By Chanie Kirschner, Mother Nature Network
Q: It seems so far my son's winter has gone like this - cold, cold, ear infection, antibiotics, cold again. It would be helpful to know the germiest things he comes into contact with during his day. That way, I can douse him in sanitizer immediately after. Are there certain places or things he should definitely avoid?
A: Eek. I know exactly what you mean. Basically my kids have one long cold all fall and winter long, complete with runny nose and booger whiskers. Charming, I know. The thing is, with toddlers, or any kids for that matter, you are not going to be able to absolutely avoid anything, but at least you can be well-armed with the info you need so you'll know when to break out the "hi-tizer" as my son calls it!
1. The playground. Uch, double uch (is there such thing as a triple uch?). The playground is a prime breeding ground for all sorts of illnesses, and that's because everyone's kids (except your little angels, of course) put
Blog Posts by Mother Nature Network (mnn.com)
By Chanie Kirschner, Mother Nature NetworkRead More »from What Are the Germiest Places for Kids?
By Morieka Johnson, Mother Nature NetworkRead More »from How to Avoid Costly Vet Bills
Q: My dog ate a shoelace and it cost us a lot of money to have it surgically removed. We leave plenty of chew toys around but he always goes for the bad stuff. How do we keep everything out of his reach?
A: Lulu prefers to destroy shoes, so I always make sure to restrict access to my closets. But some dogs and cats have a knack for finding and consuming other items, in spite of our best efforts to deter that behavior. When those things get stuck, pets often need a trip to the vet for emergency removal. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), more than 5,000 pets received treatment at their Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York.
Many of the cases resulted in costly treatment for preventable conditions. Their top five are dental disease, urinary tract disease, pyometra, foreign body ingestion and high-rise syndrome, with veterinary bills ranging from $400 to more than $3,000. An ounce of
By Morieka Johnson, Mother Nature NetworkRead More »from Meet the Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russell terriers have been getting plenty of attention lately, thanks to a scene-stealing pooch named Uggie, who starred in the Oscar-nominated film "The Artist" as well as "Water for Elephants." In preparation for the annual Westminster parade of dogs, we offer a little background on a popular and precocious breed.
An avid huntsman named the Rev. John Russell is credited with introducing this pint-size breed to southern England during the mid-1800s. The tenacious terriers built a reputation for their ability to prolong hunts by fearlessly flushing foxes out of their underground dens.
"If you ever look at paintings of hunting scenes, you will notice that there is always a small dog with them," says Jo Paddison, president of the South Coast Jack Russell Terrier Club (JRCT) of California. "They look like little cute cuddly things, and they are, but they can really be pretty feisty."
In the United States, working versions of
By John Platt, Mother Nature NetworkRead More »from Popular Hair Treatment Ruled Carcinogenic
The makers of the popular Brazilian Blowout line of hair-straightening products - which can cost up to $500 per salon treatment - have agreed to change their labeling to warn consumers that the treatments can release formaldehyde gas, which is considered a carcinogen and can cause irritation of the eyes and skin, according to a report from USA Today.
The move by GIB LLC comes following a lawsuit from the California state attorney general's office. The products are labeled as formaldehyde-free, but last September the FDA warned that Brazilian Blowout contains "dangerously high levels" of the gas. According to a report from WebMD, the FDA found that Brazilian Blowout products contained between 8.7 percent and 10.4 percent formaldehyde. Levels about 0.1 percent required an occupational hazard alert under guidelines from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
At the time, GIB CEO Mike Brady denied that his company's products
- Mother Nature Network (mnn.com) | Pets – Fri, Jan 27, 2012 3:03 PM EST
By Shea Gunther, Mother Nature NetworkRead More »from 6 Things Most People Don't Know About Groundhog Day
Groundhog handler John Griffiths carries Phil at the 2010 Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, PA. Groundhog Day comes around every year on Feb. 2 and marks a pivotal day in the transition from winter to spring. According to popular legend, if the groundhog leaves his den and sees his shadow, it's both a sunny day and a sign that we're in for six more weeks of winter. If he doesn't see his shadow, winter will end soon.
The holiday has its roots in old European tales about weather and began as a Pennsylvania Dutch celebration in the 18th and 19th century. Today it's celebrated all across the country, though its largest gathering takes place in Punxsutawney, Pa., also the location of the 1993 Bill Murray classic, "Groundhog Day." After "Groundhog Day" came out, the crowds in Punxsutawney grew to the tens of thousands, who thronged to catch a glimpse of Punxsutawney Phil, the famed groundhog, as he makes his prediction.
Murray's movie did a lot to raise general awareness of this fantastic holiday, but I bet there are a lot of things about
By Russell McLendon, Mother Nature NetworkRead More »from Why Do We Celebrate Groundhog Day?
