Healthy, Wealthy And Wise! Immunization Guidelines!

Healthy, Wealthy And Wise!  Immunization Guidelines!

August seems to have gone by with warp speed–and now we’re all busy doing those things that come with summer coming to an end, school starting and life settling into a little more of a scheduled routine.

I thought I’d devote this month’s “Healthy, Wealthy And Wise” journal entry to the important topic of vaccines and immunizations, since many parents are now preparing to send their children back to school.  When we are proactive about our personal health, not only does it help aid in the prevention of unnecessary illnesses, it can also help us save money that might otherwise have to be spent on medical costs when seeking treatment when we are sick.  I also think it goes without saying, that acquiring any sort of knowledge that will ultimately help us have a better quality of life is indeed wise!

Healthy, Wealthy And Wise!  Immunization Guidelines!  www.mytributejournal.com

With the resurgence of many previously eradicated diseases, such as whooping cough and measles, the National Center of Disease Control has recently issued a warning that authorizes many schools, including colleges, the right to withhold entrance to those who are not current with required vaccinations.

(You can read more on the subject of immunizations here.)

The Immunization Debate Is Real!

The United States public health officials and many in the medical field have had to combat many misconceptions about vaccine safety for a number of years now.  Despite the fact that countless studies have found no reliable evidence to support the notion that vaccines can cause autism or other chronic illnesses, a growing number of parents still refuse to vaccinate their children.  The fear that vaccines would increase the risk of childhood autism first gained public leverage in 1997 when an article was published by Andrew Wakefield, a British surgeon, linking the two together.  But according to the CDC, this paper has since been completely discredited due to serious procedural errors and undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.  The paper has since been retracted from all medical publications and Dr. Wakefield lost his license.  Still, the many years of research it took to create viable vaccines lost critical ground in a matter of mere months by the unethical practices of the scientific personnel associated with this now debunked study.

So let’s remind ourselves about the basic, fundamental elements of immunizations:

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  • What is a vaccine?  A vaccine is substance prepared from dead or living organisms that is introduced into the body via an inoculation that causes the development of antibodies, which will then produce immunity to the disease caused by the microorganism. 
  • Why is it important to be immunized?  An immunized person develops antibodies in response to the pathogens introduced when they are vaccinated; these antibodies stay in the bloodstream for years, even a lifetime, which allows the body to quickly react and protect itself against the disease when he or she comes in contact with the disease in the future.   

Pediatric Physician’s Viewpoints!

In my role as a maternity and nursery nurse, I’m often able to help provide the first line of defense for babies in the fight against contractible diseases, since parents have the opportunity to give consent for their newborns to receive the Hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours after birth.  When parents decide to defer this vaccine, I see many knowledgeable pediatricians try to educate them better on the value of keeping their children up to date on life saving vaccinations.

Immunzation Guidelines.  www.mytributejournal.com

If I were to summarize the viewpoint on immunizations of the pediatricians I have the privilege of working with, it would be that they recognize that parents want to do what is right for their children.  Doctors are also aware that many families today don’t fully recognize that measles, mumps and whooping cough, just to name a few, are not the quaint, old diseases of the 19th century.  Most pediatricians find it a daunting task sometimes, to defend years of science and research against popular public opinion and current trends; emotions always outweigh statistics.  Simply stated, doctors find that the best way to deal with parental concerns is by appealing to these emotions and taking the approach that Dr. Ari Brown talks about in her popular book, Baby 411.

I tell parents, “I vaccinate myself and my family to protect them, I wouldn’t do anything different with yours.”  Nothing works 100% of the time, but I can honestly say that this approach works more effectively than anything else I say, and it takes less two minutes.”  

Current Immunization Schedule:

As mentioned earlier, our children are not the only ones who need to receive immunizations, there are vaccines that we as adults need as well, such as H1N1, (better known as the flu shot) tetanus, meningococcal, etc.  You’ll find an easy to understand immunization schedule here, that way you can help your family stay current on their vaccines.

Hopefully, you’re inspired to do more research on immunization guidelines and the need to be proactive where our own health is concerned, as well as that of other family members.  Should anyone you know experience a negative side effect from immunizations, consult your physician and seek treatment, as well as other viable vaccine alternatives.   (My oldest granddaughter had a severe reaction to her first influenza inoculation and had to be hospitalized; she won’t be able to have another flu shot until they can make one without an egg based mixture, so obviously my daughter is careful to go the extra mile to keep her safe and well during the cold and flu season.) 

