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  • Important Health Alert: Avian Influenza A(H5N1) Detected in Texas

    Recently, the first human case of novel avian influenza A(H5N1) has been reported in Texas. This case is believed to be linked to contact with dairy cows presumed to be infected with avian influenza. Here's what you need to know: In March 2024, samples from various animals in Texas and Kansas were tested for influenza due to signs of illness. Some of these animals tested positive for avian influenza A(H5N1), including dairy cows. This is the first time avian influenza A(H5N1) has been detected in cattle in the United States. DSHS, alongside other health agencies, is actively investigating this situation. Signs and symptoms of avian influenza A(H5N1) infection may include: Fever Cough Sore throat Runny nose Headaches Fatigue Eye redness (conjunctivitis) Difficulty breathing Diarrhea Nausea Vomiting Seizures (in severe cases) It's important to note that conjunctivitis (red eyes) is a primary symptom observed in this case. While avian influenza A(H5N1) viruses have rarely been transmitted from person to person, those with close contact with affected animals have a higher risk of infection. The general public's risk is believed to be low; however, vigilance is key, especially for individuals with relevant exposure history. If you experience symptoms or have had exposure to affected animals, seek medical attention promptly. Additionally, maintain good personal hygiene practices, including frequent handwashing, to reduce the risk of infection. As we navigate through this situation, staying informed is crucial. We encourage you to keep an eye on updates from reliable health sources and follow any recommendations provided by health authorities. For more information and additional resources, follow these links: Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

  • How To Spot Bed Bugs: A Guide To Keep Your Home Safe

    We stumbled upon an insightful article, "How To Keep Bed Bugs Away, According To Experts" offering practical insights on identifying, preventing, and addressing bed bug issues. Some of the key point from this article are: Identifying Bed Bugs: Learn to spot bed bugs at different life stages, from flat reddish-brown adults to translucent whiteish-yellow immatures. Discover practical tips for recognizing these pests. Spotting the Signs: Recognize signs of a potential bed bug infestation, from stains on sheets to itchy welts on the skin. Preventive Measures: Discover practical measures to keep bed bugs at bay. Regular inspections, protective mattress covers, and simple habits significantly reduce the risk of infestations. Check out the full article here. Feel free to click the link to read the full article and share it with friends and family. Stay informed, stay bug-free!

  • Ride Free to Cast Your Vote!

    Just sharing the good news! METRO is offering free rides to the polls on Election Day. Let's make sure every voice is heard. 📢

  • Embracing Heart Health: February Marks American Heart Month

    As we step into the month of February, our attention turns to matters of the heart – not just in the context of Valentine's Day but also in the realm of health. February is designated as American Heart Month, a time to raise awareness about cardiovascular health and encourage individuals to take proactive steps in caring for their hearts. In 2024, the significance of this month is further heightened as the American Heart Association (AHA), an organization dedicated to combating heart disease and stroke, celebrates its Centennial. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, emphasizing the critical need for awareness and prevention. American Heart Month serves as an opportune moment for individuals to reflect on their lifestyle choices, assess risk factors, and commit to making positive changes. Simple steps such as maintaining a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and quitting smoking can significantly contribute to heart health. During American Heart Month and the AHA Centennial celebration, there are numerous ways to get involved and make a positive impact: Educate Yourself: Learn about heart-healthy habits and the risk factors associated with heart disease. Spread Awareness: Share information about American Heart Month and the AHA Centennial on social media to reach a wider audience. Support Research: Consider making a donation to fund cardiovascular research and support initiatives aimed at preventing heart disease. Get Active: Participate in local events promoting physical activity and heart-healthy lifestyles. By prioritizing heart health, together, we can build a future where everyone has the opportunity to lead a longer, healthier life. For more information and resources, please follow this link.

