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Consequences of Not Sleeping Enough

2451346950_65caecdd04We all know that Americans are not sleeping enough. While doctors may not always agree on exactly how much sleep we need, almost all agree that we need more of it. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that between 30-35% of all Americans sleep less than six hours per night, below the recommended seven to eight hours required to recharge. Lack of sleep has consequences on the body, mind and can hurt your health or the health of others.

One consequence of not sleeping enough is a lack of focus, even on the most mundane tasks. Sleep deprivation is especially difficult on the central nervous system, especially the brain. When we sleep, the brain releases growth hormones that help cells repair damage. It goes without saying, when the brain is exhausted it can’t perform its tasks well. Lack of sleep leads to poor decision making, impacts short term and long term memory and inhibits creativity.

Because of impaired cognitive abilities, lack of sleep is also to blame for accidents, in vehicles and on a larger scale. Did you know some of the world’s major disasters like Three Mile Island, the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl were all caused, in part, because of sleep deprivation? In the United States lack of sleep is said to cause about 100,000 auto accidents every year, resulting in about 1,550 deaths.

Back inside your own body lack of sleep can lead to several major health issues. Chronic sleep deprivation is a factor is most heart diseases, heart attacks and failures. Lack of sleep also contributes to high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and diabetes. It’s estimated that 90% of all people with insomnia are suffering with another medical condition, whether they know it or not. Sometimes the conditions aren’t as serious. A lack of sleep prevents the immune system from fighting off diseases, leading to increased colds, flu and other illness.

Lack of sleep is also a major cause in mental health issues. Not sleeping enough curbs your sex-drive and most people diagnosed with depression or anxiety are more likely to sleep less than six hours per night. Insomnia and depression almost need each other for survival. Sleep deprivation helps fuel symptoms of depression and depression, in turn, makes it more difficult to sleep. While it may seem like a never-ending circle for someone going through one or the other, the good news is treatment of at least one of the problems will help curtail the other.

If you are not sleeping enough, schedule changes may help. If not you may need to visit a doctor to discuss your issue. Doctors recommend not adapting, but being proactive. While many people simply get used to a lack of sleep and the body adjusts, the body never recovers.


When is the Best Age to Travel with Kids?

travel-tipsTravel with kids can be a fun way for the whole family to bond. Some of my best memories are of my vacations with my parents. The car rides, fun activities, I enjoyed it all. But what is the best age for kids to travel? That depends on your situation. We’ve all been on planes with screaming kids. Sometimes travel with your kids is inevitable. Other times, travel with your kids can be a waste if they won’t appreciate an expensive trip.

Sometimes a plane trip is necessary for your family whether the child is ready or not. You may be visiting family for the holidays and need to fly a long distance to see them. If you are concerned your child may not be ready for such a long trip and you don’t want the whole plane against you, airlines are there to help. Use any airline as a resource and make them aware you have a smaller child who may act up. Bring lots of activities for the child to keep him/her occupied.

If you are planning a trip with more flexibility there are different factors to consider. If you have to fly somewhere it can be expensive. The age of your child will mean much more than whether or not you’ll annoy a bunch of people on an airplane. You also have to consider if this kind of vacation is right for you and the child. A trip to Europe, for example, can cost several thousand dollars per person. If your child is not old enough to hold onto memories from a trip like this, is it worth taking? If you really want to do a big trip and you don’t think the child will get anything from it, you may think about calling grandma or a sibling to babysit while you enjoy the trip yourself.

If you’re traveling somewhere and not concerned with the child’s enjoyment of the trip, you may want to travel early on in the child’s life. Many parents experience easier travel with babies then they do from ages 2-4. If your baby is still in the breastfeeding stage, this may be a good time for a getaway. Babies aren’t upset by routine changes since they haven’t developed one yet. They’re also more likely to sleep longer in the car or on a plane and they are more easily distracted if they start to cry. There is a small window here. The ideal age to travel with a baby is 3-9 months. Any earlier they may not be ready and any later they start to crawl, which means they may try to wonder away.

If you are traveling outside the country make sure your child is up to date on all of his or her shots. You may also have to get some vaccinations yourself, but it’s vital that you speak with your doctor, especially if you are visiting sub-tropical climates. If you are flying most airlines will have meals for kids two and older. Younger and you are on your own. Restrictions on liquids don’t apply to things a child needs, like baby food or formulas. The more prepared you are, the more likely you and your child will enjoy the trip!


