Don’t let sunburn derail summer fun

Many people find it impossible to think about summer without conjuring visions of spending endless hours outdoors from morning until evening, whether beachside, on the open water or even floating in a backyard pool. Although a certain measure of sun exposure is required for some natural functions of the body, it’s well documented that too much time in the sun can be hazardous to one’s health. That’s why summer frolickers need to exercise considerable caution each time they step outside.

Taking sunburn for granted can be a big mistake. Many people wouldn’t risk burns from a hot stove or open fire, but they won’t think twice about being unprotected under the very hot rays of the sun. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than one-third of adults and nearly 70 percent of children admit to suffering from sunburn within the past year. Depending on the intensity of the sun and the amount of time spent outside, sunburn can be a first- or second-degree burn. In first-degree burns, damage affects the topmost layer of skin. However, sunburn can even affect deeper layers and cause blistering in addition to redness and pain.

Sunburn also can cause some irreparable damage that goes unseen. According to WebMD, ultraviolet light from the sun can alter DNA, prematurely aging skin or even contributing to skin cancers. It can take years before symptoms become noticeable. Therefore, it is best for people of all ages to exercise caution when spending time in the sun.

Sunburn is one of the most easily prevented summertime ailments. It’s also important to note that sunburns are not just limited to the hot weather or when it is sunny outside. Ultraviolet damage can occur at any time of the year, and also from artificial UV sources, such as tanning beds. Preventing sunburn is simple.

· The Mayo Clinic says the sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so schedule outdoor activities for other times of day. Otherwise, limit exposure to the sun and take frequent breaks in the shade.

· Wear protective clothing that covers the arms and legs. Some outdoor gear is designed to offer sun protection. Tightly woven fabrics tend to help the most.

· Apply – and reapply – sunscreen. Look for products that offer an SPF of 15 or greater. The American Academy of Dermatology actually recommends an SPF of 30 or greater. Make sure the product is broad-spectrum, meaning it protects against UVA and UVB rays. Apply sunscreen thoroughly, paying attention to the tops of feet, hands and other places that tend to go untreated. Reapply every two hours or more frequently, if necessary.

· Base tans do not protect the skin. Research does not support the habit of getting a tan to prevent subsequent sunburn.

· Protect the face and eyes by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and highly rated UV protection sunglasses.

The Skin Cancer Foundation says a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns. Use protection, stay hydrated and play it smart to enjoy summer to the fullest.

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Birthday party pointers to make kids, parents happy

Childhood is filled with many memorable moments. Among the more memorable are children’s birthday parties. During their children’s formative years, parents may wrestle with ideas, themes, etiquette, and more as they plan birthday parties to remember. Hosting birthday parties that touch on all the right notes can be easier if parents follow a handful of strategies that many parents have been employing for years.

· Involve your child. Chances are your son or daughter has been plotting out ideas for his or her party since last year’s festivities ended. Ask questions about what he or she would like to do this year. Seek your child’s input on the guest list and preferred theme. Playing an active roll in party planning can make kids even more excited about their birthday parties.

· Focus on fun and making your child feel special. Some parents feel birthday parties must be expensive and all-encompassing bashes. But many children simply want parties that allow them to participate in an activity they enjoy, eat sweets and share the experience with their closest friends. Recognizing this can help parents keep their workloads and budgets in check.

· Trim the guest list. Parents should not feel the need to invite every acquaintance to their children’s birthday parties. Parents understandably don’t want to exclude or offend anyone by leaving them off the guest list. However, try to limit the guests to around 10, including the guest of honor. This makes the entire party more manageable.

· Keep it quiet. Make sure your child avoids bragging about the party at school or at extracurricular activities. Doing so many offend those classmates who are not on the guest list. Send invites directly to homes rather than distributing them at school so that no one feels excluded.

· Develop backup plans. There’s no accounting for the weather, illness, venue cancellations, or food flops. Always have a plan B (and, ideally, a plan C and plan D) so that the kids can stay entertained.

· Encourage drop-and-go. Hosting young children can be stressful. And when parents attend the party as well, entertaining duties expand to an entirely different level. Recruit another helper or two and be sure parents know you are comfortable with them not staying for the party. They may even appreciate your looking after their children for a few hours.

