Vaccine Recommendations from Employee Health Services (EHS)

In the fall, we all hear about getting the annual flu shot. Questions about that and other vaccines arise yearly, especially since COVID-19 in 2020. Who should get a flu shot, and when should I get one? What other vaccines should I be considering? 

Where can I get these vaccines? Can I get more than one at a time? And the list can go on. We hope to answer a few of those questions this month.

Who and When

Most people six months and older should receive an annual flu shot. The vaccines are based on the virus that was present at the end of the last season. While it may not be 100% effective against keeping you from getting sick, it lowers the severity and the number of influenza-related hospitalizations. The elderly and young are most affected, as well as those with other health issues, including breathing problems, heart issues, and diabetes. Please stay healthy for those around you, too!

CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends the flu vaccine be administered in September or October to last into the influenza season. 

It takes two weeks to take effect in your body. The newest recommendations also state that EGG ALLERGY is no longer a contraindication to vaccines. 

Other vaccines to consider:

COVID: a new vaccine is being made for the fall of 2023, and recommendations will be made when available.

Pneumonia: adult vaccines include PCV 15 or 20 and PPSV23. Please speak with your Primary Care Physician (PCP) or pharmacist about your requirements.

Tetanus (Td/Tdap): should be given every ten years or sooner with certain injuries; at least one Tdap as an adult to prevent pertussis (whooping cough)

Shingles: for those with lowered immune systems and 60+ years of age

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus)- common cold-like symptoms but can be severe in infants and older adults; will soon be offered to those 60+ years of age.

Where to get vaccines

Your PCP or local pharmacy can provide you with these vaccines.

Can I get more than one vaccine at a time?

If you can only get one vaccine appointment, it is typically safe to receive more than one vaccine at a given time. 

Try to get them in separate arms, and beware that the side effects like fatigue and arm soreness may be more significant with more vaccines at once.

Let’s all do our part to stay healthy this fall and winter with up-to-date vaccinations.

Many questions can be answered on the Anthem website, the CDC website, or with your PCP.

Check Your Symptoms or Call EHS

If you are feeling under the weather, check out this symptom chart and get an idea of the cause. While Employee Health Services (EHS) does not replace your primary care provider, they can treat employees’ minor illnesses and injuries, including prescription medication if needed. Examples of these types of minor illnesses include: 

  • Sore /strep throat
  • Cold/Flu
  • Allergy symptoms
  • Eye Problems (scratch, pink eye)
  • Ear Problems (infection, wax build-up)
  • Cough
  • Urinary Tract/Bladder Infection
  • Skin Rashes /Insect Bite
  • Minor cuts/Abrasions
  • Strains/Sprains

Call 804-501-1600 to schedule an appointment. The clinic is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please visit the Employee Health Service webpage for more information on their services.

Also, every U.S. household can again place an order to receive four more free COVID-19 rapid tests delivered directly to their home. Visit https://www.covid.gov/tests for more information.

 

 

Cold, flu, COVID or allergies: what are my symptoms?

Common Symptom

COLD

FLU

COVID

ALLERGIES

Onset

gradual

fast

within 14 days

gradual

Lasts

4-10 days

5-7 days

varies

seasonal

Body aches

slight

yes

sometimes

no

Cough

yes

yes

yes

yes

Fatigue/weak

mild

yes

sometimes

slight

Fever/chills

rare

yes

sometimes

no

Headache

sometimes

yes

sometimes

sinus

Itchy eyes

no

no

no

yes

Nasal congestion

yes

yes

sometimes

yes

Nausea/vomiting

sometimes

sometimes

sometimes

no

New loss taste/smell

sometimes

sometimes

sometimes

sometimes

Runny nose

yes

sometimes

sometimes

yes

Short of breath

rare

rare

serious infection

sometimes

Sneezing

yes

yes

sometimes

yes

Sore throat

yes

yes

sometimes

sometimes

 

*Symptoms may vary depending on vaccine status and underlying health problems

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/

https://www.anthem.com/preventive-care/

https://www.verywellhealth.com/fall-2023-vaccination-guide-7642488

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/infographics/it-cold-flu-or-covid-19

gundersonhealth.org/health-wellness/be-well/how-to-tell-if-you-have-a-cold-the-flu-or-covid-19

https://www.nationaljewish.org/conditions/health-information/health-infographics/allergies-cold-flu-or-covid-19-virus

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Fitness & Health Expo

Ages 18+. Experience a health and wellness educational opportunity to improve your overall emotional, physical, and mental health. Talk with community vendors and receive information that benefits a happy lifestyle. Enjoy fitness demos like senior wellness, Zumba, line dancing, and pickleball.

