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Do You Know How to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones From the Extreme Temperatures?

Sharing these life-saving tips with anyone who may need them. Found on www.vitals.lifehacker.com, written by Beth Skwarecki, Health Editor

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by Beth Skwarecki

"Record cold temperatures are hitting much of the US this week. In some places, it’s possible you’ll experience weather that’s colder than you’ve seen in your lifetime. Here’s what to know when the chill hits.

Dress Warm
Okay, you knew that. But in case you haven’t had to really bundle up in a while, don’t forget that:

Many thinner layers can be just as good as a single really warm one. Maybe you don’t have a warm enough coat, but you could put on a shirt, a sweater, a hoodie, and then your jacket. Wear tights or leggings under your pants.
Mittens are warmer than gloves.
One of your outer layers should be windproof. A thin rain jacket plus a bunch of sweaters may work better than a single warmish coat that’s not windproof.
Cover as much exposed skin as possible when you go outside. Consider a balaclava or scarf for your face.
A hat really helps, even indoors.

Watch the Wind Chill
Temperature isn’t everything. If you’re concerned about frostbite, the wind chill takes temperature and wind speed into account for a more accurate picture of how cold the winter air will feel on your skin.

Weather services often have their own calculations (RealFeel, “feels like”) that take other factors like sun and humidity into account, but the idea is roughly the same. If it’s -4 but “feels like” -21, pay more attention to that second number.

Don’t stay outside long when the wind chill is particularly chilly. If you must stay outside, protect your skin from the cold—even turning to face away from the wind will help a little. Here’s a handy chart from the National Weather Service, or check out their calculator here.

A wind chill advisory means that your area is expecting dangerous levels of wind chill (where frostbite could occur within minutes). Slightly less urgent is a wind chill warning, meaning that dangerous levels of wind chill are possible, and a wind chill watch, meaning that very cold weather is expected.

Paying attention to very cold wind chill or “feels like” numbers can help you plan your time outside to avoid the risk of frostbite and hypothermia.

Avoiding Frostbite
What It Is
Damage to the body (most commonly the face, ears, fingers, or toes) caused by freezing. In extreme cases, frostbite can require amputation. Frostbite is more likely if you have poor circulation, but anybody can get it.

Signs to Watch Out For
You might not notice frostbite on yourself, because your face or fingers may go numb before any of the signs of frostbite show up.

To spot frostbite on others, look for skin that appears white or grayish-yellow, or that seems firm or waxy.

Redness or pain is a sign to get out of the cold immediately.

What to Do
If somebody has frostbite, the CDC notes that you need to ask yourself two important questions:

Can I get this person medical help?
Do they also have hypothermia? (Hypothermia is a medical emergency, and should be your top priority.)
If you’re reading this at home, rather than in the remote arctic wilderness, you should head to the local emergency room or urgent care clinic rather than trying to treat frostbite on your own.

But one way or another, you need to slowly and carefully warm up the affected body parts. Don’t walk on frostbitten toes if you can help it; that causes more damage. But do get to a warm location if you can.

Then, use warm (not hot) water, or other gentle warmth such as putting your frotstbitten fingers under your arms to warm them with body heat. The process of thawing out your frozen tissue can be painful. Eric Mack wrote about his experience at Forbes:

I remember a man asked me to hold out my hands. He squeezed the frozen tips of my fingers and I felt nothing. There was no sensation, just the numbness that I’d been feeling since the middle of the journey.

At this point, a bowl of lukewarm water was placed in my lap and I began the long and painful process of thawing out my eight frozen fingertips. For what seemed like hours, but was probably just 20 minutes, my fingers throbbed and thawed as shooting pains marked the awakening of my nerves.

Avoiding Hypothermia
What It Is
Hypothermia is low body temperature. Normally our bodies generate heat to keep our core temperature constant, but if you’re in the cold for too long, you might lose more heat than you can produce.

Hypothermia isn’t just a winter danger; it can also happen in cool temperatures if a person is wet (for example, after falling into a lake, or sweating through an athletic event).

Signs to Watch Out For
Low body temperature affects the brain’s function, so a person with hypothermia might not be aware that something is wrong. Some signs that another person can observe, according to the CDC:

Confusion, slurred speech
Shivering
Exhaustion
Trouble moving, such as fumbling hands
In infants, red cold skin and low energy.
Take the person’s temperature. A temperature below 95 degrees Fahrenheit is an emergency. If the person becomes unconscious, they need immediate medical help; if they don’t have a pulse or if they seem to stop breathing, perform CPR while waiting for help.

What to Do
Again, this is a situation for medical help, but if help is not available, you would want to slowly and carefully warm the person up.

