With cool, dry weather fast approaching, I thought it may be good to re-post this blog from February 2012…

Are you getting shocked every time you touch something in your home… or scaring a pet when you reach to pet them and they get hit with a bolt of electricity… or is your hair out of control because you can’t rid it of static electricity… or are your clothes clinging in all the wrong places? Well, the answer is simple to de-electrify your home or office… simply put moisture in the air, better known as humidity.

During the cold winter months when the air in your home or office is too dry, in addition to static electricity you may experience a dry throat and nose, respiratory problems, nagging cough, dry skin, and have uncomfortable pets because of itchy skin. Adding moisture to the air will solve all these problems and make everyone more comfortable.

The process of adding moisture to the air is simple, a small humidifier is all you need. There are many models available at Walgreens, Walmart, Target, or any general department store. The unit doesn’t have to be big or intrusive, but can be small enough to be out of the way on the floor or set on a small table.

Most problems begin to occur in October or November when the weather turns cold and will continue until things warm up again around March. I run my humidifier in my bedroom during the night for these winter months to help me sleep better and wake up feeling hydrated and ready for the day. Humidity in your home should be 30% to 50% and you can measure this if desired. But, you’ll be able to tell when the humidity is right because the problems will disappear and you’ll be comfortable. (If you reach the point where you have moisture collecting on your windows, the humidity is probably too high and you can cut back on running the humidifier).

So, if you’re experiencing some of the symptoms of dry air this winter, use a humidifier to make yourself, your pets, and everyone in your home more comfortable.

Strive to be healthy!


NO PARABENS by Vickie Kline

paraben freeAre you familiar with parabens? If not, you should be.

Parabens are a class of chemicals widely used as preservatives by the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries to prevent the growth of bacteria and extend the shelf life in products. Parabens are the most widely used preservative and appear in personal care products that contain significant amounts of water, such as, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, cleansers, and deodorants. Parabens are absorbed through the skin and have been linked to cancer and other health conditions since they have some toxicity, which is used to kill bacteria in water-based solutions. I, personally, have allergic skin reactions to products that contain parabens.

So, what to do? Well, check product labels and look for those that are paraben free. I have found a nice line of cosmetic products called La Roche Posay. They don’t carry make-up, but they do have every type of skin care product imaginable. The great part is I can use these and have no reaction. I am also confident that the growth of bacteria is not a concern because other natural, plant-derived ingredients are used to prevent this.

If you have reactions to make-up and skin cleansing products, try going paraben-free. You may be surprised at the results.

Strive to be healthy!

image courtesy of body systems


dark circles eyeI have worked for years to rid myself of dark circles under my eyes. I was told they were caused by allergies… and if I treated my allergies successfully, the dark circles would improve. Well, my allergies are much better these days with only an occasional flare-up. But, guess what? The dark circles are still present. (The picture to the left is an exaggeration, but it’s how I feel sometimes).

I’m always on the lookout for something new to try, that’s not of the cosmetic variety. I have very sensitive eyes and need to be careful what I put in or around them. Otherwise, I’ll not only have dark circles, but red rims and swelling too. Anything of the natural or homeopathic route catches my eye (pun fully intended!).

I haven’t tried this yet, but am going to as soon as I get to the grocery store and get some parsley. I’ll report on the results later. Here’s the recipe:

Brightening Eye Mask:

1 small handful of fresh parsley and 2 TBSP plain yogurt

Place the parsley and yogurt in a food processor and pulse until formed into a smooth paste. Apply the mixture generously to under eye area. Rinse after 20 minutes with lukewarm water. This smells wonderful and feels very refreshing

Parsley is rich in vitamin K, and when applied topically, reduces blood flow to the eye area. The blood flow in the eye area is a key factor in dark circles. Over time, the fatty layer of skin under your eyes thins out and makes the blood vessels more visible. Their slightly bluish color is what creates the illusion of circles underneath the eyes.

Information shared courtesy of Be Nourished By Nature

Image shared courtesy of Dark Circles Under Eyes


SNORING by Vickie Kline

This topic is on my mind today because my husband has slept in a different room the past couple of nights. Yes, my name is Vickie Kline and I snore. Oh my gosh… I never thought I would admit that because I find it embarrassing. It’s usually men who snore and I’ve heard tales of wives who have tried everything to get a good night’s sleep. I guess this ailment goes with my history of allergy problems and I should face it head on and determine how to change the situation before my husband moves out of our bedroom for good!

I’ve tried several things previously and good results. I find though, it has a great deal to do with how other things are going in my life. What have I recently eaten that may have caused increased congestion due to allergies? Am I having drainage down the back of my throat? How tired am I? How much alcohol have I consumed? I realize snoring is caused and impacted by many other things in my life. If I work on changing these things, my snoring decreases and I don’t have to sleep alone.

