Holiday Travel Tips for People with Health Issues

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Photo courtesy of http://getawaytips.azcentral.com.

Thanksgiving weekend is known for being one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.  According to AAA, 48.7 million Americans are expected to pack their bags and journey at least 50 miles away from home to spend the holiday with family or friends this Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving weekend travel can already be stressful due to the sheer numbers of fellow travelers, but travelers with health issues may experience extra stresses.  So, if you’ll be among America’s travelers in a few weeks, follow these travel tips to help you have a smooth and happy holiday trip!

  1. Pack Your Medications– The last thing you need is to be far away from home and not have your necessary medications. Whether you pack them first or last, don’t walk out the door until you’ve checked your medications off your list.
  2. Pack Snacks to Control Your Glucose and Monitor It– Make a pack of snacks that will help you control your glucose level. Make sure you can access it easily or that someone else could easily get to it.  Bring your glucose monitors and pack them close to your snacks.  Monitor your glucose levels as often as you would at home.
  3. Pack Insurance Cards and Other Documentation– No one wants to have a visit to a doctor or emergency room while out of town, but it’s best to be prepared in case it does happen. With the proper cards and documentation, you can better focus on getting the treatment you need, instead of insurance red tape.
  4. Plan Out Time Zone Changes– If you’re going to be in more than one time zone, plan your snacks and monitoring accordingly. Also, ensure that you’ve accounted for time zone changes when taking medications or monitoring glucose levels.
  5. Pack Insulin or Other Temperature-Dependent Medications So That It’s Kept Cool Until Reaching Your Destination– You can use a wide-mouthed, insulated, non-breakable bottle or thermos to help keep your medications cools. Fill the bottle ice or cold water before hand to cool it.  Then empty the bottle, dry it and place your medications inside.
  6. Get Plenty of Sleep– It’s important to get plenty of sleep – even extra sleep – before a big trip, but especially if you are dealing with health issues while traveling. Go to bed early before a trip, or take a nap before leaving.  Be sure to get good sleep during the trip, as well, so that you’ll be in good shape when traveling back home.
  7. Put Medications and Other Necessities in a Carry-On Bag– Carry all medications and any other necessities in your carry-on bag. Just in case your luggage is misplaced, you won’t want to be without your necessities.  You can always buy another toothbrush!
  8. Pack Lightly and Use Luggage with Shoulder Straps or Wheels– If you suffer from arthritis or other health problems, you won’t want to over exert yourself. Make sure to pack as lightly as possible, so you have less to carry.  Bags with comfortable shoulder straps or wheels will also help.
  9. Wear and Pack Comfortable Clothing That’s Easy to Get On– Comfortable clothing will make you comfortable all around, especially if it will be awhile before you can change. Wear Seamless Socks from SmartKnit to help keep your feet from getting irritated.  Or if you’re at risk for DVT, Compression Travel Socks from Therafirm will help prevent this dangerous condition.
  10. Pack Any Arthritis Aids You Regularly Use– If it’s something you use regularly, bring it, even if you think you won’t use it.
  11. Carry Cash– You will want to have cash for situations like tipping luggage assistants or toll payments.
  12. Inform Others of Your Condition– Inform TSA agents, flight attendants or any other officials of your health conditions. They’ll be more likely to be helpful and also to watch for changes in your condition.

Remember at the end of the road is that special turkey and dressing or pumpkin pie that you’ve been craving for months – as well as hugs and smiles and family memories.

** Note: Tips are not meant to replace medical advice.  Always consult with your doctor.

Living Healthy Tips for All Men

June is Men’s Health Month.  Paying attention to overall good health is something that all people should do, but this month is a good reminder to men to make sure they are doing a few easy things to help keep them healthy in day-to-day life.  The following are all health tips for men that are adapted from WebMD, as well as a few of our own.  We hope that you listen, pay attention and follow – for the sake of your good health.

Find a Doctor – Finding the right doctor is vitally important to establishing good health.  You want to develop a good relationship with a doctor, who becomes familiar with you and the things in your health that make you unique.  You also want to have a doctor that fits your personality.  Do you respond better to a stern doctor or someone with a more gentle touch.  Do you want someone who is always serious, or someone that can joke with you when appropriate.  These considerations are all important.  If you just don’t click with your doctor’s personality, that’s okay.  It doesn’t mean they aren’t a good doctor.  But, it does mean that you might want to shop around a little bit.  You need to be able to comfortably tell your doctor intimate details of what is going on with your health, so personality is important.

