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It’s flu and cold season.  Avoiding germs helps us avoid the flu and colds, so where are the germs lurking?  You might be surprised to find where you can encounter the most germs.

 

  • Home: Your kitchen is the germiest place. It has more bacteria than your bathrooms due to the germs on raw meat and produce.  Clean and disinfect or sanitize your kitchen sink often.  If you use a sponge, be sure to run it through the dishwasher after each use.  Also, make sure to disinfect your kitchen counter-tops.  Cold and flu germs can usually remain active on stainless steel, plastic and similar hard surfaces longer than on fabric or other types of soft surfaces. iphone-37856__340
  • Cellphone: Since we carry our cellphones everywhere, they are usually loaded with bacteria including viruses like the flu.  Frequently clean your smartphone with an alcohol-free antiseptic wipe. (Alcohol is not good for your screen.)
  • Purse: Do you hang your purse or set it on the floor?  Floors are really dirty places, especially restroom floors. Hang your purse on a hook or the back of a chair when possible, never put your purse on the kitchen counter, and regularly wipe your purse with a disinfectant wipe.
  • Workplace: You may think the worst place is the restroom, but the ground-floor elevator will probably beat it out for the germiest place.  Another place is the break room- especially the coffee pot handle and the water dispenser.  Wash your hand as soon as you can after touching either one of these items. menu
  • Restaurants: Guess what everyone touches?  The menu has the most bacteria.  Thus, after ordering your food, go to the restroom and wash your hands or take some hand sanitizer and use it before eating.
  • Grocery Stores: If you guessed the grocery cart, you are right.  Use a disinfecting wipe on the handles.  If you use reusable grocery bags, put them on the floor, not the kitchen counter, and wash them often in hot water and bleach.  Always wash your hands or sanitize them after shopping.

Washing your hands often with soap and water is the key to avoiding getting sick. hands-2238235__340 This is the best way to reduce the germs you are exposed to. Be sure to wash your hands for 20 seconds and build up a lather before rinsing.

And remember, eating nutritious food and being physically active will also help you stay healthy and fight infections.

Hope you avoid the flu and colds this season!

 

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fayette County

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County

 

References:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2018).  Preventive Steps.  Available at  https://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/prevention.htm

Leamy, E. (2017). The Most Germ-Infested Places You Encounter Every Day – and How to Avoid Getting Sick. The Washington Post.  Available at https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/12/17/the-most-germ-infested-places-you-encounter-every-day-and-how-to-avoid-getting-sick/

Steckelberg, J. M. (2015).  Flu Germs:  How Long Can They Live Outside the Body?  Mayo Clinic.  Available at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/expert-answers/infectious-disease/faq-20057907.

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Did you decide to start out this year with the goal of building your savings? Or maybe a summer vacation to the beach, an amusement park, or camping are in your family’s future? Would you like your first or a new home, or maybe just a new (for you) car? Studies show that 54% of Ohio residents have less than $1,000 saved. While financial experts recommend a savings of up to six months’ salary (to cover the loss of salary for a job or medical crisis), but just having $2,000 to cover a small crisis would be a great goal. So what can you do to build your savings?

  • One of the best savings methods is to save automatically. With each pay check, or at least once a month, have money moved to a savings account. Another way to do this is signing up for a Christmas or Vacation Account at your lending institution.
  • To protect against “Impulse Buys” move to a 24 hour waiting period before purchasing anything except food and gas. If you have to think before buying the latest video game, clothing, shoes, purse, or home decorating item – you will likely decide you don’t really need it a large percentage of the time. Ask yourself “Do I want it or do I need it?” If you just want it, consider if you want the family vacation to Florida more.
  • Always think before you swipe your credit card. You may want to consider wrapping your card in a piece of paper that says “Think before using” or “Do I need this?”
  • Limit store trips, every additional time you shop you spend on impulse items. This is true of online shopping too, so try to avoid websites that you are tempted to purchase from frequently.
  • Collect loose change, but safely store it. An easily visible jar may be a temptation for some.
  • Unsubscribe from marketing emails for businesses that you don’t use any more or that may be very tempting. Think about the stores that sell items you like not items you need, and unsubscribe!
  • Have a “Do nothing week” or “cutting back week” where you avoid eating out, and going to movies or other entertainment that isn’t free. Look for free things that you can do at a local community center, your parks, or finally play the new games the kids got for Christmas or their last birthday. Put the money you would have spent eating out or at the movies in your savings account instead.
  • Teach your children to save by setting up a savings account at the bank. Strongly encourage them to deposit half of their allowance, gift money from family members, or the money they make from selling items at the family yard sale. You may choose to let them save for a larger item over several months or enforce that this savings is for the future – an education fund or for a car of their own.
  • Try one of those savings plans where you save $1 more each week, or even $10 or $20 per week. Every little bit helps.
  • Every time you get a lump sum payment like a bonus, tax refund, overtime at work, or even birthday money from your parents – save some of it. At least 50% would be great, but even saving $50 – $100 would help build your savings. Check out the “Save Your Refund” site to enter a contest to win one of 100 prizes for those who commit to save at least $50 of their 2018 tax refund (in 2018 this program starts on January 22 and ends April 17, 2018). 

