Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Supermarket : Unhealthy Foods

The Top 10 Most Unhealthy Foods in Your Supermarket.

You might want to consider taking the following unhealthy foods off the menu if you want to live a long and healthy life . The food you put into your mouth every day plays a much bigger role in how healthy you are than your genes.

1. Margarine

The process used to make a liquid oil opaque yellow and spreadable produces an incredibly unhealthy product that hardly qualifies to be called a food. It doesn’t matter if you start with the best quality extra virgin olive, the final product is still an unhealthy food.

Promoted as a cholesterol free and healthier choice than good old butter, margarine is the ultimate source of trans fats, which rather ironically elevate cholesterol and damage blood vessel walls. Even more ironic is the fact that margarine is still recommended by health authorities including the Australian Heart Foundation who also promote reducing dietary trans fats. Clever loopholes in labelling allow margarines to claim that they are ‘virtually’ trans fat free. Margarine is a good example of a politically correct unhealthy food.

What about the new cholesterol lowering margarines?

Save your money, you’ll be getting a dose of the very same phyto sterols by using extra virgin olive oil liberally in your diet. Most fruits and vegetables also contain phyto sterols. Flaxseed or linseed meal, nuts, seeds and legumes are all rich sources of phytosterols.

For a more detailed overview of the processes involved in making margarine, visit the Stop Trans Fats website

For more info on the dangers of trans fats:
Today Tonight Report: The Truth about Trans Fats

2. Breakfast Cereals

These cleverly marketed, attractively boxed ‘foods’ are in my opinion one of the most unhealthy foods in your supermarket.

And it’s not just me who thinks this.

According to Dr. Peter Dingle, a Western Australian Toxicologist and author of “My Dog Eats Better than Your Kids” and “The DEAL for Happier, Healthier, and Smarter Kids”, McDonalds makes a more nutritious breakfast than Cornflakes!

Even Choice Magazine agrees with me. They looked at the top 10 selling children’s breakfast cereals and concluded that you may as well have a candy bar for breakfast they were so high in sugar and lacking in nutrients. Iron man food they most definitely are not.

Besides the addition of sugar and refined salt, breakfast cereals are made from highly processed grains. You might start off with a nice healthy whole grain but by the time you’ve puffed it or turned it into a nice crunchy flake, you’re left with something your body no longer recognises as food. The process used to make the little ‘O’s, pellets, shreds, flakes and other shapes in your cereal bowl is called ‘extrusion’. The extrusion process damages the nutrients and proteins in the grain leaving them devoid of nutrients, highly toxic and not much more than empty calories – watch this space, they will be the trans fats of the future. For more info on the dangers of the extrusion process read Dirty Secrets of the Food Processing Industry by Sally Fallon

3. Refined Vegetable Oils

A diet high in omega 6 polyunsaturated vegetable oils has been linked to an increased risk of:

  • Cancer
    (Escrich E, et al. 2006. Are the olive oil and other dietary lipids related to cancer? Experimental evidence. Clinical and Translational Oncology).
    (Peskin BS, Carter MJ. 2008. Chronic cellular hypoxia as the prime cause of cancer: what is the de-oxygenating role of adulterated and improper ratios of polyunsaturated fatty acids when incorporated into
    cell membranes? Medical Hypothises.)
  • Melanoma
    (Vinceti M et al. 2005. A population-based case-control study of diet and melanoma risk in northern Italy. Public Health and Nutrition)
  • Learning disorders
  • Allergies
  • Immune suppression
  • Heart disease
  • Atherosclerosis (hardened plaques in your arteries)
  • Reproductive problems

A pretty impressive list for a food we’ve been urged to consume more of for the last 20 years.

Polyunsaturated vegetable oils are highly fragile and easily damaged and subject to rancidity producing huge amounts of free radicals. The refining process also strips them of their natural antioxidants including vitamin E which in turn depletes your body of valuble antioxidants when you eat them.

The only oils in my kitchen include sesame oil, ghee and coconut oil for cooking, olive oil for salad dressings and butter to turn steamed vegetables from boring to mouth watering.


According to Carla Wolper, Nutritionist at the New York Obesity Research Centre, “When it comes to health, the only thing good about them is the hole”.

Break down a doughnut and you’re left with nothing but refined sugar and flour, artificial flavors and partially hydrogenated oil. They’re also loaded with trans fats – hello heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Despite the fact that they’re about as healthy as a packet of cigarettes, doughnuts are increasingly used in school fundraisers these days. And we wonder why as a society that diabetes and obesity are set to cripple our health care system in the next decade.

Even if you live by the mantra of ‘everything in moderation’, treat doughnuts like rat poison rather than a food.

5. Soft Drinks

Your average can of soft drink contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar (about 150 calories) as well as artificial food colours and sulphites. Sulphites are well known triggers of asthma and other allergies. Diet soft drinks are just as unhealthy, artificial sweeteners like aspartame are potent ‘excitotoxins’ to the brain and nervous system and have also been linked to an increased risk of obesity.

Soft drinks are definitely not a ‘soft’ option in the junk food stakes, they increase your risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Soft drink are a particularly unhealthy food for children as they are a significant risk factor for impaired calcification of growing bones – you wouldn’t dream of letting your child smoke a cigarette or drink a glass of wine as a ‘special treat’ so it makes no sense that it’s OK to give a child a can of cola as a weekend treat.

According to a report in the medical journal of Australia, “There is much to be gained by reducing children’s intake of soft drinks and little — except excess weight — to be lost”. Not to mention healthier bones and teeth.

