Sun Risk Management Blog

 

Live Well, Work Well – August 2018

Health and wellness tips for your work and life—presented by Sun Risk Management, Inc.

Trouble Sleeping? Your Phone May Be to Blame

Yes, you read that headline right. According to a new study, using your phone before you go to bed can disrupt your sleep schedule and prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.

Specifically, the study found that those who use smartphones or tablets before bed went to bed later and had a later sleep onset than those who didn’t. The study also found that those who used their phone or tablet before going to sleep had lower levels of the sleepregulating hormone, melatonin. Lastly, the study found that electronic device usage before bed reduced the period of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, a vital component in our sleep patterns.

So, if you’re having trouble sleeping, try putting your phone or tablet away before heading to bed.

Sunrays Aren’t the Only Thing You Can Catch at the Pool

As the temperature climbs, many Americans will flock to the pool to find some relief from the heat. While the cool waters can be refreshing, they could also be contaminated with bacteria that can make you sick. Read on to learn about the three most common illnesses you can catch from spending a day at the pool.

Cryptosporidium (Crypto for Short)
Crypto, a chlorine-resistant parasite, is one of the most common culprits for post-pool day illness and causes diarrhea, stomach pain and nausea. Unfortunately, symptoms can last for up to two weeks.
To avoid getting sick, don’t swallow pool water or touch your face until you’ve showered with soap and hot water.
Pinkeye 
Between the chemicals and other people’s bodily fluids in the pool, it shouldn’t be a surprise that you can catch pinkeye from swimming in a shared pool or hot tub.

To avoid getting this infection, wear well-fitted goggles every time you get into the water.
Hot Tub Rash
The warm water in hot tubs causes chlorine to break down quickly, making the chemical ineffective in killing the germ that causes an itchy skin infection that can lead to a bumpy, red rash.
To avoid getting this rash, shower immediately after going into the hot tub and be sure to wash your swimming suit before wearing it again.

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Spinach Power Salad with Mandarin Vinaigrette

Dressing
6 ounces mandarin orange juice (reserve oranges)
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup pure cane sugar
½ small onion (chopped)
1 Tbsp. spicy brown mustard
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper

Salad
½ pound chicken breast (cooked, chopped)
5 ounces baby spinach
1 large carrot (shredded)
24 seedless red grapes
1 ½ ounces walnuts (coarsely chopped)
Reserved mandarin orange
PREPARATIONS

  1. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender. Mix until combined.
  2. Divide the spinach among four bowls. Top each bowl with the shredded carrots, grapes, mandarin oranges, walnuts and chicken breast.
  3. Shake the dressing. Drizzle over each salad.

Makes: 4 serving
Nutritional Information (per serving)

Total Calories 362
Total Fat 22 g
Protein 16 g
Carbohydrates 27 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Saturated Fat 3 g
Sodium 488 mg
Total Sugars 22 g

Source: USDA

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Are You Up to Date On Your Immunizations?

Every August, the National Public Health Information Coalition sponsors National Immunization Awareness Month to promote the importance of immunizations at all life stages. Vaccination protects everyone, from infants to the elderly, from serious illnesses and complications of vaccine-preventable diseases.

Being properly vaccinated not only protects you, but everyone else around you, from falling ill with serious illnesses like measles, polio, hepatitis and meningococcal meningitis.

Follow the provided links to learn if you and your loved ones are up to date on the recommended vaccinations for each stage of life:

For more information on vaccines, or to learn more about what vaccines you may need, click here or talk with your doctor.

live-well-august-2018

Posted in Monthy Newsletter, Wellness |

Live Well, Work Well – July 2018

Health and wellness tips for your work and life—presented by Sun Risk Management, Inc.

Myth Busted: Sweating More Doesn’t Necessarily Mean You Burned More Calories

Many people wrongly believe that how much you sweat indicates how effective your workout was. How much you sweat during a workout is due to a variety of factors such as weight, gender, age, genetics, temperature and even fitness level.

For example, men tend to sweat more than women, younger people tend to sweat more than older people and fit people tend to sweat more than those who are less fit.

So remember, don’t use sweat as an indicator for how intense your workout was. Instead, track your heart rate, level of muscle soreness and amount of progress seen to evaluate whether or not your workouts are effective.

