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Archive for the ‘Health Insurance’ Category.

by Logan

What is Autism? Part Two

In Part One we looked at  What Autism is.  Today we will look at the causes, the diagnosis, and the management of Autism. We will also look at how Autism is trending. I was surprised to learn what I did.

Remember – Autism is a Development Disorder and the symptoms are important to know. Symptoms will help us more than we can realize.

Causes of Autism

For years it has been believed that there is a common cause at the genetic level causing cognitive changes, symptoms and others.

As time moves forward, the pool becomes even murkier.  It is becoming apparent that a very complex set of aspects occur that is multi-focal.

There must be a genetic component but it is unclear if a mutation is to blame or heritable factors, or even gene expression.

Environmental causes are also being and have been explored.

Such causes may be:

1.)    Infectious disease
2.)    Metals
3.)    Diesels
4.)    Phenols
5.)    Drugs
6.)    Vaccines
7.)    Prenatal stress
8.)    and much more.

****No specific link has been found for Autism and vaccines though this is largely disputed depending on which side of the argument you are on.

Screening for Autism

When a parent becomes concerned about a possible Autism diagnosis – a screening tool can be used. It doesn’t always work and in some cases, can cause additional concern. But for the most part, it is a good rule to know.

50% of parents notice a change in behavior by age 18 months

80% of parents notice a change in behavior by age 24 months.

Screening pattern that should indicate concern – this does not mean Autism is the cause.  But this should generate a concern.

1.)     No babbling by around 12 months
2.)     No pointing or waving bye- bye around 12 months
3.)     No single word by around 16 months
4.)     No two word sentences or phrases by around 24 months
5.)     Any loss of previously seen language or social skills at any age.


Autism is a very difficult and concerning diagnosis.

In many cases, concern about a false diagnosis leads to a diagnosis that comes later than it could.   Diagnosis is done on a perceptual behavior concern.  There is not a blood test or X-ray that shows Autism.

A multitude of symptoms must be considered.

Initially, the data of the above screening along with physical examination will help point the provider in the right direction. It is possible that an Autistic specialist will also be called in to see the child and to talk with the parents.

Management of Autism

Management is really the key for everything when it comes to Autism.  The rest are things that will happen sooner or later.

But management is something that can really help the child. A cure should not be the goal in mind when thinking of an Autistic child.  Management though, helps the child in many different areas.

No single treatment or management will work in all cases. The management process should be based on the child’s need.

Behavior therapy early can help the children as they grow learn self-care, job skills, social behaviors and much more.

A one-on-one teaching is helpful for the child who may have difficulty learning in a large setting.  Speech and language therapy can help many children in improving their communication skills and helping them to adapt to their condition.

Occupational Therapy helps them to learn to use their body and how they can perform daily living, cooking, cleaning, and other tasks.


Remember that Autism severity is a spectrum.  Some children will have such serious problems, speaking and normal activities are out of the question. Others have such a minor symptoms that you may not ever know that it was Autism but you may think rather a learning disability or less.  Many are somewhere in between.

Children do recover on their own and are no longer considered Autistic. But that is extremely rare and is not what should be considered a cure.  Improvement is seen after treatment or without.  Little is really known why this happens.

Some children may grow up and are able to live on their own and hold down good jobs. Often the social support, friends, and family are very instrumental.

For an unknown reason, Autism rates are increasing.  Around 1996 it was less than 1 per 1,000 children was found to have Autism.  As of 2007 – that rate increased to over 5 per 1,000 and that number has certainly increased in the last few years.  It may also be as high as 11 per 1,000 now.  Boys seem to have a higher risk than girls.

This could be a lack of adequate data over the decade and a half of diagnosis Autism.  This could easily be explained as stat error.  But others are thinking that a combination of environmental and genetic predominance is the real reason we are seeing an increase.


In the end, we need to be more mindful of the diagnosis and the possibility with the children in our lives. School teachers, parents, friends, and more need to have a better understanding of Autism. Early management is a real key to a more productive life.

by Logan

Watch out for Pink Eye

The name pink eye is really a slang term for Conjunctivitis.  This is where the eye becomes red, pink, inflamed and sometime mildly painful.

When you see your kids or your neighbor kids walking through the door with this, you know that sooner or later you will probably get it as well.

