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Updated: 57 min 18 sec ago

High Tech Pearls Are Captivating the Younger Jewelry Consumer

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 15:42
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Pearls are the perfect, malleable medium for today's ever-changing fashions. But don't mistake some of today's modern pearls with Grandmother's simple strands. Add a little tech, color and carvings, and you take that classic right into the 21st century. Yes, it's true: Today's pearls are appealing to a new generation that is discovering their beauty and luster while enjoying some amazing new characteristics.

Think pearls can't be high tech? Think again! One designer in California, Chi Huynh of Galatea Jewelry by Artist, is known for creating numerous variations on the cultured pearl. His latest invention (patent pending) is called the Momento Pearl. To make it, Huynh inserted a tiny NFC chip into a cultured pearl. When you use it in combination with the company's proprietary Galatea App, you can upload voice and text messages, images and web links. Simply tap the pearl against an Android phone to hear the voice message and see what you've uploaded.

How about a little color in your pearl? Huynh has also patented a cultured pearl with a colored stone bead inside. When the pearl exterior or nacre (pronounced "nay-ker") is carved, the color is revealed. Described as one of the greatest developments in pearl culturing since Kokichi Mikimoto invented the process in the early 1920s, the "Galatea Pearl" is one of the rarest pearls in the world. They are available as pendants, earrings and rings in 14k gold.

Why not carve pearls like marble to make miniature sculptures? Hand-carving pearls have always been a hallmark of Huynh's Galatea jewelry designs. More than 75 percent of the company's jewelry use carved pearls rather than the more traditional smooth-surfaced pearls. Normally, pearls are valued for their color, luster (the "shine" on its exterior), uniform and blemish-free surface. Huynh revolutionized traditional beliefs about cultured pearls, calling his carved pearls, "Pearls without Boundaries." They may not be for pearl traditionalists, but that's what makes them so appealing to a younger audience.

And speaking of that younger audience, the company's "King Pearls" are large, dark Tahitian pearls with unique carvings depicting dragons, dolphins, crosses and other modern designs.

All in all -- with pearls on center stage with fashionistas -- pearls are a jewelry mainstay whose time it is to break out of the box. And Galatea is just one company that has proven this to be true.

For more information, please visit

Clues in the Attic: Pre-Winter Roof Checkups Made Easy

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 15:20
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Your attic could save you from breaking your neck this autumn.

Got your attention, huh? Seriously, this is one of the two times each year when homeowners are supposed to check the health of their roofs. (Among other reasons, because they're key to a home's energy efficiency.) But who wants to be climbing a ladder 25 feet or so into the sky when the weather is turning sharply colder and nastier?

That's where your attic comes in.

According to Jason Joplin, program manager of the Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence, that space you're probably using mainly for storage can substitute, as a fallback, for the eyeball roof check normally recommended to be done every pre-winter and spring.

"Roofs actually create an insulated barrier that helps trap heat inside, and most attic spaces are located right below them," says Joplin. "That makes them perfect for spotting potential problem areas and damage without worrying about falling off a ladder."

Here's what to look for while up there:

* Water leaks. As sure as Tom Brady will never be a fave among Deflategated Indianapolis Colts fans, it will soon storm. And when it does, shine a flashlight up in the attic to check not only for dripping water and condensation, but also for water stains on the ceiling, walls and floors. All signal that H2O is finding its way beneath your roof's shingles or behind its flashings.

* Ventilation. "Think of the attic as the lungs of the house," advises Joplin. "It has to be able to breathe in order to function properly." Which is to say, vents stuffed with debris need to be cleared.

* Animal damage. You know those "If you see something, say something" homeland security ads? Well, to avoid the havoc refuge-seeking birds, bats, squirrels and raccoons can create, warning bells should likewise sound -- followed by a call to a pest-control pro -- if you spot any of these telltale signs: nests, droppings and gnawed wood, wires or insulations.

* Structural problems. The mere hint of a sagging roof -- look up for this one -- could indicate potential structural weakness requiring professional repair.

And if prolonging your roof's life is your goal, experts say it pays to consult a professional roofing contractor who's insured and uses quality materials like the new triple-layer line of Glenwood Shingles -- the thickest of its kind, with an authentic wood-shake look -- from GAF, North America's largest roofing manufacturer. A free service that makes it easy to find a factory-certified contractor in your area can be found at

Feeding Your Joints to Stay on the Move

Mon, 09/28/2015 - 15:12
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - If you experience joint discomfort, you're not alone. No matter how active you are, joint problems are one of the most common reasons for doctor's visits and will affect most of us as we age. Registered Dietitian & Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Marie Spano says there is a lot you can do to help yourself, beginning with a healthy diet.

