Home Remedies for Sick Children

Home Remedies for Sick Children

Cold & Flu Symptoms in Children

A mother puts a sick child to sleep on the couch.

Caring for a sick child brings extra stress and worry for everyone in the family—especially parents. Unfortunately, colds and the flu are very common in children. On average, kids can expect five or six colds a year before they start school. Some kids get as many as eight to 10 colds a year. It isn't until they become teenagers that kids settle down to adult levels of cold

infections, getting infected about four times a year on average.
Kids get sick a lot because they've never been exposed to the many common cold and flu viruses that most adults have already built immunities to. Building immunities takes time: many years, in fact. Plus there are more than 200 different cold viruses, making the situation worse.
Unfortunately colds cannot be cured. That's why treatment is your first line of defense when it comes to fighting sickness in children. In this article, we will use the advice of medical experts to give you the best chances of easing your child's cold and flu symptoms.

Fighting Cold Symptoms: Why Rest Is Best

Sleep is restorative, and it helps us recover from illness. This is why it's important for your children to rest when they are under the weather. Keep them home from school or daycare if they are sick, especially if they have a fever. This will also help keep the germs from spreading to classmates.
  • Try to give them at least 8-10 hours of sleep.
  • Let them rest until they feel better.
  • One study indicated that the less sleep we get, the more likely we are to become infected after being exposed to a cold virus.
Even if your children do not sleep, it's a good idea to limit their activity and keep them resting. Let them stay in bed and read them their favorite book or watch a movie.

Fighting Kids’ Cold & Flu Symptoms: Keep Fluids Coming

A young girls drinking out of sippy cup.

Drink plenty of fluids – it's important your child stays hydrated. The body needs water to stay healthy, and when you are sick, it's easy to become dehydrated from cold symptoms like
  • fever,
  • diarrhea,
  • vomiting, or
  • sweating.
Many medications such as decongestants can also have a drying effect.
Any liquid without caffeine is good:
  • water,
  • juice,
  • tea,
  • soup, and even
  • milk.
Popsicles or gelatin can also work.

Cold Vs. Flu

A young girl is sick in bed with a runny nose.

How do you know if your child has a cold or the flu? Both illnesses have similar symptoms so sometimes it's difficult to tell.

How to Tell a Cold From a Flu

  • The flu comes on like a ton of bricks – it hits hard and fast and your child will usually feel worse than he or she does with the common cold.
  • Symptoms of the flu include fever, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough.
  • Colds are usually milder than the flu and have symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose.
  • Colds rarely move into the lungs.
  • Flus can cause pneumonia.
If you suspect your child has the flu, take them to the pediatrician. If the flu is diagnosed right away, there is medication that can help reduce the severity of the symptoms and duration of the illness.

Fighting Kids’ Cold & Flu Symptoms: Fever Relief

A mother takes a young boy's temperature.

A fever is a sign the body is fighting off an infection, but it can also make your child feel worse. There are some home remedies to make your child more comfortable.
  • As with colds, let your child get plenty of fluids and rest.
  • Keep the room temperature cool (between 70° and 74° F).
  • Dress your child in lightweight pajamas.
  • If your child has the chills, give him or her an extra blanket, which can be removed once the chills stop.
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) along with a lukewarm bath may also help.

Fever Medicine? Ask a Doctor

Talk to your child's doctor before giving medicine for a fever. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can usually be given safely to bring down a fever. Here are some medications to avoid for children fighting flu:
  • Do not give any medications to infants under 2 months of age • Do not give ibuprofen to babies under 6 months of age without a doctor's recommendation.
  • Never give children under 18 aspirin, as it can cause Reye's syndrome, a serious illness.

Fighting Kids’ Cold & Flu Symptoms: Cold Medicine

A young boy taking his medicine out of a dropper.

For most children, home remedies are the best treatment. Since most colds are caused by viruses, all you can do is treat the symptoms and let the body heal on its own.

Tips for Giving Cold Medicine to Children

  • If you think your child needs medicine, talk to your child's doctor first.
  • Never give children medications meant for adults
  • Read labels carefully so you don't give more than one medicine with the same ingredients.

Fighting Kids’ Cold & Flu Symptoms: Stuffy Noses

A mother removes mucus from a baby's nose with a suction device.

