Even Little Drips Can Lead to Big Problems

Drip, drip, drip… Maybe you’ve heard that sound in your home without giving it much thought. After all, it’s just a little drip that you dab with a towel now and then, or maybe capture in a little bowl hidden under your sink. As long as a towel or a little bowl can take care of the issue, why go to the trouble of calling a plumber?

And so begins the cause of another expensive water damage restoration or mold remediation project. If you had only known how much it costs to hire a water damage restoration pro cost, you would have done more to address that little drip.

Maybe you’re thinking that your insurance company would pick up the tab for water damage. They probably won’t. Your insurance is there to protect you against the unexpected. A leaky pipe or dripping faucet isn’t unexpected – it’s the result of normal wear-and-tear that you’re expected to deal with by repairing or replacing.

Maybe you’re thinking that a few drops of water won’t hurt you or anything else. But they just might. Under the right conditions (like darkness or warmth), moisture can cause mold growth in as little as 24 hours. Mold can be responsible for a variety of health concerns ranging from mild allergies to toxin-caused symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and trouble concentrating.

Contrary to what many believe, mold can’t simply be scrubbed or wiped away. Mold remediation requires professional expertise as well as the probable removal of any affected objects.

Some of the worst problems caused by drips or leaks are the ones you don’t see. If water escapes your attempts to catch it, it could be collecting somewhere else. A small temporary leak shouldn’t be an issue, but prolonged exposure to water can cause wood in a floor to bow, or wood in a frame to rot. Mold, too, can damage structures. Replacing entire portions of your home may become the only way to regain your home’s structural integrity as well as your health.

So remember this: A little drip can become a big problem. So call a plumber to address it right away. If you don’t, your call to your local water damage repair specialist is liable to be a lot more expensive.


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Six Questions To Ask A Senior Care Agency

Six Questions to Ask Every In-Home Care Agency

Choosing to hire an in-home care worker for an elderly loved one is an important decision. Well-chosen in-home care can ease the burden on your loved one, and help him or her to continue to live at home and independently; choosing the wrong care provider can lead to turmoil and stress. So take the time to ask the right questions before hiring. Here are six that can help you choose the right in-home care agency for your parent:

What is the Background of Your Company?

It is important to find out the history of the company before you hire them. You want to know how long they have been in business and if they have always been under the same ownership. You’ll also want to do your own research, such as looking at the company’s Better Business Bureau rating or reading online reviews. The more you know about the company’s background, the better.

What Qualifications, Certifications, Training, and Experience Do the Caregivers Have?

Be sure to ask what qualifications the people who work for the company have. If your loved one needs skilled medical care, you want to make sure that the company offers it. You should also find out if there is any ongoing training the company’s employees must go through. The better trained the employees are, the safer you will feel when they are spending time with your loved one.

What Type of Screening Process Do New Hires Go Through?

Make sure you can trust the person who you are going to hire to take care of your loved one. You’ll want to hire a company who does thorough background checks on their employees before they are hired. When a specific worker is assigned to your loved one, you should request a copy of their background check. Some senior care agencies go the extra mile. Seniors Helping Seniors North Orlando also gets to know caregivers in order to better match their personalities with clients.

Will the Same Worker Care for My Loved One?

It’s important to find out if the agency will regularly send the same person to care for your loved one. That’s because one of the main benefits of hiring an in-home care agency is so that your loved one will enjoy some companionship. If the agency sends a different person each time, it will be more difficult for your loved one to create a meaningful bond.

Will You Work in Conjunction with My Doctor?

If your loved one needs skilled medical care, you’ll want to work with an agency who will be willing to work with their doctor. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page, and will make it easier to arrange and plan your loved one’s care.

Can the Agency Provide References?

It is a good idea to work with an agency who can provide you with references. If they can provide references from medical professionals, hospitals, and social workers, you can be sure that you can trust them. You should also find out if they can give you references from other clients.

