7 Easy Back-to-School Dinners

When the school bells start ringing, putting wholesome and tasty family dinners on the table can get a lot harder to schedule. These simple, seasonal recipes – from one-pot taco skillets to sheet pan pork tenderloin – can help you own the school-year dinner routine.

With all the cleanup time you’ll save, visit McCormick.com or find McCormick on Facebook and Pinterest for more family-friendly recipes that will earn you A-plus grades all around.

Fall Skillet Pot Pie

Store-bought rotisserie chicken, refrigerated biscuits and an oven-proof skillet can make this comfort food favorite a weeknight reality. Chicken stock mixed with a blend of seasonings adds savory richness to the sweet potatoes and peas for a meal that warms you inside and out.

Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Lo Mein

This dish features everything you love about the Asian take-out favorite – carrots, bell pepper and shrimp – all flavored with a savory mixture of soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Using the microwave to cook the squash means you’ll have it on the table for your family in no time.

Open-Faced Hot Turkey Sandwiches

Prepared turkey gravy makes this a sandwich you can really sink your teeth into. Stack your bread with spinach, turkey and cranberry sauce and serve it warm for a taste of Thanksgiving any time of year.

Easy Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Apples

Brush pork with brown sugar and a robust blend of seasonings for a meal that’s equal parts sweet and savory. Bake on a single sheet pan with sliced apples and onions for an easy dinner in no time.

Chicken and Vegetable Lo Mein

Simply combine noodles, fresh veggies, chicken breast strips and a tangy stir-fry sauce. You’ll be left with an Asian-inspired dish that’s ready faster than you could order in a restaurant and every bit as tasty.

Slow Cooker Korean Beef

Make everybody’s favorite Korean barbecue at home – in the slow cooker. Beef bone broth contributes to the robust, Asian-inspired flavor of this dish, and is complemented by ginger and Korean red pepper.

Quinoa Taco Skillet

Give taco night a wholesome twist with this simple skillet dish. Season ground turkey, quinoa, fresh tomatoes and corn with taco seasoning mix for a kid-friendly meal the whole family will taco-bout. (Family Features)

Understand What You Need to Do to Stay Healthy Over 65

 If you are 65 or older, you may be at increased risk for potentially serious disease, even if you are healthy. Talk to your doctor about staying up to date with the CDC-recommended adult vaccinations and help protect yourself. 

If you are 65 or older, you may be at increased risk for potentially serious disease, even if you are healthy. Talk to your doctor about staying up to date with the CDC-recommended adult vaccinations and help protect yourself.

Today’s Boomer generation feels young at heart. They’re living an active lifestyle, they have no intention of slowing down, they’re booming. Many Boomers feel that because they are healthy and taking care of themselves, they are not at risk for potentially serious infectious diseases, such as pneumococcal pneumonia. But if you are over 65, even if you are healthy, you are at increased risk. August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and a great opportunity for anyone over 65 to learn about the myths and facts of adult immunization and to get a new attitude toward vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Every year thousands of adults in the United States suffer from serious illnesses, are hospitalized or even die from diseases for which vaccines are available,” said Dr. Otha Myles, Infectious Disease Physician at Medical Specialists of St. Luke’s Hospital in Saint Louis, Missouri. “But adults can reduce this threat by talking to their doctor about the facts of adult immunization and about their personal risk of catching a potentially serious disease.”

According to a Pfizer Inc survey of adults aged 65 years and older, 67 percent describe themselves as taking an active role in maintaining their health.[1] However, many misconceptions about adult immunization still persist, preventing Boomers from taking the important step of vaccinating against serious diseases.

Read below for 5 Common Myths and Facts about Adult vaccination:

Myth: Vaccines are for children, adults don’t need to get vaccinated.

Fact: While many are familiar with the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) vaccination schedule for children, the CDC also has recommended immunizations for adults depending on their health and age. All adults, even healthy ones, should talk to their doctor about the potential risks and the importance of staying up-to-date on CDC-recommended vaccinations.

Myth: Vaccination is only for the very elderly.

Fact: The immune system naturally weakens as people get older, putting even healthy and active adults as young as 65 at risk[2] for diseases such as pneumococcal pneumonia, a serious and potentially life-threatening illness that can strike anyone over 65, anywhere, anytime.

Myth: Healthy adults don’t need to get vaccinated.

