October is designated Breast Cancer Awareness Month but breast health is a year round concern.
Any time is the right time for women to take stock and get into the routine of performing a breast self exam.
The American Cancer Society recommends that all women begin monthly breast self exams by age 20 & should be done at the same time during each woman’s cycle.
How to Do a Breast Self Exam
It is easiest to do a breast self exam in the shower when you are wet and soapy.
Raise one arm straight over your head.
Use the three middle fingers of your other hand to move up and down from your collar bone to the bottom of the breast.
Use three different pressures: light pressure will feel lumps near the surface and firmer, then firmer pressure will feel further inside the breast.
Be sure to feel the area of the nipple and to push the nipple down in the middle.
When you have dried off, look for any discharge.
You can also lie down and raise one arm over your head, start at 12:00 on the circle and work around the outside of the breast.
Then move in an inch and continue doing circles until you reach the nipple.
Regardless of which method you choose, be sure to include the armpits.
For an even more detailed guide check out Webmd.com.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women just behind lung cancer.
New studies show that only 5-10% of newly diagnosed patients have a genetic link. Which means more and more cases are “sporadic” and not linked to a family history of breast cancer.
Currently most physicians recommend an annual mammogram beginning at age 40.
You can now opt for a 3D mammogram which shows issues more clearly, especially if you have “dense” breast tissue.
Don’t rely on mammograms alone for diagnosis. 40% of breast cancer is found through self exams. Constant monitoring is the key to early detection.
If you discover a lump, see your doctor as soon as possible. There are many reasons for lumps other than cancer, so it is important for a medical professional to make the proper diagnosis.
Cleaning For A Reason was founded in Texas as a non-profit partnering with cleaning companies through the U.S. to provide free house cleanings for women undergoing cancer treatment. For more information visit: http://cleaningforareason.org/
Editor’s Note: We originally published this article in October 2013. We have edited it for accuracy, freshness and comprehensiveness.
Hiring a house cleaning service isn’t just a luxury any more. It’s a necessity in many homes these days. Households with dual incomes often means there is little time left to spend with family, let alone cleaning!
To get the biggest bang for your buck, here are a few tips on how to get the best value for your money.
The more “picked up” your are the better the cleaning. If there’s a large area with things on the floor or other surfaces, most likely your cleaning service will just work around them. So it’s best to take a few minutes to pick up, put away or stack items in a corner. This way more surface area can be cleaned.
Often times there are spare bedrooms or other rooms in your home you don’t use on a regular basis. Ask to either skip these rooms or even rotate between them to cut down on cost.
If you’d like your bed linens changed, leave the fresh linens out in each bedroom. This way your cleaners will know what goes where and are sure not to miss changing your sheets.
Communication is the key to having your expectations met. The better the lines of communication between you and your house cleaners, the better the cleaning will be.
Cleaning companies want nothing more than to have happy clients!
How Often Should You Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet?
Generally it is a good idea to go through your medicine cabinet at least once a year. This includes prescription as well as over the counter medicines. Remember, over the counter products like vitamins, pain relievers and herbal supplements also expire.
First, empty the cabinet entirely. Wash down the inside of the cabinet with a disinfectant and be sure to let it dry completely. Look at the expiration dates on all over the counter items. Discard anything that is expired. It’s best not to try to save money by keeping any medicine that has expired. It maybe dangerous or if not, it may have lost its efficacy or potency.
For prescription medications, if you no longer need to take them, then get rid of them. Also get rid of them if they are expired. If you are unsure of a prescription expiration date, call your pharmacist.
Safe Disposal of Medicine
Safety counts in more than one way. We don’t want these drugs to get into the water supply. We also don’t want to have any prescription medicine fall into the hands of youngsters or pets. If you have been prescribed opioids like Vicodin or Percocet for pain, you must be very careful, as those drugs are very powerful and should not fall into the wrong hands. You also want to keep yourself safe, so remove all stickers and anything that bears your name or other personal information.
Local municipalities don’t want drugs to get into the water supply so flushing or dumping old medicine down the sink is not a good idea. Many localities hold events once or twice a year where you can turn in old, unwanted medications. Call your local fire station for information on these events.