Whether it's from a cold, flu, allergies, or another form of infection, keeping stuffy noses in check is important to your children's health. Not only will they feel better, but stopping a stuffy nose will help stop the spread of infection too.

Tips to Stop Stuffy Noses

  • If your child is has a stuffy nose, make sure he or she is well-hydrated—fluids help thin mucus.
  • You can also use a humidifier or vaporizer in their room to keep air moist and clear their congestion.
  • Nasal washes with saline may be used for older children.
  • Raise the head of your child's bed or crib a few inches to help nasal secretions drain more easily.
  • If little noses are irritated from blowing them, dab some petroleum jelly on the skin to soothe the outside of the nose.
  • Children over 5 years old may benefit from pediatric nasal strips that help open the nostril slightly to give relief from nasal congestion.
  • Medicated nose drops should only be given to children over 6 years old and should not be used for more than two or three days. Using them for too long will make congestion worse.
  • For babies with congestion, you can use an infant nasal suction bulb to remove the mucus. Put three drops or warm water or saline in each nostril first to soften the mucus. Wait a minute, then suction it out.

Fighting Kids’ Cold & Flu Symptoms: Soothe a Sore Throat

A mom gives a sick child soup in bed.

A painful sore throat can make kids miserable in a hurry. Plus, as children, your options for medicating them are limited.

Ways to Relieve a Child’s Sore Throat

  • Cold drinks including milkshakes and ice chips will help numb a sore throat.
  • Warm items like soup or tea can also soothe a sore throat.
  • For children 8 or older, gargling with warm salt water can help loosen phlegm and relieve a dry throat.
  • Lozenges can provide some soothing relief. However, they are a choking hazard for young children and should be offered only to older children upon advice of the child's pediatrician.
  • Pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be given to older children for pain relief.

Fighting Kids’ Cold & Flu Symptoms: Calming a Cough

A young girl drinking a cup of hot tea.

If the cough does not really bother your child, it may not require treatment. Coughing helps clear the chest of mucus. Coughs in children usually only need treatment if the cough causes discomfort or disrupts sleep. If it is necessary to treat your child's cough, here are a few effective options.

Fighting a Child’s Cough

  • A humidifier or vaporizer in your child's room can help ease coughing symptoms.
  • Like a humidifier, breathing in steam from a warm shower can ease a cough.
  • Children 3 months to 1 year old can have warm, clear fluids such as warm water or juice.
  • A spoonful of honey before bed has been shown to reduce coughing in children over 1 year old. It helps thin mucus and loosens the cough.
  • As with sore throats, lozenges can help relieve a cough for older children who are not in danger of choking on them. Ask their pediatrician if you are unsure.
  • Elevating your child's head with extra pillows can help relieve a cough that isn't producing mucus.
  • Children under 4 should not be given medications containing dextromethorphan (DXM). Children 4-11 can take DXM, but use caution and follow the directions carefully. Do not use a household spoon to measure the medication—only use the measuring spoon or cup that came with the medication.
  • Don't bother with decongestants or antihistamines. These don't do any good for relieving coughs when a child is sick with a cold or flu. Oral decongestants can actually increase insomnia and raise the heartbeat, so it is better to avoid them.

Fighting Kids’ Cold & Flu Symptoms: Try Soft Foods

A close-up image of applesauce in a dish.

"Feed a cold and starve a fever" is an old myth, so ignore it. If your child is hungry, let him or her eat. Here are some tips to make sure mealtime goes well for your sick child.

Feeding a Sick Kid

  • Soft foods are often easier to swallow when a child has a sore throat.
  • Bland foods can be easier to eat when a child's stomach is upset. Foods such as oatmeal, soup, mashed potatoes, applesauce, and bananas can be more palatable with an upset stomach.
  • Popsicles are usually a good idea as they can help hydrate as well as soothe. Crackers or even mac and cheese are also options.
  • High-fat foods should be avoided, as these can be difficult to digest.
  • If your child does not want to eat, offer lots of fluids and small, healthy meals.

Fighting Kids’ Cold & Flu Symptoms: Upset Stomach

A young girl suffers from stomach pain.

