Category Archives: healthy family

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.

bikesafety 300x175 Bicycle Safety Tips

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.

eventsafety 300x200 Keep Your Family Safe at Summer Events!

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.

sunlight 150x150 Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

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.

Get Better Sleep – May is Better Sleep Month

In our efforts to live a healthy lifestyle, most of us know the importance of choosing healthy foods to eat and getting enough exercise. One area of health that many tend to ignore, on the other hand, is good sleep habits. 

May is “Better Sleep Month,” according to the Better Sleep Council – the perfect time to take a look at your sleep life and make sure you are getting the rest your body needs.

The Importance of Sleep

Lack of sleep can lead to a number of serious concerns in all areas of life, including your health and relationships. According to BetterSleep.org, married couples who don’t get enough sleep, on average, have twice as many disagreements each week. That explains it.

Getting a Good Night’s Rest

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A cool, quiet room is the best environment for a good night’s rest.

There are a few habits that can significantly improve your quality of rest.

  • Establish a routine. Going through the same motions each night as you head to bed trains your body to relax. Going to sleep and waking up around the same time each day is also helpful.

  • Are you getting enough? Adults need an average of 7-9 hours per night; children need more. Each person is different – the goal is to wake up feeling refreshed without an alarm.

  • Pay off ‘sleep debt.’ Ideally, we’ll all get enough sleep each and every night. At the very least, do try to squeeze in extra hours on the weekends if you need to.

  • Exercise daily. Getting physical activity in during the day is correlated with deeper, more restful sleep.

  • Lower the lights. Follow nature’s cue and don’t expose yourself to too much artificial lighting, including laptops and cell phones at night. Light stimulates the brain. I try and do this for my children before bed so they can get into the zone gradually.

  • Improve indoor air quality. Poor indoor air due to cigarette smoke, dust and other pollutants is linked to poor sleep. Open your windows when weather permits and clean ducts regularly. You can even use Dr. Doormat by your bedroom door to prevent allergens from coming in. Clean off that nightstand! Piles of magazines and papers attract dust and dust mites and will effect your breathing. HelpGuide.org offers a comprehensive resource for good sleep habits.
  • Some tricks to block out annoying or distracting sounds can include ear plugs and sound machines creating white noise.

Sleep Disorders

Some sleep issues are best solved with the help of a healthcare professional. Signs you should seek help for a sleep disorder are:

  • chronic daytime fatigue

  • loud snoring with frequent pauses

  • morning headaches

  • tingling sensations in your arms and legs at night

  • falling asleep at inappropriate times during the day.

Getting a good night’s rest is one of the most important things you can do to improve your well-being. Encourage your family members to make sleep a priority as well!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

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

Understanding Seasonal Allergies

All of the blooming trees, flowers and other plants that make Spring such a beautiful time of year actually come with a very unwanted side effect for a number of people.

Seasonal allergies affect approximately 40 million Americans in severity ranging from mildly annoying to severely debilitating. According to John Sheffield, a Physician Assistant Studies instructor at South University in Savannah, GA, “Spring tends to be unique as, in most places, it is when a wide variety of plants begin to pollinate. It is these pollens that become the allergens.” Dust and mold can also contribute to seasonal allergies.

Fortunately, there are a few ways to manage allergies, sometimes even without medication.

Herbal remedies can be effective. Butterbur (Petasites hybridus), for example, has been shown to be just as effective as popular antihistamines in treating the symptoms of hay fever. Also topping the list of herbs for allergies, according to WebMD, are nettles and goldenseal.

While the pollen is flying, wear a hat and wash your hair everyday to rinse it out.

Saline nasal sprays are another effective natural option for treating the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Mary Hardy, MD, director of integrative medicine at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles explains, “”The saline works to wash out pollen and reduce or thin mucous.”

Those with allergies can also wear a paper dust filter in high pollen areas to decrease their exposure. file000192996392 300x292 Understanding Seasonal Allergies

Making your home a haven from allergens starts at the door. Don’t forget to wipe your feet on Dr. Doormat to destroy microbes on contact and trap allergens.

