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Green Corner

At Miami Valley Hospital, we are committed to delivering environmentally responsible health care, not only for our patients while they are hospitalized, but also for our employees, our families and the communities we serve.

Human health is directly connected to our planet’s health. Every day we learn more about the negative effects of toxic chemicals, diminishing natural resources, and polluted air and water. Creating a healthier environment for our families and communities is a responsibility that belongs to all of us.

Watch this "Green Corner" page for information, research, resources, health tips, recipes and much more to learn about living a "greener" life.

Green Living – Uses for Baking Soda

Natural products are not only cheaper than chemical-based ones, they are also safer for people, pets and the environment. One of the most versatile and inexpensive natural products is baking soda. From cleaning your bathroom to giving you smoother skin, you may be surprised to learn what baking soda can do!

Uses for baking soda include:

  • Oven cleaner – Spritz water on the inside of the oven (avoiding heat coils). Sprinkle with baking soda and allow it to sit overnight. Remove dried baking soda.
  • Laundry stain remover – Add water to baking soda until a paste is formed. Apply paste to stain and launder garment as usual.
  • Bathroom cleaner – Make a “soft scrub” mix using 1 cup of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of castile soap. Clean and rinse.
  • Sink and tub whitener – Mix ½ cup of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of salt. Moisten and use to remove stains on white surfaces of sinks and tubs.
  • Drain cleaner – Pour 1 cup of baking soda in the drain. Let stand for 5 minutes then flush with hot water.
  • Shoe deodorizer – Sprinkle baking soda in shoes and allow it to sit overnight. You can also add a few drops of rosemary or sage essential oils.
  • Mouthwash – Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to 8 ounces water. Swish in your mouth and spit it out.
  • Facial exfoliant – Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 teaspoon of aloe gel and ½ teaspoon of sugar. Apply to wet skin, massage in gently and rinse. Repeat weekly.

Use Baking Soda to Make Your Own All-Natural Products

If you are attempting to limit your exposure to harmful chemicals, consider making your own non-toxic products using baking soda. Baking soda is an inexpensive and effective item that has many different uses.

You can use baking soda to make several personal care products, household cleaners and deodorizers, including:

  • Deodorant – Pat baking soda on your underarms to neutralize body odor.
  • For shiny hair – Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda into your favorite shampoo. Shampoo as usual and rinse thoroughly. Baking soda helps remove the residue that styling products leave behind, so your hair is cleaner and more manageable.
  • Shoe deodorizer – Sprinkle baking soda into shoes and add 2 to 3 drops of tea tree essential oil.
  • Cleaner/deodorizer for your cutting board – Sprinkle the cutting board with baking soda, scrub and rinse.
  • Oven cleaner – Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of your oven. Spray with water to dampen the baking soda. Let sit overnight; then wipe the baking soda and grime off with a sponge.
  • Toilet cleaner – Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of baking soda and ½ cup of white vinegar in the toilet water. Allow water to fizz. Clean with toilet brush and flush.
  • Refrigerator deodorizer – Place an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator to neutralize odors.
  • Kitchen sponge deodorizer – Soak stale-smelling sponges in 4 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in 1 quart of warm water.
  • Trash deodorizer– Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of your trashcan.
  • Carpet deodorizer – Liberally sprinkle baking soda on carpet. Let sit overnight and vacuum.

How Often Should I Feed My Baby?

Whether your baby is breast or bottle fed, we now know that a ridged feeding schedule is not the healthiest way to feed newborns and infants. Although you need to ensure an adequate number of daily feedings — generally 8 to 12 feedings in a 24 hour period — it is best to feed your baby when he or she is hungry.

Babies tell us that they are hungry using feeding cues, which include wiggling, rooting, sucking, mouthing movements and increased body movements. Crying is a late sign of hunger, waiting until your baby cries may make feedings more difficult. Newborns commonly feed in clusters (many feedings close together). These cluster-feedings are often followed by a period of sleep.

If you are breastfeeding, following your baby’s feeding cues will help you achieve your best milk supply. In the first days, keep your baby close and feed as long and as often as your baby desires. Nurse on the first breast until the baby is finished and then offer the second. Your baby may not be interested in continuing to feed on the second breast. 

The Four R’s of Responsible Living

Reduce Recycle Reuse RepairA fun saying, but what can we really do to green the environment? The answer is...Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Repair.

Reduce- Stop and think before purchasing that new set of dishes just because you love the look- are your old ones still usable? Before cleaning with those convenient disposable pads that end up in landfills, consider using washable mopheads, dusting rags and cleaning cloths to reduce waste.

Reuse- Canvas bags for shopping are a real improvement over plastic bags which clog the waterways and pollute the land. Remember to wash them frequently when used for grocery shopping. Reusable and rechargeable batteries save money and keep them out of the landfills.

Recycle- Most waste management companies are now recycling glass, plastic, soda cans and paper. A small effort in recycling can have a big impact on the environment. For unusual items, go to www.earth911.org Off Site Icon and type in your zip code for information about a recycling resource near you.

Repair- Can the buttons be sewn back on rather than throwing out that old shirt? Glasses and hearing aids can be repaired and donated to charities.  New technologies are exciting, but repairing and using your old computer or cell phone for another 6 months can greatly reduce the hazardous wastes from these items.