The easiest way to stop yourself and your family drinking soft drink is to simply stop buying it. If it’s not in the fridge you can’t drink it.

Sarah Luck
Natural Health Consultant

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Diarrhea in Children

Diarrhea in a young child is often a sign of simple infection. It should clear up quickly, but don’t ignore the situation. In young children and babies with diarrhea, dehydration can set in quickly and be very dangerous.

Causes of Diarrhea in Children

Diarrhea can strike children of any age, but tends to be more frequent and problematic in younger children and babies. The most frequent cause of diarrhea is an infection by a parasite, bacteria, or virus — especially the rotavirus.

"In children preschool age and younger, it's usually a sign of infection," says Marsha H. Kay, MD, a pediatric gastroenterologist and head of pediatric endoscopy at the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. "The main issue is that there are a lot of different infections that they can get that they don't have immunity to yet."

Dr. Kay says another common cause of diarrhea is "toddler's diarrhea," a result of drinking too much juice or other sugary drinks. A child’s gastrointestinal system becomes overwhelmed by all the fluid and sugar, resulting in diarrhea. This can be easily prevented by limiting the amount of juice and other sugary drinks that your child consumes, notes Kay.

Other triggers that are causes of diarrhea include:

  • Sensitivities or allergies to certain foods, such as dairy products
  • Side effects of antibiotics
  • Other illnesses or health conditions, like celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease
  • Too much candy or sugary foods

Diarrhea Symptoms in Children

Diarrhea is characterized by loose, watery, and runny stools. Children usually feel the urge to have a bowel movement frequently throughout the day and may also experience abdominal pain and cramping. If the diarrhea is caused by an infection, your child may also have nausea and vomiting, a loss of weight, fever, no desire to eat or drink anything, and signs of dehydration.

Dehydration is a serious concern for anyone, but it is a particularly precarious situation for young children and infants. Infants can become dangerously dehydrated quickly, so keep an eye out for these signs of dehydration when your child has diarrhea:

  • Producing little to no urine, which may be dark in color
  • Being very thirsty
  • Crying without making tears
  • Having a dry mouth or skin that seems dry or firm (lacking elasticity)

Treating Diarrhea in Children

To prevent dehydration, make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids during any bout with diarrhea. Medication to manage the diarrhea isn't usually necessary, but if it continues for more than 24 hours, you may need to see a pediatrician to treat a potential infection. Also, be sure to discuss with your pediatrician what type of fluid you should be giving your child when he has diarrhea.

Diarrhea may simply clear up and your child can quickly get back to normal, but there are signs that you should call to your child's pediatrician.

Kay says to contact your doctor if the diarrhea hasn't stopped or you see blood in it. Also, contact a medical professional if the child has a fever or can't maintain proper hydration.

A quick bout of diarrhea doesn't have to become a dangerous digestive health concern — just give your child plenty of water and some mild foods until he's feeling better again. But watch for worsening symptoms or signs of dehydration and always call your pediatrician if you need that extra reassurance.

source: Everyday Health

Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH


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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Swine Flue (H1N1) Pandemic

Viruses resistant to oseltamivir (Tamiflu) identified

WHO has been informed by health authorities in Denmark, Japan and the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, China of the appearance of H1N1 viruses which are resistant to the antiviral drug oseltamivir (known as Tamiflu) based on laboratory testing.

These viruses were found in three patients who did not have severe disease and all have recovered. Investigations have not found the resistant virus in the close contacts of these three people. The viruses, while resistant to oseltamivir, remain sensitive to zanamivir.

Close to 1000 pandemic H1N1 viruses have been evaluated by the laboratories in the Global Influenza Surveillance Network for antiviral drug resistance. All other viruses have been shown sensitive to both oseltamivir and zanamivir. WHO and its partners will continue to conduct ongoing monitoring of influenza viruses for antiviral drug resistance.

Therefore, based on current information, these instances of drug resistance appear to represent sporadic cases of resistance. At this time, there is no evidence to indicate the development of widespread antiviral resistance among pandemic H1N1 viruses. Based on this risk assessment, there are no changes in WHO's clinical treatment guidance. Antiviral drugs remain a key component of the public health response when used as recommended.

WHO Reccomendation For Vaccines

On 7 July 2009, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization held an extraordinary meeting in Geneva to discuss issues and make recommendations related to vaccine for the pandemic (H1N1) 2009.

SAGE reviewed the current pandemic situation, the current status of seasonal vaccine production and potential A(H1N1) vaccine production capacity, and considered potential options for vaccine use.

The experts identified three different objectives that countries could adopt as part of their pandemic vaccination strategy:

  • protect the integrity of the health-care system and the country's critical infrastructure;
  • reduce morbidity and mortality; and
  • reduce transmission of the pandemic virus within communities.

Countries could use a variety of vaccine deployment strategies to reach these objectives but any strategy should reflect the country’s epidemiological situation, resources and ability to access vaccine, to implement vaccination campaigns in the targeted groups, and to use other non-vaccine mitigation measures.

Although the severity of the pandemic is currently considered to be moderate with most patients experiencing uncomplicated, self-limited illness, some groups such as pregnant women and persons with asthma and other chronic conditions such as morbid obesity appear to be at increased risk for severe disease and death from infection.

