December 12th, 2013 by KneeBees
Please, read. This is important news for parents with very young children who are considering enrolling in daycare or preschool in the future. We found this on www.nydailynews.com.
“UPDATED: Board of Health Votes To Require Mandatory Flu Shots For Kids
BY ERIN DURKIN
City kids under age 5 who attend daycares or pre-schools will be required to get annual flu shots after the Board of Health voted Wednesday to approve the mandate.
The board, controlled by Mayor Bloomberg, unanimously signed off on his latest public health crusade – requiring the vaccine for tots as young as six months old.
The requirements will apply to about 150,000 kids, officials said.
City officials say the rules are necessary because young kids are especially vulnerable to catching and passing on the flu – and more likely to develop serious health complications if they do get it.
“Children under the age of 5 are at the highest risk of both contracting influenza as well as suffering severe complications including hospitalization and deaths,” said Dr. Jay Varma, a deputy health commissioner.
Some 167 kids died from the flu in the 2012-13 season, including 4 in New York City, he said.
The requirement will also protect adults because germy toddlers often spread the flu, he said.
The rules will apply to kids from six months to four years and 11 months who attend daycare centers and school-based programs. It doesn’t apply to kids who go to daycares housed in someone’s home because those are regulated by the state.
For the first year, health officials will only warn centers about the rules, but starting in December 2014 they will be subject to fines.
Opponents say it’s an unnecessary government intrusion on parents’ choices.
“The board here just decided preschool and daycare children in New York City are the only people in the state of New York now who have to get flu shots by law, which is somewhat absurd,” said John Gilmore, executive director of the Autism Action Network.
“I don’t think you could get any more authoritarian than that,” he said. “We think that they wildly exaggerate the benefits of the flu shot and they completely dismiss any potential risks.”
Opponents held a protest against the new rules on the City Hall steps Tuesday.
Varma said there’s no scientific basis for concerns about the safety of the vaccine.
“That is a constant struggle between the rights of people to determine what goes in and out of their body, but also those rights have limits to them of course when you’re dealing with infections which can be readily transmitted among people and lead to outbreaks,” he said. “Vaccination requirements are one area in which the health and benefit of the community trumps individual civil liberties.”
Other advocates support the requirement. “It will save lives,” said Richard Kanowitz, president of Families Fighting Flu, whose daugher Amanda died of the flu at age 4 in 2004. “It’s our belief that if she had been vaccinated she would be here today.””
November 14th, 2013 by KneeBees
We use Plum Organics brand fruit in pouches all the time. Very important recall, please spread the word. Found on www.huffingtonpost.com.
“Plum Organics has announced a voluntary recall of some food products from its Baby Stage 2, Tots Mish Mash and Kids lines after discovering that a “manufacturing defect” may have led to swelling and spoilage.
The company released a statement that says recalled products have “‘Best By’ dates ranging from 08/05/14 (August, 5 2014) to 12/08/14 (December 8, 2014) and the letters ‘AT.’” Yahoo reported that nausea or diarrhea may occur if affected products have been consumed.
Anyone who has purchased the above products can call the Plum Organics Consumer Hotline at 866-495-3774 or email firstname.lastname@example.org asking for a replacement voucher.”
Below is the recall letter from the company with lot numbers in pdf format (just copy and paste the link in your browser window):
October 31st, 2013 by KneeBees
Wahoo. Halloween night is here. Great advice about having fun and being safe for any concerned parent. Have some spooktacular fun and bee safe!!! We found these tips in LA Daily News
By Kelly Goff, Los Angeles Daily News
“Halloween can be a scary night for children and parents alike.
But police in the San Fernando Valley say grown-ups can take a few extra precautions to ensure the screams are due to intrigue, not injury.
“Children will be enjoying new experiences that are fun but distracting,” said Detective William Bustos of the LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division. “They will be wearing costumes made of unfamiliar material, crossing dark streets and walking to the front door of a stranger’s home to ask for candy.”
Kids are two times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other night of the year, he warned. Last Halloween, there were 17 collisions on San Fernando Valley streets between 5 p.m. and midnight.