"What you eat can have a big impact on joint inflammation, cartilage breakdown and bone formation," says Spano. "There are many foods that not only help, but are also delicious and easy to find."

At the top of Spano's joint-friendly grocery list are fatty fish, including salmon, herring and anchovies. They contain the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have anti-inflammatory effects. In cell culture studies, EPA and DHA decrease cartilage breakdown. "Cartilage is like a sponge that cushions your joints, so make sure you're taking care of it. These fatty acids can also improve symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis and possibly decrease the need for anti-inflammatory medications," says Spano.

Another way to feed your joints is to take a high-quality glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplement. Together, these have been shown to limit the activity of enzymes which can break down healthy cartilage. "To help support your joint health, I recommend CosaminDS, which is the most researched glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplement on the market. It contains high-quality ingredients and a specific formulation shown in peer-reviewed studies to be effective for joint health management." Spano cautions that not all supplements are created equally. "Be an informed consumer. Look for supplements like Cosamin that are backed by clinical research and certified by an independent third-party organization."

Next stop on Spano's grocery trip is the produce aisle. She recommends oranges, bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries and other foods that are rich in Vitamin C. "Vitamin C is necessary for repairing and maintaining cartilage. In population-based studies, those with higher Vitamin C intake had less severe osteoarthritis and cartilage breakdown."

A balanced exercise routine also helps by maintaining joint mobility and assisting with weight control. Obesity can lead to a greater risk of joint issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two in three people who are obese may develop symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. Even a loss of one or two pounds may feel more like 10 pounds to your joints.

The High Price of Health Care Illiteracy

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 16:01
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - NewsusaInfographic - Choosing the right health insurance plan is one of the most important decisions Americans make each year. Yet, many do not set aside enough time to educate themselves about their health care options to ensure they select the right insurance coverage that will help avoid costly mistakes down the road. For more information, visit

See full-sized image here.

Lighting Tips for Your Media Room

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 15:58
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Now that football season is underway, is your media room up to the task of hosting fans and providing the best atmosphere for cheering on your team to victory? The American Lighting Association (ALA) offers great play-by-play tips to light your media room effectively.

Reduce Glare on More Than Just Your TV

Brent Protzman, manager of energy information and analytics for Lutron Electronics Company Inc., says Lutron conducts extensive research to determine how lighting and shading controls influence visual entertainment. Often, people like to check their fantasy football teams or catch highlights on their laptop, tablet or smartphone while still watching the game on TV.

Protzman says, "Glare from the amount of daylight can be overwhelming on these devices. The trick is to lower shades and dim overhead lights to make it easier to do tasks."

Joe Rey-Barreau is an education consultant for the ALA and an associate professor at the University of Kentucky's School of Interiors and College of Design. Rey-Barreau says, "Using different lighting layers is always the best option for media rooms. A single lighting layer could be fixtures that are of the same type. For example," he explains, "one layer could be recessed lighting in the media room, another layer could be wall sconces, a third layer could be an integrated architectural lighting system such as a cove or niche."

Adding three layers of light, along with dimmers, gives homeowners the maximum level of control with their lighting, which effectively illuminates the room without too much glare.

Dim the Light to Your Personal Preference

Light fixtures, such as pendants and glass globes tend to create bright spots in a room, which can be problematic for viewing television screens with direct glare and reflections on the glass. To create the perfect viewing atmosphere, Protzman suggests dimming light fixtures to a very low level. "Your eyes will be able to quickly adjust and adapt to the changes in light levels," he says.

According to Protzman people tend to perceive smaller decreases in light level than what really changes. This means if you dim a light by what seems to be 30 percent in brightness, you will actually reduce the light level by as much as 90 percent. Not only do light dimmers allow you to create a media space to your liking, but, as an added bonus, they save energy as well.

To receive the best product selection and professional expertise, visit your local ALA-member retailer for media room lighting options.

For a list of ALA-member showrooms, please visit

Making Halloween a Treat For Parents As Well As Kids

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 10:03
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - For most parents, Halloween involves at least one (if not more) occasion to take their children trick-or-treating. Some parents may dread this task and prefer to be the one who stays home and hands out the candy, instead of hitting the street to go house-to-house with their children and their friends. But fear not, moms and dads: A few simple tips can make the evening a treat for you, too.

