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Keys to a Healthy Thanksgiving

ID-100119091According to research conducted by the Calorie Control Council, the average American will consume about 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving just by eating a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. The findings also account for pre or post-meal snacking. Either way, it’s a whopping number, considering that is more than double the calories that most of us need. If you are looking to be healthier this Thanksgiving we have lots of choices for you to make that are light on the waste but big on taste.

One of the best ways to avoid overeating this Thanksgiving is by eating breakfast. Most people skip both breakfast and lunch knowing they will be eating a lot at the dinner table. But experts believe that if you eat a small meal in the morning your appetite will be reduced later in the day and you will eat less as a result. Eating a nutritious breakfast with protein and fiber will curb your desire to pig out later in the day.

There are also lighter options for your Thanksgiving menu. The American Council on Fitness and Nutrition estimates people eat over 220 grams of fat during the Thanksgiving Day meal. You can cut some of that fat by using fat-free chicken broth to make the turkey and gravy. Instead of fat as a thickener use alternatives like corn starch. For snacks, use fat free sour cream for your dips. It also works well as a substitute for butter in mashed potatoes. Reduce butter and oils where you can. You can also look for sugar substitutes in place of sugar. Fruit purees work well instead of pure sugar.

Turkey is the main course at the Thanksgiving Day table for many. Believe it or not, most of the bird is actually pretty healthy. Avoid the skin on the turkey to avoid extra calories and fat. A 3-ounce portion of light meat with no skin has 132 calories with three grams of fat. The fat doubles and calories rise by 30 if you include the skin. Many people prefer darker meat and it does include more minerals than the white meat. Dark meat has about double (15%) of the recommended daily iron intake compared to white meat.

What do you do if you opt for that traditional meal? If you’re on a diet, don’t panic about one day. If you overeat on a consistent basis that is a problem. But over-doing it for one day is not a big deal. Eat lean over the next few days and you will be right back on track. When you are trying to be healthy it can be easy to be hard on yourself. So don’t fret over one day. Remember, stress adds pounds as well!

FAA Sets Date for Air Ambulance Rules

air-ambulanceIt has been said that those working in the air ambulance industry are working in the most dangerous job in the world. Some studies have confirmed this, while other studies have found otherwise. What we do know is our air ambulance staff are always ready to help those in need. An air ambulance mission can take our staff into some really remote areas to rescue someone in need. Now the Federal Aviation Administration is stepping up efforts to help air ambulance professionals stay safe.

Starting on April 22, 2015 new air ambulance rules will go into effect for air ambulance companies. Most of these rules are aimed at helicopters, however key pieces of new rules are aimed at keeping everyone safe. With over 75 air ambulance companies in the United States, counting Travel Care, and over 1,500 helicopters flying around, these new regulations will help pilots better do their jobs.

One key change that will take effect in April has to do with weather. Pilots will now be able to determine whether to take off from sites where weather reports are unavailable. This is especially important for air ambulances that end up in very remote areas. Pilots will now be able to determine if observed visibility and ceiling is greater than the specified minimums and will be able to fly based on those determinations.

The FAA says about 400,000 patients are transported by air ambulance every year. Because these new rules are aimed at helicopters it will greatly improve safety of air ambulance missions that fly at low altitudes. These new rules will help keep patients and staff safer with new technologies like night vision goggles that will assist pilots flying at night.

The FAA’s progress in implementing these rules have led to some debate. These rules were originally set to go into effect this past April, however the FAA decided to push the rules back another year to give air ambulance companies time to adjust. The Office of Inspector General started to look at air ambulance rules and how they would be implemented starting in 2013.

At Travel Care we are always on the look out for ways to keep our patients and staff safe. We welcome input from the FAA, especially their decision to allow pilots to do what is best for all involved during an air ambulance mission.

How to Avoid Surgical Site Infections

722933_40274941Surgical site infections are infections that can occur after surgery in the part of the body that had the surgery performed. Surgical site infections can lead to a number of complications and may lead to a second operation. Surgical site infections are rare: They happen only about 2% in all surgeries. Still there are necessary steps to take after your surgery to avoid infection.