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Schedule Regular Exams – Now that you have an established doctor, schedule your regular exams.  For most people, a yearly checkup is all that is needed.  But, you may have a certain condition that a doctor will monitor on a more frequent basis.  Or, your doctor may suggest a screening to be done in addition to your regular checkup.

See the Doctor When Unusual Symptoms Develop – Many men downplay health symptoms or wait to see a doctor until the symptoms are very bad.  Don’t ignore things like black stools, vision loss or chest pain.  These and other out-of-the-ordinary symptoms can be signs of bigger problems.  Usually, the earlier these things are caught, the more likely they can be fixed.

Get the Right Amount of Sleep – Sleep is so important to good health – for everyone!  Most healthy men need at least 7 hours of sleep per night.  Don’t cut corners or vary from that too much.  Sleep deprivation can lead to more serious health issues.

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Eat a Nutritious Diet – That doesn’t mean you can’t have a beer and chicken wings while you watch football or occasionally have a hot dog at the baseball game.  Just don’t make a habit of it.  On a daily basis, you should pay attention to the nutritional content of the food you eat.  Make sure to include things that promote good health like whole grains and green leafy vegetables.  Dark chocolate is also good for heart health.

Dessert with fruits

Get Regular Exercise – Here is something else that you should discuss with your doctor.  Depending on your health conditions, there may be things you need to avoid.  But, overall you should get regular exercise, which can include walking, jogging or swimming or any number of things that get your body moving and your heart pumping.

Walking through the park

Keep Your Feet and Legs Healthy – This one is very important, especially for people that have chronic health issues like poor circulation or diabetes.  Good gradient compression socks like those from Therafirm can help promote better circulation.  Diabetic Socks from SmartKnit can help keep your feet cool, dry and free of irritation.

There you have it.  Now go live life and be healthy!

Memorial Day Style Inspiration

Summer is on the horizon and with summer comes summer fashions.  Are you wondering how to maintain your style and comply with doctor’s orders to wear compression hosiery?  That’s easier than it’s ever been with beautiful and stylish fashion compression hosiery from Therafirm.

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My favorite thing to do of late is to dress in neutral colors with one spicy pop color!  That was the idea behind this ensemble, which is perfect for all your Memorial Day fun!  A sweet, but comfy casual t-shirt dress will give you the stylish appearance you’re looking for, but is oh so comfortable!  And a t-shirt dress allows you to easily add a pair of TherafirmLight footless tights for the healthy benefits of compression.  Opt for the same subtle color for your fingernail paint, as well as a matching bag and strappy sandal combo.  Then, choose your “pop” color for your jewelry.  For this set, I chose bright red scarf, earrings and bracelet.  And for the finishing touches, use the same “pop” color for your uncovered toes!  You’re ready for a backyard barbecue, an outdoor garden wedding or even an afternoon baseball game in box seats!

Core-Spun Patterns Polyvore

Guys want to look their best, too!  And now they can, even when the doctor prescribes compression hosiery.  It’s okay guys, you won’t be stuck wearing old lady stockings.  How about a pair of fashionable Core-Spun Patterns socks!  Core-Spun socks are the ultimate in comfort with super soft and stretchy yarns.  You won’t even realize you’re wearing compression.  Now that Core-Spun socks are available in patterns, you can be comfortable, healthy AND stylish all at once!  There are four new Core-Spun Patterns available for both men and women, but the pair in this set is Merger.  Black socks with navy and gray stripes were the inspiration for this men’s fashion set.  They can be paired with your favorite weekend jeans and a simple gray polo shirt.  Add your everyday accessories including a nice pair of shades and you’re ready for grilling!

Lovely in Lavender

Core-Spun Patterns are not just for the men.  This pair, called Trendsetter, are also great for the ladies!  And for a nice Memorial Day weekend ensemble, pair them with a pair of fashion jeans and a sweet flowy blouse.  My favorite color is purple, so I navigate to it naturally.  But, what a beacon of spring!  I added a butterfly bag and purple accessories to polish off an outfit perfect for Summer’s opening weekend!

