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Arthritis pain: Five summer gardening tips to fight arthritis symptoms …

“Gardening doesn’t have to be a problem if you have arthritis,” said the national charity promoting arthritis awareness in its ‘Gardening and arthritis’ booklet.

“It can play an important part in keeping up your physical activity.”

“You should aim for a balance between exercising your joints and muscles to stay mobile without straining them.”

Change tasks to reduce strain

Arthritis Research UK says you should change gardening activity about every 20 minutes, with some rest time if needed. This will stop you putting too much strain on a joint, which could cause an arthritis flare-up.

“Break up harder jobs like hoeing weeds with spells of something gentler like pricking out seedlings.”

Use a garden stool

Having a stool to sit on while you garden reduces the load on your joints, helping with gardening.

“Make sure you can easily get up from the stool,” says Arthritis Research UK, “avoid sitting too long and getting stiff as this will make rising more difficult.”

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Tips to keep your feet healthy and pain free – KABC

A recent survey found that eight out of 10 Americans have experienced some type of foot problem. From aching arches to tendonitis, foot issues and pain can make everyday activities difficult.

Consider that the average person in this country takes about 5,000 steps a day. That’s 5,000 times your feet pound the pavement, with lots of pressure put on them with every step. But chronic foot pain isn’t just a problem for those who wear high heels or flip flops. Picking the right pair of athletic shoes is important, too.

The first step, according to experts, is choosing the right shoe specifically for your sport. Dr. John Campbell is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in foot and ankle issues.

“If you’re going to play basketball, wear a basketball sneaker, don’t wear a running shoe. It’s not the same kind of event. It’s not designed to protect you for that,” he said.

When deciding on a new pair of shoes, make sure you have at least half an inch between your longest toe and the front of the shoe. Walk around in them on different surfaces to make sure there’s no slipping or rubbing.

If your feet aren’t the same size, buy the shoes to fit your larger foot. Also, some suggest replacing running shoes every 300 miles.

One source of foot pain can come from ingrown toenails. To prevent them, cut your nails straight across. Don’t round them. And if you do develop an ingrown nail, see a medical professional instead of dealing with it yourself.

The best way to avoid either a bacterial and fungal infection, like athlete’s foot, is to keep feet clean and take time to dry the skin between your toes after a shower or bath. Also, try to alternate wearing a pair of shoes to allow them time to breathe.

What’s the best way to keep your feet healthy? Walking. Experts said it’s the best exercise for feet and also contributes to your general health by improving circulation, contributing to weight control and promoting all around well-being.

Don’t neglect foot pain. It’s important to take it seriously, especially if you have an injury – it might be more serious than you think!

“The old wives tale where people say, well if you can walk on it, it’s not broken, is absolutely false,” Campbell said.

One last piece of advice: Some people experience foot pain first thing in the morning, as they step out of bed. That may be a sign of plantar fasciitis. While orthotics, or massage may help, if the pain continues or gets worse, a podiatrist should be able to help.

They may also be able to recommend what to look for in your next pair of shoes, or suggest a specific type of orthotic, which is an insert placed in the shoe that changes the position or range of movement of your foot to relieve pressure on affected joints or painful areas.

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Health department gives tips for visiting pet stores, zoos

File photo – A goat sticks its head out of its pen during the 69th annual McHenry County Fair in Woodstock.

With nice weather upon us, families have started enjoying outdoor events. Because summertime fun often involves the animal world, the McHenry County Department of Health is reminding residents of the risk of picking up gastrointestinal illnesses such as salmonella, campylobacter or E. coli by petting or touching animals. 

Feeding pigs, riding ponies or watching calf roping at the county fair is educational and fun. Getting face-to-face with animals at petting zoos, fairs and festivals also increases the risk of getting sick.

“During the spring and summer, more people, including children, interact with livestock and poultry,” said Susan Karras, director of nursing for MCDH. “This means we often see an increase in gastrointestinal cases associated with animals.”

When visiting a pet store or planning a trip to the petting zoo, careful hand-washing and taking a few simple precautions reduces the risk of illnesses associated with animals.

• Always wash your hands right after petting animals, even if you did not touch the animals.

• Keep food and drink out of animal areas.

• Don’t share your food with animals.

• Children younger than 5 always need adult supervision in animal areas.

• Never allow children to put their thumbs, fingers or objects (pacifiers) in their mouths when they’re around animals or in an animal area.

• Do not take or use strollers, bottles, pacifiers, spill-proof cups or toys into animal areas.

