The amount of the time that people spend on their technological devices can quickly add up to hours. Make sure you set aside time in your day to unplug and take a break from technology. This is especially important if you visit a lot of social media sites.

Use the time away from your devices to go out with friends or to spend time with your pet. Not only will you the absences of never-ending notifications and updates give your overworked brain a break, the supportive and caring presence of your friends and animal companions can do wonders when it comes to eliminating stress.

Practice Meditation

A few minutes of mediation a day can reduce stress and anxiety and improve sleep quality. For some people, meditation comes in the form of sitting quietly with both eyes closed. Other people do well with meditation guidance. It’s important that you do what works best for you. Regular meditation practice cannot only reduce daily stress, it can also help you organize and process different events happening in your life.

Start Living A Stress-Free Life

Escape the stress of today by practicing any of the healthy habits previously mentioned. You can learn more ways to live a healthier, happier, stress-free life by attending one of VNA & Hospice’s upcoming public educational events. You can contact them at 831-226-7666 to learn what this month’s topic is.


6 Important Things You Need To Know About Shingles

Many adults know what chickenpox is and have even had it as a child. However, few people are aware that if they have had chickenpox, they face the possibility of developing shingles later in life.

Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox. If you have ever had chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus is nestled within the nerve issue near your spinal cord and brain. While the virus is usually inactive, there is the possibility it can reactivate years later in the form of shingles.

Fortunately, shingles isn’t a deadly condition, but it can be very painful. Shingle manifests in the form of a painful rash. While shingles can occur anywhere on the body, it is most common for a stripe of blisters to appear on the left or right side of the torso.

Common symptoms of shingles include:

  • Pain
  • Burning Sensation
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • The appearance of a red rash a few days after pain begins
  • Fluid-filled blisters
  • Itching

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important you make an appointment with your local healthcare provider to make sure you don’t have shingles. It is especially important you contact your doctor if the rash or pain is near your eyes. If left untreated, an infection near the eyes can lead to irreparable eye damage.

While shingles is more common in older adults, it can happen to anyone. Anyone with a weakened immune system faces a greater chance of developing this infection. Shingles can be an incredibly painful experience. It’s crucial that you arm yourself with knowledge about shingles to protect yourself from it.

Remember, the sooner you seek treatment, the faster you can stop the discomfort and pain of shingles. Here are 6 important things you need to know about shingles.

1.) 1 In 3 People Will Develop Shingles

There are nearly one million of cases of shingles in the United States each year, according to CDC data. If you’ve ever had chickenpox, have a poor immune system, or over the age of fifty, you are at risk of developing shingles. In fact, almost half of the shingle cases that occur each year are in people who ages sixty and older.

2.) There Is No Cure For Shingles

Once a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus never truly leaves. Instead it becomes inactive, lying dormant in your nerve tissue. While you can never eliminate the virus from your body, you can take prescribed antiviral medications that can help clear up the painful rash faster, especially if you start taking the medication early on. It is possible to go through shingles more than once. Make sure you take the necessary steps to prevent shingles from reoccurring, or from evening happening once.

3.) A Shingles Vaccine Exists

While there is no cure for shingles, a vaccine does exist. In 2006 study, a vaccine called Zostavax was shown to dramatically reduce the chances of developing shingles. In addition, the vaccine is even better at reducing the chance of a person developing lingering pain.

Unfortunately, according to CDC data, no more than 25% of seniors get this important vaccine each year. If you are over the age of sixty, it’s important that you discuss getting the shingles vaccine with your primary care physician. After all, getting this vaccine can greatly reduce your chance of experiencing this painful infection. Remember, it is possible to get shingles more than once. Make sure you get your shingles vaccine each year to maximize your protection.

Residents of California’s Central Coast can easily get their shingles vaccine at one of Central Coast Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice’s Community Clinics. VNA strives to provide its patients with the best medical care possible, which is why they have the new shingles vaccine.

This new and improved vaccine is called Shingrix and is estimated to be 90% effective. Shingrix is a 2 dose series that is given 2 to 6 months apart. This new vaccine is so effective, the CDC recommends anyone ages fifty or older gets Shingrix. Even if you’ve already gotten the old vaccine, you can still get Shingrix for maximum shingles prevention.

