Vaccine Safety

Vaccine Safety

Vaccines are safe and effective. Because vaccines are given to millions of healthy people — including children — to prevent serious diseases, they’re held to very high safety standards.

In this section, you’ll learn more about vaccine safety — and get answers to common questions about vaccine side effects.


How are vaccines tested for safety?


Every licensed and recommended vaccine goes through years of safety testing including:

  • Testing and evaluation of the vaccine before it’s licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommended for use by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Monitoring the vaccine’s safety after it is recommended for infants, children, or adults


Vaccines are tested before they’re recommended for use


Before a vaccine is ever recommended for use, it’s tested in labs. This process can take several years. FDA uses the information from these tests to decide whether to test the vaccine with people.

During a clinical trial, a vaccine is tested on people who volunteer to get vaccinated. Clinical trials start with 20 to 100 volunteers, but eventually include thousands of volunteers. These tests take several years and answer important questions like:

  • Is the vaccine safe?
  • What dose (amount) works best?
  • How does the immune system react to it?

Throughout the process, FDA works closely with the company producing the vaccine to evaluate the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. All safety concerns must be addressed before FDA licenses a vaccine.


Every batch of vaccines is tested for quality and safety


Once a vaccine is approved, it continues to be tested. The company that makes the vaccine tests batches to make sure the vaccine is:

  • Potent (It works like it’s supposed to)
  • Pure (Certain ingredients used during production have been removed)
  • Sterile (It doesn’t have any outside germs)

FDA reviews the results of these tests and inspects the factories where the vaccine is made. This helps make sure the vaccines meet standards for both quality and safety.


Vaccines are monitored after they’re recommended to the public


Once a vaccine is licensed and recommended for use, FDA, CDC, and other federal agencies continue to monitor its safety.

Check out this infographic for details on how vaccines are developed, approved, and monitored.


There are many different parts of the national vaccine monitoring system


The United States has one of the most advanced systems in the world for tracking vaccine safety. Each of the systems below supplies a different type of data for researchers to analyze. Together, they help provide a full picture of vaccine safety.

  • Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS): VAERS is an early warning system managed by CDC and FDA that is designed to find possible vaccine safety issues. Patients, health care professionals, vaccine companies, and others can use VAERS to report side effects that happen after a patient received a vaccine. Some side effects might be related to vaccination while others might be a coincidence (happen by chance). VAERS helps track unusual or unexpected patterns of reporting that could mean there’s a possible vaccine safety issue that needs further evaluation.
  • The Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD): VSD is a collaboration between CDC and several health care organizations across the nation. VSD uses databases of medical records to track vaccine safety and do research in large populations. By using medical records instead of self-reports, VSD can quickly study and compare data to find out if reported side effects are linked to a vaccine.
  • Post-licensure Rapid Immunization Safety Monitoring System (PRISM)PRISM is part of the Sentinel Initiative, which is FDA’s national system for monitoring medical products after they’re licensed for use. PRISM focuses on vaccine safety — it uses a database of health insurance claims to identify and evaluate possible safety issues for licensed vaccines.
  • Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment Project (CISA): CISA is a collaboration between CDC and a national network of vaccine safety experts from medical research centers. CISA does clinical vaccine safety research and — at the request of providers — evaluates complex cases of possible vaccine side effects in specific patients.
  • Additional research and testing: The Department of Defense (DoD) and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have systems to monitor vaccine safety and do vaccine safety research. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP) also support ongoing research on vaccines and vaccine safety.


Elder Fraud: How to Protect Seniors from Scams

Okay guys, picture this: Your parents have worked hard their whole lives. They’ve supported their family, paid off their home, and even got a nice little nest egg set aside to enjoy their retirement years. It’s an incredible place to be and they’ve earned it!

Then one day, the phone rings and the person on the other end of the line says they’re from your parents’ bank or health insurance company or something super official-sounding, and they just need to verify a few things. They sound like someone who knows what they’re talking about, so your parents share private financial information with them.

And before you know it, your parents’ nest egg and all those decades of hard work are gone.

It sounds like something that would never happen to your family, right? Well, sadly, things like this happen every single day to millions of older Americans. Here’s the thing, folks like your aging parents and grandparents are at a much higher risk for being scammed or defrauded out of their money than you are. People ages 70–79 are the age group hit the hardest for this type of scamming. And when they’re scammed, they’re losing—on average—more than $45,000.1 That’s so not okay!

But you can help protect your older loved ones from elder fraud, scams and marketing ploys meant to steal their money. Now, talking to your family about their money, isn’t always easy, but it really is an act of love when you do. So I’m going to walk you through the most common elder fraud scams so everybody’s on the same page.

10 Most Common Elder Fraud Scams

There is straight up fraud (like someone stealing your grandma’s bank account information from her mailbox), and then there’s also just gross marketing strategies aimed at seniors to get them to buy things they don’t need (like prepaid funerals). We’re going to cover it all so you can help your older loved ones avoid these traps.

1. Coronavirus Stimulus Check Scams

This one’s a biggie right now. When the federal government passed a $2 trillion coronavirus relief and stimulus plan this year, every creepy crawly scammer out there immediately got dollar signs in their eyes. Of course, these scams are meant to cheat people out of their economic impact payments. And these scammers will try any means possible: email, phone, text, social media, snail mail, you name it.

But remember, no government agency, including the IRS, is ever going to call your loved ones and ask for their personal information. And in general, one of the best ways your older loved ones can protect themselves is to never give their personal information to anyone unless they know exactly who the person is and why they need it.

