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Happy optimistic woman

Optimism, Health, and Longevity

“There are only two things I love in this world: everybody and television.” This is a quote from Kenneth Parcell, the character played by Jack McBrayer on “30 Rock.” Every TV sitcom has its optimist. The against- the -odds type who insist on seeing the good side of every situation. On “Modern Family”, it’s Phil Dunphy, the lovable, if naive, father who says, “When life gives you lemonade, make lemons. Life will be all like ‘what?!'” Then there’s Ellie Kemper’s character who plays Erin on “The Office” who thinks disposable cameras are meant to be thrown out before the film is developed and throws the camera in the bin with a smile on her face. Laugh at them though we might, it seems like these charmingly oblivious characters may be on to something. A longer life.

Optimism and Longevity
Researchers at Harvard University have found that a having a highly optimistic outlook may lead to a reduced risk of an early death from heart disease, stroke, and cancer. According to co-author Eric Kim, there are three possible explanations for the connection. ‘The first is that optimistic people just tend to act in healthier ways and there are a lot of studies showing that optimists eat healthier, they exercise more,” said Kim.

Another theory has to do with coping abilities. Optimists tend to accept disagreeable circumstances more easily and adapt accordingly. They are also more likely to seek support from friends and family.

The third, and perhaps most interesting, reason is that optimism has a direct impact on biological function and is associated with more antioxidants and less inflammation. The 2004 Nurses’ Health study measured the optimism level of 70,000 women by asking them questions about subjects including expectations, relaxation, and social activities. They found that the more optimistic ladies had an almost 30% lower risk of death from major diseases than the other women.

Can We Control It?
Researchers say that about 25% of our optimism is genetic and the rest is up to us. Kim says, “Some of it is within our control; some is not…” and, “some people just don’t want to be more optimistic-its a preference and I think we should respect that. I don’t think we should push it upon people.”

Increasing Optimism
If you are sworn to cynicism, you are not alone. After all, we all identified with Garbage singer Shirley Manson when she crooned about only being “happy when it rains.” However, if you want to take a page from the books of the Phil Dunphys among us, here are some ways to keep optimism in the forefront.

  1. Take some time before going to bed to think about everything you have to be grateful for.
  2. Keep a list of the kind acts you’ve performed.
  3. Separate the different aspects of your life; friends, family, job, relationship and jot down your version of the best expectations you have from each of them.
  4. Spend 20 minutes a day imagining what your life would look like if all these aspects lived up to those expectations.

If you are a real life optimist, we would love to know how you do it. Please send input and advice! We love to hear from you!

Woman sleeping

Addressing Chronic Sleep Problems

Staying awake all night. It’s been glamorized in rock and roll, pop, hip hop, rap and every other sort of music in between. Doing the walk of shame, showing up bleary-eyed to work the next day, all proudly displayed badges of honor for surviving a night worthy of the wildest of wild men and women throughout the course of history. But if you’re getting the morning after feeling without the experience of the night before, it may be worth taking a closer look.

Sure, staying up all night can be great and looking and feeling unwell may be par for the course after a night of fun, but not if a good night’s sleep was intended. If you are finding yourself suffering from sleep trouble, don’t just shrug it off; it may be a symptom of a medical sleep disorder and treatment may be available.

Sleep Problems
First, it should be acknowledged that there is a distinction between the terms “sleep problem” and “sleep disorder” Sleep problems are often the result of bad habits, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, eating a large meal or exercising heavily before bed. Sleep can also be disturbed by environmental factors such as psychological stress, or jet lag. These problems can usually be solved by eliminating the causes. However, sleep disorders fall under a separate category and usually require medical treatment.

Sleep Disorders

Apnea
Sleep apnea is characterized by an actual cessation of breathing for periods of a few seconds, followed by gasping for air. The sufferer may not be aware of anything unusual occurring until he or
she wakes up feeling hungover with a dry mouth or headache. These symptoms may be accompanied by loss of memory, concentration, and focus. Sleep apnea affects about 7% of the population and is a risk factor for high blood pressure

Treatment
Continuous positive airway pressure CPAP is the most common treatment for sleep apnea. It consists of a face mask or nasal plug which blows air into the nasal passages, allowing air to flow freely.

Surgery
Surgeries can be performed to open the airway be removing tissues that obstruct it, such as tonsils or nasal polyps. However, these are not without risk and the side effects and outcomes can be unpredictable.

