Posted by: sararober | January 30, 2013

Fighting the Bug

We’re in the middle of flu season again and germs are everywhere. There has been a lot of sickness going around and somehow me and my family have managed to escape it until now. Last week my 9 month old baby contracted a fever of 102 degrees which persisted for three days. Luckily it wasn’t too serious– nothing a little medicine and sleep couldn’t handle– but when I took my baby to her pediatrician to be checked he told me that incidences of RSV and influenza are skyrocketing, especially in children (See Graph 1). Thankfully, my baby’s fever broke yesterday and seems to be in the clear now, without any symptoms of RSV or the flu. However, with several more months of flu season to go, I want to take all the preventative measures I can to keep those nasty disease out of my house and away from my family.

Graph 1.  Incidences of Respiratory Viruses in Utah in the year 2012-2013

 RSV

 Influenza A

 Influenza B

How to Prevent the Flu

As a parent of a child who puts her month on pretty much everything she comes in contact with, I know that eliminating germs can be difficult…actually it is impossible. And while there is no way to guarantee that youngsters won’t come down with the flu, there are a few preventive measures we as parents can take to reduce the risk of getting sick.

First things first; take you and your family to get the flu vaccine!

While getting vaccinated doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you will not get the flu, it is the simple way to protect you and your family from it. Getting a flu vaccine can reduce your chance of getting the flu by 60 to 80 percent. I know that taking the time and money to go get poked with a needle isn’t the most ideal, but it is better then having to put your life on hold for a good week while you lay in bed completely miserable. If nothing else at least take your children to get vaccinated since they are at high risk of complications and hospitalization from the flu.

Secondly, wash your hand frequently!

Washing your hands is probably the most effective measure to prevent the flu after being vaccinated. Make it habit in your home and teach your children to wash their hands well and often. Hands should be rubbed vigorously using soap and warm water for at least 20 second paying close attention to the backs of hands, wrists, between the fingers, and under the fingernails.

Lastly, boost your immune systems!

Providing your family with a nutritionally sound diet; encouraging them to get plenty of physical activity; giving them plenty of water; reducing the amount of stress in their lives; and ensuring they get enough rest are the most effective ways to boost their immune systems and prevent them from getting the flu. 

Additionally:

  • Encourage children to keep their hands out of their noses, eyes and mouths. Germs are frequently spread in this manner.
  • Disinfect/clean children’s toys frequently.
  • Teach children to sneeze into a tissue, and discard it immediately after each use.
  • Keep little ones out of crowded environments whenever possible.
  • Avoid contact with sick people

For more information about influenza, RVS, or other respiratory virus visit the links below. I hope these tips help and keep you and your family clear of any sickness!

Respiratory Viruses

CDC

AAP

Posted by: sararober | September 20, 2012

Pregnancy, Diet and Nutrition

Guest post by Katie Moore from Moore from Kate.

Can the words “pregnancy” and “diet” go together? Many people would say, “No.” Often, people think that the word “diet” means that one is eating less than normal in an attempt to lose weight. However, the word “diet” only means the kinds of food that a person eats. Pregnancy is actually a great time to overhaul your diet and become more aware of what you are putting into your body.

Even if you start out your pregnancy overweight, if you are careful with your diet, you can still have a healthy pregnancy. Remember to speak to your doctor before you make any big changes regarding your diet, as you should consult with them throughout your whole pregnancy about different topics i.e. pain management medicine, cord blood banking, and even circumcision.

If you have struggled with your weight in the past, you may have no idea what healthy eating really looks like. In the attempt to lose weight from time to time, you may have restricted carbohydrates, gone vegetarian or cut out all fat from your diet. However, a healthy pregnancy diet can include all food groups in moderation.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates have gotten a bad reputation in the past couple of years. However, not all carbohydrates are equal. A bag of potato chips is not the same nutritionally as a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal. In pregnancy, you should choose the highest quality carbohydrates to eat. These choices should not be loaded with sugar or salt, but they should have plenty of fiber to keep your digestive system on track and your stomach full for longer amounts of time. Three or four one-cup servings from this group should be plenty of carbohydrates each day.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and veggies are one food group of which you cannot overeat in pregnancy. You should strive to include at least five half-cup servings in your diet each day during pregnancy. However, if you feel like eating more than that, go right ahead. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals, while being very low in calories.

