How a walk in the park can turn into a trip to the doctor

After a long winter, it’s hard to stay inside when you begin to see those first signs of spring. Temperatures are warmer, flowers are blooming, even animals are frolicking. The experts at Any Lab Test Now understand the desire to shake off winter’s coat and let the warm breezes and sunshine bathe you in bliss, but you need to proceed with caution. There’s a spreading danger out there that you will likely never see coming. It’s as small as a pinhead and can pack a punch that can turn your world upside down. We’re talking about ticks and a nasty disease that some of them can carry — Lyme disease.

The Spread of Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by the bite of ticks. It causes more than 300,000 illnesses each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The risk of infection is greatest in late spring and summer. Of course, that’s the time we are all most likely to want to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors, but unfortunately, it also coincides with a very dangerous point in the life cycle of the tick.

Search for a Spring Snack

It turns out that most people are infected through the bites of immature ticks, called nymphs. Experts at the CDC believe that ticks become infected when they are still just considered larvae, but once they become infected, they stay infected for the rest of their two-year lifespan. When the larvae become nymphs, they begin furiously seeking blood meals to fuel their growth. That’s usually in the spring and summer months, just in time for you to enjoy a family hike or camping trip. Don’t think you are in the free and clear in the fall either. Adult ticks can also transmit Lyme disease, and they are most active during the fall. They are much larger than nymphs though, and more likely to be spotted and removed before attaching to your skin.

You don’t have to be a prisoner in your own home. The experts at Any Lab Test Now have some tips that you can follow to help you take control of your health AND help you enjoy the great outdoors.

Use insect repellant and perform daily tick checks. Look everywhere! Nymphs are tiny and can easily be mistaken for a speck of dirt. Have someone check your scalp, the back of your neck, and all the places you can’t see. If you spot a tick, remove it immediately with a pair of tweezers. The CDC says ticks are usually attached for a day before they release the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

Recognize the early symptoms of Lyme disease. Early diagnosis and treatment can help you avoid complications that can appear later if the disease is not treated. Here’s what to look for:

  • Bull’s-eye rash
  • Fatigue
  • Chills and fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Does this sound familiar? Sounds a lot like the flu, and it can often be mistaken for that. If you’ve been bitten by a tick or develop the rash, it might not be the flu.

Recognize late symptoms of Lyme disease. If left untreated, the problems associated with the disease will worsen. Often patients experience bouts of arthritis, especially in the knees. There can sometimes be nerve paralysis and even meningitis. Many patients report suffering from “brain fog.” Others have reported heart arrhythmias and eye inflammations.

Take Control; Get Tested

Any Lab Test Now offers a simple blood test that will help detect and measure antibodies that the body produces in an attempt to fight the disease. The presence of antibodies cannot always determine if the Lyme disease infection is recent or due to a tick bite in the past, but it can put you and your doctor on the right path to helping you feel better. A special note: If your results are negative, but your symptoms are still present, it’s a good idea to perform a repeat test. It can take up to two months for antibodies to develop.

After getting your results at your local Any Lab Test Now, you should see your doctor. The good news is that Lyme disease can easily be treated with antibiotics.

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Today’s Top Five for Tomorrow’s Female Leaders

It’s the year of the woman! So say the truth sayers. But the truth is, any year can be YOUR year to step out in bravery and confidence and chart your own course into the executive ranks. However, there is an undeniable momentum building right now for women to excel and exceed in leadership, in both business and politics. The #PressforProgress movement, which was the theme for International Women’s Day 2018, highlights the advancements that are being made at this moment (a record 500 women are running for office in November’s midterm elections), and most importantly, the hope for the future.

Are you ready? Are you ready to capitalize on the progress of those that came before you and seize opportunities to press forward into the leadership ranks? I know it sounds exhilarating and a bit scary at the same time. It was for me, and my journey started more than 30 years ago. Here’s my “Top Five for Tomorrow’s Female Leaders.”

