(BPT) - Heat and humidity can make anyone feel uncomfortable, but for the 400,000 people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the United States, warmer weather can make life particularly difficult to manage.
“When it’s warm and sunny, that’s when I want to spend the most time outdoors,” said Wendy Booker, who has been living with MS for almost 20 years. “I enjoy gardening, walking and eating outside, but the heat is sometimes too much to bear, and I find it difficult to even get out the door.”
Symptoms of MS, including dizziness, blurry vision and fatigue, can be unpredictable and often flare up during warm weather. High temperatures and humidity can cause a temporary, slight elevation in body temperature, which impairs nerves and can potentially worsen symptoms.
“The negative effects of temperature and humidity are generally temporary, but they can make the symptoms of MS worse and make it difficult to accomplish everyday tasks or enjoy activities outside,” said Carrie Lyn Sammarco, DrNP, FNP-C, MSCN, nurse practitioner in the NYU Langone Medical Center Multiple Sclerosis Comprehensive Care Center.
If you or someone you care for is living with MS, what can you do to beat the heat?
1. Dress lightly. Clothing can make all the difference. Look for lightweight, open-weave fabrics that “breathe” by letting air flow in and out more easily. Also, protect yourself from the sun’s harsh rays by wearing a hat or other protective covering.
2. Hydrate. Drink plenty of cool fluids. Having a cold drink or summer treat, like an ice pop, can often provide temporary relief. “I often freeze a water bottle the night before participating in an outdoor activity so I know I’ll have a cool drink quickly available,” said Ms. Booker.
3. Stay indoors. It may seem obvious, but sometimes the best way to beat the heat is to avoid it altogether! Chill out inside an air-conditioned space, sit in front of a fan or head out to your local movie theater to see the latest flick.
4. Take a dip. “Exercising in a non-heated pool is a great way to stay both active and cool during warm months and something I often recommend to my patients living with MS,” said Dr. Sammarco.
5. Ask for help. The unpredictability of MS symptoms, especially in the heat, may mean you need to ask for help sometimes. Check out a new online resource, GatherMS.com, that provides links to existing, everyday services — from grocery delivery to free transportation. Ms. Booker, who serves as a spokesperson for GatherMS, uses the resource to help her accomplish daily tasks when the heat gets her down.
No matter how you choose to stay cool, talk to your doctor for the best advice on managing your MS year round, especially during the warmer months.
(BPT) - Despite recent news that Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that can carry Zika, chikungunya and other viruses has spread to 30 states, the majority of Americans have yet to embrace basic recommendations to help reduce the mosquito population at their own homes.
That's the result of a new survey fielded by TNS Global detailing homeowners' knowledge of steps to reduce mosquitoes in their yards. According to The Mosquito Squad Fight the Bite Report, nearly three quarters of Americans (74 percent) do not plan to modify their time outside this year, yet less than half (49 percent) follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation to use mosquito repellent and just a third (36 percent) remove standing water, a simple task also recommended by the CDC, to reduce mosquito breeding.
"Unlike chikungunya and West Nile virus, Zika has been identified as a world health crisis and we must work together on personal, local and global levels to fight mosquitoes," says Scott Zide, a founder and president of Mosquito Squad, the largest and most experienced home and commercial mosquito control firm in the country. "Removal of standing water is the most essential tactic in mosquito elimination, yet homeowners aren't actively removing it, which is surprising given that mosquito concerns are so high."
According to Zide, just as surprising was the finding that 46 percent of homeowners surveyed said they did not plan to do anything different in their yards, despite recent news of Zika virus. Findings from the survey show:
* Only 36 percent of Americans turn over toys or items in their yards that contain water.
* Less than half (44 percent) throw out lawn debris, under which mosquitoes can breed.
* Just a quarter of Americans (25 percent) shake out tarps, including barbecue and fire pit covers, to remove water that accumulates.
* Less than 27 percent make sure their gutters are clean.
* More than a quarter (27 percent) walk their yard regularly to remove items that can harbor mosquitoes.
To help homeowners take control of their yard, Mosquito Squad experts urge customers to take an active role in mosquito control with the following tips:
Tip over anything that holds or collects water. A bottle cap filled with water holds enough water for mosquitoes to breed. Since mosquitoes breed in standing water, the elimination of standing water decreases a mosquito's breeding ground. Mosquito Squad technicians report that yards with bird baths, play sets with tire swings, tree houses, portable fireplaces and pits and catch basins are the biggest offenders.
