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5 Tips for Active Summer Families

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To Your Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Family Features) Summer is perfect for staying active and spending time outdoors with loved ones, but the frantic pace of the season and overload of activities can take a toll on the entire family.

With a little care and pampering, you can enjoy summer to the fullest while still keeping your family rejuvenated.

 

Eat Well. Food is fuel, and it’s necessary to keep the entire family energized. During warmer weather, cravings often lean toward lighter foods, making it the perfect time to add extra servings of seasonal fruits or vegetables to the family table each night. Also remember to ensure family members are drinking plenty of water as extended time in the sun can lead to dehydration and dry skin if fluids aren’t frequently replenished.

Make Sleep A Priority. Sleep is as important to your body as nutrition and exercise, and making it a priority can be beneficial, especially when your family’s calendar is packed with events. Sufficient, high-quality sleep contributes to a healthy immune system and helps repair damage done throughout the day. It also positively impacts metabolism and overall function while contributing to emotional and mental well-being. Most doctors recommend 6-8 hours per night for adults, and kids of all ages typically require even more, so work on getting into a nightly routine to ensure all members of the family are getting the rest they need.

Pamper Yourself at Home. Once you’ve completed chores in the heat or spent time enjoying family activities in the sun, some simple pampering can be done at home to rejuvenate skin. Start with your hands, which are at the center of everything you do and often the first point of contact with an activity, whether it’s cooking, gardening, crafting or aiding friends and family. The unique formula of Softsoap Hand Wash Plus Lotion liquid hand soap is made with a touch of lotion to lock in moisture for clean, soft hands. Available in Shea & Cocoa Butter, Aloe Water & Lime and Orchid & Coconut Milk fragrances, this innovative formula can make your hands irresistibly smooth, so your touch is always a soft touch.

Take Time to Exercise. Even a little activity can have a huge impact. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity at least five days a week. Taking time out of your family’s busy summer schedule to go for a walk, ride bikes around the park or neighborhood, or play a game outside together can contribute to maintaining a healthy weight and feeling more energized.

Slow Down. It’s easy to spread yourself too thin, especially in the summer when there are often more activities requiring your attention and attendance. When you get caught up in trying to make the most out of every second of every day, it can take a toll on both your family’s physical and emotional well-being. Slow down and take that well-deserved personal time – even just an hour a day – to do something you enjoy with the ones you love. Remember to take small breaks during activities to stretch or take a short walk to help relieve potential stress on your body.

Find more tips to make your family’s summer a happy, healthy and stress-free one at softsoap.com.

June 21, 2017 |

The Science of Odor in Clothes

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(Family Features) From perfumes to scented body washes, deodorants and lotions, people are constantly looking for ways to combat the body’s natural scent and replace it with something more pleasant. Before you attempt to mask the aftermath of a few hours outside or at the gym, it’s important to understand the science behind odor to get rid of it effectively, especially now that warmer weather is arriving.

Odor Buildup

Odor build-up in fabric, the reason favorite t-shirts begin to smell, happens. When the transfer of bacteria and sweat to fabrics such as cotton occurs, odor generates within the fabric itself. Then, the transfer of “odorous” mixtures produced by a person’s body is absorbed by the fabric. Bacteria such as staphylococcus epidermidis (staph), MRSA and E. coli, among others, often remain in clothing washed in detergents without bleach, which is why it’s important to use an effective sanitizer that can kill bacteria in your laundry load.

Odors and Materials

Polyester fibers tend to retain odor-causing bacteria. Since polyester typically repels water, those odors can be harder to remove. Some of the most common items that can be plagued with mold, sweat or musty scents are ones you use daily, like t-shirts and bedding, because they often come in direct contact with your body. Evidence shows that natural, non-synthetic fabrics like cotton are preferable to synthetics when it comes to keeping them smelling fresh because they tend to produce and trap fewer odors in the first place and release odors more easily during washing.