Information: cun04@henrico.us

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Mastering Meal Planning

The Human Resources’ Fitness & Wellness Division has teamed up with Bon Secours Outpatient Nutrition to provide nutrition education programming to County employees in person and virtually. 

Visit the Fitness & Wellness SharePoint site for a complete list of upcoming sessions

You can attend in person or virtually and register by emailing Fitness@henrico.us.

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BE THE BEAT & ROCK YOUR RED to support American Heart Month 2023

February is American Heart Month, and there are many ways for you to Go Red and help raise awareness for heart health. Friday, February 3 is National Wear Red Day, and you can BE THE BEAT by wearing red, sharing at least one healthy habit you’re prioritizing – it could be sleep, stress management, physical activity, nutrition, or whatever works best for you – and encourage others to do the same. Together we can help others we know to reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease by building healthy habits.

Get your work squad together, rally your team, and GO RED together:

  • Wear Red! Encourage your office team to wear their favorite red outfits on Friday, February 3 – National Wear Red Day.
  • Make an office playlist. Share a song that gets you moving or helps to manage stress.
  • Get up and move throughout the day. A simple stretch break or a workout class at the office will help reduce stress and is a great way to bond as a team.
  • Hold a healthy eating challenge. Challenge your office to commit to healthy eating during American Heart Month.
  • Share how you are supporting your cardiovascular health this month. Listen to what others are doing. Please encourage them to keep going and celebrate the wins!
  • Learn more about cardiac arrest, stroke, and CPR.

Let us know how what healthy habit you are prioritizing. If you aren’t sure where to begin on your better health journey, reach out to the Division of Fitness and Wellness and consider health coaching or fitness classes.

Employee Health Services (EHS) also offers blood pressure checks, blood sugar checks, and counseling for diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol management. Call 804-501-1600 to schedule an appointment or for more information.

Show us your red! Please email any photos of you and your teams wearing your red to Christy Nealey for a chance to be featured on social media or in the next County Connection!

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Wear Red Day!

February is American Heart Month, and there are many ways for you to Go Red and help raise awareness for heart health. Friday, February 3 is National Wear Red Day, and you can BE THE BEAT by wearing red. Together we can help others we know to reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease by building healthy habits.

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Manage Blood Sugar with the American Heart Association’s Life’s Essential 8

Knowing how sugar (glucose) and insulin work in the body is essential for understanding how diabetes impacts health. Diabetes happens when the body has a chronic build-up of extra sugar in the bloodstream, causing blood sugar (also called blood glucose) levels to rise higher than average, known as hyperglycemia. When you eat, your body breaks food down into sugar and sends it into the blood. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps move the sugar from the blood into your cells. When sugar enters your cells, it is either used as fuel for energy right away or stored for later use. In a person with diabetes, there is a problem with insulin. And not everyone with diabetes has the same insulin problem. There are different types of diabetes – type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. If you have diabetes – type 1, type 2, or gestational – your body either doesn’t make enough insulin, can’t use the insulin well, or both.

Nutrition and physical activity are essential parts of a healthy lifestyle when you have diabetes. Following a healthy meal plan and being active can help keep blood sugar in your target range. Managing blood sugar is about balancing what you eat and drink with physical activity and diabetes medicine, if you take any. What you choose to eat, how much you eat, and when you eat are critical in keeping your blood glucose level in the range your healthcare team recommends. The American Diabetes Association recommends using the Diabetes Plate Method to create perfectly portioned meals with a healthy balance of vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates – without counting, calculating, weighing, or measuring. 

