Posts Tagged ‘illness’

The health effects of Lysol

When my kids get sick, I want to reach for the Lysol spray, just as my mom did and as the marketers of Lysol tell me I should. But is it safe?

The Wiki page on Lysol states this:

The active ingredient in many of the Lysol products is benzalkonium chloride.[1] This ingredient is highly toxic to fish (LC50 = 280 μg ai/L), very highly toxic to aquatic invertebrates (LC50 = 5.9 μg ai/L), moderately toxic to birds (LD50 = 136 mg/kg-bw), and slightly toxic (“safe”) to mammals (LD50 = 430 mg/kg-bw).

The former main chemical ingredient wass cresol, which does have toxicity at some levels. This version is still available commercially. Breathing high levels over a short period of time can cause irritation to the nose and throat. I experience this every time I spray Lysol. And though there is known toxicity at “high” levels, small exposure over a long period of time has not been studied.

In addition, there are other chemicals including Glycol Ethers, O-phenylphenol, formaldehyde and hydrochloric acid that all have health concerns. It is also important to note that Lysol’s formula is considered proprietary, thus the ingredients list may not be fully disclosed. Wonder what else is in there? Possibly phthalates since fragrances are used and these 2 typically go hand-in-hand, but again show knows?

Does this sound like something you want to spray all over your house, furniture, doorknobs, bathroom, nursery, toys, etc? I think I will pass, too.

Daycares overuse Lysol. When my kids were smaller, the thought of my children mouthing toys that have been sprayed so heavily with Lysol there was a film on them made me cringe, of course so did the thought of them mouthing the same toy 11 other babies just mouthed. Ah, the joys of daycare!

Bottom line: really occassional use my have no harmful effects at all (but then again, cummulative exposure has not been studied and chemicals surround most of us every day). Aside from health concerns, there are environmental concerns, like the toxicity to fish, aquadic invertebretes and birds. Concerned parents do have choices. Vote with your wallet! Don’t buy Lysol spray or any Lysol product until their products are reformulated and are truly non-toxic. Vinegar and water will disinfect a toy just as well, without the weird film and chemicals. Not to mention it’s much cheaper. You can also make your own disinfectant spray in seconds! I love it and am much happier with it than Lysol. Is smells so fresh – like a spa – and has no chemicals in it! It disinfects and it is something I actually want to smell!

Natural ways to prevent and prepare for the Swine Flu

There are many things you can do to help prevent illnesses, such as N1H1 H1N1 (Swine Flu), in your family. Most of these do not cost anything and are things you can do everyday.

  1. Before all else, if you are sick, please stay home! Yes, times are tough for many, but please think of the greater good and stay home to get well.
  2. Frequently wash hands with plain soap and water (there is no evidence that anti-bacterial products are anymore effective at removing germs than plain soap and water). (See how to make your own non-toxic foaming hand wash.) BabyGanics has a great non-toxic foam hand soap as well and is available at Babies R Us.
  3. Use kid-safe, non-alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available. I love CleanWell Hand Sanitizer. It’s available at GNC and Whole Foods. (See my CleanWell product review.)
  4. Degerm. When you get home each day, encourage everyone to do the following:     a. Remove your shoes to keep germs from getting on the floors where children play

         b. Change into clean clothes

         c. Take a shower if at all possible, or at minimum, thoroughly wash hands

         d. Wash any toys with soap and water or vinegar and water that your child may have brought with them 

  5. Do not touch your face, bite your nails, put your hands in your mouth, etc. Teach your children to do the same.
  6. Keep babies from sharing and mouthing toys if and when possible. Wash them frequently with soap and water, or vinegar and water to sanitize. 
  7. Take care of yourself: Get enough sleep, exercise, eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water (as opposed to sugary drinks). 
  8. Take a vitamin supplement, especially Vitamin D. Some studies suggest illnesses such as the flu are brought on by lack of Vitamin D. I love Carlson’s Baby Vitamin D drops. They are actually cheaper than the traditionally recommended infant multi-vitamin, minus all the extra “junk” ingredients. They also have kids’ and adult versions. One drop a day is all you need – too easy!
  9. Take a daily probiotic. A recent study showed a significant decrease in the report of illnesses among a group who took a daily probiotic than those who did not. It’s also a good idea to mix up the brand and strains for maximum benefit. Children’s Rhino probiotic comes in a chewable and powder form and is all natural.
  10. Cough and sneeze into a tissue. If one is not available, use your sleeve (your hands will come in contact with more people and surfaces than your sleeve). 
  11. Do not share utensils, drinks, etc. even with your children or spouse.
What should you do to prepare for a N1H1  H1N1 outbreak? 