It’s no coincidence that cotton has a legacy of being a favorite fabric because it’s soft, durable and easy to care for. From the towels in your bathroom to the clothes you wear throughout the day and the sheets you snuggle into each night, cotton is a sensible choice to fight odors and the perfect breathable fabric for warm weather.

Eliminating Odors

In addition to choosing non-synthetic fibers and soft, durable fabrics such as cotton, adding a bacteria-killing agent like Clorox Regular-Bleach to your laundry can help sanitize smelly clothing and kill 99.9 percent of bacteria, which causes odor.

Studies have shown that some bacteria on cotton can be reduced when washing with detergent only, but still remain on the fabric. The addition of an EPA-registered bleach not only removes tough stains to keep whites brighter longer, but it also can potentially prevent the buildup of odor in washing machines and the need to clean clothing more frequently.

For more information on tackling odor and keeping clothes whiter longer, visit WhyDoYourClothesSmell.com.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

June 14, 2017 |

Preparing for Baby

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4 tips for choosing the right car seat

(Family Features) As a parent, one of the most important decisions you will make is choosing an infant car seat. The process of purchasing and correctly installing a car seat can often feel like an overwhelming task.

To help give parents that extra layer of confidence they need before baby’s first car ride home from the hospital, the safety experts at Car Seats for the Littles offer these tips for proper car seat installation and car seat use.

Keep Children 2 Years and Younger Rear-Facing

Babies have heavy heads and fragile necks. The neck bones are flexible and the ligaments are loose to allow for growth. When a child rides rear-facing, his or her whole body is cradled by the back of the safety seat in the event of a crash, which is why you want to keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping your baby rear-facing until at least 2 years old.

Ensure Correct Car Seat Installation

A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that 49 percent of infant car seats are installed incorrectly. Faulty installation can result in preventable injuries, so it’s important the infant car seat is properly installed. First, ensure the car seat you purchase works in your vehicle and read the manufacturer’s instruction manual. A car seat with a simple installation process, like the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 DLX Infant Car Seat, can help eliminate some of the installation guesswork. The base offers hassle-free installation using either the vehicle’s seat belt or a Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system. In three simple steps, parents will hear an audible “click” and feel confident the car seat has been securely installed. This seat also features a four-position, one-hand adjustable recline with an easy-to-read bubble level indicator to determine the proper recline level. Find more information at gracobaby.com.

Properly Position Newborns in Car Seats

Be sure the newborn’s bottom is all the way back with no space behind him or her and that the child isn’t slouching. Additionally, check to make sure the seat is sufficiently reclined to prevent the baby’s head from falling to his or her chest and potentially blocking the airway.

Test for Proper Installation and Security

Before placing baby in a car seat, perform the “1-inch test.” Give the seat a firm shake at the belt path with your non-dominant hand. If the seat or base moves less than 1 inch, the installation is secure. Once baby is properly positioned in the seat, make sure the harness straps are properly tightened using the pinch test. With the chest clip placed at armpit level, pinch the strap at your child’s shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any excess webbing, your child is properly secured.

One of the most cautious drives you’ll ever take is the first one home from the hospital, but with the right infant car seat, proper research and installation practice, you can feel more confident from the moment you leave the hospital and every drive after.

 

June 7, 2017 |

Banish Backyard Pests

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(Family Features) As the weather gets warmer, mosquitoes can prevent homeowners from reaping the benefits of living life outside.

According to a Harris Poll conducted on behalf of TruGreen, 85 percent of Americans say that mosquitoes limit their family’s outdoor activities during the months they’re most active. The same survey also found that nearly two-thirds of Americans are concerned about protecting themselves and their family from Zika or other mosquito-borne illnesses.

A majority of respondents reported using bug spray on themselves and their family members to combat mosquitoes outdoors at home. Although it’s the leading preventative measure, still only half say it is most effective at preventing mosquitoes from biting.

Depending on where you live, the mosquito biting season lasts 5-7 months. If spray isn’t adequate to combat the mosquitoes at your home, it may be necessary to take additional measures.

These tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the pest control experts at TruGreen can help combat mosquitoes outside of the home:

Remove standing water. Mosquitoes generally lay eggs near water, so once a week take time to dump anything that may hold water in the yard. This includes buckets, kiddie pools and birdbaths. Don’t overlook items like toys, planters and flowerpot saucers. For containers intended to hold water, like cisterns or rain barrels, regularly check that the lid is secure so mosquitoes can’t gain access. A finely woven mesh is a good alternative if there is no lid. If you can’t cover the container and won’t be drinking from it, use a larvicide to treat the water.

Be wary of unexpected reservoirs. Natural features such as shrubbery and tree stumps can also collect water, and they may be more difficult to remedy. Keep dense shrubs thinned and pruned. Increasing the air flow can make these areas less attractive. If removing a tree stump is impractical, a professional can guide you in proper treatment.

 

Apply a broad-application pest eliminator. Use an outdoor insect spray or professional service to kill mosquitoes in areas where they rest all over the yard. A professionally applied treatment such as TruGreen Mosquito Defense targets pests where they live, and the company’s professionally trained specialists use an innovative mosquito control formula to treat all areas of the yard where mosquitoes hide, including trees, shrubs, mulched areas and all types of ground cover.

“Mosquitoes are a nuisance for many of our customers, inhibiting the time they can spend enjoying outdoor activities,” said John Bell, board certified entomologist and TruGreen regional technical manager. “Most people protect against mosquitoes by using a repellant or citronella candles, but these methods do not target the places mosquitoes hide including low-hanging limbs, ornamental foliage, potted plants and ground cover. The TruGreen Mosquito Defense treatment program targets these places, eradicating the mosquito population in homeowners’ yards and allowing people to spend more time living life outside.”

Make regular rounds to spot trouble. Humans are creatures of habit, and that can mean certain areas of the yard receive much less traffic that other spots. Take time each week to tour the entire yard and keep an eye out for potential pest problems, including standing water in containers or low spots in the ground.

 

For more year-round lawn care tips, visit TruGreen.com/mosquito.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (family dining outdoors)

Illustration courtesy of Getty Images (infographic)

 

 

May 31, 2017 |

Tips for Baby’s First Foods

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(Family Features) There are endless exciting firsts in your baby’s life, from the first smile and laugh, to the first time he or she sits up or speaks. It can be beautiful and exhilarating, but also uncertain and messy.

Introducing solid foods is no different – new and a time for celebration – but you also know that your walls, floors and clothes may never look the same. These suggestions from pediatric health expert Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP can help you decide what foods to introduce to your little one, followed by tips from Clorox on how to remove those inevitable stains that are sure to follow.

Avocados

Avocados are high in potassium, fiber and healthy monounsaturated fat, which is good for growing brains and hearts of all ages. Don’t worry if your infant doesn’t immediately take to avocado; keep offering it as most children eventually come around.

Yogurt

Dairy products are healthy for children and packed with a powerful punch of nine essential nutrients: calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12, riboflavin and niacin. Vitamin D is crucial for healthy bones and a strong immune system, and is also linked to a decreased risk of disease later in life. Although babies under 1 year of age should not drink regular cow’s milk, yogurt and cheese can and should be introduced around 6 months of age.

Nut Butters

Nut butters are healthy and convenient options. Nutrient-wise, they offer vegetarian protein, vitamin E and healthy monounsaturated fats. Nut butters make it easy to add protein to any meal, even breakfast.

Berries

Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are high in fiber and contain vitamin C, antioxidants and other minerals your child’s body needs to function normally, stay healthy and protect against disease later in life.

Vegetables

If you do not eat vegetables, your children won’t eat them either. People who eat more veggies are linked to lower disease rates and a healthier weight. Green vegetables in particular contain almost every vitamin and mineral. Orange veggies are also packed with nutrition, and babies can quickly take to their sweet taste and bright color.