Children sick with the flu may not feel like eating much as they may also experience
  • upset stomach,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting, or
  • diarrhea.
They can also become dehydrated. It's important to give your child plenty of fluids. Re-hydration solutions for children are often the best option. You can give your child water or ice chips to suck on. Some drinks should be avoided, however, due to their high sugar content, which can make diarrhea worse. Try to avoid
  • juice,
  • sports drinks,
  • soda, and
  • other beverages with high sugar content.
  • If a child is not vomiting, they can eat small portions, and make sure they drink plenty of fluids.

Fighting Kids’ Cold & Flu Symptoms: Trust Your Instincts

A mother calls the doctor after checking her daughter's fever.

Sometimes you just have a bad feeling something isn't right when your child is sick at home
Here are some times when it's best to contact your child's pediatrician.

When to Call a Doctor

  • Your child's temperature is higher than 101° F.
  • Their symptoms last more than 10 days.
  • Symptoms are severe or unusual.
  • Your child is younger than 3 months old and has a fever.
In addition, watch out for the following signs, which could spell more trouble than the usual cold or flu:
  • breathing problems,
  • difficulty swallowing,
  • coughing up a lot of mucus,
  • extreme fatigue or irritability,
  • earache or drainage from the ear,
  • your child seems to be getting worse and not better, or
  • any other symptoms that concern you.

What Are Cataracts ?

What Are Cataracts ?

Photo of close up of eye.

Cataracts are a painless clouding of the internal lens of the eye. Because they block light from passing through the lens, cataracts make it difficult to see clearly and can even cause blindness over time. Cataracts are progressive, meaning they worsen with time. Most cases occur in older people, but sometimes they can be seen in younger people as well.

How Your Vision Is Affected By Cataracts

Photo of cataract illustration.

Light enters the eye and passes through the lens. The lens of the eye focuses light onto the retina, which transmits visual signals through the optic nerve to the brain. Clouding of the lens due to cataracts results in blurring of the images you see. Other problems with the eyes can also cause blurry vision, but cataracts produce some characteristic symptoms.

Cataract Symptom: Blurry Vision

Photo of blurry man.

The most common symptom of cataracts is seeing blurry images at any distance. People may describe their vision as foggy, cloudy, or filmy. Cataracts get worse with time, and less light reaches the retina. It may be especially hard for people with cataracts to see and drive at night.

Cataract Symptom: Glare

Photo of sun through trees.

Glare, or sensitivity to light, is another symptom of cataracts. It can be difficult for a person with cataracts to see in bright sunlight. Indoor lights may begin to seem too bright, or they may appear to have halos around them. Glare from oncoming headlights can cause problems with driving at night.

Cataract Symptom: Double Vision

Photo of blurry fingers.

Diplopia, or double vision, when looking with one eye can be another symptom of cataracts. This is not the same as diplopia that arises from improper alignment of the eyes. The double vision seen with cataracts occurs even when you look through only one eye.

Cataract Symptom: Color Changes

Photo of spilt color flower.

Cataracts also affect color vision. Some colors may appear faded, and things may acquire a yellowish or brownish tint. This may not be noticed at first, but with time, distinguishing between blues and purples can be difficult.

Cataract Symptom: Second Sight

Photo of older woman reading.

The phenomenon known as "second sight" is another characteristic of cataracts. In this situation, the cataract acts as a stronger lens, temporarily improving the ability to see things at a close distance. People who formerly needed reading glasses may no longer need them. However, as the cataract worsens over time, this temporary improvement in near vision disappears.

Cataract Symptom: New Prescription

Photo of eyeglasses.

People with cataracts often need frequent changes in their eyeglasses or contact lenses because their vision deteriorates over time.

Who Can Get Cataracts ?

Photo of candles on cake.

Most cataracts occur in older people and are related to the aging process. Over half of Americans over 65 have cataracts. Sometimes, babies can be born with cataracts, known as congenital cataracts. Uncommonly, children can get cataracts as a result of illness or trauma to the eye.

What Are the Causes of Cataracts ?

Photo of close up of cataracts.

It is not precisely understood why people get cataracts. Aging is a known risk factor. Other factors that may also play a role in the development of cataracts include:
  • Smoking
  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Diabetes
  • Trauma to the eyes
  • Extended use of corticosteroids
  • Prolonged radiation or sun exposure

How Are Cataracts Diagnosed?

Photo of side view of cataracts.

