Friday, December 12, 2008

14 Natural Health Remedies for Children

By Meryl Davids Landau

Honey and Lemon Juice for a Sore Throat

Honey and Lemon Juice for a Sore Throat

Lemon dries up congestion and honey provides a soothing coating, says Lane Johnson, MD, associate professor of clinical family and community medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. In fact, a recent study found that a spoonful of honey eased kids' coughs even better than cough medicine. Mix together a tablespoon of each, microwave for 20 seconds until warm (not hot), and have your child swallow the mixture a teaspoon at a time. Caution: Honey is not safe for babies under 1 year.

Chamomile Tea for Colic

Chamomile Tea for Colic

Peter Rabbit's mother fed him soothing chamomile tea in Beatrix Potter's classic tale, and you can give it to your infant to relax her intestinal muscles and calm her down, says Dr. McClafferty, a pediatrician in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Steep tea for four to five minutes, let it cool to room temperature, and then put one to two ounces in a bottle. Don't give your baby more than four ounces a day so that she'll be sure to have plenty of room in her tummy for breast milk or formula.

Baking Soda for Bug Bites

Baking Soda for Bug Bites

"My nana used to make a baking-soda paste for me when I was a child, and when I tried it on my own kids, they said that it stopped the itching better than store-bought products," says Estelle Whitney, MD, an ob-gyn in private practice in Wilmington, Delaware. The alkaline baking soda helps counteract the acidic swelling, she explains. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with just enough water to make a thick paste, smear it on the bites, and let it dry.

Cayenne Pepper for Nosebleed

Cayenne Pepper for Nosebleed

This spice helps blood clot, and it has been used medicinally in cultures around the world, says pediatrician Lillian Beard, MD, author of Salt in Your Sock and Other Tried-and-True Home Remedies. Keep your child's head upright and pinch his nostrils together for several minutes. Then sprinkle a pinch of ground cayenne pepper on a moistened cotton swab and dab inside the nose on the area of the bleeding. "It seems like it might sting but, surprisingly, it doesn't," says Dr. Beard.

Junk Drawer: Duct Tape for Warts

Junk Drawer: Duct Tape for Warts

The gray fabric tape seems to irritate warts -- which can be surprisingly stubborn -- and inhibit their growth. Place a small piece on the skin over your child's wart, but not so tightly that it hurts, says Dr. Johnson. Change the tape whenever it starts to get icky; in about a month, the wart should be gone.

A Bubble Wand for Anxiety

A Bubble Wand for Anxiety

Breathing slowly and deeply will help your child relax when she's feeling stressed, says Lonnie Zeltzer, MD, director of the pediatric pain program at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA and author of Conquering Your Child's Chronic Pain. Have your child blow long, slow streams of bubbles from the soapy wand.

A Bandanna for Headache

A Bandanna for Headaches

Wrapping several ice cubes in a dish towel will help soothe your child's head pain (never place ice directly on his skin because it'll burn), but it'll be hard for him to hold it in place for long, says Dr. Beard. To keep the towel-wrapped ice from slipping, press it against his forehead or temples and secure it with a bandanna tied at the back of his neck.

A Sock for Tummy or Neck Pain

A Sock for Tummy or Neck Pain

Instead of buying a heat wrap, make one by filling a sock with uncooked rice and tying it closed with a string, says Paula Gardiner, MD, a researcher in the department of family medicine at Boston University Medical Center. Microwave the sock for one minute or until warm, and place it wherever your child has pain. When it cools off, microwave it again.

Your Blow-Dryer for Swimmer's Ear

Your Blow-Dryer for Swimmer's Ear

This painful inflammation of the outer ear traps liquid and possibly bacteria. If the area has become infected, your pediatrician will probably prescribe antibiotic drops. But for mild cases, you can try evaporating the trapped water by standing a foot away from your child and aiming the dryer -- on the warm (not hot) setting -- at her ear, says Dr. Beard.

Contact Lens Solution for Congestion

Contact Lens Solution for Congestion

For a child over 6 months, fill a bulb syringe with preservative-free saline solution, raise her head, and gently squeeze solution into one nostril at a time, says Dr. McClafferty. (Do it in the bath or over the sink.) In fact, a recent study found that using a nasal wash with a seawater solution (not yet available in the U.S.) helped kids get over colds faster -- and made them less likely to get sick again.