Fact: The young at heart may not feel they are at risk for vaccine-preventable illnesses because they live an active lifestyle and take good care of themselves. But our immune system naturally weakens as we age, and adults 65 and older are at an eight times greater risk of being hospitalized with pneumococcal pneumonia compared to adults younger than 50.[3]

Myth: Vaccines are not proven to be effective.

Fact: According to the CDC, vaccination is the safest, most effective way to protect yourself.[4]

Myth: Adults only need to get the flu vaccine.

Fact: The CDC recommends several vaccinations for adults dependent on their age and health-factors.[5] However, flu season is a good time to speak to healthcare providers about staying up-to-date on CDC-recommended adult vaccinations. Beyond just getting the flu vaccine, adults, particularly those 65 and older, should discuss vaccination against other potentially serious diseases, such as pneumococcal pneumonia, with their doctor.

This National Immunization Awareness Month, take the opportunity to speak with your healthcare provider or pharmacist about getting vaccinated. For more information about immunization and vaccination options, visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines. Visit KnowPneumonia.com for more information about pneumococcal pneumonia.

[1] Omnibus survey, sponsored by Pfizer. September 8-12, 2016.

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pneumococcal Disease: Risk Factors & Transmission. http://www.cdc.gov/pneumococcal/about/risk-transmission.html. Accessed March 27, 2017.

[3] Jain S, Self WH, Wunderink RG, et al. CDC EPIC Study Team. Community-acquired pneumonia requiring hospitalization among US adults. N Engl J Med 2015;373(5):415-427

[4] Center for Disease Control and Prevention Fast Facts. (2015). http://www.cdc.gov/pneumococcal/about/facts.html. Accessed March 23, 2017

[5] Vaccine Information for Adults. (2017, January 30). Retrieved July 06, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/rec-vac/index.html

PP-PNA-USA-2645 © 2017 Pfizer Inc. All rights reserved. August 2017. (BPT)

Increasing Hope for Some Patients With a Common Type of Lung Cancer

Numbers touch nearly every aspect of our life, from social security number assigned at birth, to the ever-growing list of passwords, addresses, telephone numbers and miles traveled. You never know at what point one previously insignificant number might suddenly become fundamental.

Take 14 and 25. Alone, these numbers could mean nothing, anything. But to some, they are a statistic that needs to be changed. Because currently in the U.S., 14 percent of all new cancers are lung cancers, and 25 percent of all cancer deaths are attributed to this disease. Lung cancer causes more deaths than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) represents 80-85 percent of all lung cancers, and is often diagnosed in its later stages, once it’s spread and become more serious. This diagnosis can be distressing, as patients may have little knowledge of treatment options or what to expect now that life has taken this unexpected turn.

Chemotherapy, surgery and radiation have long represented the standard of care; however, advanced lung cancer’s aggressive nature is driving doctors and scientists to find ways to understand and treat it in new ways. This includes immunotherapies, which work differently, and are now often included among the traditional standard of care options like chemotherapy, surgery and radiation for certain types of cancer patients.

“Research is pushing the boundaries of what we know about the immune system’s ability to fight cancer, which is very exciting,” said David Spigel, MD, Chief Scientific Officer; Director, Lung Cancer Research Program; Principal Investigator, Sarah Cannon, Nashville, Tennessee.

There are several types of immunotherapies approved to treat lung cancer. Up to about half of patients with NSCLC develop recurrence, which means a second line of treatment is needed. Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo® (nivolumab) is an immunotherapy approved for several uses, including for adults with advanced NSCLC that has spread or grown, and if platinum-based chemotherapy (a common treatment) did not work or is no longer working. It also may be used in patients whose tumor has an abnormal EGFR or ALK gene, if they have first tried an FDA-approved therapy that did not work or is no longer working. It is not known if Opdivo is safe and effective in children less than 18 years of age.

Opdivo will not work for every patient, and results may vary. Opdivo can cause problems that can sometimes become serious or life-threatening and can lead to death. Serious side effects may include lung problems (pneumonitis); intestinal problems (colitis) that can lead to tears or holes in your intestine; liver problems (hepatitis); hormone gland problems (especially the thyroid, pituitary, adrenal glands and pancreas); kidney problems, including nephritis and kidney failure; skin problems; inflammation of the brain (encephalitis); problems in other organs; and severe infusion reactions. Please see additional important safety information below.

Opdivo was the first and only immunotherapy to demonstrate a survival advantage in two different phase 3 clinical trials for adults with advanced NSCLC who had previously received chemotherapy. These trials included patients with non-squamous and squamous lung cancer.

