Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle on Vacation

Summer is in full swing! Summer signifies warmer weather, and the warmer weather calls for vacation. Going on vacation and having a few days off is always a fun time. You get to go someplace new and unwind without the stressors of daily life.

When on vacation, it’s easy to get out of your normal routine and do things that you normally wouldn’t do. Staying healthy is more difficult when you’re in an unfamiliar environment and under stressful conditions. However, you don’t have to break your habits completely and overindulge. Here are some tips that will help you.

  • Stay hydrated. Bring your own water bottle, if possible. Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake so that you can avoid dehydration while traveling. Dehydration leads to headaches and tiredness, so if you start to feel sluggish, drink some water.
  • Sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends at least 8 – 10 hours of sleep each night. Make sure you’re sleeping enough at least three days before you travel so that when you go on vacation, your body has time to get used to the time difference (if any).
  • Incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet. Have a side of fruit with your breakfast and a salad filled with greens on the side of your dinner. Avoid eating large meals.
  • Eat smaller portions. Cut your portion size by sharing your meal or dessert, or even take it to-go so you can eat it the next day.
  • Make time for exercise. Rather than driving or taking public transportation, explore the new location by walking around. Be sure to pack comfortable tennis shoes.
  • Pack your own travel snacks. Whether you decide to fly or driver, having non-perishable snacks on hand is a healthy alternative as opposed to processed food on the road. Nuts, seeds, and dried fruits will give you plenty of energy when you don’t have that many food options.
  • Avoid eating large meals before you go to sleep. Not only can this lead to indigestion, eating late at night may result in less hunger the next day.
  • Plan ahead – limit dining out. If you’re driving to your destination and your hotel has a refrigerator, cook some food to take with you before you leave and put it in an insulated cooler.
  • Bring your own gear – proper running shoes, yoga matt, and/or workout clothes.
  • Be prepared for emergencies. Pack sunscreen, antihistamines, bug spray, band-aids/first aid kit, and hand sanitizer. You never know what can happen and it’s better to have these essentials on hand in the case that you need it.

Give yourself a break when you get home. When a great vacation is over, there is usually tiredness from the travel and excitement. Take a day, if possible, to get back to your normal routine and run errands, whether that is doing laundry, grocery shopping/cooking, or even taking the whole day to sleep.

Eating healthy and having a healthy attitude while on vacation is challenging, but it’s also not impossible. By having these tips in mind, you will feel more satisfied, both physically and mentally while you are enjoying your time away from home.

Written by Dami Falade

Nova Featured Employee – Michael

Michael Couch has been a driving force at Nova Medical Centers for more than 13 years. He currently serves as the Industrial Director for Houston East. After completing both a Bachelor’s degree and a Masters degree in Human Performance at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, Michael became a leading figure at Nova. His expertise ranges from building lasting relationships with each of his clients to assisting DOT clients with questions they may have about sleep apnea, high blood pressure, diabetes and other symptoms. He believes that a key part of his job is building trust with his clients and being there for them when they need him.

Throughout his successful career, he has built an understanding of the East Side of Houston through his ability to work with multiple types of businesses. His knowledge of OSHA has helped him bridge the gap between Nova’s services and companies that are very OSHA sensitive in this part of Houston. Many of these companies are under various OSHA Surveillance Requirements and are concerned with OSHA Recordability. Michael’s knowledge and initiative have helped him build lasting relationships with these clients as well.

Michael Couch has been married to his beautiful wife, Carolyn, for almost 24 years. They both adore their precious cat, who they named Funny Face. In his free time, Michael loves to spend time outdoors with his friends and family. He also enjoys seeing live music shows, fishing, relaxing with the occasional Starbucks, and watching his favorite college team, the University of Houston Cougars, play.

Thank you for your dedication and hard work at Nova Medical Centers, Michael!


Envenomation: Snake Bites

With summer among us, most people are heading outside to enjoy the beautiful and warmer weather. Whether you’re hiking, camping, or even lying by the water, outdoor dangers, such as a snake bite, may be lurking nearby.

Envenomation is the process by which venom is injected by the bite or a string of a venomous animal.

The most common poisonous snakes are rattlesnakes, coral snakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths. If a snake feels threatened by a person, it may try to defend itself by biting. Usually, people know right away if they have been bitten by a snake, but snakes also strike quickly and disappear before people even have time to react. According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), about 7,000 – 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes in the U.S.