Fresh Ginger Tea for Car Sickness

Fresh Ginger Tea for Car Sickness

"Ginger stops the stomach contractions that tell your child's brain he feels nauseous," says Dr. McClafferty. For children ages 2 and older, add a teaspoon of shredded fresh ginger to four ounces of boiling water, and let it steep for four to five minutes. You can add a bit of honey to make it taste better. After it has cooled, have your child drink it a half hour before getting into the car.

Cucumber for Mild Swelling

Cucumber for Mild Swelling

If you go to a fancy spa, the facialist may use this salad staple to ease the puffiness around your eyes. That's because cool cucumber slices help soothe hot, swollen skin. You can place a slice anywhere your child has minor swelling, Dr. Beard suggests, and then simply replace it with another slice from the fridge after it becomes warm.

Naomi Watts

A Credit Card for a Bee Sting

If a bee or wasp stings your child, remove the stinger to prevent additional venom from entering the wound. In order to avoid squeezing the stinger, which can spread the venom, use the flat edge of a credit card to gently scrape across the area until the stinger comes out.

Naomi Watts

A Stick of Gum for Indigestion

If your child is age 4 or older, have her chew some gum when she complains of a full stomach after a big meal. "The extra saliva she'll produce will neutralize the problematic excess stomach acid," says gastroenterologist Anil Minocha, MD, author of Natural Stomach Care.

Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the May 2008 issue of Parents magazine.

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Beer 101


Lager is the most common, base level of beer against which all other brews are judged. Characterized by a smooth but crisp bite, it's brewed over a four- to 12-week period in very cool temperatures using a yeast that ferments at the top of the barrel.

The most popular style of lager, this beer has a clean, subtle, mild hops flavor and is very densely carbonated.
Examples: Stella Artois, Budweiser, Carlsberg.
Although the color is more intense—thanks to added caramel syrup—dark lager is actually the middle ground of lagers, with a medium level of hops intensity and bitterness.
Examples: Michelob Dark, St. Pauli Girl Dark.
With a transparent golden color, pilsner is the oldest type of lager and has the most extreme bitter hops taste.
Examples: Dos Equis, Pilsner Urquell.


Unlike lager, ale ferments at warmer temperatures over shorter periods of time. This creates a quicker-to-process brew with a fruitier, less sharp taste.

Often bronze- or copper-colored, pale ale has a distinctive high level of hops bitterness.
Examples: Michelob Pale Ale, Burton, Royal Oak.
This supersmooth option gains its popularity—and easy drinkability—from a unique combination of nutty sweetness, subtle hops, and a low alcohol content.
Examples: Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale, Newcastle Brown Ale.
The lighter-bodied companion to stout, porter has an old-school, dark-roasted taste and higher-than-average alcohol content.
Examples: Sierra Nevada Porter, Fuller's London Porter.
Made with highly roasted malts, barley, or oatmeal, this is a rich, extra-dark, top-fermenting brew. Stout is either strong and dry or sweet, and it sports a creamy head.
Examples: Guinness Extra Stout, Beamish Stout.

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Rescue Bid for Detroit Collapses in Senate

WASHINGTON -- A frantic, last-ditch attempt to forge a relief package for the auto industry collapsed in the U.S. Senate, dealing a giant blow to the immediate hopes of the Big Three.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada suggested the $14 billion wouldn't be revisited until January. "It's over with," he said.

The talks, which appeared close to a deal several times, broke off due to a sharp partisan dispute over the wages paid to workers at the manufacturing giants.

General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, which have said they can't last the year without federal aid, both hope the White House will now relent and allow the Treasury to provide emergency loans from the $700 billion Wall Street fund, people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Reid also urged that option.

To date, the administration has resisted the idea. But "that may be where they go next," said Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.). There is always a chance Congress will act sooner if one of the companies totters on the brink, although that possibility appears remote.

GM, in a statement, said it is "deeply disappointed" that an agreement couldn't be reached. GM had told Congress it needs $4 billion by the end of the month or it might not be able to keep its operations going. The company added that it will "assess all of our options to continue our restructuring and to obtain the means to weather the current economic crisis."

GM's European division Friday said it was very disappointed that Congress failed to reach an agreement, but said it is continuing to operate as normal while cutting costs aggressively.

