Categories
Winter

Essential winter care tips that everyone should follow for safety

Winter is a great season for outdoor activities, such as sledding and skating. Cold weather, ice and snow can be both fun and dangerous for children. Winter fun is beckoning, but keeping kids healthy, warm and entertained can be trickier than putting snow boots on a squirrel.

During the winter months, ice, snow and cold temperatures can make life challenging for everyone. Whether winter brings severe storms, light dusting or just cold temperatures, here we have some valuable tips on how to keep your children safe and warm. Slippery sidewalks and cold weather can cause a wide range of injuries and illnesses – especially for seniors.

What to wear

Dress warmly in layers of windproof clothing to prevent frostbite and hypothermia. Remember mittens or gloves, a scarf and a hat that covers your ears. Don’t forget to treat your feet, warm socks and waterproof boots will keep your feet dry.

  • Dress your child warmly for outdoor activities. Don’t forget to wear warm boots, gloves or mittens, and a hat. Use thin layers to keep them dry and warm.
  • The rule of thumb for older babies and young children is to dress them in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same conditions.
  • The loose bedding should be kept out of an infant’s sleeping environment like blankets, quilts, pillows, bumpers and sheepskins because they are associated with suffocation deaths and may contribute to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Sleep clothing like one-piece sleepers or wearable blankets is preferred.
  • Keep ears covered at all times to prevent frostbite. Use a neck warmer instead of a scarf and mitten clips instead of a string to prevent choking. Wear mittens instead of gloves so that are roomy enough for an extra pair of socks and to wiggle toes around.
  • If a blanket must be used to keep a sleeping infant warm, it should be tucked in around the crib mattress, reaching only as far as the baby’s chest, so the infant’s face is less likely to become covered by bedding materials.

 Hypothermia

Cold temperatures can lead to frostbite and hypothermia – a condition where the body temperature dips too low.

  • Hypothermia develops when a child’s temperature falls below normal, i.e., 95 degrees due to exposure to colder temperatures.
  • As hypothermia sets in, the child may shiver and become lethargic and clumsy.  Speech may become slurred and body temperature will decline in more severe cases.
  • It often happens when a youngster is playing outdoors in extremely cold weather without wearing proper clothing or when clothes get wet. It can occur more quickly in children than in adults.
  • If you suspect your child is hypothermic, immediately move him to the hospital. Until help arrives, take the child indoors, remove any wet clothing, and wrap him in blankets or warm clothes.

Frostbite

Frostbite is another cold weather concern and is especially dangerous because it often happens with little warning.

  • Frostbite happens when the skin and outer tissues become frozen.  It tends to happen on extremities like the fingers, toes, ears and nose.  They may become pale, gray and blistered. At the same time, the child may complain that his/her skin burns or has become numb.
  • If frostbite occurs, bring the child indoors and place the frostbitten parts of her body in warm (not hot) water.  104° Fahrenheit (about the temperature of most hot tubs) is recommended. Warm washcloths may be applied to frostbitten nose, ears and lips.
  • Victims may feel no more than a ‘pins and needles’ sensation in the hands and feet. Numbness can occur so quickly that the victim, unaware of being frostbitten, may remain outdoors, increasing his or her chances of permanent damage.
  • Do not rub the frozen areas. After a few minutes, dry and cover the child with clothing or blankets. Give him/her something warm to drink.
  •  If the numbness continues for more than a few minutes, call your doctor.

Winter health

  • Try using a cold air humidifier in the child’s room at night if your child suffers from winter nosebleeds. Saline nose drops or petrolatum may help keep nasal tissues moist. If bleeding is severe or recurrent, consult your pediatrician.
  •  Many pediatricians feel that bathing two or three times a week is enough for an infant’s first year. More frequent baths may dry out the skin, especially during the winter.
  •  Cold weather does not cause colds or flu.  But the viruses that cause colds and flu tend to be more common in the winter, when children are in school and are in closer contact with each other.  Frequent hand washing and teaching your child to sneeze or cough into the bend of her elbow may help reduce the spread of colds and flu.
  • Children 6 months of age and up should get the influenza vaccine to reduce their risk of catching the flu.

Winter sports and activities

Action games, making snow angles and building snowmen will help to keep your child warm.

