2007-12-03 00:00:00

How to Assemble Family Disaster and Emergency Plans By Britt Michaelian

In this day and age it is unrealistic to think that anyone is exempt from the dangers of natural or man-made disaster.?? As a result, it is crucial for families to take some simple steps to make sure they are prepared in the event of an earthquake, flood, tsunami, wild fire, terrorist attack or other catastrophic event.?? Find out what disasters are likely in your area and put together a Family Evacuation Plan.

If earthquakes are common in your area, it is a good idea to have bag under each person???s bed with a flashlight, change of clothes and pair of sturdy shoes, so it is easy to grab and leave quickly.?? In the event of a fire, families should have two exit strategies for each room in their home.?? Whether your Family Evacuation Plan is to exit using a window or a door is up to you, but the best way to make sure everyone is prepared is to take 15 minutes as a family to go into each room and discuss the possibilities.?? While you do this, make sure you take notes and after your initial home tour, make a diagram to post in the kitchen or other high traffic area.

Another important element of the Family Evacuation Plan is to establish meeting places outside of the home where everyone will meet up if an evacuation is in order.?? The first meeting place should be directly outside of the home, for example on the sidewalk or in front of the next-door neighbor???s house.?? The second meeting place is an out of area location, one that is outside of your immediate neighborhood.??

As part of the Family Disaster Plan, you will need to practice duck, cover and hold (for earthquakes or tornados) and stop, drop and roll (for fire) drills with anyone over the age of 2 in your home.?? The more prepared you are for the worst case scenario, the better off your family will be in an actual disaster.??

All of this information should be recorded and discussed regularly, so that parents, grandparents and anyone who might be taking care of your children will know the plan as well.?? Find out what school and workplace evacuation plansare and record all of this in your Family Emergency Plan folder.?? Make sure you include local and out of area contact names, phone numbers and addresses with this information.?? Again, place this information in a folder and place it in an area that is easy to find.??

At all times, each family member should carry a card with the above listed contact info and evacuation sites.?? After a disaster, each person in the family should contact the same out of area contact and let that person know their location and physical condition as soon as possible.

Disaster Kit Supplies

The most important components of the Disaster Kit are 3 days of food, water, medical supplies, sturdy shoes, blankets, flashlights, batteries and cash.?? All of these items should be stored in durable, easy-to-carry containers such as backpacks, duffel bags, or covered trash containers.?? I recommend plastic containers as we have had little critters eat through our duffle bags to get to our food supplies.?? Don???t forget to put together kits for your car and work as well.?? The following list of supplies is recommended by the Office of Homeland Security:

* A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) in non-breakable containers.

* A three-day supply of nonperishable food per person.

* Food, water and supplies for pets

* One or two changes of clothing per person, and sturdy shoes. Also

include rain gear, hats and gloves.

* One blanket or sleeping bag per person.

* A first aid kit that includes your family’s prescription medications.

* Emergency tools and supplies including a battery-powered radio,

waterproof matches, compass, whistle, non-electric can opener,

utility knife, map, flashlight, and plenty ofextra batteries.

*Sanitation supplies.??

* Special items for infants (formula, diapers, bottles), the elderly

(prescriptions, denture needs, eyeglasses) or disabled family

members (special equipment, hearing aid batteries.)

* Important family documents stored in a waterproof container. These

can include wills, insurance policies, passports, immunization histories, and other family records.

***?? Keep in mind that if you feel like this is more than you have time to assemble, there are companies that provide pre-assembled kits for you.?? Here are a few links for you:




??One more thing you might want to consider assembling is recommended by FEMA:

Kids Activity Survival Kit

* Favorite books

* Crayons, pencils or marking pens and plenty of paper

* Scissors and glue

* Two favorite toys such as a doll or action figure

* One or two board games

* A deck of cards

* A puzzle

* Small people figures and play vehicles that you can useto play out?????????? what is happening during your disaster — such as ambulance, fire truck, helicopter, dump truck, police car, small boats.

* Favorite stuffed animal or puppet

* Favorite blanket or pillow

* Pictures of the family and pet

Filed under: — @ 2007-12-03 00:00:00
2007-11-20 00:00:00

Proper Mattress Can Improve Sleep Comfort, Reduce Pain, Says American Chiropractic Association

A??good night???s sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle; however, an estimated 70 million Americans complain of sleeplessness. This October, during National Chiropractic Month, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) is offering advice to help consumers select comfortable mattresses and pillows that can help limit unnecessary back and neck pain.