  • Choosing the Perfect Home Health Attendant: A Guide to Successful Hiring

    In the realm of home health care, finding the right attendant for your loved one can be a crucial decision. The well-being and comfort of your family member depend on the expertise, compassion, and reliability of the home health attendant you choose. To make this process smoother, consider these essential tips when hiring the perfect home health attendant for your unique needs: Assess Your Loved One's Needs: Before diving into the hiring process, evaluate the specific requirements of your loved one. Consider their medical condition, daily routines, and any special needs they may have. Understanding these details will help you narrow down the qualities and skills you should look for in a home health attendant. Define Your Budget: Identify the amount received from Medicaid for home health care services. Be aware of any changes in your funding, as this will directly influence your ability to compensate your home health attendant appropriately. Understand the guidelines set by Medicaid and ensure that your budget aligns with these regulations. While you have the autonomy to decide the compensation for your attendants, it's essential to strike a balance between fair pay and the available funds provided by Medicaid. This approach will help you create a realistic budget that ensures both quality care for your loved one and compliance with funding limitations. Check Qualifications and Experience: Look for candidates with the necessary qualifications and experience you need. Ensure that they have the relevant certifications, training, and a solid background in dealing with the specific health conditions your loved one is facing. Experience often translates to a better understanding of potential challenges and effective caregiving skills. Seek Recommendations: Ask for recommendations from friends, family, or healthcare professionals. Personal referrals can provide valuable insights into the reliability, professionalism, and caring nature of potential candidates. You may also consider reaching out to local support groups or online communities for additional recommendations. Conduct Thorough Interviews: Schedule interviews with potential candidates to assess their communication skills, empathy, and compatibility with your loved one. Prepare a list of questions that cover both technical aspects of caregiving and their approach to providing emotional support. Pay attention to how well they connect with your family member during the interview. Verify References: Request and check references from previous employers or clients. This step is crucial in gaining a deeper understanding of the candidate's work history, reliability, and professionalism. Ask about their punctuality, communication skills, and ability to handle challenging situations. Evaluate Cultural Fit: Consider the cultural background and personality of the home health attendant. A good cultural fit can contribute significantly to the overall well-being and happiness of your loved one. Look for someone who shares similar values and can create a comfortable and supportive environment. Discuss Flexibility and Availability: Confirm the candidate's availability and flexibility with regard to the caregiving schedule. Discuss any potential challenges that may arise and ensure that the attendant is willing and able to accommodate your family's needs. Trial Period: Consider implementing a trial period to observe the home health attendant in action before committing to a long-term arrangement. This allows both parties to assess compatibility and make any necessary adjustments. Trust Your Instincts: Finally, trust your instincts. If something feels off or you sense a lack of compatibility during the hiring process, consider continuing your search. The right home health attendant should not only have the necessary skills but also provide a sense of comfort and assurance for both you and your loved one. By following these tips, you can navigate the process of hiring a home health attendant with confidence, ensuring that your loved one receives the compassionate and professional care they deserve. For more assistance, please reach out to your Service Coordinator or Case Manager. If you're a current client, our team is here to help!

  • The Benefits of In-Home Care Services for Seniors and People with Disabilities

    As our population ages and life expectancy increases, the demand for compassionate and personalized care for seniors and individuals with disabilities has never been higher. In-home care has emerged as a transformative solution, providing a host of benefits that go beyond mere assistance with daily tasks. Let's delve into the advantages of in-home care and how it fosters a sense of comfort, independence, and overall well-being. Personalized and Tailored Care: Maintaining Independence: Emotional Well-Being Cost Effectiveness Reduced Risk of Infections Flexible Scheduling and Routine Peace of Mind for Families In-home care offers a holistic approach to senior and disability care that goes beyond the physical assistance with daily tasks. By prioritizing individual needs, preserving independence, and fostering emotional well-being, in-home care is a transformative and compassionate solution that enhances the overall quality of life for seniors and individuals with disabilities. Reach out to your Case Manager or Service Coordinator for more information on what options are available to you.

