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submitted by Lisa Secrist

The Christmas season is now upon us marked with decorated trees, caroling, parties, colorful lights, nostalgic movies, snowy weather, and of course, holiday shopping. It is that time of year when people rush to the stores to buy the latest toys and other gifts to give to their loved ones for Christmas. All the hustle and bustle leads to the anticipation of Christmas morning as we watch our loved ones open the gifts we bought for them.

In all the excitement of buying gifts, it is easy to forget about toy safety. Most injuries from toys are minor cuts, scrapes, and bruises. However, toys can cause serious injury or even death. This happens when toys are used in the wrong way. So before making your toy purchases this year, keep safety in mind, so Christmas can be an enjoyable time instead of a scary memory.

SAFETY SHOPPING TIPS:
Inspect toys before you buy them. Avoid sharp edges, small parts, or loose parts - THINK LARGE so babies and small children don’t choke on small parts. Do not give toys with ropes, cords, or parts that can heat up. Crayons and markers should be labeled non-toxic.

Choose age-appropriate toys. Make sure you choose the right toy for the right age and skill level of the child you are buying for.

Check for the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) label on every toy that proves it meets safety standards. Electronic toys should be “UL” approved. Read warning labels. Teach your child how to use the toy in the right way.

Buy toys that are well-made. Plastic toys should be strong so they won’t break easily. Stuffed toys should have seams and edges that are secure and intact.

Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website for recalled toys.

Safe toys can be a fun way to interact with your family and friends. Card games, puzzles, board and table games are generally safe choices. So this Christmas season, put away the electronic devices and enjoy playing with safe toys that stimulate creativity, encourages face to face interaction, and creates lasting memories with your family and friends. Make this a safe holiday season by following the tips mentioned above and celebrate this holiday season by spending time with those you love. Merry Christmas and be safe!

www.nationaldaycalendar.com
www.healthychildren.org



Toys. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 May 2016.
quest.eb.com/search/132_1250924/1/132_1250924/cite. Accessed 12 Dec 2018.










Have you ever woken up in the morning with a runny nose and sore throat, then later in the day you start to feel achy and feverish? You might ask yourself “do I have the flu or is it just a cold virus”?

Peak flu season in the U.S. runs from late November through March and because colds and flu share so many common symptoms and are both upper respiratory illnesses, it is often difficult to tell the difference.

Cold symptoms usually start with a sore throat for the first few days, followed by a runny nose, congestion, and cough. These symptoms may continue for 4-5 days. Fever is uncommon in adults, however, children may often have a cold with fever but it is often low. Sneezing is common with the cold and sometimes you may have a little fatigue and chest discomfort but headaches are rare with common colds. Some complications of the common cold are sinus infections and middle ear infections.

Flu symptoms tend to come on suddenly, fever (100-102 degrees, sometimes higher) with severe body aches, chills, headache and severe cough. Sometimes you may have vomiting or diarrhea. The symptoms will usually improve over 2 -5 days for normal, healthy individuals but you may feel weak for another 7-10 days. Flu can pose a serious threat to elderly, the very young and those who are immune compromised or have heart or lung problems. One very serious complication of the flu is pneumonia, which can be life threatening for some individuals.

You might need to see a doctor if you think you have the flu and/or you are experiencing difficulty breathing, pain or pressure in the chest, persistent vomiting, confusion or severe headache not associated with fever.

The very best prevention measures to keep healthy this flu and cold season is to wash your hands often. Avoid close contact with someone who has the cold or flu and get the annual flu vaccine as a preventative. Although not 100% effective, often people who have had the vaccine and get the flu, will have a much milder case.

Please stay home from work and school if you think you are having symptoms of the flu so you will be less likely to transmit it to someone else.

For more information on the cold vs. the flu visit CDC.gov/flu or visit webmd.com




Teenager with common cold. Photograph. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopædia Britannica, 22 Oct 2018.
quest.eb.com/search/132_1573062/1/132_1573062/cite. Accessed 28 Nov 2018.
Did you miss it? September was National Childhood Obesity Month.

While September may be over this health issue continues to be a serious concern throughout the year especially as we head into the winter months when getting enough exercise can be a mojor problem. There are no easy answers when it comes to childhood obesity but increasing our knowledge and understanding of the contributing factors is a good first step. Check out these great resources which will help you and your child continue on your journey to good health.

www.cdc.gov/features/childhoodobesity/

www.jumpinforhealthykids.org/



Boy On Bike. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 May 2016. 
quest.eb.com/search/139_1950638/1/139_1950638/cite. Accessed 2 Oct 2018.
submitted by Amy Grill


1. Walk/Run/Bike- Summer is a great time to get outside and be more physically active. Here in Warsaw/Winona Lake we are very fortunate to have a great set of walking/bike trails. Here is an address to the website if you need a map or information about the paths. http://ridewalk.com/ We have 5.67 miles of greenways in Kosciusko County. This is a safe place to get out with your children and walk, run, or bike together. Don’t forget your helmet!

2. Play at the Park- Warsaw is full of fantastic parks for your children to play at this summer. Winona Lake now has the Limitless Park and K21 Splash Pad. The limitless park is a universally accessible park that has a solid surface, ramps, and sensory play. The Splash Pad is open 11am-6pm and is a great place for kids to cool off this summer. Center Lake has a great playground beach area. The beach at Center Lake is staffed with a life guard Memorial Day to Labor Day 10:30-6pm on weekdays, 11:30-pm on Sat and Sun. This a great place to cool off and get some exercise this summer. Make sure you wear that sunscreen and always swim with a buddy!

3. Canoeing and Paddleboarding- Pike Lake is offering free canoeing and paddleboarding on these days. All equipment and life vest are provided.
Monday, June 4, Noon to 6pm
Thursday, June 21, Noon to 6pm
Saturday, June 30, 10am-4pm
Monday, July 9, Noon to 6pm
Thursday, July 26, Noon to 6pm
Saturday, July 28, 10am to 4pm

4. Swim Lessons- Free swim lessons are being given at Center Lake Beach in two sessions this summer. June 18-29, and July 16-27. The sessions are 30min each. Register online for this great event.




Happy family. Photograph. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopædia Britannica, 26 Mar 2018.
submitted by Rachelle Himes


It's hard to imagine after such a long winter that Spring is finally here. Our kids are outside exploring and with that comes the risk of tick bites.

Ticks can live in the tall grass, bushes, leaf piles and woods. Merely brushing by a bush with a tick on it can allow it to hitch a ride on your child's pant leg.

You can protect your children from tick bites and tick-borne disease by having them wear long sleeves and long pants when playing in the woods. Wear a repellant with at least 20% DEET

When your children come back in from playing outside be sure to check for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair. Ticks like to hide in the warm , dark areas.

If you see a tick, don't panic. Simply remove the tick with tweezers, squeezing it as close to the skin as possible and pulling upward with steady even pressure. Avoid using old folklore remedies such as salt, nail polish or gasoline. Removing the tick as soon as it is discovered is best. Be sure to wash the area as soon as the tick is removed.

Monitor for symptoms. Watch for a rash or fever up to several weeks after a bite. If a rash or a fever develop seek medical attention. Be sure to let the doctor know about the bite, when it occured and where the tick was acquired.

For more information on ticks visit the CDC website. www.cdc.gov/ticks

Get out and enjoy the beautiful spring weather and be Tick Savvy.

*Information obtained from cdc.gov



Kent Wood / Photo Researchers / Universal Images Group
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