Are Video Games Bad?

There’s been a back and forth debate on whether video games are bad for you. One of the most common arguments includes whether or not violent video games, like shooter games, cause aggressive or anti-social behavior. Well in a study conducted by the LA Times “There isn’t a lot of evidence to support theories that video games, particularly violent video games, foster anti-social or violent tendencies in young people.”

However, there is a slight chance that people may develop violent tendencies, but the sample size is too small to shoulder the blame on games. There are other factors that lead to violent behavior.

Even though video games do have their fair share of health issues, they also have many benefits, starting with stress relief.

Sometimes life can be stressful and can throw many unexpected curveballs. It’s important to let your mind breathe and relax. One of the best ways to relieve your stress is to sit down for a few hours and play one of your favorite video games. This will allow you to shift your focus elsewhere and allow enjoyment for the levels you are trying to complete.

Video games work your brain just as much as your hands. It takes comprehension and intelligence to complete difficult levels. Your brain is a muscle and you have to exercise it to make it stronger. Video games can help your brain grow as iD Tech writes “playing video games increases grey matter (basically, the size of your brain) and helps refine learned and hardwired skills.” Who said video games make you dumb? Now that just sounds silly.

There are also many features gaming consoles have to offer. From streaming Hulu to surfing the internet, gaming consoles are mostly known for keeping communication with your peers. It’s essential to partner up and strategize with your friends to take down an enemy. However, the main reason why the party chat feature is so great is that you’re allowed to your closest friends or to people all over the world. Playing a video game alone is satisfactory, but there’s no other feeling than playing with other people. A healthy communication among peers defeats depression and loneliness. BBC News writes “being part of a team and making new friends is claimed to help with depression.”

Creative minds are able to think of unusual solutions and tend to think outside the box. Playing video games can be challenging and sometimes there isn’t an easy route to defeat the last boss. You have to rely on out of the box tactics or tricks. This can too apply to real-world situations. Playing video games can stretch your imagination beyond its limit. Think of how we evolved from Tetris to VR gaming. It’s incredible how far we’ve come and that’s thanks to people who strive to be game designers to innovate the playing field.

Video games aren’t all bad as some try to make it seem. Whether it’s Tetris or call of duty, pick up your phone or controller and escape from the world. Just like in a video game, there are levels to complete in life too.

Mosquitoes

You hear the silent buzz. You feel the urge to itch, and as you rub the itch, you feel another spot to itch. It’s annoying, aggravating, and frustrating. If you can infer of what I’m talking about, then you too know that all mosquitoes should be destroyed. Well, that’s physically impossible, but there are some ways to combat these pestering insects.

However, before we get to that, mosquitoes are important for our ecosystem and play a big part in our daily lives. Gizmodo points out “many other insects and small fish feed on them and the loss of that food source would cause their numbers to decline as well. Anything that feeds on them, such as game fish, raptorial birds, etc. would in turn suffer.” In short, mosquitoes feed us. However, according to national geographic “mosquito-borne disease causes millions of deaths worldwide every year with a disproportionate effect on children and the elderly in developing countries.” They must be minimized to all humans, and here’s how.

Mosquito spray – Invest in a good mosquito spray. This will create a barrier around your body that will force mosquitoes to stay away. The better the spray, the likelihood of not getting your blood sucked increases.

Mosquito repellant – Try surrounding the areas where you spend time outside with mosquito repellant. This will create a perimeter blocking mosquitoes from entering. The best type of repellent you want to look for is anything that contains the chemical N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET). Mosquito.org states that DEET “remains the standard by which all other repellents are judged.”

Natural repellant – There are certain plants you can plant outside your house that acts as a repellent from mosquitoes. These plants include citronella, basil, and lemongrass. You can fill up your garden or backyard with pretty plants and kill pest at the same time.

Water – Mosquitoes’ love water, so try moving any items that contain water. This includes flowerpots, containers, and hoses. This will send mosquitoes to a different direction rather than yourself.

Window screens – Place window screens to prevent mosquitoes from getting inside your home. Mosquitoes are tricky and hard to see; installing a window screen will stop any small bugs from entering without asking.

Bed net – The most annoying time a mosquito can pierce you is at night. A bed net that would hang over your bed is a great way to block any mosquito from entering and disturbing your sleep.

Stay inside during dusk – Mosquitoes are everywhere but are most active during the nighttime. If possible, try to stay inside during those times. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds, but it’s a good thing you have repellent and spray to give you extra protection while you’re outside.

Mosquitoes are pestering but there are ways to make them less annoying. Make sure to be cautious when going outside and take appropriate actions when dealing with mosquitoes.