“While the number of children killed in traffic collisions on Halloween is fortunately small, traffic is a danger to children every day of the year,” Bustos said.
But police say parents can ensure their little ghosts and ghouls stay safe by setting the tone of the night: Always escort children along a trick-or-treating route familiar to them, and keep a flashlight in hand so costumes are visible to drivers.
Some other tips:
• Set a specific time for children to trick-or-treat.
• Instruct kids never to enter any home.
• Walk on sidewalks and not in the street.
• Inspect all candy before allowing children to eat it.
• Throw away anything that appears improperly sealed or spoiled.
• Never take shortcuts, especially through alleys.
• Don’t carry toy guns or swords that may be confused with real weapons.
Bustos also advises drivers to be extra cautious, as roadways are often rife with pedestrians on that spooky night. ”
October 17th, 2013 by KneeBees
Should we make an effort to take a nap when we can or are they unnecessary and overrated? We say: nap every chance you get! To support this statement, below is a fantastic article about napping we discovered on our favorite www.lifehacker.com:
“According to a growing body of research, napping is a smart thing to do. It can help refresh the mind, make you more creative, boost your intelligence, and even help you live a longer, healthier life. It’s slowly gaining acceptance as part of a healthy lifestyle, even in some corporate offices. Read on as we share the science behind the need to nap, and a scientist-approved method for taking the ideal snooze.”
This post originally appeared on the Medical Coding & Billing blog
“Why We Need Naps
In our modern hurried world, making time for even a short nap might seem like an impossible luxury. Yet, for some, they may be necessary to make it through the day at peak mental and physical performance. Our bodies crave naps for a reason, some based on our evolution, others on our habits.
Not getting enough sleep
The No. 1 reason many people need a nap? Not getting enough sleep at night. While there is no magic number of hours that people need to get at night (the ideal varies by age and other highly individual factors), the National Sleep Foundation suggests that adults get seven to nine hours. Unfortunately, a CDC study found that more than 40 million workers get less than six hours a night. That lack of sleep can have consequences, and if it happens often enough your body may start seeking out rest during the day, leaving you in dire need of a nap.
Another easily remedied reason for feeling sleepy throughout the day is based on nutrition. Many people feel tired in the afternoon because of plummeting blood sugar levels after a poorly planned lunch. This can be caused by two things: not eating enough at lunch to supply enough energy to get through to dinner, or by choosing foods that don’t contain enough protein and fiber and far too much of sugars and other carbohydrates. Either way, these kinds of lunches leave most feeling tired, sluggish, and worn out well before the work day is over.
Our bodies are programmed that way
It may be more common for people in the U.S. to only sleep at night, but that isn’t exactly the way our bodies are necessarily designed to work. Wakefulness throughout the day is governed by our natural biological clock, a phenomenon more commonly referred to as the circadian rhythm. While some may not feel sleepy until evening, others experience a small “hump” in sleepiness in the mid-afternoon that’s entirely normal and is actually programmed into the circadian schedule. As a result, the desire to nap is simply an expression of the natural rhythms of our bodies, regardless of whether we get enough sleep at night.
It’s an evolutionary necessity
As the day goes on, learning ability, alertness, and focus degrade. A nap can help counteract that effect and give those mental faculties a boost. While this might not be an absolute necessity for survival today, especially with the invention of caffeine-laden energy drinks, at one point in our evolutionary history it just might have been. Slowed reaction times and decreased watchfulness could have meant the difference between life and death for our ancestors (and can still have a marked effect on our own success today). A short nap, even just 15 to 20 minutes, can greatly increase the faculties that increase the odds of survival, so it’s only natural that we’re predisposed to want to sleep.
Studies on Napping
So now that you know why your body is so determined to nap, it’s time to learn what benefits there are to giving into that urge. There has been a tremendous amount of research done on the advantages of napping, and the results of just a few of those studies are shared here.