4.) Shingles Can Be Contagious

For most people, shingles is not contagious. However, if someone has never had chickenpox, they have the chance of catching the varicella-zoster virus from someone who has shingles. While chickenpox is uncomfortable to have as a child, it can be disastrous for adults. In fact, some adults who catch chickenpox can end up in intensive care.

If you were born before doctors started vaccinating children in 1995, it is very likely that you’ve been exposed to the chickenpox virus. It’s even possible that you’ve had a mild case of the chickenpox and never even realized it.

5.) Pain Can Remain Even After The Rash Disappears

Up to 20% of the people who develop shingles end up getting postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), a chronic burning nerve pain that occurs at the site of the shingles outbreak. This may be due to continued inflammation or possible nerve damage.

The risk of developing PHN increases with age, as studies show the 80% of PHN cases are patients over the age of fifty. While the pain usually lasts from a few weeks to a few months, some people can experience sever and debilitating pain for years. It is crucial that you take the proper preventative steps, like getting the shingles vaccine, to prevent PHN from happening to you.

6.) The Best Defense Is A Healthy Immune System

There are many benefits to maintaining a healthy immune system and shingles prevention is one of them. If you’re over the age of sixty you face a greater risk of developing shingles. This may be due to our immune systems weakening as we age. However, it is possible to keep your immune system strong by living a healthy lifestyle. Doing any of the following is a great way to maintain your immune system as you age:

  • Get plenty of rest each night
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Exercise on a regular basis
  • Reduce the daily stress in your life
  • Get regular health exams

If you want the strongest protection against shingles, follow these daily habits to keep your immune system healthy and get your shingles vaccine. This winning combination will greatly decrease your chances of developing shingles.


Is It Time For Palliative Care?

Palliative care is a specifically designed health care plan for people living with a grave illness. The primary goal of palliative care is to improve the patient's and the patient's family's quality of life. Palliative care workers and staff members do this by addressing the unique physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of each of their patients.

However, while palliative care comes with many benefits, it can be hard for some people to determine when is the best time to begin palliative care. Unlike hospice care, there is not time limit or requirement to become a palliative patient. Any person with a serious illness over the age of twenty-one who meets the home health homebound criteria is able to benefit for palliative care.

Wondering what the signs are that indicate it is time to consider this beneficial healthcare service? Keep reading to learn all the important signs that it is time to receive palliative care.

You're Noticing A Decrease In Your Quality Of Life

If you're noticing you no longer enjoy the life you are living, it could be time for a change. Not receiving the right amount of medical care can cause illness symptoms to increase to the point where you no longer enjoy even your favorite activities.

Luckily, palliative care can give you the resources you need to take control of your remaining time and live a high quality life.

Your Pain Keeps Increasing

If the symptoms of your illness continue to worsen, it could be time to seek palliative care. After all, palliative care can address and alleviate the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Bladder problems
  • Labored breathing
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Delirium

Thankfully, someone can start palliative care at any stage of their illness. In fact, you can start palliative care as soon as you receive a diagnosis. The sooner you start palliative care the better. After all, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and pain can all begin very early on in your diagnosis. The sooner you being your palliative care, the sooner you can alleviate the negative, painful symptoms of your illness.

Your Caregiver Is Feeling Overwhelmed

Many caregiver selfishly devote their time and energy to care for an ailing loved one. However, sometimes caregivers become so focused on taking care of their patients that they forget to take care of themselves.

In fact, caregivers are often reluctant to say anything negative about their experience due to fear that others will view them in a poor light or simply because they don't want to burden others with their troubles. However, if caregivers are not taking proper care of themselves they can end up damaging their own health in the long run.

Without proper support and assistance, caregivers can quickly experience caregiver burnout. Caregiver burnout is a state of being where the caregiver is feels completely physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. It can also lead to caregivers feeling depressed with a general sense of hopelessness.

Fortunately, palliative care helps takes a huge amount of stress off of caregiver's shoulders. If your primary caregiver seems to be more irritable, gloomy, or overwhelmed, it could be time to consider additional support. Not only will this make things easier for your caregiver, it will also give you many benefits to enjoy as well.

You Want Additional Advice About Medical Procedures

Palliative nurses and team members can be your go-to team when it comes to choosing the medical procedures best suited for you. One of the goals of palliative care is open and honest communication to ensure every need of the patient is met. This includes letting your palliative care team know what type of treatment you wish to have or what type of health goals you currently have.