In the main analysis of a clinical trial looking at 582 patients whose advanced non-squamous NSCLC had spread or grown after treatment with a platinum-based chemotherapy, 292 were treated with Opdivo and 290 with chemotherapy (docetaxel). Opdivo reduced the risk of dying by 27 percent compared to the chemotherapy. Half of the patients on Opdivo were alive at 12.2 months, compared to 9.4 months with chemotherapy. Opdivo was shown to partially or completely shrink tumors in 19 percent of patients (56 out of 292), compared to 12 percent with chemotherapy (36 out of 290 patients), and there was no difference between the treatments in the length of time that patients lived without their tumors worsening.

In the main analysis of a separate trial looking at 272 patients whose advanced squamous NSCLC (another type of lung cancer) spread or grew after treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy, 135 received Opdivo and 137 chemotherapy (docetaxel). Opdivo reduced the risk of dying by 41 percent compared to chemotherapy. Half of the patients on Opdivo were alive at 9.2 months, compared to six months with chemotherapy. Opdivo was shown to partially or completely shrink tumors in 20 percent of patients (27 out of 135), compared to 9 percent with chemotherapy (12 out of 137 patients). The length of time that half of the patients lived without their tumors worsening was 3.5 months with Opdivo and 2.8 months for chemotherapy.

The most common side effects of Opdivo when used alone include: feeling tired; pain in muscles, bones, and joints; diarrhea; cough; constipation; back pain; fever; rash; itchy skin; nausea; shortness of breath; decreased appetite; upper respiratory tract infection; and weakness. Please see additional important safety information below.

In the patients for which Opdivo is approved, the treatment has now been studied for more than two years. In a follow up to the main analysis of the trial in previously treated advanced non-squamous NSCLC, overall survival (OS) rates, meaning the length of time from diagnosis or treatment initiation that patients remain alive, for Opdivo at two years were 29 percent (81 out of 292 patients), versus 16 percent of those treated with chemotherapy (docetaxel) (45 out of 290 patients). For patients with previously treated advanced squamous NSCLC, data from a follow up to the main analysis show that 23 percent were alive at two years (29 out of 135 patients) versus 8 percent of those treated with chemotherapy (11 out of 137 patients). The safety profile of Opdivo at two years was similar to previous reports from both studies.

“These data points are very important to patients battling this disease. Until recently we wouldn’t have imagined we’d be sharing two-year data,” said Dr. Spigel. “Now that we are starting to see some patients survive, we have some additional aspects to focus on – how do we better determine which patients respond to treatment and how do we increase survival? That’s the goal, and we will continue to uncover new ways of treating this disease and training our bodies to fight back.”

Healthcare professionals, researchers, advocates, caregivers and patients all bring unique expertise to those impacted by cancer, and, as with everything in science, these insights have exponential value when they collaboratively work to bring their ideas together.

For those fighting this type of cancer, start a conversation today with your doctor. Ask whether Opdivo may be right for you or your loved one.

To learn more about Opdivo, visit www.opdivo.com.


OPDIVO® (injection for intravenous use 10 mg/mL) is a prescription medicine used to treat a type of advanced stage lung cancer (called non- small cell lung cancer) that has spread or grown and you have tried chemotherapy that contains platinum, and it did not work or is no longer working. If your tumor has an abnormal EGFR or ALK gene, you should have also tried an FDA-approved therapy for tumors with these abnormal genes, and it did not work or is no longer working.

It is not known if OPDIVO is safe and effective in children less than 18 years of age.

Important Safety Information for OPDIVO® (nivolumab)

OPDIVO is a medicine that may treat your, lung cancer by working with your immune system. OPDIVO can cause your immune system to attack normal organs and tissues in many areas of your body and can affect the way they work. These problems can sometimes become serious or life-threatening and can lead to death. These problems may happen anytime during treatment or even after your treatment has ended.