Another idea proposed by Consumer Reports is to empty all your unwanted pills into an old plastic container and then pour something messy like cooking oil or coffee grounds over them. Put the plastic container in a zip lock bag and put it in the trash.
This should keep you and your family safe and healthy.
Here are some easy tips for loading your dishwasher to make sure that your dishes will come out as clean as possible. With newer models it is not necessary to pre-rinse the plates and other washables. The exception to this would be if you only run the dishwasher after several days rather than daily. The plates should be loaded facing the sprayer in the middle of the appliance for best results. Do not let any dishes rest horizontally in the bottom shelf as it will keep the water from reaching the top shelf.
When loading knives, load them with the point down or lying flat on the upper shelf. This will make sure that you do not incur an injury when unloading. Flatware should be loaded with the handles down and do not let silver plate flatware touch stainless steel.
Glassware should be loaded on the top rack. If you notice cloudy glassware, you might be able to remove the cloudiness by running the dishwasher until the main wash cycle is going. Stop the dishwasher, open the door and add 2 cups of white vinegar into the bottom. If the glassware comes out still cloudy, it it probably etched. Etching is a problem that also happens to hard surfaces like marble and once your glasses are etched, they cannot be repaired.
What to Load on the Top Shelf of the Dishwasher
Plastics should be double checked to be sure they are dishwasher safe. If they are, then they should be located on the top shelf. Drinking glasses also normally go on top.
It is not a good idea to stuff your dishwasher as it just cannot do as good a job when things are smashed together. Instead (think Thanksgiving!) either do the left over dishes by hand or wait and run a second load.
Clean Inside the Dishwasher Regularly
You want to keep your dishwasher running smoothly for many years. Clean the inside quarterly. Use white vinegar to wipe the gasket around the door. This will keep it clean and supple. Remove the bottom rack. Check for and remove any food bits or other detritus. Use either a cup of white vinegar or a cup of Tang (the favorite beverage of the Astronauts) in the bottom of the unit and run a full cycle.
1. School Organization is Important for a Successful Year
Summer is drawing to a close and before long leaves will be falling from the trees. Labor day is less than two weeks away and here in Virginia, that means school starts the Tues
School Supplies Should be Organized
day after the holiday. Your family has a good deal of school organization to do to be ready for the first day of school.
Go through the kids’ closets and drawers to remove clothing that no longer fits. If the clothes are in good condition, donate them or hand them down. Now that there is room in the closets, you will be able to determine what you need to replace.
The kids need a designated area for homework. Take some time before they go back to school to make a quiet, organized space for homework.
Make sure school supplies are handy. A cleaning caddy is a great place to put things like notebooks, rulers, pencils, markers, glue sticks etc. Doing school organization early makes for an easier transition from Summer.
2. Back to School Shopping Trips
You will need at least two shopping trips to get ready for school.
One trip will be to replace clothes that were worn out or outgrown. This was always my favorite back to school activity!
The other shopping trip will be to gather school supplies for the upcoming year. Many office supply stores and big discount stores have lists available from local schools. These advise what exact supplies will be needed for each grade.
Make sure each child has a backpack large enough to carry all the supplies that she must carry back and forth to school.
Check out the school bus schedule and let the kids know where their stop is and what time to be there. If your children are young, you may be walking with them to the bus stop.
3. Once School Starts
Once school starts, check their backpack when they get home from school to find any notes from the teacher and homework assignments.
Be there when they are doing homework so you can offer help when needed… if possible! (This new math is crazy!)
Find some fun ideas or treats to include in their lunch box. Something small can make a big difference in your child’s day!
Labor Day is the last big weekend of Summer. Around here, kids go back to school on Tuesday so everyone wants to squeeze out the last drops of fun before getting back to the daily grind of Fall. Virginia Beach does Labor Day up big.
The whole Labor Day weekend celebration centers around the Boardwalk. In addition to the permanent stages at 17th, 24th and 31st street, there are 4 additional stages set up at 5th, 12th, 19th and 27th streets. This is all part of the American Music Festival.
You can stroll the Boardwalk and enjoy every kind of music from rock and roll to country to reggae to hip hop. Most of the venues are free although the temporary stages will be where the headliner acts will play and there is a charge to attend those. Attendees will hear top recording acts playing on the big stage set up in the sand on the beach.
