Tag Archives: health

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.

Avoid Food Poisoning! 10 Steps to Protect Against Foodborne Illness

Statistics show that most of us will, at some point, come down with some type of foodborne illness in our lifetime. According to WebMD, 1 in 6 Americans contract a foodborne illness every year. Of those, “128,000 people are hospitalized, and 3,000 people die each year after eating tainted food.” Even though most cases of foodborne illness are not life threatening, it’s a good idea to try to avoid getting sick by following a few basic food safety practices. Read on to learn how to avoid food poisoning both at home and while dining out.

Food Safety At Home

Color-code your towels. Keeping the towels you use in different parts of the home is more hygienic and can prevent cross contamination. For example, you might use white towels in the kitchen, yellow towels in the bathroom, and orange towels for cleaning other parts of the home.

Wash your hands thoroughly with warm, soapy water before and after handling any food – particularly raw meats, fruits and vegetables.

Clean all produce – even organic. Fruits and vegetables can harbor dirt, pesticides, and even germs and viruses from other peoples’ hands. Fruits and vegetables that are eaten raw are especially important to clean well.

Disinfect tabletops and countertops with vinegar before and after eating or cooking.

Thoroughly wash all dishes in hot, soapy water.  If you wash your dishes by hand, sanitize cutting boards and cooking utensils with vinegar as well.

Don’t leave leftovers sitting out after grocery shopping or serving a meal. Refrigerate and freeze foods right away.

Don’t thaw meat on the kitchen counter. Instead, use the refrigerator or cold running water. Use a meat thermometer when cooking to ensure that your food is cooked thoroughly.

Avoid Food Poisoning While Dining Out

 Avoid Food Poisoning! 10 Steps to Protect Against Foodborne Illness

Dining out without side effects

Wash your hands (after you order!) You probably already wash your hands before eating at a restaurant – only to come back to the table to grab the very dirty and unwashed menu. Wash up after ordering to keep your hands clean.

Skip the lemon.  While you might enjoy a slice of lemon in your water or tea, skip them when dining out. One study found that 75% of lemon wedges carry illness causing germs and bacteria. The truth is, restaurant staff are not always as hygienic in their food preparation as is ideal and it’s inevitable that someone’s unwashed hands will dip into the lemon wedge bin to garnish a drink – it just happens. Skip the lemons.

Give the booth a wipe down. Carry sanitizing wipes in your bag to give chairs and booths a quick once-over before you sit down. While the tables are washed between each party, sometimes the seating is skipped! You can avoid carrying home a lot of germs and pathogens on your clothing by using this tip.

Foodborne illness isn’t fun – follow these tips to stay safe and protect your family.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

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

Why Wash Your Hands? The Importance of Hand Washing

 Why Wash Your Hands? The Importance of Hand Washing

The brave and forward thinking Dr. who discovered that washing hands reduces deaths and infections

I was searching around the internet about a year ago and wondered who the first person was that figured out we should wash our hands to reduce the spread of germs.  I also figured out why the popular brand of hand sanitizer is called Purell.  I came across this story and wanted to share it with you to expand on and explain the importance of hand washing.

In 1847, Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis pioneered the prevention of transmission of disease by washing hands (Prophylaxis), reducing the mortality rate due to Puerperal Fever from 12% to almost ZERO by enforcing the washing of hands with chlorinated lime.

At the time, Dr. Semmelweis’ hypothesis was considered extreme and was widely rejected and ridiculed. When he refused to compromise his beliefs, the hospital that employed him was pressured into terminating his clinical privileges. Semmelweis’ sole “crime” was that he proposed a contrarian idea to current thinking, which directly challenged the (incorrect) current medical theories of his time.

Despite the continued ridicule, hostility, and unemployment, Dr. Semmelweis tirelessly promoted his theory, sometimes denouncing physicians who refused to wash their hands as irresponsible murderers. His contemporaries eventually concluded that he was crazy and, in 1865, committed him to a mental institution where he was beaten to death by guards.

 Why Wash Your Hands? The Importance of Hand Washing

Proved the germ theory of disease

Dr. Semmelweis’s theory was considered irrelevant, until Louis Pasteur connected germs to disease, and Prophylaxis is now considered standard practice around the world. The 1800s medical community’s refusal to consider his theories earlier clearly resulted in the continued unnecessary spread of disease and death throughout the world.

