Maternity Plans with Dental Coverage Encourage Better Overall Health

shutterstock_309488807Women that are pregnant or planning a pregnancy may not be thinking too much about the health of their teeth, but recent studies conducted by Cigna show that dental health should be more of a concern due to the impact it has on both the mother’s overall health and the baby’s. Because of this, employers should strongly consider adding dental coverage to their maternity plans.

The Importance of Dental Health for Pregnant Women

Pregnancy hormones can actually affect a woman’s dental health. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the physiological changes that women experience during pregnancy can result in the following dental health issues:

  • Gingivitis
  • Gingival lesions
  • Tooth enamel erosion
  • Loose teeth
  • Periodontitis

There’s also the risk of infection, including gum disease and tooth decay, and all of these issues can in turn affect the health of the baby. Then there are some of the daily routines that pregnant women often go through that can affect their dental health.  This can include taking certain prescribed medications, such as medications for high blood pressure, asthma or diabetes, which dry the mouth and can in turn result in gum disease, bacteria growth and tooth decay.

Why Maternity Plans Should Include Dental Coverage

The Cigna study showed that 63 percent of the surveyed pregnant women believed they had excellent dental health before pregnancy—this number dropped to 55 percent during their pregnancy. Also, 43 percent of those surveyed didn’t even bother going to the dentist for a check up during their pregnancy period. The main reason? They were worried about the costs. This is a problem since pregnant women are more likely to develop a dental health issue—which, left untreated, could grow into a bigger problem that will be more costly to treat. By including dental coverage in your maternity plans, you’ll be encouraging pregnant women to get a dental check up.

Dental health is often ignored during pregnancy—but it shouldn’t be, as pregnancy can affect the health of women’s teeth. For more information about maternity plans and California medical plans in general, contact The Benefits Store today.

How to Prevent the Flu

shutterstock_332896577Flu season is right around the corner, which means that you should begin taking steps in order to prevent coming down with the flu. The flu is highly contagious, after all, and the last thing you want to do is spend two weeks out of work or school trying to fight off its many symptoms. The flu can also be quite dangerous for anyone that suffers from certain health conditions, such as heart disease, asthma, a weakened immune system or even diabetes.

Getting a Flu Vaccine

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated with a flu shot as soon as you can. Ideally, you should go get your flu shot during the fall—early fall if possible. However, you can still get vaccinated any time during the winter as well. The only danger is that you might catch the flu before you get a chance to get vaccinated.

Remember, getting vaccinated for the flu is a lot different than getting vaccinated for other illnesses. Unlike many other vaccines, you’ll need to get the flu vaccine every year. This is because the vaccine is designed differently each year in order to combat the flu strains that health experts believe will be most widespread. There are different flu strains that are more common in certain areas every year, which is why even though you may have been vaccinated for a certain flu strain last year you will need to get vaccinated again this year.

Other Flu Prevention Tips

In addition to getting your flu shots, you should also take care to be extra clean during the flu season. Because so many people may be carrying the flu virus, you should always wash your hands after you touch potentially dirty surfaces or shake hands with somebody. When you do touch potentially dirty places, avoid touching your face afterwards.

You should try to get vaccinated for the flu before winter hits. We will continue to provide you with advice concerning your health insurance, so be sure to contact The Benefits Store for information concerning all California medical plans.

December is National Safe Toys and Gifts Month

shutterstock_119731141Considering that December is a month jam-packed with holidays in which gifts are often bought for children, it’s not too surprising that December makes the perfect National Safe Toys and Gifts Month. Over the years, the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) has improved the safety of toys by leaps and bounds due to the implementation of extensive toy safety testing requirements. However, there are still a number of things that you should do to ensure that the toys you give as gifts are safe for children to use. The following are a few safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Avoid balloons: Balloons may seem like a lot of fun as a child, but they can be quite dangerous for children under the age of eight. This is because they can easily choke on or suffocate on balloons that are broken or deflated.
  • Avoid toys with small parts: If you are buying a toy for a child under three, avoid giving them toys that contain small parts so that they won’t swallow them, as they can cause choking.
  • Provide safety gear: If you are getting a riding toy for a child, such as a skateboard, a scooter, or roller skates, then make sure you also provide safety gear (such as a helmet and knee pads) that properly fit the child.
  • Throw away packaging: The packaging or plastic wrapping for many toys can become a safety hazard if you don’t discard it immediately.
  • Supervise battery charging: If you give a young child a toy that requires batteries, make sure that they understand that they need an adult to supervise the battery charging. Always read the instructions and warnings on any toy that comes with batteries. Some chargers don’t have mechanisms to prevent overcharging, which can be dangerous if a child attempts to charge a battery.

