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Carol L Hirst
731 W Skippack Pike
Blue Bell  PA 19422
 Phone: 610-405-3069
Office Phone: 215-643-3200
Fax: 267-354-6238 
CLHirst@comcast.net
Carol L Hirst

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7 Ways to Plan for Cold and Flu Season

November 10, 2017 1:39 am

(Family Features)--Declining temperatures can bring fun, cool-weather activities, but they also mean cold and flu season is lurking. While everyone hopes to stay healthy, it can be difficult to completely avoid viruses and bugs.

Dr. Deborah Gilboa, a board-certified family physician and Braun spokesperson, offers some simple suggestions to help your family plan for cold and flu season.

Dispose of expired medicine. Spend some time checking the medications you already have at home. Review the expiration dates and if any need to be thrown out, research how to properly dispose of them according to local government guidelines.

Stock up. Before cold and flu season, make sure to stockpile must-haves like ginger ale, ice pops and recommended cough suppressants. Thinking ahead means you won't have to rush out when you or a family member comes down with something.

Practice healthy habits. Encourage the entire family to maintain healthy habits such as regular hand washing, following a nutritious diet, drinking plenty of water, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue to help minimize the spread of cold and flu viruses.

Use a reliable thermometer. Reading the temperature of a person who feels ill can help provide confidence and peace of mind. Make sure you have a reliable thermometer, ideally that takes professionally accurate temperature readings via the ear canal.

"It's important to carefully monitor potential illnesses to make sure children get and stay well, and taking an accurate temperature reading is a necessary part of this process," Gilboa says. "As a doctor and a mom to four boys, it gives me the confidence to know that I'm accurately taking my child's temperature before I take any next steps, like administering medication."

Have important info on hand. To save time when your child is ill, keep a reference of your child's allergies, prescribed medications, dosage amounts and current weight handy. Health care providers typically need this information to correctly prescribe and dose most medications. Other items to keep on-hand include school sick day policies, operating manuals for medical devices and a reference of temperature readings that classify a fever.

Manage humidity. Control your home's humidity levels with a humidifier to help prevent the survival of flu viruses on surfaces and in the air.

Keep contact info accessible. Keep a list of important phone numbers and addresses inside your medicine cabinet door or on the fridge so they're easily accessible to family members, babysitters and caretakers. Include your family doctor or local clinic, schools, pharmacists and anyone else you may need to reach in an emergency.

If cold or flu reach your household this winter, it's always important to consult a doctor if you have any questions regarding the health of your family members.

Source: Braun
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How To Avoid Pantry Pests

November 9, 2017 1:39 am

We've all been there: we're reaching for an ingredient from a box in the cabinet only to find a few things in there that weren't part of the original contents.

Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to keep pesky critters out of your flour, oatmeal, crackers and more.
Barbara Dahl, Consumer and Family Economics Educator, University of Illinois Extension, assures that these unwelcome guests can even be found in a spotless home because they crawl through cracks, fly through open windows or hide in groceries.  

Dahl's advice for keeping bugs out:
- Don't buy more grain products than you can use in a short time.
- Look at food from each package under a bright light.
- Get rid of packages that have insect webs or insect pieces.
- Place the good food in airtight glass, plastic or metal containers, or in the refrigerator.
- Do not buy opened or crushed packages. They may already have insects or be easy for insects to get in.
- Clean up any spills in cabinets right away.
- Clean food storage areas well, at least once a year.

Erin Huffstetler of thebalance.com says if you have pets, check their food, toss any infested items that you find, and wipe down any affected cans with undiluted vinegar.

Remember, infested items should go straight to an outdoor trash can - placing them in your kitchen trash will only spread the problem.

Once you've removed the problem items, Huffstetler says to give your pantry a thorough cleaning:

- Pull out shelf liners (and wash or replace them).
- Vacuum the shelves, paying special attention to corners, undersides, shelf brackets and mounting hardware.
- Vacuum the walls, baseboards, trim, floor, ceiling and door (including the inside edge, hinges and knob).
- Wipe down pantry shelves with hot, soapy water or vinegar and mop the floor.

