Contemporary Publishing vs. Self-publishing

Publication is the act of disseminating information to the public. While the term now extends towards all forms of information including digital and broadcasted content, it traditionally referred to written and printed works such as books, newspapers, magazines, posters, etc. Publication is the final step an author takes in order to complete his/her wok; it is also one of the most critical and sensitive steps to consider as far as written works are concerned.
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A Guide to Self-publishing

A number of methods of publishing independent works exist, and it is up to the author to choose which method is best suited for his/her work.

One of the oldest types of self-publishing, often called vanity publishing, involves an up-front payment by the author to a publisher in order to have written work mass-produced; in contrast to contracts in mainstream publishing where the author is paid a sum of money in exchange for rights to the work. The term originates from the idea that authors with the drive to pay publishers with the belief that they will make all their money back are driven with extreme confidence in their writing skills and talents. In this scenario, the author retains control of many aspects of the book, including the case and/or cover, artwork, and the format the book follows, essentially paying the publisher to market and distribute the book. While this is a good way for authors to guarantee the quality and spread of their work while retaining most if not all copyrights, it is very expensive, and requires a budget of at least a few thousand dollars.
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A Gut Feeling About Chocolate

A few months ago, I had to babysit a kid named Alan; his mother – a close cousin of mine – had a Parents-Teachers Association meeting of some sort at the school she worked in, and I had to take care of him from morning until early evening.

I had done babysitting jobs before, and a number of times, I’d taken care of two year-old Alan at least twice the month before then. I expected this time to be just as uneventful and for the most part, it was; at least, up until around three in the afternoon.

Twice an hour, Alan started calling for my attention, asking for me to help him on his Disney Cars kiddie potty. He kept making grumpy faces, was nearly crying, and looked extremely uncomfortable as he kept trying to let loose a load that just didn’t want to deliver nature’s call. Worried for him, I called his mother up on her phone and asked if Alan was allergic to anything, or if I might have fed him anything that might have caused toddler constipation. She replied with “chocolate.”

My cousin’s side of the family has this rather uncomfortable reaction to chocolate and caffeine. They could eat and enjoy it well enough, and it didn’t really cause bad allergic reactions like anaphylactic shock. In large quantities however, it seemed to mess with their digestion a lot. One time, Alan’s mother suffered from bad bouts of diarrhea during pregnancy after drinking a cup of hot chocolate. Her brother also had the same reaction with some chocolate bars his girlfriend bought him on their anniversary. It didn’t surprise Alan’s mom therefore, that the boy had a bad reaction to a large chocolate chip cookie I baked.

What was strange however, was how the chocolate had the reverse effect on Alan. So, while it wasn’t anything that seemed too serious, Alan’s mother decided to have him visit a pediatrician, while I did some background research.

I later found out the same thing the doctor told Alan’s mother; nobody is exactly sure what happens to chocolate as it goes down the digestive tract when it causes indigestion, only that the effects can range from loose bowels to constipation and bloating. One theory is that the cocoa in chocolate can remove water content from bowels, causing constipation, or act as the stimulant that it is, causing diarrhea. It just so happens that in Alan’s side of the family, the effects of cocoa on the digestive system are much stronger than normal. In addition, the amount of chocolate needed to trigger adverse effects varies from person to person, meaning just because my cousin could take a few cups of hot chocolate doesn’t mean Alan can do the same.

For all the discomfort the family went through though, a bit of silver lining we found out was that they weren’t alone. Chocolate allergies do exist, though they are rare. Apparently, they dodged a bullet too, as other people who are allergic to cocoa can suffer symptoms ranging from hives, to headaches, to rashes, and extreme confusion and dizziness. Thankfully, like all good parents, my cousin learned quickly from the experience, and thanks to a few precautions, Alan hasn’t had to deal with the discomfort of his allergies since then. In the end, I guess we all ended the event all the wiser. I’ll be taking care of Alan again when they visit in a couple of months too so I’ll have some time to consider a couple of new cookie recipes that might agree with his tummy. At the very least, it’s something that I can add to my skill set with regards to babysitting.

