Milwaukee – The influenza and holiday seasons are upon us, and a recent study by Aurora Health Care found Wisconsin residents exhibit a mix of both good and not-so-good health habits.
First the good: According to Aurora Health Care's Quarterly Health of Wisconsin Report, more than six in 10 Wisconsin residents plan to get vaccinated against the flu this season, a positive sign given Wisconsin's traditionally low vaccination rates.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2014-2015 State, Regional and National Vaccination Trend Report, only 44.1 percent of all Wisconsin residents were vaccinated last year, ranking it near the bottom of all states in the U.S.
Physicians and health care experts unanimously agree that getting vaccinated is the best defense against the spread of the virus.
Last year's nasty flu season seems to have mad a lasting impression on Wisconsin residents, as more than a quarter of those surveyed say they see a greater need to get vaccinated this year compared to last year.
"We can all do more to prevent the spread of influenza, especially as the weather changes and people spend more time indoors," said Dr. Angela Tonozzi, director of infection prevention with Aurora Health Care. "Your best defense against the flu is to still get vaccinated."
Tonozzi notes that frequent hand washing, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth are among the best ways to prevent the spread of germs including the influenza virus.
Maintaining Your Health during the Holidays
A second aspect of Aurora's fifth annual Quarterly Health of Wisconsin study looked at the health habits of Wisconsin residents during the upcoming holiday season. It's not uncommon for a plethora of food and drink to be a part of the holidays. Yet too much food can create unhealthy habits.
According to the December 2015 Quarterly Health of Wisconsin Report, 44 percent of Wisconsin residents say they likely will make poor food choices during the upcoming holiday season.
Additionally, more than a quarter (26%) of Wisconsinites say their exercise habits will decrease during the holiday, and nearly a third (32%) say their stress levels worsen during the holidays.
"We are all probably guilty of eating a bit too much over the holidays, from an extra slice of pie to one more serving of stuffing," said Dr. Andy Anderson, chief medical officer for Aurora Health Care. "The key thing to remember is moderation, and to maintain regular exercise and eating habits."
To avoid poor health habits this holiday season, maintain your exercise routine, track your calories towards your overall calorie goal, and consider bringing healthy snacks to holiday events.
"Over-indulging on food and drinks can lead to health issues in areas such as the heart and stomach, but by monitoring what we eat and making smart choices, we can all enjoy the holiday season with family and friends in a healthier manner," said Anderson.
The Aurora Health Care Quarterly Health of Wisconsin Report is administered by Research Now, an independent third-party research firm. The poll measures the sentiments of some 1,500 adults ages 18 and older across Wisconsin and the United States on health-related topics. The margin of error for the study is +/- 3.6 percent.
To learn more about Quarterly Health of Wisconsin Report, and find related infographics, visit www.aurora.org/healthreport.
Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin-area health care provider and a national leader in efforts to improve health care quality. Aurora offers services at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Aurora is Wisconsin's most comprehensive health care provider and the state's largest private employer. Aurora serves more than 1.2 million patients every year via a comprehensive network of facilities, services and providers, including 15 hospitals, 159 clinics, 70 pharmacies and 30,000 amazing caregivers. As evidenced by more than 400 active clinical trials, Aurora is dedicated to delivering innovations to provide the best possible care today, and to define the best care for tomorrow. Get helpful health and wellness information via the Aurora MyHealth blog, our Facebook page, our Twitter account and our Pinterest account.
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