Beat the Heat

With 2019 becoming one of the hottest years so far as January through March ranked as the third hottest YTD on record according to NOAA.gov, it has forced many people to stay inside rather than enjoy the beautiful days outside. If you were to go outside for a long period of time, it could have significant t effects on your body and health. Here are some ways you can beat the heat.

Drink plenty of water – It is said to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day according to Healthline. The harsh environments during the summer switch the narrative from recommended requiring. Make sure to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and refreshed.

Avoid dark colors – Black colored clothing absorbs more heat from the sun than white. Before you make your trip outside, be wary of the colors you wear. Darker colors tend to make your body warmer than usual.

Avoid sodas/energy drinks/alcohol – According to an insider, “alcohol is a diuretic, which makes the body lose fluids by making you have to go the bathroom more often.” Coffee, energy drinks, and sodas all fall under as a diuretic. High sugar content associated with these drinks also prevents your body from absorbing the water it needs.

Bring a water bottle – Make it a habit to bring your own reusable water bottle. This will ensure you to have water at your hands at all times and help reach your daily consumption of eight 8-ounces a day. You can find tumblers for as cheap as five to ten dollars.

Apply sunscreen – If you plan on staying outside for a long period of time, then you should consider applying some sunscreen. Sunscreen is used to prevent your skin from heating up and sunburns. If you plan to walk your dog or workout at the neighborhood park, it might be a good idea to rub some sunscreen.

AC – Make sure the ac units in your car and home are up to date. Check the maintenance and all parts are functional. Add free- on to make sure you’re getting the coldest air possible. The heat can be so overwhelming, that it will cause your AC units to blow hot air or force your unit to work harder than usual. Keep it a priority to check up on your AC during hot times.

Limit your time outside – It’s difficult to stay indoors on a beautiful day, but the longer you stay outside in high temperatures increases the likelihood of suffering a heat stroke. Heat strokes include dizziness, headaches, and rapid pulse. According to Medicine Health “Confusion, hallucinations, seizures, loss of consciousness, organ damage, coma, and death can occur if not treated quickly and effectively.” the same can go for younger kids and pets. Make sure to regulate their time outside as they have a higher risk to obtain symptoms of heatstroke. Take a look at our Heat stress blog that will further inform you about heat-related symptoms.

Park under the shade/garage – When driving to a convenient store; park in spots that have shade. This will prevent the car from getting too hot or overheating when you’re at the store for long hours. If you have a garage, take advantage of it. Leaving your car with the blistering sun pounding on it can ruin paint and any objects left in your car.

It’s hot and you know your body better than anyone. Always pay attention to what your body is signaling to you so you won’t have to suffer from any heat like symptoms.

Preventing a House Fire

Between 2012 and 2016, fire incidents have caused 11,670 injuries and 2,560 deaths according to NFPA. Fire incident are very wide spread and can ignite if you’re not aware of your surroundings. Here are some steps you should consider to prevent fire incidents and how to carefully escape during a fire emergency.

  • Be aware of your surroundings – Every time you step foot into another room, you should always make sure that everything is in place, turned off, and candles are blown. One area you should always keep an eye on is the kitchen. Cooking is one of the leading causes for a home fire. Always make sure the stove is off, equipment is unplugged, and kitchen is clean.
  • Turn Off/Unplug electrical appliances – Before leaving the household, it should be second hand nature to check to see if there are any unplugged appliances. For example if an iron was accidentally left on, it could burn or cause an object to catch on fire. Also, if some appliances are left connected for too long, it could cause a power surge outburst. Always make sure to unplug and turn off ant appliances before you leave.
  • Watch your kids – Never leave your child unattended. That should be common sense but at least 300 people are killed per year due to young children playing with fire according to American Red Cross. A great way to prevent your child from a starting a fire is to take them to your local fire department. It’s a fascinating opportunity to allow your child to greet and learn from the firefighters about fire safety.
  • Lock up the pets – Animals left unattended could not ruin your couches, but could lead to a loss of your home. Every year, almost 1,000 houses are burnt down due to pet activity. Dogs and cats are prone to chewing electrical cords, knocking down candles, or electrical appliances. In order to prevent this from happening to you, buy a kennel or gate to keep your pet in one place until you get home.
  • Candle care – According the NFPA, an estimated 8,200 homes were caught on fire by candles per year. Majority of candle fires occur in December between midnight and 6:00 am. Candles may give off a fresh aroma for your home, but if left unattended can give your house a fragrance of burnt wood. A substitute from candles could be a flameless candle as they use batteries and contain no wax, wick, or oil. However, before leaving the house, make sure to extinguish your candles.
  • Fire alarms – It’s very important to check your fire alarm every six months and replacing the batteries frequently. If you were to purchase a new home, you should consider checking the condition, date, and battery life of the fire alarm. If you ever plan to upgrade from your old fire alarm to an advanced version. This is why it’s beneficial: 1) Battery life is significantly longer than older generations. 2) Fewer false alarms would occur. 3) An increase range for detection of smoke. 4) It will last for 10 years or more.
  • Contact the fire department – When in doubt of an emergency, you can always call your local fire department. You should never take on a fire head on as you could spread the fire and harm yourself or others. You can also visit your local fire stations website to learn more on how to prevent and combat fire.
  • Invest in a fire extinguisher – Once you’ve handled the smoke alarm, you should look into purchasing a fire extinguisher. It’s always best to avoid taking on a fire head on, but there are some cases to when you have no options but to deal with it yourself. A fire extinguisher is perfect for small fires and is a great substitute when you have no water nearby or hitting the fire with a rag. You can research to see which fire extinguisher is best suited for you and your home as some can cost as little as $10 or high as $50.

