About the author  ⁄ KyAnn Lewis

An Ancient Home Remedy That Works: Sinus Rinses

Home remedies passed down from generation-to-generation often don’t do much to cure an ailment. However, there’s one ancient home remedy that really can help you breathe easier.

Doctors are endorsing sinus rinuses. Maybe you’ve seen the sinus rinse bottles or Neti Pots at a pharmacy near you and wondered what they’re for and why and, perhaps, how to use them.

Unlucky for me, I’m one of the 36 million Americans who have chronic sinus troubles. I have to be honest; the thought of flushing my nose with saline water really grossed me out. Then I started getting sinus infections over and over again. I had six in one year and at that point, I was willing to try just about anything to stop the vicious cycle. And guess what? I started rinsing and I started feeling better.

Dr. Donald Donovan, otolaryngologist at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, says that nasal irrigation is the ancient Hindu practice of using warm salt water (or saline) to flush out the gunk that builds up in nasal passages and causes infections.

“This is one home remedy that works,” Dr. Donovan says. “We have seen it work well in people with stuffiness, sinus pain and other chronic conditions. If you do it right, it can be very soothing and effective.”

The saline solution is simple to make: just add ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to about 8 ounces of water. Dr. Donovan explains that you need to use kosher salt because it doesn’t have iodine or additives that can irritate the nose. If you don’t want to make it yourself, NeilMed makes pre-mixed packets that you can buy at your neighborhood pharmacy. To get the solution into your nose, you can purchase an inexpensive pot or bottle which is also available at most pharmacies or can be purchased online. They usually only cost a few bucks.

However, Dr. Donovan warns that nasal irrigation won’t get rid of an infection once it has taken hold in your body. “You can use irrigation to clear out thick secretions caused by a cold but it won’t get rid of the infection. You either have to use medication to reduce inflammation or let the infection run its course.”

Also, if you’re a chronic allergy sufferer, irrigation may help alleviate some symptoms in the short term, but Donovan says more traditional treatments are usually needed.

Another positive? “Nasal irrigation is inexpensive enough to just stop if you find it’s not for you,” Donovan adds. “Many people swear by it, because it’s safe and natural. And it is very easy.”

Have you ever tried a saline rinse? What home remedies work for you?

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3 Steps To Properly Popping A Pimple

It’s OK to pop a pimple. Once in awhile. If you really have to. It’s OK.

We got permission from New York City Dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD. Dr. Jaliman says, “Sometimes you have to pop a pimple. But you need to do it correctly.” Here’s her three step trick:

  1. First, clean it with alcohol.
  2. If there’s pus at the surface, Dr. Jaliman says you should gently push on it with a comedone extractor using even pressure. A comedone extractor is a stainless steel tool which either has a loop or hole which fits around a blackhead or whitehead which is extracted by using pressure. They’re sold at drugstores and beauty supply stores like Sephora.
  3. After popping, apply an antibacterial product (like Neosporin, tea tree oil, bacitracin, etc) or some salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.

Once in awhile is one thing, but Dr. Jaliman says popping pimples on a regular basis is a bad idea. “Red spots may appear from chronic inflammation, scars if you dig too deeply into the face, and hyper pigmentation may result. Spreading the bacteria further into the skin and getting an infection are also possible risks.”

Dr. Jaliman is an assistant professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, a media spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology and a board certified dermatologist in private practice in NYC. Look for more skin care secrets from Dr. Jaliman in her recent book Skin Rules.

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Fact Or Fiction – Does The Flu Shot Make You Sick?

Have you had a flu shot this year? With flu season in full swing, now’s the time to do it. If you’ve heard the rumors that the flu shot will make you sick, keep reading.

I get the flu vaccine every year and I’ve never once gotten sick from taking the shot and I’ve (knock on wood) never had the flu. But when the flu shot lady comes to our office and starts poking people in the arms, I inevitably overhear my co-workers griping about how they don’t get the shot because one time it made them sick.

Can you really get sick from the flu shot? Because my co-workers aren’t medical professionals, I consulted with someone who actually knows the answer to this question, Dr. Joshua Septimus, an Internist at The Methodist Hospital in Houston.

Does The Flu Shot Make You Sick?

The answer is NO! Dr. Septimus says you cannot get sick from the seasonal influenza vaccine. Why do people think the flu shot makes them sick? “People have an aversion to needles. People want any excuse not to get a shot,” says Dr. Septimus. “There are all kinds of myths related to vaccines in general and this is no exception.”

