The Germy Facts about Thanksgiving Air Travel

Cold and flu season is ramping up just in time for the busiest travel season of the year. Airlines are expecting to see 24.6 million passengers over the Thanksgiving holiday. However, the American airplane travelLung Association has reported that up to 20 percent of these passengers will be bringing along more than just their luggage—they’ll also be carrying the influenza virus.

This is a substantial statistic but, in reality, the majority of Thanksgiving travelers will be able to visit their destination and return home healthy. Just how likely are you to get sick on an airplane? And, where do all of those germs live? Let’s bust some common myths about holiday air travel and find out the real germy facts about getting sick on a plane.

FACT: You are more likely to get sick on an airplane than in everyday life.
A 2004 study showed that colds are transmitted much easier on an airplane. In fact, when compared to life on the ground, colds are more than 100 times more likely to be transmitted while you’re up in the air. (WHY?)

MYTH: Your immune system functions the same on the ground and in the air.
When your ride is cruising at 30,000 feet, your immune system is crying out for help. What makes this happen? Low humidity.

Humidity levels are usually 10 percent or below at that elevation. Because of the extremely dry air, the mucus membranes in your nose, mouth, and throat dry out. Under normal circumstances, that mucus catches germs before they invade your body. But, when your passages are dry, germs get a free pass right into your body.

FACT: Airplanes are a hotbed for germs.
Yes, airplanes carry around a lot of germs. Thousands of people make their way through aircraft every day and, unfortunately, these planes are rarely disinfected. No organization regulates when they are cleaned, so it is up to each individual airline to set specifications. There usually is not much time to clean during layovers, so most of the cleaning is done overnight and, many times, even that is not very thorough.

Where are an airplane’s germiest places? The bathroom, the pull-down tray table, and aisle seats. Since the flu and common respiratory illnesses are rarely airborne, you’re most likely to pick up a sickness from these places.

MYTH: Everyone on the plane is at risk if one person has influenza.
Yes, you can get sick anywhere, anytime. But, on an airplane, the riskiest radius is within two rows around you. People within this proximity of a sick individual are the most likely to catch the sickness, but passengers beyond here will probably stay healthy.

hand sanitizerThe reasoning behind this is that airline airflow patterns circulate the air in segments—not from front to back. In addition, if you are close to a sick passenger, you are more likely to be hit with flying germs from a cough or sneeze.

Now that you know the facts from the myths, how will you protect yourself during this season’s holiday travels? The best protection really comes from the simplest tips: get a flu shot, wash your hands at least every 30 minutes, and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 62-percent ethanol.

If you need help affording your medications, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone. 

By WHBlogger 
11/24/2014 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.

Type 2 Diabetes in Childhood: It’s Preventable

childType 2 diabetes was once a disease only seen in adults. But now, the statistics regarding type 2 diabetes in children are staggering—between the years of 2001 and 2009, the incidence of type 2 diabetes in pre-teens and teens increased by nearly 31 percent.

This epidemic is extremely serious. The disease can damage the heart, nerves, kidneys, eyes, and skin of affected children. In addition, children who have poorly controlled type 2 diabetes during childhood are likely to develop serious health complications as adults.

Slow Onset
Unlike type 1 diabetes, which develops in a matter of days or weeks, type 2 diabetes symptoms are slow to appear. Even worse, some children don’t feel symptoms at all until the disease has been wreaking havoc on the body for a long time. Usually the first symptoms to appear are frequent urination, nighttime urination, increased thirst, blurry vision, and generalized fatigue.

The Likely Culprits
Children with type 2 diabetes may have up to three critical factors causing the condition. The first is related to genetics. Having a first-degree relative with type 2 diabetes increases the risk of children suffering from the disease themselves. Family heritage also plays a role.

However, the number-one risk factor for type 2 diabetes is being overweight. Statistics show that more than 80 percent of kids with type 2 diabetes are overweight and 40 percent could be classified as obese.

Small Changes, Big Payoff
Even though type 2 diabetes is partially related to genetics, the disease can be prevented or delayed for several years. The key to prevention is to help kids maintain a healthy weight.

Many of us at Watertree Health are parents and we know how crazy it can be to change habits and routines at home, especially with teenagers. But, we also know that your kids are important to you and that you’d do anything to keep them safe and healthy. Therefore, we suggest making a list of six small changes for diet and exercise that will provide a big payoff in preventing type 2 diabetes in your children. Below are some ideas to get you started.

Tips for Increased Physical Activity

  • Take a trip to the local sporting goods store or look online for outdoor toys. Teenagers tend to like a croquet set or volleyball net. Whereas, younger kids are usually interested in tee-ball, hula hoops, or balls Then, go outside and enjoy it! Consider purchasing active toys for birthdays and holidays, too.
  • Schedule a “Nature Walk” into every Friday afternoon or evening. Little ones will enjoy finding leaves, rocks, and acorns. Bring along a bag to carry their treasures home. If you have older kids, consider purchasing
    Family Hiking, Healthy, <span class='notranslate'><p class=Watertree Health, Prescription Savings" /> Source: Flickr Creative Commons

    some inexpensive glow sticks and going on a family glow hike.
  • For teens that are always connected to their smart phones, look for apps related to exercise and activity. Try out Map My Walk, Endomondo, SpecTrek, or Nexercise. Younger kids will probably be motivated without complicated gadgets. Try a fun pedometer or an achievement chart.