2. Stolen Tax Refunds

Tax identity theft is one of the top scams the IRS deals with each year. Scammers steal someone’s Social Security number, file taxes using the stolen identity, and then steal the tax refund. Yuck. These people are lower than low. They’ll happily steal your parents’ refund but certainly won’t be stepping in to help if they owe money!

One of the very best ways to prevent tax identity theft is to file your taxes as early as possible. Encourage—or even help—your older loved ones to file as soon as they can. The sooner they file and get their refund, the sooner they’re not a target.

3. Mail, Email and Phone Fraud

Part of the reason the elderly are a target for scammers is because they can be easier to reach. While younger generations head off to work each day or are tied up with other commitments on nights and weekends, older folks just tend to have a little more time on their hands.

That means they might be home in the middle of the day to answer a robocall or chat with a smooth-talking phone scammer. And these phone scammers are good. They sound official and often use fear (“It’s not safe to go without our medical coverage”) and urgency (“We won’t offer coverage at this rate ever again”) to get older folks to give out personal or financial information.

The same goes for email and mail fraud. Fraudsters are banking on older folks not being as tech savvy and will use email as a way to get access to sensitive information. Or scammers will send “official” paperwork in the mail that looks legit but isn’t at all.

A good rule of thumb here (and it might sound like a no-brainer by now) is: Don’t give anyone personal information over the phone, over email, in a mail-in envelope—nothing—if you don’t know what company they’re with and why they’re requesting this information. It’s that simple. And if a request is actually for real, then they should have no problem with you calling customer service or your personal account representative to confirm their request.

4. Health Care Fraud

It makes sense that as people age, their health care needs go up. This makes the elderly a prime target for health care fraud.

Think about it like this: If you’re young and healthy, you’re probably not interacting that much with doctors, your health insurance company, or other health care-related services. But if you’re older or have a lot of health challenges, your personal, financial and medical information is getting passed around a lot. And unfortunately, that means an increased chance of your older loved ones’ information falling into the wrong hands.

Keep a close eye on statements, insurance claims and medical bills. See a service you know mom or dad didn’t get? Call their provider and health insurance company ASAP to report the issue.

5. Reverse Mortgages

Some people are out to steal identities so they can nab your older loved ones’ money. But more often than that, there are just a ton of sleazy businesses out there that aren’t technically doing anything illegal but aren’t any less of a con artist. And reverse mortgage lenders are the perfect example.

Okay, first of all, when it comes to reverse mortgages, the name says it all. You’re going in reverse! And hello, don’t we want to be going forward? Yes! So, reverse mortgages are a big, fat N-O.

Reverse mortgages are only available to people 62 and older. (Right out of the gate, this is a set up for seniors.) With a reverse mortgage, you’re getting a loan that uses your home equity to provide the money for the loan itself. It’s like this: Instead of making payments on a home loan like you would with a traditional mortgage, you’re taking payments out of the equity you’ve built. The bank is lending you back the money you’ve already put into your home and charging you interest. See? Big, fat N-O.

Not only are reverse mortgages a black hole of fees, but your older loved ones could also end up owing more on their home than it’s worth, or worse, losing their home altogether.

6. Gold and Silver Scams

These gold and silver sales pitches you see every ten seconds on TV are designed to prey on fear. The people hawking commodities (like gold and silver) are bottom feeders. There’s no reason—zero—to buy gold or silver. It doesn’t even make sense!

Okay, say a zombie apocalypse happens and the economy goes belly up. Of course zombies don’t carry cash, so wouldn’t we all be bartering for shelter and food, not trading in little gold bars? I mean, that’s what I would be doing! Help your older loved ones by encouraging them to invest their money instead.

7. Accidental Death Insurance

Here’s some quick real talk. You only die once. That’s right, it’s crazy but true. Anyone trying to sell your older loved ones on accidental death insurance is basically trying to convince you of double-death. Sorry, that’s not a thing.

You don’t need accidental death insurance, which pays if you die in an accident. How you die doesn’t change your family’s financial needs. A great term life policy will meet their needs. Your loved ones are wasting money for double coverage if they buy accidental death insurance.

8. Prepaid Funerals

Yes, preparing for future expenses is always a good idea. But preparing and prepaying are totally different things.

It’s normal to think more about death (and the expenses that come with it) as you get older. So it’s not totally crazy if your parents or grandparents are thinking about prepaying for their funeral. But, actually, prepaying for funerals is a waste of a good investment opportunity.

Help your older loved ones skip the prepaid funeral. (It’s a sales gimmick for people in the funeral biz to get cash on hand now.) Then set them up with a qualified investment professional who will teach them how to invest and grow their money. When the time comes for a funeral, there will be more than enough for the funeral and then some.

9. Cancer Insurance

Disease-specific coverage just isn’t a thing your loved ones need. Again, it’s a way for businesses to cash in on fear, selling your family something you probably already have coverage for somewhere else. Think about it—do you have heart attack insurance? Stroke insurance? Broken arm insurance? No. Because most insurance policies already cover those types of events. And it’s the same with cancer.

If your older loved ones’ insurance policy doesn’t cover cancer care, I still don’t recommend getting cancer insurance. Instead, get with one of our health insurance experts who can help your loved ones pick the best policy for their needs. Don’t go buying specialty coverage though!