· Plan for additional guests. Part of planning for the unexpected includes being able to accommodate a few extra children. You never know when a sibling will have to tag along or a last-minute invite pops up, so keep some extra snacks and favors on hand just in case.

· Open gifts after guests leave. Opening gifts is time-consuming, and young children may not be adept at filtering their comments. No one should go home feeling their gift was not appreciated.

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6/23/17 Shopper E-Edition

Check out this week’s e-edition of The Horseheads Shopper here!

The Horseheads Shopper 6/23/17

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Understanding protein shakes

Protein powder shakes once were consumed almost exclusively by professional body builders or gym rats looking to increase their muscle mass. But long gone are the days of finding protein shake supplies in specialty fitness stores. Nowadays protein shakes are mainstream and big business for the fitness and diet industry.

Although protein shakes are not a magic solution for six-pack abs or overnight weight loss, they can – when used correctly – make a healthy addition to a fitness and nutrition regimen. With that said, they may not be right for everyone. But it’s important for individuals to weigh the pros and cons of protein products and work with their physicians to find the right regimen for their age, gender, body type, and desired goals.

Protein shakes have a lot of positive attributes. Convenient and portable, protein shakes are formulated with readily available, highly digestible protein to fuel the body post-workout. Protein is essential for building muscle and overall body strength and is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. It also helps make hormones, enzymes and other body chemicals. Protein shakes deliver whey or casein protein in a convenient way. And because protein shakes tend to be concentrated, many people can consume the recommended level of protein for their activity type without having to eat many calorie-laden meals.

Shakes also can be filling and help people feel satiated longer. Some people substitute protein shakes for meals once per day, eliminating a potentially calorie-laden meal in favor of a low-calorie shake.

While protein shakes can be beneficial, the International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends that those who exercise should try to reach their protein requirements via whole foods. Protein shakes are not complete meals; therefore, they may create nutritional deficits if they are routinely used as meal substitutes. The Mayo Clinic offers that protein shakes often fall short of supplying significant amounts of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. They’re also generally missing naturally occurring fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals. Protein shakes may be flavored with artificial ingredients or sweeteners which can be fine when consumed occasionally, but may not be recommended as a long-term meal replacement.

Too much protein may not be a good thing, either. The U.S. Department of Health recommends that adults should not consume more than twice the recommended daily intake of protein, which is 55.5 g for men and 45 g for women. Protein shakes often have 20 to 40 g of protein per serving. So it’s easy to see how consumers of protein shakes may consume more than their recommended amount of protein. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, consistently exceeding daily protein requirements can lead to weight gain, high blood cholesterol, an elevated risk for heart disease, and kidney complications. Also, The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine states that consuming too much protein can raise a person’s risk of developing cancer, osteoporosis and kidney stones.

Protein shakes are convenient forms of a nutrient that active bodies need. When used in moderation and as part of an overall healthy eating plan, they should be safe. But it’s important to discuss any dietary and exercise concerns with a doctor before making drastic lifestyle changes.

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Maintain sparkling clear pool water

Swimming weather is something to enjoy. But for pool owners, few things are more of a headache than wanting to jump into the pool only to find that the water is cloudy, green and uninviting.

Clean pools are safe, and that safety requires periodic maintenance. Homeowners may need to periodically revisit pool water chemistry and cleaning techniques in order to maintain clean, healthy and safe pools.

Disinfectant levels

Maintaining a satisfactory level of disinfectant will help prevent the multiplication of bacteria and algae in the pool. Many pools are kept clean through the use of chlorine products. The ratio of chlorine to water needed to maintain the clarity of the water depends on the size of the pool, the sanitizer used, weather, sunlight and evaporation, and the pH. In many instances, the available free chlorine in a pool when tested should be between 3 and 4 ppm to offer adequate sanitation. Frequent testing will help pool owners gauge how well the pool water is holding chlorine and how to compensate if extra is needed.


