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Blog posts for February, 2017

Discover the latest innovations in the low-vision, low-hearing, and mobility industry, as well as those must-have products to enhance your day-to-day life. Our Independent-Living Blog will help make daily life a little less of a struggle and a bit more pleasurable with assistive products, suggestions, and advice. MaxiAids Helps You Do It . . . Yourself™
12 February, 2017

How To Survive the 2017 Flu Season

Here's What You Need to Know to Survive Flu Season

This year's flu season is still going strong. 

As reported today by Dr. Tara Narula on CBS This Morning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated:

  1. The flu virus is widespread in 43 states.
  2. There are approximately 14,000 new flu cases a week.
  3. This year's flu is mostly from the more severe H3N2 strain.

Influenza Flu Virus

FEBRUARY 13, 2017, 7:16 AM| The number of flu cases is surging across the country. The latest figures from the CDC show the virus is "widespread" in 43 states. There are 14,000 new cases a week, and at least 20 children have reportedly died from the virus since late 2016. Dr. Tara Narula joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss the threat.

3 Steps to Help You Beat the Flu

1) It's Not Too Late To Get A Flu Shot!

The CDC states, "...seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the United States between December and March."    

Last year "...influenza activity peaked in mid-March, 2016..." 

"CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease." 

Flu Shot

People at High Risk for Developing Flu-Related Complications

  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
  • Adults 65 years of age and older
  • Pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum)
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • Also, American Indians and Alaskan Natives seem to be at higher risk of flu complications
  • People who have medical conditions including:

Asthma; Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions [including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizure disorders), stroke, intellectual disability (mental retardation), moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury]; Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis); Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease); Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease); Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus); Kidney disorders; Liver disorders; Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders); Weakened immune system due to disease or medication (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or cancer, or those on chronic steroids); People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy; People with extreme obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or more). 

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm 

Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Hygiene

2) Employ Good Health Habits To Help Stop Germs

CDC Recommendations:

1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

2. Stay home when you are sick.

This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.

3. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

4. Clean your hands.

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.

If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill.

Routinely use disposable disinfectant wipes to clean frequently touched objects and surfaces, including doorknobs, keyboards, and phones, to help remove germs.

7. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

 

3) If You Do Get The Flu – Go See Your Doctor Promptly!

What Are the Symptoms for Influenza (also known as the Flu)?

Flu Symptoms Runny Nose

People who have the flu often have some or all of these symptoms which usually come on suddenly:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish and getting the chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)

Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

* It's important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever. 

 

People at high risk of serious flu complications (such as children younger than 5 years, adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, people with certain medical conditions, and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities) and people who are very sick with flu (such as those hospitalized because of flu) should get treatment with antiviral drugs as early as possible after illness begins.

Treatment with antivirals works best when begun within 48 hours of getting sick, but can still be beneficial when given later in the course of illness. Antiviral drugs are effective across all age and risk groups. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2016-2017.htm

There are three FDA-approved influenza antiviral drugs recommended by the CDC this season to treat influenza:

  • oseltamivir (available as a generic version or under the trade name Tamiflu®)
  • zanamivir (trade name Relenza®)
  • peramivir (trade name Rapivab®)

MaxiAids wishes good health to all. Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Remember, health is the greatest treasure of all. 


 

06 February, 2017

Prisms May Be the Light at the End of "Tunnel Vision"

Research Solutions for Peripheral Field Loss (PFL) of Vision

 

Prisms are a fascinating scientific invention with almost magical properties which most people find amazing.

Why?

Because an optical prism, made of transparent glass or plastic, refracts light rays resulting in dispersion of its component colors into that gorgeous "ROY G BIV" (Red-Orange-Yellow-Green-Blue-Indigo-Violet) spectrum which we call a rainbow.

Prism Rainbow

However, as with most technological tools, there are many applications for prisms. In corrective lenses, a prism displaces images off axis, causing the image to be moved in such a way so as to allow it to be seen by those with certain vision impairments.

For example, prism lenses can correct some instances when a person has a misalignment of their two eyes relative to each other that results in binocular diplopia ("double vision"), also called "crossed eyes" or "cross-eyed."

In recent low-vision research news, it was reported that scientists designed new prism-based eyewear to help patients suffering from peripheral vision loss ("tunnel vision") avoid collisions with other pedestrians.

Some medical conditions which cause Peripheral Field Loss (PFL) of vision still retain good central visual acuity. On other words, they can still see what's in the center of their field of vision. Prism-based eyewear can serve as a "visual field expansion device" by creating artificial peripheral islands of vision at an angle making them visible to the unaffected central field of vision of the eye.

(Plain English Translation: Prism eyeglasses can redirect previously unseen peripheral images to the center of vision where they can be seen.)

Tunnel Vision

In a number of cases, optic nerve damage from glaucoma may cause someone to lose their peripheral vision. However, because there are so many other diseases and accidents that can result in tunnel vision, a comprehensive eye exam by a qualified eye doctor is absolutely necessary.

Among the risks associated with peripheral vision loss are pedestrian collisions while walking. The new prism-based eyeglasses are meant to eliminate the risk of collision with other people in crowded locations such as malls, bus terminals or city streets. The study, "The risk of pedestrian collisions with peripheral visual field loss," was published in the Journal of Vision involving 42 retinitis pigmentosa patients with low vision.

Eye Examination

Vision researchers set out to find out which direction these collisions usually occur, which led them to discover that collisions typically occur at a 45-degree angle. The study’s lead author, Eli Peli, OD, professor of ophthalmology with the Schepens Eye Research Institute, at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School, said, "This means that any visual-field expanding device will be most effective if it can cover that angle."

Unfortunately, at present, commercial prisms are limited to 30-degrees. The research scientists made prototypes of high-power prism eyewear closer to the desired 45-degree mark to utilize the viewer's sighted area.

Patients who will require these glasses to expand peripheral vision, including those with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), Usher syndrome, choroideremia, advanced glaucoma, hemianopia, and similar diseases affecting eyesight, usually have good central vision.

The vision scientists, who conducted this study, used prism-based eyewear they developed, based on a mathematical model they created, that determined the risk of collision for those they studied. Experimentally, this new eyeglass design manipulated light to hit areas of the eye that still provide sight, thereby helping those experiencing peripheral visual field loss avoid collisions with other people while walking.


MaxiAids has been serving those with low vision and the blind, as well as seniors, the deaf, the hard of hearing, and the disabled for the past 30 years as a leader in providing assistive devices for independent living. Browse our Low Vision Store.