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Allergies and Kids

Leah Sarich | posted Monday, Jun 8th, 2015


Allergy season is upon us, but how do you know if your child has a summer cold or hayfever? It’s an important distinction to make so parents, like a doctor, can make the right diagnosis and use the right treatment to help their child feel better and get back to their normal activities.

I spoke with Allergist Dr. Joel Doctor and he says first off, allergies don’t really peak in children until the early teen years. Young children can develop hayfever but they don’t usually show symptoms under 4 years of age. It simply takes a few years of exposure to pollen, for example, for their allergy-prone immune systems to start to develop antibodies against that pollen trigger.

So, if the child is a bit older, and there’s a family history of hayfever and symptoms start and finish around the allergy season… there’s a good chance your child is dealing with seasonal allergies. But the telltale sign of allergy, says Dr. Doctor, is itch. If the child is complaining of itchy, watery eyes, and an itchy nose… you’re looking at hayfever.

Treatment for hayfever is quite straightforward. Dr. Doctor says if the symptoms are relatively mild over the counter antihistamines can be taken as needed. If the symptoms are a bit more severe then parents should talk to the family doctor about using prescription strength nasal sprays and eye drops. And these should be used consistently throughout the allergy season for the best relief. If your child is still suffering, then ask your family doctor for a referral to an Allergist. This specialist can then talk to you about desensitization options that include a pill that goes under the tongue or injections. But note that both of these options are a big commitment.

Dr. Doctor also recommends trigger avoidance. So, if it’s a hot, dry and windy day and the pollen count is high, perhaps that’s a day to take your child to a movie and not on a hike. Dr. Doctor says check pollen counts online to help you plan your day.

The goal says Dr. Doctor is to help your child with hayfever manage their symptoms so they can get back to being a kid.

Sun Safety – Eyes

Leah Sarich | posted Thursday, Jun 4th, 2015

120px-2008-07-27_Sunglasses (1)

It’s Sun Awareness Week. In my previous post we looked at protecting your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Today, we look at protecting your eyes.

Optometrist Dr. Farrah Sunderji says wearing sunglasses is like wearing sunscreen for your eyes. She explains that 80 percent of UV damage occurs before the age of 18, so wearing sunglasses should start in infancy!! Parents: keep trying! If we don’t wear sunglasses Dr. Sunderji explains we leave ourselves at risk overtime for macular degeneration and cataracts which can lead to blindness. In addition, 5 to 10 percent of all skin cancers occur on the skin in and around the eye. So we need sunglasses to keep out all the UV radiation.

Dr. Sunderji says look for sunglasses with 99-100 UV protection. If you don’t have this protection, you’re actually doing more harm than good because dark lenses allow the pupil to dilate letting in more UV light. And just like when it comes to your skin, UV damage is cumulative so it happens slowly over time. That’s why it’s important to wear sun protection from an early age and all year round.

Dr. Sunderji also recommends talking to your optometrist at your annual visit about what kind of sunglasses you should use depending on your lifestyle. There are four different kinds of lenses and there are various types of coatings too. Not only do these options helps prevent UV damage, they can also reduce eye strain, eye fatigue and prevent headaches.

For more information about sun safety and your eyes visit this website. 

5 tips for affordable family travel

Today's Parent | posted Thursday, Jun 4th, 2015

When my kids came along, my husband and I found ourselves with a mortgage, daycare fees and a dearth of cash for family travel. And yet, there were so many places I wanted my kids to see! So, I’ve made it my goal to get us where we want to travel on the cheap without sacrificing comfort. Read on for a few of my time-tested methods:

Set up a vacation fund

I have a high-interest savings account called “The England Fund” (for the first big trip we ever took with our kids). Whenever I get an unexpected cheque or save on a purchase, I squirrel away the extra cash. The bonus: I don’t feel guilty spending money that’s already been allocated for trips, but I don’t go crazy, either, because the fund becomes mybudget.

