Author: TWK Admin

Tips for Staying Healthy This Cold and Flu Season

Cold and flu season really thrives around Thanksgiving and hangs around until spring. Part of the problem is that people who seldom see one another get together for the holidays and share more than cheer. To keep from getting sick and then spreading the illness among your family and friends, you need to protect yourself.

Take Preventive Action

Try to get your flu vaccine early in October so your immune system has time to build a solid defense. Sometimes flu vaccines are available in high schools, so check with your school nurse to see if they will be available in yours. If people around you are sick, become a loner for a while. Wash your hands regularly and use disinfecting cleaners around your home and school. In order to prevent the flu, it’s important to get a flu vaccine, stay home if you’re sick, wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Make sure to also keep your mouth covered when you cough and sneeze. Behave responsibly if we feel yourself coming down with any illness. Once you’ve had your vaccine, pay special attention to any odd symptoms such as a sore throat or drippy nose. If you notice a fever and headache, stay home from school.

Eat Foods Rich in Vitamins C and E

Maintaining good health for yourself when those around you are sick will be easier if you eat right. In addition to taking Vitamin C, make sure to eat foods that are high in this crucial disease-fighting nutrient, including oranges and tomatoes. Increasing your Vitamin E intake will also help, so be sure to enjoy peanut butter and avocados. Try to add fermented foods to your diet. Some of these are live-culture yogurt, sauerkraut, and any dish with a vinegar sauce or dressing. Live-culture foods are good for your gut when your immune system is working hard to protect you from viruses. Avoid inflammatory foods such as anything that contains white flour or processed sugar. Not only are these things good for keeping you well, but they will help make you healthier in general and could possibly even help your performance if you play school sports.

Keep a Clean House

Flu viruses can be transmitted through the air. They can also be left on surfaces by someone who just coughed or sneezed on their hand. To reduce your risk of this contact transmission, pay attention to doorknobs and light switches when helping your parents clean your house. It doesn’t take a lot of water or effort. A simple disinfecting wipe can be used to sanitize cupboard handles, hand railings, and phones. When you’re at school, you don’t really have the same control over your environment, but what you can do is bring a mini hand sanitizer with you to use whenever you touch public surfaces.

Cold and flu season always comes around, but you can protect your family and yourself from picking it up the illness this year by getting your flu shot, eating right, and keeping your house clean. To reduce the risk of transmission, disinfecting wipes can be used once a day on shared surfaces that get a lot of contact.

Here’s another article you might like: Keep Your Teeth Healthy with These Snacks

3 Good Health Habits to Make While You’re Still Young

It’s never too early to think about the future. There are plenty of ways to be proactive about your health when you are young that will pay off when you are older. Here are some great health habits for you if you are hoping to preserve your health for years to come.

Go to the Dentist Regularly

Going to the dentist may not be on your list of favorite things to do, but it is extremely important to go frequently. Start scheduling regular cleanings every six months and continue those throughout life. It’s also important to floss and brush regularly between appointments. Having your dentist apply sealants protects your teeth from cavities, which can cause problems in the future if not taken care of when you’re young. Sealants are usually applied when your molars appear. It’s a simple process that offers major benefits down the road.

Protect Your Skin in the Sun

There is no such thing as a safe tan, so don’t spend your youth baking your skin in the sun. Establish skin-protection habits early so you won’t have to deal with problems in the future. Melanoma is a dangerous form of skin cancer that you don’t want to face if possible. Wear sunscreen anytime you are out in the sun, and don’t forget to reapply often. It’s also wise to wear protective clothing if you are going to be out for a long time. A hat that offers protection for your face can be both trendy and beneficial.

Don’t Smoke

You may think you look cool when smoking, but the damage cigarettes do to your body is anything but awesome. Besides aging you prematurely, smoking can lead to lung problems, heart disease and a shorter life. Vaping, another option that is supposed to have fewer side effects, has been in the news lately due to fatalities and illnesses for those who have tried it. Using a hookah pipe also presents the same health challenges as smoking cigarettes. It’s best to stay away from all of these products if you want to live a longer life where you are healthy. If you don’t ever get started, you can’t get addicted, and it’s easier to not start than it is to stop after your body starts craving nicotine. Smoking tobacco can cut down on your physical fitness abilities and lead to chronic illnesses that are difficult to treat.

When you’re trying to decide what to do today, think of “future you” for guidance. Establish good health habits early in life, and you will look back and thank yourself when you are old and well.