* Courtesy. Explain a few key points to your children. First, remind them to say thank-you and take a piece of the candy that's offered, even if it isn't their favorite or first choice, without digging around in the bowl. Second, show respect for the homes and yards of those you visit by staying on the sidewalk and not touching any flowers, pumpkins or other holiday decorations. Third, avoid houses with lights off, and don't knock or ring a doorbell more than twice.

* Control. Large groups of children can get out of control and can make it hard to maneuver around front doors. If you are one of the parents tasked with escorting a large group, divide the children into smaller groups of about 6 or 7, and send each to a different house, then have them switch houses. Tell them this method allows them to visit more houses more efficiently.

* Comfort. Some parents want (or are convinced by their children) to wear a costume. But don't sacrifice comfort. Your feet will thank you if you wear decent walking shoes or sneakers to chase your children along the street, and adult costumes that are overdone take away from the kids' outfits, so keep it simple. A funny hat or ears will go a long way. Bring something to drink if it's hot, or sunglasses if you are out with younger children before the sun goes down.

Parents who are smokeless tobacco users can easily enjoy the evening out with a portable spittoon accessory from FLASR. The FLASR portable spittoon is designed to fit into a shirt pocket, and its uniquely designed lid can be opened and closed with one hand for maximum discretion. Visit for more information about smokeless tobacco accessories.

Career in Sales Can Satisfy an Entrepreneurial Spirit

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 10:01
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - On average, over 533,000 new businesses were started each month in 2014. Clearly, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, but many Americans are still hesitant to become their own boss. While there are many avenues Americans can take to pursue passions and gain control of their career, one often overlooked possibility is being an independent sales agent.

Independent sales agents have the benefit of being able to work autonomously while still being a part of an established organization. Not to mention, these positions usually offer growth potential for income and career advancement. Though there are benefits to this type of work, it is still important for those considering this path to do their own due diligence to ensure that they find the right organization to support.

According to Aflac, the leading provider of voluntary insurance at the work site with more than 74,000 independent sales agents in the U.S., here are some things to look for as you conduct your job search:

1. Financially strong companies and industry leaders: Just as a house needs a strong foundation, it is helpful to build a career with a strong, stable organization. Working for a company that offers positive brand recognition and trust provides credibility that could otherwise take a lot of time to develop.

2. Hands-on training and mentorship opportunities: Having the right support and resources is essential for success. When companies offer training and mentorship programs, it means they are invested in their employees.

3. Recognition awards and bonus programs: There is nothing better than working for a company that celebrates individual achievements. Recognition and bonus programs are two ways to know that hard work will be appreciated and contribute to career advancement.

4. Future market potential: Selling a product or service people want and need is a must for career advancement, but so is the future market potential. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for Insurance Sales Agents is growing at a 10-percent rate from 2012-2022. A market that is growing, or has growth potential, can help ensure your lasting success.

With these tips in mind, entrepreneurial job seekers should be on their way to having the freedom to balance work and personal life and set individual goals. For an independent sales agent, there is virtually no limit to what can be achieved.

Learn more about Aflac's independent sales agent opportunities at

More Americans Choose Chiropractic Care: Gallup

Tue, 09/22/2015 - 11:33
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Far more adults than anyone thought are seeking help from chiropractors, according to a new nationwide Gallup report.

In the last year alone, according to the just-released "2015 Gallup-Palmer Inaugural Report: Americans' Perceptions of Chiropractic," 33.6 million Americans aged 18 and older turned to chiropractic care to relieve conditions like back and neck pain.

That's about 63 percent more than the 20.6 million adults previously estimated in less comprehensive studies, and likely indicates that the "chiropractic first" movement touted by health experts troubled by the overuse of addictive drugs and surgery has become increasingly popular.

"Americans who have exposure to chiropractors are more likely to have an opinion of them, and in general those opinions are positive," Gallup concluded.

Among the other key findings:

* While most patients only head to a doctor of chiropractic when they're in pain, 31 percent of adults who've been treated within the last five years say they prefer regular visits -- regardless of whether they're hurting.

* Those under age 50 are likelier to say a chiropractor would be their first choice for treating back or neck pain.

* So "strongly committed" are recent users that they averaged 11 visits in the last 12 months.

"This groundbreaking report shows Americans are embracing chiropractic as an alternative to other costly and invasive treatments," said the not-for-profit Foundation for Chiropractic Progress' Sherry McAllister, DC.