Since the spread of the pandemic virus is considered unstoppable, vaccine will be needed in all countries. SAGE emphasized the importance of striving to achieve equity among countries to access vaccines developed in response to the pandemic (H1N1) 2009

The following recommendations were provided to the WHO Director-General:

  • All countries should immunize their health-care workers as a first priority to protect the essential health infrastructure. As vaccines available initially will not be sufficient, a step-wise approach to vaccinate particular groups may be considered. SAGE suggested the following groups for consideration, noting that countries need to determine their order of priority based on country-specific conditions: pregnant women; those aged above 6 months with one of several chronic medical conditions; healthy young adults of 15 to 49 years of age; healthy children; healthy adults of 50 to 64 years of age; and healthy adults of 65 years of age and above.
  • Since new technologies are involved in the production of some pandemic vaccines, which have not yet been extensively evaluated for their safety in certain population groups, it is very important to implement post-marketing surveillance of the highest possible quality. In addition, rapid sharing of the results of immunogenicity and post-marketing safety and effectiveness studies among the international community will be essential for allowing countries to make necessary adjustments to their vaccination policies.
  • In view of the anticipated limited vaccine availability at global level and the potential need to protect against "drifted" strains of virus, SAGE recommended that promoting production and use of vaccines such as those that are formulated with oil-in-water adjuvants and live attenuated influenza vaccines was important.
  • As most of the production of the seasonal vaccine for the 2009-2010 influenza season in the northern hemisphere is almost complete and is therefore unlikely to affect production of pandemic vaccine, SAGE did not consider that there was a need to recommend a "switch" from seasonal to pandemic vaccine production.

WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan endorsed the above recommendations on 11 July 2009, recognizing that they were well adapted to the current pandemic situation. She also noted that the recommendations will need to be changed if and when new evidence become available.

SAGE was established by the WHO Director-General in 1999 as the principal advisory group to WHO for vaccines and immunization. It comprises 15 members who serve in their personal capacity and represent a broad range of disciplines from around the world in the fields such as epidemiology, public health, vaccinology, paediatrics, internal medicine, infectious diseases, immunology, drug regulation, programme management, immunization delivery, and health-care administration.

Additional participants in the SAGE meeting included members of the ad hoc policy advisory working group on influenza A(H1N1) vaccine, chairs of the regional technical advisory groups and external experts. Observers included industry representatives and regulators who did not take part in the recommendation process in order to avoid conflicts of interest.


Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization

Pandemic (H1N1) 2009: full coverage

Frequent Ask Question

What is H1N1 Influenza 09?
H1N1 Influenza 09, commonly known as ‘swine flu’, is a new type of influenza virus which causes respiratory disease in people.

How is ‘swine flu’ spread?
The virus spreads from person to person in the same way as seasonal influenza which is via respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes. It can also be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets on another person, object or surface and then touches their mouth or nose or food they are going to eat.

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of ‘swine flu’ appear to be similar to those of seasonal flu which include fever and cough or sore throat. You may also have a headache, runny or blocked noses, tiredness, body aches and in some instances diarrhoea and vomiting. Like seasonal influenza, ‘swine flu’ may also cause a worsening of other underlying chronic medical conditions.

What is the current situation?
The situation is constantly changing. For up to date information, please visit :
  • http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/
  • www.flu.sa.gov.au
Who is at risk of catching ‘swine flu’?
Anyone can get ‘swine flu’ or seasonal flu. people who have had the seasonal flu vaccine for 2009 have a much lower chance of getting seasonal flu, but can still catch 'swine flu'.

How serious is it?
Although the ‘swine flu’ virus appears to be mild in most cases, it can cause severe illness in some people. Based on evidence from overseas, The Federal Government has indicated that the following vulnerable groups are at an increased risk of severe illness from the virus:-

  • Pregnant women (particularly in second and third trimesters)
  • People with morbid obesity
  • People with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, renal disease, respiratory disease such as chronic obstructive airways disease (COAD), asthma requiring ongoing treatment, diabetes, or who are immunosuppressed from a specific disease or treatment
If you are in one of the vulnerable groups above, you should keep a careful eye on your health and avoid contact with anyone who has flu-like symptoms.

How is it diagnosed?
The diagnosis is confirmed by laboratory examination of mucus from the back of the nose or throat, or by blood tests. In the current ‘Protect’ phase, not everyone who has symptoms will be tested for ‘swine flu’. This will be decided on a case by case basis with a focus on people in the vulnerable groups listed above.

What is the incubation period?
The time between becoming infected and developing symptoms is 1 – 7 days, in most cases it appears to be between 1 – 4 days.

When would I be contagious (able to spread the illness)?
Based on current knowledge, an infected person can spread the infection to others from one day before the onset of symptoms and up to 7 days after the onset of symptoms. Children, especially younger children, may be contagious for longer periods.

What should I do if I think I have ‘swine flu’?
Not everyone who has flu (either seasonal or ‘swine’) needs to see a doctor. If you are otherwise healthy and have mild flu symptoms, you are asked to:-

  • Stay at home and keep away from work, school and crowded areas or public gatherings until your fever has gone and you feel well
  • Avoid contact with other people where possible
  • Wash your hands regularly and always after coughing or sneezing. You can use soap and water or an alcohol based hand rub
  • Wipe down frequently touched surfaces (such as remote controls or door knobs) regularly using detergent or a large alcohol wipe
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing and when using tissues, make sure you dispose of them carefully in a waste bin
  • Rest, drink plenty of fluids and use a pain reliever for aches. This is adequate for recovery in most cases. A non-aspirin pain reliever should be used by children and teenagers

When should I seek medical advice?
You should seek medical advice if you are concerned about your symptoms, if your symptoms become worse, or if you experience any of the following,

* shortness of breath
* difficulty breathing
* confusion
* inability to keep liquids down because of vomiting
* dehydration (dizzy when standing, passing much less urine than normal)

For parents with a young child, you should seek medical care immediately if your child has fast or strained/laboured breathing or if their health starts deteriorating.