I’d like to end with a profound quote by Dr. Paul Offit, an infectious disease and vaccine expert, and director of the “Vaccine Education Center” at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia:

“I would make the case that a choice not to get vaccines is not a risk-free choice.  Rather, it’s a choice to take a different and far more serious risk.”

I would love to know your experiences with keeping your family up to date on their immunizations.  Were you aware that there were recommended vaccines for adults too?

–Mary     

Healthy, Wealthy And Wise! Cholesterol, Credit Cards And Courage!

Healthy, Wealthy And Wise!  Cholesterol, Credit Cards And Courage!

As is always the case, summer is passing by way too quickly, I mean–where has July gone!

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This month’s edition of “Healthy, Wealthy and Wise” has been inspired by the all the summertime camp fire treats, fun excursions and new adventures we love!

Being healthy.  www.mytributejournal.comMost doctors will tell you that your cholesterol level is a key factor that often determines your overall health and wellbeing-that is why it’s one of the lab tests done when you go for a physical evaluation!

Here’s a simple way to help you better understand your cholesterol numbers:

HDL: equals healthy cholesterol and levels need to be 50 or better.

LDL: is the unhealthy cholesterol and results should be under 100. 

If your results aren’t within this criteria, it’s important to discuss strategies on how to improve your cholesterol with your doctor.

No way around it, a healthy diet and exercise are the best ways to ensure good HDL cholesterol.  At least two servings a day of soluble fiber found in oatmeal, berries and carrots, just to name a few, help to raise healthy cholesterol levels.  Trans fats found in fried foods and processed snacks are counterproductive to good cholesterol.  Certainly, these are things we know and understand, we just have to be sure and make a conscious, daily effort to incorporate healthy food choices along with an exercise regimen into our busy schedules.  (Read about some of my healthy snack picks here.)

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“Research suggests that laughing decreases stress hormones, so I strongly advise that laughter be prescribed as a way to increase good HDL cholesterol test results and prevent heart disease–besides, once you start laughing, it forces you to feel better…and that’s just good medicine!

 Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, cardiologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City    

Gaining wealth.  www.mytributejournal.comMy parents lived in an era where you saved to buy what you needed, but this philosophy especially held true when you looked to purchase those things that you merely wanted!  Now days it seems that more and more our society tends to live the instant gratification lifestyle of: “Buy now and pay later!”

As fate would have it……I not only had parents who budgeted their finances well, my husband got his college degree in economics and earns a living as a financial planner!  So here are some things I have learned about budgeting and using credit cards–and really, I am grateful to have been taught these things over the years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t hard to resist going out sometimes and buying what I want when I want it!

Good Credit Card Habits:

1. Don’t use your credit card as a substitute for cash.  Using your credit card to purchase groceries or gas can add up fast!  My husband’s rule of thumb when you’re going shopping for food or other household items is to leave your credit card home and use a debit card–or better yet, pay cash!  In her brilliant business article on expanding our comfort zone, Rachel Gillett suggests that we should keep track of how we spend every penny for several months and pay for everything we can with cash!  

“If you have to reach in your wallet and pull out cash, you will often think twice about how much you need something!”

2. Try to pay off your balance within two pay cycles.  In an ideal world, we would pay off our balances each month, that’s why most financial advisors recommend that you don’t charge more than 20-30% of your credit card limit.  It may sound nuts to budget your credit card purchases, but if you do, then you won’t buy more than you can pay off!  A lot of stores often provide 3-6 months “same as cash” on big ticket items, and as long as the total amount billed is paid off within the designated timeframe, no interest is charged!

3. Consider the use of credit a privilege!  After all, purchases we charge will eventually have to be paid off with our hard-earned money!  I didn’t get my first credit card until I started college.  I know that sounds crazy, but even as little as 20-30 years ago, obtaining credit wasn’t as easy as it is now.  My dad and mom taught me that the use of credit was a privilege and an important factor that helps to cultivate responsible money habits and good credit ratings, which are both key when the time comes to purchase a house and some of the other things that help create the happy lifestyle we each envision for ourselves!

Helathy Credit Card Habits.  www.mytributejournal.com

In his book, “The Happiness Advantage” –Shawn Achor lists debt and money woes as one of major blockades to obtaining true happiness.  He suggest that desired habits be put on the path of least resistance…“if you can’t resist the siren song of a sale, at the very least, having only one credit card, with a limited balance available, will cutail impulsive buying and help you be more thoughtful about your spending!” 

