Health Tips

Pain in the Neck

The main job of the neck, or cervical spine, is to support the head. This is no small feat given that the head can weigh as much as 11 pounds. That’s why how you hold your head matters.

Neck pain can result from mechanical disorders, pinched nerves, osteoarthritis, and whiplash-related injuries. However, we are more likely to develop neck pain from static activities, such as driving, sitting in front of a computer screen, or scrolling through social media for prolonged periods of time. Neck strain also may occur after sleeping in an awkward position.

Follow these tips to help support your neck and prevent or reduce pain.

  • Pay attention to your body to identify strain and stiffness and what may be the cause.
  • Practice good posture; keep your back straight, chest up and neck upright. Stretch your back and shoulders and gently move your neck forward and back, and left and right often throughout the day.
  • Be careful how you use your phone or tablet device. Cradling your phone while talking or bending the head forward while looking down to read a phone or tablet can contribute to neck strains or text neck.
  • Don’t stay in one position for too long. Get up and move around often to avoid getting stuck in unhealthy positions.
  • Sleep on your back or side with good support from your pillow and mattress.
  • As with any other part of your body, daily exercises and stretches can keep the muscles in your neck strong and maintain cervical mobility.

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Emotional Well-Being

As we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that we recognize what stress looks like, take appropriate steps to build resiliency, and know where to turn for help when needed.

Recognize Stress

  • Feeling sad or depressed
  • Feeling irritation, anger, or in denial
  • Feeling uncertain, nervous, or anxious
  • Lacking motivation or inability to concentrate
  • Feeling tired, overwhelmed, or having trouble sleeping

Build Resiliency

  • Communicate with your family and friends. Talk about your feelings and enjoy conversation unrelated to this pandemic.
  • Focus on what is in your power to control and accept that there are some things that you cannot change.
  • Take care of your physical self. Our mind and body are connected, so taking care of your physical well-being is good for your emotional well-being as well.
  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Constant consumption of the news will cause stress and anxiety.
  • Be kind and thoughtful about others. We are all in an unusual situation.

Connect with EAP

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Behavioral Health Systems (BHS) provides confidential services for a variety of life situations, including the emotional challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Crown employees and their dependents are each eligible for 5 EAP visits per calendar year. These visits can be used for a variety of services with no out-of-pocket expenses. Call BHS at 800-245-1150 to access your benefit or to learn more about the EAP.

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Seasonal Allergies During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As we move into fall allergy season with the coronavirus still active, it is important not to confuse allergies for the disease. If you suffer from allergies every year, ask yourself these questions:

    • Are these my classic allergy symptoms?
    • Do I get these symptoms around the same time every year?
    • Am I taking my allergy medications regularly and appropriately?

Seasonal allergies and COVID-19 do share many symptoms. However, there are some distinct differences between the two:

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 commonly presents with fever, cough, shortness of breath, and muscle aches. This combination of symptoms is not typical for seasonal allergies.
  • Symptoms of seasonal allergies tend to affect the nose and eyes. When a sensitive person inhales an allergen, the body’s immune system may react with several symptoms including:
    • Stuffy nose due to blockage or congestion
    • Itching, usually in the nose, mouth, eyes, or throat
    • Puffy, swollen eyelids
    • Sneezing and coughing
    • In certain people, it can trigger asthma symptoms

The image below from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compares some of the symptoms caused by allergies and COVID-19.

As with any disease or illness, symptoms can vary between person to person. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, the best way to protect yourself is to reduce your exposure to pollen. It is important for you to stay up to date with the pollen levels in your area. If you feel your symptoms might be something more than seasonal allergies, contact your healthcare provider.

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Life Changes and So May Your Beneficiaries

Marriage, divorce, the birth or adoption of a child, or the death of a loved one are common reasons why you may need to review your beneficiary designations.

Make a commitment this month to review your beneficiary designations. Make sure your beneficiary designations are clear and that they reflect your current intentions. It is also important to name both a primary and a contingent (secondary) beneficiary.

Basic Life, Basic AD&D and Supplemental Life Insurance

  • Go to crown.benefitsnow.com and enter your User ID and Password
  • Click Health & Insurance > Take Action
  • Select Manage Beneficiary from the drop-down menu
  • Or call the Health Benefits Service Center at 844.577.4341

Smart-Choice Health Savings Account (HSA)

  • Go to crown.benefitsnow.com and enter your User ID and Password
  • Click Reimbursement Accounts
  • Click on Health Savings Account
  • Go to Account Resources and select View Beneficiaries
  • Or call the Health Benefits Service Center at 844.577.4341

401(k) Retirement Savings Plan

  • Go to benefits.ml.com and enter your User ID and Password
  • Click My Accounts > Crown Equipment 401(k) > Current Elections
  • Select Beneficiary Designations/Updates from the drop-down menu
  • Or call the Retirement and Benefits Contact Center at 800.228.4015 if you want a beneficiary form to be sent to you and then forward your completed form to Merrill.

Beneficiary designations is not a set it and forget it task. Strive to review your beneficiary designations regularly to ensure they are always correct.

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Healthy Habits for a Healthy Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a very special time in an expecting mother’s life. Taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do for your baby. Here are a few healthy habits to follow in the months ahead.

  • See your healthcare professional regularly for proper prenatal care
  • Avoid cigarette smoke, alcohol, and harmful chemicals.
  • Limit caffeine.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Stay active if your doctor says it’s safe.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Always wear a seat belt.

A partner’s presence is also important to a healthy pregnancy. Support mom and the baby by also practicing healthy habits.

In addition, take advantage of the programs and resources available through your health plan that are designed to support you every step of the way.