The package's difficulties hit Asian markets, which had posted gains this week in response to broad government efforts to help the world economy. In Tokyo, the Nikkei Stock Average of 225 companies closed 5.6% lower, while shares in Hong Kong fell 5.5%.

Mr. Reid said the Senate would be in recess, and would stand in pro forma session until January, when the new Congress will be convened with stronger Democratic majorities.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto Thursday voiced disappointment at the collapse in the Senate. He said no decisions have been made, but stressed, "we will evaluate our options in light of the breakdown in Congress."

GM has already hired some of the U.S.'s biggest names in restructuring to consider whether to file for bankruptcy protection, said several people familiar with the matter, in what would be one of the largest and most controversial filings in U.S. history. GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner has been reluctant to embrace the concept, fearing it would scare off potential buyers, and he "still believes the company can't and shouldn't file," but decided in the last few weeks to hire the outside advisers, said a person familiar with the matter.

[Richard Wagoner]

Richard Wagoner

After a marathon day of negotiations, top Democrats appeared close to a deal that would toughen the bailout package in a bid to raise Republican support, which had proved an insurmountable stumbling block. The focus of talks was on seeking commitments to restructure the industry's debt load and bring labor costs in line with wages paid by Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. in the U.S., among other things.

But those talks fell apart after Republicans insisted that wages reach parity in 2009. Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), who emerged as a pivotal player this week in negotiations over the industry's future, said negotiators were close to striking a bipartisan compromise.

Democrats were willing to reach parity, but not on such a swift timetable. Mr. Reid declared talks at an impasse. "We have not been able to get this over the finish line," he said. "We have worked and worked...that's just the way it is."

With the talks in shambles, Mr. Reid moved late Thursday to bring up the White House-backed compromise, which would have expedited billions of dollars to the industry and created a strong government role in its restructuring. That effort failed on a 52-35 vote, as allies of the industry failed to win the 60 votes needed to end a Republican filibuster on the measure.

Sen. Christopher Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, complained that Republicans had attempted to turn the wage issue into a political matter about organized labor, instead of making it an "an economic issue." With the economy in recession, he suggested it wouldn't be fair to force auto workers to accept wage cuts in 2009. "I'm deeply saddened. But more than saddened, I'm worried," he said. "This will fail, we will go home, and I'm afraid our country will be in deeper and deeper trouble."

The collapse of the talks represents a major defeat for three companies and an auto union that once wielded immense political clout. Even after two appearances in Washington by the GM, Ford and Chrysler CEOs, and a show of solidarity with the UAW, the auto makers were unable to convince many skeptical lawmakers to change their minds and support a bailout.

Only a handful of Republicans in the Senate had been willing to support the rescue package. Some raised concerns about government intervention in the marketplace. Others demanded the bill be strengthened to exact concessions from the industry.

Congress also remains bitter over the handling of the $700 billion financial rescue, which lawmakers on both sides feel they were pushed into approving and are displeased with the results.

"There is a lot of resistance," said Mr. Thune earlier in the day. "It's going to be really hard for anything to get to 60."

Both President Bush and President-elect Barack Obama had urged senators of their respective parties to pass a bill.

On Wednesday, the House approved the White House-backed package, kicking the issue into the narrowly divided Senate, where balky Republicans have the power to block action. The bill's limping progress was dealt a big blow Thursday by the Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. He came out against the initial White House-backed package saying it doesn't require auto makers and their unions, suppliers, creditors and dealers to make changes needed to return to a sound financial footing.

"We simply cannot ask the American taxpayer to subsidize failure," said Sen. McConnell, suggesting the Big Three would have to find a way to survive without congressional help.

GM has already been preparing for the worst. Its management recently tapped bankruptcy veteran Harvey Miller of the New York law firm, Weil Gotshal & Manges LP. Mr. Miller worked on the bankruptcies of Lehman Brothers, Bethlehem Steel Corp. and Marvel Entertainment Group.

Others involved in the matter include restructuring veterans Jay Alix, Evercore Partners' William Repko, Blackstone Group's Arthur Newman and Martin Bienenstock at the law firm of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP who worked on the Enron bankruptcy.

