Monday, November 2, 2015

CDC Helping Fight the Flu

The 2015-2016 flu season has arrived. The flu virus is constantly changing so it is not uncommon for a new virus strand to appear each year. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older receive a flu vaccine. It is best to be vaccinated before flu season, or as early as possible into the season, to ensure that as many people as possible are protected against the virus before flu season goes into full affect. While vaccination is the first step in prevention, the CDC has a few other helpful tips for fighting the flu this season:
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs such as the flu.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, body aches, headaches, chills, and fatigue. In some cases, someone could also experience vomiting and diarrhea. If these symptoms occur, contact a medical professional. And if feeling flu-like symptoms, please be aware of spreading germs in the workplace.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Social Media Professionalism

Social media can be a professional liability. Prior to hiring, employers may search potential employees’ Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Without updated privacy settings, entering a name into Google will display all active social media accounts. While hiring decisions cannot be made solely on what is found, it certainly can influence opinions. Once hired, employers can check these sites to monitor behavior, comments, and status updates at any time. To keep social media professional, here are a few helpful tips:

Think before you post. Social media posts are meant to be active, engaging, and non-offensive. Stay clear of foul language, discrimination, and comments that demean personal character.

Who will read the post? Before posting, determine if anyone reading the post will be offended personally or professionally. Also, social media posts are time stamped. This makes it easy to place where you were at the time of the post. Were you at work?

A picture is worth a thousand words. Posting inappropriate pictures can cause educational consequences, professional dismissal, or public shame. A photo posted online can be seen by millions.

Who will remember this? The internet is forever. Once something is posted online, it remains forever. If deleted from a particular site, the image, or comment, is still in cyber space and detectable if searched for properly.

Aside from professional social media forums, educational institutions have now included social media guidelines within their ethics policies. Indecent commentary or negative portrayal of an institution can result in expulsion or criminal charges.  Before posting online, check privacy settings. They can usually be found under account settings [privacy]. Since social media sites update regularly, account settings should also be checked periodically.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Why Enlist the Help of Experts?

We are disappointed to hear, yet again, about a negative event involving a nanny.  This new occurrence, in Georgia, involves a nanny being accused of identity theft and stealing money via credit card charges.

Hiring a nanny can be tricky and complicated.  If we look at the odds of an impending hire gone awry, most times, things work out absent of catastrophe, whether a parent goes the professional, more expensive, nanny agency route with expert help or the cheaper “DIY” route.  This event highlights, however, why the DIY route may result with real disillusionment, no differently than going to Las Vegas and playing the roulette wheel.  It is 100% predictable that the outcome is unpredictable.

How can a parent avoid a negative outcome resulting from hiring, a basic stranger, to care for their children, pets and home?  This is a question on the minds of every parent hiring a nanny.  Though, the critical question all parents should ask themselves is…”how do I minimize the risk in hiring a stranger?”  Therein lays the core issue.

The majority of people working with children are safe and honest.  So most times, everyone is a winner, unlike playing roulette.  The real issue, though, is when a surprise rears its ugly head.  We all know there is a minority population of people who are not at all safe to leave alone with children, pets and give full access to the family fortune.  They don’t wear a label “DISHONEST” like a name tag.  That’s the world in which we live.

What’s the solution?  Because young children are involved, the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies, advocates using expert help to put together as many of the puzzles pieces about a person as possible so that a parent has a fully focused picture of who is getting hired.  This expert help can come in several versions to help provide transparency.  One option is to use the crème de la crème full service APNA member agency to do all the vetting work.  This option leaves a parent feeling most secure, least exposed, though admittedly, it is the most expensive route.  Another option is to enlist the help of the experts.  Many APNA agencies offer the next best solution which can help defray the cost, yet not take the full gamble.  These agencies will help with the screening process of a candidate a parent found through other resources.  As a result, this is a real blended alternative of DIY and expert help at a deeply discounted cost.

The pure DIY route was the option the Georgia family took.  Undoubtedly, they knew others who took that route successfully, and they decided to spin the wheel.  Unfortunately, it was too late when they discovered they lost the bet. While APNA doesn’t recommend spinning the wheel as such, there is the recognition that many parents find success.  Why not use the expertise of an APNA agency to vet a candidate a parent finds on their own if the cost to have the agency do the whole process is out of reach?  It is cost effective for those parents who have financial limitations but want to minimize the risk of discovering the unknown.  Admittedly, using experts will not take away every molecule of risk (humans aren’t perfect…yet!), but it does heavily minimize risk by adding a real degree of predictability.  After all, all parents strive for their kids to feel safe and secure. And the truth is, there is real help available to sidestep these events, no matter the budget.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Summer Reminders!

