(NewsUSA) - When it comes to choosing the right health insurance plan, American workers are not spending much time researching the best options for themselves or their families. Even though the terms of health insurance policies can change year over year, 56 percent say they devoted less than 30 minutes to researching their benefits options during their last open enrollment, according to the 2015 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey.
In fact, many workers would rather be doing almost anything other than researching their health benefits. The survey found that more than a third (38 percent) would rather clean out their email inboxes, 23 percent would rather clean their toilets and 18 percent would rather do their taxes.
Despite the shift to more consumer-directed health care, U.S. workers are in denial about the financial consequences resulting from their health insurance choices. This is concerning, given that an Aflac study found more than half (52 percent) of workers have less than $1,000 on hand to pay out-of-pocket medical costs associated with unexpected serious illness or injury. And 42 percent waste up to $750 annually with mistakes made during open enrollment with insurance benefits.
Employees need to weigh not only the monthly cost of insurance plans, but also the amount of the total cost of their health care that they will be responsible for.
Here are four tips to help employees choose the right benefits and protect their wallets:
1. Review and compare benefits information. Be aware of annual insurance policy changes to avoid costly mistakes.
2. Understand the financial implications your choices have on your budget. Calculate yearly medical expenses, like deductible costs and monthly premiums.
3. Consider adding voluntary insurance for more financial protection. Accident, critical illness and hospital policies help cover what major medical insurance doesn't, such as out-of-pocket costs and other expenses that continue to roll in even if you're too ill or injured to work.
4. Seek advice from HR or insurance consultants to help understand your benefits coverage.
To learn more about the 2015 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey, visit AflacWorkForcesReport.com.
(NewsUSA) - Talk about bad odds.
Americans have an 80 percent chance of experiencing back pain in their lifetimes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But making matters even worse is this: Say you do experience such pain, and you're told -- as too often is the case -- that your only options are either drugs or surgery. The former is potentially addictive. And as for the latter...well, many believe this headline from a publication focused on natural health says it all: "Back Surgery: Too Many, Too Costly, and Too Ineffective."
The truth is, there's a third option that a growing number of experts now say should be used before anyone even thinks of making patients go through either or both of the others.
That option? Chiropractic care.
"Medical care certainly has not solved the everyday symptom of low back pain, and even may be reinforcing and exacerbating the problem," renowned orthopedist and spine researcher Gordon Waddell, MD, says.
Indeed, numerous studies have found that chiropractic care, with its drug-free and non-invasive focus on spinal manipulation, results in:
* Better outcomes
* Lower costs
* A much higher degree of patient satisfaction, as witnessed by the 94.3 percent positive rating reported by the military health program TRICARE among participating active and retired Army personnel.
"It's gratifying that patients and practitioners are seeing the wisdom of considering chiropractic first, medicine second, and surgery last," says the not-for-profit Foundation for Chiropractic Progress' Gerard Clum, DC.
To learn more or to locate a doctor of chiropractic, visit www.F4CP.org/findadoctor.
(NewsUSA) - What would you do if you learned you had only one year left to live? A new novel from published author Blaize Nolynne explores this question from the perspective of a volunteer fire captain in River Falls, Maine. The novel, The Captain's Last Year, Fighting Fire and Cancer, One Year to Live, depicts the reality of cancer and examines its impact on patients and their families.
The story centers on fire captain Steven Williams, whose doctors have given him one year to live after a diagnosis of stage IV stomach cancer. Steven starts with denial, but then he attempts to come to terms with his situation as treatments fail. His thoughts turn to how to make the most of his remaining year, and he grapples with a range of issues. Could he change his relationship with his son, Christopher, or improve the disrespectful attitudes that have become an epidemic in his community? Ms. Nolynne's intent is to make readers consider what they would do if they learned they had one year left to live.
Fire and rescue services are the venues of many of Ms. Nolynne's books, and she writes from personal experience. In an interview with a local newspaper, The Independent, she notes that her father was a volunteer fire captain with the fire department in Standish, Maine, and that she visited the department often as a child. Her paternal grandfather was a volunteer firefighter and a driver for the local rescue squad, and her great-grandfather served as a fireman in South Portland, Maine.
Another family member -- Ms. Nolynne's grandmother -- also inspired the novel through her battle with terminal cancer.
Ms. Nolynne is honoring her grandmother and the firefighters in her family by assisting with the medical expenses of Jeff Douglass, a fire chief in Baldwin, Maine, who has stage four pancreatic cancer.
