Cold Weather Pet Safety

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your comments below….

boydogWith all the cold weather this time of year, the emergency veterinarians of MedVet Chicago have recommended a few cold weather safety tips for your pets:

Freezing Temperatures:
If it is too cold for you to be outside, it is too cold for you pet. Be mindful of the amount of time your pet spends outside during the cold winter months. Exposure to freezing temperatures can lead to frostbite and hypothermia, even after a short period of time. Provide small dogs or those with thin hair a coat or sweater if going outside.

Walks/Potty Breaks:
If letting your pet out into the yard for a potty break, it is always best to stand by the door and call them back inside immediately after they’ve finished. Standing by the door until your pet is ready to come back inside can limit the risk of be¬coming distracted by something else going on inside the house and accidentally leaving them out in the cold for too long. It is also best to limit the amount of time spent on walks during the cold winter months in order to avoid over-exposure to frigid temperatures. Walks should be just long enough for your pet to use the restroom.

Cold Weather Chemicals:
Common chemicals used during the winter months can be hazardous to pets. This includes many anti-freeze formulas, as well as rock salt that is typically sprinkled onto sidewalks to melt ice and snow. Extreme caution should be used when storing anti-freeze, as many formulas contain ethylene glycol, which can be deadly if consumed by a pet. Although rock salt is not typically deadly, it can cause burning and irritation if in contact with a pet’s paws, in addition to stomach irritation if licked from the paws and swallowed. A simple solution for avoiding contact with rock salt is to purchase pet booties for your pet to wear when outdoors. Wearing the booties will also aid in keeping your pets feet dry and warm.

Coats and Clothes:
If providing your pet with a coat or sweater for the winter weather, waterproof is always best. When outside in the winter months, there is always a chance that your pet may come into contact with ice, snow or slush, which can saturate a non-waterproof clothing item. A cold, wet piece of clothing can end up doing more harm than good.

Warming Devices:
Pets should never be left unattended around warming/heating devices, such as space heaters, electric blankets or open flames. If a pet is cold, they may get too close to the warming device, which can put them at risk for burns or potential further damage if the device is knocked over.

What to do in a Pet Emergency
If a pet is experiencing a medical emergency, pet owners are encouraged to immediately contact their family veterinarian or MedVet Chicago for guidance and help. MedVet Chicago can be reached 24-hours a day, every day of the year, by calling (773) 281-7110 or in-person at 3123 N. Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60618.

About MedVet Chicago
MedVet Chicago (formerly Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center) is a 24-hour emergency, critical care and specialty animal hospital which is part of the MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets patient care family. MedVet is employee owned, veterinary led, and is leading specialty healthcare for pets. MedVet provides specialty referral services for in-depth care and patient management, as well as emergency services, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. More than 100,000 dogs and cats are treated annually at MedVet’s expanding network of medical centers across the country.

The Hidden Hazards Of Cold Medicines

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Thank you to PRWeb for supplying this article from The Harvard Health Letter. Please share your thoughts below in the comments section…..

seniormanEven though some cold remedies are available over the counter, they are still medications that can interact with other drugs and interfere with existing health problems.

Over-the-counter remedies come in handy when the common cold strikes. But it’s important to remember that the remedies are still medications that can interact with other drugs and interfere with existing health problems, reports the November 2014 Harvard Health Letter.

“I think people underestimate these medications because they can get them without a prescription,” says Laura Carr, a pharmacist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

It’s important to read the list of active ingredients of any medication before taking it, even if it’s something bought over the counter. Not sure what the ingredients do? Ask a pharmacist. Older adults should pay especially close attention to antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Unisom Sleep Gels), chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton), and doxylamine (Unisom). Older adults don’t metabolize these medications well. If taken in the evening, they can linger in the system and cause late-night falls or early morning confusion. Taking more of the medication can make confusion and sedation worse. Antihistamines can also cause the bladder to retain urine, which can lead to urinary tract infections.

Other over-the-counter cough and cold medications that can cause harmful reactions include decongestants, acetaminophen, and cold remedies that combine various medications.

Read the full-length article: “Could a cold remedy make you sicker?”

Also in the November 2014 Harvard Health Letter:

* Easy holiday mood booster
* How to spot added sugars
* Are mammograms necessary in older age?

The Harvard Health Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $16 per year. Subscribe at or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

8 Skin Survival Tips For Cold Weather

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By Michelle Day

WomanCreamAs the seasons change and we move into colder weather, our skin can take a beating. A sudden weather change alone can be enough to cause an outbreak, but factor in a cold, dry environment and you could be in for some serious suffering. Changes in humidity combined with brisk weather can suck the moisture from your skin and worsen conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

Here are some small changes you can make prevent a flare-up:

1. Moisturize daily – Moisturizing is key to preventing eczema and psoriasis outbreaks. Use thicker creams instead of lotions. Try applying all-natural moisturizers like olive or coconut oil to the skin. Stay away from creams containing fragrances and harsh chemical additives.