The next step is discerning how to remove those inevitable avocado and berry stains that resulted from another first in your baby’s life – a solo food fight. First, scrape away the excess stain and rinse with cool water. Next, apply a stain solution such as Clorox 2 Stain Remover and Color Booster to the stain and rub in. After 10 minutes, wash in hot water using detergent and more stain remover.

Some baby food stains are tough to remove; learn more at Clorox.com about how you can keep cherished baby clothes looking new – perhaps for future hand-me-downs.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

May 24, 2017 |

How Your Pet May Improve Your Health

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(Family Features) When you’re sick and your cat curls up on your lap, you might think you feel a little better. If you take your dog to work, you may notice that the day is less stressful. Or if you travel with your four-legged friend, maybe you think you sleep better.

Turns out you don’t just think you feel better, but your pet may actually make you healthier. A growing body of scientific research supports that this “pet effect” is real.

Animal health company Zoetis has launched a campaign called The Pet Effect to raise awareness about how pets make people healthier and how, by extension, the veterinary professionals who keep pets healthy are key contributors to human and public health. The company has launched this campaign with the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI).

“We’ve learned that human well-being is enhanced because of a healthy relationship with a pet. Now we want to educate pet owners, veterinarians, doctors, employers and non-pet owners about these overall health benefits,” said Dr. J. Michael McFarland, group director, companion animal marketing at Zoetis. “We are hopeful this will help improve policies regarding pets in public places and also improve public health.”

The research collected by HABRI shows a variety of potential positive effects of pets; for example, that having a dog or cat can lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. One study from the University of Minnesota even found that people who have never owned a cat have a 40 percent higher relative risk of death from a heart attack.

Other research shows that pets may help prevent allergies in children, strengthen the immune system, increase social interaction, benefit children with autism and provide relief for victims of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Pets may also provide mental health benefits. Studies show that dogs and cats can reduce several symptoms of depression, including loneliness, loss of interest and feelings of worthlessness. Pets are also shown to reduce stress and anxiety.

Human health professionals are starting to take notice that pets change people at more than just the emotional level. A HABRI study found that 97 percent of physicians believe there are health benefits to owning a pet and most of them had recommended a patient get a pet.

Veterinarians are key to educating pet owners about the many benefits of The Pet Effect. Research from HABRI overwhelmingly illustrates that pet owners have a high level of trust in their veterinarian and more than 60 percent would be more likely to visit their veterinarian if he or she discussed the human-animal bond.

So the next time you’re feeling a little blue, anxious or stressed out, maybe the best prescription isn’t necessarily from the pharmacy, but at your local animal shelter.

To learn more about The Pet Effect and how your pets impact your health, visit ThePetEffect.org. Then share the videos, data and how your own dog or cat has changed your life on social media with the hashtags #dogsideeffects and #catsideeffects.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

 

 

May 17, 2017 |

Slide Into Summer Safety

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Tips for a fun, safe summer

(Family Features) Summer is a time for playground fun, camping, boating, swimming, biking and other outdoor activities. Longer days mean more time outside and more physical activity, which translates to increased potential for injuries. Playground falls, lawnmower accidents, campfire and fire pit burns are some common childhood injuries that can happen during summer months.

“Sustaining a serious injury can be a life-altering event for a child,” said Chris Smith, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Shriners Hospitals for Children®. “We see patients every day with injuries caused by accidents and we are committed to raising awareness about how to stay safe.”

These tips from Shriners Hospitals for Children can help your family enjoy a fun, injury-free summer.

Go Outside and Play

Outdoor play provides physical and mental health benefits, including opportunities for exercise, creative expression, stress reduction and access to a free and natural source of vitamin D – sunlight. Before sending kids out to play, make sure they are wearing shoes to protect their feet from cuts, scrapes and splinters, and wearing sunscreen to protect against sunburns and harmful ultraviolet rays.

