Archive for November, 2016

Six ways to keep your workouts regular, fun and injury-free

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

In a perfect world, you’d develop a workout schedule for the next six months, stick to it flawlessly and find yourself at the level of fitness you hoped to achieve. But as many know all too well, life sometimes gets in the way, be it in the form of an injury, lack of motivation or simply running out of time. While sticking to a regular workout schedule is a challenge, there are a number of ways to keep you moving both physically and mentally.

Making your workouts fun, getting creative with both your routine and schedule, and making a few simple changes to stay healthy are all great steps toward sticking to your fitness goals. Ryan Sutter, a former professional football player who also happened to be the top choice on “The Bachelorette”, now finds himself in the role as a fulltime firefighter and family man. Yet he still enjoys amateur athletic pursuits to keep himself if shape, such as mountain bike races and marathons.

Sutter offers six tips to fellow weekend warriors looking to stay in shape:

* Set successive short-term goals to keep you going. For example, schedule a 5k one month and a mountain bike race for the next. The feeling of accomplishment you get from fulfilling each goal will help you achieve the next. You can even set weekly goals with rewards, such as allowing yourself to order a pizza after sticking to your schedule for that week.

* Use peer pressure in a positive way. Enrolling in team sports or group activity can help provide the motivation for sticking to your plan. When others are depending on you, you’re less likely to skip out.

* Vary your activity. Run one day, play basketball another and hit the weight room the next. One benefit to a varied routine is keeping you interested, but it’s also great for your body. Different activities use different muscle groups, meaning a varied workout helps you become more comprehensively fit and can help you avoid overuse injuries. “Focus on being an athlete rather than a specialist,” says Sutter.

* Listen to your body. You’re likely to have some aches and pains, but those can be reduced with the proper treatment. Always take time to warm up before and stretch after workouts, and ice sore areas after your workout. To make icing easier, keep an ACE Brand Reusable Cold Compress in your freezer at both home and work. More injury prevention tips can be found at

* Get creative with your scheduling. Look for ways to make workouts a part of your daily routine. “I really enjoy yoga in the morning with my kids,” says Sutter. Rather than heading out to dinner to catch up with your friend, see if he wants to hit the racquetball court instead. Or maybe you can occasionally bike to work instead of driving, spending the minutes you normally would be sitting in the car working out.

* Always keep your gym bag stocked and with you. This way, you can’t back out of your workout because you weren’t prepared. “There are three essentials I keep in my gym bag: food for energy, hydration to keep me going and clean clothes to change into when I’m done with my workout,” says Sutter. “You may also want to keep an ACE Brand Bandage that offers compression to help you deal with any soreness that might arise.”

“The most important thing is to have fun,” says Sutter. “Otherwise, it’s easy to lose sight of why you’re working out in the first place.”

Tips to help kids stay dry and confident through overnight occasions

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

(BPT) – For the estimated 6 million-plus American children who experience bedwetting, sleepovers, sleep-away camp and vacation can trigger embarrassment, not to mention stress and worry for parents. Compounding the problem, many parents don’t understand that bedwetting is a developmental phase that occurs as a child grows, and few consult their pediatricians about their concerns. In fact, a survey conducted by Strategy One found that 43 percent of parents incorrectly believe they can train their kids out of bedwetting.

“Many parents are unaware that bedwetting is a developmental condition, and not something a child can be trained out of,” says pediatrician Dr. Wolffe Nadoolman. “Most children will stop wetting the bed on their own as they physically mature – until that happens, learning to manage bedwetting can cause stress between a parent and child, and ultimately impact the child’s self-esteem and confidence.”

It’s important for parents to find coping strategies, and consistently comfort and reassure their children. Dr. Nadoolman and mom blogger and author Meagan Francis offer guidance on how parents can handle bedwetting during common overnight occasions.

1. Slumber party success

If your child agrees, talk to the host parents. Make sure they understand your child’s bedwetting is a medical condition that he or she can’t control. Arrange a private place to store GoodNites Underwear and a private spot for your child to change into them. Stash a dark plastic bag in his backpack to make disposal easy and discreet. Avoid bed-sharing with family or friends. Instead, have your child bring a sleeping bag.