2. Take extra precaution bathing – Be careful not to bathe in very hot water. Take showers rather than soaking in bathtubs. This can strip the skin of its natural oils, resulting in excessive dry skin. Avoid any cleansers containing sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate that can irritate skin.

3. Monitor your home environment – Though running the heater sounds like a great way to keep warm in the cold weather season, it can substantially dry out your skin even more. Run the heat only when necessary and try using a humidifier to keep the moisture in your home.

4. Don’t scratch – This is a bit of a no-brainer, but a very important practice. Though you will feel the intense need to scratch that itch, try your best not to. Scratching the skin will only make it worse. If the itching is unbearable, apply a mild topical hydrocortisone ointment to the area.

5. Wear soft fabrics – Scratchy fabrics like wool may not be the best option to stay warm when you already have itchy skin. Wearing rough fabrics could potentially set off an outbreak or irritate your skin further. Try to stick to soft, breathable fabrics for comfort.

6. Take supplements – Try taking fish oil capsules to help maintain your skin’s moisture from the inside out. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, taking fish oil regularly can also help reduce inflammation caused by eczema.

7. Hydrate your body – Drinking water can provide almost instant repair for your skin. Aim to drink eight cups of water or more every day. Keeping your body well hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your skin, especially in dry weather when your skin needs it the most.

8. Minimize the stress – The stress of the upcoming holiday season can wreak havoc on your skin. Try taking a meditation break or 10 minute walks throughout your day to monitor the stress you may be feeling.

Eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions that are affected by cold, dry weather can be very painful and frustrating. By making these simple changes, you can prepare your skin for the upcoming transition into fall and winter weather.

– Michelle Day is a writer and web strategist who takes special interest in healthy living and lifestyle. As a skin wellness enthusiast, she is also the lead copywriter for Forefront Dermatology, which specializes in expert skin treatment and management in the Michigan area.

Want To Avoid The Cold & Flu?

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From Your Health Journal…..”A excellent story today from Sun Valley Online by Dr. Jody Stanislaw about avoiding the cold and flu – I strongly recommend your visiting the Sun Valley site (link provided below) to read the full article, which I found very helpful and informative. Dr. Stanislaw gives us some simple rules to follow to keep our immune system healthy and strong such as eating fruits & vegetables, whole foods, keep hydrated, get plenty of rest, and taking key supplements. She also gives great suggestions in case you feel you may be getting sick. This is a must article to read, so please visit the Sun Valley site to read more from Dr. Stanislaw.”

From the article…..

Cold and flu season is here! But you can avoid getting sick if you are smart and follow a few simple rules. When your immune system is strong and robust, you can be around sick people and not get sick. So the question is, how can you keep your immune system STRONG? Read on…

First, let’s look at what weakens the immune system and thus makes you more vulnerable to getting sick…The biggest culprits are poor diet, chronic stress, alcohol, sugar, lack of adequate sleep, and being too sedentary. Flu shots are touted as being a key step to take this time of year to keep you healthy. But reports of their effectiveness are actually quite mixed. The latest I read was a 61% effectiveness rate. I believe when people follow what I suggest below, the majority do not need a flu shot and you’ll have an even better chance of staying healthy.

So to keep your immune system robust this season, I suggest these tried and true simple tips, which will benefit you by not only boosting your immune function, but are great for your overall health and wellbeing as well:

1.) Eat a whole foods diet, including an abundance of colorful vegetables and fruit. If food is in the shape from which it grew in nature, it’s considered a whole food, thus is packed with immune boosting nutrients. If man made it, don’t eat it often.

Oatmeal with fruit, mixed vegetable salad with chicken, veggies and fish. Other whole foods include beans, lentils, fish, chicken, brown rice, fruit, nuts, all fruits and vegetables.

Sugar and processed foods not only weaken the immune system, but are devoid of key nutrients that your immune system depends on for fuel. Aim for eating whole foods 80% of the time, and include vegetables DAILY to ensure you are ingesting a high concentration of immune boosting nutrients.

2.) Stay hydrated with plenty of water….half your body weight in ounces, so a 150lb person should drink a minimum of 75oz/day. Sorry, sugary drinks or coffee don’t count.

To read the complete article…..Click here

Heart Easy Tips For Staying Healthy In The Cold, Cold, Winter

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by Kac Young PhD, ND, DCH

brainWinter comes upon us and many of us still have our flip flops by the door. Where did the time go? The best way to stay healthy in body, mind and soul is to know what the seasonal changes bring and how to turn them into a plus for your health.

The Hazards:

We’re INDOORS more when the temperature drops. This means we are less active, more sedentary, prone to watch TV or be on the computer. We get less sunlight, there are less fresh fruits and vegetables available in some areas, we can experience “cabin fever”, become irritable, breath recycled air, dry out from the continuous heating and sometimes feel depressed.

We watch football and basketball, we tend to snack more and we like to indulge in COMFORT FOODS which are salty, sugary, or high in saturated fats. We are around people in confined areas where bacteria and viruses can spread.

