Protect Your Children’s School Lunches

School lunch safety and childrenIn a recent article from the National Institutes of Health, Packing School Lunches With Food Safety in Mind by Mary Elizabeth Dallas, several useful tips on how to keep your kids’ lunches safe were discussed.

As a grandmother of two grandchildren, one in second grade and one in preschool, I’m certainly concerned with their well-being. Parents knowing how to prepare and store school lunches is important and this article gives them the information they need.

The article begins with:

Schoolchildren should start each day with a clean lunch bag or box to help prevent the growth of potentially harmful bacteria, according to a food safety expert.
Insulated, vinyl lunch bags are most effective in keeping foods cool and fresh during the day, and when kids get home from school, parents or caregivers should clean the bags with warm soapy water, and allow them to dry completely overnight, said Rutgers University professor Don Schaffner, an extension specialist in food science.

To read the full article, go to:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_140614.html

I hope you find this information helpful.

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Eat, live, and play healthy,

Karen Cioffi
Multi-award Winning Author, Freelance Health Writer, Ghostwriter

P.S. To keep up with the posts and other health information and news, please SIGN UP FOR MY FREE MONTHLY NEWSLETTER. The opt-in is at the top right sidebar and for joining, you’ll get:

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Disclaimer

Note: The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as medical advice. This site should not be used in place of professional medical care. The author is not a physician or medical professional.

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Copyright © 2013 Health Tips to a Healthier You. Content cannot be reproduced without written permission from Karen Cioffi.

Health – Privacy – Gmail

Health, take action, safetyI belong to a number of environmental and health related groups. One of those groups is Care2.com.

Care2 sent an alert about Google’s Gmail and your privacy. It seems Google reads “every word of every single email you send or receive every single day,” including those involving “personal relationships, your health information, your finances, and more.”

YIKES!

Google’s response to a lawsuit against them for this invasion of privacy is that their users have “no legitimate expectation of privacy” in regard to their email.

Again, YIKES!

Interesting, it’s a federal offense to read another person’s traditional mail. Why isn’t email held up to the same privacy expectations, especially when Google uses the information in our emails to target you with ads.

I signed the petition Care2 has in place to tell Google I expect email privacy. If you feel inclined to do the same, the link to the online petition is:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/429/574/063/?z00m=20629232

Please take action and share this alert.

~~~~~
Eat, live, and play healthy,

Karen Cioffi
Multi-award Winning Author, Freelance Health Writer, Ghostwriter

P.S. To keep up with the posts and other health information and news, please SIGN UP FOR MY FREE MONTHLY NEWSLETTER. The opt-in is at the top right sidebar and for joining, you’ll get:

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Chi, Acupuncture, and Henry Zhen-Hong Lee

Disclaimer

Note: The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as medical advice. This site should not be used in place of professional medical care. The author is not a physician or medical professional.

~~~~~
Copyright © 2013 Health Tips to a Healthier You. Content cannot be reproduced without written permission from Karen Cioffi.

Moving – Multiple Sclerosis – Adrenalin

Life, balance, and healthI moved on August 30th, from a house I lived in for almost 18 years. There was an attic and basement, so lots of space to save things in.

Unfortunately, I didn’t plan well enough and left the bulk of packing to move until two weeks before. This was a mistake. Having multiple sclerosis, it’s important to pace yourself and not over do it. With only two weeks and NO help (my husband has a very bad back and restricted lung capacity, and my kids were unable to help) the adrenalin kicked in. I went into overdrive.

When this happens, it’s important to be careful. While the adrenalin will usually keep you going, you don’t want to throw yourself into a bout. I was able to get through this phase of moving uneventfully.

Then came the move and unpacking. This too was uneventful, until I got cellulitis in my ankle and a heel spur in my heel on the same leg. This stopped me in my tracks. I have to keep my leg elevated as much as possible. I’ll also have to go to physical therapy, an added expense.

Because of the cellulitis, I’m on antibiotics, the only one I can take, azithromycin. I’ll allergic or very sensitive to all the other antibiotics, so having to be on the only one I can take is a bit unnerving, because I’m also sensitive to prednisone. Multiple chemical sensitivity can be very dangerous, even life threatening.

