Elderberry: a Natural, Preemptive Strike Against Colds and Flu

Depositphotos_31352313_originalBy Carl Thompson

With cold and flu season on the horizon, we may have a natural way to stop them before they start. Recent studies show that Elderberry’s ability to reduce the duration and severity of colds and influenza may be even more powerful than once thought. Now we’re also finding out that elderberry may prevent our getting infected with the cold or flu in the first place. 

A recent paper presented at the 21st Annual Integrative Medicine Conference is pointing in that direction. A research team in Brisbane, Australia found that by taking doses of elderberry extract while in the presence of colds and influenza, we may cut our risk of infection in half. 

The study investigated the potential of elderberry for keeping air travelers safe from illness, and focused on 312 subjects. All were economy class passengers, flying from Australia to an overseas destination. While 154 of the test subjects received a placebo, the remaining 158 were given a membrane-filtered elderberry extract made from the Haschberg variety of the European black elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.), a proprietary formula created by Iprona AG, an Italian company. Cold episodes, cold duration and symptoms were recorded in a daily diary, and all the participants completed surveys before, during and after travel. [Read more…]

2015 Parenting Gift Guide

Looking for the perfect gift for a new parent? It’s often been said that the single best gift you can get for a new mom and dad is the offer to give them a rest at some point!

But if you can’t physically help out, here are some gifts every new parent will appreciate. Each week, we’ll be featuring a new set of gift items.

Also, just a special thank you to those of who also sent in your gift ideas and suggestions.

Dreft Products

Moms have trusted Dreft’s laundry detergent for years to clean their babies’ clothes. The special formula was designed specifically to keep babies’ gentle skin safe and protected from harmful and irritating chemicals. Now the same can be said for Dreft’s new line of cleaning products. Moms and dads have been using other cleaning products to keep their homes clean but sometimes the harmful chemicals in cleaning products can be dangerous to mobile babies. This is why Dreft created its line of cleaning products.

Once little ones begin wandering it seems that everything goes into their mouth, from the coffee table to other household objects baby’s mouth and hands have been there. Dreft’s Gentle Clean Multi-Surface Spray is formulated to effectively clean the surfaces children touch. The 22-ounce multi-surface spray can be used to effectively clean high chairs, crib railings, changing tables and other household surface baby may touch.

Dreft’s Gentle Clean Multi-Surface Wipes go everywhere baby goes. The wipes are pre-moistened and formulated for babies to swiftly clean any surface they get their hands on. The wipes can be safely used on a variety of surfaces and including, toys, glass, counters, cribs rails and highchair trays. The package comes in a pack of 70 wipes.

Babies don’t always smell like fresh baby powder and for times when this is not the situation Dreft has created an odor refresher designed specifically for stinky baby smells. The Dreft Fabric Refresher & Odor Eliminator helps get the stink out of fabric, carpet and upholstery often left behind by baby messes. The 22-ounce bottle handles even the toughest smells from diapers to spit up and leaves behind a refreshing smell of soft baby scent.


Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 9.37.42 PMSprout Foods

Sprout Foods has become the first baby food manufacturer with no acid preservatives in its products. This is to prevent stomach upset and other problems for young children.  (Sprout products are already completely organic and free of GMOs, preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, and other additives.) 

The new acid-free formulations mark the latest implementation of the three core values – real, honest and pure – on which the company has built its business since the first Sprout baby foods appeared on store shelves in 2009. All Sprout foods are:

Real – No concentrates are used for sweetening or other purposes.  All Sprout meals and snacks are made exclusively from whole fruits, vegetables, grains, poultry and beef, so children get all fiber, protein, vitamins and other nutrients from the real thing.

Honest – Unlike brands that highlight appealing ingredients like raspberries in their product names even if there is only a trace of raspberry or raspberry flavoring in them, Sprout’s product names precisely match the top three or four ingredients in the package in descending order. If the first word in the product is “Apricot,” then apricot is the #1 ingredient.   

Pure – In addition to being organic and GMO-free, Sprout is the only brand that is unadulterated by sugar, salt, preservatives, acids, artificial colors or flavors, or thickeners like guar gum.

[Read more…]

Elderberry: A Back to School Necessity

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 10.37.54 PMHappy summer! Back to school time is just around the corner. Along with the race to stock up on all the right supplies, from backpacks to binders, we can’t forget about our children’s health.

Consider all the bacteria and viruses that make their microscopic home in an average school setting, as well as the draining schedules schoolchildren often have. That’s why we need a safe and natural way to bolster our kids’ immunity and help fight common illnesses. Elderberry — with its antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties — is one back-to-school basic kids shouldn’t be without.

Elderberry is an easy, safe and tasty way to boost children’s health, readily available in kid-friendly forms like gummies, lozenges, syrups, and mixable powders. For centuries, the fruit has been known as a therapeutic mainstay, used in folk medicine and family recipes, lauded by physicians in Ancient Greece and Rome.

Today, thanks in a large part to modern processing methods that standardize and concentrate its potency, elderberry is a natural, reliable treatment for common illnesses such as the cold and flu (influenza). Studies have shown that concentrated, membrane filtered elderberry extract is active against viruses and bacteria that cause upper respiratory symptoms, and can significantly shorten the duration of symptoms, as well as significantly reduce the severity of colds. That’s great news come flu season.  [Read more…]

Getting Ready for School—What Do You Need to do Now to Prepare Your Child for September?

Tim LightmanBy Tim Lightman, Ed.D.

While the last fireworks of the Fourth have barely flamed out, it is not too early to think about getting our youngest children (those entering Pre-Kindergarten through First Grade) ready for the upcoming transition from the lazy, hazy days of summer to the more structured (and potentially stressful) days of school. As a parent, there are many things you can do to ease this transition – for your child and, equally important, for yourself.

