child playing with toys

The National SAFE KIDS Campaign is a nationwide child injury prevention program dedicated solely to the prevention of unintentional childhood injury. Each year SAFE KIDS observes December as National Safe Toys and Gifts Month.

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind this holiday season and year round:

  • Child-age toys: Choose toys appropriate for your child’s age, interests and skill level.
  • Toys with small parts: For children younger than three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking. Use the cardboard core of a toilet paper roll to test for size – if a toy can pass through, it is too small for young children and may cause them to choke if swallowed.
  • Toys with sharp edges: Avoid toys with sharp points or edges. Also avoid toys that produce loud noises, and projectiles (such as darts).
  • Strings, straps or cords: Toys with strings, straps or cords longer than 7 inches can pose a risk for strangulation for young children.
  • Electrical toys: Avoid electrical toys with heating elements for children under age 8.
  • Check labels: Check for safety labels that say whether or not a toy is toxic.
  • Scooters and other riding toys: Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast, and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be worn properly at all times and they should be sized to fit.
  • Balloons: Choking causes one third of all toy-related deaths – most often from balloons. Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than eight years old. Discard broken balloons immediately.

Perhaps the most important thing a parent can do is to supervise play.

For additional information about safe toys, visit the National Safe Kids Campaign website.

Click here for more toy safety tips.

santa parade
Western Health Advantage is excited to support the 35th annual Santa Parade, being held Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 10 a.m. in the Downtown District near Capitol Park in Sacramento. The parade route goes around Capitol Park.

The parade is a hometown tradition for spectators and participants alike and we delight in sharing it with the community. We invite you to take part in this fantastic event that supports Sacramento area nonprofits and school performing arts programs.

The Santa Parade has a spirit of its own, embodied by the many wonderful parade entrants – from tuneful marching bands to high-stepping horses, fire trucks to vintage vehicles, skillful twirlers to dazzling floats. The crowd of spectators greets the passing parade with enthusiastic approval. Their smiles and cheers are the perfect expression of the holidays – and a big part of the Santa Parade spirit.

The Santa Parade was established in 1983 to create a signature holiday tradition in the heart of the city for all of Sacramento. It was an immediate success, drawing many thousands of visitors to downtown Sacramento each year.

For more info go to sacholidays.com.


little girl getting vaccinated

It’s not too late to vaccinate – Get your flu vaccine today!

Getting the flu vaccine is simple – and it’s free.*  It’s the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from the flu and millions of people have been safely receiving flu vaccines for decades.

After November when you see signs that advertise: “Get Your Flu Vaccine Here,” you might think, “Isn’t it too late for that?” As long as flu viruses are spreading, it’s not too late to get a vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Here are some facts to share with your family:

  • The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone six months and older.
  • The flu season typically peaks between December and February but significant activity can occur as late as May.
  • The flu causes hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and thousands of deaths.
  • How well the vaccine works can vary but the safety of and benefits from vaccination are well documented.
  • Young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older and people with certain medical conditions are at higher risk for serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia, that can lead to hospitalization and even death; therefore, they should be vaccinated. To learn more about high risk conditions, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm.
  • Flu Shot Save Children’s Lives, Study Shows (CBS News Story)
  • Sacramento County Free Flu Clinics


Note: For the 2017-2018 flu season, the CDC recommends only injectable flu shots because there is concern the nasal flu vaccine (FluMist) may not be as effective. Talk to your doctor or other health care professional about which vaccine is best for you and your family.


* Coverage for WHA services depends on eligibility at the time of the service.

group running marathon

On Thanksgiving morning Western Health Advantage members and their families will be joining WHA staff and employees as we make up a team participating in the largest Thanksgiving Day run in the country. This event typically has about 30,000 participants! Sponsored by WHA, all proceeds from the Western Health Advantage Run to Feed the Hungry benefit Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

The race/walk starts on J Street just west of the entrance to the Sacramento State campus and runs through the beautiful tree lined streets of East Sacramento. WHA proudly sponsors what has become a family tradition for thousands of area families and their out-of-town guests, as well as a favorite race among elite runners in California.

