Bright Ideas

Stay Healthy: 6 Tips for Avoiding Cold and Flu

It’s a beautiful fall day—and the beginning of the cold and flu season. Interested in a few easy steps to stay healthy? People who are exposed to cold and flu germs every day -- doctors, flight attendants, teachers -- know a thing or two about how to stay healthy when everyone around them is sick. Their suggestions can help you, too.

  1. Get a flu shot. It's the No. 1 thing you can do to prevent the flu.

  2. Wash your hands -- a lot. No matter what line of work you’re in, if you come in contact with people who are contagious, you have to wash your hands over and over. To completely get rid of viruses from your skin, you need to scrub hard for 20 seconds or more. A good way to time yourself is to sing "Happy Birthday" twice while scrubbing the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. It doesn't matter if the water's hot or cold -- the very act of scrubbing will physically remove the germs. If you can’t get to soap and water, sanitizer can kill cold and flu germs.

  3. Avoid getting close to people who are sick. For example, don't shake hands. Just explain, ‘To avoid spreading colds and flu, I’m not shaking hands. But hello! Nice to meet you!’ They understand.

  4. Keep your surroundings clean. Start your day by cleaning your work space with virus-and-germ-killing soaps. Look at your environment and think "What could be contaminated?" It may look clean, but it might not be. Don’t forget to sanitize doorknobs and light switches.

  5. Keep up a healthy lifestyle. It's important to look after your own health. Get adequate rest, good nutrition, don’t smoke, and keep your allergies controlled, because if they’re out of control, then your upper respiratory tree is already inflamed, which sets it up to more easily acquire a virus.

Prevention is Key to Avoid Dehydration

Making an effort to stay hydrated is crucial at any age. While the risk of dehydration increases as we age,
simple changes and good habits can prevent harmful conditions related to decreased hydration levels.
Keep these tips in mind, and start enjoying the benefits of a healthy, hydrated body.

Use these tips to help prevent dehydration and stay hydrated:

o Try to drink between each meal.
o Make sure water is within reach throughout the day.
o Try drinking fluids a few ounces at a time so it’s not overwhelming.
o Try infusing water with fruit, herbs or cucumber to make it taste better.
o Accommodate for any disability with drinking equipment, such as straws or cups with handles.
o Don’t make the process of hydrating feel forced, make it easy and a natural part of your daily routine.

Bright Ideas for Summer

Keeping cool when temperatures reach record highs isn't just about comfort. Dangerously high temperatures can result in heat-related illnesses ranging from heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The following tips can help you keep cool all summer long.

 1. Take advantage of cooler times (early morning or late evening) for outdoor exercise.  
 2. Wear loose-fitting clothing, preferably of a light color, and cotton rather than synthetics.  
 3. Fans can help circulate air and make you feel cooler even in an air-conditioned house.  
 4. Try storing lotions or cosmetic toners in the refrigerator to use on hot, overtired feet.  
 5. Keep plastic bottles of water in the freezer. Take one when you go outside so you'll have a supply of cold water  
 with you.  
 6. Take frequent baths or showers with cool or tepid water.  
 7. Combat dehydration by drinking plenty of water and avoiding caffeine and alcohol.  
 8. Some small, portable, battery-powered fans attach to water bottles that spray a cooling mist.  
 9. Eat lighter summer fare including frequent small meals or snacks containing cold fruit or low fat dairy products.  
 10.    Pay special attention to the elderly, infants, and anyone with a chronic illness,  
 as they may dehydrate easily and be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Don't forget that pets  
 also need protection from dehydration and heat-related illnesses, too.  

Benefits of Walking

Blogger Jessica Smith shares the following information about walking—and with spring in the air, why not try it.
Walking is not only the simplest form of exercise that almost everyone can do, it’s also a free activity
that can aid in weight loss and maintenance. But walking’s benefits go even further —
here are 10 more reasons to start, or keep, walking:


*3 Easy Ways to Increase Your Refrigerator’s Efficiency *

The refrigerator is America’s most popular appliance. Here are three easy ways to increase your refrigerator’s efficiency.

  1. Keep Your Fridge Around 75% Full When your refrigerator hits the just-right proportion of 75 percent full, your stored food actually helps maintain the chilly ecosystem of the fridge when the door is opened.

  2. Set Temperatures to That Goldilocks Level Most refrigerators should be set between 37 and 40 degrees in the main section, and 0 to 5 degrees in the freezer. In order to increase your refrigerator’s efficiency, check your owner’s manual to be sure these settings are appropriate for your unit.

  3. Keep Up Your General Maintenance Experts say that at least twice a year you should unplug your unit briefly to rid the condenser coils of dust. Once the unit is unplugged, use a long brush or the crevice attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Regular cleaning can dramatically increase the life of your refrigerator. It is also important to keep the inside of your refrigerator clean. Every two months be sure to wipe down the inside of your refrigerator with a safe and effective baking soda and water solution.

Tips and tricks from Paul James, host of Gardening by the Yard:

  1. To remove the salt deposits that form on clay pots, combine equal parts white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle. Apply the mixture to the pot and scrub with a plastic brush. Let the pot dry before you plant anything in it.
  2. To prevent the line on your string trimmer from jamming or breaking, treat with a spray vegetable oil before installing it in the trimmer.
  3. Turn a long-handled tool into a measuring stick! Lay a long-handled garden tool on the ground, and next to it place a tape measure. Using a permanent marker, write inch and foot marks on the handle. When you need to space plants a certain distance apart (from just an inch to several feet) you'll already have a measuring device in your hand.
  4. Little clay pots make great cloches for protecting young plants from sudden, overnight frosts and freezes.
  5. The next time you boil or steam vegetables, don't pour the water down the drain, use it to water potted patio plants, and you'll be amazed at how the plants respond to the "vegetable soup."
  6. Use leftover tea and coffee grounds to acidify the soil of acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, gardenias and even blueberries. A light sprinkling of about one-quarter of an inch applied once a month will keep the pH of the soil on the acidic side. But be careful to treat only the area with "acid-loving" plants.