February 2013 – Get Inspired

February 5th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in Magazine Covers

Issue2_February2013

Nostalgia Photos – February 2013

February 5th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in Nostalgia Photos

ACC Cafeteria 1960’s

1975 Nostalgia Photos

Let’s Talk!

February 4th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in Alumni News & Events

shutterstock_59232418In this age of technology, it seems that the most prevalent form of communication is texting, tweeting, Facebook and E-mail.  With the number of people using telephone land lines rapidly diminishing, it never ceases to amaze us that the annual Alumni Phone-a-Thon continues to be successful.  And that’s because of you – our great alumni! We want to take this opportunity to once again thank all of you who have made a gift to our Alumni Association through the CCC Foundation.

The Phone-a-Thon is held each March to give our alumni who have not already given, one last opportunity to give the annual appeal.

If you get the call, we hope you’ll take a moment to speak with our staff.  We promise not to take too much of your valuable time, but this event is very important to all of us.

Here are a few facts about P-a-T:

  • If you have already given to the fall appeal you won’t be called
  • If you are a faculty or staff member who participated in the staff/faculty appeal, we won’t call you
Your gift of any size means so much to our students, and we hope it makes you feel good too!  Funds generated help to fund scholarships, book grants, purchase equipment for our students and much, much more.

Calls will be made during the month of March, and whether you’re able to give or not, we hope you’ll still take a minute to say “hello” and let us know how you’re doing!

In Case You Missed it

February 4th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in In Case You Missed It

Charlene (Butler) Maville ’75, originally run in Spartan Fall/Winter 2012

Charlene (Butler) Maville 1975 ACC yearbook

Charlene (Butler) Maville 1975 ACC yearbook

It’s not just because she met her husband, Michael J. Maville, at ACC:  Charlene (Butler) Maville ’75 shares that she always regarded her time at Auburn Community College as a wonderful experience and adds that “I received a solid communications base which helped me to land my first job in TV.”  Since that time, Charlene went on to earn her B.A. at Barry University in Miami, and to receive three Emmy Awards, a Telly Award, and several other broadcasting awards.  Mike, whom she married in 1975, was a Telcom and Engineering student at ACC for a year; he received his B.S. from SUNY Oswego and his M.B.A. from SU.

Charlene is now the Marketing and Production Coordinator with WPTV-TV in West Palm Beach, FL, an NBC affiliate.  She shares that WPTV has been the #1 station in its market since 1954.  Some of her Production Coordinator duties include managing elements of local commercial production, producing and directing commercials, scheduling field shoots, writing scripts, and working closely with clients.  In addition to her production duties, she is responsible for facilitating revenue-generating, marketing opportunities.  She acts as liaison between the sales and news departments, researches and creates marketing ideas for news and NBC programming opportunities.

Charlene Maville at the 2010 Emmy Awards Dinner

Charlene Maville
at the 2010 Emmy Awards Dinner

Prior to her current positions, Charlene served as Television Director with WPTV.  She had worked for WCNY-TV/FM (PBS) in Syracuse from 1980-1992 as a Television Production Crew Person, and from 1992-1998 as a Television Producer/Director.  While at (PBS) Syracuse, Charlene produced award-winning short-form children’s programming and directed/technical directed live programs.

In addition to her three Emmy Awards and the Telly Award, Maville has received multiple SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) Sunshine State Awards, an SPJ Green Eyeshade Award, an Associated Press (AP) Award and a PBS Advertising & Promotion Award.  She is a current member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.  The couple has three children and one grandchild.  Her husband Mike is currently Assistant Chief Engineer at WPTV.

Nominations sought for 2013 CCC Alumni Awards

February 4th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in Alumni News & Events

The Auburn/Cayuga Community College Alumni Association is seeking nominations for its 2013 Alumni Association awards.  The awards recognize graduates of the college who have distinguished themselves in careers or community service.  Past awards have honored outstanding achievements in vocational or artistic pursuits, volunteer service, public service organizations, civic functions or service to the college.

Nominations will be reviewed by the associations’ awards committee, and the winners will be honored at an awards brunch as well as the college commencement on May 19.