Top Places to Visit in the Fall

fall travelMore and more people are traveling in the fall. Vacationing in the fall gives you the opportunity to visit some the world’s greatest cities and avoid the massive crowds in the summer. If you have a flexible schedule that doesn’t limit you to the summer there are wonderful places that you can visit and enjoy much more in the fall than you would during the busy summer months.

Paris is one such place. Going to Paris in the fall gives you the feeling that the city is yours to explore. There are almost no lines for popular tourists attractions like the Eiffel Tower and museums. Of course, the food is also as good, if not better in the fall. You can also get to know more of the locals in the fall. Sure, Paris has a reputation of being unkind to outsiders, but if you can make the effort to get to know the language the locals will reward you, especially in the off-season.

If you love the outdoors you will love Yellowstone National Park in the fall. Yellowstone is popular for families which means it’s packed with people in the summer. However the fall is perfect if you are retired, traveling or have an RV. Be prepared, however, for winter-like conditions. Yes, it can (and likely will) snow in the fall at Yellowstone. Fall is usually the last chance to visit, don’t plan on visiting in the winter, when harsh conditions can close many roads in and out of the park.

Fall travel is a must if you visit Germany. Why? Oktoberfest. There’s really no other reason better to visit cities like Munich in the fall. Don’t be fooled, however, Oktoberfest actually starts on September 19th and runs through October 4th. During this time Munich streets are filled with beer tents, outdoor concerts, carnival rides and much more German culture. This is the perfect destination for younger couples looking for fun, romance and not tied down by a traditional job.

In the United States the South is awesome in the fall. Asheville has some of the most breath-taking fall colors, especially along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Parkway runs all the way through Virginia however the best spots in the fall are 2 hours north and south of Asheville. Escaping to the South in the fall is also great if you want to visit the beach and have it to yourself. Hilton Head and other beach towns along the Atlantic usually have discounted rates and temps that are still very beach-friendly.

Last but not least, is our friends in the Southern Hemisphere. Visiting Australia in the fall means you will get to enjoy spring twice in the same year. Australia experiences spring during our fall, meaning you can tour the country and view lots of beautiful blooming flowers. This is especially enjoyable in Melbourne at the Royal Botnic Gardens. Temps in Melbourne in the spring are in the 60s and 70s, which means you can walk the city in comfort.


Air Ambulance and Heart Transplants

air-ambulanceAn air ambulance can be used for many different health needs. Injuries are the most common need for an air ambulance but transplants are increasingly becoming important to the industry. With an air ambulance you can now receive the transplant that you need no matter where you are in the world. As many as five million Americans suffer from heart disease and many will need a transplant at some point in their life. Thanks to the growth of the air ambulance industry it’s now easier to receive this kind of operation no matter where you live.

If you live in an area that is remote, without decent health care access, you may find it difficult to find a donor for a heart transplant. You can broaden your search to anywhere in the world by utilizing an air ambulance. If you have the hospital, but need the heart, an air ambulance can be used to transport a heart to you. An air ambulance provides safe transport for organs because most are equipped with the tools needed to keep an organ healthy for hours after it has been removed from the donor. This technology means you can be assured that all you need to do is rest and prepare for your surgery.

In some cases a patient may be too sick to fly on their own to receive a new heart. If you have to travel to a hospital anywhere in the world an air ambulance can get you there worry-free. An air ambulance like ours comes with a full medical staff to ensure you will be in good care from your home to the hospital bed. An air ambulance staff member will go over your medical history and your needs with your current doctor and act as the communicator with the hospital where you plan to have your surgery. We can also work with your family to fly them on the air ambulance with you, whether you are using a commercial or private air ambulance.

A heart transplant can bring a new lease on life for someone suffering with heart disease. In many cases you can return to work just several weeks after the operation. And within the last 20 years alone, the one-year survival rate has jumped to nearly 90% on all operations in America. If you need a new heart and need it transported or you need to go somewhere for surgery our air ambulance can help. For more on our air ambulance services and more health tips be sure to like us on Facebook.