Nonspecific Therapy
This addresses behavioral aspects which may be responsible for sleep apnea. Nonspecific therapy commonly involves weight loss, the avoidance of medicine, and adjustment of sleeping position.

Restless Leg syndrome
Restless leg syndrome affects about 15% of the population. It is characterized by a “pins and needles feeling” in the legs causing an irresistible urge to move the legs to relieve the feeling. RLS makes falling asleep difficult and may also force the sufferer out of sleep. People with RLS may also suffer from periodic limb movement disorder characterized by repetitive muscle twitches or jerking movements in the toes, knees, or hips. RLS and PLMD have both been associated with other medical conditions, such as anemia.

Treatment
When it comes to treatment of RLS, medications are usually recommended. The three classes include: dopaminergic agents, which produce dopamine in the brain, benzodiazepines, and opioids.

Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy is usually indicated by the tendency to fall asleep spontaneously. It is often linked to cataplexy, a sudden weakness brought on by laughter, or intense feelings, sleep paralysis, a situation in which one is half awake and unable to move, and hypnagogic hallucinations, which are intense dreams at the end of sleep. Narcoleptics may also engage in automatic behavior, in which they perform routine tasks without later memory.

Treatment
Behavioral treatment for narcolepsy includes avoiding heavy meals and alcohol, and shift work and making sure nighttime sleep and naps are regularly timed. Medications usually consist of stimulants to increase alertness and antidepressants.

Do you think your suffering from a sleep disorder? If you do, you may not have to deal with it. Go see a medical expert and explore your options. Let us know how it went.

Woman working at desk

The Downside Of A Desk Job

For artistic Gen Xers, the desk job was the ultimate sign of failure. The death sentence. Rebellious rock and rollers and artists would claim that suicide was preferential, much to the dismay of their concerned parents. If those Gen Xers know how dangerous desk jobs were, they might have been more kindly disposed toward them.

You may have heard the currently circulating slogan, “Sitting is the new smoking.” Suddenly, every activity associated with excessive sitting, desk jobs included is labeled as not only unhealthy, but also dangerous. Rebellious Gen Xers may have a legitimate excuse! However, if you consider the new mantra, a little bit of an over exaggeration, judge for yourself.

Side effects of sitting for an extensive time period may include:

Organ Damage

Heart Disease
While you are sitting, your muscles are burning less fat and blood flow is slowing down, allowing fatty acids to clog the heart. Sitting too long can cause high cholesterol and blood pressure and chronic sitters are twice as likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease than more active people.

Over-productive Pancreas
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that carries glucose to cells, providing them with energy. When cells are idle, they don’t respond as well to insulin, causing the pancreas to produce more which can cause diabetes, among other diseases. In fact, according to a 2011 study, insulin response begins to decline after just one day of sitting.

Muscle Degeneration

Abdominal muscles
When you slouch on a chair, your abdominal muscles go unused. That along with tight back muscles can create a condition called hyperlordosis, or swayback.

Tight hips
Your hips help you to keep balanced, but sitting calls for such few opportunities to stretch hip muscles, that they become tight, limiting range of motion.

Upper Body

Brain Fog
You need to move your muscles to get blood and oxygen to your brain and trigger the release of mood-enhancing chemicals.

Neck Strain
Craning your neck forward to type on a computer keyboard or cradling a phone while you type, while can strain your cervical vertebrae and causing posture imbalance.

Spine Stiffness
As we move, discs between the vertebrae contract and expand soaking up nutrients and fresh blood. However, when we sit, these discs are squashed into uneven positions causing collagen to harden around ligaments and tendons.

Legs

Poor Circulation
Long periods of sitting slows blood circulation, causing the fluid in the leg to pool, resulting in everything from varicose veins and swollen ankles to dangerous blood clots.

Soft Bones
Physical activity that incorporates the lower body stimulates hip and lower body bones to grow stronger. Hence, lack of activity can lead to decrease in bone density, and has even been attributed to cases of osteoporosis

What can we do?

If you are destined to sit behind a desk for long periods of time, there are some things you can do to keep from ending up hunched and unfocused. Here are some expert recommendations.

1. Sit on something wobbly. Sit up straight on an exercise ball or backless stool with your feet flat on the floor.
2. Stretch hip flexors. Once a day, three minutes easy side
3. By walking during commercial, couch potatoes can burn twice the calories of sitting, even at a pace of 1 mph.
4. Alternate between standing and sitting at your desk or workstation, or stand up and walk at regular intervals.