So, as it stand now, I have to wait until the cellutilitis is all cleared up – taking longer than normal because of the MS and not being able to go on stronger meds – before I can continue unpacking and get some order in my new home.

That’s the update for now.

Karen

Cell Phones and Radiation – Help Make a Difference

Health TipsWould you turn the gas to your oven on then stick your head in it?

Would you stand in the middle of a parkway with fast moving vehicles?

Of course not. You would never put your life or your families in that kind of danger.

Well, there are other dangers that aren’t as apparent that we do need to be concerned about and avoid.

I’m a member of EWG (Environmental Working Group) and pass along important information as I receive it. While this data has been around for a while, the EWG wants our support to get the FCC to implement strong standards for cell phone radiation.

Over the past 17 years, cell phone usage in the United States has drastically changed. It doesn’t matter where individuals are they are talking to someone on their phones, even while driving, which is another problem. In 1996, cell phones were used sporadically, usually in case of an emergency or a much needed call. Since its usage changed, so should the guidelines for the radiation it emits.

While there is no concrete research to say that cell phones definitely cause cancer or other health problems, there are some in the medical field who claim they absolutely do. If you want to err, err on the side of caution, especially when it involves the long term health of our children.

No matter how you look at it, the “current federal standards don’t do enough to protect our and our children’s health.”

So, please join me and the EWG in strengthening the cell phone radiation standards.

“The FCC is accepting public comments on its cell phone radiation standards. Make sure the FCC knows this is the time to strengthen its standards, not weaken them!”

CLICK HERE to sign the EWG petition to the FCC demanding that cell phone radiation standards are strengthened!

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Eat, live, and play healthy,

Karen Cioffi
Multi-award Winning Author, Freelance Health Writer, Ghostwriter

P.S. To keep up with the posts and other health information and news, please SIGN UP FOR MY FREE MONTHLY NEWSLETTER. The opt-in is at the top right sidebar and for joining, you’ll get:

Toxins and Your Immune System
Indoor Air Pollution and 10 Green Remedies

Multiple Sclerosis – An Alternative Journey
Chi, Acupuncture, and Henry Zhen-Hong Lee

Disclaimer

The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as medical advice. This site should not be used in place of professional medical care. The author is not a physician or medical professional.

~~~~~
Copyright © 2013 Health Tips to a Healthier You. Content cannot be reproduced without written permission from Karen Cioffi.

 

Cause of Stomach Bug Determined in Iowa and Nebraska

Natsty BugsTwo states, Iowa and Nebraska have determined the source of the stomach bug outbreak in their states. The culprit was found to be salad mix – the prepackaged kind. “Nebraska officials said the salad mix included iceberg and romaine lettuce, along with red cabbage and carrots, and came through national distribution chains.”

This particular cyclospora outbreak isn’t a normal stomach but, this one can last for a month and needs medical attention.

The Centers for Disease Control noted that “372 cases of the cyclospora infection, which causes diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms, have been reported in 15 states: Iowa, Texas, Nebraska, Florida, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, New Jersey and Ohio.”

The number of cases has slowed down since early July, but as for me, I’ll remain cautious of packages mixed salads.

To read the full article, visit:
http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/national/health-officials-link-prepackaged-salad-mix-to-stomach-bug-outbreak

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Stomach Bug Hits the United States

Health TipsThe latest bug to hit the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is a bug that packs a wallop.

The problem bug is cyclospora, a one-celled parasite that causes symptoms of ordinary stomach viruses, such as diarrhea and stomach cramps. What makes this bug more serious is that is doesn’t leave in a couple of days. It can last for a month. Medical attention is needed if you think you have it.

According to infectious diseases professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, Dr. Nicole Bouvier, the illness isn’t a person to person thing. It’s most likely spread through contaminated water or food. She did note it’s curable.

As with most acute and infectious illnesses, those with deficient or weakened immune systems need to take extra care.

If you have a chronic illness like multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue, lupus, or so on, your immune system won’t have the ability to fight this parasite. If you suspect you have it, you need to see your doctor.

Unfortunately, as of yet, the CDC doesn’t know what food or water source this bug is being transmitted through. But, they have their teams investigation, along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Some of the obvious precautions are to wash your fruit and vegetables. In regard to water, I boil water then filter it through a Brita filter. I learned this through an Ayurveda doctor. I’m not sure if these measures will actually stop me from getting sick, but they’re health tips I use regularly.

To read more on this stomach bug, visit:
http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/stomach-bug-sickens-people-8-states-205517596.html?vp=1

Check out this video on the 275 reported cases from Associated Press:

