There is no doubt we are at the peak of the flu season. It seems as though everyone knows someone who is suffering with flu-like symptoms. With so many people coming down with Influenza A, it is a good time to review what the flu is, as well as ways to prevent and treat it.
There are three types of flu viruses: A, B, and C. Type A and B cause the annual influenza epidemics that affected 20% of the population. Type C also causes flu, but the symptoms are not as severe.
Flu symptoms can come on quickly. Symptoms include:
For those who think they have the flu, it is important to stay hydrated, especially for older people and children. Dehydration is one of the main reasons people end up in the hospital during a bout with the flu. You should also stay home from work if you suspect the flu, so you don’t run the risk of exposing others. Get plenty of rest and follow your doctor’s orders, too. The flu usually lasts 3-7 days, but can last longer if there are complications.
For those who have Wellmark health care insurance coverage, a program called Doctor on Demand is available that enables you to video chat with a care provider in the comfort of your own home. More information can be found at weelmark.com.
The CDC is encouraging those who have not been vaccinated for the flu to do so as soon as possible. However, you should be aware that you are still susceptible to the flu for two weeks following the vaccination.
To prevent the spread of germs, practice good hygiene by washing your hands often and covering and containing your coughs and sneezes. Disinfecting door knobs, handles, phones, keyboards, and anything else that is touched often will also help stop the spread of germs.
For more information about flu vaccinations, symptoms, and prevention, visit cdc.gov.
The holidays are over. Not what? It’s winter, we’re stuck inside, and the next day off isn’t until spring. It’s normal to feel a little down after the holidays, but if that “down” feeling lasts longer than a few days, or it seems to be happening with the changing seasons, you might want to talk to your doctor. It could be Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.
Though SAD can happen with any of the seasons, it is typically seen during the winter. Symptoms include low energy, change in sleep or eating habits, having trouble concentrating, and feelings of worthlessness, among others.
Although no one seems to know why some people develop SAD, while others don’t, there seems to be a few consistent factors:
There are several treatments available for SAD sufferers, including light therapy, psychotherapy, medications, and stress management activities, such as meditation, exercise, yoga, and tai chi.
If the symptoms come and go, it could simply be a case of the winter blues. Though spring is the only real cure for that, we can keep ourselves happier and more positive by spending time with friends and family, start a new craft project, spend more time at the gym, take up yoga, or learn how to meditate.
It’s still a good idea to get the symptoms checked out with your doctor, especially if you notice you are losing or gaining weight, sleeping more than normal, and can’t seem to find the energy to do the things you once loved to do.
A winter storm warning has been issued for the Cedar Rapids-Hiawatha area starting 3 pm this afternoon (Jan. 10) until 6 pm Saturday (Jan. 11). Although Iowans should be good at preparing for such events, the weather can turn dangerous quickly, so it's good to have a solid plan in place.
Everyone is busy making a list of things they want to accomplish in the New Year. After all, it's a clean slate; the past is the past and our future is so bright "you gotta wear shades." All kidding aside, the possibilities that await in the New Year are endless. There's no better time to think about setting goals for 2020.
I prefer to call resolutions, "goals," because I believe keeping a positive attitude is essential. Goals are different than resolutions. A resolution is a "firm decision to do or not to do something." A goal is the "object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result."
A goal is less rigid. We plan the steps we will take to complete the goal and we set a deadline for completing these steps. Resolutions are more black and white. You either "do or not. There is no try."
I have also found that when I set goals, rather than make resolutions, the success rate is higher. I feel more in control and more motivated to accomplish the goal, instead of giving up at the first sign of failure, like I have with resolutions.
For example, a few years ago I made a resolution to lose weight (surprise, surprise). I think I lost two pounds in the first week, one in the second, and then totally caved when I attended a birthday party, where they served my favorite cake. All it took was a whiff of its deliciousness and my willpower flew out the window.
Last year, I decided to take a different approach. Instead of vowing to lose weight, I made the goal to eat healthier. As I became motivated to try more nutritious recipes, the weight came off easily. I took sugar, dairy, and meat out of my diet and tried to stick to a plant-based diet menu. I also started working out at the gym so I could firm up my muscles a little, because losing the weight gave me more energy. The result was that I lost 30 pounds in six months. I am now at a healthy weight and feel like my goal has been accomplished, which motivates me even more to set other goals I may have been intimidated by in the past.