When you're done with your clean up, Huffstetler says to remove the vacuum bag, and take it out to your outside trash bin. If you have a bagless vacuum, wash out the dust compartment.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Quick Fixes for Common Household Glitches

November 9, 2017 1:39 am

Sometimes it seems there’s always something around the house that needs fixing – and the longer you put off doing the fixing, the more the glitches seem to multiply.

Real Simple Magazine suggests quick fixes to help keep your living space looking tip-top without tearing chunks out of your weekend:

Squeaky wood floor. The fix isn’t permanent, but for temporary relief from that annoying squeak, sprinkle a little talcum powder over the noisy area, then sweep it into the cracks between floorboards and wipe off the excess.  

Stained tub. Combine equal amounts of cream of tartar and baking soda with enough lemon juice to make a paste. Rub the mixture into the stain with your fingers or a soft cloth. Let sit for a half hour, then rinse well with water.

Stubborn sliding windows. If they’re not sliding easily, a little silicone spray lubricant (sold at hardware stores) will grease the skids. Spray it onto a rag, then wipe along the tracks.

Worn, dry cutting board. Gently warm a bottle of pure mineral oil (available at drugstores) in a bowl of hot water, then wipe the oil onto the surface with a soft cloth. Wipe off the excess four to six hours later.

Scuffed linoleum. Rubbing an eraser over it may be all you need. If not, try rubbing the spot with a little white toothpaste on a clean rag.

Water rings on wood. Someone forgot to use a coaster? Make that ring go away with an equal mix of white toothpaste and mayonnaise. Apply, then wipe off with a soft cloth. You may have to rub it for a bit for the ring to lighten considerably.

Scratched glass tabletop. Mix a small amount of water with a little white toothpaste and baking soda to make a paste. Using a clean, slightly damp cloth, rub the paste into the scratch using a tiny, circular motion. Wash it off with a clean, soft cloth.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Snow Blower Safety Tips

November 9, 2017 1:39 am

Snow blowing may be superior to shoveling in the minds of many, but as you drag your blower out of the garage this winter, please keep the following safety tips in mind, courtesy of OPEI.

Before it Snows:

Review your owner's manual. Check your owner's manual for safe handling procedures. If you lost your manual, you can look it up online (and store a copy on your computer so you have the manual available to reference in the future). Review how to operate the controls. You should be able to shut off your equipment quickly.

Check your equipment. The snow thrower should be completely powered off when you are checking it over. If you forgot to drain the fuel last winter before storing your snow thrower, drain the gas tank now. Adjust any cables. Check the auger.

Put your equipment where you can get to it easily. Move your equipment to a convenient and accessible location, so you can get to it easily when you need it.

Purchase your fuel. Often gas stations are closed after a storm. Be sure to use the correct fuel, as recommended by your equipment's manufacturer. Fill up the fuel tank outside before you start the engine and while the engine is cold. Never add fuel to a running or hot engine.

Store your fuel properly. Place fuel in a fuel container and label it with the date purchased and the ethanol content of the fuel. Fuel that is more than 30 days old can separate and cause operating problems. It's important to use fresh fuel in your snow thrower. Make sure fuel is stored safely and out of the reach of children.

Tidy the area you intend to clear with your equipment. Snow can sometimes hide objects. Doormats, hoses, balls, toys, boards, wires, and other debris should be removed from the areas you intend to clear. When run over by a snow thrower, these objects may harm the machine or people.

Plan to dress for winter weather. Locate your safety gear now, and place it in an accessible closet or location in your home. Plan to wear safety glasses, gloves and footwear that can handle cold and slippery surfaces.

Operate Safely

Never put your hands inside the auger or chute. Use a clean-out tool (or stick) to unclog snow or debris from your snow thrower. Your hands should never go inside the auger or chute.

Turn OFF your snow thrower if you need to clear a clog. If you need to remove debris or unclog snow, always turn off your snow thrower. Wait for all moving parts to come to a complete stop before clearing any clogs or debris.

Only use your snow thrower in visible conditions. Never operate the snow thrower without good visibility or light.

Aim your snow thrower with care. Never throw snow toward people or cars. Do not allow anyone to stand in front of your snow thrower. Keep children or pets away from your snow thrower when it is operating.

Use extreme caution on slopes and hills. Use caution when changing directions on slopes. Do not attempt to clear steep slopes.

Know where your cord is. If you have an electric powered snow thrower, be aware of where the power cord is at all times. Avoid tripping. Do not run over the power cord.