As frustrating as seasonal allergies can be, learning to manage them is key to feeling your best. Keep a record of when your allergies are worst and the plants that trigger symptoms to come up with a plan that works for you.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

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

Can You Allergy-Proof Your Carpet?

If you have allergies, most experts will recommend that you get rid of carpet in your home and use ceramic, tile, or wood flooring – anything that’s easier to keep clean. That’s because carpet tends to trap allergens like dust, mold, pet hair and other pollutants. allergyproofyourcarpet 300x199 Can You Allergy Proof Your Carpet?

If removing your carpet isn’t currently an option, however, there are still a few things you can do in the meantime to reduce the allergens in your home.

  • Vacuum frequently. Removing debris from your carpet before it sets in is key. Use a high quality vacuum cleaner to vacuum 1-2 times a week – maybe even more often if you have pets that shed a lot. Some high traffic areas might even need a daily vacuum! Before vacuuming sanitize the head of the vacuum cleaner, before and after you vacuum. This helps to destroy microorganisms (such as, bacteria from animal feces, mold, fungus) which can be responsible for many allergy triggers.  
  • Have your carpets cleaned professionally. The smaller carpet cleaners designed for home use seem convenient, but they aren’t very good at removing all the water from the carpet padding, which can lead to mold growth in your carpet.
  • Avoid powdered “carpet freshening” products. These are notorious for triggering allergic reactions, and it’s difficult to make sure you vacuum up all of the powder.
  • Lower the humidity in your home with a dehumidifier. According to a resource from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, “To thrive, dust mites need very warm temperatures (75-80 degrees F) and high humidity levels — 70-80 percent relative humidity. One study showed when humidity is 60 percent or lower, the mite population stops growing and dies out.”
  • Keep Dr. Doormat at all entrances. We track millions of microbes, toxins and allergens into the home everyday on the bottom of our shoes. It is estimated that 60-90% of the dirt and debris is tracked in from our shoes. By trapping allergens from the bottom of your shoes and destroying microbes on the mat, it will help keep your carpets and your home environment cleaner!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

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

Sitting Too Much – Is Your Health At Risk?

We all know that exercise is an important part of any healthy lifestyle. But new evidence is showing that what you do outside of your allotted “workout time” during the rest of the day has just as much of an impact on your health. Sitting too much, researchers say, is linked to earlier death, increased risk of bone fracture, and heart disease.

It’s incredibly easy to live a lifestyle with too much “down-time” in this day and age – even when you work really hard. With so many of today’s jobs involving sitting at a computer and favorite leisure activities including TV, movies and gaming, sitting can easily take up a majority of the day.

sitting 300x223 Sitting Too Much   Is Your Health At Risk?

Prolonged sitting increases your risk of several health issues – even if you work out regularly.

According to James A. Levine, M.D., Ph.D., ”Sitting in front of the TV isn’t the only concern. Any extended sitting — such as behind a desk at work or behind the wheel — can be harmful. What’s more, spending a few hours a week at the gym or otherwise engaged in moderate or vigorous activity doesn’t seem to significantly offset the risk.”

Replacing some of the time you spend sitting down with standing or activity is a great way to lower your risk of these dangers and live a healthier lifestyle. Here are some ideas:

  • Ride your bike or walk instead of riding in a vehicle whenever possible.
  • Stand while working on the computer. There’s no rule that says you have to sit at a desk! Work at a “standing desk” or elevated table while you stand. Position your monitor at eye level, especially when working for longer periods of time, to prevent neck and back strain caused by turning your head down.
  • Use a treadmill desk. Walking while you work or surf the web – it doesn’t get much healthier than that!
  • Take short walks and standing “breaks” during the day if you work at a desk. One of the worst aspects of sitting all day is when it’s prolonged – get up and move around every so often – each hour would be great.
  • Combine fun and fitness. Find ways to unwind at the end of the day other than watching TV – at least a few times a week. Do a stand-up activity with your family, like a walk around the neighborhood or a game of charades.
  • Stand up while you’re on the phone.
  • Drink more water! It’s great for your body, and forces you to get up and take more of those quick bathroom trips throughout the day. icon wink Sitting Too Much   Is Your Health At Risk?

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

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