Rare Fatal Lung Disease: What You Need to Know


 In 2000, John Morthanos from New Haven, CT was feeling winded and he thought he was having a heart attack because he was having trouble breathing; doctors found that his heart was fine, but there was a mysterious spot on his lung.


After numerous doctor’s visits and tests, his breathing problems were attributed to acid reflux, stress and even allergic reactions to his cats. A lung biopsy also found mild scarring.


However, John’s breathing problems became progressively worse, to the point that he couldn’t walk up the stairs without being winded and taking the trash out felt like pushing a car up a hill. It was then that John knew something was really wrong.


Finally, in 2011 after being referred to experts at Yale University, John received devastating news: he had idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a life-threatening disease that causes permanent and progressive scarring of the lungs.


Immediately, John, his wife Paula and his medical team developed a treatment plan, including supplemental oxygen and pulmonary rehabilitation. Because his condition was getting worse, John later received a single-lung transplant. Today, John is focused on raising awareness about IPF so others can hopefully avoid the struggles he faced securing a timely diagnosis.


A new survey uncovers the emotional and physical impact of this rare and fatal lung disease called, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. 

Less than 1 in 3 patients and caregivers are prepared for how IPF will affect their daily life.
Imagine being diagnosed with a deadly disease you have never heard of.
A disease that your family and friends have never heard of.
A disease with no colored ribbons, no 5k runs to help people who face the disease band together.
One like IPF – a rare and fatal lung disease that permanently scars the lungs and causes difficulty breathing.
 There are symptom management options, and now FDA approved medications to help patients suffering from IPF.
Even so, patients and caregivers living with IPF experience an unexpected emotional toll prior to and after diagnosis.
The recent survey illuminates the IPF patient and caregiver experience.
The survey, conducted in 100 self-reported IPF patients and 100 caregivers, offers key insights into this orphan disease, including:
  • On average, patients experience IPF symptoms for nearly two years before being diagnosed 


  • More than three-quarters of patients and caregivers affected by coughing caused by IPF say that people often keep a distance because of it; and more than half of patients and caregivers using supplemental oxygen feel that it is embarrassing to be seen with the equipment


Dr. Jeffrey Swigris, Pulmonologist, and John Morthanos, IPF patient, discuss:
  • Signs and symptoms of IPF



  • Impact of IPF on the everyday lives of patients and caregivers, according to the survey


  • Why education and support may help address the needs of patients, caregivers and their doctors


LINK TO INTERVIEW with Dr. Jeffrey Swigris, Pulmonologist, and John Morthanos, IPF patient:




About Jeffrey James Swigris (pulmonologist):

National Jewish Health

 Jeffrey Swigris, DO, MS, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at National Jewish Health and the University of Colorado. His clinical interest is in evaluating and caring for patients with interstitial lung disease (ILD) of any cause. Dr. Swigris’s individual research program focuses on how patients perceive living with ILD, how to assess those perceptions and how caretakers might improve quality of life in patients suffering from ILD. He was recently awarded funding for a nationwide research project: The Participation Program for Pulmonary Fibrosis or P3F (www.PFresearch.org). He is a member of the American Thoracic Society, American College of Chest Physicians and is on the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation’s Medical Advisory Board.




If you suspect you have any of the same symptoms as John, please visit: http://www.lungsandyou.com for more information on IPF.


Rare Gene Discovery: Protects Against Bipolar


bipolar4UMMS researchers uncover genetic pathway that could lead to better treatment for bipolar.

bipolar1A team of scientists led by researchers at the UMass Medical School and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (UMMSM) have identified what is likely a key genetic pathway underlying bipolar disorder, a breakthrough that could lead to better drugs for treating bipolar affective disorder, as well as depression and other related mood disorders.

bipolar6The new findings, published online this week in Nature Molecular Psychiatry, show that a rare genetic dwarfism called Ellis van-Creveld (EvC) syndrome protects against bipolar affective disorder.


The discovery was made thanks to decades of translational research in a few Old Order Amish families of Pennsylvania with a high incidence of both diseases.

bipolar2Forty years of documented research across multiple generations showed that no person with EvC has been reported with bipolar disorder.


“No one doubts that bipolar affective disorder has an important, disease causing genetic component,” said neurologist and geneticist Edward I. Ginns, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry at UMMS and lead author of the study.


