Sunday, March 6, 2011

Food Safety Tips for Road Trips

All the follow information came directly from the American Dietetic Association. Whether you're heading to a campground or a resort, don't forget to pack nutritious snacks for the road. Keep your backseat treats safe with these easy tips:

Choose Carefully
Pack easy-to-transport, shelf-stable foods. Good choices include cereal, trail mix, popcorn, single-serve applesauce, cans of tuna, peanut butter sandwiches, fresh fruit, carrots or celery.

Clean Up
:: Wash hands with soap and water during food preparation, especially between tasks.
:: If you don't have access to a restroom, pack moist towelettes or hand sanitizer.
:: Have everyone in the family clean up before digging in.

Know Your Foods' Limits
:: Don't let food sit unrefrigerated for more than two hours. (In temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, refrigerate food within one hour.)
:: Pack food with plenty of ice or a frozen ice pack in an insulated lunch bag or cooler.
:: Use a refrigerator thermometer to make sure the temperature stays below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Keep Coolers Cool
:: In hot weather, place coolers and lunch bags in the back seat instead of the trunk. The environment tends to be cooler in the car, especially when the air conditioning is on.

Many of these same guidelines apply to carry-out and fast-food items. Wash your hands before eating and don't keep leftovers for more than one to two hours, depending on outside temperatures. Knowing these simple food tips, you can make your next road trip that much safer.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDA) Awareness Month

All the following information comes from the American SIDS Institute

Reducing the risk of SIDS

What Can Be Done?

Unfortunately, we cannot expect to prevent all SIDS deaths now. To do so requires a much greater understanding of SIDS, which will be achieved only with a commitment from those who value babies and with a considerably expanded research.


1. Get medical care early in pregnancy, preferably within the first three months, followed by regular checkups at the doctor's office or health clinic. Make every effort to assure good nutrition. These measures can reduce the risk of premature birth, a major risk factor for SIDS.

2. Do not smoke, use cocaine, or use heroin. Tobacco, cocaine, or heroin use during pregnancy increases the infant's risk for SIDS.

3. Don’t get pregnant during the teenage years. If you are a teen and already have one infant, take extreme caution not to become pregnant again. The SIDS rate decreases for babies born to older mothers. It is highest for babies born to teenage mothers. The more babies a teen mother has, the greater at risk they are.

4. Wait at least one year between the birth of a child and the next pregnancy. The shorter the interval between pregnancies, the higher the SIDS rate.


1. Place infants to sleep on their backs, even though they may sleep more soundly on their stomachs. Infants who sleep on their stomachs and sides have a much higher rate of SIDS than infants who sleep on their backs.

2. Place infants to sleep in a baby bed with a firm mattress. There should be nothing in the bed but the baby - no covers, no pillows, no bumper pads, no positioning devices and no toys. Soft mattresses and heavy covering are associated with the risk for SIDS.

3. Keep your baby’s crib in the parents’ room until the infant is at least 6 months of age. Studies clearly show that infants are safest when their beds are close to their mothers.

4. Do not place your baby to sleep in an adult bed. Typical adult beds are not safe for babies. Do not fall asleep with your baby on a couch or in a chair.

5. Do not over-clothe the infant while she sleeps. Just use enough clothes to keep the baby warm without having to use cover. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for you. Overheating an infant may increase the risk for SIDS.

6. Avoid exposing the infant to tobacco smoke. Don't have your infant in the same house or car with someone who is smoking. The greater the exposure to tobacco smoke, the greater the risk of SIDS.

7. Breast-feed babies whenever possible. Breast milk decreases the occurrence of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Studies show that breast-fed babies have a lower SIDS rate than formula-fed babies do.

8. Avoid exposing the infant to people with respiratory infections. Avoid crowds. Carefully clean anything that comes in contact with the baby. Have people wash their hands before holding or playing with your baby. SIDS often occurs in association with relatively minor respiratory (mild cold) and gastrointestinal infections (vomiting and diarrhea).

