Health in a Minute

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Eating Dinner Together
How does family mealtime affect your child’s development?

 

You don’t have to be an “Iron Chef” to make a meal that matters –  extensive research supports the fact that family mealtime can work wonders on children’s development. In fact, the Family Dinner Project lists eight major benefits seen in children who regularly share the dinner table with their parents:

1. Better Academic Performance

2. Higher Self-Esteem

3. Greater Sense of Resilience

4. Lower Risk of Substance Abuse

5. Lower Risk of Teen Pregnancy

6. Lower Risk of Depression

7. Lower Likelihood of Developing Eating Disorders

8. Lower Rates of Obesity

So pull up a chair and start making a positive impact with one simple tradition. Let family mealtime improve everything from your youngster’s vocabulary to their relationship with nutrition to their ability to persevere and succeed later in life.

Source: familydinnerproject.org


 


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Snow Day Safety
What can I do to keep my kids safe in the cold?

 

We know there are few things more exciting than a snow day. But here in the South, where winter weather is a less familiar phenomenon, it’s important to remind children of precautions.

1.Keep hands and heads covered “Frostnip” is the condition that precedes frostbite and is seen in stinging and/or reddening skin. If your child complains of these, warm the area gently with warm – not hot – water.

2.Wear protective gear
Helmets and goggles are imperative to protect sledders and snowball-fighters from injuries caused by hidden branches, collisions, or hard, sharp ice.

3.Stay dry
Dress children in multiple light layers to help wick moisture away from the skin. A good rule of thumb is to dress children in one more light layer than adults would wear in the same conditions.

4.Avoid dangerous areas
To kids, burrowing into the snow and creating constructions is all part of the fun. But a snowplow would have no idea there’s a child inside a snowdrift. Make sure only pre-approved ice skating takes place, and stress the importance of staying away from bodies of water. Just because it appears frozen on top doesn’t mean it’s structurally sound enough to support weight.

Source: Parents.com


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Heating Hazards
Should you rethink keeping your house nice and toasty this winter?

During the coldest months of the year we’re all scrambling to stay warm. However, artificially warming your house could have its drawbacks.

Secondary sources of heat pose physical threats – space heaters, fireplaces, and propane heat sources are all hazardous and cause half of all home heating fires each year.

Interestingly, artificial heat could also be weakening our immune systems. According to a study by Tyler Stevenson, a behavioral neurobiologist at the University of Aberdeen, the “endless summer” we create in our homes causes a seasonal disruption that could lead to illness. “When the outside environment is seasonal but your internal environment is constant, you have a disconnect. That can increase the probability of different diseases or pathological states,” Stevenson explains.  Additionally, warmer temperatures allow bacteria to spread at a higher rate.

The solution is as simple as you might think – just keep the thermostat turned down. Maintaining a comfortable but cooler temperature in your home isn’t just better for your budget, it’s also better for your health!

Source: The Guardian, National Fire Protection Association


 


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Gym Shoe Hygiene
How to care for your most over-worked pair.

Your feet are the foundation of everything. Don’t let them become a source of embarrassment or worse – health issues! If you have some odious extremities, here are a few tips to clean up your act:

Wash feet daily – Seems simple, but it takes extra effort sometimes.

Change socks regularly Especially if you’re active or prone to perspiration.

Rotate your sneaks Having at least two pairs of trusted gym shoes allows each pair a breather and a chance to dry out.

Never go bare – Socks are essential for wicking odor-causing moister away from shoes and feet. Padded socks are even better if you’re a profuse sweater.

If you have a pair of smelly sneakers, there are several methods to clean them and eliminate odor. Keep in mind that bacteria is what causes odor, and it must be killed to keep the aroma from returning. Rubbing alcohol, certain shoe sprays, and even freezing shoes can all serve to kill the bacteria.

Washing shoes in the washing machine is an expensive gamble that could result in their destruction. Instead of fully submersing your shoes, try using baking soda, tea bags, or essential oils (lightly spritzed) on the inside to deodorize.

Source: Institute for Preventative Foot Health, Lorecentral.org


 


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Benefits of Craft Beer
Besides the obvious…

Great news, guys (and gals too)! Science supports your affinity for beer – in moderation of course. So belly up to the bar, because wine isn’t the only beverage with positive impacts anymore.

Studies show that craft beer contains phenolic (chemical compound sometimes used in anti-cancer drugs) and antioxidant properties. The small batch, highly concentrated approach to craft brewing offers a more conducive environment for retaining these restorative compounds. Hops have been shown to contain anti-influenza properties, too.

Xanthohumol – a phenolic compound found exclusively in hops – has been suggested to help reduce colon and other types of cancers.   According to Susan Elrod at the University of Georgia, “Antioxidants scavenge free radicals in the body, thus preventing oxidative damage to cells, proteins, lipids, and DNA. This is hypothesized to prevent numerous health complications, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.”

Source: Development of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods: Elderberry
(Sambucus Nigra), Muscadine (Vitis Rotundifolio), and Craft Beer by Susan Elrod


 


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What’s going on and how can I fix it?

If the shorter days, colder weather, and lessened time outdoors has you dragging, you aren’t alone. Different forms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) plague nearly 20% of the U.S. population.

SAD begins and ends around the same time each year, with most cases beginning in the fall and lasting through winter. It can be as mild as a lack of energy and moodiness or as severe as causing interruptions to daily life. Symptoms are caused by decreasing exposure to natural sunlight and fresh air. This can lower your levels of serotonin and melatonin – both of which influence your mood.