What about those who insist a flu shot made them sick? Dr. Septimus says it wasn’t due to the vaccine itself. “There are lots of viruses floating around during flu season. So it might be a coincidence that you get sick around that time that you get your flu shot.”

The flu shot contains inactive viruses, meaning they cannot cause infection. The flu vaccine is also tested to make sure its safe.

Possible Side Effects

The side effects of NOT getting the vaccine are much greater than the risks associated with getting it. Dr. Septimus says that it’s common to experience redness and irritation at the injection site and there’s a very small risk of infection at the injection site. A low grade fever and muscle aches are also possible.

If you have an egg allergy, you can have an allergic reaction to the shot.

Who needs to be vaccinated?

Heading into flu season, you’ll often hear about the high-risk groups who are advised to get vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies this group as:

  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old.
  • Adults 65 years of age and older.
  • Pregnant women.
  • People with certain medical conditions including asthma, lung disease, heart disease and diabetes.
  • People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu.

The CDC and Dr. Septimus are adamant that everyone over six months old should get the flu shot every year. Simply put, Dr. Septimus says, “There is no one who should not. Everyone should get a flu shot.”

Because there is no vaccine shortage this year, rationing the vaccine for just the high-risk groups is unnecessary.

More Reasons Why

Dr. Septimus points out that the influenza kills tens of thousands of patients in the U.S. He says, “It is so under appreciated just how deadly the virus can be. Everyone should be vaccinated.”

If the prospect of death and serious illness don’t scare you, perhaps your co-workers should! If you work outside of your home, keep in mind that 80 percent of people say they come to work sick. That means that your co-workers could be putting your health at risk. You can’t control whether they get the flu shot and whether they stay home when they’ve got the crud, but you can arm yourself.

If you’re ready to get vaccinated, use this flu vaccine finder to locate the clinic closest to you.

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Cold? Flu? What’s A Parent To Do?

When your kid wakes up complaining of feeling sick, how do you know if it’s a good idea to send them to school or daycare?

“Every parent has experienced it – the hectic morning maneuvering of getting the household fed, dressed and out the door is suddenly interrupted by an inconsolable child who has a sore throat, upset stomach, sniffles or something worse,” said Dr. Jacqueline Kaari, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Osteopathic Medicine. “When that happens, parents need to be able to quickly assess their child and determine if he or she is well enough to go to school or needs to stay home, or if it’s time to call the pediatrician. Sometimes, parents will guess wrong, but if there’s one rule of thumb, it should be to always err on the side of caution.”

Because sending a sick child to school risks both worsening the child’s condition and spreading the illness to others, Dr. Kaari recommends these guidelines to help parents decide:

  • Colds. Common viral infections that can cause coughing, sneezing, runny nose, sinus pressure, sore throat and mild body aches.
    • What to do: Use child-strength, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and a cool mist humidifier to relieve symptoms. Children with colds can attend school unless their symptoms would keep them from participating in normal classroom activities. Because colds are caused by viruses, antibiotics are not an effective treatment. Instead, the cold just needs to run its course until the child recovers. Contact your pediatrician if a cough suddenly worsens or a fever develops.
  • Conjunctivitis (“pink eye”). A red, weeping eye(s) accompanied by a thick discharge that could become crusty when sleeping.
    • What to do: Contact your child’s physician for treatment which may include antibiotic eye drops. When caused by a virus or bacteria, conjunctivitis can be highly contagious. Follow the physician’s advice, but children can usually return to school 24 to 48 hours after treatment begins.
  • Fever. One of the best indicators of illness, often a companion to respiratory illness.
    • What to do: Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for low-grade fevers. Encourage the child to drink lots of fluids and avoid fatty or fried foods that are hard to digest as fevers decrease stomach activity. Keep children at home if their fever is above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius). Call a physician if a high fever lasts more than 24 hours or does not respond to medication, or if the child’s condition worsens.
  • Flu. Striking more suddenly and more intensely than a cold, the flu causes a sudden, high fever with body aches.
    • What to do: Have your child vaccinated early in the flu season to protect against this illness. A child who comes down with the flu should stay home for several days, rest and drink lots of fluids.
  • Head lice. Tiny, crawling bugs (about the size of a sesame seed) that live on the scalp and feed on blood. Itching, a sense of something moving in the hair and sores on the scalp can be signs of head lice. Head lice are not a sign of poor hygiene. The insects cannot jump or fly and are spread by human contact.
    • What to do. Under bright light, check the entire scalp closely for lice or tiny white eggs (called nits), starting at the upper neck and behind the ears. Lotions and shampoos that can kill the lice are available as either OTC or prescription items. Keep the child home from school until the lice have been completely eradicated.
  • Sore throat. A “scratchy” throat could be due to allergies or a cold. A painful throat accompanied by a headache, fever or joint pain could indicate strep throat, a bacterial infection.
    • What to do: Have the child drink a few sips of water. If that relieves the symptoms, you are likely dealing with, at worst, a viral infection that can be resolved with a few days of rest, plenty of liquids and OTC pain relievers. If you suspect strep throat, follow the fever guidelines and contact your child’s physician.
  • Stomach ache. Pain or nausea caused by a virus or food-borne bacteria, usually short-lived.
    • What to do: Keep children who have been vomiting home from school. Wait an hour after the child vomits and encourage small drinks of water. Gradually introduce clear liquids and bland foods throughout the day. Contact your pediatrician if vomiting persists beyond 24 hours, includes worsening pain at the belly button or lower right abdomen, or if the child vomits blood or green or yellow bile.
  • Whooping cough (pertussis). A highly contagious bacterial disease characterized by violent coughing, fever and a “whooping” sound when the infected individual tries to take a breath.
    • What to do: Make sure the child’s vaccinations against whooping cough are up to date. Contact the child’s physician if whooping cough is suspected as prescription medications may be able to help reduce the duration of whooping cough.