How to Safely Celebrate Prom Night

You have looked forward to your prom night for your entire high school career. Now that the event is finally almost here, it is a good idea to start thinking about how you can celebrate this momentous occasion safely. Here are four ways to ensure a safe and memorable night for you and your closest friends as you celebrate the end of your high school years.

Smart Dressing

While it is understandable to want to look your best on this magical night, it is equally important that you make smart and practical wardrobe choices. Clothing that is too loose or poorly fitting could cause an accident. In order to prevent tripping and falling, be sure to choose clothes that fit well. This is especially important for girls and their choice of footwear. While those heels may look gorgeous, they have the potential of causing an injury if you are not accustomed to walking in this type of shoe.

Wise Partying

While it may be tempting to hang out with your closest friends doing your own thing after the dance, you should seriously consider attending the official school after-prom event. This controlled setting will ensure that nobody makes a bad decision that they will regret. Most after-prom events also provide transportation for the students, allowing you to relax and have a good time without having to get behind the wheel. If your school does not host an after-prom party, consider asking a trusted parent to host one for you and your friends.

Cautious Driving

The majority of prom mishaps happen when students are not focused on driving. You can help to mitigate this risk by being careful on the roads. Statistics show there are more drunk drivers than usual on prom night. Understand that under no circumstance should you consume even an ounce of alcohol and then get behind the wheel. As an added bonus, staying sober will ensure that your memories of this wonderful night are clear.

Sticking With Friends

Although it may sound cliche, it is true that there is safety in numbers. It is always a good idea to stick with your friends throughout the evening and make sure that everyone has a buddy to look out for them. Similar to this recommendation, it is also important to keep your phone charged all night should you need to get in touch with someone.

Make your prom a night to truly remember by keeping it safe for everyone. These memories will stay with you for a lifetime, so be sure to make them count.

What Does All That Paperwork You Sign Before Starting Your First Job Mean?

Like a lot of teens, you might be starting your first job. You might be taking tickets at the movie theater or bagging groceries at your local grocery store after school to earn some extra money. Starting your first job is exciting, but it is also full of paperwork. You may be confused about all the documents you are being asked to place your signature on before you can start work. Here is what all that paperwork means.

Personal Information

Your first job will gather tons of personal information before you start working. This can include your full name, date of birth and Social Security number. A background and credit check may be run by your employer, and providing them with your personal information will be necessary so that can happen. If your paycheck will be direct deposited, your employer will need your banking information so that your money arrives in the correct account. An address will also need to be supplied so that information can be sent by mail when necessary. Your employer may also have questions about your health. This will help him know what on-the-job tasks you can perform, and it can also affect your insurance options.

You will also be required to present identification, such as a birth certificate, social security card, driver’s license or passport to prove your identity and allow your employer to properly fill out the W-9 form in the US.

Another form you will fill out in the US is the W-4 form, where you declare how filing status as single, married, etc. Here you also select the number of exemptions from withholding tax. The more exemptions (such as children) you claim, the less taxes will be deducted from your paycheck. However, if you don’t withhold enough money from each check, you may owe taxes (and penalties) come tax filing season.

Employee Contract

Employers want to make sure everything is clear for employees. That’s why you may also be asked to read and sign an employment contract before you begin work. An employee contract sets forth the expectations for your job performance and the consequences if you do not meet them. It’s important to read the employee contract carefully and ask questions if something doesn’t make sense. You need to know if you are locked into your job for a particular amount of time and what the consequences are of breaking your contract. Know what rights the contract grants you and what rights it gives to your employer.

Special Documents

Certain jobs require special forms that set out more rules for employee behavior. There may be confidentiality agreements or special disclosures that let you know what you can and cannot say outside of work. When you deal with client information that can lead to privacy violations, you often must sign more forms to show you understand. These kinds of forms help to protect the company and their trade secrets. Make sure that you read these documents carefully so you understand what kinds of things you can and cannot do and say. This will help to make sure that you don’t get in trouble with your employer by doing something to break the rules accidentally.

Don’t be overwhelmed by all the forms that go with your first job. There may be a lot of paperwork, but if you make sure to look over all the paperwork carefully, you will be able to understand better what you are signing.

Saving Money on Your First Car

Most teens don’t have a lot of money to buy their first cars. For them, saving money on this purchase counts as a big goal in the buying process. If you’re in the market for your first vehicle, here are a couple of pointers to help you keep the costs under control.

