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The dog days of summer are upon us. Heat and humidity can make it difficult to be comfortable, especially for those who don’t have air conditioning.  Extreme heat can even be deadly, causing heat exhaustion or heatstroke if not treated in time.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates approximately 600 people die from heat related complications each year.  This is more deaths than from all other natural disasters combined (flooding, tornadoes, and hurricanes). Those who are most vulnerable include infants, children, the elderly, those who work outdoors, and people with chronic medical conditions.

Heat exhaustion is when the body overheats and can lead to heatstroke if the symptoms are not treated in time. According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of heat exhaustion are heavy sweating, rapid pulse, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, headache, and muscle cramps. These symptoms often occur when a person is participating in strenuous physical activity.  If a person is experiencing these symptoms, immediately have them rest, move to a cooler place and drink water or sports drinks.  Seek immediate medical attention if the symptoms don’t improve within an hour.

Heat exhaustion is preventable by taking some simple precautions. By planning ahead of time when a high heat index is predicted, you can stay as cool as a cucumber by following these simple tips:

summer heat

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Stay hydrated and drink more water than you usually do. Avoid beverages with caffeine, alcohol, or high amounts of sugar. If you are physically active or sweating more than usual, try drinking a sport drink with electrolytes.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing in natural fibers such as cotton, linen, or hemp. These allow your body to breathe.
  • Cool off with water by soaking your feet in a tub of cold water. Keep a spray bottle of water in the refrigerator and mist yourself throughout the day. Take it with you when you leave the house.
  • If your house isn’t air conditioned, head to your local library, mall or community building. If your house has a basement, create a comfortable area where you can sit when it’s hot outside.
  • Create a cross breeze by positioning a fan across the room from a window. To cool the room down even more, place a pan of ice in front of the fan to generate a cool breeze.
  • Cool off your house or apartment by turning of lights and using heat-generating appliances at night, such as washers, dryers, and irons.
  • Dampen a towel or small blanket with cool water and wrap it around your body.
  • Take a cool shower.

lemons and ice

One extra note – remember your four-legged friends especially during the heat. Dogs and cats don’t have the ability to sweat like humans, so they will be affected differently by heat.  Give your pet a haircut and keep them indoors on hot days, providing them with water.  Limit outdoor activity or exercise and don’t push them too hard.  When they are outside, be sure they have a shady spot to lie in and make sure they have plenty of cool water to drink.  Avoid hot surfaces since your pet is basically barefoot.  If your dog doesn’t have much fur, you can use a special pet sunblock with zinc oxide to prevent burns. Never leave a pet in a parked car, even on cooler days.  The inside temperature heats up very quickly!  If you think your pet is overheated, get them into shade or air conditioning immediately.  Don’t submerge them in cold water; cooling down too quickly can cause problems.  Wet them under a faucet or hose with lukewarm water and let the air flow around them.  Offer small amounts of water to drink and call your veterinarian immediately.

Enjoy summer and all the fun activities it brings – picnics, swimming, gardening, and long lazy days…

References: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat Related Illness, https://www.cdc.gov/extremeheat/warning.html

WebMD, Green Tips for a Cool Summer, http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/green-tips-for-a-cool-summer.

City of Cincinnati Health Department, http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/health/news/excessive-heat-warning-issued/

Written by: Jennifer Even, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County.

Reviewed by: Liz Smith, M.S., RDN, L.D., Ohio State University Extension, SNAP-Ed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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zucchini.jpg

As my family gardened this week we noticed that we have an abundance of zucchini. It’s that time of year where everyone is getting more than they anticipated and they are trying to find ways to use it up, preserve it, or give it away.

When picking zucchini look for firm and wrinkle free zucchini that is about 6 to 8 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. If you are anything like me, you likely have zucchini in your garden that’s 12 inches long and 4 inches in diameter. The larger the zucchini the tougher it will be and it will also contain more seeds. These zucchini are best for baking. Scoop out the seeds and pulp, grate the zucchini and use in your favorite recipes.

Zucchini have a high water content which makes them lower in calories. They provide us with vitamin C, fiber, vitamin K, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, and potassium. This makes them a fantastic vegetable to eat. However, not all children are big vegetable eaters. If you are like me, you sneak them into things when they don’t notice. Zucchini bread is always a good option but if you have a picky eater like I do, the green flecks in the bread can quickly turn them away. Have you ever put it in your chocolate cake or finely shredded in spaghetti sauce? My kids don’t know it’s there and I get them to eat a vegetable! I count it as my mom super power! The below recipe is a great one to try from USDA’s Mixing Bowl recipe collection. You can also check out some of their other zucchini recipes.