These are the typical remedies for snoring:

1. Change your sleep position: If you tend to sleep on your back, you may have an issue with the base of your tongue and soft palate collapsing to the back of your throat. This will cause a vibrating sound during sleep. If you change positions and sleep on your side, you may prevent this. I very often start out on my side, but turn on my back during sleep without realizing it. Okay, here’s what’s recommended to keep you lying on your side: A full-length body pillow for support will keep you on your side. Or, taping tennis balls to the back of your pajamas. I think I’ll call Victoria’s Secret and see if they have lingerie with tennis ball packets in the back. My hubby would think that was cool.

2. Lose weight: If a person gains weight in the neck area, it can squeeze the internal diameter of the throat causing it to collapse during sleep, which may increase snoring. Who do we call for neck exercises?

3. Avoid alcohol: Alcohol and sleeping aides reduce the resting tone of the muscles in the back of your throat, making it more likely you will snore. Drinking alcohol four to five hours before retiring for the night will make snoring worse. So the question is a toss-up between hubby in bed and my red wine with dinner. I’ll have to mull that one over…

4. Open nasal passages: If you snore due to congestion and closed nasal passages, this may be helpful. Using steam from a hot shower before going to bed may help unclog your nasal passages, using a neti pot to rinse your nasal passages, or applying nasal strips at bedtime may all help you sleep without disturbing your partner.

5. Change your pillow: Allergens in your bedroom and in your pillow may be a contributing factor to snoring. When did you last replace your pillow or dust your overhead ceiling fan? (What? You have to dust those things?) Anything that increases an allergic reaction may increase your snoring. So check on pet dander, your pillow, bed linens, etc.

6. Stay well hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids will liquify nasal secretions and help move them through instead of becoming sticky and causing congestion, which can lead to snoring.

7. Use nasosympatico: This is a blend of natural oils that open up nasal passages and help you breathe easier while sleeping. It’s very similar to using Vick’s vapor rub or some type of menthol product to keep airways open and functioning properly.

I have tried many of these and had some relief, but have back slidden and gotten lazy. I think I just need that occasional reminder to be aware of my overall health and how getting lazy will impact many parts of my life, one of those being my sleep (and another person’s sleep). Today I will drink more water, decrease my alcohol intake in the evening, and dust my ceiling fan.

Mikey – will you come back to bed now???

Strive to be healthy!

Information shared courtesy of WebMD.

LARYNGITIS by Vickie Kline

Years ago, every time I caught a cold, I would get laryngitis. Eventually I would feel fine, but my voice would be MIA for two to three weeks. It was very frustrating because I was a vocalist at the time. As my voice recovered a bit, I would sing more, and would lose my voice all over again. One of those vicious cycles that is hard to break. Luckily, with changes in diet, medication, and a more healthful lifestyle, I no longer experience these long periods of being voiceless. (I’m sure my husband wishes we could go back in time…)

Laryngitis occurs when you have an infection or stressed vocal chords. The vocal chords swell, causing them to not vibrate properly to create sound. There are numerous causes for laryngitis:

1. Overuse of the voice may cause irritation resulting in laryngitis, such as yelling at a sporting event.

2. Prolonged use of alcohol or tobacco may cause laryngitis.

3. Acid reflux disease. If you suspect this, consult your physician.

If you find you often lose your voice, there are some natural ways to help relieve symptoms and bring your voice back more quickly:

1. Rest your voice. Try not to talk much. This will speed up the healing process.

2. Drink plenty of fluids. The more hydrated you are, the better your chance of healing your vocal chords.

3. Use steam. The bathroom is the best place to do this. Close the door, turn the hot water on in the shower and …. breathe … for about 20 minutes. This will help to moisturize the vocal chords.

4. Discontinue all alcohol and tobacco if necessary. Alcohol and tobacco will dehydrate you and dry out the vocal chords.

5. If you feel physical irritation in your vocal chords, use a gargle of warm water. Again, this will help to hydrate them.

6. A cold water vaporizer may also be helpful. This will increase the humidity.

7. Ibuprofen will also help decrease the inflammation and speed up the healing process.

Once you begin to experience symptoms or feel like you may be losing your voice, start the healing process right away. If you catch laryngitis early (possibly when you first become hoarse), you can keep it from getting much worse. If you try these home remedies and are not getting better, always consult your physician.

Strive to be healthy!

Information courtesy of Medicine Net

No Voice image courtesy of Miss Thrifty SLP


This past week I’ve had a cold… yes, a common cold like many people get this time of year when the season begins to change. You will think this is strange, but having this cold made me happy. In case you’re wondering about this statement, let me explain. This is the first time I can remember in more than 15 years that a common cold has not turned into a full-blown sinus or respiratory infection. I simply had a cold and recovered… without antibiotics or anything more than a bit of cough syrup at night so I could sleep. I find this amazing!

If you’ve read my blog before, you may recall I have always suffered from severe allergies and fought sinus and respiratory infections on a regular basis. These infections often lasted for a full three weeks minimum and then the cough would hang on for months. As a result, I was often tired and run down with low resistance and the cycle would start all over again.