Meat, Nuts and Proteins

Consuming adequate amounts of protein during pregnancy is crucial, since protein is the substance from which your baby’s body tissues are created. Meat is an excellent source of protein, but you should choose lean meat, like boneless chicken breasts, rather than fatty cuts, such as bacon. Beans and nuts are good sources of protein as well, but, with nuts, you should keep in mind that they are high in fat, too. You should consume a total of about 70 grams of protein each day, which translates to about four three-ounce servings of meat or two one-cup servings of beans.

Milk and Milk Products

Milk products are loaded with calcium, which contributes to the bone formation of your new little one. If a pregnant woman does not get enough calcium, her body will take calcium from her bones to nourish the developing baby. Pregnant women need three or four servings of milk, yogurt or cheese each day. Make these of the highest quality that you can afford to buy, and try to get low-sugar yogurt most of the time.

Yogurt with Fruit

This snack packs a big nutritional punch, giving expectant mothers one serving of dairy food and one serving of fruit. The nuts provide protein to help you avoid hunger pangs later in the day

½ cup yogurt, plain or vanilla
½ cup fruit
1 tablespoon honey or other sweetener
1 tablespoon chopped almonds

Stir together the honey and yogurt. Gently fold in the fruit. Top with the chopped nuts.

Pregnancy is a wonderful time to change your diet from unhealthy to wholesome. You and your baby will both benefit from changing the way that you eat during pregnancy. Indulging in a pleasurable food item, like chocolate or ice cream, is okay, but you should limit your indulgence to perhaps two or three times a week!

“Katie Moore has written and submitted this article. Katie is an active blogger who discusses the topics of, motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter, @moorekm26.”

Posted by: sararober | December 1, 2010

Ready Your Family

“Marilyn Gee of Sugar City, Idaho, was unloading grocery sacks when a neighbor ran into her kitchen with the news that the Teton Dam had burst. “Get your kids and get out. There’s no time to take anything with you!”

Marilyn screamed at the kids to get in the car. “I figured we would be gone three or four hours so I grabbed some oranges and bananas, a box of graham crackers, some diapers for Shawn, and my purse. We pulled out of the driveway, not dreaming we would never see our home again in one piece.”

Their home was washed away in the flood’s fury. They found it days later—a pile of debris smashed into some trees.” –  Marvin K. Gardner

 

We live in a world where natural disasters could strike at any moment. Although emergency preparedness is continuously stressed, probably no one ever feels completely ready. Like in Marilyn’s case, disasters often strike without any warning, and then it’s too late to prepare. But preparing now can help you and your family feel more secure and prepared when disaster hits.

There are four major steps we need to take towards preparedness: Make a Plan, Get a Kit, Be Informed, and Get Involved.

Make a Plan. Because disasters can happen at any time and anywhere, it is important that your family emergency plan includes how and where your family will reunite in case you get separated. Pick three places to meet: one right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire. Decide on another location in your neighborhood and lastly, a regional meeting place in case you can’t return home. You should also plan what you will do if water, natural gas, electricity, or telephone services are not available.

Get a Kit. When emergencies or disasters strike, having adequate emergency supplies on hand are extremely important. One kit that I’m sure many of you have heard about is the 72-hour kit. A 72-hour kit should be made for each member of your family and should include enough supplies to take care of their needs for at least three days. A complete list of items that should go into a 72-hour kit can be found here. Another form of preparedness is developing a year’s supply of food, water, clothing, and, where possible, fuel.

Be Informed. No matter where you live, make sure you understand what types of disaster can occur in your area and what you will do in each case. You can contact your local emergency management office to ask them what types of disaster are most likely to happen and how you can prepare for them. Also know about any community warning signals: what they sound like and what you should do if they sound.

Get Involved. There are a variety of ways to get involved to ensure that you, your family, and families around the globe are prepared when disaster strikes. See the “Get Involved” tab above find out how!

Posted by: sararober | December 1, 2010

Active Moms-To-Be!

So this post is some research I did for my twin sister who is currently pregnant. Being a health major I have taken it upon myself to make sure she is doing everything she can to have a healthy pregnancy. My friend and I have started planning a workout program to keep healthy and fit. My sister, not being able to do some the of weight lifting and intensive workouts we have planned, wanted to know what would be some good workouts for her to do while she is pregnant. I was able to find some great information from our very own Utah County Women, Infant, and Children program website.