Get to a warm place
Remove any wet clothing
Warm up their torso first, ideally with electric blankets. Skin to skin contact (under blankets) can also work.
If they’re able to drink, offer warm, non-alcoholic beverages like tea. (This can help to warm up their body.)
Once their temperature has returned to normal, keep them covered with blankets and dry clothing, including the head and neck.

Staying Safe Indoors
Keep Your Home Warm
Your heater might not be able to keep up in extremely cold weather, especially if your home is not well insulated.

If you lose heat, or if your heater can’t keep up, close off rooms you don’t need. Space heaters can come in handy but keep them away from anything flammable.

Never to run a generator indoors or use a gas oven to heat your home. Both of these practices can fill your home with carbon monoxide, a deadly gas with no noticeable smell. You should have a carbon monoxide detector already; if not, get one.

Don’t Let Pipes Freeze
Pipes in the outer walls of your house can freeze. Know how to shut off the water if necessary, and if possible locate your pipes and figure out whether they are insulated. If your pipes have frozen in the past, don’t be surprised if it happens again.

To reduce the chances pipes might freeze, let hot and cold taps trickle water all night, and open cabinet doors that are near pipes (for example, the pipes under your sink). This lets a little more of the house’s heat near the pipes.

If pipes do freeze, use a hair dryer to warm them up, never an open flame. Setting your house on fire is not the kind of warmth you are looking for."

 

Would You Like to Make Your Kids Feel Special? Here is how..

We found these helpful tips on how to make your kids feel special in www.parents.com, written by By Devan McGuinness and wanted to share :). 

"6 Small Ways to Make Each of Your Kids Feel Special

By Devan McGuinness

Parenthood is the ultimate juggling act, and at no time is that more clear than when you're trying to spread your time and attention among your children. Striking this delicate balance involves satisfying the needs of each kid while at the same making sure no one feels left out.


It's a worthwhile endeavor. Helping your child feel loved and special apart from his siblings can mold his identity and set him up for a healthy sense of self-worth and self-esteem in the future. On the flip side, kids who don't feel that special attachment with their parents may act out later in life, points out Laura Kauffman, Ph.D., a licensed child psychologist in Menlo Park, California. "These children are less likely to follow the rules of the household, and they are likely to vie for their parent's attention in less positive ways, including picking fights with siblings or acting out at school," she says.

Ultimately, "our goal [as parents] is to convey unconditional love through focused attention with clear limits and boundaries that will allow them to tolerate the inevitable breaks in our attention," Dr. Kauffman adds. The balance will help them understand that there will be times when they can have your full attention—and times when they won't.

Tricky? Yes, but doable. Here are six simple but powerful ways to make each of your children feel like a VIP.

Make eye contact. We may believe we can listen to what our kid is saying while we dash off a work e-mail, but in reality, dividing your attention can make your child feel like you're placing her second. So the next time she wants to talk to you, put down what you're doing and give your child your full eye contact and complete attention. Ask a question or two that shows you're truly listening and are present. If you can't drop what you're doing at that moment, say so. Ask your child to give you a moment to wrap up your task, then be sure to follow up with her, Dr. Kauffman says.

Spend some uninterrupted time together every day. You don't need to carve out large chunks of time; even 10 minutes a day is okay. Let your child decide what you do together and, if possible, turn the phone off or—better yet—leave it in another room so you're not tempted to check your Twitter feed.

Ask caring questions. Go beyond the generic "How was school?" conversation and instead ask your kids pointed questions that show you're invested in what's going on in their lives, Dr. Kauffman says. For example, ask them about their spelling test or what happened on their favorite TV show.

Create meaningful traditions. No need to construct anything elaborate; this is really about spending quality, one-on-one time together and creating lasting memories. Get in the kitchen with your child and make a pancake breakfast for the family on Sundays. Set a monthly date where you treat your kid to a favorite treat and an hour at the playground. Invite your child to accompany you to your standing salon appointment, and stay for mani-pedis afterward. Such simple traditions can go a long way toward building that special parent-child connection.

Be affectionate. A kiss on the cheek, a bear hug before bedtime—showing your affection makes kids feel loved. Not a "hugging" family? Create your own special handshake or come up with a fun code word with each kid.

Love what they love. Sure, you're probably not as excited about the newest collection of Shopkins as they are, but loving what your kids love is a great way to show they're important to you. Listen with enthusiasm as they explain the inner workings of their Lego castle, and make yourself available to help foster their hobby. Dr. Kauffman says sharing in your children's passions not only helps them feel supported, it also allows them to "feel they are important enough to dedicate your valuable time to them."

 

How to Keep Kids Safe and Warm in Winter?

The weather is getting colder. How do we keep our kids safe and warm, while letting them enjoy winter activities to the fullest? The article below, taken from
www.healthychildren.org, will provide us with some very useful tips. 

