humidity in winter

Winter Weather: A Humidifier May Help Keep You Healthy

Temperatures have dropped as low as 11 degrees in the area this winter, and though it may not be as cold as the record-breaking chill of the Midwest, it’s important to take extra precautions to stay safe during the remainder of the season.

While turning up the heat, keeping tissues on hand, and cleaning the surfaces of your home can contribute to maintaining a healthy environment, homeowners often overlook one of the most important necessities: a humidifier.

When the air in your home is dry, you’re more susceptible to discomforts such as congestion, bloody noses, irritated vocal cords, dry coughs, cracked lips, sinus congestion, and headaches – which humidifiers have been known to treat.

This invaluable appliance has also been proven to ease the symptoms of the flu or common cold by adding moisture to the air and effectively reducing skin, nose, throat, and respiratory irritation.

On top of the many benefits that humidifiers add to human wellbeing, they can be great for your houseplants, too! Houseplants can become more vibrant, and wood floors, wallpaper, and furniture may last longer!

Signs You Need A Humidifier

According to Healthline.com, “When used with care, humidifiers can make a significant difference when it comes to dry skin and airways.”

Here are a few of the common reasons to consider using a humidifier in your home or office space:

  1. Your Hands and Lips are Constantly Dry:

Central heating can cause a 20-30% humidity level dip, which can make your skin lose moisture. Lack of moisture can leave your skin feeling tight, dry, flaky, or itchy. The skin on your hands and lips are especially vulnerable to moisture loss.

Quick fixes like hand lotion and chapstick may do the trick for a day, but, a humidifier would naturally – and seamlessly – rehydrate your skin!

  1. You Experience a Frequent Dry or Scratchy Throat:

Do you suffer from recurring seasonal colds or bacterial infections like strep throat? There are more than 3 million cases of strep throat and 1 billion diagnosed colds each year in the U.S. alone. When exposed to dry, indoor air, your vocal cords can become irritated.

A humidifier can help maintain the optimal levels of humidity in your home while soothing and lubricating your throat.

  1. You Live or Work With Kids

If you live with kids – or someone who works with them – then you know one thing: germs spread quickly!

According to Compactappliance.com, humidifiers can help you avoid getting the flu altogether. Studies have shown that the flu virus is able to survive longer in low humidity. By adding moisture to your environment during the flu season, you’re creating a less-than-ideal setting for the virus to thrive – decreasing your chance of catching it.

  1. You Snore

As if the heightened risk of developing illnesses and unpredictable weather weren’t enough, dry air can also contribute to your snoring symptoms! Lack of moisture in the air causes the nose to become congested and throat to swell, resulting in restricted air movement through the nose – that’s where humidifiers step in!

Maintaining optimal humidity levels encourages natural air movement and reduces snoring.

  1. You Have Allergy or Asthma Symptoms

Research suggests that being exposed to too high or too low levels of humidity can increase the risk of asthma-like symptoms.

Humidifiers can relieve the symptoms of people who struggle with dry sinuses or airways who are prone to allergic reactions.

 

While a humidifier is not a cure-all for winter sickness, flu prevention or the symptoms listed above, it may help. If you have severe snoring or sleep apnea symptoms, allergies, asthma or other medical conditions, please let us know!

Pixabay

Snow Shoveling Safety and Tips for Safe Winter Activities

The weekend forecast is calling for snow showers Saturday and Sunday with highs in the 30s and lows in the 20s, and Virginians know what that means: shoveling. Lots of shoveling.

While most recreational winter activities and chores are harmless, a select few can pose problems for outdoor enthusiasts. Injuries including concussions, dislocated shoulders, spinal strains, broken elbows, skier’s thumb, and ankle sprains are all possible from shoveling, skiing, sledding and ice skating.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, “Simply walking outside in the freezing weather without layers of warm clothing can intensify older joint problems and cause pain.”

So when you head outside this weekend, be sure that you are geared up – and warmed up.

Here’s a list of safety precautions for this weekend!