Nearly every pool owner has had to deal with algae at some point in his or her life. One of the best ways to minimize algae spores in the pool besides high-sanitation levels is through routine brushing and vacuuming. According to Leslie’s Pool Supplies, pool walls, floors and steps are the most common places to find algae in a pool. If left untreated, algae can burrow their roots inside the cracks on these surfaces, making them very difficult to remove. That’s why weekly (or more frequent) brushing and vacuuming can help keep surfaces clean and algae-free. Vacuuming also helps remove debris that has fallen into the water and sunk, which can decompose and contribute to water cloudiness.

Maintain pH

Maintaining the proper chemical balance of pool water will help keep it clean and protect system components from damage. The pH level of pool water measures its acidity or alkalinity. The pH level should be between 7.4 and 7.6 for best results. Latham Pool Products says water that is too acidic can cause eye and skin irritation and damage liners or equipment with corrosion. High pH may cause cloudy water and make chlorine less active. Again, frequent testing helps pool owners understand their water chemistry better and make adjustments.


For cleanliness, water circulation and filtration is essential. This helps spread the chemicals to all areas of the pool and also helps to remove debris. Filters come in different types, including sand, diatomaceous earth, or DE, and cartridge. Each has its pros and cons. How long to run the filter depends on water temperature, gallons of water in the pool and the estimated water turnover rate of the filter. Pool owners can start with longer filter run times and gradually cut down until they find the right rate based on water appearance, according to popular pool forum Trouble Free Pools.

Pools can be great places to spend warm, sunny days. With care, pools can remain clean and clear throughout warm weather seasons.

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What to know before going camping

Comedian Jim Gaffigan often jokes that camping is a tradition in his wife’s family, but he’s what people would consider “indoorsy.” Gaffigan notes that the idea of burning a couple of vacation days sleeping on the ground outside isn’t his idea of fun. But the comic may be in the minority.

Camping is one of the most popular outdoor recreational activities in North America. The statistics resource Statistica says the revenue of campgrounds and RV parks was estimated at $5.8 billion in 2015. More than $2.5 billion was relegated to camping equipment spending. In Canada, National Park attendance is typically indicative of camping stays. Parks Canada said there was a 4 percent increase in overall visitation between 2009 and 2014.

Camping takes many forms. Some purists equate camping to minimalist survival – eking out an existence for a few days with nothing more than a tent, a single roll of toilet paper and a fishing pole. Others enjoy the creature comforts of home and would readily consider camping something done from their climate controlled RV.

Camping ranges between sleeping under the open stars and glamping – a style of camping with amenities and potentially resort-style services. No matter how one defines camping, information is the key to becoming the proverbial “happy camper.” The following list is a general starting off point for planning a camping adventure.

· Not all campsites are equal. When choosing a campsite, seek an area that offers the amenities you desire. Popular places like lakeside spots or those close to trails tend to book up early. Also, consider proximity to bathrooms, showers and ingress/egress spots. People who desire solitude will pick different campsites than those who want to be near the family action.

· Choose a tent for the weather. Supplies will differ depending on the temperatures when you plan to camp. Select a tent with a sun-protection sealant to prolong its longevity. Opt for a location with partial afternoon shade to keep the campsite and tent cool. Face the tent door into the wind for a breeze (and also to keep mosquitoes from camping alongside you). Speak with a camping supply retailer about your camping needs.

· Bring along low-salt, high-protein snacks. Low-salt, high-protein snacks will keep you fueled for day trips along the trails without making you thirsty. Dried berries and high-fiber trail mixes also can keep energy levels up.

· Invest in an insulating pad. A good insulating pad will keep you comfortable when sleeping on the ground. Such a pad also will serve as an extra moisture barrier and will help keep you warm or cool.

· Use the moon. If this is your first time camping, schedule the night out to coincide with a full moon. There will be extra light at night to chase away any fears and make navigating a bit easier.

· Be an early bird. To see wildlife, hit the trails as early as possible. Early morning hours also are cooler for working.

Remember that camping involves getting in touch with nature. Leave the campsite how you found it, taking trash along with you

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6/16/17 Shopper E-Edition

Check out this week’s e-edition of The Horseheads Shopper here! The Horseheads Shopper 6/16/17

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