Keep pets and children inside. Kids and pets may love to play in the white stuff, but it's best to keep them inside your home and under supervision while you are using your snow thrower to clear a path or drive. Do not allow them to play in the snow as it is tossed out of the snow thrower's chute.

Source: OPEI

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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4 Ways to Be the Ultimate Holiday Host

November 7, 2017 1:39 am

(Family Features)--'Tis the season for holiday gatherings. Decorating and preparing to host a festive party or get-together can be stressful, but with these tips, you can add a seasonal sparkle that makes guests feel welcome and ensure that you - and your home - are ready to look and play the part.

Brighten up your home. Seasonal decor and holiday lights enhance both the interior and exterior of your home to create a welcoming atmosphere for family and guests alike. Further set the mood with a seasonal soundtrack that plays softly in the background throughout your gathering and strategically place holiday-scented diffusers and candles throughout your home. Give careful attention to lighting overall, adding task lighting where needed to keep every room cheery and bright.

Look your best. The holidays are a time when you can't stop smiling as you gather with loved ones, attend holiday parties and seasonal work events, or pose for those annual family photos. It's important you look and feel your best, which starts with your smile, along with choosing the right outfit and accessories that add a festive touch. Choose a whitening toothpaste to show off your best possible grin.

Set a shining table. Dress up the dining room table with elegant place settings, including fine china or crystal dishes and glassware. For a more formal gathering, consider placing name cards in stylish holders so guests know where to take their seats. Adding seasonal-colored accents throughout the table can also help set the mood, as can displaying desserts on tiered serving trays. Even if the center of the table will be filled with food, look for creative, subtle ways to infuse the elegance with a pretty centerpiece that brings the whole spread together.

Give gifts that sparkle. Whether gifting for family or assembling gift bags for party guests, look for shimmery wrapping paper or gift bags in vibrant, cheerful colors. Include small seasonal trinkets, such as ornaments that reflect the theme of the party or bejeweled photo frames to capture memories of the celebration for years to come.

Source: Colgate

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How-To Upgrade Your Entryway

November 7, 2017 1:39 am

They say first impressions matter, and the entryway of your home is the perfect example. Below are some helpful tips for making sure your space wows you--and your guests-- every time you enter.

Kill clutter. Clutter is a huge no-no in your entryway, as it impacts the entire vibe of your space from the moment you set foot in the door. However, this can be hard, as the entryway is the space you dump your keys, mail, boots and coat. To remedy this, make sure you have designated, tucked away spaces for everything you store at the entrance of your home. Hooks for coats, baskets for mail, a covered bin for shoes can all work wonders.

Add a statement. Placing a beloved piece of art or furniture in the mouth of your home is a great way to appreciate it every time you enter, and can offer a fantastic conversation starter between you and guests.

Have a seat. Whether it's a plush chair or a simple bench, a seat in your entryway is great for roosting as you tie your shoelaces, and makes a perfect place for attractive accent pillows.

Light it right. Good lighting in your entryway is a must. Add an attractive lighting fixture, set up a dimmer for mood, and a floor or table lamp for added options.

Personal touches. Placing photos of your family and pets in your entryway can add a nice personal element and warm your heart every time you pass by.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How-To Sleep Better, Tonight

November 7, 2017 1:39 am

Nothing messes up your day like poor sleep the night before. The following tips from Senior Helpers can help you rest easier, every night.

Exercise during the day. Physical activity is recommended to improve both sleep quality and overall sleep duration. Try incorporating moderate aerobic exercise into your daily routine like swimming, fast walking or even ballroom dancing, but be sure to consult with your doctor before jumping into any new exercise regimens.

Implement a pre-bedtime ritual. Calming nighttime activities will help your body relax and slow down, making you better prepared for bed. Only one-third of us are able to fall asleep instantly, and activities such as listening to music, taking a warm bath and meditation are found helpful in expediting the unwinding process.

Avoid afternoon naps. Sleeping in the day can make it more difficult to fall and stay asleep at night. The good news? If you do find yourself needing some mid-day shut eye, limit naptime to 30 minutes or less.

Drink fewer fluids at night. Bathroom breaks are the most common sleep disruptor among older adults. Avoiding liquids a couple of hours before bedtime will limit how often you wake up to use the bathroom throughout the night.

