4 Tips to Keep Your Child Safe While Trick or Treating

Tips for Safe Trick or TreatingChildren are four times more likely to be in a fatal pedestrian accident on Halloween than on any other night of the year. Here are some tips to keep your kids safe tonight:

Trick or Treat With an Adult

  • Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.

Stay Safe When Walking

  • Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
  • Remove headphones and avoid texting when crossing the street.
  • Always walk on sidewalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  • Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Remind children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

Make Wise Costume Choices

  • Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
  • Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct your child’s vision.
  • Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
  • When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.

Be Careful When Driving on Halloween

  • Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods.
  • Take extra time to look for kids at intersections.
  • Watch for children darting across streets, especially between parked cars.
  • Enter and exit driveways slowly and carefully.
  • Don’t use a cell phone while driving through neighborhoods. A single distraction could lead to a tragedy.
  • Turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
  • Do not pass other vehicles that have stopped in the roadway. They could be dropping off children.

Protect Yourself: Get Your Flu Shot Today

Flu ShotMyth: You can get sick from getting a flu shot.

Truth: Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory infection that can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia. More than 6 million people get sick from the flu virus each year, and complications from the illness cause thousands of deaths each year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone age 6 months and older should get the shot every year, preferably in October, the start of the flu season.

While many believe you can get sick with the flu from getting a vaccine, the CDC says this is false. Some people experience side effects, or flu-like symptoms, due to a reaction to the vaccine, but these are mild compared with getting sick from the actual virus, experts say.

The flu vaccine does not guarantee protection, but it does make you less likely to get sick and may make your disease milder if you do get sick. And, recent CDC studies indicate that the vaccine significantly reduces the risk of doctor visits and hospitalizations due to flu for people of all ages.

Vaccinations are especially important for the following people:

  • People who have certain chronic medical conditions such as asthma, lung disease, cancer and diabetes
  • Children under age 5, especially those younger than 2, and people age 65 and older
  • Pregnant women (the shot helps protect them during pregnancy and their newborns for up to six months after they are born)
  • People who live with, care for, or work around others who are at high risk for developing serious complications or spreading flu germs, i.e. caregivers, healthcare workers, daycare staff, school teachers
  • Caregivers of infants younger than 6 months

Baptist Health offers flu shots for $25 at its Urgent Care locations across Kentucky. Find a Baptist Health Urgent Care near you at baptisturgentcare.com.

For more information on the flu vaccine, see cdc.gov/flu.

4 Tips for the Time Change

Tips for the Time ChangeThe end of daylight savings time this Sunday, means more than just turning your clocks back one hour. If you’re not careful, that one-hour difference can throw off your circadian rhythms (your body’s internal clock that helps to regulate your 24-hour sleep-wake cycle). There are ways to prepare and minimize the effects of the time change on your body:

  • Start early. Start changing your sleep schedule a few days ahead of the time change by gradually advancing your bedtime and wake-up time by 15 to 20 minutes. If you truly want to enjoy an extra hour of sleep (and who doesn’t), go to bed at your regular time on Saturday night, and wake up at your regular time on Sunday morning. One of the biggest mistakes that people make regarding the fall time change is staying up late Saturday night thinking that they’re going to get an extra hour of sleep.
  • Stay in the dark. Block out light, and keep your sleeping area dark. The time change means sunrise will occur about an hour earlier. This can impact sleep, especially if you’re accustomed to waking up around sunrise. The light itself can disturb sleep, so it is always best to sleep in a darkened room.
  • See the light. Once you do wake up on Sunday, get out in the early morning sunlight. Sunlight helps to regulate your internal clock and keep it on track. Grab your partner, your dog or your favorite playlist and get outside for some fresh air and exercise.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Every cell in your body needs water to work properly. During time changes or when flying across time zones (jet lag), keeping hydrated will make the process easier. Also, reduce or avoid consumption of alcohol, nicotine and caffeine, all of which can make it more difficult for your body’s internal clock to adjust to the time change.

Give your body three to four days to adjust to the new time schedule. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your sleep patterns.

8 Tricks for Buying Halloween Treats

8 Tips for Buying Halloween CandyHalloween candy can have a frightening amount of sugar, calories and fat. Here are some tricks on how to make the candy you buy less scary:

  • Buy candy late. How many times have you had to go back to the store to get candy for Halloween night because you already went through your stash for trick-or-treaters? Buy candy a day or two before Halloween. This way you and your kids have less time to be tempted.
  • Find fun size options. Choose fun-size candies instead of regular size bars. But don’t let their small size fool you. For example, six fun-size Milky Way Snacks contain 60 grams of sugar, 480 calories and 18 grams of fat.
  • Choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate. It’s higher in antioxidants and the healthier of the two. Also, avoid chocolate that contains caramel or peanut butter, as these tend to pack on extra calories and fat.
  • Don’t be fooled by candies with words such as ‘fruit’ in the title – especially if they’re chewy, sticky substances. Chewy sweets like gummy bears tend to get stuck in teeth and can cause cavities. Select sugar-free gum as an alternative.
  • Read labels. Find out which candies are high in sugar, calories and fat. Compare choices and make the best possible selection.
  • Buy candy that you and your kids don’t like. If your favorite candy is in the house for days leading up to Halloween, you might end up eating it yourself. The same goes for your kids. Buy candies that don’t tempt you or your kids.
  • Try other treats. Give out individually packaged healthy treats such as nuts, raisins, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, cashews, whole grain crackers or little bags of microwave popcorn.
  • Skip the sale on November 1st. Cheap bags of candy may seem like a good buy, but you don’t need the extra sugar and calories. Avoid after-Halloween candy sales.

Did you know? Today (October 28th) is the biggest day for candy sales in the U.S. And America’s favorite candy choices are Reese’s, M&Ms and Snickers.

Heart-Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup

Heart-Healthy-Cheese-SoupServes: 6

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 3 c. skim milk
  • 1 c. cooked, chopped ham
  • 1/2 c. low fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Preparation:

Place peeled potatoes and carrots in a large soup pot. Add only enough water to cover vegetables. Cook over medium heat until tender. Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until slightly soft. Add onion and garlic to cooked potatoes and carrots in soup pot with thyme and salt. Puree in a small batches in a blender or food processor. Return puree to pan. Add milk, ham (if desired), cheese and pepper. Heat until cheese is melted and soup is piping hot. Preparation time: 1 hour.

Tip: for chunkier soup, use a manual potato masher and leave some of the potato mixture in larger pieces.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories: 201; Fat: 5g; Carbohydrates: 18g; Protein: 4g; Fiber: 4g; Sodium: 635 mg.

This recipe was taken from the Heart Rock Cafee III Cookbook.

6 Surprising Reasons You’re Still Sleepy

6 Reasons that You are SleepyDo you often feel tired during the day even after a good night’s sleep? Here are six surprising causes of fatigue and what you can do about them:

  1. Dehydration. Even mild dehydration can slow your mental gears and make you tired. To stay hydrated during the day, drink plenty of water, snack on raw fruit and vegetables or yogurt.
  2. Thyroid trouble. Over- and under-active thyroids can cause fatigue. A blood test for your level of thyroid-stimulating hormone can help evaluate your thyroid function. If you’re feeling fatigued, talk to your doctor about the possibility of a thyroid issue.
  3. Anemia. This is a very common cause of fatigue and very easy to check with a simple blood test. It’s particularly a problem for women, especially those who are having heavy menstrual periods. To enhance your iron levels, eat an iron-rich diet, heavy in meats and dark, leafy greens.
  4. Allergy medications. If you suffer from allergies, you probably take your all-day allergy pill as soon as you get up to clear your head. But, even ‘non-drowsy’ or non-sedating versions can make you sleepy. To combat this, take your 24-hour-allergy pill at bedtime. You’ll sleep off the immediate drowsy side effects, and the medication will continue to keep you sniffle-free throughout the next day.
  5. Too much caffeine. You drink coffee to rev up your energy, not drag you down. But, too much coffee can have the opposite effect. If you’re consuming more than 4 cups of coffee each day, you can run into trouble. Some over-caffeinated symptoms include insomnia, irritability, headaches, anxiety and fatigue. Switch to tea, which contains less caffeine yet can still give you a boost in the morning or afternoon.
  6. Not enough exercise. If you think that exercise would just make you more tired, there’s good news: Exercise increases energy levels. Get at least 30 – 60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week.

If you never feel rested, and nothing seems to fix that, talk to your doctor or a sleep specialist.

6 Ways to Stop ‘Sitting Disease’

6 Ways to Stop Sitting DiseaseHave you heard of ‘sitting disease?’ Don’t laugh. It’s a condition that has been linked to many serious health issues and even premature death. Sit back and think about it (but not for too long). How much time do you spend each day sitting in front of your computer at work, behind the steering wheel or in front of the TV? If you’re like most Americans that number can easily add up to 12 hours a day.

Here are six simple ways to get you back on your feet each day:

  1. Take a bike or hike. If you live close enough, put on your walking shoes or ride your bike to work. If you drive, park at the farthest end of the parking lot and walk to your building’s entrance.
  2. Add steps with an app. If you carry your phone with you all day, download a pedometer app. Aim to increase your total daily steps gradually to 10,000 steps per day. Go to the restroom on a different floor, walk around when you’re on the phone or take a brisk walk during your lunch hour.
  3. Stand up and stretch. Rise up from your desk every hour and do a few repetitions of forward stretches, backward stretches, side twists, overhead reaches and leg lifts.
  4. Get face-to-face. Don’t call, email or instant message with coworkers. Whenever possible, walk to your coworkers’ offices and talk with them in-person.
  5. Arm an alarm. If you have trouble remembering to move about during your workday, make use of today’s most common office equipment, your computer. Set up your Windows Task Scheduler or the OS X clock’s ‘announce the time’ feature, to remind you to take a break and start moving.
  6. Cut back on couch time. At home, put a treadmill in front of your TV and exercise when watching your favorite program. No exercise equipment? March in place or tidy the room. Rather than play sitting-based computer games, switch to a Wii or other gaming device that includes active games that have you standing and moving.