What do you think? Is sitting really the new smoking? Let us know! And tell us your strategies to give up the sitting habit.

Woman smoking

Smoking Makes You Look Terrible

We all know that while smoking may make you look cool in the moment, it can make you look terrible for the long term. If you are finding yourself seduced by the allure of the cigarette, here are some facts which may make you change your mind.

Bags Under Your Eyes
If you think bags under the eyes is a good look, keep smoking. According to a study by John Hopkins University smokers are four times more likely to feel unrested after sleep than nonsmokers. Scientists have speculated that it may be the overnight nicotine withdrawal keeping smokers from resting peacefully.

Psoriasis
Although psoriasis can manifest itself in smokers and non smokers alike, your risk of developing scaly skin is a lot higher is you puff. A study done in 2007 showed that individuals who smoke a pack a day for 10 years increased their risk of psoriasis by 20% and those who smoked for 11-20 years increased the risk by 60%.

Yellow Teeth
Unless you want to spend a lot of time and money whitening your teeth, you should give up the smoking habits. Nicotine is known to stain those pearly whites, so if a great smile is important to you, make sure cigarettes aren’t.

Yellow Fingers
Don’t think your teeth are the only things affected by yellowing nicotine. Nicotine is infamous for its tendencies to stain fingers and nails alike. Of course, you can always scrub your fingers with steel wool and bleach them to restore your natural skin tone, but quitting might be a more civilized option.

Thin Hair
Here’s one that should cause you to drop the habit like its hot. Smokers not only have thinner hair than non smokers, their hair is also more likely to grey. Experts believe that the chemicals in cigarette smoke are capable of not only producing free radicals which cause cell damage, but also of damaging the DNA in existing hair follicles. In fact, a 2007 study in Taiwan showed that male smokers are two times as likely to lose their hair than their non-smoking counterparts.

Scarring
Nicotine causes blood vessels to narrow and limit blood flow to the face and other body parts.The result? Your wounds will take a longer time to heal and your scars will be worse than they would have been for a non smoker.

Smoking is also more expensive than you might think, the average person pays more than $1,652 a year for smoking. (source)

So smoking may make you look cool, but scars, yellow fingers and teeth and thinning hair probably won’t. If you were able to kick the habit, we hope you are looking prettier already, and if you’re still trying, we wish you luck! Let us know about your smoking experience and what you think about smoking and coolness.

Woman working out

Strengthen Your Back For These Health Benefits

There seems to be a lot less slouching going on. For Generation Xers, the slouch was the standard. It was a symbol of rebellion and rock and roll. It was the “guitar slouch,” modeled by rock gods Slash and Ace Frehley. However, with the emergence of a new millennium, the guitar has been replaced by “Guitar Hero” and pilates has improved the postures of the would be slouchers. While it may be with bittersweet sorrow and fond memories, it is high time to bid farewell to the sullen slouch and embrace the benefits of survival of the fittest, starting with the benefits of a strong back.

Get a More Shapely Body
Even though it may not be your first priority when you think of toning, the large muscles in your back actually have a lot to do with the shape of your body, The latissimus dorsi, which are the wing shaped muscles on either side of your back, should create an inverted triangle, lending width to the upper body making the lower body look smaller. If its a great butt your after, target the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius and gluteus maximus to shape the sides and back of your rear end.

Better Spinal Stability
Your back has multiple muscle groups including your traps, lats and core erector muscles along your spine. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, back strengthening exercises help build the strength you need to keep your spine in proper position and provide your back with adequate support. The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommends exercises such as squats, crunches, and back bridges done with your back against a wall.

Increase Flexibility
Stretching exercises can increase muscular endurance and range of motion, says the NIH. Whether or not you participate in athletic activity, a flexible back is important for turning, lifting and general movement. Even everyday chores require a flexible back. Having a full range of motion allows for a broader choice of exercise without the limitations of tightness in the back.

Improve Posture
Height commands respect. If you want to look taller, stand up straight.The erector spine muscles that line up along the spine help to improve posture and support the body. Try adding back flexion exercises to your regular routine to prevent hunching.

Reduce Back Pain
When it comes to back pain, sitting in front of a computer is a very common culprit. When your back muscles are as strong as the muscles in your abs and chest, it is easier for the back to support the weight causing less chance of discomfort. A Harvard Health Publication article states that exercise is essential for the healing and prevention of back pain. The NIH supports these findings, suggesting that the regular back exercise is the best way of avoiding back pain. It recommends a minimum of a combination of flexibility and stretching exercises for 15 minutes, three times a week.