Playground 101

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger every year for playground-related injuries. Before your kids head to the playground, keep these precautions in mind:

  • Choose parks and playgrounds that are appropriate for their age and offer shock-absorbing surfaces.
  • Teach children that pushing and shoving on the playground can result in accidents and injuries.
  • Remind kids to go down the slide one at a time and to wait until the slide is completely clear before taking their turn. Teach them to always sit facing forward with their legs straight in front of them and to never slide down headfirst.
  • Remind children to swing sitting down. Encourage them to wait until the swing stops before getting off and to be careful when walking in front of moving swings.

Make a Safe Splash

While playing poolside may be a blast, Safe Kids Worldwide reports that drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths for children ages 1-4 and the third-leading cause of injury-related deaths among those under 19. Additionally, the University of Michigan Health Systems estimate that about 6,000 kids under the age of 14 are hospitalized because of diving injuries each year, with 1 in 5 sustaining a spinal cord injury.

Prevent accidents and injuries with these tips to ensure your family’s safety around water:

  • Instruct children to never swim alone or go near water without an adult present.
  • Give children your undivided attention when they are swimming or near any body of water.
  • Always jump in feet first to check the depth before diving into any body of water.
  • Never dive in the shallow end of the pool or into above-ground pools.

Fun on the Water

Boating, tubing and other water sports can be great fun but can also be dangerous. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, nearly 71 percent of all boating fatalities are drownings, 85 percent of which are a result of not wearing a life jacket. Here is what you can do to enjoy the water safely:

  • Always have children wear a Coast Guard-approved, properly fitted life jacket while on a boat, around an open body of water or when participating in water sports.
  • Educate yourself. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 86 percent of boating accident deaths involve boaters who have not completed a safety course.
  • Always check water conditions and forecasts before going out on the water.

Fire Safety Simplified

According to the CDC, more than 300 children ages 19 and under are treated in emergency rooms for fire- and burn-related injuries each day. Use these tips to help keep children safe around fires, fireworks, grills and other heat sources:

  • Teach kids to never play with matches, gasoline, lighter fluid or lighters. Make a habit of placing these items out of the reach of young children.
  • Do not leave children unattended near grills, campfires, fire pits or bonfires. Always have a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby whenever there is an open flame.
  • Take your child to a doctor or hospital immediately if he or she is injured in a fire or by fireworks.
  • Leave fireworks to the professionals.

To see more tips, find activity pages and learn how to become a “Superhero of Summer Safety,” visit shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/safesummer.

When the Unexpected Happens

It was a beautiful, sunny day when Jordan Nerski headed to the playground with his mother, like millions of other kids on summer vacation. One minute Jordan was climbing on the jungle gym and the next he was on the ground with a broken elbow.

Accidents like these are why emergency room doctors and staff refer to the summer months as “trauma season.” During these warm, action-packed months, kids spend more hours active and outdoors, often without adult supervision, increasing the chance of injury. When these accidents occur, parents want the best care possible for their children.

Jordan’s mother Jackie received a recommendation from a friend who suggested that she bring her son to the Shriners Hospital for Children — Portland walk-in fracture clinic.

“The experience we had was truly amazing,” Jackie Nerski said. “It was a stressful time since he was in a lot of pain, but everyone from the greeter at check-in to the doctor made it the best experience.”

A simple and streamlined process, Jordan, equipped with an X-ray documenting his break, was checked-in at the fracture clinic, treated and casted in under 2 hours. Jordan returned with his mother for follow-up visits to ensure his elbow was healing properly and they found every visit to be stress-free and informative.

“At each visit, every care was taken for his comfort and to answer all my questions to appease my anxiety,” Jackie Nerski said. “It was an experience that was fantastic; though one I hope we don’t need again, but if we do, we know where to go.”

Including the Portland location, there are 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children in the United States, Canada and Mexico that provide specialized care to children with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate, regardless of the families’ ability to pay. Of these 22 hospitals, 13 also offer walk-in fracture clinics.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (5 children on slide)

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (grandfather and 2 children on slide)

 

 

 

May 10, 2017 |
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