Aloe Vera is More Than a Plant, It’s everything!

Aloe Vera is one of the few plants with many talents! It is utilized and idolized in many industries such as beauty, health care, food, and toiletry. The Aloe Vera plant is easily identified by its long vibrant green leaves, and when the leaf is cut open, it contains slim-like watery gel. This is good stuff!

Aloe Vera is a high demand plant in the market estimating $13 billion a year in global trading according to an NCBI study. The plant is originated in South Africa, where it was discovered about 16 million years ago. Since then, its awareness of its uniqueness has been spread across the world.

If there’s a problem that needs fixing, aloe vera is your guy…well plant.

Aloe Benefits

  • Treats skin conditions – Aloe Vera gel is an excellent solution to healing sunburns, small open wounds, eczema, and even treating acne. The amusing and famous actress, Drew Barrymore, is a die-hard advocate for aloe Vera in her skincare. In a Women’s Health article, it elaborates over Barrymore’s social media post that received traffic after demonstrating how raw aloe Vera erased her red blemish in just a couple days! “The plant hormones auxin and gibberellins, for example, promote growth and play a role in wound-healing response” explains board-certified M.D., Lauren Fine, in the article.
  • Great source of antioxidants -Aloe Vera is filled with many vitamins and nutrients such as vitamins A, C, E, folic acid and many other minerals. It is best to consume by drinking aloe vera juice. According to Healthline, “Aloe Vera is one of the only plant sources of vitamin B-12, too.” B-12 helps maintain healthy blood cells and restore energy, which can be difficult for people who are vegan or vegetarian because B-12 is usually consumed through animal-based foods.
  • Helps Regulate Digestive system – Aloe Vera is great for resolving complications with constipation, reflux, heartburn, &, etc. by promoting good bacteria in the gut and soothing skin tissue lining in the stomach and the esophagus. Medical News shares in its’ informative article that aloe vera is an established “natural laxative” and this effect come from the plants’ external compounds known as the anthraquinones.
  • Great for nourishing hair – Aloe Vera is great for treating a dry scalp such as dandruff. Simply message the aloe gel into the scalp or even cover all the hair like a mask. The plant is water-based, so it can be very hydrating for your hair.

When using aloe vera externally or internally, try to gravitate to fresh organic products. To receive all the great benefits the plant has to offer, it is ideal stray away from those that have added chemicals or are colored, as safety awareness. For additional facts or concerns for incorporating aloe vera into your routines, don’t hesitate to ask your trusted doctor for what’s best for your health.

A Bug Proof Guide Before the Winter

With fall here and the cool weather is coming! That may mean no more worries about outside bugs, but make sure they are not getting warm and cozy in your home.

Insects tend to migrate to temporary shelters, where they can sustain life. Often times, this can be in spaces in your home. Terminex informs us that bugs such as cockroaches, ants, spiders, and mosquitoes cannot withstand extremely cold temperatures given that their bodies are unable to produce heat. This could be the answer to why your pest control calls are more frequent during the fall/winter season. To avoid a new roomie, there are effective approaches to prevent or illuminate this issue.

  1. Bug proof your home before they invade. Go around your home and seal any cracks in the walls, doors, and windows. Get rid of old boxes, clothes, or food that might attract a cozy home for pests. It might be a good idea to spray outside your home and trim nearby trees or bushes.
  2. Research the bugs you notice, so you can have a good idea of why they are coming and how to wipe them out quickly. Not all bugs come for the same reason. According to U.S. News, most bugs intrude for shelter, food, or simply by accident. Once indoors, some may stay for a different reason. U.S. News gives the examples of the brown recluse spider; these critters prefer the dark and stay in closed spaces such as boxes or under papers. The solution to limit the time spent with these spiders would be to practice picking up things off the floor and putting them away.
  3. You should clean frequently. Bugs love mess for their ideal home. Try to sweep, wipe down surfaces regularly, and keep trash thrown out or sealed in bins. Avoid boxes in your home and clothes on the floor or pest may consider the darkness and warmth as shelter.
  4. Keep food put up and stored in sealed areas. Pest USA describes food “as an open invitation” for bugs in your home, so avoid providing a buffet-style feast. As stated in the ThoughCo. Article,” Scientists believe that insects use chemical smell and taste cues…” These cues are sensed by their antennas as a way to reach food or other insects. By eliminating food odors, you are able to limit a source to a possible infestation.
  5. Keep areas in your home dry. Water is one of the three essential elements bugs need to survive.  Pestworld.org suggests that a kitchen or even a bathroom is the “ideal nesting sites for rodents.” As the air outside becomes cooler and dryer, bugs are attracted to pleasant moisture areas such as faucets, showers, kitchen cabinets or near cooking appliances.
  6. Inform your landlord or local pest control of the unbearable problem in your home. Even after all the research and adjustments, some bugs just require a little more push from a professional exterminator. According to peststrategies.com, like mice, bugs such as cockroaches are known to carry unknown diseases. Even if you notice just one, it is best to take the necessary precautions to protect you and your family’s health.

