How to Find Safe Cleaning Products

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Being eco-friendly at homes does not only mean cutting down on the use of plastics but also being conscious about the things you use everyday such as cleaning products. Most of us forget that the chemicals we flush down the drains or release into the air also contribute to the environmental problems.

How do you differentiate cleaning products that are eco-friendly from those that are not?

Read the ingredients list thoroughly

Make a mental note of all the toxic chemicals that you need to avoid when you go shopping for supplies. Reading the label will not take more than two minutes but it can make all the difference for your family’s safety and health.

Some of the chemicals to avoid in your cleaning products include ammonia, chlorine or bleach, triclosan, phosphates, phthalates or fragrance, petroleum solvents or surfactants or formaldehyde, butyl glycol, monobutyl, glycol, and ethylene. Some labels will claim that the product is “natural,” “organic,” or “eco-friendly” even if they are not, that is why you should always check the ingredients.

Research vague terms

Unfortunately, some names on the label can be misleading especially because a lot of companies are given leave to use different names if it is a trade secret. Some also take to using vague names to confuse consumers especially now that they are aware some people are looking for eco-friendly products.

Be wary of names like cleaning agent or fragrance for example which are unspecific. You should also check for instructions about safety like using protective gear when handling the product. If it is not safe to use without gloves or eyewear, it is most likely toxic to the flora and fauna, too.

Make a list of alternatives

You should be aware that looking for alternatives for common household cleaning products is not going to be easy. Most of the ingredients listed above are found in almost all products we use at home (and even in our cosmetics).

If you are just switching to eco-friendly products, you need to know where to get the alternatives and what are the price options. Fortunately, there are cheap alternatives such as lemon juice, baking soda, borax (but keep this away from children and pets), castile soap, washing soda, and vinegar.

Choose eco-friendly brands

There are groups all over the world that gather information for consumers because there are no strict laws that regulate the use of common household cleaning ingredients. Visit the group’s website to look for a list of products that are safe to use. One such website is the EWG.

Inspect all of the products you currently use

That includes laundry detergent, fabric softeners, cleaning solutions, disinfectants, and other products you use in your home. You can gradually replace them with non-toxic products or homemade cleaning solutions if you are worried about wasting money.

The Differences Between Nearsightedness and Farsightedness

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Like astigmatism, nearsightedness and farsightedness are both problems in how our eyes focus the light on the retina. Doctors call them refractive conditions that affect how the light enters the eyes will cause us to see the blurred objects in our surroundings. However, there is a difference in how we perceive objects at certain distances.

Nearsightedness or Myopia

Nearsightedness, also called myopia or shortsightedness, is a condition characterized by the ability to see objects at a closer proximity more clearly than objects that are placed further. To a person with myopia, the nearer objects appear normal because the eyeball is elongated, causing the light to form at the front of the retina instead of on it. Reading books will pose no problems, but you will have a difficult time making out what’s written on a billboard. Myopia also causes night blindness, meaning, you’ll find it more difficult to see objects in minimal lighting.

The condition may be caused by malformations in the eyes, aging, cataracts, or as a side effect of some drugs. Like all refractive problems, myopia is diagnosed by an ophthalmologist through extensive eye examinations. An individual is usually advised to wear corrective lenses to improve the vision.

Farsightedness or Hyperopia

Farsightedness, also called hyperopia or hypermetropia, is the opposite of myopia, which is characterized by the ability to see objects at a distance more clearly than those that are closer to you. The light coming through the eyes forms behind the retina instead of on it and is often caused by the shortness of the eyeballs, a flat cornea or the irregular curvature of the lens. These eye problems may be inherited or a consequence of injuries, migraine attacks, and even sinus infection.

Hyperopia is diagnosed by an ophthalmologist through an extensive eye exam and the individual may be advised to wear corrective lenses to improve vision. Some types of nearsightedness also need surgery, such as the removal of a layer of the cornea to correct the problem.


Astigmatism is also a refractive error that prevents the eyes from focusing the light into the retina, causing multiple focal points. The result is a blurred vision regardless of the distance of the object. It could be a combination of myopia and hyperopia in some individuals.

The most common methods in testing a person’s vision is with a Snellen Test Chart, retinoscopy, and automated computerized tools. Besides prescription corrective lenses, the individual might also want to consider procedures designed to correct the curvature of the retina such as, radial keratotomy, automated lamellar keratectomy, excimer laser photo refractive keratectomy, and LASIK.

Everything You Need to Know About Sunburn

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Summer bodies and bronze tans often go together, but even a slight tan can put you at risk of a bad sunburn. While sunlight has definite health benefits for you, getting a sunburn can be really bad for many reasons. Aside from making you look much older, it even puts you at a higher risk of developing skin cancer.