Tips for a Healthier Diet

  • Switch out soda for another “special” drink. Try sparkling water, decaf iced tea, or smoothies.
  • Tackle one meal at a time. Start with building a healthier breakfast. Look for whole-grain breakfast cereals with less than 10 grams of sugar per serving. Eat oatmeal (not the sugar-packed packets) once per week. Bake a frittata on Sunday afternoon and serve it throughout the week.
  • Involve your kids in meal preparation and cooking. Gather the whole family for 30 minutes on Sunday afternoon and browse recipes online. Let your kids pick a few meals for the week ahead and create a grocery list. If your children are young, have them pick out new fruits or vegetables at the grocery store. Older kids can help with the actual cooking.

Helping our children learn and develop healthy habits is one of the most important jobs that we have as parents. We know that it can be challenging, so start today and take it slow! 

If you need help affording medications prescribed for diabetes or other health issues, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone. 

By WHBlogger 
11/18/2014 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.

Type 2 Diabetes – Weighing the Risk

By: Shane Power, President of Watertree Health

Type 2 diabetes is becoming an increasingly common diagnosis for America’s children, but this wasn’t always the case. In fact, this form of diabetes, often associated with being overweight, was veryteam sports rare as recently as a decade ago. Today, children with Type 2 Diabetes are overwhelming the health care systems of rural and urban areas alike. 

Unlike Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes, Type 2 has a direct correlation to weight and fitness. As a former athlete, being active has always been a huge part of my life. I firmly believe a lifetime commitment to good health develops during childhood. In addition to team sports at school, simply going to the park or running around the yard can have a positive contribution to the health of a child. 

Nutrition is also a huge factor in children developing Type 2 Diabetes. As someone who has watched family members struggle with diabetes, I understand how challenging it can be to always make good health choices. Additionally, as a father I am all too aware of how overly processed, sugar rich and nutrient deficient foods are marketed to children. While a sugary treat once in a while is appropriate; sodas, fast food, chips, and candy should not be staples of a child’s diet. Moreover, parents need to instill and model healthy eating habits to their children. Leading a busy life, it is easy to quickly resort to pre-packaged or fast food meals and snacks. But when you examine how detrimental these foods can be to a child’s health, especially if they are already overweight and at risk for a condition like diabetes, moderation is essential.

Ultimately it is in everyone’s best interest to stay as healthy and active as possible. Type 2 Diabetes is not the only ailment associated with being overweight. Heart disease, osteoarthritis and certain cancers have all been linked to obesity. When adults adopt healthy habits and promote a cycle of good health, it is transmissible to their children. 

Type 2 Diabetes, while manageable with medication, is currently incurable. Studies have shown that lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, can reverse the condition. For children, prevention is key. 

For more information on Type 2 Diabetes please visit: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/parents-and-kids/children-and-type-2/

Diabetes Nutrition: 3 Foods to Add to Your Diet

If you have diabetes, what does healthy living mean to you? For many, healthy living is largely based on diet and nutrition. And there’s good reason for that—the food you eat has a direct impact on the success of your diabetes treatment. You’ve probably already heard about the benefits of fish and whole grains, so let’s take a look at foods beyond those typical choices.

The list below describes three foods that have been researched extensively in recent years. Some of these diabetic-friendly foods may be surprising to you, but they’re all basic, affordable options that can be added to any of your meals throughout the week. 

1. Beans

beansNavy, lima, pinto, kidney, black, or white—beans are a wonder-food for diabetics. They have just the right combination of carbohydrates, fiber, and protein to keep your glucose in-check and keep you feeling full for hours. Studies show that beans help diabetics control glycemic levels and may even lower your risk of coronary heart disease (a serious concern for diabetics).

Researchers recommend that diabetics eat at least one cup of beans per day. Use them to replace half or all of the meat in recipes like chili, fajitas, soups, or hamburgers.

2. Oatmeal 

oatmeal-blogIf you’re stuck in a breakfast cereal rut, oatmeal might be a welcome alternative for you. Unlike many breakfast cereals, oatmeal is a whole grain and it contains a hefty amount of fiber. Both of those factors have been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes by up to 42 percent! If you’ve already been diagnosed with diabetes, whole grains and fiber will help you achieve gently rising and well-controlled blood glucose levels.

The type of oatmeal you choose is important. Forgo the pre-packaged options and try steel cut oats instead. These are less processed and have a higher amount of protein than other types of oatmeal. Use oatmeal in place of breadcrumbs in recipes like meatballs or meatloaf. You can also use oatmeal in homemade breads or granola bars.

