(NewsUSA) - While many welcome the arrival of warmer temperatures with open arms, people with seasonal allergies and asthma may be bracing themselves with boxes of tissues and asthma medications this season. According to a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, about 45 percent of people over the age of six and 36 percent of children under the age of six have tested positive for at least one allergen.
Outdoor allergens are prevalent again, but families staying inside on a hot day also have indoor allergens to think about. One of the most forgotten indoor allergy triggers is cockroaches.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), 63 percent of American homes contain allergens from cockroaches. This includes droppings, saliva and decomposing bodies, and children can be especially sensitive. In addition, cockroaches are known to spread a number of serious diseases including Salmonella and E. coli.
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has the following tips for homeowners to help reduce allergens in the home so families can breathe more easily and stay healthy.
* Vacuum Regularly. Running the vacuum at least once a week using a unit with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) filter can clean up crumbs and help remove allergens from carpeting and furniture.
* Store Food Properly. Keep food stored in sealed containers, particularly in the kitchen.
* Inspect Groceries and Deliveries. Sometimes, cockroaches and other pests can be brought in with deliveries or groceries from the store. Carefully inspect items as you put them away, and promptly remove cardboard boxes once unpacked.
* Keep a Spotless Kitchen. Clean dishes and wipe down counter tops, appliances and other surfaces daily to remove crumbs and spills that can attract pests.
* Take Out the Trash. Dispose of garbage regularly, and be sure curbside containers or dumpsters are properly sealed.
* Stay on Top of Home Repairs. Seal cracks and holes around the exterior of the home, paying special attention to entry points for utilities and pipes. Also, check for leaks under appliances and sinks to avoid moisture buildup.
* Work with a Pro. If you suspect an infestation, contact a qualified pest professional to properly identify your pest problem and recommend a course of treatment.
Find a pro in your area at www.pestworld.org.
(NewsUSA) - Findings from a recent international study in The Lancet came as no surprise to Dr. Phyllis Marshall, dean of the W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing.
The study, "Nurse Staffing and Education and Hospital Mortality in Nine European Countries: A Retrospective Observational Study," affirmed what many nurse educators have known for years: better-educated nurses result in better patient outcomes.
"As nurse educators in an increasingly complex health care delivery system, we have known for a long time that the education level of professional nurses is inexorably linked to patient outcomes," said Marshall. "The growth of our own Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program reflects emerging mandates in the field that support this study's findings and many others like it."
Results from the study, which appeared in the Feb. 26 issue of The Lancet, coincide with trends that Marshall has seen in the field of nursing, especially in the area of nurse recruitment at hospitals and health care organizations throughout the country who have shown an increasing focus on hiring nurses who possess a BSN degree.
Marshall said many employers are also encouraging their nurses to earn graduate degrees to prepare and qualify them for leadership positions in the field.
At Thomas Edison State College, Marshall said the hospitals where many of her students work are already recognized under the Magnet Recognition Program. Awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), Magnet designation ensures that an organization is setting rigorous benchmarks in quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovation in professional nursing practice. In pursuit of this designation, many organizations are requiring that increasing percentages of their nursing staff possess a bachelor's degree or higher.
The Lancet study, which was led by Dr. Linda Aiken of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, found that 420,000 patients across nine European countries experienced significantly lower mortality and failure-to-rescue rates in hospitals with higher proportions of baccalaureate-prepared nurses. Furthermore, the study's authors found that for every 10 percent increase in nurses with bachelor's degrees in a health care setting, the likelihood of patient mortality dropped by 7 percent.
"The study provides further evidence of the explicit relationship between the percentage of BSN-prepared nurses to patient recovery," said Marshall.
(NewsUSA) - Spring is here, and if your thoughts turn to spring cleaning your house or office, don't stop there. Take the opportunity to spring clean your body, too. Variations on the process of body detoxification have been elements of many traditional health practices, including ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine.
Consult your health care provider before starting a body detox regimen, but data suggest that most individuals without chronic medical conditions can undergo a simple detox, and the simplest of plans is this: Drink more water. Consistently drinking water each day can help rid your body of toxins even if you do nothing else. Data suggest that many American adults don't drink enough water, although it is essential for maximum health.
"Without water, no living thing can survive," emphasizes Robert Eakle, CEO of Alkame Water. Water affects every area of our life and is an essential part to maintaining proper health," he adds.
Water is a key element of any body detox plan. To make the most of your water, opt for purified, enhanced water, such as Alkame. Alkame Water's patented formula includes a distinctive alkalinity and high levels of stabilized, dissolved oxygen that help maintain the natural pH balance in the body. In addition, the super-oxygenated water promotes the removal of waste and toxins from the body and promotes digestive health through improved absorption of nutrients.