In my research I found that women who are pregnant can do a variety of different exercises which provides many health benefits. Pregnant women who exercise have more energy, have a faster delivery, sleep better, are in better moods, have improved posture and fewer backaches.

Some recommended activities include; cycling, jogging, low-impact aerobics, mild strength training, swimming, tennis, walking, and yoga.  It is best to avoid activities that would increase your risk of falls or injury and after the first 3 months of pregnancy it is best to avoid exercising while lying on your back, since the weight of the baby could cut off blood circulation. Also try not to exercise in hot weather and remember to drink plenty of fluids. Always consult with your doctor before you begin an exercise program or if you experience serious symptoms.  In order to receive the most benefits you should exercise at least 30 minutes every day on most, if not all days of the week. But be sure not to over-due it. Listen to your body. If you feel overly exhausted or extremely sore after the workout, decrease your time and intensity.

I think exercise is one important factor the pregnant women tend to push aside, as do many of us. But, like I explained in my previous post it’s time we all made exercise a habit in our lives, not only for our own sake but for the sake of our families and children.

Posted by: sararober | November 30, 2010

Physical Activity: For the Whole Family

Ok folks it’s time to get active! Hopefully all of you have read my post on time management, so there should be no excuses that you don’t have enough time to exercise. Although most of my readers are college students and may not have children yet it is important to develop the habit of exercising now—not only for your own health benefits, but to set the example for your children or future children. According to the CDC families play an important part in “helping youth learn to be active and stay active throughout their lives.” Being physically active helps to build strong bones and muscles, decrease the chances of obesity as well as decrease the risks for other chronic diseases, and also helps to reduce anxiety and depression.

The first step is to learn to make physical activity a part of your everyday life. Growing up (and even to this day) I have watched both of my parents exercise daily. My dad is an avid mountain biker. Ever since I can remember he has gotten up every morning, rain or snow, to go bike riding. He would even convince my siblings and me to go riding with him on occasion. My mom has also lived an active lifestyle since the time I was young. Even though I no longer live at home I know if I call my house between 7am-8am no one will answer because they’re off exercising. We also did many physical activities as a family growing up such as; hiking, going for a walk after dinner, bike riding, playing sports, etc.

Remember that it is NEVER too late to start! There are many different things you can do to include more physical activity into your daily life. Here are some things that the American Heart Association listed to help you on your way (for the full list click here):

  • Do housework
  • Walk or bike instead of driving
  • Stand up while talking on the telephone
  • Park farther away and walk the extra distance
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Plan family outings and vacations that include physical activity (hiking, backpacking, swimming, etc.)
  • See the sights in new cities by walking, jogging, or bicycling
  • Play your favorite music while exercising, something that motivates you
  • Dance with someone or by yourself
Posted by: sararober | November 24, 2010

‘Tis The Season to Eat Healthy

The holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends, but for many of us it becomes a time of over-eating and weight-gain.  We conveniently forget about health and diet and tend to over-indulge at any chance we get. Well this is the year to take control, so when January 1st comes around you won’t have to stress about losing the weight you gained over the holidays.

The first step to eating healthy this holiday is to ENJOY YOURSELF! What would the holidays be like without those tempting favorites? The key is to eating foods that are high in sugar and fat is to eat smaller portions and use a bit of restraint. Along with these foods make sure you and your family are getting enough of the nutritional foods your bodies need such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. If you are hosting a holiday event or are asked to bring a type of food, try to look for healthy substitutes for ingredients when you whip up your favorite holiday dish. You may be able to use low-fat or skim milk products instead of whole milk products in some dishes. In some baked goods, you can swap applesauce for oil. Switching ingredients can create tasty results without the high calories that often come with rich foods.

Some other helpful tips to helping you and your family eat healthy this holiday season (provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration) are:

  • Eat smaller portions of food. This is especially important at a buffet, where you may want to try everything. Choose the items you want to try the most, and eat a small portion of each.
  • Eat slowly. Many times, people eat so fast that their stomachs don’t have enough time to register that they are full. Savor each bite and enjoy the taste of the food-chances are you will eat less.
  • After a meal, go for a walk with your family to see holiday displays in your neighborhood.
  • Offer to bring a low-calorie dish to holiday parties. Your host might appreciate it, and you’ll know that at least one healthy item will be on hand.
  • Don’t park yourself in front of the buffet at a party. Mingle! If you stand by the buffet, you’ll eat more than you would if it was across the room.
  • Avoid fast food. The holiday season can keep you on the go with little time to prepare meals. Fast food may be handy, but often is high in fat. Prepare and freeze quick, healthy meals ahead of time to stay out of the fast food trap.
  • Be realistic. Don’t try to diet during the holidays; just aim to maintain your present weight.