A portion of the proceeds from sales of The Captain's Last Year, Fighting Fire and Cancer, One Year to Live will go to Team Jeff, Code 3 for a Cure, in addition to other firefighter cancer charities. Ms. Nolynne's books are available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and bam.com (Books A Million).
For more information about the book, visit www.ayresdelzariopublishinginc.com.
(NewsUSA) - Winter is coming -- and that means it's time to store seasonal tools and recreational equipment. Safe, smart storage of motorcycles, RVs, power equipment and seasonal cars goes a long way towards keeping them at their best to ensure peak performance in the spring.
To keep the fuel in gas-powered machines and equipment in peak shape through winter storage, consider these three elements:
Time Is the Enemy
Fuel in gas-powered equipment that remains in storage during the winter months needs to be stabilized to ensure easy starts and full power in the spring. Untreated fuel begins to oxidize, losing quality and combustibility over time, which leads to engines that are hard to start or run rough.
Draining gas from power equipment or cars is one way to prevent gunk and debris from forming, but it isn't always a practical solution. One alternative -- add a fuel stabilizer. However, you need to choose the right treatment to ensure maximum fuel quality. In general, ethanol-blended gasoline should be used within 30-45 days. However, an enzyme stabilizer, such as Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment, will stabilize gasoline for up to 2 years. Star Tron does much more than simply stabilize; the unique enzyme formula also helps improve fuel combustibility to ensure easy starts, full power, improved fuel economy and decreased emissions.
Some fuel stabilizers contain many of the same anticorrosion and antioxidant additive packs that are already present in pump-grade gas. Adding more of these add-pack compounds can degrade fuel quality causing engines to run rough and smoky when they are started after winter storage. An enzyme stabilizer is designed to work in conjunction with pump-grade gas additives to keep fuel fresh for maximum performance in the spring. Fresh fuel and easy engine starts are better for fuel economy, which means lower emissions and less environmental impact. And it's not just for winter; an enzyme fuel treatment can maximize fuel quality all year long.
For more information, please visit www.startron.com or call (800) 327-8583.
(NewsUSA) - While an apple a day may keep the doctor away, it turns out that this delectable fruit can help students, too.
This month you can aid specific school causes across the nation by taking a bite out of your favorite apple with "Buy an Apple, Help a Student," a fundraising program supported by the U.S. apple industry and other sponsors.
The way it works is this:
Between now and Nov. 15, the U.S. Apple Association, through its Apples for Education program, will feature 12 student causes on Apples4Ed.com. The classroom projects in need of funding range from new school gardens and improved libraries to updated technology, revitalized playgrounds and enhanced resources for teachers. To support one of these causes, all you have to do is follow these four simple steps:
* Snack. Grab anything apple-related, such as a piece of fruit, juice, applesauce, or any product from one of the program partners, like Marzetti dips and dressings, KIND Snacks, Roth cheese, or Johnsonville sausage.
* Snap. Take a picture of yourself or others enjoying the snack.
* Tag. Find a school cause that you would like to support at Apples4Ed.com, tag your photo with the project's name and use the hashtag #Apples4Ed.
* Share. Vote for your favorite school cause by uploading the photo to Apples4Ed.com or sharing on Instagram. You can vote as often as you like by uploading photos of yourself or others enjoying apples and apple pairings.
For every vote, the U.S. Apple Association and its program partners will pledge financial assistance to nominated projects to help them reach their goals. In addition, participants are eligible to win gift cards and have money donated directly to their selected projects.
In December, USApple will announce the cause with the most votes, which will receive the highest donation. All schools will receive a portion of funding for their respective project.
"We love the time-honored connection between apples and education and wanted to bring it to life with a fun program that lets people turn their daily apples into direct support for important classroom projects nationwide," said Wendy Brannen, USApple director of consumer health and public relations. "With Buy an Apple, Help a Student, enjoying an apple or delicious pairing from our program partners can go a long way in supporting healthy bodies and minds."
For more information, visit www.Apples4Ed.com.
(NewsUSA) - It's recognized as a "silent epidemic" among our nation's youth.
We're talking sports-related injuries. Every day nearly 8,000 young athletes sustain an injury bad enough to send them to an emergency room, and -- if that's not chilling enough -- just look at these numbers from the National Athletic Trainers' Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
* In the past year alone, 48 youths died due to sports injuries.
* About 30,000 high school athletes are hospitalized every year.
* Concussions account for 90 percent of high schoolers' 300,000 annual head injuries.
That explains why a new program called "Athletic TIPS" (Towards Injury Prevention in Sports) has garnered the support of everyone from health care professionals to athletic directors to sports stars like football legend Michael Strahan. The retired New York Giants defensive end, in fact, narrates the introductory video on behalf of the not-for-profit group behind the initiative.