10. Other Family Members

Let’s face it, just about every family’s got a wild card (or two, or three). Maybe mom and dad turn a blind eye to your 40-year-old brother’s can’t-keep-a-job antics and still pay his rent for him. Or grandma and grandpa have been bankrolling your Aunt Sally for decades. It’s really tough when it comes to family to keep a clear head.

But it’s also really important that your family’s wild card doesn’t derail mom or grandma’s lifetime of working and saving. There needs to be at least one person in the family who is keeping a close eye on things and helping your older loved ones make important financial decisions with their head instead of their heart.

Help your older loved ones name a financial power of attorney. This is usually done when people are creating a will, but you can do it at any time. A financial power of attorney is a document that allows someone to make money decisions on your loved ones’ behalf in the event they can’t make those decisions for themselves.

Say grandma’s been in a car accident and is in a coma. Her financial power of attorney is legally able to take care of her money matters, like paying the mortgage and hospital bills when she can’t. It’s not a comfortable conversation to have, I know. But when push comes to shove, you want a reliable person in that position—not Wild Card William or Crazy Aunt Sally.

The Best Way to Protect Older Loved Ones From Elder Fraud 

Talking about elder fraud and scams with your loved ones is so important. Is it fun? No, usually not. Is it a way to show them how much you care? Yes, 100%.

One of the most important steps you can take to protect your parents or grandparents from different kinds of elder fraud is to set them up with identity theft protection. With identity theft protection in place they can focus on what they’ve spent a lifetime working to enjoy—retirement, vacations, time with grandkids and so much more. You can help them get and stay protected today!


Managing Itch

The itch of psoriasis may have a bigger impact on quality of life than the visible aspect of the disease.

Itch is present in 70 to 90 percent of psoriasis patients, yet it is only in the last decade that itch has been recognized as a common symptom of the disease, says Gil Yosipovitch, M.D., chairman of the Department of Dermatology and director of the Center for Itch at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

Psoriatic itch is different than that of other skin disorders. Some people have described it as a burning sensation. Others compare it to the feeling of being bitten by fire ants. Doctors were once taught that psoriatic patients couldn’t have both itch and pain, but scientists now know that itch and pain signals travel along different pathways in the spinal cord, Yosipovitch says.

Treating psoriasis also can profoundly improve these symptoms and your ability to cope with psoriasis on a day-to-day basis.

Read on for tips on handling the itch of psoriasis.

  • Stress and itch
  • Home remedies
  • Prescription treatments

Stress and itch

Stress is a common trigger for a psoriasis flare. Stress also can make itch worse. This makes managing stress a particularly important skill for people with psoriasis. Consider the following ways some people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are effectively reducing stress in their lives.

  • Jon-Kabat Zinn, M.D., is considered a leader in the mindfulness meditation movement. He describes mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally.” Meditation has been described as a good way to clear the mind, slow racing thoughts and relieve anxiety. You can give it try yourself: For 15 minutes, sit comfortably on the floor, with eyes closed or barely open, and focus on your breathing.
  • Exercise increases production of endorphins, chemicals that improve mood and energy. Exercise also has been shown to improve sleep and decrease anxiety. A large U.S. study showed that women who regularly participate in vigorous exercise are less likely to get psoriasis than less-active women. If you haven’t been active for a while, talk to your health care provider before starting any exercise program.
  • Get outside help.Consider taking a course in stress management or finding a therapist in your area who specializes in stress management. Connecting with others who know what you are going through can help, too. Connect with someone who’s been through what you’re going through with Psoriasis One to One. You can also connect with people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis on

Home remedies

The following are ways people with psoriasis help relieve itch:

  • Keep skin moisturized.This is the first step in controlling itch because it reduces redness and itching and helps the skin heal. Dermatologists recommend heavy creams and ointments to lock water into the skin. Cooking oils and even shortening can be inexpensive substitutes for commercial moisturizers.
  • Remove scale and flaking.Apply a scale-softening (keratolytic) product to reduce excess skin and prevent psoriasis plaques from cracking and flaking. Over-the-counter lotions that contain ingredients like salicylic acid, lactic acid, urea or phenol can help remove scale. Removing scale can reduce itch and make itch-relieving lotions and ointments more effective.
  • Cold showers and cold packs also can offer relief.Avoid hot baths and try to limit showers to 10 minutes or less. Hot water can make skin irritation and dryness worse. Apply lotion after washing to lock in moisture. Store lotions in the refrigerator. The feeling of a cool lotion on itchy skin can help.
  • Over-the-counter treatments can help.There are several ingredients that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating itch. Some of these include calamine, hydrocortisone (a weak steroid), camphor, diphenhydramine hydrochloride (HCl), benzocaine and menthol. Be aware that these ingredients may increase irritation and dryness.

Prescription treatments

Simply treating your psoriasis can help reduce itch. If your psoriasis is moderate or severe, or your itch is particularly bothersome, consider asking your doctor to put you on a more aggressive treatment.

Aspirin and noradrenergic and specific serotonergic (NaSSA) antidepressants also can relieve itch, Yosipovitch says. Gabapentin, a drug more commonly used to treat neurological pain, can help, too.

There also are prescription treatments that specifically help with itch, such as:

  • Antihistamines
  • Phototherapy
  • Steroids
  • Topical treatments that contain capsaicin
  • Topical anesthetics like Pramoxine

Topical anesthetics like Pramoxine


Screen Use for Kids

There are many reasons for parents to be thoughtful about how much screen time they allow their children. Amount of screen use per day has been associated with developmental outcomes, obesity, poor sleep quality and eye development. Research from Canada has also found that preschoolers who had more than two hours of screen time per day had a nearly-8-fold increase in ADHD.