Item Review at the Mall

I am well on my way to my tenth piece on my review writing job and may I say that everything has been a blast literally. I am somewhat excited about recent developments that I am beginning to think of taking this on full time. I get to go to places that I do not usually go to, I earn very well, and it has somehow jump started my creative juices, that I am finding it very easy to write about things again.

To think that I was avoiding this gig for such a long time, really amazes me no end. I probably have rejected many offers like this before and good thing I accepted and tried at least one before really avoiding it. Now I’m neck deep on scheduled review jobs and I love every minute of it. It was really my loss if I never given it a try and I am so glad that I did.

Today I am reviewing of which was the best pack n play from an array of manufacturers, all vying for my company’s seal of approval. Everything was beautifully colored and everything is fully padded and manufactured using the best processes, that you would not really see any difference between all of them if you were the customer.

I did cause several problems with regards to the reviewing process, because of those things I described earlier, as I find it hard to differentiate between each and every one of them. I thought about it a little and eventually came out with a plan of my own.

All of the playpens were similar in composition and only differed in coloring, with some of them having slight variations in design and gadgets that were included. So what I did was I placed enough weight in the middle of the thing and those that did not bend against it, took my vote of confidence, as it was my understanding that these things have to be sturdy enough to withstand a playful baby inside of it.

Another consideration I had was about the height of the enclosure around the pack n play. It must be high enough to prevent the baby from escaping it and low enough to easily enable the mother to lower the baby in it. One really has to make sure about these things especially when there is an innocent little thing concerned.

It was a fun day visiting the mall for the review and the salespeople there are already beginning to know me a little bit better. They were really gracious in helping me check several items out and did offer several bits of information which would help me greatly in my job.

I also did not left the mall empty handed as I managed to buy myself the best yoga DVD that caught my eye in one of the stores there. Hopefully I can do a review on one of these things in the future as I know my yoga very well.

Time Will Come It Will Be Me

Time is slowly but surely passing me by. At least that’s the thought I had when we visited one of our friends who have just given birth to her first child, a very cute little baby boy who looks very much like her than her husband, thank goodness.

I almost envy her that she already had a child of her own. How happy she must have been to finally deliver such a healthy child, a child whom she would care for and call her own, which also made me think of when it will be really my time to get to do such a miraculous thing. Time apparently never really stops for someone me.

Well I got my dogs, the two of them, if it’s any consolation. Geez I’m beginning to get bitter again. Better stop this thing before the floodgates of my eyes burst open. Besides, I’m still young by any standards and I know and believe that my Prince Charming is out there somewhere, probably just lost in traffic, got mugged or something, but he’ll definitely come for me. I hope.

Wait, where was I? Oh yes the baby. The cute little baby boy was apparently suffering from newborn hiccups, of all things! My friend said it was due to the baby’s forceful sucking at her breast during breastfeeding, which somehow led to the swallowing of too much air by the baby, hence the hiccups.

She said she tried to first surprise the baby to somewhat get rid of the hiccups but all it did was to make him bawl out even more. Good thing she found out on the internet that all she had to do was to rub the baby’s back in an upward motion repeatedly to remedy the hiccups.

Another thing we talked about during our stay there was her monthly period, as apparently she still got hers while she was already pregnant. Not the whole time but only in the first few months of her pregnancy which everybody found a little bit weird and stuff.

Her doctor said that it was surely an anomaly of sorts but seeing no adverse reaction to her and her baby, he just let it go as some kind of thing that had to happen sometimes, law of statistics he said. But he also said that if she really wished to find out why it did happen to her, there are several tests which were available to really get into the bottom of the matter. Apparently she didn’t want to anymore.

Well it was really a good thing visiting a friend again and I’m very happy for their family. This was a very important milestone for them and quite a good start for their plan of raising a family. I only hope that next time it would be me that they come to visit, a very happy me holding my equally happy baby in my arms. Now that would certainly be the day to end all days. I’m still hoping.

