Monday, December 24, 2012

Top 3 Health Tips: 3 Cold Treatments That Really Work

So despite all of your hand-washing and good hygiene, you've caught a cold. Instead of reaching for a multi-symptom cold remedy, consider a more targeted treatment that won't leave you groggy or overmedicated. Rodale's Prevention magazine recommends these three products to help you recover faster and keep your illness from morphing into something worse:


1 Zinc lozenges such as Cold-Eeze can reduce your sick days. Researchers believe that the zinc ions bind to the same receptors in your throat and chest as the cold virus, which helps keep the bug from spreading.


2 Ocean Saline Nasal Spray can be used to keep your nasal passages moist, and saline can help stop mucus from congealing and causing congestion and prevent germs from turning your cold into a sinus infection.


3 Trials have shown that Halo Oral Spray's antiseptic ingredients can keep your throat free of opportunistic bacteria, such as those that cause bronchitis, for up to six hours.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Tips for Talking to Children About the Shooting

First, find out what they have heard. 

Through Facebook, Twitter, or friends, most youngsters will know about the mass shooting that took place on Friday morning at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. 

Listen to their fears. Dispel rumors. And be honest, sharing as much detail as a child is able to handle.
Therapists who treat childhood trauma said on Friday that parents talking to their children about the mass shooting should address the news directly and soon, allowing the child to lead with questions and concerns. Parents can no longer control what their children know by simply turning off the television. Many children will know what is happening from mobile devices and social media; now is the time to turn those devices off, these experts said. 

“It’s important to open up the discussion,” said Melissa Brymer, director of terrorism and disaster programs at the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, based at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Duke University. “There’s a lot of talk on Facebook and Twitter, and it’s important to clarify what’s rumor and what’s not.” 

Dr. Andrew J. Gerber, a child psychiatrist at Columbia, said that parents should come to terms with their own feelings about the massacre before talking to a child. They should "essentially metabolize the awfulness of the event so that what they pass on when they have a discussion with their children conveys a certain amount of thoughtfulness and understanding, rather than raw trauma," he said in an e-mail. 

If a child is frightened, determine the precise source of the fear. It may be a worry that their classroom isn’t safe; or about how to escape school when under threat. “If you say, ‘This bad man can’t hurt you,’ you’ve introduced another fear,” said Dr. Robert H. Abramovitz, a child psychiatrist at Hunter College. “Ask what their worst fear is, and address that.” 

Dr. Abramovitz said that parents can be so eager to reassure that they make unrealistic promises, like “this will never happen to you.” “Better to validate the child’s fear, to say that it’s natural to feel that way, and tell them, ‘I’m going to do everything I can to keep you safe,'” he said. 

And reinforce coping skills the child may have already used. Dr. Abramovitz suggested asking, “Remember the last time you were afraid? Remember what you did to calm down?” He said, “This gives the child a feeling of having some agency, some control.” 

If possible, other therapists said, parents should use family or holiday routines as a comforting structure. Spend extra time with children at bedtime. Read them a book. Engage traditions that remind them what they are thankful for. 

Practical questions will soon arise, if not today then soon. Does a child know his or her school’s emergency procedures? What is the family’s communication plan, should something happen? 

“For example, texting is a better strategy then calling,” Dr. Brymer said. “The phone lines clog up fast. It may be a matter of children knowing to text, ‘I’m OK.'” 

And they should be, especially if their parents check in with them and listen. And remind them of something important: that the world is a good place, even if some people do very bad things. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

White House to GOP: It's your move

The White House says Republicans should come clean about how much they're willing to raise tax rates on the rich. Republicans counter that President Barack Obama's latest plan is a joke that avoids tough decisions on the nation's biggest entitlement programs, including Medicare.

It's a game of political chicken as the clock ticks closer to the end-of-year deadline, when George W. Bush-era tax cuts expire and automatic, across-the-board spending cuts kick in, sending the nation over a proverbial "fiscal cliff" that some economists say could plunge the fragile economy back into recession.

But based on the partisan rhetoric of those in charge of negotiating a deal, there's not going to be a solution any time soon.

"They have to tell us what makes sense to them, and then we can take a look at it," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said of Republicans on NBC's "Meet the Press." "But what we can't do is try to figure out what makes sense for them."

House Speaker John Boehner countered that Republicans have plenty of ideas, even if he doesn't want to discuss the specifics publicly.

"There are a lot of items on the table," Boehner told "Fox News Sunday." "The president knows what they are. The question is what are they willing to do?"

Last week, the White House delivered to Capitol Hill its opening proposal: $1.6 trillion in higher taxes over a decade, a possible extension of the temporary Social Security payroll tax cut and heightened presidential power to raise the national debt limit.

In exchange, the president would back $600 billion in spending cuts, including $350 billion from Medicare and other health programs. But he also wants $200 billion in new spending for jobless benefits, public works projects and aid for struggling homeowners. His proposal for raising the ceiling on government borrowing would make it virtually impossible for Congress to block him going forward.

Republicans said they responded in closed-door meetings with laughter and disbelief.

"The administration has put something out that polls well: taxing the wealthy," said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. "What they haven't done is anything to deal with entitlements, which is painful, and you're not going to have a deal until that happens."

Geithner called the back-and-forth "normal political theater," saying all that's blocking a timely deal is the GOP's reluctance to higher tax rates on the wealthy.

"It's welcome that they're recognizing that revenues are going to have to go up. But they haven't told us anything about how far rates should go up ... (and) who should pay higher taxes," Geithner said.

Republican leaders have said they can accept higher tax revenue overall, but only through what they call tax reform _ closing loopholes and limiting deductions _ and only coupled with tough measures to curb the growth of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

"If we gave the president $1.6 trillion of new money, what do you think he'd do with it?" asked Boehner. "He's going to spend it. It's what Washington does."

Geithner appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation," NBC's "Meet the Press," CNN's "State of the Union," ABC's "This Week," and "Fox News Sunday."

Associated Press writers Mark S. Smith and Michele Salcedo in Washington, and Erik Schelzig in Nashville contributed to this report.