FOR YOUR HEALTH – Kitchen Contamination: How To Keep Your Family Safe

(NAPSI)—The next time you need to wipe up a spill, health expert Dr. Charles Gerba, Professor of Environmental Microbiology, University of Arizona, aka “Dr. Germ,” warns: don’t always reach for a sponge or dishcloth.

Instead, use a paper towel. That’s because kitchen sponges, which he calls “bacteria cafeterias,” are the No. 1 source of germs in the house. The average sponge carries nearly 5.5 trillion microscopic bugs.

When to Reach for a Paper Towel

  1. According to a recent study on cleaning habits, the majority of millennials reach for sponges or cloth dishtowels when cleaning surfaces that have raw meat or poultry. Dr. Gerba recommends using paper towels, especially when prepping and cleaning up raw meat and eggs. Sponges and dishtowels can instantly become contaminated after handling these foods, which may contain bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella, Dr. Gerba explains.
  2. Paper towels should also be used to help contain spills and prevent them (and subsequent germs) from spreading around the kitchen. Whether soaking up bacon grease or cleaning up oil splatters, paper towels pick up spills quickly and efficiently. For larger oil spills, cover with baking soda or salt for about 15 minutes, then pick it up with a paper towel and throw it out.
  3. When cleaning the refrigerator, dampen a paper towel with warm water and dish washing liquid and wipe down all trays, drawers, shelves and walls at least once a week. Using a sponge increases the risk of bacteria spreading around the various surfaces and shelves.
  4. When kids are in the kitchen, use paper towels to clean-up everything from spills on high chair tables to sippy cups and bibs. “This ensures germ-ridden messes get tossed right into the trash and don’t linger on kids’ items,” adds Dr. Gerba.

When People Actually Reach for a Paper Towel

While there’s been an increasing amount of studies and data showcasing the high bacterial risks associated with kitchen sponges and cloth dishtowels, a recent study on cleaning habits showed that a over half of millennials (59 percent) and nearly half of baby boomers (49 percent) reach for a sponge or cloth dishtowel when cleaning kitchen counter tops.

Even more surprising, less than half of millennials think they run a risk of possible illness or food poisoning by not cleaning these kitchen durables.

The truth is, sponges and cloth dishtowels become germ-infested as soon as they’re first used in the kitchen.

As for baby boomers, most clean their cloth dishtowels once a week, which is still not as frequent as it should be (ideally, everyday). Also, how to clean is just as important as when to clean.

“Cold water washes are awful for eliminating bacteria from fabrics,” says Dr. Gerba. “Washing sponges in warm water does not get rid of the bacteria unless you add bleach,” he adds.

So when it comes to helping keep your kitchen clean and germ-free, let a paper towel be your shield.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Innovative Technology Improves Patient Experience For Women Undergoing Breast Cancer Treatment

(NAPSI) — A mother, a sister, a friend…many of us know someone who has been touched by breast cancer, the most common cancer among women, affecting an astonishing one in eight women in the United States.

Thanks to technological advances in detection and new treatment approaches, women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer can opt to keep their breast with less invasive surgery and with breast-conserving treatments. In fact, the American Cancer Society estimates that 59 percent of women with an early breast cancer diagnosis (Stage 1 or 2) undergo breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) versus 36 percent of women who decide to have a total mastectomy. Research has shown that breast-conserving surgery followed by radiation therapy is as effective as a mastectomy in decreasing the risk of local cancer recurrence for most women*.

“One way that breast-conserving surgery is now easier is due to a new innovation in breast cancer treatment—SAVI SCOUT® Radar Localization. This resolves one of the most difficult aspects of breast conservation surgery by eliminating the need to place a wire inside of the breast tissue to locate a tumor,” said Dr. Barry Rosen, Chairman of Department of Surgery at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Chicago; and Assistant Professor, University of Illinois College of Medicine. “Many of my patients who have undergone a procedure with SCOUT® are impressed with the benefits, including shorter procedure times and decreased anxiety.”