Serious side effects may include:

  • Lung problems (pneumonitis). Symptoms of pneumonitis may include: new or worsening cough; chest pain; and shortness of breath.
  • Intestinal problems (colitis) that can lead to tears or holes in your intestine. Signs and symptoms of colitis may include: diarrhea (loose stools) or more bowel movements than usual; blood in your stools or dark, tarry, sticky stools; and severe stomach area (abdomen) pain or tenderness.
  • Liver problems (hepatitis). Signs and symptoms of hepatitis may include: yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes; severe nausea or vomiting; pain on the right side of your stomach area (abdomen); drowsiness; dark urine (tea colored); bleeding or bruising more easily than normal; and feeling less hungry than usual.
  • Hormone gland problems (especially the thyroid, pituitary, adrenal glands, and pancreas). Signs and symptoms that your hormone glands are not working properly may include: headaches that will not go away or unusual headaches; extreme tiredness; weight gain or weight loss; dizziness or fainting; changes in mood or behavior, such as decreased sex drive, irritability, or forgetfulness; hair loss; feeling cold; constipation; voice gets deeper; and excessive thirst or lots of urine.
  • Kidney problems, including nephritis and kidney failure. Signs of kidney problems may include: decrease in the amount of urine; blood in your urine; swelling in your ankles; and loss of appetite.
  • Skin Problems. Signs of these problems may include: rash; itching; skin blistering; and ulcers in the mouth or other mucous membranes.
  • Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). Signs and symptoms of encephalitis may include: headache; fever; tiredness or weakness; confusion; memory problems; sleepiness; seeing or hearing things that are not really there (hallucinations); seizures; and stiff neck.
  • Problems in other organs. Signs of these problems may include: changes in eyesight; severe or persistent muscle or joint pains; and severe muscle weakness.

Getting medical treatment right away may keep these problems from becoming more serious.

Your healthcare provider will check you for these problems during treatment. Your healthcare provider may treat you with corticosteroid or hormone replacement medicines. Your healthcare provider may also need to delay or completely stop treatment, if you have severe side effects.

OPDIVO can cause serious side effects, including:

  • Severe infusion reactions. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you get these symptoms during an infusion of OPDIVO: chills or shaking; itching or rash; flushing; difficulty breathing; dizziness; fever; and feeling like passing out.

Pregnancy and Nursing:

Tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. OPDIVO can harm your unborn baby. Females who are able to become pregnant should use an effective method of birth control during and for at least 5 months after the last dose of OPDIVO. Talk to your healthcare provider about birth control methods that you can use during this time. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant during treatment. Before receiving treatment, tell your healthcare provider if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if OPDIVO passes into your breast milk. Do not breastfeed during treatment.

Tell your healthcare provider about:

  • Your health problems or concerns if you have immune system problems such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or lupus; have had an organ transplant; have lung or breathing problems; have liver problems; or have any other medical conditions.
  • All the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

The most common side effects of OPDIVO when used alone include: feeling tired; pain in muscles, bones, and joints; diarrhea; cough; constipation; back pain; fever; rash; itchy skin; nausea; shortness of breath; decreased appetite; upper respiratory tract infection; and weakness.

These are not all the possible side effects. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects to Bristol-Myers Squibb at 1-800-721-5072.

Please see U.S. Full Prescribing Information and Medication Guide for OPDIVO. (BPT)


1. Key Statistics for Lung Cancer. Cancer.org. 2017. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/non-small-cell-lung-cancer/about/key-statistics.html. Accessed April 25, 2017.

2. Lung Cancer Prevention and Early Detection. Cancer.org. 2017. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/lung-cancer/prevention-and-early-detection.html. Accessed April 25, 2017.

3. DeVita V, Rosenberg S. Two Hundred Years of Cancer Research. New England Journal of Medicine. 2012;366(23):2211. doi:10.1056/nejmra1204479.

4. Immunotherapy for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. Cancer.org. 2017. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/non-small-cell-lung-cancer/treating/immunotherapy.html. Accessed April 25, 2017.

5. Opdivo Prescribing Information. Package.Inserts.BMS.com. 2017. Available at: https://packageinserts.bms.com/pi/pi_opdivo.pdf. Accessed April 25, 2017.

6. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. Cancer.org. 2017. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/non-small-cell-lung-cancer.html. Accessed April 25, 2017.

7. Carnio S, Novello S, Papotti M, Loiacono M, Scagliotti GV. Prognostic and predictive biomarkers in early stage non-small cell lung cancer: tumor based approaches including gene signatures. Translational Lung Cancer Research. 2013;2(5):372-381. doi:10.3978/j.issn.2218-6751.2013.10.05.

8. Kazandjian D, Suzman DL, Blumenthal G, et al. FDA Approval Summary: Nivolumab for the Treatment of Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer With Progression On or After Platinum-Based Chemotherapy. The Oncologist. 2016;21(5):634-642. doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2015-0507.

9. Driscoll JJ, et al. Overall survival: still the gold standard: why overall survival remains the definitive end point in cancer clinical trials. Cancer J. 2009; 15(5):401-5.

10. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms. National Cancer Institute. 2017. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms?cdrid=655245. Accessed April 25, 2017.

11. Borghaei H et al. Nivolumab versus Docetaxel in Advanced Nonsquamous Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer. The New England Journal of Medicine. October 2015:1627-1639.

12. Brahmer J, Reckamp KL, Baas P, et al. Nivolumab versus Docetaxel in Advanced Squamous-Cell Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2015;373(2):123-135. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1504627.

13. Borghaei H et al. Presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2016 Annual Meeting; June 3-7, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA. Poster 9025.

Not All Chocolate is Created Equal, Santa Barbara Chocolate Stands Out as a Healthier Alternative

Santa Barbara Chocolate has become the go-to source of chocolate for people who are sugar sensitive and those looking to manage blood sugar levels because of how the chocolate is made. Santa Barbara Chocolate is unusual because it has 68 percent cocoa solids and is sweetened with coconut blossom sugar, a sugar alternative that naturally comes from the coconut tree. Coconut blossom sugar is a popular sugar alternative because it is considered low glycemic and a healthier option for those watching their sugar intake.

“Most sugar substitutes like maltitol that are used in chocolate make the chocolate taste artificial,” says Jason Vishnefske, co-founder and master chocolatier of Santa Barbara Chocolate Company. “Coconut blossom sugar has a clean and natural sweetness that allows the cocoa flavor to shine. Because our chocolate is high in organic cocoa solids at 68 percent, it has the dark part of the cocoa bean, the cocoa fiber, that all health researchers are talking about when they say dark chocolate is healthy.”

Researchers and doctors have noted that to reap the most benefits from dark chocolate, it should be more than 65 percent cacao, like Santa Barbara Chocolate. Research from the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that even a bite of dark chocolate each day can improve blood flow and bring blood pressure down. In the research study, cocoa polyphenols were seen to decrease the prevalence rates of hypertension from 86 percent to 68 percent in participants. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that cocoa polyphenols were also found to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) while raising the antioxidant capacity of good cholesterol (HDL), modestly reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Santa Barbara’s organic dark chocolate is also gluten, soy, and GMO free. The company was founded in 1992, and has been a trusted source for the chocolate lover, chef, and baker since that time. For more information, visit SantaBarbaraChocolate.com.

About Santa Barbara Chocolate Company

Santa Barbara Chocolate Company is a California chocolate factory that supplies bulk wholesale chocolate chips, makes organic chocolate couverture and imports Belgian baking chocolate. For more information, visit SantaBarbaraChocolate.com.

New Ways to Comparison Shop for Health Care

As our nation seeks solutions to help improve the health care system, there is at least one goal we can all agree on: the importance of making health care quality and cost information more accessible to all Americans.

This is an important effort that has the potential to help improve health outcomes and make care more affordable — laudable goals considering the nation’s health care system ranks among the least efficient in the world, according to a recent Bloomberg analysis.

More widespread use of health quality and cost resources may be part of the solution. Providing health care prices to consumers, health care professionals and other stakeholders could reduce U.S. health care spending by more than $100 billion during the next decade, according to a 2014 report by the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center.

That is in part because there are significant price variations for health care services and procedures at hospitals and doctors’ offices nationwide, yet a study by Families U.S.A. concluded that higher-priced care providers do not necessarily deliver higher-quality care or better health outcomes.

Fortunately, there are many new online and mobile resources that help enable people to access health care quality and cost information, helping them to comparison shop for health care as they would with other consumer products and services. And people are starting to take action: nearly one third of Americans have used the internet or mobile apps during the last year to comparison shop for health care, up from 14 percent in 2012, according to a recent UnitedHealthcare survey.

These resources are far more accurate and useful than those of past generations, and in some cases provide people with estimates based on actual contracted rates with physicians and hospitals, including likely out-of-pocket costs based on their current health plan benefits. Some resources also include quality information about specific physicians, as determined by independent standards.

There are many resources people can consider when shopping for health care. In addition to online and mobile resources, people can call their health plan to discuss quality and cost transparency information, as well as talk with their health care professional about alternative treatment settings, including urgent care and telehealth options. Public websites, such as www.uhc.com/transparency and www.guroo.com, also can help enable access to market-average prices for hundreds of medical services in cities nationwide.