How do you keep your back strong and pain free? What are your best back exercises? Let us know!

Woman up at night

What Makes One A Morning Person Vs. A Night Person

Night people never get respect. Day people are productive. Night people are lazy. Day people have jobs and families and drive nice cars. Night people live with their parents. Day people eat well and see the doctor regularly. Night people miss the breakfast special and sleep through doctor’s appointments. If you are a night person and feel you have been judged unfairly, take heart. There are plenty of great night people out there who have done very well for themselves, and are now even living on their own! However, if you are wondering what you might have done to become the heathen that you are, here is some valuable insight.

Sleep Patterns
Each person has their own cicadian rhythm. Katherine Sharkey, MD, PhD, at Brown University says, ” The human clock is about 24 hours, thanks to earth’s 24- hour light-dark cycle. But some people have a slightly longer natural cycle and some are slightly shorter.” Those with a longer circadian rhythm tend to be night owls, while shorter circadian rhythms are more common in early risers. However, your circadian rhythm is not necessarily set for life. While school -age children tend to get up early, teenagers favor the night. Adults, on the other hand, usually transition back into being morning people.

Night Owls Vs. Morning People
Aside from having to hold down a day job, there are other problems a night person may encounter, According to Sharkey, “night owls tend to be more depressed, have a higher dependence on caffeine, and use alcohol more.” However, a recent study in Belgium found that night people are able to maintain more focus as the day goes on than their early rising counterparts. Of course, morning people get points for other reasons. “Larks generally sleep better, have more regular sleep patterns and have more flexible personalities,” explains Sharkey. A study from the university of Toronto shows that they also feel happier and healthier than late risers.

Different Brains
Researchers at Germany’s Aschen University found structural differences between people with different sleep tendencies. They found that night owls had a diminished integrity of white matter in the brain; white matter being the fatty tissue responsible for communication of nerve cells. Reduced white matter has been known to lead to depression and disruption of cognitive function. Other research has uncovered an “alarm clock” gene that starts the biological clock in the body after its nightly sleep and other studies using twins have shown genetic links to aspects of sleep.

What Can We Do?
If studies show that our likelihood of being a day or night person is genetic or biological, is there any hope of change for the wayward night owl? Studies show that limiting nocturnal exposure to light and increasing exposure to sunlight can help to modify sleep-wake patterns. It is also a good idea to be mindful about the consumption of alcohol before you sleep and to try and maintain a regular sleep schedule. Also, make sure you are sleeping in a dark room free of electronic gadgets for a peaceful rest.

If you are a night person, let us know how you feel! Does society need to become more flexible or do you need to start waking up earlier? Let us know what you think!

Woman de-cluttering

The Calm That Comes When You De-Clutter

When Madonna proclaimed herself “A Material Girl” in the 1984 song of the same name, she was surely not the first or last to claim a preference for excess. Men and women alike have been singing the praises of material possessions since time immemorial. In 1953, Marilyn Monroe paid tribute to jewelry with her performance of “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” and, Little Wayne paid his salute to the Benjamins in his 2006 rap single “Make It Rain.”

However, despite the fact that the sentiment, “More is better” is often held as true, sometimes too much can be too much. Clutter is not only a symptom of stress, it can also be a cause of stress. If you are finding yourself getting lost in excess, here is some expert advice.

Why De-Clutter?
According to Peggy Caruso, life coach organization is the key to a less stressful life. However, the New York Times reports that those who suffer from depression, emotional trauma and chronic pain can find cleaning to be a daunting and almost impossible task. If you’re having an especially difficult time attacking the clutter in their home, Caruso suggests starting from the inside.

Steps To An Uncluttered You

1. Clear Your Mind
Because clutter is directly associated with high stress, Caruso suggests that a calm mind is the first step toward an organized home. The coach advises morning meditation as a way to focus your energy and keep you from procrastination.

2.Write Down Your Thoughts
A daily journal will help you to prioritize what needs to be done without distractions.

3.Cut Down On Social Media
Cyber clutter can exist! Negative feeds from people can crowd your life with unnecessary upset. Caruso advises removing the bad blood from your social media to keep energy positive.

4.Be Grateful
If you are thankful for what you already have, you will be less likely to want more. Keep down clutter by taking a moment each day to count your blessings; it will also help you forget your problems and get through the day more easily.