  1. Wear a face mask. It may offer additional protection during an outbreak.  
  2. Avoid public places as much as possible during an outbreak. 
  3. Stock up. Stock the freezer with veggies and meat, the pantry full of non-perishables, and anything else you would need to survive in your house for days or weeks at a time, so in the event of a major outbreak, you will not need to venture out of the house. Think toilet paper, laundry detergent, toiletries, pet food, etc. 
  4. Have treatment supplies on hand such as fever reducing products, thermometers, tissues, hand sanitizer, etc.
  5. Refill any reoccurring prescriptions ahead of time
  6. Prepare for childcare. Have someone lined up to care for your kids in the event schools or daycares close, or you yourself become sick.
  7. Discuss telecommuting options with your boss.

Visit the CDC’s website and understand the symptoms of N1H1 H1N1. If you or your child becomes sick, contact your doctor or pediatrician immediately to understand any warning signs so you can get prompt attention when it is needed.

More info:

CDC’s H1N1 Flu Center 

WHO – World Health Organization H1N1 Coverage

Prevent and Prepare for Swine Flu 

Swine Flu on Wikipedia 

Mercola on Probiotic benefits

Author’s note: The author is not a medical doctor and is not giving out medical advice. Many parents are looking for natural ways to prevent the swine flu, whether it’s in addition to, or lieu of the N1H1 H1N1 vaccine; and healthy adults currently are not eligible for the vaccine. The fact of the matter is a little less than 50% of the US population will receive a N1H1 H1N1 vaccine, whether by choice, ineligibility or lack of availability. Additionally, the vaccine is not 100% effective (so far it’s proved to be effective about 90% of the time), thus it’s nice to have a little back up. The author is not advocating against the vaccine in anyway and this is not meant to spark any type of debate on vaccines.


Health Remedies that Work

I found this interesting article in Men’s Health Magazine. Interesting and unique ways to cure common ailments. If anyone has tried any of these, please comment and let me know if they really work. Here’s a summary.

18 Tricks to Teach Your Body
Soothe a burn, cure a toothache, clear a stuffed nose…
By Kate Dailey

1. If your throat tickles, scratch your ear! – OK I just tried this because I have a sore throat and would you believe it, this really worked! Well, for a few seconds anyway.
2. Experience supersonic hearing! To better to someone talking use your right ear, for music, use your left.
3. Overcome your most primal urge! If you need to tinkle and you are far from a bathroom, the author suggests you fanaticize about sex or Jessica Simpson. If you are too young, hate sex (and/or Jessica Simpson), or aren’t comfortable with this type of thinking, maybe fanaticizing about having dinner with, or just kissing Brad Pitt, Jessica Simpson or whoever trips your trigger.
4. Feel no pain! If you are getting shot, cough during the injection.
5. Clear your stuffed nose! Thrust your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then press between your eyebrows with one finger. (OK, how do people figure this stuff out?)
6. Fight fire without water! Sleep on your left side to help prevent acid reflux.
7. Cure your toothache without opening your mouth! Just rub ice on the back of your hand, on the V-shaped webbed area between your thumb and index finger.
8. Make burns disappear! When you accidentally singe your finger on the stove, clean the skin and apply light pressure with the finger pads of your unmarred hand. (Personally I have used breastmilk, so if you have any of that around, I highly recommend applying that after doing this trick. The milk helps take the sting out.)
9. Stop the world from spinning! Dizzy? Put your hand on something stable.
10. Unstitch your side! Get stitches in your side when running, exhale as your left foot hits the ground instead of your right. I personally can attest that this works (at least it did 13 years ago when I actually ran)!
11. Stanch blood with a single finger! For a nose bleed, put some cotton on your upper gums — just behind that small dent below your nose — and press against it, hard. A much better alternative than pinching your nose and leaning back.
12. Make your heart stand still! Got butterflies? Blow on your thumb. The breathing triggers a nerve to help control your heart rate.
13. Thaw your brain! To cure that ice cream headache, press your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth, covering as much as you can.
14. Prevent near-sightedness! Poor distance vision is usually caused by near-point stress.” In other words, staring at your computer screen for too long. Every few hours during the day, close your eyes, tense your body, take a deep breath, and, after a few seconds, release your breath and muscles at the same time. Tightening and releasing muscles such as the biceps and glutes can trick involuntary muscles — like the eyes — into relaxing as well.
15. Wake the dead! If your hand falls asleep while you’re driving or sitting in an odd position, rock your head from side to side.
16. Impress your friends! Next time you’re at a party, try this trick: Have a person hold one arm straight out to the side, palm down, and instruct him to maintain this position. Then place two fingers on his wrist and push down. He’ll resist. Now have him put one foot on a surface that’s a half inch higher (a few magazines) and repeat. This time his arm will cave like the French.
17. Breathe underwater! Before diving to the bottom of the pool, take several short breaths — essentially, hyperventilate. When you’re underwater, it’s not a lack of oxygen that makes you desperate for a breath; it’s the buildup of carbon dioxide, which makes your blood acidic.
18. Read minds! Well, your own anyway. Review a speech (or for a test perhaps) right before falling asleep. Since most memory consolidation happens during sleep, anything you read right before bed is more likely to be encoded as long-term memory.

Read the entire article.

Do Aromatherapy Products Work?