Let us know the tricks you have used to build your savings? By leaving a comment below this message.

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewer: Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County

Sources:

America Saves, Save Your Refund, https://saveyourrefund.com/.

University of Illinois Extension, More for Your Money, https://web.extension.illinois.edu/money/saving_easy.cfm.

Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, Impulse Buying on the Internet, https://digitalcommons.lsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=5168&context=gradschool_theses.

 

 

 

New Year, New You

2018

It’s 2018!

What is at the top of your New Year resolutions for 2018? Eat better? Increase your physical activity? Get better organized? While all of these are great resolutions, they can often become overwhelming.

Start the year off right with small, manageable changes to your lifestyle.

  • Park your car at the farthest point at work to increase your steps
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Eat a salad everyday!
  • Increase hydration
  • Stop salting your foods–use herbs, lemon juice and spices.

Small changes have big impacts. Remember to slow down. Set aside time for a night off and enjoy doing nothing! This helps us to maintain a sense of control over our busy lives.

At Live Healthy Live Well we are starting 2018 by offering a weekly text with reminders to help you stay healthy and reach your goals – LHLW365!

Sign up today! Share with your family and friends!

text mesage

https://www.remind.com/join/lhlw365

These small changes will have a huge impact and will be easy to stick too! Let’s make this the best year ever!

Written by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Sources: Jami Dellifield, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Hardin County, dellifield.2@osu.edu

 

blood-1968458_1280My husband was a firefighter for several years and during those years, he many times saw the need that existed for blood donors.  He started donating then and has regularly for over 40 years.  Have you ever thought about becoming a blood donor?   What are some reasons that you might consider donating?

People donate for a variety of reasons. Sometimes a friend or family member will ask you to donate for a specific person. About three years ago, my niece’s baby girl was diagnosed with a rare blood disease.  She needed constant transfusions for several weeks to combat the illness.  Family and friends from around the country offered to donate and many were able to help. Those who did not have the correct blood type or who lived to far away were encouraged to donate anyway to help someone else.

Some people just do it because they feel it is the right thing to do.  It is their way of giving back or paying forward.

Whatever the reason, the need is constant. It is important to help guarantee a safe, reliable source of blood for those needing a donation.  In order to donate, most states have the requirements that:

  • You are at least 17 years old
  • You weigh at least 110 lbs.
  • You are in good health.

For those who have never donated, here is a brief outline of the procedure.  It usually takes about one hour of your time.

  • Registration – you will be given the basic information about blood donating including the eligibility to do so, read some information and show your identification card.
  • Mini Physical – you will privately answer a few questions about your health and then they will check your temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin level present in a sample of blood.
  • Donation – the actual donation time is about 10 minutes – you will be seated comfortably and staff/volunteers will be available for any questions.
  • Refreshments -after donating, you should have a snack and something to drink in the refreshments area. You can leave the site after 10-15 minutes and continue with your normal daily activities.

After your blood is collected, it is tested for safety and the correct blood type to make sure the person receiving it is getting the safe blood that they need.

January is National Blood Donor Month as celebrated by the American Red Cross.  This month was chosen specifically because of the challenges that the cold weather present to having successful blood donation events.

If  you meet the requirements, feel healthy and would like to help others, make an appointment to donate blood this month. The good feeling that this will give you may encourage you to donate more often.

Please share a comment below if you are a blood donor and indicate why you donate. arc2012_logo_off

Writer: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension,  Pickaway County,  treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:

The American Red Cross (2015). Celebrate National Blood Donor Month http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Red-Cross-Celebrates-National-Blood-Donor-Month

Why Donate Blood (2018). https://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/why-donate-blood

Donating Blood – Topic Overview (2017). https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/tc/donating-blood-topic-overview#1

The new year is upon us which means everyone has made their New Year’s Resolution. Did you make yours about weight loss? Every year mine revolves around weight loss. Weight loss and I have a love-hate relationship. Some years are good and other years not so much.  I would like to share with you my personal struggles and how we can work together to lead healthier lives.