Anyone who holds a degree from Cayuga Community college (or its original entity, Auburn Community College) may be nominated.  The deadline is March 31.  Forms and information are available from the college’s Alumni Office at alumni@cayuga-cc.edu, or 315-255-1743, ext. 2224 or 2453.

ACC/CCC Alumni Association Seeks Applicants for Scholarships

February 4th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in Alumni News & Events

Several scholarships to Cayuga Community College for the 2013-14 academic year, as well as May 2013 commencement awards to transfer institutions, are selected by the ACC/CCC Alumni Association and administered by the Cayuga Community College Foundation. Applications must be received by March 31, 2013 for scholarships awarded to:

  • Incoming freshmen – graduating high school seniors who are the children or grandchildren of a   Cayuga (or Auburn Community College) graduate
  • Returning full-time sophomore
  • Nontraditional student – age 24 or older, enrolled for at least 6 credit hours per semester looking to upgrade skills or start a new career
  • Graduating Transfer students – graduating from Cayuga in May 2013 and transferring to a four-year school
Application forms, including eligibility and submission requirements, are posted at www.cayuga-cc.edu/financialaid/scholarships and are available from Cayuga’s Financial Aid Office or by contacting the Alumni Office at 315-255-1743, extension 2224 or 2454.

2013 Trip Offerings

February 4th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in Alumni News & Events

All trip listing

Our Nation’s Capital, Back by Popular Demand!

February 4th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in Alumni News & Events

“We walked, we rode, we toured, we ate — and then, we did it all over again.”  This was overheard after our last trip to Washington, D.C. in 2011.  It was unanimous that the fifty people on the trip were looking forward to a return visit to our nation’s exciting capital city.

So, “Back by Popular Demand” it’s D.C. again this April!  With most sights, attractions and museums free of charge, this is one trip you can’t afford to miss.  Our motor coach will depart from CCC’s Auburn campus at 6 a.m. Friday, April 19.  A private tour of the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is scheduled for that afternoon.

Accommodations will be at the Crystal City Marriott, again by popular demand.  The hotel received much praise for the comfortable rooms as well as its convenient location and will be even better this time due to a major renovation project that is now complete.  The hotel is located directly above a major Metro (subway) stop, which enables you to simply take the escalator down to the Metro.  From there, you have the choice of dozens of historical as well as entertaining points of interest.  This three-day, two-night experience will leave you wanting for more.

It came as no surprise that this was such a popular trip.  No matter how many times you visit this city, there is always something new to experience.  We thought we would share some of our personal D.C. favorites.

  • WASHINGTON MONUMENT- constructed of 36,000 pieces of marble and granite, remains one of the most recognizable monuments in the world.
  • LINCOLN MEMORIAL- 19-foot-high seated statue of Lincoln in deep contemplation is a moving testament to the great Civil War president.
  • JEFFERSON MEMORIAL- 19-foot-high bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. president, sits in a domed interior.
  • KOREAN WAR MEMORIAL- lifelike almost surreal in appearance statues of 19 poncho-clad soldiers was erected in gratitude to those 1.5 million American military personnel who served in Korea 1950-53.
  • VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL- 492-foot-long sunken black granite wall, inscribed with the names of nearly 60,000 American men and women who gave their lives or remain missing, in the longest war in our nation’s history.
  • NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL- features fifty-six 17-foot-high granite pillars representing each state and territory, standing to either side of a central plaza and the Rainbow Pool.
  • THE WHITE HOUSE- serves as both the home of the U.S. President and a museum of American history.
  • OLD POST OFFICE PAVILION- the 315-foot Clock Tower and unparalleled vistas, offer a sweeping 360 degree view.
  • US CAPITOL BUILDING- a symbol of the American people and their government, the meeting place of the nation’s legislature.
  • NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY- a collection of artifacts from our nation’s past.
  • NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY- preserves artifacts from the earth’s diverse cultures and collects samples of fossils and living creatures from land and sea.
  • UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM- bears witness to the systematic persecution and murder of six million Jews and others deemed undesirable by the Third Reich.
  • NATIONAL AIR & SPACE MUSEUM- chronicles the story of man’s mastery of flight.  In addition, Stephen F. Udvar-Haze Center in Washington-Dulles Airport holds many more exhibits than the one located directly in Washington, D.C.
  • UNITED STATES BOTANIC GARDEN- grand conservatory devotes half of its space to exhibits that focus on the importance of plants and people, and half to exhibits that focus on ecology and the evolution biology of plants.
  • ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY- simple headstones mark the graves of these veterans who died in every major conflict from the Revolutionary War to the present.  The focus of the cemetery is the Tomb of the Unknowns, which honors the thousands who have died in battle but have no known resting place.  The Changing of the Guard is an elaborate, moving ritual.  From April 1 through September 30, the guard is changed every half hour and the cemetery closing time moves from 5 to 7 p.m.
  • IWO JIMA MEMORIAL- a 78-foot, 100-ton portrayal of Joseph Rosenthal’s photograph of the raising of the American Flag on Mt. Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima.
  • TIDAL BASIN- a man-made inlet adjacent to the Potomac River, with over 3,700 cherry trees along its bank.  The date when the blossoms reach peak bloom varies from year to year, depending on weather conditions.