2. Camp confidence

Bedwetting is so common, there’s a good chance other kids at camp will also be managing the problem. Since camp is often the first time a child is away from home alone, talk to camp counselors and administrators ahead of time – with your child’s agreement, of course. Discuss what accommodations you can make to ensure your child’s GoodNites Underwear are stored and discarded privately and discreetly, and that your child has a secure place to change into them.

3. Family vacation fun

Compassion from the rest of the family will go a long way toward easing a child’s bedwetting stress on vacation. Remind siblings to treat each other with love and respect. Since vacation disrupts routines, plan itineraries that allow children plenty of time to settle in at night and stick as closely as possible to their regular sleep schedule.

4. Spending time with grandparents

Trust the special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren, and explain the situation to Grandma and Grandpa. Answer any questions they may have, and emphasize the need to be sensitive to your child’s feelings. Pack Bed Mats to ensure sheets stay dry, and consider leaving a package at Grandma’s house for future overnight visits.

5. Adventures in overnight babysitting

Overnight babysitters need to be especially responsible and compassionate when caring for children as they cope with bedwetting. If your child is comfortable with it, discuss his or her situation with the sitter ahead of time. Make sure the sitter understands that bedwetting is a common developmental condition, and not sign of your child acting out. If your child isn’t OK with the sitter knowing about his situation, make sure he understands how to change his own protective garments and PJs.

6. Less stress from out-of-town guests

Before guests arrive, make sure to prepare a sleeping place for them that is separate from your child’s. Keep your child’s nighttime routine and don’t let visitors hinder the process. Remind siblings to respect your child’s privacy and not discuss nighttime wetting in front of guests.

Though many parents fear their child will never outgrow bedwetting, the experts affirm that worrying is not the answer. It’s best to comfort and reassure kids after every incident and know that bedwetting is a developmental phase that most children will outgrow on their own.

“Your role as parent is simply to help your child manage the condition and let them know it is just a bump in the road,” Nadoolman says.

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Tried-and-true come together with new in creative holiday traditions

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Every holiday season is built upon family traditions of years past. Whether it’s enjoying holiday baking with friends or shopping with loved ones for gifts, traditions define the season. While honoring the past, traditions also open us to the opportunity to create new family observances, along with some great memories.

This year, introduce some new traditions to your holiday celebrations with these ideas for blending the traditions of yesteryear with new ones of your own:

Decorating in the digital world

Decorating for the season is an important part of many holiday observances. Whether it’s an heirloom Christmas tree ornament, a menorah handed down through generations, or an African drum that highlights Kwanzaa celebrations in the home, a cherished decoration can be central to the season.

Technology makes it easy to give the time-honored tradition of decorating for the holidays a modern flare with items like personalized photo ornaments and digital picture frames. An ornament that preserves a holiday memory with a personal photo would make a treasured addition to any tree ornament collection. Another way to merge memories of holidays past with contemporary style is to load favorite photos on a digital frame and place the frame in a central location in your home.

The taste of a happy holiday

Holiday food traditions allow us to savor flavors and revisit memories that we don’t experience at any other time of year. Treats like cookies add sweet enjoyment to the season. In fact, 42 percent of people bring cookies or dessert as a hostess gift when invited to a party, according to a survey by Archway. With 30 percent of survey respondents saying they attend three to four holiday parties or gatherings between Halloween and the New Year, and 66 percent saying they will host at least one holiday event, there are a lot of cookies going around.

Busy modern life can make it difficult to find time to bake as many types of cookies as you might like, so options like Archway’s winter cookies – including holiday classics like Bells and Stars, Cashew Nougat, Gingerbread Man, Iced Gingerbread Man, Wedding Cake and Pfeffernusse – are a great way to enjoy the flavors of the season without the extra work.

The movies that move us

Whether you’re chuckling over Chevy Chase’s challenges in Christmas Vacation, pining with Ralphie for the perfect gift, or having your heart-strings tugged by Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life, holiday films can be a focal point of family holiday traditions. While the classics like A Christmas Story and Miracle on 34th Street will likely always have their place, it can be fun to incorporate some new options into your holiday viewing for a fresh spin on an old tradition.

Looking for something family friendly? Settle in with an oldie but goodie, like Home Alone. Don’t forget to serve treats. Make plenty of popcorn for both eating and stringing, and serve up winter cookies like Archway’s Iced Gingerbread Men cookies – always a family favorite.