Palliative care team members can help you understand the risks of medical produces you are considering as well as the procedure's chances of success. Throughout the duration of your palliative care experience, your palliative nurses will be there to help you. This ensures that you and your loved ones are never left in the dark when it comes to your health status.

You Need Additional Therapy and Support

Palliative care does more than provide primary medical care. This is because the average palliative care team includes more than just doctors and physicians. Your palliative care treatment can also include massage therapists, speech therapists, and more. Remember, palliative care does not necessarily mean end-of-life care. Some patients end up leaving palliative care and continue to live for many wonderful years.

Palliative Care Providers In Monterey

You've decided palliative care is the best option for your situation. But, how do you become a palliative patient? If you live within Monterey County you can get exceptional palliative care from VNA & Hospice. Simply call 831-375-9882 to arrange for palliative care services. Their experienced team members are available to help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


When Is It Time For Hospice Care?

When caring for a loved one, it can be hard to determine when is the right time for hospice care. Sometimes family members delay getting help that would benefit a loved one out of fear that turning to hospice care means giving up. However, hospice care is just the opposite.

Hospice care focuses on giving hospice patients the best quality life possible by meeting each patient's physical, emotional, spiritual, and other specific needs. In fact, many caregivers quickly come to realize that hospice care is an amazingly beneficial healthcare service for both patients and their loved ones.

When it comes to deciding when to get hospice care, the best answer is "As soon as possible," since hospice care offers many advantages for both patients and caregivers. There are several signs that can indicate it is time to begin hospice care. Keep reading to learn how to tell when it is time for hospice care.

What Is The Patient's Life Expectancy?

A person, regardless of age, is eligible to receive hospice care after a physician certifies that the person's current life expectancy is six months or less. If the hospice patient lives longer than six month, he or she can still be eligible for hospice care as long as their physician continues to document their eligibility.

Furthermore, since hospice care professionals specialize in end-of-life care, it's a good idea to seek their help during the first stages of a terminal illness. This will allow hospice nurses and staff members to ease a patient's pain and improve their quality of life as possible, for as long as possible.

If a patient has a terminal illness but is not in the final six month stage, it is possible for the patient to benefit from palliative care. Later, the patient can switch to hospice care once he or she meets the general requirements.

Are You Noticing A Decreased Quality Of Life?

Hospice workers strive to ensure each patient receives the highest quality of life as possible. This means that hospice nurses will make sure their patients aren't suffering from any pain or distress. It also means making sure patients are able to spend time with their loved ones in a comfortable environment of their choice. The earlier a patient is able to get hospice care, the sooner the patient can get the medication, supplies, and support they need to maintain their comfort, dignity, and peace of mind.

Is There An Increase In Hospital Visits?

Frequent trips to the hospital are often a warning sign that it's time to consider hospice care. While it's normal for aging relatives to see the doctor more often, it's not a good sign for someone to spend more time at the hospital than they do at home.

As mentioned earlier, hospice care specializes in improving a patient's quality of life. This includes making sure patients are getting the care and support they need in a place where they are most comfortable. For many people, this means getting health care assistance in the privacy of their own home than in a sterilized hospital bed.

Patients who receive hospice care at home are able to focus on enjoying their remaining time with their loved ones instead of having to constantly travel back and forth between home and a hospital bed. Furthermore, patients and caregivers alike will not feel overwhelmed by hospital bills. Fortunately, most hospice care providers except many forms of insurance, including Medicare and Medi-Cal.

Are You Noticing Signs Of Caregiver Burnout?

Caring for a dying loved one is a difficult and emotional process. Caregivers can easily succumb to caregiver burnout. Especially if a caregiver is not able to get the support and assistance they need.

Caregiver burnout is a constant state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion. Furthermore, caregivers can start to exhibit signs of anxiety and depression. It is not uncommon for burned out caregivers to lose their positive outlook on life and succumb to a more gloomy, downtrodden viewpoint.

Since caregivers are constantly caring for a loved one, they can find it difficult to pry themselves away long enough to attend to their own needs. This can cause damaging effects to a caregiver's health.

