Keeping School Kids Healthy

Getting the kids back in school is usually a welcome change for parents. Not quite as welcome are the cold and flu viruses that start to circulate this season as fall arrives and students spend more time in close quarters.

While viral illnesses are sometimes unavoidable, there are many things you can do to protect your

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Hand washing is one of several ways to avoid getting sick.

family – keeping them healthier and less prone to infections.

  • One survey showed that the top recommendation from school nurses to avoid getting sick was to practice routine hand washing. Kids need to be taught how and when to wash their hands and to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth without washing hands first.
  • Keep nutrition a priority. Eating a variety of healthy, unprocessed foods each day ensures that kids get the nutrients needed for a healthy immune system
  • Get adequate rest. Sleep is also necessary for the immune system to work at its best. Practice good sleep hygiene so everyone recharges.

On the other hand, it’s also important to know what to do to avoid spreading illness if someone in your family becomes ill. Keep sick kids at home and practice good hygiene in public places like the grocery store. Also, teach kids to always cover their nose and mouth with their elbow when coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of airborne germs and to keep the hands clean.

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Dr. Doormat – 24″x36″ & 18″x24″

 

Don’t forget – placing Dr. Doormat at the entrance of your home keeps germs out. By zapping the nasty grime on contact, it adds the extra point of protection for your home.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Why Wait Until the New Year? Setting Fall Resolutions

It’s hard to believe, but another school year is here. It’s the time of year when we settle into a fresh routine, full of beginnings.

It’s obvious that the new school year is a fresh start for kids as they settle into a new classroom and make new friends. But it’s actually a great time for reinvention and goal-setting for moms, too!

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Now is a great time to go after what you want.

Don’t wait until the New Year to go after what you want – now is a great time to start.

Setting Effective Goals

There are a few tried-and-true steps you can take to set effective goals.

  1. Write them down! Studies repeatedly show that writing down goals vastly increases the odds of success.
  2. Get clear on where you want to be. Want to be healthier? Define what that means to you, whether it’s a weight loss goal or having more energy.
  3. Break your goal into actionable steps and build habits that will get you there. Leading off of the same example, if your goal is to have more energy, build habits into your daily routine like exercise, drinking fresh juice, and getting to bed on time each night.
  4. Remind yourself of your goals daily. Often, life gets in the way of the things we want to accomplish and we let our goals fizzle out. To avoid this, place reminders to yourself where you will see them each day. Notes on your bathroom mirror, or in your car are a great idea.
  5. Set yourself up for success. Using the power of momentum to achieve your goals is so helpful. An example of this is taking the first step toward doing what it takes to meet your goals. For example, if you want to work out every day, commit to dressing in your workout gear and driving to the gym. Tell yourself that if you get there, and still don’t feel like a workout, you can leave. Chances are that you will already be invested by the time you show up and follow through with what you set out to do.

What goals are you setting this fall? Are you getting up earlier? Taking more time for yourself? Being more involved at school? I want to know!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

You’ve probably heard plenty about how important it is to get enough sleep. For many of us, it’s easier to make sure our kids get the rest they need than to take the time to recharge ourselves.

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How’s your sleep hygiene?

Not sure if you and your family are getting enough sleep? These questions will help you determine whether or not you’re getting the rest your body really needs.

  1. Are you thinking clearly? Sleep deprivation is a major cause in lack of focus, memory, and decision making skills. So, if you’re cramming extra work into the wee hours of the night, know that you’re actually harming your productivity in the long run. It’s not worth it!
  2. Are you depressed? Depression often manifests as a result of poor sleep habits and other negative lifestyle factors. Get plenty of sleep, eat right, and exercise – and see how your mood improves.
  3. Are you gaining weight? Sleep loss leads to weight gain for a couple of reasons: one is that the hormones which regulate our metabolism don’t function right if we don’t recharge. Another is that people who stay up late simply tend to eat more calories over the course of the day (but unfortunately, on average, don’t burn more!).
  4. Are you a loose cannon? Sleep deprivation causes anxiety, poor stress reaction, and other mood issues. Again – make the choice to take care of your body and watch your mood improve drastically.
  5. Are you addicted to caffeine? A cup of coffee in the morning won’t hurt you – and in fact is a healthy source of antioxidants – but if you find yourself chugging it down all day long, it might be time to look at your sleep habits.
  6. Are you dragging yourself out of bed in the morning? You might not jump out of bed in the morning, but it shouldn’t be a huge challenge just to start your day.
  7. Do you doze off during the day? A quick cat-nap during the day is actually not a bad thing – as long as it’s intentional. If, however, you find yourself dozing off at your desk or other places, you probably need to be getting more sleep at night.