Gathering with loved ones

Spending time with family is the holiday tradition 58 percent of people most look forward to, according to the Archway survey. For all the fun of gift-exchanges and feasts, sharing time with those we love is the real heart of the holiday season.

Traditionally, loved ones come together during the holidays for occasions like meals, parties, religious services, caroling and sports events. It can also be rewarding to create new family traditions by bringing loved ones together in fresh ways. For example, tap the season’s spirit of charity by volunteering as a family to work at the local homeless shelter, soup kitchen, or by participating in clothing and toy drives for those in need.

Holiday traditions are as much a part of the season as cool weather and good will toward all. Blending time-honored ones with new ideas can help your loved ones create unique memories that will last long after the last cookie is eaten and the decorations are packed away for another year.

New ways to enjoy fall’s bounty

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Here’s a sophisticated plate to serve while friends and family are watching the game at home, or for any gathering that calls for some creative gourmet cooking. The spicy grape chutney is a natural with roast beef.

Roast Beef Party Platter with Grape Chutney

Grape Chutney


1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup tawny port

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 cinnamon stick

2 cups seedless red California grapes, halved

Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 450 F. In a medium saucepan, combine the onion, port, vinegar, raisins, sugar, ginger, mustard seeds and cinnamon. Bring to a boil and simmer until reduced to 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of liquid, about 15-17 minutes. At the same time, spread the grapes on a baking sheet and roast until soft and juicy, about 10 minutes. Add to the chutney, season with salt and pepper and let cool. Can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Makes 2 cups.

Party Platter ingredients:

2 pounds thinly sliced roast beef

1 pound thinly sliced sharp or mild provolone

Red, green and black seedless California grape clusters

A variety of rolls


Arrange roast beef and provolone on a large platter along with the grapes. Place rolls in a basket and serve with the chutney. Serves 8.

Here’s a refreshing way to use grapes and apples to balance the strong flavor of cabbage with tart sweetness. Plus, the bold red and green colors make for a striking salad that is also easy to make. This versatile slaw pairs well with roasted chicken, hamburgers, pork chops and many other family favorites.

Grape and Red Cabbage Slaw

 1/2 small head red cabbage (about 1 pound), finely shredded

2 cups halved green seedless California grapes

1 Granny Smith apple, julienned

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, grapes and apple. In a small jar, combine the vinegar, honey, mustard and olive oil. Shake well and pour over the cabbage mixture. Season generously with both salt and pepper and let stand 30 minutes at room temperature. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Serves 8.

Grape and flower centerpiece

Instead of using glass or plastic marbles to secure autumn flowers in a vase, consider filling your vase with grapes instead. Green, red and black grapes can easily complement your flower colors as well as securely holding the blooms and greens in place.

Directions: Fill a tall vase with grapes until about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Fill with water and arrange the flowers. Grapes can be placed in single color layers or mixed together like a mosaic.

For more grape ideas, go to or

Includes recipes

Tips for safer home medication storage and consumption

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016


“Many of us keep multiple medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, in the house,” says JeQuithia Sims, pharmacy technician program chair at Everest College in Arlington, Texas. “But when stored or consumed incorrectly, medication can cause unexpected consequences.”

Everest campuses across the country offer a pharmacy technician program that prepares students, through technical and practical training, for careers in aiding licensed pharmacists. Here Sims shares 10 pharmaceutical best practices to keep in mind when organizing the medicine cabinet.

Storing your medication

* Store in a cool, dry place – While it varies by manufacturer, this rule stands true for most medications. A few simple storage locations might be in a medicine cabinet, on top of a dresser or on a designated shelf. If you have children, be sure to keep medications up high and out of reach.

* Keep away from light – Light can degrade medication more quickly than intended, so it’s important you don’t store medication in light-filled places such as a windowsill or under powerful indoor lighting.

* Honor the expiration date – Whether it’s an over-the-counter or prescription medication, old pills degrade over time and can cause a bacteria imbalance when consumed. Most medication expires after one year, so use this as a rule of thumb when revisiting old pills. Before picking up that 500-count bottle of pain reliever because it’s a “better deal,” ask yourself if your household will consume all 500 pills that year. If not, it might be safer to grab the smaller bottle, and re-stock yearly.