Sunburn: What You Need to Know

Aside from the redness and blisters that come after a long day under the sun, there’s a little more about sunburns that you need to know about, like the following:

  • Sunburn isn’t always visible. The damage from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays go deeper than just your skin. It can also alter your DNA and add to the risk of melanomas in the future. 
  • Skin tones affect sunburn. Everyone’s skin can be affected by the sun. Fair skin is more sensitive to UV radiation while more pigmented skin tones are significantly less sensitive to UV. 
  • Clothes aren’t foolproof against a nasty sunburn. Even thick clothes can only provide a limited amount of protection against the sun’s UV radiation, so it’s always best to apply sunscreen when going outdoors during the day.

Treating a Sunburn

If you have a nasty case of sunburn after spending a long time out in the sun, there are a few remedies that will ease the pain:

  • Gels or creams – Gels or creams containing menthol, camphor, or aloe can alleviate the pain when applied gently to the sunburnt area of your skin.
  • Compresses – Applying cold compresses or cool water on the sunburnt areas of your skin is another way to soothe the burn.
  • Water – Drinking plenty of fluids and staying hydrated helps prevent the skin from drying out.

There are also a few steps you ccan take to prevent sunburn, such as the following:

  • Wearing the right clothes
  • Staying in the shade when it gets too hot
  • Using sunscreen

How Sunscreen Really Works

It’s always a good idea to carry around sunscreen and apply it before getting out into the sun for long periods.

This is because sunscreen contains different inorganic active ingredients like zinc oxide, which scatter ultraviolet (UV) radiation, as well as organic ingredients like oxybenzone, which absorb UV radiation and dissipate it in the air as excess heat.

There are two different types of sunscreen you can choose from:

  • Physical sunscreen – Also known as sunblock, physical sunscreen sits directly on the skin and deflects UV rays from your skin immediately after being applied.
  • Chemical sunscreen – This type of sunscreen is absorbed by your skin and takes effect between twenty and thirty minutes after application. It filters and absorbs a small part of the sun’s UV rays.

Foods to Calm You Down When You’re Stressed Out at Work

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After a frantic morning at the office (or a long, hectic day), sometimes, you just want to run to nearest mini mart and buy every chocolate bar you see. Many of us believe that sweet treats can cure emotional stress, even if it’s just temporary. But healthy eaters are fully aware that real food are what we need to battle stress. So, keep calm and avoid cake, and have these healthy fixes instead:

1. Avocado
Our body needs B vitamins to generate growth of healthy brain cells, and feelings of anxiety and stress may be due B vitamin deficiency. Avocadoes, fortunately, are rich in B vitamins. Plus, the are rich in potassium and monosaturated fat, which helps lower blood pressure. So, next time stress start kicking in your system, slice up some avocados to top your toast.

2. Nuts and Seeds
As we probably all know, nuts and seeds are rich in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which are notorious stress busters. Walnuts are some of the best sources of Omega 3. Sunflower seeds and cashews contain tryptophan, which boosts production of serotonin. Pack yourself with this combo for an afternoon snack at work.

3. Turkey
That food-coma feeling you get after Thanksgiving dinner is because of the amino acid tryptophan from the roasted turkey. This amino acid signals to the brain to relax and release feel-good hormones, which promotes feeling of calmness and even drowsiness. Have some turkey salad or sandwich for lunch to help tone down stress level at work.

4. Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a popular and easy-to-make food to get your calm-inducing hormones flowing. Get the old-fashioned variety that needs cooking. Why? Thicker and coarser oats contain higher fiber, and so they take longer to digest, which also means that their calming effect lasts longer.

5. Carrots and Sweet Potatoes
Root crops are great sources of carbohydrates and fiber, which again helps boost serotonin level in the body. Plus, because they have a hint of sweetness, they can somehow satiate your sweet cravings. Carrots and sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamins and minerals that are good for the heart and for regulating blood pressure. Munch on a handful of baby carrots dipped in almond butter whenever you feel ‘hangry’ at the office.

We know how easy it can be to just grab a bar of chocolate or a pint of ice cream and how tricky it can be to whip up healthier food when your mind and body is exhausted, and you are under pressure. But hopefully, with this list, we have made it easier for you to always pick healthy stress-busting foods. They may require a bit of preparation, but their health benefits will surely make them worth the extra effort.

Morning Practices that Will Give You a Boost Throughout the Day

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Our mood when we wake up can affect the way we feel and function for the day. For us to be more productive and motivated, we should start the morning right. Here then are some things we can do to achieve just that.

Wake up early
Waking up early isn’t a very easy thing to do. But, it’s actually essential to having a positive mood throughout the day. When you wake up early, you’re able to do a lot more things and have more time for yourself as well.