Remember, along with diet and medication, regular physical activity is an integral part of managing diabetes or dealing with prediabetes. When your body is active, your cells become more sensitive to insulin, working more effectively to lower your blood sugar. Light walking is a great place to start and a great habit to incorporate into your life. Walking with a loved one or just by yourself while listening to an audiobook are good ways to move more. If you are struggling with getting started or feeling overwhelmed by the idea of creating a more active life, there are health coaching resources available to support you through this behavior change journey. 

Community resources are available if you are concerned about your risk for developing diabetes or are looking for help in managing your current diabetes diagnosis. 

Anthem ConditionCare offers tools and support to Henrico County health plan subscribers and their covered family members for diabetes management.

The Balm in Gilead – Southeast Diabetes Faith Initiative – Virginia, 620 Moorefield Park Drive, Suite 150, Richmond, VA 23226. (804) 644-2256

Bon Secours Center for Healthy Living Sarah Garland Jones Center, 2600 Nine Mile Road, Richmond, VA 23223. (804) 287-7941

VCU Health Hub at 25th, 1330 N. 25th Street, Suite A, Richmond, VA 23223. (804) 628-6401

Henrico County Employee Health Services offers health education and individualized dietary counseling. 7740 Shrader Rd, Suite A, Henrico, VA 23228. (804) 501-1600

 

Resource list:

‘Managing blood sugar’ link: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/lifes-essential-8/how-to-manage-blood-sugar-fact-sheet 

‘Diabetes Plate Method link: https://www.diabetesfoodhub.org/articles/what-is-the-diabetes-plate-method.html#:~:text=The%20Diabetes%20Plate%20Method%20is,you%20need%20is%20a%20plate!

‘Health coaching resources’ link: https://henricova.sharepoint.com/Fitness_Wellness/SitePages/HealthCoaching.aspx

‘Diabetes risk’ link: https://doihaveprediabetes.org/take-the-risk-test/#/

PDF: https://www.heart.org/-/media/Healthy-Living-Files/LE8-Fact-Sheets/LE8_How_to_Manage_Blood_Sugar.pdf

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Keep it Cool During Warm Weather Workouts

Time It Right

  • Get outside during the coolest parts of the day, like the morning or evening
  • Avoid outdoor activity from 12-3 PM, the hottest part of the day
  • Give yourself time to warm up and cool down before each activity

Stay Hydrated

  • Drink water before, during and after activities, even if you don’t feel thirsty
  • Fuel up with hydrating fruits and veggies, smoothies and infused water
  • Carry a water bottle or hydration pack with you for easy hydration

Dress for Comfort

  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothes made with moisture-wicking fabrics
  • Lace up with breathable shoes, lightweight socks and supportive insoles
  • Protect yourself with sunglasses, waterproof sunscreen and a hat or visor

Make it fun with warm-weather activities like:

  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Outdoor Yoga

For more ideas on staying active, visit heart.org/movemore

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Sun Safety: Protect Your Skin

Summer is full of outdoor activities. So, of course, you probably put sunscreen on yourself and your kids when you go to the pool or the beach. But do you know you should protect your skin with more than just sunscreen anytime you’re outside?

Sun protection is essential all year round, and it’s best to use several different kinds. When you’re working in the yard, watching a ballgame, or taking an afternoon walk, make sun safety an everyday habit so you can avoid sunburn and lower your chance of getting skin cancer.

Here are some tips to help make sure you and your family stay sun-safe:

Why is sun protection so important? Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays causes most cases of melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer. Protect your skin from the sun and avoid indoor tanning to lower your skin cancer risk. Here are some skin cancer fast facts to be mindful of:

  • Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and includes different types.
  • The sun’s UV rays can damage unprotected skin in as little as 15 minutes.
  • Even if it’s cool and cloudy, you still need protection. UV rays, not the temperature, do the damage.
  • Anyone can get skin cancer, but some things put you at higher risk.
  • The most common signs of skin cancer are changes on your skin, such as a new growth, a sore that doesn’t heal, or a change in a mole.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/resources/features/SkinCancer/index.htm

Publication Date: 4/25/2017

Last Updated: 5/23/2017

Attribution: Content provided and maintained by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Please see our system usage guidelines and disclaimer.