* Do not flush – When disposing of expired, discolored, or unused prescription medications, be mindful of proper disposal practices by throwing medications away in the household trash or through your community’s medication disposal program. One of the easiest options is to take your unused or expired medications to your pharmacy and they will dispose of them properly. Flushing or pouring medication down the drain harms the environment, as sewage systems are not capable of removing medicines from the water released into lakes, rivers and oceans.

Using your medication

* Note the warning label – Even if you’ve taken the medication for years, it’s always a good idea to look at the warning label for consumption directions, as your doctor may have altered your dosage or the manufacturer slightly changed the consumption directions.

* Consuming liquids is not the same as consuming water – If the label instructs you to consume with water, be careful not to consume with other beverages. Juices and acidic drinks can cause the medication to break down faster than normal and hot drinks, such as coffee or tea, cause coated pills to melt too quickly in the stomach – not the intestine, where it’s intended to break down. This may produce side effects as harmful as stomach ulcers.

* Don’t lose the dropper – It might seem the same to use a household spoon with liquid medication, but the dropper or spoon provided by the pharmacy has been measured specifically for your intended dosage. Research shows that silverware teaspoons can vary between one to nine milliliters dependent upon design, making them an unreliable tool for medication.

* Your pharmacist is your friend – Don’t forget that your pharmacist is an expert. When in doubt about the safety of consuming a medication for any given reason, your pharmacist is there to answer your questions.

Tips for kids

* Children are not small adults – If a medication is intended for adult consumption only, keep in mind that it cannot simply be given to children in smaller doses. Instead, seek a medication specifically designed for children.

* Medicine is not candy – Although referring to medicine as “candy” around children might be a tempting tactic to entice them to take it, parents should be wary of what might happen when they are not around. Children can easily get ahold of medication, consume large amounts and overdose.

Outside the pill bottle: 5 simple, drug-free ways to reduce lower back pain

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

Dealing with chronic pain in your back, arms or legs can be frustrating and costly. The aches and tenderness can cause you to stop doing the things you love most like playing with your children and participating in your favorite activities, like gardening or golfing, or even doing regular exercise.

“Some people accept lower back pain as a way of life, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” says Brian Elsemore, who has practiced as a registered physical therapist for a decade in Florida and New England. “There are simple things that everyone can do to treat their pain without resorting to drugs or surgery.”

Here are five drug-free steps Elsemore recommends to reduce the pain:

Exercise daily

A body in motion tends to stay in motion, according to Isaac Newton’s laws of motion. This notion applies to the human body and back health as well, so fight the urge to sit or lay for lengthy periods. Exercises that maintain the natural spinal curve and help strengthen the core (abdominals, back and pelvic area) to support the spine are key to eliminating back pain naturally. Even if your back is hurting, increasing blood flow and stretching can help provide relief.

Block the pain signals

Technology called Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) has been used for decades by health professionals to safely block nerve pain in patients. Now, this clinically proven, drug-free technology is available without a prescription in an affordable, portable device called Rapid Relief Electronic Pain Relief Pad from HoMedics. Simply apply where it hurts and the discreet pad that easily fits under clothing emits a controlled micro-electronic current through the skin to block the nerves from transmitting pain signals to the body’s pain center. The result is fast, effective relief for aches and pains without drugs, creams or messy applications. The device, available in versions calibrated for the lower back as well as the arms/legs, offers 15 levels of adjustable intensity and includes one standard lithium battery, one set of self-adhesive, replaceable gels and a travel storage case. At $29.99, Rapid Relief is one of the lowest cost-per-use topical pain relief options sold without a prescription at CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and Learn more at

Stand, sit and lift smart

Being aware of how you use your back throughout the day is important to reducing lower back pain. When standing, particularly for long periods of time, maintain a neutral pelvic position. Be aware of your posture, keeping the back straight when standing and sitting. Stand up or walk around at least once an hour if you’re job requires long periods of sitting. Hunching and poor posture eventually cause soreness. When lifting – whether a load at work or your child at home – let your legs do the work, according to Additional lifting recommendations include bending only at the knees, holding the load close to your body and avoiding lifting and twisting simultaneously.