For information, read tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at

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Palmetto Health, Safe Kids offer tips to keep children safe in and around water


Summer is a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends at the beach, lake or pool. Unfortunately, every year approximately 800 children under the age of 14 die due to drowning accidents. Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital and Safe Kids Sumter County want to help families protect their children around the water. According to Safe Kids, among preventable injuries, drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1-4 years old. Children 1-4 years old are more likely to drown in a pool. Children 5 years and older are more likely to drown in natural water, such as ponds, lakes and rivers. For every child who drowns, four more are hospitalized for near-drowning. Some children sustain permanent brain damage. These incidents are preventable.

Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital offers these tips to help keep children safe this summer:

- Always watch children when they are in or near water;

- Don’t be distracted by electronics, reading or talking to others;

- Watch children even if they know how to swim;

- Designate an adult “water watcher” who pledges to supervise children in the water at all times and not to leave the area without designating another adult to watch the children;

- Keep a phone near you, but use it only to call for help in an emergency;

- If a child is missing, check the water first;

- Children and adults should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets, especially those who can’t swim. Wear life jackets when boating and participating in water sports;

- Learn how to swim out of a rip current;

- Teach children never to swim alone and only to swim in designated swimming areas;

- Never leave a child unattended near a pool, bathtub, bucket, toilet, puddle, pond or wading pool;

- If you have a pool, put a locking fence all the way around it;

- Do not leave toys in the pool or beside it; and

- For extra protection, install a pool alarm, a gate alarm on the fence and an automatic pool cover.

Tips for swimming in fresh water

An amoeba commonly found in warm bodies of fresh water such as lakes, rivers, hot springs, under-chlorinated swimming pools and soil can cause a deadly infection. The amoeba – Naegleria fowleri – is 99 percent fatal, but 100 percent preventable.

The amoeba enters the body through the nose during water activities including tubing, diving and other activities that force water up the nose. The amoeba travels up the nose to the brain and spinal cord, where it attacks brain tissue.

If you choose to swim in water where Naegleria fowleri might live, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you:

- Hold your nose shut, use nose clips, or keep your head above water;

- Avoid putting your head under water in hot springs and other untreated geothermal waters;

- Avoid water-related activities in warm fresh water during periods of high water temperatures and low water levels; and

- Avoid digging in, or stirring up, the sediment while participating in water-related activities in shallow, warm fresh water areas.

The CDC offers recommendations at

Enjoy your summer and use these tips to keep your children safe.

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These are the 6 best tips to stay super healthy during flu season

flu, woman, sick, office, desk, tissues, sneezing
Here’s how you can stay healthy during flu season.  ~ 

Sick of being sick? Use these strategies to keep that dreaded cold at bay this flu season. The best part? It won’t cost an arm and a leg.

1. Get some exercise

study reveals that people who exercise regularly are less likely to get sniffy. Exercise creates more of those virus-fighting white blood cells, so you’re prepared if you get infected, says Lerato Sikhosana, a senior virology registrar at the National Health Laboratory Service.

2. Eat phytochemical foods

“There’s limited evidence, but colourful fruit and vegetables are thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These include peppers, broccoli and garlic,” says Dr Tamlyn McKeag. Try making a nutrient-rich soup – it’s nutritious comfort food.

Read more: 17 foods that fight spring allergies

3. Eat your chicken

If you’re low on protein, you’re also lowering your immune system. Some immune-boosting chemicals, like cytokines, need extra proteins to ward off viruses, says Sikhosana. Be sure to get your fill of chicken, eggs and chickpeas to stay strong.

4. Get a massage

Studies show that getting a massage improves immunity by enhancing circulation of cells that kill viruses. Massages also lower the stress hormone cortisol, which has been shown to kill immune cells. The perfect excuse for a spa day.

Read more: Gross but true: Science says you need your phlegm when you get sick

5. Get vaccinated

Clicks pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman says vaccines are best when administered early – around March – to build your immunity – but is still effective now. “It’s also important to get your flu vaccination every year to get up-to-date protection against circulating strains,” he says. While some are skeptical about vaccines, the World Health Organization endorses it.

6. Take a supplement

Boost your immunity with natural medicine like elderberry or African potato extract, and make sure your multivitamin has vitamins C and D in them, so you’re less likely to get sick, says Abdurahman.

This article was originally published on

Image credit: iStock

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Mental health tips following a school shooting like Santa Fe

As school shootings become more and more common – it’s hard not to think about its impacts on our mental health.