Everything mentioned above is free of charge, and there are so many other points of interest that we did not include.  Of course, we would love to have you join us.  So, here are a few websites to help you start planning your trip:

CNY Veterans’ Higher Education Regional Consortium

February 4th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in College News & Events

An increasing number of returning veterans are taking advantage of federal programs and incentives to go to college and find a new path for their lives.  During the past three years, Cayuga Community College saw its student-veteran population grow 400 percent.

In January 2012, Cayuga Community College took the lead in establishing the CNY Veterans’ Higher Education Regional Consortium (CNY V-HERC), which includes representatives from 26 institutions of higher education located in the 13-county region of Syracuse’s Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), as well as federal, state, and local veteran services groups.  The Consortium is dedicated to supporting active duty, reserve and National Guard members, veterans and their family members with a coordinated response for their successful civilian reintegration to the region.  It is committed to advocacy, resource and information sharing and outreach, engaging veterans by utilizing their knowledge, insights and strengths.

According to Sarah Yaw, Consortium founder and Assistant Professor at CCC, “As Cayuga Community College sought to enhance its support of our student veterans, we looked for ways to tap into existing veteran resources in the region.  It was clear there was a lot to be gained by bringing all stakeholders–higher education, government, private sector–together to share ideas and collaborate to better serve veterans returning to CNY colleges and universities.”

Yaw recently spoke with National Public Radio about the circumstances that prompted a need for such a consortium.  An increasing number of veterans are enrolling in schools given benefits afforded to them through the Post-9/11 GI Bill.  Given the distinct experiences of these nontraditional students, there is a critical need for specialized services tailored specifically to veterans on college campuses, services not commonly offered to traditional students.  CNY V-HERC has developed ways to assist this unique group of students and is an excellent example of higher education’s positive response to the needs of America’s veterans.

Family Fun Day

February 4th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in College News & Events
Family Fun Day February 2013

Family Fun Day February 2013

The 13th annual February Family Fun Day was held at Cayuga Community College on Sunday, February 3, from noon to 3 p.m. in the Spartan Hall gymnasium.  Many excited children and their families turned out to enjoy the event.

This year, the free family-friendly public event had a dinosaur theme.  A program titled “Dinosaur Science” was presented by the Museum of the Earth.  Musical family entertainment was provided by Judy Stock, and Danny the Dinosaur entertained kids of all ages.  Children took part in interactive crafts, dinosaur games, tattoos and a bouncy house.

Exhibitions and activities were provided or sponsored by Cayuga Community College, the ACC/CCC Alumni Association, the College Student Activities Board, Early Childhood Club, the Seanna M. Donley Memorial Fund, Cayuga County Health Department, Reva Rollerdrome, and Success by 6.  The E. John Gavras Center and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library celebrated their 5th anniversary.