 

 

 

Protecting your house from a fire is no small task and you should always take serious consideration of the condition of your house before you leave. If you’re not observant of your home, then your wallet and living situation could turn into a tragedy in a blink of an eye.

 

Written by Julien Gonzalez

Email Etiquette

At some point, you will have to use your email to communicate both internally and externally. When writing an email, always consider your audience and your intended purpose. Adjust your writing to the situation and who is going to be reading your email. Emails sent to work colleagues should be more formal than emails sent to family and close friends. When you are communicating via email, it’s important to make sure that your message is clear and concise. Here are the top ten tips when it comes to sending and replying to emails.

  • Use the subject line. Your subject line must match the email. Let the receiver know what to expect. The average person receives 121 emails per day. An email with a relevant, specific subject is easier and more likely to be read.
  • Proofread. Use uppercase and lowercase letters accordingly and check your spelling and punctuation. Using all uppercase letters may seem like you are shouting, which is considered rude. If you need to, use the asterisk or exclamation point to emphasize keywords. The emails you send are a reflection of you, so always read over your emails before sending them.
  • Not all email addresses include someone’s name and their company, so it’s important to include a signature. Leave your first and last name and the company you are with.
  • Do not automatically assume that the person who is reading your email knows who you are, so briefly introduce yourself. “Hi, my name is (First and Last name) and I’m with so and so company.” If need be, include contact information, such as a callback telephone number.
  • Respond in a timely manner. Depending on the nature of the email, try to respond within 24 – 48 hours. If you are going to be out of the office, utilize the auto-reply
  • Avoid sending one line emails. “Great.”; “Thanks.”; “Okay.” This can irritate the receiver, and will most likely result in your email being immediately deleted. These do not advance the conversation in any way and it also may not be an acceptable reply for some.
  • Keep it clean. Sending emoticons in a professional business email can come off as unprofessional. Also, avoid using slang and shortcuts/abbreviations.
  • Try to limit the amount of attachments to a maximum of two per email, and give a warning when you’re sending large attachments. Sending unannounced large attachments can fill up the receiver’s inbox. Ask “Would you mind if I sent you this attachment?”
  • Beware of the “reply all” feature. Do not hit “reply all” unless every single person on the thread needs to know.
  • Do not send emails when angry or upset. Ask yourself why you are sending the email in the first place. If it’s not an urgent matter, wait. Emotions are usually short-lived. If you wait it out, your anger will start to go away and you can rewrite the email in a calmer state.

Another thing to remember is that emails are not private. Some things are better discussed in person rather than digitally. If you really need to speak with someone about an urgent matter, see them in person, if possible.

Maintaining a professional image involves proper correspondence – your email behavior has the potential to damage your professional reputation. Following proper email, etiquette is essential in order to prevent miscommunication.

 

Written by Dami Falade

Spring Cleaning

As our homes and lifestyles have changed, so have our cleaning habits. Now that the spring season has officially started and the weather is getting warmer, some may look at it as a fresh start. Spring cleaning is the practice of thoroughly cleaning your home in the spring time – it’s all about clearing out and getting rid of the items you no longer use. You can downsize your home and take on tasks that only need to be tackled once or twice a year.

Deep cleaning your home doesn’t necessarily have to take place in the spring months, but it’s a great time to celebrate the warmer weather. Spring cleaning may seem like a daunting task for some. However, thoroughly cleaning your home and all the nooks and crannies not only sets a healthy environment for your home’s inhabitants, but it also helps to keep your house well-maintained. Here are some ways that you can make spring cleaning as enjoyable as possible.