The benefits of napping apply even to the very young
Napping is good for you at any age, research suggests, and may even be essential for children who are still growing and developing. A University of Colorado Boulder study showed that toddlers between two and a half and three who missed a single daily nap showed more anxiety, less joy and interest, and a poorer understanding of how to solve problems. While children build up sleep pressure more quickly (the desire to need to sleep) due to highly active and connected brains, the same problems can be seen in adults who don’t get in a daily nap.P
Sleeping on the job is a good thing
Some companies, Google and Apple included, are allowing employees to take naps on the job, and science proves that that’s probably a really great idea. Why? Studies show that power naps, short 10 to 15 minute naps, improve mental efficiency and productivity, which is a small investment in time for such a big payoff in company morale and production.
An afternoon nap markedly boosts the brain’s learning capacity
Whether you’re heading to class or just trying to learn a new skill, making sure you’re well-rested beforehand can make a big difference, research from Berkeley suggests. A study done at the school found that sleeping for an hour dramatically boosts and restores brain power, in turn making it easier to learn and retain new information. Sleep clears out our short-term memory, making room for new information and priming us to be better, more efficient learners.
Naps are more effective than caffeine
Thinking of pouring yourself a giant cup of coffee? Consider a nap instead, as research has shown that it can be a better way to wake yourself up. When researchers compared the effectiveness of getting more sleep at night to drinking a cup of coffee or taking a nap, the nap was the clear winner. Naps help to genuinely refresh your body and their impact can be much more long-lasting than that of caffeinated drinks.
Napping can boost your memory
One of the most universally beneficial effects of napping is its effect on memory. Research at Harvard Medical School found that napping, especially when accompanied by dreaming, was an effective tool for improving memory and learning ability. Even better, you may get the benefits even if your nap is interrupted. A 2008 study showed that the onset of sleep may trigger active memory processes that remain effective even if sleep is limited to only a few minutes.
Even a short nap can have a marked effect on your health
There are dozens of research studies that correlate napping with some pretty amazing health effects. A study of Greek adults found that napping at least three times a week for 30 minutes or more was associated with a 37% lower risk of death from heart disease. A British study suggests that just knowing a nap is coming is enough to lower blood pressure. Other benefits of napping include: reduced stress and a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and excessive weight gain.
Naps make you more creative
Neuroscientists at the City University of New York found that taking a nap boosts a sophisticated type of memory that helps us see big picture ideas and be more creative. The study used a 90-minute nap, but researchers say even short naps (12 minutes or more) can have a positive effect on memory.
Want to boost performance? Take a nap
Whether you’re flying a plane or just typing in reports, a nap can make you better at doing it. Research on pilots at NASA showed that a 26-minute nap in flight (while a co-pilot was on duty) enhanced performance by 34% and overall alertness by 54%. With those kinds of results, it’s no coincidence that some of the world’s top athletes, world leaders, and brilliant minds have all been avowed nappers.
How to Take the Perfect Nap
If you’re ready to get into your own napping habit, here’s a research-based method for getting the most out of your time sleeping. These tips will help you maximize the benefits of napping, and may just have you making naps a part of your everyday schedule.
1. Watch the time. The most beneficial naps during the day according to sleep experts are relatively short. This is because short naps only allow individuals to enter the first two stages of sleep. Once you enter slow wave sleep, it’s much harder to wake up and you may be left feeling groggy for hours afterwards. Ideally, keep your naps under 20 minutes. Naps of this duration are short enough to fit into a workday but still give the benefits of improved mood, concentration, alertness, and motor skills. If you’ve got more time, a nap of 45 minutes can also have benefits, including boosts in sensory processing and creative thinking. If you go longer, aim for at least 90 minutes so you’ll work your way through all the stages of sleep and won’t wake up disoriented.
2. Find a quiet and dark place. Noise and light can disrupt your ability to sleep (though if you’re really tired neither may really faze you) so it’s best to limit them to get the most rest out of your nap. To limit distracting sounds, put in earplugs or listen to white noise. To cut out light, darken a room or employ an eyeshade.
3. Lie down. While it might be possible to fall asleep sitting up, it’ll take significantly more time; about 50% longer. It’s best to lie down so you’ll get to sleep quickly and make the most of your time.