Cataracts can be diagnosed with an eye exam. The eye exam contains a vision test and an examination of your eyes using a slit lamp microscope. The pupils are dilated with special eyedrops to provide a better view of the back of the eye, where the retina and optic nerve are located.

Cataract Surgery

Photo of eye surgery for cataracts.

Surgery to remove cataracts may be required if the related vision loss cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy natural lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. The operation is usually done on an outpatient basis and is very safe and effective. For those who need surgery on both eyes, the surgery is usually done on one eye at a time.

Types of Cataract Surgery

Illustration of cataract surgery.

The most common type of cataract surgery is known as phacoemulsification (phaco). In this procedure, the doctor makes a tiny incision in the eye and breaks up the lens using ultrasound waves. The lens is then taken out and replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL). Another type of cataract surgery is called extracapsular cataract surgery. This procedure involves a larger incision and removal of the cloudy lens in one piece. In most cases, placement of an IOL eliminates the need for thick eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Innovations In Cataract Surgery

Photo of synthetic eye lens.

New developments in cataract surgery allow for procedures that correct both near and distance vision, reducing or even eliminating the need for glasses after the operation. Conventional "monofocal" lenses only correct distance vision, so people still need reading glasses after surgery. So-called "toric" implants are available to correct astigmatism. This picture illustrates a lens in development (shown next to a dime) that offers better color vision.

What to Expect After Cataract Surgery

Photo of older man with sunglasses.

After surgery, your eyes may itch and feel sensitive to light for a few days. You may need to wear a shield or glasses for protection, and you may be prescribed eyedrops to speed the healing process. It takes about 8 weeks for the eye to completely heal even though changes in vision are apparent shortly following the surgery. You may still need glasses for distance vision or reading, after the surgery, and it is likely that you will require a new prescription after your eye has healed.

Risks of Cataract Surgery

Photo of eye surgeon.

Cataract surgery does not commonly result in complications. When complications occur, they are usually related to infection, bleeding, or changes in eye pressure. All of these are treatable when recognized early. The risk of retinal detachment is slightly increased, and this complication requires emergency treatment. In some cases, lens tissue is left behind to support the IOL, and this tissue can become cloudy over time, forming an "after-cataract." This can be permanently corrected with a laser treatment.

Should You Have Cataract Surgery ?

Photo of older woman texting.

It's unusual for cataracts to require immediate removal, so you can take your time to decide about surgery. Cataracts affect vision slowly over time, so it's possible to wait to have surgery until glasses no longer correct the vision problems. People who do not feel that cataracts are causing significant problems may opt to postpone or not undergo surgery.

Cataracts Prevention Tips

Photo of woman with sun hat.

Remember, there are steps you can take to lower your risk of getting cataracts:
  • Don't smoke.
  • Always wear a hat or sunglasses in the sun.
  • Keep diabetes well controlled.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis ?

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis ?

Female trainer flexing arms.

Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of autoimmune arthritis. It causes joints to become
  • painful,
  • tender,
  • swollen, and
  • stiff.
People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) often have more than one joint affected by the condition. The same two joints on opposite sides of the body are frequently involved with RA. RA impacts small joints, which are found in the
  • wrists,
  • hands, and
  • feet.
Although joint problems are the first things people recognize when it comes to arthritis, the disease of rheumatoid arthritis can impact other parts of the body as well. With RA,
  • eyes become dry, painful, and red,
  • the mouth becomes dry and gums are more easily irritated or infected,
  • the skin can develop small lumps over bony areas known as rheumatoid nodules,
  • blood vessels become inflamed, potentially causing nerve and skin damage,
  • the number of red blood cells can drop, called anemia, and
  • lungs can become inflamed and scarred, causing shortness of breath.

What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Photo of woman exercising on treadmill in a gym.

As an autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis is caused by a misdirected immune system. With RA, the immune system attacks the body's small joints. The precise reasons why this happens are unknown. Still, research suggests that the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is related to hormones, genes, and environmental factors, including
  • female hormones (70 percent of RA sufferers are women),
  • obesity,
  • infectious agents like bacteria and viruses, and
  • one's physical and emotional response to stress and trauma.
Some other environmental factors may play a part in determining who gets RA, too, such as:
  • air pollution,
  • cigarette smoke exposure,
  • insecticide exposure, and
  • exposure to mineral oil or silica in the workplace.