Holidays, travel and guests can be STRESSFUL for us even though they are fun. We are tempted by a season of party foods, late nights and the added efforts of shopping for and wrapping gifts. All this can wear a body out ! (Not to mention the mind and the soul.) So what can we do?

The Best Solutions:

Here are eight things you can do to avoid the winter taking its toll.

1) SOUP it up! Pass up the beef and pork stews, the creamy or cheesy chowders and elect lighter, healthier soups with plenty of vegetables, beans, garlic, leeks and spinach. Make your own with fat-free, low sodium broth and use ground turkey or chicken breast instead of red meats.

2) DRINK and be merry with water! You need to offset the effects of heat and dryness indoors and hydrate your body and your skin. Drink water room temperature or heat it up. Make herbal teas. Add lemon, lime, cucumber or tangerine slices. Mix one-forth fruit juice with sparkling water for a festive hydrating drink. Hydrate your skin with a chemical-free lotion to keep it supple.

3) GO LIGHT and pass on the starchy comfort foods. Although a cheesy macaroni dish feels comforting it’s actually harming your heart. Choose whole grain pasta and a cheese substitute to make your own low fat creation. Cut out the sugary treats and reduce your intake of sodium-laden foods.

4) MAMA SAID wash your hands. Do it frequently because she was right about preventing germ spread. Also cover your mouth and nose with a scarf when you are in public places, crowded elevators and places where there are lots of people. Get a flu shot!

5) WALK & TALK! Exercise routines often get neglected in sedentary winter. Call a friend; go to a mall and walk, walk, walk. Catch up and get your exercise at the same time.

6) S.O.S: Stress on stress is rampant during the winter season. Celebrations, parties, overnight guests, shopping, demands, travel – it’s enough to exhaust even the most valiant. You will need to supplement your food intake with Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and possibly calcium and magnesium. For your nerves try Bach Flower Rescue Remedy and be sure to get plenty of sleep.

7) LIGHT IS MIGHT. During the winter we can suffer from lack of exposure to sunlight. This can cause hormonal imbalance and depression. Get outside as often as you can. Try for 20 minutes a day and look for full spectrum lighting instruments to avoid SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

8) LAUGH. We underestimate the values of a good laugh fest. Put humor in your life by visiting a comedy club, watching comedy movie classics, inviting the class or office clown to dinner or by buying a funny book. Keep your insides jiggling with chuckles and you’ll survive the winter cold in top form.

– Dr. Kac Young –

Guest Post – Trish Sweeney, Stopping Colds & Flu Before They Start: Smart Strategies You Can Use Now

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womanWith cold and flu season around the corner, how can you stay healthy in the coming months? There are three approaches: prevention via vaccine (for the flu only), treating or shortening the duration of colds and flu, and preventing them from gaining a foothold by using barrier products.

Prevention with a Single Dose

A flu shot is the best, earliest way you can avoid a miserable week in bed. Each year, the CDC determines which types of flu are likely to be transmitted. Vaccine is then manufactured and distributed across the U.S. at doctor’s offices, hospitals and walk in clinics. Generally costing $20-30 and often covered by insurance, they can be given through a shot in the arm or inhaled through the nose. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the nasal spray flu vaccine reduced the chance of influenza illness by 92%.

Treating or Shortening The Duration of Colds and Flu

If you’re alert to symptoms—achy joints, fever, scratchy throat, stuffy nose—you may able to respond quickly and treat a cold or flu early.

Are you in touch with your body? If you’re alert to symptoms—achy joints, fever, scratchy throat, stuffy nose—you may able to respond quickly and treat a cold or flu early. Antiviral drugs—usually obtained by a doctor’s prescription–can lessen the severity and duration of the flu but can be a bit more expensive. One popular brand I’ve seen offered is $99. Other options include over the counter holistic treatments, homeopathic remedies and immune system boosters from $5 to $25 or more depending on the product.

Barrier Products

Used diligently, alcohol based hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes can reduce the spread of cold germs and flu virus. These can cost as little as a dollar for travel sizes. Now, there are other products that reduce your exposure to germs, viruses and bacteria.
Because they’re used daily, often in high traffic areas, handbags can act as a subway for millions of germs. One company now offers a hanger that goes on the outside of the purse. The advantage is clear: it’s easy to find so it’s used more often. Another plus: this type of hook goes on the bag’s strap, minimizing contact with germs. MSRP: $20-40.

soapMore Tips

According to the CDC, a thorough hand washing with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds can reduce the spread of infection and illness. If you’re in a public restroom that offers paper towels, use them to dry your hands, turn off the faucet and open the door handle. And if you’re in contact with many people during the day—cashiers, tellers, bellmen, delivery personnel—latex gloves may be the single best way to prevent illness. One brand marketed to food service personnel is 100 pairs for $4.50. That’s a small price to pay compared to the misery of the flu or common cold.

– Trish Sweeney is the vice president of Topcor, where she oversees marketing for the Clipa instant handbag hanger. For more information, please visit