Common symptoms of caregiver burnout include:

  • Lost of interest in favorite activities
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Change in appetite
  • Unusual weight loss or gain
  • Weakened immune system
  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Dependency on sleep medications
  • Irritability
  • Feeling hopeless and/or helpless
  • Emotional, mental, and/or physical exhaustion

Thankfully, hospice care can give caregivers the much needed rest they deserve. Hospice nurses and staff members can alleviate duties the caregiver would normally be in charge of. This gives them time to take care of their own unique needs.

How Do You Begin Hospice Care?

Are you noticing any of the signs mentioned above? It may be time to get hospice care for yourself or your loved one. Do you live in Monterey County or in Hollister. If so, you are elgiable to recieve hospice care from VNA & Hospice. Their team members are available 24/7 to ensure all citizens get the quality hospice care they deserve. Simply contact VNA & Hospice at 831-375-9882 to take the first step.


How To Survive Flu Season

Do you know the most effective ways to prevent this year's horrible flu? Keep yourself and your family safe from the dangers of the flu this winter by following our helpful guide. Keep reading to learn useful tips to help you survive the flu season.

Strengthen Your Immune System

One of the best things you can do to protect yourself from the flu this winter is to make sure you have a strong and healthy immune system. After all, your immune system is one of your most powerful defenses when it comes to fighting off the flu virus. Keep your immune system strong by following these easy steps:

1.) Avoid Stress

Recently, studies have proven that stress can diminish your ability to stay healthy, especially during flu season. Anything you can do to get rid of stress would be helpful for your immune system. De-stressing can be something as simple as enjoying a hot cup of tea or taking a short mediation break after a busy work day. It can also mean watching your favorite movie or enjoying a nice dinner with friends. There are many different ways to relax. What's important is that you find a method that works best for you and that you practice that method every day to get rid of any stress that may creep up in your life.

2.) Make Sure You're Getting Enough Rest

It turns out our parents were right by giving us a bedtime when we were young. When a person consistently gets at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night, they are more likely to have a stronger immune system. This is because when you sleep your body has the opportunity to repair cells and maintain your immune system.

To ensure you sleep peacefully each night, consider doing the following each night:

  • Limit your amount of screen time before bed. This includes cellphone, computer, and television usage.
  • Avoid caffeine after noon. For the average person, it takes four to six hours to metabolize caffeine. If there is any remaining caffeine in your system when you try to go to sleep it can block a sleep-promoting chemical in your body from working. This can keep you tossing and turning all night.
  • Keep the thermostat between 62 and 70 degrees. Studies show people tend to stay asleep longer in rooms within this temperature range.
  • Eat sleep-promoting foods like cheese, nuts, and grains.
  • Block out any bothersome noise with noise cancelling devices or with a white noise machine.

3.) Exercise And Eat Healthy

While it's great to take your vitamins every day, it's important to remember that the best way to get the nutrients you body needs is by eating healthy food. Eating an ample amount of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as maintaining a balanced diet is a great way to give your body the nutrients and vitamins it needs to be strong and healthy.

You can make your immune system even stronger by making sure you get at least thirty minutes of moderate physical activity a day. This can be in the form of walking, cycling, swimming, or jogging. No matter what your age is, there is a friendly exercise activity available for you to try.

4.) Get Your Flu Shot

One of the best ways you can protect yourself from the flu is to get a flu shot each year. In fact, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), states that this is the best way to avoid catching the flu each year.

Make sure you ask your local health care provider about the available flu vaccines in your area. If you live in California's Central Coast, VNA & Hospice provides the flu vaccine at their Walk-In Clinics.

The CDC recommends getting the flu vaccine in mid-autumn, right before the flu season officially begins. However, you can get the flu vaccine at any point. Remember, when it comes to your health, it's better late than never.

Protect Yourself From Germs

You can increase your chances of avoiding the flu this year by protecting yourself from germs. Increase your chances of staying healthy by practicing these simple habits:

1.) Always Wash Your Hands

It's crucial that you wash your hands properly after using the restroom, before eating, or after you cough, sneeze, or blow your nose. Proper hand washing means you need to wash your hands for at least twenty seconds. That's about the same amount of time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" in your head twice. Remember, these twenty seconds can make all the difference when it comes to keeping germs out of your body.