With Thanksgiving  just days away here are some great recipes to help make your meal more nutritious. Personally my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner is the mashed potatoes. Here is a low-fat garlic potato recipe that I’ve actually made and LOVE. Enjoy!

Garlic Mashed Potatoes – serves 8

3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

6 garlic cloves, separated and peeled

1/2 cup fat-free milk

1 tablespoon trans fat-free margarine

Ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

In a large stockpot, cover the potatoes with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes thoroughly and return to the stockpot.

In a small saucepan, cover the garlic with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the garlic.

In a food processor or blender, combine the garlic and milk. Puree until smooth. Add the pureed garlic and the margarine to the potatoes. Mash to desired consistency. Season with black pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Posted by: sararober | November 22, 2010

Become the Master of Your Time

Stress is a part of everyone’s lives. Stress is important because it helps us become our best; however, too much stress can become hazardous to our health. Time management— or the lack there of— is one of the biggest producers of stress. In today’s fast paced world of busy schedules and constant going, it often feels like there is never enough time in the day. On top of the many things we need to get done there are many different distractions that steer us away from what is most important.

In school I am currently taking a stress management class where we have recently been covering time management. I’ve learned a great deal and feel it is important that everyone learn a few time managing skills to help make their lives less stressful and more worthwhile.

The first step to time management is to realize your priorities—what is most important. The influential writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “Don’t let the things which matter most be at the mercy of things which matter least.” We often waste our time watching television, surfing the web/Facebook, or doing other unimportant activities and then stress that we do not have enough time to finish the important things (school assignments, building relationships, exercise, etc.) Once you know what your priorities are you can then organize your time around them. Here are some tips to help you towards managing your time a little better (for more information on each area click here):

1.   Make a Time Diary

2.   Learn to Say “No”

3.   Create a To-Do List

4.   Make Good Use of “Prime Time Wasting Areas” (time in between classes, waiting          for a bus, etc.)

5.   Eliminate Distractions

6.   Reward Yourself

Since learning about how to manage my time better, I have honestly felt less stressed. My days are more productive and I spend less time fretting about upcoming assignments and obligations. Guarantee I am still nowhere near perfect at managing my time but it’s amazing how a little step in the right direction can change your life. Good luck!

Posted by: sararober | November 22, 2010

Health Through the Holidays

With the holidays just around the corner it’s time to start thinking about what you are going to do to keep you and your family healthy this season. The holidays are a time of joy, fun, love, and giving. We spends days preparing a lavish turkey dinner and spend countless hours Christmas shopping, gift wrapping, Christmas caroling, building snowmen, and baking holiday goodies. But in all the chaos do we take the time to worry about our own health? With a giant list of “things-to-do”, family to see, places to go, and finals to take, who wants to spend time being ill? No one—that’s who!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has therefore developed a list of twelve things that we can do to stay safe and healthy this holiday season.

1.   Wash Hands

Keeping your hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to other. If you are around people a lot (school, work, church, etc) carrying a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you is another great tip for avoiding germs.

2.   Bundle up for warmth

Cold temperatures can often cause serious health problems, especially in infants and older adults. Stay dry, and dress in several layers of loose-fitting, tightly woven clothing to stay warm.

3.   Manage stress

The holidays don’t need to take a toll on your health. Try to avoid over-commitment and over-spending. Balance work, home, and play. Get support from family and friends. Practice time management. And keep a relaxed and positive outlook.

4.   Don’t drink and drive

5.   BE SMOKE-FREE

6.   Fasten belts while driving

Always wear a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle and appropriately buckle in your children.

7.   Get exams and screenings

8.   Get your vaccinations

9.   Monitor the children

Children are at high risk for injuries that can lead to death or disability. Keep a watchful eye on your kids where they’re playing or eating and keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, choking hazards, household items and other objects our of kids’ reach.