The inflammation occurs in an area of the eye known as the conjunctiva. The eye is rather complicated with several layers of tissues, lenses, nerves, blood vessels, and more.

The conjunctiva is the outermost layer of the eye. It can also include the inner surface of the eyelid.

Let’s look at some of the causes of Pink Eye

1.)     Viral Conjunctivitis

2.)     Allergic Conjunctivitis

3.)     Bacterial Conjunctivitis

4.)     Chemical Conjunctivitis

5.)     Neonatal Conjunctivitis

The most common cause is viral.  The second and third most common are allergic then bacterial.

Conjunctivitis means that the eye alone is mostly affected

Blepharoconjunctivitis is when the eye and the eyelids are involved

Keratoconjunctivitis is when the eye and a corneal inflammation occurs.


Symptoms of Pink Eye

–           Red or Pink changes to the white part of the eye

–           Tearing or watering of the eye

–           Discharge over eye after waking when sleeping

–           Itching of eye

–           Some cases, vision changes

Viral infection

This is often a virus that is easily passed from person to person. It can be very contagious.  The severity of the pinkness is less. Watering of the eye is seen though it is usually clear.  In some cases, an associated cold, flu or similar symptoms may precede or follow the infection.


Is similar to viral conjunctivitis. The severity of the redness can depend on the seriousness of the allergic reaction. Can be worse in times of high pollen count or when around animals – if allergic to the animals. Severe itching causes the redness and irritation. Clear discharge is often seen. Crusting can be seen around eyes after sleeping in some cases.


This if often a bacteria that causes large amounts of discharge.  Discharge can be cloudy, white, yellow, or other. Lids often stick together after sleeping.  Crusting around the eye can be seen as well.  Gritty or scratchy feeling is explained by many patients.


The irritation from an external chemical or object can cause serious injury and redness. If the chemical is alkalis – the burn to the eye can be more severe than acidic burns. But not in all cases.   Serious irrigation of the eye is essential

Diagnosis of Pink Eye

Culture of eye fluid, tears, or discharge is done rarely.  Often done if other treatment options are unsuccessful.

For Allergic, Chemical, or other infections – diagnosis is often associated with the history of a chemical or foreign object history.

The real diagnosis is between viral and bacterial.

Since most Pink Eye is from a virus – time is usually the tell all. But the severity of redness can also be important.


65% of cases resolved in two to five days. Most of the time, prescriptions are not needed or helpful in these cases.

Cool water can help allergic and chemical irritations.  Artificial tears are helpful.

Antibiotics may be used as eye drops, ointments, or along with oral medications.


Overall, Pink Eye is a very contagious problem that can spread quickly around a school, a work, or even a family. Treatment is often done after five days of symptoms. This is outside of hand washing, artificial tears and others.

If symptoms do continue, additional treatment options are available. Pink Eye is so common, that it is possible for you or your children to get it a few times each year.

Talk about fun!

by Logan

Is Sleepwalking a Health Issue?

Have you or anyone you’ve known had problems with sleepwalking? As is many things, there is a wide spectrum on how this may affect you.  Minimal sleepwalkers may never really know that something weird is happening at night. But some, may awake, and find themselves in different rooms, outside the house, and even in different neighborhoods.

Recently a review of sleepwalkers illustrated that just less than 4 % of the population has had at least a single episode of sleepwalking within the last twelve months.  If examined and analyzed – that would point to almost 8.5 million U.S. adults.

A surprising aspect is that 10 years ago, a European study showed that the average population that did suffer from sleepwalking was 2%.    The small number 2% to 4% means over 4 million people.  It may seem like a small number but really – it is quite medically significant.

Things that happen while sleep walking

There have been reports of serious medical concerns related to sleep walking. These include sleep driving, sleep eating, sleep shopping, sleep running, and sleep missing.  Some believe that some of the more sensational experiences were affected by prescription medications including sleep aids [over-the-counter], mental health and sedating medications.

Another cause is genetics. A large number of those who experience sleepwalking more than once a month often have other family members who do the same thing.  It could be parent, grandparents, siblings, uncles or aunts.

Complex vs Simple Behaviors

The behaviors performed during sleepwalking are typically classified as simple. This means, brushing teeth, going for a walk, cooking, driving, or cleaning.  More complex behaviors are always questioned to the truthfulness of their reports.

A women claimed that she was having sexual relations with strangers in her sleep.  Others have indicated that they committed crimes including homicide while sleepwalking.