Expert organizations have created guidance for parents to help understand the facts uncovered in scientific research. The World Health Organization’s 2019 guidelines suggest no screen time at all for children before age 1, and very limited screen time for children for several years after that.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no digital media use (except video-chatting) in children younger than 18 to 24 months and focusing on educational media when children do start using screens.

Effects of Screen Use on Children’s Eyes

The American Academy of Ophthalmology does not have specific recommendations for amount of screen time for children. But parents should be aware of the possible effects of screen use on children’s eyes, as well as the broader health concerns raised by other groups like the WHO.

Myopia (Nearsightedness) and Close Work and Reading

The number of people developing nearsightedness in the United States has nearly doubled since 1971. In Asia, up to 90 percent of teenagers and adults are nearsighted, a dramatic increase over recent generations.

A 2019 study published in Ophthalmology—the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology—offers more evidence that at least part of the worldwide increase in nearsightedness has to do with near work activities. It’s not just screens affecting eye development, it’s also traditional books and the amount of time spent indoors overall. The study also found that spending time outdoors—especially in early childhood—can slow the progression of nearsightedness.

Digital Eye Strain

Digital eye strain isn’t a single eye condition, like glaucoma or pink eye. It’s a name for the kinds of symptoms that people experience when they spend too long looking at a screen. These symptoms can include dry eyes, itchy eyes, blurry vision and headaches. These symptoms are temporary, and no permanent damage is being done to the eyes.

The easiest way to avoid digital eye strain (or eye strain from any extended near-focus task like reading or sewing) is to make sure to blink often and to look up from your screen or close-up work every 20 minutes and focus at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This strategy of frequent re-focusing is called the 20-20-20 rule, and lets the eyes relax and reset.

Sleep Disruption from Screen Use

While some of the dangers of blue light may have been overhyped in recent years, screen use too close to bed time can harm sleep quality. And sleep is important enough to childhood development that the World Health Organization made sleep one of the focuses of their latest recommendations.

Eye Comfort and Safety Tips for Children and Screens

The best way to deal with possible effects of screens on children’s eyes and vision is to help them set good habits for use. These same tips are good practices for adults and anyone suffering from chronic dry eyes or eye strain.

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • Set a timer to remind the child how often to look into the distance.
  • Alternate reading an e-book with a real book and encourage kids to look up and out the window every other chapter.
  • After completing a level in a video game, look out the window for 20 seconds.
  • Pre-mark books with a paperclip every few chapters to remind your child to look up. On an e-book, use the “bookmark” function for the same effect.
  • Avoid using screens outside or in brightly lit areas, where the glare on the screen can create strain.
  • Adjust the brightness and contrast of the screen so that it feels comfortable.
  • Use good posture when using a screen. Poor posture can contribute to muscle tightness and headaches associated with eye strain.
  • Encourage your child to hold digital media farther away: 18 to 24 inches is ideal.
  • Remind them to blink when watching a screen.


Four Hidden Signs of Vision Problems in Kids

As summer winds down, families of school-aged children scramble to get backpacks, clothes and other supplies ready for the new school year. But one of the most important yet often overlooked necessities is healthy vision.

As children grow and change from year to year, so do their eyes and vision. School demands intense visual involvement. It doesn’t matter if children are in the classroom or learning from home. Learning can involve reading, writing, computer and chalkboard/smartboard work. Even physical education and sports need strong vision. If their eyes aren’t up to the task, a child may feel tired and have trouble concentrating and learning.

Sometimes parents can tell if their child has a vision problem. Their child may squint or hold reading material very close to their face. They may also complain about things appearing blurry. There are some less obvious signs of vision problems as well.

Here are four subtle signs that could point to vision problems in kids.

1. Having a Short Attention Span

Your child might seem to quickly lose interest in games, projects or other lengthy activities.

2. Losing Their Place When Reading

As your child reads (aloud or silently), they may have difficulty seeing to keep track of where they are on the page.

3. Avoiding Reading and Other Close Activities

Your child may avoid reading, drawing, playing games or doing other projects that need up-close focus. Children can be subtle about it and not tell you about the trouble they are having.

4. Turning Their Head to the Side

A child may turn their head to the side when looking at something in front of them. This may be a sign of a refractive error, including astigmatism. Turning their head helps the child see better.

Eye Screenings Are Crucial

Success in school is closely tied to eye health, so kids need regular eye screenings. An ophthalmologist or another trained professional can find and treat vision problems early. The earlier the treatment the better off your child will be—in and out of school. If your child is still having difficulty after their vision problems are addressed, they might have a learning disability. Vision problems do not cause learning disabilities. They are two separate issues. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s vision, be sure to ask your child’s doctor.


Gastroparesis Traveling Tips

Gastroparesis is a disorder in which the stomach empties too slowly, causing nausea, vomiting, pain, bloating, fullness, and/or reflux. There are very few effective treatments for the condition, so most patients rely on careful adherence to dietary and lifestyle modifications to minimize symptoms.

While managing gastroparesis at home can be difficult, traveling poses an even greater challenge. With the right preparation, however, it is possible to enjoy time away with family and friends without compromising symptom management.

