Surviving the financial crisis

The more we worry, the more we put our health at risk. Unfortunately, in these times of financial uncertainty, it's pretty hard not to worry. The mounting pressures of everyday life can take their toll, and if you don't de-stress yourself and relax, you could make yourself very ill. Read on to find out some ways you could help reduce your stress levels, and stay healthy throughout the credit crunch.

Don't get ill.

Worry can lead to stress, which can then lead to anxiety, depression, and eventually affect your physical health. Worrying can cause your blood pressure to rise, affect your mental health, and in some severe cases, could even lead to a heart attack. But, all of this can be avoided if you take better care of yourself, and here's how.

Don't worry, be happy.

You may not have a lot to be happy about at the moment, but the more negative you are, the less likely you will be able to cope. Some say, that if you think negative thoughts, negative things will happen, so try to stay positive. This will help you deal with your problems, and help you get past them too.

Reach out.

Keeping all of your problems and worries inside, can compound matters even further. We've all heard the saying 'A problem shared is a problem halved', and you'll be amazed at just how well this works. Just getting things off your chest will help lift the heavy weight of your burden, and release some of your stress. You can talk to a close friend, loved one or even a professional -- it really doesn't matter. All that matters is, that you don't keep things bottled up inside. [1 & 2]

Take things one step at a time.

You need to face your problems head on, and never ignore them. The more you put things off, the harder they will be to deal with. Instead of looking at your debt, or money worries as one large insurmountable problem, break it down into smaller pieces. It's much easier to deal with a and solve a number of smaller problems. Just look at each debt or problem individually, and decide on a plan of action, to help you overcome it. Your problems won't seem so huge anymore, and you'll actually start to feel as though you're getting somewhere.

Relax your body and mind.

Many people still think that relaxation techniques are nonsense hippie mumbo-jumbo, but they're wrong. If you take a few minutes our of your day to just relax and rest your mind, you could help to reduce your risk of illness. Taking part in a weekly Yoga or Relaxation classes could successfully teach you how to relax, and fully de-stress after a busy and hectic day. [3]

Watch your diet.

Just because money is tight, that's no excuse for you to start eating a poor diet. You have to continue to look after yourself, and make sure that you're eating a well balanced healthy daily diet. You need to get enough exercise, and make sure you spend some time outside. Natural day light does wonders for you, and it can help lift your mood too.

References -

1 - Treating stress – Accessed Sept 03, 2009.

2 - What are some coping skills that I can use to deal with my stress – Accessed Sept 03, 2009.

3 - Ways to manage stress – Accessed Sept 03, 2009.

Health care professionals and researches are still uncertain as to why the number of cases of autism

By Brooke Strickland

The flu virus. The common cold. Chicken pox. There are lots of nasty viruses and bacteria out there threatening the health of your child. So be proactive and teach your kids the importance of keeping their hands clean. First of all, remember the basics of hand washing.

*Always use hot, soapy water.

*Scrub your wrists, fronts and backs of hand, and in between fingers.

*Scrub for 15 to 20 seconds.

*Rinse well and dry with a clean towel.

As a parent may have wondered on how to get your kids to wash their hands, and possibly could benefit of using some new, creative ways to get your kids to wash their hands of germs. Try some of these ideas to get your kids interested in clean hands.

*Explain to your kids about germs being bugs. Make up stories about the invisible bugs and how they will make you sick if you do not send them home to their bug village.

*Always keep hand sanitizer or baby wipes in your car or purse to keep on hand if you or your kids’ hands are yucky.

*Let your kids help pick out the hand soap (maybe even a kid-friendly soap!) next time you are doing grocery shopping. Giving them a little bit of ownership in the process will engage them and make them more interested in washing their hands.

*Set up a reward chart near the bathroom. If they wash their hands, they get a gold star, and at the end of five stars, they get a small reward.

*Sing while you clean! Make up a song about washing your hands and sing it with your kids each time they are at the sink.

And always, have fun with it!! These creative ways to keep your kids clean will help keep away the germ monsters, making them strong and healthy for the rest of this cold and flu season.

[1] Make Hand Washing Fun. Accessed on the Web November 15, 2009.

Why Have The Number Of Autistic Cases Risen So Drastically?

Health care professionals and researchers are still uncertain as to why the number of cases of autism has risen so sharply. Before it was believed that around 5 in 10,000 people were affect by autism, but recent studies have now shown that this figure is actually much higher. In fact, it is now thought that as many as one in every 100/200 people is affected by the condition. In the US alone it was reported that there was an increase of 3,000 cases in the year 2002 alone. Read on to find out the possible reasons behind this unexpected rise in reported autism cases.

There are two possible reasons for this shape rise, the first of which is that the incidence of autism has risen. This simply means that more and more people are suffering from the condition each and every year. The cause of the autism is still unknown, but there are a number of factors that can increase the risk of autism, such as birth complications and parenting children at older ages. It is thought that these risk factors, and other unknown factors may be the key to this sudden increase. [1]

The second possible reason for this growing figure, is thought to be the improved diagnosis of the condition. Very little was know about autism in earlier years, and many parents were unaware that the condition even existed. This caused many cases to be written off as behavioural problems instead, or often being misdiagnosed as a learning difficulty or disability. Many adults have now been diagnosed with the condition, because their symptoms were overlooked during their childhood years. Because so many cases were misdiagnosed, or completely missed by doctors and health care professionals, the number of cases reported would have therefore been far less. Fortunately, more and more people are aware of autism and the most common signs and symptoms of these condition types, which makes parents far more likely to be in the know, and to ask for a diagnosis.