9. Offer your baby a pacifier. Some studies have shown a lower rate of SIDS among babies who use pacifiers.

10. If your baby has periods of not breathing, going limp or turning blue, tell your pediatrician at once.

11. If your baby stops breathing or gags excessively after spitting up, discuss this with your pediatrician immediately.

12. Thoroughly discuss each of the above points with all caregivers. If you take your baby to daycare or leave him with a sitter, provide a copy of this list to them. Make sure they follow all recommendations.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

National Immunization Awareness Month

August is recognized as National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). The goal of NIAM is to increase awareness about immunizations across the life span, from infants to the elderly. All the following information comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

August is the perfect time to remind family, friends, co-workers, and those in the community to catch up on their vaccinations. Parents are enrolling their children in school, students are entering college, and healthcare workers are preparing for the upcoming flu season.

Why are immunizations important?
Immunization is one of the most significant public health achievements of the 20th century. Vaccines have eradicated smallpox, eliminated wild poliovirus in the United States. and significantly reduced the number of cases of measles, diphtheria, rubella, pertussis, and other diseases. But despite these efforts, people in the U.S. still die from these and other vaccine-preventable diseases.
Vaccines offer safe and effective protection from infectious diseases. By staying up-to-date on the recommended vaccines, individuals can protect themselves, their families and friends, and their communities from serious, life-threatening infections.

Who should be immunized?
Getting immunized is a lifelong, life-protecting community effort regardless of age, sex, race, ethnic background, or country of origin. Recommended vaccinations begin soon after birth and continue throughout life. Being aware of the vaccines that are recommended for infants, children, adolescents, adults of all ages and seniors, and making sure that we receive these immunizations, are critical to protecting ourselves and our communities from disease.

When are immunizations given?
Because children are particularly vulnerable to infection, most vaccines are given during the first five to six years of life. Other immunizations are recommended during adolescent or adult years and, for certain vaccines, booster immunization are recommended throughout life. Vaccines against certain diseases that may be encountered when traveling outside of the U.S. are recommended for travelers to specific regions of the world.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Who’s asking the questions?

When you are at your doctor’s, typically you’ll find yourself getting asked many questions. You need to be asking questions too. Remember the more proactive you are in your treatment the more likelihood of a better outcome. William C. Shiel, Jr., MD, FACP, FACR and Chief Editor for has come up with 10 sets of questions that you should be asking during your visits:

1. What do you think is causing my problem?

2. Is there more than one condition (disease) that could be causing my problem?

3. What tests will you do to diagnose the problem and which of the conditions is present?

4. How good are the tests for diagnosing the problem and the conditions?

5. How safe are the tests?

6. What is the likely course of this condition? What is the long-term outlook with and without treatment?

7. What are my treatment options? How effective is each treatment option? What are the benefits versus risks of each treatment option?

8. If my symptoms worsen, what should I do on my own? When should I contact you?

9. Are you aware of each of the medications that I am taking? Can they adversely interact with the medications you are prescribing for me?

10. Should we monitor for side effects of the medications that you are prescribing or for their interactions with other medications I am taking?

It is recommended that you have your questions written down for reference during your consultation with your doctor. Also remember to take notes and you will be on your way to being a proactive patient.

Monday, June 14, 2010


June 2010 is National Aphasia Awareness Month [a pha sia (uh-fay’-zhuh)]. In researching Aphasia, all the following information came from The National Aphasia Association’s website which is presented in question and answer format.

What is Aphasia?

Aphasia is an acquired communication disorder that impairs a person's ability to process language, but does not affect intelligence. Aphasia impairs the ability to speak and understand others, and most people with aphasia experience difficulty reading and writing.

What Causes Aphasia?

The most common cause of aphasia is stroke (about 25-40% of stroke survivors acquire aphasia). It can also result from head injury, brain tumor or other neurological causes.

How Common is Aphasia?

Aphasia affects about one million Americans -or 1 in 250 people- and is more common than Parkinson's Disease, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. More than 100,000 Americans acquire the disorder each year. However, most people have never heard of it.

Who Acquires Aphasia?

While aphasia is most common among older people, it can occur in people of all ages, races, nationalities and gender.

Can a Person Have Aphasia Without Having a Physical Disability?

Yes, but many people with aphasia also have weakness or paralysis of their right leg and right arm. When a person acquires aphasia it is usually due to damage on the left side of the brain, which controls movements on the right side of the body.

Can People Who Have Aphasia Return to Their Jobs?