Indeed, today's chiropractors -- with a minimum of 7 years of higher education, including clinical patient management -- are not only sought out for pain relief, but also for advice on healthy living, increased flexibility and injury prevention.

To learn more or to find a local doctor of chiropractic, visit

Is the Controversy Around Carrageenan Warranted?

Mon, 09/21/2015 - 11:58
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Carrageenan -- have you heard of it?

You might have noticed it listed as an ingredient in your low-fat yogurt or on the label of your toothpaste. Maybe you found a blog post warning you to steer clear of it. There's a lot of conversation about carrageenan. But in order to sift through all the commentary -- including a lot from self-appointed food ingredient watchdogs -- we need to be able to distinguish fact-based food science dialogue from opinion-based diatribes.

Carrageenan is a natural food ingredient made from red seaweed. It's used to thicken puddings and sauces, stabilize dairy, suspend nutrients and more. It has been used for hundreds of years in home kitchens across the world.

Carrageenan's long history of use supports its safety. More important than this anecdotal evidence is the strong body of scientific research -- studies dating back to the 1970s and continuing through the present -- that proves carrageenan is completely safe for consumption. Review some of these studies yourself here:

So why the controversy around carrageenan?

Back to the watchdogs. Their advice may appear useful but it's not always factual or reliable. When it comes to trusting the safety of our food, we need to be able to identify good science.

JECFA is an organization we can trust to analyze and identify good science. As a committee formed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to evaluate the safety of food additives, it is one of the most respected independent review panels. And its decision-making helps inform regulatory bodies around the world.

In its recent report, JECFA reassessed all carrageenan studies -- decades' worth that affirm its safety, along with a handful of flawed studies that call it into question -- and concluded that its use in food is safe. The committee placed significant weight on a new study on the use of carrageenan in infant formula. If carrageenan is deemed safe for infants, the most sensitive population, then there shouldn't be safety concerns for the rest of us. Learn more at

Food is social, so we want and expect public discussion. But when that discussion has the potential to affect our health and well-being, we need to hold it to a very high standard. Instead of following a whisper down the lane of thoughts and opinions, we need to take a close look at the resources we're getting information from and make sure to seek factual information to support the decisions we make.

Limited Space, Big Love: Solutions for Cat Lovers in Tight Quarters

Mon, 09/21/2015 - 11:49
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - With more and more people moving to urban areas or just looking to minimize and simplify their lives, small-space living is on the rise. This trend toward scaling back is great news for cat lovers. But sharing your small home with a cat isn't without its challenges. Here's how to make sure you and your feline friend live in harmony when space is at a premium.

Give your cat a "territory."

Cats are territorial animals, just like their counterparts in the wild. Domestic cats don't need acres of grassland, but they should have a special place in your small home. Let your cat pick his or her favorite spot -- it may be a windowsill, a high perch or a dark hiding spot

-- and set up a comfortable bed or blanket. Intrusions into this space, whether from humans or other pets, should be kept to a minimum.

Forget about "off-limits."

In a small space, your cat will need a lot of freedom to explore. Don't expect furniture, tables or even kitchen counters to be off limits. Instead, keep food, breakables and anything else you don't want your cat to get into behind closed cabinet doors and let your cat roam free.

Choose a cat litter made for tight quarters.

The litter box can be the trickiest part of sharing a small home with a cat. You need a litter that delivers powerful odor control and makes it easy to keep the box clean. World's Best Cat Litter harnesses the concentrated power of corn for long-lasting performance and keeps odor under control even in the tightest spaces. As a bonus for apartment dwellers who dread trash trips, this all-natural litter alternative is also flushable* and septic-safe.

Cats can be the perfect pets for people living in tight quarters. It just takes a little planning and compromise to keep everyone purring and content!

*The State of California encourages the disposal of cat feces in trash and discourages flushing feces in toilets or disposing of them in drains.

Florida Resort Gives the Golf Getaway a Makeover

Fri, 09/18/2015 - 15:53
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - The traditional golf resort is going through a major transformation.

While golf is still at the core, the newest properties increasingly offer activities and immersive experiences that appeal to golfers and non-golfers alike -- changing the way guests view and book their getaways. Central Florida's Streamsong Resort is one of the destinations on the forefront of this trend.