Get Involved. This could also be called “networking,” but it’s so much more. It leads to greater knowledge and relationship building. Get involved in an association or group specific to your industry, and it will not only help you learn more about the business but connect you with people who can mentor you. When I started in the franchising business at Any Lab Test Now in 2007, I had leadership experience but no franchising experience; I needed to learn the industry. I joined the International Franchise Association and the Southeast Franchise Forum and gained valuable perspective on the differences between building relationships with customers vs. building relationships with franchisees. I joined committees and started building relationships with peers beyond a handshake and business card swap. A large organization became much smaller in committee work, and eventually, I became the chairperson of the organization, having grown my network purposefully. Bonus: I not only gained a new group of trusted advisors but a new group of friends.

Speak Up...And Ask for Help. I will admit, I had to learn this one the hard way. As a young woman starting out, I hated asking a boss or peer for help. I thought it was a sign of weakness. As I have matured, I can unequivocally tell you it is a sign of strength. People will respect you more if you ask for clarity on an issue or assignment instead of acting like you know-it-all when you don’t. Not to mention, it’s hard to build a meaningful network if you force yourself to stay on an island. And guess what? A byproduct of asking for help is that you grow in knowledge and experience and pretty soon people are asking YOU for help. You become the resource. You are in a better position to build a more successful career by helping and leading others. One of the most important things I counsel young women to do is ‘speak up!’ Speak up when you have a question; speak up when you have an answer, solution or idea. If you are not speaking, you are not part of the conversation. If you are not part of the conversation, you will not feel part of your company’s success and you will be limiting your own career success.

Learn from Failure. It is so cliché but it is so true. If you aren’t willing to learn and grow from failure (which will happen), you will find yourself stuck, and most likely, unhappy. Every successful leader has a failure story (or two or three) they will tell you propelled them to new heights. Here’s mine. The explosion of the start-up tech industry gave me my first leadership role at 24 years old. By 26, I was VP of Client Services and grew the company to $10 million in sales. They were heady times and I was 100 percent all in. Still, I experienced both gender and age bias when my CEO, in what I think was intended to be a backhanded compliment, said, “You won’t be able to work for anyone else. You provide a lot here but no one else will see value in what you do.” Ouch! Shortly after that, I was laid off when the tech bubble burst. I was emotionally devastated. I had assigned all of my value and identity to my job…and it was gone. I felt like a failure. But going through that painful process taught me a valuable lesson that has served me well since…the need to keep perspective. I didn’t have any in that job. I was so focused on my company, I didn’t take care of my career. I didn’t build a community outside of my work (see tip #1). I rectified that moving forward and now make a point to maintain a healthy relationship with my career, and have a whole being outside of that. It has made me a better leader in so many ways, most notably, it has made me more empathetic.

Develop Empathy (and practice it!). Being a leader means making tough decisions. There’s no avoiding it. Maybe you need to change the direction of a company or department, make an unpopular decision, or probably the toughest thing, terminate employees. These situations are stressful and difficult but often necessary for the company to grow. A good leader understands they will need to endure short-term pain for long-term gain. But how do you do that? With empathy. The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, to listen to them, and try and understand where they are coming from and what they are going through will make you a stronger leader. If you have some sleepless nights, that is a good sign because it means you are taking it seriously and thinking things through. To make the tough decisions, you may have to compartmentalize the emotional aspect, execute (grieve, if necessary), respond with empathy and move forward. The more you do it, the more confident you will become in your ability to lead. You will also likely be thanked for the way you handle these situations, even by those who are adversely affected, if you act with respect and empathy.