"Tips to Keep Kids Warm All Winter

Whether winter brings severe storms, light dustings or just cold temperatures, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has some valuable tips on how to keep your children safe and warm.

What to Wear
Dress infants and children warmly for outdoor activities. Several thin layers will keep them dry and warm. Always remember warm boots, gloves or mittens, and a hat.

The rule of thumb for older babies and young children is to dress them in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same conditions.

When riding in the car, babies and children should wear thin, snug layers rather than thick, bulky coats or snowsuits. See Winter Car Seat Safety Tips for additional information.

Blankets, quilts, pillows, bumpers, sheepskins and other loose bedding should be kept out of an infant's sleeping environment because they are associated with suffocation deaths. It is better to use sleep clothing like one-piece sleepers or wearable blankets.

If a blanket must be used to keep a sleeping infant warm, it should be thin and tucked under the crib mattress, reaching only as far as the baby's chest, so the infant's face is less likely to become covered by bedding materials.

Hypothermia
Hypothermia develops when a child's temperature falls below normal due to exposure to colder temperatures. It often happens when a child is playing outdoors in extremely cold weather without wearing proper clothing or when clothes get wet. It can occur more quickly in children than in adults.

As hypothermia sets in, the child may shiver and become lethargic and clumsy. Speech may become slurred and body temperature will decline in more severe cases.

If you suspect your child is hypothermic, call 911 at once. Until help arrives, take the child indoors, remove any wet clothing, and wrap him in blankets or warm clothes.

Frostbite
Frostbite happens when the skin and outer tissues become frozen. This condition tends to happen on extremities like the fingers, toes, ears and nose. They may become pale, gray and blistered. At the same time, the child may complain that his/her skin burns or has become numb.

If frostbite occurs, bring the child indoors and place the frostbitten parts of her body in warm (not hot) water. 104° Fahrenheit (about the temperature of most hot tubs) is recommended. Warm washcloths may be applied to frostbitten nose, ears and lips.

Do not rub the frozen areas.

After a few minutes, dry and cover the child with clothing or blankets. Give him/her something warm to drink.

If the numbness continues for more than a few minutes, call your doctor.



Safe Winter Sports and Activities
Set reasonable time limits on outdoor play to prevent hypothermia and frostbite. Have children come inside periodically to warm up.

Using alcohol or drugs before any winter activity, like snowmobiling or skiing, is dangerous and should not be permitted in any situation.

Ice Skating
Allow children to skate only on approved surfaces. Check for signs posted by local police or recreation departments, or call your local police department to find out which areas have been approved.

Advise your child to:

Skate in the same direction as the crowd

Avoid darting across the ice

Never skate alone

Not chew gum or eat candy while skating

Consider having your child wear a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads, especially while learning to skate to keep them safe.

Sledding
Keep sledders away from motor vehicles.

Children should be supervised while sledding.

Keep young children separated from older children.

Sledding feet first or sitting up, instead of lying down head-first, may prevent head injuries.

Consider having your child wear a helmet while sledding.

Use steerable sleds, not snow disks or inner tubes.

Sleds should be structurally sound and free of sharp edges and splinters, and the steering mechanism should be well lubricated.

Sled slopes should be free of obstructions like trees or fences, be covered in snow (not ice), not be too steep (slope of less than 30º), and end with a flat runoff.

Avoid sledding in crowded areas.

Snow Skiing and Snowboarding
Children should be taught to ski or snowboard by a qualified instructor in a program designed for children.

Never ski or snowboard alone.

Young children should always be supervised by an adult. Older children's need for adult supervision depends on their maturity and skill. If older children are not with an adult, they should always at least be accompanied by a friend.

All skiers and snowboarders should wear helmets. Ski facilities should require helmet use, but if they do not, parents should enforce the requirement for their children.

Equipment should fit the child. Skiers should wear safety bindings that are adjusted at least every year. Snowboarders should wear gloves with built-in wrist guards. Eye protection or goggles should also be used.

Slopes should fit the ability and experience of the skier or snowboarder. Avoid crowded slopes.

Avoid skiing in areas with trees and other obstacles.

Snowmobiling
The AAP recommends that children under age 16 do not operate snowmobiles and that children under age 6 never ride on snowmobiles.

Do not use a snowmobile to pull a sled or skiers.

Wear goggles and a safety helmet approved for use on motorized vehicles like motorcycles.

Travel at safe speeds.

Never snowmobile alone or at night.

Stay on marked trails, away from roads, water, railroads, and pedestrians."

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

 

How can I help my stressed child?