Depending on the kind of snake, the symptoms may include:

  • Nausea/vomiting/stomach pain
  • Weakness/drowsiness
  • labored breathing
  • Odd taste in the mouth/excess saliva
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Sweating
  • Slurred speech
  • Redness and swelling at the bite site

Here is what you need to do if you or someone else gets bitten by a snake.

  • Call emergency services as soon as possible.
  • Remain calm and stay still. Panic will increase your heart rate, and rapid movements can cause the venom to travel more quickly through the body.
  • Remove any jewelry or tight clothing. The area surrounding the bite will most likely swell.
  • If it was the arm or leg that was bitten, lift it so that it is level with your heart.
  • Clean the bite wound. Be sure to wipe in the direction away from the wound.
  • Cover the bite with a clean, loose fitting, dry bandage.
  • Note the snake’s appearance. Not all snakes are venomous, but you should still be prepared to provide a description of the snake to emergency personnel.


  • Attempt to suck out the venom. Putting your mouth on the bite may bring bacteria to the wound.
  • Try to capture the snake. If possible, move out of view of the snake. Even recently dead snakes may still bite by reflex.
  • Give the person alcohol or any other caffeinated drinks. This could speed up the rate at which your body absorbs the venom.
  • Apply ice. Icing the snakebite can cause additional tissue damage.
  • Cute the bite wound. It can cause blood loss and make the injury worse.

If you enjoy being outdoors, running into a snake is ultimately inevitable. However, there are still some precautions you can take.

  • Wear shoes outside.
  • Keeps the grass surrounding your house cut low.
  • If you see a snake, slowly back away and do not touch it.
  • Don’t stick your hand in places you can’t see, such as in between rocks.
  • Don’t try to pick up, capture, and threaten (tease with a stick) a snake.
  • Don’t camp near swamps, streams, or other places snakes live.

Treatment of the wound depends on the snake, the strength of its venom, and how much venom was injected into the body. Snakes will usually avoid people and only bite if they feel threatened. If you aren’t sure what kind of snake bit you, even if you think it’s nonvenomous, it should still be treated as a medical emergency.


Written by Dami Falade

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

What to Do in a Hostile Work Environment

A hostile work environment can be described as an environment where one’s workplace is toxic and unwelcoming to the point where it’s almost impossible for them to get their job done. This also includes being repeatedly singled out from the group, constantly being berated for minuscule things, or always being the subject of a cruel joke. The harasser can be a supervisor, a fellow colleague, or even a visitor who doesn’t work for the company.

Being in a hostile work environment can be detrimental to one’s health. According to a 2017 Study from the Workplace Bullying Institute, 60.4 Million Americans are affected by workplace bullying. Those who are or have been bullied can experience high levels of stress, anxiety, inability to concentrate, and trouble sleeping – just to name a few. If there have been attempts made to confront the harasser about their offending actions and the behavior persists, here are some options to choose from so that one doesn’t feel completely stuck.

  • Consider your allies. If you have a trusted friend in the workplace, talk to them. There is a chance that your fellow colleague could be experiencing the same thing that you are. Not only is it important to know that you are not completely alone, but it’s also good to know that someone else has been made aware of what’s going on, in the case that the situation escalates.
  • Keep yourself safe. Along with having an ally, it’s also important to be conscious of the circumstances. If the harasser is your immediate supervisor or even a colleague, try to avoid situations where you might be alone with them. If they invite you out to lunch, politely decline. If they keep persisting, tell them that you brought lunch from home, or that you’re just not hungry. Even though there’s a chance that nothing will happen, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Steer clear of situations where you’re not completely comfortable.
  • If you’ve followed all three previous steps and nothing has changed, the only thing left to do is to possibly look for an escape. If you have a human resources department in your company or organization, you might want to utilize that and make them aware of the situation. However, if you simply cannot tolerate the behavior anymore, you can consider resigning. Perhaps start looking for positions elsewhere. If the opportunity arises and you do get another job somewhere else, give your supervisor your 2 weeks’ notice. Explain to them that you found another position elsewhere and that you are leaving. It is important to note that you should make a peaceful exit. You never know when you’ll need a recommendation letter, or there is a chance you could end up working for the company again in the future.
activity, backhoe, bailer, big, black, blue, brown, bucket, build, clay, closeup, cloud, construction, development, dig, digger, dipper, dirt, dredge, earth, equipment, excavate, excavation, excavator, ground, heavy, horizontal, industrial, industry, ladle, land, machine, machinery, mining, move, outdoor, pipe, pipeline, pit, power, scoop, shovel, site, sky, soil, teeth, trench, work, yellow

How to Prevent Trenching and Excavation Injuries