Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ticks Overview

Ticks are the leading carriers (vectors) of diseases to humans in the United States, second only to mosquitoes worldwide. It is not the tick bite but the toxins, secretions, or organisms in the tick's saliva transmitted through the bite that causes disease.

The following is a list of tick-borne diseases, the usual tick vector(s), and the pathogen(s) the tick transmits:
  • Lyme disease (borreliosis) -- Ixodes species including deer ticks (hard ticks) -- vectors for Borrelia species of bacteria (a spirochete or spiral-shaped bacterium)
  • Babesiosis -- Ixodes species (hard ticks) -- vectors for Babesia, a protozoan
  • Ehrlichiosis -- Amblyomma americanum or lone star ticks (hard ticks) -- vectors for Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia ewingii bacterial species
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever -- Dermacentor variabilis (American dog tick) and Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni) (hard tick) are the primary vectors and occasionally the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus); Amblyomma cajennense (hard tick) is the vector in countries south of the United States -- vectors for Rickettsia bacteria
  • Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI) -- Amblyomma americanum or lone star tick (hard tick) -- infectious agent not yet identified according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Tick-borne relapsing fever -- Ornithodoros moubata or African tick (soft tick) -- vectors for Borrelia species of bacteria
  • Tularemia -- Dermacentor variabilis (American dog tick) (hard tick) and Amblyomma americanum or lone star tick (hard tick) -- vectors for Francisella tularensis bacteria
  • Anaplasmosis (human granulocytic anaplasmosis or HGA) -- Ixodes species (hard tick) -- vectors for Anaplasma phagocytophilum bacteria
  • Colorado tick fever -- Dermacentor andersoni (hard tick) -- vectors for Coltivirus, a RNA virus
  • Powassan encephalitis -- Ixodes species and Dermacentor andersoni (both hard ticks) -- vectors for Powassan encephalitis virus, an RNA arbovirus
  • Q fever -- Rhipicephalus sanguineus, Dermacentor andersoni, and Amblyomma americanum (all three are hard ticks) -- vectors for Coxiella burnetii, a bacterium

Outbreaks of tick-related illnesses follow seasonal patterns (about April to September in the U.S.) as ticks evolve from larvae to adults. Different ticks go through complex life cycles that involve mating and larval formation and usually have several hosts; humans are usually not an essential part of the normal tick life cycle, but wherever a mammalian host is pictured in a tick life cycle, usually a human can replace the normal host animal. For example people could replace the deer or cow. However, in most cases, the life cycle is not completed with human hosts.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mutt's Day - Look at that face...

Mutts are often viewed by purebred dog owners and the public as being at a lesser value than purebred dogs. However, mutt dog owners know better than that!

Just as most Americans are ‘mutts’- as my dad used to say – Hinds 57 was our family heritage.  We have, Scottish, Irish, German, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Swedish, Spanish, Greek, and Native American and I sure the more genealogy research I do, will find others.

They merit their dog's uniqueness and diversity. They know that their mutt doesn't need to walk around to prove anything to the other dogs or dog owners. And they know that their dog certainly deserves a day of celebration for their mixed breed heritage.

Over the years, we have found that the mutt’s are far friendlier, better temperament, excellent with babies and children and better pets overall.

So take your mutt for a walk today, or better yet, if you don't own a mutt dog, today is a perfect opportunity to go adopt one!


Choking occurs when a foreign object becomes lodged in the throat or windpipe, blocking the flow of air. In adults, a piece of food often is the culprit. Young children often swallow small objects. Because choking cuts off oxygen to the brain, administer first aid as quickly as possible.

The universal sign for choking is hands clutched to the throat. If the person doesn't give the signal, look for these indications:
  • Inability to talk
  • Difficulty breathing or noisy breathing
  • Inability to cough forcefully
  • Skin, lips and nails turning blue or dusky
  • Loss of consciousness

If choking is occurring, the Red Cross recommends a "five-and-five" approach to delivering first aid:
Give 5 back blows. First, deliver five back blows between the person's shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.

Give 5 abdominal thrusts. Perform five abdominal thrusts (also known as the Heimlich maneuver).

Alternate between 5 blows and 5 thrusts until the blockage is dislodged.

To perform abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver) on someone else:
  • Stand behind the person. Wrap your arms around the waist. Tip the person forward slightly.
  • Make a fist with one hand. Position it slightly above the person's navel.
  • Grasp the fist with the other hand. Press hard into the abdomen with a quick, upward thrust — as if trying to lift the person up.
  • Perform a total of 5 abdominal thrusts, if needed. If the blockage still isn't dislodged, repeat the five-and-five cycle.
  • If you're the only rescuer, perform back blows and abdominal thrusts before calling 911 or your local emergency number for help. If another person is available, have that person call for help while you perform first aid.
  • If the person becomes unconscious, perform standard CPR with chest compressions.

To perform abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver) on yourself:
  • If you're alone and choking, you'll be unable to effectively deliver back blows to yourself. However, you can still perform abdominal thrusts to dislodge the item.
  • Place a fist slightly above your navel.
  • Grasp your fist with the other hand and bend over a hard surface — a counter-top or chair will do.
  • Shove your fist inward and upward.