Post surgery examinations are key to recovery for most major procedures. When visiting your doctor enure they have taken the necessary steps to avoid infection. All health care providers that examine you should wash their hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask your doctor if you don’t see them wash.

During your meetings with your health care providers you should pay close attention to instructions about deep breathing and exercise. Walking is sometimes an important part of post-recovery however if you are a active person you may need to talk to your doctor before trying anything too strenuous. Come up with a plan to help you avoid post-operation illness like pneumonia.

Keep a close eye on any wounds and dressings. If they come loose let your doctor know immediately. Stitches or staples can also come loose and provide an opening for infection. Usually stitches or staples can be removed anywhere from a few days to a little less than a month after surgery. Surgeons may also use skin glue for smaller wounds. The glue used in this case is waterproof, however you should never try to remove it yourself after the first 10 days after surgery.

When you recover from surgery visitors can be a welcome break from the boredom. Friends and family visiting can help boost your morale but they can also bring unwanted illness into your home. Communicate with family and friends and tell anyone who might be feeling sick to stay home. When friends and family do visit make sure they are clean. Ask them to wash their hands or use a hand sanitizer both before and after visiting with you.

Cleaning yourself can be an issue after surgery. It is usually possible to have a shower or bath 48 hours after surgery, however talk with your doctor for the best plan going forward. Showers are the safer option because your wounds won’t soak in water like in a bath. Avoid using any cleaning products directly over the wound and dry the surrounding area with a clean cloth.

Your diet is also key to avoiding infection. Your body will require a lot of energy to heal and what you put in your body will make a difference. Healthy, balanced diets with plenty of fruits and vegetables are a good idea after surgery, and any other time. Keep yourself hydrated. If you are diabetic keep an extra-close eye on your blood sugar.

5 Key Winter Driving Tips

air-ambulanceThe realty of winter is  here, with a cold blast that affected much of the United States this weekend giving us the first taste of what’s to come. One reason why people need an air ambulance during the winter is because of accidents related to weather conditions. On average an air ambulance is called into action much more in the winter than any time of the year and road accidents combined with injuries during winter sports play a significant role in the increase of air ambulance use. To avoid ever seeing an air ambulance there are tips to driving safely this winter.

1. Slow Down, Even in Rain

Ice and snow aren’t the only dangerous weather conditions. Winter storms can bring significant rainfall to parts of the country and hydroplaning is a serious threat to accidents. Driving 5-10 miles under the speed limit during any poor weather is always a good idea. And don’t forget to leave enough room between you and another car in case you have to hit the breaks suddenly.

2. Don’t Forget the South

Many people like to poke fun at the South when it snows because people in the North are more equipped to deal with the weather. If you are from the North and travel in the South during the winter don’t dismiss a small amount of snowfall. The reasons why accidents rise in the South during even minimal snowfall is because they don’t have the salt, trucks and infrastructure northern states have to deal with snow.

3. Have Supplies Ready in the Car

You should always be prepared if you plan on traveling in a storm so you don’t get stuck without ways to survive. Typically an air ambulance can be called to rescue you in a remote area, but if cell phone service is poor it may be difficult to contact an air ambulance company. Always have a heavy blanket in your car, food and enough water for up to three days of survival.

4. Drive Like a Pro in the Snow

If you’re not used to driving in the snow or ice there are several key steps to take. One often forgotten rule is to drive in a lower gear. Driving in a lower gear will help you car with traction. That’s especially helpful in hilly areas. Also break gently and give yourself extra time to stop. With standard breaks you can usually pump them gently. If you start to skid ease up on the break and steer into the direction you want the wheels to go.

5. What to do if You’re Stuck

Getting stuck in the snow is a common problem. As part of your winter car supplies keep kitty litter handy. You can pour kitty litter, sand, gravel or salt in the path of your wheels to help gain traction. You  should also keep a shovel handy in case you have to dig your car out of a ditch or parking area.

