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Western Health Advantage is a non-profit company that was founded by a group of Sacramento and Solano doctors and health care providers.  In keeping with its local mission, the company serves employers and families in Sacramento, Yolo, Solano, El Dorado, Placer, Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties.

Western Health Advantage offers tremendous benefits ranging from 100% paid employee health premiums, local community involvement and a total compensation package.  At WHA, we strive to make a workplace culture where employee efforts and energy are focused on achieving company goals and objectives.  Our Leadership team is focused on providing a company where employees work hard because they love what they do.  Because of this, WHA has won Best Places to Work and has been a finalist for Healthiest Employer for the last 4 years.

With fair compensation, advancement opportunities, access to leadership, paid time off for volunteer work, and a fun and stimulating work environment, view our open career opportunities to be a part of the WHA team!

 

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You Don’t Need Super Powers to Be A Stroke Hero

Start By Controlling Your High Blood Pressure

Nearly 80 million Americans have high blood pressure, the leading-controllable risk factor for stroke, but you don’t have to!  During American Stroke Month teach and take the following steps to manage your blood pressure and protect your health:

  • May 17th is World Hypertension Day and we need you to be a key influencer. Be counted as someone who knows their numbers at heart.org. Knowing your numbers is an important step in protecting your brain.
  • Controlling blood pressure is just one of the ways to prevent a stroke. Discover other tips and share them with your loved ones at strokeassociation.org.

For more information on how to be a Stroke Hero, visit StrokeAssociation.org/StrokeHero.

The latest health alert from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) warns travelers that the mosquitoes infected with the Zika virus are now in our neighboring country, Mexico, and recommends that travelers to certain areas in Mexico (those below 6,500 feet elevation) protect themselves from mosquito bites.

Did You Know?

  • There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
  • Most people infected with Zika virus do not feel sick. Zika virus can be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus, and infection is linked to a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly. Pregnant women should talk to their doctor about testing for Zika.

What Should You Do?
To avoid Zika (and other mosquito-borne diseases) the CDC recommends the following:

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535. OLE should not be used on children younger than 3 years.
    Travelers returning to the United States from an area known to be populated with Zika-infected mosquitos should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks so that they do not spread Zika to others.

For a full listing of CDC’s recommendations, including precautions to avoid sexual transmission of the virus, visit cdc.gov.

 

Additional Resources for Travelers
Zika Travel Information (shows countries in addition to Mexico)
Avoid Bug Bites
Insect Repellent Use and Safety
CDC Map of infected areas in Mexico

 

Immunizations Improve the Health of Children
National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrate the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities.

Since 1994, hundreds of communities across the United States have joined together to celebrate the critical role vaccination plays in protecting our children, communities, and public health.

NIIW 2016 is April 16-23, 2016.

Milestones Reached
Several important milestones already have been reached in controlling vaccine-preventable diseases among infants worldwide. Vaccines have drastically reduced infant death and disability caused by preventable diseases in the United States. In addition:

  • Through immunization, we can now protect infants and children from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases before age two.
  • In the 1950’s, nearly every child developed measles, and unfortunately, some even died from this serious disease. Today, many practicing physicians have never seen a case of measles.
  • Routine childhood immunization in one birth cohort prevents about 20 million cases of disease and about 42,000 deaths. It also saves about $13.5 billion in direct costs.
  • The National Immunization Survey has consistently shown that childhood immunization rates for vaccines routinely recommended for children remain at or near record levels.

It’s easy to think of these as diseases of the past. But the truth is they still exist. Children in the United States can—and do—still get some of these diseases.

One example of the seriousness of vaccine-preventable diseases was the 2015 multi-state measles outbreak of 125 cases linked to the Disneyland amusement park in California, likely started by a traveler who became infected overseas. The year before, the United States experienced a record number of measles cases, with 667 cases from 27 states reported to CDC’s NCIRD. This was the greatest number of cases in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000.

At WHA, keeping you and your family healthy is our top priority. Preventive care services such as well baby care and immunizations are part of your medical plan, at no additional cost to you!* Visit our online infant wellness section for more information.  (Coverage for WHA services depends on eligibility at the time of the service.)

Click here for the 2016 Recommended Immunizations for Children from Birth through 6 Years Old preventable diseases and the vaccines that prevent them.

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Western Health Advantage and the American Heart Association want people to lace up and get moving on National Walking Day, next Wednesday, April 6, to kick off a month-long focus on physical activity and a more active lifestyle.

These days, we’re spending more time at work and sitting in front of a screen than ever before. We’re becoming less active, which can increase our risk of heart disease, stroke and other diseases.

Increasing your physical activity, including simply walking more, has many health benefits. Research has shown that every hour of regular exercise can add about two hours to life expectancy, even if you don’t start until midlife. Plus, physical activity can help relieve depression, improve your memory, lower your blood pressure, improve your sleep and prevent obesity.

On the other hand, being inactive is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, which are the nation’s leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability. They account for about one of every three deaths each year and more than $316 billion a year in health-related costs including lost productivity.

Adults should get at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week, and kids should get 60 minutes of physical activity every day. But about half of us don’t make exercise a regular habit, and almost a third of us report participating in no physical activity at all. Statistics show that people tend to stick with walking more than other forms of exercise. That’s why the association promotes walking as one of the simplest and most effective ways for everyone to get moving.

How can you get involved in National Walking Day? Sign up to participate at heart.org.  The American Heart Association provides a complete toolkit of resources and materials for workplaces, schools, individuals and communities to celebrate National Walking Day. The association also has a wealth of walking, physical activity and healthy living information online and sponsors local programs and events like the Heart Walk.

Promote National Walking Day to colleagues, coworkers, friends and family. And of course, lace up and go on April 6! Use the hashtag #AHALaceUp to donate your walk toward the national goal of 100,000 minutes.

 

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To increase awareness about the importance of colorectal cancer screening, Western Health Advantage is proudly participating in Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. In California, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed, with over 15,000 Californians diagnosed annually.

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancer. Colorectal cancer affects all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people ages 50 and older.

The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get screened regularly starting at age 50. There are often no signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer – that’s why it’s so important to get screened.

People over age 50 have the highest risk of colorectal cancer. You may also be at higher risk if you are African American, smoke, or have a family history of colorectal cancer.

Everyone can take these healthy steps to help prevent colorectal cancer:

  • Get screened starting at age 50.
  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • Get plenty of physical activity and eat healthy.

 

For more information, visit cancer.org

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Folic acid is a B-vitamin that is necessary for proper cell growth. If taken before and during early pregnancy from a multi-vitamin or fortified foods, folic acid can prevent from 50% up to 70% of some forms of serious birth defects of the brain and spine.

Experts recommend that women who could possibly become pregnant should take 400 micrograms of synthetic folic acid daily, from:

  • Eating fortified foods like grains, pastas, or breakfast cereals,
  • Taking daily multi-vitamin, and
  • Including a variety of foods as part of a healthy diet

The easiest way to be sure to get the recommended daily amount of folic acid is to take a multi-vitamin every day.

More information at: folicacid.org

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