7 Tips for Helping Your Child Manage Stress

Stop overscheduling

Make time for play

Make sleep a priority

Teach your kids to listen to their bodies

Manage your own stress

Make mornings calmer

Prepare your kids to deal with mistakes

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KneeBees Soft Protective Knee Pads are Designed for Kids of All Ages!

Our amazing soft protective knee pads can be enjoyed by kids of all ages. Lovingly crafted by parents from all natural materials to offer cushioned, flexible, comfortable protection for little knees and elbows. 

 

How to Properly Apply Sunscreen on Your Kids? We Have Helpful 10 Strategies Right Here!

Do you want to protect your kids from the harmful effects of the sun, while letting them enjoy hot summer days to the fullest?

Summer is the most awesome season! However, we have to remember how the sun affects us, and it is especially true for the kids. We found these very helpful tips on www.today.com, written by A. Pawlowski and wanted to share it with you. Have a great summer!


"10 strategies to apply (and keep) sunscreen on your kids

Parents know the power of sunscreen and remember to slather on and repeat. Kids? Not so much.

There’s a lot at stake as the majority of skin damage and excessive sun often comes in childhood, so it’s a really critical period for sun protection, said Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a Seattle pediatrician who writes the Seattle Mama Doc blog.

“The best sunscreen out there is the one that’s used early and often,” Swanson told TODAY Parents.

She recommended using mineral, rather than chemical sunscreen -- with ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide -- and looking for an SPF over 30. Sunscreen is usually OK for infants older than 6 months, she noted. Doctors continue to study the best sun-protection practices for babies and toddlers.

Here are 10 tips for putting and keeping sunscreen on children:

1. Before applying, consider other ways to protect skin

Dressing your child in sun-safe clothing will minimize the amount of skin you have to cover with sunscreen, which will reduce the struggle from the start.

Read more: 7 things to look for when you shop for sunscreen

“I just want families to know that using UV protective clothing and things like hats, and using the benefit of the shade is a really powerful way to protect children from radiation from the sun,” Swanson said.

“Then, in areas of their body you can’t cover with UV protective clothing, that’s when we think, yeah, we want you to use sunscreen and use it judiciously.”

2. Make it a ritual right from the start

Swanson has never struggled with getting her two sons, who are 6 and 8, to wear their swim shirts. They’ve never gone swimming outside without them, so they don’t know anything different, she said.

Kids should understand early on: “The privilege of getting to do this fun activity comes with the responsibility of taking care of our skin while we do it,” she said.

“This is like everything in life, like brushing our teeth … these are just good habits that we can create.”

3. Don’t wait until the last minute to apply

When you arrive at the beach and kids can see the water, the last thing they’ll want to do is hang around for a sunscreen application. Make sure they’re protected and ready to go.

Shell Roush, a mom of three boys who live near the beach in Jacksonville, North Carolina, has perfected the routine. The family visits the seashore so often that she buys sunscreen in bulk and the cream always goes on before the fun begins.

“We apply it at home, right before we leave, out on the porch. That way, the kids can hit the water as soon as we get to the beach without them having to anxiously wait for their sunscreen to be applied, plus it gives the sunscreen time to dry before they get wet,” Roush, who writes The Soccer Moms blog, said.

For sunscreen to work best, apply it 30 minutes before exposure to the sun, Swanson said. In an ideal world, you’re in an indoor environment when you apply, she added.

4. Apply when they’re strapped in their car seat

This approach can make the process easier for infants and toddlers.

“Toddlers, I think, are the hardest. They’re just squirmy and wormy and you fight and there are autonomy issues going on at that age,” Swanson said.

5. Make it fun

New York City mom Lyla Gleason says she and her 5-year-old daughter both hate wearing sunscreen, but she’s come up with a few ways to make it cooler.

“Last year, I used sunscreen with glitter in it and my girly girl daughter was so excited to have glittery skin, she never complained,” said Gleason, who writes the Globetrotting Mommy blog.

“For her face, I tell her to make a puffer fish face and that will usually entertain her long enough for me to apply sunscreen. I also think it might even be a little easier with her checks puffed out.”

Gleason’s daughter will also gladly apply sunscreen if she can put it on her mom, too. It takes a long time to finish and Gleason sometimes ends up “over slathered,” but it gets the job done, she said.

TODAY Parenting Team contributor Amanda Mushro likes to create a family “sunscreen train,” with kids applying it on themselves as if playing a game.

6. With older kids, appeal to their vanity

The most powerful strategy for reluctant teens is not around cancer risk and scary scars from melanoma, but around vanity and appearances, Swanson said.

“UVA rays change the elasticity of your skin… you’re going to get more wrinkly and you’re going to look older, faster,” she suggested telling teens. “I want you to be as beautiful as you are for as long as you can.”