These resources can help people save money and select health care professionals based on objective information. A UnitedHealthcare analysis showed that people who use online or mobile transparency resources are more likely to select health care providers rated on quality and cost-efficiency across all specialties, including for primary care (7 percent more likely) and orthopedics (9 percent more likely). In addition, the analysis found that people who use the transparency resources before receiving health care services pay 36 percent less than non-users.

As people take greater responsibility for their health care decisions and the cost of medical treatments, transparency resources are becoming important tools to help consumers access quality care and avoid surprise medical bills. (BPT)

Travel Tips to Keep Bed Bugs at Bay

Planning an upcoming trip – maybe a long weekend getaway, or a family vacation before the kids head back to school, or perhaps you’re a road warrior who travels frequently for work? No matter what type of trip you have planned, you’ve probably already put together a packing list of what to take along.

But here’s a question: Is there anything on your list you could use if you were to come into contact with bed bugs? Don’t worry, you’re not alone – insects of any kind are the last thing on most people’s minds when planning for paradise. Nevertheless, if you’re not careful, bed bugs could become a most unwelcome part of your travel plans.

Bed bug 101

Research from Ortho shows that 50 percent of Americans know someone who has had bed bugs. However, if you’ve never encountered these pests before, your first question is, naturally, what are they?

Bed bugs are small — roughly the same size as an apple seed — with flat bodies.

Bed bugs are small — roughly the same size as an apple seed — with flat bodies.

A bed bug is a non-flying insect that feeds on the blood of mammals, like human beings. Bed bugs are small — roughly the same size as an apple seed — with flat bodies. Their flat shape is what allows them to hide in small spaces.

How to spot a bed bug infestation

It doesn’t matter if you’re staying at a 2-star or 5-star hotel, bed bugs do not discriminate and infestations can happen anywhere. If your hotel room has a bed bug infestation, the first thing you may notice is an odor. Many people say it smells sweet like almonds or musty.

When first arriving at your room, place your luggage in the bathtub where bed bugs cannot reach. Then, physically look for bed bugs, checking the seams and folds of your mattress and behind the bed frame and headboard. Remember, bed bugs are very small, so they can easily hide in nooks and crevices. As you check these places, look for shed bed bug skin or black dots (fecal spots) as evidence of their presence.

The Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Trap is a pesticide-free, portable trap that uses a newly identified attractant pheromone to lure, detect and trap bed bugs in under an hour. 

The Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Trap is a pesticide-free, portable trap that uses a newly identified attractant pheromone to lure, detect and trap bed bugs in under an hour.

To determine whether the place you’re staying has bed bugs, you can use a product like Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Trap, a pesticide-free, portable trap that uses a newly identified attractant pheromone to lure, detect and trap bed bugs in under an hour. To use, place the trap in key areas where bed bugs may hide, such as under the bed’s headboard. Then, release the attractant to lure bed bugs out of hiding. In about an hour, check the trap to determine whether you have an issue.

Carry these affordable traps with you whenever you travel and you can go to bed each night assured you’re not sharing your room with bed bugs. If your trap shows your room has bed bugs, immediately contact hotel management to understand your lodging alternatives.

Enjoy your home alone

Remember, even the briefest stay in an infested room could be enough for some of these insects to hitch a ride home with you. Because bed bugs love dark places, the folds of your luggage make for a welcoming environment. Pack a travel-sized aerosol spray on trips, such as Ortho Home Defense Dual-Action Bed Bug Killer, and treat your suitcase before returning home.

When you return home, inspect the seams of your luggage for visible bed bugs. Finally, confirm you didn’t bring any home by placing a trap near your bed or sleeping area. Fortunately, with a little knowledge and the right tools, protecting yourself and your family is easy.

For more information about the Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Trap, and other products to treat bed bugs, visit Ortho.com/BedBugs. (BPT)

More Than Fun: 5 Tips For Planning a Healthy Vacation

Taking a vacation is more than a fun getaway from the daily drudges of life. Turns out, travel has a multitude of benefits that can impact your health and wellness, too.

Beyond stress reduction, vacations can improve heart health, mental health and personal relationships. In fact, men who take annual vacations are 32 percent less likely to die from heart disease, according to The Journal of the American Medical Association. Women benefit too: Those who take vacations twice or more per year are “less likely to become tense, depressed or tired, and are more satisfied with their marriages,” according to the Wisconsin Medical Journal.

Wellness travel is growing 50 percent faster than travel as a whole, according to a survey from the Global Wellness Summit. This includes spas, adventure and fitness-themed trips. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go on a yoga retreat to get the healthy benefits of travel. Consider these five tips for adding a healthy dose of wellness to your next vacation.