???Americans spend one-third of their lives sleeping, so it makes sense to invest in a sleep set that can improve your comfort and overall health,??? says Scott Bautch, DC, DACBOH, spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association. ???Many people don???t realize the reason for their neck or back pain is literally right underneath them???it???s their mattress and pillow.???

A 2006 study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine showed that sleeping on a new mattress can significantly reduce stiffness and back pain.?? Researchers found that study participants reported immediate and sustained benefits after sleeping on a new mattress. This was especially true of participants who entered the study with back pain complaints, as they reported a 63 percent improvement in back discomfort with a new mattress.

When it comes time to purchase a new mattress, the ACA recommends the following:

Shop for Support
Look for a mattress that provides uniform support from head to toe; if there are gaps between your body and the mattress (such as at the waist), you???re not getting the full support you need.?? Mattresses can be too firm; pay close attention to uncomfortable pressure on prominent body features such as the shoulders, hips and low back.

Shop for Comfort
When mattress shopping, give each option a good trial run before you buy; lie down on a mattress for a minimum of five to 10 minutes to get a good idea of its comfort level. If you cannot find a comfortable position, you probably have the wrong mattress.

Shop for Size
Does the bed provide enough room for both you — and your sleeping partner if you have one — to stretch and roll over??? The ideal mattress will also minimize the transfer of movement from one sleeping partner to the other, which means one person shouldn???t feel motion as the other leaves the bed.

Generally, a mattress should be replaced every 5 to 8 years to ensure proper support and comfort. Be aware that life???s changes can signal the need for a new mattress as well. For example, people who have lost or gained a considerable amount of weight, those who have a medical condition which has changed the way they sleep, or even those who???ve changed partners may need to consider a new mattress.

Pillows important, too
After investing in a quality mattress, don???t forget to choose an equally supportive pillow, advises ACA spokesperson Steven Conway, DC, DACBOH, Esq.?? ???People will spend thousands of dollars on a mattress and then skimp on a pillow that doesn???t support their head and neck properly,??? he observes.

When selecting a new pillow, ACA recommends selecting one with ergonomically-designed features, which will enhance comfort and limit pain.?? Look for pillows that are:

  • Designed to keep the spine in natural alignment. When lying on your side, your head and neck should remain level with your mid and lower spine. When lying on your back, your head and neck should remain level with your upper back and spine.?? Avoid pillows that are so thick or thin that they angle your head and neck away from your body.
  • Designed to support different sleep positions, including side sleeper or back sleeper. (It???s best never to sleep on your stomach, as it???s the most back unfriendly sleeping position.)
  • Hypoallergenic.

There is no such thing as a universal fit when it comes to pillows, Dr. Conway notes. ???Find a pillow that is consistent with the shape and size of your body. If you find yourself sleeping on your side with one hand propped under your pillow, that???s a clue that you???re not getting the support you need from that pillow,??? he explains.

If you continue to experience pain and discomfort at night or have difficulty falling asleep, visit your doctor of chiropractic. Doctors of chiropractic are trained to treat spinal problems that can interfere with a restful night???s sleep. They can also offer nutritional and ergonomic advice that can help improve the quality of your sleep. To find a chiropractor near you, view ACA???s searchable member database.

The American Chiropractic Association is the nation???s leading chiropractic organization representing more than 16,000 doctors of chiropractic and their patients.

Filed under: — @ 2007-11-20 00:00:00
2007-11-14 00:00:00

4 Steps to Child Seat Safety

1. For the best possible protection keep infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. At a minimum, keep infants rear-facing until a minimum of age 1 and at least 20 pounds.

2. When children outgrow their rear-facing seats (at a minimum age 1 and at least 20 pounds) they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds).

3. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds), they should ride in booster seats, in the back seat, until the vehicle seat belts fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest (usually at age 8 or when they are 4???9??? tall).

4. When children outgrow their booster seats, (usually at age8 or when they are 4???9??? tall) they can use the adult seat belt in the back seat, if it fits properly (lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest).

Filed under: — @ 2007-11-14 00:00:00
2007-11-12 00:00:00

Raking Leaves Without the Back Pain

What Can You Do?
The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) offers the following tips to help prevent the needless pain yard work may cause.

