Gunning Daily News

A Pharmacist's Guide to Staying Well This Season

October 21, 2011 4:34 pm

To help maintain health this season, it's important to get the nutrients your body needs every day, through your diet as well as through high quality vitamins and supplements. In a recent nationwide survey, three in four people agree they feel more confident about their health when they take vitamins and supplements. However, many people are not aware of what types of vitamins they need in order to support a healthy immune system. 

"Most Americans have nutrient gaps in their diet, but people can make up for the nutrients they lack by adding vitamins and supplements to a daily wellness routine," says Suzy Cohen, registered pharmacist and author of "The 24-Hour Pharmacist." "There are a variety of ways vitamins and supplements can support a healthy immune system, but when you're in the vitamin aisle it is important to look for quality products."
As the number of products in the vitamin aisle can be overwhelming, Cohen recommends first looking at the brand, seeking only those committed to science-based protocols for product development, and those that are tested and verified by third-party public health organizations such as the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP). Only products that meet the stringent criteria set forth by USP are allowed to use the USP verified mark on their label. 

Immune Supporting Supplements
Vitamin C
- A powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C helps maintain a healthy immune system and protects against damaging free radicals. Additionally, Vitamin C, such as the Nature Made Vitamin C 1000mg, is necessary for the body to manufacture collagen, which is essential for healthy skin. 
Vitamin D - Supports teeth, bone and immune health, and healthy levels of Vitamin D in your body may promote your heart health as well. 
Probiotics - Certain types of probiotics supply "good bacteria" that can help maintain immune system health. 
Zinc - Maintaining healthy levels of zinc in your body is necessary for healthy growth, development and proper immune function. Zinc also provides antioxidant support which helps to protect the body against damaging free radicals. 
Echinacea - Echinacea may support healthy immune function. 

Additional Immune Boosting Techniques
• Strive to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
• Practice relaxation techniques to get rid of stress and the harmful hormones it can trigger.
• Wash your hands regularly, especially before meals.
• Eat a balanced diet. Check out the new dietary guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture at www.choosemyplate.gov.
• Exercise regularly. According to Harvard Health Publications, exercise may additionally support a healthy immune system by promoting healthy circulation, moving immune system cells throughout the body. 

If You Get Sick
If you do get sick this cold and flu season, there are a number of things you can do to stop the spread of the virus.
• Cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow.
• Wash your hands often.
• Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Try to avoid close contact with others to minimize the spread of the germs. 

For more information, visit www.NatureMade.com.

Feeling Good by Doing Good

October 21, 2011 4:34 pm

All across the country ordinary people are serving their neighbors and communities by volunteering—and it's making a big difference in the lives of the most vulnerable. 

In 2010, 62.8 million adults volunteered for almost 8.1 billion hours in local and national organizations, according to Volunteering in America. This service is valued at nearly $173 billion. 

When you volunteer, your time and effort not only helps others, but can actually benefit you in tangible ways. Studies have shown that adults who volunteer one to two hours a week have:
• Lower mortality rates.
• Greater functional ability.
• Lower rates of depression. 

Volunteer activities strengthen social connections, which protects people from a sense of isolation during hard times. And helping others not only expands your own horizons, it can make you feel better about yourself. 

What Can You Do?
There are many ways you can volunteer. Some of the most popular ways, according to Volunteering in America, include:
• Mentoring or tutoring youth.
• Helping raise money or selling items to raise money for an organization.
• Collecting, preparing, distributing or serving food.
• Providing general labor or transportation. 

You can find volunteering opportunities through your local house of worship, community center, workplace or school. You can search online at sites such as www.volunteeringinamerica.gov and www.volunteermatch.org, as well. 

Tips for Becoming a Volunteer
If you would like to volunteer but aren't sure how to get started, here are some tips to consider:
• Go with your strengths. If you have some specialized skills, such as teaching, cooking or sewing, look for places that could use those skills. Keep your own personality in mind, too—if you're an introvert that gets worn out by crowds, don't offer to be the greeter at a big event or the emcee at a banquet.
• Think about your availability. There are different levels of commitment for different types of volunteer activities. Mentoring or tutoring requires a regular, rather intensive commitment, while serving at a charity race is a much shorter-term commitment.
• Volunteer with friends or family. Volunteering with others is a great way to strengthen your relationships and help others at the same time. Consider opportunities suitable for parents and children, a husband and wife, or even a small group of friends to take on together. 

No matter where you decide to serve, as a volunteer you'll feel good knowing that you're doing good right in your own back yard. 

For more information, visit www.foresters.com.

Word of the Day

October 21, 2011 4:34 pm

Master plan. Long-range, comprehensive guide for the physical growth or development of a community.

Question of the Day

October 21, 2011 4:34 pm

Q: What’s the best way to choose a home loan?

A: A lot will depend on the length of time you plan to live in the home, other financial obligations, and potential savings gained from comparing the monthly costs of a home against the up-front costs and closing costs involved with a particular loan.