4. Get in the napping zone. If you want to fall asleep quickly and actually enjoy the restful benefits of napping, you need to shut out the nagging voices in your head that are reminding you of all the things you need to get done. Meditation techniques are a great way to do that, researchers advise. Concentrate on your breathing, relax your muscles, and even use visualization techniques to take you somewhere calming.
5. Coordinate your caffeine. If you need a little extra boost besides your nap, you should coordinate the two. Caffeine takes about 20 to 30 minutes to take effect, so if you drink a cup of coffee before you nap, it’ll be kicking in just as you’re waking up. The practice is called a “caffeine nap” and studies at Loughborough University showed that the combination can actually leave individuals feeling more refreshed than just one or the other alone.
6. Plan to nap. Ideally, you want to take a nap before you get to the point that extreme sleepiness can become dangerous or uncomfortable. So, plan naps into your day so you’ll know one is on the horizon and you’ll never be left feeling incredibly out of it as you work, drive, or do other tasks.
7. Set an alarm. You don’t want to sleep longer than you intend, so always set an alarm to ensure that you wake up within the time frame you set for yourself and don’t drift into sleep cycles that could leave you drowsy.
8. Cut out the guilt. Science has shown time and time again that napping is not only natural, it’s extremely beneficial. Don’t guilt yourself out of a nap by focusing on what you need to get done or worrying what others might think. Instead, enjoy the nap and reap the benefits of improved productivity, energy, and mental capacity that it offers.”
October 10th, 2013 by KneeBees
Brought to our attention by one of our super fans, this article is downright chilling. It confirms our long-time suspicions about how healthy conventional chicken meat really is. We hope this will help make a more informed choice when planning your family’s next meal. Article found on http://www.collective-evolution.com .
“FDA Finally Admits Chicken Meat Contains Cancer-Causing Arsenic
Until this new study, both the poultry industry and the FDA denied that arsenic fed to chickens ended up in their meat. The fairy-tale excuse story we’ve all been fed for sixty years is that “the arsenic is excreted in the chicken feces.” There’s no scientific basis for making such a claim, it’s simply what the poultry industry wanted everybody to believe.
Now the evidence is so undeniable that the manufacturer of the chicken feed product known as Roxarsone has decided to pull the product off the shelves. Interestingly enough, the manufacturer that has been putting arsenic in the chicken feed for all these years is Pfizer — the very same company that makes vaccines containing chemical adjuvants that are injected into children.
Technically, the company making the Roxarsone chicken feed is a subsidiary of Pfizer, called Alpharma LLC. Even though Alpharma now has agreed to pull this toxic feed chemical off the shelves in the United States, it says it won’t necessarily remove it from feed products in other countries unless it is forced by regulators to do so.
As reported by AP:
“Scott Brown of Pfizer Animal Health’s Veterinary Medicine Research and Development division said the company also sells the ingredient in about a dozen other countries. He said Pfizer is reaching out to regulatory authorities in those countries and will decide whether to sell it on an individual basis.”
But even as its arsenic-containing product is pulled off the shelves, the FDA continues its campaign of denial, claiming arsenic in chickens is at such a low level that it’s still safe to eat. This is even as the FDA says arsenic is a carcinogen, meaning it increases the risk of cancer.
The National Chicken Council agrees with the FDA. In a statement issued in response to the news that Roxarsone would be pulled from feed store shelves, it stated, “Chicken is safe to eat” even while admitting arsenic was used in many flocks grown and sold as chicken meat in the United States.
What’s astonishing about all this is that the FDA tells consumers it’s safe to eat cancer-causing arsenic but it’s dangerous to drink elderberry juice! The FDA recently conducted an armed raid in an elderberry juice manufacturer, accusing them of the “crime” of selling “unapproved drugs.” Which drugs would those be? The elderberry juice, explains the FDA. You see, the elderberry juice suddenly becomes a “drug” if you tell people how it can help support good health.
