Air Quality: How Bad Is My Air and How Can I Fix It?

Air Quality: How Bad Is My Air and How Can I Fix It?

Between work and home, people tend to spend roughly 90% of their time indoors. It stands to reason that indoor air quality would be a concern. Those who need clean air the most – children, people with illnesses, the elderly – spend even more time inside.

Because of time spent indoors and a host of other factors, inside air can be worse for your health than outside air. I’m going to tell you about some of the causes and effects of indoor air pollution and what you can do to get rid of it. And many of those tips have no monetary cost!

How do I know my air is bad?

If you feel sick and congested inside your own home, you can pretty much be sure your air pollution is too high. Some other signs include:

  • Strange and noticeable smells
  • Feeling healthier outside
  • Stuffy, stale air
  • A reaction after remodeling, getting new furniture, using household products or moving into a new place
  • A noticeable lack of air movement
  • Appearance of mold and mildew
  • Excessive humidity

There are many ways the air quality in your home or office can decrease. In the next section we’ll go over some of these.

Get A Home Air Cleaner To Get Rid Of Dust And Mold In The Home

Hepa air purifiers can help you get rid of dust and mold in the home as well as reduce allergy symptoms. There are many people today that suffer from allergies and there are many ways to reduce your symptoms especially in your own home.

Hepa air purifiers are effective in getting rid of dust and allergens in the air and can also help you breathe easier especially if you suffer from asthma.

Best Honeywell HEPA Air Purifier

This Honeywell HEPA air cleaner is great for large rooms and can successfully get rid of dust, mold and other airborne bacteria in the air.
It has a HEPA filter which is very effective especially if you suffer from allergies. It can remove allergens from the air to help reduce your symptoms of allergies.

It has a 360 degree air flow and has 3 different speed settings. If you are looking for an effective way to get rid of cigarette smoke in your home, purchasing an air cleaner for your home is a great investment.

With this purchase you will get a 5 year warranty and it is priced under $150, which is very affordable when it comes to cleaning the air in your home. To learn more about top air purifiers of 2020 check out this post.

Winix HEPA Air Purifier
Are you looking for a HEPA air cleaner for your home that can remove dust, pet dander, mold and other pollutants from the air? This air purifier from Winix can clean the air in your home especially odors such as from your cooking or cigarette smoke. This product also has smart sensors which can automatically adjust the right speed to use in your home.

It has a carbon filter which can capture all airborne bacteria and mold from the air in your home. It also uses a HEPA filter which lasts a long time which can save you money especially if you use an air cleaner for most of the day.

What are common sources of indoor air pollution?

Cigarette Smoke
Tobacco smoke produces formaldehyde, particulates and combustion products.
Biological Pollutants and Moisture
Mold, dust mites, animal hair, mildew and roaches from high humidity, poorly maintained air conditioners and humidifiers and poor ventilation.

Small Particulates

Dust and pollen, particulates from fireplaces, wood stoves, unvented gas space heaters and kerosene heaters.

Combustion Products
Carbon monoxide from fossil fuel space heaters, unvented ovens and stoves, and backdrafts from water heaters and furnaces.

Lead
From lead-based paint dust, usually comes from removing, sanding, scraping or burning the paint.

Formaldehyde
Can be found in durable press textiles and drapes, adhesives and particle board products.

Asbestos

If your home is more than 20 years old it may have asbestos in it.

Radon Gas
Soil and rock beneath and around the foundation, wells and some building materials can produce the radioactive radon gas.

Household Products

Paints, air fresheners, solvents, glues, dry cleaned clothes, adhesives, aerosol sprays, and additives found in carpeting and furniture.
The problems with construction
Air and pollutants can enter a house through construction joints and cracks in the foundation, around windows and entryways, and in crawl spaces. Air also comes in through any open door or window. “The Exchange Rate” is the measure of how many times the volume of air inside a house is completely replaced with fresh outside air. In normal homes, the rate is .7 to one exchange per hour. In tight houses that don’t allow much flow, the rate is .2 exchanges per hour. In leaky homes it can be as high as two exchanges per hour.

It is important that indoor air be circulated to avoid the stuffiness that can cause so many problems.

