Create a healthier home, lower your monthly bills and reduce your carbon footprint with the following Go Green tips.
Unplug your power tools. Save energy by selecting the cordless tools you use the most and unplug the rest. Most batteries will hold their charge and won’t need to stay on a charger.
Mix it up in the garage. Keep paint out of the garbage by combining any cans of leftover white paint you have to paint the garage or workshop. Be sure to only mix latex with latex and oils with oils. By adding the semi-glosses to the flats and eggshells, you’ll end up with a sheen that’s easy to clean.
Turn things on their heads. Save your paint and solvents by storing paint cans upside down so the solvents–which separate and rise to the top–get trapped under the bottom of the can.
Take charge of your charges. Get the most out of your batteries by investing in an inexpensive battery tester. This will allow you to check used ones for power and set aside those that have burned out and have to be recycled.
Memory often changes as you grow older. But memory loss that disrupts daily life is not a typical part of aging. It may be a symptom of dementia, which is a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a fatal disorder that results in the loss of brain cells and function. Here are the warning signs of Alzheimer’s versus typical age-related changes:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life. Not remembering important dates or events or asking for the same information over and over.
- Challenges in planning or solving problems. Having trouble following a plan or working with numbers.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure. Completing daily tasks such as driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game are difficult.
- Confusion with time or place. Losing track of dates, seasons and the passage of time, and where they are or how they got there.
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. Having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s, difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast.
- New problems with words in speaking or writing. Having trouble following or joining a conversation, struggling with vocabulary, finding the right word or call things by the wrong name.
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. Putting things in unusual places, losing things, accusing others of stealing.
- Decreased or poor judgement. Using poor judgement when dealing with money, including giving large amounts to telemarketers; and less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities. Removing themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports.
- Changes in mood and personality. Becoming confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious.
If you or someone you care about is experiencing any of the ten warning signs, please see a doctor to find the cause. Early diagnosis provides the best chance to seek treatment and plan for your future.
Source: The Alzheimer’s Association
Airplane ear is the most common medical compliant of airplane travelers and may cause temporary pain and hearing loss.
Follow these tips to help minimize airplane ear:
- Yawn and swallow during ascent and descent. Yawning and swallowing activate the muscles that open your Eustachian tubes. You can also suck on candy or chew gum to help you swallow.
- Use the Valsalva maneuver during ascent and descent. Gently blow, as if blowing your nose, while pinching your nostrils and keeping your mouth closed. Repeat several times, especially during descent, to equalize the pressure between your ears and the airplane cabin.
- Don’t sleep during takeoffs and landings. If you’re awake during ascents and descents, you can do the necessary self-care techniques when you feel pressure on your ears.
- Reconsider travel plans. If possible, don’t fly when you have a cold, sinus infection, nasal congestion or ear infection. If you’ve recently had ear surgery, talk to your doctor about when it’s safe to travel.
- Use an over-the-counter decongestant nasal spray. If you have nasal congestion, use a nasal decongestant about 30 minutes to an hour before takeoff and landing. Avoid overuse, however, because nasal decongestants taken over several days can increase congestion.
- Use oral decongestant pills. Oral decongestants may be helpful if taken 30 minutes to an hour before an airplane flight. However, if you have heart disease, a heart rhythm disorder, or high blood pressure, or if you’ve experienced possible medication interactions, avoid taking an oral decongestant unless your doctor approves.
- Take allergy medication. If you have allergies, take your medication about an hour before your flight.
- Use filtered earplugs. These earplugs slowly equalize the pressure against your eardrum during ascents and descents. You can purchase these at drugstores, airport gift shops or your local hearing clinic.
Typically, airplane ear isn’t serious and responds to self-care. A severe case of airplane ear may need to be treated by a doctor. For most people, airplane ear usually heals with time.
