(ARA) – The chillier days bring more than cool air, colorful foliage and long sleeves. They also mark the beginning of cold and flu season.
The common cold leads to 75 million to 100 million physician visits annually, reports The American Journal of Medicine. Five to 20 percent of Americans are infected with the flu virus each year and about 200,000 are hospitalized due to complications from the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Even more disconcerting: more than 3,000 Americans die from flu-related causes each year.
It’s important to make sure a cold or the flu doesn’t inhibit day-to-day activities by using good hygiene habits. “Maintaining your health and the health of your family can be difficult when we find ourselves in crowded office buildings or schools each day,” says Dr. Allison Aiello, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and member of the Tork Green Hygiene Council. “However, by implementing simple hygiene practices, one can reduce the risk of catching a cold or the flu during this season.”
To help stay healthy during cold and flu season, Aiello offers five steps:
Wash your hands The CDC says keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Be sure to wash your hands after sneezing, coughing and using the restroom. Washing hands after arriving to work, school and home also helps prevent the spread of germs to colleagues, friends and loved ones. Remember, proper handwashing should take as long as 20 seconds and include warm water and soap. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer gel or lotion is a great way to prevent sickness when soap and water aren’t readily available.
Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize The common cold and the flu can be spread by hands. This means that you can transfer these illnesses not only to others, but to surfaces as well. People touch 300 different surfaces every 30 minutes. Some viruses and bacteria can live up to eight hours or longer on items like doorknobs, phones and tables. You can prevent the spread and impact of germs by wiping down surfaces with a disinfectant wipe each day.
Get vaccinated Flu outbreaks can happen as early as October or as late as May. The CDC recommends getting vaccinated as early as September or as soon as the most updated vaccine becomes available. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for an adult to develop antibodies against the flu which will support you through the flu season.
Cover your mouth Cold and flu germs can spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing. Covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing is a necessary deterrent against the spread of germs. While most people believe coughing or sneezing into a hand is sanitary, few realize that germs are spread quickly this way. Instead cough or sneeze into one arm, firmly pressing your nose or mouth against your sleeve to stop germs from escaping.
Stay home Recent reports state nearly 22 million school days are lost each year due to the common cold and 75 million work days are expected to be missed during flu season. When you are sick, take a sick day and allow your child to stay home if he or she is not feeling well. After a person is infected with the flu, symptoms usually appear within two to four days and are considered contagious for an additional three or more days after symptoms appear. Anyone in close proximity to a cold or flu infection may become infected because these infections can also be spread directly by aerosols. Staying home when sick will not only help avoid spreading illness to others, but allow time for you or your child to recuperate and recover.
For more information on the importance of hygiene and hygiene tips from Allison Aiello and the Tork Green Hygiene Council, visit www.torkgreenhygienecouncil.com.
(ARA) – In 2009, 3,466 teenagers died in the United States from automobile crash injuries, according to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Such injuries are by far the leading public health problem among youths 13 to19 years old. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America. Mile for mile, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers. The crash risk among teenage drivers is particularly high during the first months of licensure.
An IIHS review of recent literature confirmed that driver age and experience both have strong effects on driver crash risk. Crash rates for young drivers are high largely because of the driver’s immaturity combined with driving inexperience. The immaturity is apparent in young drivers’ risky driving practices such as speeding. At the same time, teenagers’ lack of experience behind the wheel makes it difficult for them to recognize and respond to hazards. They get in trouble trying to handle unusual driving situations, and these situations turn disastrous more often than when older people drive.
Research shows which behaviors contribute to teen-related crashes. Inexperience and immaturity combined with speed, drinking and driving, not wearing seat belts, distracted driving (cellphone use, loud music, other teen passengers, etc.), drowsy driving, nighttime driving and other drug use aggravate this problem.
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Association (NHTSA) recommends a multi-tiered strategy to prevent motor vehicle-related deaths and injuries among teen drivers: Increase seat belt use, implement graduated driver licensing, reduce teens’ access to alcohol and increase parental responsibility.