Prior to 2015, surgeons generally relied on wire localization to locate a tumor during a lumpectomy procedure. With wire localization, a radiologist guides a thin, hooked wire through the skin and into the tumor on the day of surgery. The surgeon then uses the wire to identify the area of tissue targeted for removal. This resulted in long days of surgery for women, with two procedures performed on the same day. With SCOUT, a tiny reflector, the size of a grain of rice, is placed at the tumor site at any time during the patient’s treatment and well in advance of surgery.

The SCOUT Wire-Free Radar Breast Localization System uses safe, nonradioactive, radar technology to provide real-time and precise surgical guidance during the surgery.

The ability to precisely locate tumors increases the probability of complete cancer removal and reduces the likelihood of needing follow-up surgery, allowing any additional treatments to occur sooner. In addition, the ability to strategically plan the incision may result in better cosmetic outcomes.

SCOUT is also used to effectively localize lymph nodes and tumors prior to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (chemotherapy administered prior to surgery) and can be used with any type of imaging over the course of a patient’s care. More than 350 hospitals have implemented the SCOUT System, and to date, over 45,000 women have had a wire-free localization experience.

Learn More

If you would like to learn more about SAVI SCOUT or the SCOUTCare™ program, visit

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Four Ideas For Health Care Planning In Retirement

(NAPSI) — The Employee Benefit Research Institute estimates that a typical 65-year-old couple will spend a total of $265,000 in health care costs over the remainder of their lives. This staggering amount of money has the potential to derail even the best-laid retirement plans.

Vanguard and Mercer recently developed a new framework, “Planning for Health Care Costs in Retirement,” that identifies practical tips for forecasting your health care expenses. Here are four top ideas:

  1. Personalize health care costs. Start by understanding how your health history and current health status will influence expenses. Even your geographic location, marital status and age at retirement will impact your forecasts.
  2. Plan for long-term care. This is a tough one to assess because half of retirees won’t even incur these costs, but on the other end of the spectrum, 15 percent of retirees will spend more than $250,000. Consider potential long-term care options, such as unpaid care from family and less-expensive available facilities.
  3. Create a hedge in your budget for other expenses. Research shows that retirement spending in virtually all categories other than health care tends to decline with age. By forecasting steady spending in other expense areas, you may create a buffer in your budget to deal with rising health care expenses.
  4. Forecast costs in annual spending. There are so many variables involved in estimating health care costs in retirement that trying to plan around a total lifetime budget can be overwhelming. Experts recommend that you focus on annual spending plans instead, provided that you understand costs will rise as you age.

For seniors who are struggling to find cash in their retirement budgets to offset unexpected health care expenses, it may be a good idea to take stock right now of all your assets. Many seniors are surprised to learn that one potential asset for generating immediate cash is a life insurance policy.

You should review your life insurance policy from time to time and determine whether or not it’s still needed. A life insurance policy is considered your personal property, so you have the right to sell it anytime you like. When a consumer sells a policy—something called a “life settlement” transaction—the policy owner receives a cash payment and the purchaser of the policy assumes all future premium payments, then receives the death benefit upon the death of the insured. Candidates for life settlements are typically aged 70 years or older, with a life insurance policy that has a death benefit of at least $100,000.

If you own a life insurance policy you no longer need or can afford, you may be able to generate immediate cash to pay your health care expenses by selling that policy for immediate cash.

To learn more about life settlements, visit or call the LISA office today at 888-921-3793.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Saying Boo to cavities this Halloween

(NAPSI)—Halloween can be a scary holiday for families. Not because of the haunted houses, ghosts and goblins, but because of tooth decay.

On average, between parties and trick-or-treating, kids consume three cups of sugar on October 31 alone, but even before that, the battle has already begun. Parents trick themselves into thinking that this sweet holiday is just one day, but the treats begin early in the month and continue long after the costumes are put away, and the sugar-laden Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays loom ahead.

