Avoid the Hazards of Dehydration

It's been a long, hot day.  First a morning of yard work, then three hours helping coach the kids' baseball and soccer games, followed by the weekly shopping.  Now you're finally heading home with a week's worth of groceries to unload and put away.  You're tired and thirsty, cranky with your family, and wincing at the throbbing in your temples. You could also be experiencing the first symptoms of dehydration, which is far more common than most people realize.

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Safety Tips for Drivers as School Reopens

As the new school year has begun, it is time to adapt to a new driving routine. With school buses and school zones, the morning commute will take longer and drivers will need to take extra caution with school children crossing and standing by the road. Thanks to their construction, school buses are the safest form of transportation in the US and, once children have boarded the school bus, their chances of surviving a collision are 8 times greater than in a passenger vehicle. The danger for school children lies in the period before boarding and after exiting the school bus.

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A Great Interactive Nutrition Site for Kids

In researching helpful information sources for National Nutrition Month, I came across a great website dedicated to teaching children about healthy eating. Founded by a former ICU nurse who became concerned about the number of young teenagers she encountered professionally who were already suffering morbid obesity, the site displays this mission statement:

Nourish Interactive’s mission is to offer fun, innovative solutions that empower children to make healthy choices. We support parents and teachers with free interactive games and tools that promote a healthier lifestyle.

The teaching resources the site provides for parents and teachers are extensive and well organized, the children's games and activities both entertaining and informative.  The site mascot is the cute and engaging Chef Solus, who leads kids through a variety of games, food choice scenarios and recipes. 

The sheer volume of activities and learning exercises could keep adults and children occupied for hours -- but the site addresses that issue also, periodically reminding kids that they need to take a break from the computer after 20 minutes and participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

I have to say, this is one of the best designed educational sites I have found in many thousands of hours on the Internet, and its mission is an important one.  But don't take my word for it, visit http://www.nourishinteractive.com/ yourself.  If you agree, please pass the word by sharing it with other parents and educators.

Article by Kim Washetas, contributing writer and enthusiastic whole health advocate.

3 "Bright" Safety Tips for the Holidays

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'Tis the season to be jolly - and it's also the season of lights and electricity.  Tree lights, exterior house and yard lights, and candle lights.  It's a very busy time of year when people get caught up in the excitement and can use a few helpful safety reminders:

  1. Be sure that all electrical decorations are in good working order:  no frayed wires or sparking plugs, or plugs that feel warm to the touch.  This is important both inside and outside the house.  If you're using older lights that have been in the family for years, be especially careful and consider replacing them with new lights that may also be more cost-effective and use less electricity.
  2. It may be tempting to add just one more string of lights before the big party, but first check to ensure that your electrical outlets are not maxed out or overloaded.  This is important both before the holiday and once the gifts have been opened.  Lots of electronic toys and gadgets will be plugged in and played with by children and grown-ups alike, so make sure that outlets are used sensibly and that younger children have assistance from adults.  When the use of extension cords becomes  tempting, be aware that they can also pose an overload hazard or cause dangerous trips and falls if not located safely.
  3. Candles are also a holiday favorite when it comes to decorating, especially as centerpieces or accents on a mantel or end table.  While they look lovely, they can also be a fire hazard, especially in combination with rambunctious children and pets.  Even if you're a holiday purist who prefers the warm glow of "real" candles, consider using the new cordless battery-powered candles instead.  They are realistic and some even provide that "natural" candle scent that we recall so fondly.

Article by Kim Washetas, contributing writer and enthusiastic whole health advocate.

Sunburn and Heatstroke - Dangers to Avoid

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It's a beautiful summer morning and you head to the beach. By mid-afternoon you're on your way to the ER. What went wrong?

Odds are, you thought the sun was your friend. But too much of a good thing can make you sick.

The most common sun-related problem is sunburn. Fortunately the risk of sunburn often chases us inside before we suffer an even worse fate. Sunburn is indeed a burn, caused by the ultraviolet rays of the sun, both UVB and UVA. The superficial layers of your skin are actually cooked and start leaking fluid, like a sizzling steak. Once the damage is done there is no medical cure except to allow your body to heal itself. Pain medications and cool compresses may relieve the discomfort, but do not speed healing. Do yourself a favor and leave your sunburn alone. You don't want scarring from peeling a deep sunburn, or infection from opening the blisters.

Certainly prevention is the best answer. Avoid direct exposure to the sun between 10 and 4 p.m. Always use a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, and apply it to all sun-exposed areas a good half hour before exposure. Even sunscreens that claim to be water resistant should be reapplied every few hours after sweating or swimming.