  • Set reasonable time limits on outdoor play to prevent hypothermia and frostbite.  Have children come inside periodically to warm up.
  •  Stay away from snowplows and snow blowers. Choose a play area away from roads, fences and water.

Sun protection

The sun’s rays can still cause sunburn in the winter, especially when they reflect off snow.  Make sure to cover your child’s exposed skin with sunscreen and consider using sun glasses.

Fire protection

Winter is a time when household fires occur. At the beginning of each winter season, get your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional. Buildup in the chimney can cause a fire if it is not properly cleaned. It is a good time to remember to:

  • Buy and install smoke alarms on every floor of your home
  • Test smoke alarms monthly and practice fire drills with your children
  • Never use flammable liquids, evergreen trimmings, wrapping paper, cardboard, trash or debris.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector outside bedrooms
  • Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that could burn, and turn them off when leaving the room or sleeping

Cooking and kitchen safety

Cooking fires are the most common type of fires in U.S. households. By paying attention while cooking, you can prevent a kitchen fire.

  • If you are frying, grilling or broiling food, stay in the kitchen. Turn off the stove if you have to leave the kitchen, even if only for a short time.
  • Keep away from the stove top which are flammable. Wear close-fitting clothing that won’t drape over or touch burners while you are cooking.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, boiling food, you don’t have to stay in the kitchen, but you do need to stay in the home. Check the food regularly and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Turkey fryers pose significant fire hazards because they may produce delicious holiday dinners.

Portable heaters & space heaters

Place space heaters at least three feet away from anything that could catch fire, including paper, clothing and furniture. Make sure all heaters are in safe working condition.

Small children and pets should not be left alone with heaters. So make sure to turn off heaters when you leave the room or go to sleep.

Categories
Health benefits

How to use coconut oil in cooking

People used to speak it as an artery-clogging enemy of good health. But it doesn’t clog your arteries, it’s actually heart healthy! It doesn’t make you gain weight on the contrary, it speeds up the metabolism! Health practitioners suggest three tablespoons of organic, extra-virgin coconut oil per day. Look for one that’s labeled virgin like olive oil, virgin coconut oil is less processed and more flavorful.

Use coconut oil instead of other oils in your daily cooking. You can blend coconut oil in smoothies, use it as a spread on toast, use it as a topping on popcorn, and in other recipes. You don’t need to master a whole new way of cooking to get more coconut oil into your diet. These easy ideas will make the foods you already love that much more delicious and even healthier.

Saute hearty greens in coconut oil

If you are cooking greens with garlic, onion, ginger and spices, then it’ll taste great stir fried with coconut oil instead of the vegetable oil or olive oil you normally use. Coconut oil has a high smoke point; it’s especially good for stir frying.

Drizzle it over creamy soups

If your creamy soup has sweetness or spice, then it’ll taste great with a drizzle of melted coconut oil over the top. To add even more flavor to your coconut oil, heat it up in a small saucepan with a pinch of the same spices you used in the soup.

Make popcorn

Drizzle melted coconut oil on stove popped popcorn to get that buttery movie taste.

Spread it on toast, waffles or pancakes

Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, but melts deliciously when spread over freshly made toast, pancakes, or waffles. That sweet coconut flavor is especially good with cinnamon raisin toast, pumpkin waffles and chocolate-chip pancakes. You can even melt coconut oil and use it in the batter instead of oil or melted butter, too.

Cinnamon toast crunch

Mix a little coconut oil with cinnamon and spread it on your favorite sprouted bread for a filling morning pick me up.

Use it to sauté seafood

The delicate sweetness of fish and shellfish is an especially smart match for coconut oil. Use it to sauté shrimp or sear fish fillets, or use alongside coconut milk, ginger and cilantro to steam the mussels.

Whip up a show stopping stir fry

It has such a high percentage of saturated fat, coconut oil can withstand up to 45 degrees of heat to 100 degrees more than olive oil. Due to its high smoke point, it makes perfect for quick veggie stir fries and pan seared fish or tofu or sweet potato fries.

Use it to cook grains

Lots of simply cooked grain recipes start by quickly the grain (rice, quinoa, faro, etc.,) in a bit of oil before adding the liquid and simmering. Use coconut oil to sauté that grain, and they’ll be infused with the delicious taste of coconut liquid, or just drizzle the cooked grains with a bit more melted coconut oil.