Snow Shoveling Safety

  • Layer clothing to keep your muscles warm. It is important to wear not only the amount of clothing you think you’ll need but enough to withstand the outdoors for longer than a few minutes.
  • Do warm-up stretches and moves before you head out, similar to what you would do before exercise. You may feel silly, but you’ll thank yourself when you go back inside. When you muscles are cold, they are more likely to be strained.
  • Avoid sudden twisting and turning motions. Go slow and be careful if you think there could be ice.
  • An ergonomic shovel can help take some of the strain off of clearing your sidewalk. No matter what type of shovel you use, bend your knees to lift when shoveling. Or, avoid lifting the show and shove it to the side when you can!
  • Stop immediately if you feel chest pain, get tired, or have shortness of breath. There is a correlation between shoveling snow and heart attacks, so be aware of how you’re feeling and call 911 if you think you’re having a cardiac event.

If you do strain your back or fall on ice this weekend, contact us!

If you plan to go skiing, sledding, ice skating or having a good old-fashioned snowball fight, here are tips on how to stay safe and healthy!

Hitting the Slopes

If you’re heading to a local ski resort, going ice skating or taking the kids sledding, here are a few tips from the American Chiropractic Association.

Warming up is not optional – it is essential. If you don’t have much time, it’s better to shorten the length of your workout and maintain a good warm-up than to skip it altogether. A good warm-up can be completed in 15-20 minutes and will make the transition into your chosen winter exercise much easier and more rewarding.

Skiing

  • Do 10 to 15 squats, standing with your legs shoulder-width apart and knees aligned over your feet.
  • Slowly lower your buttocks as you bend your knees over your feet.
  • Then, stand up straight again.
  • It’s a good idea to wear layers because you may be going from a cold environment (outdoors) to a warm environment (indoors).

Ice Skating

  • Perform several lunges.
  • Take a moderately advanced step with one foot and let your back knee come down to the floor while keeping your shoulders in position over your hips.
  • Repeat the process with your both feet.

Sledding:

  • Perform knee-to-chest stretches to fight compression injuries caused by repetitive bouncing over the snow.
  • While either sitting or lying on your back, pull your knees to your chest and hold for up to 30 seconds.

Remember: cool-down stretches are almost as important as warm-up stretches. Take your time. For instance, at the bottom of the sledding hill, before walking back up, do additional knee-to-chest stretches or repetitive squatting movements to recover flexibility.

Above all else – have fun! Happy snow day(s) to everyone from AFC.

 

What is text neck?

To the name’s suggestion, “text neck” is the recently diagnosed epidemic of the infamous head bent downward, shoulders slumped texting posture that has become universal in the digital age.

It is the body’s automatic response to handheld technology, yet it is not just synonymous with texting. It can also be seen when people use many other digital devices such as tablets or e-book readers, computers, nooks, and gaming system controllers.

Everything we, as a society, know and understand as the appropriate relationship between our bodies and our technology has become dangerous for our spines.

What are the side effects?

You’re likely to recognize the pain, a sensation of tightness and achiness in your neck and shoulders, before pinpointing the cause. Whether you play games on your smartphone during your morning commute, respond to emails for hours a day or stare at your GPS on a cross-country road trip, when left untreated, the pain of text neck can lead to chronic headaches and constant discomfort.

The human head weighs between 10 and 11 pounds, a heaviness which strains the back of the neck when pulled too far forward. According to recent studies, for every inch forward you hold your head, the weight carried down through the spine increases by 10 pounds. At a 45-degree angle, the typical angle that most people view their cellphones, the head weighs 49 pounds, at a 60-degree angle, another popular perspective, it weighs 60 pounds.

The pressure that is put on the front of the neck also causes the back to gap, which can produce intervertebral discs to mitigate backward, increasing the chance for disc bulges, a common spine injury. The back of the neck also becomes strained because the muscles in the backside are in a constant state of contraction while trying to pull and support the head, making the muscle tense. Text neck can also create a tightening on the front of the neck and chest, leading to dysfunction in the shoulders and middle of the back.