Using wisdom.  www.mytibutejournal.comI know that many of you have heard of the serenity prayer, (also the anthem for Alcoholic Anonymous) scribed by the American theologist, Reinhold Neibuhr.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference!”

I remember I taped a copy of this prayer to the cover of my chemistry binder during a particularly hard semester in nursing school…..that quite honestly, almost drove me to drink–ha!

So often, we tend to think that it’s when we’re young and making all the decisions about the course our life should take that requires us to have the most courage…but the older I get, I have come to realize that every stage of life, whether we are deciding on a career choice, who our partner should be, how to best raise capable children, then make the necessary adjustments when they leave home, or care for aging parents, takes equal parts courage and wisdom!

Walt Disney quote on courage.  www.mytributejournal.com

 I’m also a big proponent of this Chinese proverb:  “You don’t always have to chase after great things–you can be content doing small things in great ways!”

I hope the rest of your summer is spent with some of your favorite people, doing some of the things you love to do the most!

What’s on your “courage” bucket list?  When was the last time you did something for the first time?   

–Mary

Summer Is My New Favorite Verb!

Summer Is My New Favorite Verb!

No doubt about it–we all love summer…but have you ever thought of summer being used as a verb?

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While I was at work recently, I listened as one of my co-workers told those of us within listening distance about some of her fun summer plans, after she finished, she asked us in her best southern drawl, “And how are you ‘daaalings’ going to summer this year?”

I love thinking of the word ‘summer’ as a verb–much like visions of sugar-plum fairies, it can’t help but conjure up in your mind all sorts of fun, fanciful things to do, wear and eat during the summer season!

Fun Ways To “Summer” This Year!

  • Summer in some great clothes!

It’s always fun to add a few new, lightweight and colorful items to your wardrobe during the summer months.

Flower sleeve top by Jane.com  www.mytributejournal.com

I recently purchased this simple, cotton knit shirt with floral sleeves from a local boutique shop, but it’s also available on Jane.com.  It is my “go to” on those hot days where you need something loose and easy to wear.

Colorful Keds!  www.mytributejournal.com

Since my feet don’t have the best arches, I’ll often get leg aches if I wear flip-flops all summer, so these colorful Keds are a nice, casual alternative…besides they’re a fun throw back to my days growing up when I usually wore out at least one navy pair each summer.  (These Keds are available at any number of shoe stores and online, as well.)

Loft gingham capri's  www.mytributejournal.com

Another fabulous throwback to my youth are these updated gingham pants that I bought on sale at Loft–and look how cute any of the colorful Keds above would go with them!   

  • Summer with good food!

With all the fresh fruits and vegetables available, as well as many mouth-watering grilling creations, it’s hard to have a bad meal during this time of year!

Grilled corn  www.mytributejournal.com

One of my very favorite summer foods is grilled corn, and it’s really easy to make.  Cook the corn with the husks on in the microwave for a few minutes, (this helps to pre-cook the corn and makes it much easier to husk) then place the cobs on a medium hot grill, slowly turning until the kernels are just slightly golden brown, butter lightly and serve.  So good!

Homemade ice cream sandwiches  www.mytributejournal.com

Ice cream in any form is summering at its best, but you can amp it up a bit by making homemade ice cream sandwiches.  Just make a batch of your favorite chocolate chip cookies, (you can find my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe here) then put a scoop of your favorite ice cream between two cookies!  Yum!!

(Two other favorite summer foods are this Ultimate Food Cart Hot Dog recipe found here, and Red Rock’s Grilled Steak Salad listed here.)

  • Summer by trying something new!

We all have the usual, fun things we love to do each summer, but I also think it’s a good time to try something new to help mix things up a bit!

Summer Is My New Favorite Verb!  www.mytributejournal.com

I am always trying to perfect my camera skills–because after all, as a grandma there’s nothing quite as rewarding as being able to capture some candid shots of my two sweet granddaughters as they play and explore, so I decided to enroll in this photography e-course taught on the blog, A Beautiful Mess.

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My husband is a seasoned grill master, but I decided to up my game in this area by signing up for a “Grilling Made Easy” class at a local kitchen specialty store.

However you choose to “summer” this year, my hope is that it includes time to gather in some of your favorite places with people you love the most!

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One way I love to summer is on my patio with family and friends!

I would love to know some of the fun ways you love to “summer”!  Anything new you’re thinking of trying?

–Mary