A Perfect New Sideline

I was asked to do a paid review on what was the best reverse osmosis system available in the market today and to tell you frankly, I was a little bit stumped by the request. Firstly, I do not have any inkling of an idea about what those things were and secondly, I do not do reviews. But it has certainly got me to thinking about it apparently.

I was always getting requests for paid reviews by several sites that I am affiliated with and each time I receive them, I reject them as it was really not my forte basically. But now I am beginning to think about it differently. It has occurred to me that what I was doing was throwing away very good opportunities out the window, opportunities which may open up another avenue of growth for me and which certainly also has a very good income potential.

So I eventually opened up myself to this new thing and I welcomed the next request I received. It was about what was the best lightweight luggage selection available today in the marketplace and it looked relatively easy to start with, so I took it.

I never had any experience doing reviews especially with regards to consumer products, so I got rattled a bit at the start. I thought I needed to see the products first and see what they were and what they offer, in order for me to give a fair review, so I went online and searched for the particular products.

I did found the products online but the descriptions contained in them eventually was one sided as it was located in the manufacturers site. Certainly they will talk the best talk, for them to be able to sell their products well, so I continued to search for other comments not necessarily from the manufacturers.

When I eventually saw comments that were detrimental to the product, it made me think also. What if the bad comments were not true and were from someone out to ruin the company, perhaps a competing brand or something, so I took everything with a grain of salt and not accepted everything they said as true and factual.

So how can I fairly review an item if the only information I got on them was second hand and apparently from biased sources? I thought about it a little and found that the best way I can give out fair reviews was that I must see the product firsthand and in person.

I eventually went out and found myself at the mall looking for that particular product in question. When I saw it, I gave it a once through and inspected everything there was to inspect, with much bewilderment from the salesperson who might be wondering of what was I really doing. But I did the job thoroughly.

I wrote the review based on what I saw and told everything there was to tell about the product. I was paid well for the job and was asked if I wanted more reviews, which I answered in the affirmative. Well to tell you the truth, I am beginning to get the hang of it and am enjoying myself doing it. I am very happy that I gave it a chance and now I am wondering where it has been all this time.

Stuck on You: When your Kid Won’t Leave Your Bosom

A sociologist friend of mine recently returned from a round-the-world trip studying parenting in urban areas. I asked him what he found out, and he replied with “if I started talking now, you might as well have enrolled in one of my classes.” I laughed it off, and asked a more direct question: what were some strange things he saw. He took a moment to think before shrugging and answering: “I saw a seven year-old who is still breast-fed.”

While he explained to me that such scenarios aren’t necessarily a tradition or trend in the places where they have been observed to occur, they do happen; not because the parents intend to raise their children that way, but because the children are unable to deal with separation anxiety.

Most mothers do breastfeed their newborn babies. To many, this is an important time during which the baby is allowed to form a bond with his/her biological mother. Psychologist Sigmund Freud theorizes that this “oral” stage is the primary source of pleasure and comfort for a baby. Many parents will go to great lengths to observe that this stage goes well, monitoring the mother’s diet so she avoids caffeine, seafood, nuts, and other foods that could affect the quality of breast milk.

While observing that this stage goes right is all good however, it is a bad idea to let it go on for too long. If the baby is stuck breastfeeding, there is a risk of hindering the child’s psychological growth, preventing him/her from becoming comfortable or confident anywhere the parent is not.

Apparently, the same can be true for the parent as well. If breastfeeding goes on for too long, the parent may experience difficulty in allowing their children to grow up and move on; a natural part of parenting that is hard enough on its own. This then leads to even more difficulty in stopping breastfeeding habits. Despite this however, some parents will defend their actions in public, stating there is nothing wrong with it. Technically, they’re right of course, though psychological arguments still stand.