Set on 16,000 acres, Streamsong emerged on the site of a former phosphate mine. With towering sand dunes and extreme elevation changes, its land is more reminiscent of Scotland than central Florida. In just a few years, its two intersecting golf courses -- Streamsong Red and Streamsong Blue -- have earned a place on some of the industry's most prestigious rankings, including GOLF Magazine's Top 100 Courses You Can Play in the U.S. A third course, Streamsong Black, will open in late 2017.

"Today's golfer wants a broader experience," said Richard Mogensen, Streamsong's general manager. "Streamsong is designed with this guest in mind."

Beyond its two golf courses, the resort features many options to enjoy the outdoors or just relax. Home to some of the best bass fishing in the United States, Streamsong offers guided catch-and-release fishing expeditions on its prolific lakes. The picturesque sporting clays course, located 10 minutes from the lodge but still on property, is the perfect spot for beginners to learn and pros to refine their shots with guidance from certified instructors. The grotto-style AcquaPietra Spa, infinity lakeside pool, nature trail and tennis courts provide additional opportunities to unwind and enjoy the setting. Dining options, like the award-winning contemporary Italian restaurant SottoTerra, tempt the palate with fresh, innovative fare in spectacular settings.

Streamsong even looks different from the traditional golf resort. Its modern 216-room lodge and intimate 12-room clubhouse have captured architectural accolades for their design, which pays homage to the property's surroundings.

"Golf is absolutely in our DNA, but our eye is also always on delivering that complete experience," Mogensen said.

For more information, visit or call 1-863-428-1000.

Your Carry-On Guide to Enjoying Business Travel

Fri, 09/18/2015 - 15:50
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - If, like most business travelers these days, you are in the air more than in your home or office, it's important to be able to stay comfortable and connected while logging all those miles.

While you may be inclined to tackle the stack of pesky e-mails that continue to pile up, experts say that instead of trying to get a fickle Wi-Fi connection to work while you're en route, a better use of your time might be to rest,

relax, and recharge.

The following tips should give you plenty of reasons to look forward to your next Business Class flight:

* Sample other countries' tasting menus. Business Class on many airlines features global cuisines and regionally-inspired dishes, so take advantage of in-flight dining to sample food from international locales. Or, check if your Business Class lounge offers pre-dine service before boarding and spend your time enjoying a movie or catching up on sleep.

* Stay connected. Check if your Business Class offers free Wi-Fi. If so, you can log in to work, post on social media, or even start posting travel photos early -- all from 36,000 feet in the air.

* Unplug and tune in. If you'd rather unwind and disconnect from the grid, use those noise-canceling headphones that are provided for you and browse through the many in-flight entertainment options. Business Class typically offers an array of choices, including: business shows, documentaries, movies and playlists, plus exclusive content for Business Class guests.

* Sleep like you're in your own bed. Aer Lingus, the premier airline that connects Ireland to the world and the world to Ireland, has seats made by Thompson Aero Seating in Northern Ireland, that transform into fully flat beds so you can stretch out like you do at home. In addition, the airline offers guests amenities such as eye masks, socks, and custom-made duvets for coziness (and warmth) to maximize the comfort and quality of rest.

* Arrive before you depart. Unlike other countries, Ireland is the only European country to offer Customs and Border Protection pre-clearance to guests traveling to the United States, allowing you to avoid lengthy lines on arrival. Business Class guests on most airlines receive priority boarding and exit, so you can get where you're going quickly and effortlessly.

For more information, visit

Protect the Financial Future of Your Loved Ones

Fri, 09/18/2015 - 09:06
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - NewsusaInfographic - In life, you work hard to take care of those you love. And when people depend on you, it's important to ensure financial support for the future. Whether you have a mortgage, childcare expenses or student loans, the cash benefits from life insurance policies can help provide financial stability for family members down the road. Read below for additional information about the ins and outs of life insurance. For more information, visit

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How to Display Proper Hygiene in Public

Wed, 09/16/2015 - 10:51
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - You would think that public hygiene protocol would be a standard, taught in kindergarten, reviewed in middle school, and essential for your college diploma. Yet, more often than we care to admit, both knowing and remembering social "dos" and "don'ts" proves a challenge for even the best of us.

Stay classy and clean with a few simple tips on how to display good public hygiene.

Cover your mouth

This one is so simple we feel it deserves the first spot on the list. Hearing you sneeze or hearing you cough is one thing. Asking someone to feel you sneeze or feel you cough is entirely another. Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. Keep your hands clean by using your upper arm as your shield.