The same concepts apply to kids: when it comes to behavioral issues, take into account how sleep habits, diet, and exercise might help improve the situation. If you notice a child breathing heavily while napping or even snoring, check with your Dr. and ask to have the adenoids or tonsils checked. For adults it’s recommended to contact a sleep center and have sleep patterns observed professionally. Sleep apnea is a common condition that can be addressed with help.

Each person needs an average of 7-9 hours of sleep. Everyone’s different – the exact amount Last May (which is Better Sleep Month), we shared tips on how to get a great night’s sleep. See how you can implement some of those into your family’s lifestyle as you settle into the new back-to-school routine.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Protecting Kids and Pets from Toxic Algae in Lakes

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Keep your family and pets safe from toxic algae in lakes.

Algal bloom is a normal, naturally occurring event in marine environments. While some algae is completely harmless, harmful algal blooms (HABs) are becoming increasingly common. Some experts speculate that the rise in HAB events is linked to climate change and pollution.

HABs are linked to large-scale marine mortality events and shellfish poisoning in humans. They can damage water sources and cause health problems in humans and animals who come in contact with the water. According to Wikipedia, there are a number of serious harmful effects:

Examples of common harmful effects of HABs include:

1. the production of neurotoxins which cause mass mortalities in fish, seabirds, sea turtles, and marine mammals
2. human illness or death via consumption of seafood contaminated by toxic algae
3. mechanical damage to other organisms, such as disruption of epithelial gill tissues in fish, resulting in asphyxiation
4. oxygen depletion of the water column (hypoxia or anoxia) from cellular respiration and bacterial degradation

Freshwater events are the main threat to animals. Blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria) is poisonous to cats, dogs, horses, and humans. Contamination is possible not only by drinking the water, but through skin absorption as well. Children and toddlers are especially at risk, thanks to their lower body weight.

To avoid algae poisoning, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln recommends:

1. Be aware of areas with thick clumps of algae and keep animals and children away from the water.
2. Do not wade or swim in water containing visible algae. Avoid direct contact with algae.
3. Make sure children are supervised at all times when they are near water. Drowning, not exposure to toxic algae, remains the greatest hazard of water recreation.
4. If you do come in contact with the algae, rinse off with fresh water as soon as possible.
5. Do not boat or water ski through algae blooms.
6. Do not drink the water, and avoid any situation that could lead to swallowing the water.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Impetigo: What You Need to Know

Impetigo is a bacterial skin infection more common in children than adults. It’s highly contagious and is more common during the warm, humid months of the year. While impetigo isn’t serious, it is unpleasant to deal with. Here’s what you need to know.

Recognizing Impetigo

Impetigo occurs in two forms: Bullous and Non-bullous. Non-bullous impetigo is more common and is caused by the Staphylococcus (staph) and Streptococcus (strep) strains of bacteria.

MedicineNet offers a comparison and photos of both types of Impetigo.

Impetigo can often look like other types of skin rashes, including poison ivy, chicken pox, and eczema. A culture test can determine whether or not a rash is impetigo if visual observation doesn’t suffice.

Causes and Prevention

Insect bites and flesh wounds can lead to impetigo, especially if they are not kept clean or “left alone.” For example, scratching mosquito bites (especially with dirty nails!) is one way a lot of people become infected. Animal bites can also lead to impetigo quite easily without proper wound care. And of course, impetigo is very contagious between humans.

It can be difficult to keep impetigo from spreading, as it’s highly contagious – especially among family members or anyone else in close quarters. Skin to skin contact, or even contact with the same towels or bedding can spread the infection. Children can also easily spread the infection to other families in day care centers, schools, and swimming pools. It’s good to stay home if you have this rash to avoid infecting others.