Some other detox tips for beginners:
* Back off the booze. Alcohol acts as a toxin in the body and can promote dehydration, and reducing or eliminating alcohol increases your opportunities to drink more water.
* Curb the caffeine. Too much caffeine can have a toxic effect on the body. Cut down on caffeinated beverages, and replace them with water, especially enhanced, alkaline, ionized water, which has been shown to promote energy and overall health by allowing the body to absorb the water more quickly.
* Track your water consumption. Most people don't pay attention to how much water they drink daily. Aim for two quarts (that's 8 8-ounces glasses).
Alkame Water is based in Las Vegas, NV, and it is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alkame Holdings Inc. (OTCQB: ALKM). For more information about Alkame Water, including how to have it delivered to your home or office, visit www.alkamewater.com.
(NewsUSA) - When you walk down the aisles of your local grocery store, there's a good chance you'll see a parent or two scrupulously reading packaging for buzzwords, like healthy, organic and natural -- the list goes on. Maybe you're one of those parents.
When making food decisions for your family, you might be looking for healthy, delicious options that your children will want to eat. Notorious for being picky eaters, however, kids won't eat something unless it looks good. So, you must add one more element to your shopping criteria: visual appeal -- namely coloring.
Yogurt needs to have a pretty pastel hue. Fruit juices need to have sweet shades. And each cereal flake needs to look as inviting as the box promises -- like more than, well, just oats. The big question: How can this happen naturally?
"Natural colors are derived from all the active ingredients responsible for colors found in nature, like plants, fruits and vegetables," says Tammi Higgins, Natural Colors Commercial Development Manager at FMC. "They're used in food and beverages as an alternative to artificial colors made from coal tar and petroleum. Nature is able to provide bright and vivid colors in every shade of the rainbow."
Think of grapes and red beets -- likely items in your fridge.
Anthocyanins, derived from grapes and other fruits and vegetables, impart vivid pink to red to purple hues in a wide range of foods, including fruit chews and fruit-based beverages. And the beetroot helps intensify the color of tomato paste or achieve that familiar red in red velvet cake.
Annatto is also one of those beautiful color sources found in nature. It is the seed of the tropical bush Bixa Orellana -- known as the lipstick tree -- which is a plant native to Central and South America. In addition to being used as a spice in traditional cooking, annatto seeds can deliver a bright yellow to orange color, a hallmark of macaroni and cheese -- a perennial family favorite.
Foods with natural coloring offer a cleaner label with recognizable, non-chemical ingredients. Natural colors are derived from sustainable sources and adhere to vegan, Halal and Kosher standards. They can even be certified organic.
So, as you comb the grocery aisles for healthy alternatives for your family -- or the occasional candy-coated chocolate treat -- look for foods enhanced with colors from nature. Remember, anytime something is added to food, like a natural color to enhance its hue or salt, to preserve it, it's considered an additive. But when that additive comes from Mother
Nature, you can feel confident that you're making a smart choice.
(NewsUSA) - With solar installation booming in the U.S., a growing number of consumers are choosing American-made solar panels for their homes.
To date, about 13 gigawatts of solar electric capacity have been installed nationwide -- enough to power over 2 million households. Simultaneously, 82 percent of people who responded to a recent solar survey said they support making solar panels on American soil.
"We've all heard about the importance of manufacturing to the American economy," said Robert Fortunato, whose California home hosts 26 solar panels made by SolarWorld in Hillsboro, Ore. "We selected our U.S.-made solar system for its quality, reliability and financial return and because we think it's important to support American workers."
Solar installers and electricians offer a range of domestic products.
"We made a decision at PetersenDean to only source our solar products from North America. As a result, we're supporting the American economy, supporting American workers and reinvesting those dollars back in America," said Jim Petersen, founder of PetersenDean, a nationwide solar and roofing company.
According to industry experts, here are the top reasons that homeowners select solar panels from American manufacturers:
Quality and reliability. A residential solar system is, effectively, a power plant installed on a home rooftop, and it's designed to last at least 25 years. Consumers trust American solar manufacturers to stand behind their product guarantees because these companies rank high in measures of quality, responsiveness to warranty claims, accessibility for customer service and compliance with safety requirements.
Sustainability. Sustainably minded Americans see little logic in buying a solar system that was made in Asia and shipped via diesel-burning cargo ship halfway around the world. Instead, green buyers select American-made solar panels, produced according to stringent environmental, labor and quality standards, to reduce environmental impact.