Many of my friends are mothers, and they usually stop breastfeeding their babies around the time their kids hit the age of two. It takes time of course, to stop milk production, and to just suddenly stop breastfeeding causes your chest to feel heavy, hard, and painful. Some ways of lowering breast milk production to a stop involve expressing just enough milk to lower pressure (comically, just like a steam valve), and using a cold compress to reduce blood flow to the breast area. Heat can stimulate production of milk because heat increases blood flow, and blood delivers the necessary hormones for body processes.

There isn’t anything implicitly wrong with breastfeeding; if there was, people wouldn’t be able to do it in the first place. Of course, my friend may have been joking when he mentioned his stories, but it doesn’t make the facts any less real. For all the good it can do for parents and children, too much of a good thing really can do some harm.

Bruise Clues

It is a fine morning, you get out of bed to perform your morning rituals and as you admire yourself through the mirror, you notice a bruise on your body. You cannot remember when, where, or how you got it so you begin to hunt for explanations for the mysterious bruise. But apparently it is all for naught.

It is somewhat normal for us to have these unexplained bruising sometimes, but occasionally, they can entail something more sinister. A bruise, or contusion, is a common skin injury caused by the breakage of blood vessels under the skin. The black and blue mark is a result of leaking blood cells that gather together near the skin’s surface in a process called ecchymosis.

Hematomas usually occur when one bumps into an object or vice-versa. There are, however, other causes that you are probably not aware of:

Rugged exercises: Weight-lifters and athletes undergo intense training programs. Sometimes training can cause microscopic ruptures in blood vessels.

Age: The elderly tend to have weaker tissues that rupture easily. As we age our skin loses its and flexibility. The tissues and fats that protect our capillaries fade and our capillary walls grow weaker. It becomes significantly easier for one to become bruised so it should not be too alarming for an aged person to manifest one.

Vitamin C Deficiency: A person with a deficiency in Ascorbic Acids can become infected with scurvy. When we think of scurvy we typically think of pirates. Scurvy was a huge problem for voyagers and resulted in the deaths of many seafarers. The old world had discovered many ways to preventing scurvy and one of those was through the consumption of citrus fruits. The point is, eating oranges will help prevent the development of bruises caused by scurvy. Scurvy is rarely seen in adults today but babies and children are likely to have it.

Physical Abuse: Sometimes you bump into people. Other times people bump into you. If people bump into you or someone you know too often you might want to consider notifying the authorities.

Unexplained bruises are usually caused during minor incidents or bumping into objects while you are asleep. If the latter is plausible, you might want to consider tidying your bed. When I was a child I rolled over my Nintendo 64 controller and woke up with a mysterious purple mark on my arm. It was not a very pleasant experience.

Though finding bruises on your body may not be a cause for alarm, there are certain things you should look out for. If you are frequently finding unexplained bruises you may want to consult your physician as it may signify an underlying health problem. Another indicator of health problems includes sudden bruising; bruises that seem to come out of nowhere. Before going to a doctor prepare a list of medications that you are taking and familiarize yourself with your symptoms. Your physician will need to know what you are experiencing so he/she could make a proper analysis. Frequent bruising could be a genetic trait; if your family has a history of bruising easily you will want to take note of that.

Skin tear, pimples under skin

Everyone experiences pimples. Even if research shows about 80% of teenagers experience acne, I refuse to believe a person can go through an entire lifetime without getting one or two of those evil bumps in the skin. Therefore, everyone knows how much of a bother they can be. They swell, turn red, and then pop in the most disgusting way. It even becomes second nature for many people to break the skin themselves to drain the pimple; and while that sometimes works, regardless of how strongly health and beauty experts disagree, it cannot be done when dealing with sub-dermal pimples.

What are pimples exactly? Well, pimples are sebaceous glands that become infected with a bacteria species called Propionibacterium acnes. These mostly harmless, and often helpful creatures live on the surface of (and in) the human body, and feed on oil produced by the sebaceous glands. When a gland becomes hyperactive however, or when the path of the oil produced by the gland is blocked, the species is able to feed, grow, and multiply much faster than normal, to the point that the waste it leaves behind becomes a problem. The body responds by sending white blood cells to the infection site, triggering inflammation and the formation of pus. When inflammation begins, the pimple is called a papule. When it fills up with pus, it is called a pustule.

