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4 Signs It’s Time to Put Away the Car Keys

One of the most difficult decisions an individual or their children will face is when an elderly person should stop driving. Putting the car keys away can feel like a loss of independence, especially if aging has brought on other limitations in a person’s life. Read more

Volunteering may be for others, but the benefits belong to YOU

There’s a quote going around that says, Volunteers are not paid — not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless. Many people believe their volunteer experiences changed the way they saw the people around them and developed a better appreciation of what they had. It isn’t often that one hour of doing something for others has the power to transform. Yet, it happens every day in a variety of causes. Read more

4 Ways Gratitude Is Good for You

Modern medicine is one of the reasons the 21st Century is a great time to be alive, and our ability to prevent dangerous diseases has changed the quality of life for grateful generations. In 2015, 91.8 percent of American children 19–35 months old were vaccinated against chickenpox. If you’ve ever suffered the soul-crushing itching of chickenpox, you know those children are lucky.

But our sophisticated medicines and surgeries still can’t cure everything. Chronic pain, for example, which has both a physical and a mental component. Our medicines are great at treating physical symptoms, but they can’t do much about the mental side of things. That’s where gratitude comes in. Gratitude is a practice of the mind that benefits both the mind and body whether you suffer from chronic pain, are feeling the effects of advanced age, or just want to stand at the helm of your own health. Read more

Six Fat-Free Ways to Handle Stress

It may have started when your boss watched you fly through the main doors 10 minutes late or last night during bedtime when your youngest announced he has a book report due today.

Perhaps it is the neighbor who expects full participation with every cause that hits Instagram or the mean girls that seem to follow your teenager’s every move with negative commentary.

Before you realize it, you are standing in front of the open freezer listening to your serving spoon scrape the bottom of an empty ice cream container. That’s right. You are stressed, and the fact that the only way you can cope with the pressures of life is to drown your concerns in heaps of whipped cream or melted cheese only adds to the problem.

Instead of snacking your way through a crisis, consider these six fat-free strategies to handle the most bitter of stressful situations. Read more

Healthy Eating for Aging Adults: 5 Tips to Help You Live Longer and Stronger

You’ve heard the phrase, “You are what you eat.” Eating well is important for everyone at all ages, especially the older we get. According to the World Health Organization, are more susceptible to malnutrition due to changes that naturally occur with the aging process. Many diseases that plague the elderly are a result of dietary reasons. Studies have indicated that malnourished older adults tend to visit doctors, hospitals, and emergency rooms more often. Read more

Does your loved one need palliative care?

It was Henry Miller who once said, “It is a very limited concept of medicine that strives to understand disease, but not the needs of sick people.”

Nowhere is that need greater than the care of our elderly. Fortunately, the healthcare industry is taking steps toward recognizing the unique needs of our senior loved ones by providing specialized care that meets the healthcare needs of the patients as well as the emotional and supportive needs of those who love them.

Commonly known as “comfort care,” palliative care provides a team of specialists who cater to the varying healthcare needs of a patient. That team often includes a physician, nurse, pharmacist, a social worker, chaplain and volunteers. Read more

What’s up with the green smoothie?

There was no small amount of shock at my last column. My father-in-law said to me last Sunday dinner, “Did you really have two Diet Cokes, an Egg McMuffin, and a candy bar for breakfast?”

I have to admit that my confession sparked a renewed interest in healthy eating.

Everywhere I look, the green smoothie has overtaken breakfast. My friends are blending for their kids. Our CEO is drinking one during morning meetings. People on the street are walking around with them.

So, while I initially balked at the thought of spinach for breakfast, I’m sipping a blend this morning and asking myself, “What’s up with the green smoothie?”

1. To eat or not to eat.

When it is a matter of eating the recommended daily amounts of fruits and vegetables published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, many people have found success in drinking those nutrients versus not getting any nutrition at all.

For example, a standard 24-ounce green juice may contain as many as three apples, three bunches of kale, a cucumber, a whole lemon and a bunch of carrots. Most people wouldn’t consume that amount of produce in one sitting, but they could drink it while on the go and still enjoy the nutritional benefits.

2. Remember the fiber.

How you prepare your juice drink can make a big difference in the amount of fiber you consume and the nutritional value of your juice drink. Those who use a blender to prepare their juice drink are more likely to retain some of the fiber that is often lost when using a juicer machine. Yet both remove a large amount of dietary fiber from the fruits and vegetables.

Fiber is an essential component of a healthy diet and shouldn’t be overlooked when preparing juices. Dietary fiber helps regulate digestive functions, helps to lower cholesterol, controls blood sugar levels and aids in weight loss. The only effective way to incorporate healthy amounts of dietary fiber into your diet is through eating the whole fruit or vegetable.

3. Know what you’re eating.

The quality of the output depends on the quality going in. Yes, a juice drink provides a large amount of produce in one serving, but that drink may also contain things you didn’t expect.

For those wanting to control diabetes or high cholesterol levels, juicing has been a popular option. But many nutritionists advocate moderation in juicing as a defense against the hidden carbohydrates and sugars in most fruits and vegetables.