~~~~~
Eat, live, and play healthy,

Karen Cioffi
Multi-award Winning Author, Freelance Health Writer, Ghostwriter

P.S. To keep up with the posts and other health information and news, please SIGN UP FOR MY FREE MONTHLY NEWSLETTER. The opt-in is at the top right sidebar and for joining, you’ll get:
Toxins and Your Immune System
Indoor Air Pollution and 10 Green Remedies

Multiple Sclerosis – An Alternative Journey
Chi, Acupuncture, and Henry Zhen-Hong Lee

Disclaimer

Note: The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as medical advice. This site should not be used in place of professional medical care. The author is not a physician or medical professional.

~~~~~
Copyright © 2013 Health Tips to a Healthier You. Content cannot be reproduced without written permission from Karen Cioffi.

Rising Above Adversity

Stressful Realtionships and Health You know, it often amazes me how cruel people can be. If you’re not beautiful, thin, tall, or the ‘right’ color. Or, it might be you don’t belong to a main stream religion or belief system, or sexual orientation, or whatever. Some people, young and old, have a personality defect that allows them to make fun of, taunt, and even hurt others.

With all the ills in the world, why does this happen?

While this is a bit off-topic for this site, in that it’s not actually health related, there is a correlation between one’s self-esteem and emotional well-being and health. To strive for better health, it’s important to rise above adversity or stresses, no matter where they’re coming from. Try to release what you can’t control, instead of worrying, fretting, getting angry, and so on.

The reason this is today’s topic is I just watched a 10 minute video I found on Facebook – it demonstrated cowardly cruelty and the affect it can have on the victim. It also demonstrated the power of faith and the human spirit. What could have been severely detrimental to an individual’s health and life, became a corner stone in finding purpose in life.

It’s definitely worth watching.

Girl Voted the Ugliest on the Internet Gives an AMAZING, Godly Speech

Lizzie Velasquez was born with a rare disease that makes it impossible for her to gain weight. A few years ago so discovered that internet bullies cruelly voted her the “ugliest on the Internet.” Rising above her tormentors she has gone on to succeed greatly in life. Watch her give an amazing and Godly speech that will literally change your life! She will inspire you to trust God, accept yourself and enjoy the life that was given to you.

CLICK ON THE LINK: http://www.godvine.com/Girl-Voted-the-Ugliest-on-the-Internet-Gives-an-AMAZING-Godly-Speech-3653.html

~~~~~
Eat, live, and play healthy,

Karen Cioffi
Multi-award Winning Author, Freelance Health Writer, Ghostwriter

P.S. To keep up with the posts and other health information and news, please SIGN UP FOR MY FREE MONTHLY NEWSLETTER. The opt-in is at the top right sidebar and for joining, you’ll get:
Toxins and Your Immune System
Indoor Air Pollution and 10 Green Remedies

Multiple Sclerosis – An Alternative Journey
Chi, Acupuncture, and Henry Zhen-Hong Lee

