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Thank you for subscribing to In Great Health, an Avera eNewsletter that provides you with information to help you live a healthy lifestyle.  To learn more about what Avera can do to partner with you to improve your health, visit www.Avera.org.

To your health,

The Avera Staff

Inline

When the use of furnaces, gas fireplaces and portable heaters increases, so does the risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. This winter, take measures to prevent exposure to this extremely dangerous gas.

Carbon monoxide is produced from the incomplete burning of natural gas and other products that contain carbon. Anything that burns coal, gasoline, kerosene, oil, propane or wood can produce carbon monoxide. That includes automobile engines, portable heaters, water heaters, stoves, propane heaters and charcoal grills.

Poisoning occurs because carbon monoxide replaces oxygen in the bloodstream. Some symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include breathing problems such as shortness of breath or rapid breathing, chest pain, confusion, convulsions, dizziness, drowsiness, fainting, headaches, impaired judgment, shock, nausea, vomiting and unconsciousness. Children, the elderly, smokers and people with lung or heart disease are most at risk. If you suspect you or someone else has been exposed to carbon monoxide, get to fresh air and call 911 immediately.

Because carbon monoxide is odorless, the best way to prevent poisoning is to install carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of your home and near any gas-burning appliances. Have any heaters or gas-burning appliances inspected regularly. Make sure any venting systems to the outside of your house, such as intake and discharge pipes, are clear of blockages such as snow or birds' nests. To learn more about poisoning or prevention, call the National Poison Control Center any time at 1 (800) 222-1222.

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American Heart Month in February is an opportune time to educate yourself on the signs of heart disease, which is the number-one cause of death in both women and men in America. If you think you have symptoms of a heart attack, don't ignore the warning signs. Call 911 immediately.

Heart disease is caused by a build-up of plaque in the heart's blood vessels, which can cause a heart attack, stroke or other serious health problems. Signs of a heart attack include chest discomfort that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back; pain or discomfort in your arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach; and shortness of breath, light-headedness, cold sweat or nausea along with chest discomfort. Women often experience much milder symptoms; either they have no chest pain at all, or they feel flu-like symptoms up to a month before having more severe heart attack symptoms.

Learn more about your risk for heart disease by taking this heart health assessment. Many Avera facilities offer screenings to assess heart health. Call your local Avera facility to make an appointment for a screening.

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When people give up on their workout routines, they typically point to lack of time, intimidation or boredom. Here are some ideas to help you overcome these common obstacles and to keep your resolve to be more active.

Lack of Time: Make a list of when you can work out. If you're usually busy after work, make a concentrated effort to exercise in the morning. If your time is very limited, try a 30-minute exercise class or design your own express routine. If you still don't have time, be sure to take a few 10-minute breaks during the day to move around.

Intimidation: To make yourself feel more comfortable, especially if you're trying something new, work out with a friend. If you're just not sure what type of exercise is going to work for you, ask a fitness professional to help you devise a workout routine.

Boredom: Change up your habits every four to six weeks if your routine is becoming stale. Choose activities that you like, and ask a friend to join you.

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In Great Health online archive.

In Great Health is one in a series of Avera eNewsletters that gives readers valuable information about health and wellness at Avera facilities. It is not intended to replace personal medical advice, which should be obtained directly from a physician.