While spring allergies certainly get a lot more attention when pollen levels peak, winter has its own set of various indoor irritants to trigger those allergy symptoms many of us know all too well. As your furnace kicks in during the winter months, it can send dust mites, mold spores, and insect parts into the air which can find its way to your breathing passages to cause an adverse reaction.
One to way to help mitigate symptoms is to get a better idea of where these allergy triggers are surfacing from. Dust mites are microscopic bugs that particularly love to hide in mattresses and bedding. Their droppings and remains, when airborne, are most likely the source of your symptoms.
Additionally, mold can be found in damp and humid areas such as basements and bathrooms, but can also manifest itself under moldy carpets, soggy drywall, and areas with water leaks. As you spend more time indoors in the winter, these allergens become more prominent in causing discomfort and allergic reactions.
Treatment for your winter allergies can include Antihistamines and Decongestants, both of which are available for purchase with an FSA (with a prescription) on FSAstore.com. Antihistamines help to reduce sneezing, sniffling, and itching. Decongestants clear mucus in the nose and lungs to relieve congestion and swelling.
Antihistamines (Prescription required to purchase with FSA):
Decongestants (Prescription required to purchase with FSA):
If neither of these work and your symptoms are serious, you may want to consider immunotherapy, which consists of allergy shots or under-the-tongue tablets. Immunotherapy should expose your body to gradually bigger doses of the allergen to curb your symptoms for the longer term.
While the holiday season may be over, winter will be here for a few more months and there's a good chance that you or a loved one will fall victim to the common cold this season. The common cold is a virus, and while there are a variety of cold & flu remedies that could make a tangible impact on your symptoms, in most cases, getting over a cold is a matter of riding it out!
Now that 2017 is here, it's time to update your common cold care regimen! Before you or a loved one becomes sick this winter, use your FSA card on these great products to help you weather the worst of your cold symptoms.
- Therapeutic Facemasks
Common colds often lead to sinus infections, which occurs when the nasal cavities become swollen and inflamed, and can persist long after other cold symptoms have come and gone. In addition to nasal congestion, sinus pain and inflammation is common, and it can make a big issue even worse. Therapeutic pain relief masks are great options to have on hand that can be heated to open up nasal passages, or cooled to reduce swelling and inflammation.
Check Out: TheraPearl Cooling Facemask
Looking for a quick, medicine-free means of clearing out your nasal congestion without leaving yourself feeling groggy and sleepy from over-the-counter remedies, try a steam inhaler! These devices, also known as vaporizers, deliver target steam therapy deep into the sinuses, nose and throat that is extremely helpful in the event of a cold. Additionally, vaporizers are helpful to treat allergies, coughs, parched throats or sore throat discomfort.
Check Out: MyPurMist Handheld Steam Inhaler
- Neti Pot
Nasal irrigation is one of the easiest ways to clear out congested nasal passages with a saline solution that is filtered through the nose. A Neti pot is the easiest means of delivering this solution, as it is shaped like a teapot and can deliver a warm water and saline solution that is poured into the nose and expelled through the mouth. This practice can remove excess mucous, allergens and environmental particles that could trigger respiratory discomfort.
Check Out: NeilMed NasaFlo Neti Pot, 8 oz
- Saline Spray
Contending with a cold isn't just reserved to staying at home, which is why saline spray is so useful during cold & flu season. This is an easy way to flush out nasal congestion from breathing passages on the go, as well as lubricating these areas in the event of extremely cold and dry winter weather conditions.
Check Out: Leader Saline Nasal Spray, 1.5 oz
- Throat Lozenges
Keeping your throat lubricated is a major consideration when contending with the common cold, and throat lozenges can serve two important purposes. First, they can treat sore throats by preventing the throat from drying up and thereby reducing pain, and those that are formulated with menthol can aid in thinning nasal congestion as well.
Do you live in a part of the U.S. that will see significant snow accumulation in the coming months? Chances are, you'll be outside with a snow shovel clearing away snow and slush, and no matter what age you are, this is a strenuous activity that could lead to significant injuries if you don't make the proper preparations.
As an flexible spending account (FSA) user, you have a unique advantage this winter in that your benefit can cover a huge range of qualifying products that can safeguard you and your loved ones from potential snow shoveling injuries. As the 2017 FSA plan year kicks off, here are a few products you can purchase with your FSA card to prevent major injuries this winter.
