Quick Blips: November 2017

Protect Yourself from Medical Fraud & Abuse 

Always read your medical summary notice, a statement, stamped with “this is not a bill.” Look for 3 things on your medical summary notice: (1) charges for something you did not get (2) billing for the same thing twice, and (3) services that were not ordered by your doctor. If you have questions, contact the Texas Senior Medicare Patrol at 888-341-6187 or 713-341-6184. (submitted by Dr. Amy Jo Baker) 

KRACK Attack Equals Risky Wi-Fi Connections 

Norton by Symantec is warning that KRACK attacks (Key Reinstallation attacks) will likely impact negatively anyone who uses Wi-Fi. Avoid connections in coffee shops, your workplace, and even homes. KRACK allows attackers access to your credit card information, passwords, and other data transmitted via e-mails. Update the moment the software patch is available. Only browse sites that begin with HTTPS, which adds extra layers of protection. Changing your passwords will not prevent the attacks. A Belgium researcher discovered the vulnerability. (Symantec.com/connect/blogs/KRACK. . . . Oct. 24, 2017.) 

U.S. Department of Agriculture Recommendations for Microwaves 

The Dept. of Agriculture recommends using only white paper plates without printing on them in the microwave. Also do not microwave yogurt containers, newspapers, foam cups and plates, margarine tubs, and china with metallic paint on them. (“Dear Heloise.” Amarillo Globe-News. Oct. 18, 2017. p. A-10. 

Be Prepared for the ER 

The hospital emergency room deals effectively with sudden health problems; however, you and your family must be equipped, informed, and prepared to participate actively in your own care to make sure that you have a positive outcome. Create a cheat sheet in triplicate (ER, ambulance, & yourself) with current medications, dosages, and dispense times. Include known allergies, insurance information, family contacts, power of attorney, and specialty doctors. Be prepared to speak up if the caregivers seem to be going in a different direction from what you know about yourself or your loved one. Go with patience. Stay calm. Leave your valuables at home. 

(Kreis, Tricia Hughes. “Prepare for the Emergency Room.” <caring.com>. n.d. and Dr. Amy Jo Baker, I&PSC).

The Four D’s of Reducing Your Mosquito Exposure 

(1) Drain. . .and Mow. Drain the water from all containers around your property. Mow all your grass regularly and weed eat against the house foundations and fences because adult mosquitoes prefer to rest on weeds and other vegetation. Also spray insecticides to the lower limbs of shade trees, shrubs, and other vegetation. (2) Deet: Apply insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing when you go outdoors. (3) Dress in long-sleeved shirts and long pants and socks while outdoors. (4) Dusk and Dawn: those pesky mosquitoes spreading West Nile Virus bite most frequently between dusk and dawn, but they are available for slurping at almost any time. 

(Young, Adam. Avalanche Journal. Rpt. in Amarillo Globe-News. Oct. 20, 2017. pp. 1, 9. 

Tech Scammers 

The FDA has shut down tech scammers, who claimed computers were vulnerable to scams. Then they charged the consumers, who called for tech support, high fees when they, in fact, were not infected with viruses and had not been hacked. Be wary. (Henderson, Julianna Gruenwald. Federal Trade Commission. Oct. 29, 2017.) 

SHINGRIX: New Shingles Vaccine 

A second vaccine for shingles— shingrix —is now recommended. Our immune system needs an extra dose of prevention. Sufferers of shingles claim it is not something you want to try, especially if it can be prevented. (NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. Oct. 25, 2017.) 

Cyber Security for Business Travelers 

(1) Lock your cell phones, laptops, and tablets; use a new password. (2) Avoid connecting to free Wi-Fi. (3) Disable the auto-connect to the Wi-Fi. (4) Minimize location sharing, which signals when you are not at home or at your hotel. Location sharing makes your possessions vulnerable. (5) Regularly update the software and install anti-virus protection. (6) Create a unique, non-numerical, password or PIN for safes in your hotel room. (7) Disable Bluetooth connectivity as much as possible. (8) Update your operating system and your apps. (Symantec. “8 Cyber Security Tips for Business Travelers.” us.norton.com.)