That’s one reason October is National Dental Hygiene Month. Another is that while people generally have a brushing “routine,” most don’t really know how to take optimal care of their teeth. Now, that is frightening.

It’s time to correct some myths about mouths:

Myth #1—Brush After Every Meal

Brushing right after meals, or after consuming sugar-sweetened drinks, can do more harm than good. Surprised? After you eat or drink sugars and starches, acids may be present on your teeth, attacking the enamel and causing them to soften. If you brush them before the enamel has time to reharden, the polishing compounds in your toothpaste can act as abrasives and actually damage your teeth. Tiny amounts of precious enamel are being sanded away forever if you brush too soon.

To make things worse, the primary function of toothpaste is to deliver minerals to repair your enamel, and this remineralization is inhibited if your mouth is still acidic right after a meal or sweet beverage.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends waiting an hour before brushing to lower the risk of harming your enamel. Experts also recommend brushing with fluoride toothpaste 30 minutes before eating. This ensures that your enamel is strong and ready for the acid challenge of typical foods and sweetened drinks.

Myth #2—Fillings Are the Only Way to Treat Tooth Decay

The traditional approach is to “drill it and fill it.” You’re born with a limited amount of enamel and when it’s lost, it’s gone forever. Thankfully, new science-based research says preventive dental care can avoid painful fillings, crowns and root canals. Weakened enamel can repair itself with the right products and protocols, such as those found at, a new, prescription-based dental care system that helps remineralize teeth to reverse early decay and lower the risk of future decay, when used correctly.

Myth #3—Sensitive Teeth Cannot Be Cured

Tooth sensitivity can be a sign of early tooth decay. Millions of Americans suffer from sensitive, painful teeth, purchasing various over-the-counter toothpastes seeking relief. These products often lack sufficient levels of necessary active ingredients and only mask the sensitivity. Prescription-strength dental care products, containing the optimal amounts of key minerals (calcium, phosphate and fluoride), can more effectively remineralize teeth, greatly reducing sensitivity.

“It’s important to follow validated best practices to prevent tooth decay, and keep your enamel strong and healthy,” advises Dr. Anthony T. Fernandez, DDS. NewEnamel is designed to reduce the risk factors that promote decay, and increase the protective factors that enhance repair to the surface of the tooth. The newly repaired enamel surface is often stronger than it was before treatment.

With some simple precautions and changes to your dental routine, you can help your teeth last a lifetime—and save yourself a lot of money and unnecessary visits to the dentist.

Learn More

For further facts about preventing, reducing and even reversing tooth decay, visit

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Healthy Air, Healthy Home

(NAPSI)—In the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities, warns the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Since most people spend some 90 percent of their time indoors, the EPA adds, for many people, the risks to health may be great.

In addition, the EPA points out, the people who may be exposed to indoor air pollutants the most — the young, the elderly and the chronically ill — are often those most susceptible to its effects.

With cooler weather, many people spend more time inside homes with all the doors and windows shut, so it’s even more important to make sure indoor air quality is healthy.

One easy way to help keep your family “Breathing Clean” is to clear out your HVAC system. All homes with air ducts accumulate dust and dirt, which can be a particular problem in households with:

  • pets
  • allergies or asthma
  • smokers
  • water contamination
  • remodeling projects
  • young children
  • elderly people.

After all, your heating and cooling system is, essentially, the lungs of your home. The system takes air in and “breathes” air out. Through normal occupation, people generate a great deal of contaminants and air pollutants, such as dander, dust and chemicals. These are pulled into the HVAC system and recirculated five to seven times a day and can mean a buildup of contaminants in the ductwork.

What’s more, clean ducts can save you energy and money. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted. Contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work harder to maintain the temperature you desire. With a clean system, less energy is used, leading to improved cost effectiveness.

