Science, Allergies and Natural Health Care

It is a good idea to reconcile scientific research with natural health approaches. It is sometimes a difficult task. All of the medical journals sell ads to drug companies and it should be obvious that economics help to determine what appears in the journals. But occasional natural health gems appear; they are usually small studies that can still be branded as “inconclusive”. The overall attitude of the journals seems to be, “My, isn’t this amusing. We will have to look into it someday.” But as long as drugs like Ritalin make $3 billion per year and are advertised in the journal, you will not see the journal take a stand and suggest that kids with ADD need B vitamins, omega-3 oils, exercise and to stop eating junk food. They will, however, print the occasional amusing little study. One such study, appearing in the journal, Annals of Allergy, May 1994 evaluated 26 children with ADHD. The children were put on an allergy elimination diet. Along with eliminating artificial colors and preservatives, some foods were eliminated. These included common allergens like wheat, dairy products, egg, corn, yeast, soy, citrus, chocolate and peanuts. Of the 26 subjects, 19 responded well to the diet. It is a small study, but it should offer hope to people with ADD.

Studies supporting the use of natural health care for allergies exist. Scientists in Finland have found that the type of fats consumed in the diet may be connected to the tendency toward allergy, according to research published in the journal Allergy (2001;56:425-428). The British Medical Journal (January 19, 2002; 324:144) has research that shows the herb, butterbur may be useful for allergic symptoms. There is even a journal article about homeopathy and allergies. In a small study, published in the August 19, 2000 issue of the British Medical Journal, 24 patients were given a homeopathic remedy daily and 27 patients received a placebo. Although it was a small group, the study was double-blind, placebo-controlled and randomized.

The information found in medical journals is interesting, but it does not give the practitioner information that is good enough to effectively treat airborne allergies. The doctor who is a real scientist, and who wants to make his or her patients better will make note of the journal research, but also look at what patients respond to and take into account seemingly unrelated research. For instance, we know that eating sugar and producing insulin exacerbates inflammation. The symptoms of hay fever are largely due to inflammatory chemicals produced by the body, so it stands to reason that refined sugar is something that should be avoided by patients with hay fever. The same thing goes for trans fats. Yet this advice is seldom given in traditional medical offices; they are waiting for the perfect study to prove this (perhaps prompting Nasonex to pull its ads).

A real scientist will take the journal articles into account, but also take clinical and anecdotal information into account. He or she will look at known chemistry and physiology. Although the journals scorn anecdotal information, some of the most clinically useful stuff comes to us anecdotally. And why not use anecdotal information if you are dealing with a very low risk therapy like nutrition that potentially can produce good results-especially if a doctor who you respect is using it and getting results (anecdotally)?

Hormones produced by the adrenal glands fight inflammation. Indeed, adrenal support is a mainstay for natural health practitioners to treat allergies. You don’t see a lot of articles in medical journals about nutrient support for adrenals. There is some information about herbs and vitamin C in the journals. Bioflavonoids, like quercitin are often very useful for hay fever patients. Many herbs are also useful. But it is hard to put together an effective therapy using just the journal articles.

So when treating a patient with hay fever products for adrenal support, and herbal products designed to reduce histamine, are very effective especially when given with a diet that is free of refined sugar, hydrogenated oil and chemical additives. Other useful products are bioflavonoids and fish oil. A few thousand IU of vitamin A per day for a couple of weeks works wonders if the patient’s eyes itch. You can really fly without a net and use chiropractic adjustments or acupuncture. We are still waiting for the definitive double-blind placebo-controlled study to prove that this works, but in the mean time patients who are getting better don’t seem to mind about the status of the research.

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Baby Boomer Health Care – For You And Your Aging Parents

Take control of your care by asking questions

Tackling a few major hurdles right now will ease your mind and help you and your parents feel better in the long run. Here are few tips to make this mundane yet complex issue easier to manage.