Minimize technology use before bed. Too much light from video screens at bedtime can affect the production of melatonin, giving your body the impression you aren't ready for sleep. The best advice is to stop watching TV or using smartphones and other screen devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime to give your brain a rest and the correct signal that it is time for sleep.

Source: Senior Helpers

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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5 Interior Design Details for Winter

November 6, 2017 1:39 am

Are you interested in adding a little seasonal oomph to your space? Below are a handful of cozy--and inexpensive--winter updates.

Cozy blankets galore. Nothing is better than a snuggly blanket on a cool winter evening. Drape heavier blankets over sofas, chairs, reading nooks, and even fold one up by the fireplace for stretching out on the floor. Just make sure it's safely away from the flames!

Gray space. The color gray is a winter staple. Swap out your fiery fall throw pillows for a gunmetal shade, unroll a deep gray rug in the living or dining room, or update your window coverings to gentle ash tone.

Candle craze. Soft lighting in winter can create a romantic, warm effect. Place candles around the house and ditch the harsh overheads as you settle in with that evening glass of wine.

Bring out your book lover. Stacks of books offers an inviting way to spend those chilly winter hours. Create attractive assemblies on side tables, shelves, inside your unused fireplace, or even in corners on the floor.

Wooden wonders. Adding wood accents to your home in the winter makes you feel like you're living in a ski lodge. Pile logs in the corner for fire (or simple aesthetics), add a rustic wood table by the sofa for setting that warm mug of tea. No table? Try a large, seasoned stump for some real rustic vibes.  

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Scam Alert! Avoid These Lottery Red Flags

November 6, 2017 1:39 am

Many of us daydream about winning the lottery - the cars we'd buy, the debt we'd pay off, the charities we'd support. However, don't get so caught up in your daydream that you get scammed.

According to the Pennsylvania Lottery, you're likely getting scammed if:
- If you are told to buy a pre-paid debit card in order to pay an up-front "processing fee" or taxes – this is a major hallmark of a scam.- If you are asked for financial information such as credit card or bank routing numbers.
- If the supposed prize is in pounds, euros, or anything other than dollars.
- If an email contains poor grammar or misspellings.
- If a call sounds as if it could be coming from outside of the U.S.
- If you are instructed to keep the news of your supposed "win" a secret.
- If you are told to call a certain phone number to "verify" the prize. Instead of calling it, look up the lottery's published number, call and ask to speak with security.

Source: The Pennsylvania Lottery

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Tips to Help Prevent Diabetes

November 6, 2017 1:39 am

Are you at risk for diabetes? Whether it's based on genetics or pre-existing health conditions, those with higher chances of diabetes can take action to help prevent the disease.

"If you have diabetes, you are at higher risk of developing eye disease, including diabetic retinopathy," says Dr. Carmen Pal, who heads the Lighthouse Guild Bendheim Center for Diabetes Care. "The good news is that there is much you can do to preserve your vision and reduce your risk of eye disease," she adds.

Manage your health. Have a comprehensive dilated eye examination with your ophthalmologist or optometrist once a year. In its early stages, diabetic eye disease often has no symptoms. By regularly monitoring your eye health, you can begin treatment as soon as possible if signs of disease appear.

See an endocrinologist. With diabetes, one of the best ways you can improve your health is to consult an endocrinologist. If you have diabetes, many medications are available to help. Talk to your physician about a referral.

Set up your diabetes team. If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, actively manage your health. A certified diabetes educator will help you learn practical techniques and strategies for monitoring your blood sugar and taking your medications. These techniques and strategies, along with lifestyle changes will help you feel better. The registered dietician will help you put together meal plans that work for you, and can show you how to make smart choices when eating outside your home.

Take care of your feet. If you have diabetes, it is especially important that you pay special attention to your feet. You may not be able to feel or see injuries as well as you should, and cuts may take longer to heal. The podiatrist is an important part of your diabetes healthcare team.

Exercise. Regular exercise can help your eyes stay as healthy as possible while helping to control your diabetes.

Try group support. "If you have diabetes, you aren't alone," says Dr. Pal. "You can join a diabetes support group and learn from people who are in the same situation and understand what you are facing. Share your experience and what you've learned and get support from others."

Source: Lighthouse Guild

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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