Pimples normally fill up until they drain on their own, so it is not recommended to tamper with the skin to relieve the pressure. Besides the risk of greater infection is the possibility of scarring over the damaged area. Sometimes however, the infection of P. acnes is so deep under the surface of the skin, and the feeling of irritation is so intense, that it becomes difficult to resist the temptation to poke at the pimple. The person will then squeeze the pimple, often worsening the inflammation. If the pimple is squeezed hard enough, or if the person uses nails to try and rupture the pimple, what results is a skin tear, where blood, pus, and oil all leak out.

Fortunately, there are better ways of dealing with pimples under the skin. In fact, there are so many ways to treat pimples that provided you know enough about them, you can make your own remedy.

First, because sub-dermal pimples are deep under the skin, you may want to bring it closer to the surface. Placing a hot, moist towel on your face increases circulation, and speeds up the process of filling up the pimple with white blood cells. While the thought is disgusting, it does push the pimple out, making it easier for other treatments to deal with the problem.

Once the pimple is out from where you can’t reach it, there are a number of methods to dry it out. Many substances found at home seem to be toxic towards P. acnes. Most soap easily kills it, making regular washing of the face a great way for both treatment and prevention of acne. Even honey possesses ingredients toxic to the bacteria. A face mask can be made from any such substance to deal with acne. One popular homemade face mask involves egg whites and baking soda. It dries out the oil, and doesn’t leave a mess on your face (not from the pimple anyway). In fact, the effect of baking soda on acne is so well-known, that some people recommend rubbing a bit of toothpaste on a pimple simply because most toothpaste has baking soda in it.

Acids are another efficient method of treating acne. The acidity of vinegar, combined with other antiseptic qualities it has, kills of P. acnes in short spans of time. Without the bacteria, the body finds no need for the inflammatory response, and ceases to keep sending white blood cells to the affected area. Other acidic foods such as lemons or limes can be just as effective, but be ready to deal with dry skin if you use too much.

Remedies such as these really do more than the simple brute strength of squeezing pimples until they pop. So the next time you feel that burning, swelling sensation on your nose, do yourself a favor and don’t squeeze. Letting it under your skin won’t make things better; especially when it literally is there anyway.

A Crazy Pain

If you, like me, are an avid soccer fan and player, then the odds are you’ve experienced something similar to this: a painful pulling sensation somewhere deep in your hips, extending all the way to your lower back, and sometimes, down to your legs. Sometimes, the pain is easy enough to deal with, and you can keep running and playing the game you love. Sometimes, it seems much worse, and you end up bedridden for days, weeks, or even months.

I’ll tell you right now: that kind of pain – hip flexor pain – is nothing to be taken lightly.

The lower half of our body has muscles largely focused on locomotion. In our hips lie a set of muscles that work together to perform movements that allow our legs to move; when contracting, these muscles pull our femur up towards our chest. These muscles are collectively known as the iliopsoas, pronounced with a silent “p,” and so named because it is a combination of the psoas major, and iliacus muscles. They are the strongest of the hip flexors and, together with the rectus femoris (part of the quadriceps) and the sartorius muscle, are responsible for are responsible for the movement of the femur. They basically allow us to run, jump, and kick.

The ilipsoas is the strongest of the hip flexors because it is subjected to more force than any of the others. If too much force is exerted, the muscle can tear, resulting in hip flexor pain. The injury can vary from a grade one tear where only a few muscle fibers are damaged, to a grade three tear where the entire iliopsoas is severed, and all function is lost. Without proper anterior hip precautions however, even a simple grade one tear can turn into a grade two or grade three muscle tear. Too many times, I’ve found myself lying on my back in the middle of the field after having torn my hip flexors during a long pass because I ignored the slight but undeniable jolt of pain of a grade one muscle tear.

