5 Tips to Help You Fight the Flu

With fall just around the corner, now is the time to start preparing for flu season. 10% of the population contracts the flu yearly. Though it may not seem like a high percentage, more people are affected than you think. Interacting with people who have been exposed to the flu is inevitable, but it doesn’t mean we can’t better prepare ourselves. Below are 5 tips to help you fight the flu:

  • Get Vaccinated – Vaccinations are the best way to help the prevention of spreading the flu. Nova Medical Centers proudly offers onsite vaccinations. It is important to know the benefits of receiving flu vaccines.
  • Sanitizers are your Best Friends – During flu season, sanitizing commonly used surfaces such as computer equipment, doorknobs, desks and telephones can help keep from spreading the flu. Use cleaning products and disinfectants to kill germs on surfaces.
  • Wash Your Hands – Washing your hands several times a day prevents spreading flu germs. Germs can live on anything someone who is infected has touched for over two hours. It is advised to wash your hands several times a day. You soap and water to thoroughly wash hands. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Stay Home When You’re Sick – If you have the flu, the best thing you can do for yourself and others is to stay home. Staying home prevents the spreading of the flu.
  • Exercise and Eat Healthy – Feeding your body the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and exercising regularly is proven to help you fight viruses. The healthier you are, the less prone to illnesses you become. Work-out regularly, eat your veggies and get plenty of sleep. Your body will thank you once flu season arrives.

Nova Medical Centers is here to help protect your workplace and staff from the influenza and COVID-19 by offering a comprehensive onsite service package including; flu shots, COVID-19 saliva tests, temperature checks, and a self-administered COVID-19 saliva test.  Please click on those links for more information or leave us a note in our contact us form.

Virtual Reality Transforming Healthcare

Virtual reality (VR) is the term closely linked to a revolutionary new generation of gaming technology. VR gaming introduced the consumer to computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional environment that can be interacted with via special electronic equipment such as a headset. By stimulating senses such as sight, sound and even smell, the interest and demand of VR technology have expanded to many other industries, most notably the healthcare industry.

VR is helping train medical students, assist surgeons in planning upcoming operations, and also providing unique treatments to patients with a variety of conditions while relieving pain and anxiety during minor procedures.

VR medical training

During medical school, students rarely have a chance to experience real-world surgical operations that they would need to perform precisely when the time arises. VR platforms allow students to fully immerse themselves in a surgical experience which requires quick thinking and analysis and also to view surgical procedures from a first-person perspective.  In fact, according to Harvard Business Review VR training improved participants’ overall surgical performance by 230% compared with traditional training methods.  Furthermore, VR is helping close the gap on any challenges doctors may come across during complicated procedures by providing 3D visualization of a patient’s body (with the help of MRI scans) which allows them to venture inside a patient’s organ from any desired angle to examine what surgical approach might work best for each individual patient.

VR treatment 

VR has been used to successfully treat patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder through exposure therapy. The idea is to take a patient back to the memory of their trauma over and over again until their triggers no longer produce anxiety.  This method has been found to be more effective than treatments like medication and psychotherapy.  Similarly, VR has been shown to manage chronic pain and anxiety for patients undergoing frightening procedures.  The immersive effect of VR tricks the most primal parts of the brain into experiencing a different reality which, as a result, relieves the patient and takes focus away from the pain. Additionally, a study by the conversation found that, for patients who were anxious about walking during physical therapy sessions, by slowing down the rate at which patients moved in their virtual environment it naturally caused the patient to speed up their walking. It makes the process a little bit more fun since VR allows patients to use the movements of their therapy exercises as interactions in a VR simulation. VR is set to revolutionize the healthcare industry, as healthcare providers continue to recognize its benefits.

Protecting your Employees: Benefits of 100% Occupational Health Facility

Occupational healthcare refers to the branch of medicine that is dedicated to employee health, safety and welfare issues in the workplace. The aim of occupational healthcare is employee education, injury prevention and to return injured employees to work.  Services include pre-employment screenings, work-related injury care, physical therapy, drug testing and more.

Occupational healthcare facilities reduce the high cost of obtaining work-related medical services compared to urgent care facilities by providing onsite or easy access to injury treatment.  Nova Medical Centers specialize solely in occupational healthcare.  As a result, Nova Centers are not open to the general public and only provide services to employers and their employees.  This is a vital part of why Nova Medical Centers’ patients return to work faster, healthier and stronger with optimal results. With little to no wait times, patients are met with medical providers that receive specialized training and are dedicated to providing tailored medical solutions that are distinct to each injured employee’s working conditions.