2.) Keep Your Work Area Clean

Make sure you wipe down your work area every so often, especially if you work in an office setting. Desks, keyboards, and phones can quickly become a germ hot spot if they are not properly sanitized.

No one wants to catch the flu. By following the steps listed above, you can strengthen your immune system and fight off germs. This will help increase your chances of avoiding the flu this winter.


6 Things Every Woman Needs To Know About Heart Disease

Ladies, did you know heart disease is the number one killer of women? If you have high cholesterol or blood pressure that is above average, you can face a greater risk of developing heart disease. However, the hear's health is complicated and there are many other factors that can negatively impact your heart's health.

To ensure your heart stays as healthy as possible, VNA & Hospice has compiled a list of useful information that can help you avoid heart disease. Keep reading to learn six things every woman needs to know about heart disease.

1.) Every Woman Can Be At Risk

When it comes to heart disease, every woman can be at risk, even thin women. There's no denying that being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for heart disease. However, there are many women who are thin but still carry risk for heart disease. These thin women who are still at risk usually have high blood pressure or an elevated cholesterol.

This cause of this can vary. It could be from genetics. If high blood pressure runs in your family, you too are more susceptible to heart disease. Another reason is from having high amounts of visceral fat. Visceral fat is the body fat stored deep inside your abdomen, near your pancreas, intestines, and liver. This particular type of fat can be dangerous to women because it secretes an inflammatory substance, cytokines, which is toxic for your heart.

2.) Good Sleep Is Essential

Sleep deprivation does more than make you feel tired and cranky in the morning. It can also damage your heart's health. Sufficient lack of sleep can raise levels of cortisol and cytokines which in turn can increase your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. All of this can lead to the development of heart disease.

Women who get five hours of sleep or fewer each night usually have 50 percent more calcium in their coronary arteries than women who get at least seven hours of sleep each night. However, this doesn't mean you can sleep in until noon every day. Studies also show that too much sleep can also be bad for women's hearts. In fact, women who sleep for nine hours or more each night had 72 percent more calcium in their coronary arteries than women who slept seven hours.

However, it's important to note that what matters more than how much you sleep is how well you sleep. Make sure you are doing everything in your power to get a good night's sleep each time you go to bed. You can achieve this by eating sleep-promoting foods and limiting screen time and caffeine intake before bedtime.

3.) The Fitter You Are, The Better

The fitter you are, the better chance you have of preventing heart disease. This is especially true for women in their forties. Women who are in great shape in their forties are 37 percent less likely to have a stroke after the age of sixty-five.

Fortunately, it's never too late to start exercising. Research has shown that inactive women who increase their physical activity after the age of forty-five can reduce their risk of heart failure by 22 percent. Grab your spouse or a group of friends and enjoy the outdoors together. Not only will you make great memories, you'll also be doing your heart a favor.

4.) Depression Can Be Harmful For Your Heart

A 2016 study presented at the North American Menopause Society's annual meeting revealed that women with depression face a greater risk of developing heart disease. This is especially true for middle-aged women. Elements of depression, like loneliness and isolation can increase stress hormones which in turn can raise blood pressure and increase inflammation.

Women who suffer from depression are also less likely to exercise, eat well, or take their medications. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression such as sadness, anxiety, or irritability that lasts for more than two weeks, ask your doctor to screen you for depression during your next physical.

5.) Your Health During Pregnancy Can Be Revealing

Make sure you are paying attention to your health during your pregnancy. If you notice a development of high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, or preeclampsia during the course of your pregnancy, you're at a greater risk of developing heart disease. This remains true even if the symptoms disappear after you give birth. It's important that you keep your primary healthcare physician in the loop. This will allow her to give you frequent cardiovascular health screenings to make sure everything is working properly.

6.) Warning Signs You Shouldn't Ignore

Did you know that almost 38,000 American women under the age of fifty have heart attacks each year? Unfortunately heart trouble symptoms are not always easy to isolate from other common ailments, such as panic attacks or indigestion. However, it's vital you watch out for any of these symptoms. When it doubt, call 911. It's always best to play it safe, especially when it comes to your health.