Be faithful to your frequent flyer plan

Pick one and stick to it—otherwise you could have miles or points accumulating in small batches everywhere, but never enough to book a flight. Not sure which plan best suits your spending habits and goals? Check out the credit card selector in the bottom-right corner of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s website. Just plug in the required information about which province you live in, whether you tend to carry a balance on your card, if you’re willing to pay an annual fee and what rewards and benefits appeal to you most. It spits out a range of options, along with data about points and how they accumulate.

The right points plan

Keep in mind that when it comes to points plans, flexibility counts. Often, you can use points or miles to pay for hotel rooms, car rentals and admittance to special events, as well as airline tickets. Compare the benefits of driving to your destination and cashing in your points for a free hotel room. Alternatively, if you get the best return for your buck with a cashback credit card, choose that option and then plow the savings into your vacation fund.

Live la vida local

Over the years, my family has rented an Ontario cottage, a Tuscan villa and an apartment in Croatia. Letting a house, condo or cottage for a week is considerably cheaper than paying for a hotel, and you get space, privacy and a kitchen where you can throw together a meal. For Canada, try homeaway.ca or cottagesincanada.com, and for rentals around the world, check out vacationrentals.comairbnb.com or vrbo.com.

Don’t double up on travel insurance

Before you fork out the big bucks for insurance, find out if you’re already covered. Many premium credit cards provide trip cancellation and interruption insurance, rental-car insurance and out-of-country medical insurance as long as you use the card to book your flight, accommodation or rental car. Even if you have to pay a yearly fee in the range of $30 to $170 for the card, it could save you hundreds in insurance alone.

A version of this article appeared in our June 2014 issue with the headline “Sweet deals”, p. 32.

Beautiful skin with the help of Green Tea and Raw Sugar Exfoliant

BT Calgary | posted Wednesday, Jun 3rd, 2015

Sugar Scrub

Create the Green Tea and Raw Sugar Exfoliant at home!

Step 1: Brew a very strong ¼ cup of green tea (using ¼ cup of water).

Step 2: Let steep for a half hour.

Step 3: Remove the tea bag and empty the brewed tea leaves into a small bowl.

Step 4: Mix in 1 tbsp of coarse, granulated sugar with tea leaves.

Step 5: Rub gently into skin, let sit for 5-10 minutes.

Step 6: Wash off with warm water.



Check out the segment on more ways to have beautiful skin at any age!

Courtesy Michelle Book, Holistic Nutritionist

5 items you don’t need in a small space

Cityline | posted Tuesday, Jun 2nd, 2015

Sometimes it is difficult to choose which furniture is essential in a small space; you don’t want to it to be too cluttered or too overwhelming. Luckily, Yanic Simard came by to help give us tips on different pieces that we don’t necessarily need in a space. Here are his top 5!

A dining table
This seems a little extreme at first, but when you think about it, a dining table and dining chairs can really take up a lot of space! Try utilizing what you already have, such a breakfast bar or kitchen island, to use as your new dining space.

Large electronics
It may be tempting to buy the biggest speakers in the store to get the best sound quality, but the reality is that there are a lot of products on the market that deliver the same quality at a fraction of the size. Perhaps you can use your tablet as your main television screen and also as your main computer. With so many multi-purpose tech tools, it’s easy to downsize.

A large area rug
Large area rugs can really overwhelm a space whether it’s by having too loud of a colour or too busy of a print. If you need to divide your space with an area rug, try going with a smaller scale rug or a rug with a unique shape to it.

A coffee table
Coffee tables can easily take up too much space in an area and aren’t always a necessity. What you can do instead is find a smaller table that also doubles as a storage space. Doing so will make the most out of using up that space.

A sofa
This one might shock you, but a sofa truly is the biggest piece of all! Try using a sectional sofa with movable pieces, or replace it all together with a couple of smaller chairs.

See Yanic’s suggestions in the video below:

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