Routine hand washing is an important preventative measure, as with most types of infections!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Camping with Kids

Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and make lasting family memories. Whether you’re pitching a tent or cruising the countryside in an RV, here are a few things to keep in mind to stay safe and be well on your trip. camping 300x225 Camping with Kids

  1. Bring plenty of water. Having enough water for drinking and cooking is crucial. Since it’s not always possible to verify a safe, clean source of water at your campsite, bringing water with you rules out any problems.
  2. Pack sunscreen, DEET-free bug repellant (if you must use DEET to protect against ticks make sure you only apply to clothing and not directly to skin), first aid supplies and any important medications. Try a natural, all-in-one product that soothes burns, stings, and wounds. Before you leave, get an unscented soap and shampoo. Use them before leaving and bring them with on extended trips. Often, bugs are attracted to the fragrances in our personal care products.
  3. Cover basic fire safety guidelines for the wilderness. Learn to start a fire for warmth and cooking and how to keep it under control.
  4. Implement a buddy system so that no one goes anywhere alone. Give kids a whistle to wear around their neck and teach them to blow it if they get lost.
  5. Inform kids about common camping dangers and how to deal with them.
  6. Avoid poison ivy and check for ticks often, especially after hikes or being in wooded areas.

Sending your kids off to summer camp? I’ve got some tips for you, too!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Summer Safety at the Swimming Pool

Nothing says “Summer Fun” like a trip to the local swimming pool, but your fun can quickly be spoiled by an injury or worse if you don’t follow some basic safety guidelines. Keep these in mind as you head off to the pool!

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Keep your trip to the pool safe and fun with these pool safety guidelines.

Supervision

Children should always be supervised when swimming in the pool. Small children should be within an arm’s reach of an adult at all times. And of course, the supervising adult should be able to swim well!

Off Limits at The Pool

Some things should not be poolside for safety reasons, including:

  • Electrical appliances – radios and other appliances can cause electric shock at the pool
  • Tricycles, bikes, and walkers – poolside is not the place to play with these particular items
  • Use only plasticware for drinking or eating to prevent broken glass near a pool.
  • Running – it’s all too easy to slip and fall

Swimming Lessons

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends swimming lessons for children aged 4 years and older. Learning to swim well is the most empowering thing families can do to stay safe at the pool! Personally I started my kids at age 2 because we were surrounded by water in the summer and it proved to be a good idea.

Pool Hygiene

Shower before and after using the swimming pool. Not only is this the most hygienic practice, it helps protect hair and skin from chlorine. Pull long hair back away from the face and tie it back. Use of swimming goggles helps to protect the eyes from strong chemicals.

Swim diapers should be changed immediately upon soiling. While swim diapers do help contain waste, they are not leak proof.

Prevent swimmer’s ear by keeping your ears as dry as possible. Dry them with a towel after diving, and wear a swimming cap if your ears are especially sensitive. For kids that have a propensity to ear infections I don’t recommend diving, jumping in, cannon balls or handstands. These activities can cause the water to shoot up inside the ear and get stuck. Try the silicone putty earplugs and a variety of ear drying aids are available at your local pharmacy.

Safe Diving

Find out how deep the water is first. Never dive in the shallow side of a pool and only those who can swim well should attempt diving. Learning to dive from a professional swimming instructor is the safest way to learn.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Bicycle Safety Tips

Riding a bicycle is a great way to stay fit, encourage independence in kids, and have fun! There are some bicycle safety concerns to be aware of, though. According to the CDC, bicyclists face a higher risk of injury than motor vehicle occupants do. Bicycles are even legally considered vehicles in many states.

Avoid injury by observing these basic bicycle safety tips.

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Follow these bicycle safety tips to avoid injury!

Wear a Helmet

Protect your brain from injury by wearing a properly fitted helmet. Check kids’ helmets for proper fit.

Maintain Your Bicycle

Is your bicycle well-maintained? Check the following regularly:

  • Proper fit.
  • Tire air pressure.
  • Brakes.