How to Educate Kids to Eat Right

6975859184_75b8da2343Teaching a child to eat healthy and making them enjoy what’s good for them can be a challenge. Picky eaters can be stubborn and resistant to the best foods for them. But teaching your child to eat well will set him/her up for a foundation of eating well the rest of their lives. Some of the planning is trial and error but encouraging kids to eat right is vital for their short term and long term health.

One of the best ways you can start kids eating right is to involve them in the kitchen. Kids that feel like they are a part of the meal will be more likely to enjoy the food, even if they were resistant to the food in the past. Let the kids do their part to help prepare the meal not only gets them away from the TV or computer but gives you valuable quality time. There are even kids-safe knives and other cooking utensils on the market that you can buy for your little chef!

You can even get the kids involved when you go shopping. Health experts say it is important for kids to see the foods in their raw form so they can become more educated about where food comes from. Don’t rush the grocery store experience for your child, and spend a lot of time around the perimeter of the grocery store where the fresh foods are. Avoid the middle aisles with the processed junk as much as possible. Let your kids pick out a few items of their own. That kind of decision making is a great test for the child and gives them some independence.

You also have to look at your own habits to make sure you set a good example. Like it or not, your kids are sponges that are soaking up information from you on how to live their lives. If you are displaying bad eating habits your kids are more likely to develop the same habits and take them into their adult lives. Educate your kids on how to eat, then practice what you preach.

Finally, don’t stifle your kids about eating healthy. Just like you allow yourself to have the occasional doughnut you need to relax and treat your kids once in awhile. Letting your kid have a cookie after a healthy meal is fine, even if its every day. Letting your kid have several cookies after a trip to the fast food restaurant isn’t. Moderation is key to helping develop your child’s overall health.


Preparing for a Long Flight

ID-100287668Flying can be stressful no matter what, but long flights can be especially uncomfortable. If you are not experienced as a traveler the idea of spending most of a day (or longer) abroad a plane can seem daunting. However there are steps that you can take to prepare for a long flight so you can be comfortable and prepared for any issues that may arise.

When flying it’s common for travelers to look for the best deal. Sometimes, it makes more sense to spend on upgrades. If you have to fly an long distance it might be a good idea to spend a bit more money on the flight and trade the budget for comfort. If the price bothers you, consider the flight costs by the hour. Upgrades like moving from coach to business class can lead to more leg room, better sleeping aids and more entertainment options.

Preflight there are things you can do to get set for your flight. If you’re leaving town from a business meeting, you should change out of your professional clothes into something more comfortable. Layers are important depending on the time of the year. You should also make sure that you charge your electronics so every device has a full battery.

Ask about any changes to your seating arrangements before the flight. If the flight is not full you may be able to switch rows and have an empty seat or two between you and other passengers. That extra room is gold on a long flight. Sometimes, even if you look online first, travel changes are made to a flight and asking for changes nicely to the airline staff could give you your own personal space.

When I have to fly a great distance I sometimes immerse myself into my work to kill some of the time. It’s a fine strategy but not necessarily helpful at all times. You can also use the time to relax. If your TV recordings have started to pile up, many cable providers, or internet streaming hosts have your favorite shows ready to view on demand. You can also download different apps that allow you to catch up on your favorite shows you recorded at home on a laptop or tablet. Whether it’s work or entertainment keeping busy is the best way to make the time fly by.

You should also make sure that you have your favorite items for home for added comfort. A favorite blanket, pillow or other item will give you some comforts of home. Also pick up some items that will help increase your privacy. Sleeping masks and noise canceling ear plugs, for example, will help you sleep on overnight flights. A good pair of headphones will help you listen to music or watch your favorite shows without the background noise. Some people recommend bringing a sleeping pill or other sleeping aid for the flight.

No matter if you’re on a long day trip or overnight flight, these basic tips will ensure that you have the best possible experience. For more travel tips be sure to like Travel Care on Facebook today!


10 Ways to Beat the Summer Heat

ID-10093198Whether you spend a lot of time outdoors for work or for play, keeping your body cool can be a challenge in the most humid summer months. As we head into the dog days of summer, here are a few ways that you can stay comfy and enjoy your favorite summertime activities!

1. Eat less more often. Studies have shown that larger meals increase the metabolic heat that your body creates breaking down food. You should also avoid foods that are high in protein as they take more energy to break down.