A few years ago I worked really hard at following a weight loss program and lost 40 pounds. I felt amazing! I had more energy and my self-confidence really improved. However, the next year, work became very stressful. Over the following years, I’ve gained all of it back, plus a little more, through emotional eating and other life changes. I self-sabotage my efforts. I don’t just fall off the “diet” band wagon; I fall off and set it on FIRE! It’s a vicious cycle that I’m putting an end to now.

Maybe you’re like me and have made decisions in the past to crash diet, and you’ve messed up your metabolism. You weigh yourself every week and when the weight isn’t coming off fast enough you feel a sense of failure and give up.

As a professional, I know and have read all the right things to do. There are blog posts on Healthy Habits and articles on how to Start Losing Weight.  But, old habits are hard to break. Personally, I have a major sweet tooth and sugar is very addicting.

Today, I’m asking you to join me in taking baby-steps to a healthier you. It may take longer, but the tortoise beat the hare, remember?

My plan of action is to make small changes over a certain period of time. I want to give myself time to take action and evaluate my success. I also want to identify my unhealthy eating triggers. Therefore, I’m allowing myself two weeks to make each change. This way I can make a small change the first week and then brainstorm ways to avoid unhealthy triggers the second week. I will start by changing my breakfast foods, then I will move onto snacks, dinner, lunch, and finally, beverages.

Since I’m starting with breakfast, I’ve identified a couple of go-to recipes I plan to use to give myself a kick start:

1. For mornings on the run, I’ll grab a low-fat Greek Yogurt, a small piece of fruit, and a piece of Sprouted toast with a small smear of all-fruit jam. Personally, I have found that sprouted bread is more gentle on my blood sugar. However, you could substitute your favorite whole grain bread.

french toast

2. For Saturday morning breakfast with my family, I love to make Cinnamon-French Toast. I’ll again use sprouted bread, and I’ll replace the whole eggs with egg whites. A little light syrup and some fresh berries will make this feel like such a treat!

3. Some days I’m way ahead of the game and have Overnight Oatmeal in the refrigerator ready to go.

What are your favorite go-to breakfasts?

 

Author: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension,  Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

 

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Losing Weight: Getting Started. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/getting_started.html

Godman, H. (2017). Are Sprouted Grains More Nutritious than Regular Whole Grains? Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/sprouted-grains-nutritious-regular-whole-grains-2017110612692

Spires, C. (2016). Diets or Healthy Habits? Live Healthy, Live Well. https://livehealthyosu.com/2016/10/24/diets-or-healthy-habits/

 

 

Positively Positive

The holiday season is one of the most giving and positive times of the year. Many people have the ‘Spirit of Giving’ during this festive time. The students of Somerset Elementary School are no exception. A few of weeks ago the principal, and some of the students stopped by our office to deliver poinsettias. They were going to businesses and residences in the community to spread some positivity with the flowers and a little note. The students of Somerset Elementary; however, have been practicing positivity for a couple years. They piloted the Positivity Project for Northern Local School District last year. The district implemented the project in the other two grade schools this year due to the great results from Somerset Elementary.

The visit from the students inspired me to encourage others to be more positive. Overall, I tend to be a positive person, but positivity does not come naturally for everyone. Some people have to work harder at it, but we all can become more positive with some small changes. To become more positive, try some of these tips from the Mayo Clinic:

Identify areas to change.Positivity Project

Check yourself.

Be open to humor.

Follow a healthy lifestyle.

Surround yourself with positive people.

Practice positive self-talk.

With practice, you may be able to develop a more positive attitude and become less critical of things around you.

There are many health benefits  to having a positive outlook/attitude for you. These may include:

  • lower blood pressure
  • reduced risk for heart disease
  • healthier weight
  • better blood sugar levels
  • lower rates of depression
  • lower levels of distress
  • greater resistance to the common cold
  • better psychological and physical well-being
  • better coping skills during stressful times
  • longer life span.

One study showed that the most optimistic group of women had a nearly 30% overall reduced mortality compared to the least optimistic group.