At Travel Care Air our air ambulance is here for you anytime of the day. We hope that you have safe travels this winter, especially during the holidays. But if danger comes your way our air ambulance will be ready at a moment’s notice to help rescue you. Our air ambulance provides safe, reliable transport domestically and internationally. For more information and more travel tips like us on Facebook.

International Air Ambulance Istanbul to Toronto Recap

international-air-ambulanceTravel Care Air is the leading international air ambulance company. Recently we had the opportunity to help someone in Turkey return home to Toronto. It was a short notice mission that came together quickly and ended with the yet another successful international air ambulance mission.

The entire trip took only about 48 hours from start to finish and began last Friday. Just a few hours after our agreement with the patient’s family our crew was on a commercial flight heading to Turkey. The crew stopped in Prague for typical rest and arrived in Istanbul on Sunday morning.

Once the crew arrived they met with the patient. The man, an 83-year-old fighting pneumonia at and his son met us at a hospital in Instanbul. After the typical bedside services we were able to load the patient and our trip home began.

The flight made a couple of different stops before heading to Toronto. The international air ambulance went from Istanbul to Prague, then to Iceland and Newfoundland before making its final stop at the destination in Toronto.

We were happy to bring this patient back to Toronto to receive the care that he needs. Unfortunately he is bedridden, but an international air ambulance service like Travel Care Air is here to help accommodate and our staff was able to give the man the care that he needed during the long flight back home. Anytime we have the chance to bring father and son and family back together in a short amount of time it reminds us of why we do what we do.

At Travel Care Air our international air ambulance is ready at a moment’s notice. Like this mission we can have our crew heading to assist you within hours. Our international air ambulance staff will provide top level care and comfort for you and for your loved ones. For more information about our international air ambulance services and for travel tips and helpful information please follow us on Twitter.

Medevac Honors Medical Assistants Recognition Week

medevacThis week is Medical Assistants Recognition Week. As the heart of the health care in the United States and all over the world, medical assistants provide several key needs for people that work in health care. Medical assistants also provide a vital role in the medevac industry.

You may think of a medical assistant as administrative staff who take appointments, however that is just one component of this profession. Medical assistants run the gambit from scheduling, medical records, as well as clinical duties like preparing patients for examination, medical histories and drawing blood, to name a few. Overall just over 571,000 people work as a medical assistant in the United States alone.

Medical assistants are people who truly care for the people that they help. Many work long hours and don’t receive the recognition they deserve. Medical assistants in the medevac industry are typically called into action at a moment’s notice and often risk their lives to help save lives. Nearly half of all medical assistants make under $32,000 per year and some make work on a volunteer basis. The average medical professional makes around $14.50 an hour according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Most medical assistants are the people that are responsible for communicating with medevac professionals when we are called to help transport a patient. Case managers often handle these roles and can be anyone from administrative professionals to nurses that work at the hospital. Case managers are the key that help medevac teams discharge a patient from a hospital.

Medevac flights also can have the support of medical assistants. Medical escorts are a key component of our medevac flights. These escorts help ensure a safe and easy flight and can also provide a smooth transition if we are meeting a patient at the airport instead of a hospital. Medical assistants also provide vital information to our staff about our patients, including diets, medicine, allergy and medical information.

At Travel Care Air we are proud to honor our medical assistants as well as those who work in hospitals to help save lives every day and help the medevac industry. Medical assistants are a wide range of people who take pride in the work they do and we are proud of our team as well as everyone we work with. For more information about our services follow us on Twitter.

A Guide to Handling the Flu

ID-10099477Did you know more Americans have already died from the flu this season than the lone man who died from ebola? Deaths due to influenza have already been reported in Idaho, North Carolina and South Carolina. While ebola is garnering more media attention and concern from many Americans, you are far more likely to contact the flu virus this fall or winter. On average about 15% of Americans will get the flu this year but you can take measures to help prevent the disease from spreading to you.

