As a spokesperson for COX Homelife I have the chance to check out so many smart devices that provide accessibility and for seniors to remain in their home.

For more information, visit Cox.com.

healthyhomeAs moms, it can feel as if we deal with endless cycles of coughs and runny noses.  But what if the cause of all these colds is not our child’s friend at school or the germ-laden grocery cart they touched?  Perhaps what’s making them sick is their very own home.  Two major culprits are mold and lead.

Where Does Mold Grow?

Mold can be found in any area of your home where moisture levels are elevated:

  • Basements
  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Ceilings and wall interiors where water from leaky pipes or roof leakage can accumulate

What Are The Symptoms?

Infants and children are most susceptible to allergens from mold exposure and their symptoms can be confused for a cold:

  • Nasal and sinus congestion
  • Cough
  • Wheeze/breathing difficulties
  • Sore throat

You can help lower mold levels by reducing the humidity in your home, using mold-reducing products and keeping items in your home as dry as possible. Be on the lookout for the more obvious signs of possible growth, such as musty smells or watermarks on walls and ceilings.  Once mold is detected it needs to be removed immediately and the source of the moisture be identified and eliminated.

Get The Lead Out!

Lead is highly toxic and especially dangerous for children under 7, whose major organs have not fully developed.  If your home was constructed prior to 1978, there is a high likelihood that lead-based paint was used.  And, until Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1988, lead solder was used extensively in residential water piping.

Lead paint in your home is a hazard even if it isn’t peeling, chipping or cracking when it’s on high-use, high-friction surfaces including:

  • Windows and window sills
  • Doors and door frames
  • Stairs, railings and banisters
  • Porches and fences

What are The Symptoms?

Even low levels of lead exposure can cause permanent neurological damage in children including:

  • Nervous system and kidney damage
  • Learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder and decreased intelligence
  • Speech, language and behavior problems
  • Poor muscle coordination
  • Hearing damage

Immediate symptoms can also, like mold exposure, appear like cold and flu symptoms – tiredness, irritability, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping and constipation.

If you suspect your child has been exposed to lead you should contact your pediatrician immediately.

 

Disclaimer – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

NatureUnleashedLooking good comes from being healthy inside and out.  And that requires getting chemicals and toxins out of our homes and off our bodies.  Did you know that more than 1 in 5 personal care products contain chemicals linked to cancer, 80 percent contain ingredients that commonly contain hazardous impurities?

Join us for an informative Twitter Party on Thursday, October 9th at 1P ET to learn about how to keep your family and your home safe, clean and chemical-free.

The party is sponsored by Nature Unleashed, the Simple, Strong, Safe. alternative for all natural personal care, first aid and home cleaning products.

Nature Unleashed honors the women who strive to survive. They are proud to support the Women Survivors Alliance with proceeds from the sale of their amazing Anolyte S Skin & Body product.

Who to follow: @safetymom & @unleashednature

Where: #LookGoodFeelGood

When: Monday, October 9th at 1:00 PM ET

Why: To learn more about Anolyte products, as an alternative to harmful chemicals, for every day use with personal care, first aid and home cleaning.

Prizes:  Three $25 GC’s , and an Anolyte Bundle (valued at $59.80).  Includes: One 32oz Anolyte C (Cleanser) (with 3 mixing bottles), One 2oz Anolyte F (First Aid), One 2oz Anolyte H (Hand) and One 2oz Anolyte S (Skin & Body)

Help spread the word! Here’s a sample tweet or just use the tweet button at the bottom of the post:

#ad Tips for a toxin free home and family #LookGoodFeelGood Twitter Party 10/9 1p ET @unleashnature

Look Good Feel Good Twitter Party RSVP

On Wednesday, the CDC confirmed the first case of Enterovirus D68 here in Connecticut.

As the school year begins, many children are coming down with colds. So, how do you know if your child has a run-of-the-mill cold or something more serious? Here’s what parents need to know about Enterovirus D68 as per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

What is Enterovirus D68?

Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is one of many non-polio enteroviruses. This virus was first identified in California in 1962, but it has not been commonly reported in the United States.

What are the symptoms?

EV-D68 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness.

  • Mild symptoms may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches.
  • Severe symptoms include coughing continuously, shortness of breath or breathing fast, wheezing and inability to sleep. Many children who have already contracted the virus had asthma or a history of wheezing

How does the virus spread?

Since EV-D68 causes respiratory illness, the virus can be found in an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum. EV-D68 likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches contaminated surfaces.

Who is most susceptible?

Children, particularly those under five and who have respiratory troubles, such as allergies or asthma, are more at risk. 

How is the virus diagnosed? 

A doctor will take a swab from a patient’s throat or nose and send the specimen off to a lab.

How do you differentiate the virus from the common cold?

If there’s no shortness of breath, no difficulty breathing, no wheezing or extremely high fever, there would be no reason to go and seek help. But if it’s affecting the breathing in those ways, then it’s time to get help.

Are there ways to prevent it?

Hand washing and hand hygiene are the best way to prevent the spread of the virus.

Much like trying to prevent the spread of a cold or flu, people should avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. It’s also important to frequently disinfect touched surfaces, such as toys, remote controls, light switches and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

Is there a cure?

There is no vaccine, anti-viral or penicillin-like treatment for the virus. But there are supportive treatments to deal with the symptoms including extra oxygen and medications to counteract the wheezing.

How serious is the virus?

Most children will react to the virus like they have a common cold, exhibiting mild or no symptoms at all. Fewer than 10% of the cases that have presented themselves in the ER have been admitted but, of those cases, 10 – 15% have been put on ventilators which is unusually high.

