Health in a Minute: New Year 2014

60 Seconds to Better Health
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Kids and Dogs: 5 Safety Tips
Your dog is a part of your family, so it can be easy to let your guard down when it comes to having Fido around the house. But even good-natured dogs can be provoked by certain actions. Here are some behaviors to teach your kids to practice around pups:

  • Be Calm. Never jump or scream around dogs, and never yank tails, pull fur, or poke eyes. Provide a calm environment so the dog will feel at ease.
  • No hugs or kisses. Dogs love having their bellies rubbed or their backs stroked. They don’t love being grabbed or kissed. Also, avoid patting the top of the head – this can sometimes be a threatening gesture to dogs.
  • Never sneak up on a dog. This can scare dogs, so always approach them from the side.
  • Let sleeping (or eating) dogs lie. Many dogs will snap if bothered while eating or sleeping. Let them have their space during their “personal” time.
  • Always ask before petting a dog you don’t know. Dogs have different temperaments, so you should always ask an owner before petting a dog. If the owner gives permission, make a fist (palm down just in case the dog nips) and let the dog come to you.

Anti-Choking Cheat Sheet: from babies to toddlersHIAMChoking
Babies under 12 months:
Avoid round, firm, sticky foods, including whole nuts and seeds, whole grapes and dried fruit pieces (including raisins), hard or sticky candy, gum, hot dogs, chunks of fruit, meat or cheese, raw fruit and vegetables, honey, peanut butter chunks, and popcorn. Once children are ready for finger foods, make sure the foods are soft or easily gummed. Also note, honey contains botulism toxins, so it can be harmful to children under 1 year old. Wait until after age 1 so their bodies can fight off the toxins.
Kids 1 to 4 years old:
Most of the foods mentioned above are okay at this stage as long as they are properly prepared. Cut fruit and cooked vegetables into small pieces (no wider than a dime), quarter round fruits, halve peanuts, and chop other nuts. Julienne hot dogs and raw vegetables and spread peanut butter very thinly on crackers or bread. Continue to avoid popcorn, gum, and hard candy.
Safe habits for the family:
Always supervise young children when they are eating, and make sure they sit down for meals or snacks. Eating on the run is a choking hazard. You should also be up-to-date on children’s CPR, just in case.
Fighting off a winter coldHIAMColds
While many believe that a seasonal cold is inevitable, there are some ways to help reduce the chance of catching one. The American Lung Association (ALA) offers a few tricks for avoiding the common cold.

  • Wash your hands often, especially in public places or around someone with a cold. A cold is a viral infection spread by person-to-person contact.
  • Don’t touch your eyes or your nose to prevent spreading germs. If you’ve touched cold particles somewhere, then you’ll likely infect yourself.
  • Don’t share drinks or utensils with someone who has a cold.
  • Keep sinuses from drying out by watching the humidity in your home. Moist nasal membranes help move bacteria and viruses out.

Taking Your Workout Outdoors
While it may be tempting to stay in the gym in colder months, heading outdoors can be great for your workout routine. It’s a lot easier to watch the minutes tick by slowly while you’re on a treadmill. A change of scenery – like a new running route around town – can help time go by more quickly. And if you’ve been using the same exercise equipment for a while, your body knows what to expect. You may burn more calories outside when you factor in a varied landscape, wind, and changing temperatures. On top of being great for you physically, heading outside can be great for your mind. According to a report in Environmental Science and Technology, 71 percent of people feel less stressed after a 30 minute walk outside, while 72 percent of people who walk indoors feel more stressed. Taking in fresh air is a great way to clear your mind and produce endorphins, increasing happiness. Another great thing about working out outside: it’s free. You can save on the gym membership and the outdoors are always open, so you don’t have to wait in line or work your schedule around gym hours.
Holiday Heart Health: Shopping Smart
Many typical holiday foods are high in sugar, sodium, and fat, but you don’t have to skip delicious holiday meals to stay healthy. Making a few simple changes can keep you healthy and happy during the holiday season. Here are a few healthy swaps to make when you’re doing your holiday grocery shopping.

  • Swap the cheese plate for unsalted nuts, fiber-rich crackers, and raw vegetables. Pair with a low fat dressing or hummus for a healthy holiday appetizer spread.
  • If you want your seasonal eggnog fix, go for the low-fat or fat-free version. Even better: spiced apple cider.
  • Use low-sodium chicken broth to flavor your potatoes, and add fat-free evaporated milk to make mashed potatoes creamy.
  • Instead of the typical stuffing, make your own heart-healthy mix with cranberries, raisins, and apricots to replace the meat.
  • Trade the store-bought (high in sodium) gravy mixes and whip up something homemade with low-sodium broth and skim milk.
  • Skip the store-bought pumpkin pies – the crusts are high in trans and saturated fats. Try a crustless pumpkin pie or go for angel food cake with fresh berries and low-fat whipped cream.


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