Insurance

First and foremost you and your parents need the best and most affordable healthcare coverage available. Considering the current state – and the potential changes – of your health, your parents’ health, and the health of your possibly still-dependent children will be a complex task at best. Richard Otto, Independent Agent at David Chapman Insurance Agency suggests consulting with one or more independent agents versus a Captive Agent.

An Independent Agent offers more choices. Captive Agents represent a limited set of insurance products, which while a viable option is still a limited option.

According to Otto, a good Independent Agent will walk you through the list of questions and help you acquire the answers if you don’t have them readily available.

“To make an informed decision about a major change, remember you want to trust your Agent – be it Captive or Independent. This is the primary issue,” Otto says.

If you don’t feel comfortable, keep looking. Research the carriers this agent suggests before you sign up for new or additional coverage.

Getting insurance coverage now as opposed to ‘at need’ is of paramount importance to avoid unnecessary hardship.

Most Independent Agents provide: life, health, individual health and group health, Medicare plans, home and auto, and commercial policies.

Managing Your Healthcare Providers

Your health – and the health of your parents – depends upon you communicating with and asking the right – sometimes tough questions of your insurance carriers as well as your healthcare providers.

In essence, we must become advocates for ourselves and our parent’s medical care. If we designated Power of Attorney for our parents, the position is obvious, the ‘how to’ may not be so obvious. It is not unreasonable to ask questions of our doctors.

Questions might include: What leads you to prescribe this medication for my father? What are the alternatives? What are the side effects? How might this affect his mood, physicality, and so forth? Are there any at-home precautions we can take to help him attain and maintain better health?

It’s no surprise that some, or most, Doctors are caught in a labyrinth of bureaucracy just to maintain their business. Of no fault of their own, some healthcare providers are too busy and spread far too thin to ask pertinent questions, which can ultimately lead to the health – or disease of their patients. You and your parents are among them.

The emergence of Concierge Medicine – an exclusive level of service from Doctors who limit their patient intake – may be a viable option for some, yet not everyone has the financial flexibility to hire this type of Doctor.

Point in Case

In speaking with a Baby Boomer, he unveiled an all-too-familiar scenario with his aging parent: Dementia versus Alzheimer’s and how to handle it.

According to The Alzheimer’s Association, Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are two distinct health issues, which run along the same continuum.

Dementia is the loss of mental functions — such as thinking, memory, and reasoning — that is severe enough to interfere with a person’s daily functioning. Dementia is not a disease itself, but rather a group of symptoms that are caused by various diseases or conditions.

Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior.

Upon reading my article in last year’s Imagine Section of the Lansing State Journal, this Boomer met with – and followed the advice of – the Tri County Office on Aging. Given the scenario, Tri County’s representative suggested a Geriatric workup for his out-of-state mother.

He had noticed her mental decline over the course of two years, and has spent nearly this entire past year working with his family members and various doctors to get to root of his mother’s memory loss, peculiar behavior, and what appeared to be her untrue recollection of events – even paranoia.

After month of medical appointments, trips, and tests, his mother’s Geriatric Psychiatrist confirms a diagnosis of “Cognitive Impairment” as well as presumed “early stages of Alzheimer’s” and immediately prescribes two mood/mind-altering medications.

And then it hit him: The unasked question. “When did these behaviors begin?”

His mother’s General Practitioner had prescribed an anti-anxiety medication (Ativan) for his mother three years ago. After logging onto RxList, he realized the side effects from this drug include every symptom his mother is experiencing. Among the side effects are: memory loss, confusion, increased anxiety, fatigue, sleeplessness, amnesia, forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, hallucinations, and more.

The appearance of this new information caused this Boomer to ask his mother’s Geriatric Psychiatrist whether he factored in this drug before rendering his diagnosis and prescribing two new mind/mood-altering medications to treat it. He also asked why his mother needed to remain on the anti-anxiety drug?

Take Charge

We cannot assume the doctor treating us – or our parents – has the time to go over every single detail of the patient’s chemical makeup, medications and dosages – especially if the patient is geriatric with a seemingly faltering memory.