Best High Weight Limit Double Strollers Of The Year

Whether you are shopping for twins at birth or toddlers that are getting a bit bigger any of the following strollers should be on your short list. They all hold kids with combined weights that approach and in some cases eclipse 100 pounds in weight and they all are best sellers, highly respected by parents around the world.

You might think that only full sized strollers like the stroller pictured above and to the left (The City Mini GT Double – Max Weight 100lbs) are capable of holding a pair of large or heavy kids but you’d be wrong – umbrella strollers are made better today than ever before.

I personally believe the full sized strollers will be better for you as a parent over the years but for those with less to spend and less space to house a stroller when it is not in use a good compact stroller can hold children just as big. I’ve featured some of the best in class below on this page.

Most of the strollers featured here hold two kids up to 50 pounds each but the stroller than holds the most is the Maclaren Twin Techno which can hold 110 pounds or two 55 pound kids.

City Mini GT Double Stroller – Holds A Combined Weight of Up To 100 Pounds

The City Mini GT and the two child version were introduced in Spring. The strollers were designed to be beefed up versions of the wildly popular City Mini strollers. Not exactly jogging strollers, but far more rugged than smaller compact strollers, the City Mini GT line makes it really easy to walk with bigger toddlers both on and off road. If your young children are 100 lbs or less then this stroller will work for your family – it is one of the highest weight limits of all double strollers on the market.

The BOB Revolution SE Duallie – Another Two Child Stroller That Can Hold Kids Up To 100 LBS

The BOB Revolution stroller is widely considered to be one of the best all-around all-terrain strollers on the market today. It has been this way for many years now for good reason. The Revolution Duallie performs just as great as it’s one seat cousin and although it won’t hold two kids 75 pounds apiece it will hold two 50 pound children in each seat. Typically the Revolution is more highly coveted than the Baby Jogger City Mini GT but in my opinion the two strollers are a toss up. Either one will be perfect for a pair of older toddlers but the GT tends to hold bigger kids more comfortably in my experience.

The Britax B-Agile Double Stroller – Another Full Sized Double Stroller With A 100 LB Weight Limit

Just like the previously featured strollers this dual child stroller by Britax is rated for two kids with a combined weight of up to 100 lbs. Each child should be 50 pounds or less to be completely accurate. This stroller is a bit less expensive than the previous two due primarily to a lack of some premium features but do not expect to feel like you are missing much with this stroller. A good two child stroller with a high weight limit is going to demand a well built frame with excellent suspension and wheels. This stroller is less expensive but it certainly isn’t a cheaply made stroller. It is top rated and a bests seller among parents everywhere for good reason.

The Joovy Scooter X2 Double Stroller

The Joovy Scooter X2 is the budget double stroller in this line up. It is probably one of the best (if not the best) bargain of this entire page. If you truly need the highest weight rating then this is not the stroller for you. It is rated safe for kids with combined weight of 90 lbs or less but for the price it can’t be beat. It is well cheaper than all the 100 pound weight limit strollers and it has reviews that are just as high or higher than the aforementioned strollers from it’s owners. If you are looking for a dual stroller with a high weight limit then this has to be on your short list for consideration.

Baby High Chair Safety Tips

Feeding child securely doesn’t simply indicate introducing new foods gradually and also being meticulous about preventing contamination from perishing. In fact, feeding child securely begins also before the first spoon is filled up when the baby positioned in a high chair. To help ensure every nourishment passes safely, some policy to be complied with.

Recently I have bought a high chair for my 1 year old daughter after doing a considerable research on the best high chairs available on the market. Here are some tips in choosing the right high chair for you child.

Easy to clean
You’ll be using a highchair everyday so you want one that doesn’t take too long to clean. Avoid high chairs with lots of creases and places where food can gather. Padding on seats can sometimes hide bits of food. We had been given a highchair where food could accumulate underneath the seat padding which is something else to look out for. Look for easy clean material, a removable tray and read reviews on how easy it is to clean!

Baby High Chair 2020

Size
How big do you want the highchair? Do you have space at your table for a big chunky highchair or would you prefer a space saver one? You can get booster seats which fit onto a seat and come with a tray which can be used instead of a stand alone high chair. So it’s worth looking at the range available. If you are planning on moving the high chair between rooms (eg between the kitchen and the dining room) look for something lightweight and easy to move.