Backward and reactionary thinking did not die with Dr. Semmelweis in 1865. Highly qualified and competent physicians, scientists, healthcare personnel, and government employees continue to suffer similar retaliation throughout the United States, which is why organizations like Semmelweis Society International and the Alliance for Patient Safety participated in the recent Whistleblower Week in Washington.

The Semmelweis Society International annually recognizes individual Healthcare Providers, Researchers, and associated personnel, who have regularly challenged the status quo, who have reported issues, often controversial issues, regarding patient health and safety. Semmelweis Awardees have often had to endure the tyranny of threats and retaliation, and actual financial ruination, in some cases. Without these courageous individuals, progress and innovation in medicine, public service, and industry is inhibited, or negated.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

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

Cystic Fibrosis – A Condition Plaguing Thousands of Kids

Imagine waking up in the morning feeling as if you’re drowning, unable to breathe normally. Imagine coughing and hacking up mucus all day long to the point of exhaustion. Sadly, this is the reality of children with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that causes the body to produce a thick, sticky mucous that clogs up the lungs and airways of those who suffer with it.

 Cystic Fibrosis   A Condition Plaguing Thousands of Kids

65 Roses, The name was coined by a child trying to pronounce the name CF.

The disorder also affects the digestive system, as the mucous also coats the stomach, leaving the body ill-equipped to properly digest food and get optimal nutrition. Between this issue and the increased calorie needs due to constant coughing and breathing issues, kids with cystic fibrosis can often have trouble maintaining a healthy weight.
Cystic fibrosis is a relatively rare genetic disorder that occurs only when both parents carry the gene. The life expectancy for a person with CF is mid-30s, as of 2009. Fortunately, the age is rising, thanks to advances in treatment options.

How is CF Treated?
There is currently no cure for cystic fibrosis. A number of treatments are used to alleviate the symptoms and promote well-being, however.
• Airway clearance and breathing exercises.
• Antibiotics to fight infection.
• Anti-inflammatory medications to improve breathing.
• Mucus-thinning drugs.
These types of treatments improve CF symptoms, but unfortunately those with the condition will live with it for life until a cure is found.

How Can I Help?

If you’re looking to help in the cause for finding a cure, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation suggests a few ways that you can do so:
• Make a donation. Donations fund scientific research toward curing cystic fibrosis.
• Participate in a clinical trial. Similarly, you can help out with research in a more hands-on way by participating in studies on CF treatments.
• Become an advocate. Influence your local government and spread awareness by becoming an advocate.

This is the season for giving and yet it’s important to remember that CF has no season.  People suffer with this desease all year round.  Reach out to a local chapter to learn more, you may be able to help.  Enjoy the holiday season!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

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

10 Health and Safety Tips For Summer Camp

 10 Health and Safety Tips For Summer Camp

Catch a Fish, Not a Cold!

 School is out and kids across the country are heading to sleep away and day camps.   This brings me back to my childhood where I couldn’t wait for camp to start.  I grew up with an unusual set of circumstances.  My grandparents ran a camp and my parents, who were both gym teachers, have owned and operated a sleep away and day camp in upstate New York for the past 51 years.

Having grown up at a camp, been a camp counselor for more than 10 years and been a camp director, I can say that “Everything I need to know about life, I learned at camp.”

While some of us are responsible for as many as three or four children, imagine trying to keep 150 children and a staff of 40 healthy and safe for eight weeks.  I would like to share that knowledge with you so you can help your child stay safe and healthy at camp.  After all, there’s no fun in spending the summer in the infirmary.

10 Tips to Make Summer Camp Healthier, Safer, and More Enjoyable

1. Inspection prior to attending camp.  Clip nails and keep hair short if possible.  Check for lice and other conditions.

2.  It’s not always nice to share!  Teach your child to not share straws or drink from the same glass as their friends.    Don’t fall for the line, “I don’t have anything.” Or “I’m so thirty, I just want one sip.” This lesson alone will spare you the unnecessary strep throat, summer cold or even herpes virus.

Also don’t share personal items including bathing suit bottoms and hair brushes.

3. Wash hands with soap and water after going to the bathroom and before eating.  This may be obvious, but remind your kids anyway.

4. The camp mattress: Camp facilities are often rented out in the off-season to other groups.  The mattresses can be tired and not so desirable.  Pack a dust mite cover for the mattress to create a barrier between the mattress and your child’s bedding.  Bed bug covers are not adequate since bed bugs are much larger than dust mites.

I recommend a cover for the pillow too.  Even though you are bringing the pillow from home, the pillows end up on the floor and even on the ground outside.