Toss any yard trash including clippings, leaves and twigs. Even the smallest items can provide a haven for mosquitoes and increase the population.
Turn over items that could hold water and trash. Look for children's portable sandboxes, slides or plastic toys; underneath and around downspouts; in plant saucers, empty pots, light fixtures and dog water bowls. Eliminate these items or keep them turned over until used.
Remove tarps that can catch water. Many homeowners have tarps or covers on items residing in their outdoor spaces. If not stretched taut, they are holding water. Check tarps over firewood piles, portable fire places, recycling cans, boats, sports equipment and grills. Mosquito Squad suggests using bungee cords to secure tarps in the yard.
Take care of your home. Proper maintenance can be a deciding factor in property values and mosquito bites. Regularly clean out gutters and make sure the downspout is attached properly. Mosquito Squad recommends re-grading areas where water stands more than a few hours, and to regularly check irrigation systems to ensure that they aren't leaking and causing a breeding haven. Keep lawn height low and areas weed-free.
Team up with neighbors. Despite taking all precautions in your own home, talking with neighbors is a key component to mosquito control. Townhomes and homes with little space between lots mean that mosquitoes can breed at a neighbor's home, and affect your property.
Treat your yard and yourself. Utilize a professional mosquito elimination barrier treatment around the home and yard. Using a barrier treatment at home reduces the need for using DEET-containing bug spray on the body.
Individuals who want a more comprehensive mosquito control treatment can utilize Mosquito Squad, which uses the latest EPA-registered mosquito control barrier treatments, larvicide and all-natural substances to eliminate mosquitoes from yards and outdoor spaces. For more information, visit www.MosquitoSquad.com.
Enjoying the summer is about balance and planning. These tips will help your family stay happy, healthy and ready to tackle anything the summer months throw your way.
(BPT) - The sunny days of summer are here and school may be out, but your family is still as active and busy as ever. It's easy to get caught up in a hectic schedule of activities, but don't let the summer hustle keep you from a healthy lifestyle. Enjoying the summer is about balance and planning. These tips will help your family stay happy, healthy and ready to tackle anything the summer months throw your way.
1. Fuel up with breakfast
Set the tone for the rest of your day with a good-for-you breakfast. A complete breakfast gives you and your family the energy needed to take on the busy summer schedule. There are plenty of easy breakfast recipes that let you eat while you're running out the door. Try peanut butter or avocado on toast, hard boiled eggs or a fruit smoothie for a quick, satisfying meal.
2. Set a summer schedule
Create a master calendar to hang up in your kitchen. This should include everyone's daily activities for the summer so nothing is forgotten. Take a look at the calendar at the beginning of each week to get a sense of what's to come.
3. Remain active
Encourage your kids to get outside by planning a weekly outdoor activity as a family. From hiking, biking, a game of tag, skating and swimming, find something your family loves doing together. You can also get some extra steps in by taking an after-dinner walk around the block each night.
4. Snack healthy
Kids love to snack, especially when they're home for the summer. Stock up on easy go-to snacks like Snack Factory(R) Pretzel Crisps(R), fresh fruit, and granola bars so you'll be ready when their stomachs start to growl. Pretzel Crisps dipped in peanut butter or hummus create a filling, wholesome snack. They're packed in resealable bags, making Pretzel Crisps the perfect portable snack for the car rides between swim practice, summer camp and everything in between.
5. Stay hydrated
Instead of that third cup of coffee, you might want to be more conscious of your water intake. You and your family will need to stay hydrated in the summer heat, so always be sure everyone has a bottle of water with them. If there's a bottle within arm's reach, you're more likely to sip using little conscious effort.
6. Make a point to unplug
While it's important to let your kids stay connected to friends and peers during the summer, you should also be aware of your family's technology use. For example, you could make a pact to put away devices at dinner time and two hours before bedtime. Find an approach to regulating technology that works for you.
7. Stick with stellar sleeping habits
Your kids will likely want to stay up later in the summer, but make sure they're still getting adequate sleep. Work as a team to make sleep a family priority.
There are small, everyday steps you can take to make a big impact on your overall health, using available resources in your city or county. Here are five easy tips to help increase your daily wellness.
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