Health

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is crucial to staying happy and healthy. Hydration not only maintains the functions of your body but it also helps flush bacteria from your bladder and keep your skin looking healthy.

But what happens if the water you’re drinking on a regular basis isn’t as fresh as you think it is? While the U.S. has one of the safest drinking water supplies in the world, contaminants from your home’s plumbing system or your local water supply could impact your tap water.

How do I know if I’m drinking contaminated water?

The health effects people experience from drinking contaminated water might not become apparent immediately. Your overall health, age, physical condition, and immune system can also determine the extent of the contaminants’ effects on your health.

The most commonly reported issues experienced by people who drink contaminated water include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Stomach aches
  • Dehydration

It’s important to note that you can still experience long-term effects of drinking contaminated water without experiencing symptoms. For instance, water sources such as well water that are contaminated with radon gas or radium might not show immediate health effects. However, long-term exposure to water contaminated with radon has been linked to heart disease and cancer. In rare cases, contaminated water may even carry poliovirus.

Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that decays quickly and gives off tiny radioactive particles that can cause lung cancer or leukemia when inhaled. When consumed, it’s been linked to stomach cancer, blood-related cancers, and ovarian cancer (the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among women).

How can I prevent water contamination?

Water contamination can come from a variety of sources. America’s aging sewer systems spill approximately 1.26 trillion gallons of untreated sewage every year. But your water problems could be coming from your home’s own sewer line.

Old plumbing systems were commonly made with lead, galvanized steel, and iron. If your plumbing system hasn’t been replaced since your house was built, there’s a chance that contaminants like lead could be making their way into your drinking water.

Make sure that you’re conducting routine maintenance on your home’s plumbing system to prevent small issues from becoming major disasters. Approximately 10% of U.S. households have leaks in their plumbing and 98% of homes with basements will experience some type of water damage in their lifetime. Taking care of your plumbing prevents water contamination, water damage, and water waste.

How can I make sure the water I’m drinking is clean?

It can be difficult to tell if the water you’re drinking is safe. After all, contaminated water doesn’t always have a distinct smell or taste. Because of this, it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure you’re drinking clean water.

You can make your water safe to drink by boiling it, using a water filter, or using a water purification system. You can also look for your water report on the Environmental Protection Agency’s local drinking water information page to get a better idea of what your municipality’s drinking water is like.

Your drinking water can be contaminated by many different chemicals or materials, which is why it’s important to maintain your home plumbing system and be wary of what you’re drinking. By monitoring your local drinking water through the EPA and using a home water filtration or purification systems, you can protect yourself from contaminants and waterborne illnesses.

Cold days have officially arrived, and the weather will only get colder from here. Before your skin has a chance to dry out in the wind, boost your skincare routine with some natural tips to help you keep your skin soft, hydrated, and healthy.

Here are a few ways you can naturally improve your skin throughout the chillier half of the year.

Drink plenty of water

Approximately 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. This isn’t because we’re not drinking anything but rather that we’re drinking anything but water.

Just like kids, we prefer beverages like juice, soda, and coffee drinks over flavorless water. In 2015 alone, Americans consumed 6.6 gallons of juice per capita.

But when you keep your body hydrated, your skin will be hydrated too. Consider making a daily habit out of drinking more water. Experts typically recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, or roughly half a gallon.

What’s more, staying hydrated can also keep your hair looking and feeling great, too, not just your skin. The average person sheds 50 to 100 hairs a day, but dehydration can make your hair thin, brittle, and dry. That said, make sure to drink enough water throughout the day to keep your body healthy and happy.

Keep your skin covered

Just because it isn’t hot outside anymore doesn’t mean the sun doesn’t impact your skin anymore. Grass, soil, and water reflect less than 10% of the sun’s UV radiation while fresh snow reflects 80%.

Sunscreen and sunglasses can help to protect you from UV radiation and snow glare, but it’s important to keep your skin covered, too. Some people wear thermal winter face masks to protect their skin from the icy wind in winter, but if you don’t have one you can use a scarf. Tie a scarf securely around your neck and wrap it slightly over your face to prevent the cold wind from drying out your skin.

Eat foods fortified with vitamin D

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because it only takes between 20 to 30 minutes to absorb the vitamin D your body needs from the sun. Vitamin D is a nutrient that helps the body absorb calcium. It also contributes to skin cell growth, repair, and metabolism.