Why Does Exercise Benefit Those With Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Woman exercising with trainer on weight machine.

Exercise is considered the no. 1 non-drug treatment for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Exercise has many benefits, including
  • strengthening bones and muscles,
  • delaying joint replacement,
  • decreasing fatigue,
  • lowering blood pressure,
  • improving cholesterol levels,
  • reducing pain, and
  • improving movement and well-being.

With Rheumatoid Arthritis, How Often Should I Exercise?

Advice from your doctor is always best, so follow that first and foremost. The typical RA sufferer will need range-of-motion exercises to improve their long-term health.
In the following slides, we will guide you through some of the best exercises to protect your joints and help you get the most from your life while managing and reducing the pain, swelling, and immobility of rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Swim Your Way to Fitness

Woman swimming for exercise.

Swimming is a great, low-impact way to exercise your body without intense joint pain. This is especially true with a heated pool. The water makes you feel great while you swim. Here are some steps to help you ease into a regular swimming routine:
  • Begin slowly with a few minutes in a heated pool.
  • Use a kickboard when you first adjust to moving in the water.
  • Gradually build to a goal of swimming 30 minutes at a time.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Sticking With Low-Impact Workouts

Senior couple exercising by walking.

Low-impact aerobics are a central focus of treating rheumatoid arthritis. Start by choosing an exercise that fits you, such as
  • stair climbing,
  • walking,
  • dancing, and
  • low-impact cardio machines, like the elliptical trainer.
These exercises are better for you than activities that put stress on your joints, like running or playing basketball.
Another danger with rheumatoid arthritis is that it puts you at greater risk of bone loss (osteoporosis). For that reason, weight-bearing exercises like walking, dancing, and stair climbing are especially useful because they help strengthen your bones.

Isometric Exercises for Better Rheumatoid Arthritis Health

Woman demonstrating isometric exercise by tensing arm muscles.

Isometric exercises are strength-training workouts in which the muscles contract, but the body doesn't move. Isometrics involve tensing a muscle, then relaxing it. This type of training is especially useful if the usual weight lifting causes your joints to hurt.
Some advantages of isometrics include:
  • No need for additional equipment.
  • The body is activating nearly all of its available motor units.
  • Increased strength.
  • Improved flexibility.
In the next several slides, we'll show you some beneficial isometric exercises that can help you stay strong and healthy. While these exercises are less likely to hurt your joints than traditional weight training, if they do make your joints hurt, ask a trainer to show you another type of isometric exercise.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Exercise: Isometric Chest Press

Woman demonstrating isometric chest exercise.

To gain strength in your chest, follow these steps:
  • With your arms at chest level, press the palms of your hands together as hard as you can.
  • Hold for five seconds and then rest for the same amount of time.
  • Do five repetitions.
  • Slowly build up to holding the press for 10 to 15 seconds at a time.
  • If it makes your joints hurt, ask a trainer to show you another type of isometric chest exercise.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Exercise: Isometric Shoulder Extension

Woman demonstrating isometric shoulder extension exercise.

This isometric exercise will help you develop greater shoulder strength. To do it correctly, follow these steps:
  • Stand with your back against a wall and your arms at your sides.
  • With your elbows straight, push your arms back toward the wall.
  • Hold for five seconds and then rest.
  • Repeat 10 times.
  • If it hurts your joints, ask a trainer to show you another isometric shoulder exercise.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Exercise: Isometric Thigh Exercise

Woman demonstrating thigh exercise.

Get your thighs in shape with minimum joint pain by following these steps:
  • Sit on the floor or a bed with one leg straight and the other bent.
  • Tighten the thigh muscles of your straight leg as hard as you can and count to six.
  • Relax, and then repeat.
  • Do it with the opposite leg, gradually increasing up to five, then 10, then 15 repetitions, twice a day with each leg.
  • If it hurts your joints, ask a trainer to show you another isometric thigh exercise.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Stretches: Improve Flexibility

Woman demonstrating various stretchiong exercises to increase flexibility.

Gently stretching is a great way to ease the pain and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis. It also helps increase your range of motion. Start each stretching session with a light three- to five-minute aerobic warm-up.
Hold stretches for 30 seconds without bouncing or jerking. It should feel good. Remember: keep it gentle, not intense.
In the next several slides, we'll review some useful stretches that can help relieve your rheumatoid arthritis pain and stiffness.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Stretches: Stretch Your Fingers

Woman demonstrating finger extensions and stretches to keep fingers flexible.