When the core of your body becomes overheated, not just the skin, the danger becomes much greater. The body core can become overheated due to direct sun exposure on a hot day, or other high temperature environments, especially when physical activity is involved. Below 80 degrees Fahrenheit this rarely happens. Above 130 degrees F the danger is extreme. Between 80 and 130 degrees the danger rises dramatically.

The body becomes overheated from a combination of internal heat production (as in fever) and external heat. In order to maintain a normal body temperature the body must be able to get rid of excess body heat. Think of your car engine, for example. If the fan goes bad or the water leaks out, it will overheat. Similarly, if the body cannot be cooled through a combination of evaporation (sweating), convection (a cool breeze), conduction (cold packs or cool water, or radiation, it, too, will become overheated.

A car that overheats will start sputtering and steaming, and eventually quits working. So will your body. The first symptom you are likely to experience is heat cramps, which generally occur in the calf muscles or abdominal muscles. Stretching your muscles before exercise and keeping yourself hydrated with a sports drink such as Gatorade can help prevent heat cramps. If they do occur, stop exercise, cool your body, and if you haven't done so already, drink some Gatorade.

Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses too much water and/or sodium. Core body temperature is usually between 100.4 and 104 degrees F. Again, an adequate intake of sports drinks can help prevent heat exhaustion. In addition to heat cramps, you may experience light-headedness, confusion, headache, nausea, vomiting, and lack of urination. For milder symptoms, immediate cooling with fans or water is helpful. However for severe symptoms, especially disorientation, other mental symptoms, or a rapid heart rate, you should seek immediate medical attention, where a doctor can check your electrolytes and provide the proper balance of replacement fluids through an I.V.

The worst case scenario is heat stroke (sun stroke, if due to the sun). Heat stroke can be deadly, especially if treatment is delayed. At an internal temperature of 104 or above the internal organs stop functioning properly. Therefore, heat stroke is a medical emergency - call 911 immediately.

Symptoms of heat stroke can occur even when a person is not sweating. Confusion is common, which may delay recognition of the problem, especially in the elderly. Persons suffering from heat stroke should be moved to a shady area and excess clothing should be removed. A heat stroke victim should be doused with water and/or fanned, and ice packs should be applied to the armpits, groin, and neck until professional help arrives.

In summary, avoiding hot environments and keeping well-hydrated are the answer to preventing most heat and sun related problems. Don't plan to run a marathon on a hot summer day, especially if you are not conditioned to the heat. Keep an eye on granny, in particular if her home is not air-conditioned. Don't leave your children or pets in the car where the sun can bake them. Preventing the problem in the first place is the key to avoiding life-threatening illness.

For practical advice on affordable health care visit: http://101waystosavemoneyonhealthcare.blogspot.com/ Cynthia J. Koelker MD is a family physician of over twenty years, and holds degrees from MIT, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and the University of Akron. She is the author of "101 Ways to Save Money on Healthcare."  Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4566613

8 Healthy Summer Snack Ideas for the Young and Old

Summer is here and in most places school is out. Keeping our children on a good eating pattern is harder in the summer as most do not keep the same schedule as winter. Here are a few snack ideas to keep them healthy and on track with their healthy eating habits.

  1. Peel a ripe banana and cut it in two inch pieces. Roll each piece in vanilla yogurt, crushed dry cereal and freeze. This is also a good way to put use to the last stray bites of cereal in the box. Mixing different cereals can be fun also.
  2. Mix peanut butter and lightly crushed corn flakes in a bowl. Make quarter size balls with the mixture then roll in crushed nuts. Walnuts or pecans work best. Store left overs in an air tight container. Use within 3 days.
  3. Fresh fruits [apples of any kind] and vegetables [celery or carrots] can be spread with peanut butter to make an appealing snack.  Most children will try something if it is pleasing to their eye.
  4. Make kabobs using a pretzel stick. Push a cube of cheese, pineapple, apples or grapes on the pretzel and watch the snacks disappear.
  5. Add some low fat shredded cheese to a corn tortilla, roll it up and heat for 20 seconds in a microwave. Use a bowl of salsa for a dipping sauce.
  6. Toast a frozen whole grain waffle, spread a heaping tablespoon of vanilla yogurt over the top, then add a few strawberries. You will have happy children.
  7. Blend a tablespoon of honey in 3/4 cup of small curd cottage cheese. You will have a great tasting dip for active children. It can be used with fruits or vegetables.
  8. Baked corn chips and a mild homemade salsa will keep them coming back for more.

Quick Salsa Recipe 1 large tomato, cored and diced 1 8-10 inch celery stalk, ribbed and sliced thin 1 medium red onion, chopped small 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. If the mixture is dry add one teaspoon of virgin olive oil and two tablespoons of vegetable juice. That will give it enough moisture to be dipable and add an extra little kick to the taste.