With the importance of teamwork in mind, Nova Medical Centers offers real-time web-based communication through its proprietary electronic medical records system, Occuflex, which allows clients to remain up to date with injury treatment status and pre-employment testing results.  Furthermore, through physician tele-triage, clients have access to licensed physicians 24/7 who can safely and effectively asses and recommend treatment direction for injured employees with a simple phone call. Patients recovering from work-related injuries are provided with free transportation to assist in returning them to optimal function in the shortest time possible.  Last but not least, Nova Medical Centers’ physicians are experts in ADA, DOT, NIOSH, OSHA and state regulations that govern the occupational healthcare industry and work personally with employers to guide them through the required workers’ compensation claim paperwork.

At Nova Medical Centers we specialize in Occupational Health. From our outstanding services to our convenient electronic systems, we provide the best care for employees who need our help. We pride ourselves on helping others.  Click here to read testimonials on our loyal clients and their experience. We have over 51 facilities across Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Indiana and we are constantly striving to provide the best care for America’s workforce.  Feel free to contact Nova Medical Centers with any questions or comments that you may have

Are Masks or Respirators Really Effective or Necessary?

A question many are asking as news about coronavirus continuous to circulate.

It is important to understand the differences between these two types of protective equipment. Since there is limited historical information on the effectiveness of surgical masks and respirators for the control of influenza during any previous pandemics, the effectiveness of surgical masks and respirators has been inferred on the basis of the mode of influenza transmission, particle size, and professional judgment.

The purpose of face masks is to protect the user from potential hazards or prevent an infectious person from contaminating someone else. However, during inhalation, a face mask does not fit tight enough to prevent inhalation of small airborne contaminants that are not visible to the human eye. The contaminated air can pass through gaps between the face and the surgical mask regardless of how tight fitting it is. It is, however, acting as a barrier to keep contaminated hands from nose and mouth also protects workers, such as healthcare professionals, from splashes or sprays of blood or bodily fluids.

A respirator is a device that protects you from inhaling dangerous substances, such as hazardous fumes, chemicals, and gases including dust and airborne microorganisms. Depending on the type of respirator, testing and adjusting are required to provide a tight seal. Training is important in regard to the use of respirators because they are meant for industrial settings. In addition, respirators must be put and taken off in an area outside the contaminated area to avoid hazardous gases from entering the respirator.

Respiratory protection is effective only if:
the correct respirator is used,
it’s available when you need it,
you know when and how to put it on and take it off, and
you have stored it and kept it in working order in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions

Visit osha.gov and cdc.gov for a further in-depth understanding of the differences between masks and respirators.

At Nova Medical Centers we specialize in occupational health. From our friendly staff to our superb services, we tailor our care to every single patient. Our clients speak highly of our speedy recovery, short wait times and friendly staff. Click here to read testimonials on our loyal clients and their experience with NOVA medical centers.

Extended Unusual Work Shifts

In today’s hustle and bustle economy work has become an added stress instead of being the stepping stool needed to launch us into a more thriving financially successful life, work has taken on a different meaning. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average number of hours worked annually by workers in the United States has increased steadily over the past several decades and currently surpasses that of Japan and most Western Europe.

Extended or unusual work shifts may be used to increase a person’s resources or are often required by first responders doctors, firefighters, etc. Working irregular hours can be hazardous to your health and also increase the risk of injuries and accidents. Research from the Harvard Business Review workaholics, whether or not they work long hours, reported more health complaints and had increased risk for metabolic syndrome; they also reported a higher need for recovery, more sleep problems, more cynicism, more emotional exhaustion, and more depressive feelings.

Making a change…

Mistakenly people may assume that sleep that the lack of sleep caused by these usual work hours can be overcome by motivation, professionalism, training, and experience which is not true! As an employer, it is important to examine work demands and make use of each employee to prevent overworking those in the current field. Keep in mind that fatigue will be a bigger problem when responders are working long shifts and the tasks are very demanding or exposed to other health or safety hazards. As an employee, it is very important to plan two full days of rest or at minimum one day during the course of a week where workers relax and naturally wake up without setting an alarm.

When extended or unusual work shifts are not avoidable there are a lot of different two minutes or fewer steps that can be done to further help. In addition to regular lunch breaks some techniques that help relax the brain and train your mindset are;

  • Meditation- improves a wide range of skills including attention, focus, stress management, and self-awareness.
  • Deep breathing- as you exhale, your heart rate slows, repeated deep breaths will naturally bring your heart rate more in sync with your breath. This leads the brain to release endorphins, chemicals that have a natural calming effect.
  • Imagery- close your eyes and visualize yourself in a more relaxing setting.
  • Stretching- stimulates receptors in the nervous system that slow the production of stress hormones. It can als0 increase blood flow, flexibility and improve your posture.