Intentionally disconnect: A whopping 42 percent of employees feel obligated to check email during vacation and 26 percent feel guilty even using all of their vacation time at all, according to Randstad. Make it a point to focus on the present and ignore your phone or limit checking it to once per day. If email or social media is hard to resist, sign out of those apps for the length of your vacation.

Relax by the water: Water is a natural element that inspires relaxation, but also provides lots of opportunity to play. For example, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, offers visitors an incredible 60 miles of ocean to explore, including the famous Intracoastal Waterway. Go to visitmyrtlebeach.com to learn more about how to relax on the sand by day and fall asleep to the calming waves of the ocean by night.

Try a new activity: Trying something new can have positive mental and physical benefits. Never tried kayaking or paddle boarding before? Give it a whirl. Want to take a yoga class? Sign up for an introductory lesson on the beach. Feeling brave? Go skydiving, zip-lining or parasailing. Whether you end up discovering a new hobby or just have a one-time adventure, you’re sure to fully enjoy the experience.

Get into nature: Many health studies show the benefits of being outside, so make sure to plan plenty of time to explore Mother Nature on your trip. In addition to fresh air, take a hike at a local park and explore new scenery. When in Myrtle Beach, for example, you can take a morning jog through Huntington Beach State Park, meditate at Brookgreen Gardens or plan a family bike ride at Myrtle Beach State Park.

Eat well by eating right: Going out to eat is a fundamental part of vacationing for most people, but that doesn’t mean you need overindulge so much that you feel sluggish throughout your trip. To eat well, plan sensible meals that feature fresh local ingredients, such as fruit, vegetables and the daily catch of fish. You’ll enjoy regional flavors that tantalize the palate without the heavy foods that drag you down. (BPT)

Focusing on Family Health: August is National Immunization Awareness Month

National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), held each year in August, is a great time to review your family’s vaccination records. NIAM was established to encourage people of all ages to make sure they are up to date on the vaccines recommended for them and their family members.

Vaccination is considered to be one of the greatest public health achievements of the last two centuries. Over time, successful vaccination campaigns have contributed to the elimination (or near-elimination) of some diseases in the US.

Eating well, staying active and getting enough sleep are all great ways to help live a healthy lifestyle. But keeping up-to-date with recommended vaccines is an important part of doing everything you can to help protect your family’s health.

August is an ideal point in the year to consider seasonal health check-ups, to address the upcoming flu season and back to school time.

Flu season occurs in the winter; but flu outbreaks can happen as early as October and can last as late as May.

Today vaccines can help to protect against 14 diseases before age two, but it is also important to know that vaccines are not just recommended for infants. There are vaccines recommended for school-age children, from preschoolers to college students. Making sure that children receive all their vaccinations on time is one of the most important things you can do as a parent to help protect your children.

In the US, most young children receive many of the recommended vaccines, but there is room to improve vaccination rates among all groups, including adolescents and adults.

It’s important to help make sure that everyone in your family gets their recommended shots, at the recommended time.

To learn more, talk to your healthcare provider about vaccines that may be recommended for you and your family, and visit www.vaccinesandyou.com. (BPT)

This information was provided by Merck


Beauty Resolutions for Your Summer

Whether it’s summer’s sultry temperatures or the fact that we bare more skin during these months, there’s something about this season that has us eager to look our best. You certainly can’t hide as many flaws as you can over the winter! Seeking beauty resolutions to have you looking your best this summer? Read on for some practical and fun suggestions.

Get in Shape

The health and aesthetic benefits of fitness are irrefutable, so what are you waiting for? If you’re starting from Fitness Ground Zero, make sure to start out slowly or you risk burning yourself out. Increase your workout intervals gradually and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how easy it will be to see and feel how much stronger you’re getting. A key misconception we need to debunk about working out is that you need at least an hour to get an effective workout in—not so! One thing we know beyond a shadow of a doubt is that anything is better than nothing, and many avid athletes reap the benefits of workouts like HIIT (high intensity interval training). There are many different forms of these workouts but, in general, they are about 20-30 minutes of explosive intervals intermixed with rest periods that are meant to shock your body. If you only have a small amount of time, this workout will give you better results than a 30-minute run.

Pro Tip: Another way to avoid fitness burnout is to do things you enjoy and/or snag a fitness partner. Make a standing date at the gym with the latter and you’ll be more likely to go! 