- Back Braces
Shoveling snow, especially wet snow, can be especially trying on your lower back and can put you at serious risk for orthopedic injuries. Overworking specific areas that aren't used to regular heavy activity can lead to muscle, ligament, tendon and other soft tissue injuries, which is why a back brace is a smart purchase for this season. Back braces can immobilize the lower back to prevent strain injuries, as well as limit the pressure on the spine by maintaining proper posture.
- Cushioned Insoles
Slips and falls during snow shoveling can happen to anyone, and if your shoes fit poorly or do not provide proper support, this can result in painful accidents if you're not careful. Luckily, cushioned insoles are FSA eligible to provide additional comfort underfoot, enhance the fit of your shoes and lessen the impact of heavy activity during snow shoveling.
Check Out: Men's: Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel Men's Outrageous Comfort, Size 8-13
- Vision Correction
One of the leading causes of snow shoveling injuries is poor eyesight, as some men and women may not be able to see icy patches and other risky areas before it's too late. If you've been putting off investing in new glasses or contact lenses, now is the perfect time to make a change for the better. Visit our Contact Lenses page to shop a huge selection of qualifying lenses, or our Rx Glasses page for a huge selection of designer frames and lenses. And don't forget our huge range of eyeglass & lens accessories!
- Cold Packs
If you suffer a bump or bruise while shoveling snow, make sure you have a cold pack ready when you come indoors! Moving from a cold environment to a hot space can speed inflammation and can make bruises even worse, so make sure you have a form of cold therapy ready to apply to the affected area to curb swelling and pain in the event of an injury.
Check Out: ACE Instant Cold Compress Twin Pack
- Kinesiology Tape
Heading out to shovel snow with existing muscle soreness or another injury can cause it to worsen, which is why kinesiology tape is such a great investment. This synthetic tape provides additional support where you need it most, whether it's a sore shoulder, knee or other joint issue. Kinesiology tape can provide the support and continued range of motion to help you tackle day-to-day tasks without pain.
Winter is here and in many parts of the U.S., experiencing a medical emergency or car trouble while you're on the road is made all the more dangerous when frigid temperatures and adverse conditions are the norm. If you haven't done so already, creating a winter weather emergency kit for your vehicle is a smart choice for the winter months, and investing in a first aid kit should be at the top of your to-do list!
Luckily, if you are enrolled in a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA), first aid kits are FSA/HSA eligible, so this is the perfect time to update your existing kit with first aid supplies or start from scratch with a new one. With this tackled, what else will you need this winter? Here are the most important items you should include in your car's emergency kit this season.
- Fire Extinguisher
This is an extremely handy item to have in your car, whether you find yourself victim to a car fire or spot a fellow driver in need. Fire extinguishers should be rated for Class B and Class C fires by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Class B fires are those that involve flammable or combustible liquids, such as gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene. Class C fires involve energized electrical equipment such as switches, panel boxes and batteries.
- Floor Mats
While you may go through your share of floor mats this winter, make sure to pick up a few inexpensive rubber floor mats to stow in your car's trunk as well. Rubber floor mats are the easiest way to help get a car unstuck from a slick spot by placing them under the drive wheels and moving out of a spot that may be laden with moderate snow and ice.
- Flashlight and Batteries
A flashlight is essential in an emergency situation, as it can help you flag down passing drivers or tow trucks, as well as being able to inspect internal vehicle components in low light conditions. Be sure to change the batteries in the flashlight at the beginning of the season, and pack some spare batteries in your vehicle to ensure that you can keep your flashlight functioning in an emergency situation.
- Tow Straps/Rope
Even the most rugged 4-wheelers can get stuck in adverse winter conditions, and if you are far away from the nearest town, you may have to rely on other drivers to pull your car off the side of the road if it becomes immobile. When shopping for these products, make sure to go for tow straps/ropes that are strong enough to tow at least 6,000 pounds to be able to move most vehicles in winter weather conditions.
- Blankets and Winter Attire
Last but not least, your vehicle emergency kit should include materials that can help you and loved ones stand up to the cold in the event that you become stranded in frigid conditions. Warm blankets, as well as spare hats and gloves can help keep you and your passengers warm until you can get the car free or until emergency services arrive to assist.
For everything you need to keep your family healthy this winter, shop at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products to help you maximize the potential of your healthcare benefit and keep your loved ones healthy year-round.