* Keep your hands on the wheel. * Keep your eyes on the road. * Keep your hands and eyes away from your cellphone while driving.
“You need to teach safe driving behavior from the beginning,” says Lyman Munson, vice president of risk services at Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company. As the parent, you can start by modeling safe driving behavior whenever you drive your children, from the time they are infants.”
Give teens an edge by teaching them some basics about cars and the rules of the road early, well before they hit driving age. Ease them into driving with short trips in familiar areas, at low speeds, in daylight and with an adult. Choose a safe car that is predictable in its handling and easy to drive.
Insurance carriers often offer good student and safe driving discounts for teens. Parents can include these incentives in the discussion regarding safe driving. Fireman’s Fund recommends parents use devices such as Cellcontrol to disable cellphone use while driving.
Munson also suggests parents talk to their teens about safety issues and the rules they are setting. Explain each one of your rules and the consequences for breaking it. Write up a contract with your teen driver to make sure they drive by the rules and drive as safely as possible. Include the most important issues. Here’s a sample:
Spell out the rules: 1. Alcohol: Absolutely no alcohol 2. Seat belts: Always buckle up 3. Cellphone/texting: No talking or texting while driving 4. Curfew: Have the car in the driveway by 10 p.m. 5. Passengers: No more than one at all times 6. Graduated drivers license: Follow the state’s GDL law 7. Parental responsibility: Set your house rules and consequences
by: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
We aren’t alone. There are 78 million of us, and 10.5 million of us belong to health clubs and gyms all over the United States. Baby Boomers. Those born between 1946 and 1964. Already the fastest growing segment of America’s population, we are also the “boomingest” growth factor in gyms across the country, with a nearly 400% membership growth rate over the past decade.
We surely aren’t ready for a quiet at-home retirement. Maybe our grandparents were. Not, not us. We’re too busy looking for ways to defer and compress those age-related disabilities into as few years as possible, as late in our lives as possible, while doing what we can to increase our healthy life-years. Among the most often-cited solutions to this quest are being physically fit, exercising and staying active. The amount of data demonstrating the effect of exercise on slowing the aging process is staggering.
We enjoy kinder, gentler workouts, low-impact exercise, and want to insure that whatever we do diminishes the risk of injury. But gerokinesiologists tell us that we also ought to incorporate more moderate to vigorous posture, strength, endurance, flexibility, agility and balance training into our workouts in order to promote negligible senescence (preventing the normal biological changes caused by aging) – depending on our fitness level and ability to do so.
The American Council on Exercise, ACE, suggests that moderate-intensity endurance exercises at a minimum of 30 minutes five days each week such as low-impact aerobics, walking, cardio equipment, and swimming are primary exercise modes for most older adults. Weight training that initially incorporates low resistance and high reps is also essential at a minimum of at least twice each week to maintain or increase muscular strength and endurance. Balance training such as walking backwards and sideways, heel and toe walking, standing from a sitting or squatting position, are also valuable. Flexibility exercises at least twice each week are also recommended.
We lose 30% of their muscle strength between the ages of 50 and 70 years. Normally, adults who are sedentary beyond age 50 can expect muscle loss of up to 0.4 pounds a year. This reduction in muscle strength leads to impairment in carrying out daily activities, the ADLs, “activities of daily living.” Using free weights, exercise machines, or elastic bands to strengthen muscles sure help, but only doing so in a way that makes sense for our fitness levels and what experts know about the “stability/mobility?movement?load?performance” sequence that applies to posture, strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance training.
In addition to the fitness boom among boomers, anti-aging supplements are becoming big business. DHEA, HGH, melatonin, testosterone, estrogen, resveratrol, and the longevity cocktail (more stuff than I have room to include but B, C, D, E, K vitamins, magnesium, flax and fish oils, L-glutathione, coenzyme Q10, ALA are among the ingredients) are flying off the shelves of health and vitamin shops into the hands of the 55+ crowd.
