Monday, August 11, 2008

Tips on Traveling while on Medication - Healthy Lifestyle Living

In our healthy lifestyle living keeping a medication schedule is hard enough when you have to do it at home, but during travel, it’s an absolute nightmare. If you are like most people, you probably have had to travel at least once while on medication and you know how difficult it can be. Aside from remembering your travel itinerary, you also have to squeeze in your meds. If you need to take several meds at different points during the day, here are some tips that can help you manage your meds schedule easier:

1. Make a meds calendar. I find this really helpful especially if I’ll be away from home for a week or so. Just print out or make a personal calendar inclusive of your travel dates. Aside from your daily agenda, also jot down your medication schedules on the calendar. This way, instead of a being a hassle, your meds become a part of your daily schedule.

2. Get prescription refills before setting out. Visit your local pharmacy or your doctor to get a refill of your prescription meds prior to traveling. This way, you prevent missing out on your meds just because the amount you brought with you isn’t enough. This is especially important if you are using a medication that is not common or popular.

3. I am not saying that this will happen to you, but there have been cases of overdoses and others that are related to medicating while on the road. Just to be sure, make a list of all medications you are using and their purposes. Make several copies and put these in your bag, your glove compartment, and your hotel end table. This way, it’ll be easy for medical personnel to help you even if you are indisposed.

Lastly, never travel without a companion especially if your medications are strong and trigger strong side effects on you. Trust me, it’s hard to drive when you are feeling woozy down the freeway.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

When The Going Gets Green

Everyone is riding the bandwagon of “going green,” which means “staying healthy and protecting the environment at the same time.” Even cleaning products are getting into it: from the green kitchen sprays and bathroom scrubs to emerald dishwashing detergents and liquid soaps.

However, these products cost more. And in addition to its trendy graphics and emerald labels, a host of multi-syllable, unpronounceable chemicals tend to lurk inside many of these earth-friendly-looking bottles, if they are listed at all, since federal law doesn’t require manufacturers to do so on cleaning products. And on the rare occasion that they do, it’s hard for most people to know what these names mean, much less whether they’re safe.

According to Jeff Bishop, technical advisor to the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), the nonprofit organization that regulates industry standards and certifies cleaning, inspection and restoration companies, cleaning things to a sanitary state creates a more habitable environment.

Allen Rathey, president of the Healthy House Institute, a consumer resource dedicated to providing information about healthier homes, and founder of the, said that much of the cleaning we do isn’t cleaning, but polluting, which is the whole reason the green movement began.

Green cleaning is a combination of products, equipment, and procedures. It means that in addition to using products that are safe and environmentally friendly, we must also use non-polluting equipment and procedures. The following tips will help keep dust, soil, and contaminants to a minimum and decrease the need for cleaning products:

· Use entry mats outside your home and always wipe shoes before entering. This will remove 83% of the abrasive soil that is tracked inside.
· Remove your shoes at the front door.
· Vacuum at least twice a week.
· Use a high-quality HVAC filter (not fiberglass) and change every month.
· Have your carpets professionally cleaned at least once a year by a qualified specialist.
· Get water leaks fixed immediately, to avoid mold.
There is no quick-and-easy formula for evaluating how green, or safe, the products are. It always involves a risk: to ourselves and the environment.
Consumers normally look for the Green Seal when searching for green products. Arthur B. Weissman, PhD, is president and CEO of Green Seal Inc., a nonprofit organization considered to be the gold standard for “green certification,” said that they award their seal of approval to manufacturers who adhere to specific health and environmental standards.
Aside from the Green Seal, it is also recommended that consumers pay special attention to “signal words” on labels such as
· Poison/Danger – which means the product is extremely toxic; a few drops can kill you.
· Warning – means the product is moderately toxic; as little as a teaspoonful can kill.
· Caution -- refers to a less-toxic product; 2 tablespoons to a cup can kill you.

