Wellness Article from Paisley

Even Santa Needs Health Insurance

Winter is just around the corner which means food, fun, festivities, and... the flu. Health care is important for everyone, whether you're the child eagerly anticipating Christmas morning, the parent who fell into bed after midnight in an exhausted gift-wrap-overload stupor, and even Santa himself! With extreme weather changes and chills, Santa could especially benefit having an adequate health care plan, not just because he's overweight and prone to over-indulge in cookies and eggnog, but also because of his occupational hazards. Think about it:

Those jolly red cheeks could mean skin problems.

Santa sure is jolly, but an underlying skin condition such as Rosacea or Eczema could be to blame for his ruddy complexion. Cold weather and the blast of cold air during sled rides would only aggravate these conditions. Diagnosing these chronic skin problems may be easy, but treating them requires regular check-ups and visits with a dermatologist, plus prescription-only creams and ointments. Without insurance Santa will be paying a lot of out of pocket for appointments with specialists, and even if those specialists offer him samples of medication for his skin, those samples won't last long, and most prescription-only skin treatment creams don't come cheap - or in a generic alternative.

If Mommy kisses Santa, she could give him her cold.

Germs spread easily through kissing and even sharing the same breathing space with someone who is sick. Colds can turn nasty and require prescription inhalers and cough suppressants - neither of which or cheap, or available without a doctor's order. Santa should be able to get quick check-ups if he's got the sniffles, and getting a doctor's diagnosis instead of making your own can mean the difference between incorrectly diagnosing the beginnings of bronchitis or pneumonia as a simple cold, and a fast diagnosis and antibiotics for treatment.

It's time to switch to low-fat milk and sugar-free cookies.

Santa's belly may shake like a bowl full of jelly, but all of the padding indicates obesity, which can put stress and strain on muscles and bones, and cause serious heart conditions, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Diabetes is another common chronic condition that is often synonymous with obesity. Obesity and its co-morbid diseases require vigilant care and testing, neither of which are in the affordable range of the uninsured. Extra pounds and the strain they cause on organs and the skeleton mean regular visits with doctors and specialists, and health insurance is what makes all of those appointments affordable.

Children + toys + a team of reindeer to manage is no easy feat.

Stress can elevate blood pressure, which can strain the heart; and it can cause issues with sleep, libido, and the general feeling of peace and happiness. Santa may love spreading Christmas cheer and giving presents to all of the boys and girls, but surely having so much to do in so little time spikes his blood pressure and heart rate. Yearly check-ups for both physical and mental health are of vital importance to everyone, especially the man who's singularly responsible for making children happy on Christmas morning.

Preventative Care

Besides getting good health insurance coverage, Santa should also be making changes to his lifestyle that will help him to improve his health, and maintain better health. Using low-sugar and low-fat alternatives for cookies, milk, and other sweets is a great start. Eating healthy by adding more greens and by reducing the amount of carbohydrates he consumes are also great dietary changes (are you reading this, Mrs. Claus? Now would be a great time to retire your homemade biscuit recipe and find a great green bean casserole recipe to use instead!). Healthier snacks -- similar to what Rudolph and his friends enjoy -- are a great choice, too. Instead of cookies and candy canes, think carrots and pretzel sticks.

Physical activity is another important component of all-around good physical and mental health. While waiting for the elves to load up the sleigh, Santa could jog or even speed-walk a few laps around the toy workshop. Walking or even riding a bike in place of driving (or sledding) from one short distance to another can increase blood flow, burn calories, and give a great dose of Vitamin D if done during the daytime.

During winter it can be hard for Santa, his elves, and anyone, really, to stay fit, especially since cold weather and the holidays bring enticements like roasts, cakes and other homemade delectables, and the desire to do nothing more strenuous than shop for presents and cozy up on the couch with hot chocolate. But it's important to think of health year 'round, and give yourself the ever-giving gift of good health by eating well, staying physically active, and maintaining health insurance coverage. Each person is unique and should compare health insurance plans to see what would be the best plan for themselves. Food and exercise, on the other hand, is pretty straight forward and the same for everyone. Eat a variety of produce, limit your fat intake and move around!

Author Bio: Paisley Hansen is a freelance writer and expert in health and fitness. When she isn't writing she can usually be found reading a good book or hitting the gym.