Who should I speak to for medical advice?
If you need medical advice, you should call your GP and find out if they can see you. If you can’t see your GP, you should go to your nearest hospital with an Emergency Department.

For advice over the phone, call the 08176677161 (Farm Department) or SMS to 9611 (Health Department)

Is there any treatment for ‘swine flu’?
‘Swine flu’ can be treated with the prescription antiviral medications oseltamivir (TamiFlu®) and zanamivir (Relenza®). Antiviral medications started within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms can reduce symptoms by about 1 day and prevent some of the more serious complications of flu.
There is currently no vaccine for ‘swine flu’ although work is underway to develop an effective vaccine.
Seasonal flu vaccine may not give protection against ‘swine flu’ but does provide protection against other circulating seasonal influenza virus types. Vaccination will also reduce the overall burden of seasonal influenza in the community and, in turn, reduce the burden on our hospitals and health system.

How do I get a prescription for antiviral medication?
Your GP will continue to make decisions about whether you need antiviral medication or not.

If I am suspected of having ‘swine flu’ and have been sent home, what should I do?
If you are awaiting the result of tests for ‘swine flu’ and have been sent home, you should follow the instructions given to you by your doctor.

What measures can I take to prevent infection?
General good hygiene can help to reduce the spread of all viruses, including ‘swine flu’.
Information on how to control the spread of disease through good hygiene practices can be found website www.health.sa.gov.au/infectioncontrol

Should I wear a mask to prevent becoming infected?
If you are ill then wearing a mask may reduce the chance of you infecting others. If you are healthy, there is no need for you to wear a mask.

Is it safe to eat pig meat?
Yes. There is no evidence that swine flu can be transmitted through eating meat from infected animals.

Where can I get further advice?
SA Health has produced a number of fact sheets on human swine influenza which are available to view through our website www.flu.sa.gov.au . These fact sheets include frequently asked questions about schools and information to assist businesses.


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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Parents Safety Concern

Everyone worries about things from time to time: the economy, an ill parent, safety concerns. For parents, it seems to come along even more naturally. There are endless things that a mom or dad could worry about from sunup to sundown. This can paralyze you if you let it get too big. At some point, it turns a corner. The worry either moves into something useful or it spirals into something more emotionally painful.

Here’s a case in point from my own life to demonstrate how this can work. One of my daughters has been sick way too many times this winter, including this week. I was told there wasn’t anything unusual going on, just a bad streak. As evidenced by this week’s continued problems, I’m no longer satisfied with that answer. The doctor’s answer had shut down my worry at first, but now the door is wide open again.

Here’s another thing that has kicked it up a notch. Another of my daughters is having major surgery in about three months. As I was lying awake last night spinning these worrisome thoughts in my head, it occurred to me that an untreated “loose cannon” of germs could cause some real collateral damage for my daughter who would have this surgery. It could put the whole procedure at risk if we have an unclosed loop of infectious illness going on in the same house. Not to mention, infection is the reason that some of these surgeries don’t “take” and have to be repeated. Repeat major surgery? No way, we have to do everything possible to prevent that from happening.

So now I am not only concerned for my sick daughter’s state of health, I’ve got a new and more long-term concern for my other daughter, who has a required and unavoidable period of germ vulnerability coming up. As you could imagine, this was getting pretty heavy in my mind. No surprise, I couldn’t get to sleep. The thoughts were whirling in a loop in my mind; over and over again I repeated the narration of this problem to myself. I got out of bed and did a puzzle for a while until I felt sleepy. I did get some sleep, but now the day is new and the thoughts are going again.

Here is where the worrying can turn in one of two directions. I could give in to the worrying cycle and become immersed in it. Or I could do a few things to make the situation at least seem better, if not actually make it better. This is a one-two punch approach that can make a worrisome situation more manageable.
Take Action

In this situation, an obvious choice is to get her to the doctor immediately and insist on deeper testing and such. That is what I am doing this weekend, though I do not know if we will get any answers. I had thought of this last night as I was trying to fall asleep, but there wasn’t much to do about it then. Calling and hearing the nurse echo my concern made a big difference. We’re going to take action soon and I have something clear to focus on.

Another action that I’m taking is what you are reading right now. Having an outlet of expression is helping me feel like I’m making something useful of my concerns. I’ve gotten it off my chest to a friend, my mom, and I’m now using it to maybe help another concerned parent step off the worry carousel. All of this helps me reaffirm close relationship connections and extend myself to help others. These things give me comfort and assurance, allowing my blood pressure to stay a little lower about this problem.Use Distraction

Since I can’t get my daughter in right this exact minute, I have some idle time on my hands while this process unfolds. While action and answers may deliver the biggest blow to my worries, I still need to get through this time without falling apart. Distraction is my other tool that I use.

Even though I’m writing this article about the very topic I’m worried about, the act of typing and constructing my thoughts puts my brain in a different mode than just all-emotion-all-the-time. By the genius of human evolution, human brains are only capable of truly holding attention on one thing at a time. You may think you are multitasking and giving attention to four things at once. But really, you are just vacillating back and forth between things.

Here’s why this can be helpful. When you distract from something bothersome, it takes the wind out of its sail for a little while. Constantly stewing on something can give it much greater power than if it is broken into smaller chunks . Getting lost in work for a few hours gives your brain a break from worrying about your sick child. Going for a run gets your brain focused on moving your body and breathing hard. Doing a bunch of yardwork gives you a tangible, purposeful task to put your mind to.