  • Tingling sensation down one or both arms or legs
  • Jaw pain
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Tightness, pressure, heaviness, or squeezing sensation in chest or back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Racing heart
  • Dizziness or lightheartedness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Keep Your Heart Healthy

Heart disease is no small matter. However, by following learning more about the causes and prevention of heart disease, and by seeing your primary healthcare provider on a regular basis, you can enjoy a happy and healthy heart for many years.


How To Get All Of Your Travel Immunizations In Monterey

Planning on leaving Monterey for a few days to attend an important business conference? Or maybe you're finally taking that family vacation you've been dreaming of. Regardless of whether you're traveling for business or for pleasure, it's important that you take the right steps to protect your health. One of best ways you can stay healthy throughout the duration of your trip is to get all of your travel immunizations before you leave home.

The process of getting your travel immunizations may seem overwhelming at first but after reading this blog, you'll confidently by able to get all of the proper vaccines you need. If you live in Monterey County, you have several resources available to help you, including VNA International Travel and Health Clinic. This makes it easy to get all the travel immunizations you need, no matter where your travel destination is.

Keep reading to learn more about how you can get all of your travel immunizations right here in Monterey.

Do Your Research

The more you know about your destination, the more you likely you are to avoid any health threats in the area. For example, if you are traveling to Mexico there are several travel immunizations the CDC recommends you get. However, if you are just traveling within the United Sates, you may not need to get any vaccines at all.

A quick online search can give you a rough idea of what possible health threats you could encounter during your trip. After you have an idea of what to expect, you can share your questions and concerns with your primary healthcare provider to determine what travel immunizations would be best for you.

Travel immunizations can vary on more than just destinations. A patient's age, life habits, state of health, and other factors can all play a role in determining what vaccines are needed. That's why it's crucial that you consult with a health care professional before you pack your bags. Make sure you have a copy of your vaccination record with you when you go to your appointment to help speed up this process.

Schedule Your Appointment As Soon As Possible

In order to create maximum immunity, health professionals recommend scheduling all travel related medical visits at least four to six weeks before you leave the area. Many vaccines come in a series instead of a single shot, so by giving yourself a buffer of at least a month, you are ensuring that you are fully vaccinated in time.

However, life is rarely convenient. If you find yourself having to leave California quickly to return to your home country or to attend an important business meeting halfway around the world, you may feel like you don't have time to get your travel vaccines. However, that simply isn't the case. No matter how last minute your travel plans are, you can, and should, make sure your health is well-protected. In fact, resources like the CDC have a website page dedicated to helping last minute travelers remain healthy.

Even if you need to depart soon, do your best to see a health care professional in person. This will ensure that all of your important questions are answered. For some places like VNA International Travel and Health Clinic, appointments only take 30 minutes. You can get your vaccines and pack your bags all in the same day.

Visit VNA Travel Health Clinic

One of the most convenient ways to take care of all of your travel health needs is to visit VNA International Travel Health Clinic. For over a decade, VNA International Travel Health Clinic has been providing  travelers with consultations, immunizations, and prescriptions. Their clinic is a member of the International Society of Travel Medicine which means you'll have access to qualified travel recommendations.

During your appointment, you'll be able to speak with an experienced travel health RN. Your assigned RN will give you excellent strategies to keep you healthy during your trip based on the following factors:

  • Your Travel Destination
  • The Nature Of Trip
  • Your Health Assessment Results
  • The Duration Of Your Stay
  • Your Itinerary Plans

Best of all, the VNA Travel Health Clinic understands your busy schedule. There's no need to panic if you're unable to schedule an appointment 4-6 weeks before your departure. VNA's trained staff is often able to help provide patients with the best possible travel protection for last minute departures.

You can find the 5-star clinic nestled within the Ryan Ranch area of Monterey at 5 Lower Ragsdale Drive. They are open five days a week, Monday through Friday, by appointment only. Ready to schedule an appointment? You can contact them by calling (831) 648-3777 and within business day a nurse will call you to schedule an appointment.

Remember, no matter how far away your trip is, it is never too early to take the proper steps to protect your health.


Hollister Hospice Care And Palliative Care: What You Need To Know

Located within the bustling hub of San Benito County, Hollister is a charming city full of opportunities for both the young and old. Originally established by a humble group of farmers and ranch hands, Hollister is now one of the largest cities in California's Central Coast. One can always find tourists and local citizens enjoying the beautiful, historical sights that Hollister has to offer.