Gratitude can also help with developing a more positive outlook/attitude. People who are more grateful tend to have a more positive demeanor. If we can continue the practice of gratitude that many people seem to have during the holiday season all year long, it may help us to become more positive overall. The week after our office received the visit and the flowers from the students, I walked over to the school to deliver a Thank You note to the principal to share with the students. I wanted to make sure that the students understand that their gesture was appreciated and acknowledged. I will be sharing this blog with the principal as well so that he can show the students how they were my inspiration for writing it. The simple gesture of positivity by them, has already spread beyond their little school and town.

When you find yourself struggling to be or to remain positive (as we all do at times), remember Winston Churchill’s famous quote that “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Sometimes just re-framing the situation can help us to see things in a more positive light.

Comment on your favorite tips to stay positive.

 

Written by:  Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension , Perry County.

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County.

Photo Credit:  Debbie Goodrich, Office Associate, Perry County OSU Extension.

Sources:

https://posproject.org/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950?pg=2

https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2015/08/positive-emotions-your-health

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2016/12/optistic-women-live-longer-are-healthier/

http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/science-of-happiness/positive-thinking/

References:

Bryan, Jeff & Erwin, Mike (2017). #OtherPeopleMatter, The Positivity Project.

Mayo Clinic Staff (February 18, 2017). Positive thinking: Stop negative self-talk to reduce stress.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) News in Health (August 2015). Positive Emotions and Your Health Developing a Brighter Outlook.

Feldscher, Karen (December 7, 2016). How power of positive thinking works, Harvard Gazette.

Mindfulness and Positive Thinking (2016). Pursuit of Happiness, Inc.

As we round the corner and move towards 2018, do you still have any items on your “to do” list that you wanted to accomplish in 2017? I know I still have a few things on my list which will be pushed into the new year. At the start of the New Year, I enjoy boxing up old files and starting new files for the upcoming year. It is also fun to get a new calendar – another opportunity to start fresh and organize your work and personal life.

For many of us, a New Year is a fresh slate and we vow to . . . . . (you fill in the blank).

What is important to you? Let’s look at a few items and see if any resonate with you. Perhaps these ideas will help you get started on your goals for 2018.

Do you want be healthier? Let’s say that in 2018, you decide to focus on eating healthier or being more active. If you want to eat healthier, start by visiting http://choosemyplate.gov where you will find Super Tracker – an online food, activity and weight management tool that you can customize. Also explore USDA’s What’s Cooking? Mixing Bowl – a site full of tasty recipes and meal planning tools.

Still looking for additional ways to cut calories? Check out the tips shared on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) website. An easy jump-start to eating healthier is to fill half of your plate with vegetables and fruits.

Perhaps your beverage choices contribute to excess calories. It might be time to Rethink Your Drink. What can you do to reduce calories?

Do you want to re-energize and move more? Most of us can make improvements in this area. Set your activity goals and find an activity that moves you. Not sure where to start? Check out the CDC’s physical activity basics for adults. If you have 10 minutes to move then start with those 10. Make it a goal to add another 10 minutes during lunchtime and finish your day with another 10 minutes of activity. You will have added 30 minutes of physical activity to your day in 3 easy chunks!  This infographic from the American Heart Association may help you get started on your circuit training activity plan.

Capture

Create Your Own Circuit Workout. Source: American Heart Association. https://healthyforgood.heart.org/move-more/infographics/create-a-circuit-home-workout.

Clutter getting you down? Perhaps your goal for 2018 is to de-clutter and simplify your life. University of Illinois Extension has a great website to help you get started. Not sure where to start? Use the Clutter Emergency Card to help you sort what you should toss, keep or give away. Start small in one area, and once it is de-cluttered, move to another area.

2018

In the New Year, what challenge will you take on? Share your ideas in the comments!

 

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

 

Sources:

American Heart Association (2016). Create Your Own Circuit Workout at Home. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/GettingActive/Create-Your-Own-Circuit-Workout-at-home_UCM_484683_Article.jsp#.WjvNxk2WwaE

American Heart Association (2016). Why is physical activity so important for health and wellbeing? https://healthyforgood.heart.org/Move-more/Articles/Why-is-physical-activity-so-important-for-health-and-wellbeing

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Cutting Calories. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/cutting_calories.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). How Much Activity Do Adults Need? https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Rethink Your Drink. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/drinks.html

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). http://choosemyplate.gov

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl. https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/

University of Illinois Extension. Dealing with Clutter.  http://extension.illinois.edu/clutter/dealing.html