The Parent’s Responsibility in Sex Education

Parents ought to be the first source of sex education for their children. Don’t think that because children can learn about human sexuality in school, your responsibility to teach them about sex has been removed. Especially now that there is confusion as to how to teach human sexuality in school, the parents must be ready to assume the role to educate their children in everything they need to know to understand their sexuality.

Who’s better to teach about morality and the ramification of sex and sexuality to your children than you their parents? Often times, the school only teaches about the anatomy of human sexuality and the issue of morality and the taboos related to sex are often placed on the sidelines. This is where you should come in – teach your children their moral obligation when it comes to sex.

Sex education does not involve only teaching the children about the anatomy of the human reproductive organ. It’s much more than that. Sex education also involves teaching the children their moral obligation towards the opposite sex. Even more so for teenagers, you need to teach them their moral obligation towards their boyfriends or their girlfriends for that matter.

More so if your teenagers are already sexually active. You have an obligation to open their eyes about the possible ramification of their action. Your son could get a girl pregnant or your daughter can become pregnant if they are practicing sex at a very young age. They should understand the implications of their actions.

Another very important aspect of sex education you should teach your children is the issue on sexually transmitted diseases. If they are already sexually active, they must understand that they can contract disease by sleeping around with many partners, or even from their very first sexual encounter

Sex education is always a difficult topic to discuss with your children at home. But this is yet another role of parents that they cannot escape from.

Issues about Scabies Rash

Scabies rash can be identified only if it is accompanied by other symptoms of scabies. If you have a severe, persistent rash that doesn’t seem to ease up it might be caused by infestation with scabies mites. Scabies rash is characterized through itching and soreness and it tends to intensify at night. Scabies rash may also become very irritated after taking a hot shower or bath. If the skin appears to be blistery and scratched and the presence of small burrows is revealed on the surface of the skin, it is a possible sign of scabies rash and appropriate dermatological treatment is required.

An overwhelming number of 300 million people worldwide are diagnosed with scabies each year. Scabies can be very easily acquired by simply touching a contaminated person. Although scabies is very contagious, scabies rash can’t be transmitted from a person to another. Scabies rash usually occurs when the body develops allergic reactions to scabies mites and their feces. The only contagious aspect of scabies involves the mite infestation. If the mites responsible for causing scabies are transmitted to a person, they will quickly infest the skin and the symptoms of scabies will occur within a few days. Scabies mites can be acquired through direct contact with an infested person or by touching or wearing contaminated clothes or personal items. Scabies mites can live without their human hosts for about 3 days and therefore they can easily contaminate bed sheets, clothes, towels, etc.

The main cause of scabies in people is contamination with a particular type of mite, called Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis. This microscopic mite lives only on the bodies of human hosts and an infected person can spread it to hundreds of other persons.

It is important to note that scabies rash, just like other scabies symptoms, doesn’t occur due to improper hygiene. Although in the past, when the true nature of scabies wasn’t completely understood, people considered scabies rash to be the consequence of poor hygiene, today the cause of scabies rash is clear to most people. It is true that scabies occurs mostly to people from the lower classes of society, but this has nothing to do with hygiene. The factors that facilitate the   transmission  of scabies are overcrowding and situations that involve a lot of physical contact (factory workers). Hygiene can neither facilitate the occurrence of scabies, nor prevent it.

The most common symptoms of scabies are inflammation, discomfort, pain, swelling of the skin, pustules, burrows, nodules. However, the most intense of all seems to be the scabies rash. This symptom of scabies occurs as a result of allergic reactions to the mites’ feces, secretions, eggs and larvae.

Scabies rash is among the first symptoms that occur and it is usually the last one to disappear. Even if the condition is appropriately treated with topical medications, scabies rash may persist for another few weeks! This is due to the fact that even after they die, the mites remain under the skin and continue to produce allergies that cause scabies rash. The mites’ secretions contain substances that are toxic to the human body. However, there are ways of easing the itch, soreness and pain characteristic to scabies rash. Dermatologists usually prescribe hydrocortisone and antihistamine along with the treatment for scabies. These topical medications are usually in the form of creams, gels and ointments and they ameliorate scabies rash. However, if the scabies rash persists and even intensifies after a few weeks, it is a sign that the mite infestation hasn’t been eradicated and the treatment needs to be repeated.

Online Parenting Classes – Is it Merely a Convenience?

The internet has changed the living habits of everyone who uses it. Since virtually, every piece of information that anyone can require is freely available on the internet, people have gotten addicted to it. Most of the parents are so caught up in their busy lives that when their children start to misbehave, they feel helpless and seek help in resolving their problems. Well, now there are online parenting classes available and a number of parents are using these classes to help them in handling their children better. The internet now also supports multimedia streaming, and psychiatrists now run online parenting classes videos on their websites.