Take a shower
Taking a refreshing shower in the morning helps you wake up, too. Try showering with cold water, it might sound like torture in the morning but once you get out, you’ll actually feel more alert. You might even find that your laughing at yourself for actually doing this.

Make your bed
Start your day by making your bed. This sounds like a command to a child, but it can do wonders for adults too! This is especially good if you’re not used to making your bed at all because once you do you can take it as your first success for the day. Having this in mind, you’re setting yourself up to be more productive for the day.

Have breakfast
Having a healthy breakfast is also essential in the morning because it gives you more energy. Having a good meal, with rice, fruits, and more, can give you enough fuel to stay energetic throughout the day.
The first ones mentioned are the more obvious morning routines that we can do, but here are others you can start doing as well.

Listen to your favorite upbeat music
As long as you don’t disturb others, feel free to sing and dance to upbeat music. You could even do this while you’re in the shower. This is a great way to start the day because it puts you in a fun and positive mood. If you do this, you’ll find that you’re actually feeling happy all throughout and rarely will you have a bad temper for the day.

Talk to yourself in the mirror
Looking at your reflection and saying words of motivation can greatly increase your confidence. “You are amazing and you stand out from everyone! The world is out there waiting for you!” say to yourself. Don’t do this to feed narcissism, of course, but as a way to psych yourself up for the day.

Go out early
In Singapore, when you go to work late, you’ll have to compete for commute. So going out early can save you the stress from the rush hour and morning traffic. Rushing or actually being late can cause a lot of unnecessary anxiety and avoiding this can definitely put you in a better state.

How Much Water Should You Be Really Drinking?

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Drinking water is something you should be doing every day – you wouldn’t last three days without it – but are you really drinking the right amount that your body needs?

You’ll be surprised to know that the actual amount you need to drink daily isn’t exactly eight glasses. In fact, how much water you should drink all depends on your weight, amount of physical activity, and even the climate.

What’s the Actual Amount?
So, if not eight glasses, how much should you be drinking?

Most healthcare professionals agree on the answer given by the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine), a U.S.-based non-profit healthcare organization: about 3.7 liters for adult men, and about 2.7 for adult women.

While this would sound like a lot to drink every day, it only makes sense since water makes up roughly sixty percent of your whole body.

The Hidden Dangers of Over-hydration
Being dehydrated is straightforward and well-understood enough – you can easily catch the symptoms of being dehydrated and just drink a glass of water or two – which is why you are always told to drink more water.

But while it’s just as important that you drink a lot of water, you also need to make sure that you don’t drink too much water.

Also called hyponatremia, over-hydration can lead to water intoxication, and its early symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, can look a lot like those of exhaustion and heatstroke.

Make sure you don’t drink too much water in a short amount of time, or hurry to gulp it down after taking a break from intense physical activity. Instead, take a few moments to stop and catch your breath, and drink more slowly.

Adjusting Your Water Intake
The good news is that you’re more likely to be dehydrated than over-hydrated, which is easier to solve.

If you feel that you’re not drinking enough water, you can adjust your water intake to get more nutrients with the following tips:

• Add fruits and herbs. Not only will they add to the taste, but they also give your water bottle the extra nutrients that you need to get through the day, whether you’re at work or at the gym.

• Eat more hydrating fruits. Fruits that have a high water content, such as apples, watermelon, and even strawberries, can also help to keep you hydrated.

There is also one indicator your body has that tells you to drink more water. Being thirsty is your body’s way of telling you that a certain amount of water in your body has been used up and needs to be replenished.

If you’re having trouble knowing how much you should drink daily, all you need to do is follow your thirst.

Best Practices to Protect the Ears

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You simply want what is best for your ear but sometimes you are doing more harm than good. Many Singaporeans have this inclination to always clean the ears because they think that earwax is unhygienic. With this kind of thinking, you always shove something inside your ear to get rid of the wax. You have to know that it is time for this practice to end.

Just know that The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) released best ear practices and guidelines. It is important that you know the best practices to protect your ear from potential damage. Remember that a small and seemingly harmless object can cause damage. To protect your ears, here are some of the best ear practices that you can consider:

1. Clean ears alternately. By now you know that over cleaning the ears can do more harm than good. It is important that you know when it is enough. Do not clean every day and when you use a thing, make sure not to put anything that is smaller than the elbow. Cotton buds and hairpins are not good. Sometimes people use ear candles to get rid of the impacted cerumen. That is not good as well.

2. Seek medical attention if there are any signs of trouble. When you have painful symptoms that recur or last for many days, it is high time that you visit your doctor. Other symptoms that you have to watch out aside from the pain include bleeding, drainage, dizziness, hearing loss and ringing.