3. Cinnamon 

Cinnamon, Diabetes, Health Foods

Source: Pixabay

Cinnamon may be a spice, but it may prove to be just as important as many health foods. Several studies have looked into the relationship between diabetes and cinnamon supplements. One study focused on 500 milligrams of cinnamon twice per day and another looked at just 120 milligrams supplemented daily. Both levels of cinnamon proved successful for diabetics—the participants improved their A1C levels in as little as 90 days. 

Researchers are still actively looking into the effects of cinnamon and how much is beneficial for diabetics. If you’re interested in trying a supplement, be sure to speak with your doctor first.  In the meantime, feel free to use extra cinnamon on your food at home. The spice is wonderful in oatmeal, coffee, and even sprinkled on meat or vegetable dishes.


If you currently suffer from diabetes, or have been told by a physician that you are at risk, why not take a trip to the grocery store and pick up these three diabetic wonder-foods? Taking small steps to improve your diet now will put you back in control of your blood sugar levels and build the foundation for a healthier future. 

WTH_webcard_081716_printedNeed help affording your medications prescribed for diabetes or other health issues? Download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone. 
By WHBlogger 
Original: 11/12/2014 
Edited: 8/31/2016

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.

Are Prescription Discounts Really up to 75%?

Continuing Series: Questions from Consumers …

Yes, the prescription discounts are really up to 75%!

Save $364 annuallyAll brand name and generic prescriptions are eligible for savings with our card. On average, you save 15% – 25% on brand names and 15% – 75% on generics.  Overall, our cardholders save an average of 46% per prescription and $364 annually.

You should also know that savings change periodically and vary by pharmacy and by city – that’s because retail and discount pricing are set by supply and demand for a medication, which changes. For example, when you go to get a refill on a prescription, the discounted pricing may not be the same as last time. 

That’s why we always recommend you ask the pharmacist for the price with our card and without. You should know that, with our card, you will always pay the lowest price. You will never pay more than the retail price. 

Or, ask your pharmacist what the price would be with your insurance card vs. with our card. A lot of times, our discounted price is less than the co-pay, which is true for most of the top 10 prescribed medications.  For example, Lisinopril, which is prescribed for blood pressure, is usually under $6.  And, the average price for Metformin, which is prescribed for diabetes, is less than $6.50.  

FYI, once you use our card at a pharmacy, it should be in your file. So, you don’t have to re-present it each time you fill a prescription. Just ask them to check the discount with our card.

If you are on a medication and you need help affording the prescription, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone. 

By WHBlogger 
11/05/2014 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.

Can Daylight Saving Time Cause Insomnia?

Circadian rhythmMuch like food and water, sleep is an essential part of human life. Our bodies desperately need shut-eye in order to process memories, repair tissue, and restore energy. Despite its importance, nearly 25% of American adults don’t get enough sleep.

You may be quick to blame the lack of sleep on stress or kids, but there may be another answer that’s not quite as obvious. Daylight Saving Time can also contribute to sleep deprivation.

The Internal Clock
Daylight Saving Time began back on March 9 and it officially ended yesterday at 2 am. During these 238 days, our internal clocks (also known as our circadian rhythm) and the external time that we see on the clock are slightly out of sync.

Circadian rhythms come from an involuntary biological system that has more power than you may think. They influence a wide variety of bodily functions like body temperature, hunger, hormone regulation, and the sleep-wake cycle. All of these rhythms are based on a 24-hour cycle that is largely regulated by the presence of natural light.

The External Clock
Ignoring the presence of external time, our bodies base their circadian rhythms on the rising and setting of the sun. Scientists have found that our sleeping patterns actually follow the timing of dawn. However, when we set our external clocks to follow Daylight Saving Time, our bodies fall out of sync.

Unfortunately, many individuals find that it’s difficult to adjust to this clash in timing. Studies have shown that even with more than 200 days of Daylight Saving Time, many people never fully adjust their circadian rhythm to match the external time. This can lead to trouble falling asleep, insomnia, and extreme sleepiness during daylight hours.

Getting Back on Track
Yesterday undoubtedly brought much-needed relief for many tired people. As we “fall back,” our bodies can once again sync up with the sun.

If the return to standard time doesn’t provide enough relief, consider these sleep tips:

  • If you’re having trouble adjusting to the time change, try to avoid excessive caffeine and other stimulants. Try a short bout of exercise or a glass of water instead.glass of water
  • As mentioned above, light and sleep are intimately intertwined. Being exposed to natural light during the day may improve your circadian rhythm and help you sleep better at night. You can try throwing open the shades when you wake up or going outside for lunch. Similarly, try to limit your exposure to bright light during the evening hours. Try using room-darkening shades to make your room more sleep-friendly.
  • Use last weekend’s time change to jump-start your circadian rhythm. Science shows that we can slightly alter our rhythms and gear ourselves toward being a “morning person” or “night owl”. Find out which personality best fits your life and start gradually adjusting your sleep/wake schedule. Keeping a regular sleep schedule will lead to improvements in both sleep quality and daytime alertness.

If you are on a medication and you need help affording the prescription, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone. 

By WHBlogger 
11/03/2014 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.