Also, you will need to be comfortable with whatever choice you decide to make. Trust your instincts and do not be pressured into signing for a loan that will not really work for you.

Home Maintenance Matters; Here’s Why

October 20, 2011 4:56 pm

Outright damage to your house is just one of the consequences of neglected maintenance. But take it from me, without regular upkeep, overall property values are affected, too!

According to Mack Strickland, a professional appraiser and real estate agent in Chester, VA, if a house is in worn condition and shows a lack of preventative maintenance, the property could easily lose 10% of its appraised value—that could translate into a $15,000 or $20,000 adjustment.

In addition, a house with chipped, fading paint, sagging gutters, and worn carpeting faces an uphill battle when it comes time to sell. Not only is it at a disadvantage in comparison with other similar homes that might be for sale in the neighborhood, Strickland says a shaggy appearance is bound to turn off prospective buyers and depress the selling price.

A study by researchers at the University of Connecticut and Syracuse University suggests that maintenance actually increases the value of a house by about 1% each year. That means getting off the couch and heading outside with a caulking gun is more than a chore—it’s actually making you money.

Heading into fall and winter, the folks at First Weber of Wisconsin (firstweber.com) suggest these fall maintenance ideas to perk up your property in a jiffy:

1. Chimney cleaning - Before you have a fire in the fireplace, it is a good idea to have your chimney looked at each year.
2. Check windows and doors - Re-caulk as needed and add new weatherstripping around doors if needed to keep the cold air out.
3. Lawn and landscape - Fall is a great time to seed grass because the temperatures are moderate. Now is also a good time to trim bushes so that they will look great in spring.
4. Keep your gutters clean - In Wisconsin, and in many regions of the country, you never know when the first snowfall will come. Make sure you clean your gutters regularly so that rain and melting snow can drain.
5. Prune - Take a walk around your house and look for any branches that may be growing a bit too close to the house. Consider pruning these branches before mother nature has the opportunity to do it for you.
6. Patios and decks - Re-stain or power wash. Also, begin storing outdoor living items like patio table umbrellas, seat cushions and flower pots.
7. Change your furnace filter - to boost efficiency.
8. Smoke Alarms - Check these throughout your house to make sure the batteries still work.
9. Store the mower and test the snow blower to make sure it works before you really need it.

7 Suggestions to Land You That Job

October 20, 2011 4:56 pm

Nearly everyone gets nervous at the thought of being “in the hot seat,”—and interviewing for a job certainly falls into that category.

“Selling yourself on command is tough, especially when you have to do it in a short time period,” says Monster job board advisor Margot Lester. “Preparing in advance and practicing your responses is not only wise, it’s necessary.”

Lester, and other job coaches and resume writers, offer job seekers these proven interview strategies:

• Research the company – Before you go on that interview, know all you can about the company’s mission, work, and culture. The more you know about what they do and how they do it, the more accurately you can focus on why you want to work for that company.
• Know how you can contribute – Once you know the company’s mission, focus in on the skills that would make you a good fit. Are you good at working under deadline pressure? Do you have excellent inter-personal skills? Can you speak another language that might be helpful to this company? Be prepared with brief and specific examples of how these skills helped you in former employment positions.
• Practice in advance – Before you go on the interview, practice verbalizing some answers out loud at home. Vary your tone of voice, and practice your smile as well as small gestures that help you make a point.
• Be on time – Be five to ten minutes early. Practice the drive in advance if you are not sure of the route or how traffic will affect your drive time.
• Present yourself well – Make sure your clothing is neat and appropriate to the position you want. Take along a copy of your resume, even if you have sent one in advance, and a portfolio of work samples, awards or commendations. Also, take along a pen and paper for any notes you may need to take home.
• Stay calm – Maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Listen to the whole question before you answer. Don’t blurt. Take a few seconds to consider your answer before you begin.
• Follow up with a letter – send or email each of your interviewers with a brief thank-you note repeating your interest in the position and including any follow-up information that might have been requested or suggested.

9 Ways to Balance Busy Schedules and Healthy Family Meals

October 20, 2011 4:56 pm

Family meals lead to healthier, more successful children, but finding time to eat together can be a balancing act for many families. Last week, 15 registered dietitians and parenting bloggers from the United States, Canada and New Zealand shared their tips, tricks and motivations for making time to have balanced meals with their families during the Balancing Act Blog Carnival, part of the Eat Better, Eat Together family meal campaign and blog series from Dairy Council of California. Here are the top 10 big ideas they shared, from their families to yours. 