What’s Your Budget?

According to Road Loans, it’s best to start a car-buying venture with a look at your budget. If you don’t have enough money to purchase the vehicle outright, then perhaps you can work out a savings plan. You can put aside a bit of money each paycheck, and this money will be earmarked for the purchase of an automobile. If your parents plan on helping you to buy the car, then you’ll want to talk to them about your budget. Find out what they plan to contribute and what they expect you to pay for. Your budget needs to reflect this as well.

Look at the Fuel Economy

This one goes hand-in-hand with budgeting. Paying for gas, oil, and other expenses related to fuel economy can take a big bite out of your budget. According to Avis, full-size cars get better gas mileage than larger vehicles such as vans, trucks, and SUVs. Compact cars usually get even better gas mileage. As you shop around, it’s important to look for automobiles that offer good fuel economy whether you buy a compact car from a used car lot or a full-sized model from a private buyer.

Consider Pre-Owned

Here’s a fact that most new car dealerships don’t talk about all that much: Your vehicle loses a great deal of value once you drive it off the lot. That’s why a lot of wise car shoppers buy used vehicles, even if they have the budget to buy a more expensive model. This would be a good strategy for you, too, as you’ll save on depreciation. Aside from this, pre-owned cars generally cost less. Sometimes, you can find a decent enough vehicle on sites like Craigslist for $5,000 or less. If you’re planning on paying for your automobile outright, buying a used model that costs less than $5,000 means you can get access to a car a lot faster.

Buying your first car counts as an important rite of passage for most teens. However, there are many factors to consider before you sign on the dotted line, like budget, fuel economy, and whether to buy new or used. Working these issues out ahead of time not only ensures that you get the best car for the money but such a strategy helps you to develop some critical-thinking skills that will be important down the road.

3 Major Differences Between Android and Apple Phones

One of the hottest ongoing debates among teens is where to cast your allegiance in the smartphone battle. Despite many attempts by other companies, there are still only two major names in the field—Apple and Android. Where you spend your hard-earned money depends on your priorities and the features that you consider must-haves.

Customization

Arguably the largest difference between Android and Apple phones is the respective ability to customize. While Apple undoubtedly delivers a strong product, the iPhone is also, in many ways, a limited product. The base iOS software is stable, user-friendly, and quick. But, despite these strengths, anyone looking for the ability to customize their phone will find themselves disappointed with the iPhone offerings. The ability to customize is the hallmark of the Android experience. This modifiable nature goes far beyond mere fonts and backgrounds—there is little about an Android phone that cannot be changed at the users’ will. However, this flexibility comes at a price. Because the end user’s experience is outside of the manufacturer’s hands, it is difficult to guarantee the security or stability of a customized Android device.

Hardware

Hardware is an interesting focus of the debate between Android and iPhone. Whereas the iPhone is a known quantity from one source, an Android phone can be sourced from almost anywhere. However, there is certainly a set of the most popular devices being sold. For years, the most notable offerings in the Android market have been from the two primary players in the field: Google and Samsung. Hardware is one of the aspects that make it difficult to recommend an Android phone without numerous caveats. Anyone purchasing a new iPhone is certain to get a reliable device that features an excellent camera and fantastic battery life. And, while this can be true for an Android device, some of the most popular devices being sold have hardware that is several years old. Thus, more care must be taken when choosing an Android phone.

Price

One of the main factors that are sure to drive consumers toward an Android device is also one of the simplest: price. Dollar for dollar, most Android devices are simply the less expensive option. This is not to say they are the inferior options, but they are the less predictable choice. Anyone seeking a more customizable and versatile device at an affordable price will do well to look at the mainstream Android offerings. However, if you simply need to know your phone will perform to the same degree no matter the conditions, then an iPhone is likely the better choice for you.

As you can see, there are a number of features to consider when buying your next phone. This includes customization, hardware, and price. Although there are different phones options to choose from, the two biggest contenders are Android and Apple. Keep in mind that both have their strengths and weaknesses.

Decided to buy an iPhone? Check out this article next!

3 Tips Every First-Time Babysitter Needs to Know

Babysitting is a common job for teenagers and young adults, but caring for someone else’s child is a big responsibility. First-time babysitters need to prepare for their first gig to make sure it goes great for both themselves and the family.

