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Summer 101: Staying Healthy at Animal Exhibits

Every summer, families from all over visit petting zoos, zoos, aquariums, animal farms and summer camps that have animal exhibits. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), many people will get sick after visiting one of these animal attractions.

Wherever you visit, it is important to remember these tips to keep you and your families safe when enjoying animals:

  • Wash your hands regularly. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t prevelant.
  • Keep food and animals separate.
  • Always supervise children around animals.
  • Don’t take sippy cups and/or pacifiers inside an animal exhibit.
  • Remind children to keep their hands out of their mouths after touching animals and before washing their hands.

In the News: Exercise Your Brain

Despite what many people think, our brain can remain sharp, active, vital and creative no matter what our age.

 

Our brain can create new brain cells and new connections between them over the years, but our brain vitality is completely up to us.  Maintaining that vitality is truly a “use it or lose it” situation. 

Studies done by several schools of medicine suggest that the more stimulating and intellectually challenging that we make our lives, the better our odds are to keep our brain sharp as we get older. 

Some ways to keep our brains sharp include:

Reduce stress: stress can wear down the hippocampus, which plays a major role in memory function.

Exercise regularly: exercising delivers more oxygen-rich blood to the brain which is vital for producing new brain cells and preventing atrophy.

Eat low-fat and healthy: glucose spikes and fatty plaque deposits due to overeating can damage the brain, so a lower-calorie diet promotes better circulation and helps to control weight.

Challenge your brain: challenging your brain by learning and doing something new every week helps to create new neural pathways, helping to make your brain more versatile and able to multi-task.

 

Summer 101: Naturally Heal Your Sunburn

We have all been there before – a long day at the beach or outdoors turns our skin into a pretty bad case of sunburn!  Instead of dealing with the affects for a few days or even a week after the burn, we offer these natural ways to help your skin heal and to help you feel better in no time.

 

Of course, there are plenty of sunburn treatment lotions out on the market, but anything that contains a high amount of vitamin E or contains aloe vera will help to alleviate the pain of sunburn.  The vitamin E and aloe vera add nutrients to the skin that UV rays have unbalanced.  The aloe vera also cools your skin, helping to reduce the pain. 

You may also find some good sunburn treatments right in your kitchen cabinet.  Vinegar, mustard, yogurt, tomatoes and avocado all contain that extra vitamin E that will help to cool your skin.

In the News: Break those Bad Habits

From overeating to watching too much TV, there’s really only one way to break a bad habit – make a plan!  Unfortunately what may work for one person, may not work for another.  So here are some ways to break some of the most popular bad habits.  Hopefully it works for you!

 

Watching too much TV. – Studies show that people watch an average of 4 hours of television each day and these studies also show that excessive T.V. watching can be linked to developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  Here are some ways to avoid watching too much TV: only watch when there is something specific you want to see, do chores during commercials, make a list of things you need to accomplish before sitting down to watch TV, and create a TV-watching plan and stick to it. 

Drinking too much alcohol. – Tired of being hung over and sluggish? Then you should do everything you can to cut back on drinking too much alcohol.  To cut back try these tips: drink one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you have, drink only when you are having a meal, or try drinking something that looks like an alcoholic drink, like root beer or a drink with a slice of fruit in it. 

Smoking. – While this may be one of the hardest habits to break, it’s still possible as many, many people do it every year. The best plan is to talk things over with your doctor because they can offer the best cessation treatment for you.  But some other approaches that you may consider include: hypnotherapy, exercise or electronic cigarettes. 

Overeating. – No matter how hard you try to cut calories, it still seems like sometimes the cravings are still there.  Experts say that sometimes it is best to give into those cravings.  When people do give into their cravings every once in awhile they have a better chance of losing weight and keeping it off, than those who ignore their cravings and avoid certain foods.  Experts also advise that if you can avoid nighttime eating that you will be well on your way to prevent overeating as well.

In the News: Innocent Ways you are Hurting your Heart

With February being Heart Health Month, we bring you this feature that highlights the innocent things that you may be doing daily that can be hurting your heart (among other parts of your body) and how to fix it!

 

How you cross your legs…  Sitting with your legs crossed at the knees increases your blood pressure.  According to studies, leg crossing increased systolic blood pressure nearly 7% and diastolic by 2%.  Studies say that you should avoid crossing your legs for long periods of time, like 10 to 15 minutes, and get up every half hour or so to walk around and get the circulation moving. 

How you stand… If you are a person who frequently locks their knees when standing, you are no longer efficiently using the muscles that surround the joint.  Therefore, forces to the joint are increased.  Causing this additional stress to you knee joints isn’t helping your heart at all.

How you sleep… If you are a stomach sleeper, this puts your neck in a titled-back position, leading to pain or numbness in your upper extremities.  Nerves are also affected when people sleep on their stomach.  To avoid the pain, numbness and affect to the nervous system, people should avoid sleeping on their stomach. 

How you wear your belt… It sounds strange, we know, but the tighter your belt the more pressure you put on your intra-abdominal area, which can result in acid reflux.  Acid reflux could include a bitter taste in your mouth, burning or pain the upper chest and stomach, a chronic cough or even difficulty swallowing.  Doctors say that your belt shouldn’t be any tighter than your waistband.  You should be able to inhale and exhale comfortably.