Clearing the airway of a pregnant woman or obese person:
  • Position your hands a little bit higher than with a normal Heimlich maneuver, at the base of the breastbone, just above the joining of the lowest ribs.
  • Proceed as with the Heimlich maneuver, pressing hard into the chest, with a quick thrust.
  • Repeat until the food or other blockage is dislodged or the person becomes unconscious.

Clearing the airway of an unconscious person:
  • Lower the person on his or her back onto the floor.
  • Clear the airway. If there's a visible blockage at the back of the throat or high in the throat, reach a finger into the mouth and sweep out the cause of the blockage. Be careful not to push the food or object deeper into the airway, which can happen easily in young children.
  • Begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if the object remains lodged and the person doesn't respond after you take the above measures. The chest compressions used in CPR may dislodge the object. Remember to recheck the mouth periodically.

Clearing the airway of a choking infant younger than age 1:
  • Assume a seated position and hold the infant face down on your forearm, which is resting on your thigh.
  • Thump the infant gently but firmly five times on the middle of the back using the heel of your hand. The combination of gravity and the back blows should release the blocking object.
  • Hold the infant face up on your forearm with the head lower than the trunk if the above doesn't work. Using two fingers placed at the center of the infant's breastbone, give five quick chest compressions.
  • Repeat the back blows and chest thrusts if breathing doesn't resume. Call for emergency medical help.
  • Begin infant CPR if one of these techniques opens the airway but the infant doesn't resume breathing.

If the child is older than age 1, give abdominal thrusts only.

To prepare yourself for these situations, learn the Heimlich maneuver and CPR in a certified first-aid training course

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cheesecake - yummm

By Diane Forrest

Today is National Cheesecake Day.  I'm talking about the dessert, not pictures of scantily clad ladies.  Is it a coincidence that it follows lasagna day?  Not only is it a perfect dessert  to follow lasagna, but it also has its origins in Greece.  It was later also adopted by the Romans as was lasagna.

Cheesecake is a dessert consisting of a topping made of soft, fresh cheese on a base made from biscuit, pastry or sponge.  The topping is frequently sweetened with sugar and flavored or topped with fruit, nuts, fruit flavored drizzle and/or chocolate.  It comes in 2 forms, baked or unbaked.   Baking a cheesecake is not as simple as you might think.  It is a difficult process because of the types of cheeses used, getting them to bake evenly and keeping them from cracking or crumbling.  There is a special spring-form pan that is used, as well as baking in a water bath, or wrapping with a wet towel after removing from the oven.  I have found the easiest way to enjoy baked cheesecake is to order it at my favorite restaurant!

The no bake cheesecake is much easier to prepare.  You can find a box mix on the baking aisle at your grocery store, or use a simple recipe like this one:

No Bake Cheesecake:
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
  • 1/2 pint sliced fresh strawberries

  • Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon mixture into graham crumb crust. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Once the cheesecake has set, garnish with sliced strawberries. Serve.

When I was younger I never tried cheesecake.  To me, the words cheese and cake didn't really belong together.  I love cake, and I love cheese, but didn't think I would like it together.  Another reason was my mother would cover the top with that canned cherry pie filling.  Those also didn't appeal to me.  While I like raw cherries (especially floating in a pina colada) I never cared for the canned cooked cherries.   Then one day I discovered Sara Lee Frozen Strawberry Cheesecake.  It was love at first bite!  I would buy one, take it over to my cousin's, get two forks and we would eat the whole thing right out of the box.  Who wants to wash dishes?  We sat on the floor and placed the cheesecake on the coffee table between us and munched away while watching a favorite movie. Recently, while I was in Jackson when my husband was hospitalized, my cousin came over to the hotel room where I was staying.  She brought her 10 year old daughter with her, and in her hand guessed it!  A frozen Sara Lee Strawberry Cheesecake!  We sat on the bed this time( too hard to get all the way down on the floor) and armed with 3 forks we did some major damage to that cheesecake. So the tradition continues!  So today, after you eat some leftover lasagna, finish it off with a delicious slice of cheesecake and celebrate national cheesecake day.

Heat-Related Emergencies

These past several weeks we have been informing you about different subjects relating to the heat and summer.   Emergencies such as dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat strokes, sunburn and other summer related issues.  As I am writing this now the temperature is in the triple digits, and there is no end in sight. 

The heat affects everyone, but is more dangerous to the elderly and infants, and those with certain medical conditions.

People suffer heat-related illness when their bodies are unable to compensate and properly cool themselves. The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating just isn't enough. In such cases, a person's body temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs.

Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable yet annually many people succumb to extreme heat.  I was just reading today where a 61 year old man from Jackson, MS passed away from heat exhaustion while working in his garden.

Because heat-related deaths are preventable, people need to be aware of who is at greatest risk and what actions can be taken to prevent a heat-related illness or death. The elderly, the very young, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at highest risk. However, even young and healthy individuals can succumb to heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather. Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. If a home is not air-conditioned, people can reduce their risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned.