These “signal words” are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and must be placed on hazardous products.
Other words that often signal danger are:
· Strong Sensitizer
· Toxic
· Carcinogen
· Flammable
· Corrosive

Annie B. Bond, author of Clean & Green and Home Enlightenment: Practical, Earth-Friendly Advice for Creating a Nurturing, Healthy and Toxin-Free Home and Lifestyle, recommends that we avoid all products containing these warning labels.
Weissman also instructs consumers to avoid those with any significant amount of phosphates (more than 0.5%); high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which contribute to outdoor pollution and may also have negative effects on health; and those containing ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, or “EDTA,” which is not biodegradable.

Other potentially harmful yet commonly used ingredients (often in all-purpose cleaners) include:

· Alkylphenolethoxylates (APEs): found in surfactants; tend to break down into endocrine disruptors which adversely affect the human endocrine system.
· Certain glycol ethers, like 2-Butoxyethanol (or "Butyl"): typically found in household cleaners and “degreasers” which are a lung irritant.
· Heavy metals (chromium, selenium, lead, mercury): used to add color to cleaning products.
· Ammonia: a respiratory irritant found in many cleaning products
· Ethanolamines: a respiratory irritant common to all-purpose cleaners
· Chlorine: mostly found in bleach, can be irritating to the lungs and eyes.
· Anything with a strong fragrance, which contains potentially hazardous petrochemical ingredients.

Friday, August 1, 2008

When You’re Sick… EAT! – A way to a healthy lifestyle living

t’s hard enough to eat when you have fever, colds, or flu. How much more challenging it is to eat when you have a chronic illness like cancer, arthritis, or even depression? Illness and their treatment can sap your appetite or leave you nauseated. When you have arthritis, it’s a lot harder to get out and shop for groceries. With cancer fatigue, you will be too worn out to cook. So what happens with healthy eating now?

Let’s face it. Good nutrition naturally slides down when you’re coping with an illness. But it’s risky for your healthy lifestyle living. Everyone needs to get enough vitamins and nutrients… most especially when you’re sick.
But if you know what to look for, and by making smart choices, you can get the nutrition you need without a lot of extra effort.
Protein is very important when you’re sick. According to Paula Charuhas, RD, nutrition education coordinator at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, “Protein is crucial for building and repairing cells.” It can help you prevent the loss of muscle mass, helps maintain fluid balance, and improves your body’s ability to heal.
The best sources of protein are obvious: chicken, pork, lean beef, fish, and lamb are all good. Eggs and cheese are also easily digestible forms of animal protein.
But what about those people who are vegetarians? Christine Gerbstadt, MD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, said that vegetarians have a harder time getting enough protein.
“The problem is that you have to eat a lot of vegetable protein to get the equivalent of a much smaller amount of animal protein,” said Gerbstadt. “Not everyone can do it.”
For non-animal sources of protein, go for beans, soy products like tofu, and nuts. Try adding more peanut butter or almond butter to your diet which is one easy way of getting additional protein.
There are times that you just can’t get enough protein from foods. Let your doctor recommend high-protein nutritional supplement drinks, such as powdered protein that you can stir into any food.
As we become adults, we begin to count our calorie intake. But those who get sick may actually need to increase them. When you’re sick, your body is working harder. But just as when you need to eat more, your appetite flies out of the window. You begin to lose weight which can become serious, leaving you exhausted, weak, and may interfere with your treatment.

Attempting to prevent weight loss can put people and dietitians in a quandary. According to Rachel Zinaman, MPA, RD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Evelyn Lauder Breast Center, she actually recommends cheese fries, burgers, and milkshakes to some women with cancer to stop them from losing too much weight.
But Zinaman emphasized that a high-calorie diet is only a good idea for people who are losing weight because many chronic diseases and treatments pose a risk of weight gain instead.

Here are some tips for healthy eating when you’re sick:
Boosting protein in your diet, since protein is calorically dense

Drinking whole milk instead of skim

Adding cream to soups, fruit, cold cereal, and other foods
It is important to consult your doctor first before you start up a high-calorie diet to see whether unintended weight loss is a risk for you.
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