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Staying Healthy In The Face Of Norovirus

Posted on February 25, 2013 at 1:22 PM Comments comments (120)
Have you heard of a sickness called Norovirus? Chances are you have had Norovirus, also called the "stomach flu," many times in your life. Despite its nickname, Norovirus is not related to the flu.
Norovirus is highly contagious and may cause vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. Symptoms usually start within 24 to 48 hours and most people begin to feel better within one or two days and have no long-term health effects.
People with the Norovirus illness are contagious from the moment they begin feeling sick until at least 3 days after they recover. There is no vaccine to prevent a Norovirus infection and no drug to treat people who get sick from the virus. Antibiotics will not help because they fight against bacteria, not viruses.
1 in every 15 Americans will get Norovirus illness each year. Norovirus is also estimated to cause over 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths each year in the United States.
The Center for Disease Control offers the following tips on protecting yourself from Norovirus:
  • Practice proper hand hygiene
Wash your hands carefully with soap and water—Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used in addition to hand washing. They should not be used as a substitute for washing with soap and water.
  • Wash fruits & vegetables and cook seafood thoroughly
 Carefully wash fruits and vegetables before preparing and eating them. Cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating them.
Be aware that Noroviruses are relatively resistant. They can survive temperatures as high as 140°F and quick steaming processes that are often used for cooking shellfish.
  • When you are sick, do not prepare food or care for others who are sick
You should not prepare food for others or provide healthcare while you are sick and for at least 2 to 3 days after you recover.
  • Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces
After throwing up or having diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces. Use a chlorine bleach solution with a concentration of 5–25 tablespoons of household bleach per gallon of water or other disinfectant registered as effective against Norovirus by the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Wash laundry thoroughly
Immediately remove and wash clothes or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or stool (feces).
You should handle soiled items carefully without agitating them, wear rubber or disposable gloves while handling soiled items and wash your hands after, and wash the items with detergent at the maximum available cycle length then machine dry them.
If you follow these tips and use caution when caring for sick loved ones, you may dramatically reduce your chances of contracting Norovirus.

Long-Term Care - Are you prepared?

Posted on August 15, 2012 at 1:28 PM Comments comments (254)
As you begin to reach the age of retirement, there are many considerations to be made.  Everyone wants to make sure they are financially stable before they retire, so that they can enjoy the fruits of their many years of labor.  What if that nest egg you’ve worked so hard for was suddenly threatened?
Unfortunately, that is a reality for many Americans that are currently retiring.  The cause…unexpected Long Term Care (LTC) costs.  As a result of improved healthcare, 70% of Americans are finding themselves in need of LTC such as in-home and nursing home care.  What would happen if suddenly your rent or mortgage was increased by $82,000 a year?  Would that cause financial strain and threaten your nest egg?  For many Americans it would.  How about you?
Currently the average annual cost for nursing home care in Florida is $82,000.  Unfortunately, many people think that their Medicare coverage will pay for Long Term Care, but that is a myth. Medicare does pay for a small segment of some LTC, currently for Skilled Care with a maximum of 100 days in a lifetime. Medicaid pays costs for the poor and indigent.  However, in most cases you must have $2,000 or less in savings and minimal assets to qualify for Medicaid assistance and/or do a considerable transfer of assets or “spend down” your assets in a timely manner to qualify for assistance. Therefore, if you have sizable or even “average” savings or investments, these will be used to fund your LTC expenses. With LTC costing an average of $224 per day, your assets could be quickly depleted.
The Good News…
Long Term Care Insurance policies can be purchased to lighten the load of financial strain you may experience later in life.  These policies are designed to provide you with the money you need for LTC while protecting the savings you worked so hard for all of your life.  There are many different types of policies and coverage to choose from. If you think you are too young to think about LTC...You are not!  Remember to address this situation for your parents as well, since you may be in their caregiver role.  Premiums are based on age, health and amount of coverage you require.  It is never too early or too late to inquire.
Additonal Information:
At Judi L. Woods Agency, we strive to keep our clients informed about all of their healthcare needs.  In order to provide you with pertinent local information about Long-Term Care costs, we called several nursing home and assisted living facilities in our area and this is what we found:
Average Costs of Monthly Nursing Home and Assisted Living Services in our Area:
Fort Myers
Nursing Home Care: $7,110 - $9,900 per month
Assisted Living: $2,995 - $4,800 per month
Cape Coral
Nursing Home Care: $8,250 - $9,660 per month
Assisted Living: $3,621 per month
Nursing Home Care: $7,350 - $12,240 per month
Assisted Living: $1,500 - $6,420 per month
Nursing Home Care: $6,600 -  $7,500
Please contact us for more information about how we can help you avoid some of the financial strain Long-Term Care costs can put on you and your family.
Click the link below to learn more about one Long Term Care Product we offer from Simplicity.
Simplicity Brochure.pdf (PDF — 492 KB)
*Note:  The figures above are approximate costs only.  You should contact the facilities directly for personalized quotes.