Adventure Medical First Aid Kit Fundamentals
The extensive components selection includes supplies to treat a wide range of injuries.
Caring Mill™ Comprehensive First Aid Kit
Everything you'll need to respond quickly in an emergency situation.
When you think of sunscreen, what usually comes to mind? Days at the beach, long summer afternoons or those irritating sunburns when you forget to apply? While most people reserve their sunscreen use for the warmer months, in reality the danger of the sun's rays is ever-present during any time of the year!
As this winter gets into full swing, don't let your family's sun care regimen fall by the wayside. While you may not think that the sun is a major factor in the winter months, you absolutely need sun protection when outdoors for long periods of time during the winter. Here are a few reasons why you should use your FSA card to stock up on sunscreen for the whole family in 2017.
- 80 percent of UV rays can penetrate clouds
While it may be more overcast and cloudy during this time of year, don't become complacent with your sun care regimen when venturing outdoors. Cloud cover does not guarantee that the sun's most damaging rays, and the American Academy of Dermatology reports that up to 80 percent of UVA and UVB rays can pass through clouds and be absorbed through the skin. UVA rays penetrate deeper through the top skin layers to cause premature signs of aging, while UVB rays are the primary cause of sun damage and can contribute to skin cancer formation. Even when it's cloudy, use an SPF 30+ sunscreen on exposed skin!
- Make the switch to mineral sunscreen
Are you using chemical sunscreen or mineral (physical) sunscreen? If you're looking for the best year-round protection, mineral sunscreen is the best option. Chemical sunscreen usually consists of UVA and UVB blockers and can be harmful to the skin with repeated use, as opposed to true broad spectrum coverage offered by mineral variants. While they may take a bit longer to apply, mineral sunscreen that contains helpful ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium oxide works for much longer and requires less re-application.
- Practice proper lip care
Dry skin is far more susceptible to the sun's rays, and chapped lips are extremely common during the winter months. As the season gets underway, make sure your lip care regimen is up to par to ensure that you're not putting your lips at further risk of sun damage. Better yet, opt for a lip balm that has SPF protection in addition to skin nourishing ingredients. Lip balms with sunscreen rated SPF 15+ are eligible for reimbursement with an FSA or HSA, so use your benefit to cover this winter necessity.
- Enhance your diet
Did you know that what you eat can supplement your skin's natural sun protection and resistance to sun damage? It's true! Natural vitamins and antioxidants, such as vitamin C, beta carotene, vitamin E and more can boost the body's ability to protect and repair the skin after being exposed to sunlight. Some foods to keep in mind year-round include citrus fruits, carrots, strawberries, green tea, pomegranates, almonds, red grapes and leafy green vegetables.
Keep your family safe from the sun's rays in any season by shopping for sun protection products for the whole family at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible items to help you maximize the potential of your healthcare benefits.
2017 is here and with a new month comes a whole new slate of public health awareness initiatives, and January plays host to National Winter Sports TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) Month. With winter sports season in full swing, this is the perfect time of year for doctors, educators and parents alike to shed light on the danger of TBIs and how athletes can prevent these accidents.
According to The Brain Trauma Foundation, TBIs are the leading cause of death and disability in individuals aged 1-44, and it is estimated that 1.6 to 3.8 million sports-related traumatic brain accidents occur each year. As we kick off the new season, FSAstore.com wants our consumers to stay safe during their favorite winter activities, and January is the perfect time to practice new habits to keep your loved one's healthy during this tricky time of year. Here are a few of the best tips for National Winter Sports TBI Month.
- Prepare for dangerous activities
First and foremost, it's important to figure out what winter sports and activities pose the greatest danger of a TBI and to plan accordingly. The sports with the highest rates of TBIs include alpine skiing, ice climbing, snowboarding, sledding, tubing, snowmobiling, ice hockey, ice skating and cross-country skiing.
- Always bring a buddy
One of the contributing factors to the severity of common TBIs is not being able to reach medical attention in an expedient manner, which is why one of the most important safety tips for the winter is to always bring a friend around when participating in these types of sports. It is also vital that children are supervised at all times during these activities in anticipation of any major injuries.
- Use proper sports safety equipment
If you or a loved one will be participating in a potentially dangerous winter activity, make sure you have the proper protection for the job. First and foremost, make sure to bring a helmet that can protect your head during the event of a sudden fall, one that is snug enough to not rock back and forth, but loose enough to fit comfortably and protect all parts of the head. There are a wealth of stylish, modern helmets available that can suit nearly any winter activity and could mean the different between a bump on the head and a life-altering injury.