In case you do not want to consult a child psychiatrist or join group therapy classes, or just feel shy of discussing the problems that you are having with your child, you can easily find such types of classes on the World Wide Web. On some of the sites, there is an introductory video that plays, and if you feel that the councilor can help you in solving your problems, you can sign up.

Online classes can be watched at your convenience, which is why they are gaining popularity. You are no longer bound to drive on a fixed day for a parenting class meeting. The other great advantage of online parenting classes is that all the leading councilors have their websites; therefore, you get to pick the councilor that you think is the most suitable one for you. This being able to pick a councilor of your choice is a very big convenience. The other advantage is that of privacy.

You can watch a counseling video at your convenience and you can also send emails to the councilor and get private help on any particular problem that you might be facing.

Most people who have opted for online classes have found them to be quite helpful and have helped in developing a better parent/child relationship. It is not only the convenience that has made online parenting classes popular; they are proving to be extremely beneficial even otherwise.

Most parents face problems with children and at times do not know how to handle a particular situation. They also fear that if they handle a situation incorrectly, it might adversely affect the child. Many parents turn for help to other parents in solving parent/child problems.

Some people have access to the internet but not to a parent councilor; in such cases, online parenting classes are a big help and convenience. The very fact that you can pick and choose a councilor makes the online parenting classes worthwhile and a great help for the parents in dilemma.

The online councilors reply promptly to emails; therefore, you do not have to wait very long to get sound and helpful advice from them. Another big advantage of online parenting classes is that you can set your own pace. So, you are not a member of a group who has to follow or adhere to a specific schedule. These are some of the reasons why online parenting classes have become so popular.

Compromised Immune System – 7 Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Immune Deficiency

Most of us never really think about what a strong immune system does for quality of life until something happens to weaken it. A compromised immune system means that germs that in the past have been pretty harmless now have the potential to be life threatening. Here are 7 answers to frequently asked questions about an immune system that is no longer functioning the way it should.  

1. What causes the immune system to become weakened?  Some people are born with the condition because of an abnormality in one or more cells, and this is called primary immune deficiency. Others acquire the condition because of poor diet, prolonged stress, consistent lack of sleep, lengthy use of steroids and/or antibiotics, certain types of cancers, and chemotherapy and radiation used to treat cancer.  

2. What are the symptoms? Frequent illness, recurring illness, and difficulty in getting completely better are some of the most common symptoms. If this becomes a pattern for any length of time, seek medical advice to determine the cause. Seeking professional help promptly gives you the best chance of restoring your health.  

3. Is there an effective cure? The answer to this question hinges on the cause of the problem. Many times an aggressive change in lifestyle can boost the immune system. By eating a healthier diet, eliminating chronic stress by changing jobs, career, or personal relationships, you can strengthen your body’s ability to stay well. For more serious causes medication is almost always involved and only your doctor can evaluate your specific condition and provide an accurate answer for your chances of a cure.  

4. Are there certain diseases that leave the immune system weaker? Many of the childhood disease can diminish the body’s capabilities to stay healthy such as Chicken Pox and Measles. Luckily there are immunizations that prevent many more children from ever contracting these diseases. Tuberculosis and Hepatitis can also cause problems.  

5. Is this disease based on age or gender? No it is not. Infants can be born with immunodeficiency, and given the wrong set of circumstances anyone’s immune system can become compromised.       

6. Are there natural remedies that help? There are a number of things you practice daily that will help. The importance of clean hands can not be underestimated. Frequent washing of hands greatly reduces the amount of germs you contract. Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in the car, at the office, and with you all the time in a pocket or purse. Avoid large gatherings where exposure to germs increases exponentially. Don’t be too proud to wear a mask if you know you can’t avoid contact with someone who is contagious. Use an air purifier to remove airborne germs before they can cause problems.  

7. What kind of air purifier will help the most? A high efficiency particle arresting air (or HEPA) purifier is most effective. Designed to eliminate particulates as small as .3 microns it is a non-invasive way to keep your air clean. HEPA technology is the same technology used in hospitals to insure clean air. And with a compromised immune system, clean air is one of the most important things you can have.

Defining Wind Generated Electrical Power and Discussing Pros and Cons of the Technology

Introduction

Wind generated electrical power exists through harnessing wind-power energy with turbines. To fully understand wind generated electrical power, one must understand how wind powered electricity is made; resources needed to utilize wind power; types and sizes of wind turbines; building a wind turbine; potential positive and negative impacts of the technology; where wind powered electricity can be effectively generated; and, offsetting the costs of wind powered electrical technology.