Follow this link Off Site Icon to view a short documentary on reducing “stuff".

Green Living

What does “green living” mean? A new way of life? Inconvenient changes? Expensive gadgets? Actually none of these are necessary to make the planet healthier. Green living is about making choices that are good for the earth, because when the earth is healthier, so are we.

Spring Gardening- Naturally

It’s good to be outside in the sunshine again; planting your garden; watching the plants and vegetables grow. More and more people are now looking for more natural gardening methods and shifting away from the use of herbicides (weed killers) and pesticides (insect killers).

The health concerns associated with the use of herbicides and pesticides are growing. The concerns seem to be more serious in children. Symptoms include behavioral problems, such as ADHD, mood disorders, birth defects and hormonal imbalances (early puberty). For more information, visit www.HealthyChild.org Off Site Icon.

There are many different natural fertilizers that can be used. Some examples are coffee grounds (many local coffee houses will give away used grounds for gardening), bone meal, fish emulsion, kelp meal and composted materials from your kitchen and yard.

Weeds are always frustrating, so it’s good to know there are alternative weed controllers that are natural, safe and effective. Some natural weed control methods include mulching well between plants, using natural soap sprays, and using boiling water and vinegar sprays. Placing layers of newspaper over areas that you want to be weed-free, along with old fashioned weed pulling, which is also a great way to get exercise and some sunshine for vitamin D, are also great options.

For pest control, try planting pyrethium, marigolds, nasturtium and garlic.  Lady bugs will also help to control aphids and other harmful bugs. Mixing cayenne powder in water makes a great all-natural bug spray as well. 

Looking for a fun way to learn about natural gardening? Join us May 3rd for “Girls Night Out” to learn about planting a healing garden while sampling herbal teas and edible plants while you create your own personal herbal tea blends. This event will be held at Miami Valley Hospital South from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information on the event, please call 937-208-BABY.

For more natural gardening tips, visit these helpful web sites:

Five Tips for a Greener, Cleaner Earth

Here are a few simple tips to keep the earth greener and cleaner:

  1. Avoid the use of plastic take-home bags. These create hazardous conditions for fish, mammals and aquatic plants in waterways, and leach harmful chemicals into landfills. Instead choose re-usable canvas bags that can be washed between uses.
  2. Recycle, recycle, recycle. Learn more about where or how to recycle Off Site Icon. You can type in your zip code to get information about recycling in your area. 
  3. Forget the antibacterial hand sanitizers; many contain harmful chemicals. Research shows the most effective and safest way to get clean hands is by using regular soap and water.
  4. Buy local and organic food whenever possible. Minimizing herbicides and pesticides in our food can lessen the chances of some chemical-related health concerns.
  5. Choose personal care products that do not contain parabens, phthalates, fragrances or preservatives such as PEG, TEA or EDTA. Learn more about choosing cleaner, safer personal care products Off Site Icon for the whole family.

Personal Care Products

We love them- creams, soaps, lotions, splashes and spritzers. Americans spend millions of dollars for soft skin, shiny hair, a fresh, clean smell and bright smile. But lurking behind those sweet smelling products are some health-robbing ingredients.

Recent research is revealing a connection between the use some dyes, fragrances and preservatives and some serious health concerns.

Some of the ingredients to be avoided include: parabens (labeled methy, ethyl, butyl or propyl), dyes, artificial fragrances, phthalates, preservatives including EDTA, TEA, laurel sulfates, PEG’s, and formaldehyde.

Instead, opt for safer, simpler personal care products. For moisturizing apply olive oil to wet skin after your bath or shower and pat dry. Look for soaps and shampoos made with basic plant-based soaps like castile or glycerin. If you want a toxin-free perfume, add lavender or citrus essential oil in distilled water and spritz.

Miami Valley Hospital is taking the lead in offering safe, natural personal care products for mothers and new babies. We are proud to offer plant soaps and natural moisturizers with education to new parents on making healthier choices for their families.

For more information on how to evaluate your current products and education on making better choices, visit the Environmental Working Group Off Site Icon

De-stressing the Holidays- Naturally

Shopping..parties..visiting near and far…..this is a busy time of year and that can sometimes lead to distress. If you are looking for some ways to relieve holiday tensions naturally, here are some effective stress-busters:

Aromatherapy- place a few drops of lavender essential oil on a clean cotton ball and place near your desk, bedside table or work area. At home you can also simmer citrus fruit peels, cinnamon sticks and fresh pine needles in water in a slow cooker for an uplifting holiday scent.

Deep breathing- Andrew Weil, MD recommends a simple breathing technique to help calm frazzled nerves. Take a few minutes to sit quietly and concentrate on your breath. Exhale completely and breathe in through your mouth to the count of 4, hold your breath to the count of 7 and exhale through your mouth to the count of 8. Repeat for three breath cycles.

Give yourself a present of a massage, or ask for one as a gift, to relax body and mind. You might also try a yoga class or other exercise that can reduce stress and anxiety.

Take some time each day to reflect on the activities and people in your life and be grateful. Practicing gratitude encourages a peaceful feeling and calm attitude.

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