Could your mind occasionally wander back to your worry during this attempt at distraction? Yes, it certainly can. But even small amounts of interruption can kill the momentum of a building worry storm. During times when you can’t take meaningful action on the problem, distraction can get you through. Perhaps you will feel more relaxed and another solution will roll into your mind. Or, you will simply feel more relaxed when your mind does wander back and you can remind yourself of what you have planned to take care of it, and you can then shove it aside for a while longer.
Keep Carrying On With A Smaller Worry Load

You may not be able to carry a large load consistently, without interruption, very well without collapsing. But you can probably carry that load several times with breaks in between and have the endurance to fight another day. And certainly, if it is a problem for which there is no good solution, distraction may be your main weapon against a heavy burden of worry.

In all reality, we could go to the doctor here and come back with no good answer. Then I’ll be up against this process all over again, worry with no road to follow. It’s a process that has to be followed over and over and over again to keep rampant worry at bay. As long as I take action and use distraction, I know I’ll get through it. And I hope after following my story, you can keep your worry burden a little lower, too.

Source : Erika Krull: Everyday Health


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40 Ways To Pray For Your Children

One of the great privileges of parenthood is that we can ask God to work in the lives of our children. These 40 prayers can be offered as a 40-day cycle of prayer {patterned after Jesus' own 40-day spiritual retreat in Matthew 4} or simply used during the course of each day.

For the knowledge of God
Dear God, the Psalmist declares, "Be still, and know that I am God" {Psalm 46:10}. In their busyness, may my children have quiet moments in which they think and reflect about God in their lives.

For salvation
Loving God, the Apostle Paul reminds us that the Gospel "is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes" {Romans 1:16}. Help my children learn to trust in you early in their lives and remain faithfully committed to your ways throughout their lives.

For myself as a parent
Gracious God, fill me with sensitivity and insight that I may understand the best ways to guide my children so they may grow in your wisdom and love.

For parenting patience
Loving God, although family life is often hectic and busy, help me to listen with patience to the worries, troubles, and problems my children may have.

For kindness of speech
Gracious God, so many children have been deeply wounded because they have been the brunt of criticism, teasing, and taunting. May my children exhibit kindness in their speech. Let the words of Psalm 19:14 be true for my children: "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight."

To recognize their mistakes
Dear God, may my children recognize when they are wrong and take responsibility where they are at fault. Give them a deep and sincere desire to put things right as quickly as possible.

For love
Gracious God, let my children follow the command of Jesus to "love one another" {John 13:34}. Let them reach out with love to all within their sphere of influence.

For spiritual stability
Oh God, in times of moral uncertainty and temptation, empower my children to exhibit spiritual stability. May the words of Joshua have a firm grip in their hearts: "You are to hold fast to the Lord your God" {Joshua 23:8}.

To help bear burdens
Loving God, let it be that my children are the ones who quickly reach out, helping to lift the burdens of others. Through my example, may my children understand the importance of fulfilling the call of Scripture to "carry each other's burdens" {Gal. 6:2}.

To be instruments of peace
Gracious God, may my children guide their thoughts, words, and actions by the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi: "Make me an instrument of your peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy."

To celebrate humanity
Dear God, this world is filled with beautiful people, all of whom are your children. May my own children be free of discriminatory and judgmental attitudes toward others. Let them appreciate and celebrate the fact that people are red and yellow, black and white, tall and short, fat and thin, rich and poor, young and old.

For spiritual & emotional growth
Loving God, let my children be like Jesus who "grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men" {Luke 2:52}.

To be salt & light
Gracious God, may my children learn how to cooperate rather than compete, to respect rather than revile, and to console rather than condemn. Even in their limited circles of influence, may they be "the salt of the earth" and the "light of the world" {Matt. 5:13-14}.

For protection
Eternal God, as my children go out this day may your loving protection go ahead of them, be behind them, hover over them, and stand beside them. This day protect them from every danger, disease, and trauma.

For faith in times of difficulty
Dear God, whenever my children face trial, trouble, or fear, let them naturally turn to you for guidance and strength. May my children know this powerful promise of scripture: "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms" {Deut. 33:27}.

To remember the marginalized
Dear God, create in my children hearts of love and compassion for those whom society overlooks. Let them understand the importance of this biblical command: "Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering" {Heb. 13:3}.

For growth in grace
Loving God, day by day and in every way, let my children "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" {2 Peter 3:18}.

For contentment
Loving God, let my children cultivate the same spiritual contentment as did the Apostle Paul, who said: "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want" {Phil. 4:11-12}.

To be unselfish
Gracious God, give my children more love, more self-denial, more willingness to sacrifice for others. Let them understand deeply that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

For wisdom
Loving God, may your spirit be so present in the lives of my children that their thoughts are your thoughts and their ideas are your ideas.

To offer confession & seek forgiveness
Gracious God, may there be in my children no propensity for denial of truth and reality. When they err and do wrong, may they offer you confession and seek your forgiveness. Let them take comfort in your word, which says: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" {1 John 1:9}.

To be "clothed" in virtues
Dear God, may my children constantly and consistently be clothed "with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" {Col. 3:12}.

For humility in victory & dignity in defeat
Dear God, life is made up of valleys and peaks, wins and losses. There will be times when my children will make important gains and other times when they will feel the sting of losing. May they have humility in their victory and dignity in defeat.

For appreciation of God's creation
Loving God, show my children how to love all animals, birds, creatures, and all green and growing things. Help them to cherish and protect your creation.