Unfortunately, it can be challenging to get the vitamin D you need from the sun during the colder seasons. In fact, the average person can gain two to four pounds every year in autumn and winter because of the lack of vitamin D, which helps with fat breakdown.

To get the vitamin D you need during those icy days when you can’t make it outside, eat foods that are fortified with vitamin D. These foods include:

  • Egg yolks
  • Orange juice
  • Soy milk
  • Cereals
  • Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel
  • Cheese
  • Mushrooms

It can be challenging to keep your skin in great shape during the colder time of the year. The chilly air can easily dry out your skin and leave you feeling chapped and uncomfortable. By following the tips above, you can naturally make your skin glow this season and keep dry skin at bay.

New research out of the University of Colorado Denver-Anschutz suggests that protein-rich foods may help a child grow taller earlier in life. According to NDTV, study author Minghua Tang, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the college said at five-months-old, children can start growing tall with the help of protein.

“Meat, such as pork, provides important micronutrients, is an excellent source of protein and can be an important complementary food for infants who are ready for solid foods,” she said to NDTV. “Our research suggests introducing higher amounts of protein and introducing meat, such as pork, into the diet at five months could be potentially beneficial for linear growth (length gain)”.

The study was conducted by increasing the protein-intake of a small group of infants aged five to 12-months-old. Each day, the protein intake with increased to three grams per Kg per day. This was compared to two grams per Kg per day, which is what their normal intake was prior to the study. Some of the children were given pureed meats to supplement the protein while the other half were given dairy-based foods. The amount of fat and calories were the same between the two groups.

At the end of the study, the researchers found that protein-rich foods promoted length gain, while the dairy foods did not. The children eating the protein grew an inch or more during the study. If you choose to fill your child’s diet with protein, try giving them small pieces of chicken or ground beef. As they get older, you can implement protein in their diet by hiding it in dishes like tacos. Americans consume more than four billion tacos a year.

It’s essential for parents to monitor exactly what their children eat — at all times — in order to avoid trips to emergency medical centers. In 2015, urgent care centers reported seeing an average of nearly 12,000 patients. That amounts to an average of three patient care visits per hour or 32 visits each day.

Fueling children with protein isn’t the only way to help them grow strong. It may be hard to get children to eat well, but instead of forcing them to do so, WTOP says it’s all about the habit. Expose your children to a variety of foods at a young age so they’re able to grow up liking different types of meals. Get them in the habit of eating their greens, but also their fruit and fiber options.

Getting rid of junk food and sweet treats may also help your child develop strong eating patterns. There are about 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream and similar desserts produced in the United States every year. While it may be tempting to give your child a bowl of chocolate ice cream for dessert, offer them frozen fruit instead.

Whether you plan to feed your child an immense amount of protein or choose to build specific eating habits, there are many ways to make sure your child is healthy. Start working with your child at a young age to help them develop a strong knowledge of food.

People all over the country are discovering that they have levels of radon in their homes much higher than the level that the EPA tells us is safe. In fact, one out of every 15 homes in the United States have estimated levels of radon that are at or above the EPA action level.

Case in point: The Lahrs family in Lawton, Iowa, who recently found out that they were a part of this potentially deadly percentage. Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that emits naturally from the earth, but it’s one of the leading causes of lung cancer after cigarette smoking.

Like lead, no amount of radon is safe. The EPA recommends that action be taken if there are 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher, and the Lahrs test showed 6 pCi/L in their basement.

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced by the decay of uranium. It is typically found in rocks, soil, and water. Radon has the chance to enter the home through cracks in foundations, trapping it in the basement. It also can seep in through crannies exposed from the ridges on the roof. A safety measure would be to replace any depreciating ridge vents, as breathing in radon at high levels over a long period has been known to cause lung cancer. Read more mesothelioma info to learn about the radon effects.

Unfortunately, the EPA estimates 6 million to 8 million U.S. homes have elevated radon levels. Due to this case of the Lahrs family in Iowa, the Department of Public Health decided to investigate the matter. They found that as many as five in seven homes have radon levels above 4 pCi/L. This happened in January, so it is now designated National Radon Action Month.