It has been studied that the majority of sleepwalkers have their episode during the first few hours of sleeping and this correlates to around  11pm to 1am. It is believed that this occurs during the slow wave of NREM sleep stage.  And multiple sleepwalking episodes usually don’t happen within a single night of sleep.

It is important to recognize if you are someone who sleep walks. The problem is if you leave knives, open doors, or keys easily accessible. This makes your episodes even more dangerous. It is advised to hide or put away sharp or dangerous objects.

Waking a Sleepwalker

The myth is around that if you awaken a sleepwalker, something serious can happen. This does not appear to be the truth. It is advised that you try to help a sleepwalker back into bed but if they are awaken, they will most likely be confused more than anything else.

Anger has occurred in a few cases when a sleepwalker has awoken in an unfamiliar place. They need to be calmed and helped to understand what is happening. We’ve all awoken in our own beds and have been confused on where we were. We may become very anxious or scared because of what we don’t know or even a dream we were having. It is worse if you are actually somewhere different than where you fell asleep.

Overall the issues of serious medial concerns because of sleep walking are few. But, you can’t escape the fact that things can happen while you are asleep. Driving while asleep can’t be a good thing.  Tell us of your experiences sleep walking.

by Logan

What is Autism? Part One

This is the first part of this series on Autism. Today we are going to talk about What Autism is.  Since it is such a broad category and the symptoms are very important to understand. This is where we will spend our time today.  In Part Two we will look at the causes, the diagnosis, and the management of Autism.


Autism has been a word that has been used in the media so much over the past several years. But do you really know what Autism is?  Are your children at risk of getting Autism and is Autism on the rise?  These are great questions.  Now let’s take a look.

Autism is a Development Disorder

Really this is means a neurodevelopment disorder.

On a basic level, autism is a behavioral issue.  You will notice that children with this condition have difficulty functioning with other children. The problem is that there is a large range of symptoms. You may not even know that someone has Autism because their symptoms may be very mild.

It often deals with the repetitive movements or restricted social behaviors. Both can be seen in some degree.

It can become seen in children during infancy or during childhood.  Often, changes are seen between six months of age and three years. Though changes can really be seen at any age.

There is not one symptom that defines this disease. It is more of a collection of symptoms or evaluations.

Main Symptoms

1.)     Problems with Social Interactions

This may mean that the child doesn’t react in a social setting as other children do. They may have less stimuli with other children.

They may smile less often than expected and they may avoid eye contact or have limited eye contact.  In some cases, pointing at things may be a problem.

They may avoid talking with other children or a normal quizzical behavior. They prefer to be left alone, but not always.

Speech is often affected. Sentence structure or communication is a problem.

Babbling, slow speech, confused speech, unrecognizable gestures, voice pattern changes, screaming, and other speech problems can be seen.

2.)     Repetitive Behavior

Several types of repetitive behaviors can be seen.  No one child may have all the repetitive behavior or the exact behavior seen. But often, a similar or exact behavior can be identified.

Hand flapping or banging occurs often.  Head rolling to one side or the other. This happens over and over again as if a game.  A large percentage of the time, the child will rock their body back and forth. It could be torso, head, arms, or legs. Often though, it is the entire body.

They may arrange items according to size, color, lines,

Also seen is a desire to have a pattern in their day.  This means that they prefer the same chores, processes to get ready for the day and more.

An aspect of Repetitive behavior that can become a real problem is self-injury.  This happens repetitively.  They will start biting their hand over and over again. They can also bang their head again and again.

This can also be seen with picking of skin, poking an eye, kicking a foot.

These self-injuries behaviors seem to affect just under fifty percent of those with Autism.

3.)     Restricted Interests

There is a sense of sameness. This means that there is a huge resistance to change. This can be seen in changing schools, vacations, moving, or even day to day things like where furniture is positioned in the room and other more basic things.

Preoccupation is another thing that is seen. This means that their attention gets grabbed by a certain object, toy, game, or television program.  They become so preoccupied that they only want that toy or object. They lose focus or interest in other things for a period.

4.)     Others

This area is far more difficult.  Often it is difficult to say that a particular behavior is or isn’t an aspect of Autism. It could be just something they are going through at the time, or something unique to the child.