Energy independence. For the U.S., solar power represents an important tool for achieving energy independence. Just as people believe the nation should not rely on the Middle East for imported oil, many also feel that America should not depend on foreign nations for solar technology and manufacturing.
American job creation. The U.S. solar manufacturing industry employs thousands of Americans across the country. Studies show that technology and manufacturing jobs, with comparatively high wages and benefits, are the types of jobs that the U.S. should aspire to create and maintain.
To learn more about American-made solar power, visit www.solarworld.com/MadeinUSA.
(NewsUSA) - Adding new carpet is an easy way to rejuvenate the look and feel of any room in your home. But when you own pets, finding a quality carpet that is easy to maintain can be a tiring task.
"If you're a pet owner, it's important to find carpeting that can withstand the toll pets can dish out on flooring," says carpet expert David Duncan of Mohawk Flooring, a carpeting brand that has produced SmartStrand -- a soil- and stain-resistant carpeting that has successfully taken on zoo animals, messy kids and a cross-country tour of squirts and spills.
Here are some tips:
Function: What is the room used for? For high-traffic areas, such as a family room, den or hallway, consider carpeting with built-in triexta fibers -- exclusive to Mohawk Flooring -- that are stain- and soil-resistant. A dining room carpet should be stain-resistant and easy to clean as well. Carpets with chemically applied stain protection treatments can lose their stain and soil resistance over time. Also consider the environment by choosing carpeting made in part with plant-based materials.
Design and Color. Want to make a room seem larger? Look for a light-colored carpet. Want cozy? Opt for dark. Want relaxing? Blues and greens can create a feeling of calm. In addition, different carpet textures add interest to any room. But regardless of color or style, if your room gets a lot of traffic, or if you have pets with preferred sleeping spots, choose a carpet with fibers designed to spring back into place, rather than the flagpole-shaped design of the fibers in some carpets. Carpets with kinked, spring-shaped fibers are designed to resist matting, and bounce back when walked or sat on.
Style and Softness. Comfort is a key factor when choosing a carpet for your home, especially if you have children or pets that spend a lot of time sitting or lying on the floor. Carpets with built-in stain protection have been shown to retain their softness over time, in part because there are no added chemical stain-protection treatments that might leave a rough or sticky residue.
Maintenance. High-maintenance carpets should be avoided in areas where there are children or pets. No one wants to spend a lot of time cleaning up the inevitable messes, and some high-maintenance carpet cleaning products can be hazardous to your home environment. Choose a carpet made of triexta fibers, which are designed to be dirt-resistant and can be cleaned easily with water and a mild detergent. In addition, take advantage of warranties offered by some carpet manufacturers on stains caused by pets.
(NewsUSA) - Whether you're building a new house or remodeling a cherished older property, the product choices you make are critical to the long-term enjoyment of your home.
"I advise consumers to 'start from the ground up' when thinking about the product needs for their home projects," says Mark Clement, professional contractor and co-host of MyFixitUpLife home improvement radio show. "Invest time to research products so you're comfortable with the final outcome."
Clement says the basement is a great starting point. "The foundation selection can determine if you'll be able to use the basement for simple storage space or as an active living area," says Clement. "By starting with energy-efficient precast concrete panels from Superior Walls, you can get a basement that is dry and comfortable for year-round use that also adds resale value to the home."
Moving up the house exterior, the largest "holes" in the home need special attention. Of course, we're talking about windows.
"When you think that a pane of glass is all that really separates you from the weather outside, it becomes very important as to what that glass and its frame are made of," says Clement. "For my money -- and for my home -- we selected Simonton windows with fusion-welded vinyl frames and argon gas fill to maximize energy efficiency."
Other "holes" that need filling are the main entry door and secondary doors leading to your patio, deck or garage. Clement recommends fiberglass doors for the main entry due to their resilience to dents, dings and rot.
"I've seen many fiberglass doors in the Therma-Tru product line that either have a smooth finish for painting or have a realistic woodgrain that can be stained in oak, mahogany, walnut or cedar," says Clement. You can also "dress them up" with low-maintenance urethane and PVC trim pieces. "Decorative Fypon products I've worked with are easy to install, resist rot and insects along with adding curb appeal to the home," he says.
Finally, Clement reminds homeowners not to overlook the roof. The right roof selection can last for 50 years, while a bad choice could be "gone with the wind" if severe weather strikes.
"We invested in a DaVinci Roofscapes polymer slate roof for our home and have never regretted the choice," says Clement. "This composite roof resists impact, fire and high winds."
For additional ideas for your home, visit www.myfixituplife.com and download the free "FRESH Color Schemes for Your Home Exterior" e-book at www.sensationalcolor.com.
(NewsUSA) - Got a headache? You're not alone.