Heart-Healthy Caramel Apple Cake

Heart Healthy Apple Cake with Caramel SauceServes: 8

Ingredients:

1/4 c. brown sugar
2 T. butter or margarine
1 small Granny Smith or other tart apple, peeled and sliced
1 T. cinnamon
3/4 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter
1 egg
1/4 c. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
Scant 1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add brown sugar and margarine or butter to a deep-sided, 9-inch baking pan. Place pan in oven while preheating to melt butter. Remove from oven and stir to blend. Add apple slices, sprinkle with cinnamon. Add sugar to sifted flour and sift again. Add remaining ingredients and mix for 2-3 minutes, using medium speed. Pour over apple mixture. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of the cake comes out clean.

Variation: Brown sugar can replace the granulated sugar with the addition of nuts, raisins and allspice for a quick, spice cake.

Note: This quick to fix cake is tender and sweet, a great alternative to a cake mix that can be used as a base for an upside-down cake.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories: 210; Fat: 9g; Protein: 3g; Carbohydrates: 29g; Fiber: 1g; Sodium: 120mg.

5 Surprising Heart Attack Triggers – And How to Avoid Them

5 Heart Attack TriggersHeart attacks seem as though they come out of the blue, but most don’t. Clogged arteries are often the root of heart attacks, but there is usually something else that triggers them. Here are some common yet surprising heart attack triggers:

  • Waking up. Your risk of heart attack increases 40 percent in the morning.
    Why? As you wake up in the morning, your body secretes adrenaline and other stress hormones, increasing blood pressure and a demand for oxygen. Your blood is also thicker and harder to pump because you’re partially dehydrated. All this taxes your heart. Build some extra time into your morning schedule so you can wake up slowly. If you’re a morning exerciser, warm up thoroughly to reduce additional stress to your heart.
  • Sudden, strenuous exertion. Regular aerobic exercise keeps your heart healthy. But, people who are sedentary should be careful before attempting intense exercise, as it can lead to a heart attack. Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program, and increase your intensity level gradually.
  • Anger. All strong emotions increase adrenaline output, heart rate and the stickiness of red blood cells, which combined can trigger a heart attack. Men who are quick to anger are more likely to develop premature heart disease and five times more likely to have an early heart attack. Talk with your doctor or a psychologist about ways to manage extreme emotions.
  • Infections. Common forms of influenza and respiratory tract infections can raise your risk of suffering a heart attack due to an inflammatory response in your body that puts excess stress on your heart. To protect yourself, get a flu shot.
  • Eating a big meal. Eating a heavy meal can trigger a heart attack, especially in people who already have heart disease. Heavy eating can raise your levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that can increase blood pressure and heart rate. The temporary rise in blood pressure creates extra work for the heart. Avoid foods high in fat and calories and keep your portion sizes reasonable.

Determine if you’re at risk for heart disease. Take our free heart health assessment.

No More Excuses: Schedule Your Mammogram

Here are some of the top excuses women give for not getting a mammogram and reasons why these excuses just don’t work:

  • I don’t feel any lumps. Even though you don’t feel any lumps, mammograms can detect tumors up to three years before they’re big enough to feel. Cancerous lumps detected by feeling account for about 4 percent of all the breast cancers out there – 96 percent are not felt, and 90 percent of those are picked up on a Breast Cancer Monthmammogram.
  • I’m too young to get breast cancer. It’s true most breast cancer appears in women after menopause. But did you know that one in eight breast cancers is diagnosed in women younger than 45? Women should get yearly mammograms beginning at age 40. If you have a family history of breast cancer, talk to your doctor to find out if you should get a mammogram sooner.
  • I’m afraid it will hurt. While a mammogram may cause momentary discomfort, it’s a very quick procedure. To minimize any pain, schedule your mammogram at least one week after your period when your breasts are less sensitive. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever one to two hours before your exam and do not forget to relax.
  • My breasts are small, so my risk must be, too. Cancer does not discriminate, and women with small breasts are just as likely as large-breasted women to get breast cancer.
  • No one in my family has breast cancer so I am not at risk. Actually, 85 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history whatsoever. If you do have a family history of breast cancer, particularly if your mother or sister had it, you have an increased risk of getting breast cancer yourself.

Every three minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. The earlier breast cancer is detected; the easier it is to treat. A mammogram is the best way to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages. Schedule your mammogram today! No more excuses. It could save your life.