Before You Go

  • Be sure to take your needs into account when making travel arrangements.
  • If you’ll be staying in a hotel, request a room with a small refrigerator or kitchenette. This gives you the flexibility to store and/or prepare some of your own food.
  • If you’ll be staying with friends or family, inform them of your medical condition and consequent dietary restrictions. Either provide a detailed list of what you can and cannot eat or let them know that you will be bringing and preparing your own food.
  • If you’ll be traveling by air and will need to bring liquid meal replacements or medication on board your flight, contact the TSA at 866-289-9673 to make special arrangements. If you have the Enterra gastric neurostimulator, be sure to pack the device identification card in your carry-on luggage so that you can present it at all security check points.
  • Keep an on-going list of gastroparesis-friendly foods that you know you can safely eat. This will come in handy when dining away from home.
  • Pack nutrient-dense, portable snacks for travel days and an ample amount of gastroparesis-friendly staples for the duration of your trip.
  • Pack all medications, supplements, remedies, and symptom management tools that you use at home, both on a regular and as-needed or emergency basis.
  • If you rely on smoothies, purees, or protein shakes as part of your daily diet, invest in a portable blender to use when you reach your destination.

Travel Day

  • Regardless of how you’re traveling, bring your own food and pack twice as much you think you’ll need. Delays are unpredictable and you can never be sure there will be gastroparesis-friendly options along the way.
  • You may find that you’re more prone to motion sickness than you were prior to having gastroparesis. Have a variety of nausea remedies on hand, just in case.
  • Follow your typical meal plan as closely as possible. Rather than snacking all day, which is likely to provide little nutrition and leave you feeling full but unsatisfied, eat well-balanced mini-meals at regular intervals.
  • Eat mindfully and in a relaxed environment – not in the car or while walking through the airport. Take a few breaths to relax before you start eating and chew your food thoroughly to help facilitate digestion.

Once You Arrive

  • Continue to follow your regular schedule, both in terms of diet and lifestyle activities. For example, if you typically practice yoga or relaxation exercises in the morning, plan that into your daily routine.
  • Maximize nutrition in every bite and sip you take. This is not the time to consume empty foods that fill you up without providing any nutrients. Without proper nutrition, you’re less likely to have the energy to fully enjoy your vacation.
  • Experiment carefully and deliberately. If you’re going to try something you wouldn’t ordinarily eat at home, don’t do it impulsively. Be sure you have the time and flexibility to relax afterward should you feel sick.
  • Find ways to indulge that do not include food, such as treating yourself to a spa service or buying a special souvenir.
  • Be active, especially after meals. Many people find that walking helps to alleviate symptoms and improve digestion. It’s also a great way to explore your vacation destination!
  • Drink plenty of water, especially if you’re traveling by air, vacationing somewhere warm, and/or engaging in physical activity. In addition to causing headaches and dizziness, dehydration can exacerbate symptoms of nausea and vomiting.
  • Respect your limitations and allow yourself to rest if you feel tired or symptomatic.
  • Have fun! While the demands of managing gastroparesis can seem overwhelming, especially while on vacation, adhering to these tips will allow you to more fully enjoy your time away.

Quick Tips

What does Gastroparesis-Friendly mean?

A food can generally be considered “gastroparesis-friendly” if:

  • It’s low in fat
  • It’s low in fiber
  • It doesn’t contain any nuts, seeds, skins, hulls, peels, or other indigestible parts

Anything that meets these criteria is unlikely to cause complications. However, individual tolerances vary greatly. Not all gastroparesis-friendly foods are well-tolerated by all gastroparesis patients. Likewise, some gastroparesis patients tolerate foods that are not technically gastroparesis-friendly. Careful experimentation is the key to figuring out what works best for you.

Packable Gastroparesis-Friendly Foods

  • Orgain (no refrigeration needed; pour over ice when ready to drink)
  • Almond Butter Carob MacroBars
  • PB2: Powdered Peanut Butter (stir into non-fat or low-fat yogurt for added protein and nutrients)
  • Individual packets of instant Cream of Wheat (make with water or skim milk; add a small sliced or mashed banana and a tablespoon of PB2 or creamy peanut butter)
  • Low-fiber cereal, such as Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, or Special K (add skim, soy, rice or almond milk)
  • Low-fiber crackers or low-fat graham crackers (spread with nut butter)
  • Individual serving size packets of creamy peanut butter or smooth almond butter (spread on toast, English muffins, or bagels)
  • Individual servings of applesauce, canned peaches or pears (stir into low-fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt or non-dairy yogurt)

Nausea Remedies

  • Ginger is a long-trusted natural remedy for nausea, which may also stimulate gastric emptying. Gin-Gins Boost candies from The Ginger People contain 30% fresh ginger and are easy to carry in your purse or pocket.
  • Nauzene is an anti-nausea and anti-acid medication that’s available over-the-counter as cherry-flavored chewable tablets.
  • QueaseEASE is an aromatic inhaler with a blend of lavender, peppermint, ginger, and spearmint oils, which together help to alleviate nausea. It’s portable, non-drowsy and drug-free.


Gastroparesis Prevention & Management Tips

There are lots of things that affect health and illness. Some you cannot control, but some you can.

Beyond making healthy lifestyle choices, having gastroparesis will likely push you to always be looking for what does and does not help, hurt, and work best for you. It’s not always easy but sorting this out can help you improve your health-related quality of life.

Here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with gastroparesis. Taking some preventative steps can help you ease symptoms, lessen the unwanted effects on your daily life, and enhance your well-being.