5.Make Appointments
While your making appointments for work, take some time to schedule one for yourself. You don’t necessarily have to make one to clean, set some time aside to do something you enjoy, like reading or taking a walk. You owe yourself a little downtime.

6. Decide
Deciding what to hold on to and what to get rid of can be difficult. Caruso advises that you ask yourself three questions when determining the value of an item:

  • Would you want to save this item if there were a fire?
  • Does the item serve a purpose?
  • Does the item make you happy?
  • The answers to these should help you tackle your de-cluttering process.

7. The One Year Rule
s a general guideline, if you haven’t touched it in the last year, you’re not likely to in the next year either. Even if you like those ridiculous shoes that don’t fit, it might be time to get rid of them.

8. Enlist the Family
While you’re doing something good, make yourself and example. De-cluttering with kids can be a valuable lesson in saving and sharing and may make the task more fun for you as well.

Is de-cluttering on your list for the New Year? Let us know how you de-clutter? Provide us with your valuable knowledge!

Woman with 80s double-hair bun style

Bring Back These Old School Trends

Throwback Thursday. The day when everything old is new again. Everyone loves to see pictures of other people before we knew them, before they were cool, or just before they realized that their hairstyle was out of style- especially when the other people are celebrities. Instagrammers can see anything from snaps of Gigi Hadid blowing out candles on her Lakers themed 11th birthday cake, or Taylor Swift at 12 going through her “braids phase.”

Why is it that people love pictures from the past? Research from the University of Southampton found that nostalgia “fostered social connectedness, which subsequently lifted self-esteem, which then heightened optimism.” So with the aim of increasing positivity, let’s look at some old school trends from the past that we want to see again.

School Supplies

The Mead Trapper Keeper
What ever happened to the Trapper Keeper, that loose-leaf notebook with the velcro closures? It held all your class notes, plus had some really cool laminated covers, from Superheroes to unicorns.

Multipoint Pencils
Remember the multi’ point or “push” pencils with the miniature pencil point cartridges? When the lead ran out, you just put the cartridge in the back of the pencil and the next one would slide out of the front. Of course, if you lost one of the points, it became a little difficult to work the pencil.

Rubber Cement
Rubber cement was alleged to stick together anything from wood to constructions paper by dipping the brush (attached to the lid, so you couldn’t lose it.) and applying it to anything you wanted to attach to anything else. Of course, that often meant gluing your fingers together in the process or just letting the product dry up and sort of stick to itself.

Fashion

Drop Crotch Pants
It seems like every boy band in the 80’s were wearing parachute pants, made out of that silky fabric that whistled when you walked. Well, the drop crotch is back and droopier than ever, as you may have noticed on the likes of Kanye West and Justin Bieber, often topped with athletic shorts to complete the fashion statement.

Power Suits
Sharp shoulders, loose pants and a whole lot of swag. In the 1980’s Men and women, from the likes of Don Johnson to Bianca Jagger and Grace Jones effortlessly sported these. Now we can see the power suits resurgence on the everyone from Selena Gomez to the lovely Georgia Jagger.

Crop Tops
Madonna was bearing her midriff way back when she was still a virgin! (or like one.) She’s still doing it today, along with fellow celebs Rhianna and Taylor Swift.

Fast Food

Wendy’s Super Bar
Who doesn’t love unrestricted access to nacho cheese sauce? Maybe not the freshest of fare, but we still miss the chocolate pudding.

The Macdonald’s Pizza
How bad can a pizza be? If you’re one of those who will not eat a pizza that was not made by an Italian, don’t even try to find out. Good-bye, McPizza!

The McDLT
The “hot -side cool- side burger was the first to acknowledge that warm lettuce and tomatoes may not be the tastiest option. Jason Alexander (a.k.a. George Costanza) was in the commercial; unfortunately, not even he could make it stick.

When it comes to nostalgic items that should, or shouldn’t make a comeback, we know we haven’t even cracked the surface. What items do you think should or shouldn’t come back? Let us know!

Women jogging on the beach

Yes, Women Can Be Fit

“I’m not flawless. I have unattractive feet. unruly hair and oversized calves, but I push this body to its absolute limit and it has never let me down.” These are the words of Ironman Chrissie Wellington. Chrissie’s sport of choice is one which entails completing a 3.8 km swim, a 180 km bike ride and a full marathon, consecutively executed. Athletes staggering toward the finish line is not a rarity in this challenge. Wellington won the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii in 2007, on her first attempt, easily outperforming many top male athletes. Talk about endurance.