For gratitude
Dear God, let gratitude, praise, and thanksgiving continuously flow from the lips of my children. May they "give thanks in all circumstances" {1 Thess. 5:18}.

For the courage of convictions
Gracious God, convictions mean nothing unless there is the courage to stand up for them. May my children "be strong and courageous" {Joshua 1:6}, standing up for those treated unkindly and unjustly.

For emotional & spiritual strength
Eternal God, whenever my children feel the pain of rejection by friends or feel they are the objects of ridicule, infuse them with emotional and spiritual strength. May they always remember that you are the strength of the weak, the refreshment of the weary, and the comforter of the heartbroken.

To be joyful Christians
Loving God, bless my children with the spirit of joy. May they smile naturally, laugh easily, rejoice in your gifts large and small. Let the words of the Psalmist resound in their lives: "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it" {Psalm 118:24}.

To be free from materialism
Gracious God, even in their youth let my children be free from materialism. May they enjoy their benefits, privileges, and material possessions without the constant clamor for more and more and more. And, should they be blessed with wealth in their adult years, may they know the importance of sharing and using their abundance to bless others.

For peace & justice
Eternal God, nurture in my children a love for the many people who live in poverty and misery. Arouse in their hearts a deep and abiding hunger for justice and peace.

To be filled with hope
Loving God, no matter what may befall my children, may they be so filled with hope that it prevents any despair from taking hold. With the Apostle I pray that you, "the God of hope" {Romans 15:13}, will fill them with all joy and peace.

For perseverance
Dear God, keep my children from becoming impatient and quitting prematurely. Develop within them endurance and perseverance so that when faced with major challenges and crises they do not easily give up. Let my children be "joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer" {Romans 12:12}.

For a passionate love of God
Gracious God, cultivate in my children a passion to love and serve you. May my children have the same kind of passionate love for you as did this Psalm writer: "I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you" {Psalms 9:1-2}.

For generosity of spirit
Loving God, instill in my children a desire to give of themselves. May they always be honorable in action, sincere in words, and gentle in their treatment of others.

To be forgiving
Eternal God, fill my children with the spirit of forgiveness. Whenever they are hurt, may they naturally forgive and thereby free themselves from the burden of resentment. May they take seriously this word from the Apostle: "Forgive as the Lord forgave you" {Col. 3:13}.

To have a teachable spirit
Gracious God, infuse in each of my children the awareness that the world is filled with teachers. May they see others as being sent by you into their lives to teach them to learn better patience, greater love, more compassion.

For the wise use of their talents
Loving God, thank you for filling my children with numerous gifts, talents, and abilities. As they mature, let them exercise wisdom in using their gifts to help others.

To be honest
Gracious God, let my children always exhibit honesty of conduct and honesty of speech. May there be nothing deceitful in what they say and do. Instill in them the awareness that life flows more smoothly when it is built around honesty.

To practice hospitality
Eternal God, may my children be open and affirming of all others. May they be the ones who reach out, embracing those who are left out or left behind.

To be faithful in prayer
Gracious and loving God, help my children to live lives punctuated by prayer. With the Apostle may they "pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests" {Eph. 6:18}. May they be persistent and powerful in their praying.
Victor M. Parachin is a minister and writer living in Oklahoma.

Source by Victor M. Parachin

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Working Parents And Kids Health

Meeting the demands of career and family is a challenge for working moms and dads. Get ideas to create the right work-life balance.

Less than 60 years ago, 56 percent of U.S. households had only one parent working outside the home, leaving the other parent to manage the home and family. Today, with only 33 percent of households in that situation, achieving a work-life balance is a challenge for many. And not only are there more working moms and dads now, they are also working longer hours than in previous decades. That adds up to less time for the kids and family life.

With busy careers and seemingly endless family responsibilities, from cleaning the house to preparing healthy meals and carting the kids around to their activities, it's easy for working parents to become overwhelmed, stressed out, and wondering if striking the right work-life balance is even possible.

Work-Life Balance: You Can Have Both!Samuel Gultom and his lovely mom's
Rest assured, working moms and dads, a happy family life and a successful career can be yours simultaneously. Here are some simple guidelines for working parents who want to reduce stress and maximize their time and energy.
  • Be realistic about what you can accomplish. You can't get everything done in a day. Prioritize what's most important and schedule everything out over the coming weeks. Your daily routine needn't be back-to-back tasks; instead, make sure it allows for at least a small dose of downtime.

    "Having a schedule is crucial. Routines help children transition and with behavior problems. They also help parents with time management," says Arlene Kaufman, director of Temple Trager Preschool in Louisville, Ky., and a mom who has found ways to balance a hectic life and career. Her advice: "Take time for yourself — whether it's a bath, reading a book, or working out."

  • Learn how to say no, even at work. To achieve a healthy work-life balance, working moms and dads often have to make difficult choices as to the responsibilities they can't take on. "The most practical preventive approach is to know your limits. That means saying no to things that you might want to do or that are otherwise important, like chairing a fund-raiser. Too many parents get involved in too many things. You need to set limits at work, even if it means slow (or no) advancement. Decide how much you can travel or work late, and stick to it," says Scott Ries, associate professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio.
  • Evaluate how you spend your time. Once you have a good schedule in place, you can sit back and "relax" by focusing on whatever you are involved in at the present moment. "For instance, when at work, work; when at home, pay attention to family members. It may be difficult to pay attention to the 50th consecutive game of Candyland, but children know when you are 'present' and when you are distracted," says Ries, who recommends reading Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, a book that outlines some ideas for maintaining a work-life balance.
  • Ask for help. What's a family for, after all? Working moms in particular shouldn't stress themselves out over cooking dinner or cleaning the house all by themselves. To help find that essential work-life balance, delegate some work to your spouse and kids. Household chores can take less time and be less stressful when the whole family contributes. Also, consider hiring someone to help you with cleaning or babysitting a few hours a week. If finances permit, treat yourself and your family to dinner out or takeout occasionally.
By acknowledging that you're human — not an automaton — you can set som
e healthy limits on your schedule that will keep you from spiraling out of control, something both your family members and your co-workers will appreciate. Achieving that work-life balance is within reach.