On-Campus Greenhouse is Built Though College and Community Partnership

February 4th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in College News & Events
High tunnel greenhouse on the Auburn campus

High tunnel greenhouse on the Auburn campus

Local families and individuals will have increased access to fresh and nutritious produce, even during the winter months, thanks to the successful partnership between Cayuga Community College and the Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency. The agency provided funding through a hunger relief grant from the Walmart Foundation to build a high tunnel greenhouse on the College’s Auburn Campus, near the Thomas F. Steenburgh Nature Center.

College and community volunteers assist in growing cold-hardy vegetables in the high tunnel and harvesting them for distribution by the Calvary Food Pantry in Auburn. The high tunnel will also serve as a training site for project-based educational programs for interested faculty, students, staff, and community members who want to learn about season-extension techniques, drip irrigation, organic farming principles and practices, and sustainable methods of food production.

The idea for this community-College collaboration originated with Michael Pastore, the College’s registrar, as a culmination of his leadership training, interest in gardening, and passion for community building. Ground excavation and construction of the high tunnel occurred in November, led by the College’s Glenn Warner and CSCAA’s Steve Wright, and planting began in the first week of December with garlic and shallots, soon to be followed by other cold-hardy vegetables such as spinach, kale, beets, carrots, and lettuce.

Laurie Piccolo, executive director of the Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency shared, “In collaborating with the College on this project, we are better able to meet our mission of assisting people in achieving and sustaining self-sufficiency through direct services, education, and community partnerships.”

5 Ways to Counter the Impact of the Payroll Tax Hike

February 4th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in Lifestyle

shutterstock_56278186You didn’t imagine it. Your paycheck shrunk. Thanks to an increase in payroll tax, more of your pay is going to fund Social Security. You got a break in 2011 and 2012 when the Social Security payroll tax temporarily dropped from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent. Now it’s back where it started.

About 160 million workers pay this tax, and this year’s two percentage point increase will cost the average worker about $700, according to the Tax Policy Center in Washington. Wealthier taxpayers may actually feel less of an impact since the 6.2 percent payroll tax only applies to wages up to $113,700.

Still, for a family with a household income of $100,000, the payroll tax hike means a loss in income of about $2,000 a year.

Financial planners and credit counselors say making up for that loss in income will require some careful planning to cut expenses and increase earnings so the hit isn’t such a blow.

“For the average person, it’s going to take more discipline than ever to offset this payroll tax hike,” says CJM Wealth Management CEO Charles Massimo.

Here are some ways to find money to counter the increase :

ADJUST YOUR TAX WITHHOLDING

Start with the IRS. Millions of Americans get big income tax refunds every year when they could have extra money each month. That’s money you could use for everyday expenses. Figure out the number of withholding allowances you should claim by using the worksheet on the IRS website at irs.gov.

MAX OUT YOUR 401(K)

If you have a qualified retirement plan at work, contribute the maximum amount to that 401(k). You’ll reduce your taxable wages by the amount you put in. This year, you can save up to $17,500 in a 401(k) — a 3 percent increase from 2012. Those age 50 and over can add an extra “catch up” contribution of $5,500 for a total of $23,000 in 2013.

SAVE ON INSURANCE

Examine all property and casualty and life insurance policies and compare rates. Ask your insurance agent about ways to lower premiums, and ask about any discounts for loyalty, good driving and bundling multiple polices. Get a second opinion from another agent to make sure you’re getting the best rate.

REFINANCE YOUR MORTGAGE

Rates are still at historic lows, but don’t keep waiting for them to go even lower. Take advantage of low rates now to lower your monthly mortgage payment. Online calculators at sites like BankRate (RATE).com can tell you in a few minutes if you can save money by getting a better rate on your mortgage.

CHECK ALL FEES

Don’t keep paying for things you no longer need — like that Netflix account your rarely use anymore — just because they’re set up as auto-pay.

Avoid unnecessary charges by not using out-of-network ATMs. Negotiate with your bank for lower fees on your accounts or change banks.