The FDA has also gone after dozens of other companies for selling natural herbal products or nutritional products that enhance and support health. The FDA is also waging a war on raw milk which it says is dangerous. Currently in America, thee is a food and drug regulatory agency that says it’s okay to eat arsenic, but dangerous to drink elderberry juice or raw milk.”
October 9th, 2013 by KneeBees
Another startling discovery, related to government shutdown and FDA being closed. Found on www.gizmodo.com, written by Lily Hay Newman .
“E-coli outbreaks crop up every now and then. Some are more widespread then others, but if they’re related to food and especially if that food may have crossed state lines, the FDA starts tracing to find the source. If food-borne bacteria cause an outbreak in the U.S. today, though, the FDA won’t do anything. Because the FDA is closed.
FDA food safety inspectors are furloughed right now and have been all week. Which, as Quartz explains, is problematic because, in addition to finding the source of outbreaks, the FDA also monitors 80 percent of all U.S. food and especially imports. And don’t think for a second that the food safety inspectors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aren’t on Furlough too, because they are.
Fruits, vegetables, seafood and and basically anything else that comes through US customs isn’t being safety checked by the FDA right now. And the agency has a pretty extensive system of “red alerts” to keep track of companies and shipment sources with a bad track record, but no one is referring to that information right now. So if you’re one of the tens of thousands of vendors on FDA “red alert,” for anything from excrement-ladened produce to dietary supplements also containing mad cow disease, this is your chance to sell to the U.S.. Got lead-ladened candy? Come on in!
Quartz outlines the situation with shrimp:
Take shrimp for example. Americans now eat 4.2 pounds (1.9 kg) a year, way more than any other type of seafood. Some 90% of that is imported, much of it from Thailand, Indonesia, India and Bangladesh.
So consistently has shrimp imported from those four countries arrived already decomposed, covered in filth or teeming with salmonella, that FDA flags all shipments as “red alerts” (companies are exempted only after demonstrating health standard compliance).
The states still have health authorities to address local problems and the FDA will handle “high-risk recalls” if they come up, but the longer the shutdown drags on, the more the situation compounds itself. So basically just don’t eat until the shutdown is over and then for a few weeks after that and you’ll be safe. Awesome, thanks.”
October 8th, 2013 by KneeBees
Information on latest outbreak of salmonella in 18 states, tied to consumption of chicken. We found this on www.gizmodo.com, written by Jamie Condliffe and wanted to share right away! Hope it helps.
“Be careful what you put in your mouth: a public health alert has been issued by the US Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) surrounding a massive salmonella outbreak. It comes on the back of the recent FDA closure because of the Government shutdown.
The outbreak relates to chicken to produced at three Foster Farms facilities. So far there have been 278 reported cases of Salmonella Heidelberg infections, affecting people in 18 states—most of which are in California, the main distribution area for the chicken in question.
What really sucks is that the US Department of Agriculture website that hosts health alerts about outbreaks like this is only partially available “due to the lapse in federal government funding.” The Food Safety and Inspection Service site is also “available but is not being regularly updated.” Gee, useful.
Speaking to Wired, an official from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention went as far as admitting that his organization “will not be conducting multi-state outbreak investigations.” Without a means of investigating the situation, let alone communicating it, it seems unlikely the outbreak is going to disappear quickly.
Just so you’re aware, symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, abdominal pains, vomiting, and fever. Maybe you want to stick to instant noodles for a little while?”
October 4th, 2013 by KneeBees
All you do is give your measuring cups or spoons a quick spray with cooking oil (if you have a spritzer you fill with oil, that’ll work too) before you pour in the sticky stuff. You don’t need a ton of spray either—a quick pass will do. You just want to coat it so the honey or sauce or whatever you’re measuring slides right off.”
September 27th, 2013 by KneeBees
We often wondered what if we use the best and safest (for our family) detergent when doing laundry. This article, found on www.lifehacker.com, alleviated some of our concerns. Here it is:
“It does matter which laundry detergent you buy. While the difference between brands doesn’t matter much in the end, certain choices can have a serious impact. Most concerns depend on your needs.