STORY : Parents' Poverty, Not Deaths, Lead To Flooded Orphanages

Indonesian Parents Forced To Give Up Kids

Yulianto's parents are still alive, but the 13-year-old has spent half his life in an orphanage. Looking down at the ground, he quietly explains why: His mom and dad are too poor to feed him and put him through school.

Yulianto is far from alone. A major survey of Indonesia's child care institutions released this month found orphanages flooded with children separated from their parents not by death, but because of poverty.

"I just want to be with my parents, even if it means I cannot get an education," said Yulianto, who like many Indonesians uses a single name.

The study by the U.S.-based charity Save the Children and the Indonesian government was the first detailed look at children's homes in the country. It surveyed six provinces and analyzed the legal and political issues facing the institutions.

According to the report, up to 500,000 of Indonesia's 85 million children live in institutions, one of the highest rates in the world. Of those, 90 percent still have one or more parent alive.

In the 36 homes surveyed, the children spent much of the time when they were not at school cooking, cleaning and looking after younger children because the institutions were under staffed.

Staff quoted in the report were not worried about this, saying the children were receiving free food and education and would almost certainly be working in the fields or helping their parents if they had remained at home.

"The staff are about managing children, not providing care," said Florence Martin, a child protection adviser with Save the Children in Jakarta. "Institutions think their purpose is providing education, so children's needs at the psychological level are not on the agenda."

The survey found government policy was in part fueling the surge in parents giving up their kids.

As part of efforts to combat poverty, the government has for five years funded orphanages based on the number of children they register. The aid has led religious and social organizations to establish new institutions and existing homes to actively "recruit" children, the survey found.

As evidence, the survey pointed to a dramatic rise in the number of orphanages in Indonesia - as many as 8,000, up from 1,600 in 1998.

"If you wanted to be mean, you could say running an institution is a pretty good business," said Martin. "When you've got 10 children coming out, you need to find 10 children to come in."

The report says most children have little contact with their families - perhaps a brief visit home once a year - because they are too poor to travel. Some institutions discourage relationships between children and their families because "it is believed the moral guidance children get in institutions would be weakened by contact with parents," Martin said.

Yulianto lives in the Parapattan Orphanage in central Jakarta with 65 other kids. The home encourages families to visit, but many parents say they cannot often do so because they lack money and work long hours.

The buildings are clean, but signs of wear and tear are everywhere. Paint peels from the walls and grass grows up between cracked concrete flooring. In the yard, boys use sandals to bat plastic balls over a shredded net.

The report makes it clear that the parents give up their children because of poverty.

World Bank figures show about half of Indonesia's 235 million people live on less than US$2 a day. Martin said the soaring prices of staple foods and a recent 30 percent increase in fuel costs would surely lead to more parents giving up their kids.

"I know my children are angry with me, but I try to convince them that is the best choice for us," said Tinor Niang, a 38-year-old noodle vendor who brought her two sons to Parapattan nine years ago.

"As a mother I want to take care of my children but I cannot be selfish. I want the best future for them, so I have no choice but to leave them."

Almost all of Indonesia's children's homes are privately run, many by Islamic organizations in this majority Muslim country. Nearly half operate on less than US$10,000 a year, the report found.

Makmur Sunusi, director general for social services and rehabilitation at the Welfare Ministry, said the government was aware of the problem and was looking at ways to help poor families without breaking them up.

Farm laborer Noldi Jacob held back tears explaining why he left his children at Parapattan.

"The economic situation is getting more difficult and I cannot depend on my brothers and sisters to pay for my children," he said. "As a father it pains me to admit that I cannot finance my children, but I believe this orphanage can guide, love and teach them."

Source : Everyday Health , CBS News

Other Articles: ParentCentre


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Friday, July 3, 2009


There are two types of meningitis: viral meningitis and bacterial meningitis. In most instances, viral meningitis is not a fatal disease. The patient will fully recover within a week by resting, drinking plenty of fluids, and taking OTC pain relievers. Bacterial meningitis, however, can be deadly if not treated promptly.

The symptoms for viral and bacterial meningitis are often the same, including a high fever and a stiff neck. That’s why, for all cases of suspected meningitis, it's critically important to head for the emergency room when symptoms first appear.

Viral and Bacterial Meningitis Symptoms

The most common meningitis symptoms for people over the age of 2 include:

  • High fever
  • Severe headache
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Sleepiness
  • Seizures

In infected babies and children under the age of 2, these symptoms may not appear — or may be difficult to detect. When infected, babies and young children may appear lethargic or be irritable, and they may vomit or not eat well. They may also have seizures as the disease progresses.

Bacterial Meningitis: A Quick Mover

Bacterial meningitis can progress rapidly, often within hours of the first symptoms, and if not quickly diagnosed and treated can cause serious long-term complications. For every hour treatment is delayed, the death rate increases by 3 percent, says Aaron E. Glatt, MD, president and chief executive officer of New Island Hospital in Bethpage, N.Y., and spokesperson for the Infectious Disease Society of America.