Be Seen (and Heard)

The most common type of collision between cyclists and motor vehicles is a “right cross,” which is when I car is pulling out of a parked position on the cyclists’ right. This and other collisions usually occur because the driver of the motor vehicle doesn’t see the bicyclist approaching. Be seen and heard more easily by:

  • Wearing bright and/or reflective clothing.
  • Using a headlamp at night.
  • Waving when approaching a car ready to pull out.
  • Shouting, ringing a bell, or honking a horn when approaching cars.

Of course, always ride defensively and slow to a possible stop if you don’t make eye contact with a driver pulling out.

Ride Smart

Don’t forget the rules of the road. Learn your community’s local laws on bicycling on the road amidst motor traffic.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Keep Your Family Safe at Summer Events!

Many of us are visiting theme parks, fairs, and other events with our families in the next few months. These trips are so much fun and a great way to make family memories. Keep your experience positive by observing these safety precautions.

Preventing and Planning for Separation

Losing track of a child in a crowded, unfamilar area is a nightmare for any parent. You can reduce the odds of this happening by talking with older children about why it’s important to stay together. Larger families and groups might even find a “buddy system” useful.

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Keep your family safe with these event safety tips!

Smaller children can be a a bigger concern. Baby carriers can be used to carry children up to 35 pounds. Having little ones in a stroller can help as well, but they are more difficult to navigate through crowds. And if there was ever a time and place for a child safety harness, it’s at the theme park with a toddler!

No matter how well you plan, crowds make it easier to get separated. There are a number of ways to plan ahead and make the best of a bad situation if it does happen:

  • Teach kids your cell phone number as soon as they are able to learn!
  • Teach kids how to find a phone in a public situation or locate a trustworthy adult such as an employee or police officer, depending on their age.
  • You can find or make bracelets with your phone number, or write it on their clothing or skin with a marker. Also write on paper and pin inside their pocket.
  • There are GPS clips available that you can attach to a necklace or pin to clothing, which can then be located with a cell phone app.

Stay Hydrated

Bring your own water to events, if you can. Staying hydrated when spending extended time outside is crucial, and you’ll appreciate not paying an arm and a leg for bottled water!

Wear Sun Protection

Sun screen is a must at any outdoor event! Slather it on before you head out and bring a bottle with you – it does wear off over time, especially if you end up getting wet from any theme park rides.

Protect Your Belongings

The sad truth is that crowded events often attract thieves – keep your personal belongings safe by keeping your wallet in a front pocket and carrying only the amount of cash you need to have on hand. Don’t hang purses on the back of a chair or cell phones left on the table, too easy for thieves to grab and run.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

Our bodies need Vitamin D for a number of important functions, but studies show that most of us are deficient!

Vitamin D is most famous for its contribution to joint and bone health by helping the body absorb calcium. It has been shown that people who take in enough vitamin D are less likely to suffer from osteoporosis and joint pain. This vitamin can also slow the affects of arthritis and lessen back pain in many individuals. New research suggests that vitamin D can even prevent certain types of cancer.

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Smart sun exposure helps our bodies make vitamin D.

Vitamin D is one of the only vitamins produced naturally by the body. However, in order for the body to produce vitamin D, it has to be exposed to an adequate amount of sunlight. Generally, an hour per week is more than enough, but surprisingly, many people are still not exposed to enough sun to produce beneficial amounts of vitamin D. Also, studies have shown that as we age, we tend to produce less vitamin D even with adequate sun exposure. These are the primary reasons why many adults have to monitor their diets to make sure they are taking in enough vitamin D.

Signs of deficiency include depression, achy bones, and gastrointestinal issues. If you think that you may be vitamin D deficient, diet changes and supplements can be helpful.

Milk is often fortified with vitamin D, and you can also find good amounts of vitamin D in certain kinds of fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Cod liver oil is an herbal supplement that is rich in vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements are also widely available.

While it is important to have enough vitamin D in your diet, it is possible to take in too much. This often happens when a person receives a good amount of sun exposure and consumes many foods that contain moderate amounts of vitamin D, but also continues to take a vitamin D supplement. For this reason, it is important to discuss with your doctor whether or not you require a vitamin D supplement as part of your diet.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.