“In our search for the causes of bipolar affective disorder, this is a paradigm changing discovery that could lead to better treatments.”

bipolar11Bipolar affective disorder is a common psychiatric illness characterized by recurring swings from periods of high energy and mania to periods of low energy and sadness.

bipolar12During periods of mania, the need for sleep is reduced and a person feels or acts abnormally happy, energetic and impulsive.

bipolar7They often make poorly thought-out decisions with little regard for the consequences. Cycles of depression may include crying, poor eye contact with others, and a negative outlook on life.

bi3Patients suffering from bipolar disorder have a higher risk for suicide and self-harm and suffer from other ailments, such as heart disease, related to poor lifestyle choices.

bipolar5Though many factors likely contribute to onset of the disease, various studies over the years have provided ample evidence that there is an important genetic component to the illness.

bi9However, previous attempts to isolate individual genes connected to bipolar disorder have been unsuccessful.

bi6In her research among the Old Order Amish, which extends back more than 40 years, Janice A. Egeland, PhD, professoremerita of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at UMMSM and co-author of the current study, found that both EvC and bipolar were prevalent in an extended family descended from the same progenitor.


Both conditions clearly travelled together over the generations in a few families extending from this same pioneer. Yet no person with EvC was ever reported with bipolar disorder despite decades of research across multiple generations.


“Few research efforts can claim to have extended over half a century using various building stones to reach a goal,” said Dr. Egeland.

bi5EvC dwarfism results from genetic mutations that disrupt the signaling pathway known as sonic hedgehog (Shh). Statistical analyses confirmed the significant negative association between EvC and bipolar disorder.

bi2This further suggested that the Shh pathway plays a role in bipolar disorder.


“Since mutations causing EvC do so by disrupting Shh protein function, linking abnormal Shh signaling to major affective disorders provides a concrete molecular and medical basis for patients’ symptoms that should help break down the stigma associated with mental illnesses,” said Dr. Ginns.

“If we can understand more details of the Shh signaling pathway in bipolar disorder, it could dramatically change the way we diagnose and treat these conditions.”

bi32According to Ginns, drugs already in clinical trials for other medical conditions that target Shh protein signaling may have the potential to be better treatments for bipolar disorder.

“Importantly, it’s possible that drugs that modulate Shh signaling may offer a new strategy for treating some patients with affective disorders,” he said.

bi31The current findings are supported by an earlier genome-wide search for genetic loci linked to mental health wellness in relatives at high risk for bipolar disorder among the Old Order Amish, published by Ginns and colleagues in PNAS(1998).


“Revisiting our work from the late 90s has paid off. There’s a joy of following up linkage work as new information becomes available,” said Robert C. Elston, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Case Western Reserve University.

“I wish for the patient’s sake that we could have put this puzzle together a decade ago, but some of the pieces were not known until more recently,” said Marzena Galdzicka, PhD, clinical assistant professor of pathology at UMMS.

bi8Ginns cautioned that although “we have a good idea of potential novel drug target(s) that could stop symptoms, it’s still unclear what changes along the Shh pathway lead to bipolar disorder.


The Shh pathway involves more than a dozen other molecules, and interacts with over 100 other genes.

brainhealth21It’s likely that other genes or proteins in this pathway may participate in determining the various symptoms and sometimes catastrophic outcomes seen in patients with affective disorders, including suicide.”


Ginns and his collaborators are already working to unravel more details of the puzzle and identify changes in the Shh signaling and related pathways that correlate with disease symptoms.


“Even though the symptoms of bipolar affective disorder can be quite varied and complicated, the underlying genetics might actually have a more simple cause than we could have imagined,” said Ginns.




Please check back next week as I’ll share an interview with Edward I. Ginns, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry at UMMS and lead author of the study.



Interview with Steven Nissen, Cleveland Clinic’s Chairman of Heart Health


February is American Heart Health Month…


No better time to see how vital your heart health is…


Turns out, men need more reminders than women…


A recent Heart Health Survey by the Cleveland Clinic says men are LESS likely to take matters into their own hands…


Men are less likely than women to change their diet…


Even AFTER they’ve had personal experience with heart disease.



Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at Cleveland Clinic is here to tell us why and what else you can do to take good care of your heart.


  • Steven E. Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio is a cardiologist, researcher and patient advocate.

LINK TO INTERVIEW:  http://we.tl/3UYWUxcc4N



Fifty-two percent (52%) have tried a diet in the past year to potentially improve their heart health but chose the wrong diet. 


And, among individuals who either have heart disease or have family members with heart disease the number jumps to 68 percent – with women more likely than men to change their diet due to personal experience (74% vs. 62%).