Detergents with Fragrances Irritate Sensitive Skin
Does It Matter What Laundry Detergent I Use?
Detergents come with all sorts of scents, so you want to pick one you like—unless you have sensitive skin. Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey explains:
People with sensitive skin should avoid laundry detergents with fragrance because fragrances are common skin allergens. For people with sensitive skin I recommend All Free and Clear and Cheer Free. Some natural cleaning ingredients like citrus and lavender can be allergens too. Fabric softeners and anti-static drier sheets are loaded with fragrance and should be avoided. To remove all detergent residue from washed clothing I tell my sensitive skin patients to rinse their cloths twice and avoid packing the washer too full because clothes in an over full washer are not rinsed as well.
This same advice generally applies to parents with young children, as babies tend to have sensitive skin and may react negatively to the aforementioned allergens.
Some Detergents Remove Stains Better
Most people don’t test every detergent or severely stain their clothes in time for every load, so real-world experience provides very little information in regards to stain-lifting power. Fortunately, other people independently test this sort of thing so we can find out what works best. Our friends over at the Sweethome make a researched argument on behalf of Tide:
“Tide simply scores the best in testing from trusted sources, whether as a powder, liquid or pod. That’s why the obvious choice is Tide’s Ultra HE Vivid Bright + White. Consumer Reports had the most comprehensive tests. Tide’s Ultra HE Vivid Bright + White was the only one to be ranked “excellent” in warm/hot and even cold water cleaning, and it swept the “blood,” “grass” and “ring around the collar” tests. Only 3 other kinds of detergent, out of dozens, could say the same. It earned a final score of 82/100, making it the best in CR’s findings among any type or brand of detergent.”
Choose High-Efficiency Detergent for High-Efficiency Washers
This should go without saying, but if you have a high-efficiency washer you should use a high-efficiency (HE) detergent. HE options produce fewer suds and make it easier for HE machines to rinse out the soap. In most cases, it’ll clean just as well as regular detergent so you can use it in anything. Basically, you can always buy HE detergent for any washer but do not buy standard detergent for an HE washer.P
Note: The Tide detergent recommended earlier is a high-efficiency soap.
DIY Detergent Works Well Enough
While Tide sits atop the throne in stain-lifting power, it also happens to cost more than a handful of options—especially those of the DIY variety. If you want to save a bunch of money and make your own laundry soap, it’ll compete admirably against your average consumer products.
You Need Less Than You Think
Many people overuse their laundry detergent, but a small amount goes a long way. Furthermore, if you pack your washer pretty full you run the risk of trapping detergent on your clothing. That’s especially bad for people with sensitive skin and nothing positive for the rest of us, either. The New York Times explains why we should cut down on our soap usage:
“Nobody thinks they use too much soap,” said Vernon Schmidt, who has been a repairman for almost 35 years and is the author of a self-published book, “Appliance Handbook for Women: Simple Enough Even a Man Can Understand.” But apparently most of us are in denial.
Washing machines and dishwashers are made to use far less water now than older models and, therefore, need less soap. And detergents have also become increasingly concentrated. So a little goes a long way.
“Most people use 10 to 15 times the amount of soap they need, and they’re pouring money down the drain,” Mr. Schmidt said.
In the end, you don’t have to make as many choices as the store shelves tend to imply. If you need a detergent for sensitive skin, buy one. If you need stain-lifting power, Tide currently wins on that front. If you don’t, you can save a bunch of money making it yourself. Regardless of what you pick, don’t overuse it and your laundry will come out nice and fresh.
September 26th, 2013 by KneeBees
Found on lifehacker.com, we found this to be a super useful clever way to use a safety pin and wanted to share. We hope it helps!
“When static electricity builds up on your clothes, weblog WonderHowTo suggests attaching a safety pin to your skirt or slacks to divert the charge.
You can also apply the same principle to using a safety pin in the dryer, in lieu of static-absorbing dryer sheets if you happen to be out. Just attach one or two pins to something small like a towel or a sock and the metal will act as a mini-lightning rod for the mini-lightning in your dryer. ”