Abilities – this area is not a given. Some children with less affecting autism may have some ability. It is estimated to affect somewhere between 1 percent and 10 percent of those with Autism.  A sub category of Autism is Asperger’s. Abilities are found liked with this diagnosis in some cases.

An ability could be memorization, math extraordinaire,  musical instrument, and many other rare talents. In many cases these individuals are called Savants.

Other symptoms may include: muscle loss, difficulty walking, unusual eating patterns, stomach problems, and others.



Autism falls under the category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders or PDD.

There are five disorders

1.)     Autism
2.)     Asperger Syndrome
3.)     Rett Syndrome
4.)     Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
5.)     PDD not otherwise specified

Stay tune to Part Two to look at:  the causes, the diagnosis, and the management of Autism.

by Logan

What is Heartburn?

We’ve all heard something similar to, “My chest is on Fire!”

Though really, this could mean a ton of different things. Heartburn is one of the options and it can literally feel like your chest is on fire. Of course, other options may be heart attack, angina, muscle pains, anxiety and much more.

Today I am going to look at Heartburn

Heartburn is also known as acid indigestion, acid reflux, and much more.

The pain arises in the chest, but can also occur in the stomach, throat and back.

It occurs when acid from the stomach becomes to much of a problem. This could happen in the stomach itself or when acid is regurgitated into the esophagus.

This condition is often seen during pregnancy.


This is another name for acid reflux.  This is when the cells of the esophagus are damaged because of the acid.  Often an area on the lower end of the esophagus holds the stomach opening closed until food comes into play.

If this area is damaged or impaired, the acid can become a problem.

Functional Heartburn

This occurs when the heartburn occurs without a known cause.   It can be from other medical disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, gastrointestinal disorders, as well as other causes.


Sometimes, heartburn can follow angina or a heart attack.  Ischemic heart disease may also precede heartburn.

In these cases, treatment of the underlying condition is vitally important.


1.)     Feeling of acid in throat, chest, or stomach
2.)     Regurgitation of food.
3.)     Difficulty sleeping
4.)     Symptoms worsen after spicy foods
5.)     Symptoms worsen after acidic foods
6.)     Symptoms worsen after other foods
7.)     Symptoms worsen after eating
8.)     Symptoms worsen when laying down
9.)     Nausea
10.)     Diarrhea
11.)    Chest pain  (In some cases – traditional heart burn is not felt. Instead, a chest discomfort or pain is seen.)
12.)    Chronic cough
13.)    Breathing difficulties
14.)    Change in voice
15.)    Need to clear throat
16.)    Burping or gas
17.)    Others



Since the cause and symptoms are so overwhelming, symptoms are often treated with Tums, Pepto, or over the counter medications before an actual diagnosis can be seen.

Diagnosis is primarily done by signs and symptoms.  Pregnancy is another place where symptoms can be seen.

A normal X-ray is usually unhelpful.

Another specific X-ray can be done called an Upper GI series. It will find ulcers in some cases. A fasting is done.  A drink is given that will help enhance the X-ray.  Can also be called a barium swallow.


This is another diagnostic approach.  It is done with a camera that enters the mouth and continues into the stomach. It can evaluate tissue, damage, ulcers, and much more. Biopsies can be taken to examine tissue, ulcers, or blockage.

The endoscopy is a scope that is highly used for chronic heartburn.

In some cases hiatal hernia can be seen.  In these cases, an out pocketing of the stomach results in a larger chance for heartburn.

Ulcers are often seen through endoscopy

pH monitoring –

A probe is placed through the nose that can record the acidity of the esophagus.  The stomach has a specific acid level.   When the acidity ph changes – a larger amount of heartburn can be seen.



1.)     Lose weight
2.)     Sleep on left side of body
3.)     Sleep with upper body raised
4.)     Avoid spicy foods
5.)     Avoid acid foods
6.)     Exercise
7.)     Eat smaller meals



Often treatment consists of starting with over-the-counter medications including TUMs or Antacids.  Fiber tabs may be beneficial in some cases

If symptoms don’t improve, prescription medications to treat acid production can be given. In some cases, these medications are becoming over-the-counter.  But continued heartburn should be discussed with a medical provider.

Surgery – when the cause is a hiatal hernia, which can increase the acid in the esophagus, surgery is a great choice. Not something that everyone with a hiatial hernia needs, but it should be considered.

by Logan

Help – I have an Overactive Bladder.

