Give Yourself the Gift of a Stress-Free Holiday

Mental Health
Here are some steps you can take (if not this year, next) to protect your and your family's health by keeping it simple during the Christmas season. This was originally published at HealthFinder and I hope it's helpful: 'Tis the season to be jolly, not stressed out, and an expert offers some tips on how to take care of yourself during the holiday rush. While it's easy to feel overwhelmed by all the shopping, planning and other tasks associated with the season, you need to take steps to keep your stress under control in order to protect your health, said Dr. Gary Kaplan, founder of the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine in McLean, Va. "Stress is the way our body automatically responds to difficult situations. You may feel nervous, irritable…
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Ten Ways to Avoid Christmas Tree and Holiday Allergies

General Health
Here are some nice tips from the folks at Fox News. Of course, by now, some of us have learned the hard way, right? Rule No.1 – Keep your decorations “off season” in enclosed containers, this will reduce dust and mildew from accumulating – and avoid sniffles when opened. Rule No.2 – Avoid artificial “snow sprays” that can aggravate your sinuses, eyes and cause annoying respiratory symptom including cough. Rule No.3 – Watch out for those lovely faux holiday “poinsettias” if you have skin allergies, especially if you have a sensitivity to rubber, it may cause a itchy rash. Rule No.4 – Don’t bring in wood for the fireplace until needed, it may bring mildew and molds into your home, especially when not completely dry or damp. Rule No.5 –…
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Physicians’ group and FDA say radiation risk from TSA scanning is “miniscule”

General Health
With all the news today about the new body scanners that TSA is using, I thought it might be reassuring for my readers to understand that the radiation exposure in these scans is incredibly low. In fact, a national group of radiologists is now saying that it would take 1,000 TSA whole body scans in one year to reach the effective dose of radiation a person gets with one standard chest X-ray. USA Today reports,"The nation's Homeland Security chief asked for air travelers' 'cooperation' and 'patience' with full-body scanning and pat downs this holiday season amid a growing public backlash that the airport tactics are intrusive." But, "some consumer, civil rights and pilots groups are protesting new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) methods," in part because they "could emit dangerous radiation,"…
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If safer toys are on shelves this year, how can you find them?

Children's Health, Parenting
In general, parents shopping for children this holiday season can be confident that toys on the shelves are safer than they have been in the past, at least according to a report by ABC News. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has had 38 toy recalls this year, down from 162 in 2008 and 148 in 2007, when 45 million toys were recalled and the public demanded stronger laws and better enforcement. But not all toys on shelves are safe, and parents still need to be vigilant. "We are seeing progress, but there's no magic wand you can wave to improve the CPSC overnight," Elizabeth Hitchcock, a public-health advocate with US PIRG (Public Interest Research Group), which released its 24th "Trouble in Toyland" report on Tuesday, told ABC News. It's…
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Ten Health Eating Tips for the Holiday Season

General Health, Nutritional Health, Obesity
Here’s an article I wrote for Significant Living magazine on Ten Health Eating Tips for the Holiday Season:   Food is an important part of almost all holidays, celebrations, family reunions, and cultural traditions. And, this is certainly true of the Jewish festivals and Christian holidays. In fact, most special occasions at church center around faith, food, fellowship, friends, and family. Given that some people can consume 3000 to 4000 calories on any given holiday — and, add to that all the calories consumed at parties and social gatherings — it’s no wonder that so many people gain a little (or even a lot of) weight between Thanksgiving and New Years. But, I have good news! It’s not necessary to avoid holiday gatherings in an attempt to maintain or lose weight. Instead, consider…
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