Dr. Kaari says that the average child will develop six or more infections per year, although most will be relatively mild.

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Trendy Baby Names

So you’re about to have a baby. Of course, everyone wants to know if you’re having a boy or a girl. Once you share the answer to the gender question the next one might be, “have you picked out a name?”

The pressure of picking a name is pretty overwhelming. Think about it. Your kid will have this name for his or her entire life. They’re stuck with it. Unless, of course, you pick one so terrible, they legally change it.

The baby name books, some of them bigger than a Bible, open up your eyes to the possibility of names you’d never thought of and others that you’d never even consider. Is the popularity of a name important in your decision making?

BabyCenter® , a pregnancy and parenting mobile and web destination, released the results of its annual Baby Names Survey and the Top 100 Baby Names of 2012. Based on the names of 450,000 babies born in 2012 to moms registered on the BabyCenter website, Aiden tops the boys’ list for the eighth consecutive year while Sophia holds tight to the lead for girls for the third year in a row.

Mia and Jack joined the ranks of the Top 10 list this year. BabyCenter reports that Moms also looked to new, unexpected sources for baby name inspiration this year.

“A unique or unusual name remains one of the top qualities parents seek in a baby name, but it’s trending down. What’s becoming more important to new parents is finding a name with meaning,” says Linda Murray, BabyCenter Global Editor in Chief. “Parents are looking for more substance in baby names. They want names with more significance.”

BabyCenter’s Top 10 Baby Names of 2012

Girls   Boys
Sophia  Aiden
Emma  Jackson
Olivia  Ethan
Isabella  Liam
Ava  Mason
Lily  Noah
Zoe  Lucas
Chloe  Jacob
Mia  Jayden
Madison  Jack

Moms were also influenced by pop culture. Believe it or not, some parents took inspiration from the book 50 Shades of Grey trilogy for baby name inspiration. According to date from BabyCenter, the name Grey is up nearly 20 percent, Anastasia jumped by 10 percent, and Ana climbed 35 spots, but the name Christian declined in popularity.

Other moms found their inspiration from “across the pond.” The UK influenced baby name trends this year. For instance, names of the members of the boy band One Direction are setting trends. The name “Harry” as in “Prince Harry” is also more popular. So is the name “Pippa” (the name of Kate Middleton’s sister).

It seems that even technology can set naming trends. According to BabyCenter, some parents may be naming their kiddos after their beloved smart phone. BabyCenter says, “The moniker Apple, though still an unusual choice, rose 15 percent for girls, vaulting a whopping 585 spots. For boys, the name Mac jumped 12 percent. And parents sure like the sound of Siri: The company’s voice-enabled personal assistant climbed 5 percent on the list of girl names.”

Other parents chose to look to the stars for inspiration. No, not stars as in celebrities, but as in outer space. Sky, Star, Luna, Skylar, Heaven, Stella, and Mars increased in popularity this year.

If you want to know how popular a particular name is, you can check the Social Security website to find out how a name is trending now and where it has ranked over time.

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Make More Family Time By Planning Ahead

Dinner is a time of dread for many parents. After a long day at work, getting a meal on the table for the family can be a challenge. But there are ways to make this easier on everyone. No, picking up take out or ordering a pizza is not the answer.

America’s Family Manager, Kathy Peel, shares these suggestions with Life Love Shopping:

  • Don’ re-invent the wheel.

