Monday, September 27, 2021

TIP - How do you plan your meals?

Sample portion sizes of a dinner plate on a blue placemat
The Blue Plate Special

Many of us learned to plan meals from our mothers or home economics teachers by listing the main course, and then the side dishes. However, there is a better way.

Since vegetables and fruits should form the majority of a healthy diet and take up half of your My Plate dinner, start your plan by deciding which vegetables and fruits to serve. Then follow up by thinking of a complementary protein (not necessarily meat) and other meal elements.

My Plate logos copyright free can be found here:

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Take a Hike!

Sepia colored man and woman walking on a forest trail

Walking is good aerobic exercise. It keeps your heart strong and blood pressure healthy, and it aids in blood sugar control. Regular walking decreases mental health issues such as anxiety and depression and lowers your risk of dying from cancer.

Taking a hike outdoors is great because you are immersed in the natural world. Research has shown that persons spending 120 minutes in nature (2 hours a week) have less stress and a higher sense of well-being than those who stay indoors.

However, due to the ongoing pandemic, it may not be as easy for you to get the outdoor exercise you need. Try bringing the outdoors inside. You can watch a video of a hike through various awesome natural sites while you use the treadmill or stair stepper, or just walk in place. 

Imagine yourself hiking in the Swiss Alps, climbing a mountain in Hawaii, running through a forest in Alaska, or striding rim-to-river in the Grand Canyon. View the natural scenery on YouTube while you exercise safely indoors. Here are some suggested virtual hikes.

If you are counting your steps, you can hike the Appalachian trail, virtually, using an app on your smartphone (iPhone or Android). You will unlock interesting checkpoints when you reach them.

However you do your hiking, whether in the physical world outdoors or indoors viewing a virtual hike, try to complete the recommended 150 minutes of walking per week, for maximum health benefits.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

What is the difference between a service animal and an emotional support animal?

Light brown service dog focusing on the picture-taker
Service dog

Although these two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there are major differences between the two. It is important to know these differences, which begin with the legislation that defines them.

A service animal is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Service animals are limited to two species. The most common service animals are dogs. If the person using the service animal is allergic to dogs or is prohibited from being around a dog for religious reasons, a miniature horse can be a service animal, although this is quite rare.

Service animals are individually trained to do specific tasks necessary for the person they serve. They must always be under the control of their handler at all times. They are almost always permitted to accompany the person they serve in any place where members of the public are allowed.

An emotional support animal is NOT covered by the ADA. Instead, it is defined under the Fair Housing Act. An emotional support animal of any species is identified by its owner as providing emotional support; however, it does not need to have specific training or to perform any tasks for its owner. Emotional support animals are permitted in rental housing if a medical or rehabilitation professional provides documentation of its owner’s need for it. However, emotional support animals are NOT allowed in public places that do not allow other pets. 

For more information about service animals:
For information about emotional support animals:

Saturday, September 18, 2021

What if someone at my school or work is allergic to my service dog?


Greyhound standing at attention

It happens. You have been authorized to take your service dog with you when someone else in that environment says they are allergic to dog dander. (It could also be that someone is extremely fearful of dogs. The same solutions apply.)

In this case, it is understood that both individuals need reasonable accommodations. The difficulty is in figuring out what can be done because their needs are in conflict.

It is not legal to deny the use of a service dog in a public area such as a classroom or workspace because someone else is allergic. Therefore, methods must be developed to minimize contact between the dog and the person with the allergy.

The Job Accommodation Network has developed a set of recommendations of how to manage the conflicting needs by eliminating or minimizing exposure of the allergic person to the dog. Their suggestions include:

  • Flexible scheduling or different work areas for the two individuals
  • Using portable air purifiers and HEPA filters 
  • Asking the service dog owner to temporarily use other accommodations, or to use dander care products on the dog
  • Asking the allergic employee to wear an allergen mask

View other suggestions of how to handle this tricky problem of conflicting health needs here:

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Save The Date! Preparedness Trivia (on Zoom) on 9/15!


Picture of a smiling young girl in front of books with "Never stop learning" spelled on the binders

Wednesday, Sept 15, 1-2pm SLT, 4-5pm ET

Please join the Region 2 National Preparedness Division for Ready Games in celebration of National Preparedness Month this September. 

Participants will be tested on their preparedness knowledge with true/false, multiple-choice, rank, and short-answer questions. Dot worry about bringing a #2 pencil. Participants should have a second electronic device (mobile phone, iPad, etc.) to log their answers for the test. 

Who should attend? The whole community – individuals and families, volunteer and community-based organizations, local, state, federal government, and private sector. 

Register here:

Saturday, September 11, 2021

September 11 is a Day of Service

Picture of the mirror pool 9/11 memorial
National 9/11 Memorial, New York City, New York

September 11, 2021, marks 20 years since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Each year, volunteers commemorate 9/11 Day to honor those who served the country. 

This year, thousands of volunteers will find ways to engage in acts of service. Service projects could include disaster preparation activities or neighborhood cleanups, food drives or home repair assistance. Community volunteers may plan to honor veterans, soldiers, or first responders by collecting donations, assembling care packages, and writing thank you letters.

The 9/11 Day website lets visitors search for volunteer activities in their area. You can filter your search by category, including such topics as emergency response, first aid, and food distribution.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

September is National Preparedness Month!

September is National Preparedness Month! This year’s theme is “Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.” has created a week-by-week plan to help you prepare for any emergency this month and all year long. Let’s get started!

September 1-4: Make A Plan

Talk to your friends and family about how you will communicate before, during, and after a disaster.
Consider the specific needs of your household. Does it include children, elderly persons, persons with special needs, pets?

Write out a Family Emergency Communication Plan.

Update your plan based on COVID-19 recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

September 2021 Healthinfo Island Topics

(Note: all images are linked to their associated Second Life locations.)

You can teleport to any of the eight displays and exhibits using the SLURLs in this blog. Click on the poster with the same name as the title of the poster set and you will get a notecard that contains all the text of the posters plus descriptions of the images. 

If you click each poster, you will get a message with additional information and live links.

Image of the central pavilion at Healthinfo Island
Central Pavilion of Healthinfo Island

Central Pavilion of Healthinfo Island

Check out the calming breathing exercise on the back wall!


I'm Tired of Fatigue!

Picture of woman yawning while driving a vehicle

20 Powerful Heart Health Foods

The words "20 Powerful Heart Health Foods" on a multicolored background

September 20-24 is Falls Prevention Awareness Week.

Be sure to take the risk assessment quiz at the link in the first poster.

Text "September 20-24 is Falls Prevention Awareness Week"

Why Bone Health is Important

Plant Foods We Should Cook Before Eating

Text "Plant foods we should cook before eating" on a green background

September is Preparedness Month

Picture of a child, her mother, and her grandmother preparing

Some Possible Reasons for “Brain Fog”

Some possible reasons for brain fog

Who's Who in Eye Care?

 Picture of a woman's brown eye

Thanks to Virtual Ability member Mook Wheeler for assistance with the posters this month.