Also, “review all those automatic deposits, especially if you are working with a very tight budget. You want to make sure you are able to meet your basic expenses without incurring any of those high late fees,” says certified financial planner Diahann Lassus, president of Lassus Wherley in New Jersey.

Switch to a credit card with a lower rate. “Make sure you maintain a strong credit score to ensure lowest possible rates,” Massimo says.

Massimo also suggests lowering investment fees by investing in index or exchange-traded funds rather than actively managed funds.

Finally, no one really wants to get a second job, especially if you have to pay Social Security tax on that money too. But getting paid to do something fun won’t feel like work and exploring another possible career may prove priceless. See more tips on ways to more cash in your pocket on CNBC.com.

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10 Common Tax Mistakes to Avoid

February 4th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in Lifestyle

10-Common-Tax-Mistakes-to-Avoid-mdn“Oops, I did it again” doesn’t sound appropriate when the “oops” in question is a tax form blunder. But the truth is, many tax mistakes aren’t serious and can easily be avoided. It’s easy to spot most of the common trip-ups once you know what they are, so there’s no reason to lose sleep over making a mess of your returns. Here are 10 common mistakes to prevent this tax season.

1. Ditching School (Credits)
Moms with kids in college should check out the Hope credit; it’s $2,500 per freshman and sophomore year, per child. And empty-nesters who took culinary or art classes in 2008 should look into the Lifetime Learning credit, which allows students to claim up to 20% of the first $10,000 spent on adult-ed-type pursuits. (If you paid $500 for a local university’s writing class, that’s a $100 credit, or 20% of $500.) Tip: “Typically credits are better than deductions,” says Amy McAnarney, executive director of The Tax Institute at H&R Block. But if you don’t qualify for the above credits—perhaps your child is past his or her sophomore year—then tuition and fee deductions may be your only option.

2. Losing Interest
People paying off a student loan can deduct up to $2,500 of the interest they paid last year (unless their income was more than $145,000). Loan companies are required to send a report detailing the amount of interest paid, but they often e-mail the information, which sometimes gets stuck in a spam folder—making it easy to overlook the deduction. Tip: If you haven’t received your report, call the loan company or visit their website.

3. To Itemize or Not to Itemize
“A rule of thumb is, if you have a home with a mortgage, it’s generally advantageous to itemize,” says Abraham Schneier, senior manager of taxation at The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (aicpa.org). Basically, itemized deductions should add up to more than the standard deduction ($5,450 for singles and $10,900 for married couples filing jointly) to be worth it. Tip: Schneier also points out that the rule of thumb doesn’t apply to those who’ve paid down most of their mortgage. Those people should take advantage of a new rule that allows non-itemizing homeowners to deduct $1,000 ($500 for singles).

4. Home Sweet Home
First-time buyers can claim the Home credit, which was $7,500 last year and just went up to $8,000. And with foreclosed homes becoming more common, one helpful and relatively new rule is that you no longer have to pay income tax on the difference between the amount you owed and the amount for which the bank foreclosed on the house. Tip: “When you file for 2008 you can take the $8,000 even if you bought the house in 2009,” says McAnarney, from The Tax Institute at H&R Block.

5. Neglecting Unemployment
“Most people don’t realize that they have to pay taxes on their unemployment earnings,” says McAnarney. “They think, I’m getting government money.” Sadly, you do. So bring the 1099 you should have received in December or January to your accountant, or remember to include the earnings on the 1099 on your tax forms. Tip: If you’re receiving unemployment now and you’d prefer the government to withhold taxes, contact your unemployment agency to set it up.

6. Failing to Amend
As you’re reading through this list, perhaps you’re realizing that last year you missed an education credit. The solution? Amend the return. For instance, mother and IT financial project manager Chandreyi Mukherji of Radnor, Pennsylvania, saved over $3,000 amending her 2006 returns last year. “It was pretty simple. I did not check off the child tax credit,” she says. Tip: Many accountants or tax-preparation services will look over old returns for a small fee. Mukherji took her 2006 forms to Second Look, a $29 H&R Block service in which accountants check for mistakes. Taxpayers have up to 3 years to amend a return.