Although women may never be a physically powerful as men in general, recent studies show that women can exercise at the same intensity as men for a longer time. Read on for what these studies show and what this means for ladies.

Why is This Important?
Knowing the differences between the way women and men perform may be helpful in determining which sports are best for each gender. A new paper published in the “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise” journal reports that most studies on performance and activity are only done on men. However, the few that do involve women have shown that routines designed for men may not be well suited to women.

Men and Women Are Different
Sandra Hunter, PhD, associate professor of exercise science at Marquette University says, “The bottom line of training or rehab is that you have to fatigue a muscle in order to increase its strength. So if men and women fatigue differently, they should be treated differently.”

Research that women have more strength in their legs after cycling or running for a long time than men. Ladies can also hold isometric contractions (flexing a muscle, making a fist)for longer periods of time at maximum strength as their male counterparts. “We perform these types of subtle contractions all day long,” says Hunter. “They’re important for holding us up, for example, while we’re standing or sitting upright.”

Another reason for women’s increased endurance has to do with their metabolism. Women’s bodies burn fewer carbohydrates and more fat than men, which, as Hunter says, “sets them up to perform potentially for longer periods of time. But they have smaller hearts, smaller muscles and more body fat than men, so it can be hard for them to keep up with men in a sport like running, while in activities like swimming the differences are less important.” Hunter refers to Diana Nyad, “The first person to swim from Cuba to Florida was a woman.”

The Tougher Sex?
While it would be nice to claim it, there is still no hands down winner for the title of “The Tougher Sex,” but for now it is safe to say that women get more points when it comes to withstanding fatigue. However, it is a small victory for women in that they’re being recognized as a force in the athletic arena and that they’re specific concerns are being addressed. Thank you, Chrisse Wellington, et al.

So, what do you think? Does this give women the edge or are men still on top when it comes to sports? Let us know! And, if you’re a female athlete, let us know how you endure!

Woman receiving booster shot

Schedule These Boosters Now

“It might hurt a little but it’ll help a whole lot!” That’s the catchphrase from the “Sid the Science Kid Getting a Shot: You Can Do It!” video clip. The short is designed to make kids who dread getting their vaccinations an idea of what to expect. Of course, the goal of the clip is to make the child more comfortable. Does it work? Well, the needles still look pretty darn scary, but it may help you convince your kid that there is a likelihood of getting a nasal spritz instead of an injection. Also, the song is pretty catchy.

Although most of us associate the thought of vaccinations with cartoon character band- aids and lollipops, there are some important booster shots that adults should not go without. Here are some boosters that you should be thinking about scheduling so that you and your family can stay healthy throughout the year.

Tetanus
If you’ve got a hunky handyman working on a project around the house, you may want to get him a tetanus booster in case he gets a wound or cut. Men under the age of 59 are three times more prone to get tetanus because that have not had their booster shots. The TD vaccine for tetanus and diphtheria needs to be administered every ten years. Both tetanus and diphtheria are serious diseases that are caused by bacterial toxins. Be sure to get yourself immunized.

Chickenpox (varicella) Chickenpox can be serious if it develops after childhood. Adults who are not already immune should get this vaccination. The chickenpox vaccine requires two doses and is not recommend for pregnant women and individuals with immune system problems.

Hepatitis A
Adults who live in communities where outbreaks of hepatitis A are common, or who are planning to travel to foreign countries in South or Central America are advised to get this vaccine. Adults with risk factors like liver disease should also be vaccinated if they are not previously immune. Hepatitis A is a viral infection affecting the liver and is usually caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Influenza
While no one should go without the flu shot, they are espcially important for individuals with health conditions like heart, lung, or immune system disorders, or asthma, which can be complicated by the flu. Health care workers who work with people at risk for the flu and caregivers of children under 2 are also advised to get the vaccination, as rare pregnant women. The flu vaccine should be repeated each year because the strains of influenza changes each flu season. Healthy, people between 5 and 49 have the option of the nasal- spray vaccine along with the injection, so you’re in luck if your hate needles.

Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)
People born after 1957 may need the MMR vaccination if they aren’t already immune. The vaccine is not for pregnant women or people with immune system disorders and Women should not become pregnant for 28 days after being vaccinated.

If you are at risk of contracting any of these diseases, you should get vaccinated pronto. But don’t worry, if Sid the Science Kid can do it, so can you! Let us know how your vaccinations went. Good luck and keep healthy.