Posted in health and wellness,, relationships

Anger, laughter and your immune system



It has been said that one minute of anger weakens your immune system for four to five hours, while one minute of laughter boosts your immune system for over twenty-four hours.   I’ve read these statements several different places recently; I believe scientists are on to something.


Think about it for a minute.  When something or someone angers you, your blood pressure rises, your heart races, and you get a sick feeling in your stomach.  I know I do.  But did you realize that the sick feeling you get can manifest into something more sinister if it persists?  The sick feeling spreads throughout your body, causing stress on all of your organs.  It has been scientifically proven that stress has been linked to many health conditions and disease states.

Conversely, after a good laugh, you feel great and stress or tension is relieved, improving your mood, your outlook, and even your physical appearance!  I posted an article about the scientific benefits of laughter a while back.  Yesterday, when chatting with a dear friend,  I was reminded how anger can cause stress; inspiration for today’s post.

If you find yourself in any relationship that evokes prolonged and unresolvable anger, angst, tension, stress, or sadness, move on and let it go before you cause any permanent damage to your health!



Posted in gardening, health and wellness,

Common Household Toxins Might be Making you Sick

Common household toxins may be making you sick.  Toxins are present in your home in the form of cleaning products, paints, furniture, synthetic building materials such as particle board and insulation, carpets, and even your printer and photocopier!

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are harmful gases released by all of the common household items listed above.  These gases cause lethargy, skin rashes, headaches, drowsiness, itchy eyes, asthma-like symptoms and even cancer.

Be aware of what you are bringing into your home!  I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when I was cleaning my house.  I had run out of my usual brand of toilet cleaner, was in a hurry, and so grabbed a bottle of javex I still had sitting around the house from my pre-toxin awareness days.   I used it (sparingly) to clean the toilets in my home…

The next day I woke up with what I thought was the start of a cold.  My chest felt heavy and I could not seem to draw a full breath into my lungs.  I also had a vague headache, and a “tickle” in my throat, but no other cold like symptoms developed.  Later on that day, I developed a shallow, dry cough which felt like my lungs were trying to clear whatever was irritating them.  These symptoms lasted for four days.  Coincidence?   I don’t think so; this is how my lungs felt most of the time before I switched to non-toxic products. The products I now use are all made with tea tree oil, an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, natural ingredient.  My respirologist agrees, as my asthma-like symptoms have disappeared since switching to these non-toxic products…

You can also make your home healthier by adding house plants to your decor.  Not only do plants look nice, but they can also help keep your family healthy.  Carbon dioxide and the VOCs described above, as well as other harmful gases such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene are absorbed through the roots as well as through pores in the leaves of plants.   In exchange, beneficial and healthy products like oxygen and moisture are released into the air for us to breathe.

Choose plants such as spider plants, dracaena, English ivy, mother-in-law tongues, bamboo palms, and other tropical plants; they are all easy to grow and readily available.  Tropical plants are suitable for indoors in homes and offices because they are used to growing and processing gases in reduced light under the canopies of jungles and rain forests.  Water your plants thoroughly with warm water and let the soil dry out between watering; too much water is the easiest way to kill your house plants.

Get rid of the common household toxins making your family sick.  Fifteen medium to large plants (greater than six-inch pots) in an average-sized 2000 square foot home can greatly improve the air quality in your home, so get growing!

Posted in family, health and wellness

Was that the Norwalk Virus?

I think that was the Norwalk Virus that just slammed through my house! Within four days each member of my family of five was hit hard.

We figure my eldest son picked up the virus in Montreal where he spent the last weekend. When he woke up for work monday morning he felt queasy, and was vomiting violently within an hour. My first reaction was that he had too much fun in Montreal, but within a few hours I realized this was not a result of something he ate or drank.  I went to the neighbourhood drug store and spoke to a pharmacist who said there was a “bug” going around, suggesting Gravol suppositories and cautioning me to keep my son well hydrated throughout the ordeal.  When the vomiting subsided, he complained of a bloated, upset stomach, fever and chills, headache, muscle aches, and lack of appetite.  Most of these symptoms lasted two full days with the lack of appetite hanging on for several more days after that.

By this time I had washed all the sheets and towels in the house and scoured all the bathrooms, hoping I could prevent this virus from spreading to the rest of the family. No such luck!

Very early thursday morning my youngest son and my husband started vomiting. The other symptoms quickly followed. Other than a knee injury incurred as a parent chaperone on a school ski trip that forced him to miss two days of work several years ago, my husband had not taken any sick days in thirty some years. This virus had them both flat-out for two full days!

I’m sure you can guess what happened next. Later that night my middle son and I were hit, fortunately not as hard. We experienced minimal vomiting, but the lack of appetite and bloated/nauseous stomach lasted for several days. This son was able to go to the work the next day! When he had a severe case of appendicitis several years ago I kept taking him to the doctor who told us he had the “flu” I did not believe it because this kid is never sick and when he is he usually just goes to bed early and gets up the next morning ready to resume his routine. A nurse at QCH finally agreed to send us to CHEO for an ultrasound which showed his appendix had ruptured!

Sorry, I got off topic there… When I started to feel better I disinfected the bathrooms (again!) and then phoned an infection control specialist I know of to pick his brain.  He said there have been a few sporadic cases of Norwalk reported here in Ottawa, but no known outbreaks in the area.  We were never formally tested,  but the violent vomiting, the two-day incubation period and the two full days of symptoms are typical of Norwalk.

Today, one week later, we are all feeling much better, my house is clean and I’m looking forward to an uneventful week!


Lorieb is an avid gardener residing in Kanata, Ontario, Canada.  Please check out her website at    This article may be freely reprinted or distributed in its entirety in any Ezine, newsletter, blog, or website. The author’s name, bio and website links must remain intact and be included with every reproduction.