Mr. Alix, who has been in semi-retirement for several years, founded the Detroit-based turnaround and advisory firm AlixPartners and worked with GM on a number of high-profile cases in the 1990s, such as National Car Rental.

Evercore has been advising GM for many months, including on the failed merger with Chrysler LLC. Blackstone is focusing on GM's multibillion-dollar voluntary employee beneficiary association plan.

Associated Press

Workers leave a Chrysler truck plant in Warren, Mich., Thursday.

GM and its dealers are meeting late this week to discuss launching a new advertising campaign to spark sales. GM will also discuss plans for its Saturn division. One option includes putting the division into bankruptcy protection, as it is technically a separate entity.

GM executives are worrying that suppliers could tighten credit terms, and the government could swiftly recall its loans.

The company's 13-member board is subjecting Mr. Wagoner to deepening scrutiny. The board is now meeting three times per week and receiving constant updates on the financial situation.

"This is an urgent situation and we need to deal with it," Kent Kresa, a GM director since 2003, said Thursday before the Senate deal failed.

Mr. Kresa said GM management was constantly caught off-guard by declines in the U.S. auto market. While executives were continuously revising sales projections, the managers never fully understood how bad the situation could get, he added.

As GM operates near its minimum-required funding options, Mr. Kresa said the board continues to "keep all options open."

At a recent meeting, members decided to dismiss the idea of filing for Chapter 11 protection, at least for now, reasoning that if the company were in bankruptcy court, people wouldn't by its cars.

The collapse of the deal raises the stakes for Chrysler and its majority owner, Cerberus Capital Management LP. Lawmakers had called for Cerberus to put more money into the company, but Cerberus maintains it can't because the bylaw of its investment funds prevents it from putting more than a small percentage of its investors' funds into any single investment.

Chrysler Chief Executive Robert Nardelli told Congress the company would be unable to pay suppliers and employees if it doesn't get loans by the end of the month. Chrysler has acknowledged it has engaged bankruptcy experts in case it is forced to file for Chapter 11 protection.

Suppliers to the company are already nervous, and several have asked Chrysler to start paying cash for parts when they are delivered, Chrysler officials told the Associated Press. So far, Chrysler has declined the requests, they said.

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Smart Speed Bump Flattens When You're Driving Slow

By Sean Fallon

My car has a terrible suspension so I hate speed bumps. Even people with decent cars probably feel the same way. Wouldn't it be awesome if the speed bump flattened when you were driving slow?

Well, that is the idea behind this concept from designers Jae-yun Kim & Jong-Su Lee. According to the description, the bump would rely on "retractors that open up if the impact on them is small enough." In other words, if you are driving slow, the weight of the car would flatten the bump. Drive too fast and the bump would stay active. I don't know how smooth the transition would be, or whether it would be to expensive to produce, but at least the idea is fairly plausible. [Yanko]

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Actor slits his own throat as knife switch turns fiction into reality

Daniel Hoevels acting out the role of a suicide. In a later show, the knife was switched

Daniel Hoevels acting out the role of a suicide. In a later show, the knife was switched

An actor slit his throat on stage when the prop knife for his suicide scene turned out to be a real one.

Daniel Hoevels, 30, slumped over with blood pouring from his neck while the audience broke into applause at the "special effect". Police are investigating whether the knife was a mistake or a murder plot. They are questioning the rest of the cast, and backstage hands with access to props; they will also carry out DNA tests.

Things went wrong at Vienna's Burgtheater as Hoevels' character went to "kill himself" in the final scene of Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart, about Mary Queen of Scots, on Saturday night

It was only when he did not get up to take a bow that anyone realised something had gone wrong.

Though bleeding profusely, Hoevels survived because the knife missed the carotid artery as it sliced into his neck. Wolfgang Lenz, a doctor who treated him, said: "Just a little bit deeper and he would have been drowning in his own blood."

One officer told Austrian TV news: "The rumours are wild, with some claiming that he was the victim of jealous rival.

"We don't know anything for sure yet; we have to work through everyone."

The knife was reportedly bought at a local shop; one possibility is that the props staff forgot to blunt its blade. "The knife even still had the price tag on it," an investigator said.

After emergency treatment at a hospital, Hoevels declared that the show must go on, and returned to the stage on Sunday night with a bandage tied around his neck, ready to once again meet his mock demise.

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