- Know your limits
Last but not least, don't overexert yourself this winter! Injuries happen when you go over your limits and waver into territory you're not familiar with, so be sure to approach any winter activity with the appropriate amount of caution. Always stay on marked trails and paths, travel at speeds you can handle and be mindful of your skill level with each activity to respect your own limitations to avoid potential mishaps.
No matter where you or your loved ones are headed this winter, prepare for seasonal health issues at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible products to help you maximize the potential of your healthcare benefits!
Caring Mill™ Essential First Aid Kit
A great every day first-aid kit that offers a variety of bandages and medical supplies.
As temperatures drop, have you started to notice that your knees and other joints aren't feeling as great as they did during the spring and summer? When winter hits, doctors see a noticeable spike in joint pain issues. Until recently, physicians were unaware of why these pain issues were more frequent during winter.
However, new research may provide a window into why joint pain issues are so prevalent during cold weather:
Vitamin D and joint pain
A 2015 study published in the Clinical Journal of Pain examined a group of osteoarthritis sufferers with varying levels of vitamin D. Regardless of weight, the study found that those who had lower levels of vitamin D experienced more knee pain and loss of joint function, as opposed to those with adequate vitamin D levels who reported less pain.
Vitamin D levels can drop especially during the winter when most people are less exposed to direct sunlight and spend less time outdoors. Low vitamin D levels can cause increased inflammation and more frequent pain. Additionally, low vitamin D levels can lower bone quality, which can increase the likelihood of chronic pain issues and possible bone fractures.
How to improve vitamin D levels
Much of the vitamin D in our bodies comes from exposure to sunlight. Doctors may prescribe vitamin D supplements, but they can also be boosted through diet. Tuna, mackerel and salmon, milk, orange juice and cereals, cheese, and egg yolks, are great sources of vitamin D or fortified vitamin D.
Age, weight and current state of health can have an impact on knee and other forms of joint pain. If you or a loved one suffer from joint pain, shop for products to treat this at FSAstore.com!
Osteo Bi-Flex Joint Shield Formula with Vitamin D
Helps soothe your joints, support mobility and lubricate joints from the inside.
Mason Natural Glucosamine Chondroitin Plus Vitamin D3
Nourish and repair cartilage, which cushions bones and supports joint flexibility.
Wondering about sun safety during the year? Read our post about 5 outdoor sun safety tips for winter on the FSAstore.com blog.
WearSun Protection lip balm
Lips can become chapped very easily during the winter months with dry air, wind and snow constantly pelting your face. This skin is very sensitive and can dry out and burn very easily after being exposed to sunlight, so make sure to wear a lip balm with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher with moisturizing benefits to support the underlying skin.
Shop for SPF Lip Balm at FSAstore.com
Use broad spectrum sunscreen - and re-apply!
During extended time outdoors, make sure to use broad spectrum sunscreen that can safeguard skin against UVA and UVB radiation, which is the source of sunburns and aids in the development of skin cancer. Use a sunscreen SPF 30 or higher, and apply 30 minutes before heading outdoors. Be aware that snow and strong winds can reduce the efficacy of sunscreen, so re-apply every 2 hours.
Shop for Broad Spectrum Sunscreen at FSAstore.com
Shop our Dermatological Sunscreens
Use moisturizing sun protection
The winter weather can wreak havoc on your skin, which can lead to dry, peeling and painful skin that can linger throughout the season. When shopping for sunscreens, make sure you pick one with moisturizing ingredients, such as lanolin or glycerin. This is an easy way to support your skin health and stay protected from UV rays.
Shop for Aveeno at FSAstore.com
Cover exposed skin
Because of cold temperatures, there's a good chance that most of your skin will be covered throughout winter. However, there are some trouble spots to keep in mind. First, make an effort to cover your head to protect your scalp from sun damage, as well as wearing sunglasses or goggles that can block out 99 percent or greater of UV rays. The skin around the eyes is a common site for skin cancers and sun-inducted aging, so make sure this area is protected all winter long.
Be mindful of reflected UV rays
Many skiers and snowboarders have learned the hard way about the reflective nature of snow and ice, as about 80 percent of UV rays will reflect back up to the nose and face and can cause sunburns. As such, it's vital to apply sunscreen to parts of the body we would normally overlook, such as underneath the nose and chin where those reflective rays will hit. Of course, always remember to re-apply every few hours to maintain your skin's sun protection.