Blend it into your coffee

Add a spoonful of coconut oil into your morning java and throw it in your nutribullet for a minute or so for a fortifying bulletproof style beverage. Simply stirring it in may leave a slightly oily, less yummy consistency.

Smoothens

Scientific studies found that the coconut oil has medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs effectively destroyed viruses, another that it lowered cholesterol and a third indicates it might assist in weight loss.

Before chopping up raw ingredients spread a bit on your knives and scissors, and slice with ease.

Categories
Food

Is microwave oven food safe? What foods to cook in ovens and what should not cook?

The microwave oven was invented in the 20th century; over 90% of homes in America have at least one. Today, many people use microwave ovens daily to prepare foods, it is important to know some cooking basics to ensure food safety. It is important to use a food thermometer and test food in several placed to be sure it has reached the recommended safe temperature to destroy bacteria and other pathogens that could cause food borne illness.

Microwave ovens are popular for reheating previously cooked foods and cooking vegetables. It is useful for rapid heating of otherwise slowly prepared cooking items, such as hot butter, fats and chocolate. Unlike conventional ovens, microwave ovens usually do not directly brown or caramelize food.

Although heat is produced directly in the food, microwave ovens do not cook food from the “inside out.” When thick foods are cooked, the outer layers are heated and cooked primarily by microwaves while the inside is cooked mainly by the conduction of heat from the hot outer layers.

Microwave cooking can be more energy efficient than conventional cooking because foods cook faster and the energy heats only the food, not the whole oven compartment. Microwave cooking does not reduce the nutritional value of foods any more than conventional cooking. In fact, foods cooked in a microwave oven may keep more of their vitamins and minerals, because microwave ovens can cook more quickly and without adding water.

Bacteria will be destroyed during microwave cooking just as in other types of ovens, so the food is safe cooked in a microwave oven. However the food can cook less evenly than in a conventional oven. Microwave cooking can be uneven just as with frying and grilling.

To promote uniform cooking, arrange food items evenly in a covered dish and add some liquid if needed. Where possible, debone large pieces of meat; bone can shield meat from thorough cooking.

Cover the dish with a lid or plastic wrap. Allow enough space between the food and the top of the dish so that plastic wrap does not touch the food. Loosen or vent the lid or wrap to allow steam to vent. The moist heat that is created will help destroy harmful bacteria and ensure uniform cooking. Cooking bags also provide safe, even cooking.

Stir, rotate, or turn foods upside down (where possible) midway through the microwaving time to even the cooking and eliminate cold spots where harmful bacteria can survive. Even if the microwave oven has a turntable, it’s still helpful to stir and turn food top to bottom.

Follow cooking instructions on the product label (or recipe instructions). If a range of time is given, start with the fewest minutes recommended. Add cooking time if necessary to reach a safe internal temperature.

Observe the “standing time.” Cooking continues and is completed during standing time. Most importantly, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Never partially cook food and store it for later use because any bacteria present wouldn’t have been destroyed. When partially cooking food in the microwave oven to finish cooking on the grill or in a conventional oven, it is important to transfer the microwaved food to the other heat source immediately.

Microwaves might affect the human body as it is known that microwave radiation can heat body tissue the same way it heats food. Exposing to high levels of microwaves can cause a painful burn. Exposure to high levels of microwave energy can alter or kill sperm, producing temporary sterility. Different types of injuries like burns, cataracts, temporary sterility can only be caused by exposure to large amounts of microwave radiation much more than the 5mW limit for microwave oven leakage.

  • Microwaved food, when consumed continuously over a long period, “shorts out” electrical impulses in the brain, depolarizing or de-magnetizing brain tissue.
  • Microwaving food changes its chemical composition in some mysterious, unknown way, destroying the “vital energy” and nutrients in food.
  • Microwaving water cause changes in its “structure or energy.”
  • Microwaving food or water causes the formation of “radiolytic compounds” — new chemicals created by the tearing apart of molecules.

Here are some real, not-hidden hazards of microwave cooking like heat, bacteria, metals, plastics, empty and damaged oven.