Since rheumatoid arthritis targets small joints such as the ones in your hands, this stretch can really bring some relief. To pull off the finger stretch successfully, follow these steps:
  • Make a fist.
  • Open and extend your fingers as straight as possible.
  • Repeat this exercise, gradually increasing up to 20 times, twice a day.
  • To add more challenge to this stretch, squeeze a foam or sponge ball about the size of a tennis ball, then release and extend your fingers.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Stretches: Keep Wrists Flexible

Woman demonstrating wrist flexion and extension exercise.

Another series of joints often hampered by rheumatoid arthritis are the ones found inside your wrists. To keep your wrists flexible, follow these steps:
  • Sit at a table or desk.
  • With your left forearm on the table, let your left hand hang over the edge.
  • Use your right hand to grab the fingers of your left hand and bend your left hand at the wrist, slowly moving it up and then down as far as possible without pain.
  • Repeat with the opposite hand.
  • Increase up to 20 repetitions, twice a day.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Stretches: Try an Elbow Stretch

Woman demonstrating elbow stretch exercise.

Keeping your elbows from getting stiff and sore is useful in all kinds of ways. To improve elbow flexibility, follow these steps:
  • With your arm extended parallel to the floor, position your palm face-up.
  • Use your opposite hand to grab hold of the fingers, and pull the palm of the extended hand toward the floor.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Now, do the same exercise, except this time turn your palm face down.
  • Use the opposite hand to push the top of your extended fingers and hand down toward the floor.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Stretches: Hip Rotation

Woman demonstrating hip rotation and stretch exercise to increase mobility.

Keep your hips flexible with this simple stretch:
  • Sit or lie on your back on the floor or on a bed, feet slightly apart.
  • With your legs and knees straight, turn your knees in toward each other and touch the toes of your feet together.
  • Hold for five seconds.
  • Turn your legs and knees out, and hold for five seconds.
  • Repeat this twice a day, gradually increasing up to five, 10, and then 20 repetitions.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Stretches: Flexible Feet

Having flexible feet is useful for everyday living. Even walking becomes easier with more flexible joints in the feet. To keep toes and ankles more flexible, follow these steps:
  • Face a wall and place your palms flat on it, one foot forward, and one foot back.
  • Leave your heels on the floor and lean forward.
  • You'll feel a gentle pull in the calf of your back leg and the Achilles tendon at the back of the ankle.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Do three repetitions.
  • Then reverse the position of your legs and repeat.

Tai Chi and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Instructor conducting tai chi class.

Tai chi is a gentle movement exercise that originated in China and is now practiced worldwide. In tai chi, practitioners work slowly and smoothly through a system of movements and postures that are meant to connect the body with the mind. In general, tai chi proponents point to the following health benefits:
  • Greater strength
  • Improved flexibility
  • Improved balance
  • Coordination
  • Less stress and anxiety
  • Better concentration and memory
  • Better posture
Recent research studies suggest the following benefits of tai chi:
  • Greater strength
  • Better endurance
  • Improved walking
Arthritis Australia and the Australian Rheumatology Association endorse a special set of 12 tai chi movements called Tai Chi for Arthritis, which were designed in 1997 specifically to help ease joint pain and stiffness for those with rheumatoid arthritis.

For Rheumatoid Arthritis Health, Avoid High-Impact Exercise

Woman running on pavement.

High-impact exercises put too much pressure on your joints if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. They can lead to flare-ups, increase the wear and tear on joints, and make daily life more painful and difficult. Unless otherwise advised by a doctor, try to avoid activities like
  • jogging,
  • running,
  • tennis on hard pavement,
  • lifting heavy weights,
  • basketball, and
  • indoor volleyball.

Balance Rest and Exercise for Rheumatoid Arthritis Relief

Person relaxing with legs stretched out on couch with cat.

While staying active is one of the best forms of self-care for rheumatoid arthritis, remember that rest is also critical for ongoing health. When it comes to any exercise, follow these tips:
  • Pace yourself
  • Don't overdo it
  • If it causes pain, stop immediately
Lots of bedrest can help you feel better over the short term, but try not to overdo it. If you stay off your feet too much, your muscles get weak and your joint pain can actually get worse. The key here is balance.

