The Health Wire

Beyond providing basic medical care coverage, your Aldine ISD benefits have a lot to offer to keep you and your family healthy, happy and fit. Here's the latest news from our health care providers and partners. Check back often.

Focus of the Month : Healthy smiles begin at home

Start teaching your kids early to set up a lifetime of good dental habits. At first, you’ll need to brush your child’s teeth for him or her—until at least the age of three. You should also begin taking your child to a pediatric dentist once the first tooth appears. The first appointment should take place no later than your child’s first birthday. The dentist can show you how to protect and maintain your little one’s dental health. Finally, set a good example. Show your child what good dental hygiene looks like, and your baby will follow your lead.

Go tobacco free for oral health

Using tobacco in any form is bad for your health—particularly your mouth. Of course there are the obvious signs, like receding gums, chronic bad breath, and stained or loose teeth. Tobacco use is one of the biggest risk factors for gum disease and oral cancer. Nearly 10,000 people in the US die from oral cancer each year. Overall, smoking is the top cause of preventable disease and death in the country. If you use tobacco, it’s not too late to make a change. Within minutes of quitting, your body begins to heal, so take action today.

Helping children cope

Disasters like the recent hurricanes can be traumatic for everyone. Even experiencing a disaster only through the media can cause emotional and stressful reactions.  If events like Harvey are this distressing for adults, how scary must they be to children? Children often look to adults to learn how they should respond. Be open and honest, but try not to alarm or panic them. Children’s reactions vary depending on their age and the situation, but some standard tips apply. Be present, listen, and don’t be afraid to ask for additional help if you need it. 

Healthy weight, healthy mouth

Obesity and tooth decay are two of the biggest concerns for kids today, each affecting about 1 in 5 children.  While the two conditions aren’t directly connected, they have one thing in common: nutrition. Some simple steps can help your children learn good eating habits. Try to eat balanced meals, including at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Limit snacks. Avoid sugary sodas and juices. And of course, practice good dental hygiene, brushing teeth at least twice a day. By teaching your child healthy eating habits, you can help keep their weight down and their smile bright. 

Think before you post

Love it or hate it, social media is a reality of modern life. Studies have shown that when used positively, it can lower your heart rate, reduce stress, and spread happiness. But we’ve all heard at least one horror story of a careless post gone wrong. That’s why it’s important to make smart decisions online. Before you post, ask yourself—is this something I want my boss to read? My ex? My grandmother? Have I included any identifying information that could put me or my kids in danger? Am I violating someone else’s privacy? Once something is online, you no longer control it. Be sure that post is something you can live with. 

The storm may be over, but many of us will be feeling its effects for weeks and months to come. If you need help, know that there are many resources available. Our Aetna EAP can help you find housing and transportation, file claims, access FEMA and similar resources, and receive counseling services. Call 844-317-AISD (2473) to register and connect to a board-certified physician who is ready to help. And if you need financial assistance, you can receive a loan or hardship distribution from your 403(b)/457 retirement plan. We’ve been humbled by the strength, kindness, and generosity on display this past week. Now gather your friends and family close and let’s get to work rebuilding our city.

Overcoming dental anxiety

Have you been putting off a trip to the dentist? You’re not alone—as many as 1 in 5 Americans avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety or fear. Reasons can range from fear of pain and shots to worry about loss of control and personal space.  So what can you do? First, speak with your dentist. Ask questions about your treatment and make sure your concerns are understood. Next, work with your dentist to make a plan. Finally, speak up if you feel uncomfortable during your exam. Let your dentist know if you need to take a break. 

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

Back-to-school is approaching, and your children will be having lots of interactions with other kids. Keep in mind that diseases such as the measles, the mumps and pertussis (whooping cough) can be caught and spread by typical adolescent behavior – just kids being kids. These diseases, which can be serious, require hospitalization, or even cause death, are preventable with the use of vaccines. In fact, vaccination is one of the best ways to protect children from 16 potentially harmful diseases. So, it’s important to protect your child at every age and keep up with a regular immunization schedule. As the saying goes, “better safe than sorry.”