The more responsibility we take, the more we research we perform, the better position we are in to retain the best possible health – and health care from our providers. Taking an active role, becoming proactive rather than reactive, and most of all providing all information to our doctors to ensure they – and we – make the most informed decisions is the only way we can know we have done everything in our control to help maintain the well-being of our aging parents, as well as ourselves.

The nuances involved in our body chemistry, the multitude of medications and treatments can be mind-boggling. Our age, our diet, our lifestyle and genetics all come into play when trying to make informed decisions with regard to our health care. Asking these questions may prove helpful:

1. How does the parent’s personal home-life, such as drinking alcohol, mixing over-the-counter cold medications with mind-altering affects along with prescribed mood-altering drugs affect her cognitive abilities and physical health?

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Sears Promo Codes – What Can I Buy With Them?

A lot of people are looking for ways they can save money. Whether they are buying food, clothing, household items, and necessities, it is the innate nature of an individual to look for a discount. If they cannot find a discount, they will look for a cheaper option. This though, does not apply with Sears promo codes.

The beauty about having a code is that you can get to save some items on your shopping venture. Since you have gotten a promo code for Sears, you can make use of the discount only with the brand. But you should not worry on what you can use it with as Sears has a complete line of everything that you can possibly need or want. The only thing they lack is food.

You can use your promo code if you will buy appliances, automotive/tires, beauty, baby, bed, bath, home, books, clothing, electrical gadgets, gifts, fitness, sports, health, jewelry, and a lot of other products. With Sears, you can easily have choose what you want to buy as they have such an extensive array of available products that you can choose from. You can even buy gifts for your friends.

The list of items that you can buy with your Sears promo codes seems to be endless. Your needed items can simply be bought at Sears. Because of this, you do not need to go to another retail store so you can complete what’s on your list. Truly, this fact alone can already save you some money on transportation costs that you would have otherwise needed to spend.

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Top Brand Professional Automotive Tools Reviewed – Know Your Budget

The tool market is well serviced in terms of brands, design, quality and price. The key consideration is to evaluate your needs. For example, it is pointless buying a laptop capable driving sophisticated 3G games when really all that is required from the unit is basic desktop and internet work. This kind of example also applies to buying tools. For instance, why waste one’s budget on buying the most expensive tools when their application is for occasional hobby type tasks.

Lets start with an overview comparison. It is widely agreed that the best quality and designed tools are manufactured by the Snap-on company. This brand of tools is designed for the professional market. No tool brand is perfect and infallible to failure. However, the Snap-on lifetime warranty means that when a tool breaks, it is replaced or repaired by the service representatives. Snap-on tools can be bought from their distribution trucks and vans that visit automotive workshops. Alternatively, their online catalog allows purchasing via the internet. Second-hand and recycled Snap-on tools are also eagerly traded through websites like eBay and eBay Partner sites.

As noted above, Snap-on automotive tools are at the upper price range. However, there is no shortage of professional grade tool brands at price points below that of the Snap-on brand. For example the brands: Matco, MAC and Cornwell are equally respected in the professional automotive sector. Matco, MAC and Cornwell off a range of professional tools that deliver quality and reliability while carrying sound lifetime warranties and professional after sales service. And are less expensive than the Snap-on brand for the budget minded professional automotive technician. The availability of these brands for sale is similar to Snap-on tools. Trucks visit and distribute tools at automotive workshops. Also, online catalogs and auction type websites offer buy opportunities.

For those budget sensitive buyers, the next set of tool brands is SK and Craftsman. The manufacturing quality of these brands meet USA standards and carry similar lifetime warranties like those brands mentioned above. So, for the semi-professional or hobbyist application these tool brands are an ideal choice. Some may argue that the SK brand, although not as popular, is a little superior to the Craftsman brand. But this opinion is subjective. Craftsmanship and SK brand tools are a more accessible to the buying market. For example, Craftsmanship brand tools are stocked at Sears stores, while the SK brand is found in automotive parts stores and outlets.