Monday begins with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. Runners make their way through the 13+ mile course and are serenaded by rock and roll bands along the way. There is also a 5k and a one mile race.
Be prepared for a fun filled long weekend!
*Updated 8/18 for accuracy and freshness of content.
Have you ever wondered about the proper way to dispose of pet waste…or what happens to it’s discarded?
Well… here are a few things to consider before you toss the waste.
We love our pets. They are most certainly part of our families. They cannot, however, clean up after themselves, no matter how well trained.
That leaves the question of how to dispose of your dog’s waste.
When not properly disposed of, pet waste can get into the water supply or even the food supply. Feces that are thrown into storm drains or drainage ditches seep back into the water supply.
If buried near your vegetable garden, pet waste can end up in your veggies or fruits. The waste can contain salmonella or even E. coli.
Proper Pet Waste Disposal For Dogs
When you walk your dog, you should always carry with you a plastic bag to collect his waste. Most of us have those plastic grocery store bags but if not, pet stores sell small bags that can be clipped to the leash so they are at the ready after your dog “does his business”.
The feces should be double bagged (be sure to remove extra air from the bags). This way when the double bag reaches the landfill, it will not burst. Landfills have containment measures so it is ok to throw the bags in the trash.
One very easy method of disposal is an item that is available on Amazon called a Doggie Dooley. You bury this device in a part of your yard away from the house and the garden. All that shows is the lid with a handle. It is a small version of a septic tank. Just scoop the poop from the yard and dump it in the Doggie Dooley. Enzymes will do the rest of the job.
TIP… Small dogs like the one pictured here, can be trained to use the toilet.
And if you can teach him how to flush….well, that’s winning!
Proper Pet waste disposal for cats
Cats in some ways are easier to clean up after than dogs. They are trained to the litter box. This means that a cat owner needs to clean about two square feet of real estate rather than a whole outdoor yard or even neighborhood.
It seems that each type of litter has its own pluses and minuses. Clumping litter is the most popular. It is easiest to scoop. The drawback is that it is most often clay-based. Clay can clog septic systems and toilets so it is important that when you scoop, the litter should be bagged and disposed of in the trash.
One of the downsides to clay litter is that it tends to stick to cats’ paws so it can get tracked outside the litter box.
Cats like their privacy so the litter boxes that come with domed lids are a good choice. They also contain the fly away bits of litter caused by digging. Be sure to fill only about 2 inches of litter in the pan. Any more seems to be unpleasant to cats. Sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda underneath the litter to control odor.
There is a unique solution to the cat clean up process and that is toilet training your cat. There is s product called CitiKitty which can be purchased on Amazon. It slowly trains your cat to use the toilet so all you have to do is flush when you get home. No litter, no odor, very little clean up.
TIP… Always remember, after dealing with pet waste or even just playing with your dog or cat, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands!
8/13/18 Updated for accuracy and freshness of content
Are you ready to hire a cleaning company but aren’t sure what to expect?
Since most cleaning companies operate during normal business hours, it’s best to call for your house cleaning estimate during the day. Any professional company will have someone to field calls, not an answering machine!
It’s best to check out any company before you call. Be sure they are licensed, bonded, insured and have vetted their employees.
Once you’ve established whether you want cleaning on a regular weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or just a one-time cleaning you will be asked some basic questions. They’ll be something along the lines of the size of your home (sq. footage), number of bedrooms, bathrooms and other general living areas. You may be asked about the type of flooring in your home or if any pets are on the premises.
Should you want a special product used in your home or have allergies this is a good time to mention any special requests. Many cleaning companies use fragrance-free or “green” products these days.
Answering these questions will help the representative determine a baseline rate for cleaning. Generally, for regular recurring service, the next step is to have someone come out to do a short “walk-thru” of your home. This determines a firm price for cleaning. Often, the first cleaning will be a bit higher as it takes longer that visit to get your home to a maintenance level.
Be wary of any house cleaning company who will quote you a “firm” price without seeing the home first. Many times you will be expecting a certain rate but once the cleaning team arrives that changes. Because your home is much “larger” than expected and your rate will increase! Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it often is!
Once you’ve met with the company’s representative, the next step is to make a decision whether to book the service. Then all you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy your clean home!