A reader of our blog recently wanted emailed and asked for  help on an issue that she was having. She indicated she was suffering from an overactive bladder.

This is a common and very frustrating occurrence in women after live births, as they age, and even can be found in men.   Imagine that every time you go into a building, your office, or your own home, the first thing that you do is find the restroom.

Overactive bladder can be such a problem that for several days of the month, you fear leaving your own home.   When you have overactive bladder, you have sudden and frequent sensations to urinate. But even worse than that, you have accidental urination and sometimes painful urination.

Overactive Bladder

This is a urological condition that can also be called urge incontinence.  Many times the symptoms can be seen during the day as well as night.

It is believed that somewhere between 10 and 30 percent of Americans experience frequent urination.

It is defined when you urinate more than 8 times a day.

The problem with this definition is that there are other causes of urinating over 8 times per day including bladder infections, bladder tumors, cystitis, and others. Therefore, these other conditions often need to be rule out as something more serious.

Cause of Overactive Bladder

This is the unknown aspect of this condition.   Often the first place to look is a group of muscles that help with urination – They are called Detrusor urinae muscle.

This muscle contracts with urination occurs.  When it is relaxed, it allows the bladder to fill.  When the muscle contracts, then urination can occur.

Overactive bladder does increase or becomes more prevalent as age increases.

Caffeine – this causes an increased urinary output. Often this only makes things worse and isn’t a direct cause of the problem.


This is often done after ruling out everything else that could potential be the main problem.

Once this is done, the next step is to get tested or a Urodynamic Testing.   This is a study the assesses how the bladder and urethra are performing.

The goal of the bladder and urethra is to store and release urine in a timely manner.

This diagnostic test is done in Urology, Gynecology, and other offices.

It also looks at the prostate of men who have enlarged prostates.  In this case, an enlarged prostate can cause a man to void several times a day and at night.

The test itself is initially about how you urinate. The strength and stream of the urination. They measure the volume of your urine after you finish urinating.

They will check the urine under a microscope. They also check to see how fast you can empty your bladder.   This can look specifically into why you may or may not be completely voiding.

X-rays can also be done as you are urinating. This is a more specialized look at the voiding process.

Treatment for Overactive Bladder

1.)     Retraining your muscles.

–          This is a reminder that your body has gotten used to frequent urination
–          Bladder training will lengthen the time between voiding process.
–          An active attempt to hold your urination
–          This is a very slow process – extending time between voiding by 5 minutes and not 60 minutes initially.

2.)     Fluid restriction

3.)     Caffeine restriction

4.)     Medications

5.)     Botulinum toxin in some cases

6.)     Urinary devices

7.)     Other


Overactive bladder is a difficult thing and you’d be surprised at how hard and demoralizing it can be for those who are affected. Treatment is often only a partial improvement. Much of what happens is because of the fear we have inside our heads.

By beginning treatment, that fear is replaced by a goal and a realization that improvement is possible.

by James Tuck

Health Insurance Agents in Abbeville, Alabama

Abbeville, Alabama

by Logan

Pain the foot, it may be a Bunion

Many of us, including myself, are not strangers to foot pain. There are many things that can cause foot pain including, stress fracture, plantar fasciitis, twisted ankle, ingrown toenail, gout, and many others. But have you stopped to look if your pain may be a Bunion. If you don’t know what this is, you are in the right place.


A bunion is also called a hallux valgus. It is an actual deformity of your big or great toe.

Some have described this as a big toe bone or tissue around the joint.  But really, the great toe (hallux) is being pushed or turned into the second toe. (Valgus)

I’ve heard this before from a non-medical type – “Your toe just ain’t straight.

Because the toe is angulating inward, subsequent swelling of the joint, pain, and even redness can be seen.

In some cases, there is an actual bump on the inside of your foot. This could be a body process or a swollen bursal sac.


The symptoms are primarily to do with the toe itself. You may see some pain when walking or some redness of the large joint of the toe.  Often you can see the toe pointing inward.  Blisters may form because of the rubbing of the toe inside shoes, or to the toe next to it.

You may notice that your shoes aren’t fitting the way they used to. You may not be able to put a shoe on because of the pain. Infections can occur secondary to a blister or crack or from an ingrown toenail The cause stems from the bunion.

Again, an actual deformity of the foot may be all that you see. Depending on the severity, the deformity may be quite pronounced.