As summer begins to wind down, remember that August is considered the warmest month of the year so it is important to remain cautious of summer risks.
  • A Hot Car Is No Place for Kids. It only takes 10 minutes for a car to heat up 20 degrees. While some assume that cracking a window helps, partial ventilation only helps a little. A child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adult’s and once a child’s temperature reaches 107 degrees, heat-related death may result. Heatstroke can happen when the temperature outside is as low as 57 degrees. 
  •  Be Cautious On the Playground. The sun can cause playground equipment to become very hot, which could lead to burns on kids’ sensitive skin. A quick touch test before playtime begins helps. 
  •    Humid Weather Is Dreadful for Allergy and Asthma Sufferers. Watery eyes, congestion, runny noses, sinus headaches, and sneezing increases as the air quality decreases with humidity. Use air purifiers in the home to enhance breathing and use the air conditioners to keep windows closed. Note: shower before bed to remove access pollen off of the body and use neti-pots to clear nasal passageways if congested.
  •   Mosquitos Fly During Warm Weather. Pick the right bug repellant. DEET, a common ingredient in most bug sprays, can be about 10% to work. For longer days outdoors, 20% DEET proves more effective. Always consult a physician before applying bug repellent to children under the age of three.
  •     The Warmest Month Can Bring the Hottest Sun. Sunscreen, containing at least 15 SPF, should be applied before outdoor activity and reapplied according to the label instructions. Along with skin protection, UV-filtered lenses should be used to protect eyes from sun exposure, some say brown lens are best.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

ABC’S of Pool Safety

Swimming is a great way to cool off during the summer months. Unfortunately, drowning is the number one killer of children under the age of five. According to Natalie Lane, Director of the ER Department at Children’s Hospital of Georgia, this statistic is even more alarming because young children are more likely to drown in a residential swimming pool than any other body of water. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents should avoid installing a swimming pool until children are over the age of five. However, if parents and caregivers will engage young children in water activities, be sure to follow the ABC’S of pool safety:
  • Abide by the rules. Never leave children alone in or near a pool. There should always be an adult who can swim present at all times. In addition to a present adult, all children should be wearing a secure life vest. When finished, don’t forget to remove all pool toys and floats from the pool area that could attract children.
  • Be prepared. Teach children how to swim as early as possible, or at least the basic water safety tips. Since an adult will be supervising the children during pool play, CPR and rescue breathing certification is recommended. If at any point during the day a child is missing, always check the pool area first.
  • Childproof the pool. For residential pools, it’s very important to install a self-latching and self-closing fence around the pool area. Safety covers should also be placed over the water when the pool is not in use. Also, remember to keep a phone available near the pool in case of emergency.
Happy summer!
Excerpt from:

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Surprising Seasonal Allergy Triggers

     The rapid plunge into warm and dry weather has seasonal allergies on everybody’s radar. Allergy symptoms consist of sneezing, runny nose, watery or itching eyes, skin rashes, and common cold-like symptoms. To control these symptoms, many doctors prescribe seasonal medications or even yearly medical regiments to control allergy attacks. While we wait for a good rain to wash away access pollen, it’s good to understand allergy triggers.
     Surprisingly, summer fruits are allergy agitators. Grass or ragweed allergy sufferers are advised to take precaution when eating peaches, pears, and melons when these fruits are in season. Baseball parks also irritate allergy sufferers. The dust and dirt from the field may contain high levels of spores, causing allergy symptoms to surface. The more people in the park, the more dust and dirt travels. Be aware and take precautions such as carrying allergy medications in case of an attack.
     As the evening approaches, be sure to remain downwind during those late night camping adventures or bonfires. Smoke inhalation weakens the body’s immune system causing allergy symptoms to worsen. Lastly, on those beautiful summer days, think about the way heat traps pollen and diesel bringing allergens closer to the ground. It’s a good practice to always check the weather report for air quality. If quality is low, take precautions. Don’t forget to also check the pollen count!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tips For Working With At-Home Parents

Having a parent in the home can be great when input is needed, but it can also disrupt the day because children begin to focus on the present parent. Here are some tips to help manage the day:

Establish a good report with your employer. This is critical. If a parent will be home during the day, the parent and the caregiver must have a comfortable, yet professional, relationship. Both adults must enjoy one another's company. And it is important to know how to complement each other when dealing with the children.

Know expectations of role. Is the nanny there to assist the at-home parent or is she there to take charge as the primary caregiver during the day?

Set boundaries. Prior to starting the position, speak with the parent to find out where the parent will be working. It's great for the nanny to understand what areas of the house are off limits so the parent can concentrate.

Plan outside of the living space. When parents are home, children may want to flock to them and become upset if they know the parent is close but they cannot be with them. It's good practice to plan the day as if the parent is not in the home. Go to work, spend a few minutes going over the daily routine with the parent and child present, and then have the child say their goodbyes to the parents just as if they were going to work. Plan activities outside of the home or in areas of the home where parents cannot be seen. This will help the children from becoming distracted by a parent.

Communicate professionally. When working with an at-home parent, it is easy to become overly comfortable and share more personal information than you would if the parent was less present. It's important to be friendly, but remain profssional. Personal information stays at home!