Evaluate shoes

It’s common knowledge that fashionable high heels are terrible for back health, but it’s not only stylish shoes that can cause extreme pain. Ill-fitting shoes without proper support can shift a person’s center of gravity, causing him or her to walk out of alignment and put undue pressure on the back. To relieve back pain, only wear supportive shoes that fit well. Keep in mind, shoes should never require a “breaking in” period; if they fit correctly, they should be comfortable right away according to the American Podiatric Medical Association.

Sleep well

Sleep is important for overall well-being, allowing the body to recover from daily activities. Inadequate sleep and back pain go hand-in-hand, quickly creating a vicious cycle. To get a good night’s sleep and encourage pain relief, it’s wise to take a few steps before lights out. Start by placing a pillow under your knees if you sleep on your back or between your knees if you’re a side sleeper – this helps reduce stress on the spine. For a firmer, more supportive mattress, place wood supports between the mattress and base, or place the mattress directly on the ground. If back pain still persists, it may be time to go shopping for a new mattress.

“Lower back pain is so prevalent in our society, but drug-free relief is an option for many people,” notes Elsemore. “From proper exercise and sleep to relieving pain using innovations like Rapid Relief, a few simple steps can dramatically improve quality of life.”

Do you really know who is providing your medical care?

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

From physicians with various specialty backgrounds to nurses and assistants, it’s important to understand the credentials of those treating you. The need for more transparent communication across health and medical care providers triggered several pieces of legislation issued to protect patients.

The Truth in Healthcare Marketing Act focuses on eliminating misleading or deceptive advertising for health care services. It also requires health care professionals to identify licenses. A congressional committee is currently reviewing the pending federal legislation.

Additionally, recent legislation in Texas requires health care providers to wear badges clearly identifying themselves in the interest of improving patient safety. For example, badges must be clearly labeled and may even be color-coded – physicians may wear green badges, while nurses may wear red badges. Similar legislation has been enacted in 12 other states.

The need to identify the differences in medical qualifications is rooted in the quality and effectiveness of health care. A recent American Medical Association survey revealed 90 percent of respondents said a physician’s additional years of medical education and training, when compared to a nurse, are vital to optimal patient care. Furthermore, 83 percent said they prefer a physician to have primary responsibility for the diagnosis and management of their medical care.

It’s important for patients to know who is involved in providing their care, including the education, training, degree, licensure and clinical experience of each person. Without this essential knowledge, a patient is not well positioned to make the most informed and best decisions for their care.

For example, there are several levels of anesthesia providers – an Anesthesia Care Team consists of a physician anesthesiologist, nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologist assistants. To ensure the most optimal care, a physician anesthesiologist should always oversee other members of the Anesthesia Care Team, according to the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Physician anesthesiologists have 10,000 to 14,000 hours of specialized medical education and training, while nurse anesthetists have 1,000 to 2,500 hours. In addition, physician anesthesiologists are able to diagnose and respond to any medical complications that may arise suddenly due to their exhaustive education and training.

In an emergency, when seconds count, having a physician anesthesiologist advocate for you or your loved one can make the difference between life and death. “I was caring for a 23-year-old first-time mother,” says Patrick H. Allaire, M.D., a physician anesthesiologist practicing at a 220-bed hospital in Ames, Iowa. “I had just given her an epidural and was still on the ward when her nurse ran into the hall calling for help. I ran back to her side and immediately determined she was having a heart attack.

“Fortunately, I was able to diagnose the multiple complications occurring and treated each quickly,” says Dr. Allaire. “We performed a cesarean section and delivered the baby safely. It remains to this day one of my biggest saves – two lives at once. I am absolutely certain that had I not been immediately present, this story would have a very different and heart-wrenching ending.”

Dr. Allaire recounts several instances where he bumped into his patients at the grocery store or ice cream shop over the years following this life-saving event. Each time, the mother reminded her daughter who Dr. Allaire was, affectionately referring to him as their “guardian angel.”

As a patient, it’s essential to be informed. Knowing who is on your medical team, their respective roles and what training and education they bring to the table ensures you are well prepared to achieve the most optimal outcomes. As a patient, you must feel empowered to ask questions about your providers’ qualifications and experience. Being inquisitive isn’t intrusive; after all, every patient deserves the highest quality and safest medical care.

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