Exercise for Rheumatoid Arthritis: Get a Personal Trainer

Personal trainer helping woman in exercise class.

Learning to work out with rheumatoid arthritis can be a challenge. To make it easier and to get better results faster, look for a personal trainer with experience helping people with rheumatoid arthritis. Try to find someone who has worked with clients who have physical limitations, who are overweight, or who are senior citizens. A trainer like that will understand your unique challenges and be able to advise you about the workout routines that will work best for your body, and give you a sense of what equipment to try and what equipment to avoid.

How To Make Holiday Travel Less Stressful

How To Make Holiday Travel Less Stressful

Crowded airport during holiday travel.

Holiday travel can be exciting and fun, but it can also be extremely stressful. Between gifts in the luggage, kids, winter weather, crowded airports, and traffic jams, holiday travel can make even the most seasoned traveler anxious. Following are some tips to help reduce your holiday travel-related stress.

Accept the Situation and Plan Ahead

Traffic during a snowstorm.

You can't control many aspects of holiday travel such as the winter weather, crowded airports, traffic-packed highways, and unexpected delays. But you can control the way you react to these situations. Accept that they will happen and have a plan to stay calm when they do and you will feel less stressed.

Give Yourself Enough Time

Man with luggage checking his watch while waiting for a train.

Always allow extra time when traveling, whether it's the holidays or not – but especially during the holidays! You can expect larger crowds and more people on heavily-travelled days such as the day before Thanksgiving in the U.S. Remember that every aspect of travel will take longer, from driving on the crowded highways or getting cabs, finding airport parking, to airline check-in, and airport security lines. Adults who are used to traveling for business may find that traveling with the kids can also slow the process. Giving yourself more time than usual so you have a cushion of extra time to allow for delays helps prevent stress.

Make A Few Contingency Plans

Airport sign displaying delayed and cancelled flights.

Have a backup plan in case anything goes wrong. Despite your best planning, sometimes you may encounter the unexpected full airport parking lot, or snowstorm. Check for flight delays, traffic jams, and parking reports. Your backup plan may include leaving earlier, taking a different route, using other transportation.

Check Your Bags

People waiting to check their luggage.

During peak holiday travel times, the overhead bins may be full with carry-on luggage. It can often be much easier to simply check your bags. You won't have to lug your carry-on during a layover, and managing extra bags and kids makes for more of a hassle. Only take what you need on the plane in a small tote and check the rest for more freedom of movement and less stress.

Keep the Kids Happy (and Well Fed)

Child playing video games while parents eat on plane.

Traveling with children requires some planning ahead to reduce stress for parents, children, and other travelers nearby! Plan to have plenty of things to amuse and distract your children as you travel. Let kids burn up some energy at the airport by helping pull small suitcases or walking around. Explain to children ahead of time what the airline security and boarding process will be so they are not scared. Bring snacks and water so no one gets cranky because they are hungry (even if the airline serves food, the kids may not like it, so have your own snacks you know they will eat). For long drives, stop every hour or two to stretch and break up the distance. Have some "surprise" toys or treats the children don't know about to hand out during travel. An occupied and distracted child is less likely to be stressed and anxious, and the more calm they are, the happier the parents will be!

Think About Changes of Clothing

Woman deciding which clothes to pack in suitcase as well as what to keep with her.

Dressing in layers is helpful when traveling. Staying comfortable will help you feel more relaxed. It may be cold outside and warm in the car. The airport or plane may be too cold or hot. Having layers means you can add or remove as needed for comfort. Remember a change of clothes for toddlers or infants as they may spill food or get sick. If you need to be dressed up at your final destination, travel in comfortable clothes and stop at a rest area or change in a restroom just before you reach your final destination.

Plan Ahead For Next Year's Holidays

Three lounge chairs on the beach with Christmas stockings.

If you have found holiday travel stressful in the past, planning ahead can help relieve anxiety for next year. Perhaps you may want to change destinations, offer to host for the holidays at your own home so people can come to you, or avoid holiday travel altogether. If you decide not to go to the family gathering that is a 3-hour flight away, tell everyone far in advance so no one is disappointed last-minute. If you must travel during the holidays, make reservations months in advance to find the best flights for your schedule.