Headaches are responsible for more than 18 million doctor's office visits annually in the U.S., and are the most common reason for reaching for over-the-counter medication. Likewise troubling is their toll on the economy: $25 billion in lost productivity, based on the estimated 156 million work days lost each year by sufferers sometimes too debilitated to even make it out of bed.
All of which helps explain why a study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics is causing such a stir among health experts -- and prompting patients interested in drug-free alternatives to consider heading for their nearest chiropractor.
The study came down squarely in favor of chiropractic for two key types of sufferers. "Evidence suggests," it concluded, "that chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, improves migraine and cervicogenic headaches." The latter refers to headaches originating from faulty cervical and other spinal biomechanics often precipitated by awkward motion or positioning, and can be accompanied by neck, shoulder or arm pain.
What's more, even patients with episodic or chronic tension type headaches were found to be "helped" by doctors of chiropractic, who go through a minimum of four years of post-college chiropractic education and clinical training.
One man who knows that chiropractors can do even more to help relieve such conditions -- providing nutritional advice, posture coaching and exercises -- is Gerard Clum, DC, an avid supporter of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, who said in response to the study: "Chiropractic care helps relieve the stress on your nervous system. And it's fast becoming a go-to choice for providing a non-pharmacological approach to effectively manage headaches."
For more information, visit www.yes2chiropractic.org.
(NewsUSA) - These days, travel for baby boomers can be challenging. But AARP wants to make everyone's road to their favorite destinations quicker and more enjoyable through their new website, travel.aarp.org.
Multiple studies cite travel as the top aspirational activity for individuals ages 50 and over. And, recent research conducted by AARP shows that approximately 80 percent of people 50-plus spend between 30 and 36 hours a year researching, planning and booking their trips online. Ideally, they would prefer to spend about 12-18 hours per year doing so. Additionally, they spend about 18 hours a year online booking these trips, when they would rather spend 12 hours on this.
The nature of travel for boomers is diverse and includes business trips, visiting family members and taking exotic getaways. But online travel planning for any trip can be tedious, with time-consuming tasks of visiting many websites to get information to plan and book a trip.
The new AARP Travel website offers a one-stop shop to plan, book, and share a trip -- be it a quick weekend getaway or a longer vacation. Anyone can explore the site, which pulls together content, tools and features -- making each step both fun and easy.
The site's articles and tips are particularly geared toward helping people 50-plus think about fun ideas on where they may want to go, including food festival-themed trips, places to reimagine their lives and must-see international destinations. The site also offers more practical information such as saving money, locating accommodations for special health needs and managing safety concerns.
The site's interactive tools were designed to make the planning process easier and more delightful. If a user would like more ideas on places to go, AARP has created a "Trip Finder" tool that offers suggestions. Destination Guides include key information and details about specific locales, including suggested things to do. Within each guide, a detailed "Map Explorer" function shows users street-level details of an area's hotels, restaurants and attractions that can then be saved to "My Saved Trips," where users can save personalized itineraries and build upon them each time they return and log in.
For more information and travel tips for individuals 50-plus and their families, visit travel.aarp.org.
(NewsUSA) - The discrimination and stigma surrounding mental health challenges along with a troubling history of medically sanctioned treatments are no secret. Today, for someone with a psychiatric diagnosis -- such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar or ADHD -- the standard treatment is psychotropic medications that are always doctor-ordered and sometimes court-mandated.
Researchers and clinicians are now providing data suggesting that recovery is not always achieved solely with prescribed medications.
"By pursuing a multi-faceted approach that combines peer support, person-driven plans and other supports with medication at an individual's optimal level, if needed, we are witnessing results with much better long-term success," said Dr. Gina Firman Nikkel, president and CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care.
Part of the equation is recognizing that psychiatric medications can come with side effects, and because each person's chemistry differs, these can range from minor to significant. Over long periods of use in particular, the side effects can outweigh the benefits, particularly when addiction is involved.
This recovery model for mental health care is not a one-size-fits-all cure. Because mental health issues develop regardless of age, race or income level, an approach that requires collaboration is crucial. Most importantly, individuals and their families who face mental health challenges need to realize that they have choices.
Dr. Nikkel's organization, which was founded in 2011, is driven by a mission to educate professionals and individuals with the goal of making the recovery model of care the new mainstream. As a community foundation with an international reach, the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care funds independent research, new program development and awareness. "As a community mental health development bank, we match the passion of private philanthropy with today's top researchers to bring recovery practices to every community," said Dr. Nikkel.
For more information about the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, the programs and research it funds and how to help spread the message, visit www.mentalhealthexcellence.org.