(StatePoint)  In summer you want your skin to look and feel its best. But all that extra exposure introduces more risks of irritation, rashes and bites. “If you’re careful and prepared, you can reduce your risk for certain ailments as well as limit your discomfort,” says Dr. Vishakha Gigler, a board certified dermatologist in Encinitas, Ca. Here’s a handy guide your family can use to avoid and treat skin woes, such as itching and pain, most common in the summer months. • Prevent sunburn by always applying a high SPF sunblock before sun exposure. If possible, wait 15 minutes before walking outdoors. Don’t forget to reapply after excessive sweating or water exposure. • If you do get burned, relieve inflammation and redness by applying ice in a milk-soaked face cloth to affected areas for five to 10 minutes. • Protect your pucker and treat dry, chapped lips with shea butter or beeswax lip balm with SPF, which moisturize while providing sun protection. • Drink plenty of cold water to cool down and hydrate your body and skin. • Mosquitoes dwell in areas near standing water and are attracted to hot skin temperatures. Keep skin cool and eliminate standing water from your yard. Also, be mindful that mosquitoes are most active at dusk. • Do you live near a wooded area? Are you taking advantage of the season to go hiking or camping? Avoid exposure to poisonous plants by wearing long pants, long shirts and boots, along with a topically applied ivy block barrier cream to prevent getting a poison ivy or oak rash breakout. • When prevention fails, adults and children two years and older can treat bug bites and other itchy summer skin flare-ups with a dermatologist- recommended, over-the-counter non- steroid-based topical treatment, such as TriCalm. A highly effective itch relief gel, TriCalm is five times more effective than hydrocortisone 1% at reducing itch, and does not have side effects like skin thinning and stretch marks. Summer fun and sun can have its drawbacks, especially where your skin is concerned. For a more comfortable season, be prepared to prevent and treat itches, burns and skin flare-ups.
(StatePoint) Parents often wonder how to maintain their kids’ health. One important step that may be overlooked is to ensure that young children are properly hydrated. It can also be a challenge for parents to create a menu kids will enjoy that meets the recommended Daily Value (DV) of vitamins and nutrients. “By including U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-certified organic fruits and vegetables in your children’s diets, you can help ensure your child is staying hydrated from the water in them, while also consuming the necessary vitamins, minerals and protein that they need to grow healthy and strong,” says Dr. Deena Blanchard, Pediatrician at Premier Pediatrics in New York City and a consultant for Ella’s Kitchen brand, which makes organic food for babies, toddlers and kids. “Nutritional shakes provide proteins, vitamins, and minerals, the necessary building blocks of a healthy immune system, to supplement kids’ daily diets for complete nutrition; and electrolyte waters with naturally-occurring electrolytes can also help keep kids hydrated.” Dr. Blanchard recommends the following tips to help parents make good choices for their children. • Hydrate children, especially when sick: When children are sick, the importance of proper hydration cannot be overestimated. If eating or drinking is difficult, try giving your child smaller amounts, more frequently. Choose water, 100 percent juice or drinks that contain naturally occurring electrolytes and other components that help support kids’ immune systems. • Choose wisely: Watch out for artificial flavors, colors and preservatives as well as the amount of added sugars in sports drinks and other beverages. It is important to provide kids with beverages that are free of artificial ingredients and contain fruits and vegetables. You can be sure you’re avoiding those additions when you choose USDA organic beverages, such as Ella’s Kitchen Organic Coconut Water Electrolyte Drinks or their new Smoothie Drinks, which provide one full serving of fruit per 8 fluid ounces. • Don’t forget to hydrate when playing sports: Kids can become dehydrated while playing sports or engaging in other physical activity. At the ballpark or playground, it is important to keep drinks on hand. Good choices include organic fruit and veggie purees, which contribute significant water to the diet and naturally-occurring electrolytes for natural rehydration. • Supplement: Though vital to proper growth and development, meeting the recommended daily intake of vitamins and nutrients can be tough, especially for little ones who are picky eaters. A tasty, protein-packed nutritional shake can help parents ensure kids get the calories and nutrition they need. Consider trying Ella’s Kitchen Coconut + Milk Nutritional Shakes, which are made with certified USDA organic low-fat milk, fruit + veggie purees and coconut water, providing 44 percent of the recommended DV of protein, 30 percent DV of calcium, as well as vitamin B12, riboflavin, iodine and electrolytes. Made with ingredients parents recognize, these shakes provide a boost of nutrition with a taste that kids will enjoy. Visit for more options for healthy hydration and nutrition for the little ones. In the warmer months, proper hydration is especially crucial. Parents should seek out choices for kids that support a healthy immune system.
(StatePoint) Traffic deaths are on the rise, and experts fear the trend will continue this summer during a period known as the 100 Deadly Days. Summer weekends tend to be the most dangerous, with seven out of 10 crashes happening on a Saturday or Sunday in the summer of 2014. “While the statistics point out a dangerous trend, we have the ability to influence outcomes through our choices and behavior,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council (NSC). “Summer is typically a high-exposure period with lots of miles driven and several long holiday weekends. Take your responsibilities behind the wheel this summer seriously and ensure that you get to your destination safely.” Traffic deaths in the U.S. increased each month during the six months leading up to the summer, compared to the same six month period a year ago. NSC believes the spike in fatal car crashes is due in part to an improving economy. Lower gas prices and lower unemployment rates often lead to an increase in traffic because more people can afford to drive, and many travel long distances and take vacations. Certain crash factors, such as speeding and alcohol, are also more common during the summer. A yearly average of 2,781 deaths in June, July and August involve speeding, and 2,846 involve alcohol, according to NSC analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data. To help stay safe on the roads this summer, NSC recommends drivers: • Learn about their vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them. Free resources, such as can help drivers understand the ins and outs of such features as blind spot, lane departure warning systems and backup cameras. Visit to learn more. • Buckle up for all trips -- short and long, even back seat passengers. • Designate a non-drinking driver or arrange alternate transportation. • Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue. • Never use a cell phone behind the wheel, even hands-free. • Monitor teens’ driving habits. An NSC survey found many parents are more inclined to loosen household driving rules during the summer. Teen passengers are one of the greatest distractions. “We believe that by taking the proper precautions, we can make the roads safer and save lives this summer,” said Hersman.