In addition, far more research has now been carried out by doctors, and the condition has become much easier for people to spot quickly. There are a number of common signs associated with autism that parents can spot too. This improved awareness of autism is helping sufferers get proper diagnosis, but this is thought to be the main cause of the sudden rise.

But, unfortunately many cases continue to be missed and misdiagnosed, because there is no one definite test to prove the condition. Those with less severe forms of autism are much harder to spot, and it's thought that there may be many more sufferers out there that are yet to be reported.

All of this information makes it increasingly difficult to work out if there has in fact been an increase in the number or sufferers, or whether the lack of research facts and figures are the real cause. Until researchers are able to work out exact numbers, it will always remain difficult to judge the reason behind this rise in autistic cases. [2 & 3]

References -

1 - Autism 'more common than thought' – Accessed Sept 10, 2009.

2 - Autism: study finds 12-fold rise in cases – Accessed Sept 10, 2009.

3 - California's rise in autism cases – Accessed Sept 10, 2009.

What foods are good for my vision?

By Brooke Strickland

There is no question that our eyes are one of our most important assets and we will do whatever we can to protect them and keep them functioning at their peak. Have you often wondered what foods are good for your eyes, if any? Well, come to find out, there are several foods that are good for your vision (and your overall health), and can help keep your eyes sharp.

*Salmon: This tasty fish is high in omega 3 fatty acids and is packed full of vitamins A and D – all things that are good for brain and eye health.

*Garlic: Yummy! Garlic not only flavors our food but has numerous health benefits. It is rich in sulfur, which is important for keeping your eye lenses strong.

*Broccoli: Raw or steamed, this tasty vegetable has the antioxidant sulforaphane. Johns Hopkins University researchers found that this antioxidant helped protect human retinal cells from oxidizing free radicals for several days [1]. In addition, leafy green vegetables also play an important role in eye health, so be sure to keep these added into your diet on a daily basis.

*Eggs: The traditional breakfast item, eggs can be served in lots of ways to make your diet varied and tasty each day. Egg yolks primarily have lots of nutrients, including lutein, which has shown in numerous studies to help fight against the development of cataracts and macular degeneration.

*Carrots: As the old saying goes, eat your carrots; they are good for your eyes. In a recent study, scientists in Europe found that high intake of carotenoids in carrots helped preserve macular pigments and helped slow the progression from early to late stage macular degeneration. [3]

Other foods you can mix into your diet to help maintain healthy eyes include blueberries, kidney beans, nuts, papaya, kale, grapes, and onions. There are so many delicious recipes out there that incorporate these ingredients. So eat up! Indulge, and keep your eyes healthy in the process.

[1] The Six Foods That are Best at Helping You Get and Keep Healthy Vision. Accessed on the Web November 15, 2009.

[2] Six Foods that Improve Your Vision. Accessed on the Web November 15, 2009.

[3] Carrots help boost vision. Accessed on the Web November 15, 2009.

Understanding autism and the signs.

Understanding Autism – The Signs & Symptoms

Most Americans know little or nothing about autism and Asperger Syndrome, but almost 17% of young people in the country suffer from these, or a similar condition. Not only is it important for parents to know about the condition, but many adults with the condition have yet to be diagnosed.

For many years, very little was know about either condition, and young people were forever being misdiagnosed, and written off as having behavioural problems instead. It's now being discovered that more and more adults are being diagnosed with either autism or Asperger Syndrome, which doctors had missed during their childhood years. Read on to find our more about autism, the importance of a diagnosis, and how to spot it's main signs and symptoms.

About Autism...

With autism, you will find that the severity of the condition will vary from person to person. In more mild autistic cases, the sufferers are able to function well in everyday life, making it far harder to diagnose. Those who suffer with more server cases of autism and Asperger Syndrome may find coping with everyday life extremely difficult, and they may need additional specialist help.

The condition doesn't only affect the sufferers, as both parents and close family members can often find the condition overwhelming and difficult to cope with. Dealing with the most severe forms of autism can be especially hard, and the main signs (see below), can make normal social interaction particularly difficult for the sufferer.

Doctors are still unsure of the main cause for these conditions, but research strongly suggests that autism is hereditary. Unfortunately, no treatments for either condition have yet been found. But, there are certain steps parents can take to ensure that their children's condition is properly managed. Specialist education may be needed for the more serve cases, and certain therapy types can also help. [1]

Autism diagnosis...

Before, Autism and Asperger Syndrome were extremely difficult for doctors and health professionals to diagnose, as little was know about either. Over the years, more has become known about autism and the related conditions, and they are now far easier for doctors to diagnose. There is no one single test that can be taken to identify the conditions. Instead, the diagnosis is based on the number of signs and symptoms that are present with each individual.

The common signs and symptoms of Autism...

There are a wide variety of symptoms, and different signs that will manifest as a child reaches different ages. Older children are more likely to display some of the following signs -

- A lack of imagination when playing games

- Difficulties with speech and understanding the facial expressions of others

- A preference to being and playing alone

- Problems interacting and communicating with others

- Obsessive and repetitive behaviour patterns

- Fearlessness and the inability to feel pain

- Being unable to maintain eye contact with others [2]

Why it's so important to get an early autism diagnosis....

Getting a diagnosis for autism is essential. It will ensure that you and your child (or those affected) get the proper help and support needed. Many adults have had to struggle through life alone, never benefiting from the specialist help on offer. A diagnosis will put your mind at ease and help you to better understand, and properly deal with your child's behaviour. [3]

References -

1 - Autism 'affects all of the brain' - Accessed Sept 08, 2009.

2 - Autism and Asperger syndrome – Accessed Sept 08, 2009.

3 - Getting a diagnosis – Accessed Sept 08, 2009.