Improve your sun care regimen and make the most of your healthcare benefits at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible products to keep you and your family healthy year-round.
With winter temperatures and wintry weather in store, did you know you can prep with your Flexible Spending Account or FSA?
How can I prevent winter weather falls?
A slip on an icy driveway or sidewalk can sneak up on anyone, but before you start preparing for potential injuries, make an effort to ensure they never happen! There are a number of important steps you can take this winter to prevent slips and falls on icy roads and walkways, including:
- Invest in footwear with good traction, or gripping shoes like snow spikes
- Allow for increased travel time to walk at a slower pace
- Avoid carrying heavy loads on ice
- Bend knees and take shorter steps when walking on ice to prevent falls
What rehabilitative products can speed the healing process?
Even with the proper outerwear, caution and advanced preparations, accidents on icy roads and walkways can strike unexpectedly. As such, it's vital that you have the right types of rehabilitative products at home that can help you bounce back and return to your normal routine quickly. Best of all, if you have a flexible spending account (FSA), you can use your tax-free funds to cover these helpful products.
Here are a few to keep in mind for wintry weather:
In the event of a muscle sprain or pull, immobilizing the affected area is key to promoting the healing process. Elastic bandages provide a form of compression therapy to reduce inflammation and ease pain, as well as stabilizing the injured areas to prevent re-injury.
Check Out: ACE 3" Self-Adhering Bandage
Your FSA covers a wide range of therapeutic products like heating pads, cold packs and other products that are designed to control inflammation, alleviate pain and promote improved blood circulation. Whether you're fighting a bruise, muscle pull or other significant injury, hot and cold therapy are indispensable in the recovery process.
Check Out: Thermal-Aid Large Sectional
When slipping on ice, individuals can inadvertently put excessive strain on ankles or knees, or placing the full force of their body weight on their wrists in an effort to brace for a fall. Athletic braces are highly recommended by doctors and physical trainers alike, and they can limit awkward movements that could contribute to re-injury, as well as stabilizing these joints to speed healing.
Check Out: TheraPearl Knee Wrap
Over-the-counter (OTC) Pain Relievers
OTC pain relievers require a prescription from a doctor for reimbursement through an FSA, but they are extremely effective in controlling pain after an injury. Opt for non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, naproxen (Aleve), and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), which not only relieve pain but can also reduce swelling to improve recovery times.
Check Out: Bayer Extra Strength Plus Buffered Aspirin Caplets(This item will require a prescription for FSA reimbursement).
Is snow shoveling in store? We are taking a closer look at potential medical issues and emergencies that could arise during the peak winter months.
According to the latest weather.com report, a winter storm is brewing and likely headed to the U.S. East Coast by end of week. As frigid temperatures become the norm throughout the U.S., we here at FSAstore.com are taking a closer look at potential medical issues and emergencies that could arise during the peak winter months.
Today's entry will cover the medical risks associated with snow shoveling and how you can prevent and treat them with FSA eligible products!
How do snow shoveling injuries occur?
If you live in a part of the U.S. that has a temperate climate, there's a good chance there will be a snowstorm in the forecast this coming winter and you'll be tasked with removing all of that snow and ice from your home's walking areas. However, each year this activity is responsible for thousands of injuries, some of which can even be life-threatening.
According to 2013 statistics by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 28,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms while shoveling or removing ice by hand. The most common injuries muscle, tendon and soft tissue injuries from overexertion, broken bones from falls, lower back injuries from awkward motions and heart issues from physical activity.
How can I make snow shoveling safe this winter?
We've compiled a list of vital safety tips that can help you or a loved one stay safe when removing snow all winter long. Here are a few ways to get started:
Make a doctor's appointment: Before reaching for that shovel this winter, it's vital to get a better sense of your overall state of health to avoid unnecessary injuries. If you have a heart problem or are in poor shape, it may be wise to hire someone to remove the snow instead of doing it yourself.
Use your FSA/HSA/HRA: If you have a healthcare plan with a consumer spending account, this can cover a wide range of medical products and equipment that can help reduce your chances of injury when shoveling snow.
Or, you can also shop for hotandcold therapy packs to treat sore muscles!