Each year nearly 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis — the most prevalent type of bacterial meningitis — and between 10 percent and 15 percent of those cases are fatal. Among those who survive meningococcal meningitis, some 20 percent suffer long-term problems, including brain damage, kidney disease, or limb amputations.

"You should be aware of meningitis symptoms, and if you experience any of the symptoms, see your doctor right away," says Tom Skinner, spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "The earlier someone begins treatment, the better their chance for recovery."

How Viral and Bacterial Meningitis Spread

Both bacterial and viral meningitis are contagious, although neither is as easily spread as the flu or the common cold. The bacteria and viruses that cause meningitis are generally spread through close contact with an infected person's respiratory and throat secretions, through coughing or kissing or by sharing food or drink.

Another both types of meningitis can be spread is through contact with an infected person's stool — a reason why young children who aren’t toilet-trained, or their caregivers, can become infected.

Bacterial meningitis is especially of concern for college students, particularly those living in crowded dorms. Nearly 30 percent of all U.S. cases of bacterial meningitis are among teens and young adults aged 15 to 18. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all teens get vaccinated against meningococcal meningitis (the type caused by Neisseria meningitides bacteria), and many colleges require this vaccination.

Young children, particularly those in day-care centers, and military personnel — who live in close quarters in military barracks — are also at increased risk of meningitis, as are people with a compromised immune system.

Infected Persons May Not Have Symptoms

Not everyone who has been infected with a meningitis-causing virus or bacteria will develop meningitis. About 10 percent of the population in the United States carry the bacteria in the back of their throat for months at a time without actually becoming sick themselves. It only becomes a problem when the bacteria are unknowingly passed to another person who is more susceptible to it and becomes infected.

You cannot know if a person is a carrier of meningitis-causing bacteria. But if you have been in close contact with a person recently diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, call your doctor immediately. You may need to take preventative antibiotics to prevent developing, and further spreading, bacterial meningitis.

Meningitis Treatment

Meningitis, an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (the meninges), can be caused by either a virus or by bacteria. With the more common viral type of the illness, also called aseptic meningitis, the treatment is to stay in bed for a few days, drink a lot of fluids, and take OTC medication.

Bacterial meningitis is rare — but it's a potential killer. Bacterial meningitis is treated with antibiotics, but treatment must start within hours. Nearly 3,000 cases of bacterial meningitis are seen annually in the United States. Of those, 10 percent to 15 percent of the cases are fatal, while a high percentage of survivors are left with a permanent disability. In extreme cases and if not diagnosed early, bacterial meningitis can cause brain damage, hearing loss, learning disabilities, and gangrene of the extremities requiring amputations.

Bacterial Meningitis Symptoms: Not Everyone Gets Sick

The viruses that cause viral meningitis initially infect body fluids like saliva and nasal mucus. This is often how bacterial meningitis begins, too.

"Most people get infected and don't know about it because their bodies develop antibodies and the disease doesn't progress," explains Nathan Litman, MD, director of pediatric infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City and a professor in the department of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "For those who don't develop immunity, particularly young children, the disease can get into the blood."

With bacterial meningitis, the disease spreads sporadically, but those in close contact with an infected person have an increased chance of contracting the illness. "Person-to-person contact is the most common way bacterial meningitis is spread, with family members and others with intimate contact, such as boyfriends and girlfriends, having a 600 times greater chance of getting the disease than the rest of the population," says Dr. Litman. "However, sitting on the bus next to someone would not be significant exposure, nor would sitting in a classroom."

In most cases, it takes between three to seven days for symptoms to develop, and infected persons become contagious three days after the initial exposure.

People who are less able to fight infections, such as the elderly, young children, and those with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders are more susceptible.

Bacterial Meningitis Treatment

Patient are monitored closely in the intensive care unit and isolated to prevent the disease from spreading. When the doctor suspects bacterial meningitis in someone age 1 month to age 50, high doses of antibiotics are given intravenously. Breathing support may also be needed. Fluids are also given intravenously to prevent dehydration, and medications to maintain blood pressure are often given in conjunction with antibiotics.

Bacterial Meningitis Prevention: Vaccines

There are two kinds of meningococcal vaccines available to prevent meningococcal meningitis. Each can help prevent four of the five known types of meningococcus bacteria circulating in the United States. However, Type B meningococcus, which causes a significant proportion of cases, is not covered by either vaccine. This means the vaccines cannot be 100 percent effective in preventing meningococcal meningitis.

  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) is used for people 2 through 55 years old. This is currently included in vaccination schedules for children ages 11 to 18. A recent study found that the number of meningitis cases reported has dropped 30 percent overall since the vaccine's approval in 2000, while the rate decreased 64 percent in the sub-group of younger children and 54 percent in the sub-group of those older than 65.
  • Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4) is given to people older than 55.

Adults generally do not receive the vaccine unless exposed to someone with the disease or if they plan to travel overseas to particular regions; some countries, particularly in Africa, experience large, periodic epidemics. It takes up to two weeks for the vaccine to be effective.

Meningitis: Proactive Treatment

Someone who has come into close contact with a person who has meningitis should begin antibiotics immediately to kill any meningococcus already in the body. A meningococcal vaccination may also be recommended after such an exposure for people age 2 or older, particularly if there is a known outbreak in the area.

If meningitis is suspected, see a doctor immediately. Early diagnosis is key to preventing long-term effects from meningitis, and possible death.

Meningitis Info : kidsgrow
Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH

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