Enjoy your summer, sunburn free!

It’s summertime! As you pack your beach bag and prepare to hit the water, remember to protect yourself from the sun to decrease your risk of skin damage. Whether you’re soaking up the sun by the pool or just running to the store, you can never be too careful protecting your skin. As you and your family enjoy your vacation outdoors, remember to take smart measures to avoid too much sun. Taking small steps like wearing a hat, reapplying sunscreen and staying in the shade during the hottest parts of the day could help you avoid melanoma and skin cancer.

Healthy gums. Healthy heart.

Did you know that gum disease could increase your risk of heart disease? Studies show that heart health could be linked to oral care. If you have experienced swollen gums, loose teeth, or bleed when brushing your teeth, you could be showing early signs of gum disease. The good news is that finding your way to healthier oral hygiene is simple – work on getting into the habit of flossing regularly, brushing your teeth twice a day, and visiting the dentist regularly. In addition to helping out your mouth, it could help your heart!

Protecting your loved ones starts at home

For many of us, getting older comes with sight, balance or health issues—making falls in the home that much scarier. But did you know a few simple steps could make your home much safer? Extra railings, properly lit stairs and walkways, and nonslip surfaces can help prevent accidents and injuries. Learn about the little things you can do to make home a safer place to live for everyone, inside and out.

Brushing—are you doing it right?

You’ve probably heard it all before: for the healthiest smile, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day. But is your brushing technique really getting the job done? Start with a soft bristled brush that is comfortable to hold and reaches your entire mouth. Next, brush all surfaces of your teeth using a gentle, circular motion—let the tips of the bristles do the cleaning. Finally, brush the roof of your mouth, the insides of your cheeks and your tongue. This makes your whole mouth feel cleaner and keeps your breath fresh.

May is National Mental Health Month

Even if you don’t suffer from a mental health condition yourself, chances are that you know someone else who does. It’s estimated
that 1 in 4 Americans will experience a mental disorder in any given year, though fewer than one-third of adults and half of children
will receive any form of treatment. Mental health issues can range from anxiety to depression to substance abuse. These are real
medical conditions and should be treated as such. Mental Health Month is intended to raise awareness and understanding of these
disorders. By highlighting available screenings and treatments, we can help millions of people get the help they need.

Whether you smoke or not, oral cancer can strike at any age. Surprising isn’t it? Get the facts about mouth and throat cancer and how to recognize the signs.

It’s time to get screened

If you’re 50 or older, it’s time to schedule a colon cancer screening. It may not be something that we really like to talk about, but it’s better to have an awkward conversation than to miss finding a treatable cancer early. Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States, and it affects both men and women. It also usually occurs in people over the age of 50. But because cancers take years to develop, a routine screening can pick up the early signs before they turn into cancer. So don’t let a curable cancer go unnoticed—schedule your screening today. 

Did you know that eating breakfast every morning can give your kids better dental health? Studies have shown that children who skip breakfast are more likely to develop cavities and have to visit their dentists more often. Children who eat breakfast tend to eat fewer snacks during the day. Plus, milk appears to reduce the negative effects of sugary cereals. By making sure your kids have a healthy breakfast every day, you can help set them up for future dental health.

It’s time to quit

Smoking, that is. If you’re a smoker, you already know how bad it is for your health. But did you know that you can start to see benefits from quitting within a day? It can be hard to overcome the nicotine addiction that keeps you coming back for more. Smoking has probably become part of your daily routine. But with commitment and a positive attitude, you can find a way to break the cycle. Keep in mind that cutting back on smoking has been shown not to help. Quitting completely is the only way you’ll be able to successfully eliminate this bad habit and make a major impact on your future health. 

Start good dental habits early

Are you staying on top of your little one’s dental health? It may not seem that important to care for teeth that are just going to fall out, but setting your child up with good dental habits now can help keep that smile glowing for years to come. For starters, set a good example! Show your child what good dental hygiene looks like, and your baby will follow your lead. Then find a supportive, patient dentist and make an appointment as soon as you can. Ideally, this would be within six months of the appearance of your child’s first tooth. Start things off well, and your kid will be all smiles!