As the city of Hollister continues to grow, so does it's aging senior population. If you or an aging loved one are like most senior citizens of Hollister, you probably want to spend your golden years in the private comfort of your home. Unfortunately, aging at home can be difficult without the necessary aid of home health care services. Luckily, the elderly population of Hollister has a variety of resources to choose from.

One of the best home health care providers on the Central Coast is Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice (VNA). For years, VNA's exceptional staff of health care professionals has been providing phenomenal health care services to the citizens of Hollister. Their two most popular forms of home health care are hospice care and palliative care.

If you know an elderly loved one whose health is declining, or if you are a senior citizen yourself who wants to live a quality life at home, palliative or hospice care are great, affordable options. However, deciding which option works best for your unique situation can be tricky. Fortunately, VNA has created a helpful guide to make things easier for you. Keep reading to learn more about hospice care and palliative care, as well as the useful benefits they each provide.

What Is Hospice Care?

Hospice care is a type of end of life care that focuses not on curing but, on providing each patient with compassionate support and customized health care. It can take place in numerous areas and is available to anyone, regardless or race, gender, religion, or illness.

At VNA Hospice, patients and their families are able to collaborate with a team of health care specialists to create a personalized plan of care. This not only helps meet all of the patient's unique needs, it also helps ease the stress many family members and caregivers face when looking after someone who is terminally ill.

What Are The Benefits Of Hospice Care?

Hospice care provides patients with a number of benefits. Here are some of hospice care's most noteworthy benefits:

1.) You Can Age In The Comfort Of Your Home

One of the most common misconceptions about hospice care is that patients need to be in the hospital to be eligible. However, this simply isn't true. While hospice care can take place at the hospital, it usually happens elsewhere. For example, most patients choose to receive hospice care in the comfort of their homes or in a nursing facility. In short, hospice care happens at whatever location the patient would like it to.

2.) You Can Enjoy Personalized Care And Support

Hospice care does so much more than just meet the health needs of each patient. When a patient chooses to get hospice care, they are giving themselves the option to have all of their needs taken care of.

For example, at VNA Hospice, a group of health care professionals will collaborate to make sure each patient's unique physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological needs are addressed. All of this is done to ensure the patient enjoys the highest quality of life possible.

What Is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is also a form of specialized health care. It focuses on providing pain relief and personalized support for patients and their families. Palliative care is usually provided by a team of medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, and more. It can also be helpful for patients who need additional help at home but, do not meet all of the requirements needed to receive hospice care.

What Are The Benefits Of Palliative Care?

Like hospice care, palliative care also boasts an impressive number of benefits. In fact, some patients who receive palliative care choose to also receive hospice care as the severity of their illness increases. These patients like that they have the ability to start their care plan much earlier with hospice care. Here are some of the most useful benefits patients receive from palliative care:

1.) You Don't Have To Worry About Time Restrictions

Unlike hospice care, where patients are generally only eligible if they are terminally ill or are within six months of death, palliative care can begin at any time. No time restrictions means you can receive palliative care as early as you like. The severity of your illness or it's current stage will not limit your eligibility for care.

2.) You Can Have Complete Flexibility In Your Treatment Options

Since palliative care does not have any time restrictions, it is easier for patients to get exactly what they want. Patients and their families are able to develop a personalized care plan that fully encompasses the patient's needs. In addition to receiving the same type of care and comfort hospice patients get, palliative patients can also try life-prolonging therapies.

Being able to start palliative at any time allows the patient to fully gage his or her pain limits and comfort needs well before their illness progresses. This extra time makes it easier for everyone involved to decide what treatments would be most beneficial to the patient.

Want To Learn More About Hospice Care and Palliative Care?

Even though end of life care can be a difficult topic to discuss, it is important that loved ones and family members discuss their wishes before it is too late. Knowing one's wishes will be followed even at a time when one cannot express them can be a huge stress relief for many senior citizens. Choosing hospice care or palliative care for yourself or loved ones does not mean you are giving up hope. It means you are choosing to have you and your elderly family members fully live a high quality life to the best of your individual abilities.

To learn more about the benefits of both palliative and hospice care, please contact Visiting Nurse Association at 831-703-8444. One of their nurses will get back to you as soon as possible to answer all of your questions.