  • Navigating the Spectrum: The Vital Role of Early Detection in Autism

    Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) presents a diverse range of challenges and strengths unique to each individual it affects. In this intricate landscape, the timely identification of symptoms becomes a crucial factor in shaping effective understanding and support for those on the autism spectrum. Early detection of autism is a game-changer, as it allows for timely intervention and support tailored to the individual's needs. Research consistently highlights that early intervention can significantly improve outcomes for individuals with autism, enhancing their social, communication, and cognitive skills. Identifying signs and symptoms early on provides the foundation for a more effective and personalized intervention plan. Recognizing signs and symptoms demands heightened awareness from parents, caregivers, and educators. While every individual on the autism spectrum is unique, some common indicators include: Social Challenges: Difficulty in making and maintaining eye contact, limited interest in peers, and challenges in developing and maintaining relationships. Communication Difficulties: Delayed language development, limited use of gestures, and difficulty in understanding and using verbal and non-verbal communication. Repetitive Behaviors: Engaging in repetitive movements or activities, such as hand-flapping, rocking, or intense fixation on specific objects. Sensory Sensitivities: Heightened sensitivities or aversions to sensory stimuli, such as loud noises, bright lights, or certain textures. For parents and caregivers, navigating the path to evaluation is a critical juncture. Pediatricians and family doctors serve as initial guides, conducting preliminary assessments and seamlessly referring to specialists when necessary. Developmental specialists, including pediatric neurologists and child psychologists, bring a wealth of expertise to comprehensive evaluations. Early intervention services, tailored especially for children under three, offer developmental screenings and interventions personalized to the child's unique needs. Collaborating with educators and tapping into insights from educational settings further enriches the evaluation process. Understanding and supporting individuals with autism constitutes a shared journey involving communities, professionals, and families. Embracing the distinctive qualities of each person on the spectrum contributes to the fabric of a more inclusive and compassionate society. By fostering awareness, encouraging early detection, and advocating interventions that nurture strengths, we collectively pave the way for a future where every individual, regardless of where they fall on the spectrum, can thrive and contribute meaningfully to the world. For more information and resources take a look the following links: About Autism Spectrum Disorder Applied Behavior Analysis Children's Autism Program Texas Autism Research and Resources Autism Society of Texas

  • Understanding and Addressing Depression in Older Adults

    Depression is a silent but pervasive shadow that can affect anyone, regardless of age. However, when it comes to the older population, the impact of depression can be particularly profound. In this blog post, we'll explore what depression is, delve into the unique risk factors that affect older adults, identify signs and symptoms, and discuss preventive measures to promote mental well-being in the senior community. Overview of Depression: Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in daily activities. It goes beyond occasional feelings of sadness and can significantly interfere with one's ability to function. Risk Factors for Depression in Older Adults: Health Issues: Chronic health conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, or cardiovascular diseases, can contribute to depression in older adults. Loss and Grief: Experiencing the loss of a loved one, friends, or even the loss of independence can trigger depressive episodes. Isolation and Loneliness: Social isolation and a lack of social support can increase the risk of depression among older adults. Medications: Certain medications may have side effects that impact mood and contribute to depressive symptoms. Cognitive Decline: Deterioration in cognitive function and the onset of conditions like dementia can contribute to depression. Signs and Symptoms: Persistent Sadness: A pervasive feeling of sadness that lasts for an extended period. Loss of Interest: Lack of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed. Changes in Sleep Patterns: Insomnia or excessive sleep can be indicative of depression. Appetite Changes: Significant weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting. Fatigue: Persistent feelings of fatigue and low energy. Difficulty Concentrating: Impaired focus and decision-making. Preventing Depression in Older Adults: Social Engagement: Encourage participation in social activities and maintain connections with friends and family. Physical Activity: Regular exercise has been shown to have positive effects on mental health. Regular Health Checkups: Addressing and managing chronic health conditions can mitigate the risk of depression. Counseling and Support Groups: Seeking professional help or joining support groups can provide a platform for expressing emotions and receiving support. Medication Management: Regularly review medications with healthcare providers to minimize potential side effects contributing to depression. Understanding and addressing depression in older adults is crucial for promoting mental well-being and overall health. By recognizing the unique risk factors and being vigilant about the signs and symptoms, we can work towards creating a supportive environment that fosters resilience and emotional strength in our older population. Through a combination of social engagement, physical activity, and professional support, we can help older adults navigate the shadows of depression and embrace a fulfilling and emotionally healthy life. If you or someone you know is struggling, remember you're not alone. Reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) for 24/7 support from trained counselors. Your well-being matters, and help is just a call away.

  • Potential Office Closure Due to Weather Conditions

    Weather Advisory: Our In-Home Attendant Services office may close next week due to weather conditions. Stay tuned for updates. Stay warm!