Storage
Do you want a highchair that lies flat for storage, so you can put it away at the end of each meal? Or perhaps you would prefer a space saver high chair that doesn’t take up much room and can be left out at all times.

Adjustability
Do you want the high chair to grow with your child? Some highchairs can be converted to booster seats that can be used up until 4 years. Look for other features of adjustability too, such as height of the high chair, straps and the tray.

Tray
Bigger and wider trays can be good so bits of food will fall on the tray instead of the baby. We have already mentioned removable trays which are easier to clean. Can the tray be adjusted so that it can be moved close to smaller babies so there isn’t a massive gap between the baby and the tray and bits of food do not fall onto their laps? Can the tray be moved away so toddlers can have more room in the highchair. Can the tray be moved out so it’s easy to get babies in and out?

Comfort for baby
Obviously you want the highchair to be as comfortable as possible for babies so that they will sit as long as necessary for each meal. Having said this, my own baby doesn’t seem too fussed whether the highchair is padded or not (as long as there is food in front of him!)

You’ll be using a highchair everyday so you want one that doesn’t take too long to clean. Avoid high chairs with lots of creases and places where food can gather. Padding on seats can sometimes hide bits of food. We had been given a highchair where food could accumulate underneath.

Baby high chair safety

  • Never ever leave a young baby unattended in a high chair; have the food, bib, paper napkins, utensils, as well as anything else essential for the dish prepared to ensure that you do not need to leave your child alone while you bring them.
  • Constantly safeguard the safety or limiting straps, even if your baby appears too young to climb up out. Make certain to attach the strap at the groin to prevent him from eloping all-time low.
  • Maintain all chair eating surfaces tidy; children have no compunctions about grabbing a rotting nibble from a previous dish and also chewing on it.
  • If you are utilizing high chairs and also reduced feeding tables after that constantly be specific slide-off trays are safely broken right into place; an unprotected one could permit a lunging as well as the unbelted child to go flying out carelessly.
  • Inspect to make sure that a folding type chair is safely locked into the open position and also will not instantly fold up with the infant in it.
  • The area the high chair away from any tables, counters walls or various other surface areas that baby might possibly kick off from, causing the chair to roll.
  • To safeguard child’s finger, examine their whereabouts before connecting or separating the tray.
  • If you are making use of hook-on seats, use the seat just on a stable wooden or metal table, table with the support in the center, card tables or on a table leaf.
  • Avoid using placemats or table linens, which could disrupt the gripping power of the seat.
  • Be specific any locks, clamps or snap together parts are firmly secured before putting your baby in the seat; constantly take your child from the seat before launching them.
  • Don’t place a baby high chair or various another item under the seat as a guard need to child fall, or position the seat opposite a table support or leg; a baby can push off versus such surface areas, dislodging the seat.

How to make green smoothies without a blender

Suppose you want to make a green smoothie, but you don’t have access to one of these Vitamix blenders everyone is always talking about?  And suppose you don’t have a Blendtec either, or any of the other fancy blenders that are supposed to do the job perfectly?

Don’t be worried – a regular blender can do the job, too!  There’s a trick to it, however.

The secret is to freeze some cubes of fruit first.  Banana cubes make an ideal choice, as do cubes of watermelon, avocado, or mango.  Strawberries – cut in half first – or other berries also freeze well and without detriment to flavour.

Once the cubes of fruit are frozen, simply throw them into the blender along with the greens and any other fruits you wish to add to the smoothie.  The way that it works is that the frozen cubes of fruit are hard and their edges become sharp while they whizz around in your blender, thus helping to break down the greens into a smooth texture.  If you use a regular blender and unfrozen fruit in a green smoothie, you’ll tend to get an emulsion of fruity water and flecky stringy green bits (from your greens).  But freeze the fruit and voila! your smoothie will blend well and the greens will be evenly blended and distributed throughout the drink.

