Family Health Management

Sodium is not just salt; any chemical listed in the ingredients with the word “sodium” counts, including sodium chloride (table salt).

Sticking with salt as sodium for now, though, take this picture into mind:

The average adult needs only about a tablespoons worth of sodium, but they often get twice as much

The average adult needs only about a tablespoon's worth of sodium, but they often get twice as much

You’ll know all you need to know about sodium after reading this impassioned Cooking Light article on, written by a chef who had a sodium-induced heart attack. There are links to some great low-sodium recipes, too.


A new study of nearly 20,000 patients of all ages shows that the flu vaccine is a statistical success in curbing the often-troublesome, sometimes-dangerous influenza disease. The study, done by CVS Caremark, found that hospital visits related to pneumonia and influenza went down 24% for people who received the immunization. What’s more, overall hospital visits went down nearly 20% among the vaccinated group.

Colder weather is on the way, and flu season, as always, is right behind it. The above evidence shows that the flu vaccine works. With the flu vaccine, you can keep your family healthy and out of the hospital this winter, especially if someone you know suffers from chronic conditions like diabetes, heart failure, or asthma.

Flu vaccinations are inexpensive and easy to come by. The flu season started this month, so now is the time to receive your flu shot if you have not yet. Talk to your HR manager about where you can get a flu vaccination to help insure yourself against a cold that doesn’t need to be so common.

As seen in this iVillage report, there is good news and bad news in the search for the source of the latest produce-borne bacterial outbreak.

Tomatoes were the first suspects in carrying salmonella, which has infected over 1,200 people nationwide. They recently got off the hook when they were all labeled safe to eat by the FDA.

But now the FDA is warning against jalapeno and serrano peppers, which this blog reported as suspect two weeks ago. The infected peppers were found in a Southern Texas distribution facility and were flagged as a product of Mexico. Remember that even if this is far from your home, the food may still have reached your local supermarket.

As you read the report, you will see that still nothing is set in stone. Mexico is not necessarily the source of the bacteria infecting these crops.

We at BenefitsVIP recommend you continue to insure yourself against salmonella by watching out for suspect produce. Also, in general, remember to wash all food properly before eating. Head here to learn more about handling food properly.

Did your mother have diabetes?  Did your father suffer from heart disease?  Was there an aunt who was depressed?  A brother who has cancer?  You and your doctor need to know these things.  We know that staying well involves more than just visits to the doctor’s office – it is important to truly understand their family health history.

Health care professionals have known for a long time that common diseases – heart disease, cancer, and diabetes – and even rare diseases – like hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell anemia – can run in families. If one generation of a family has high blood pressure, it is not unusual for the next generation to have similarly high blood pressure. Tracing the illnesses suffered by your parents, grandparents, and other blood relatives can help their doctor predict the disorders to which they may be at risk and take action to keep them and their family healthy.  


  • A detailed family medical history allows you and your doctors to:
  • Observe patterns and identify conditions and risks before they affect you or your families.
  • Prepare, plan or take steps to avoid these conditions.
  • Decide what test may be needed to come to a diagnosis.
  • Identify other family members who may be at risk and calculate their chance of passing certain diseases to their children.


Use a family gathering like Thanksgiving to interview family members about their health.  Try to include information about as many generations as possible.  Include half-brother and half-sisters since they too share some of your DNA.    Talk about cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease.  Try to get specific information: What kind of cancer?  At what age was it diagnosed?  Did the relative die?  At what age?


Save a copy and give one to your doctor.  Every Thanksgiving update the document as needed.   It’s worth taking the time to learn more about your relatives’ health.  As former U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona said: “The bottom line is that knowing your family history can save your life.”