Want to quit smoking? Or maybe you want to exercise more. Perhaps you have a problem with self-esteem. Don't simple "vow" to change. Do something to become actively engaged in the process. Pick one goal at a time and get yourself a notebook to keep your notes in. Write in bold letters at the top: My GOAL for 2020. Research what worked for other people, list the steps it will take you to get there, pick a deadline, and then follow through. Ask someone close to you to act as a coach to help you through the tough times.
If you find yourself floundering as you work to accomplish your goal, don't worry. Simply adjust your timeline. Goals are long-term, whereas resolutions tend to be short-term. Think about why you are setting the goal in the first place. You will be surprised at how easy it is to stay on track.
The Hiawatha City Council took action on Nov. 6 to approve a sidewalk maintenance program for the City of Hiawatha.
The program includes:
1. A survey process which includes an assessment of all of the public sidewalks in Hiawatha over a ten-year period.
2. A description of a defective sidewalk and the standards used for making repairs and corrections to non-complying sidewalks.
3. A notification process that meets the nuisance abatement requirements in State Statute including appeals, invoices for work and assessment options for collections.
4. A documentation process through our permit software which tracks each address from notification to completion to assessment if necessary. The implementation of the “Sidewalk Maintenance Program” will begin in 2020. (Click here)
The program details include:
A. The reduction in the permit fee for sidewalk repairs: The fee for residential sidewalk repairs has been reduced from $60 to $0 to facilitate the program and reduce the cost to the home owner. This fee is available only for lots used for one and two-family dwellings. All other properties will require a commercial sidewalk repair permit which specifies a fee of $100. The fee for the installation of new sidewalks remains at $60 for residential and $100 for commercial sidewalks.
B. A specification to allow existing 4-foot sidewalks to remain 4’ in the repair process. The new standard for new sidewalks in Hiawatha requires all sidewalks to meet the ADA standard of a minimum 5’ width. However, Council is allowing 4’ wide sidewalks in existing areas where the present sidewalk is 4’ wide.
C. Recognition of the new SUDAS standards as adopted by Hiawatha which contain the updated specifications and accessibility tolerances. While the tolerances are in reference to the construction and repair, they do not amend the defective sidewalk definition. Community Development consulted with the Engineering Department and neighboring jurisdictions on the matter of defining a defective sidewalk. The Hiawatha Engineering Department agrees the new goal for incorporating ADA as part of the program standards will be the best evidence Hiawatha is moving forward with compliance mandated by ADA; however, using ADA tolerances for inspecting existing sidewalks is impractical. Further, the City Attorney has rendered and opinion this is in compliance with ADA requirements for the City⁵.
The implementation for this program will include a public open house and mailings to all properties affected by inspections scheduled in 2020. The public open house will be held Jan. 22, 2020 from 5:30 to 7 PM in the City of Hiawatha multi-purpose room in the lower level of City Hall.
Looking for a fun holiday activity for the whole family? Check out the list of holiday lights in our area, listed below!
The holiday season is here, and so is the potential to sabotage any self-care routines you may have established in past months. However, you don’t have to sacrifice the festivities in order to maintain a good health plan. According to forbes.com, there are just a few things you should remember before traipsing off to all those wonderful holiday parties.
Be aware of what you are eating. It’s nearly impossible to count calories if you don’t know what the ingredients are. The hostess might think it’s rude of you to ask what is in the cheese ball or how much sugar was used in the pastries. No need to bother them with the details. It’s ok to sample the treats; just don't overdo it.
Stay hydrated. Feeling ravenous? It could just be that you are a little dehydrated. Drink a glass of water before you go to your party to see if maybe that could be the reason behind your hunger. If that doesn’t work, eat an apple or a carrot stick to curb that hunger.
Choose healthy substitutes. Instead of heading straight for the dessert tray upon your arrival, stop at the fruit and veggie trays. Most events place the healthier food items together, so it is easy to load your plate with these items before sampling the desserts. Load up on the healthy stuff and you will find it easier to resist the goodies.
Check your portions. I sometimes let my guard down and grab a handful of cookies, rather than just one. If I feel like I can’t have just one, I skip it all together. If the cravings are too much and I feel like I really have to have a cookie or cupcake, I remind myself how long I have to exercise to burn it off. But let’s face it; sometimes it’s just better to give in to temptation and adjust your workout later. After all, life was meant to be enjoyed.
Don’t skip your exercise routine. Some of us get so busy during the holidays we forget all about exercise and think we can make it up later. However, if you are like me, once I get out of my routine, it’s a lot harder to get back into it.
Above all, practice self-care. Skip the parties if you don’t feel up to the social demands of the holiday. Get plenty of sleep and try not to put too many demands on yourself. Only you know what is best for you. Besides, you can always make a resolution to do better next year.