To protect your health when temperatures are extremely high, remember to keep cool and use common sense.  Some things you can do include:

  • Drink Plenty of Fluids;
  • Replace salt and minerals, check with your doctor before ingesting any additional salt though;
  • Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen;
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully, try to limit yourself in morning and evening activities;
  • Pace yourself, take frequent rest periods;
  • Stay cool indoors, use air conditioning, fans and limit the use of stoves and ovens to keep the temperature down;
  • Use the buddy system; keep in contact with those you know who are sick or elderly to make sure they are keeping cool;
  • Never leave children or pets in a parked car; and
  • Use Common sense.

Even short periods of high temperatures can cause serious health problems. During hot weather health emergencies, keep informed by listening to local weather and news channels or contact local health departments for health and safety updates. Doing too much on a hot day, spending too much time in the sun or staying too long in an overheated place can cause heat-related illnesses. Know the symptoms of heat disorders and overexposure to the sun, and be ready to give first aid treatment.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

National Lasagna Day - 2011

By Diane Forrest

Today is National Lasagna Day, and I have to admit that as soon as I started writing this I began to channel Garfield, that lovable cat!  One of my favorite scenes in the movie "Garfield, a Tale of Two Kitties" (yes I watched it!) was when he was served a plate of liver or something but wanted his beloved lasagna instead.  Since the setting was in England at an old castle, this was not a dish that was recognized by the other animals in resident.  So, with the help of the animals, Garfield proceeds to make up a batch of lasagna, even the noodles, from scratch!  Once it was made, and everyone had a taste, they of course loved it and sang its praises.

How could you not love lasagna?  It is a wonderful Italian dish made with meat or sausage, layers of pasta, cheese and tomato sauce.  You may substitute the meat for vegetables for a vegetarian lasagna.  It's pretty much a slice of heaven.  My research shows that actually, Lasagna had Greek origins.  The main theory is that it comes from the Greek word laganon, a flat sheet of pasta dough cut into strips.  Later, the Romans used the Greek word "lasanum", meaning "cooking pot".  Then the Italians used the word to refer to the dish in which lasagna is made. Later the name of the food took on the name of the serving dish.

Baking lasagna these days is easier than you may think.  You can buy readymade spaghetti sauce and lasagna noodles that don't have to be boiled.    While I love lasagna, I have to admit I only made it once.  It was a long time ago, and I had to boil the noodles and make the sauce from scratch, so I'm guessing that is the reason why I only fixed it once. Here is an easy recipe that won't have you spending all day in the kitchen.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (4.5 ounce) can mushrooms, drained
  • 1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 (16 ounce) package cottage cheese
  • 1 pint part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

  • In a large skillet, cook and stir ground beef until brown. Add mushrooms and onions; saute until onions are transparent. Stir in pasta sauce, and heat through.
  • In a medium size bowl, combine cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, and eggs.
  • Spread a thin layer of the meat sauce in the bottom of a 13x9 inch pan. Layer with uncooked lasagna noodles, cheese mixture, mozzarella cheese, and meat sauce. Continue layering until all ingredients are used, reserving 1/2 cup mozzarella. Cover pan with aluminum foil.
  • Bake in a preheated 350 degree F (175 degree C) oven for 45 minutes. Uncover, and top with remaining half cup of mozzarella cheese. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and let stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Celebrate Lasagna Day by fixing up your own dish.  If you don't have the time to make your own, today is a good reason to go to your favorite Italian restaurant or just go to your grocery store's freezer section and get some Stouffer's.  They make pretty tasty lasagna, but the downside is there is no leftovers for the next day! “Buon appetito!”

World Hepatitis Day - 2011

By Diane Forrest,

Today is World Hepatitis Day.  The purpose of this day is to make you aware of hepatitis, what it is, how you can get it, and ways to treat and prevent it.  Hepatitis is swelling and inflammation in the liver.   Hepatitis can be acute, meaning lasting less than 6 months, or chronic, lasting 6 months and longer.

There are several types of Hepatitis:

Hepatitis A found mostly in the stools and blood of an infected person about 15 - 45 days before symptoms occur and during the first week of illness.

You can catch hepatitis A if:
  • You eat or drink food or water that has been contaminated by stools (feces) containing the hepatitis A virus (fruits, vegetables, shellfish, ice, and water are common sources of the hepatitis A virus)
  • You come in contact with the stool or blood of a person who currently has the disease
  • A person with hepatitis A does not wash his or her hands properly after going to the bathroom and touches other objects or food
  • You participate in sexual practices that involve oral-anal contact

Hepatitis B can be spread through having contact with the blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and other body fluids of someone who already has a hepatitis B infection.

Infection can be spread through:
Blood transfusions (not common in the United States)
Direct contact with blood in health care settings
Sexual contact with an infected person
Tattoo or acupuncture with unclean needles or instruments
Shared needles during drug use
Shared personal items (such as toothbrushes, razors, and nail clippers) with an infected person

Hepatitis C is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). It is transfered from someone who has the virus.