Make Sure They’re a Good Fit

Communication is key to being a good babysitter. It is important to tell the family what you expect the job to be like. Also, listen to their needs to make sure you are the best match for this family. For example, you might be more comfortable caring for children older than 5 years old. Or you might not be okay with picking up children from school. According to Sittercity, you should also discuss payment with the family to make sure you’re all in agreement.

Familiarize Yourself With the House

Before you arrive on the day you start babysitting, it is helpful to have an idea of the general layout of the house. Of course, you should be aware of where the basics are, like the kitchen, living room and children’s bedroom. It’s also vital to know if the house has a landline phone and where emergency supplies like the first aid kit are. Every house also has its own set of rules that may be different from what you are used to with your own family. For example, children may have limited times during which they can watch television or eat sugary snacks. It is important that you know these rules and follow them. According to Zavodnick Law, families have the right to use a nanny cam to monitor their home with some restrictions, and you do not want to make a bad impression by breaking important house rules.

Come Prepared

Your number one priority when babysitting is to keep the children safe. The best way to do this is to prepare for anything that may come your way. You should be familiar with basic first-aid skills, like wound care or what to do in the case of an allergic reaction. It can also be helpful to have family-specific contact information, like the phone number of a close uncle or neighbor in case of an emergency. A good babysitter will also be entertaining and give the children a fun experience. It can be easy to put the child in front of the TV, but if you come prepared to engage with the child and help them with homework or play games with them, the experience can be more rewarding for both you and the family.

With these tips in mind, you can be an amazing babysitter and earn the trust of your first family. This can help you work for more families in the future and have fun while doing it!

Read More: Six Summer Jobs You Won’t Find at the Mall

How to Stay Fit During the Winter

Staying fit seems to be so much easier in the spring and summer. Warm weather lures you outside to exercise, and local markets have tons of delicious produce available. In the winter, though, even the fittest people have trouble staying on track. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t keep up healthy habits in the winter. You just have to adjust your routine. Here are a few tips to keep yourself at your best during the winter.

Female athlete exercising in park on winter day. Listening music and exercising

Indoor Exercise

If you have access to an indoor gym or home equipment like an elliptical machine, getting your exercise in during the cold season is easy. Even if you don’t, there are lots of ways to get in an inside workout. Whether you want a rigorous cardio session or some weight training, you can find just about any workout imaginable on YouTube or other video channels like Beachbody On Demand. Just make sure to check with a doctor or coach that whatever exercise you choose is right for you.

Try Something New

If you’ve already established a healthy fitness routine, that’s great! You don’t want to get into a rut, though, so while maintaining your program, why not do some research on an activity that’s not familiar to you but sounds interesting? Maybe you’ve always wanted to try yoga, or you’ve heard about some cool hiking trails in your area. Whatever strikes your fancy, look into it and—most importantly—have fun with it.

Diet Decisions

According to Xyngular, it’s estimated that over 90 percent of diets fail, and with winter comes the holidays. You want your food intake to be as healthy as possible, but at the same time, you don’t want to deprive yourself of goodies like your grandma’s butter cookies or your dad’s eggnog. Using a program or deciding beforehand what your indulgence will be is key to keeping things under control.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Stuffing your face at Thanksgiving and Christmas is hardly the end of the world, but don’t use it as an excuse to completely abandon your commitment to personal fitness, either. Just get right back to what you were doing. Consider keeping a fitness journal to make it easier to spot trends and patterns that might tempt you to go off plan. Remember that your fitness journey is just that—a journey. Keep active and mindful through the winter, and you’ll be ready for anything when spring arrives.

Looking for more informative articles about weight loss? We recommend reading: Trying to Lose Some Weight? Be Careful.

Why Natural Drugs Don’t Mean Safe

Drugs are one of the most hazardous ways to “relax” or break away from real life. This form of release changes your brain on a cellular level, and some of these changes are permanent. You won’t know which of these changes will turn out to be permanent, and even those changes that aren’t permanent can be very hard to overcome. Even naturally occurring drugs can alter your brain for the long-term in a very unhealthy way — and can even make you go completely insane while you think there is nothing wrong with you (but your friends and family can clearly see)!