Learning to recognize the symptoms and impact of demanding work schedules can prevent worker fatigue and fatigue-related injuries and illnesses. Read our Nova blog for further ways to help maintain your mental health in your work environment.

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Creating a “Culture of Health” in the Workplace

Culture of Health (COH) is a workplace environment in which employee health improvement is supported and promoted through worksite health and well-being programs including benefits and environmental support. This program is to not only encourage individual behavioral change but also to reduce the common stressors in the workplace that have negative take home effects on health behavior.

Work is an important part of life; something that is necessary for the financial stability of an individual. Implementing a culture of health would not only be a long term beneficial improvement among workers but also to the employer. In fact, an employer will receive a very high return on investment for example,

  • Lower insurance costs- the CDC state that healthy employees spend less out-of-pocket on health-related expenses and so do their employers. Employees in good health present a lower insurance risk which translates into lower insurance costs.
  • Improving employee engagement- employees perceive the company as caring for their well-being
  • Heightened job satisfaction- the promotion of health and well-being results in greater employee engagement, satisfaction, and trust.
  • Boosting morale- better health means happy and more energetic productive workers.
  • Fewer absences- chances of being sick are less to none, reducing the number of sick days and time spent away from work

Culture of health is not only about implementing a set of rules but understanding the big picture and leading by example. First, you must understand your organization. Knowing people’s motivation, needs and preferences are important in making sure they all get the message and are motivated to engage in healthier behaviors. The goal is to discover the best practices for each given workplace environment. To be effective, workplace wellness programs need to be intertwined into the structure of the organization.

According to the RAND Employer Survey, employers overwhelmingly expressed confidence that workplace wellness programs reduce medical cost, absenteeism, and health-related productivity losses. For further support, partnering with an expert in this area will help move you move from contemplation into action. Organizations such as Cigna helps employers build the framework to implement such a culture. Creating a strong COH in the workplace is a very important addition which often translates into greater profits, happier clients and improved overall workplace rankings.

At Nova Medical Centers, we solely focus on occupational health. We pride ourselves in delivering exceptional services and helping our clients prioritize their health and safety needs. Contact us for more information about any of our services. Our skilled and friendly staff members are ready to meet all your occupational health needs.

Coronavirus and Employer Obligations

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause respiratory illness in people. Coronaviruses circulate among animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

As headlines continue to emerge every day on the spread of the 2019 coronavirus outbreak, employers are struggling to determine how to respond. The respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, China in late 2019 has recently spread to the United States and is growing worldwide. The first confirmed case in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020, following person-person spread with the virus on January 30, 2020.

In addition, China has also reported the spread of the virus from infected patients to healthcare workers. Every employer should evaluate the risks and analyze their defenses against worker exposure. Companies are also advised to avoid all non-essential traveling to China. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that exposure risk may be elevated for some workers who interact with potentially infected travelers abroad including those involved in:

  • healthcare,
  • airline employees and border protection,
  • solid waste and wastewater management
  • laboratories
  • death care

There is still much more to uncover about the symptoms and essentially how the transfer to person to person occurs. Current cases have ranged from mild symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath to rather severe cases causing death. Symptoms appear in as few as 2 to 14 days after exposure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spread from person to person most likely occurs among close contact of about 6 feet. Person-person transfer is thought to be airborne as a result of respiratory droplets that occur when an infected person coughs or sneezes near another which then lands in the mouths or noses of those nearby or possibly inhaled into the lungs.

The CDC and OSHA have provided general guidance for all workers and individuals regardless of specific exposure risk. Below are a few practices you can implement to decrease exposure to coronavirus:

  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and running water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands that are visibly soiled
  • Make hand sanitizers available to employees.
  • Encourage sick employees to stay at home. Be flexible with sick leave.
  • Collaborate with your temp and contractor firms to do the same.
  • Require employees to notify you if they are infected or exposed.
  • Respect changes to and limits on travel. Follow U.S. government travel advisories due to the coronavirus. Encourage video-conferencing and other tools instead.
  • Develop or update an infectious disease outbreak response plan (see CDC web site), which details how you will deal with exposed workers and infected workers and contaminated workplaces.
  • In the case of workplace exposure, determine which people and areas were exposed. Send affected employees to medical care or home. Take appropriate steps to decontaminate the environment. Follow OSHA standards on personal protective equipment, respiratory protection, bloodborne pathogens, hazard communications, and related issues.