But, today’s post is not about illness… it’s about recovering and being well! I have worked hard the past year to live a healthful lifestyle and believe it has paid off. One important thing I learned during the process is that everybody (and every body) is different. You cannot take a health plan and follow it without question and expect it to work. If you truly want health, you must work to find what your individual body responds to and how it reacts to changes in diet, exercise, medication, etc.

This is what worked for me:

1. Removed wheat from my diet. I do not claim to be gluten intolerant because I do not suffer from celiac disease. But, I do have a wheat allergy and my body rebels when I eat it. This allergy caused problems with my immune system and resulted in allergy problems that often turned into infections, etc.

2. Gradually decreased all medication. Only when you observe your body without medication, do you know exactly what your health issues and concerns are. (This does not apply to life-saving heart or blood pressure medications… so do not decrease those if you are taking them). After eliminating wheat from my diet, my immune system began to function better and my allergy issues changed. Only when I quit taking all medications did I know what I was truly dealing with. I’ve gone from taking six prescription medications daily to one prescription and an occasional over-the-counter med.

3. Began taking vitamins. My immune system was a wreck and I needed to strengthen it, so I looked for vitamins that would help. I take a liquid Vitamin C and Vitamin D daily, along with Vitamin B-12 tablet. This combination helps me feel good with increased energy.

4. Changed my eating plan. Not only did I eliminate wheat, I tried to reduce processed foods and eat more fruits and vegetables. It’s amazing how my system responds to healthful food.

5. Exercise. I used to think exercise wasn’t worth it if I didn’t go spend two hours at the gym working out. I finally realized I need to gradually work up to a full exercise routine. If my muscles are out of shape, I can’t suddenly do a hard-core work out and expect to get good results. I began doing short walks or bike rides a couple of times per week. Then I purchased a kayak and began taking that out on the river on the weekends. Or, I would spend time mowing the yard or working in the garden. The more time I spent outside doing different forms of exercise, the more I enjoyed it. I am now doing about an hour of exercise 4 to 5 times per week, and working toward doing something every day.

6. Listen to my body. Yes, it talks to me. It lets me know if what I’m doing works or not. It lets me know when I need more sleep… when I’ve eaten something questionable… when the air is too dry. If I pay attention, I know what I need to do (or not do) to feel good.

So consider many forms of health plans and research them, from eating, to exercise, to vitamins. Find out what works for you personally and develop your own plan. It’s easy to follow a routine when you get results and you feel good. With making some changes, you will feel immediate results… others will take a while, but stick with it. It’s worth it.

Strive to be healthy!

Cold image courtesy of Reduce the Spread of the Common Cold

EYE MASKS by Vickie Kline

I have often wondered about the use of an eye mask to relieve puffy eyes or allergy symptoms. I decided to try one to see if I noticed improvement and was pleasantly surprised with the result. The mask also felt wonderful on my tired eyes. Felt like I was having a spa day in the middle of the afternoon…

With today’s lifestyles of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices, it’s only natural we experience eye strain, headaches, stress, and other side effects. An eye mask that can be heated or cooled is a simple product that can relieve many of these symptoms. For instance, to relieve a common headache in the upper facial area due to tension or stress, a gel mask cooled in the refrigerator and placed on your face for 20 to 30 minutes will loosen tense muscle tissue that is tight and uncomfortable. Or, if your eyes are puffy from eye strain or polluted air, an eye mask is a great approach to give your eyes time to rest. By blocking out light and giving your eyes a break, you’ll feel the difference immediately.

Gel masks are also good therapy for sinus congestion too. With sinus problems, you may experience swelling and/or pain in the nostril, eye, and forehead areas. Placing a heated or chilled gel mask on your face will minimize the symptoms, help you recover more quickly, and keep you moving.

Once you’ve decided to try an eye mask, how can you determine which is the best choice? Most of it is personal preference, but you will have four types to choose from, depending on your symptoms: 1) A sleep mask, which is used as a sleep aid blocks light and enables you to rest comfortably whether you are an insomniac, a light sleeper, or regular traveler in a strange place. This mask will give you a higher quality of rest. 2) A therapeutic sleeping mask comes with a lavender, mint, or natural aroma for therapeutic benefits. The scent will work to relieve sinus congestion and reduce stress. 3) A gel mask, which is not used to aid in sleep, but is therapeutic related will take hot or cold temperatures. A heated gel mask is exceptional for migraines, stress reduction, and muscle relaxation. A refrigerated gel mask will lessen swelling or redness around the eyes due to allergies, surgery, sun exposure, or insufficient sleep. This is a versatile mask that works for many problems. 4) A facial eye mask is a completely different product from a gel mask, but offers similar health benefits when placed right below the eye area.

So, gel masks are not only for spa days. They can be used on a daily basis for relaxation, stress reduction, and general therapeutic benefits. Give your eyes a rest and treat them right with an eye mask.

Strive to be healthy!

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