Be Aware of Causes and Complications
Not only recognizing the symptoms, but also knowing the cause, and complications that can arise from gastroparesis, can help prevent delays in obtaining appropriate treatment.

Although most commonly the cause is unknown (idiopathic), in about 1 in 4 people with gastroparesis it occurs as a complication of long-standing diabetes.

Gastroparesis can also arise:

  • As a problem after some surgical procedures (particularly esophageal or upper abdominal surgeries)
  • After use of certain medications, such as narcotic pain killers, anticholinergic/antispasmodic agents, calcium channel blockers, some antidepressants, and some diabetes medications
  • In association with illnesses that affect the whole body, the nervous system, or connective tissue, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, systemic lupus, and scleroderma

Gastroparesis can lead to:

  • Severe dehydration due to persistent vomiting
  • Difficulty managing blood glucose (blood sugar) levels in individuals with gastroparesis associated with diabetes
  • The formation of clumps of undigested food (bezoars), which can cause nausea, vomiting, or obstruction
  • Malnutrition due to poor absorption of nutrients or a low calorie intake
  • Adverse events caused by drug interactions (treatments often may involve taking different classes of drugs to treat several symptoms, such as to reduce nausea, reduce pain, and lower blood glucose levels)

Prevention and Management Tips

  • Work with a registered dietician (RD) or nutrition support specialist (nurse or doctor) to design a dietary plan to meet your individual needs; understand how to use and maintain dietary and nutritional therapies.
  • Eat frequent, small meals that are low in fat and fiber. Fat, fiber, and large meals can delay stomach emptying and worsen symptoms.
  • Keep hydrated and as nutritionally fit as possible.
  • If you have diabetes, maintain good glucose control. Irregular stomach emptying can negatively affect blood sugar levels. Keeping your blood sugar under control may help stomach emptying.
  • Before having surgery, ask your doctor, surgeon, or health care team about risks involved and weigh these against the benefits. Ask about alternatives.
  • Let your doctor and pharmacist know about all medications you are taking – prescription and over-the-counter, as well as any supplements.
  • Be aware of possible drug interactions and discuss alternatives with your doctor.
  • Understand the possible side effects of your treatments, and know what to do if side effects occur.
  • Avoid or reduce alcohol and smoking tobacco. These can slow gastric emptying.
  • Engage in regular physical activity as you are able.

Seek appropriate care and take an active role in your health. Working along with your doctor or health care team will help control, reduce, or prevent symptoms and complications.


Simple Ways To Keep Your Remote Workforce Healthy And Productive

Simple Ways To Keep Your Remote Workforce Healthy And Productive

Change in the way people work has occurred rapidly recently. More and more people are working remotely, whether from home or from a distant on-site location. Even though you don’t have direct physical contact with your staff, it’s still important to find ways to help keep your remote workforce healthy and productive. Everyone wants a productive staff and know that not only is working on helping them stay healthier the right thing to do, it’s also the most beneficial to the company.

It’s all about communication.

Keeping in touch should be a top priority. Luckily, we have a lot of technology to help. One of the concerns many employees express is the stimulation that comes from brainstorming in a group. Scheduling facetime for groups and frequent online meetings can help fill in the gap. Video calls provide the visual cues that are missing from phone conferences and the audio cues that lead to misunderstandings with emails.

Take the time to make personal calls to employees, beyond the conference video communication.

If you have employees that live alone, isolation can be a problem. Many times the workplace is their primary interaction with others. Employees juggling work and family also need a break from breadwinner and responsible parent and be recognized at the human level, which often occurs at work. Taking time to check in with these people and encouraging short but more personal calls from supervisors to staff can help avoid the isolation many feel when working at a distance. Sometimes, just a word of encouragement or a welfare check is far more important than you might think.

Encouraging a healthier lifestyle can be important.

If employees are working from home, or even from an onsite remote location, providing online fitness and nutrition programs, wellness groups or both, encourages employees to get healthier. If they’re working from home, they can use the flexibility to include a workout. Workout groups and scheduled times throughout the day to exercise or fitness apps that offer a group feature can actually make fitness fun. Sharing healthy meal plans makes it easier to improve nutrition.

Provide structure. If employees are switching from working at their office to working at home, they may struggle with the lack of structure. Creating a schedule of daily communication, itineraries and daily goals can help provide the structure needed to work at home.

  • Encourage a five minute break every hour. Studies show that sitting longer than an hour can wipe out the benefits of regular exercise.
  • Hold contests and provide rewards that encourage a healthier lifestyle. You may offer a gift certificate for healthy premade meals or a gift card for workout gear.
  • Encourage time away from the computer. Emphasize to employees that their work day should be cut off at eight hours, especially if working from home. Having an unlimited time frame for tasks, encourages inefficiency.

For more information, contact us today at Travel Trim

20 Summer Savings Tips

It’s safe to say summer 2020 is going to be different than any other. “Make sure you stay at least 6 feet away from your friends in the pool, Timmy!” That is, if swimming pools are even open—who knows?

One thing we do know is that COVID-19 has changed what your typical summer would usually look like. The kids are already out of school, theme parks are shut down, and people aren’t going to be super eager to travel any time soon.

But there’s good news: This is a great time to save some money! Here are 20  money-saving tips to help you pocket some extra cash this summer. Mix and match ideas to create your own summer savings plan without sacrificing fun.

