Love Your Pet but Not the Cost? How to Reduce the Cost of Raising Your Best Friend

Have you ever taken the time to calculate how much your furry or feathered friends are costing you each month? There is food, vet care, that regular application of flea and tick protection, grooming fees, litter or bedding, and of course toys, treats and equipment such as carriers, cages and the like. Depending on where you live and how eco-friendly or upscale you want to go with food and supplies, expect to pay up to $1,500 for a cat and $2,000 for a dog during the first year. Rabbits, hamsters, birds and fish are somewhat less expensive. Let us take … Continue reading

The Outdoor Challenge: Bats, Frogs, and Quiet Wonder

How are you doing with the outdoor challenge? As the weather becomes more summery in our region, we’re doing quite well. In fact, my daughter fell asleep exhausted tonight because she had been playing outside for almost twelve hours today. It’s yesterday night that I want to talk about, though. Yesterday evening my husband was out. My daughter and I indulged in a ritual that we did frequently last summer. It’s a wonderful way to reconnect with your preschooler in the spring and summer months, even if you work outside the home. I find that working outside the home really … Continue reading

Swine Flu Vaccine Supply Finally Catches up with Demand

It only took two months, but it seems that the supply of swine flu vaccine here in the United States has finally caught up with the demand. A lot of people have had trouble getting the vaccine so far — you may have heard stories of (or experienced) long lines and canceled flu shot clinics. Still, a lot of high risk people did manage to get a swine flu shot. Now there should be swine flu shots a-plenty… just in time for the virus to start fading away. Experts are seeing the number of new cases go down, but that … Continue reading

Swine Flu: Two Week Rebound?

In the last few days, two of my friends who’ve had swine flu have been talking about a “swine flu rebound”. To make a long story short, it seems that a good number of people who have had swine flu experience a reappearance of symptoms a couple of weeks after they thought they were better. One friend thought it might be linked to folks over-exerting themselves. I can understand that — when I’m sick, I suddenly get the urge to go out and do things and be social… specifically because I know I can’t or shouldn’t be doing those things. … Continue reading

First Swine Flu Case Confirmed in Family Pet

Despite all the worry about swine flu (H1N1) over the last few months, I’ve been confident that four-legged family members were safe from the disease. Until now. Government officials released information on Wednesday, November 11 about a cat from Iowa — thought to be the first confirmed case of swine flu in a feline. The thirteen year old cat exhibited the following symptoms: lethargy, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing. The vet who treated the cat described the symptoms as flu-like. Testing by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ames confirmed that … Continue reading

Caretakers and the Flu

Who is the caretaker in your family when somebody gets sick? When I was growing up, taking care of sick kids was my mom’s job (although she did share the duties with both of my grandmothers on occasion). With the double flu whammy this winter, you may find your family needing a caretaker. It’s all too easy for the flu (or another illness) to hop from one member of a household to another! Here are some tips to help keep the flu in check if somebody in your family gets sick. First and foremost, try to keep the sick person … Continue reading

Dementia and the Flu

Seems like an odd combination, no? Dementia and the flu. Researchers from the Tufts University School of Medicine found that there may indeed be a connection between dementia and the flu… and it’s not a good one. Seniors with dementia seem to be diagnosed with the flu less often. They have shorter hospital stays if they are diagnosed with the flu, and are more likely to die from the flu or complications of the flu than seniors without dementia. The research team looked at five years of data from the U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. That data included … Continue reading

Swine Flu and Fear

I’m writing this on day three of a fever, so I apologize if it isn’t as coherent as I’d like. I’m sick. It started off feeling like my usual sinus troubles, so I treated it in the usual way: irrigating my sinuses with salt water. This plan has worked in the past, fending off several sinus infections before they got to the point where I’d need a doctor or antibiotics. But while the sinus problem cleared up, the feeling of not-good stuck around. My head was still pounding. Two days ago, the headache was joined by an all-over body ache … Continue reading

What to Expect From the Swine Flu this Fall and Winter

Swine flu has been in the news this year, starting with an April outbreak. The disease stuck around for the summer — a time when most strains of flu go away. Now health experts are predicting a surge in cases as schools reopen. One report suggests that between a third and a half of the U.S. population will contract swine flu, and October is probably the earliest we’ll see a swine flu vaccine. The normal seasonal flu vaccine does not include protection against swine flu. The World Health Organization says that as much as one third of the world’s population … Continue reading

Will the Swine Flu Shot Be Ready by October?

We’re not done with swine flu yet… or maybe swine flu isn’t done with us. As of the beginning of June, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control are reporting more than 8,500 probable and confirmed cases of swine flu in the United States; the World Health Organization puts the global number of cases just over twenty thousand. The virus has been confirmed in sixty-six different countries. More than one hundred people have died at the time of writing. But we may see a swine flu vaccine in the United States as early as October — right around the start of … Continue reading