Blog Archive - December 2011
December 21, 2011
Earlier this month, I watched most of a program on OWN (OprahWinfreyNetwork) about those people who serve as Santa Claus. The show was a unique peak inside this important role development. I learned that there are training programs called Santa Schools for those aspiring to become a “professional” and others seeking continuing education. One of the critical skills for a Santa-wannabe is the, “Ho Ho Ho”. That got me thinking…….
A genuine laugh, known as a belly laugh, where you engage your abdominal muscles with repetitive waves of “ha, ha, ha’s” is really healthy. Here is the physiologic reality: when your mood is sad or depressed – your immune system also becomes depressed too leaving you vulnerable to infection. Generally, we want to think that the holidays are a happy time of the year, but mental health professionals report that this is prime time for clinical depression as well as transient seasonal depressed moods. These “downer” moods are generated by the expectations of the holidays, the weather, an increase in the ratio of hours of darkness to the hours of sunlight, alcohol consumption and over consumption and remembrances of family and friends who are absent or deceased – and become contributing factors to the increase in incidence of infections this time of year. That is the depressing reality but on the on the brighter side: 10 minutes a day of belly laughing can turn your mood around.
Do you suppose Santa Claus knows this or is he just a naturally happy guy?
I recall taking one of my grandsons to visit Santa when he was 2.5 year old. It was his first face-to-face exposure to Santa so we rehearsed a bit in the car on the way to the bank (interesting hang out for Santa Clause, don’t you think?) The visit was short and sweet and the dialog went pretty much as we rehearsed in the car. Santa was a youthful guy with room to spare in the red suit, a generally believable beard and the classic glasses. His “Ho, Ho, Ho” was not very hearty and didn’t seem to come from deep in his slim belly. As we drove home with candy canes on our breath, Alex suggested we go back and “do it again” – to which I responded with a riotous round of “Ho, Ho, Ho’s and Ha, Ha, Ha’s” and we both belly-laughed all the way home. It felt great. See, infection prevention can be fun! Try it.
December 16, 2011
Personification – remember that big word our high school English teachers forced us to add to our vocabulary? It might have been my first 6-syllable word with a real definition (before “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” – which meant nothing except to create a fun memory challenge). However, the impressive word, personification, didn’t seem to be relevant for my lexicon as I set my sights on a career in nursing and I knew I would probably never “use it in a sentence”. So what’s the point of putting it on the vocabulary/spelling list? Fast forward to the “afternoon of my career in nursing” as I struggled to engage people of all ages in practical microbiology for the purpose of infection prevention and health promotion. I was discouraged by the disinterest in audiences around the world about this very important area of foundational knowledge. My “bright idea” to address this obstacle was to personify the microbes and let them deliver the messages about infection prevention.
The Encarta Dictionary defines personification as: a representation of an abstract quality or notion as a human being, especially in art or literature or attributing human qualities to objects or abstract notions
Actually, I have found personification to be an effective tool in changing behaviors in my 5 year old grandson. Example: he can easily become bored with breakfast. But when we give the scrambled eggs or oats (cooked hearty oatmeal) a voice – and they beg to not have to go down the slide (throat) and into the stomach – Alex is empowered to “control” them and send them there. And then there are the “sneaky eggs” and “sneaky oats” that hide from the boy in the bottom of the bowl or plate in hopes of avoiding capture and ingestion. They get cleaned up in a flash with a clever little smile.
OK – speak up if you think that my personification psychology violates Alex’s relationship with his food. Well, he doesn’t seem to tire of the game and he eats good healthy food without complaint.
This morning Alex was joyously singing “Frosty the Snowman” before school and it hit me - others have used personification to delight, engage and manipulate children and adults. Barney is a vague personification of a dinosaur that teaches good will and manners and the tyranadon family and the conductor on “The Dinosaur Train” on PBS teach paleontology. Even Santa Claus is the personification of love and generosity, and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer becomes the personification of hope and humble contribution.
So the personification of microbes is the educational psychology behind my nanobugs. They are “microbes with attitude”. The pathogens are characterized as “a bug you love to hate and avoid”. The normal flora bacteria and the probiotics are playing on your team – Healthy U – and are recognized as worthy of your support. Why not join me in this mission and let the nanobugs entertain and educate you and your family about practical microbiology?
the next big microscopic thing…..nanobugs
December 13, 2011
How many times does the news report and remind us that American children are not globally competitive in the areas of math and science? That is one of the primary challenges of nanobugs, inc and many other companies, teachers and parents. As a nurse, grandparent, and health educator, I also know the importance of teaching our children (and their parents) how to manage their health and avoid sickness and infection. Infection and illness are not inevitable! We only need to learn more about microbiology and infection prevention, anatomy and physiology of the human body, nutrition and food safety, and behaviors that enhance wellness and reduce risk of disease. The nanobugs can teach the entire family about infection prevention and microbiology while they entertain and engage young and old.
A while back, we had a request from a mother in Lincoln, Nebraska for a DVD that plays the animations of the nanobugs as they appear in the menagerie on the website. Her plan was to use this DVD to entertain and educate her children in the van/SUV. What a great idea – to make use of that transport time for learning about the nanobug characters and their good or bad influence on our health. Now I have visions of families moving about town singing the nanobugs songs and “rapping” with Hepatitis A. Then if you add a nanobugs card collection, you can engage the older children in independent learning about microbiology, too.
I invite you to let the nanobugs help regain your family focus upon health and wellness – and have some laughs and smiles while you’re at it! GO to the online store on www.nanobugs.com and do some of your holiday shopping this week.
December 11, 2011
In recognition of Green Monday – December 12, 2011, nanobugs inc offers 3 healthy ideas for your body, your mind (knowledge) and your pocketbook:
Have a big spinach salad for lunch. Spinach is loaded with nutrients such as iron, magnesium,
manganese, folate, vitamin A, C and K and is rich in
#2 – The nanobug, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, is a water-loving bacteria that appears bright green under the microscope. The nanobug image demonstrates its love of water and green color. Our focus groups have identified this microbe with attitude as a favorite among children 3-5 years. Check it out in the menagerie on the nanobugs website.
#3 – Place an order on Green Monday and receive a FREE deck of playing cards or a sampler pak of nanobugs tattoos. You choose – just indicate which you prefer in the comments on “contact us” (upper right corner of home page) on the website after placing your order. We will ship the freebie along with your order.
the next big microscopic thing……nanobugs!