7. Consider spray

There have been some concerns about the inhalation risks of spray sunscreen, but that being said, Swanson noted they’re convenient, easy to use, and may encourage families to reapply sunscreen in regular intervals.

“If parents really like it for their kids’ limbs, back, belly, chest and extremities, I can’t actually tell them not to use them,” Swanson said.

“Have your kids close their eyes and their mouths and hold their breath while you apply it. Never spray your child’s face.”

Just be sure to run it in!

8. Make sure you have enough

The key to having sunscreen stay in the right place is to use enough. You need an ounce of sunscreen to cover someone’s whole body, so if you have a 3-ounce bottle, it won't last for a whole day once you start to reapply, Swanson said.

"Imagine a layer of Saran wrap over all those surfaces of the skin," she noted.

9. Reapply strategically

“I usually time the reapplication with a snack so that it has time to dry before they dive into the water again,” Roush said.

10. Be prepared for impromptu fun in the sun

“When we travel, I like to throw a sunscreen stick and sunscreen wipes in my bag in case we end up in a sprinkler park or I see her face turning red,” Gleason said.

Happy summer."

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Bitten By Mosquito? Here are Some Helpful Tips for a Quick Relief.

It's summer season. Mosquitos are on the move! If you, or your loved one, have been bitten by a mosquito, do you know how to stop the itching quickly? We found this awesome article in www.healthline.com and wanted to share. 

"13 Home Remedies for Mosquito Bites

Medically reviewed by Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, COI on August 18, 2017 — Written by Summer Fanous and Kimberly Holland.

Crushed ice
Honey
Aloe vera
Baking soda
Basil
Vinegar
Onion
Thyme
Lemon balm
Witch hazel
Chamomile tea
Garlic


1. Oatmeal
One remedy for an uncomfortable mosquito bite may also be one of your favorite breakfasts. Oatmeal can relieve itching and swelling because it contains special compounds that have anti-irritant qualities.

Make an oatmeal paste by mixing equal amounts of oatmeal and water in a bowl until you have a spackle-like substance. Spoon some paste onto a washcloth and hold it, paste-side down, on the irritated skin for about 10 minutes. Then wipe the area clean.

If you have many bites, try an oatmeal bath instead. Sprinkle 1 cup of oatmeal or ground oats into a bathtub full of warm water. Soak in the oatmeal bath for 20 minutes, occasionally rubbing some of the clumped oatmeal onto irritated areas of your skin.

2. Crushed ice
Cold temperatures and ice can reduce inflammation. The cold also numbs the skin, which can give you immediate but short-term relief. The Mayo Clinic recommends using a cold pack or a bag filled with crushed ice to relieve the itching caused by a mosquito bite. Don’t leave the ice directly on your bite for more than five minutes as it can damage the skin. You can also put a barrier, such as a washcloth, between your skin and the ice so you can leave the ice on the bite longer.

3. Honey
This sugary sweet substance is a common pick among home remedy enthusiasts because it has many antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used for hundreds of years as a treatment for ailments like sore throats to bumps and bruises. A small drop on an itchy bite can reduce the inflammation. And it will reduce your temptation to itch, as itching skin covered in honey can create a sticky mess.

4. Aloe vera
A common household plant, aloe vera has many uses beyond shelf decoration. The gel has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and can help to heal minor wounds or calm infections. That’s why it may be a good bet for healing a bug bite, too. To try this, cut open a small section of the plant. Apply the plant’s gel to the area that’s irritated. Let it dry, and apply again as needed.

5. Baking soda
Found in virtually every kitchen, baking soda has a multitude of uses — from baking bread to clearing drains. Otherwise known as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda may also provide relief from a mosquito bite.

It’s easy to make a baking soda paste, and you can use it in a similar manner to oatmeal paste. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with just enough water to create a paste. Apply it to the bug bite, and let it sit for 10 minutes before washing it away.

6. Basil
The fragrant basil plant is a key ingredient of many of your favorite Italian recipes, but it does double duty as a mosquito bite remedy. Studies suggest that a chemical compound called eugenol, which is found in basil, could relieve itchy skin.

To make a basil rub, boil 2 cups of water and add half an ounce of dried basil leaves. Leave the mixture to steep until it’s cool. Then dip a washcloth into the liquid, and rub it gently on your mosquito bites.

Alternately, you can chop some fresh basil leaves up until very fine, and rub them on to your skin.

7. Vinegar
For centuries, apple cider vinegar has been used as a natural remedy to treat many medical conditions, from infections to blood glucose problems. If you have an itchy bite, dab a drop of vinegar on it. The vinegar can help reduce stinging and burning sensations. It can also act as a natural disinfectant if you’ve been scratching too much.