10.   Practice fire safety

Most residential fires occur during the winter months. Keep candles away from children, pets, walkways, trees, and curtains. Never leave fireplaces, stoves, or candles unattended. Don’t use generators, grills, or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning devices inside your home or garage. Install a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in your home. Test them once a month, and replace batteries twice a year.

11.   Prepare dinner safely

As you prepare holiday meals, keep you and your family safe from food-related illness. Wash hands and surfaces often. Avoid cross contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs (including their juices) away from ready-to-eat foods and eating surfaces. Cook foods to the proper temperature. Refrigerate promptly. Do not leave perishable foods out for more than two hours.

12.   Eat well and get moving

With balance and moderation, you can enjoy the holidays the healthy way. Choose fresh fruit as a festive and sweet substitute for candy. Select just one or two of your favorites from the host of tempting foods. Find fun ways to stay active, such as dancing to your favorite holiday music. Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.

To help you remember this list, the CDC has put it tune Twelve Days of Christmas. I know our schedules are busy, but we should never be too busy where we jeopardize our health and safe. Happy Holidays!

Posted by: sararober | November 5, 2010

How to Protect Your Family This Flu Season

Fall is officially upon us. Leaves are falling; chilly weather is beginning set it; and people everywhere are coming down with the flu. You may have noticed big signs around your community exclaiming, “Get your flu shots here!” or “Flu shots now available!” With flu season already in motion, it’s time you started thinking about protecting you and your family from the highly contagious disease call influenza, or commonly known as the “flu”.

If you’ve ever had the flu you have probably experienced a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, and tiredness.  For most people the symptoms will clear up in a week or two and you’ll be back to your usual, daily activities; however, people at higher risk from the flu may experience severe complications that require hospitalization or may even result in death. High risk groups include people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, and young children.

Although there are many ways to help prevent the flu, the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu. Even though the flu season started in September it is never too late to go get vaccinated. Also I know many of us still worry and wonder about the prevalence of the H1N1 flu this year which was a nationwide pandemic in 2009 and infected millions of people. However, you will be thrilled to hear that you are protected from the H1N1 flu infection of 2009 if you have received the current flu vaccine as well as various other strains of the influenza virus.

I think many times we tend to over-look the serious consequential possibilities of the flu. Getting vaccinated every year may seem like a hassle or even unnecessary.  Maybe you simply don’t like shots; luckily for you there is a nasal spray vaccine that you can take—no shot required—as long as you’re healthy and between the ages of 2-49 years of age. Regardless of the excuse, the flu vaccine is really the only way to fully protect you and your family, especially your children who are currently in school, from the dreaded flu. Don’t let the flu take control over your life. Get vaccinated!

Other preventative and protective measures include:

  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

If you want to do more research or want more information about the flu or the flu vaccine some great resources are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and Flu.gov.

Posted by: sararober | October 28, 2010

It’s Dinnertime!

Today our lives have become jam-packed with things to do and places to go. We are constantly looking for fast solutions that will save us time, but maybe in our rush we are overlooking what is most important—family time. Think about what your family dinners are like. Do family members dish up there plates then retreat back to their individual rooms and activities? Is dinner set out and then reheated in the microwave as family members come and go? When your family sits down for dinner, is your attention focused on the television or other devices?

In today’s technological age of cell phones, the internet, and televisions we often become distracted and separated from important human interactions. More and more of our time is spent outside of the home and away from our families. However, many experts have confirmed through research the benefits of family time, particularly nightly family dinners.

Studies have shown that children who have regular family dinners are less likely to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders and consider suicide, and are more likely to do well in school, delay having sex, eat their vegetables, and learn big words. In addition, children are also more likely to feel that their parents are proud of them and less likely to report tension between family members.

From proven research it is obvious that the benefits of regular family dinner time are great and worth taking time out of our busy schedules and taking a break from the computer, TV, and/or cell phone. For some families sitting down together for dinner is thought as a hassle, but researchers found that essentially family dinner gets better with practice. The more a family eats together the better the experience is likely to be, the more healthy the food and the more abundant the conversation.

Children are in desperate need of this family interaction, a sense of protection, and support. Set a goal to make time for family dinners on a regular basis. Plan healthy meals that your family can enjoy together. Encourage conversations and get to know what is going on in your children’s lives. And lastly, turn off the TV and other distracting devices during dinnertime and pledge your time and attention to what matters most.

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