Get Skin That Glows

And we should clarify—get skin that glows … without getting a sunburn. In fact, one of the best things you can do for your skin this summer is to protect it from the sun’s harmful rays with regular sunscreen application and a wide-brimmed hat. On top of that, you definitely want to keep it hydrated. You might feel dewy enough to skip the moisturizer—please don’t! Your skin needs it to combat sun damage and to stay youthful looking. If you’re one of the ones who avoids it during the summer due to whiteheads and acne breakouts, again—don’t do that! You never want to skip moisturizer, and you can fight acne with a gentle cleanser used twice daily.

Give Your Hair a Break

Blow-drying, flat-ironing, washing—oh my … the things we do to our hair in the name of beauty. It’s all well and good for a night on the town but it does take a long-term toll on your locks. Summer is a great time to go au natural, especially since beach waves are such a “thing” throughout these months. Try a wash-and-go look that’ll likely give you natural waves, or throw it up in a “messy” yet stylish bun. Either way, you’ll save time and your overworked hair will thank you.

Get On a Regular Sleep Routine

It’s called “beauty sleep” for a reason. Many models will tell you that a good eight-hour night of sleep is the secret to their stunning looks. It helps our skin heal and keeps away those nagging under-eye bags and dark circles. Summer can often be a good time to get on a set schedule, especially if you have children. During the school year, parents are overworked, overtired, and beyond stressed trying to get their kids to school on time. Take these three months to get on a regular schedule. It’s not as important to sleep in (although that is nice on occasion!) as it is to go to bed and get up at the same time every day.  As this Sleep.org article notes, our bodies benefit and crave consistency when it comes to sleep, so if you wake up at the same time on the weekend as you do during the week, don’t curse at the clock—it’s a good thing! Extra bonus: Lack of sleep is tied to weight gain, so your scale will appreciate the Zzzzs as well.

New Year’s Eve isn’t the only time to set resolutions. Follow these simple beauty tweaks during the summer months and you’ll look and feel amazing.

Take Precautions in the Heat – Lifesaving Tips

More than comfort, heat safety tips can save your life

From tornadoes and floods to hail and lightning storms, the United States experiences a broad array of extreme weather. Fatalities do occur, but many people are surprised to learn that the weather event that causes the greatest number of deaths is heat.

According to the National Weather Service, heat causes the greatest number of weather-related fatalities each year. In fact, an average of 130 people a year lost their lives as a result of heat from 1986-2015. This is a higher number than all other weather events, including hurricanes.

From coast to coast, many regions are experiencing heat waves and extreme temperatures this summer. The toll the heat can take on the body should not be underestimated. It’s important to take precautions to ensure safety in the heat when exercising, entertaining or working outdoors or in non-air-conditioned areas like the garage.

Hydration: The top tip for giving your body the power to beat the heat is to stay hydrated. You need water to sweat, which cools the body. When sweat evaporates, it cools the air around the skin so you can maintain a comfortable body temperature. Be certain to avoid sugar or caffeinated drinks, as they are not as effective as plain old H2O.

Rest: Whether at work or play, be sure to take breaks from the heat. Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, both of which are dangerous conditions caused by too much time in hot temperatures. Frequent breaks from strenuous activity allow the body to rest and cool down.

Shade: High temperatures paired with the UV rays of the sun can be a dangerous combination. If you must spend time outdoors, try to do so in the shade. Shaded surfaces, for example, may be 20-45 degrees cooler than the peak temperatures of unshaded surfaces, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Cooling: While air conditioning is not an option for open areas like the patio, deck or garage, consider achieving cooling in these spaces with a portable evaporative cooler. Using the ambient air and the natural process of evaporation, these coolers produce chilled air to create a comfortably cool environment. Portacool portable evaporative coolers offer a variety of sizes to accommodate spaces from 1,000 to 6,000 square feet. They operate with a standard 110-V, are energy-efficient and are equipped with heavy-duty castors for easy mobility.

Clothing: Loose-fitting clothing made from lightweight materials can help keep your body cool during hot temperatures while shielding you from sunburn. This type of clothing can breathe, meaning that air can easily circulate to your body and keep you cool. Be selective when it comes to colors. Choosing light-colored attire is wise because it can reflect heat more efficiently than darker tones.

Peak hours: While it’s not always possible, it’s wise to avoid being outdoors during peak heat periods of the day. This is typically noon to 5 p.m. So if you must work in your garage or plan to exercise outdoors, start early in the morning. Consider planning family cookouts for later in the evening when the sun lowers and temperatures start to drop. (BPT)