(StatePoint) Demand for public transportation is on the rise. In fact, 10.7 billion trips were taken on public transportation in 2013, the highest in 57 years, according to the latest statistics from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA.) Even those who drive should take note of these statistics, which show that communities that invest in public transportation stand to gain. APTA figures point to a four-fold economic return on investment for every dollar spent on public transportation. “Where public transportation goes, businesses thrive, property becomes more attractive, and tax revenues increase,” says Michael Melaniphy, President and CEO of APTA. Substantial and robust public transportation infrastructure is one key innovation that helps to support economic growth in local communities, say experts. With federal funding for public transportation poised to be a critical issue for Congress this year, public transportation advocates are calling for funding legislation that is reliable and sustainable in order to plan, build, maintain and repair these systems. “As we approach the May 31 deadline for a new surface transportation bill, it is critical that our national leaders come together to create legislation that will ensure years of economic growth and opportunity for communities across the country,” says Melaniphy. Here are several ways such investment in public transportation could affect an individual community: • If you are a homeowner, public transportation in a community could spell financial security during times of economic uncertainty. Residential property values performed 42 percent better on average during the last recession if they were located near public transportation with high-frequency service, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors and APTA. • Seventy percent of millennials prefer a city or town that features a multimodal transportation option that includes public transportation. By investing in public transportation infrastructure, a community increases the likelihood of attracting new talent and industry to the area, especially as public transportation systems adopt technologies like smartphone charging stations on vehicles and facilities and fare collection via smartphone. • Public transportation is a 61 billion dollar a year industry that puts people to work – 1.1 million jobs are created or sustained annually. As such, public transportation advocates say that by supporting measures that improve these systems, local residents will be doing their community a favor. Information about the impact of public transportation on local communities is available at No matter how you get around your community, a robust public transit system stands to impact you and your local economy.
Voice Dream, a read-aloud app used globally by more than 100 thousand individuals, has revolutionized how the visually-impaired and reading disabled are consuming information. The app reads books aloud to users which for those with visual impairments and reading disabilities, has enhanced their reading experiences significantly. Voice Dream Reader’s features are organized in an uncluttered, intuitive, highly usable way - thereby creating an unparalleled user-friendly experience.   Voice Dream Reader includes a female U.S. English voice and nearly 100 additional paid voices in 20 languages. In addition to English, Voice Dream supports Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian, Czech, Catalan, Polish, Turkish, Greek, and Arabic languages, among others.   With the use of Foxit Software, a leading software provider of fast, affordable and secure PDF solutions, Voice Dream extracts text from PDF files and marks them as read while customers use the app. With collaboration from Foxit, Voice Dream is able take text from PDFs so they can be read aloud and highlight text as it is being read, an important feature for users with reading disabilities.   Voice Dream also provides the following features for loading and managing reading material:   •        Text extraction from eBooks in DRM-free ePub format •        Text extraction from plain text, MS Word, MS PowerPoint, Apple Pages, RTF and HTML files •        DAISY 3.0 text-based eBooks •        DAISY 2.02 audiobooks •        Audiobooks as ZIP of MP3 files, such as LibriVox •        Dropbox, Google Drive and Evernote integration •        Load files using iTunes via USB or WiFi •        Bookshare integration •        Gutenberg integration for over 40,000 free eBooks •        Pocket and Instapaper integration •        Built-in Web Browser to extract text from Web pages •        Copy-paste via clipboard •        Text Editor •        Language translation via Google Translate through in-app purchases •        Folders for organizing content •        Export full text to clipboard, printer, email, and other apps •        Export highlighted text and notes to clipboard, printer, email and other apps •        Open the original Web page in Safari if possible •        Share what you’re listening with friends on Twitter, Facebook, SMS or email (iOS 6+)   For listening to text, Voice Dream offers the following:   •        Remote control enabled Play-Pause •        Remembers where you stopped in each book or article •        Powerful personal pronunciation dictionary •        Configurable default speech rate, volume and pitch for each voice •        Shows elapsed time and remaining time •        Sleep timer •        Previous and next book or article •        Rewind and fast forward by sentence, paragraph, page, chapter, 15, 30 and 60 seconds •        Rewind and fast forward through your bookmarks and highlights •        Change reading speed on the fly. 50-500 words per minute •        Change TTS voice on the fly •        Remembers the voice and speech rate used for each book or article •        Playlist for listening to multiple articles back to backs •        Continues reading when you exit the app or lock the screen   For a visual interaction with text, Voice Dream features:   •        Blazing fast vertical scrolling in two modes: Free and page by page •        Synchronized word and line highlighting plus options to disable •        Full screen mode to hide the controls •        Focused Reading Mode with reduced text area and auto-scrolling •        Full-text search •        Table of contents for ePub and DAISY books •        Page numbers for PDF documents and DAISY books •        Bookmarking •        Highlighting and note taking •        Customizable font and font size •        Includes OpenDyslexia font •        Preset light and dark color theme, plus a fully customizable color theme •        Built-in dictionary     Voice Dream, with the help of Foxit Software, has made millions of books, documents and PDFs accessible to individuals that never had access to these texts before. Both organizations are proud of the difference they have made in the lives of thousands through the services they provide.