Parents often struggle with the question of whether to “bother” a doctor in the middle of the night but if you are at all concerned, always err on the side of caution.

 

Image: McAlpin, NYdailynews.com

 

An estimated 36,000 people die from the flu or complications of the flu each year, most of these deaths occurring in senior citizens. Because seniors’ immune systems begin to weaken at the age of 65, they are at a much higher risk for contracting the sickness. The CDC estimates that 200,000 people a year will be hospitalized for the flu, and disproportionately it is the elderly who this affects.

There are two options for the vaccine for senior citizens: the traditional vaccine that is administered to anyone who gets it, or — the choice I would recommend as long as given the “okay” by the doctor — is the stronger strain of the vaccination, designated for those over 65 to trigger a stronger immune response to flu.

As mentioned before, many seniors do not just die from the flu alone, but complications of the illness. Those with a history of heart problems, chronic lung disease, diabetes, or renal failure are more likely to have complications with the flu and should take extra precautions against contracting it. The most common complication associated with the flu is pneumonia, which leads to the most deaths and hospitalizations. Arming seniors with the pneumococcal vaccination is the best protection against this, even paired with the flu vaccine, just to be safe.

Not getting the flu shot, which in recent years has been made so convenient and accessible – and it is always covered by MediCare – is a risk too big to take with senior citizens. The vaccine can reduce the risk of illnesses and complications by 60 percent and reduces the incidence of flu deaths by 90 percent in seniors. Most importantly, getting your loved ones vaccinated offers the peace of mind of knowing that they will not suffer or be exposed to an array of illnesses and complications that could  prove fatal this season.

Disclaimer – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

SpenserMay14

Last night was my daughter’s end-of-year school event.  I’m still shaking my head trying to figure out where the year went let alone the month of May.  Every day for the next week or so it seems like something is going on for one of my kids that I need to attend.  We’re a blended family with FIVE kids so yes, it gets pretty crazy!  I’ll admit I do tend to procrastinate figuring out all of the summer activities for my kids as it seems that all of the flyers start coming home while snow is still on the ground and I just can’t deal.  But now that the reality set in that the school year is indeed winding down I’m a bit stressed trying to coordinate all of the schedules.  For the past several years I’ve panicked the Friday before camp starts realizing that I didn’t get my camp physicals done.  Yes, I get all the e-mails saying “book early” but, I do tend to ignore it.  That’s why I was completely psyched when Minute Clinic reached out to me about this promotion for summer camp physicals.

In the midst of my massive weekly “to-do” list, I was literally able to do all of my errands at the grocery store and CVS and then get my son’s camp physical done while I was shopping!  Evening hours, weekend hours, no appointment – just walk in.  It’s services like this that make moms’ lives so much easier.  I also took some time to look around the Minute Clinic website.  They provide GREAT information on dealing with the first time camper’s anxiety, what to pack and some first aid and safety tips.

Whether you’re an experienced “camp mom” or a newbie, visit the Minute Clinic website for some great advice and to find a Minute Clinic near you.

Disclaimer – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

macAre you one of those people that will reach for a pint of ice cream when you’re depressed?  Are comfort foods like Mac and Cheese or Meatloaf your go-to solutions for dealing with stress or sadness? You might think these will improve your mood but in reality they will most likely leave you feeling lethargic or crashing from the sugar.  On the other hand, some older people simply stop eating when they’re depressed.  Or, they actually forget to eat if there’s an issue with their medication.kale

Malnutrition is a serious issue for the elderly and making sure they are eating healthy and nutritious meals is important.    A healthy diet packed with vital nutrients can help ward off potential health problems that are common in senior citizens, like constipation, heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Nutritious foods will also help you maintain a healthy weight and can work wonders for your energy level

 

 

Disclosure: “I received a Target gift card to purchase LISTERINE® Brand products from Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc. and The Motherhood as part of my participation in the LISTERINE® 21-Day Challenge. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.”

Listerine2As some of you might know, over the past few weeks I’ve taken part in the LISTERINE 21-Day Challenge.  Research has shown that a new habit takes about 21 days to “kick in” and, in this case, it was improving our oral care routine.  For me, it was getting into the habit of flossing and using a rinse every time I brush.  Who has the time for that, right?  But I’m always up for a challenge and, I can happily say that I now have kicked my old habit and formed my new habit!

The flossing is still a bit of a challenge for me as it seems to take up soooooo much time and I’ll still need to work on that part but, in regards to using the LISTERINE Antiseptic Rinse I’m now devoted.  Part of it was vanity – I mean who wouldn’t use something that helps whiten your teeth – but the bigger part was setting an example for my kids.  I’ve always tried to not be “that mom” who tells her kids what to do but doesn’t do it herself.

My kids are usually my “test cases” when I review products and they look forward to helping me.  Throughout the 21 days it’s been my youngest daughter who’s kept on my case about remembering to floss and rinse and she’s done it right along with me.  She really kept me on the straight and narrow.

While I started the routine because it was a challenge and I wanted to set a good example, I honestly didn’t know if I would notice a difference.  The only way I was certain was one day when I didn’t floss and rinse. It’s not easy to describe but my teeth simply felt cleaner after I rinsed and flossed and the day I didn’t, I could immediately notice a difference.

I know it often seems like a minor thing but good oral care habits are important in preventing gum disease and other long term issues.  Try the LISTERINE 21-Day Challenge for yourself and see what you think.  Also, it’s not too late to post a “Swish Selfie” on LISTERINE Facebook page.  When you do, LISTERINE will make a $5.00 contribution to Oral Health America’s Smiles Across America® program, up to $85,000, toward their goal of connecting 210,000 children with needed oral health services in 2014.