One tissue does not conquer all

Feeling under the weather? Looking and feeling your best can be truly difficult when your sinuses are working against you. Do your best to show your care for public hygiene by following the little guidelines you can still muster doing, like washing your hands regularly, using hand sanitizer, and refusing to reuse and reuse the same tissue while public.

Watch for bad habits

Unfortunate habits, like biting your nails, playing with your hair, or picking at your face can work against that clean, sophisticated image you desire. These habits are also a way that unwanted grime, oils and bacteria can spread from different areas on your body and eventually onto any object you touch. Do your best to keep your hands away from the top half of your body whenever possible.


Laundry is no fun, but there are few public hygiene no-nos worse than dirty clothes. Pick one day of the week to be laundry day and stick to it. Invest in a dependable iron and ironing board, and carry a stain remover in your purse or bag.


For smokeless tobacco users, a small, spill-proof portable spittoon is an essential and the ultimate display of good public hygiene. Fortunately, for these individuals, there's FLASR, an Atlanta-based company that specializes in exactly that. The FLASR spittoon has a chic design that is pocket-size and features a secure locking mechanism to avoid messy mishaps.

For more information about FLASR, visit

How Clean is Your Hospital Room?

Tue, 09/15/2015 - 16:13
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Most people scheduled for a trip to the hospital expect the facility to be clean, or at least not harboring organisms that can cause life-threatening illness. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 75,000 people in the United States die from hospital-acquired infections each year.

Many hospitals struggle to prevent the spread of two common, but potentially life-threatening bacteria in particular: Clostridium difficile (C. diff) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Poor hand hygiene, overuse of antibiotics and inadequate disinfection practices are often contributors to the problem.

Consumer Reports recently published rankings of which U.S. hospitals do best and worst at fighting bacteria that cause infections. Only 6 percent of hospitals scored well against both C. diff and MRSA.

What can hospitals do to destroy these organisms and keep patients safe? Strategies that have shown success include improving hand hygiene, antibiotic stewardship and environmental disinfection.

* Hand hygiene. Proper hand hygiene means handwashing/disinfection by all health care workers before and after caring for each patient. Setting up hand sanitizer stations and reminding hospital staff of hand hygiene protocol has been shown to improve compliance and reduce the spread of infection.

* Antibiotic stewardship. Use broad-spectrum antibiotics only when necessary; excessive use of these drugs can promote the development of resistant organisms.

* Environmental disinfection. Pulsed xenon ultraviolet (UV) light can destroy the infectious capability of bacteria and viruses. Innovative hospitals including MD Anderson Cancer Center, Stanford, the University of Washington and Orlando Health are harnessing this technology in the form of germ-zapping robots. Here's how it works: Full spectrum UV light passes through the cell walls of bacteria, bacterial spores and viruses, where it damages the DNA, RNA and proteins. This renders the organisms inert and incapable of causing infection.

More than 300 hospitals, surgery centers and skilled nursing facilities in the United States and Europe are using Xenex Germ-Zapping Robots for room disinfection, and have seen infection rates drop up to 70 percent. Pulsed xenon UV devices take only minutes to completely disinfect a room and make it safe for the next patient.

You and your loved ones deserve a pathogen-free room during your hospital stay. Is your hospital using Xenex robots for disinfection? Email Xenex at: with the name of a hospital, and the company will let you know. Meanwhile, visit for more information about how Xenex robots can make hospitals safer.

Sleep and Happiness: How Parents Can Have Both

Mon, 09/14/2015 - 10:05
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Helping your baby sleep through the night is one of the great milestones of parenthood. Establishing good sleep habits and patterns early can help babies learn how to sleep, which is a key component in a baby's happiness, and makes for less exhausted (sort of) parents.

Gerber Good Start Gentle's sleep consultant Christina Gantcher advises parents to focus on the Three E's: Eating, Environment, and Education.

* Eating: Poor feeding can impact your baby's ability to sleep well. If your baby doesn't seem to be eating at regular intervals or gaining weight at an appropriate pace, talk to your lactation consultant or pediatrician.

* Environment: You can facilitate better sleep for your new baby by creating a quiet, dark environment in a dedicated area. Remember, babies should always be put to sleep on their backs; supervised tummy time should occur during the day when baby is awake. Always put your baby on his or her back to sleep with no loose blankets, pillows or toys nearby. Try to follow a bedtime routine to help baby recognize cues to associate with going to sleep, such as a bath or book.