If you need more relief, try soaking a washcloth in cold water and vinegar, and then applying it to the bite. If you have many bites, dilute 2 cups of vinegar in a tepid bath and soak for 20 minutes. (A hot bath may make itching worse.)

8. Onion
Not only can onions bring tears to your eyes, they can bring relief to your mosquito bites. The onion’s juices, which leak out from the freshly cut bulb, can reduce the bite’s sting and irritation. Onions also have a natural antifungal property that can reduce your risk of an infection.

Cut a slice from an onion — the type doesn’t matter — and apply it directly to the bite for several minutes. Rinse and wash the area well after you remove the onion.

9. Thyme
The petite leaves of the thyme plant are delicious on potatoes, fish, and more. They may also help ease the itching of a mosquito bite. Thyme has antibacterial and antifungal properties, so it can help reduce your risk of irritating and infecting the skin around a mosquito bite.

To get the most benefit from thyme, finely mince the leaves. You can apply the leaves directly to your bite, and let them sit for 10 minutes. You can also make a concentrated liquid by bringing water to boil and adding several sprigs of thyme. Let the sprigs steep until the water is cooled. Then dip a washcloth into the thyme-infused water, and apply to the bites. Leave the washcloth in place for a few minutes. For extra relief, wrap the thyme-soaked washcloth around an ice cube for a natural cooling effect.

10. Lemon balm
Lemon balm is a leafy plant that’s closely related to mint. The herb has been used for centuries as a soothing all-natural treatment for everything from anxiety to upset stomach.

For mosquito bites, you can apply finely chopped leaves directly to the bite, or you can buy a lemon balm essential oil. Lemon balm contains tannin, a natural astringent. In addition, lemon balm contains polyphenols. Together, these natural compounds ease inflammation, speed up healing, and reduce the risk of an infection.

11. Witch hazel
Witch hazel is a natural astringent you can buy over the counter in pharmacies and grocery stores. Like a lemon balm, witch hazel contains tannins, which act as astringents when applied to the skin.

Used alone, witch hazel is beneficial for any number of skin irritations, from minor cuts and scrapes to hemorrhoids. Applying witch hazel to the skin reduces inflammation, soothes the burning and irritation the bite causes, and can speed up healing.

Apply a small amount of witch hazel to a cotton ball. Gently dab or swipe it over the bite. Allow it to dry. Repeat this as needed.

12. Chamomile tea
Chamomile, which is a member of the daisy family, is a common natural remedy for many ailments. When applied to the skin, the tea can reduce inflammation, ease skin irritation, and speed up healing.

Steep a tea bag filled with the dried, crushed flowers in water in a refrigerator for 30 minutes. Then squeeze any excess water from the tea bag, and apply it directly to your bite. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Wipe the area clean with a wet rag. You can chill the tea bag in the fridge for additional applications later.

13. Garlic
Garlic is a well-known natural remedy for conditions from heart disease to high blood pressure. While more conventional treatments may be preferred for those serious conditions, a bit of garlic applied to an irritating bug bite is an easy home remedy for a mosquito bite.

But before you slice into a bulb and apply it to your bite, know that applying cut garlic straight to a skin wound or bite may cause burning and stinging. Instead of that, finely mince up fresh garlic and stir it in with an unscented lotion or room temperature coconut oil. These ointments and creams will help reduce the garlic’s potency but still allow you to get relief from the garlic’s natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, then wipe it off your skin. Wipe the area down with a cool washcloth. Apply some later if the itching persists.

Of course, the best way to get rid of mosquito bite irritation is to avoid a bite altogether. Keep in mind that these insects are more active in the evening and at night. If you want to enjoy a summer evening outdoors but fear the petite blood-sucking bugs, cover your skin and stay away from standing water to reduce your exposure. If you are bit, quickly stop the swelling and itching with a safe, cost-efficient homemade remedy.

Food Allergies and Children: A Quick Guide.

 

Stay informed and have a great weekend! 

Advice for Parents This Allergy Season - What Should Their Kids Avoid?

A great article about seasonal allergies from www.parents.com

"Spring Into Allergy Season


From Parents Magazine


Up to 40 percent of children in the United States suffer from seasonal allergies. Find out what symptoms parents should look for to determine if their kid is suffering from allergies, and what treatments are available.
If welcoming the new season means welcoming more sneezing and sniffling around your house, then your kids might be suffering from allergies.

As many as 40 to 50 million people in the United States are affected by allergies and at least 35.9 million Americans have seasonal allergies, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

So how can a parent know if their kid just has a cold, or if it's more than that? And what should they do if they do suspect it is allergies? We asked Dr. Todd Mahr, Director of Pediatric Allergy/Asthma/Immunology at Gunderson Lutheran Hospital in La Crosse, Wisconsin, to give us some insight about symptoms, steps parents should take, and treatments for allergies.
What are the symptoms of seasonal allergies in kids?
They'll have repetitive sneezing, a running nose that is a thin, clear substance ... it's not usually thick and gooey; nasal congestion, an itchy nose, ears, eyes, throat -- so they get the itchies, and watery eyes.

