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Prepare Yourself for Cold and Flu Season: Do's and Don'ts

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Now that the kids are back in school and the weather is starting to change, it's time to start worrying about the cold and flu season. But this year your worrying can be less if you take the following dos and don'ts into consideration and protect your family and yourself.

Do use hand sanitizer- Carry a pocket-sized hand sanitizer with you at all times and use it generously whenever you are in public places. Germs are everywhere and on everything and by using hand sanitizer you are protecting yourself from bringing home these flu viruses.

Do wash your hands frequently- It may seem like the simplest thing to do, but be sure that you are washing your hands frequently with warm water and soap, and for at least 15 to 20 seconds. Teachers are now telling students to sing the ABC's or Happy Birthday to themselves while they are washing their hands to be sure you are washing for a full 15 to 20 seconds.

Do sneeze into the crook of your elbow- By sneezing into your elbow, you are avoiding transmitting flu viruses to your hands and will keep you from passing the virus to others. It may seem socially awkward at first, but soon you will see more and more people doing this when they sneeze.

Don't shake hands- To keep from transmitting germs, avoid shaking hands with people when you greet them. Try a head nod, waving or smiling instead to greet someone. If you can't avoid shaking someone's hand, then be sure to use your hand sanitizer following the hand shake.

Don't use someone else's phone or computer mouse- Phones and computers harbor some pretty heinous germs for hours. Avoid sharing someone else's phone or computer mouse if at all possible. If you do have to use someone else's phone or computer wipe it down with an alcohol swab prior to using it.

Don't change a diaper without washing your hands immediately afterwards- This should be a given at all times and not just during the flu season, but stool harbors gastrointestinal bugs that cause diarrhea, vomiting and upset stomach. It may also contain H1N1, so anyone changing a diaper needs to be sure that they are washing their hands (for 15 to 20 seconds) following the changing.

Research Shows: Help Prevent Alzheimer's Disease with Exercise

Written by Lisa Jillanza

According to Mayoclinic.com a recent report for the Alzheimer's Association predicts that 10 million baby boomers will develop Alzheimer's disease in the U.S. alone. This staggering number translates to about one out of every eight baby boomer.

While new treatments are constantly being studied and analyzed many believe that a cure will not be readily available during this lifetime. However, studies keep point to the fact that physical activity or exercise is one of the most effective ways to prevent the disease. Beyond a healthy heart and regulated body weight, studies suggest that exercise which raises your heart rate for at least 30 minutes several times a week can lower your risk for Alzheimer's. In fact, it looks as though exercise inhibits Alzheimer's-like brain changes in mice which decelerate the development of a major component of the disease.

Researchers have found that women age 65 and older who are physically active are less likely to experience a decline in mental function than inactive women. Another study was conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago in which mice, after having been bred to develop Alzheimer's type plaque in the brain were allowed to exercise while others were not. The brains in the physically active mice had 50 to 80 percent less plaque than the brains of the sedentary mice and the exercising mice produced significantly more of an enzyme in the brain that prevents plaque.

Another study completed at the University of Washington School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System also tested the effects of aerobic training on 33 women and men diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, which is often considered a precursor to Alzheimer's disease.

According to Oregonlive.com 23 of the volunteers, selected randomly, began an intense program of aerobic exercise, consisting of 45 to 60 minutes on a treadmill or stationary bike four days a week. The remaining 10, the study's control group, spent the same amount of time performing non-aerobic stretching and balance exercises.

After six months, the aerobic exercisers showed significant gains in mental agility, while the non-aerobic group showed continuing decline in tests of thinking speed, fluency with words and ability to multi-task.

Even though it still remains unknown whether exercise can prevent Alzheimer's, many scientists believe that lifestyle factors including exercise, mental stimulation and strong social connections are more likely to help in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease than any existing pharmaceuticals or supplements.

Savory Salmon: The Secret to Improving Your Health and Avoiding Disease

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Whether you're a fish fan or not taking advantage of salmon is worth a try due to its many health benefits. Besides being an excellent source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, salmon is also full of high-quality proteins and low in saturated fat. In a nutshell, eating a regular diet of salmon can improve cardiovascular health, muscle and tissue development, and eye care. It can also help reduce the risk of many diseases, like type II diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

According to Organicfacts.net salmon is a species of fish that is found in fresh and salt water. Because salmon is chock full of protein, it contains sufficient amounts of every essential amino acid required by our bodies for growth and the upkeep of muscle tissue. These proteins also help our bodies to maintain a healthy metabolism, playing a key role in weight loss.

Salmon has nearly a third of the saturated fat of lean ground beef and 50 percent less saturated fat than chicken, making it one of the healthiest items that you could eat. It is also low in calories. One serving contains approximately 183 calories, making it one of the lowest in calories among other fish. Positivehealthsteps.com also says that salmon is a healthy choice compared to other meats. Compared to salmon's 183 calories, beef steak contains about 275 calories, lamb chops contain about 360 calories and pork chops about 320.

Salmon can be prepared in a variety of quick and easy ways. Steaming preserves its flavor and keeps the flesh nice and moist. Pan frying or barbecuing with a light coating of olive oil is another great way to serve and you can also poach or bake Salmon. Whatever method you choose, follow these guidelines to ensure your salmon is fully cooked, yet retains the delicate flavor and texture of the fish.

Measure the Salmon at its thickest part For every inch or 2.5 cm of thickness, cook at high heat for 2 minutes Add 5 minutes to the total cooking time if the Salmon is being prepared in a heavy sauce or is wrapped in foil.

Overall, you would be hard pressed to find a healthier fish , and a tastier one, too!

Straight From the Headlines: Get Off the Couch and Stay out of the Doctor's Office

Written by Lisa Jillanza

A recent study conducted in Wisconsin and reported on Maxnewshealth.com, states that people who are couch potatoes are twice as likely to catch a cold and a third likelier to suffer bad or extreme symptoms compared to those who are healthy and fit.

According to the study, people who were considered fit or who exercised at least five days a week had between 4.4 and 4.9 “cold days” on average. Those who were moderately fit or who exercised one to four days per week had between 4.9 and 5.5 “cold days” on average. Those who were not fit and exercised one day a week or not at all had between 8.2 and 8.6 “cold days” on average.

Getting exercise unleashes a rise in immune defenses, helping to prepare our bodies to fight viruses and colds. Therefore, those who were fit or moderately fit had increased immune systems resulting in less “cold days” on average compared to the couch potato.

Furthermore, according to Getbetterhealth.com, about 60 percent of adults in the U.S. are not getting the exercise they need resulting in side effects even more sobering than the common cold.

If your idea of exercise is working out your TV remote reflexes then take a look at these statistics:

Physical inactivity increases the risk of heart disease and stroke by 50 percent.

Sedentary people have a 35 percent greater risk of developing high blood pressure than do physically active people.

Inactivity is one of the four major risk factors for heart disease, on par with smoking, unhealthy cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

If you're still undecided, Getbetterhealth.com outlines a few heart-health benefits of getting off the couch and getting your heart beating. Here are a few:

For each hour you spend walking, you can gain two hours of life expectancy.

More than half of the participants in a study who jogged two miles a day were able to stop taking blood pressure medication.

Taking a brisk one-hour walk, five days a week can cut your risk for stroke in half.

People with an active lifestyle have a 45 percent lower risk of developing heart disease than sedentary people.

To avoid becoming a full-blown couch potato and having to endure the unhealthy risks associated with lack of exercise it is advised that people exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. If you find it difficult to find 30 minutes a day to get your heart pumping try breaking it up into two or three 10-15 minute sessions.