Test Your Home For Radon Gas This January

The last thing you expect to give you lung cancer is your home’s indoor air. But if you don’t have your home tested for radon gas, that’s exactly what could happen. According to an assessment published by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in 2003, radon gas causes an estimated 21,000 deaths a year. Unfortunately, a lot of people are unfamiliar with radon gas, which is why January was named National Radon Gas Action Month.

What is Radon Gas?

Radon gas is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that cannot be seen, tasted or smelled, which is one of the reasons it’s so dangerous. Unless your home is specifically tested for radon gas, you may never know that it’s there.

Radon gas is formed when the uranium that’s naturally present in soil, rock, and water breaks down. Radon gas can exit the ground and enter your home through cracks and holes in the foundation. Because of the way radon gas enters, houses with basements tend to be more at-risk.

Testing for Radon Gas

There are two ways you can test your home for the presence of radon gas. They include passive testing and active testing.

Passive testing includes the use of charcoal liquid scintillation devices, alpha-track detectors, and charcoal canisters, which do not need power to work. They will need to be exposed to your home’s air for a certain amount of time to collect samples.

Active testing devices require power and measure and record the levels of radon in your air using continuous working level monitors and continuous radon monitors. 

If the level of radon gas found in your home is at the level of four picocuries of radon per liter or higher, you need to install a system that will reduce those levels. If you haven’t tested your home for radon, then you should do so to help reduce the risk of getting lung cancer.

For more information about lung cancer or for health tips in general, visit us at the Benefits Store today.

Get Screened for Cervical Cancer This Month

Cervical Cancer Screening

Cervical cancer is a serious disease that kills thousands of women every year. It’s estimated 13,240 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in the U.S. and 4,170 women will die as a result of cervical cancer this year. Fortunately, more awareness of cervical cancer and its risks helped incidence rates drop by 50 percent between 1975 and 2014. To increase awareness even more, January was named Cervical Health Awareness Month.

Cervical Cancer: Are You At-Risk?

You should be aware of the following major risk factors linked to cervical cancer:

  • History of cervical cancer – If you or someone you are directly related to (mother or sister) has had cervical cancer, then you’re more at-risk.
  • HPV – HPV is typically a harmless and temporary infection, yet it’s also the most common cause of cervical cancer. Anyone can get an HPV infection through sex, and most people never know they’re infected. 
  • Oral birth control – Long-term oral birth control pill use can increase your risk of cervical cancer.
  • Poor diet – A diet lacking in vitamins A, C, E, and carotene can increase your risk of cervical cancer, as will being overweight. 
  • Smoking – Women who smoke are twice as likely to get cervical women than those who do not.
  • Three or more pregnancies – The risk of cervical cancer increases if you’ve had three or more full-term pregnancies.

Getting Screened for Cervical Cancer

You should make sure to get screened regularly for cervical cancer, especially if you are at-risk. You can get screened with a Pap test as well as with pelvic exams, colposcopies, and biopsies. If you are sexually active, then you should be tested for HPV as well. An HPV vaccine is available, although it needs to be administered before an infection occurs and only protects against the most common strains (there are 13 types that can lead to cervical cancer).

Make sure you get screened for cervical cancer and visit The Benefits Store for more women’s health tips today.

How Much Sleep Do I Need?

Sleep

Getting a good night’s rest is vital to having enough energy for the next day. But that’s not the only reason you should get plenty of sleep. Your body needs sleep in order to rest and remain healthy. However, a recent study revealed that not only is not getting enough sleep detrimental to the brain, getting too much sleep can be as well.

The Sleep Study

The study was published in the academic journal Sleep, and included an online survey completed by over 40,000 subjects around the world. In addition to the survey, they were asked to complete a series of tests of reasoning, memory, and verbal skills.