Tips for Summer Travel with Health Conditions

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Summer is right around the corner and what says summer more than a summer vacation!  Are you planning any vacations – near or far – in the coming months?  Now is the time to enjoy life, so don’t let health issues get in the way of your trip around the world or even the weekend visiting the grandchildren.  Just follow these helpful travel tips and you’ll be on your way to a memorable vacation.

Medications
If you are dependent on medication to control your health conditions, you’ll want to make sure you plan well ahead.  They last thing you want is to run out of your medication in the middle of the Amazon (or even Disney World).  Get your prescriptions renewed ahead of time and bring enough for the duration of your trip, plus a little extra.  You never know what your vacation might entail.

If any of your medications are temperature-dependent, you’ll want to plan for this, too.  A wide-mouthed, insulated thermos is very handy.  Just fill the bottle with ice ahead of time to cool it.  Once cool, dry it and place medications inside.  They should stay cool until you arrive at your destination.

Insurance Cards and Other Health Documentation
When it comes to visits to the doctor or hospital on your vacation, it’s good to plan for the worst and hope for the best.  That said, you’ll need to make sure you have any insurance and prescription cards with you, as well as any other medical records or documentation that may be handy to an unfamiliar physician you may have to see if it becomes necessary for you to seek medical care.

Carry-On Bag
Medications and insurance cards should be carried in your carry-on bag.  The airlines do their best to make sure your checked bags arrive at the correct destination with you, but things happen from time to time.  You will not want to be without these most important items.

Inform Others of Your Condition
You may find it prudent to inform TSA agents, flight attendants or other officials of your medical conditions.  If you experience a medical emergency mid-travel, it will be helpful for them to have fore-knowledge of your conditions.  They will be able to act faster and more efficiently to help if they are aware of any conditions up front.

Dress Comfortably
Travel has a way of being uncomfortable as it is.  The more comfortably you dress, the less discomfort you’ll experience.  Seamless socks from SmartKnit will help prevent your feet from becoming irritated, especially if your travel will include a lot of walking through airports.  Compression Travel Socks from Therafirm are also a good choice to help prevent deep vein thrombosis or DVT – a dangerous condition that travelers are at risk for.

And of course, we always recommend that you follow a doctor’s instructions for any health condition.  But, we hope these tips will help you enjoy a memorable summer vacation with minimal risk to your health.  Bon Voyage!

 

Fun DIY Sock Bouquets!!

As both a Mom and a Daughter, I completely believe in homemade Mother’s Day gifts.  I love getting these sweet gifts from my kiddos and I totally love giving them to my mom and my mother-in-law.  Sometimes the creativity is just not flowing, though, and I look all around for new ideas.  This year the Knit-Rite/Therafirm team got some inspiration from our own products.  The best part is, we were able to use products from several of our brands to create these adorable sock bouquets.  They’re cute and easy enough for the kiddos to do, too.  Watch our demonstration video below!

List of Supplies Needed:

• Socks of multiple colors, shapes and sizes
• A pair of tights, pantyhose or a piece of fabric of similar size and length
• Rubber bands
• Safety pins
• Your favorite vase

We used some discontinued colors of our Preggers and Therafirm brands, as well as current colors of TheraSport, SmartKnitKIDS, SmartKnit and Therafirm.  Happy bouquet making!

International Women’s Day: #BeBoldForChange

picmonkey-collage2In a few days, March 8, 2017, women around the world will celebrate International Women’s Day.  According to their website, the day is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.  And the day marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

In 2017, the achievements our gender has made in society are more visible than ever. We can vote, true, and we’re nearing on the 100th anniversary of suffrage. And the strides have been even greater than that. We’ve seen women holding high office.  Madeleine Albright became the first woman to hold the office of Secretary of State in 1997, and since then 3 of the last 6 have been women.  We’ve seen a female Attorney General, four different women on the U.S. Supreme Court, and many other cabinet positions.  The first woman elected to the U.S. House happened in 1917 and the first U.S. Senator a handful of years later in 1932.  And most recently, we’ve seen the first woman to run for President for a major political party.  We see women owning companies and heading corporations.  They are doctors, lawyers, scientists, astronauts.  Our gender has cracked the glass ceiling, but there is still work to do.