For perennial allergies, they'll get more nasal blockage and congestion. They'll have post-nasal drip, which is when mucus drips down the back of the throat and kids will tend to clear their throats a lot. They also do have a runny nose and sneezing but it's less prominent than in kids with seasonal allergies.

Keep in mind that it varies from person to person -- one may have more sneezing, another more of a runny nose, another more of the itchies.

What's the difference between seasonal allergies and perennial allergies? And when do the different kinds of allergies act up?
For seasonal allergies, they occur mainly with pollen so it comes from plants, weeds, grasses, and trees. Many parents will recognize pollen more in the Spring, you know, if they leave their car outside overnight and go out to it in the morning, they'll see a little, yellow dusting on their car ... that's pollen. And if you have pollen allergies, they'll appear when that's in the air. Classically, it comes from trees early in the spring, so in April and May. Then in May, June, and July, it's the grasses that are at their worst ... so people with allergies to various kinds of grasses may feel it more. And then in the Fall, it's the weeds, so ragweed allergies may flare up in mid-August to the end of September. That's classic, but it varies in different parts of the country.

For perennial nasal allergies, it means you're dealing with it year-round and these are usually indoor allergies: so it's dust mites, animal dander, cockroaches, molds, and feathers. So individuals may have symptoms occasionally or throughout the year, depending on what kind of allergies they have.

What are the common triggers that will bring on allergic reactions?
For kids who have allergies, sometimes everyday objects can be the trigger. For example, their favorite pet -- a dog or cat -- could shed dander (tiny pieces of skin), and that may trigger a flare-up. Sometimes the beds can be the trigger, including sheets, mattresses and box springs because that's where dust mites live. So it's not that you're allergic to the bed, it's more the dust mites that are there.

There are also triggers that present themselves once kids are in allergy season, so for example, with pollen season, things like cigarette smoke or perfumes can be triggers. Sometimes the weather -- the wind and rain -- can affect the amount of pollen in the air, and thus trigger an allergy flare-up in someone.

What should a parent do if they suspect their child has seasonal allergies?
The best thing to do is try and keep a little diary answering the questions, "when are the symptoms triggered and by what?" Because when you see your doctor, they will want to know if there is a pattern and will ask you things like, "is it worse during the daytime or nighttime or is it seasonal?" Those answers can give a lot of information to a doctor.

Seeing your health care provider is a smart thing to do ... they can then make a determination if you should see an allergist. An allergist can look at the symptoms, do a physical exam and then maybe even do skin testing. Skin testing is when they put small amounts of allergens on the skin, or just below it, and look for a reaction to try to detect what you're allergic to. Once you have tested and can determine what you're allergic to, then you know and can avoid some triggers.

What could happen if allergies go untreated? Is there a real danger there?
In kids specifically, we see a lot of problems that are related to the congestion caused by allergies. Fatigue, especially during the daytime, poor concentration in school, learning problems and other difficulties in school can all be related to nasal congestion, because kids won't be sleeping as well at night. And then during the daytime, they're blowing their nose a lot and experiencing other symptoms. It can lead to peer pressure and social tension ... you know, they may not want to go out and play because they know if they do they'll start sneezing, and that can lead to some shyness.

Because children's bones and teeth are still developing, chronic mouth breathing due to allergy-causing congestion can cause teeth to come in at an improper angle. I get a lot of referrals from orthodontists who see kids for braces and figure out that the kid is a mouth breather. Until they fix that, the orthodontist knows that the braces are going to be on longer.

Kids who have allergies are more likely to have ear infections and more sinus infections. Also, if they have asthma, uncontrolled allergies can make asthma worse. And there's been some evidence that it can lead to nasal polyps in the nose.

Unfortunately, many kids suffer from nasal congestion, but they don't complain about it. Forty percent of kids have it -- and roughly 2 million school days are lost per year due to this.

What are the various treatments for allergies?
There are a number of medications, I am sure most parents have heard about the antihistamines -- they help relieve sneezing, itchiness and a runny nose, but doesn't do a good job on congestion; one of the biggest side effects is that it can cause sedation, extreme tiredness. An example of an antihistamine is Claritin, now available over-the-counter, or the generic and less expensive form called Loratadine.