Perform pre-shoveling stretches: As with any form of physical activity, stretching beforehand is one of the easiest ways to prevent injuries. Warm up your muscles with some light physical activity, and make an effort to stretch out your lower back, shoulders and arms before attempting to remove snow.
Pick the right shovel: Are you using the right tool for the job? When picking out a snow shovel, make sure it is appropriate for your height and level of strength. Try out a few versions at the store to find one that is the correct weight and height to do the job.
Alter your shoveling technique: Heavy lifting is a recipe for injuries if it is performed improperly, so instead of lifting snow, make an effort to push it instead to lessen the strain on your back. If you're forced to lift snow, make sure you do it properly. Always lift with your legs and space your hands on the handle to increase your leverage. When squatting over, always keep your legs apart, knees bent and back straight. Lastly, avoid throwing snow over your shoulder or to the side. This can produce a twisting motion that can place undue stress on your back.
Take a break!: As much as you want to get back into your warm home and get the job over with, the vast majority of snow shoveling injuries occur due to overexertion, so take frequent breaks. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, and if you feel any dizziness, shortness of breath or chest pains, seek out medical attention.
Check back again soon for our next entry on how to treat winter-related emergencies, and make sure you're prepared for any medical situation by exploring the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products at FSAstore.com!
After the holidays, winter weight gain can be a fact of life. Learn about healthy tips to stay in shape and use an FSA via the FSAstore.com blog.
When you look at all the temptations that winter brings to the table, it's no wonder that research shows that adults typically gain between 1 to 2 pounds between late November and early January.
Heavy holiday meals, indulging on alcohol with family and friends and dwindling activity levels are a perfect cocktail for unexpected weight gain, but it doesn't have to be the same old story for 2016!
Whether you've already put on some pounds or you're holding steady, the following tips from FSAstore.com can help you stay fit throughout the cold weather months.
Tips to curbwinter weight gain with an FSA:
Indulge with care
After emerging from the office at 5 p.m. into pitch black night, it can be tempting to head off to the bar with co-workers or cozy up at home with a nightcap. But, alcohol is one of the chief causes of winter weight gain. When alcohol enters the body, it is not stored as fat and the body will prioritize burning off alcohol and depleting it from the body. Therefore, as long as the body is burning off alcohol, all fat burning will cease, which is like putting your diet on pause indefinitely. Limit your intake or alter back and forth between non-alcoholic drinks to ease the negative effects of alcohol.
Schedule physical fitness
It can be difficult to muster the motivation to hit the gym on dark, chilly evenings, but one trick is to schedule it into your weekly routine as you would any other task. Exercise is typically the first activity to drop from a busy schedule, but you should look at it as vital as any meeting or event you have planned in the future. Schedule trips to the gym or join a class to take a structured approach to continuing your physical fitness in the winter.
Stay in shape and reduce muscle pain with your FSA through FSA eligible hot/cold packs
Stock up on healthy snacks
With extra efforts to stave off weight gain and eat healthier, hunger pangs come with the territory, but you can give into those temptations confidently with the right snacking options. Go for raw, unsalted almonds or beef jerky for quick snacks on the go, and embrace seasonal fruits and vegetables to fill in the gaps between meals.
FSA tip: Schedule regular checkups (annual eye exam, annual dental exam, and more) to stay on top of your health. You can use an FSA to cover co-pays, deductibles and coinsurance.
Browse our FSA Eligibility List for more information on covered expenses.
While working out can be a great stress reliever, the new year will bring with it a bevy of to-dos and other obligations that can become overwhelming. Emotional eating can be a result of these tattered nerves, which can certainly undo your healthy streak. Stress fighting activities like meditation, breathing exercises or taking a walk can make a major difference in your overall happiness and help you stick to your health goals.
Shop for the Comfort Bundle at FSAstore.com
Chart your progress
Whether you're trying to maintain your current weight or lose a few pounds, weighing yourself each day can help keep you accountable and on top of your goals. Keep a journal that outlines your meals, exercise regimen and daily weights to track relevant patterns and maximize your abilities to reach your fitness goals.
To stay on top of your health and weight loss goals this winter, be sure to check out FSAstore.com all season long! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products to enhance your health and wellness year-round.
Ever been outside in cold weather for too long, leaving your extremities red, stinging and burning soon after coming indoors? Learn about frostbite!
What is frostbite?