Lead your children by your example. If they see you eating these healthy snacks, so will they.

Faylee

Faylee James is a Life Coach/Writer/Speaker from Northeast Tennessee, who has an above average interest in people, cooking and living life to the fullest. Her website http://www.HassiesKitchenTable.com is in honor of her mother who passed away recently. For more recipes and thoughts, visit her website or blog at http://www.HassiesKitchenTable.blogspot.com Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Faylee_James Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2468603

Team Up to Keep Your Cheerleader Safe and Healthy

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Cheerleading is not a simple exercise in hopping around and yelling "Go, Team!"  It is a team sport that requires agility, physical coordination and qualified supervision to ensure the well-being of participants.  If you have daughters and sons who are involved in the sport, make sure that you check that coaches are trained and have stringent safety rules that are consistently followed.  Press your kids not to miss practice as practice builds confidence and trust. Finally, new routines should always be evaluated by the coaching staff. If you are not involved closely in your children’s activities, it’s a mistake. Cheerleading continues to cause more serious and deadly injuries by far than other primarily female-oriented sports.  Researchers have long known how dangerous cheerleading is, but records were poorly kept until recently. An update to the record-keeping system last year found that between 1982 and 2007, there were 103 fatal, disabling or serious injuries recorded among female high school athletes, with the vast majority (67) occurring in cheerleading. The next most dangerous sports: gymnastics (nine such injuries) and track (seven).

Cheerleading — not basketball, not softball, not even field hockey or ice hockey — is by far the most dangerous high school sport. Cheer accounts for 65 percent of all catastrophic injuries in girls’ high school athletics, shows a recent report by the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at the University of North Carolina.  That’s especially striking considering cheerleaders make up just about 12 percent of the 3 million female high school athletes in the U.S.

Nearly 30,000 cheerleaders are treated in emergency rooms each year, according to national estimates by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Many of these kids — the average age treated in the ERs was 14 ½ — go home and heal; some never do.

“Cheerleading is not taken seriously enough, even by the people who teach it themselves,” says Kimberly Archie, who founded the National Cheer Safety Foundation in Ontario, Calif., in 2008 after her daughter broke her arm cheering. “They don’t realize that they’re asking kids to do acrobatics that put them at high risk.”

Copyright © Christine Hammerlund – 2010.Christine Hammerlund is a registered nurse and the owner of Assured Healthcare, a healthcare staffing service headquartered in Gurnee, Illinois.

5 Things to Keep Handy When You Have a Sick Child

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Parents who have an infant keep a diaper bag packed at all times. Parents of a child diagnosed with a chronic condition or newly diagnosed acute illness need to be equally prepared. Here are five things to keep packed in a tote for easy grabbing for that emergency room visit or unexpected hospital admission.

  1. Keep a list of current medications and current medical history in your bag. When you are flustered in an emergency situation, you can easily forget to mention an important piece of information about your child, especially if your child is on chemotherapy or other intermittent medication. Write it down.
  2. Keep a change purse with a roll of quarters and a few singles zipped into your tote bag. Emergencies tend to happen when you are low on cash in the wallet. A change purse with at least vending machine money will keep you prepared for that unexpected hospital admission.
  3. Keep a sweater or sweatshirt for yourself. Hospitals are always cooler than you expect and nerves will make you shiver. It is the little things that make a difference and being comfortable eases your stress level.
  4. Keep a favorite comfort stuffed toy or blanket for your child, a book, or other item that helps to distract your child during painful procedures like blood draws and exams. Keep an extra dose of Tylenol or other as needed medications your child may need on an intermittent basis. Children who need anti- nausea medications or seizure medications may need a dose if travel has lasted longer than expected or some other unforeseen circumstance occurs. Keep those medicines in a childproof container in your bag.
  5. Keep a notebook with emergency phone numbers, notes from previous admissions, or any other information you may not always recall immediately. The notes you have made may make a difference in the immediate care of your child in an emergency.

Parents who have a small tote bag packed with these items can survive until family can bring other belongings for that unexpected hospital stay. Have the bag in the car to easily grab if and when it may be needed.

For more information on children coping with illness or death and dying issues, or health and safety tips for children visit http://heartfeltwords4kids.blogspot.com

Visit http://www.freewebs.com/heartfeltwords4kids/ for an interactive website where kids can blog or read articles geared towards them.

Terri Forehand is a pediatric critical care nurse and freelance writer. She has a passion for kids of all ages, especially kids who are fighting against tough illnesses and diseases. Visit her blog and website for more information. She is currently working on fiction for kids.