It is important to educate and spread awareness on the best safety practices between the workforce and the general public. Knowing the risks and hazards and consistently applying the provided procedures will further decrease exposure to the coronavirus.

How to Achieve Hydrating Healthy Skin in these Dry Chilly Months

Overall skin care is always important; but as the temperatures are progressively dropping, this can cause your skin to become dryer than normal. With these few health skin hacks, you can help promote your skin to reach its healthiest and most hydrating state.

If you have sensitive skin or possible skin allergies, please consult with your doctor for more information or recommendations for your specific skin concerns 

  1. Moisturize after washing your body and face. When you shower or wash your face, the soap is stripping the dirt and oil from your skin. So, it is very important that you make sure you restore your skins moisture barrier and Ph levels. With the weather getting cooler, your skin is more prone to absorb moisture and dry out quicker; so, try to keep travel lotion either in your car, bag, or desk to have easy access for reapplication.
  2. Regular exfoliating is very important in helping your skin absorb the maximum amount of moisture. Exfoliating is removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, either mechanically such as brushes, scrubs or chemically with products that contain acids. According to Women’s Health magazine article, it’s explained that “as we age, the process of cell regeneration slows down. This means that the body is slower to shed skin cells and generate new ones.” By removing those piled up skin cells, you are able to expose fresh new skin and open up your pores that will allow for moisturizing products to penetrate further into the skin without the dull rough barrier.
  3. Vitamin C contains properties that allow your skin to retain moisture. In vitamin c, it consists of a water-soluble derivative, Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP). The function of this specific acid, according to the Indian Dermatology online journal, is to create “a hydrating effect on the skin and decrease transepidermal water loss.  Tip: Vitamin C is best absorbed with foods such as oranges, broccoli, papaya or even in a serum form; massage just a few drops prior to applying your moisturizer.
  4. Consistent water consumption increases hydration from the inside and out of your entire body. Water is a natural detox as it flushes out toxins from your body. These toxins in your body can show in the appearance of your skin with blemishes, rashes, and dryness. By drinking your daily recommended amount of water, about half a gallon according to Healthline, you can reduce the number of skin impurities; so, you can fully absorb the amount of moisture or any topical applied to your skin.  Tip: Keep skin damp when applying your favorite moisturizer or lotion. This allows your pores to remain open to maximize absorption; leaving super soft skin.
  5. Maintaining a healthful diet is another great contribution to maintaining healthy skin. A dermatology professor, Leslie Baumann, in a Real Simple article explains, “Diet can play a role in strengthening your skin’s ability to maintain moisture, too.”  Leslie suggests fatty-acid foods such as nuts, fish, or olive oil to try incorporate more into the diet as these can increase moisture production in your skin.
Probiotics Blog

Probiotics to Enhance Your Health

Probiotics are, essentially, the good bacteria used to fight off the bad bacteria in our bodies. “Probiotics are live microorganisms that are intended to have health benefits when consumed or applied to the body,” according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health; “Among adults, probiotics or prebiotics were the third most commonly used dietary supplement other than vitamins and minerals.” Probiotics are known to be a popular and highly effective way to maintain or store healthy microorganisms into your body allowing for improvement in your digestive tract, fighting disease-causing cells, preventing vaginal or urinary infections and more! 

Consuming Probiotics 

WebMD offers great advice on different options to receive the maximum amount of probiotics into your food regime. Below are a few recommendations to definitely consider for yourself!

  1. Yogurt is the most traditional way to intake probiotics. It’s convenient and you can incorporate whatever fruits or nuts to cater to your taste buds.
  2. Supplement pills are taken once a day or as often your doctor suggests. Probiotics pills can be found over-the-counter or prescribed by a doctor.
  3. Sour Pickles are pickles soaked in sea salt and water instead of, commonly, vinegar. This combination is what promotes the growth of the good bacteria in the pickles.
  4. Sourdough bread is surprisingly baked in rich amounts of probiotics. It’s still “bread” so try to consume in moderation with other healthy additions to your meal.
  5. Miso soup is a breakfast entre from Japan that has become a popular food option here in the U.S. This soup contains high amounts in, not only, probiotics but in vitamin B and other antioxidants.

These are just a few of many ways to increase your probiotic intake. If you are unable or won’t consume these choices, consider requesting more information and recommendations from your trusted doctor. There are so many other great ways to help promote a healthful lifestyle and probiotics is one of them!