Other Causes:
  • Infections from viruses (such as hepatitis A, B, or C), bacteria, or parasites
  • Liver damage from alcohol, poisonous mushrooms, or other poisons
  • Medications, such as an overdose of acetaminophen, which can be deadly

  • Abdominal pain or distention
  • Breast development in males
  • Dark urine and pale or clay-colored stools
  • Fatigue
  • Fever, usually low-grade
  • General itching
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight loss

Diagnosing is done by physical exam and blood testing such as liver function tests.


For Hepatitis A and B there is no specific treatment.  Avoid alcohol and other toxins such as acetaminophen.  The body will recover anywhere from3 to 6 months usually without any permanent damage.  For Hepatitis C there are several medications that can be prescribed for treatment.  For more severe cases a liver transplant may be required.

  • A vaccine is available and is highly recommended for people who are in high risk profession such as health care and other service related fields. 
  • Always wash your hands after using the bathroom and especially before preparing foods.
  • Limit use of alcohol and drugs toxic to the liver
  • Be aware of food preparation while traveling in other countries
  • Be alert when coming in contact with blood and other body fluids.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Milk Chocolate Day

By Diane Forrest

Today is National Milk Chocolate Day, or Diane's Day!  As some of you may know I am a closet chocoholic, ok…maybe I have come out of the closet a time or two.  Who can blame me?  For me, chocolate is so much better at lifting my spirits than almost anything else.  Just popping a little Hershey’s kiss in my mouth brings a smile to my lips and a warm feeling all over.

Wondering why chocolate has such an effect on me I decided to do a little research on the matter.  Some sources claim that chocolate is an aphrodisiac; others claim that it causes the release of endorphins in the body.  Still others state that it causes dopamine to be released in the blood, causing the effect of a drug much like opium. “We want chocolate in times of stress, anxiety, pain and so on. Chocolate is a natural analgesic, or pain killer."

There are several types of chocolate, Dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate.  Milk chocolate is made with...of course, Milk.  It is a process that was first invented by Milton Hershey, and was cheaper to make.  This is perhaps the most famous chocolate in North America, and the taste that most Americans have become accustomed to.  I must admit it is my favorite as well.

Giving chocolate is a great idea as well.  Back in the day young men would bring chocolates to their dates; it’s a favorite during all the holidays, especially on Valentine's Day.  Nothing makes me happier than a box of candy on Groundhog Day or Arbor Day too!

When my husband's first grandchild was born, instead of passing out the traditional cigars, I ordered a couple of boxes of the World's Finest Chocolate candy bars for my stepson.  He liked them so much he forgot to pass them out...and ate them all instead!

No matter what the reason, I love chocolate, it makes me happy.  So today on National Milk Chocolate Day, I am gonna grab a couple of Hershey kisses from my stash and hope you all do the same!

Hemochromatosis Awareness Month

KISBYTO likes to keep you informed on all the major events going on, and making you aware of common illnesses and diseases, however when this subject came up, it was almost passed on.  Even being a nurse, I didn't know much about it, so it couldn't be one of those common things, nor could it.  After doing a little research I discovered that one out of every 200 people suffer from this disease.  I was surprised!  Upon learning this, I thought I would also make all of you aware of this problem too.

Hemochromatosis is a disorder that results in too much iron being absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.  It occurs when too much iron builds up in the body.  It occurs in two forms, primary and secondary.
Primary Hemochromatosis is usually caused by a specific genetic problem that causes too much iron to be absorbed. When people with this condition have too much iron in their diet, the extra iron is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and builds up in the body tissues, particularly the liver. The result is liver swelling. Primary hemochromatosis is the most common genetic disorder in the United States, affecting an estimated 1 of every 200 to 300 Americans.

Secondary is cause by a disease such as thalassemia or side roblastic anemia, especially if the person has received a large number of blood transfusions. Occasionally, it may be seen with hemolytic anemia, chronic alcoholism, and other conditions.

Hemochromatosis affects more men than women. It is particularly common in Caucasians of western European descent. Symptoms are often seen in men between the ages of 30 and 50 and in women over 50, although some people may develop problems by age 20. You have a higher risk of hemochromatosis if someone else in your family has or had the condition.

  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Generalized darkening of skin color (often referred to as bronzing)
  • Joint pain
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of body hair
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness

  • A physical examination shows liver and spleen swelling, and skin color changes.
  • Blood Tests
  • EKG
  • Liver function test

  • The goal of treatment is to remove excess iron from the body and treat any organ damage.  This is done by a procedure called a phlebotomy, during which a half liter of blood is removed each week until the iron level in the blood is normal.
  • Diet changes are also necessary.  Avoid foods that are high iron, and if liver damage has occurred, avoid all alcohol.
  • If Hemochromatosis has been diagnosed early, before any organ damage has occurred diseases such as liver disease, heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes can usually be prevented.  If someone in your family has been diagnosed with Hemochromatosis, begin getting testing to prevent any organ damage, and start treatment immediately.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Walk on Stilts Day

I do hope you have taken the opportunity to walk on stilts while a child.  It is something all children should experience with proper supervision.  Dad made ours, four sets, all adjustable heights, sanded to keep the splinters to a minimum. We keep step pads low to the ground until to learn how to walk with them and keep our balance – then the fun began and new games while walking with our stilts.