Knowing when it’s time to see your doctor can be tricky, but it’s important to watch for key alerts. If symptoms last more than a few days, you’re struggling to feel motivated, or if you’ve noticed a change in sleep or eating habits – it’s time
to talk to your provider.

Physicians may opt to treat SAD with varying tactics including medications and psychotherapy. However, light therapy/phototherapy is usually the first option to treat winter-onset SAD. Patients sit near a light box that emulates sunlight. Your doctor may prescribe different lengths of light exposure depending on your level of SAD.

At home you can help by making your environment brighter, getting outside more, and exercising regularly.   

Sources: The Mayo Clinic and The National Library of Medicine


 


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Microneedling
How does it work?

Microneedling, a “collagen induction therapy,” is an effective way to reduce scarring, wrinkles, stretch marks, and rejuvenate skin. It’s conducted with a dermaroller that contains hundreds of tiny needles (in different lengths, depending on what you’re treating), and is rolled across the skin a minimum of 15 times in numerous directions – horizontally, vertically, and obliquely.

What Happens?

1. As tiny needles penetrate the skin’s surface, they leave little-to-no trace on the Epidermis (top layer of skin).

2. Needles puncture the stratum corneum (outermost layer). 15 passes create approximately 250 micro-punctures in your skin’s lower layers.

3. These punctures stimulate a slow release of your body’s natural collagen as it heals – a process that takes roughly six weeks.

While microneedling can irritate skin and cause temporary redness, the method is a fairly painless and easy one. Never needle an area with an active breakout, infection, or abrasion. If you’re microneedling at home, be sure to select quality equipment and keep it sterilized. Give the treated area at least six weeks to fully heal, after which you can re-treat.

Source: Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery



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Achieve well-being and peace of mind by learning the lingo.

Financial literacy has the power to improve your well-being and your bank account. Here’s how:

Reducing Stress – Money can be one of the most stressful topics in your life. In fact, according to a 2016 study by the American Psychology Association, money is the number one cause of stress for Americans. Having a better handle on this vital topic helps lighten that burden.

Improving Relationships – It’s no secret that money disagreements are the number one cause of divorce. But financial issues can seep into other relationships as well. Poor money management influences the way you interact with everyone, from parents to siblings to friends. Increase your financial literacy to help reduce tension in your most important connections!

Freeing Your Time – Researching the inevitable paperwork associated with finances, making important decisions that affect the rest of your life, and accruing wealth all take time. The more clearly you understand the jargon, the less time you’ll spend sweating dollar signs and the more time you’ll have for the things you enjoy.

Source: Self Lender



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How can financial apps help me manage my finances?

On average, Americans spend 4.7 hours on their phone a day. You take it with you virtually everywhere. If you’re goal is to organize your finances, putting financial tools on your phone is a great first step.

Apps now exist for almost any category of money management imaginable. Everything from popular general budgeting apps like Mint, to very specific spending trackers like Pocket Expense, to organizational tools like Expensify – which scans and organizes receipts.

Apps like BillGuard can offer you analysis on your spending habits and help protect your plastic, Mvelopes encourages you to plan for your future by maintaining a strict budget,
HomeBudget organizes all of your income and expenses in several different forms of graphics to help you visualize.

Security– If you’re worried about sensitive information on your phone – while you should always exercise caution, and only select verified apps – know that if you do, these financial apps have cutting edge security technology.

Take advantage of these useful tools. Quit sifting through paperwork and spending hours looking things up online. Let your new money management system include an app or two.

Sources: Daily Worth and WiseBread


 


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Insulation is one of the most crucial parts of home construction and will affect your utilities for years to come. But when choosing the healthiest option, there are many things to consider:

Forms include batts, blankets, loose-fill, spray foam, foam, structural insulated panels (SIPs), and more.

R-Value is the rating given to specific insulations. It explains to what degree those materials resist conductive heat flow (in or out).

Materials include wool, cotton, fiberglass, cellulose, plastic, polyurethane, and more.

Fiberglass is most commonly associated with health concerns. Often labeled as carcinogenic, it is dangerous to inhale or come in contact with. 

Spray Foams require adequate safety gear (masks, goggles, etc.) during installation and a minimum of three days curing time before re-entry due to their ability to cause asthma and other health conditions.

Cotton, Cellulose, and Wool are some of the healthiest options for your family and the environment due to their high recycled content and natural components.

Sources: House Logic, Energy.gov


 


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How can I check my home for radon?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one out of every 15 homes in the United States has a level of radon that needs to be reduced. Fortunately there are options to protect yourself and your family from this odorless, radioactive gas known to cause lung cancer. 


1. Seek a radon-resistant new construction if you’re buying.

2. Use short-term and long-term test kits to monitor the home’s radon levels.

How to Test:

Start with a short-term test, which takes anywhere from 2 to 90 days.
Test the lowest level of your home where people spend time – only test
a basement if people inhabit it, not if it’s storage.

If a test shows a radon level of 4 or more, test again with a long-term test, as radon levels can change over time. If it still shows a level 4, it’s time to find a qualified contractor to fix your home. You may even want to take action if it reads level 2 or more, but level 4 requires action.

Radon test kits can be purchased at most home improvement stores, or by calling the National Radon Hotline at 1-800-SOS-RADON (1.800.767.7236).

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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