You are the bigger person in this situation, literally. So, don’t let a few bugs ruin your winter plans. Everything and one has their own place in the world and your home for bugs should not be one of them. It is common for bugs to appear in your home, but whether they decide to stay and reproduce is up to you. The key is identifying and removing the source of the problem in the most efficient and quickest way possible.

Running apps

Every Shoe Has A Purpose

Biofoot-me states that “We must, therefore, wear comfortable footwear suitable for every occasion.” However, Shoes are built and worn specifically for every occasion. You wouldn’t want to run on a treadmill in vans or wear sneakers with a suit and tie. You must wear shoes that will provide the best functionality.

If you are someone who walks a lot, you should consider buying shoes that support your arch and back. Avoid wearing shoes that have a flat bottom like vans or converse. Look into shoes that have the appropriate sole that will ease your walks. Shoes like crocs, sketchers, or new balance are fantastic due to having a good sole, well-rounded build, and comfortability. Spectrum foot clinics gave an insight on crocs stating “They offer good arch support, but also have very cushioned insoles, making them a very comfortable choice for people experiencing this kind of pain.” They’re also cost-friendly, with shoes and crocs ranging from $30-$60.

Like most jobs, you are usually seated and not doing much walking or standing. This can give you some flexibility on what type of shoes to wear. You can wear classic flat bottoms, sandals, dress shoes, heels or athletic footwear. However, make sure that you fall in line with dress codes that your employers have set.

If you’re a physical therapist, trainer, or coach, it’s recommended to wear shoes that will be best suited for physical activities. Look into running shoes that have ridges at the bottom. These ridges help increase balance and grip for when you walk, run, and jump. Running shoes will not only bring out the most of physical activities but can bring out the most out of your wallet. Athletic shoes can be expensive, so be ready to commit to a hefty price tag. However, it will pay off in the long run.

Construction and warehouse workers must wear shoes that provide a sturdy base and padded protection. Look into shoes that have a strong cushion in the interior. This can help soften and ease the load on your feet when lifting or pushing objects. Also, look into lightweight work boots. A heavy shoe can increase pain at your ankles and bottom of your feet. Check out your local retailer to see which work boot would be economical.

If you’re unable to purchase a pair of shoes, you could look sole inserts. A sole insert can fit into almost any type of shoe and can make one of the most uncomfortable shoes feel like you have pillows on your feet.  If you have really flat feet, and I mean almost parallel to the floor just like me, visit your local doctor. Have your feet examined and listen to their expert opinion on what type of soles you should purchase.

Shoes come in various shapes and sizes but serve the same purpose. Make sure to buy the right shoes for your feet as it brings health a long way.

 

Written by, Julien Gonzalez

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.

Seven Ways to Improve Workmate Relationships

A major factor that plays a role in your happiness at your job is the environment. Establishing a good relationship with your colleagues can help ease the troubles you may find yourself at work. It can also lead to better production as MindTools states, “if people who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs.” If you’re shy or not a people’s person, here are 7 ways to improve your relationship with your fellow employees.