When to visit your chiropractor:

Most people are so encompassed with and reliant on their phones that they lose track of their posture throughout the day and become unaware of how they look from an outside perspective. According to The Washington Post, research shows that over time, text neck can lead to early wear-and-tear of the spine, degeneration, and even surgery.

If you are experiencing symptoms of text neck, even on a minimal scale, act now; don’t wait for the discomfort to increase so much that the pain is unlivable for daily functions.

In the early stages, it may not be necessary to visit a professional chiropractor. In addition to a series of adjustments, there are many exercises that can be done at home to help alleviate the pain and symptoms of text neck.

The best possible action to take is to spend as much, if not more time in the opposite postural position (of text neck) to counterbalance the downward/forward head motion. In other words, if you spend time during the day looking down at your phone, spend time in the evening on a stretch that elongates the spine backward, such as the exaggerated nod head gesture.

8 helpful exercises to combat text neck:

  1. Exaggerated Nod
  2. Downward-Facing Dog
  3. Cat-Cow
  4. Padahastasana
  5. Bow Pose
  6. Chin Tuck
  7. Pigeon Neck
  8. Chest Opening

All exercises can be found at these links:

 

 

 

How Dehydration Affects Your Brain, Energy Levels, and Body

Most people know that dehydration is bad for them, but you may be surprised at how it can affect you.

Right now, we are still encountering the sweltering heat of summer —high temperatures are breaking records here in DC and around the world — and the Northern Hemisphere may experience its hottest year ever recorded.

There is typically a spike in dehydration in the mid- and late-summer months, when the heat index is the highest.

Aside from the general lightheaded feeling and dry mouth that individuals commonly recognize as dehydration, there are many hidden dangers that affect your physical and mental health. Our brains are highly influenced by hydration status and even mild dehydration (1-3% of body weight) can result in impaired brain function. Dehydration has been shown to negatively impact concentration, and functions such as problem-solving, motor coordination, and attention suffer the most.

Although it’s still unknown exactly when cognitive errors occur, studies show that the most severe impairments start to transpire at a 2 percent drop in body mass, a water weight loss that can happen quickly.

Surprising Benefits of Staying Hydrated

I usually tell my patients to go with the formula of 1/2 your body weight in ounces, so if you weigh 200 lbs., then you want to try to drink 100 ounces per day.

There are many benefits of staying hydrated — some you may not know about!

  • Prevent headaches: Dehydration can trigger headaches and migraines, and increasing your water intake can help.
  • Think more clearly: You may feel foggy and have trouble concentrating without enough water. Drinking up to be more productive at work!
  • Relieve constipation: Increased fluid intake can help alleviate symptoms of constipation. Low water consumption has been shown as a risk factor for constipation in young and elderly individuals.
  • Lose weight: Drinking water can increase satiety and boost your metabolic rate. Sometimes what we mistake for hunger is actually thirst.

Signs of dehydration include feelings of thirst, dizziness, heat cramps, nausea, mood changes, fatigue, and frequent headaches. In extreme cases, when left untreated, you may end up having to go to the emergency room for treatment.

How easily a person becomes dehydrated is dependent on their body mass. Younger children and infants need to monitor their hydration more than an adult would because they have a lower total body weight and a higher concentration of water. An infant’s total body water is 70 percent whereas it’s about 65 percent in older children and 60 in adults; infants and children can also turn over electrolytes and water faster than other age groups, meaning they lose water more quickly than adults.

Tips on Staying Hydrated Safely

  • Hydrate throughout the day: Drinking too much water can dilute the body, leading to a low sodium and salt intake in the blood and, in extreme cases, cause seizures. Stay hydrated by taking in fluids throughout the day, not all at once. Keep a water bottle with you!
  • Eat for the weather: Especially in hot weather and the summer months, try to consume fruits and vegetables and other foods that have high water content.
  • Exercise around the sun and heat: It’s great to stay active, but it’s best to exercise when the sun isn’t at its peak. Exercise indoors if it’s especially hot and humid outside, or go out for your walk, run or bike ride before the sun rises or after the sun sets. (Be sure to wear reflective, light weight clothing.)

Following these tips on hydration and ensuring that you always carry around extra liquids when out in the sun is a great way to ensure you don’t experience dehydration.