Swelling or pain in the great toe is not only seen in Bunions. There could be something else going on instead. X-ray will help immensely to see the great toe pointing inward.

Blood testing may be important to rule out things like infection or gout. Remember, some things could be secondary and some things could be the real cause of the problem. A gout patient will have a very similar description of pain and redness in the toe.


Initially, treatment is basic.  By getting the right pair of shoes, much of your pain and discomfort can be solved. Shoes are easily the most important initial treatment option. Box toed shoes will allow for an increased space and avoid blisters and other problems.

Ice is required for the swelling that can be seen from irritation. You may also need to rest and elevate your foot.  NSAIDs or Non steroidal anti inflammatories such as IBU or Naproxen could be beneficial as well.

In some cases, splints or toe spacers or bunion regulators may be helpful. These also are known as bunion splints or bunion cushions. All-in-all they are under the category of orthotics.  There are a lot of different orthotics – some in grocery stores and some need to be prescribe or made by a specialist. In many cases, you will need to see a foot doctor, also called a podiatrist.

One of the last options in severe bunion cases is surgery.  Surgery can be done when all other treatment options have failed.  There are many different things they could do in surgery, depending on severity and availability.

1.)      They could remove the bony growth on inside of toe
2.)     They could realign big toe.  This can require a pin or a cast placed on foot.  A pin goes into the toe to keep it straight.
3.)     Realigning cartilage, bone, or other tissue
4.)     Other

Typically if a pin is placed – it is absorbed and will be broken down by the body over time. Continued research has looked into the best way this can be done. Current treatments are the most up-to-date as possible.


Bunion treatment has a large benefit for most patients. Surgery is the last option but it does do a good job for those where their bunions really affect their daily lives.

But remember, not all toe pain is bunions. Seek medical attention as required for complete and accurate diagnosis.

by Logan

Are You Choosing Not to Have Health Insurance?

Health Care and health insurance is a huge debate – both on national levels, state levels, and even in our own homes. The dilemma is present and the outcomes are even scarier. No matter what side you are on, hopefully you can see that not having health insurance can be a potentially huge problem.

Often health insurance is something that we take for granted. Of course, this isn’t in all cases. It appears to be especially true for college age students.  Is the reason for this availability or choice. Are more people loosing their jobs or is good coverage becoming too expensive.

A recent study came out and indicated that some 48 million Americans may be without health insurance. But not all of the cases are because of a lost job or unemployment. Some are by choice. Others site that individual health insurance is too expensive.

Without health insurance, large problems brew. With no insurance, you may skip out on that yearly exam or you may avoid getting treated for moderate pains, problems, or concerns. In the end, this only worsens your overall health.  In the long run, this could prove to be a vital problem.

The Commonwealth Fund provided the study of around two thousand individuals. 25% did not have any insurance and around 25% of those who didn’t have insurance have never had insurance. Another 30% or so indicated that they had lost their insurance from an employee sponsored insurance through cutting of jobs, benefits, or a complete loss of a job altogether

Some argue that no one is choosing to not have insurance

There are those who report that choosing not to have insurance and being unable to pay for it is vastly different. What do you think?

Could someone make enough money on paper, but have too much debt. It looks like they may be well off but really, they are struggling to stay afloat.

Common sense or your own history would make it difficult for you to believe that anyone would actively choose not to have insurance.  Ideas that they may be saving the money that they were going to use for insurance into a special account to use for doctor visits.  Are you money savey enough to save your money enough to have a real benefit from not getting insurance.

Remember back to your College years

I personally had tons of friends who choose not to waste their money when they were single on insurance. They had the invincibility shield on and believed that they would never need the insurance and so why pay for it.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human services estimated that in 2008 – 44 percent  of those uninsured were between the ages of 18 and 34.  Their belief that a good portion of these people believed that they were immune to sickness.  In half of these cases, the individual could pay for individual insurance.

But many of those, who choose not to have insurance while single and a student, once married, are strong supports for health insurance. When a family comes into play, a lot of things change.


Health Insurance is a very tricky issue to deal with.  Without a doubt, there are those who need insurance who can’t get it. This could be a variety of reasons, and the most basic, is that they haven’t taken enough time to search through and find a individual coverage that suits them.