2. Time your exercises correctly. Try to avoid the peak heat times in the afternoon when you work out. Time your runs/walks and other strenuous outdoor workouts for the early morning or late evenings. If you can only be active during the afternoon, scale down your workouts. Either work out for shorter periods or don’t push yourself too hard.

3. Freeze your water. I love keeping frozen bottles of water ready to take with me on hikes or runs. It doesn’t take much for the ice to melt and it leaves you with a nice cool bottle of water to keep you hydrated.

4. DIY Cooling Packs. Speaking of the freezer, use it to make your own cooling pads. You can freeze a few folded, damp shirts in a bag and take them with you when you go outdoors. They will stay cool for a significant period of time, giving you instant heat relief.

5. Wear loose clothing. Some clothing is designed to keep you cool. Wear loose, lightweight cotton and linen clothing to stay cool. Make sure the clothing is light-colored as well.

6. Eat spicy foods. Ever wonder why spicy foods come from some of the hottest places on the planet? Spicy foods can help you perspire which is the body’s most natural cooling mechanism.

7. Use cooling fans and spray bottles. You can buy a portable fan that will plug into your phone for cheap, instant cooling. You can also bring a spray bottle with you and spritz yourself with water when you start to feel uncomfortable.

8. Eat your fruits and veggies. This is great advice for any time of the year, but especially in the summer. Fruits and veggies can help keep your body hydrated and eating a big salad instead of a hot meal will help keep your body cool. Make a cold pasta salad with lots of veggies for a more filling meal.

9. Keep your head and feet cool. Put some lotion in the freezer or fridge before you head out and use on your feet to keep them cool. If you wear a cap or visor on your head pour some cold water on it before putting it on your head. The head and feet act as access points for your body’s temperature. Keeping those parts of your body cool will help your overall body temperature stay down.

10. Stay hydrated. The most common sense advice for staying cool is to keep drinking water. A lot of people prefer sports drinks to water because of the added electrolytes. That’s fine but try to avoid sports drinks with a lot of sugar.


Air Ambulance Industry Stats

air-ambulanceThe air ambulance industry that we are proud to be a part of has grown rapidly since we started in 1980. As the elderly population increases and life-expectancy continues to lengthen it’s estimated by experts the industry will continue to grow. Also, as more people travel there will be a continued need for air ambulances all over the globe.

Many experts have looked at the air ambulance industry to gauge where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. IBISWorld did some research on the air ambulance industry and estimates the entire industry employs over 219,000 people on either a full or part-time basis all over the world. The industry as a whole accounts for about $16 billion in revenue and has seen annual growth of 1.2% over the last five years. In the United States alone the air ambulance industry is a $4 billion industry with 2.7% growth over the same period.

The Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) studies the air ambulance world exclusively and has found that the industry has almost 400,000 planes (either helicopter or fixed wing) in the air today, with more expected as demand continues to rise.

There are several theories about the increase in the air ambulance demand. IBISWorld notes that demand started to increase during the recession. They estimate the need for an air ambulance rose because people waited until critical situations to receive care, due to the loss in health care coverage. The AAMS offers several theories, including a loss of 400 emergency centers and hospitals for 1992 to 2002. The AAMS also notes the reduction of beds in rural hospitals, which has made rural hospitals more basic.

An aging demographic is also the main reason for an increase in air ambulance usage, according to the AAMS. In 2000 there were 605 million people all over the world over the age of 65. The US Department of Health estimates that number will reach nearly 2 billion by 2050. The more elderly people living in more rural areas in the United States and the world means there will be more of a need for air ambulance services.

We also note that more travel will likely increase the need for an air ambulance. As the global community becomes more connected, more younger people are choosing to travel and spend significant time in other parts of the world. As accidents or health related issues pop up, most families are choosing to bring their loved ones back to the States for care.

What does the industry need going forward? Help from governments is the most important need. Continued coverage options for patients via health care from insurance providers will help keep costs affordable enough for people to receive the care they need. For the elderly increases in Medicare coverage for an air ambulance is vital. Right now most people don’t think about air ambulance coverage so better education about the services, costs and insurance options to the public will help educate the general population and increase travel times.

For more information on our air ambulance services and to get more information about the industry please follow us on Twitter today!