20 Ways to Take Advantage of Summer Savings

1. Trim up your entertainment budget by $100.

As things slowly start to reopen this summer, it’s going to be pretty easy to cut back on entertainment costs (after all, public gatherings might still be canceled in your area). So that will save you a lot of money right there. But when events start to pick back up where you live, make the most of the free stuff like outdoor concerts, movie-on-the-lawn nights, and free days at local museums. Set up your budget with EveryDollar to keep track of all your savings!


You can save even more by borrowing free DVDs from the public library or ditching cable and signing up for a streaming service instead of spending too much money at the movie theater. And let’s be honest, after the kind of spring we all just had, you probably aren’t exactly itching to go to a jam-packed theater anyway.

2. Pocket $400 by skipping the theme park and visiting a natural park instead.

Again, who knows when theme parks will even open this summer. But once they do open, skipping a trip can save you major bucks. The one-day ticket price for a theme park ranges from about $50 to well over $100 (thank you, Disney). That means a family of four could pay anywhere from $200–400 for just one single day of fun. Sheesh! Keep your cash and visit a state park in the great outdoors instead. Many parks are free or only charge a small entry fee per carload.

3. Earn $100 or more by doing a garage sale.

Who doesn’t love a good garage sale? More importantly, who doesn’t love the extra $100 you make from pawning your old stuff onto complete strangers? Now’s the time to hop on that spring-cleaning train, dig through the attic, and start planning for a garage sale. Well, you know, whenever you can stand less than 6 feet away from someone again.

If you just can’t wait to sell off your stuff, host a virtual garage sale. Post the photos and prices of the items online, let people Venmo you the payment, and all you have to do is drop the (sanitized) item off on their doorstep. Try apps like VarageSale, Letgo and Facebook Marketplace if you go the virtual route. All that money you rake in could go toward your next Baby Step, like building an emergency fund or paying off debt.

4. Skip the car wash and save $60–100.

Skipping the car wash six times this summer could save you $60–100! So grab the kids, get the suds, and start cleaning your own wheels. Or, let the nice summer rain take care of the job for you once in a while. Every week that you’d usually drive through a car wash, transfer $10 into your summer savings account.

5. Save nearly 20% on energy costs by caulking your windows and doors.

Your mom was right: There’s no need to air condition the entire neighborhood by forgetting to close your windows and doors. So go a step further and seal your doors and windows. This will help your air conditioner not have to work overtime—and it just might help you save up to 20% on your energy costs!1

6. Earn $50–100 when you sell your old clothes.

Spring cleaning is in full swing! Clean out your closets and take your pre-loved threads to a consignment shop, or sell your clothes from the comfort of your own home through an online marketplace like thredUP or Poshmark. You can put the money you make toward new school clothes for your kids in the fall or just add it to your summer savings fund.

7. Take advantage of a tax-free weekend and save hundreds on big purchases.

Check to see if your state (or one near you) offers tax savings for back-to-school buys. If so, wait until the tax-free weekend to buy things like school supplies, computers and clothes. It’s pretty outrageous how much taxes can add to your total price tag. So if you can swing it, just hold off until tax-free weekend to make those big purchases.

8. Save $200–800 on camp fees by creating your own.

Give it a go and try a camp-free summer (thanks to coronavirus rules, you might have to anyway this year). A typical one-week day camp can cost anywhere from $200–800.2 Multiply that by several kids and doing more than one camp throughout the summer, and the cost adds up to a small fortune!

Instead of having a summer camp bill that rivals a year of college tuition, just organize your own “camp” for your kids. Pick a theme and start making a plan. Get inspired by this list of free stuff to do with kids from Rachel Cruze. Ask friends and family members if they’d be interested in doing a video call with your kids for story time, craft projects or exercising. If you’d rather not take on the pressure of your own day camp, sign your kids up for virtual camps from across the country. Chances are, your kids will have just as much fun as they would at an expensive camp.

9. Shop smarter to save $20–50 each week.

Before the week even starts, compare the ads from your local grocery stores and plan your meals around what’s on sale that week. Then, make a shopping list and stick to it once you get to the store. Not tossing extra items into the cart is one of the hardest parts of grocery shopping, but sticking to the list will help you save a lot!

Want to save even more on groceries? Give generic brands a try, stick to a weekly meal plan, and buy fruits and veggies that are in season from your local farmers market.

10. Use coupons.

We know what you’re thinking—coupons, really? Do coupons save you money? Yes! You just need to know how to find the right ones. Your local grocery store probably has digital coupons through their app. And there are about a million different cash-back apps out there too. They give you rebates for buying a certain brand of orange juice or tomato sauce. Then after you rack up enough rebates, you can cash them out. It’s a pretty good gig.

You can even use coupons at your favorite restaurants and fast-food joints too! Look out for 10% off coupons, kids eat free nights and buy one entrée, get one free deals. Download your favorite restaurant’s app to save even more! Don’t forget sites like Groupon and Living Social that offer you a $20 gift card for only $10 bucks. Using coupons like this can really add up.

At the end of the day, there’s still no denying that some of the best coupons come from the weekly ads in the Sunday newspaper (you know, the pile of stuff you usually toss out). So take a second and see what they’re offering before you pitch it in the garbage.

11. Save $200–300 by packing your lunch.

Making your own meals is usually healthier and way cheaper than dining out, especially in the summer when fresh fruits and vegetables are everywhere (you could even grow you own!). Instead of going out to eat every day with your buddies, try making your own lunch two or three times a week. You could save $20–30 each week, which adds up to $200–300 over the course of the summer.