The program's goal? To foster "a safer experience" for athletes at the kindergarten through college levels by focusing on the recognition, prevention and management of sports-related injuries -- all done through community workshops, online learning, and other grassroots initiatives.
"Athletic TIPS answers a critical need for educating school-age athletes, their parents, and advisors about sports-related injuries," says Ed Goren, the former vice-chairman of Fox Sports Media Group, who's backing the initiative. "Hopefully, parents will feel more confident encouraging their sons and daughters to reap sports' substantial benefits and life lessons."
The workshops target four key areas: concussion recognition and prevention; nutrition in sports management; preventing dehydration and heat-related conditions; and recognizing, managing, and preventing musculoskeletal injuries.
To learn more or schedule an Athletic TIPS Community Workshop in your area, visit www.TIPS4Sports.org.
(NewsUSA) - With Halloween and cooler weather right around the corner, sightings of creepy creatures indoors are sure to be on the rise as they search for cozy places to hole up for the winter. Rats, bats and spiders are the stuff nightmares are made of, and for good reason; these creepy critters are capable of spreading disease, and incurring serious harm to people, and even causing property damage.
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) offers the following guide on three common, creepy fall invaders, along with a few tips for preventing your home from turning into a true haunted house!
These primarily nocturnal pests are known to gnaw through almost anything to obtain food or water, including plastic or lead pipes. Rats are able to fit through an opening the size of a quarter, and once inside they are capable of spreading diseases such as plague, jaundice, rat-bite fever, trichinosis and salmonellosis.
Tip: Before bringing decorations out of storage and into the home, inspect all boxes for signs of infestation such as gnaw marks and rodent droppings. When it's time to put away decorations, store them in a plastic, sealed box to keep rodents out.
Bats are frequently associated with vampires and haunted houses, causing an unfounded fear in many people. However, it is important to note that bats are common carriers of rabies, a disease that can be fatal in humans, and their droppings can lead to histoplasmosis, a lung disease.
Tip: Screen attic vents and openings to chimneys, and install door sweeps this fall to keep bats out of the home. If an active bat infestation is suspected, it is important to contact a licensed pest control professional because bats are protected by law in most states.
While most spiders that invade homes are simply an annoyance, albeit a creepy one, the brown recluse and black widow spiders will bite when threatened and can cause painful -- possibly fatal -- reactions. Prompt medical attention is required if you've come into contact with one of these venomous spiders.
Tip: Avoid coming in to contact with spiders by keeping garages, attics and basements clean and clutter-free. Be sure to wear heavy gloves when moving items that have been in storage, such as Halloween decorations.
For more information on preventing pests this fall, please visit www.pestworld.org.
(NewsUSA) - If you are one of the millions of Americans that have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 to 45, you may have thought about bariatric surgery to lose weight. The problem is that while it works, it's invasive and there can be significant long-term side effects. So much so that only a fraction of those who are obese consider a surgical option.
Now, however, the future of weight loss may just lie in a first-of-its-kind, pacemaker-like device that reduces hunger and leads to prolonged fullness without altering or restricting the anatomy. The way it works is this: the vagus nerve is the communicator between the brain and the stomach. If interrupted, the stomach tells the brain it's full sooner. Thus, patients eat less and feel full, allowing for safe, sustained weight loss.
Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in January 2015, it was the first weight-loss device to be available to patients in over a decade.
"Obesity is a global epidemic with consequences to both public and personal health," said Sajani Shah, MD, and Bariatric Surgeon, Tufts Medical Center. "From diet and exercise to bypass surgery, existing treatment options have failed to stop the advance of this disease."
Created by St. Paul-based EnteroMedics, vBloc Neurometabolic Therapy is implanted in a minimally invasive outpatient procedure and allows patients to eat a normal, healthy diet without food restrictions.
"With this new weight-loss option, what's really important to understand is that it's less invasive, less complex and there are absolutely no restrictions to what you can eat," said Shah. "Patients like that it's reversible, they have more control over their hunger and they have more control over how fast they lose weight. They are able to go back to work within days, and it's outpatient surgery," she said.
For Erica Roy, who received her vBloc device over 18 months ago, the results speak for themselves. Down 45 pounds, Roy said she couldn't be happier.
"What is amazing to me about this device is that it doesn't just affect me physically, it works on helping me address my relationship with food," she said.
Roy said the device caters to that group of people who feel gastric surgeries like lap band or bypass are too extreme.