  • Start with small talk – Forget the high and bye that goes on passing through the hallway. Make an effort and engage in conversation with someone. However, make sure to do that when they’re on break or not busy. If you’re trying to start a conversation while they are hard at work can have the opposite effect.
  • Eat together during breaks – Instead of sitting alone in your office or cubicle, continue to build up steam. After you have engaged in some small talk, make the effort to it together during lunch breaks. The lunch break is a great opportunity to get to know each other. Try to talk about things you would have in common with him/her.
  • Improve your listening skills – paying attention to someone goes a long way because it shows that genuinely enjoy having a conversation with this person. One of the biggest turn offs is not paying attention to someone while talking to you.
  • Avoid gossip – It’s sad that once a high school activity still takes place in the work place. Keep it professional. Don’t engage in childish acts because it is one of the quickest ways to have a bad reputation. Instead of being a bystander, stand up for the individual who is the target of gossip. This shows respect and loyalty for the individual and others around the work place.
  • Positive energy – Nobody likes a negative Nancy, so smile often, stand up straight with your chest out, and develop a cheery tone. People are gravitated by those who have positive energy and it can help by getting a lot of recognition. You can also engage in positive topics that will help bring up the mood for other people. If you express negative energy, then people will be wary of you and will most likely try to avoid you.
  • Don’t be too compelling – You want to maintain the relationship, not ruin it. It’s okay to give some space here and there. Sometimes people will need their space and it’s okay to allow that. Work can be hectic at times, so trying to start a conversation while they’re working hard can become a nuisance and just get in the way.
  • Appreciate your colleagues – Appreciating your fellow workmates can say a lot about ones character. Remembering their birthdays, brining donuts in the morning, or buying them coffee when it’s going to be a busy day is a great way to show how much you respect them. The little things you do can come with a big reward.

 

It can be hard making friends at your job and sometimes you won’t get the results you expect. Some people are who they are and you must respect their feelings. However, it doesn’t mean you stop trying. So put yourself out there and make some friends with familiar faces.

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.

Returning to Work After Vacation

Mid way through the summer and the warmer weather also calls for vacation! Going on vacation and having a few days off is always an exciting time. You can go someplace new and unwind without the stressors of daily life.

Although taking a few days off for vacation sounds amazing, returning to work after a vacation can be daunting, whether you were only gone for a few days or you took an extended trip. Regardless if you went out of town or you simply use your off days to stay at home and decompress, the first day back at work after some time off can be a little rough. Here are some tips for productivity and so that you can make the transition back a little less difficult.

Before you leave:

  • Make a list of projects and/or assignments.
  • Make sure your area is organized – get rid of unnecessary clutter and organize your desk/cubicle drawers.
  • Delegate tasks to others. Give some tasks that you might normally do to other people. This will help so that your responsibilities aren’t totally being neglected while you’re gone, and you don’t feel as swamped when you come back.
  • Let your co-workers know that you’ll be gone and when you’ll be back. Even though you may have let your supervisor know and you formally requested the time off, your coworkers might not be aware. Let them know so that they can coordinate with you.
  • Do extra work before you leave. If you do more assignments before you leave, you can get ahead so that when you get back, you can have a somewhat light workload for the first few days back.
  • Turn on auto-response messages on your e-mail informing people that you will not be in the office. Set your voicemail to explain that you are on vacation and make sure you let people know when you will be back.
  • Pre-vacation. If your schedule permits, give yourself a full day in between your last day of work and the day before you are scheduled to leave for vacation. Try to stay off your electronic devices and not think about what’s going on in the office.

During vacation:

  • Unplug. Try to avoid looking at your emails and messaging your co-workers.
  • Enjoy your time away and relax! It’s important to use this time for its intended purpose. Going on vacation does a lot to keep you healthy, both physically and mentally.
  • Adjust your sleep schedule. Make sure you go to sleep at the same time as when you know you have to work the next morning. If you’re not on vacation for very long, make sure your sleep schedule doesn’t get too off-track.

When you come back:

  • Come home early – Give yourself a few days to adjust to your normal routine. Try to dedicate a day to personal errands alone, whether that’s grocery shopping and cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, or just sleeping the whole day.
  • First day back at work – come in early, if you can, and catch up. Give yourself an extra 30 minutes to an hour to check emails, voicemails, and figure out what problems happened while you were away. From there, you can make a list of what you need to do, starting from most to least important.
  • Take it easy. If you throw yourself in full-force, it will cause you to be overly stressed, which will hurt the quality of your work.
  • Catch up on emails. Check in with your supervisor and colleagues as soon as you can. Find out what you missed while you were away.

You don’t have to feel flustered the minute you go back to work. With some planning and a positive attitude, it won’t take you long to get back into your normal routine.

 

Written my Dami Falade

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!