These are a few safety tips to keep in mind for National Safe Toys and Gifts Month. We want to provide you and your family with important health and safety information, so contact The Benefits Store for advice and information concerning all California Medical Plans.

Dangerous Mosquitos Found in California: Know Your Risks

shutterstock_305437643Two new non-native species of mosquito have been found in California, and health officials are warning the public to take necessary steps to safeguard their families. The mosquitoes in question are the Aedes aegypti, or yellow fever mosquito, and the Aeges albopictus, or Asian tiger mosquito. Both species are known to carry infectious diseases that can be dangerous to the public.

While the risks associated with these mosquitoes is still rather low, it is still imperative that precautions are taken to limit their spread. Both species, which can be identified by a distinct black and white striped pattern on their legs and thorax, are also more aggressive than typical mosquitoes, heightening the danger.

They carry infectious diseases such as the dengue fever, chikungunya and yellow fever. Neither chikungunya or dengue fever have any treatment or vaccine. Most recently they have turned up in 10 of California’s 58 counties.

The typical California mosquito will become most active at dusk and dawn, but the two new species to be on the lookout for will often stay active throughout the day. They will also readily enter buildings.

To keep themselves safe, and also help keep these two species at bay, the public should take the following steps:

  • Apply mosquito repellents to your skin when you plan to be outside. Effective deterrents need to include DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and/or oil of lemon eucalyptus to both clothing and skin.
  • You should wear long-sleeved clothing, long pants, socks and shoes during the times when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Make use of air conditioning to cool your home or business; eschew open windows or doors that could allow mosquitoes entrance.
  • Eliminate potential mosquito-breeding grounds, such as any source of standing water. These species need only a teaspoon of standing water to lay eggs.

At the Benefits Store, we know that keeping your family happy and healthy involves a large measure of prevention. Keeping you informed on the latest health news and information helps us all take better care of one another.

Prenatal Vaccination Has the Potential to Save Thousands of Lives

shutterstock_237424120A recent study conducted by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has confirmed the effectiveness of prenatal vaccination in the prevention of whooping cough. The CDPH studied 690 infants in the state of California who were infected with the disease and found that infants whose mothers received a prenatal vaccination for whooping cough had a significantly lower rate of hospitalization and admittance to the ICU. Additionally, no deaths were reported among these infants. The results of this study come on the heels of a state-wide whooping cough epidemic in 2014, and continued above-average rates of infection.

The Prenatal vaccination for whooping cough is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for all expectant mothers. In the past, the CDC recommended the vaccine was only given to mothers who had not previously been vaccinated. Studies such as the one conducted by the CDPH are responsible for this change, making it clear that a simple vaccination can potentially save the lives of thousands of infants.

Pregnant women should be given the vaccine during the third trimester, starting at 27 weeks. Exposure to the vaccine will cause the mother’s body to produce the necessary antibodies to fight off the disease, while also passing off some of these antibodies to the unborn child. These antibodies will then provide crucial early life protection against the disease until the child receives additional vaccinations at two months.

While the vaccination may not prevent the disease itself, the antibodies will provide protection from more serious complications and significantly reduce the child’s risk of death. A whooping cough vaccination can be given at vaccination clinics, doctor’s offices, and pharmacies.

Providing adequate health care to both mother and baby during the course of the pregnancy is vital to the lifelong health of the child. For more information on this and other important medical and insurance issues, contact The Benefits Store today.