WHO Calls for a Ban on Artificially Produced Trans Fat

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that the artificially produced trans fats found in junk and fried foods contribute to more than 500,000 preventable deaths annually. That’s why the WHO has released REPLACE, a guide for governments to eliminate industrially produced trans fat in their countries. Their goal is to remove all artificially produced trans fats from the global food supply by 2023.

What exactly is trans fat?
Trans fat is vegetable fat that has been chemically altered by a process called hydrogenation. This process turns healthy fat into a solid, unhealthy fat that is worse for you than saturated fat. Trans fats boost low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol) levels and can increase your risk of heart disease by 21 percent.

What can you do now to avoid eating and drinking trans fats?
The WHO’s campaign was launched mid-May 2018 and is in its early stages, which means it might take some time to see changes in the United States. In the meantime, you can read nutrition labels and look at the amount of saturated fat and trans fat per serving.

It’s also important to check the ingredient list, which is different from the nutritional label. Ingredient information is listed from greatest to smallest amounts, so if partially hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup are listed as the first few ingredients, choose another product.

To learn more about trans fats and their health effects, click here.

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Lemon Velvet Supreme

2 cups fat-free vanilla yogurt

3 Tbsp. instant lemon pudding mix

4 graham crackers (crushed)

½ cup mandarin orange slices (drained)
PREPARATIONS

  1. Combine vanilla yogurt and pudding mix. Stir until combined.
  2. Layer bottom of serving dish with crushed graham crackers.
  3. Immediately pour pudding mixture over cracker crumbs.
  4. Top with mandarin oranges.

Makes: 6 serving
Nutritional Information (per serving)

Total Calories 138
Total Fat 1 g
Protein 4 g
Carbohydrates 29 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Sodium 189 mg
Total Sugars 23 g

Source: USDA

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Snack Smart, Save Money, Time and Calories

It’s completely normal to snack throughout the workday. While it can be tempting to opt for the fast, easy (but unhealthy) option, taking a minute to snack smart can save you time, money and calories. Keep the following three tips in mind to help you snack smart at the office.

  1. Take a break. When you reach for your snack at work, don’t eat it while working. Instead, take a quick break to eat your snack uninterrupted to avoid overeating.
  2. Meal prep your snacks. One of the best ways to avoid impulsively purchasing unhealthy snacks from the vending machine is to pre-portion your healthy snacks at the beginning of the week and bring them with you to work.
  3. Think about macronutrients. Try to combine macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates) at each snacking session. Doing so will help you feel satisfied and full until it’s time for your next meal.

Click here to learn about nutritionist-approved healthy snack options.

live-well-july-2018

Posted in Monthy Newsletter, Wellness |

Live Well, Work Well – June 2018

Health and wellness tips for your work and life—presented by Sun Risk Management, Inc.

Over 200 Rare Antibiotic-resistant Genes Found in 27 States, Report Shows

A Vital Signs report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that more than 200 rare antibiotic-resistant genes were found in bacteria tested in 2017.

According to CDC principal deputy director, Dr. Anne Schuchat, 2 million Americans get sick from antibiotic resistance, and 23,000 die from such infections each year.

The CDC is now promoting an aggressive containment strategy that includes rapid detection tests and screening for reducing the spread of antibiotic resistance. They also ask that you take simple preventive measures like washing your hands and getting vaccinated. For more information, click here.

Strawberries Named Dirtiest Produce for 3rd Year in a Row by EWG

Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases a Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce report that details which fruits and veggies are the least—and most—contaminated by pesticides. The guide is designed to help you make healthy and informed choices and reduce your exposure to toxic pesticides.

For the third year in a row, strawberries top the “Dirty Dozen” list of the most pesticide-tainted produce, with one-third of all conventional strawberry samples containing 10 or more pesticides. One sample even contained 22 pesticide residues.

The other fruits and vegetables on the Dirty Dozen list are:

  • Spinach
  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Celery
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Nectarines
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes

While pesticides boost crop yields, multiple studies have linked pesticides in produce to conditions like asthma, cancer, fertility issues and brain conditions. The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station recommends rinsing produce under water for 30 seconds to get rid of pesticide residues. For more information, visit EWG’s website.