The big zucchini that I picked from my garden will make a lot of Chocolate Squash cake. I won’t use all of my grated zucchini before it goes bad so I will be freezing my leftovers. For proper freezing procedures please check out these safe instructions by the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Make sure you blanch zucchini before freezing to ensure quality.

Eating the squash cake is not as healthy for you as eating the raw vegetable itself but we all have to start somewhere.

Aunt Barbara’s Chocolate Squash Cake

Makes: 12 Servings

Instructions

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 package cake mix, dark chocolate

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 eggs

1 1/4 cups water

1 cup squash (shredded or finely chopped)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 10″ tube or bundt pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix and cinnamon.
  3. Add eggs, water, and oil. Blend until combined, then beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes on medium speed.
  4. Fold in squash. Add nuts if you like.
  5. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until cake springs back when lightly touched.

Other Ideas:

  • Use a greased 9×13-inch pan. Bake for 45 minutes.
  • To lighten cake, try 6 egg whites in place of whole egg.
  • Replace 1/2 cup oil with 1/2 cup applesauce.

WRITTEN BY: Amanda Bohlen, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County.

REVIEWED BY: Lisa Barlage , Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension,  Ross County.

SOURCES:

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The term Nature Deficit Disorder was coined by author Richard Louv in his book “Last Child in the Woods” to describe the phenomena of children and youth becoming disconnected from nature. Adults can certainly suffer from nature deficit disorder, but chances are, most adults spent more time outside as children than our kids do today. Research is linking nature deficit with some disturbing child outcomes, such as increases in obesity, attention disorders and depression as well as diminished use of one’s senses.

Some of the reasons for this disconnect with nature in recent decades include urbanization and disappearing green spaces, spending more time indoors, and increased use of technology and electronic communications. These trends contribute to a devaluing of independent play and what health experts are calling the “epidemic of inactivity.” The time kids spend outdoors is increasingly spent in structured play or organized sports, instead of ‘playing in nature.’ Unstructured play in nature allows for developing problem-solving, creativity and emotional development, according Dr. Stephen Kellert of Yale University. In his book “Building for Life: Designing and Understanding Human-Nature Connection,” Kellert urges community leaders and urban designers to consider green space and creating opportunities for children to have positive interactions with nature on a daily basis.

nature unpluggedWe can reverse this nature deficit disorder for ourselves and our children. Connecting with nature can have physical, mental and social health benefits for adults and children alike. Research results found that spending time in nature can help prevent cancer cell development, strengthen the immune system and aid in stress reduction. The Children and Nature Network is dedicated to connecting children, families and communities to nature through innovative ideas, evidence-based resources, and collaborative efforts. The Children and Nature Network’s Toolkits offer these ideas to get your family connected:

Nature is everywhere. You can find nature by planting seeds in a pot on the front porch or sketching a tree as well as by venturing into a wild preserve.
Be prepared. In order to get the most from your time outdoors, bring along snacks, water, sunscreen, and even a change of clothes in case your kids get wet or cold.
Embrace the elements. Dress for the weather, stomp in a puddle, enjoy a rainy or snowy walk in the park.
Model curiosity. If you see plants or animals or holes or nests you can’t identify, show your curiosity. Kids have a natural sense of wonder and this can lead to some awesome discoveries. You can look things up together when you get home.
Bring friends. Your family can bond in the company of other families; in fact, you might have even more fun!
Create stories. At the end of the day, have each family member talk about their favorite part of the time spent outdoors. These will become part of your family lore. You can revisit those places and support the wonderful connections you’ve built together outdoors in nature.

Make it a goal to spend an hour outside each week, connecting with nature and with others. See this PBS article for more ideas on how to help your kids get plugged into nature. You can also check out your local parks for nature education programs. Richard Louv offers a Resource Guide full of ideas for connecting with nature.

Get outside.   Get connected.   Get into nature.

WRITTEN BY: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

REVIEWED BY: Candace Heer, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County

PHOTO CREDITS:

  • Photo taken and edited by Shannon Carter; original idea for text on picture taken from popular press

SOURCES:

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Beach

It is hard to believe that we are entering the second half of 2016. Where did the time go? Were you like most of us who set a New Year’s goal or resolution?

How are you doing with that goal? Did you achieve it and move forward with your new healthy lifestyle behaviors? Did you get sidelined by events in your life?

If this new habit is part of your routine, great! If not, is it still relevant? Do you need to revise your goal? Recently I encouraged program participants to set a SMART Goal. What is a SMART goal?

One of the best things you can do to start on your road to health is to set goals using the SMART method.  Let’s start by setting a SMART Wellness Goal. Make sure your goal contains all of these components:

S                  Specific – Walk 30 minutes

M               Measurable – 6 days each week

A                Attainable and Action-Oriented – I will walk (I have no limitations)

R                 Realistic – I already walk 15 minutes 6 days of the week

T                Time Specific – By August 15, 2016

SMART Goal: By August 15, 2016, I will walk for 30 minutes at least 6 days each week.