Flu Shot Pros & Cons

If you’re like me, you are terrified of shots. Many people debate whether or not to get the flu shot. There are pros and cons to the debate, however it is widely accepted among health officials that getting the flu shot is the best idea for you and your family.

What are the cons of the flu shot? It’s not full proof. Even with the shot you still have a 20% chance at getting the flu. Because there are many different strains of the flu there is no way to prevent it totally. Along the same lines, you may need multiple shots, which can be costly, if you don’t have health insurance. Also, allergies to eggs may make you ineligible for the flu shot because many of the shots are developed through the use of an egg protein.

But for most people the pros far outweigh the cons. Even if you are still at risk for a particular strain of the flu you are far less likely to contract the illness by getting the shot. It’s especially important for children and the elderly, who have higher risks associated with the flu. The shot, despite what many believe, does not give you the flu. Flu shots are almost dead, or dead viruses that help your body develop antibodies against the disease.

Other Prevention Methods

Aside from the flu shot there are other preventative steps to take during the flu season (lasting from fall through early spring). Hand washing and sanitizing office equipment, children’s toys, bathrooms and kitchens will all help prevent the disease. Frequent hand-washing has been shown to reduce the risk of acquiring the flu and other diseases by up to 20%.

Sleep is another important way to stay healthy overall, but it especially helps prevent the flu. Proper rest gives the body the time to boost your immune system. You can be 30% less likely to develop a cold or flu by sleeping seven to eight hours each night. A well balanced diet also plays a key role in fighting influenza.

Fighting the Disease

If you have the flu be sure to see a doctor immediately. Antiviral drugs will help you fight the disease. They are not available over the counter. It is important to act fast once you are sick. The Center for Disease Control reports antiviral drugs work best against the flu within two days of getting sick.

It’s also important to get rest when you get the flu. The CDC recommends staying home from work or school for 24 hours AFTER your fever subsides.

Drink clear liquids, especially water and avoid close contact with others so you don’t spread the disease.

Spot A Fake Medevac vs Real

medevacThose people who work in the medevac industry are some of the most well-trained and dedicated members of the medical and flight professions. We know because at Travel Care Air, we work with many of them. The medevac industry has seen rapid growth over the last three decades. With the advances of the internet it’s become even easier to promote your business.

But not all medevac services are the same. Unfortunately there are also frauds that you need to be aware of. Just last week a former California news helicopter pilot was sentenced to two years in federal prison because he lied to federal officials and was illegally flying air ambulance missions.

John Michael Dial worked under the name Thomas Cuni and made hundreds of flights between Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area from 2009 to 2012, according to the Associated Press. 63 times Dial flew medevac operations without a valid pilot’s certificate and was hired by an air ambulance service in New York state.

So how do you protect yourself and the needs of you or someone you love? Finding the right medevac takes research. While this is not a widespread problem in the industry, some medevac companies are better than others. Obviously, a company that is duped into hiring a fraud did not do proper research. But that doesn’t mean you can’t.

Finding legitimate medevac services should start online. Do a search for medevac or air ambulance. Do a few similar keyword searches on Google, like international air ambulance, medical transport, etc. You will find a lot of company websites on the first few pages (like ours) but you will also find third party websites. Many reputable medevac companies will be listed on state department websites. If you need a domestic medevac you can find the United States by state. The United States Department of State has a list of air ambulance companies on its website here.

When you call a medevac company you should always feel comfortable talking to them and ask them pressing questions. No reputable company will ever try to hurry your call along. A reputable air ambulance company will always be glad to answer any questions about the planes they use, medical equipment they have, training of the staff and their certificates and licenses. Typically you can find a lot of the legal information like accreditation’s and licenses on their website.

If you need an air ambulance, for you or someone you know, research will help you avoid criminals like John Michael Dial. When it comes to the safety of you or a loved one in need, no medevac team cares more than Travel Care Air. We are always available to you to answer any questions you have about our services. We have a background check process to ensure our team is the best in the nation and even the world. For more information about our services please like us on Facebook.