* Education: Learn about your baby and you'll soon recognize his or her cues about being ready to sleep, such as eye rubbing. Don't neglect naptime. Remember that infants are typically only awake for short periods, and daytime naps can aid nighttime sleep. When you feel your baby is ready, try placing him or her in the crib when they are drowsy but still awake, so they can start learning and remembering how and where they fell asleep.

Gantcher also advises parents to be as consistent as possible with a sleep routine, but be patient as you learn the habits of your individual child. Sleep helps give babies energy and puts them in the mood to learn and explore the world, and a rested baby often means a happier family, too.

As part of their desire to help support parents through their journey and provide them with the confidence they need to help their baby sleep through the night, Gerber Good Start Gentle has sponsored Christina Gantcher as their sleep consultant on Gerber's panel of experts. Gantcher will be available to provide free, personalized, one-on-one phone consultations five days per week.

To sign up for a consultation with Gerber Good Start Gentle's sleep consultant, please visit or call the Gerber Parents Resource Center 24/7 at 1-800-284-9488 for help in scheduling an appointment.

Three Surprising Ways to Save Money on Pet Care

Mon, 09/14/2015 - 09:56
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Owning a pet comes with a lot of benefits -- but caring for a pet can also have an unwelcome impact on your budget. According to the ASPCA, owning a dog or cat can cost up to $1,000 in the first year, and many people end up spending much more. The good news is, you can cut your pet care expenses without compromising your pet's health and wellbeing. Here are a few tips to save money on pet care:

1. Don't skip the vet.

If you're trying to save money, it can be tempting to cut back on veterinary visits. But, according to Julie Ciarmella of the American Veterinary Medicine Association, "an investment in preventive healthcare can reduce your long-term pet healthcare costs." Why? Because regular check-ups can prevent expensive complications down the road.

2. Get by with a little help from your friends.

Dog-walking, pet-sitting and kennel services can be one of the most expensive aspects of owning a pet. You can save money by taking the "you scratch my dog's back, I'll scratch your cat's chin" approach and tapping into a network of other pet owners in your area. Neighborhood dog parks are great places to meet like-minded pet lovers; or you could try good old fashioned advertising.

3. Choose high-quality pet products that give you more value for your money.

Reaching for the cheapest product can feel like a thrifty move, but you may be surprised by the impact "cheap" products can have on your budget. For example, cheaper clay cat litter needs to be changed more often -- so cat owners go through bag after bag. World's Best Cat Litter is an alternative that harnesses the concentrated power of corn for long-lasting performance. You'll use less litter, replace it less often, and save money in the long run.

In the end, remember that what your pet needs most is love. Keep things simple and invest in high-value products where it matters, and you'll be on your way to a pet-care budget that works for you.

Recycled Tires Provide Eco-Friendly Path in Yellowstone National Park

Thu, 09/10/2015 - 11:53
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Visitors driving to Yellowstone National Park's iconic geyser, "Old Faithful," also will travel via tire once they exit their cars for a closer look. Old Faithful now boasts a porous, clean flexible walkway made mostly of recycled Michelin tires. The pavement surface, known as Flexi-Pave and manufactured by the company K.B. Industries (KBI), is gentler to the environment than asphalt because the permeable composite material allows for better erosion control and preservation of the natural patterns of groundwater flow. In addition, the walkway surface is extremely durable and tolerant of heat and cold, and does not leach any oil into the surrounding environment.

"The material used to create KBI's Flexi-Pave is completely benign and therefore can be used safely with the delicate aquifers here in Yellowstone," said Kevin Bagnall, CEO and founder of KBI, in a statement. The Old Faithful Walkway Project covers 6,400 square feet and includes 900 Michelin tires. "The path allows 3,000 gallons of groundwater to pass per square foot. It also is designed to diffuse the water's force, helping prevent erosion," Bagnall noted.

"The Old Faithful Walkway Project is a great example of what a difference a company devoted to sustainability can make in the world's first national park," said Karen Bates Kress, president of the Yellowstone Park Foundation, in a statement. "We are fortunate to have a corporate partner as farsighted, public-spirited and generous as Michelin," she added. In fact, Michelin flew in a team of employees from across the country to help complete the construction of the walkway. The 10 volunteers were winners of a company-wide contest to participate in the project.