7. Not Thinking Small
The little stuff counts, too, from the money you paid for résumé paper to the travel expenses of driving to job interviews. “Track all of your charitable contributions, job-search expenses and medical expenses,” says McAnarney of H&R Block. The latter particularly applies to taxpayers who were laid off last year and lost their health insurance; if your medical expenses matched or exceeded 7.5% of your yearly income, they’re deductible. Tip: Schneier, the senior manager at AICPA, recommends getting organized from the outset. “Assembling all the information is key,” he says. Write down everything you know—wages, dividends, expenses—in an electronic document; you’ll be less likely to overlook details.

8. Going It on Your Own
Chandreyi Mukherji, the Pennsylvania mom who saved thousands after having an old return amended (see #6), used to do her own taxes. “I’d generally not had any problems,” she says. The year she made a mistake, however, was extremely busy and change-filled. That’s why it’s smart to get tune-ups once in a while. “Think of it like a medical checkup,” says McAnarney. Tip: Not sure when to go to a professional? “Whenever you have a major life change, you should check with a CPA,” advises Schneier.

9. Asserting that 2+2=5
We know you know the answer is four, but even addition can go awry when you’re stressed. “People often transpose numbers,” says McAnarney. The good news? “When the mistakes are simple, the IRS will go ahead and correct them,” she says. Tip: It’s better to double-check your work than rely on the IRS. “Federal doesn’t talk to state,” says McAnarney; even if the IRS catches bad math on your federal form, it’s likely that you copied those incorrect numbers onto the state form.

10. Overlooking the Obvious
Don’t roll your eyes, but…please remember to sign the form. You’d be surprised at how many taxpayers forget to do this. No, you won’t lose money, but you will lose time, since the IRS will send the form back to you, delaying any refund. Other bloopers in this category include not remembering to include your social security number. Tip: Details go out the window when you’re rushed. Even if you’re filing on April 15, set aside 10 minutes to go through the IRS’s checklist, which is listed on the return envelope.

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Surprising Ways to Stay Healthy

February 4th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in Lifestyle
Sneaky Health Threats

1-dog-licking-woman-lgnYou wear contacts daily, your iPad is practically glued to your lap and a little marmalade on your toast sounds like a sweet breakfast move, but these seemingly innocent everyday habits (to which you barely give a second thought) can affect your health in a big way. Luckily, little tweaks to these routines can keep you safe and well all year long. Here, 10 to try.

1. Use Your Contacts Properly

Popping ‘em in isn’t as foolproof as you think: 99% of contact wearers are making at least one mistake that could harm their eyesight, found a study in Optometry & Vision Science. One of the most common flubs? Showering with contacts. Water exposure can increase your risk of corneal infections, a rare condition that can lead to vision loss. To keep eyes in tip-top shape, don’t swim, shower or sleep in lenses (which dries out and irritates eyes) and prevent infections by replacing lenses according to the instructions, using fresh contact solution every time.

2. Reposition Your Tablet

Oh, your aching neck! Blame your iPad: Recent research published in IOS Press revealed that using a tablet causes muscle strain in the neck and shoulders, says study author Jack Dennerlein, PhD, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. The biggest no-no? Keeping your tablet on your lap, which forces you to gaze down for long periods of time, painfully pulling on neck muscles. To keep comfortable, change positions often, rest tablets on a table or counter and put tablets in a case that can stand up on its own, since holding devices puts pressure on hands and forearms.

3. Be Careful with Casseroles

Reports of glass baking dishes suddenly shattering after cooking are on the rise, according to an investigation by Consumer Reports. Some cookware, like Pyrex, may now be made from soda lime silicate, a glass more vulnerable to exploding from temperature swings (like going from oven to countertop) than the previously predominant glass borosilicate, according to researchers at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. Since it’s tough to know exactly what your dish is made from, home cooks should follow the advice on the Pyrex warning label: Allow the oven to preheat fully before placing bakeware in it, add liquid to the dish before cooking and place hot glass bakeware on a dry cloth (not directly on top of the stove).