Radon kits are available so that homeowners can see for themselves what their risk is. Hundreds of kits are being sold every year. Luckily, there is action being taken to help reduce the levels of radon in homes. EPA to conducted a short-term radon testing study in homes across 42 states over four years. They have since created a system that can help put home owners at ease. Radon levels can be reduced by having an active radon mitigation system installed. “Systems consist of 4-inch PVC pipe that extends from a hole in the basement floor through the roof. A fan sucks the radon gas from below the slab up the pipe and vents it outside,” according to the Sioux City Journal.

Hopefully these systems can help homeowners not just in Iowa, but in homes all over the world, and even reduce the incidence of lung cancer.

 

Related: Visit https://goldenretrofit.com/considering-soil-type-foundation-repairs/ to learn more about their building correction services and foundation repairs and keep your home protected from any disaster.

Earthworms, soil, and… Mars?

According to ZME Science, two earthworms are the first animals to be born in Mars-like soil conditions.

There are three types of topsoil, at least on planet earth, which include sand, loam, and clay. On Mars, however, the soil conditions are a little bit different due to freezing temperatures and a lack of organic materials. But scientists are working hard to bridge the gap and learn more about the mysterious red planet.

In order to send humans to Mars, it’s essential that a sustainable agricultural system is developed. Thanks to these two earthworms, that task is no longer an impossibility.

“Clearly the manure stimulated growth, especially in the Mars soil simulant, and we saw that the worms were active,” said Wieger Wamelink of Wageningen University and Research. “However, the best surprise came at the end of the experiment when we found two young worms in the Mars soil simulant.”

Wageningen University and Research lead the revolutionary study by taking a look at how the earthworms could theoretically break down and recycle dead organic matter in a Mars-like environment. The Mars soil simulant has already been used to grow rucola, and the researchers simply added the fertilizer, the microorganisms, and the worms.

Thanks to the manure, the earthworms started to breed and the first ever offspring was contrived in this type of soil.

“The positive effect of adding manure was not unexpected, but we were surprised that it makes Mars soil simulant outperform Earth silver sand,” Wamelink added. “We added organic matter from earlier experiments to both sands. We added the manure to a sample of the pots and then, after germination of the rucola, we added the worms. We therefore ended up with pots with all possible combinations with the exception of organic matter which was added to all of the pots.”

Newsline reports that the research was part of NASA’s ongoing Food for Mars and Moon program. In the future, these marsworms could be the first step towards a sustainable human colon on the red planet.

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Cancer has already touched my family once. When my oldest daughter was just 4 years old, she was diagnosed with leukemia. Thankfully, 8 years later, she is a healthy. She is a survivor. But this close brush with cancer has made all of us much more aware of the risk factors for all types of cancer — including breast cancer.

As a mother of two daughters, I am dedicated to doing everything I can to help us all lower our risk of developing breast cancer. And as a blogger who writes about green living, I am acutely aware of how environmental factors can influence our health. For me, protecting the health of my family is the number one reason to care about greener, safer products. It is the reason I am careful about the ingredients in the personal care and cleaning products we use in our home. Although it can be difficult to prove causal links, I think it is still wise to be cautious about what we use on, in and around our bodies.

Because there is still so much we don’t know about what causes cancer, I am always eager to learn about, and when possible, participate in efforts to study the disease.

Scientists, physicians, and community partners in the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP), which is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), study the effects of environmental exposures on breast cancer risk later in life. They created a mother-daughter toolkit that mothers can use to talk to daughters about steps to take together to reduce risk.

4 Steps to Lower Breast Cancer Risk

These are good general health tips as well, and you can get even more guidance here on how to help your daughter reduce her breast cancer risk.

If you’d like to do more than just talk to your daughter, you also have a chance to participate in a study to help with the important work the BCERP is doing. Just click here to complete the study. We will all be better off once we better understand breast cancer and its causes, and how we can better protect ourselves from the environmental factors that could contribute to it.

Working in social care can be incredibly stressful. Many of the most popular careers for those who have graduated with a master’s degree in social work include working with the most vulnerable members of society. You could spend your days traveling between client’s homes, courtrooms, hostels, hospitals, and care centers, helping those who need it most. But when you spend your life helping others through unbearably difficult situations, sometimes dealing with aggressive or even
dangerous clients, as well as those who have been through horrifying experiences, it’s hard not to get stressed out. However, learning to manage your own stress is essential. Here are some helpful ways to cope with stress as a social worker.