  • Do stretching exercises, without bouncing, for a total of 10 to 15 minutes spread over the course of your work. Do knee-to-chest pulls, trunk rotations, and side bends with hands above your head and fingers locked. Take a short walk to stimulate circulation. When finished with the yard work, repeat the stretching exercises.
  • Stand as straight as possible, and keep your head up as you rake or mow.
  • When it’s still warm outside, avoid the heat. If you’re a morning person, get the work done before 10 a.m. Otherwise, do your chores after 6 p.m.
  • When raking, use a “scissors” stance: right footforward and left foot back for a few minutes, then reverse, putting your left foot forward and right foot back.
  • Bend at the knees, not the waist, as you pick up piles of leaves or grass from the grass catcher. Make the piles small to decrease the possibility of back strain.
  • When mowing, use your whole bodyweight to push the mower, rather than just your arms and back.
  • If your mower has a pull cord, don’t twist at the waist or yank the cord. Instead, bend at the knees and pull in one smooth motion.
  • Drink lots of water, wear a hat, shoes and protective glasses. And, to avoid blisters, try wearing gloves. If your equipment is loud, wear hearing protection. If you have asthma or allergies, wear a mask.
  • Try ergonomic tools, too. They’re engineered to protect you when used properly.
  • If you do feel soreness or stiffness in your back, use ice to soothe the discomfort. If there’s no improvement in two or three days, see your local doctor of chiropractic.
Filed under: — @ 2007-11-12 00:00:00
2007-11-07 00:00:00

The Inspirational Power of Movies

Winters in the Northwest are a great time to break out the video membership card and catch up on your couch time, but who says watching movies has to be a waste of time.

Movies have an incredible effect on our mood and can used to help provide a little boost of inspiration. If you don’t believe me, start humming the Rocky theme and tell me that you can’t see yourself at the top of the steps throwing your hands in the air. The following is a list of the most inspirational movies of all time, being from Indiana I was disappointed to see that Hoosiers and Breaking Away didn’t make the list.?? Feel free to comment with your own additions.

1. It’s a Wonderful Life 1947:G
2. Roots 1977:PG
3. Chariots of Fire 1981:PG
4. Gandhi 1982:PG
5. Rudy 1993:PG
6. Field ofDreams 1989:PG
7. Mr. Holland’s Opus 1996:PG
8. Rocky 1976:PG
9. The Killing Fields 1984:R
10. The Sound of Music 1965:G
11. October Sky 1999:PG
12. The Shawshank Redemption 1994:R
13. Brian’s Song 1971:G
14. Stand and Deliver 1988:PG
15. Coal Miner’s Daughter 1980:PG
16. Norma Rae 1979:PG-13
17. A Beautiful Mind 2002:R
18. Braveheart 1995:R
19. Glory 1989:R
20. Life is Beautiful 1998:PG-13

Filed under: — @ 2007-11-07 00:00:00
2007-10-30 00:00:00

Danger-Proofing Your Home By Britt Michaelian, MA

One day a few weeks ago, our 2 year old escaped within a matter of a minute from my sister???s front door. Three adults and five kids frantically searched for the toddler, only to find that she had opened the front door, climbed down the porch steps and scaled a very steep driveway, ending up in the middle of the street.

Was I being irresponsible? No. Was I paying close attention? Yes. Could I have done anything differently? Not really. As you hear with any tragic situation, it only takes a moment. With toddlers, this is especially true and this is why we not only need to beconstantly supervising our children, but we also need to be prepared in case there is a medical emergency. The fact is that there are moments where the child can slip away or where an injury can occur no matter how closely you supervise a child.

This story is an example of when childproofing is not enough. What can we do about it? Starting before your child can crawl, go through your entire home as an octopus bulldozer. Get on your knees, open the front door and crawl in. Grab onto and pull down on anything in your reach. Everything that has the potential to be opened, pinched, tumbled or broken needs to be addressed.

Start with getting electrical socket covers and place them high and low, in every electrical socket in your home! If you do this first, you will not be sorry! Our two year old has learned how to pull these out, but we still use them! Even though she can remove these covers, they are one added step that gives us time to react when we see her at the electrical outlet. While you are at it, get power strip covers and any cord ties to eliminate a tangle of cords that can be very intriguing to children.

If a piece of furniture or large object, such as a TV, moves or shifts at all in your crazy octopus experiment, it has the potentialto fall and needs to be anchored to the wall. If a vase or other heavy object can become loose or fall, it needs to be strapped down or moved to another location where it is not a danger. If drawers or cabinets can be opened, put safety latches on them. Different safety latches work best in different types of cabinets. Some cannot be used if your cabinet has a wide frame or irregular shape, so it is important to try different brands to figure out which latch works best on your furniture. We tried as many as four types of latches in some locations before finding one that worked!