Another Example of a SMART Goal: By August 15, 2016, I will stretch for 10 minutes at least 5 days a week.

Take a few minutes to write down Your SMART Goal: __________________________________________________________

 

___________________________________________________________

Goal cropped 2

A great website tool to help you set nutrition and physical activity goals is SuperTracker which is available from the United States Department of Agriculture. Visit their website to get started with five simple goals. You will determine your goals and periodically receive encouragement thru your email.

Why should you consider your goals during vacation time? For many of us, vacation offers extra time to reflect on our lives and evaluate our progress. I consider my July vacation as a mid-point check-up. Are there things that I want to change to improve my health? Are there activities/projects that I want to accomplish before the year end? If so, taking a few minutes to pause and identify action steps & setting a SMART goal will help me achieve my goals.

Want a little more motivation? Check out Move it Monday for their Tip of the Week and suggestions for being more active.

Remember that even if you were derailed on your New Year’s Resolutions, it isn’t too late to start again! Write that goal and get started this vacation season!

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

Reviewed by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu

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Those of you who know me well will remember that I took about two months off this winter to recover from shoulder surgery (and a fractured foot too). Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t plan ahead to make recovery easier, as I fell, rather than having surgery for normal wear-and-tear. As I recovered at home I discovered many things that would make my life easier. I have started sharing these ideas with several co-workers who had those wear-and-tear surgeries after mine. Hopefully sharing those little tips with you will make your life easier too.

Pre-Surgery Prep:

  • Do a little home prep by setting up a recovery zone – a chair or lounger that reclines, place for phone, remotes, table for drinks, medicine, reading materials, and snacks. Gather a few pillows, you will likely use them to prop your arm for a while.
  • Place things at home that you use often at arm level, so they are easy to reach.
  • Purchase flip-top or pump tooth paste, body wash, and shampoo. It really will make your life easier.
  • Make sure you have a couple pairs of pull-on pants (yoga or sweat pants work, just consider if you need something you can wear in public too).
  • Button front shirts work the best the first couple weeks, so either buy a few, borrow, or stop in at a second hand store. My husband wears a button front shirt to work every single day, he had a whole closet, I had one that was women’s pre-accident. Button front isn’t my style, so I wore his and eventually bought a few of those plaid casual boyfriend shirts for home. After I started getting out, I purchased a number of peasant style large neck blouses that I could easily slip on and wear to work, church, or out to eat (these were more my style, but I probably couldn’t have put them on the first week or two).
  • You won’t be able to tie your own shoes, so either make sure you have something slip-on or get elastic laces for your shoes.
  • Do the pre-admission testing they will require.
  • Make sure you check with your physician about any medications you take, over-the-counter and prescription. They may advise you to stop taking them ahead of surgery, or you may need to continue them (just check).
  • Review your insurance to make sure you have all pre-approvals, forms completed, etc.
  • Use the pre-surgery wash they give you to cut back on the risk of germs. If they don’t supply one, ask or use an anti-biotic wash. It is recommend you use this a couple times before surgery and don’t apply lotion on the day of surgery.
  • Make sure you have transportation arranged; you will have a sling for 4 to 6 weeks and be unable to drive. You will need rides to medical appointments and therapy, as well as the grocery or possibly work. I was fortunate to have family, in-laws, and friends who drove me around for about 2 months – with a fractured foot and shoulder – driving wasn’t an option.

When you get home you will need help showering and dressing the first week or so (maybe more). Find a friend or family member that will be able to help you – or consider going for a short stay at a rehab facility. Recruit help with your laundry, groceries, meal prep, and care of pets. To avoid blood clots, don’t sit too long – get up and walk to the bathroom or to get drinks. If they give you a compression sleeve for swelling and circulation – wear it. Do any therapy or rehabilitation that is advised. You may be like me and only be able to do a little bit, because of the break, or you may be able to slip your arm out of the sling for short periods of time (ask them what you should be doing). Once you start therapy, go and do what they tell you to, you won’t regret this decision. Using a stress ball or even pinching a large binder-style clip will help you feel better. I’m finishing up my last couple weeks of therapy, with a goal of being O-H-I-O ready for football season in September!Hawaii 2

I hope these tips help each of you to have a successful recovery from your surgery. Feel free to comment with any tips that helped you, or other things that you learned.

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

Reviewer: Candace J. Heer, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County.

