Extreme Weather Events Can Affect Your Mental Health

As people have learned over the years, mental health is an incredibly important component of our well-being. There seem to be more factors affecting mental health in this day and age, too. According to a recent study by the National Centre for Social Research and the University of York, extreme weather events may be one of these factors.

How Extreme Weather Affects Mental Health

It’s no surprise that people whose homes have been seriously damaged or destroyed by extreme weather can become distraught. However, the study revealed the mental health risks associated with living in a home that has been damaged by extreme weather are very similar to the mental health risks that are associated with those who live in disadvantaged areas. It turns out that even minor storm-related damage can have negative consequences on mental health.

Scientists theorize the increase in mental health risks associated with extreme weather events could very well be due to climate change. Storms are becoming more intense and more frequent. People who continuously experience extreme weather will be more at risk for mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression.

The study was based on research collected from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, a British national health survey that uses diagnostic criteria to evaluate mental disorders. The survey asked respondents whether their homes had been damaged by rain, snow, wind, or flooding in the six months before the interview. During this period, over 4 million flood warnings had been issued. More than 10,000 homes had flooded.

Researchers considered how other known mental health risks, such as debt, poor physical health, and living in disadvantaged areas, can contribute to respondents’ mental state. But they concluded people whose homes were damaged as a result of extreme weather events were 50 percent more likely to suffer from mental health issues.

Find out more about the importance of mental health and keep up with the latest health news by visiting us at The Benefits Store.

Staying Safe in Extreme Heat

Summer is a great time to head outdoors and enjoy the weather. But if temperatures are particularly high, spending too much time outside isn’t always the best idea.

Extreme heat has been known to cause a lot of health problems, including heat exhaustion and heatstroke. These issues occur when the body is unable to cool itself down. They can lead to brain and vital organ damage; even death.

It’s important you understand the dangers of extreme heat and take the proper precautions to stay safe whenever temperatures soar during the summer.

Extreme Heat Safety Tips

First, those who are particularly at risk of extreme heat-related conditions should stay inside whenever it’s hot outside. This can include older adults and those with chronic diseases. Young, healthy adults can also suffer heat exhaustion or heat stroke if exposed to extreme temperatures too long.

With that in mind, here are some important tips to keep you safe this summer:

  • Don’t leave kids in the car – Cars heat up fast, so don’t leave kids or pets in your car, even if it’s just a few minutes.
  • Go outside when it’s cooler – Temperatures won’t be as high in the mornings or evenings. Try to limit outdoor activities to these times.
  • Keep your indoor space cool – Have your HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) inspected spring and fall. It’s important it operate efficiently and reliably. If you don’t have air conditioning or it breaks down in the middle of a hot day, go to a public space such as a library or a mall, to stay cool.
  • Take a cold shower – Cold showers and baths are a great way to cool down if you’re feeling too hot. This is especially true if your home doesn’t have or loses AC.
  • Wear cool clothes – The thicker your clothes, the more they will trap heat. During extreme heat, wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing as well as light-colored clothes (They don’t “absorb” heat.)

These are a few heat safety tips to keep your cool For more summer safety tips, visit us at The Benefits Store.

10 Tips for Fireworks Safety

fireworks safety

A firework display is a sight to behold! It’s no surprise people love to set off fireworks during celebratory events, such as the Fourth of July.

However, fireworks can be quite dangerous if they aren’t handled properly. In 2017, roughly 12,900 people were injured and eight people were killed as a result of fireworks-related incidents. It’s estimated approximately 20,000 fires are caused by fireworks every year.

Because of this, you should be sure to practice fireworks safety if you’re planning to handle fireworks for the Fourth of July (or any time).

