Office First Aid

August 30, 2012

Last week, our office was visited by a bunch of bees that somehow managed to gain entrance to the building. No one had an up close or otherwise painful encounter with them prior to their being escorted (well, something like that) from the premises, but we were prepared in the event that someone might have. We have a first aid kit on board, something that should be an integral part of the supplies in any office setting.

Of course, for any true medical emergency, a team member should immediately call 911 but more garden variety complaints and injuries can readily be treated by having the following items on hand.

Bandages – A variety of shapes and sizes can come in handy. It’s also advisable to stock brands that are latex-free for those who have sensitivity issues. Gauze pads can also be useful as bandages or to stanch bleeding.

Cleansing Agents – Most minor cuts and scrapes can be readily treated without medical intervention. Run clear water over the area to flush out any germs or residual material that can invade the opening. Use mild soap to clean the area or, alternatively, wipe gently with an alcohol pad, being careful not to cause irritation. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used to clean a wound.

Ointments – Antibiotic ointments can be applied to an injury that causes a skin opening. Include medicated creams e.g. Benadryl that can be used to treat insect bites or stings as well as a cream or ointment that’s formulated to treat burns, especially if your office has a kitchen where team members can prepare food.

Cotton Balls – Use cotton balls to apply ointments and creams or moisten with clear water to clean an affected area.

Medications and Analgesics – Stock over the counter medications and painkillers to treat headaches, muscles aches, common stomach complaints, and other mild annoyances.

Cold and Heat Packs – Both are commercially available and can be used to relieve discomfort. Alternatively, stock basic long-cooking white rice and a pack of new white cotton socks. Fill the sock with rice, microwave for a few seconds, then use as a heat pack.

Miscellaneous Implements – Other items that might prove useful are medical scissors and tweezers. An eyeglass repair kit  and scaled-down sewing kit can come in handy, too, as can safety pins, disposable nail files, and protective gloves.

Assign someone to periodically check expiration dates and to replenish supplies when necessary.

Winter Beverages to Warm and Spice Up Your Day

January 12, 2012

When the temperature outside makes its way downward, it’s always nice to sip a beverage that warms you from within. While some winter drinks are traditionally laden with fat and calories, you can readily adjust them, resulting in a tasty but healthy variation. It’s the ultimate in winter comfort, made and served up right at your desk.

Hot Cocoa

Why settle for a cup of powdered mix and water when you can have the real thing?  Simply microwave a cup of 2% or skim milk, add a packet (1 teaspoon) of Sugar in the Raw or similar and 1 teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa. Stir well and enjoy.  For a spicier variation at home, add a dash of chili powder or a cinnamon stick or two.

Hot Apple Cider

Want to add some anti-oxidants to your day?  Warm some apple cider or apple juice and you’re on your way. Apple cider does have more nutrients per ounce than its more processed counterpart but both have nutritional value. Heat a cup of either in the microwave, then add a cinnamon stick  or a bit of cinnamon flavored syrup.

Spicy Tea

The jury is still out relative to the health benefits of tea but some studies have supported they are there. Whichever, it remains a favorite of many. Prepare tea per usual then add a packet ( 1 teaspoon ) of sugar and a couple of lemon slices. Alternatively, add a cinnamon stick instead of the sugar. For a completely different taste, add cinnamon and cloves.

A Drink to Your Health!

November 3, 2011


It’s important to stay hydrated regardless of one’s level of physical activity. That means that time spent in your desk chair at the office isn’t exempt. Up to 75% percent of the body’s weight is comprised of water and a portion of it is lost when simply breathing. The air expelled is humidified, as evidenced by the cloud that’s formed and visible when outside on a cold day.

Adequate hydration is an essential element of a healthy body. Every cell, tissue, and organ depends on water to function as it should. Temperature maintenance,  waste removal, and  proper joint functioning are all facilitated by the availability of water in your overall system.

To stay well-hydrated, you might consider following a few simple guidelines.

The body’s first response to a lack of water is thirst, typically followed by a dry mouth or eyes. Pay attention to these cues and have something to drink when you first notice them. Often the sensation of thirst will dissipate if ignored.

The amount of water needed per day varies due to activity levels and size. A general rule of thumb is to drink six to eight 8 ounce glasses of water each day.  There are also specific guidelines that are specific to a person’s weight, the larger the person, the more water necessary.

It’s preferable to sip small amounts of liquids throughout the day rather than in large quantities. It also helps to have beverages on hand, reminding you to drink before symptoms of dehydration begin.  Keep bottles of water at your desk or better yet,  buy a filtering water bottle. Coffee and other beverages are also okay to an extent but caffeine can have a diuretic effect, prompting more water loss and frequent trips to the rest room.

So grab a glass of water and drink up and drink often!

Enviro-Friendly Cleaners for Your Office

September 1, 2011

Cleaning your office doesn’t have to mean that you’re polluting the environment in the process. There are many home and office cleaners that are enviro-friendly, effective, and cost less than their store-bought counterparts. Even better is that you likely already have most of the ingredients in your pantry.  Here’s what you’ll need.

Spray bottle and glass jar
Baking soda
White vinegar (Distilled)
Liquid soap or detergent (Choose one with natural ingredients.)

To clean the laminate surface of your desk, simply dampen a sponge with plain water and wipe clean. Dry with a soft, lint-free cloth. For more stubborn spots combine:

1 cup water
1/4  teaspoon liquid detergent
1 -1 /2 tablespoons white vinegar

Pour into clean spray bottle, spritz on spots that need more attention, wipe with a cloth. This solution can also be used to clean painted steel surfaces.

Mix water, baking soda, and a bit of liquid detergent to clean the office microwave, refrigerator, or toaster oven. Store excess in covered jar.

Straight vinegar can be used as a sanitizer and air freshener. Wipe on a surface before leaving the office at night. The smell of vinegar will dissipate by morning, leaving behind a clean smell. Vinegar can also be used to cleanse sinks or toilets seats and to eliminate molds.

Healthy Snacks for the Office

July 21, 2011

A good way to derail a healthy nutrition plan is to discount the hours spent at the office.  Time passes while sitting in a meeting or sustaining focus on a task, blood sugar levels drop, and cravings begin, prompting a bee-line to the vending machine to grab a not-so-healthy snack.

Sound familiar?  If you’re like most people, the answer is yes.  But with a little planning, you can eliminate the extra calories and other negatives inherent in impromptu snacking.

Try to incorporate snack foods into your diet that not only satisfy your hunger but contribute to overall nutritional requirements for the day. In addition, be aware of portion sizes and don’t snack mindlessly. Pay attention to what you are eating while you are doing it so that you don’t continue to eat for the sake of something else to do. When the portion is gone, snack time ends.

As in most things related to good nutrition, it’s important  to have healthy alternatives available when the urge to snack surfaces. You can accomplish that by storing low-calorie snacks in your desk drawer. Baked tortilla chips, air-popped popcorn, rice cakes, or peanut butter on whole wheat crackers are all good choices.

Other options are dried soups, fruit cups, mini-cans of water packed tuna and instant oatmeal. Or place a small bowl on your desk and keep it stocked with fruit, a colorful focal point for your office and a quick go-to place when the urge to snack strikes.

Another alternative is to add a mini-refrigerator to your office and keep it stocked with yogurt, veggies and low cal dressing, celery stuffed with peanut butter or lettuce wraps.

Also be aware of the number of sugar laden drinks you’re consuming throughout the day. Not only do they cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels they can quickly add up to a significant amount of unwanted calories each day.