  • Plan ahead for time-consuming tasks. If you know that some areas of your house are more cluttered than others (garage and kitchen) clean those first.
  • Get mentally prepared to clean – avoid procrastinating. The longer you wait to clean, the harder it will be to actually get started.
  • Start slow – focus on one task at a time. Cleaning more than one section at a time may cause you to feel overwhelmed.
  • Be realistic and break it down – make a list. Utilize a detailed checklists for deep-cleaning the areas of your home that need extra attention. You can skip the items that have already been cleaned recently.
  • Store things based on how you use them.
  • Establish new cleaning habits. Simple 15 minute cleanup routines can be practiced at least once a week, if your schedule permits. This will reduce clutter so that the next time you need to deep-clean your home, you won’t feel as overwhelmed.
  • Clean room by room. Don’t feel pressured to have a specific day where you clean the whole entire house. For example, you can dedicate one Sunday to clean out your garage, and the next weekend you can work on the kitchen.
  • Spring cleaning may be more enjoyable if you have your favorite music playing in the background. Put on upbeat music to dance to and to keep your energy levels high.
  • Gather your supplies –broom, dustpan, sponges, vacuum cleaner, mop bucket and mop stick, paper towels, cleaning gloves, trash bags, etc.

Crossing things off of a to-do-list will feel make you feel good, no matter how small the task. Spring cleaning is a lot of work and can be challenging, but it’s feasible and easier when you have a schedule and a plan. De-cluttering your home will change your mindset and improve your overall productivity.

 

Written by Dami Falade

Effects of Stress on Your Health

Stress is the body’s reaction to unfamiliar situations. Stress is a normal part of everyday life, and so is our response to it. When you feel threatened, a chemical reaction occurs in your body that allows you to act in a way to protect yourself. This reaction is known as “fight-or-flight”, or the stress response. During this process, your heart rate increases, your breathing quickens, your muscles start to tighten, and your blood pressure rises.

Some causes of internal and external stress include major life changes (pregnancy, getting married, or a new job), relationship problems, financial responsibilities, and academic pressure as well. Stress may be affecting your health, even though you might not realize it. Stress can affect your body, thoughts, feelings, and behavior.

The effects of stress on your emotional wellbeing are:

  • Constant worrying
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Irritability (agitated behavior – twiddling your fingers, clenched jaw, grinding teeth)
  • Angry outbursts
  • Social withdrawal – decreased contact with family and friends
  • Overeating or undereating

The most common physical symptoms of chronic stress are:

  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Digestion issues – nausea or constipation
  • Muscle tension
  • Increased heart rate
  • Weight gain

Here are some coping mechanisms and ways you can manage your stress better.

  • Identify what’s causing your stress. Ask yourself about your feelings and the problems that you’re having. Is it something that you can control or is it always going to be an issue?
  • Exercise on a regular basis. It’s important to make time to exercise at least 3 times a week if your schedule permits.
  • Utilize techniques for physical relaxation. Activities such as deep breathing, yoga, and meditation will make a huge difference in your overall outlook and help you to relax.
  • Socialize with family and friends. Talk to someone close to you about what’s on your mind. You’ll feel much better when your feelings are out in the open, instead of just bottling them up.
  • Find a hobby that you can enjoy. Read a book, draw, or listen to your favorite music.
  • Journal your thoughts. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone, writing down your feelings is a great way to get it out of your system.
  • Sleep! Getting enough sleep is key. Sleep deprivation can negatively affect your mood. Make sure you are sleeping at least 6 -7 hours per night.

Stress is inevitable. It’s always important to have a plan so that your stress levels aren’t getting too out of control. Finding stress-reducing routines that work well for you is the first and most important step of increasing side effects of stress, both emotional and physical. Learning how to manage your stress takes time and practice.