5. Bathroom hygiene: Pack an extra pair of flip-flops to be used for the bunk shower only.   This will help keep the bathroom clean.   Always instruct your child to wear some kind of shoes on their feet walking around the camp property.   Sharp articles can pop up in the grass.  Any construction on the grounds could turn up nails or broken glass not to mention buzzing bees.

6. Walking around in a wet suit for hours is not recommended for girls.  To avoid infections, remind your daughter get out of the wet suit and change into cotton underwear.

7. Attracting insects: When packing shampoo and other hair products, it is recommended to select products that are fragrance free.  Perfumes attract all kinds of bugs including, mosquitoes and deer flies.  Care packages with food attract pests and bugs in the bunk, not to mention bellyaches.  Ask the camp director if and where things may be stored.

8. Hair Advice: Suggest to your daughter’s counselors that hairbrushes be cleaned and washed once a week–remove the hair and soak the brush in a diluted mix of water with bleach for about 15 minutes.  For young girls with long hair, counselors should braid the hair and allow the young lady to sleep in the braid.  Before going to bed, divide the hair into three sections and brush each section free of tangles.   In the morning, take the braid out so brushing will be made easy. I know firsthand as a camp counselor and a mom that this works and saves a lot of time in the morning.  No more screaming over tangled hair.

9. Laundry bag etiquette: Never put anything wet in the laundry bag.  Always dry articles thoroughly before placing in bag.  Day campers need to pack a plastic bag for wet swim gear.

10.  Pack hats, protective clothing and sunscreen.  Hats will not only protect against sunburn but also deer ticks while taking hikes in the woods.  Remind your child to reapply sunscreen every couple hours and be sure to pack enough.  However, if you suspect your child may not be so thorough, pack long sleeve rash guard shirts (swimming shirts) to reduce the amount of sunscreen needed.   Long pants are a good idea when hiking in the woods and at sunset when the mosquitoes are the worst.

If you have any questions, please email me at debbie@drdoormat.com I couldn’t possibly include all of the things I learned in one post.

I hope your children have a wonderful camp experience this summer and you get to enjoy the break.  One more thing, don’t forget to have them pack a happy disposition.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

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

5 Summer Travel Tips from Dr. Doormat

 5 Summer Travel Tips from Dr. Doormat

Dig a Well Before You’re Thirsty!

Summer is a time for travel–from weekend get-aways to long road trips.  And whether you’re staying in 5-star hotels, roughing it in a national park, or off to sleep away camp, there are some easy things you can do while on the go to help keep your car, belongings and surroundings cleaner and healthier for you and your family.

As a kid I remember too well those long rides where all six of us piled into the family station wagon and drove from upstate New York to Miami.  My parents still joke that I would rather hold it in for two days then use a public bathroom (here are some tips!).  I never made it into the book of Guinness World Records but I have learned a few tricks along the way.

Follow these 5 tips, and your vacation is sure to be safer, cleaner, and more fun!

  1. Prepare the car:  Filling up with gas, having a good GPS or map and a clean car are essential.  To clean your car, you’ll need a garbage can, vacuum cleaner, paper towels and non-toxic, odor free, cleaning spray.   Pull all the car mats out of the car and shake them out really well, vacuum and then believe it or not you should be able to wash those mats in your washing machine and hang to dry.  I do!  One major helpful tip: Before and After you vacuum, clean the head of the vacuum cleaner with a sanitizing spray or solution.  This prevents the transfer of viruses and other nasty germs from being spread around
  2. Traveling and potty training:  I recommend taking a small portable potty in the car.  Bring extra baggies.  Double bag check for holes and line the potty with the bags.  It’s as simple as that. Takes the stress right out of the drive.  Just use a wipe for your child’s bottom, Tie a knot in the bag when they’re done and dispose in the nearest trash. Replace the bag for the next round.
  3. Packing:  Put your shoes in disposable plastic shopping bags before putting them in your suitcase
  4. Packing for sleep away camp: Remember an extra pair of flip flops used just for the bunk shower.  Mark them SHOWER ONLY.  Also, pack dust mite covers for both the pillow and the mattress.  My kids will also go with a Dr. Doormat for the entrance of the bunk.
  5. Sunscreen, sunscreen and more sunscreen:  My BFF of sunscreens is the Walgreen’s brand for sensitive skin, SPF 70.  My daughter’s skin is like milk and this one works. Don’t forget hats, sunglasses and rash guard shirts for swimming.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

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