Medevac and the Hatch-Matheson Bill

medevacA lot of times Congress, or the government as a whole, is criticized for being ineffective and gridlocked. In most cases, this complaint is valid. However recently The US House passed a bill that will help medevac and emergency professionals to care for people in need, especially children. The Hatch-Matheson bill that was recently passed is a re-authorization of funds for emergency medical treatment for children. The bipartisan passage of the bill will help to ensure those of us in the medevac industry will be able to give children the care they need.

The passage of the bill was overwhelmingly bi-partisan 410-4, and has been sent to President Obama for his expected signature. The bill is a continuation of the Emergency Medical Services for Children program, which is entering its 30th year. The program is the only federal program dedicated to improving emergency medical care for children.

The funds in this bill will ensure that all emergency medical services are given to children regardless of where they live, go to school, or travel. This bill is an especially important need for medevac professionals who have to transport children frequently and deal with international issues at times.

Children often present unique challenges for medevac crews and having the tools we need for success is vital to the survival of a child in need. The Emergency Medical Services for Children program’s continuation means that grants and infrastructure is available to states to help with emergency treatment for children.

The Hatch-Matheson legislation was penned by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch and Representative Jim Matheson and is expected to further improve children’s health care throughout the country. In addition to grants and infrastructure improvements to help first responders, the bill allows for the re-authorization of the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network, National EMS Children Data Analysis Resource Center, National Pediatric Readiness Project as well as several other organizations that work to help children in immediate need. Most of these additional grants will be used to improve procedures and protocols for treating younger patients.

At Travel Care Air we applaud the passage of this bill and the continued effort to improve children’s health care. Our medevac team is happy that states will have the tools they need, which will help our medevac professionals to be prepared when we are called.

Travel Care Air’s medevac team is ready at a moment’s notice to help any child or adult in need of medical transport. For more information about our medevac services and for more health care news please follow our Pinterest boards.

How to Prevent Catching a Cold

ID-100111183Cold season is upon us and while there are no cures for the common cold you should have prevention as your goal. A study by the University of Arizona found it only takes four hours for office surfaces to show traces of the cold virus when there is a sick employee in the office. But experts have several tips that you can use in everyday life to keep those pains, aches, sneezes and sniffles away.

The most common advice that you may be tired of hearing, but is no less true is to wash your hands to keep germs away. But the results are in and those people who wash frequently will prevent infections. Try to wash with warm and soapy water for at least 20 seconds and use paper towels to turn off faucets and open doors in public bathrooms. And always keep your hands away from your nose and mouth.

Colds are caused by viruses that are easily passed between people and one of the most common areas viruses like to hang out is on surfaces. The most common breeding grounds for nasty cold viruses include (but not limited to) computer keyboards, telephones, doorknobs, and pens. You can carry around a bottle of hand sanitizer to use after coming in contact with these kinds of items. If you are in an office you can bring antiseptic wipes and frequently clean.

You should also drink less booze during cold season. Drinking in excess can affect your sleep patterns which can make you more susceptible to infections and disease. Drinking specifically affects your REM sleep, which is the most restorative part of your sleeping. Instead of alcohol opt for green or black teas. They’re the perfect hot beverage to enjoy during colder months and they stimulate your body to remove germs more quickly.

If you live with someone who catches a cold there are small ways you can try to prevent getting sick yourself. One small but helpful tip is to move your toothbrush. Some families place their toothbrushes in a shared glass, which means germs can come in contact with your toothbrush easier. Opt for holders that prevent touching and shake your toothbrush after using it because germs don’t do well on dry surfaces.

Believe it or not exercise is also a great way to keep the cold bug at bay. A jog around the block that gets the heart pumping is great for the body because it will strengthen your immune system. Research done on women who exercised for a year found they had one-third less colds compared to women who didn’t exercise. If you are sick, don’t exercise if your body temperature is 100 or higher.

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