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Fried Rice

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

3 cups brown rice (cooked)

1 carrot (cut into ¼-inch slices)

½ cup bell pepper (chopped)

½ cup onion (chopped)

½ cup broccoli (chopped)

2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

½ tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 medium eggs (beaten)

¾ cup chicken (cooked, chopped)
PREPARATIONS

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add rice and stir for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in carrot, bell pepper, onion, broccoli, soy sauce, black pepper and garlic powder. Cook until vegetables are tender.
  4. Remove mixture from pan.
  5. Pour eggs into pan and scramble.
  6. Put vegetable mix and rice back in the pan and mix with scrambled eggs.
  7. Add chicken and cook until hot. Serve warm.

Makes: 6 serving
Nutritional Information (per serving)

Total Calories 203
Total Fat 7
Protein 9 g
Carbohydrates 26 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Sodium 269 mg
Total Sugars 2 g

Source: USDA

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Intermittent Fasting: What it is and Why People Are Doing it

Intermittent fasting is one of the latest health trends that has been gaining traction quickly. Intermittent fasting can look very different from person to person, but the two most popular approaches are:

  1. 5:2 approach: In this approach, you restrict your calorie consumption to 25 percent of your daily needs twice a week, and eat normally the remaining five days of the week.
  2. Eight-hour approach: In this approach, you fast for 16 hours a day, eating only during an eight-hour time period.

Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can have powerful benefits on your body and mind, and for weight control. Other studies state that it can also protect against Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

As with any diet plan, it’s important to talk with your doctor before you start. For more information on intermittent fasting, or its benefits and drawbacks, click here.

live-well-june

Posted in Monthy Newsletter, Wellness |

Live Well, Work Well – May 2018

Health and wellness tips for your work and life—presented by Sun Risk Management, Inc.

Researchers Link New Danger to E-cigarettes

The use of electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes has grown exponentially in recent years—especially among young adults in the United States.

The liquid used in e-cigarettes contains nicotine and other harmful chemicals, including heavy metals and carcinogens. The liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes comes in thousands of different flavors, many of which are appealing—and harmful—to teenagers.

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego found that popular fruity vape flavors appear to contain the highest levels of cancer-causing materials. The study recommends that parents warn teens of the dangers associated with e-cigarettes to discourage usage.

Despite CDC Recommendation, Many Adults Still Refusing Shingles Vaccine

Shingles is an extremely common—and painful—viral infection, affecting 1 out of every 3 Americans at some point in their life. It’s caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, so anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk of developing shingles. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in the body. While scientists are unsure what causes the virus to awaken at a later date, they do know that the only way to reduce the risk of getting shingles is to get vaccinated.

Recommended Shingles Vaccine

The CDC recommends that adults use a new vaccine called Shingrix instead of Zostavax, which had been the recommended vaccine from 2006-2017. Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), the most common shingles complication. In studies, two doses of Shingrix were found to be more than 90 percent effective at preventing shingles and PHN.

Who Should Get Vaccinated?

The CDC recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of Shingrix, two to six months apart. People who have had shingles in the past, have received the Zostavax vaccine or are unsure if they have had chickenpox should also receive the Shingrix vaccine, according to CDC recommendations.

To find doctor’s offices or pharmacies near you that offer the vaccine, visit HealthMap Vaccine Finder.
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Barley Pilaf

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 cup onion (chopped)

½ cup celery (chopped)

½ cup red or green bell pepper (chopped)

1 cup mushrooms (sliced)

2 cups water or chicken broth

1 tsp. low-sodium vegetable bouillon

1 cup pearl quick-cooking barley
PREPARATIONS

  1. Heat medium-sized pan over medium heat. Add vegetable oil, onion and celery. Cook, stirring often until onion is soft.
  2. Add bell pepper, mushrooms and pearl barley. Stir well.
  3. Add water and bouillon and stir to dissolve bouillon. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and cover pan.
  4. Cook for 50 to 60 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed.

Makes: 8 serving
Nutritional Information (per serving)

Total Calories 119
Total Fat 2 g
Protein 2 g
Carbohydrates 24 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Sodium 11 mg
Total Sugars 1 g

Source: USDA

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May is Food Allergy Action Month

A food allergy occurs when the body has a specific immune response to certain foods. Sometimes, the body’s response can be severe or life-threatening. Food allergies are a growing food safety and public health concern, according to the CDC. It is also estimated that between 4 and 6 percent of U.S. children are affected by some type of food allergy.