In order to care for hip flexor pain, the first thing to do is rest the injury. By denying the muscle any more stress, the body is able to heal much faster, and the risk of worsening the tear is minimized. A damaged muscle is a weak muscle capable of handling less physical force than a fully functioning muscle. Application of ice or some other cold compress is then recommended to reduce blood flow to the area and prevent excessive internal bleeding. Keeping the injury elevated also assists in this. If all goes well, the muscle will repair itself, although a grade two or grade three tear may require medical attention. Worst-case scenarios may take months to recover from, but avoiding physical exertion of the iliopsoas can dramatically reduce this period to a few weeks.

Most athletes will tell you of course, that muscle injury is avoidable; and I agree. I’ve found that the best way to avoid hip flexor tears is to keep your muscles in good condition. This requires a good diet to supplement your muscles with the nutrition necessary for them to function and maintain themselves, but, more directly and importantly, it means exercise. A good stretch during a warm-up routine will develop flexibility in muscles, allowing them to take on physically straining movements without giving way. A proper training regimen also develops muscle memory, allowing you to perform actions such as kicks with proper form, and minimal risk of injury.

Injury is a part of any sport. Hip flexor pain happens to be one that plagues soccer players. Still, it isn’t a new problem, and there are time-tested methods of dealing with it. Therefore, while hip flexor pain is an injury that can and often will happen, I’ve accepted the risk as part of the game. All I have to do is reduce the odds that I fall prey to it. I take care of my body, and I have never believed it to be a reason to stop playing the game I love.

Poodle Mixes: Cotton-coated Craze

Dogs have been considered as man’s best friend for God-knows-how-long. They come in many breeds of different appearances and sizes, and everyone who has ever owned a dog, or wanted to own a dog has their own personal favorite.

My cousin in particular, owns a Bichon-poodle hybrid she has been VERY attached to since I decided to adopt it and give it to her for her birthday a few years ago.

The Bichon Frise is a non-sporting dog breed that originally descended from a Poodle and a Barbet. They grow to about a foot high at the shoulders. They carry their tails curled up on their backs, and they have a characteristic dense, curly coat that comes in an assortment of colors. When bred with a Poodle, this usually results in a much thicker coat of fur. The particular one I got my cousin has a rather thick, but adorable gray coat.

The dog – which she had named Asher – must have sparked something in our group of friends, because two of us had other Poodle mixes about six months later; a pair of charcoal-black Shih Tzu-poodle puppies named Rolo and Casey. After another half year, another friend was sporting around a Pomeranian Poodle mix – Pomapoo – named Jackson.

The truth is I’m not entirely sure what started the craze among us. Curiosity got the better of me, and I started digging for information on what makes the Poodle so attractive to us; it didn’t take me long to find some good stuff on the Poodle, too.

As it turns out, one of the most desirable traits of a Poodle is its resistance to shedding. Unlike other dog breeds, the Poodle can grow a fairly thick coat of hair without it falling off when groomed or giving the animal a bath. This also means it’s very easy to clean up after a poodle, as it is unlikely to leave fur all over the carpet, on the couch, or on clothing. That is all just as well, as my friends all enjoy lounging on the couch with the dogs.

Poodles are also very intelligent. In fact, the breed is popular for its ability to recognize new commands with minimal effort. This makes them easy to train, and much easier to bond with. They can recognize given situations and act accordingly and appropriately. Their intelligence also gives Poodles a competitive edge in dog shows and contests. Among us however, the most valuable attribute granted by Poodle intelligence is their ability to recognize human emotion. Rolo and Casey in particular, were smart and emotionally intelligent enough to try and cheer their owners up when the latter’s mother passed away last year.

I can’t really say for sure however, if those traits are what make us love the dogs so much. Definitely, to my friends, the bond is more than just one of convenience to other breeds.