Ocean Swimming Safety

ID-100224722Thanks in part to several shark attacks on ocean swimmers in North Carolina, people are concerned about their safety during this busy vacation season. Remember, even with the increased coverage in shark attacks this summer, the odds of a human-shark interaction in the water is slim to none. In fact, you’re almost 100 times more likely to be bittern by another human being than a shark. Still, if you’re on your way to the beach it’s important to know how to stay safe while swimming.

Swim in the right environment. Avoid swimming near piers or fisherman. Bait will attract delicious fish, but it will also bring out more sharks. If you see birds diving in the water, that is usually a good sign of an area to avoid. Also avoid waters that look mirky.

When you swim in the ocean, don’t go in alone. It’s always better to swim in a group when you are in the ocean. Sharks are more likely to seek out a solitary individual rather than attempt to go after a group. The depth you swim at is also important. The group should stay relatively close to shore. The closer you are to the shore, the less likely of an attack. And if you are attacked, if you are closer to shore you are closer to help.

Swimming laps is a great workout. But keep your intensive workout plans for the water confined to swimming pools. When you go in the ocean, treat it as a mellow place to relax. Fast movements in the ocean actually signal you out as prey to a shark. Saving energy can also save your life. If you are attacked you will have conserved energy to fight off the attack. Sharks are more likely to hear you or sense you rather than actually seeing you. That’s also why you shouldn’t swim in the ocean during darkness, which gives the shark a competitive edge.

Your personal health can increase your risk of a shark attack. If you have an open wound you should avoid the ocean if you are bleeding. If you are a woman and menstruating enter the ocean with caution and don’t go too deep. Sharks are most attracted to blood and their sense for it is very strong. In addition to your health, your wardrobe can increase the risk of a shark attack. Avoid wearing anything shiny, like jewelry. Anything that can reflect light will look like the sheen of fish scales to a shark.

If you see a shark don’t panic. Turn around and get out of the water in a calm manner and alert other swimmers to do the same. If you find yourself in the rare position of a shark attack try to stay calm and don’t be passive. Fight back by striking the shark in fast, downward punching motions. You should talk with your family and friends to have a plan. Know where the closest hospital is on any vacation.


Logistics of International Air Ambulance Flight

international-air-ambulanceA lot of people wonder what it takes to pull off an international air ambulance mission. Depending on where the patient is traveling, the logistics can be very difficult. You have to factor in weather conditions in every part of the world, need to have proper communications with different airports, overcome language barriers in the health care industry, and so much more. International air ambulance trips are our specialty, and our years of experience help make the logistics pretty easy to manage.

Take, for example, one of our more recent international air ambulance flights. About a week ago our client needed to be transported from Boston, MA to the Philippines. The flight out of Boston left at about 2:30 in the morning and made its first stop at Saskatoon in Canada. From there the mission went from Anchorage to Nome (both in Alaska) before leaving the United States for the second time en route to Petropavlovsk, Russia. After leaving Russia the flight went to Tokyo and made one last top in Taipei, Taiwan. From Taipei the flight reached it’s final destination of Lapu-Lapu in the Philippines. The total flight time was about 22 hours.

You may wonder why an international air ambulance mission has so many stops. While every trip varies the main reasons for the frequent stops are for fuel and to change the pilot crews. The above mission used three different pilot crews, with changes in Anchorage and in Tokyo. These changes are necessary to ensure the safety of the flight and to keep our pilots in safe working conditions.

As we noted earlier there are several factors that can’t always be controlled when it comes to pulling off a successful international air ambulance mission. Depending on the time of the year, weather can play a major role. When flying overseas and with several stops in between it’s almost impossible to as the weather to cooperate in so many destinations. It takes a great deal of communication between our staff as well as the control centers of the different airports to have the best understanding for what’s in the best safety interests of the flight.

While the pilots get a break, there’s no change in the medical crews on each flight. So during layovers the medical crews may use what little time they have on the ground to take a short rest, change shifts in looking after the patient, or update any of the patients medical needs. Keeping the same medical team in tact during the flight provides comfort and consistency for the patient.

There’s no substitute for experience. Our international air ambulance missions run smoothly because we’ve been through them for over three decades. For more information about our services and to learn more about what makes us special like us on Facebook!


Helping patients get there with care for over 30 years