According to the results, they found subjects who slept an average of 7 to eight hours every night performed better on these tests than those sleeping fewer or more hours. Other conclusions researchers were able to draw from the study included:

  • Around 50 percent of the subjects revealed that they slept less than 6.3 hours a night. 
  • The amount of sleep associated with the best performance on the tests was the same for all ages.
  • Short-term memory skills appeared to be unaffected by either too little or too much sleep.
  • Reasoning and verbal skills were very much affected by the amount of sleep a subject had.
  • Subjects who slept more than usual the night before taking the test did better than those who either slept their usual amount or slept less than usual.

How Much Sleep Do I Need?

Doctors have been saying for years that people should get at least 7 to eight hours of sleep every night, and it turns out they are right. Recently published research has indicated that less than seven hours or more than eight hours of sleep can affect the brain’s ability to function at an optimal level the next day.

Make sure you get the proper amount of sleep every night. For more information about sleep or general health tips, be sure to visit us online at The Benefits Store today. 

4 Easy Ways to Increase Mindfulness

Mindfullness

Practicing mindfulness may seem like some sort of a new-age form of meditation, but it’s much more than just that. Mindfulness is a way to improve your health. You improve your mood by promoting positive thinking. It can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

  1. Explore familiar objects – Study objects you take for granted, such as your toothbrush. Really look at the details. Try to identify something about it you didn’t notice before. The more aware you become of your surroundings, the more you’ll appreciate them.
  2. Pay attention to your breathing – Sit in a quiet place where you can focus on your breathing. Pay attention as your breath moves in and out of your body. Notice how air goes in and out of your nostrils and how your abdomen expands and contracts with every breath. Try not to let your mind wander, focusing completely on how you are breathing. This is a form of meditation that can help reduce stress and anxiety by helping to relax your body.
  3. Sharpen your senses – Get something small to eat, like a raisin or a raspberry. Explore its texture, look at its color and detail, and smell it. Then taste it and chew it slowly and deliberately. Pay attention to how its taste changes. Avoid the impulse to chew fast and swallow it right away.  This process can help you become more aware of what you’re eating and allow you to appreciate something that you usually take for granted.
  4. Pay attention to conversation – When you talk with others, sincerely focus on what they’re saying so you can better understand what they mean without judging them.

Practicing mindfulness isn’t difficult, either. It’s the act of being intensely aware of what you’re feeling or sensing at every moment without interpreting or judging those feelings or senses. Here are four ways you can increase mindfulness:

Use these four methods to increase your mindfulness so you can reduce your tension, worry, and depression. For more health tips on how to reduce stress and anxiety, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store today.

4 Benefits of Long-Term Disability Insurance

 Long-Term Disability InsuranceA survey recently conducted by an association of financial services and insurance companies found that 65 percent of respondents believed that most people needed disability insurance, but only 48 percent of those respondents believed they personally needed it. Even more worryingly, 20 percent of those respondents actually had disability insurance. Long-term disability insurance is something in which everyone should invest for the following four reasons:

  1. It provides a financial safety net – If you experience a disability as a result of an illness or disability that prevents you from being able to work, long-term disability insurance can help to cover as much as 50 to 60 percent of your income. In fact, some policies will continue to cover you for as long as you can’t work due to your disability until you reach the age of 65.
  2. Long-term disabilities are common – A lot of people think they don’t need long-term disability insurance because they believe the chances of becoming disabled are slim. However, according to the Social Security Administration, as many as 25 percent of people who are currently 20 years old will end up being disabled before they reach their 67th birthday.
  3. Many employers do not provide long-term disability coverage – Many people simply take whatever insurance plan their employer offers. However, only 41 percent of employers offer long-term disability insurance, even though group plans only cost an average of $256 a year. Additionally, many employers are offering the coverage as a voluntary benefit, which means that employees must pay for this premium themselves.
  4. Benefits are tax-free – Employees that end up paying for long-term disability coverage themselves using after-tax dollars, their benefits will be tax-free should they ever need to use their coverage as a result of a disability. This can make voluntary coverage beneficial to employees, but unfortunately, many employees skip the extra cost thinking that the coverage isn’t needed.

These are four reasons why long-term disability insurance is something that everyone should consider purchasing. For more advice or news concerning health insurance, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store today.