Michelin serves as a major corporate sponsor of the Yellowstone Park Foundation, with a goal of helping the park curb operating expenses and reduce the consumption of raw materials. To that end, Michelin regularly donates and helps maintain thousands of tires for Yellowstone National Park's more than 800 vehicles, including patrol cars, garbage trucks, snow plows and load-hauling tractor trailers. The tires feature the latest in green tire technology to help save fuel and reduce emissions.

"Helping build and provide material for this new pathway is very much in line with Michelin's goal of working with the Yellowstone Park Foundation," said Leesa Owens, director of community relations for Michelin, in a statement.

To find out more about Michelin tires, visit

Busting Myths About Tobacco Users

Wed, 09/09/2015 - 11:25
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Cigarette consumption is declining in the United States for a variety of reasons, including the establishment of comprehensive smoking restrictions in many workplaces and in pubic spaces, and at least partial restrictions in other areas. However, the moist tobacco market is on the rise, and increased by nearly 7 percent from 2011 to 2014, according to a EuroMonitor International report. As a result, many companies are developing products and accessories to cater to this expanding market, and they are recognizing that some of the prevailing myths about tobacco users don't hold up.

The changing landscape of tobacco use provides an opportunity to dispel several of these myths about tobacco users.

Myth No. 1: Tobacco users are messy.

Fact No. 1: Tobacco users are no more likely to be neat or messy than anyone else. Moist tobacco use does require disposal of the product. However, many moist tobacco users have discovered accessories that make it easier to be neat and discreet. For example, the FLASR portable spittoon is engineered to be small enough to fit into a shirt pocket and features an innovative lid design that can be opened and closed with one hand.

Myth No. 2: Tobacco users are inconsiderate.

Fact No. 2: Most tobacco users are aware of the current regulations regarding smoking and do their best to abide by them, which often means restricting or eliminating cigarette smoking in public areas. Many of these smokers have switched to or increased their use of moist tobacco as an alternative. Portable spittoons allow for discretion, said Everett Dickson, CEO of the portable spittoon maker FLASR, in a statement. A portable spittoon accessory "allows users to enjoy smokeless tobacco in public unobtrusively, without unwanted attention," he said.

Myth No. 3: Tobacco users are unsophisticated.

Fact No. 3: Tobacco users appreciate products and services that make life easier and more fun. To that end, smokeless tobacco users who have not yet discovered the portable spittoon are in for a pleasant surprise. Portable spittoons, such as those available from FLASR, feature an advanced closing mechanism to help prevent leaks and spills. The products are available in a convenient 4-ounce size that can easily be carried into a theatre or other venue where a cup or bottle isn't appropriate.

For more information about the latest smokeless tobacco accessories, visit

Coming Home From the Hospital? Here's What You Need to Know

Wed, 09/09/2015 - 11:17
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Few things in life are certain, but chances are there will be at least one health event that requires hospitalization and, following that, rehabilitation.

While hospitals provide an array of services that can help, most people prefer to get well in the comfort of their own home. Although beneficial in the recovery process, home care can also have its own distinct obstacles. Couple that with a patient's fears and struggles of what's to come in the weeks and months ahead, and it can create a perfect storm for both patients and caregivers.

To help, the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN), a nearly 6,000 member worldwide organization, has created ReSTART, an online resource that provides information for those who are (or will be) in rehab for everything from strokes to joint replacements to head injuries and those who will be caring for them.

When you consider that recent studies cite as many as 75 million Americans suffer from some type of disability, a website such as ReSTART can make a huge impact on understanding what patients will inevitably experience while on their road to wellness.

The goal, according to ARN, is to get patients who have a disability to a point that they are, once again, as self-sufficient as possible and able to live a full life.

"My clients have been through acute rehab and are back in their communities," Susan Wirt, a past president of ARN, told The American Nurse in an interview. "I figure out how they can be well and healthy despite their chronic conditions," she said.

Indeed, rehabilitation nurses effectively manage complex health care issues; collaborate with other professionals and disciplines such as occupational or speech therapists; provide patients and caregivers with needed education; set patients' goals that maximize independence; and establish plans of care that maintain optimal wellness, according to the ARN. With National Rehabilitation Awareness Week on the horizon (Sept. 20-26), ARN is stressing the importance of advocacy.

"Advocacy is also a huge role for us," Michelle Camica, MSN, CRRN, and past president of ARN, told The American Nurse in the same interview. "We serve as the patient's advocate when addressing issues with other members of the health care team and sometimes with a patient's own family. We always want to make sure patients are getting the right care in the right place at the right time," she said.

For more information, please visit


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