Talk

While you should not confide the specifics of cases with your friends and family, you can let them know if you are feeling stressed out. You could also speak to your superiors or colleagues at work if things start to get you down or you are worried about a particular case.

Switch Off

When you get home, spend a little time reflecting on your day or talking about it. Then, do
something different. You may want to sit and watch some TV or read a book for a while, or you could go for a run. Just find something that helps you to switch off and leave work behind. Then you are free to enjoy the rest of your evening.

Do Your Best

One way to avoid stress is to know that you are doing your best. Be confident in your own abilities. A great way to boost your confidence is studying for an online masters in social work. Even if you’ve been in the field for a while, an M.S.W. online can refresh your knowledge and make sure it’s up to date.

Exercise

Exercise is a fantastic form of stress relief. Many people find repetitive exercises such as swimming or running help them to clear their mind as they can focus purely on the movements of their body and the sound of their feet hitting the floor or their breathing.

Self-Care

Looking after yourself will help you to maintain better physical and mental health. Do your best to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Drink plenty of water and get as much sleep as you can. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle also makes it easier to recognize the signs of stress and burnout if they come.

Say No

Social workers are often amazingly compassionate individuals who want to help as many people as they can. But, sometimes you need to accept that you can’t always help. Say no to doing extra or helping with other cases if you feel like you have too much on. Learning how to say no without feeling guilty is an important skill many of us need to learn.

Learning how to manage your stress levels will help you to be a better social worker and thereby help more people. But, it will also help you to be able to separate work and home and find a better work-life balance.

Summer is quickly approaching, and although many take the warm weather and emerging sunshine as good news, severe allergy sufferers can probably feel their eyes watering up and itching already, especially since experts are warning that the allergy season could start earlier and last longer this year, according to DNA Info.

“What’s happening is we have a warming climate, which means the allergy season is starting two to three weeks earlier this year,” said allergist Dr. Clifford Bassett, founder and medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York. “And it’s going longer into the fall, into October, so we have a longer period of time for people to be exposed to pollen.”

The average child catches between six and 10 colds a year, and both colds and allergies are infamous for emerging with the start of the warmer months. Luckily, there are many small steps you can take around your home to limit the effects of those irritating and debilitating allergies and illnesses.

First, to make spring cleaning a more manageable endeavor, mark each task with an estimated time — 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour. Each day do only one thing. Within 30 days, your whole home will be uncluttered and clean. Basset recommends starting spring and summer cleaning with the kitchen.

“Whenever you smell mildew, you’ve got a mold problem,” he said, recommending homeowners check refrigerators for possible leaks. He also suggests keeping an eye out for cockroaches, and the best way to do that is to keep the kitchen as clean as possible in general. But when it comes to cleaning and organizing, try to recycle all that you can. On average, it costs $30 per ton to recycle trash and $50 per ton to send it to a landfill.

The living room can also harbor dust and other allergens. For a permanent reduction, Basset suggests investing in furniture with easy-to-clean materials such as leather, metal, plastic, and wood.

“Things that can be more easily cleaned are less of a source for indoor allergens,” he said, mentioning that this rule applies to carpets and flooring as well. Get more professional tips via gettysburgflooring.com.

Finally, the bedroom is “the most important room to keep allergen-free, because all of us spend the most time at once in the bedroom while we’re sleeping eight to ten hours a night,” according to Dr. Purvi Parikh, an allergist with the Allergy and Asthma Associates of Murray Hill and a spokesperson for the nonprofit Allergy and Asthma Network. There are important eye test reasons that suggest, that an unkept bedroom can cause many problems for the human eye. Do not underestimate the power of neglected dust, dirt and germs.

Parikh suggests three main ways to keep the bedroom clean. Clean the room often, keep pets out, and shower before bed. For those with severe or unusual allergies, such as to dust mite feces, experts recommend investing in a mattress cover in addition to other protective bedding.

“Dust-mite covers that zip around your mattress and box spring, as well as your pillow, have been the only thing in research data that has shown to reduce exposure to dust mites for people who suffer from dust-mite induced allergies and asthma,” Parikh said.

If these allergy-fighting cleaning methods aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other natural remedies to try. Vitamin C, isotonic saline nasal rinse, and aromatherapy are just a few methods suggested by experts. Still, keeping a clean home is the best way to keep spring and summer allergens at bay (click site for more tips).