How Wind Powered Electricity is Made

The technology of wind generated electrical power functions by creating electricity through the use of various styles of wind turbines. Initially, one might ask, “So how do wind turbines make electricity?” Simply said, a wind turbine works the opposite of a fan. Instead of using electricity to make wind, like a fan, wind turbines use wind to make electricity. The wind turns the blades, which spin a shaft, which connects to a generator and makes electricity.

Resources Needed to Utilize Wind Power

The primary resource of Wind powered technology is, of course, wind. Wind is very abundant in many parts of the United States and other parts of the world. Wind resources are branded by wind-power density classes, ranging from class 1 (the lowest) to class 7 (the highest). Good wind resources (e.g., class 3 and above, which have an average annual wind speed of at least 13 miles per hour) are found in many areas. Wind speed is a critical of wind resources, because the energy in wind is proportionate to the cube of the wind speed. In other words, a stronger wind means more power.

Wind resource development requires land and may compete with other uses of that land, and those alternative uses may be more highly valued than electricity generation. However, wind turbines can be positioned on land that is also used for grazing or even farming. Wherever a wind farm is to be built, roads are cut to make way for shipping parts. At each wind turbine location, the land is graded and the pad area is leveled. Wind energy also requires the building of wind turbines.

Types and Sizes of Wind Turbines

Modern wind turbines fall into two basic groups: the horizontal-axis variety and the vertical-axis design, like the eggbeater-style Darrieus model, named after its French inventor. Horizontal-axis wind turbines typically either have two or three blades. These three-bladed wind turbines are operated “upwind,” with the blades facing into the wind. Darrieus models, or vertical-axis wind turbines, have two vertically oriented blades revolving around a vertical shaft.

In addition to different types, there are many different sizes of wind turbines. Utility-scale turbines range in size from 100 kilowatts to as large as several megawatts. Larger turbines are grouped together into wind farms, which provide bulk power to an electrical grid. Single small turbines, below 100 kilowatts, are used for homes, telecommunications, or water pumping.

Small turbines are sometimes used in connection with diesel generators, batteries, and photovoltaic systems. These systems are called hybrid wind systems and are typically used in remote, off-grid locations, where a connection to the utility grid is not available.

Building a Wind Turbine

The first step in building a wind turbine is setting up the tower where the fiberglass nacelle is installed. The nacelle is a strong, hollow casing that contains the inner workings of the wind turbine. Usually made of fiberglass, the nacelle contains the main drive shaft and the gearbox. Its inner workings also contain blade pitch and yaw controls. The nacelle is assembled and attached onto a base frame at a factory.

The most diverse use of materials and the most experimentation with new materials occur with the blades. Although the most dominant material used for the blades in commercial wind turbines is fiberglass with a hollow core, other materials in use include lightweight woods and aluminum. Wooden blades are solid, but most blades consist of a skin surrounding a core that is either hollow or filled with a lightweight substance such as plastic foam or honeycomb, or balsa wood. Wind turbines also include a utility box, which converts the wind energy into electricity and which is located at the base of the tower. The generator and electronic controls are standard equipment whose main components are steel and copper. Various cables connect the utility box to the nacelle, while others connect the whole turbine to nearby turbines and to a transformer.

Potential Positive and Negative Effects of Wind Powered Electricity

There are a variety of potential positive and negative impacts of wind powered technology.

Potential positive impacts include:

• Wind energy is friendly to the surrounding environment, as no fossil fuels are burnt to generate electricity from wind energy.

• Wind turbines take up less space than the average power station. Windmills only have to occupy a few square meters for the base; this allows the land around the turbine to be used for many purposes, for example agriculture.

• Newer technologies are making the extraction of wind energy much more efficient. The wind is free, and we are able to cash in on this free source of energy.

• Wind turbines are a great resource to generate energy in remote locations, such as mountain communities and remote countryside.

• Wind turbines can be a range of different sizes in order to support varying population levels.

• When combined with solar electricity, this energy source is great for developed and developing countries to provide a steady, reliable supply of electricity.

Potential negative impacts include:

• Wind turbines generally produce less electricity than the average fossil fuelled power station, requiring multiple wind turbines to be built.

• Wind turbine construction can be very expensive and costly.

• Wind turbines can have a negative impact to surrounding wildlife during the build process.

• The noise pollution from commercial wind turbines is sometimes similar to a small jet engine.

• Protests and/or petitions usually confront any proposed wind farm development. People feel the countryside should be left intact for everyone to enjoy its beauty.