For more information, please call 1-800-MyvBloc or visit www.vbloc.com.
(NewsUSA) - Gordon Scott Venters thrives on challenges. As CEO of The Movie Studio (TMS) in Hollywood -- that's Florida, not Los Angeles -- he's been in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years.
Venters' resume reads like a who's who of Hollywood (California), where he was president and CEO of Destination Television, now TMS. While Venters has a soft spot for the West Coast, he is betting that, like California, South Florida will become the premier destination to produce movies.
"The energy is completely different here than in LA, and making movies in Florida has some terrific advantages," said Venters. "The visual landscape is stunning from a cinematic standpoint, there are diversified places to shoot and great visual optics. That's the value proposition in Florida."
It also doesn't hurt that the rich and famous work and play in the Sunshine State.
As a publicly traded micro-cap company, according to Venters, he knows that, although risky, there are huge growth opportunities for TMS (OTC: MVES).
"We want to give our followers, shareholders and supporters the chance to be a part of what we see as one of the newest hot studios providing full services in distribution, creativity and complete production," Venters said.
Currently, TMS has acquired a 60 percent membership interest in the Seven Arts Entertainment film library(SAFELA), giving TMS 14 titles including, "Drunkboat" with John Malkovich and John Goodman, "Night Of The Demons" with Shannon Elizabeth, "Fractured," "Knife Edge," "Shooting Gallery" with Freddie Prinze, Jr, "Nine Miles Down," "Noise," "The Pool Boys" with Matthew Lilliard, "A Broken Life" with Ving Rhames, "Autopsy," "Deal" with Burt Reynolds and Shannon Elizabeth, "Boo," "Back In The Day" with Ving Rhames and Ja Rule, and "Cemetery Gates."
Venters says he plans to bundle these with indie movies that the studio has produced, such as "Exposure" -- released on Netflix DVD and Amazon, and in Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target.
Other movies in the pipeline for TMS are "Bad Actress" and "Double Exposure." The Movie Studio completed principal photography in Colombia, South America, for its film "Bad Actress," starring Sean Stone, son of the iconic Hollywood director Oliver Stone, and The Movie Studio's sensational Latina bombshell, Excelina from Colombia.
TMS has also completed its reverse stock split (OTC- MVES) finalizing the company's corporate restructuring while tightening the float and outstanding shares.
The Movie Studio Inc. is also involved with music videos, television shows and other intellectual properties. To learn more, visit www.themoviestudio.com.
(NewsUSA) - There is no doubt that life today moves fast. The rise of digital technologies has given people the ability to talk on the phone, watch their children's soccer games and send work emails all at once. Consumers have come to expect these same conveniences afforded by the Internet age from all the businesses and services they use -- except, oftentimes, from their insurance companies. Health insurance companies process 98 percent of claims within 30 days; but for today's fast-paced lifestyle, 30 days can feel like a lifetime, especially for those struggling to pay medical expenses.
With almost two-thirds of American households earning less money today than they did in 2002, just being insured is no longer enough. What's really important is how fast and hassle-free your insurance carrier can process and pay claims because the speed of claims payment can be vital to both physical and financial recovery.
According to a recent survey, 66 percent of workers would not be able to adjust to the large financial costs associated with a serious injury or illness, and 49 percent have less than $1,000 available to pay out-of-pocket medical expenses. Not to mention, due to rising health care costs, employers are implementing several cost-saving measures that are putting even more financial pressure on workers, such as:
* Increasing employees' health care insurance copayments.
* Increasing employees' share of premium.
* Implementing high-deductible health plans with health savings accounts.
This means waiting up to a month for an insurance payment may not be an option for many people. However, with improved technology and an understanding of today's consumers' needs, some insurance companies have been working hard to implement fast service to customers. For example, Aflac provides policies whose claims are regularly processed, approved and paid in just one day -- a speed that's almost unheard of in the insurance industry.
In the past, an insurance provider that paid claims fast was a luxury, but today it is a necessity. It has never been more important to have money in hand quickly when dealing with a serious illness or injury, so make sure your insurance company can move at your fast-paced speed.
To learn more about Aflac's One Day Pay promise, visit aflac.com/onedaypay.
(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 www.galateausa.com.
(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 gaf.com.
(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.
(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 aflac.com.
(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 AmericanLightingAssoc.com
(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 www.flasr.com for more information about smokeless tobacco accessories.
(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 www.aflac.com/agents.
(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 F4CP.org/findadoctor.
(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: www.fmccarrageenan.com/scientifically-safe/.
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 FoodScienceMatters.com.
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.
(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.