To find more event information, please visit www.runtofeedthehungry.com.

What: Western Health Advantage Run to Feed the Hungry

When: Thursday, November 23, 2017

Time: 8:15 a.m. – 10K Race; 9:00 a.m. – 5K Race and Walk

Where: California State University, Sacramento main entrance (6000 J Street)

Beneficiary: Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services
Much more than just food, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) offers 14 diverse services, all focusing on education and moving families to self-sufficiency and financial independence. This is made possible through the help of over 6,200 volunteers who contribute more than 65,000 hours every year. SFBFS is unique in that the organization is not based on a traditional food bank model. SFBFS directly serves families in our community and offers a hand up in the form of education, not a hand out, to each individual who seeks assistance. SFBFS is supported through private donors, some grants and special events such as Run to Feed the Hungry. SFBFS provides food, clothing, education and hope to 150,000 men, women and children each month thanks to your support.

healthy foods

Western Health Advantage has teamed up with the American Heart Association to help you find healthier options this holiday season. Here are some daily tips from AHA:

The American Heart Association has created the Healthy for Good™ movement to inspire you to create lasting change in your health and your life. Western Health Advantage is the local Healthy for Good sponsor and will be sharing more Healthy for Good information throughout the year.

Did you know that November is American Diabetes Month?  In the U.S., 86 million people have pre-diabetes, putting them at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Western Health Advantage is passionate about helping members successfully manage their diabetes.  Before people are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, they nearly always develop pre-diabetes, in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Pre-diabetes should be taken seriously as it can begin causing damage to the body.

But it isn’t all bad news! The good news is you can take steps to prevent and manage diabetes. Here are four helpful steps to get you on the right track:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight. Your body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat calculated using your height and weight, should be in the healthy range. Visit the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to calculate your BMI.
  2. Eat wisely. Choose pastas, breads, cereals and crackers that show “whole” or “whole grain” as the first ingredient. Eat more fruit and vegetables, aiming to eat dark yellow and green veggies like broccoli, spinach and squash every day. Cut back on foods containing saturated fats like butter, whole milk, high-fat ice cream and cottage cheese. Visit MyFoodAdvisor for recipes and tips from the American Diabetes Association.
  3. Exercise regularly. Physical activity helps you lose weight and control your cholesterol and blood pressure. It also helps your body use insulin. Try to be physically active for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. If you haven’t been active in a while, start slowly with a gentle exercise like walking.
  4. Get support. Along with your family, the relationship you establish with your doctor is one of the most important resources to help you stay on track. You also have free access to WHA’s diabetes program provided through Optum®. Visit org/DM to learn more.

Have a minute?   Learn your risk for type 2 diabetes and take the Diabetes Risk Test now from the American Diabetes Association. Take it. Share it. Step Out.

For more information, please visit mywha.org/diabetes and learn about WHA’s Diabetes Disease Management Program.

Do you know about WHA’s diabetes incentive program for WHA members? WHA wants to reward you for being proactive with preventive care, such as for getting a yearly dilated retinal eye test. Visit mywha.org/DRE or call 888.563.2250 to learn more.

putting on skates
Western Health Advantage members can get $5 off of the $12 admission price to the Downtown Sacramento Ice Rink by showing their WHA membership card, thanks to WHA’s sponsorship of the venue.

The Downtown Sacramento Holiday Ice Rink is a treasured destination for outdoor skating and a launching pad for exploring ever-booming central Sacramento. The rink is situated in the heart of downtown, at the corner of 7th & K streets in St. Rose of Lima Park and at the doorstep of the new Golden 1 Center.

Dates: November 3, 2017 – January 15, 2018
Skate Admission: $12 (all day, skates included)
Children 6 and under: $6
Gloves & Socks: $4
Lockers: $2

Regular Hours
Monday-Thursday: 2-8 pm
Friday & Saturday: 10 am-10 pm
Sunday: 10 am-8 pm
Holidays: Hours vary

More Info
godowntownsac.com/icerink; (916) 442-5563; dsp@downtownsac.org


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