Take advantage of free medical advice from the country’s leading doctors.

Your health is one of your most important assets. But, unless you are a trained professional, it’s difficult to be completely confident about your well-being. When you have questions about your health, or need a second opinion, turn to Best Doctors® for answers. Best Doctors is an online service that puts you in touch with leading experts in many health care disciplines - cancer, pregnancy, chronic diseases and more. 

Take advantage of this free service here or, if you are looking for answers about your pregnancy, here

You can take control of your heart health.

February is American Heart Month. It’s a good time to remind yourself of the risk factors that can contribute to heart disease and how to avoid or reduce their effects. Take a moment and read this bulletin that will: 

  • Educate you on heart disease
  • Teach you about the risk factors that you can control 
  • Show you how you can reduce your risk of heart disease 
  • And direct you to valuable resources to learn more about having a healthy heart.

Your heart’s health is in your hands. Take control and reduce your risk. 

Is it the flu or is it Lyme disease?

Lyme disease most commonly affects children, older adults and people who routinely spend time outdoors in areas where ticks live. The more you know about this potentially debilitating disease, the better. Best Doctors offers free, helpful information so you can be aware of what to look for and how to get treatment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has dubbed September National Cholesterol Education Awareness month. Visit their site to find out how to avoid joining the 71 million Americans with untreated high cholesterol and learn to be heart healthy instead.  

No wonder one in three children is overweight or obese.

Did you know that the average child spends more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen? Or that one in four young children eats fast food most days? And only one in three gets the recommended minimum physical exercise they need each day to be healthy? Visit the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition to see what you can do to help turn these facts around.

September is Baby Safety Awareness Month. Learn how to play it safe.

Babies are expensive. There’s no argument there. So when friends and family offer you hand-me-down baby items, it’s tempting to take them up on their kind offers. But be careful. It’s one thing to swaddle your newborn in a gently used baby blanket, and another to take a chance on your baby’s life with a used car seat or other equipment that may not be safe.

The trick is knowing what’s safe and what’s not when you’re planning your purchases. And for that, you’re in luck. The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association offers tips and advice to help you strike the perfect balance. Check out their site for smart ways to protect your baby from avoidable injuries.

Domestic violence affects one in four women. Which means it affects everyone in at least one in four families. The National Network to End Domestic Violence has named October Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Visit their website to learn more about the signs and what to do to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Cancer is one of the most complex diseases in the world. The good news is, more people live full lives after treatment today than ever before. But misdiagnoses are also on the rise. That’s why a diagnosis review from Best Doctors can be so important. 

Get out of town.

The holiday travel season is here. Include these healthy tips in your planning so you’ll know how to prepare for a trip overseas, how to beat jet lag, even how to survive a family road trip.

Here’s another great reason to give up smoking.

Quitting smoking is one of the ways you can reduce your risk of diabetes. Learn about other ways you can lower your risk and find out why the American Diabetes Association thinks this issue is important enough to name November American Diabetes month.

Quit smoking, even if it’s only for a day.

November 17 is this year’s Great American Smokeout, the American Cancer Society’s annual campaign to help smokers get a start on quitting. It’s the kind of group effort that can lead to reducing cancer and helping people lead healthier lives.

And make sure the celebrations don’t get out of hand.

If you’re struggling with the responsible part of Drink Responsibly, remember, you’re never far from help with a drinking problem. Don’t ignore it because of a holiday party or celebration. Learn how to get things under control.

Wish for world peace this holiday season, but don’t forget inner peace.

The holiday season can be an amazing time to spend time with family and friends. It can also challenge your well-being. Make some plans now so you can replace holiday stress with enjoyment.

For any benefits question or concern, including 24/7 Nurse Line access, one call does it all.
Call us at 866-284-AISD (2473)