Even though we know that a diet based on processed food, super-sized fast food, frozen food, fried food and all manner of snacks and desserts is not good for us – it is difficult for many to stick to heart healthy diet. 
Of those surveyed the biggest culprit of unhealthy eating is the convenience of vending machines and/or fast food restaurants followed by lack of time and social gatherings.
And, among those surveyed men are more likely to be negatively impacted by the convenience of unhealthy food options.
While most dietary plans tell you what you can’t eat (usually your favorite foods!), the most powerful nutrition strategies help you focus on what you can and should eat.
In fact, research has shown that adding certain foods to your diet is just as important as cutting back on others.
There are several practical and easy-to follow diet and lifestyle changes that can help significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attack as well as improve your overall health and well-being.
·       Know your fats.  Recent research shows that trans-fats, also known as hydrogenated oils, are harmful, while monounsaturated fats particularly olive oil, appear healthy.
Both polyunsaturated (most vegetable oils) and saturated fats (milk and meat) are neutral. The conventional advice suggesting that saturated fats, such as butter, are harmful doesn’t seem to hold up to careful scrutiny.
·       Eat more unprocessed foods.  Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, fiber and decrease the number of desserts and sweets you eat to a few times per month.
·       Moderation is key.  You can drink alcohol – just be sure to imbibe in moderation.
·       Move!  Get moving and do it on a regular basis.
·       Maintain.  Maintain or work to achieve a healthy body weight.
·       Get cholesterol in check.  Be sure to get your cholesterol regularly.
    Nissen graduated high school from the Webb School of California and pursued his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan. He then went on to receive his medical degree from the University of Michigan School of Medicine in Ann Arbor. He completed his internal medicine internship and residency at the University of California, Davis in Sacramento, thereafter completed his cardiology fellowship at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington.


  • Nissen produced the first images in humans in 1990 and began using IVUS to document the ubiquitous prevalence of coronary artery disease.Joining Cleveland Clinic in 1992, Nissen served as Vice-Chairman of the Department of Cardiology (1993–2002), Section Head of Clinical Cardiology (1992–2000) and Director of the Coronary Intensive Care Unit (1992–1997).


  • Starting with linked COX-2 inhibitors, such as Vioxx (rofecoxib) in 2001, Nissen was one of the first physicians to link it to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.  In 2003 Nissen led a Journal of the American Medical Association study, producing evidence that five weekly infusions of ApoA-I Milano/phospholipids complex, a synthetic form of HDL, can possibly remove significant amounts of plaque from coronary arteries. A few years later, in 2005, Nissen re-analyzed the data related to the Bristol-Myers Squibb drug Pargluva (muraglitazar,), an experimental type 2 diabetes drug. In 2006, Dr. Nissen and his co-investigators reported on The ASTEROID trial (A Study to Evaluate the Effect of Rosuvastatin On Intravascular Ultrasound-Derived Coronary Atheroma Burden).

Steven Nissen, MD, is the Chairman of the Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic’s Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute.


He was appointed to this position in 2006 after serving nine years as Vice Chairman of the Department of Cardiology and five years as Medical Director of the Cleveland Clinic Cardiovascular Coordinating Center (C5), an organization that directs multicenter clinical trials.Dr. Nissen’s research during the last two decades has focused on the application of intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) imaging to study the progression and regression of coronary atherosclerosis. He has served as International Principal Investigator for several large IVUS multicenter atherosclerosis trials.


Specialty/Clinical interests: General cardiology, intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), diabetes and the heart, drug safety, coronary intensive care

Dr. Nissen has more than 35 years of experience as a physician. He is world-renowned for his work as a cardiologist, patient advocate and researcher. Equally as significant is his pioneering work in IVUS technology and its use in patients with atherosclerosis. 


Publications and Speaking: Dr. Nissen has written more than 350 journal articles and 60 book chapters, including many published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association. In recent years, he has also written on the subject of drug safety and was the author of manuscripts highlighting concerns about medications such as Vioxx™, Avandia™, and muraglitazar.
He has testified in both the Senate and the House of Representatives on the topic of drug safety as well as the need to reform the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


As a physician/scientist, Dr. Nissen is often called on by pharmaceutical companies to consult on the development of new therapies for cardiovascular disease. He maintains a long-standing personal policy that requires these companies to donate all related honoraria directly to charity.

Dr. Nissen is currently the editor of Current Cardiology Report.  In 2007, he was listed as Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World – Scientists and Thinkers.”


He is heavily involved with the American College of Cardiology (ACC), serving as President from March 2006 to March 2007, a member of the ACC Executive Committee from 2004 to 2008, and spending 10 years as a member of the organization’s Board of Trustees. In addition, Dr. Nissen has served several terms on the Program Committee for the ACC Annual Scientific Sessions.


Dr. Nissen served as a member of the CardioRenal Advisory Panel of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for five years, and as chair of the final year of his membership. He continues to serve as a periodic advisor to several FDA committees as a Special Government Employee.