Others have recently lost their job or are in-between jobs. Another good proportion of people, their companies no longer offer this benefit. That would be so hard, to previously have had insurance, to have not lost your job, but are no longer able to have insurance through your employer.

But at the same time, for whatever reason, there are those who are actively choosing not to have insurance. They may see someone else forcing them to have insurance as a bad thing.

The one thing that we know for sure, not having insurance is a horrible thing. You may think that you are invincible but one day, something may happen. By not having insurance, you could be setting yourself up for a life full of financial misery. 

Take the time and find an insurance that is right for you.

by Logan

Health Tip – What are Allergies? Part 2

This is the second post on Allergies and what they really mean. Today we will look at the many number of symptoms that can be seen in allergies. We will also look at the difference between milk allergy and lactose intolerance.   It is important to properly diagnose and manage allergies and we will look at that as well.

Part 1 defined allergies and looked at Hay fever and food allergies.

Signs and Symptoms of Allergies

1.)    Nose
–           Nasal congestion
–           Runny nose
–           Itchy nose

2.)    Ear
–          Feelings of pain
–          Feelings of fullness
–          Change or impaired hearing

3.)    Eye
–           Eye redness
–           Eye drainage/watery
–           Itching
–           Swelling of conjunctiva
–           Pain

4.)    Sinus
–           Sinus pain
–           Sinus pressure
–           Sinus drainage
–           Increased mucus

5.)    Airway/Lungs
–           Sneezing
–           Coughing
–           Difficulty breathing
–           Wheezing
–           Inflammatory response to lungs
–           Feelings of constriction

6.)    Skin
–           Rashes
–           Itching
–           Hives
–           Eczema
–           Dryness
–           Scabbing


Causes of Allergies

Often the allergen of from the environment.

But the cause of why a person’s body is more or less susceptible to allergies comes down to genetics. Age, gender, race, and age are all things that play a part in Allergies.

Additional studies are looking at causes outside of genetics.  The studies are looking at four things:

1.)     Childhood diseases
2.)     Environmental pollution and levels of pollution
3.)     Changes to diet
4.)     Levels of allergens in certain parts of the World.


Lactose Intolerance

Milk that is consumed, as many other foods, needs to be broken down into useable materials. In this case – milk or lactose is really a lactase deficiency

Lactase is an enzyme that digests or breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose.  The result will be abdominal bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea, and/or vomiting.

Therefore, lactose intolerance has nothing to do with an allergy to milk. It is the lack of an enzyme.  There is no immune response to an allergen.  Milk allergy does exist but is far different than Lactose intolerance.

Diagnosis of Allergies

Continued and verified allergy response to an allergen is often enough to confirm allergies.

But in many cases, the specific allergen cannot be identified just on basic box checking on what foods or environmental factors may be involved.

When this happens, allergy testing will help narrow the search.  This can be done by a skin prick test or an allergy blood test. Both are recommended by traditional guidelines and usually do a good job in identifying the specific allergen.

Management of Allergies

The problem with allergies is that it affects each person differently. Some have minimal symptoms, some are drained for half the year, and others have life threatening responses to allergies. Therefore the management is different for each of them.

Some can do nothing, they try to remove themselves from the allergen and wait for the body to realign itself.

Others must avoid the food entirely and completely. Special diet changes, planning, and even careful choices of away from home eating are essential. It could change almost everything about the way you and your family eats.

Showering, wash clothes, saline eye drops, and many other home remedies are often used first. This attempt at management not only helps but it can relieve symptoms quickly.  But, it doesn’t work for everyone.

Medications can be helpful. There are a variety number of medications available from antihistamines, to steroids, to asthma and allergy medications.  Immediate response oral medications, nasal medications, and even injectable medications can help relieve the symptoms of allergies.

Immunotherapy – this type of therapy has a goal to overwhelm the body by giving a gradually increasing amount of the allergen over time. Often what is seen is that the body starts to have a much less immune response to the allergen in the long run.  The hypersensitivity that once was, is no longer present or at least at a far less severity.

In the end, hundreds of thousands of people, maybe including you or someone you know have allergies. It can really affect each person differently. If I get too close to a dog, I can go from normal to a severe sneezing allergy with congestion and headache. It can happen within just a few minutes. I have serious hay fever and asthma. I am very lucky that I don’t have food allergies. But my allergies are enough to drive me crazy. Several times a week I require medication. It is what it is.