1. Planning family meals ahead of time is essential; develop systems that make the purchasing, preparing and partaking easier.
2. Keep it simple. Family meals don't have to be elaborate to be healthy and effective. Come up with easy ways to balance your meals with simple vegetable side dishes or fruit and yogurt desserts.
3. Have healthy food on hand and eat from your freezer or pantry on busy weeknights. Prepare double batches of food when you're less rushed so you can cook once, eat twice.
4. The family meal does not have to be dinner; breakfast or lunch may work better in some households.
5. Toughen up. Prepare one meal for the whole family to enjoy. Include all five food groups and everyone should be able to find something they'll want to eat.
6. Turn off technology and tune into each other. Make conversation the focus of family meals, but keep it light. The dinner table is not the place for discipline.
7. Share the work. Enlist help from the family to plan shopping lists, make lunches, set the table, pour the milk and clean up.
8. Eating as a family is truly comforting for toddlers, teens and adults. Family meals can become a cherished tradition for the whole family.
9. Dump the guilt. Family meals may not happen every day, and that's OK. Make the most of your family meals when they occur.

For more information, visit www.MealsMatter.org.

Costume Concerns: Decorative Contact Lenses Can Do Big Damage

October 20, 2011 4:56 pm

Wouldn’t it be cool to have Twilight vampire eyes for Halloween? Or deep violet eyes to match your purple sweater? How about your favorite sports team’s logo on your eyes just for fun? 

You can have all of these looks with decorative contact lenses (also called fashion contact lenses or color contact lenses, among other names). These lenses don’t correct vision—they just change the appearance of the eye. 

But before buying decorative lenses, here’s what you should know:
• They are not cosmetics or over-the-counter merchandise. They are medical devices regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Places that advertise them as cosmetics or sell them without a prescription are breaking the law.
• They are not “one size fits all.” An eye doctor (ophthalmologist or optometrist) must measure each eye to properly fit the lenses and evaluate how your eye responds to contact lens wear. A poor fit can cause serious eye damage, including
o scratches on the cornea (the top layer of your eyeball)
o corneal infection (an ulcer on the cornea)
o conjunctivitis (pink eye)
o decreased vision
o blindness
• Places that sell decorative lenses without a prescription may give you few or no instructions on how to clean and care for your lenses.
Failure to use the proper solution to keep contact lenses clean and moist can lead to infections, says Bernard Lepri, O.D., M.S., M.Ed., an optometrist at FDA. “Bacterial infections can be extremely rapid, result in corneal ulcers, and cause blindness—sometimes within as little as 24 hours if not diagnosed and treated promptly.”
“The problem isn’t with the decorative contacts themselves,” adds Lepri. “It’s the way people use them improperly—without a valid prescription, without the involvement of a qualified eye care professional, or without appropriate follow-up care.” 

Where Not to Buy Contact Lenses 

FDA is aware that many places illegally sell decorative contact lenses to consumers without valid prescriptions for as little as $20.
You should never buy lenses from:
• street vendors
• salons or beauty supply stores
• boutiques
• flea markets
• novelty stores
• Halloween stores
• record or video stores
• convenience stores
• beach shops
• Internet (unless the site requires a prescription)
These are not authorized distributors of contact lenses, which are prescription devices by federal law. 

How to Buy Decorative Contact Lenses Safely 

• Get an eye exam from a licensed eye doctor (ophthalmologist or optometrist), even if you feel your vision is perfect.
• Get a valid prescription that includes the brand name, lens measurements, and an expiration date. But don’t expect your eye doctor to prescribe anime, or circle, lenses. These bigger-than-normal lenses that give the wearer a wide-eyed, doll-like look have not been approved by FDA.
• Whether you go in person or shop online, buy the lenses from a seller that requires you to provide a prescription.
• Follow directions for cleaning, disinfecting, and wearing the lenses, and visit your eye doctor for follow-up eye exams.
• See your eye doctor right away if you have signs of possible eye infection:
o redness
o eye pain that doesn’t go away after a short time
o decrease in vision 

For more information, visit www.fda.gov.

Word of the Day

October 20, 2011 4:56 pm

Master deed. Document that converts a parcel of land into a condominium subdivision.

Question of the Day

October 20, 2011 4:56 pm

Q: Where can I get a mortgage?

A
: You can get a home loan from several different sources—a credit union, commercial bank, mortgage company, finance company, government agency, thrift (which includes savings banks and savings & loan associations), mortgage broker, and even the seller.

Note, however, that many lenders have tightened their credit standards in light of increasing foreclosures and higher delinquency rates. Begin your search by calling at least half a dozen lenders to inquire about the types of financing available, current rates on each loan type, loan origination fees and number of points, other loan features and their credit requirements for borrowers.

Once you actually apply for a mortgage, the lender will pull a recent copy of your credit report. That inquiry and any and all others are recorded and become a part of your credit file. Normally, several inquiries during a short period are viewed negatively, as a sign you are trying to open several new accounts. Such a move lowers your credit scores; and lower credit scores mean you will be offered a higher mortgage interest rate.

However, there is a caveat. Credit scoring software generally detect that you are shopping for a single mortgage, if you shop within a short, 30-day window. So multiple inquires pulled roughly within this time frame will only count as one inquiry and should not affect your FICO, or credit, score.

Checking your own score also will not lower your credit score.