Source: Mayo Clinic.com and the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
Children under the age of six are at the greatest risk for unintentional poisonings. They are curious by nature and tend to investigate their world by putting things in their mouths. They are drawn to attractive packaging, good smells and colorful substances of many products found around the home. Generally, they will eat or drink anything regardless of how it tastes.
Below are strategies to prevent poisonings caused by common household and chemical products, medicines and plants.
- Use safety locks on all cabinets. Store all poisonous and potentially poisonous household and chemical products out of the sight of small children.
- Store all products in their original containers. Do not use food containers such as milk jugs or soda bottles to store household and chemical products.
- Store food separate from household and chemical products. Mistaken identity could cause a serious poisoning. Many poisonous products look alike and come in containers very similar to drinks or food.
- Make sure all medicines are in child-resistant containers and labeled properly. Remember, child resistant does not mean child proof.
- Vitamins are medicine, too. Keep them locked up and out the reach of children.
- Know the name of the plants in your home and yard. If you have difficulty identifying a plant, take a sample to a nursery for identification.
- Teach your children not to eat leaves, berries and mushrooms that grow in the yard. Do not assume a plant is safe to eat if you see animals eating it.
- Keep children and pets away from plants and areas that recently have been sprayed with pesticides, weed killer, bug killer or fertilizer. Pesticides can be absorbed through the skin and can be extremely toxic.
Source: National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating more fruits and vegetables than any other food group. Below are some reasons to eat more fruits and veggies.
- Color and Texture. Fruits and veggies add color, texture and appeal to your plate.
- Convenience. Fruits and veggies are nutritious in any form – fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100 percent juice, so they’re ready when you are.
- Fiber. Fruits and veggies provide fiber that helps fill you up and keeps your digestive system happy.
- Low in Calories. Fruits and veggies are naturally low in calories.
- May Reduce Disease Risk. Eating plenty of fruits and veggies may help reduce the risk of many diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers.
- Vitamins and Minerals. Fruits and veggies are rich in vitamins and minerals that help you feel healthy and energized.
Source: National Health Information Center and Produce for Better Health Foundation
People who eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can help lower their risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. Eating healthy can also help prevent obesity and high blood pressure.
However, many people don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables.
- Only 1 in 3 adults eat the recommended amount of fruits every day.
- Only 1 in 4 adults eat the recommended amount of vegetables every day.
Making small changes, like keeping fresh fruit or carrot sticks within easy reach can help you and your family be at their best.
Source: National Health Information Center and Produce for Better Health Foundation
Food allergies and intolerances are on the rise. One in three Americans modifies his or her diet in the belief that he, she or a loved one, has a food allergy. In many cases it is not a true allergy, but a food intolerance that’s causing the problems.
The eight most common food allergens – cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish and shellfish – account for 90 percent of all food allergies.
Though different at their root, food allergies and food intolerances share some common symptoms. Here’s how to tell the difference:
- A food allergy is when a specific food affects the immune system and triggers the production of an antibody (IgE) to fight it. Symptoms may be immediate or delayed up to a few hours, and range from uncomfortable (hives and stomach upset) to life threatening (swelling of the tongue and closing of the throat). Diagnosis can usually be made based on skin or lab tests.
- A food intolerance is when eating a certain food triggers a negative physiological response, but generally doesn’t involve the immune system or trigger anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening reaction. Symptoms may take up to three days to kick in. Elimination diets and specialty tests are the most common methods for diagnosis. While not life-threatening, symptoms can be severe and range from gastrointestinal distress, headaches, sinus and/or respiratory problems, and chronic fatigue. Common intolerances include lactose intolerance, food additives and gluten intolerance.
If you have a food allergy, you’ll need to stop eating the food altogether. If you have a food intolerance, you’ll need to avoid or cut back on that food in your diet. Your doctor can help find out if you have an allergy or intolerance.
Source: Food Allergy Research & Education; Enjoy Life Food Allergy and Intolerance Survival Guide; National Institutes of Health