 Stilt-walking isn't something you see every day. Most often seen in parades and at the circus, stilt-walking is an ancient art that only requires a pair of stilts and lots of practice (and maybe some extra padding in case you take a tumble).

It is believed that stilt-walking originated in Landes, France by shepherds who took up stilt-walking as a way to navigate treacherous terrain and unpaved roads.  These shepherds were so proficient on stilts that it was not only safer for them to walk on stilts, but it also saved them precious time.

If you've been waiting for an excuse to give it a try, today is the day you've been waiting for! Order a pair of stilts online and give it a whirl on Walk on Stilts Day!

Food Storage and Food Safety

Food Safety and Preventing Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is common, as the CDC estimates that there are about 76 million cases of food poisoning in the United States each year. Although most of these cases are mild, about 325,000 people with food poisoning are hospitalized and 5,000 die each year.

Since young children are among those most at risk for getting serious and even life-threatening cases of food poisoning, it is important for parents to learn how to prevent food poisoning.

Although the media publicizes the cases of food poisoning that are caused by the high profile contaminated peanut butter and pepper Salmonella outbreaks, know that it is probably more common to get food poisoning from foods that are improperly cleaned, prepared, and stored in your own home.

Safe Food Storage

So food doesn't go bad, store it in the right place and under the proper conditions, and don't exceed the storage limit or the food's expiration date.

To get started, it can help to:
  • set the temperature of your refrigerator to about 35 to 40 F and don't allow it to get above 40 F
  • set the temperature of your freezer to 0 F or below
  • clean out your refrigerator so that it isn't overcrowded and so cold air can circulate around stored foods
  • choose foods that aren't close to their expiration date when you are grocery shopping
  • rotate older foods in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer, to the front when you buy new foods so that you remember to use the older foods before they expire
  • regularly check expiration dates on foods in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer and throw out ones that are expired.
  • refrigerate prepared foods and leftovers within 2 hours and within 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 F
  • store foods in their own small, separate plastic or glass containers or zippered plastic bags, instead of grouping different foods into larger containers which may not cool as quickly
  • regularly check foods for signs that they may be spoiled, including mold or a bad smell
  • keep foods covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil
  • throw away any canned foods that have damage, including denting, swelling (a sign of botulism contamination), or leakage

Food Storage Guidelines
It is relatively easy to store and know when to throw out food with expiration dates. It gets harder to know what to do with leftover cooked foods.

How long can you keep last night's dinner in the refrigerator before it goes bad?

In general, eat leftovers as soon as possible. These food storage guidelines should be help, including that you only store (in the refrigerator):
  • ground beef for 1 to 2 days
  • steaks and roasts for 3 to 5 days
  • pork chops for 3 to 5 days
  • lunch meats for 3 to 5 days
  • fish for 1 to 2 days
  • chicken for 1 to 2 days, although fried chicken may be fine for 3 to 4 days
  • pizza for 3 to 4 days
  • milk for 7 days, although you shouldn't use milk that is more than 2 or 3 days past its 'sell by' date
  • an opened package of hot dogs for 1 week

Most importantly, if you are unsure if a food has been stored safely and is still good, throw it away and don't serve it to your kids. It is not worth a bout of food poisoning just because your kids want the leftover pizza that has been in the refrigerator for a week.

Remember that just because a food doesn't look or smell bad, doesn't mean that it can't have enough bacteria on it to make you sick. It may have been stored improperly, be past its usual 'shelf life,' or be past its expiration date.

Monday, July 25, 2011

It All or Nothing Day!!

By Diane Forrest,

Today is All or Nothing Day.  I was not sure how to tell you about this day.  There isn't much information on it, noting about who started it or why, not much on what it even means.  But here are some of my thoughts on this day.

To give your energy to something you must put 100 % into it.  Just like writing these articles for you.  I research the subject, interview people, locate graphics, and send it for editing and proof reading to bring you the best stories I can.  I feel a responsibility to bring you the best, up to date information and I give it 100%.  Anything less would be nothing.  As Will Smiith said, "Giving 99% is just like giving 0.  It’s either all or nothing.   Of course I try to do this in every aspect of my life. Not to say I’m a perfectionist, far from it in fact.  However, you don't have to be perfect to do your very best.  When I was growing up in school, I was 13 months younger than my brother, the brain!  He was so smart, never had to bring home books or study.  He always made the honor roll, his teachers all loved him, and you know the type.  Then I came along.  As my daddy would say, I wasn't the brightest crayon in the box, but I did my best.  I never did make the honor roll, but I never failed either.  I just gave it my all.

To some people this day means a day of doing something out of the ordinary.  If this was your last day on earth, how would you spend it?  It is a day to take a chance, to do something you never have, but always wanted to.  The first thing that comes to mind is a gambler putting in all his chips on a bet.  All or Nothing!  Another thought is doing an extreme sport, jumping out of a plane, bungee jumping, surfing that big wave or skiing down that mountain.  This reminds me of the movie The Last Holiday with Queen Latifah.  It is a story about a woman who has always done the right things.  She worked hard, save her money, went to church, and kept a book of "possibilities" or dreams she had.  She learns that she has 2 weeks to live and feels like she never took any chances in life.  She takes her list of possibilities, and begins to do the things she had been dreaming of.  I won't spoil the movie for you if you haven't seen it, but the message is don't wait for "someday" to do the things you want to do.