Some of the best traditions revolve around food, says Kathy. It’s ok to have hamburgers every Saturday night. And pasta every Tuesday.

  • Follow a 3-week menu plan.

Kathy recommends that you create three weeks’ worth of dinner menus at one time. She says that you should keep it simple. After three weeks, you can just reuse the menus. Of course, you can mix it up by changing up the days when you have certain meals. She says this plan works year round.

  • Create a family menu with choices.

If you have picky eaters in your house, preparing something that everyone likes can be near impossible. Kathy advises that you get the entire family involved in meal planning. She says you should write down various meal choices. Every Sunday, you can let each famly member “order” the meal for one night that week. Then post the menu on the fridge. That way everyone knows the plan and whoever gets home first can start preparing the meal.

  • Team up with other single parents.

If you’re a single parent, it can be tough to prepare dinner plus attend to all of the other household responsibilities. Make it a little easier by teaming up with another single parent, maybe a co-worker. Here’s Kathy’s tip. You both cook double portions when preparing dinner on Monday and Wednesday nights. Then take the extra portion to the office the next day. That gives you a break on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

Grocery shopping can be a very time consuming task. It doesn’t make sense to be stopping by the store after work, just grabbing items as you need them. You can make the best use of your time by shopping on Tuesdays. Who knew?

Kathy has a bunch more meal ideas and strategies for maneuvering the grocery store in her book, The Busy Mom’s Guide To A Happy Organized Home.

What’s your trick for getting dinner on the table fast?

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Have You Ever Lied About Being Sick?

Have you ever called out sick when you weren’t? You’re not alone. In the past year, 30% of workers called in sick when they weren’t. And that’s not all we’re learning from a new Harris Interactive© survey.

If you think you’re gonna get away with it, you’d better be really good at faking it cause 29% of bosses have checked up on an employee to verify that the illness is legitimate. Some of the ways that the boss is checking up on you includes getting your co-workers to call you or by driving-by your house.

Next to actually being sick, the most common reasons employees call in sick are because they just don’t feel like going to work (34%), or because they felt like they needed to relax (29%). Others take the day off so they can make it to a doctor’s appointment (22%), catch up on sleep (16%), or run some errands (15%).

Some of the craziest excuses that bosses have heard include:

  • Employee’s sobriety tool wouldn’t allow the car to start
  • Employee forgot he had been hired for the job
  • Employee said her dog was having a nervous breakdown
  • Employee’s dead grandmother was being exhumed for a police investigation
  • Employee’s toe was stuck in a faucet
  • Employee said a bird bit her
  • Employee was upset after watching “The Hunger Games”
  • Employee got sick from reading too much
  • Employee was suffering from a broken heart
  • Employee’s hair turned orange from dying her hair at home

Be warned, 17% of employers have fired employees for giving a fake excuse.

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,494 U.S. hiring managers and human resource professionals and 3,976 U.S. workers.

 

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What To Expect At Your First Mammogram

About to get your first mammogram? I’m sure you’ve heard other women talk about how uncomfortable it is. I’ll be honest, it’s not fun, but it’s not horrible either.

Obviously, if your doctor ordered a mammogram due to a health concern, your stress is understandable.

But if you’ve hit the age when it’s time to start getting a mammogram as part of an annual screening, here’s my advice to make it just a little bit easier:

  1. Think of it like any other medical screening or procedure. It’s not something you really want to do, but it’s essential to your overall health.
  2. Make your appointment in the morning. Get it out of the way so you don’t sit at work stressing about it. Wake up, get your mammogram done and get on with your day.
  3. Don’t wear a dress or a one-piece clothing item. You’ll be asked to strip from the waist up and put on one of those hideous hospital gowns. If you’re wearing pants underneath it you’ll feel less exposed. Wear a dress and you’ll be standing there in your undies.
  4. Don’t wear deodorant. If you do, you’ll have to wipe it off. Your clinic may provide some deodorant there, but you may prefer to bring your own to apply after your mammogram is over.
  5. It’s kind of weird letting a stranger handle your breasts, but just remember that it’s the technician’s job. They do it all the time so you shouldn’t feel self-conscious.

As for the pain, I didn’t think it was that bad. Uncomfortable and awkward? Definitely. But each woman’s breasts are different as is their tolerance for pain.

You can always pop a few Tylenol or Advil before your appointment if you’re concerned about the possible pain.

The good news is that the mammogram itself doesn’t take that long. When it’s over you’ll probably wonder why you got so stressed out about it to begin with.

If you don’t have insurance or can’t afford a screening, you may be eligible for a no-cost or low cost screening.