Where Wind Powered Electricity Can be Effectively Generated

Places in the world where wind blows strong and often, people and businesses can harness the wind as an option to use in the generation of electricity. Globally, these places include much of North America, southern South America, Greenland, most of Europe, Northern Africa, eastern Asia, most of Australia, and anywhere there are mountains or large hills. The top 5 countries producing electrical wind power in 2007 were: Germany, United States, Spain, India and China, respectively.

Considerable wind speeds also occur across oceans and large water bodies. Since most of the world’s population lives near oceans, wind farms with strong offshore and onshore breezes could produce an abundant amount of electricity. On land in the USA, the major wind corridor is the Great Plains which includes the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The wind corridor also extends into the states west to the great mountains west, including eastern Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. There are also considerable wind resources in eastern and southern Minnesota and the entire state of Iowa, diminishing south through Missouri and east through southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Parts of New York and the New England states also have considerable wind.

The Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that wind power could supply the US with 100% of its electricity, just from the Great Plains wind corridor or from offshore wind farms alone. According to the “Pickens Plan,” a $10 billion wind farm with 2500 generators can supply enough energy for 1.3 million homes, and for $1 trillion the Great Plains wind corridor could supply 20% of America’s electricity. That would be about 250,000 generators to supply 130 million homes.

In a report published by the U.S. Department of Energy, “20% Wind Energy by 2030: Increasing Wind Energy’s Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply,” that report concluded that:

• Reaching 20% wind energy will require enhanced   transmission  infrastructure, streamlined siting and permitting regimes, improved reliability and operability of wind systems, and increased U.S. wind manufacturing capacity.

• Achieving 20% wind energy will require the number of turbine installations to increase from approximately 2000 per year in 2006 to almost 7000 per year in 2017.

• Integrating 20% wind energy into the grid can be done reliably for less than 0.5 cents per kWh.

• Achieving 20% wind energy is not limited by the availability of raw materials.

• Addressing  transmission  challenges such as siting and cost allocation of new  transmission  lines to access the nation’s best wind resources will be required to achieve 20% wind energy.

Offsetting the Costs of Wind Powered Electrical Technology

Although wind generated electrical power seems to be an unlimited resource, and, the best wind sites appear to be competitive with market electricity prices in most U.S. regions, several factors exist that make it a less appealing source of alternative energy in terms of economic cost. First off, wind is not uniformly priced resource. Its costs vary widely depending on project scale, wind speed, region, and other factors. Second, the benchmark for comparison with wind to other fuels varies regionally. Third, extra revenue is required to make a project viable, sunk costs are considerable.

To offset the factors that make wind powered electricity a less appealing source of alternative energy and promote its continued growth, wind energy in many areas receives some financial or other support to encourage development. Wind energy benefits from subsidies either to increase its attractiveness or to compensate for subsidies received by other forms of production, such as coal and nuclear, which have significant negative impacts. In the United States, wind power receives a tax credit for each Kilowatt hour produced; that was 1.9 cents per Kilowatt hour in 2006. The tax the credit has a yearly inflationary adjustment. Many American states also provide incentives, such as exemption from property tax, mandated purchases, and additional markets for “green credits.” The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 contain extensions of credits for wind, including micro-turbines.

Secondary market forces also provide incentives for businesses to use wind-generated power, even if there is a premium price for the electricity, socially responsible manufacturers pay utility companies a premium that goes to subsidize and build new wind power groundwork. Companies use wind-generated power, and in return they can claim that they are making a “green” effort.

Undoubtedly, further tax credits, subsidies and incentives will also be needed to achieve the goal of 20% Wind Energy by 2030. Today, wind power approximately accounts for about 2% of the electricity generated in the United States.

Summary

The technology of wind generated electrical power functions by creating electricity through the use of various styles of wind turbines is a very viable alternative energy. Although wind generated electrical power does have some negative impacts, this author feels that in terms of long-term cost and benefit compared with other types of energy, such as the burning of fossil fuels, using a renewable resource such as wind generated electrical power economically, environmentally, and socially is making more and more sense.

Flu Prevention and the Gym Member

Health officials’ warning this month of a potentially harsh flu season should be a red flag to avid aerobic-bunnies and gym-jocks alike. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warn that the flu is transmitted when flu virus in the air is inhaled after an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. Transmission also occurs when a person touches a surface that has flu virus on it and then touches his or her nose or mouth. Those familiar with the typical health club milieu, then, can easily liken a workout in the gym to sitting in a veritable Petry dish…

Heavy-breathing members on closely-placed cardiovascular machines and in crowded group fitness classes, hundreds of kinds of shared equipment from dumbbells and weight plates to public restrooms and the corner water fountain provide countless opportunities for contact with the flu virus. So, short of ditching our fitness goals until mid-Spring, it would do us well to learn more about the flu, it’s prevention, and what we can do about it.