Of course you don't have to be that extreme on all or nothing day.  You could just ask that special someone out on a date, give your crush a call, tell someone you love them, or even apologize for some wrongdoing.  You can even just do something nice for someone.

However you plan to spend today, just be sure to give it 100% Give it your all, or nothing at all.  

National Hot Fudge Sundae Day - 2011

By Diane Forrest, 

Today we celebrate National Hot Fudge Sundae Day.  Earlier this month, on July 7, we had Strawberry Sundae Day.  I believe this was just a practice run for today's main event!  In fact, we celebrated ice cream on several days this month.  With July being probably the hottest month of the year, can you think of a better way of cooling off?

The inventor of the sundae is somewhat of a mystery.  Many stake this as their claim to fame.  However, the reason for the invention remains the same.  In the late 1800's with the invention of the ice cream soda, some good folks thought that serving this drink on Sunday was sinful.  They compared the drinking of the sodas to drinking alcoholic beverages, which was also forbidden on Sunday.  To comply with this law, the shop owners developed the "soda-less" ice cream soda to be served on Sunday, or the Sunday Soda.  This treat also became so popular, that it was being served on other days of the week.  The spelling was changed to sundae to avoid offending religious conventions.

The original sundae consists of vanilla ice cream topped with a flavored sauce or syrup, whipped cream, and a cherry on top. Classic sundaes are typically named after the flavored syrup employed in the recipe: cherry sundae, chocolate sundae, strawberry sundae, raspberry sundae, etc. The classic sundae is traditionally served in a tulip-shaped, footed glass vase. Due to the long association between the shape of the round glass and the dessert, this style of serving dish is generally now known as a sundae glass.

To make your own hot fudge sundae, all you need is fudge sauce, ice cream, whipped cream and cherries, nuts optional.

Just heat up the fudge sauce, pour over vanilla ice cream and top with whipped cream, nuts and a cherry.  I prefer toasted pecans over chopped peanuts.

This dessert contains two of my favorite things, chocolate and ice cream!  So in honor of National Hot Fudge Sundae Day, I am going to celebrate by having one, why don't you have one too!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

By Diane Forrest, RN

Today I want to let you know about a subject that not only important and informative, but could also help you save a life.   I’m talking about Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Learning how to perform CPR is not a difficult task.  In fact, in April of this year, a 9 year old boy saved his sister's life after she fell in a swimming pool by using the technique he had seen by watching the movie Black Hawk Down.

Many professions today require employees be trained in CPR, and offer classes to teach and certify them.  Professions such as teaching, police departments, fire departments, all medical professions and life guards, power companies, child care facilities to name a few.   It doesn't take long to learn the procedure, and knowledge you acquire is invaluable.   CPR is performed on individuals who are unresponsive, not breathing and have no pulse.  The purpose of the chest compressions is to keep the blood flowing until help arrives and proper medical treatment can be performed.   Action needs to be taken within the first 6 minutes of unresponsiveness.  If not, permanent brain cell damage will occur.

Steps to take when performing CPR:
  • Shake the person and ask "Are you ok?"  This insures that the person isn't just sleeping.
  • Check for breathing and try to locate a pulse.  To check for breathing place your ear over the person's mouth and nose while watching their chest for movement.  To check for pulse, place 2 fingers on the person's neck, directly under the ear.  Slide fingers down half way to center of neck.
  • Yell "Help!!! Dial 911!!!"
  • Place the person on a hard surface such as the floor.
  • Locate the zyphoid process.  To do this place your fingers along the rib cage.  Follow the ribcage up to the center of the chest.  Once at the center, place 2 fingers across that point.  That is the zyphoid process.  Place the heal of your other hand next to your fingers.  Next remove the hand covering the zyphoid process, place on top of the hand resting on the chest, and interlock your fingers.
  • Position your body so you are directly above the chest.
  • Press 2 inches downward with interlocking hands. 
  • Perform 30 compression's by counting, 1 and 2 and 3 ect.
  •  Perform 2 breaths.  To perform rescue breathing place two fingers on the chin while using the other hand to place on the forehead to tilt back.  This will open up the airway.  Next, pinch the nose, take a deep breath, place your mouth over the individual's mouth and exhale into their mouth watching for a rise in their chest.  Remove your mouth, allowing the air to escape, then repeat the process, giving 2 complete breaths.
  • Locate the zyphoid process again, and repeat chest compression's.
  • If you are alone, complete 4 cycles, and then call 911.  Then return to compression's until help arrives.   Continue 30 compression's to 2 breaths.  If the person is breathing, there is no need to perform breaths. 
  • Do Not stop compression's unless help arrives, or you are exhausted.
  • If there are 2 people present who can perform CPR, one will perform compression's for 15 counts, then the other will perform 2 breaths.  When the person doing the compression's is ready to change positions their count will be, 1 and 2 and Change and 4, until the 15 compression's have been delivered.  After the breaths have been given, the positions are changed, the previous compressor will check for a pulse, if none found, they will state, "no pulse, resume CPR" the new compressor will resume compression's.
  • If the victim is a small child, the same procedure is used, however only 1 hand is used, and the depth is 1.5 inches to be pressed down.
  • If the victim is an infant, the rescuer will position his mouth over the mouth and nose of the baby, while using 2 fingers to press mid line between the nipples.  After 3 compression's about 1 inch deep, blow a puff of air over the mouth and nose.  The ratio is 3 compression's to 1 puff.