  • Winter Weather Advisory for the State of Texas

    As we gear up for an approaching Arctic blast front sweeping across the state of Texas next week, your safety is our utmost priority. It is crucial for everyone to stay informed about weather alerts issued for their respective towns and cities, as well as be aware of necessary preparations and available resources. Key Points: Stay informed about weather alerts for your specific location. Prepare for the impending cold front by taking appropriate measures. Familiarize yourself with the resources available in your area for assistance. Houston Winter Weather Alert: For our Houston-based employers, a specific winter weather alert has been issued. The cold front is expected to impact the Houston area starting Sunday, January 14, with a hard freeze anticipated. Please take note of the following information. Warming Centers For those who need to escape the elements, the following warming center locations will be open from beginning at 8 p.m. Monday, January 15: These facilities will accept pets, though they may be required to stay in the kennels that will be provided by BARC. Additionally, the following organizations have agreed to open their facilities in coordination with the City of Houston at the same dates and times. Free Rides The City of Houston will offer free rides to these locations for anyone who needs assistance. To arrange for a ride, please contact 3-1-1. Ways to reach 3-1-1: Website: https://www.houstontx.gov/311/ Customer Portal: https://houston311.powerappsportals.us/en-US/ Download the app: Apple - https://apps.apple.com/us/app/houston-311/id572912099 Google - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.seeclickfix.houston311.app&feature=search_result&pli=1#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS5zZWVjbGlja2ZpeC5ob3VzdG9uMzExLmFwcCJd Email: 311@houstontx.gov Phone: 311 (inside city limits) or 713-837-0311 Protective Actions When cold weather occurs, Houstonians should remember to protect the Four 'P's: People, Pets, Pipes, and Plants. While the probability for sleet and freezing rain is low, please avoid all unnecessary travel during this weather event. Houston Public Works, Houston Airport System, and TxDOT will work to pre-stage resources as necessary to limit the impact of cold weather on the transportation system. During the day, those seeking relief may visit any City of Houston facility, and can also consider public spaces like coffee shops, movie theaters, malls, etc... All YMCA of Greater Houston locations will be available as warming centers during normal business hours. For a list of locations, please visit this website. Those with disabilities, access and functional needs should take specific action to ensure their life-sustaining tools are in good-working order. Ensure powered-mobility devices are fully charged each day Contact your family/support team so they know what assistance you may need Have a plan that includes both sheltering-in-place and evacuating, depending on what advice emergency officials give If you are on dialysis or other life-sustaining medical treatment know the location and availability of more than one facility that can help you. Organize and protect your prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, and vitamins to prepare for an emergency. Wear medical alert tags or bracelets. Also add pertinent medical information to your electronic devices. If you have a communication disability consider carrying printed cards or storing information on your devices to inform first responders and others how to communicate with you. For parents with children, have Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream For People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, use a Weather radio (with text display and a flashing alert). Extra hearing-aid batteries, pen and paper (in case you have to communicate with someone who does not know sign language) For People Who are Blind or Have Low Vision, mark emergency supplies with Braille labels or large print. Keep a list of your emergency supplies and where you bought them on a portable flash drive or make an audio file that is kept in a safe place where you can access it. Keep communication devices for your particular needs, such as a Braille or deaf-blind communications device as part of your emergency supply kit People Dress in warm, layered clothing, including gloves, a coat, and a hat when you are outside. Never leave children or the elderly in vehicles during cold weather, as they can act as refrigerators and expose anyone inside to sub-freezing temperatures. Never use a generator, grill, camp-stove, or any gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning device inside your home (or any enclosed area). These devices can generate carbon monoxide, which cannot be seen or smelled, but is deadly. Place generators at least 20 feet from windows, doors or vents. Pets BRING THEM INSIDE - Bring your pets indoors and provide them with dry shelter to protect them from the harsh weather conditions. If it's too cold for you, it's too cold for them. PAW CHECK - Snow and ice can burn your pet's sensitive paw pads. Make sure you wipe down your pet's feet, legs, and belly as soon as you are inside. OUTDOOR CATS - Outdoor community cats may seek shelter from the cold in the warm engine of your car. Keep them safe by tapping on your car's hood before turning it on. If you are able to, provide the cat with an alternative shelter. Learn how to build your own feral cat shelter here: https://youtu.be/lpW69fNzcjc CHEMICAL HAZARDS - Clean antifreeze spills or leaks to help avoid accidental poisoning by this common lethal chemical. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic seek veterinary care ASAP. If you see a pet that is being left unattended in dangerous weather conditions for an extended period, please report it to the Harris County Animal Cruelty Taskforce at 832-927-PAWS For more cold-weather tips for pets, visit the ASPA's 'Cold Weather Safety Tips' webpage: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/cold-weather-safety-tips Pipes During cold weather, pipes may freeze and rupture, causing water leaks and damage to your home. Protect your home by opening the cabinets under kitchen and bathroom sinks to allow air from your home's heater to warm the pipes under the sink. Insulate outdoor faucets and pipes with insulation or newspaper, and be sure to disconnect and drain hoses from outdoor spigots. Do NOT drip faucets, as this lowers the water pressure in Houston’s water system. Plants Protect plants from freezing by covering them with plant-cover fabric, or a light blanket with plastic sheeting on top of it. Bring in potted plants or group them together, near the edge of a building. Remember that soil in containers can get just as cold as the air temperature, and cause the roots to freeze, even if the above-surface leaves survive. Stay Informed For up-to-date weather information, visit the National Weather Service Houston/Galveston forecast office website: https://www.weather.gov/hgx. While winter precipitation is not anticipated at this time, stay safe when driving in cold conditions. The Houston TranStar traffic map includes a layer that can display locations where ice has been reported on the freeways. Download the app here: iPhone: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/houston-transtar/id1228688011 Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.houstontranstar.traffic&hl=en&pli=1 Encourage friends, family and neighbors to sign up for AlertHouston to receive the latest information on emergency and non-emergency events from the City of Houston Office of Emergency Management. Visit https://www.alerthouston.org to sign up.