Sources:

Patient Guide to Total Shoulder Replacement: http://www.med.nyu.edu/orthosurgery/sites/default/files/orthosurgery/shoulder_0.pdf

The Patient’s Guidebook for Shoulder Surgery, Methodist Sports Medicine: http://www.methodistsports.com/wp-content/uploads/RCR-Guidebook1.pdf

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marie fourth july

Fourth of July celebrations include fireworks, backyard barbecues, and maybe a trip to the beach. Whatever you have planned, enjoy the holiday and be safe.

Fireworks Safety – The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to enjoy a public display put on by professionals.  Stay at least 500 feet away from the show.  Many states outlaw fireworks.  If someone is setting off fireworks at home, they should follow these safety guidelines:

  • Never give fireworks to small children and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by.
  • Light only one firework at a time.
  • Be sure the person lighting fireworks always has eye protection on.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

Beach Safety – If visiting the ocean and swimming, be sure to know how to swim in the surf and only swim at a lifeguarded beach, within the designated swim area.

  • Keep a close eye and constant attention on children and adults while at the beach
  • Keep alert for local weather conditions. Check if flags are posted for warning signs.
  • Swim sober and always with a friend.
  • Have young children and inexperience swimmers wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket.
  • Protect your neck – don’t dive in head first. Walk carefully into open waters.

Rip Currents – Be aware of the dangers of rip currents and remember the following:

  • If someone is caught in the rip current, swim parallel to the shore until out of the current.
  • Once free, they should turn and swim toward shore.
  • If they can’t swim to shore, they should float or tread water until free of the current and then head toward shore.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.

Grilling Safety – Every season people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills.  Follow these steps to cook safely.

  • Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent or enclosed areas.
  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  • Make sure everyone, including pets stay away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill away from the house, deck, tree branches or anything that may catch fire.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.

Sun Safety – Limit exposure to direct sunlight between 10 am and 4 pm.  Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with a protection of at least 15.

  • Reapply sunscreen often.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Wear sunglasses that will absorb 100% of UV sunlight to protect your eyes.

 

Written by: Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD, LD.  Family and Consumer and Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension,  Mahoning County

Reviewed by: Donna Green, BS, MA.  Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County

Sources: Redcross.org/news/article/safety tips

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Are you planning a party this weekend for the Fourth of July?  Red, white and Blue is the theme for the weekend.  Fill the party with some healthy and tasty foods that celebrate these patriotic colors.waffle-1149934__180 (1)

Start the day with pancakes with blueberries, strawberries or cherries on top.  You may want to add a little whip cream.  Blueberries are about the only food that is blue, so you may be eating a lot of blueberries today; however they contain great nutrients including potassium, other minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and some vitamins.

For a snack, parfaits are delicious.  Layer vanilla or plain yogurt with red raspberries and blueberries and you can top with some granola.  Red grapes are delicious with yogurt, so you may want tWest Region DWD Projecto add some grapes.

For a red, white and blue salad for lunch or dinner mix together kale, spinach, or romaine with some dried cranberries, blueberries, and feta cheese.  Top with a poppy seed dressing.  Another idea is to slice some tomatoes and add a scoop of cottage cheese on top.

Some cool snacks and dessert ideas are:bowl-769148_960_720

  • Make watermelon cookies – Slice watermelon about an inch thick and use cookie cutters (star shape or other shapes) to cut shapes. Then icing with vanilla Greek yogurt.  You can add some blueberries or red, blue, and white sprinkles if you want.  Serve on a platter.
  • Make skewers of cherries, bananas and blueberries
  • Make some frozen pops layering strawberries or red raspberries, vanilla yogurt and blueberries.
  • If you have large strawberries, fill them with a small amount of whip cream and top with a blueberry.
  • Make blueberry cobbler and top with ice cream or whip cream and add some red raspberries on top.
  • Add some red raspberries and blue berries to a water pitcher and serve some fruity water. Strawberries or watermelon can also be added to water for a tasty drink.
  • If you are adventurous and want to try a unique red recipe, check out this Red Beet Humus. Serve with cucumbers and blue corn tortilla chips.
  • Check out fruits and veggies more matters for more patriotic food ideas. They have a cute American Flag veggie tray.

Enjoy the weekend and celebrate with red, white and blue.

 

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

Reviewer:  Cheryl Barber Spires, Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension

Resources:

University of Maryland Extension.  (February, 2014).  University of MD Extension Prince George’s County Newsletter.   Available at http://myemail.constantcontact.com/UME-Prince-George-s-County-Welcomes-New-Associate-Dean-.html?soid=1103622714568&aid=i1Ky-ErHreg#LETTER.BLOCK139

Fruit and Veggies More Matters.  (2016)   Feeling Patriotic. Available at http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/

Roni (2014).The Red, White and Blue Sweet Summer Salad.  Green Lite Bites.  Available at http://greenlitebites.com/2010/07/red-white-blue-sweet-summer-salad/

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