Summer schedules are more relaxed and flexible by design. The longer days seem to lead to later bedtimes and summer travel often changes our daily routines. Looking forward to a new school year, particularly for students new to school, it is never too early to begin thinking about how to manage time and routines. It is important to recognize childrens’ need for some ownership (and even control) of the transition so begin a conversation with your child about how routines will change. Give them the opportunity to share their questions and concerns. Remember that children benefit from and learn how to manage themselves through the routines that adults create. [Read more…]

Tips For an Allergy-Safe Halloween

Tonya HeadshotBy Tonya Winders

Halloween laughs and legends live on in family lore. Scaring up a memorable costume is often the most fun part.

For parents, keeping kids safe as they run from home to home, event to event, dressed in costumes and masks and trailed by candy wrappers all the way, is always a top priority.

Thoughtful preparation is key – especially if food, latex or skin allergies are part of the mix.

When Choosing a Costume

• Does your child have eczema or sensitive skin? Avoid plastic costumes or those with materials that will cause your child to sweat – a sure irritant. Choose a fabric that can be washed, and launder it before wearing to remove some of the harmful chemicals. Wear a cotton shirt and pants underneath the costume. Better yet, make your own costume.

• Does your child have latex allergy? Check labels on costumes, masks and accessories, as many are made with latex. If the label isn’t clear, contact the manufacturer directly and ask for consumer relations.

• Does your child need to carry a bronchodilator inhaler or an epinephrine auto-injector? Make sure the costume has secure pockets, or sling a purse or pouch over the shoulder. Do not put medication in any bag the child is likely to put down or misplace.

• Have the child try on the costume a week or two before Halloween to make sure it doesn’t irritate or trigger an allergic reaction. [Read more…]

Homework for Parents — Your Child’s Back-To-School Health Checklist

Summer fun is almost over for millions American students.  It’s time to put away the swimsuits, dust off the book bags and head back to school soon.

To ensure that students of all ages go to class in the best possible health, the nation’s emergency physicians advise parents and guardians to do a little homework of their own and go through a back-to-school health check list.

“Nothing is more important than making sure your child’s health is in check,” said Dr. Michael Gerardi, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians.  “Make sure all of the necessary forms and information are organized and easily available to those who need it.”   [Read more…]

What Happened To The Stars?

DSC_0290-239x300By Justin and Le-Anne Noble

Have you seen the greatest show on earth? It boggles the mind and will leave you in awe. You won’t see this show in any theater, on any TV, or in any arena. It’s a show that has taken billions of years to produce. It will send you through time, and take your imagination to amazing heights. It’s a show that is free to us all, yet most of us don’t take the time to tune in. It’s a huge part of us, and yet we neglect it more and more every passing day. This amazing show is the night sky, and it’s more important to you and your child’s health than you think.

Every clear night, not too long after the sun sets, we are all offered front row seats to the wondrous spectacle that is our universe. Humankind has tuned in to this show for as long as we have existed. It’s been the source of legends and myths. It has inspired some of the most breathtaking works of art ever created. It was an instrumental tool in helping us navigate the seas and explore our own planet. It was the subject of our earliest forms of science and philosophy. It has been the launching pad of dreams. And it continues to provide perspective on humanity and our place in the universe. [Read more…]

Media Consumption & Your Kids: How Much Screen Time is Too Much?

shutterstock_215591425It’s amazing how savvy young children are when it comes to mobile devices and entertainment technology. Their aptitude with electronics is admirable, but how much screen time is too much? Here, we address the risks associated with too much screen time and solutions for cutting back on your children’s tech use.

Excessive Use of Tablets & Smartphones

Nearly 40 percent of children ages two to four have used a tablet-type device to play games, use apps or watch videos, according to a Common Sense Media report. And more than a quarter of parents have downloaded apps for their child. The 2013 report also showed that the number of children who use technology on a daily basis has more than doubled since 2011.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that excessive device use has been associated with obesity, aggression and behavioral issues. For some reason, children light up when they see Mom or Dad’s smartphone, and it’s hard for parents to say no. In addition, many parents are fascinated at their children’s ability to master the device.

To put our love for tablets into perspective, Dr. Aric Sigman, a psychologist, told The Guardian that children born now will accumulate an entire year’s worth of screen time by age seven. He doesn’t exclusively mention tablets or smartphones, but their portability and ease-of-use makes them a top source of screen time.

The solution: As with anything, moderation is key. Avoid passive screen time. Use mobile devices such as the Google Nexus 6 for educational games or shared time together, and monitor the time your child spends using these devices. The National Association for the Education of Young Children suggests parents avoid using technology to keep children occupied and advises against giving children a device when they are fussy or throwing tantrums. If your child is upset, her or she needs the comfort of a parent, not a gadget or device.

[Read more…]

Parental Cheat Sheet for Teaching Kids Water Safety at the Pool, Beach

United States Swim School Association provides tips for water safety during vacations

Vacation is a great time for families to kick back and relax at the pool or beach. Kids can burn off their extra energy splashing around while mom and dad enjoy some much needed time sitting back in a chaise lounge without worrying about a to-do list. Before arriving at the pool or beach though, parents should prepare by evaluating their kids¹ water safety knowledge and swimming skills. While some kids have the opportunity to swim year round, most only spend time in the pool or at the beach in the summer or during vacations. This makes it essential for parents to go over water safety rules before arriving at the pool or beach when kids will be over excited and distracted. 

The United States Swim School Association has compiled the following tips parents can use to prepare their children to be around water while on vacation.

[Read more…]