  • Prioritize Your Well-being: National Cervical Health Awareness Month

    As January unfolds, we find ourselves in the midst of National Cervical Health Awareness Month—a dedicated time to spotlight an often-overlooked facet of women's well-being. In this collective effort to prioritize health, let's explore the significance of cervical health and the crucial role it plays in women's lives. Cervical health is a cornerstone of reproductive well-being, influencing fertility, childbirth, and overall gynecological health. While often relegated to the background of health discussions, its importance cannot be overstated. This month prompts us to reevaluate our approach and consider the proactive steps we can take to prioritize and safeguard our cervical health. At the forefront of cervical health concerns is Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a prevalent and potentially serious threat. National Cervical Health Awareness Month provides a platform for candid discussions about HPV—its prevention, vaccination, and the paramount need for early detection. Understanding the link between HPV and cervical health empowers women to make informed decisions about their health. Regular screenings, such as Pap smears and HPV tests, emerge as critical tools in the early detection of abnormalities. This month serves as a timely reminder to schedule routine check-ups, emphasizing the importance of early detection in enhancing the likelihood of successful treatment. Proactivity in health maintenance becomes not just a recommendation but a tangible step toward overall well-being. Knowledge is empowerment, and in the realm of women's health, it is a potent tool. National Cervical Health Awareness Month encourages women to educate themselves about their bodies, recognizing risk factors, symptoms, and prevention strategies. This collective knowledge-sharing within communities creates a ripple effect, fostering a culture of awareness and informed decision-making. Breaking down the stigma surrounding reproductive health is an integral part of this awareness campaign. Conversations about cervical health, often shrouded in societal taboos, gain prominence during this month. By dismantling these barriers, we create an environment where women feel comfortable discussing their health concerns openly with healthcare providers and peers. Support systems play a pivotal role in the health journey of women. Family, friends, and healthcare professionals form a robust network that provides emotional support, guidance, and encouragement. Recognizing the importance of these support systems contributes not only to individual well-being but also to the collective strength of the community. National Cervical Health Awareness Month beckons us to prioritize and empower women in their health journey. By fostering awareness, encouraging open conversations, and actively participating in our health care, we contribute to a future where cervical health is not just a monthly focus but an integral part of our ongoing commitment to well-being. For resources and information please follow the links below: Healthy Texas Women Cervical Cancer Breast and Cervical Cancer Services

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