In summary, if price is no restraint, then tools from the Snap-on range are considered to be the best quality. Where quality and service is still a priority, then brands such as: matco, MAC and Cornwell offer offer quality profession lines of tools as less expensive price points. Finally, the brands SK and Craftsmanship serve the semi-professional market with tools that are not subject to the high demands of daily professional usage. The advice for any buyer is assess the task application of the tool, and allocate your budget to buy the right tool for the right job.

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Automotive Dynamic Guide – How to Be Ready to Drive in a Foreign Land

If you are going to be behind the wheel of a new rented car, and in a strange foreign land where you have never driven before, what should you do in preparing to drive?

Just not so long ago, I was in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, located just north of Singapore. As those of you who have traveled widely to Asia would know, the traffic on the roads in most of the Asian countries is heavy throughout the day, and many times driving habits take precedence over traffic rules and regulations, especially when the searing tropical heat bears down on cool heads, and raise tempers!

Before me was a small locally produced Malaysian car – the Perodua Kancil- named after the tiny deer that can run swiftly through the Malaysian jungles.

And I need to use that car, to brave the heavy traffic of the day to move to the next nearest city of Shah Alam to attend to a business meeting.

Alien to the area, alien to the car- what should I do?

Indeed, when you are confronted with such a situation, what should you do?

Keep cool – and PLAN your journey, and use the car intelligently.

For instance, perform the very, very basic inspection on your car before you even use it. This means:

1. check the tires and their pressure

2. check the engine oil and their brake fluid

3. check the battery

4. ensure the brakes are functioning ( there’s nothing like to take it for a short slow ride to put it to the test! )

Plan your journey- for instance, do not be afraid to ask directions and record them down so that you can always refer to the notes. Plan the timing of your journey – so that you can always drive during the slower traffic periods, away from the maddening crowds in the rush hour traffic. Protect yourself especially your eyes from the glaring tropical sun by wearing light sunglasses. Be properly attired. And wear shoes! The last tip on wearing shoes may seem funny, but when it is perennial summer in the tropics, many visitors, especially those who come from the cooler temperate countries would be tempted to wear only sandals!

And when you go on the roads, observe the speed limits. Do not push your vehicle to the maximum speed limits especially where you are driving along strange highways and where traffic jams are a norm.

In my personal case, I was astonished to see cars doubled parked along busy suburb shopping areas and feeder roads while I cruised my way to my destination. I wasn’t sure whether that was allowable, as the double parking of cars in two rows converted the road into a narrow one way path, leading to congestion at many parts. It sure was a “revelation”!

But in a strange land, where you are not the expert in local traffic rules, it is best to play it save. Drive defensively and plan your travel to ease your journey, and you will enjoy that ride.

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Unique Oil Change Concepts Research

In the mobile oil change business there is no standard system, many folks simply build what works or buy a biz-op unit that makes since to them. For years we have studies these various types of units in the market place. If you are in the oil change business you realize how serious it is to stay efficient. In our company like anyone else in this industry, we are out to bring new innovation to the market. We have been looking at ways to better our services.

We have been to http://www.Kibbi.com in Elkhart, Indiana, we have viewed there unit in another state. We have discussed these and other concepts with other engineers and thinkers. What we have decided is that all ideas are worthy of exploration in our quest to find the most efficient and most environmentally sensitive units. Why are we so driven to build a better mouse-trap? Why are we un deterred with the exploitations of Box Stores changing oil, such as Wal-Mart on what appears to be a below cost endeavor at $12.99. Why do we believe that it is possible to stay efficient enough to compete? Because we see the new innovations out on the street and see entrepreneurs everywhere are rising to the occasion.

Well this year in San Diego, Jiffy Lube is announcing a new program for franchisees with extended bays and adding everything from brake jobs, and engine repair including complete R and R rebuilding of motors. It makes sense for them due to the increased competition in the market place. Midas Muffler has also gone to changing brakes and oil changes. Tilden Franchise is also looking to co-partner with other services and to bundle services to compete. Jiffy Lube’s largest franchisee with well over 150 stores; was de-listed by NASDAQ; are we witnessing a new era in automotive repair and oil changes? We think so.