Attention for women’s achievements ebbs and flows in news cycles, but seems to be at the forefront of late.  Women, as a whole, are still not paid equally to their male counterparts.  Women are still not present in equal numbers in business and politics.  And globally, many improvements are still needed for women’s education and health, as well as the disproportionate numbers of violence against women.

The 2017 theme for International Women’s Day is #BeBoldForChange.  Change is still needed.  At our current rate of speed, the gender gap won’t close entirely until the year 2186, according to the World Economic Forum.  But, if we are bold for change, we can make that happen faster.

Change can be big or small.  What kinds of things can we, as women, change as individuals?  Below are 5 things we can work on to better ourselves and to help leave our mark on the world.

Perspective

Have you ever heard of the phrase “mind over matter”?  I’ll bet you have.  That’s what I mean by perspective.  The first step to making change in our lives is changing our perspective of things.  I hate getting groceries every week or doing laundry.  But, since they are necessary chores to the well-being of my family, I do them.  I can look at them with dread, or I can be thankful that I have the funds to buy food for my family.  I can clothe my children and keep their clothes clean.  Maybe, I have a family member or co-worker that is difficult to be around.  I can choose to avoid them or be unkind to them.  Or, I can change my perception and look at things from their perspective.  Looking at things from their perspective will give me a better understanding of why they are difficult, and possibly I can help them.  Changing perspective can apply to almost anything in our lives.

Career

I think this is area that is most reflective of the #BeBoldForChange theme. Most of us spend 8 – 10 of our waking hours per day at our jobs.  This is time not spent with family or friends or doing things we love.  With so many hours spent doing a job, it had better be something you enjoy doing.  If not, make a change.  Get a new job or go back to school.  But, be happy in your career.  Maybe you love your job, but feel that a raise or promotion is overdue.  It’s time to make a change.  Be bold and ask for what you feel you deserve.  You may not get it, but as long as you are courteous and professional, you’ll go a long way in making cracks in that glass ceiling.

Relationships

This is such a tough one for us women, but is an area of such importance.  Evaluate your relationships, including friendships and family relationships.  Nurture the good relationships – the ones that are good for your well-being; the ones that bring you joy; the ones you learn from and who show you kindness.  Repair the fragile ones that are worth saving.  And cut ties with the toxic ones.  Life is too short to let others bring you down.

Health

There are so many things we can do to change the state of our health.  The obvious one is diet and exercise, but be careful in that.  There are so many harmful ones out there.  If you diet, choose one that includes healthy foods and doesn’t make you feel bad or lacking.  Choose an active lifestyle, but know your limitations.  Don’t participate in exercise that is harmful to any condition you are living with. Chose exercise that makes you feel good and something you like to do.  You’re more apt to keep up with it if you do.  Other things you can do to become healthier or to maintain good health include brushing and flossing your teeth, getting plenty of good sleep and avoiding or limiting things like tobacco, caffeine or alcohol.  Drink plenty of water.  Most doctors and nutritionists recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.  Finally, follow your doctor’s suggestions to improve your health.  This includes wearing your compression! 😉

Legacy

Most people want to leave a legacy on this world, but your legacy can be whatever you want it to be.  Many women leave their legacy with meaningful careers – doctors, teachers, politicians, businesswomen, police officers, etc.  Or your legacy may be motherhood.  Parents are the first teachers of every child and raising well-adjusted and contributing members of society is such a huge legacy in itself.  Or perhaps your legacy is the mark you leave on the world in other ways – volunteering with veterans or the homeless, fostering a child, cleaning up a local park, or even just spreading simple kindnesses to strangers.

Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to make changes happen in your life.  Have faith and courage and be bold.  And from all of us at Knit-Rite/Therafirm, Happy International Women’s Day!

 

 

 

John Kohler’s Run across Kansas journey!

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Introducing John Kohler, a husband, father, brother, partner, friend, and to some a hero! John is also an avid believer in gradient athletic compression for performance and recovery, and recently began wearing our TheraSport Athletic Performance and Recovery Socks and Sleeves.  Last November, he set out on a trip that most of us will only dream of – a LONG foot-run across the entire STATE OF KANSAS. Yes, think Forest Gump style.  He averaged 40+ miles a day and accomplished it in 11 days. Let me clarify, he ran 435 miles in 11 days with his two feet! We were so intrigued by his journey that we wanted to know what his secret was.