Stay cool! (And hydrated!)

 

Springtime Allergies Making You Miserable? These Tips Can Help

It’s that time of year – spring! And with the coming of spring means the coming of allergy season for so many.

If you’re already feeling the symptoms – itchy red eyes, congestion, headaches and the like – we are here to help. Read below for allergy survival tips, as well as some treatments and products we can offer to ease your discomfort.

Springtime Allergy Survival Tips

  • Keep your car’s ventilation system on recirculate. This will help prevent some of the outdoor allergens like pollen from entering the car. If your car has a pollen/dust filter, make sure to change it at the beginning or end of each season.
  • Change all your in-home furnace filters to HEPA filters, and change them often during pollen/allergy season.
  • Purchase a home HEPA filter, and leave it running constantly during allergy season.
  • Consider trying Ashburn Family Chiropractic’s Standard Process Purification and Cleansing Program, to help detoxify your body and rid it of as many allergens as possible, and relieve many of your symptoms.

Recommended Products For Every Kind of Allergy Sufferer

Mild to Moderate Allergies:

  • Allerplex: Helps relieve most mild allergy symptoms and reactions. Adults can take 2 capsules up to 4 times per day, and children and adolescents can take half-doses.
  • Antronex: This beef liver extract may support the body’s natural ability to remove excess histamine. Adults can take 1-2 capsules up to 6 times a day. Children can take quarter-doses, young adolescents half-doses.
  • Epimune Complex: This vegetarian supplement containing carefully processed fungi and mushrooms have been shown to help reduce allergy symptoms by boosting the body’s immune system response to allergens. Adults and adolescents can take up to 2 capsules a day, children can take one-half to one capsule per day.

Moderate to Severe Allergies:

  • Albizia Complex: This herbal supplement can help reduce histamine release and support the body’s immune system to naturally reduce allergy symptoms. Relief is usually felt after a few weeks once the supplement is built up in the body. Adults can take 1-2 tablets up to 3 times a day, children can take quarter- or half-doses.
  • Euphrasia Complex: This herbal formula can help reduce mucous formation, runny noses and watery eyes due to allergies. Adults can take 1-2 tablets up to 3 times a day as needed.

Sinusitis:

  • Fen-Gre: This formula helps break up mucous and congestion and gets it moving out of the body. Adults can take 2 tablets up to 4 times a day. Children can take half-doses.
  • Andrographis Complex: This supplement helps to strengthen the body’s immune system and has potent antibacterial properties. Adults can take 1-2 tablets up to 4 times a day. Children can take quarter- to half-doses.
  • Golden Seal 500mg: This natural herb can help restore the mucous membranes in the sinus, upper respiratory and GI tracts. It also has potent microbial properties. Adults can take 1 tablet up to 3 times a day, children can take quarter- to half-doses.

Homemade Nasal Irrigation Recipe:

Mix the following ingredients in a Neti pot or other clean, sterile container and flush the sinuses with it up to 2-3 times a day. Make a fresh batch for each use. (Do not use if allergic to any of the ingredients)

  • ½ cup warm water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ml Albizia
  • 1 ml Eyebright (over-the-counter herb)
  • 1 ml Golden Seal

Do You Experience Allergies Year-Round?

If so, there may be more at work in your body than seasonal allergies. Food allergies and sensitivities can compound airborne allergic reactions, keeping the body in a constant, elevated immune state. Talk to your doctor about whether you may want to eliminate certain common food allergens such as wheat/gluten, dairy, eggs and soy from your diet for a few weeks to see if your symptoms diminish or go away.

Come See Us!

Contact us to learn more about Ashburn Family Chiropractic’s Standard Process Purification and Cleansing Program, or other ways our treatments may be able to help you.

In addition, please “Like” us on Facebook, to keep up with news and events and see interesting articles on health and wellness.

We also appreciate our clients who leave a review of our practice on Facebook or Yelp—and, for every review left, you earn a FREE footbath or roller table!

Ashburn Family Chiropractic on Facebook

Ashburn Family Chiropractic on Yelp.com