I’ve always been an animal lover. I’ve always loved dogs in particular, and remembering things like that makes me think of how deep and primal our relationships with the animal world really are. It doesn’t just extend to pets as well, but to just about anything that breathes. There’s just something about my friends’ pets that stirs something in us. I might not be able to identify it, but it’s undeniably there.

Maybe if I get a Poodle mix of my own, I’ll find it easier to say what it is exactly. Maybe I should get one.

Breathe Easy: The Low Cost Asthma Remedy

Asthma is a common chronic disease characterized by a number of symptoms including inflammation of the human respiratory tract, fluid in the lungs, coughing and wheezing. Its name has a Greek origin meaning “pant,” and it plagues hundreds of millions of people every year, with a fatality rate of over ten percent. Despite the grim facts however, asthma is a manageable disease. There are thousands of generic and prescribed brand labels designed to combat asthma and its symptoms.

But what if you can’t afford to buy medicines over the counter? Let’s face it: doctor’s appointments alone cost a lot of money, and what most pharmacies provide just adds on top of that cost. What if you are stuck at home and just need a quick fix to help with the before they overwhelm you?

Well the first thing to do is understand what you have. Asthma is classified as allergic or non-allergic. Allergic asthma is triggered by the same things the person is allergic to. When the substance enters the lungs along with air, the bronchioles detect it, triggering an inflammatory response. This causes the asthma attack. Non-allergic asthma on the other hand, is caused by actual irritants entering the body through the respiratory system. Regardless of type of asthma, the common factor here is the trigger. If you want to deal with an asthma attack, the start by learning what causes the attack, and then avoiding it altogether.

The next thing to do is alleviate the symptoms. While I agree when physicians say that an actual medication is necessary for proper treatment of asthma, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do without medical help. Following are a list of home remedies for asthma attacks. Please note that they are alternatives meant to treat symptoms, and are not meant to replace a doctor’s advice.

Take a warm steam bath for example. Singers will often say that singing in the shower loosens moistens the vocal chords. In the same way, warm steam will restore moisture to dried and irritated bronchioles. The temperature can also get rid of nasal congestion some asthmatics get, and cause blood vessels to dilate for more absorption of oxygen into the body.

Hot ginger tea is another home remedy that people tend to swear by. This is because of the root’s anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger has been used in folk medicine around the world for thousands of years, and some research in modern-day medicine supports many traditional beliefs about the plant. Asthma is an inflammatory disease, and so it makes perfect sense to use ginger as a quick fix for it; or at least, for the symptoms.

Some cough and cold treatments also list honey as an ingredient. In medicines, it is used to help soothe an irritated throat and bronchial tract. It is commonplace for people to mix a spoonful of honey with tea to alleviate symptoms. Though insufficient research has been conducted to conclude whether or not this actually works, it really doesn’t hurt to try. At the very least, it is comforting; honey sends shots of dopamine – the human body’s natural feel-good hormone – straight to the brain.

Garlic is another plant people swear works wonders when dealing with asthma. Unique sulfur compound known as vinyldithiins are produced in garlic when the allicins it naturally contains break down. These compounds are responsible for inhibition of inflammatory responses in the human body, particularly in the cardiovascular system. Research is being conducted on how effective garlic really is, though even in the early stages of the studies, things look bright for those who support garlic and its properties.

Finally, there is chicken soup. While it has the same qualities of temperature and moisture that help heal irritated airways, the real value is that it white blood cells have been observed by doctors to be less likely to congregate and cause an inflammatory response when in the presence of chicken soup (I wish I was making this up). While the biological effects are unclear, the effect is definite. In addition, I really don’t want to argue with science when it backs up good food.

While it remains advised to seek professional help when dealing with asthma, it’s still a good idea to take a pick. There’s nothing wrong with wanting quick relief; and the truth is that everything mentioned above is either a health food, or a healthy activity. In the end, that is usually the point when it comes to well-being: a healthy diet and lifestyle is, and always will be cheaper and more convenient than a medical bill.