Learning to perform CPR is a very satisfying accomplishment.  It doesn't take long, and can be done at the local red cross chapter or even hospital school or church in your area.  Don't waste any more time before you learn the skills to save a life.

For more information see:

Seat Belts Saves Lives!

Nearly every day I see one or more people in cars without their seat belts on.  I often the urge to follow these folks and when they stop get out and show them pictures of others who have been in accidents.

In November 1952 on our return trip from showing my Mothers father our new baby brother Howard who was only a few weeks old were involved in an accident.  Farmer who’s eye sight was poor, pull onto the highway pulling a trailer – only a few yards in front of our car.  Our station wagon did not have seat belts, baby Howard was in my mother’s arms, sister was looking over the front seat, talking with her – it only took a couple seconds.  Mother, baby Howard were killed instantly.  Sister was thrown through the front windshield and was in very serious condition.  Father – saw the white light and asked ‘who will take care of my children?’ and then woke up in the hospital.  My brother and I suffered injuries – broken bones and which healed over time.

Seat belts must be securely fasten and properly worn before I will move the vehicle.  No Exception. No Excuses. No Seat Belt – You are not riding in my vehicle.


We are required to wear them on air planes and our motor vehicles.  Why we are not required on School Buses; Public buses; Trains; Taxis; Metro Rail; or Subways?  They are all moving vehicles and all have accidents.

Here is a good example of various seat belts for kids. 

References and links:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Parent's Day

Today is Parent's Day...who knew?  When I first saw this I never realized it was an actual holiday.  I mean, we already have Mother's Day and Father's Day.  Now a joint Parent's Day?  While I am a fan of any occasion that gives recognition for someone's hard work, this was a complete surprise to me.  After researching this day I found some pretty interesting facts.  Did you know that Parent's Day was established in 1994, and it was actually signed into law at that time by President Bill Clinton?  It is celebrated on the 4th Sunday in July every year.  The Congressional Resolution that was signed into law states that Parent's Day is for "recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of children."   Another fact that is interesting to me is that this bill was introduced by Senator Trent Lott, who just happened to be the state senator from Mississippi, my home state!  This is another reason why I am surprised that I haven't heard of this holiday before. 

United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said: "Replacing Mother's Day and Father's Day with a Parents' Day should be considered, as an observance more consistent with a policy of minimizing traditional sex-based differences in parental roles"  I can't say that I agree with the honorable judge.  There has always been and I hope will always be sex-based parenting roles.  There will always be a mommy and a daddy.  While the family unit may differ, there may only be 1 parent, or 2 males, or 2 females, or even 1 male and 1 female, in order to naturally produce a child it will still always take a mother and a father, a male and female.

In today's world, traditional roles may have changed, the father may not be the breadwinner, choosing instead to stay home and be the caregiver while the mother works.  Both parents’ may work outside the home and share child rearing responsibilities.  In single parent homes the parent takes the roles of both mother and father.   While you may have a mom, who can't cook, but coaches on the soccer team while the dad whips up a batch of chocolate chip cookies they still have a role to play that should be recognized individually as well as jointly.

I can't say that I see doing away with Mother's Day and Father's day for a joint Parent's day, after all Parents’ Day has been established for 17 years now, and I’m just now learning about it.  It must not even be a biggie with Hallmark Cards.  But I do think that it’s a good idea to recognize your parents and thank them for helping you become the person you are today.  You wouldn't be expected to go all out, especially if you celebrated in May and June; however a phone call to your parents letting them know you appreciate them, and catch them up on current events in your life would be a nice gesture.

So, today, on Parent's Day, give your folks a call, send an email or text to let them know you are thinking of them.  I'm positive it will make their day!

Car Safety Seats - Part Two

Ensuring that your child is safely restrained when riding in a motor vehicle is a critical task for parents and those caring for children.

Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the U.S. Placing children in age- and size-appropriate car safety seats and booster seats reduces serious and fatal injuries by more than half.
Infants and Toddlers: Rear-facing Car Seats

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all infants should ride rear-facing starting with their first ride home from the hospital. All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer.

Types of rear-facing car safety seats

There are 3 types of rear-facing car safety seats:
  • Infant-only seats;
  • Convertible seats; and
  • 3-in-1 seats.

When children reach the highest weight or length allowed by the manufacturer of their infant-only seat, they should continue to ride rear-facing in a convertible seat or 3-in-1 seat.

Toddlers and Preschoolers: Forward-facing Car Seats

All children 2 years or older, or those younger than 2 years who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their car safety seat, should use a forward-facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer.