Disclaimer

Note: The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as medical advice. This site should not be used in place of professional medical care. The author is not a physician or medical professional.

~~~~~
Copyright © 2013 Health Tips to a Healthier You. Content cannot be reproduced without written permission from Karen Cioffi.

Fight High Blood Pressure Naturally

I’ve recently developed pre-high blood pressure (pre-hypertension). It’s just under the defined high blood pressure reading of 140/90, but is something to take very serious, considering the dangers it represents, having a splenic arterial aneurysm.

Naturally, I follow my doctor’s recommendations, but being a health writer I also research natural remedies. And, one of the first sources I go to is Dr. Andrew Weil’s website.

According to Dr. Weil, normal pressure is defined as 120/79 (or under) mm Hg (millimeters of mercury). High blood pressure (hypertension) is defined as 140/90. Pre-hypertension is defined as 120-139 over 80-85.

The top number represents the systolic pressure. This pressure is “the pressure within the arteries when the heart contracts, or beats, while pumping blood.”

The bottom number represents the diastolic pressure. This pressure is “the pressure in the arteries when the heart relaxes between beats and fills with blood.”

The most common ‘consistent high blood pressure’ culprits are:

  • Stress
  • Being overweight
  • Excessive salt intake
  • Caffeine
  • Excessive Alcohol
  • Insulin resistance
  • Some medications

The dangers of high blood pressure include:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Kidney failure
  • Eye damage
  • Aneurysm

So, it’s easy to see why keeping your blood pressure under control is important. But, the good news is pre-hypertension and hypertension can be normalized with diet and exercise.

Dr. Weil offers tips on lowering your blood pressure:

Things to Avoid:

  • Reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption
  • Avoid processed foods
  • If overweight, lose weight
  • Exercise
  • Stop smoking – don’t start
  • Check your medications and supplements to make sure they don’t include any elements that can raise blood pressure

Things to Include in Your Diet:

  • Limit salt intake
  • Eat eight to 10 servings of fruits and veggies a day
  • Keep animal protein to six ounces a day
  • Eat fish at least three times a week
  • Take calcium and magnesium supplements
  • Take Vitamin C
  • Maintain the recommended daily Vitamin D3 levels
  • Use garlic – it helps relax blood vessels

If these lifestyle changes don’t get your blood pressure under control, then you’ll need to talk to your doctor about possibly starting one of the blood pressure medications available.

To read more details on fighting hypertension, visit:
http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00686/high-blood-pressure-treatment

For even more information, watch this video on high blood pressure by Dr. Mercola

~~~~~
Eat, live, and play healthy,

Karen Cioffi
Multi-award Winning Author, Freelance Health Writer, Ghostwriter

P.S. To keep up with the posts and other health information and news, please SIGN UP FOR MY FREE MONTHLY NEWSLETTER. The opt-in is at the top right sidebar and for joining, you’ll get:

Toxins and Your Immune System
Indoor Air Pollution and 10 Green Remedies

Multiple Sclerosis – An Alternative Journey
Chi, Acupuncture, and Henry Zhen-Hong Lee

Disclaimer

Note: The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as medical advice. This site should not be used in place of professional medical care. The author is not a physician or medical professional.

~~~~~
Copyright © 2013 Health Tips to a Healthier You. Content cannot be reproduced without written permission from Karen Cioffi.

Summer Tips for Fighting Mosquitoes

MosquitoesIt’s that time of year, at least in the U.S. It’s mosquito time. And, even if you don’t have a compromised or weakened immune system, you want to avoid these blood-sucking, disease-carrying insects.

I’m in the North East and spend quite a bit of time on Long Island. It’s so bad in certain parts that my grandsons can’t go out unless they have on mosquito repellent. Unfortunately, not all repellents work.

One that does work, and my daughter started using it this year, is a combination spray of Eucalyptus and Lemon oils. The smell is potent, but it seems to work well.

There are other natural repellents that supposedly work well also and Bob Villa discusses nine of them at Yahoo News:

1. Turn on a fan
2. Plant Lemon Grass
3. Wear light colored clothing
4. Use proper lighting
5. Give Catnip Oil a try
6. Not squimish? Try bats
7. Use a garlic spray
8. Keep standing water out of your yard
9. Try Herbal Armor

To read the full Yahoo article and find out how to use these mosquito repellents and why they work, go to:
9 Ways to Combat Mosquitoes Naturally

You can also check out this video from the Discovery Channel demonstrating mosquitoes blinded by scent:

~~~~~
Eat, live, and play healthy,

Karen Cioffi
Multi-award Winning Author, Freelance Health Writer, Ghostwriter

P.S. To keep up with the posts and other health information and news, please SIGN UP FOR MY FREE MONTHLY NEWSLETTER. The opt-in is at the top right sidebar and for joining, you’ll get:

Toxins and Your Immune System
Indoor Air Pollution and 10 Green Remedies

Multiple Sclerosis – An Alternative Journey
Chi, Acupuncture, and Henry Zhen-Hong Lee

Disclaimer

Note: The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as medical advice. This site should not be used in place of professional medical care. The author is not a physician or medical professional.

~~~~~
Copyright © 2013 Health Tips to a Healthier You. Content cannot be reproduced without written permission from Karen Cioffi.

Multiple Sclerosis and New Study on Overactive Bladder Medications

Health TipsThose suffering with multiple sclerosis are aware of the problems that it causes with the bladder, in particular an overactive bladder.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), a service of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an overactive bladder includes: urge incontinence; urinary urgency; urinary frequency; and nocturia. The urgency or “incontinence occurs because of problems with muscles and nerves that help to hold or release urine.” (1)

The NIDDK also notes that urge incontinence (UI) is more prevalent in older women, due to pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause, along with the female anatomy. It is also considered a medical problem and may be caused by multiple sclerosis, neurological injury, and aging, along with other factors.

If you suffer from an overactive bladder, you know of the inconvenience and problems that it can have on your life. Planning a day out or a trip? You need to know when and where there will be a restroom. If overactive bladder is severe enough, an hour’s drive or outing without a restroom may be problematic. Need to wait on line for any length of time? Be prepared. Laughing too hard or coughing, you’re in trouble. Even a sneeze may put you in an embarrassing situation.

An overactive bladder is a lifestyle changer. You no longer think of doing this and that. You think of this and that in relation to restroom access.

Two of the most popular treatments for an overactive bladder are Botox injections and oral medications, known as anticholinergic medications. In an effort to determine which treatment more effective, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted a study that offers insight into the pros and cons of each.

The six month study, which is the first to compare the effectiveness of oral medication and Botox injections, targeted ‘urge urinary incontinence’ and consisted of approximately 250 women with an average age of 58 years. According to the NIDDK, urge incontinence is a “leakage or gushing of urine that follows a sudden, strong urge.” (2)

The study participants were randomly divided into two groups: one received Botox injections and placebo pills, the other received oral anticholinergic medication and saline injections. This was a double blind study, neither the participants nor the doctors administering the medications knew ‘who got what.’

Improvement was noticed by approximately ninety percent of the women within one month. At the end of the six months, approximately seventy percent of each group cited adequate control of their symptoms.

The results of the study demonstrated that both treatment groups claimed improvement. Daily episodes were reduced from around five times a day to once or twice. Along with this, twenty-seven percent of the participants who received the Botox were urinary leakage free after the six month trial period, compared to thirteen percent in the oral medication group.

The participants did note that the oral medication caused several side effects, including: dry mouth and eyes, and constipation. The Botox group experienced bladder infections and incomplete bladder emptying.

Susan F. Meikle, M.D., M.S.P.H., study senior author, stated that the results of the study indicate that Botox might be a first line treatment option.

SOURCES:
(1) http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/KUDiseases/pubs/uiwomen/index.aspx
(2) http://www.nih.gov/news/health/oct2012/nichd-04.htm

~~~~~
Eat, live, and play healthy,

Karen Cioffi
Multi-award Winning Author, Freelance Health Writer, Ghostwriter

P.S. To keep up with the posts and other health information and news, please SIGN UP FOR MY FREE MONTHLY NEWSLETTER. The opt-in is at the top right sidebar and for joining, you’ll get:

Toxins and Your Immune System
Indoor Air Pollution and 10 Green Remedies

Multiple Sclerosis – An Alternative Journey
Chi, Acupuncture, and Henry Zhen-Hong Lee

Disclaimer

Note: The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as medical advice. This site should not be used in place of professional medical care. The author is not a physician or medical professional.

~~~~~
Copyright © 2013 Health Tips to a Healthier You. Content cannot be reproduced without written permission from Karen Cioffi.