Hiring a home health care worker to take care of your loved one is an excellent idea – as long as you choose one carefully. Once this happens, you’ll have someone to take care of them when you can’t. It will also give you peace of mind that your loved one is happy and healthy when you can’t be there. Before you hire an agency, take the time to do research and ask the right questions. This will ensure that you hire the best person for the job.


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Healthy Kids are Happy Kids!

kids sportsIn order to stay happy and healthy, kids need fresh air and exercise. Encouraging your kids to exercise every day and to stay active will help them build healthy habits and an appreciation for physical activity that will enhance their future. Every child’s daily schedule should leave room for exercise and active play.

Incorporating exercise into your kid’s daily routine can be done in a variety of ways. During school hours, children can join sports teams, take gym classes, and enjoy active play at recess time. When school is out, kids can get their activity in at the park, go on a bike ride with friends, or simply play around in the backyard. Parents can also enroll their children in gymnastics or dance classes at Romp n’ Roll Richmond, or even sign them up for little league sports teams.

The opportunities to incorporate play and exercise into your kid’s routine are limitless. Parents who give their children the gift of a love for play and exercise give them the gift of a healthier, happier future.

Benefits Associated with Regular Exercise

Children who are active enjoy a more positive and enhanced sense of physical, emotional, and mental benefits over their “couch potato” peers. Frequent exercise can:

  • strengthen bones and muscles
  • increase flexibility and coordination
  • keep obesity at bay
  • reduce the risk of cardiac and respiratory diseases
  • help kids get a better night’s sleep
  • positively impact a child’s disposition and demeanor
  • improve focus, memory and concentration

These benefits can be a major plus for children who are struggling with academic or social challenges. Most children truly enjoy physical activity and active play when they get to include their friends in the fun. Sports and active play allows for kids to learn social and interpersonal skills that can help them make friends and build healthy relationships in the future.

Sedentary Lifestyles Come Along with Dangers

Too many children are inactive and have a sedentary lifestyle. Instead of taking time to get outside, explore and play, they spend hours online, watching television, or playing video games. This results in inactive, overweight, physically unfit kids who endure a wide range of health issues. Children who are obese are at a greater risk of becoming obese adults, turning a childhood issue into a lifelong struggle.

Parents have a lot of power in making sure their kids develop healthy habits. Limiting television, gaming, and Internet use, and encouraging physical activity can stop the cycle of childhood obesity. Parents need to set a good example by staying fit and active themselves and for looking for fun ways to enjoy play and exercise together as a family.

Experts recommend that kids get at least one hour of physical activity each day. Kids who play sports or participate in activities or dance at a kid’s gym or play on a little league team benefit from a balanced exercise regimen. Even something as simple as a daily visit to a local playground or park can help kids create healthy habits that will last a lifetime. As a child’s activity level increases, the risk for obesity decreases, allowing children to enjoy a happier, healthier childhood.

Health and Fitness Fundamentalskids karate

Flexibility, strength, and endurance are the fundamental building blocks of good health and fitness. When children participate in activities that encourage jumping, running, stretching, and hand-eye coordination, they build these fitness fundamentals. A kid’s gym is a great place to help children explore health and fitness. Many kid’s gyms offer programs and classes like boxing, swimming, karate, and gymnastics that can help kids enjoy exercise and stay healthy and active.

Not only will regular activity and exercise help to improve strength, it also helps improve endurance and flexibility. Dance, gymnastics, and karate include stretching exercises that improve flexibility. Older kids and teens can incorporate push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and crunches into the routine to develop strength and tone their bodies.

Joining a kid’s gym that promotes a variety of physical activities and programs can help kids find a sport or activity they love and can enjoy for life. Kid’s gyms also provide a great place for kids to socialize, learn the value of teamwork, and make friends. A healthy body and an active social life make for a happy childhood.