It is best for children to ride in a seat with a harness as long as possible, at least to 4 years of age. If your child outgrows his seat before reaching 4 years of age, consider using a seat with a harness approved for higher weights and heights.

School-aged Children: Booster Seats

Booster seats are for older children who have outgrown their forward-facing car safety seats.

All children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for their car safety seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years of age.

The owner’s manual that comes with your car safety seat will tell you the height and weight limits for the seat. As a general guideline, a child has outgrown his forward-facing seat when any one of the following is true:

  • He reaches the top weight or height allowed for his seat with a harness. (These limits are listed on the seat and also included in the instruction booklet.)
  • His shoulders are above the top harness slots.
  • His ears have reached the top of the seat.

Older Children & Seat Belts

Seat belts are made for adults. Your child should stay in a booster seat until adult seat belts fit correctly (usually when the child reaches about 4 feet 9 inches in height and is between 8 and 12 years of age). When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use Lap and Shoulder Seat Belts for optimal protection.

Using a seat belt
An adult seat belt fits correctly when:
  • The shoulder belt lies across the middle of the chest and shoulder, not the neck or throat.
  • The lap belt is low and snug across the upper thighs, not the belly.
  • Your child is tall enough to sit against the vehicle seat back with her knees bent without slouching and can stay in this position comfortably throughout the trip.

Other points to keep in mind when using seat belts include:

  • Make sure your child does not tuck the shoulder belt under her arm or behind her back. This leaves the upper body unprotected, putting your child at risk of severe injury in a crash or with sudden braking.

  • Never allow anyone to “share” seat belts. All passengers must have their own car safety seats or seat belts.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Red Hots - Get your Hot Dogs Here...

By Diane Forrest (and Terry)

Today is National Hot Dog Day.  When I think of hot dogs, several things come to mind, the first being America.  Ever hear the phrase 'as American and baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet”?  That was an advertisement slogan for Chevrolet back in the 70's and I guess it stuck with me, because I think of hot dogs as the all American food.   My son recently went to Atlanta to watch his first professional baseball game with the Braves playing.  The first thing I asked him was, "Did you get a hot dog?"   You could have heard my gasp across the house as he informed me that he had gotten a pretzel instead!  How was that possible??? Pretzels and baseball don't go together!!!

A hot dog is simply a sausage in a roll, usually topped with a variety of condiments.  It's hard to determine the exact origin.  One story states that street venders used to sell the sausages and provided customers with white gloves to use so they would not get burned.  However, they would leave with the gloves.  They began putting the sausages in rolls to save on the cost of gloves.  In 1893 they began selling them at baseball games and amusement parks.  Today, over 30 million hot dogs are sold at baseball games.

There have been many nicknames for hot dogs that have popped up over the years. A hot dog can often be seen under the names of frankfurter, frank, red hot, wiener, weenie, durger, coney, or just "dog". They are very popular with children for their easy handling and can be found on children's menus in several restaurants.

Many regional areas have their own signature hot dog.  Some different types include:

Chicago Dog - A beef hot dog made with 100% pure beef and topped with pickle, relish, tomato, sport peppers, celery salt and mustard all served up in a soft, warm poppy seed bun.

New York Dog - A beef hot dog made with 100% pure beef and grilled to perfection and topped with spicy brown mustard, grilled onions and crunchy sauerkraut in a soft, warm bakery bun.

All-American Dog - It's a beef hot dog made with 100% pure beef that's grilled to perfection and topped with ketchup, yellow mustard, and relish and chopped onions and served in a soft, warm bakery bun.

Chili Cheese Coney -  It's a grilled beef hot dog made with 100% pure beef and topped with warm chili and melted cheddar cheese served in a soft, warm bakery bun.

Baja Dog - This dog's got bite. With melted pepper jack, tomatoes, chopped onions and spicy jalapenos in a poppy seed bun.

On July 4th every year, Nathan's Famous hot dog company holds a hot dog eating contest.  This year the winner, Joey Chestnut, ate 62 hot dogs in 10 minutes making him the winner for the 5th consecutive year.

You can't watch an episode of Matlock without seeing him down a dog or two "all the way” My favorite way is simply a line of mustard down the middle of the wiener.  When I’m really hungry, I will get a chili cheese dog with a side of onion rings and a chocolate milk shake.   My husband liked his cooked on a stick over a campfire.   Since I couldn't build a fire every time he wanted a hot dog, but did have a gas stove, I would put a couple of dogs on a long fork and hold them over the flame until they were properly burned.

And lets up not forget Alice Cooper's monster hot dogs, just down the street from the Arizona D-Backs ball park in Phoenix, AZ.  A few years ago while visiting my sister, we tackled this monster...three of us...and could not finish it.

However you like your hot dogs, why not grab one today in honor of National Hot Dog Day and let us know your favorite way to eat them.

What kind of kids love Ar-mour HOT DOGS?
Big kids, lit-tle kids, kids who climb on rocks
fat kids, skin-ny kids, ev-en kids with chicken pox
love HOT DOGS, Ar-mour HOT DOGS
The dogs kids love to bite!"