Fortunately, it can be easy to get your system inspected by a reputable, certified HVAC professional. It helps to heed these four hints:

  1. Ask the contractor for proof of insurance and any applicable licenses.
  2. Have the contractor specify which components will be cleaned.
  3. Verify that the contractor will limit the release of dust, dirt and debris into your home during cleaning.
  4. Ask for proof of NADCA membership and certification. NADCA sets the industry standard for HVAC system cleaning and its members must have at least one certified Air Systems Cleaning Specialist (ASCS) on staff, comply with a Code of Ethics and acquire continuing education credits.

Learn More

For more facts and tips and to find a nearby NADCA member, go to Click here for a free Homeowner’s Guide to air duct cleaning.

FOR YOUR HEALTH – Tips For Tailgating: Add A Little Healthy Balance

(NAPSI)—Tailgates typically mean enjoying lots of fun foods and big flavors. The good news is that you can enjoy tasty treats and activities that bring a little healthful balance to the festivities.

Smarter tailgating can be as simple as adding some nutritious treats to the menu—and staying on your feet a little longer throughout the day.

“Everyone loves a good tailgate with family and friends, but it’s important to remember that the main activities are usually sitting and eating. Bring a little healthy living back into the mix with foods like blueberries,” says Jenna Braddock, RDN and spokesperson for the Blueberry Council. “Everyone loves the delicious flavor of blueberries—and they love your body back with nutritious benefits. Try a recipe like my gluten-free Boozy Blueberry Bacon Bites, a finger food that’s easy to eat and easy to savor.”

Smart and Delicious Choices

Here’s another tip to encourage healthier tailgate habits: Rather than have all food out all day, set a “meal time” for the main dishes. Before and after that time, set out healthy snack options like blueberries. That way, guests can still graze while being mindful about what they’re eating.

It may also help to bring your own food into the stadium, where easy-to-eat finger foods like blueberries make a natural choice. They taste deliciously refreshing on a warm day, and they’re a good source of fiber, helping you stay full and satisfied—and away from the concession stands. Many stadiums allow outside food if it’s in a clear container, but it’s important to check the policy ahead of time.

Healthy Anytime

Blueberries contain just 80 calories per cup, are low in sodium and contain virtually no fat, making them a go-to food for experts like Jenna Braddock. They’re also a good source of vitamin C, which boosts the immune system-great for tailgates and events as the weather gets cooler.

Staying Active

A little bit of planned activity goes a long way at a tailgate. Even 10-minute bouts of movement will help meet your daily exercise needs. Try:

  • Walking around to visit other tailgaters
  • Playing games like cornhole, horseshoes or Jenga
  • Throwing a Frisbee or football
  • Organizing a relay race
  • Parking farther away to get a good walk in (and get out faster).

Learn More

For more ways to enjoy blueberries at all your favorite events, visit

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Small Moments Make a Big Difference

(NAPSI)—There are about 74 million children in America today and if you’re a parent, here’s something you should know: involved fathers—whether they live with their kids or not—can help their children lead happier, healthier and more successful lives. Children who feel close to their fathers are two times more likely to go to college or find a job after high school, 80 percent less likely to end up in jail and 50 percent less likely to experience depression.1 The small moments kids enjoy spending with their fathers can make a big difference in their lives. If you’re like most fathers, you’re already doing what you can to be a great dad. Here’s a look at five easy ways to keep it up.

What You Can Do

Spend time with your children; Be a positive role model; Send a text to stay connected when far away; Read to your children; and remember #DadJokesRule!

There has been a massive growth in fatherhood involvement over decades—fathers now spend nearly triple the amount of time with their children than fathers did in the 1960s.

What Dads are Already Doing

Recent research suggests fathers are already very involved:

  • 90 percent consider their role as a dad to be rewarding day in and day out.
  • 78 percent have talked to their child’s teacher about progress in school.
  • 61 percent have attended a PTA or other school meeting.
  • Over half have helped with a class trip, special project or activity.
  • Over a third of fathers have helped with coaching their children’s sports teams.

Even though fathers are largely more involved than in previous generations, dads today still want to be more engaged. Nearly half say they don’t spend enough time with their kids and want to do a better job at parenting.