Find YOUR Balance. A lot has been said and written (for both men and women) on the topic of work-life balance. Here’s my two-cents: Don’t take someone else’s balance and make it your own, find your own balance. I wish when I was younger I had spent less time worrying about those age-old issues like: When should I have kids? How do I take months off for maternity leave? Will I lose my career? If you want a career and kids, do it. Know that you will not get as much sleep for a period of years but know that you can do it. There is no ideal time. Just take the leap. But leave the guilt and expectations of others behind. Understand and accept, at your deepest level, that balance for you may look different than balance for your friends. For me, balance comes from designating times of being completely present with my family. I put up the phone at dinner. No work calls, texts, or emails. On vacation, I might log in for 45 minutes a day to keep things moving but then I am totally committed to my husband and four children, physically, mentally and emotionally. My big picture goal is to raise decent human beings. I try very hard to keep that perspective and not get mired down in the mommy-guilt minutiae that leaves so many women feeling perpetually unbalanced. Find YOUR balance and own it, don’t apologize for it.

It is an exciting time for women in business. More than half of the U.S. workforce is women, but in the S&P 500, only 25 percent of executive and senior-level managers are women and only six percent are CEO’s. There is room and a need for today’s young professional women to become tomorrow’s leaders. The momentum is swinging your way, walk through the door and start your journey with confidence and pride.

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Tired of feeling tired all the time?

It’s easy to feel tired all the time in today’s world. With the stress that comes from trying to balance work and family as well as the disruptive influences of technology on our sleep environments, feeling tired all of the time may seem like part of the human condition. But if you are one of the millions of Americans who complain about exhaustion, the problem might not be your lifestyle — it might be your blood.

Understanding Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency isn’t hard to understand. You are considered iron deficient if you aren’t getting enough of the mineral iron in your diet. Any Lab Test Now can help you find out this critical information. It’s important to know because if you aren’t getting enough iron, then a chain reaction starts:

  1. Lack of iron means fewer red blood cells.
  2. Fewer red blood cells mean less hemoglobin.
  3. Less hemoglobin means less oxygen in your body.
  4. Less oxygen means your body isn’t working properly.

If you’ve reached this point, you might have iron-deficiency anemia.

What is Iron Deficiency Anemia?

It’s estimated that as many as 3 million people in the United States suffer from anemia. That “feeling tired all the time” that we talked about at the start? That’s the most common symptom, but there are a host of others including headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness, rapid heartbeat or palpitations, and even paleness. The National Institutes of Health special Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute even says to watch for brittle nails, swollen or sore tongue, or strange cravings for nonfood items like dirt or paint! Even Restless Leg Syndrome may be linked to iron deficiency. The degree of your deficiency determines just how severe your symptoms are, so if you have a mild case you might not even notice!

A Warning About Self-Diagnosis

So what can you do? Well, self-diagnosis is not recommended because taking iron supplements when they aren’t necessary can cause some unpleasant side effects of their own. Your local Any Lab Test Now can help you get a proper diagnosis and get you on the track to better health with the Anemia Panel.

The First Step to Feeling Better

The Anemia Panel is a comprehensive panel that includes a CBC, Ferritin, Folates, Total Iron Binding Capacity with Iron, Reticulocyte Count, Vitamin B12, and Folic Acid. That’s a lot of test but it will provide you with a lot of important information. The CBC (Complete Blood Count) looks at important parameters of your blood including hemoglobin level, white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. The Ferritin, Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity tests all work together to indicate if you have an iron deficiency. The Reticulocyte Count can help determine if you are producing enough red blood cells, which in turn will help determine the cause of your anemia. The Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid levels will show if there is a deficiency there.

Any Lab Test Now; the First Step to Feeling Better

A lot of different factors come in to play when you start talking about complications surrounding your anemia caused by iron deficiency. They can be simple quality of life issues, like the constant fatigue in mild cases. They can be more serious, like unchecked internal bleeding if your iron deficiency anemia is caused by some underlying unknown condition. That’s why it’s important to pinpoint the problem…then get to the root cause. Any Lab Test Now can be your first step in that process. The information our test provides will put you and your doctor on the right track to helping you feel better.

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