4. Remember to chew your food

For many seeking a kick-start for weight loss, juice cleanses offer a seductive appeal. They are popular, easily accessible, trendy, don’t require exercise and promote quick weight loss. But this notion of drinking your caloric intake on a daily basis has many dietitians and nutritionists concerned.

In a June 2014 U.S. News & World Report article, “Juice Cleanses: Health Hocus Pocus,” Lauren Blake, a registered dietitian with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, expressed her concerns.

“While cleanses might appear to work in the short term, they are not a long-term solution for weight loss and can be dangerous.”

“There’s not a lot of scientific evidence showing that cleanses work,” she says. “When you’re restricting your calories so heavily, you’re going to lose weight, but people who follow these cleanses tend to put the weight right back on and leave themselves at risk of developing nutritional deficiencies.”

If you can’t recall the last time you chewed your food, chances are you are engaged in an unhealthy weight loss strategy, which most nutritionists agree is neither safe nor effective.

It seems the green juice phenomenon is here to stay, which is a good thing in moderation. By maintaining a balance of whole foods with healthy juicing choices, along with an active lifestyle, you can enjoy the tasty benefits of juicing while optimizing good health.

Are you swimming in a toilet? 5 reasons to avoid the public pool this summer

As the weather heats up, public swimming pools beckon us to leave the comfort of our homes and venture outdoors to take a cool dip. Swimming in the public pool may be considered one of America’s favorite pastimes, but for me, no thanks. My 5 Top Reasons You Should Never Get Into A Public Swimming Pool will give you the extra ammunition you need when kids ask, “Can we go to the public pool?”

Poop

“The average bather has about a tenth of a gram of feces in his gluteal fold, which is a nice way of saying butt crack,” says Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology and environmental studies at The University of Arizona. That means with five people, “you have a tablespoon of poop in the pool.” Moreover, beyond the gross-out factor, without safe levels of disinfectant, you can run the risk of transmitting diseases, he says.

A CDC report of routine pool inspections released in 2010 found that nearly one in eight pools posed serious violations that threatened public health, which resulted in those pools being closed immediately.

Pee

One in 5 adults admit to peeing in a pool. Even Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps confessed, “I think everybody pees in the pool,” Phelps told The Telegraph in 2012. “It’s kind of a normal thing to do for swimmers. When we’re in the water for two hours, we don’t really get out to pee. Chlorine kills it, so it’s not bad.”

When urine (and other waste, such as sweat) mixes with chlorine, it creates an irritant called chloramine, which is what causes red, stinging eyes when swimming and can also irritate your respiratory tract, Michele Hlavsa, an epidemiologist and chief of healthy swimming for the Centers for Disease Control of Prevention explains. “It’s really important to not use the pool as a restroom,” she says. Chloramines are also what causes that “chlorine smell,” which is a red flag for contamination.

Cryptosporidium (“Crypto”)

Cryptosporidium — or Crypto, for short — is a parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis. In a new report, the CDC noted 1,788 water-associated illnesses were reported between 2011 and 2012, including 95 cases that required hospitalization and one death in 32 states and Puerto Rico. Of those, the agency said Cryptosporidium was responsible for more than half the cases stemming from treated water in pools and hot tubs. While most bacteria can live in treated water for only a few hours at most, Cryptosporidium can hang on for up to 10 days. It’s protected by an outer shell that allows the parasite to survive for up to 10 days even in chlorine-treated water, so even well-maintained pools can spread Crypto among swimmers. To be safe, the CDC advises checking to see when the pool you’re using was most recently inspected. Be sure you or your children don’t swallow water while swimming. Also, to make sure you’re not contributing to the problem, the CDC advises against swimming when you have diarrhea and for two weeks afterward, especially if you know that Cryptosporidium was the cause. Take young children to the bathroom frequently (and talk to them about not peeing or pooping in the water).

Bacteria – E. Coli

The CDC released a new study about what’s lurking in the pool water. Water sampled from 161 pools in the Atlanta area showed signs of E. Coli — the bacteria most commonly associated with fecal matter.

When you forgo rinsing with soap and water before entering the pool, you introduce fecal matter into the water. A simple shower with soap before entering the water can significantly cut the risk of contamination. Check out this article on Why you SHOULD shower before you use the pool.

Be sure to change diapers in the bathroom or designated diaper-changing area — not poolside, which increases the risk of germs getting into the water.

RWI

Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) are caused by germs that are spread by swallowing contaminated water present in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, lakes, and oceans. According to the CDC, there has been an increase in the number of RWI outbreaks in the past two decades.

The most common RWI is diarrhea (caused by Crypto or E-coli). Other RWI infections include:

Gastrointestinal
Skin
Ear
Respiratory
Eye
Neurologic
Wound

Chlorine and other disinfectants don’t kill germs instantly. Also, the mixing of chlorine with pee and sweat uses up the chlorine in the pool that would otherwise kill germs. That’s why keeping chlorine at recommended levels is essential to maintain a healthy pool. If you notice a strong odor of chlorine at a public pool, it’s not a good thing. It indicates a maintenance problem. A well-chlorinated pool should, in fact, have little odor.

Summer is not much fun if the water you swim in makes you sick. So be advised, if you decide to take a dip in the pool – you’ve been warned!

Emily Woll writes for North American Healthcare Inc. and drosmond.com.