How Parents Can Help Kids Be Healthy and Fit

It can be a daunting task to raise healthy and fit kids. These tips can help parents encourage their children to enjoy an active, healthy lifestyle:

  • Make sure that there is time scheduled for exercise in your child’s day
  • Promote exercise and healthy eating at home and at school
  • Do physical activities together as a family
  • Make exercise fun – not a punishment or a chore
  • Let kids try a variety of sports and activities so they can find their niche
  • Have balls, bicy
    cles, skates, etc. on hand to keep kids moving and active

The goal is to help your kids look, feel, and be their very best. Good health and fitness helps kids to create a positive path now and for their future.


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What is Living in Your Carpet?

Do you clean your home on a regular basis? If you vacuum multiple times a week your carpets must be clean, right? Wrong! There are hundreds and possibly thousands of organisms living in your carpet that you cannot see. Just think of the amount of action your carpet receives on a daily basis between people walking on it and eating near it. There is also a heavy amount of particles in the air that are invisible to the naked eye – gross! Dust mites, dirt and chemicals you carry in from the outdoors are all present in your carpet, yet they are not visible unless you take a microscope to the fibers. If that’s not scary enough, below are a few more things you might find taking residence in your carpets.
include the long beige carpet cleaning with a vacuum cleaner

Insects

If you fear bugs, you might want to keep that microscope away from your carpet fibers because there are many insects living in them.

Typically, the bugs are tiny enough that you do not see them or they bury themselves so deep into the fibers that they are out of sight. Here are just a few of the different types of bugs you might find:

  • Carpet beetles
  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Mites
  • Bed bugs

Dust Mites

No matter how dust-free you think your home is, dust mites are likely present in your carpeting. These pests survive on things that fall into the carpets such as flaked off human skin and dander from pets. These particles fall onto your carpet on a daily basis, and even with the most consistent vacuuming they will remain there if they fall deep into the padding. If not taken care of, dust mites will eventually begin to multiply and take over your carpeting. Even if you think you do everything necessary to keep a clean home, something as simple as running the fan to cool the room down can bring dust mites in from the outdoors.

Mold

Not only does mold grow when you spill something on the carpeting and neglect to dry it quickly enough, but it also grows when the conditions are just right – when the perfect amount of dampness, oxygen and food are present. The only food mold spores require is dust, which is in every home. If you have carpeting in any area that might be slightly damp, the mold can easily multiply without your knowledge, putting your family’s health at risk. 

Staphylococcus Aureus

Staph infections are nothing to ignore, and the fact that the bacteria staphylococcus aureus might be in your carpet should be reason enough to worry. This bacterium lies on every person’s body and even in their nasal cavity at some point. Oftentimes, the bacterium has no direct effect, while other times it can cause a serious illness. Because the bacterium can thrive in carpeting for long periods of time, it can cause someone with a compromised immune system to become severely ill.

Norovirus

Norovirus, otherwise known as the stomach flu, has germs that can live in your carpeting for up to six weeks. Even when you think you captured the bug and threw it out the window, it still lurks within your home. As people walk on your carpeting, the norovirus germs come alive, making them airborne yet again. If you’ve ever felt like you just could not shake the flu bug, it was likely because of the norovirus germs living in your carpeting that only a professional carpet cleaner can remove.

Salmonella

The popular food poisoning germ, salmonella, can survive in your carpet for several weeks, as well. Just like with norovirus, activating the germ simply takes a person walking on the carpet over the area where the germ lives. This can cause people to become sick, even if they did not consume any contaminated food or drinks. Many studies show the presence of salmonella in vacuum bags and carpet fibers, helping to discover why people suffer from this illness aside from food reasons.

The best way to ensure that your carpeting stays germ free is to take the following steps:

  • Dust several times per week
  • Vacuum daily
  • Do not wear shoes on carpeting
  • Have your carpets professionally cleaned twice per year

By following these tips, you should be able to keep your carpeting germ free or at least minimize the number of germs you breathe in on a daily basis. Because of daily use and the presence of germs that people bring in when they walk through your rooms, you should clean your carpets frequently in addition to having them professionally cleaned. This is especially important during periods of sickness or seasons in which insects are running rampant. All it takes is one person to walk through your rooms carrying a specific germ to infect the carpeting and affect your family’s health.