However, if you have tried all above steps and your stress becomes more difficult to manage, or if you start to develop more serious symptoms (chest pain, difficulty breathing, or irregular menstrual cycle) it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

 

Written by Dami Falade

Hurricane Cleanup Safety

Hurricane season is coming to an end, but areas impacted by heavy storms are beginning the process of rebuilding communities which starts with hurricane cleanup. Whether or not your area was affected by a hurricane this season, it is never a bad idea to stay informed about cleanup hazards. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has compiled a list of tips to ensure workers stay safe and healthy while cleaning up after natural disasters:

  • Use a wooden stick or pole to check flooded areas for pits and holes before entering
  • Conduct a preliminary worksite inspection to verify stability before entering a flooded or formerly flooded building
  • Do not touch downed power lines or any object or water that is in contact with such lines
  • Treat all power lines as energized
  • Beware of overhead and underground powerlines when clearing debris
  • Establish a plan for contacting medical personnel in the event of an emergency
  • Report any obvious hazards such as downed power lines, frayed electric wires, gas leaks or snakes to appropriate authorities
  • Always wear watertight boots with steel toe and insole gloves, long pants and safety glasses during cleanup operations
  • Clean, cool water and sun screen should be available for workers

Educating workers on hurricane cleanup safety allows them to work cautiously at the workplace or when providing assistance to their neighbors and communities. Staying informed about cleanup hazards reduces risk of injury for everyone involved.

Nova Medical Centers solely focuses on occupational health. We pride ourselves in providing exceptional services and helping our clients prioritize their health and safety above all else. Communicating up-to-date OSHA safety regulations and trends to employers and employees allows us to assists clients in creating a safer workplace environment. Contact Us  to learn more about any of our services. Our skilled and friendly staff members are ready to meet all your occupational health needs.

 

Written by Nayda Sanchez

National Physical Therapy Month

Physical therapy plays a critical role in the recovery process of patients who have experienced injury or deformity. Both physicians and patients who have participated in physical therapy know that it is more than just treatment. It is a journey of transformation. American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) established National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM) in 1981 to raise awareness of the life changing benefits it offers to patients. Here are some key facts about National Physical Therapy Month:

  • National Physical Therapy Month is celebrated in October
  • Every year, APTA selects a theme such as lower back pain, posture, balance, fitness and obesity, to be the main focus. This year’s focus is on the #ChoosePT campaign which encourages physical therapist to tout the benefit of choosing physical therapy in lieu of opioid medication
  • A “Day of Service” is designated to give physical therapists an opportunity to engage their communities in activities to promote healthy lifestyles and to spread awareness of the importance of physical therapy
  • Many clinics offer free posture screenings, balance assessments or fun runs
  • 50 Chapter Challenge, Neighborhood blood drives, photo contests, and Miracles Baseball Leagues are some events organized by APTA to make it easier for physicians to get involved during NPTM

Physical therapists deserve recognition for their hard work and dedication to empowering patients to take control of their treatment plans and recovery progress. National Physical Therapy Months allows physicians to spread awareness of the benefits of physical therapy while receiving the appreciation they undeniably earned.

At Nova Medical Centers, our team of highly skilled licensed physical therapy staff is committed to providing the most current treatment to patients. Our program provides one-on-one patient care, which means patients do not share their individual therapy time with multiple patients. We pride ourselves in leading the occupational health industry. Contact us  today for more information about our physical therapy program or any other of our services.

Hurricane Season is Not Over

According to National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, hurricane season reaches its peak between August and October in both the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Basin. You can’t rely on forecast to determine whether or not you should prepare for a hurricane. Let’s face it; Mother Nature is so unpredictable that not even experts can accurately predict her next move.  Staying prepared is the best route. Below are 3 tips to prepare for a hurricane at your workplace:

  1. Having an evacuation plan in place ensures workers can get to safety in case a hurricane affects area. A thorough evacuation plan should include:
  • Conditions that will activate the plan
  • Chain of command
  • Emergency functions and who will perform them
  • Specific evacuation procedures, including routes and exits
  • Procedures for accounting for personnel, customers and visitors
  • Equipment for personnel
  1. Prepare your employees

Having a plan is not enough. Participating in crisis drills where employees practice the evacuation plan better prepares your employees if a hurricane does occur. Constantly practicing and discussing your plan expresses the importance your company places on your employee’s safety.

  1. Test your emergency communication plans

Sending an email, a text alert or testing a public address system ensures you are able to provide critical information to employees if an emergency occurs.  Be sure to include identifiers such as “THIS IS A TEST” to avoid confusion.

Emergency Action Plans help communicate procedures during an emergency to all employees within an organization. Engagement and implementation of emergency plans assists in illuminating confusion during natural disasters. You may not be able to predict when a hurricane might strike, but you can control how you prepare for one.

Nova Medical Centers focuses solely on occupational health. We pride ourselves in providing exceptional services and helping our clients prioritize their health and safety above all else. Our Nova Lunch and Learns  are designed to communicate up-to-date safety regulations to employers and employees and are hosted at one of our facilities regularly. Topics include hurricane or natural disaster preparedness, preparing for an active shooter situation and more.  Contact Us  to learn more about our next event.

 

Written by Nayda Sanchez