Among other things, Food Allergy Action Month was created to spread awareness about what food allergies are, how to recognize them and how to help someone who is having an allergic reaction. Common symptoms of an allergic reaction to food include the following:

  • A tingling sensation in the mouth
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue and throat
  • Itching, hives and a rash throughout the body
  • Cramping, diarrhea or vomiting
  • Wheezing and difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Loss of consciousness

The 8 foods that cause the most allergies

Posted in Monthy Newsletter, Wellness |

Live Well, Work Well – April 2018

Do You Know the Signs of a Kidney Stone?

Do You Know the Signs of a Kidney Stone?

A recent study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings journal found that the prevalence of kidney stones has increased more than fourfold in women and more than twofold in men over the past 30 years.

If treated in a timely fashion, kidney stones usually don’t cause permanent damage. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following:

  • Pain so severe that you can’t sit still or find a comfortable position
  • Pain accompanied by nausea, vomiting, fever or chills
  • Blood in your urine
  • Difficulty passing urine

5 Healthy Snacks to Satisfy Your Workday Hunger

Snacking can be an important part of a healthy diet. Healthy snacks can provide midday energy boosts and fuel for exercising, and can help decrease your hunger and the odds of overeating at mealtime. Try incorporating these five simple snacks into your meal plan.

  1. Almonds—1.5 ounces of almonds (about 35 nuts) provides enough fiber, protein and good fats to keep you feeling full until your next meal.
  2. Greek yogurt parfait—1 cup of Greek yogurt with berries is a great way to get protein, calcium, fiber and antioxidants.
  3. Blueberries and mini Babybel cheese—1 cup of fresh blueberries has only 80 calories. When paired with two mini Babybel cheeses, you get a high dose of fiber, antioxidants, protein and calcium.
  4. Apple and ½ cup roasted chickpeas—Apples are fat-, sodium- and cholesterol-free. What’s more? One mediumsized apple has less than 100 calories. When paired with ½ cup roasted chickpeas, you get a snack that provides protein, and good fats and carbs.
  5. Veggies with hummus—Snacking on raw, fiber-rich vegetables during the day can help keep you full between meals. For extra protein, eat your veggies with hummus. Be sure to check the serving size on your hummus container to keep your portion size in check

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One Pan Potatoes & Chicken
4 medium potatoes1 pound chicken breast (boned and skinned)

2 Tbsp. oil

1 cup salsa

1 15-ounce can whole kernel corn (drained)
PREPARATIONS

  1. Cut potatoes into ¾-inch cubes.
  2. Cook potatoes over medium-high heat until fork-tender. Remove from pan.
  3. Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat. Brown the chicken for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the potatoes back into the pan and cook until lightly browned.
  5. Add salsa and corn. Cook until heated through.
  6. Serve warm.

Makes: 6 serving
Nutritional Information (per serving)

Total Calories 285
Total Fat 7 g
Protein 21 g
Carbohydrates 35 g
Dietary Fiber 4 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Sodium 316 mg
Total Sugars 3 g

Source: USDA

live-well-march-02

Save Lives: Don’t Be a Distracted Driver

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nine people are killed and over 1,000 others are injured every day in accidents that involve a distracted driver in the United States. The National Safety Council observes April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month to draw attention to this epidemic.

Distracted driving is driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from the road, and can greatly increase the chance of a motor vehicle crash. While there is little you can do to control other people’s driving, there is plenty you can do to reduce your own distractions.

There are three main types of distractions:

  1. Visual: taking your eyes off the road
  2. Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
  3. Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving

By practicing safe driving techniques, you can significantly reduce your chances of being involved in an auto accident. In addition to avoiding distractions, it’s important to be aware of other drivers around you and make adjustments to your driving accordingly.

live-well-april-2018

Posted in Monthy Newsletter, Wellness |

Benefits Buzz – May 2018

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Benefits-Buzz-May-2018

Posted in Health Care Reform |

HR Brief – May 2018

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HR-Brief-May-2018

Posted in Large Group Employers, Small Group Employers |

HR Brief – April 2018

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HR-Brief-April-2018

Posted in Large Group Employers, Small Group Employers |

HR Brief – March 2018

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HR-Brief-March-2018

Posted in Large Group Employers, Small Group Employers |

Compliance Bulletin – IRS Reduces H S A Limit for Family Coverage 2018

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Posted in Health Care Reform |