Marijuana

Even if it’s legal where you live, marijuana simply isn’t safe for teens to consume. As a teen, you should view marijuana just as you would tobacco and alcohol: It’s off-limits if you’re underage. If you find a medical practitioner who knows your age and gives you a prescription for medical marijuana anyway, you need to be aware that they are breaking the law and so are you. Marijuana changes your perception and can make you lethargic or apathetic. While there are some indicators that marijuana can reduce depression and anxiety when carefully monitored by multiple medical professionals, long-term usage can change your life in destructive ways. According to Green Rush Daily, long-term cannabis users tend to make less money than those who don’t use it on a regular basis. If your long-term goals include financial success, weed is not a good habit to get into now. Finally, when you get caught, your stress level will likely go up because you are now in trouble with the law, may wind up with a record, and will likely be facing serious problems at home and school.

Peyote

Peyote and the hallucinogenic derivative compound, mescaline, have been used in religious ceremonies by some native tribes in the United States. Users had to pass through multiple milestones to be granted the chance to use the drug, and usage of the drug was carefully administered by a caring adult. It’s important to note that these ceremonies were often led by a trusted elder in the tribe. This naturally occurring hallucinogen is extracted from cacti. It can also be produced synthetically. However, neither format is guaranteed to be a “once and done” high, as mescaline side effects can linger. According to Summit Malibu, despite its reputation as a mild hallucinogen, there are several dangers, including the possible long-term effect of hallucination flashbacks.

Getting Hooked on Being Altered

People who’ve studied the brain refer to addiction as a brain disease. For example, cigarette smokers can get medication to reduce their nicotine cravings. However, the brain’s desire to kick back and relax with a smoke can be stronger than any nicotine craving. If you find yourself craving any drug, ask yourself why. It’s probably not a physical craving but a psychological one. Your inability to show self-control may lead to poor choices or put you in contact with people who don’t care for your safety.

Not everything that’s found in a plant is healthy. Digitalis, taken from the foxglove plant, can regulate your heartbeat. It can also kill you if taken improperly. Drugs alter your brain patterns and can reduce inhibitions that can keep you safe. The better choice is to avoid them altogether.

Here’s another article you might be interested in: Top Dangers for Today’s Teens and How to Stay Safe

3 Natural Alternatives to Refined Sugar and Why You Should Try Them

In a world filled with added sugars, many teens want to find natural alternatives. It’s no secret that certain chemicals are harmful to the body, and it’s important to limit their intake. If you’re looking for some natural sweetness, read on.

Honey

Honey is an ideal alternative to refined sugar. Honey is a thick liquid produced by honeybees. You can purchase this delectable food item from local beekeepers or in grocery stores. There are several different flavors of honey to try. If you like fruity flavors, try blueberry or orange blossom. Clover honey has a mild flavor while acacia honey has a sweet and floral taste. It’s easy to put honey in your beverages or cook it with your food. The possibilities are endless. If you’re a honey fan, you’ll be happy to know that there are many benefits to consuming it. For example, a teaspoon a day has been linked to a strengthened immune system. There are antioxidants found within this sugar alternative, so you’re ingesting nothing but good stuff. Honey has also been shown to help with a hacking cough, and it soothes your sore throat, too. With its low calorie and sugar content, honey can also help control your weight.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is another excellent alternative to processed sugars. Maple syrup is acquired by drilling a hole in a maple tree. The tree sap is then filtered to remove unwanted particles. Syrup is used for more than pancakes and waffles, too. As a sweetener, many consumers put syrup in coffee or tea. Maple syrup can even be used in cookies or oven-roasted vegetables. There are several health benefits of maple syrup. For instance, pure maple syrup includes minerals and antioxidants, such as iron, zinc, manganese, calcium and potassium. As such, syrup can give you energy while also boosting your immune system. Additionally, maple syrup provides you with riboflavin, which is a mineral that promotes a healthy metabolism.

Stevia

Consider replacing your sugar with Stevia. Derived from natural plant leaves, Stevia is a no-calorie substitute that is 200 times sweeter than white sugar. You’ll need less of this sweetener to get the same effects as sugar. Stevia can easily be added to beverages, and you can also use it for baking. The health benefits of Stevia are impressive. With no calories, Stevia can help you lose weight. People with diabetes enjoy its help with blood-sugar regulation. This natural sweetener has been known to help control blood pressure levels, too. Full of antioxidants, Stevia may prevent certain cancer cells from growing. Additionally, your oral health may benefit, since Stevia can reduce the formations of bacteria.

Sweetening your life doesn’t have to be bad for your health. It’s easy to give yourself several natural alternatives like Stevia, honey, and maple syrup. Make the switch and see that you don’t have to sacrifice sweetness for health.