  • Always remember these few quick tips when you’re making a green smoothie with frozen fruit.
  • Make sure you cut the fruit to be frozen into small cubes.  Big cubes might damage your blender.
  • Always put the greens in with the fruit cubes and water all at once.
  • If you don’t have any frozen fruit ready and you want to make a green smoothie right now, you can always use some ice cubes, but of course this will water down your smoothie, especially if you normally use fruit juice instead of water. If you want to make vegetable or leafy juice, then its better you buy a masticating juicer.
  • When you add the water, be sure it is cold or at least room temperature – not warm or hot.
  • Pulse the smoothie using the pulse button on your blender at few times before turning it up to full blend – this will help chop the fruit cubes up into smaller pieces first.
  • Make sure you add enough liquid. If you don’t, the blender won’t be able to swish everything around in there properly and the chunks won’t break up and the greens won’t blend. Always start with a cup of water, adding more if the smoothie isn’t blending well.

I hope you enjoyed these easy tips for making a green smoothie at home without a Vitamix or high-powered blender!  The green smoothie is attainable by all using these simple tips and freezing your fruit into cubes before blending.  Happy green smoothie days!

Cardio workout for burning excess fat

Looking to burn fat and keep your muscles? If you’re bored with your current cardio routine which includes a long, steady, easy-to-moderate pace on the elliptical, treadmill, or even the bike, and you feel you’ve hit a plateau then it’s time to spice things up a bit!

The next time you hop on the treadmill, try this:

  • Interval. Jog for 1 minute and sprint for 30 seconds. Repeat this 10 times. Want something more challenging? Set your incline to 3%. Still not hard enough for you? Sprint for 1 minute instead of 30 seconds or increase your incline – or, do both.
  • Performing cardio this way will help you burn more calories and continue burning calories even after you’re done exercising. If you get bored with one machine, try this: Mix It Up. Jog and sprint on a treadmill for 10 minutes then get on the elliptical and do the same. Finish off your session with a 10- to 15-minute moderate pace on the StepMill.
  • Interval + Plyometrics. At 1% incline jog for 2 minutes, sprint for 30 seconds, and jog for 1 minute. Hop off and perform 10 jump squats. Increase the incline to 3% and jog for another 2 minutes, sprint for 30 seconds, and jog for 1 minute. Hop off and perform 10 jump lunges on each leg. Increase the incline to 5%, jog for 2 minutes, sprint for 30 seconds, and run for 1 minute. Hop off and perform 20 pop squats. Increase the incline to 9%, jog for 2 minutes, sprint for 30 seconds, and run for 1 minute. Hop off and perform 20 jumping jacks. Keep the incline at 9% and jog for 10 minutes.
  • Using an exercise bike: An upright or recumbent exercise bike is a great choice for cardio workout especially for beginners. Similarly like using treadmill or elliptical trainer, you will get all the cardio benefits and more. Exercise bikes are also great for weight loss and maintaining your body features. When you use exercise bike for 30 minutes or more, your lower body muscles get strengthen. You can check out some top exercise bikes of 2019 here.

Make sure you’re getting in a solid stretch and warm-up before and a good cool-down and stretch after. Pair this with proper nutrition and hydration and you’ll be on your way to looking fit and trim in no time! If you’re a newbie, work your way up to these challenges. Start with half the time and half the intensity and increase it every time you are in the gym. Read More

Helping Yourself Help the World

I recently returned from a trip to Washington, D.C. for the Shot@Life 2018 Champion Summit. It was a 2 and a half day training on how to be an advocate, or Champion, for Shot@Life. Speakers at the conference included pediatricians, Nageeb Sumar from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the editor-in-chief of Real Simple Magazine, retired members of Congress, and others. Other than listening to speakers and in-classroom training, we also got the chance to visit Capitol Hill and speak to members of our state’s congressional office about the importance of supporting global health funding and campaigns such as Shot@Life.

During the conference, I met a number of people who came from different backgrounds. Two of them were bloggers also from Minnesota, pediatricians, a psychologist, a geographer, college students, a blogger who writes in Spanish, book authors, and many others. Meeting them made me even prouder to be considered as part of this group of amazing people, although getting involved in tackling global issues can be a challenge.

Some people may be overwhelmed by all the problems of the world and the large number of different organizations that are out there that they end up giving up. Others might want to solve every problem and join every movement, making them less effective supporters of their causes. The problems of the world are many, but so are we, which is why no one should feel that it is their obligation to solve everything. So I want to share a few things I learned during my travels that will hopefully help you be more effective global agents of change, especially those who are just about to start or have just started getting involved.