What is the flu?

The flu, or influenza, is a contagious disease caused by the influenza virus. It attacks the respiratory tract in humans (nose, throat, and lungs). The flu is different from a cold; it usually comes on suddenly and may include these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness (can be extreme)
  • Dry cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Body aches

About 10% to 20% of U.S. residents will get the flu each year. Among these persons infected, an average of 36,000 will die, and 114,000 will be hospitalized. Although the CDC claims it is not possible to accurately predict the severity of the flu season, this year’s early incidence of Type A flu strain is historically associated with a more severe flu season, including higher numbers of related hospitalizations and deaths. To make the outlook more grim, an epidemiological assessment by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) already reports “widespread” influenza activity in over 10 U.S. states.

Who is at risk?

Although anyone can get the flu, including individuals who are healthy, there are various groups who are at higher risk for complications. These high risk groups include:

  • persons aged > 50 years;
  • residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities that house persons of any age who have long-term illnesses;
  • adults and children > 6 months of age who have chronic heart or lung conditions, including asthma;
  • adults and children > 6 months of age who need regular medical care or had to be in a hospital because of metabolic diseases (like diabetes), chronic kidney disease, or weakened immune system (including immune system problems caused by medicine or by infection with human immunodeficiency virus [HIV/AIDS]);
  • children and teenagers (aged 6 months to 18 years) who are on long-term aspirin therapy and therefore could develop Reye Syndrome after the flu; and
  • women who will be more than 3 months pregnant during the flu season.

How to Prevent Getting the Flu

Health officials are encouraging people, particularly those in high-risk groups to obtain a flu shot. The CDC states that an annual flu shot is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get the flu.

The best time to get a flu shot is from October through November, although you can still benefit from getting the vaccine after November, even if the flu is present in your community. Be aware that it takes about two weeks after the vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body to provide protection.

Obtaining the vaccine does not guarantee a flu-free season, however. Influenza viruses are constantly changing, and vaccine effectiveness depends on the match between vaccine strains and circulating viruses and the age and health status of the person getting the shot. Although the strain in this year’s flu vaccine is different from the circulating strain, the CDC states that studies indicate that the vaccine should provide some cross-protection against the circulating A strain.

Some people resist getting the flu shot because of the belief that they will get severe side effects, or even the flu itself, from the vaccine. The viruses in the vaccine are inactivated, so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. Certain side effects are possible, such as soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given, fever (low grade), and aches.

Chances that the shot will cause serious harm, or death, is very small and allergic reactions to the vaccine, though possible, are rare, states the CDC. Most people who get the vaccine have no serious problems with it. However, the following groups should not get a flu shot before talking with their doctor:

  • People with an allergy to hens’ eggs.
  • People who have had a severe reaction to a flu shot in the past.
  • People who have developed Guillian-Barre Syndrome in the 6 weeks following a flu shot.

Since obtaining vaccination doesn’t necessarily guarantee immunity against the flu, it is wise to add common sense to our prevention efforts while we are busy pumping iron at the health club. Old fashioned hand-hygiene can go a long way in helping to prevent flu transmission. Although you don’t want to spend your entire workout running to the restroom to wash your hands after every set, it’s certainly advisable to make sure your hands are clean before and after the workout. Refrain from touching your nose and mouth during the workout to avoid obtaining the virus. Use of hand-antiseptics which include alcohol can also help to prevent transmission of the flu virus.

What to do if you get the flu

So what if you obtain a flu shot, practice stellar hand-hygiene and manage to contract the flu anyway? Since it is impossible to tell if you have the flu based on symptoms alone, visit your doctor. Tests can be performed in the first few days of the illness to determine the diagnosis. Since influenza is caused by a virus, antibiotics won’t work to cure it. You need to rest, drink plenty of fluids, avoid using alcohol and tobacco, and possibly take medication to relieve symptoms.

The CDC warns never to give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms, particularly fever, without speaking to your doctor. Doing so can cause a rare but serious illness called Reye syndrome.

By all accounts, we may be in store for a particularly harsh flu season this year. Take precaution to reduce the likelihood of getting the flu, particularly if you are an avid gym-goer. Preventative measures may not only help to avoid the flu, but also interrupting hard earned progress on your fitness goals.

For more information about the flu, it’s transmission, prevention and treatment, check out the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/flu/