Our smart, adorable little toddler girl has broken a lot of our child safety latches (and the ones at the doctor’s office) so, I highly recommend making sure any choking hazards, such as dry pasta noodles, hard candy or other hard foods be stored up high both in the refrigerator and in other areas of the kitchen. Obviously, liquid detergent and other cleaning chemicals are extremely dangerous and should be stored in the highest possible location as well. Over the refrigerator or oven are usually safe.

Until recently, our toddler could not open doors, so I found that keeping all of the doors in the house closed is a good way to monitor her location. Most importantly, the bathroom door needs to remain shut and the toilet closed with a toilet guard.

Other hazards in the bathroom include but are not limited to the bathtub, medicine cabinet, any drawers, hairdryers, make up, nail polish, lotions and potions as well as anything that can fall on top of the child. Don’t forget, these drawers and cabinets need safety latches as well!

Another thing to keep in mind is that medications may be difficult for children to open, but not impossible. Keep ALL medications stored up high and out of reach, even when your child is very sick. And DO NOT keep any medications on your own nightstand! Many children suffer from accidental poisonings as a result of medications being left out in places where the child can easily reach them.

If you have stairs in your house, you will need a gate at the top of the stairs and another gate at the bottom to keep baby from climbing up without your assistance (and possibly falling down). If your stairway has rails that are more than 2 3/4 inches wide, you will need to get a banister guard made to keep baby from going between the rails. You will also need to make sure your windows are safe. If you have safety mechanisms on your windows, use them! If you don’t have safety windows, you can buy window guards or stints that can be removed quickly by an adult in case of fire.

When your toddler is big enough to reach the counter or stove, get a counter or stove guard. This handy plastic shield will block little hands from getting burned or pulling knives down when you are cutting food for dinner. A woman we know has a large scar on her cheek because when she was 9 months old, she pulled a dishtowel down from the counter. There was a knife on top of the dishtowel that went through her cheek and the scar remains today.

In fact, make sure all knives are pushed all the way to the back of the counter, if not stored in one of the latched cabinets! Our adorable two year old has pushed a chair over to the counter, climbed up and grabbed knives from the knife block in about 2 seconds. In addition, remember to cook on the back burners of the stove. If you are making a lot of food and need to use the front burners, have someone entertain baby outside of the kitchen or put the baby in a safe place while you cook! Every home should also have fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors that are tested every year (keep a journal of all appliances that need parts tested or changed in your kitchen).

Security alarms are another thing that parents underestimate the value of! Security alarms areimportant to protect from burglars and home invasions, but they also have wonderful functions such as a warning beep when a door or window is opened or closed and fire alarms that signal the fire department.

I highly recommend hiring a childproofing expert to come to your house to install every safety device that your house can accommodate! I also highly recommend and believe it should be mandatory for all parents and caregivers to take CPR and first aid courses every year.

In addition to this, it is important for you to prepare a family log that is readily available in case of emergency. You can use a binder and make spread sheets with your family???s important information. Make a list of any and all medical history items and medications that anyone in your family takes regularly. Have an extra dose on hand in case of a natural disaster or other emergency and list where that is (better yet, store a few in a pouch with the log!) Any information that you or another caregiver would need to know should be in this log.

Families need to have an outside the immediate area person to contact if there is a catastrophic emergency. All family members should have this person’s phone number on hand at all times. This person should also have a copyof your household???s important documents. Each household should have an emergency survival kit with enough food, water, medication and supplies for a week. Each vehicle should have an emergency survival pack (including water and food) and a well-stocked first aid kit.

Filed under: — @ 2007-10-30 00:00:00
2007-10-11 00:00:00

Appendix May Have Function After All

Modern medicine has seen the appendix as a useless sac that is often removed even if there is no significant problems.?? The idea that the body would take the time and energy to create an organ that had no purpose never set well with me.?? The body is an amazing, self healing organism that doesn’t waste energy.?? Unfortunately we have become so full of hubris that we believe we know what the body needs more than the body itself knows.

I was happy to see that researchers have found a use for this organ that was once thought of as just a place for infections.?? Earlier this month, researchers from Duke University released a study stating they have found a function for the appendix.?? The researcher believe that the appendix plays an important role in populating the normal gut flora that is responsible for extracting nutrients from our food.