Frostbite is a dangerous medical condition that results in the damage of skin and underlying tissue after being exposed to extremely cold temperatures. Frostbite is a natural result of the body trying to preserve warmth in cold temperatures by the narrowing of the blood vessels at the skin's surface in extremities, which forces blood inward toward the torso to keep internal organs warm. These blood vessels will expand and contract to stay as warm as possible, but if temperatures become cold enough, ice crystals can begin to form within these skin cells, freezing the tissue and potentially causing lasting damage to these extremities.
How do I spot frostbite?
Frostbite takes on a series of stages depending on the temperature/wind chill and how long extremities are exposed to extreme temperatures or direct contact with ice, freezing metals or very cold liquids. These stages include:
Frostnip: This is the earliest stage of frostbite that does not permanently damage the skin. During this stage, the skin of the extremities turns red and feels cold to the touch, but over time could lead to prickling pain and numbness, which can persist as the skin re-warms.
Superficial Frostbite: After an extended period of time in extreme temperatures, exposed skin will advance from reddish numbness and begin to lose its color and become pale as ice crystals form in the underlying skin layers. However, during this stage, as the skin begins to re-warm, it can result in blisters, swelling and bruises.
Severe Frostbite: If frostbite continues unabated, extreme temperatures will continue to penetrate through the skin layers to affect the deeper tissue. This condition is known for its extreme numbness and loss of sensation of cold or pain, as well as a deterioration of the joints and muscles. After re-warming, black blisters will form in the days following, and if significant amounts of tissue die, this could lead to gangrene and possible amputation of the extremity.
How is frostbite treated?
The best treatment for frostbite is prevention. Before heading outdoors, be sure to check the weather forecast and dress appropriately for the temperature, wind speed and precipitation. However, if you suspect that frostbite symptoms are present, you should keep the following tips in mind:
Gently re-warm affected areas: Warm (not hot) water is the best option to slowly re-warm injured areas, so keep them submerged for 15 to 30 minutes until they have returned to a normal temperature. Shop for hot/cold packs.
Take an oral pain medication: Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief medications are a wise choice when re-warming your extremities, as this process can be extremely painful and these medications can limit your discomfort. Note: OTC medications require a prescription for FSA reimbursement.
Protect affected areas: Even after re-warming, pay particular attention to those areas of skin that were exposed to extreme temperatures in the following days. Keep them wrapped to promote healing and monitor their condition for signs of bruising or blistering.
Consider medical attention: As a rule of thumb, if you have frostbite symptoms more advanced than frostnip, you should seek medical attention. However, if you do not consult a doctor, be sure to reconsider if blistering, bruising or numbness persists for several days, or if wounds begin to feel hot or extremely painful, the signs of an underlying infection.
As winter gets underway, make sure you have everything you need to keep you and your family healthy all season long at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products to help you make the most of your healthcare benefits.
Whether you dream of sunny beaches during the winter or don't have to dream about them (you live in a warmer part of the country!), winter is still a great opportunity to explore the outdoors with loved ones, or with friends.
Prep for Outdoor fun with your Flexible Spending Account
To make sure you can keep enjoying the following outdoor activities - whether you're in warmer weather or colder weather - bring along FSA eligible items! You can shop with your Flexible Spending Account for things including mini first-aid kits, hot/cold packs to treat any sore muscles or quickly offer relief, band-aids for minor cuts or scrapes, and more.
If you're in a colder climate, here are 4 ideas for how you can spend time outside:
1. Go for a long walk/run. The weekends are an opportune time to take a walk with your family, a pet, with friends, or even by yourself. Not only will you get some exercise in, but you'll also feel great after spending some time outdoors. Alternatively, you can always go to the gym.
2. Pick up a winter activity. Take advantage of the mountains for skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, sledding, snowshoeing, or more. Go ice skating if you know of nearby rinks.
3. Enjoy a photo walk. Grab your camera and take a friend for a walk in your favorite city or around town. Winter landscapes can have a lot to offer, and you'll again benefit from some exercise!
If you live in warmer climates, you can still enjoy the winter months and take advantage of warm temperatures!
1. Explore nature. If you're near the woods, lakes or a beach, why not go for a hike with a group, take a bike ride, or try a new outdoor activity?
2. Participate in a warm-weather activity. Never tried surfing or kayaking? Try it this winter!
3. Enjoy a walk/run. Jogging and running can greatly boost your energy levels and are a fun way to exercise.
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