Ragweed arrives, plus saving kids's backs

August 19, 2013 6:02:06 PM PDT
It's a heads-up for ragweed sufferers. The fall allergy season is starting. Ragweed pollen is in the air.

Levels are moderate, so you may not be feeling symptoms - yet.

But if you normally need medication, now's the time to start, so it can be in your system when pollen shoots up.

There's another allergen causing plenty of trouble this summer - mold spores.

With all the rain, they've been running at very high to extreme levels.

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Americans love their smartphones and tablet computers.

And it's changing our vision.

Eye experts say they've seen a 35% increase in near-sightedness in the 15 years smartphones have been out.

They've even coined a term for it - "screen-sighted," and it's especially big among children and young adults.

If you want to help your eyes - don't hold those screens so close..

and take breaks every 20 minutes, looking far away, and blinking for about 20 seconds.

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It's time to stock up on back-to-school gear, including those essential backpacks.

Before you get a new one, be sure it matches your child's size - and the right weight they can safely carry.

Doctors say they are hearing more back pain complaints from kids, and it may be due to overloaded or improperly carried backpacks.

First, it shouldn't have more than 10 to 15 per cent of a child's weight.

For a 55-pound-child, that means a maximum of 8 pounds.

And Dr. David Marshall, a sports medicine specialist, says to be sure the weight is in the right place.

He says most kids don't wear them right.

As he looks at one girl's backpack, he notes, "It's way too low. The weight of the backpack should never be lower than the waist line. So the straps should be adjusted to that the backpack fits high up on her shoulders. The shoulder straps need to be two of them, not just one. And they also need to be wide and padded."

Some doctors recommend backpacks with stomach straps, to distribute the weight evenly across the back.

And help your kids weed out their packs periodically, so they're only carrying what they need.


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