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Is Your Carpet Cleaner Dangerous for Your Health?

It goes without saying that our floors tend to take a beating. Carpets, which are both visually appealing and functional, can easily become soiled and smelly thanks to day in and day out wear and tear: including lounging, food stains, and muddy shoes or paws. It is inevitable that carpets will need to be cleaned at one point or another. Plus, there’s just nothing quite like the aroma of a freshly cleaned carpet.

But could caustic cleaning solutions, designed to stand up to the toughest stains, be hazardous to the health of your family and your pets? The short answer is yes.

Like other industrial cleaners, the chemicals that one major carpet cleaning company used for decades were found to be particularly dangerous. Why? Carpet cleaners often contain strong solvents similar to those used in the dry cleaning
industry. Up until 2009 the key ingredient in Scotchguard, a widely-used carpet cleaner and protector, was something called Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid – a serious organic pollutant that is shown to compromise the immune systems of both people and animals. Following increased pressure from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the makers of Scotchguard gradually phased out this chemical. However, it proves that there is a concerning pattern of tackling stains with harmful solutions often included in inexpensive household products.

While many cleaning solutions are able to dissolve dirt without the use of soap and water, they often produce dangerous fumes – including formaldehyde – layered on top of various artificial fragrances. Indoor air pollution is a major concern when using traditional carpet cleaners available on the market today. While drying, some of the chemicals in these cleaners tend to accumulate in the air. During stretches of particularly warm, humid weather, this can be especially concerning, as these accumulations in the atmosphere are known to cause eye irritation, migraine headaches, congestion, sneezing, asthma attacks, nausea and fatigue – among a slew of other symptoms. This often means that there is residue left over from these cleaners that end up on tiny hands or paws, and may be ingested.

carpet cleaningNeed more proof that carpet cleaners can be dangerous? There are multiple accounts from veterinarians across the country of cats and dogs inexplicably suffering from overactive thyroids and excessive shedding issues. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in conjunction with the non-profit Environmental Working Group (often referred to as simply the EWG), recently conducted a study that found the bloodstream of house pets – particularly cats and dogs – was contaminated with increasing amounts of synthetic industrial chemicals. Shockingly, all 20 dogs and 40 cats that were tested – 100% of the study group – were found to be polluted with more than 45 industrial chemicals and five times the amount of mercury than what is typically considered acceptable.

Health problems in pets – including improper thyroid function and excessive shedding – can be traced back to this increase of chemical substances present in their blood. And it’s easy to see why – our pets spend the majority of their lives lounging on furniture and crawling around on our rugs and carpets. They are bound to ingest some of the chemicals we use to keep these surfaces free of dirt and stains.

But it doesn’t stop there, as more worrisome evidence continues to emerge. The evidence of chemical exposure doesn’t simply disappear after the culprit is removed. (Yes, that’s correct – even if you stop using harsh cleaning solutions, the damage you’ve done in the past may remain).

Many of the toxic ingredients used in the production of common household and industrial cleaners tend to collect inside the body. Scientists refer to this phenomenon as a chemical “body burden,” since chemicals can combine and react within the body even after exposure has ceased. Not surprisingly, these can cause adverse health effects. Since our beloved pets have significantly shorter lifespans, they may develop health problems ore age more rapidly.

While not directly related to the hazards associated with chemicals, mold and mildew can also be a problem when it comes to carpet cleaning. Cleaners that do not dry properly run the risk of growing mold spores, which are widely known to cause respiratory distress.

So how do you keep your floors clean, while protecting the health of your pets and family? There are a few easy steps you can take.