Sometimes, since most jobs require speech and language skills, aphasia can make some types of work difficult. Individuals with mild or even moderate aphasia are sometimes able to work, but they may have to change jobs.

How Long Does it Take to Recover from Aphasia?

If the symptoms of aphasia last longer than two or three months after a stroke, a complete recovery is unlikely. However, it is important to note that some people continue to improve over a period of years and even decades. Improvement is a slow process that usually involves both helping the individual and family understand the nature of aphasia and learning compensatory strategies for communicating.

How Do You Communicate With a Person With Aphasia?

*Give the person with aphasia time to speak and do not finish the person's sentences unless asked.

*Be sensitive to background noise and turn off competing sounds such as radios or TVs where possible.

*Be open to means of communicating other than speech, eg., use drawing, gesturing.

*Confirm that you are communicating successfully.

*Make sure you have the person's attention before communicating.

*During conversation, minimize or eliminate background noise (such as television, radio, other people) as much as possible.

*Keep communication simple but adult. Simplify your own sentence structure and reduce your own rate of speech. You don't need to speak louder than normal but do emphasize key words. Don't talk down to the person with aphasia.

*Encourage and use other modes of communication (writing, drawing, yes/no responses, choices, gestures, eye contact, facial expressions) in addition to speech.

*Give them time to talk and let them have a reasonable amount of time to respond. Avoid speaking for the person with aphasia except when necessary and ask permission before doing so.

*Praise all attempts to speak; make speaking a pleasant experience and provide stimulating conversation. Downplay errors and avoid frequent criticisms/corrections. Avoid insisting that each word be produced perfectly.

*Augment speech with gesture and visual aids whenever possible. Repeat a statement when necessary.

*Encourage them to be as independent as possible. Avoid being overprotective.
*Whenever possible continue normal activities (such as dinner with family, company, going out). Do not shield people with aphasia from family or friends or ignore them in a group conversation. Rather, try to involve them in family decision-making as much as possible. Keep them informed of events but avoid burdening them with day to day details.

Does Aphasia Affect a Person's Intelligence?

No, a person with aphasia may have difficulty retrieving words and names, but the person's intelligence is basically intact. Aphasia is not like Alzheimer's disease; for people with aphasia it is the ability to access ideas and thoughts through language - not the ideas and thoughts themselves- that is disrupted. But because people with aphasia have difficulty communicating, others often mistakenly assume they are mentally ill or have mental retardation.

Are All Cases of Aphasia Alike?

No. There are many types of aphasia. Some people have difficulty speaking while others may struggle to follow a conversation. In some people, aphasia is fairly mild and you might not notice it right away. In other cases, it can be very severe, affecting speaking, writing, reading, and listening. While specific symptoms can vary greatly, what all people with aphasia have in common are difficulties in communicating.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ride For Your Health

May 2010 is National Bike Month, riding your bike is a great way to improve your health. All the following information comes directly from the League of American Bicyclists.

Bicycling can help solve two of our nation's leading crises: skyrocketing healthcare costs, which are damaging every sector of our economy, and the obesity epidemic, which in 2000 caused 400,000 deaths, 16.6 percent of all deaths recorded, due to physical inactivity and poor diet. A study of almost 200,000 General Motors employees found that overweight and obese individuals average up to $1,500 more in annual medical costs than healthy-weight individuals. By getting people moving again, bicycling can help improve Americans lose weight and improve their physical fitness. This could not only save lives, it could help greatly reduce the total costs to society of obesity, estimated at $117 billion per year (including $39 billion a year through Medicare and Medicaid programs, which cover sicknesses caused by obesity including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and several types of cancer).

Recreational bike riding is a safe, low-impact, aerobic activity for Americans of all ages. A 150-pound cyclist burns 410 calories while pedaling 12 miles in an hour-almost the equivalent calories of a McDonald's Quarter Pounder®. A 200-pound cyclist burns 546 calories while going 12 miles per hour-almost the equivalent of a Big Mac®.

Sources: Exercise and Your Heart -- A Guide to Physical Activity. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute / American Heart Association, DHHS, PHS, NIH Publication No. 93-1677 and McDonald’s.

The President, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Surgeon General, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services have all recently expressed concern over America’s overweight problem. According to the CDC, 61% of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese; 13% of kids aged 6 to 11 and 14% of kids 12 to 19 are overweight. Obesity is second behind tobacco in U.S. health risk factors, contributing to 300,000 deaths a year.