12. Skip the professional repairs and do it yourself.

Plenty of online tutorials teach you the basics of do-it-yourself jobs. Before you pick up the phone and call the professionals, give it a shot and see if you can solve the problem yourself. You’ll save money and maybe even learn something new! That’s a win-win for anyone.

13. Stock up on dollar store snacks before a road trip and save $25–50.

Road trips might look a little different this summer. But no matter where you’re headed for whatever reason, you can still save some money. If you normally stop for snacks while on the road, buying them at the dollar store ahead of time will help you not buy overpriced treats from a convenience store or gas station. Grab a plastic shoebox while you’re there so you can keep all the goodies organized for the road trip (yeah, even if it’s just a Sunday drive out in the country).

14. Look for discounts on your rental car.

Another thing that might look different for you this summer? Renting a car. Don’t pay full price for a car rental this summer! Be on the lookout for deep discounts from rental companies trying to get you to hit the open road.

Install a coupon finder like Honey onto your web browser so it can automatically look for coupons based on the car rental website you’re on. You could score a savings of 5–10%! And it’s time to kick the clunky process of renting a car with your debit card to the curb. Check out how Dollar Car Rental makes renting a car with your debit card easier than ever.

15. Keep your blinds and curtains closed during the day.

Yeah, you might feel like a vampire blocking out any shred of light creeping in, but the payoff could be worth it. The U.S. Department of Energy says that 76% of sunlight that hits standard double-pane windows enters to become heat.3 And that means your A/C unit will be cranking to try to produce the cool air in your house—which is bad news for your electric bill. If you still want to let natural light in (and we don’t blame you), open the curtains or blinds that don’t let direct sunlight in.

16. Wash your clothes in cold water.

Guess what? You can wash your clothes in cold water and they’ll still get clean. The U.S. Department of Energy says two of the best ways to cut down on the amount of energy your home eats up is by using less water and using a cooler water temperature. Just moving that temperature setting on the washer from hot to warm could cut each load’s energy use in half!4

17. Shut the doors!

It might sound weird, but keeping the doors closed to rooms you aren’t using could save you a bundle! Your A/C won’t have to keep pumping air to those closed rooms, which means it’ll have less square footage to cool off and it’ll work more efficiently doing it. Simple fixes like this can impact your energy bill in a big way.

18. Save $400–500 by pausing your gym membership.

Since gyms have been closed this spring, you’ve probably already discovered you can break a sweat without ever having to step into a fitness center. Take advantage of the warm weather and keep doing your workouts outside. Jog around your neighborhood, do yoga in the backyard, or even do a fitness class on YouTube. If you just suspend your gym membership during the warmer months of April–October, you could save about $400–500!

19. Find vacation discounts.

Alright, if you do want to give traveling a go this summer, you’re bound to find some great deals. Hotels, airlines and tourist hotspots are going to be doing all they can to try to seek out summer travelers. This means if you’re comfortable with traveling, you’re bound to save some major money. Search sites like Travelocity, Airbnb and Kayak to see how much you can save!

And don’t forget the beauty of a staycation. After being stuck in your house for weeks on end, it might be nice to hang out in your own neck of the woods for a while and explore your town again. Hit the park (remember those?) and kick back with a good read, like a book from our $10 Sale.

20. Save $700 by shopping for insurance with the help of an independent insurance agent.

You didn’t see that one coming, did you? This is one of Dave’s most popular money-saving tips because it’s so easy to do. Maybe you’ve outgrown your current coverage or you qualify for new discounts. An independent insurance agent can research all the options to find the best deal that’s right for you.

Most people save an average of $700 when they shop around for insurance with one of the agents Dave recommends. That’s nuts! Kick-start your summer savings by making sure you’re getting the best deal on insurance! Get a free quote from an insurance Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) today!


Sarcoma Symptoms, Causes, and Risks Factors


Signs and symptoms of sarcoma include:

  • A lump that can be felt through the skin that may or may not be painful
  • Bone pain
  • A broken bone that happens unexpectedly, such as with a minor injury or no injury at all
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss


It’s not clear what causes most sarcomas.

In general, cancer forms when changes (mutations) happen in the DNA within cells. The DNA inside a cell is packaged into a large number of individual genes, each of which contains a set of instructions telling the cell what functions to perform, as well as how to grow and divide.

Mutations might tell cells to grow and divide uncontrollably and to continue living when normal cells would die. If this happens, the accumulating abnormal cells can form a tumor. Cells can break away and spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.

Risk factors

Factors that can increase the risk of sarcoma include:

  • Inherited syndromes.Some syndromes that increase the risk of cancer can be passed from parents to children. Examples of syndromes that increase the risk of sarcoma include familial retinoblastoma and neurofibromatosis type 1.
  • Radiation therapy for cancer.Radiation treatment for cancer increases the risk of developing a sarcoma later.
  • Chronic swelling (lymphedema).Lymphedema is swelling caused by a backup of lymph fluid that occurs when the lymphatic system is blocked or damaged. It increases the risk of a type of sarcoma called angiosarcoma.
  • Exposure to chemicals.Certain chemicals, such as some industrial chemicals and herbicides, can increase the risk of sarcoma that affects the liver.
  • Exposure to viruses.The virus called human herpesvirus 8 can increase the risk of a type of sarcoma called Kaposi’s sarcoma in people with weakened immune systems.