3. Follow the instructions of professionals. When you go to your doctor and he/she recommends or prescribes something, it is crucial that you follow the instructions because it can help you at the end of the day. While you are at it, you can ask him/her about some home remedy treatment for your impacted cerumen. It is important to discuss your options because you might do something to your ears that are unsafe.

You have to follow the best ear practices mentioned above if you want to protect your ears. The earwax is gooey and definitely looks gross but you have to remember that it is a good thing. This substance will act as your ear’s self-cleaning agent. It keeps the ears in good condition and keeps the dust, bugs, dirt and bacteria from entering.

You need wax there is no doubt about it. Do not worry whether you look hygienic or not because it is more important to be safe and away from the pain it will cause you in the future.

6 Bedtime Habits for Better Night’s Sleep

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No one likes to struggle with insomnia and get up the next morning feeling even more tired and drowsy.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to help you get a better night’s sleep. Making these practices part of your night time routine will help you get better quality of sleep. Try these relaxing bedtime habits to ensure a more restful night.

1. Take a Hot Bath

A warm or hot bath raises your body’s temperature—and the rapid cool-down immediately after bathing relaxes your body. Two hours before going to bed, soak in a hot tub for 20 minutes. The steep drop of temperature will put you in a deep sleep afterwards.

2. Avoid P.M. Stimulants

Skipping your afternoon cup of joe can help you fall asleep quicker at night. As much as possible, avoid any form of caffeine after noontime as it can hang out in your system for a long time. Nicotine is another form of stimulant. Smoking to relax before bedtime actually does the opposite—boosting your heart activity and keeping your brain alert.

3. Shut Down All Electronics

You may find it relaxing to talk with friends before turning off the lights, but this only decreases your time for a sound sleep. Lit screens, including TVs, are stimulating, so it’s best to avoid them when it’s time to hit the sack. Instead of checking your e-mail or watching TV, do something calming, like reading a book, before bedtime.

4. Wear Comfy Socks to Bed

Are cold feet keeping you awake at night? Warm them up by wearing a comfy pair of socks. The extra layer of clothing under the sheets will keep you warm and feel more relaxed, helping you fall asleep quicker.

5. Limit Your Dinner

A heavy dinner or a spicy snack before bedtime forces your digestive track to work overtime, keeping your body awake for longer hours. And while alcohol makes you feel drowsy, it will disrupt your sleep later in the night and keep you from getting a deep, restorative sleep that your body needs to feel energized in the morning.

6. Establish a Bedtime Ritual

You can help your body and brain recognize that it’s bedtime by setting routines and repeating them every night. Establish your own bedtime ritual, such as laying out your pajamas, taking a hot bath, brushing your teeth and having a glass of warm milk. These activities can be sleep-conducive when done consistently each night.

By taking some time every night to wind down, transitioning to sleep mode would be much easier. If you can sleep soundly at night, rest assured you’ll feel refreshed and energized in the morning, ready to take on the day ahead.

Here’s to Sleeping Better

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Singaporeans are known for their hard work. In fact, there was a study confirming that Singapore is the third most sleep-deprived city in Asia. The report was published by Jawbone. Jawbone is a maker of digital wristband which tracks sleep patterns of more than forty three cities in Southeast Asia. Tokyo topped the most sleep-deprived city next to Seoul.


Analysts linked the lack of sleep of Singaporeans to the culture of working long and late hours. Everyone should know the importance of sleep. Sleep can make you feel better plus it gives the body time to recuperate. Do not deny your body of sleep. Apart from working long and late hours, there are other reasons why you are not sleeping. Whatever your reasons are, you have to change the culture.

Here’s to sleeping better:

  • Set regular bed time: No matter what you do, you have to set a regular bed time. This means you have to go to bed at the same time. You have to do your best not to break your routine so your body can adapt to it.
  • Wake up the same time: You go to bed at the same time. This also entails waking up at the same time every day. Your body will be familiar with your routine so without alarm clocks, you can still wake up and not turn in late for work or school.


  •  Nap: There will come a day that sleep is not an option because you are doing something important. In this case, you have to utilize napping. You have to make up for the lost sleep. Naps are great way to recharge.
  • Boost melatonin production: Melatonin helps in regulating your sleep and wake cycle. Your brain secretes more melatonin when it is dark thus making you sleepy. During the day, light exposure will wake you. In this light, it is important that you boost it at night. For a start, you can turn off television and computer.
  • Environment conducive for sleeping: Not all people realize that the environment plays a vital role in sleeping. If your room is conducive, you can sleep immediately. If your room has many distractions, you will find it hard to sleep. So, the next time you sleep, create an environment that is conducive say, keeping the room cool or having a soft bed and noise-free room.

Hopefully the tips mentioned above will be used by many Singaporeans. If despite all the efforts nothing happened, you should seek your doctor and ask for advice. It should be stressed that sleep is very crucial. You need it.

Man sleeping in bed