Most importantly, don’t buy into the myth of a safe stain-resistant treatment. Many carpet cleaning companies aggressively push homeowners to treat their carpets with stain-resisting chemicals following a routine cleaning. These companies claim that the chemicals that are part of this process help the carpet fibers better resist spills, stains and dirt. Buyer beware: these solutions often contain harmful pollutants. Plus, they rarely provide any additional protection against dirt. There are some companies out there that do provide non-toxic cleaning solutions, however. These companies, like these carpet cleaners in Santa Rosa, CA, use only eco-friendly products that won’t be harmful to your family or pets. When you’re thinking about getting your carpets cleaned, the bottom line is that you need to do your research first.


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Healthy Habits for Preschool Children

child healthy habitsAs the saying goes, “old habits die hard.” For better or for worse, the habits that we make become more and more difficult to break the older we get – whether it’s a habit of putting your seatbelt on as soon as you get in the car, or a habit of leaving all the lights on when you leave the house. Many habits that we unintentionally practice have been stuck with us for years. How many habits do you have (that you can think of) that you picked up from your parents, or that you’ve had since you were a kid? When you’re so accustomed to doing a certain thing, it’s not easy to give it up.

That’s why it’s never too early to impart positive, healthy habits to our youngsters. When good habits and routines are practiced by children beginning at a young age, it’s more likely that they will stand the test of time. And because some may find it more difficult to establish new habits when they’re older, this will ensure that they enter adulthood on the right foot.

Here are some of the healthy habits that are most important to teach young, preschool-aged children:

Washing Hands

Once your child begins attending preschool or day care, they will be in contact with a number of other children – children who might be picking their noses, coughing and sneezing without covering their mouths, and
other gross things that children typically do. Therefore, it’s important to get your child in a good habit of regularly washing their hands. Children should wash their hands every time they use the restroom, before and after eating, and after sneezing or coughing.

A great way to turn hand-washing into a fun routine is to sing a short song while washing. While your child sings, they wash and scrub their hands until the song is over.

Nutritious Foods

Children can be picky eaters – their taste buds aren’t fully developed, and many children are simply afraid or unwilling to try new things. It can be much easier to throw a frozen dinner into the microwave for your child, but regularly feeding your child unhealthy, processed foods can create an unhealthy junk food habit. Instead, pack healthy lunches for your child comprised of nutritious, whole foods, and keep sugary and salty snacks in moderation.

You don’t need to be a professional chef to cook healthy meals for your family. Make nutritious meals fun by building “ants on a log” with your child – topping celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins, or making homemade popsicles with 100% fruit juice together. If your child see that healthy foods can be fun and tasty, they will be more likely to continue eating and enjoying nutritious foods for years to come.

Physical Activity

Did you know that more than half of young children today aren’t getting enough daily exercise? Instead of the recommended amount of 1 hour of physical activity each day, many children instead spend too much sitting in front of the TV or playing computer games. While the television and computer can offer educational activities, it’s still necessary for children to be physically active on a regular basis. Regular exercise can be easy when it’s fun and becomes a habit.

Turn exercise into a fun and easy task by involving the entire family. Make a habit of walking together through the neighborhood each night after dinner, or have a fun soccer competition in the backyard. If your neighborhood has a playground, take your child regularly so they can run around, get some fresh air, and make some friends as well. Find out if your child’s preschool also incorporates physical activity into their daily routine. For example, Creative World School in Independence, MO, each child gets 1 hour a day to be active and play outside.

Communication Skills

When people think of “health,” most think of food, hygiene, and exercise. But positive social skills and the ability to communicate with others also lead to strong emotional wellbeing – another important component of health. To encourage your child to make good communication skills a habit, practice good manners and how to share with others. If your child doesn’t have any siblings, bring them to playdates and other social activities so that they can learn how to be nice and play well with others.