Therapeutic levels of vitamin and mineral supplements, nootropic drugs for preserving and enhancing oxygen supply and neural functioning in the brain, clean living lifestyle (exercise, no smoking, moderate alcohol), avoiding toxins and radiation (good luck), healthy nutrition, intense physical activity, a sense of accomplishment, positive emotions, healthy relationships—these all go in the direction of adding life to our years and years to our lives.
The gym may well be the central address for increasing our healthy life-years before the doctor and the pharmacy.
(ARA) – Activities such as soccer practice, football games, student council meetings, volunteer events and parent-teacher conferences tend to fill family schedules in the fall, quickly replacing the lazy days of summer with extracurricular activities. While many find it refreshing for the family unit to get back into a routine, hectic schedules can often lead to miscommunication among family members and a relaxed attitude toward safety.
“Fall brings an abundance of schedule changes and families working to adapt to new routines,” says Rebecca Smith, vice president of marketing for Master Lock. “As each family member strives to balance various activities, it’s essential that families discuss security measures they should take to ensure they safely maintain their busy lifestyles.”
1. Secure your home. With people coming and going at different times, each family member should understand the importance of locking all points of entry when leaving, including dead-bolting doors, windows, sliding glass doors and garage/shed doors to bolster your home’s safety.
2. Keep your home active. For periods of time where most members of the family will be away, schedule a dog walker to come over or ask a neighbor to retrieve your mail. This helps to ensure that your home still appears to have people coming and going regularly – a natural theft deterrent.
3. Utilize key safes. Whether you’re storing a house key for children to access after school or for your mother-in-law who baby-sits, a Master Lock key safe will allow them access to your home without the risk of losing a key in transit, allowing parties to enter safely, even if no one is home.
4. Establish a “home alone” routine. If your child gets home from school while you are at work, or if your family is involved in activities on weekends, it’s important to have guidelines for your children to follow when home alone. These include locking the door immediately behind them after entering the house, not spending time outside and not answering the door for any visitors.
5. No notes. Many families leave notes on their front doors to communicate a change in schedule. Communication this important should happen directly via phone call, text message or voicemail – not out in the open for everyone to see.
6. Share schedules. Be sure that your family is aware of each other’s schedules, including work, school and extracurricular activities. Keeping a calendar updated with everyone’s commitments in a common room such as the kitchen will prevent miscommunication about who will be home and when.
7. Create an emergency plan. Every family should have a plan that details what to do in case of an emergency. This should include a list of numbers to call and steps to follow should anything happen to the home while a member of the family is there alone.
8. Communicate with neighbors. Communicate your schedules with a friendly, watchful neighbor you trust and empower him or her as an extra set of eyes and ears, keeping watch on your home when you can’t be there.
9. Set social media rules. In today’s digital age, location-based services are growing in popularity with both kids and adults. Set a family social media policy to limit check-ins and location information being made too readily available online to ensure your family’s schedule does not become too predictable.
10. Secure items on-the-go. Whether you’re headed out for a walk or to a soccer game, odds are you are carrying several valuables including keys, a wallet and cell phone. Secure these items in a small, portable safe secured to a fixed item such as a fence, allowing you to relax and enjoy any activity.
For more security tips and solutions for families on the go, visit www.masterlock.com.
By: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
If you’ve been a member of The Sporting Club for more than 10 minutes, you know one of the truly special amenities of our club is the upstairs café. Under Fro’s watchful eye, it’s more than a lounge where members can hang out, relax overlooking the pool, catch up on email on the computer available for your use, or watch the big-screen TV. It’s truly a recovery center for post-exercise and training replenishment.
This is not an advertisement for the café—the healthy options and sports nutrition offerings speak for themselves at any time of the day. This is a column on how to be sure your body gains all of the benefits it can from the exercising you do.
Exercise science tells us one simple fact: if you aren’t consuming a healthy snack within 30 minutes following a moderate to intense workout, you aren’t gaining all you can from the effort you put in on the gym floor. Specifically, the American Dietetic Association advises that we consume .03 -.06 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight and 10-20 grams of lean protein—to properly replenish and repair.