According to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, approximately 70% of US adults are sedentary. This includes 28% who engage in no leisure-time physical activities and 42% who undertake less than 30 minutes of physical activity (such as walking) each day.

The Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health said, "Physical activity of the type that improves cardiovascular endurance reduces the risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease, hypertension, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes and improves mental health. Findings are suggestive that endurance-type physical activity may reduce the risk of developing obesity, osteoporosis, and depression and may improve psychological well-being and quality of life."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Alcohol Awareness

April 2010 is National Alcohol Awareness Month. This information comes directly from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism National Institutes of Health.

If you are drinking too much, you can improve your life and health by cutting down. How do you know if you drink too much? Read these questions and answer "yes" or "no":

:: Do you drink alone when you feel angry or sad?
:: Does your drinking ever make you late for work?
:: Does your drinking worry your family?
:: Do you ever drink after telling yourself you won't?
:: Do you ever forget what you did while you were drinking?
:: Do you get headaches or have a hang-over after you have been drinking?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you may have a drinking problem. Check with your doctor to be sure. Your doctor will be able to tell you whether you should cut down or abstain. If you are alcoholic or have other medical problems, you should not just cut down on your drinking--you should stop drinking completely. Your doctor will advise you about what is right for you.

If your doctor tells you to cut down on your drinking, these steps can help you:

1. Write your reasons for cutting down or stopping.

Why do you want to drink less? There are many reasons why you may want to cut down or stop drinking. You may want to improve your health, sleep better, or get along better with your family or friends. Make a list of the reasons you want to drink less.

2. Set a drinking goal.

Choose a limit for how much you will drink. You may choose to cut down or not to drink at all. If you are cutting down, keep below these limits: Women: No more than one drink a day.Men: No more than two drinks a day.

A drink is a 12-ounce bottle of beer, 5-ounce glass of wine; or 1 1/2-ounce shot of liquor.

These limits may be too high for some people who have certain medical problems or who are older. Talk with your doctor about the limit that is right for you.

Now--write your drinking goal on a piece of paper. Put it where you can see it, such as on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror. Your paper might look like this:

3. Keep a "diary" of your drinking.

To help you reach your goal, keep a "diary" of your drinking. For example, write down every time you have a drink for 1 week. Try to keep your diary for 3 or 4 weeks. This will show you how much you drink and when. You may be surprised. How different is your goal from the amount you drink now? Use the "drinking diary" below to write down when you drink.

Now you know why you want to drink less and you have a goal. There are many ways you can help yourself to cut down. Try these tips".

:: Watch it at home.

Keep a small amount or no alcohol at home. Don't keep temptations around.

:: Drink slowly.

When you drink, sip your drink slowly. Take a break of 1 hour between drinks. Drink soda, water, or juice after a drink with alcohol. Do not drink on an empty stomach! Eat food when you are drinking.

:: Take a break from alcohol.

Pick a day or two each week when you will not drink at all. Then, try to stop drinking for 1 week. Think about how you feel physically and emotionally on these days. When you succeed and feel better, you may find it easier to cut down for good.

:: Learn how to say NO.

You do not have to drink when other people drink. You do not have to take a drink that is given to you. Practice ways to say no politely. For example, you can tell people you feel better when you drink less. Stay away from people who give you a hard time about not drinking.

:: Stay active.

What would you like to do instead of drinking? Use the time and money spent on drinking to do something fun with your family or friends. Go out to eat, see a movie, or play sports or a game.

:: Get support.

Cutting down on your drinking may be difficult at times. Ask your family and friends for support to help you reach your goal. Talk to your doctor if you are having trouble cutting down. Get the help you need to reach your goal.

:: Watch out for temptations.

Watch out for people, places, or times that make you drink, even if you do not want to. Stay away from people who drink a lot or bars where you used to go. Plan ahead of time what you will do to avoid drinking when you are tempted.Do not drink when you are angry or upset or have a bad day. These are habits you need to break if you want to drink less.

Most people do not cut down or give up drinking all at once. Just like a diet, it is not easy to change. That is okay. If you do not reach your goal the first time, try again. Remember, get support from people who care about you and want to help. Do not give up!