4. Consider New Pillowcases

Dust mites are one of the biggest triggers for allergy and asthma symptoms. One of their favorite hideaways: your bedding—especially pillows. For people prone to allergies, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends using special zip-up pillowcases. But these are often made with vinyl, which contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that may disrupt hormones and cause other problems, according to a 2012 study in Environmental Health Perspectives. So get allergy-blocking cases that are vinyl-free and made of natural fibers like cotton.

5. Don’t Mix Citrus with Some Meds

Grapefruit, limes, Seville oranges, pomelos (which are similar to grapefruits) and tangelos (a tangerine-grapefruit hybrid) contain a compound that impairs your body’s ability to break down some 43 drugs (up from 17 in 2008, according to a new study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal). So citrus plus statin cholesterol medications, the blood pressure medication nifedipine and the painkiller oxycodone may up your dose to three times what the doc prescribed. James Winger, MD, assistant professor in the department of family medicine at Loyola University Chicago, suggests asking your doctor or pharmacist if your medications carry this risk. And if so, “skip the fruit and juice—no amount is safe,” he says.

6. Pack an Emergency Snack

Long rides make pulling into a drive-thru all too easy. But rethink that fast-food order: Just one meal high in saturated fat can harm your heart. A study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology found that eating a junk food dinner causes peoples’ arteries to dilate 24% less, impeding blood flow and raising blood pressure, than consuming a healthy one. So stock the glove compartment with nutritious, hunger-taming snacks, like Larabar or Kind bars, suggests registered dietitian Amari Cheffer. Or try her trail mix: Combine 4 cups nuts, 3 cups dried fruit, 2 cups cereal and 1 cup of chocolate chips; portion ¼-cup servings into snack bags.

7. Use Patches and Creams with Caution

If a product is available over-the-counter, it’s a no-brainer to use, right? Not exactly. In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warnings about topical OTC products that treat muscle and joint pain, like Bengay and IcyHot. These contain ingredients, like menthol and methyl salicylate, that could cause first- to third-degree chemical burns. It’s rare, but “these warnings serve as a reminder that everything we put in or on our bodies has the potential to cause adverse reactions,” notes Dr. Winger. Always follow product directions, and if you do experience pain, swelling or blistering after using a muscle soother, stop using the product and call your doctor, advises the FDA.

8. Rethink Yoga Mat Storage

After that energizing yoga class wraps up, you probably roll up your mat to stash in a corner at home. Yet that’s a prime recipe for trapping bacteria, viruses, fungi and yeast that can cause nasty skin infections, notes dermatologist Francesca Fusco, MD. Instead, mark one side of your mat with an “x” and always face that side up. After every class, wipe down your mat with a disinfecting wipe. Fold in half to tote out of the studio (rolling transfers dirt from the floor to the mat side that comes in contact with your skin). Finally, store your mat open in a dry area. Dr. Fusco hangs hers over a deck railing to air it out.

9. Cut Your Rice Consumption

Brown rice is a healthy diet staple, and that’s why recent results from a Consumer Reports investigation of 200 rice products were so alarming: Nearly every sample contained measurable amounts of the carcinogenic chemical arsenic. “The FDA suggests that more studies are needed before recommending changing our eating habits, but it’s smart to take precautions until we know more,” says Cheffer. Eat brown rice, which has more arsenic than the white kind, a few times per week max. Substitute other nutrient- and fiber-rich grains like quinoa, barley and buckwheat. Cook rice with more water than needed, and then drain excess H20, which gets rid of some of the chemical.

10. Avoid Kisses from Canines

That old saying, “A dog’s mouth is cleaner than yours” is a myth. Just think about what yours licked yesterday! New research from Archives of Oral Biology discovered that oral bacteria can be transferred between humans and dogs—bad news since this bacteria is linked to gum disease. While the threat isn’t common, you don’t know exactly where Fido’s mouth has been, says Dr. Winger. So skip face kisses (let pups lick your hand instead) and then after petting or belly rubs, wash your hands.

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Valentine’s Day: Just the Facts

February 4th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in Lifestyle

To read more articles about Valentine’s Day click here.