Nevada News Service

AARP members look at electronics at LV show

Members of AARP offered opinions on some of the new technologies unveiled at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. Mark Eisele was among those judging offerings in the product competition called the “50-Plus IT List.”

Eisele said it was an amazing experience to see firsthand the products geared toward people age 50 and older. A lot of the technology is focused on health and wellness, he noted.

“They had the apps that were the heart-rate monitors. They had the blood-pressure monitors. Again, that’s something that’s not just for older people,” he said.

According to AARP, baby boomers are spending more on technology than any other age group. They are exploring health and fitness innovations, home security and road safety applications, home entertainment and more. Nevada is home to more than 1 million residents age 50 and older.

CES also showcased wearable technology such as glasses and watches that act like smartphones and personal computers. Contrary to the possible cultural assumption that technology is a young person’s arena, Eisele said many people in his age group are tech-savvy.

Nevada farmers still working on farm bill

The new year is here, and Nevada farmers continue to feel the pinch of helping to produce the nation’s food supply without a Farm Bill.

The last five-year Farm Bill expired at the end of September.

Political gridlock in the nation’s capital is causing economic uncertainty for farmers, said Zach Allen, communications director for the Nevada Farm Bureau Federation, because it puts programs such as crop insurance in jeopardy. He said it’s time for farmers to put more pressure on lawmakers to end the stalemate.

“Voices in the rural parts of the country need to speak out to their elected representatives and push for the Farm Bill to get done,” he said.

A major cause of the delay is the battle over how much to cut from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. The Senate approved $4 billion in SNAP cuts, while the House wants a $40 billion cut.

Some reports say a potential compromise could trim $8 billion from SNAP over 10 years.

Allen said he believes the Farm Bill delay is hurting the Silver State and much of the nation’s economy. Following another year of drought in Nevada, he said one of the biggest challenges facing farmers is the uncertainly of the crop insurance program.

“Nevada’s still in a drought,” he said. “We’ve had a very dry winter. Moving forward, as we go into the summer months, there’s still a lot of uncertainty with weather, and it’s important for producers to know what they have to do in terms of getting their insurance taken care of.”

Allen said agriculture contributes more than $5 billion a year to Nevada’s economy. It’s the state’s third biggest money maker, behind gaming and mining.

Flu strikes Nevada with a vengeance

The influenza season is upon us in Nevada, and state health officials are urging residents to get a flu shot to help to protect themselves against a potentially deadly disease.

The H1N1 strain of the virus is blamed for several recent deaths in Texas.

Karissa Loper, immunization program manager with the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, says getting a flu shot can help prevent what could be several days of physical misery.

She adds the very young, seniors and people with health challenges are most vulnerable to influenza.

“Anybody with a chronic disease is more advisable to get a vaccination,” she stresses. “Anybody who’s battling an immunosuppressed complication, so HIV, diabetes is even at higher risk of contracting the illness.”

Health officials say the flu season tends to peak in January each year.

Loper points out the main flu virus is H1N1, which caused many deaths during the influenza pandemic of 2009.

The most common flu symptoms can include a fever, body ache, nausea and vomiting.

Loper says people can help themselves and others avoid the flu virus with some simple remedies.

“Make sure you wash your hands regularly,” she advises. “Cover your nose and mouth if you’re coughing or sneezing and generally cleaning surfaces near you, especially in a work environment.”

Flu shots are generally available at neighborhood pharmacies. The vaccine requires about two weeks to take effect.

Loper also advises getting plenty of bed rest and drinking lots of water for anyone suffering with the flu.