As I said, antihistamines don't handle congestion so sometimes people will combine them with decongestants, which can shrink the inflamed nasal tissue and offer relief from nasal congestion. This can be taken orally or by nasal spray. One big caution about using an over-the-counter nasal spray is that people use it too often or for too many days in a row, and then their symptoms can get worse. Don't use it for longer than a few days in a row. An example of an over-the-counter nasal spray is Afrin or Neosynepherine.

There are other anti-inflammatory nasal agents that are by prescription only. They are nasal steroids and these manage and cover all symptoms of allergies. They get at the cause, which makes them the best thing for seasonal or perennial allergies. Examples of these are Flonase or Nasonex. The big key for parents to know about these is that they shouldn't confuse them with anabolic steroids.

Nasalcrom is a nasal spray that is a mast cell stabilizer and is available over-the-counter and will relieve the sneezing, itching and running nose, but you have to start using it a few weeks before the season starts, and use it three to four times a day. Nasalcrom is not as effective as the anti-inflammatory agents like Flonase or Nasonex, which you use just once a day. Flonase, and nasal anti-inflammatories like it, work at controlling the inflammation that causes the symptoms people have. They are recommended as the first line of therapy for most patients when their symptoms are more than just mild or intermittent.

Allergy shots or immunotherapy are another treatment, which should be given through an allergist. What they do is inject a small amount of the allergen that affects you, and it's increased over time until eventually, the patient is on a maintenance dose. This is not a quick fix -- kids who take allergy shots can do it for months or years to achieve benefits. It does change the immune's response, so it's not a medication, but it changes what's occurring. Most people start seeing benefits within about 12 months and stay on it for 4 or 5 years.

How can a parent tell that what their child has is more than just a cold?
There's no fever associated with allergies. Also, it's repetitive, so if a parent sees a pattern to it, that's a big sign. For example, after your kid comes home from playing with someone with an animal, if they're always miserable after that, that's a sign. If it occurs at certain times of the year or in the morning when they wake up, parents need to look at that and talk to their healthcare professional.

What advice do you have for parents going into this spring season? What should they have their kids avoid?
If you know your kid has seasonal allergies, especially during pollen season, keep the windows and doors closed. I know it's hard because parents want to open the house up and air it out once Spring comes, but keep it shut. Dry clothes in the dryer ... don't hang clothes outside because then your bed sheets or clothes will be coated with pollen.

Also, use the air conditioner, which helps kill dust mites, and by decreasing humidity, helps to keep the pollen out. And if you had water leaks or accumulation over the winter, get them cleaned up so you prevent mold.

If you have indoor or perennial allergies, it's more difficult. Don't let the pet sleep in the bedroom, keep the pets off the furniture and bathe them regularly. Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter can be beneficial as well. Remove stuffed animals from the bedroom and wash bedding regularly to alleviate dust mites. Also, you can buy dust mite encasements, which trap the dust mites underneath. You can get those at most department stores or specialty companies."

Kids and Seasonal Allergies - How Can We Help?

We found this article about 2018 allergy season to be helpful and wanted to share it. Taken from www.popsugar.com.

"Kids Prone to Allergies? Then This Is the Time of Day You Should Not Go Outside"

May 10, 2018
by MURPHY MORONEY

While it's definitely true that April showers bring May flowers, for allergy sufferers they also bring itchy eyes, coughing, and a whole lot of sneezing. And unfortunately for kids with allergies, the 2018 Spring and Summer seasons are going to be especially bad.

Maria Castells, an allergist, and immunologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital told The Boston Globe that fluctuating pollen levels are to blame.

"Allergies are going to be a pretty severe year because there have already been several bursts of pollen out there that have been in between days where the temperature has gone down, so pollen is not being released in the air," she explained. "And there will be very few bursts in the next week or so. There is a lot of pollen from the trees that has not been released and will continue to be in the air."

In addition to taking allergy medicine, Dr. Castells suggests that parents close their kiddos' bedroom windows at night and avoid spending too much time outside first thing in the morning.

"I know that's hard now that we've had a long winter. We'd love to have a little bit of air in the bedrooms, but that's kind of dangerous because all the pollen grains starting at 4 and 5 a.m. start to come inside the bedrooms and start to inflame the nose, the eyes, the throat, and the lungs," she said. "Then when people wake up in the morning they start to cough, they start to feel like they can't really sleep well, sneezing, and not being able to breathe through their noses."

Rather than waiting until the pollen levels completely go through the roof, Castells recommends trying to get ahead of the problem.

"What will be most effective for people with allergies is to try and start treating themselves now, not waiting until the pollen is very high," she said. "When the pollen is very high the medications that can be taken — the antihistamines, the inhalers, the anti-inflammatory medications — actually can try and subdue and control the symptoms. But when the medication is taken beforehand it actually prevents the symptoms. So much milder symptoms occur if people take the medication before the actual pollen season."