As our food moves into the intestines, billions of bacteria in the GI system go to work on our food to remove nutrients that will benefit our body.?? These are the same bacteria thar are destroyed with antibiotic use.?? Without these beneficial bacterial out bodies do not receive the proper amount of nutrients, which has been shown to affect overall health and immune system function.?? Getting nutrients from our food has become more difficult?? because of the foods we eat contain less nutrients than they did in years past.?? This is obviously true for the processed foods that are omnipresent in the Standard American Diet (SAD), but even the fresh fruits and vegetables has less nutrient value than they once did.?? In years past if our ancestors wanted a fruit, they would go to the tree and grab the fruit right off the tree and eat it.?? It was important to eat the fruit as soon as it was removed from it’s life line (the tree) because the fruit starts losing nutrients as soon as it is removed.?? When we want fruit we go to the grocery store and purchase fruit that could have come from half way around the world.?? These fruits have been picked early and treated with chemicals that prevent over riping.?? By the time these fruits enter your digestive system, they have lost much of their beneficial nutrients.

We are starting the digestive process with sub par food and putting these foods in a body that is not capable of properly digesting what is already diminished.?? The lack of nutrients in our diets and our inability to digest leads to poor immune system function and an environment for disease and illness.

Adding probiotics is simple and easy, most grocery stores and health food stores carry this supplement.?? Unfortunately there are a lot of supplements that don’t contain what they claim.?? I recommend a product called Human Microflora (HMF) which is available through physicians.?? For other recommendations, Consumer Labs in a consumer protection agency that examines supplements and reports on their contents and viability.

Filed under: — @ 2007-10-11 00:00:00
2007-09-30 00:00:00

Growing up with Low Back Pain.

A recent study published in the medical journal Spine showed an alarming increase in adolescent low back pain in recent years.

In 1994 16% of children 12-15 experienced low back pain.? Just six years?later, in 2002,?that number jumped to 36%. ?The direct cause of this increase is unknown at this point but many lifestyle factors are thought to contribute to these numbers.

  • Backpacks - Children are carrying more and morein their backpacks.? As children develop, this increased force could play a part in childhood low back pain.? How much should a child’s backpack weigh?? The pack should be no more than 10% of the child’s weight.
  • Determine if your child’s backpack is too heavy - weigh them without the pack, then with the pack. Subtract the two numbers, then take that number and divide by the childs weght. For example a 50 lb child (w/o pack) weighs 60 lbs with pack. Subtract 60lbs - 50lbs = 10 lbs, now divide 10lbs/50lbs = 20%.
  • Inactivity - As children grow, they need to be active!? It should come as no suprise that low back pain increases as physical activity decreases.? Make sure that your children take periodic breaks from sitting and move around and stretch.? Also, limit time that is spent in front of the computer and t.v.

For more information regarding backpack safety and low back prevention, visit the American Chiropractic Association website at http://www.americhiro.org/press_css.cfm?CID=104
The course of low back pain from adolescence to adulthood. Spine 2006; 31 (4): 488-72

Filed under: — @ 2007-09-30 00:00:00
2007-09-30 00:00:00

Fibromyalgia Pain Relieved by Acupuncture

Are you in the 4% of the population diagnosed with fibromyalgia?? Do you suffer from widespread unexplainable pain?? What about interrupted sleep, extreme fatigue?? Irritable Bowel Syndrome?? Anxiety?

There are a lot of signs and symptoms that have been grouped together and called Fibromyalgia - which has no known specific?cause.? Western medical treatments?include pain relievers, muscle relaxers, and anti-depressants - all?symptom relief.?

Oriental Medicine, including Acupuncture looks at the whole person, getting to the root cause, thereby going beyond just symptom relief!??Acupuncture uses specific points along meridians, or pathways to rebalance the energy in the body.? There are many types of acupuncture - yes - even types that do not use needles!? There are new studies showing the benefits of acupuncture for the treatment of Fibromyalgia - opening a new and natural door?for people with this common syndrome.

For the Full Article go to: Fibromyalgia Studies

Stephanie Petix, L.Ac.



Filed under: — @ 2007-09-30 00:00:00
2007-09-30 00:00:00

Acupuncture for the Treatment of Stress

I know, I know, you are wondering how putting needles in your body is going to cause your stress to go away!? Fair question.?

We have all heard of the negative affects of long-term stress on the body.?In Chinese Medicine, stress disrupts the energy pathways in the body causing a blockage.? Think of a bathroom drain, hair goes into it and gradually builds up.? Eventually you will have a clogged drain.? The same happens with energy in your body.? Long-term stress builds and builds in your body eventually causing “dis-harmonies” varying in degree.? Acupuncture is extremely beneficial in unblocking stuck energy and promoting the free flow of energy throughout the body.? It uses tiny hair like needles placed in specific points to relax and rebalance your system.? Most people even fall asleep during treatments!?

For further reading: Acupuncture for Stress

If you have any questions, please feel free to call,

Stephanie Petix, L.Ac.


Filed under: — @ 2007-09-30 00:00:00
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