To help more fathers understand the importance of their role in their children’s lives, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families, the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (@fatherhoodgov), and the Ad Council (@adcouncil) have partnered on a national Responsible Fatherhood Campaign.

“All dads should be supported and celebrated for their efforts on Fathers Day and year-round because we know how the story ends for the kids whose fathers show up for them consistently—these children and families thrive,” says Kenneth Braswell (@braswellkenneth), Director, National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse and Fathers Incorporated.

The campaign drives to a free resource that offers information, tools and more. Dads can visit the website for ideas to get involved and stay involved in their children’s lives. Other resources include activity suggestions, homework help, online games and a long list of dad jokes! No matter how busy you may be, make time for your children. It only takes a moment to make a moment.

Learn More

For helpful tips, tools, information, jokes and resources, visit

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Flu-Fighting Facts

(NAPS)—The flu is nothing to sneeze at. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza has resulted in between 9.2 million and 35.6 million illnesses annually since 2010. The best way to stay out of such statistics, the CDC says, is for everyone who is eligible and at least 6 months old to get a flu shot as soon as the vaccine becomes available.

To help, all CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations have the vaccine available seven days a week with no appointment needed.

Study Shows

That may be just as well, since the annual survey, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CVS Pharmacy [1], found that two-thirds of those surveyed get a flu vaccine every year or plan to get one this year, a 5 percent increase from last year.

One reason so many are flocking to get the shot is the knowledge of last year’s flu season—which according to the CDC had flu levels that were the highest observed since 2009. Twenty-two percent of those surveyed[2] say that knowledge of last year’s severe flu season makes them more likely to get a flu shot this year. On a similar note, among the 27 percent of parents of children under 18 whose child did not get the flu vaccine last year, 26 percent say they are more likely to get their child vaccinated this year after learning about the notably high flu levels during last year’s flu season.

The percentage who get vaccinated at a pharmacy stayed at 22 percent, but the percentage of employed adults who get vaccinated at their workplace fell from 22 percent to 15 percent while those who got vaccinated by a health care professional rose from 44 percent to 48 percent.

The survey also found that doctors’ opinions (39 percent), where insurance is accepted (38 percent), and convenience (33 percent) rank among the top three factors in determining where to go for the shot. The flu vaccine is a preventive service under the Affordable Care Act, so it’s fully covered and available at no cost through most insurance plans, including Medicare Part B.

Nurse’s Advice

“Surprising to many, it can actually take up to two weeks for the flu vaccine to build immunity,” explained Angela Patterson, Chief Nurse Practitioner Officer at MinuteClinic. “Because of this, CVS Pharmacy recommends patients get their flu shot as soon as the vaccine becomes available to ensure patients are the most protected before flu season peaks. Furthermore, influenza strains tend to change each year, so it’s very important to get vaccinated annually to make sure you are protected.”

What Else You Can Do

Here are four suggestions:

1. Stay home if you’re sick. The survey found that two out of three respondents would still go to work if they had flu-like symptoms.

In fact, flulike symptoms haven’t stopped some people from going out in public in general:

  • 28 percent have gone to the supermarket
  • 12 percent have picked up a child from school or day care
  • 10 percent have taken public transportation.

2. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based cleansing gel.
3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
4. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.

Learn More

Consumers can visit and for further information and to find a nearby pharmacy or clinic. Customers get a $5 off $25 coupon when they get the shot at CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic.

[1] Survey was conducted in the United States by The Harris Poll on July 12-16, 2018, among 2,020 adults ages 18 and older.
[2] U.S. adults surveyed who did not get a flu shot last year.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Release, Refresh, Reset

(NAPSI)—You don’t have to let a busy schedule break your healthy stride or keep you from crushing your goals. You can regroup on your approach instead. By incorporating these three ways to release, refresh and reset, you can still make health a priority.