Groundhog handler Ben Hughes carries Phil at the 2010 Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, PA.
For one day each year, people across North America count on a network of groggy groundhogs to rise at dawn and issue a six-week weather outlook. It's a popular tradition from Punxsutawney, Pa., to Vancouver, B.C., with crowds often braving bitter cold on Feb. 2 just to see the furry forecasters in action.
But why? How did such a strange ritual ever get started? And is there any truth behind groundhogs' weather-predicting reputation?
Related: Famous celebrities who used to be weather forecasters
Groundhog Day as we know it began around 1887 in Punxsutawney, but its roots go back hundreds and even thousands of years. The holiday has origins in the ancient Celtic festival of Imbolc, which was held Feb. 1, halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Imbolc was a festival for the coming spring, and often featured primitive meteorology in an attempt to predict or control how quickly spring arrived.
As Christianity swept through
By Chanie Kirschner, Mother Nature NetworkRead More »from Why Do Feet Fall Asleep?
'Pins and needles' sensation?Q: So I'm just wondering - why does my foot or my arm fall asleep sometimes? It usually happens when I'm lying on it weird (or when I sleep on my stomach with my arm underneath me), but I never really found out why. I'm sure there's a good scientific reason. Can you enlighten me?
A: Sure thing. This happens to me every night when I am giving my newborn son a bottle. Inevitably, he falls asleep while eating, I fall asleep while feeding, and wouldn't you know, the arm on which his head is lying falls asleep too. I used to think that this was because when you put pressure on your limbs (such as your arm or foot), you prevent blood from flowing to that limb, creating a tingling sensation and an inability to move that part of your body for a minute or two.
RELATED: Why can't I tickle myself?
As it turns out, your nerves are more to blame. See, when you put pressure on a certain part of your body, you are squeezing nerve pathways in the process.
Read More »from 8 Ways to Make Grocery Shopping More Sanitary
By Laura Moss, Mother Nature Network
The average American goes to the supermarket twice a week and is exposed to bacteria from a variety of sources - from the grocery cart handle to the melons in the produce aisle. Even when your groceries are safely at home, you still have to contend with food-borne illnesses. More than 70 million people get sick from food-borne illnesses in the U.S. each year, and roughly 5,000 of them die as a result of it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And if you're pregnant, diabetic, HIV-positive or over the age of 65, then it's even more risky for you to sample the grocery store's cheese display or skip the produce bags. Luckily, there are several precautions you can take - both at the grocery store and at home - to help keep you and your family safe.
1. Sanitize your shopping cart. In a 2007 study at the University of Arizona, researchers found that two-thirds of the grocery carts they swabbed were contaminated with fecal
- Mother Nature Network (mnn.com) | Healthy Living – Mon, Jan 23, 2012 2:32 PM EST
By Michael d'Estries, Mother Nature NetworkRead More »from Alec Baldwin Drops Sugar from Diet, Loses 30 Pounds
Alec Baldwin For Alec Baldwin, ending 2011 on a healthy note meant starting 2012 with a svelte new frame for the cameras.
The 53-year-old decided last fall to conquer his sweet tooth and cut sugar completely from his diet. The results? Thirty pounds lost in less than four months. "I gave up sugar," he told Access Hollywood. "I lost 30 pounds in four months. It's amazing."
RELATED: The best celebrity weight loss stories of 2011
"(I do) Pilates, spin, not as much yoga as I'd like," he added. "When we're shooting ('30 Rock') it's tough...When we're shooting and I can't work out, I just have to eat less. So, I'm very conscious of that. But sugar was the real killer for me - that was the problem." According to a recent study, U.S. adults consume 22.2 teaspoons of sugar a day, or 355 calories. Phil Lempert, a food industry analyst, says average-sized women should be consuming no more than 6.25 teaspoons; men 9.4.
"We know for sure that if you are consuming
by Morieka Johnson, Mother Nature NetworkRead More »from Meet the Bouvier Des Flandres
Bouvier des FlandresWhere can you find more action than the Super Bowl, more hair spray than a beauty pageant and more drama than a soap opera? The annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, of course. The 136th annual parade of pooches begins Feb. 13 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Learn about those pedigreed pups before they strut their stuff, starting with the Bouvier des Flandres.
[ Related: The 8 happiest dogs on YouTube ]
Bouvier des Flandres began as herding dogs on farms in Belgium. Fans of the breed describe it as a strong, sturdy and extremely loyal canine companion.
"The name actually means 'herder from France,' and Bouviers live up to that name," says Marcia Proud, national director of the American Bouvier Rescue League. "As a herding dog, they are naturally protective. You become their herd and they are going to take care of you."
During the dog show, you will find Bouviers competing against other notable herding breeds such as