Practicing good habits will help to ensure that your child grows up to be a healthy, successful adult. Be sure to regularly reinforce these good habits and show your child that being healthy is fun. If you’re concerned with your child practicing healthy habits while they’re in preschool, speak with their teacher.


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Healthy Aging Through Exercise

seniors health

Retirement brings well-earned rest, but it’s also the time when it’s more important than ever to stay as active as you can. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to increased health problems, and decreased enjoyment of life. Exercise needs to be a part of a senior’s daily life.

The Benefits of Exercise for Seniors

Staying active with regular exercise helps seniors maintain a limber and energized body, mind, and spirit. The benefits include helping you:

  • Maintain your independence
  • Keep you fit enough to play with your grandchildren
  • Sleep better
  • Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
  • Lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other illnesses
  • Improve brain function and memory retention
  • Reduce risk of falls
  • Maintain self-confidence and sense of well-being

Research indicates that regular exercise can help prevent falls and “silent strokes,” manage incontinence problems, and help maintain or even improve your memory. You may not be as agile or quick as you once were, but you can still exercise to enjoy good health and joie de vivre as you age.

Exercise is good for the body and soul

Exercise is good for the body and soul

Exercise Adaptations for Seniors

Professor and clinical exercise physiologist Carol Ewing Garber says, “Staying fit comes down to you and what you’re comfortable with.” If you like swimming, biking, golf, and other activities, then continue to enjoy them even if you have to make a couple modifications. Your comfort level will tell you if it’s okay or not. Always get your doctor’s OK before beginning an exercise program.

Aging brings some inevitable changes. Seniors have less tolerance for extremes in temperature, have slower reaction times, and experience reduced balance. Vision also changes as you age, so always pay close attention to your surroundings, especially stumbling hazards. Wear sturdy but comfortable shoes. Good exercise should require some effort, but not feel too hard. Most importantly, enjoy yourself.

Three Important Types of Exercise

Balance and Flexibility

The easiest exercises are those that flex and stretch your muscles. Working on balance helps prevent falls. Excellent balance, flexibility, and stretching activities include:

Many local gyms offer special classes for seniors. There are DVDs and online videos for exercise at home. Sit or lie down while exercising if your balance is shaky. Home-bound seniors can ask their elder care provider to work with them.

Strength Training

Strength exercises are next. Strong muscles make everyday activities and tasks easier whether vacuuming, putting up groceries, or even getting out of your chair. Strength training slows bone weakening and develops more muscle around bones that can prevent some fractures from falls.

Start slowly and do more as you gain strength. At home you can use walls or large pieces of furniture for resistance. Improve your strength with:

  • Light dumbbells or free weights
  • Elastic resistance bands
  • Weight machines
  • Housework (sweeping, scrubbing) and yard work (raking, mowing)

Some physical therapy groups allow seniors (for a small monthly fee to use their exercise machines and train on them. If you have an in-home care service, such as Seniors Helping Seniors of North Phoenix, ask your caregiver to assist you with your exercises.

Aerobics and Cardio Workouts

Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily at a moderate level of intensity to get your heart rate up and your blood pumping. This has whole-body health benefits and makes it easier to handle all your daily activities. Get a little sweaty by:

  • Walking/hiking
  • Light jogging
  • Biking
  • Swimming/water aerobics
  • Dancing
  • Golf (with no golf cart!)
  • Tennis

Knee problems and balance problems, which can prevent running, can be accommodated by walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike instead. Ask your caregiver to walk with you during his or her visits if you have an in-home care service.

Good Senior Health and Fitness

Eating a balanced, healthy diet helps you stay fit physically and mentally as well as boosting immunity as you age. A healthy senior diet includes:

  • Foods rich in antioxidants, iron, fiber, and calcium
  • Protein from fish and lean meats
  • Low sodium intake and lots of water

Local hospitals, senior centers, and Parks and Recreation departments can also recommend appropriate exercise and wellness programs available in your area. If you have an elder care aide, ask your caregiver to develop activities with you.


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