  1. Release Your Mind by Escaping into Nature. Getting out into nature gives you the space and peace to release the things that bog you down. Escape the rush. Try camping in the wilderness or taking a scenic hike. Studies show that surrounding yourself with nature can have positive effects on mental health. Ditch the office and try working outdoors at a picnic table or on a blanket in the grass. Wherever you go, whatever you do, sit back and breathe in the fresh air.
  2. Refresh Your Exercise Routine with New Moves. Inspiration derives from new experiences, which is why exercise physiologist and Bowflex fitness advisor Tom Holland recommends mixing up your daily workout routine. “Give yourself the opportunity to explore and challenge yourself in new ways,” suggests Holland. Try a new workout program, or an exercise machine that moves you in new ways, such as the breakthrough Bowflex LateralX ( cardio machine. It strengthens and activates muscles with side-to-side, push-and-pull and stand-and-squat motions that target the arms, back, hips and core, as well as common trouble spots including glutes, hamstrings and quads. By moving in all directions, you mimic everyday activities such as yard work, housecleaning or chasing after your kids. It’s a new and exciting workout that can keep you motivated.
  3. Reset Your Soul with Time for Yourself. In addition to carving out time for fitness, you need to make time for yourself. Creating positive energy in a chaotic world can be challenging but it’s important for overall health and well-being. You don’t have to be a yogi to meditate. Experts say to start small—try focusing for 10 minutes a day in a quiet place and don’t get frustrated if your mind wanders. It takes practice but the benefits are worth the investment. You may find you’re more calm and productive and you sleep better. Whatever helps you reset, create time in your schedule and act on it. You owe it to yourself.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: What To Do When The ‘Lice Letter’ Comes Home

(NAPSI)—If any of America’s 56 million schoolchildren is yours, you are probably familiar with the “lice letter” alerting parents that a head lice outbreak has been identified at school. When the letter comes home, some parents panic while others delay action because “it wasn’t my child.” Fortunately, there are steps you can proactively take to control the exposure risk.

Be Proactive

Catching lice early is vital in halting the spread of these itchy pests. It can take four to six weeks after infestation begins for itching to start, and not everyone develops this telltale symptom. Help the entire family to avoid an outbreak by acting quickly after exposure.

Steps to Take

  • Check the child and ALL family members for lice using a nit comb. To check fine sections of hair with the comb, apply a 50/50 solution of conditioner/water to the hair to help facilitate combing. Work under bright light and watch for movement. Examine the comb after each stroke, wiping it on disposable towels or running it under water.
  • Nits and scurrying lice are so small that they can be easily missed. It’s likely other family members and friends have already been exposed to lice by the time an infestation is identified. If you don’t find lice but are still concerned, switch the whole family to a daily lice defense shampoo. How is a daily lice shampoo different from a lice treatment shampoo? For starters, shampoo is a form and treatments come in many forms. This topic really deserves its own article, but there is one key difference worth noting. A daily lice defense shampoo is pesticide-free and can be used like regular shampoo to defend your family against a head lice infestation or control against re-exposure to someone who has not been successfully treated. A lice treatment shampoo is used to treat an active lice infestation, and most OTC products contain pesticides so they aren’t ideal for a daily regimen. One gentle daily shampoo that offers ongoing control is Vamousse Lice Defense. It’s been found in laboratory studies to kill lice with each use and is recommended for 10 to 14 days following the risk to help reduce the potential growth of an infestation contracted but not yet identified.
  • Treat anyone who is infested. With lice increasingly resistant to traditional over-the-counter pesticides, look for a pesticide-free treatment that is proven effective against super lice. There are many new types of products, so read the instructions carefully. For example, Vamousse Lice Treatment comes in a convenient mousse format that kills lice and eggs before they hatch—in just one application. Lice eggs are rendered no longer viable with this treatment, so there’s no waiting for them to hatch to treat again a week later, thus decreasing hassle and the risk of spreading lice throughout your family.
  • If you are concerned about your home, vacuum, and then wash and dry any launderable items in high heat. For items that cannot be washed or soaked in 130° F soapy water, the company offers a powder that is the only one on the market proven to eliminate super lice in the environment.

Learn More

For more facts and tips, go to