According to an Ohio State University study, they really don’t.

Aromatherapy claims can be found in everything from candles, lotions, bath salts and more when certain essential oils are added to the product. The claim depends on the essential oil that is used – lavender to help you sleep, basil for headaches and lemon as an anti-depressant. OSU conducted a study using lemon and lavender oils and put the subjects through several scenarios from pain response (dunking feet in cold water) to mood response (completing psychological tests). What they found was that lemon oil had a positive effect on subjects’ moods, but lavender didn’t have any perceived effect. Neither essential oil significantly affected pain responses, heart rate or blood pressure.

I doubt these finding will curb much, if any, spending on aromatherapy products, but the findings are at least interesting. I personally think if you feel it works then it’s worth it. Whether there are real results of that essential oil or you psychologically feel the effects, then really it does “work.” It just may not have the same effect for everyone.

Makers of Airborne Settle False-Ad Suit With Refunds

Interesting. I have heard a couple people talk about the good experience they had with Airborne, the cold-fighting, immune-boosting supplement. Well, apparently they just settled a class action lawsuit for false advertising. If you purchased Airborne and did not see positive results, you may be eligible for a refund for up to 6 purchases. Read more about it.

Cold Meds Send 7,000 Children to the ER Every Year

I saw this article and this explains more about why the FDA is recommending cold meds not be given to children under 6. There is statistical evidence. More than 7,000 children are rushed to the ER every year after suffering adverse reactions to cold medications. In 2004 and 2005 more than 1500 children suffered from complications and 123 died after taking cold medicines. There are also a variety of factors: parents giving the wrong medicine or the wrong dose, and in some cases children themselves found their way into the bottles.

Here is a link to the entire article:

FDA Warning on Kids’ Cold Medicines & Alternatives to Medicines

In October 2007, the FDA issued warnings on giving cold medications to kids under the age of 6. This week, the FDA affirmed that warning for kids under the age of 2 and warned parents to avoid these medicines because of “serious and potentially life-threatening side effects.” Actually, the FDA has never approved cold medicines for children under 2.

The FDA is still investigating the effects of cold medicines on the 2-11 age group. These warnings come because of several concerns.

1. Parents can very easily give the wrong dosage
2. Parents are giving these medicines to children without consulting their pediatrician
3. These medicines do not appear to be effective on infants and toddlers
4. There have been rare, but serious side effects from convulsions, rapid heartbeat and even death

Parents, if you give cold medicines for children over 2:
1. NEVER give more then 1 type of medicine without consulting your child’s pediatrician. Just because it is over the counter, does not mean it is safe. Same goes for mixing with herbal remedies.
2. ALWAYS use the proper dosage in the provided dropper. Never use a cereal spoon as these are not accurate measurements.
3. ALWAYS follow the dosing instructions. If it says every 4 hours, don’t cheat and give at 3.5 hours.
4. Only treat the symptoms your child has. If he just has a cough, do not use a medicine that also treats a fever and congestion.
5. NEVER use an adults version, even if you are giving a smaller dose. Kids medicines are formulated for kids and adult medicines are formulated for adults.
6. Even herbal remedies can have side effects. Just because these are more “natural” remedies does not mean they are safe for children. Consult a professional.

There are better and more effective ways to treat your child’s cold and cough.
1. Use homeopathic remedies, such as those by Hyland’s (makers of the famous teething tablets). Homeopathic remedies help your body fight infections by boosting your immune system, which is why these are more effective than over the counter meds (that just mask the symptoms). Hyland’s products are good – I just used the cough syrup for my 21 month old and she cried for more. She would have drunk the whole bottle if I let her.
It does taste pretty good. 🙂
2. Breast milk in nose for congestion – just pull her off at letdown
and aim for her nostrils! Seems to work almost immediately for us.
3. Vicks on the bottom of her feet (Vicks makes a milder baby version
and so does the same folks who make the Little Noses saline drops).
If you get the baby stuff, you can rub on her chest too, otherwise,
stick to the feet.
4. Use a humidifier/vaporizer. Some suggest this is not effective in getting into the tiny airways of infants, but I have always found it useful in when my daughter was an infant.
5. You can also run hot water in the bathroom and shut the door and let
her breathe the steam for 10 minutes or so. When my daughter had a cold as a
baby, I sat her bouncy seat in the bathroom while I took a shower.
6. Raise the end of the mattress so her head is elevated, will help her
drain and prevent further congestion. To do this safely, put a pillow or rolled up towel under the mattress rather than in the bed with baby.
7. Give lots of fluids to help break up the mucus – breast milk and
water are best.
8. I have recently heard of Sinupret. It’s supposed to be an herbal remedy but it is also 8% alcohol. It’s also NOT recommended for kids under 2, for pregnant, lactating or soon to be pregnant women. I am a skeptic, but it is widely used in Europe and is apparently effective.
9. I have also had some natural vapor bath stuff. It may have helped, but was not as effective as the others.

FDA press release

Dr. Sears on treating kid’s colds

CNN report