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Foodie Find: Barbecue With A Backstory

With so many delicious barbecue sauces on the market, it can be hard to choose just one. Today’s “foodie find” is Grandma Izetta’s Kansas Roadhouse Barbecue Sauce. I picked this sauce for two reasons, first, because it’s tasty and, second, because it has a fun story.

Jonathan Momfort is the Founder and Owner of Nostalgic Kitchen – and the keeper of Grandma Izetta’s secret sauce recipe. Momfort explains, “Grandma Izetta’s Kansas Roadhouse BBQ Sauce is a family-owned recipe, dating back to 1938. Izetta ran a successful roadhouse restaurant in her hometown of Russell, Kansas. When she bought the place, the BBQ sauce recipe was a separate price – $150 ($2,300 in today’s dollars). Izetta knew she had to have the recipe. It’s what made the restaurant so popular, so she put up her china as collateral.”

Even after the restaurant closed in the 1950s, the sauce recipe remained a secret. When Izetta passed away, she bequeathed it in her will to her only child, Hathalie. And before Hathalie passed away, she gave it to her son, Jonathan.

Jonathan says when he asked his mom for the recipe, she said, “Yes, but only if you do something with it.” He did, he launched the BBQ sauce in honor of Grandma Izetta.

The 74-year-old recipe remains under wraps, but the sauce can be ordered online. Jonathan was willing to share instructions for making a dish that would have been popular in his Grandma’s day. In the 30′s a roast was pricey. So the extended family would pool money together and buy ground beef and make a hearty meatloaf on Sunday. With Fall fast approaching, make this meatloaf in your own kitchen.

50/50 Recession Roast

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • ½ pound ground turkey
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • 1, 16 ounce bottle Izetta’s Kansas Roadhouse BBQ Sauce
  • 1 tbsp hot mustard
  • 1 squeeze garlic from tube (at grocery store in produce section)
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire
  • Dash crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 egg

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Heat small skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add onion and cook 5 minutes until tender. Cool.
3. In bowl, combine all other ingredients, reserving 3 tbsp of the barbecue sauce and 1 tbsp grated Parmesan.
4. Place meat on greased cookie sheet and shape into a loaf. Brush with the remaining 3 tbsp Izetta’s Kansas Roadhouse BBQ Sauce and sprinkle 1 tbsp parmesan on top.
5. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until thermometer hits 160. Let sit for 10 minutes.
6. Slice and serve.
Photos courtesy of Nostalgic Kitchen/Grandma Izetta’s Barbecue Sauce
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5 Habits That Destroy Your Smile

CHICAGO, Oct. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ –Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Steven A. Ghareeb, DDS, FAGD, offers advice on how to keep your smile healthy and pretty by avoiding these five bad oral health habits.

1. Not flossing
Brushing your teeth twice a day is important, but many patients don’t realize that flossing at least once a day is just as critical to achieving—and maintaining—a healthy smile. Flossing removes the cavity-causing bacteria left behind from food particles that get stuck between teeth. “Although bleeding and irritation sometimes can occur when you first start flossing, it’s important to keep at it,” says Dr. Ghareeb. “Your gums will toughen up and your oral health will be better for it.”

2. Brushing too soon after eating
Consuming acidic foods and beverages, such as sports and energy drinks, citrus fruits, wine, and tomatoes, can erode tooth enamel—the glossy outer layer of the tooth. Brushing your teeth too soon after eating and drinking these items can cause more damage because you are essentially brushing the acid into the teeth, not getting rid of it. Instead, you should rinse your mouth with water after consuming acidic foods and beverages and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your pearly whites!

3. Not replacing your toothbrush often enough
Not only are old toothbrushes ineffective, but they also harbor harmful bacteria that can cause infections. Toothbrushes should be changed every three to four months. “It’s also important to change your toothbrush after you’ve had a cold,” says Dr. Ghareeb.

4. Excessively bleaching your teeth
Overzealous bleaching can cause your teeth to look unnaturally white and increase tooth sensitivity. Before using an at-home bleaching product, talk to your dentist. “He or she can advise you on proper use of these products as well as which type of bleaching system will provide you with the best results,” says Dr. Ghareeb.

5. Using a hard-bristled toothbrush
A hard-bristled toothbrush coupled with an aggressive brushing technique can cause irreversible damage to your gums. Use a soft toothbrush and gently brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle, in a circular motion. Using a back-and-forth, sawing motion causes the gums to recede, and can expose the root of the tooth, making teeth extremely sensitive.

To learn more about good oral health habits, talk to your dentist and visit www.KnowYourTeeth.com .

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