“We’re heading into a territory in the world of psychology that is somewhat uncharted due to the number of school shootings,” Bill Prasad, a mental health expert, said.

Now 21 weeks into 2018, there’s been more than a dozen shootings on campuses throughout the US – that have resulted in either someone being hurt or killed. A look at these tragedies impact is only a click away.

“Based on the tweets we’re seeing from high school students is a convergence of hate, fear, and passion,” he said. “These tweets are a very loud cry for help.”

The big question is how to make kids feel safe when their world feels out of control. Prassad says he’s got a mental health checklist to help your children and family heal.

  1. Talk with your kids. “Ask them what do you know, what do you think about what’s happening?”
  2. Get back into a routine and impose structure
  3. Promote self-care – “Get sleep, make sure you eat, exercise.”
  4. Limit media exposure to the tragedy.

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Swimming Safety & Health Tips

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Evanston students cover sidewalk with mental health tips – WLS

Students in north suburban Evanston covered the sidewalk outside their school with powerful messages Thursday afternoon.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so students and teachers at Fusion Academy Evanston used chalk to share inspirational quotes and tips for coping with anxiety and depression. For some, the topic was personal.

“I dealt with my own issues of anxiety and depression,” 13-year-old Daniel said. “There was a loss in my family and I remember that I was in a really rough spot after that because I wasn’t sure how to continue with my life.”

The teens hope their messages will remind anyone who is struggling with mental health issues that there is hope.

“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. You’re still important. You can turn it around,” Daniel said.

You can read their messages in the 800-block of Chicago Avenue near the Main Street Purple Line station.

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Memorial Day weekend health tips

Denver Weather Summary: 77 degrees

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Forester offers tips on forest health

The first Saturday in May marks the annual recognition of wildfire awareness day, and forester Dan Lennon has some words of advice to offer the community in light of this. “I’ve been here a lot of years, fought a lot of fires, and seen a lot of panic,” Lennon shares. It is very important to have a plan in the event of an emergency. Simple things like evacuation plans and having horse trailers to transport livestock are great, but prevention is the best place to start.

According to Lennon, what we need to do is get back to where the trees are spaced out enough and surface fuels like leaves and pine needles are cleaned up, so that when fire strikes it will be of a much lower intensity. “Right now, the forests are not functioning well because they are not healthy. There are too many trees per acre, all vying for water and this results in unhealthy forests with many dead trees that are perfect fuel for fire,” he continues. When trees have room to grow, they have plenty of water and sunlight. This allows them to develop full crowns, making them greener and less susceptible to fire and destructive beetles.

Pruning, thinning, and cleaning up debris are essential to maintaining healthy forests, but these things must be done at the right time. “Right now, doing any kind of work in pine is not advisable because the pine beetle’s flight cycle starts in mid-February,” Lennon explains. “So, if you are pruning in your pine forest, you create that fresh cut smell, the pitch starts flowing, and pine beetles will be drawn to the scent they associate with wounded trees. Pine management is best conducted between October and January when these beetles are dormant.”

Lennon also went on to say that when people thin their forests, they tend to do it backwards. “When we take down trees, we usually take down the best, leaving behind the smaller, sickly trees, and then you are left with an unhealthy forest that poses a high fire risk.” If you do the hazard reduction, your risk of wildfire is extremely reduced. Lennon encourages homeowners to, “Take an acre around your home in your developed yard and driveway, 200 feet by 200 feet, clean up debris, thin your trees, and keep them pruned.”

Through the Washington Forest Landowner Cost-Share program, land owners may be paid up to 50 percent of the expenses for thinning, pruning, and slash disposal. Tools like chainsaws, wood splitters, and tractors are included in the expenses per day, and are factored in based on the average daily rental cost. Landowners are paid approximately $600 to $800 per acre, and may do the work themselves or hire a contractor.

For land owners interested in the cost share program, Lennon does a site visit and develops an assessment with a prescription for that specific parcel of land. This may include: brush control, thinning, pruning, and slash disposal. From there, they submit an application. Lennon says, “Anyone that has forested land is generally eligible for the program.” For those that decide to do the work themselves, Lennon provides a wage rate schedule as well as equipment and time logs, where they track their hours at a $25 per hour rate per person. The cost share program is typically a two-year commitment once homeowners get an approval letter. Lennon adds, “Two years may sound like a long time, but when you consider winter and burn bans in summer, it goes by very quickly. We don’t have enough fire engines to park at every house, but they are looking for places like this to park and work, because they are safe enough for them and their equipment.”

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