  • Focus – What am I interested in? What made me want to be more involved in global conversations? What skills, knowledge, or talents do I have that I think I can use to convey my message of support? I asked myself all these questions in order to figure out exactly what I wanted to do, what cause/s I wanted to support, and/or which organizations I wanted to get involved in. Mind mapping is a great tool to use for this.
  • Educate myself – I realized that it is very important for me to know who/what I’m supporting. There are a lot of organizations that support clean water, education, women’s rights, global health, ending poverty, and many other global issues. Of course, I didn’t learn about all of them in one day. I actually still have a lot more to learn. It takes time, and I have already done a lot of reading, online searching (from credible sources), talking to others, and other forms of research. Doing so helped me determine the differences between organizations and the importance of each issue. This allowed me to make educated decisions when it came down to choosing what cause/s I really wanted to support and/or what organization/s I wanted to be involved in. Also, by educating myself, I became a better advocate of my cause/s, and a more effective supporter of the organizations I’m involved in.
  • Network – There are many people out there who, like myself, want to make a difference in this world. They come from different backgrounds, both professionally and personally. I also found out that building relationships with leaders in my community, from high school student government officers to state Senators, is essential. Not only did I gain a mountain of knowledge from them about policies, public speaking, and the concerns that people in my community have, I also know that I will be a louder voice in their ears, and they will most likely remember what I’m advocating for despite their busy schedules
  • Use social media to my advantage – Twitter was a great way to find out about organizations and individuals that I didn’t know about before. I started following those that I already knew, then checked who they followed. (See articles here for great tips on using Twitter for social good.) I use Instagram to post photos of my travels, whether to conferences or restaurants that give back. I find that photos posted on Instagram get more attention than Twitter because the photos are easily viewable. For both Twitter and Instagram, I’ve been tagging my posts (e.g. #posts) so people can easily follow the thread of conversations or photos I’ve posted. Facebook is also very useful whenever I want to post longer messages, and it also lets me connect with family and friends on a more personal level. There are many other outlets out there that we all could use (e.g. Google+) to get our messages to more people and to learn more about global issues and organizations. A good advice I received, too, is to only create as many accounts as I can handle effectively, and know that everything I post online is never private.
  • Be realistic – Again, it’s great to dream big, but it’s really difficult to do everything all at the same time. I try not to think that I can/have to solve all of the world’s problems at once, although it’s really difficult especially when I hear about all of it on the news. I don’t want to feel overwhelmed and get discouraged to go on. I try to focus on what I can contribute, then work with others who have skills, talents, knowledge, and resources that I might not have. Also, time management is very important for me. Planning events can be fun, but stressful, too. Creating timelines, using calendars, and giving myself some breathing room in between events have been very effective.

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Five Habits That Sabotage Your Diet

Day after day I have patients cry out about the numerous sabotages to their diet. Sometimes these can just be excuses we use to make us feel better about not reaching our diet and fitness goals. Some of these are hard to overcome, while others can be quickly eliminated with a few lifestyle adjustments.

Here are the top 5 diet saboteurs and what you can do to keep them from ruining your progress.

1. Unhealthy Foods in the House

If it’s there, chances are you will eat it. We are only human. Food within reach is always a tempting choice. Even hiding the food does not help too much.
Do you have children or a spouse that you buy these foods for? If so, do not buy these foods. Or, at least buy a different flavor of that food that you do not like as much. Sit down and have an honest conversation with your family. Explain that you want to live healthy as a family. There may be a few changes to some of the foods in the house. But, still let your family pick out some grocery items, but let the control be in your hands.

2. Family Members are a Bad Diet Influence

The answer once again with this is to have a calm, open conversation about what your goals are and what health means to you. Get on the same page with your family. If they are not ready to give up their sweets or fried food, explain that you can not be making those choices on a regular basis.

Make sure to tell your family that you need their support. Their choices influence you and it is harder to stay on the right track. They can choose those higher calorie foods when you are not around or for special occasions.

3. Work Overload

This is a common excuse from many of my patients—work stress and job overload. Do not let this be an excuse. We must plan, plan, plan and take control. Organize yourself and prepare all of your lunch meals and snacks on a Sunday.

Schedule 15 to 20 minute workouts where you can squeeze it in. Everything counts.

Always take the stairs at work instead of the elevator. Read More