10 Fireworks Safety Tips

These are 10 fireworks safety tips that ensure nobody gets hurt and no accidental fires are caused:

  1. Always have a bucket of water or a garden hose ready nearby in the event of a fire.
  2. Always make sure there’s an adult supervising if children are near fireworks. An adult should be present at all times, no matter how small or harmless any particular firework appears to be.
  3. Do not let small children handle fireworks, even if they aren’t incendiary. This goes for smaller fireworks like sparklers, as well. Sparklers can cause injuries too.
  4. Don’t light fireworks near flammable objects (wooden structures, etc.).
  5. Have a first-aid kit handy in case someone is injured.
  6. If you’re setting off larger fireworks, make sure there are no children in your vicinity.
  7. If your firework malfunctions the first time you tried to ignite it, don’t attempt to re-light.
  8. Never point fireworks at anyone.
  9. Once you’ve set off a firework, douse the base or remains in water before throwing it away. This prevents it from reigniting.
  10. When lighting fireworks, ensure no part of your body is above the fireworks device. Once you’ve lit your firework, retreat quickly to a safe distance.

Be sure to follow these fireworks safety tips for this summer. For more general safety tips, visit us at The Benefits Store today.

5 Common Headache Causes

Unfortunately, almost everyone experiences a headache sometimes. Headaches can range from mild to debilitating migraines and there are many different headache causes. Knowing what some of those headache causes are could prevent them from occurring or at least help you treat them when they do occur. 

5 Common Headache Causes

There are many types of headaches. Many headaches have “triggers,” but their underlying causes are seldom known. The following are some of the more common triggers that can cause mild to severe headaches:

1. Alcohol

Alcohol can cause headaches for a number of reasons, including:

  • It’s a direct vasodilator, which can cause headaches in some people.
  • It contains ethanol, which is a diuretic that causes dehydration.

Many people have severe headaches if they’ve had too much to drink the night before.

2. Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when your body doesn’t have enough water. Your brain tissue needs water. If it doesn’t have enough water, your brain can actually shrink. When your brain shrinks even a little bit, it will pull away from your skull, causing a headache.

3. Light

Bright lights and glare are known to be triggers for migraines. The link is thought to be a result of the connection between the cells that detect light in your eyes and the nerve running from your eyes to your brain.

4. Stress

When a person experiences anxiety, certain chemicals are released in the brain to combat the tension. These chemicals sometimes cause blood vessel changes that can result in headaches, including migraines.

5. Underlying Medical Conditions

  • Blood clots
  • Brain tumors
  • Concussions
  • Strokes

…and the flu can cause headaches that range in severity.

Although you may not always be able to prevent a headache from developing (especially if you suffer from an underlying condition), you can take steps to avoid certain triggers, such as drinking lots of water and avoiding alcohol overconsumption.

For more health advice, keep visiting us at The Benefits Store.

National Men’s Health Awareness Week

There are many health conditions that affect men much more than women. Overall, women tend to be healthier than men; that accounts for men’s higher mortality rate. Men’s health has been deteriorating in the U.S. along with a lack of awareness and poor health education. Men’s Health Week was established to promote wellness and awareness. This year, Men’s Health Week falls between June 15-21.

3 Health Tips for Men

Men in their 40s and 50s tend to be particularly susceptible to certain health risks. To observe Men’s Health Week, keep the following health tips for the men in your life in mind: 

1. Go to The Doctor

You should go to the doctor routinely for preventive care. Your doctor can spot minor issues before they become major health problems. You should observe screenings and exams annually or as-needed for:

  • Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Heart
  • Physical condition/lifestyle
  • Testicular cancer
  • Vision

2. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Men in their 40s and 50s often gain weight. If you’re overweight, the risk of developing heart disease or diabetes will increase. Not only should you exercise regularly, but you should maintain a healthy diet for a healthy weight.

3. Reduce Stress

Some men deal with a significant amount of stress for a variety of reasons, including finances, family, and their jobs. Stress is also linked to heart disease, which afflicts men at a younger age than women. In fact, heart disease kills more men between the ages of 45-54 than any other condition.

Managing stress better reduces the risk of heart disease. You can do this by exercising regularly, meditating, doing yoga, or taking stress management classes.

These are some important men’s health tips for men of all ages but especially those in their 40s or 50s. You can improve your health and even extend your life all year, every year. For more health tips, be sure to return to the Benefits Store.