We watched recently as Roger Penske left Kmart as they closed the doors on 500 stores nationwide and now are merging with Sears in their re-organization plan and closing another 150 stores. In Tucson, AZ for instance we see Kmart on the North West side of town pulling out of the market and then we see a new awesome Valvoline Oil Change Facility on the same property with a 2 million dollar carwash and Detailing Center? Why, well as Lance Fisher the proprietor sees it, he can bundle services, get a no interest loan deal from Valvoline, give the customers what they want and his incredible facility will draw three different services to the same property. Is this the answer to the price wars, bundling, like Microsoft? Well Lance Fisher bets with real money in Tucson, is that a good bet? We think it is, you should see this place, WOW, one of the nicest carwashes in the country, ranks up there with Auto-Wash East and Danny’s Family Carwashes in Phoenix.

These are just a few of the latest interesting changes in the Industry. Some would say this Industry is stagnant. We disagree. We are watching Kendall battle for the latest changes in oil change interval extension and the war against traditional thinking with AMSOIL, Mobile One and others. Lots of new innovations and claims to come; who will lead? Well as we approach the pack and have our sights on the Yellow Jersey, we believe that the team who can service the customer and bring the value will be team yellow. We know this is an up hill grind and we will pursue the race with open eyes and an open mind. If you are in the Oil Change Business Think on this.

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Caring for Leather Car Interiors

Leather consists of thousands and thousands of intertwined fibers, with penetrable pores throughout–just like skin. Proper maintenance starts with cleaning the fibers. Cleaning removes fiber-severing abrasives and pore clogging dirt and dust, both of which will breakdown the leather over time and give it a less than pleasing texture and appearance.

If you have pets, then you may want to invest in pet pads or pet seat covers for your interior. You will also want to look into a good reflective sun shield.

With regular cleaning and conditioning, a leather interior will last for the life of the vehicle. Leather is tough and abuse resistant. The main concern is to determine is what type of leather interior you have, then choose cleaners and conditioners designed specifically for the task. Traditional leather interiors are made of 100% leather, where as some modern interiors are leather coated with a supple vinyl.

A quick test to determine which type you have is to use a small amount of cool clean water. Traditional leather will absorb water, where vinyl coated leather will repel it. Either way, a few drops of water won’t harm your interior.

The next step is to determine the right cleaners and conditioners for your leather. Saddle soap and conditioners, while good for your baseball glove or go-go boots, are not to be used on automotive leather of any kind. The soap contains alkalis, which can permanently damage the material in your seats. Household detergents and cleaners can damage leather as well. Always use only a product designed for the type of leather your vehicle has.

Removing harmful oil and dirt deposits is the crucial first step. Always use clean soft cloths to prevent damage to, or inadvertent removal of the leather dye. Stubborn dirt lodged into crevices may require the use of an upholstery brush. Removal of gunk and grime must be done before conditioning the leather, as you don’t want to permanently push these contaminants into the pores.

The next step, probably even more important, is conditioning. This nourishes and moisturizes to lubricate individual fibers, keeping them from becoming brittle and dry. It replaces essential, natural oils that evaporate. How can you tell a good conditioner? A good conditioner will offer UV protection. Like human skin, ultra-violet rays will quickly cause deterioration of the leather and shorten its lifespan significantly. A good conditioner will be absorbed into the leather, not sit atop the surface or leave residue behind. The surface should not be oily after application. The very best conditioners are pH balanced, have stain repellants, waterproofing agents to protect from accidents.

While cleaning and conditioning your interior be sure not to leave any tools or sharp objects in your pockets that could put a hole in your seats and your good time. As with any cleaner, conditioner or chemical that involves the potential for ruining something really expensive, always test first in a small, inconspicuous area.

Inexpensive leather cleaners and conditioners will contain petroleum distillates, silicon or silicon oils, and gloss agents that deliver an inferior, greasy finish that does nothing for the leather, and transfers to anything that the leather comes in contact with. These chemicals are harmful to your leather.

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