 

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Breast Cancer – The who, what, where, when, and sometimes, why.

What affects your risk of breast cancer? 

The exact causes of breast cancer are not fully known. No one knows why one person gets breast cancer, yet another doesn’t. However, some things increase (or decrease) the chance of getting breast cancer, called risk factors.

Breast Cancer is complex and likely caused by a combination of multiple risk factors. Some you can control, like leading a healthy lifestyle, while some are out of your control, like getting older.

Since you can only control some factors, you cannot completely avoid the chance of getting breast cancer. Plus, most of the risk factors that can be mitigated have only a minimal effect on the probability of developing the disease. This means no one behavior will prevent breast cancer, but it also means there’s no single factor that will guarantee cancer will develop. The best advice in breast cancer prevention is to talk with your doctor about your risk.

Make healthy lifestyle choices

Most people with breast cancer were at average risk. We don’t know which factors came together to cause breast cancer. However, some healthy lifestyle choices may reduce the risk of cancer:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Add exercise to your routine.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Limit menopausal hormone use.
  • Breastfeed, if you can.

Get the facts about breast cancer

Because the causes of breast cancer are not fully known, there are many myths about the disease. Here are some basic facts to know:

  • The most common risk factors for breast cancer are being female and getting older.
  • Risk factors can vary by race and ethnicity.
  • Most women who get breast cancer don’t have a family history of breast cancer
  • Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer.
  • Wearing a bra doesn’t cause breast cancer.

Other Resources

Visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. for safe, accurate, and current breast cancer information.

Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool (the Gail Model) is often used by doctors to estimate risk. Although the tool can estimate your risk, it cannot tell whether you’ll get breast cancer.

The American Cancer Society provides information on breast cancer awareness, diagnosis, treatment, and staying well after treatment.

Join the Challenge – 35 miles in 31 days

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Smoke-Free Environment

We have all been told that smoking is bad for our health and the health of those around us. It is currently the leading cause of preventable death and is responsible for 480,000 deaths per year in the United States; including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. In keeping with Henrico County’s commitment to providing a safe and healthy work environment, as of August 1, Henrico’s Western and Eastern Government Centers are smoke‐free. According to the new policy, “County‐owned and County‐leased buildings over which the County Manager has control shall be smoke‐free, including private offices. For purposes of this policy, this also shall include County‐owned vehicles. The smoke-free designation also pertains to vaping, e-cigarettes, and other like devices.” Subsequently, designated smoking areas, including cigarette boxes, at these locations will be eliminated and new “Smoke-Free Environment” signage will be added.

Employees that do smoke are encouraged to consult a medical professional regarding tobacco cessation. There is no doubt that quitting smoking is difficult, but it is not impossible. It is estimated there are 45 million smokers in the U.S., but there are at least 48 million former smokers, and if they could do it, maybe you could join their ranks. Just remember, most people have to try to quit more than once, so don’t get discouraged if that is the case for you. Consider talking to your doctor about smoking cessation strategies that might be right for you or look into these resources offered to Henrico County Employees:

  1. Employee Health Services (EHS) is available to meet with employees individually to discuss smoking cessation strategies. If an employee prefers a prescribed cessation medication, they will be referred to their Primary Care Physician (PCP). Please contact EHS over the phone at (804) 501-1600 or stop by their office at 7740 Shrader Rd, Suite A, Henrico, VA 23228.
  2. Quit Now is a free service through the Virginia Department of Health that assists Virginians to quit smoking and using tobacco products. They can be contacted at 1(­800) ­784-8669, www.QuitNow.net/Virginia, or via a referral from Employee Health Services.
  3. Anthem members have access to cessation support services and benefits. Please visit anthem.com or reach out to the Human Resources Benefits Division at (804) 501-7371 or HR-Benefits@henrico.us for more information.
  4. The Employee Assistance Program through Optima Health offers My Life My Plan “Staying Healthy” a collection of self-paced at-home programs including a tobacco cessation program called “Get Off Your Butt: Stay Smokeless for Life” and additional resources.

It is your individual choice to quit smoking, but you do not have to do it alone! If you have questions or concerns regarding the new smoking policy, please contact John Neal at John.Neal@henrico.us.

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