Q: What inspired you to do the “run across Kansas” challenge?

A: The thought to run Kansas came to me a few years back. I did some research and noticed that no one had run across the state East/West or West/East. At that point I was enticed to make the first attempt. As I began to look at it more seriously the reasons to do it only grew from there. What turned out to be the biggest reason was I wanted to do it for my kids. My hope is that one day down the line, if they’re having a tough go at it, they will draw some strength from this. And of course the charity aspect of raising funds and bringing awareness to SocialHeart.

From socialheart.org: SocialHeart is a non-profit organization that is 100% volunteer managed with the goal of creating a better community by supporting all local charities through unique, fun fundraising events, social media and marketing promotions and volunteer support. 

Q: Did you ever feel like giving up or regretting this journey? What kept you going?

A: You definitely have your moments when you want to throw in the towel and think “WHAT AM I DOING?” On the fourth day, after about 10 miles I was sitting on the side of the road in the middle of Kansas and I just lost it. I was tired, the pain of the last three days had accumulated and set in, and I just felt spent physically and mentally. The three guys on my crew stood there and they just let me release all that frustration. After I composed myself I got up and looked down the road, to my left the road I came from, to my right, down the road I was headed. At that point there were only two options, to quit, or to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I then thought of my wife and kids. They had already sacrificed so much to allow me to do this. If I quit, it felt like a waste of that sacrifice. I owed it to them to give it everything I had and at that point realized quitting was not an option. So I put my head down and told myself to just take the journey 5 miles at a time. Thirty-eight miles later the day was done and I was stronger for it.

Q: What did your sleep and diet look like during those 11 days?

A: My diet wasn’t exactly what I hoped it would be, but when you’re running 10-11 hours a day it boils down to convenience. My dad was the cook and when he could, he made chicken, breakfast burritos and grilled burgers. That being said I had to have A LOT of calories to sustain. Besides recovery, having sufficient food intake was integral in keeping me going. In the morning I would eat leftovers from the night before, peanut butter sandwiches with chips and protein bars were a main staple on the road during the day. At night there was pizza, burgers, and sub sandwiches, which are things I do not normally eat, but I worked with what I had and it got me to the end. Sleep was roughly 6-8 hours a day, as the journey progressed I had a hard time falling asleep and just sleeping in general. I would sleep 1-3 hours and then be awake and then sleep 1-3 hours, etc.

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Q: What was your average run a day?

A: I averaged roughly 41 miles a day. Looking back I should’ve taken a more even keel approach instead of the 50 mile days followed by 30-40 mile days, but this was a giant experiment so you just kind of wing it!

Q: What did you do recover for the next day?

A: Going into it I knew recovery was key. As soon as I got back to camp I would sit on top of two 10-pound ice bags and then put two more on the top of my legs covering my thighs/knees. Afterwards I would put on either compression socks or compression pants and keep those on for a while before bed.

Q: Do you wear compression or have you worn any before?

A: I’ve been wearing compression since I began running and I’m a firm believer in its recovery abilities. During the days I would also periodically wear calf sleeves while I was on the road. I feel that they help with reducing the stress put on your legs as they hit the road.

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Q: If you had a choice, would you do this challenge again?

A: When I started this journey I was just wanting to, well…just run. I never thought in a million years I would get so many messages and stories from folks inspired by what I was doing.

 Q: What would you want us, the readers, to know about your goal?

A: My hope is that people will realize that it’s not about running, in fact it’s not even about sport or physical fitness. It’s about finding your passion, something you love. When you find that, do it with all your heart. Set some small goals and set a big goal, one that really scares you. Accomplish those little goals and it’ll give you the confidence to keep raising the bar. Then one day that scary goal will feel attainable and realistic. Then, just go for it, all in! Don’t be afraid to fail. You will be surprised what you’re made of and who YOU will inspire.

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What an unforgettable experience! Thank you, John, for taking the time to share your journey with all of us, as well as supporting TheraSport!