When you combine protein with carbohydrates within 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise, it nearly doubles the insulin response, which results in more stored glycogen, lost during your workout. A 4:1 ration of four grams of carbos for every gram of protein is ideal. Keep in mind that too much protein will slow rehydration and glycogen replenishment. Be sure to keep fat to a minimum.
The American Council on Exercise, ACE, suggests the following 7 great post-workout snacks, that, along with 8-12 ounces of water, will best refuel your body. 1. Non-fat Greek yogurt with fruit 2. Banana with almond or nut butter 3. Low-fat chocolate milk 4. Tuna on whole wheat 5. Frozen grain waffles with Greek yogurt and almond butter 6. Whole wheat English muffin with sliced turkey breast and hummus 7. Protein shake with banana
Guess what? The café offers each of these! Remember that diet is king and exercise is queen—a healthy kingdom requires both. A blueberry or strawberry “Fatburner” which includes protein whey, banana and flax seed is an ideal post-workout protein drink. The café’s “Healthy Tuna” wrap, “Mediterranean Turkey Roll” and “No Meat Please” wrap are also ideal to add for a post-workout snack. These are my favorites!
An intense 90-minute sweat-filled workout requires different replenishment than a light cardio no-sweat session. The powerhouse exercise routine is best renewed with the protein/carb post-workout snack while the milder workout may just require water hydration.
Keep in mind Edison’s famous comment, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of human frame, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”?Post-exercise recovery and replenishment is a great place to start. Leave the club without it and you may be leaving behind all you worked out for.
(ARA) – The crunch of pads followed by a tweet of a whistle, the thump of a basketball with a staccato of footfalls to accompany it, and even the thwack of a hockey puck against Plexiglass means one thing: school sports are in season.
Coaches, parents and players are all getting ready for the game and practices are hard and grueling. But many sports involve contact and potential injuries, so coaches and parents need to educate themselves about serious injuries like concussions.
At the professional level, more and more attention is being paid to the hard hits players are taking. The NFL is changing rules on helmet-to-helmet contact in hopes of reducing the number and severity of concussions suffered by players. But, head injuries also happen at much lower levels of play, and can be very serious.
“Coaches and parents need to understand the extreme care that is needed when returning younger athletes to a game or practice who may have experienced a sports concussion,” says Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, chair of the American Academy of Neurology’s Sports Neurology Section and also director of the University of Michigan’s Neurosport program.
Signs of a concussion that can be observed during a game or practice are: * Behavior or personality change * False or imagined memories * Loss of consciousness * Empty stare * Disorientation
Athletes may also report the following when suffering a concussion: * Blurry vision * Confusion * Dizziness * Feeling hazy, foggy or groggy * Headache
The American Academy of Neurology’s website at www.aan.com/concussion offers two online safety courses created by the University of Michigan Neurosport program and endorsed by the Academy to help high school and youth coaches recognize the signs of concussion and what to do if a player gets a head injury during a game. Each 20-minute safety course is free and a printable certificate is available after passing the online quiz.
Coaches Cards are also downloadable from the Academy’s website providing easy-to-access information on how to spot a concussion and what to do if a player experiences one. Coaches and players are encouraged to keep these cards with their athletic gear for easy access.
Some states have passed laws on managing concussions. If you are a coach or parent of a younger athlete, make sure you educate yourself on the laws and concussion signs to keep the athlete safe.
“If for any reason you suspect an athlete has a concussion, remove the athlete from play and be sure the athlete is carefully evaluated by a person trained in concussion management, such as a neurologist,” Kutcher says. “Rushing this part of the process may lead to a serious setback, or worsen the injury.”
High school and youth sporting events are meant to get athletes playing the games they love. But, a head injury needs to be addressed very carefully in order to ensure the athlete returns to the field safely for many more games to be played, both now and well into the future.