  • Anthem – Enroll in the Future Moms program as soon as you know you’re pregnant by calling 800-828-5891.
  • Kaiser – Visit www.kp.org for resources or call Member Services in your area as soon as you know you’re pregnant.

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In This Together

As “stay at home” orders begin to expire, many of us may feel anxious about returning to old routines and schedules. If you have been working remotely, begin to get back into your work routine at home before physically returning.

In addition, continuing to follow the guidelines as we return to the new normal may help you feel more in control, while also helping to prevent the spread of infection.

  • Check your temperature before arriving to work.
  • Stay home if you are sick or not feeling well.
  • Continue to practice social distancing at your work area.
  • Wear a face mask or covering when you are not able to practice social distancing.
  • Wash hands regularly, for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean and disinfect any high-touch surfaces in your area often.
  • Monitor and protect your health – you are in charge.

It is normal to feel anxious about changes and uncertain times. Remember, we are in this together. Access and connect with your EAP benefits, when needed, by calling BHS at 800-245-1150.

Take Charge. Live Well!

Keep Your Lungs Healthy

You may not think about the importance of lung health until you experience a breathing problem. Your lungs bring oxygen into the body and send carbon dioxide out of the body. Every cell of the body needs oxygen to stay alive and healthy. That’s why it is important to prioritize your lung health.

Here are some ways to keep your lungs healthy.

Don’t Smoke
This is the best thing you can do to keep your lungs healthy. Not only can smoking cause lung cancer, it is also the main cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which will narrow and inflame your airway making breathing more difficult. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the most common conditions that make up COPD.

Don’t Vape
Any time we breathe in anything, other than fresh air or prescribed medication into our lungs, there is a potential to cause harm. Vaping is no different.

Wash Your Hands
Keeping your hands clean is one of the most important steps to avoiding common infectious respiratory diseases like colds and flu. Make hand washing a habit all year long.

Be Active
Regular exercise can help strengthen your heart and lungs, so they work more efficiently. Aim for 30 minutes most days of the week.

Get Vaccinated
Everyone 6 months and older should get an annual flu shot. In addition, adults 65 and older should receive the pneumonia vaccine.

Get Regular Check-ups
Regular check-ups help prevent diseases, even when you are feeling well. This is especially true for lung disease, which sometimes goes undetected until it is serious.

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Everyday Preventive Actions

As with other viruses like influenza and the common cold, consistent hygiene and well-being practices help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases and illnesses.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the following everyday preventive actions:

  • Practice self-care. Getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, and taking time out to recharge is important to a healthy immune system.
  • Wash your hands frequently. Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water is not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer may be used.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and make you sick.
  • Clean “high-touch” surfaces every day. High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, electronics, and bedside tables. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe according to the label instructions.

Take care of your health and protect others by practicing everyday preventive actions. Visit CDC.gov or WHO.int to learn more.

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Colon Cancer – A Physician’s Perspective

David Louis MD, MS, FACOEM Dave.Louis@crown.com

Crown’s Director of Employee Health Services, Dr. David Louis, shares his medical and personal insight on the importance of a colon cancer screening.

Why educate employees on the importance getting screened?
Each year, one to two employees are diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. Many skipped their preventive screening and only decided to go to the doctor because they were having symptoms. This tragic diagnosis doesn’t have to happen. Colon cancer is easily screened and if caught early, treatment is usually very successful.

When should an employee start their screening for colon cancer?
The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk start regular screenings at age 45. However, people with a history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease) or have a family history of colon cancer might need to start screening before age 45.

Some people don’t want to go through the prep of clearing the colon for a colonoscopy. Are there other colon cancer screening options?
There are a few options. Talk to your healthcare provider about which test might be best for you. The most important thing is to get screened. The options include:

  • Cologuard®. This is a non-invasive screening option and does not require any prep or time off from work. If the results come back abnormal, a diagnostic colonoscopy will be needed to determine the reason.
  • FIT Test (Fecal Immunochemical Test). This is also a non-invasive option and does not require any prep or time off from work. If the results come back abnormal, a diagnostic colonoscopy will be needed to determine the reason.
  • Colonoscopy. This test does require the “prep”. It can prevent colon cancer by removing precancerous polyps before they become cancerous. Colon cancer almost always develops from precancerous polyps.

Are these tests covered by insurance?
If a colonoscopy is billed as a preventive service, it is covered at 100% in-network. Other testing options may be covered as a preventive service. It is important that your Provider verifies your benefit coverage prior to providing services.

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What is LiveHealth Online®?

LiveHealth Online lets you have a medical video visit with a board-certified doctor using your smartphone, tablet or computer with a webcam. No appointment, no driving and no waiting. In fact, you don’t even have to leave your home or office for your visit.

Doctors are available 24/7 to assess your condition and, if needed, they can prescribe medication to be filled at your local pharmacy. LiveHealth Online is a great option for care when your own doctor is unavailable and more convenient than a trip to an urgent care facility.

With LiveHealth Online, you can see a board-certified doctor in minutes and receive medical care for things like:

  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • A sinus infection
  • Minor rashes or skin infections
  • Pinkeye
  • Allergies
  • And more

Cost of Medical Video Visit

LiveHealth Online is a covered service through the Anthem Medical Plan, so you’ll just pay your share of the cost of $59 or less. If you are not enrolled in the Anthem Medical Plan, you can still register and access care through LiveHealth Online and will pay $59 for a medical video visit.

Go to livehealthonline.com or download the mobile app at Google PlayTM or the App StoreSM and get signed up today so you are ready to go when you need a medical video visit with a doctor.

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