Dr. Nissen frequently lectures at national and international meetings. He has served as visiting professor, or provided Grand Rounds, at nearly 100 institutions. 
INTERVIEW with Dr. Steven Nissen http://we.tl/3UYWUxcc4N
This interview is courtesy of Cleveland Clinic.
mariabiancodorfner3   Maria Dorfner is the founder of NewsMD Communications and MedCrunch, a division of Healthy Within Network (HWN).

No Flu For You! How To Tell If Your Kid Has the Flu or Worse


It’s that time of year.   Fun.  Fun.  Fun.


In the Cold, Cold, Cold.   Right?  Or NOT.   Freezing temps can lead to not so fun aches from a cold, the flu or worse.


When it’s your child feeling lousy, you’ll want to pay extra attention to their symptoms.

Sniffles.  Sneezes.  Coughs.  Temperatures.
flu5 flu6
Pay attention for wheezing. Dr. Carolyn Clear tells me that’s the warning sign.
 Keeping kids healthy is a priority.
               flu65   flu61 flu60     flu40 flu32    
When kids get sick it can spread to make the whole family miserable.
First, let’s distinguish between a cold or the flu.
Since a lot of folks confuse the two, here is a comparison of symptoms:
Next, let’s look at what to do if you get either:
 How can you tell if your kid has something WORSE than the flu?
TODAY, I talk to Dr. Carolyn Clear fromWest Depford Pediatrics in West Depford, NJ and parent advocate Lindsay Mathis to discuss the flu, RSV, and the differences between the viruses. 
They provide essential information about seasonal viruses and how all parents can protect their children this winter.
Learn how to tell if your child is suffering from flu symptoms or different seasonal contagious virus.   
At the height of winter and cold and flu season, children are at an increased risk for contagious seasonal viruses.
By following a simple checklist, parents can be proactive about their family’s health and renew their commitment to healthy living.
According to the recent announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu is now at epidemic levels, with more than 21 pediatric deaths as a result of the virus across the country.
The CDC says the epidemic is spreading and the number of states with a high amount of influenza-like activity increasing. Children are especially vulnerable.
While the flu and Enterovirus have been at the forefront of the infectious disease conversation, what may not be top-of-mind is RSV, a common virus contracted by nearly 100 percent of babies by their second birthday.
Often mistaken as a common cold, RSV can bring serious complications, is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, and is responsible for approximately 8 times more infant deaths each year than the flu.
Doctors say it’s typical to see a spike in RSV cases in the winter, as we’re in the height of “RSV season,” which typically runs from November through March.
While every baby is at risk of contracting RSV, premature babies are at an increased risk for developing severe RSV disease due to their underdeveloped lungs and immature immune systems.
RSV is very contagious and can live on skin and surfaces for hours.
So parents should remember to:
·       Wash your hands and ask others to do the same
·       Keep toys, clothes, blankets, and sheets clean
·       Avoid crowds and other young children during RSV season
Parents can fulfill their commitment to better health this winter by educating themselves about common circulating viruses and following a simple checklist to help protect their families:
 See your children’s primary care physician for an annual checkup Work with your children’s doctor to determine what seasonal vaccinations, such as the flu vaccine, your children are eligible for.
Know the signs and symptoms of several of the most common winter illnesses, including:
o   Cold
o   Flu
o   Enterovirus
o   Sore throat
o   Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
Remember a strong immune system is built by eating right, avoiding sugars, junk food and processed food, toxic beverages, getting enough sleep each night, daily exercise and good hygiene.
 You CAN make it through with NO flu or virus for you!!!
For more information please visit http://www.rsvprotection.com
headshot1  Maria Dorfner is the founder MedCrunch, a division of Healthy Within Network (HWN).

Type 1 Diabetes Management: GPS for Your Blood Sugar

Kerri Sparling has been living with type 1 diabetes for over 27 years, diagnosed in 1986.
She lives her life by the mantra “Diabetes doesn’t define me, but it helps explain me.”
Diabetes Symptoms: 1. Always tired 2. Frequent urination 3. Sudden unexpected weight loss 4. Wounds that won’t health 5. Sexual problems 6. Always hungry 7. Blurry vision 8. Numbness or tingling hands or feet 9. Always thirsty 10. Recurring bladder, skin, gum or vaginal infections 11. Dry itching skin
See a physician if you experience all or most of those symptoms.
Diabetes is a demanding disease that requires day-to-day and hour-by-hour management.
Eating nutritious foods  is key to diabetics and non-diabetics in order to stay healthy.
Now, there is integrated technology to help millions of Americans living with diabetes better manage their disease.
Kerri Sparling, the author of one of the first and most widely-read diabetes patient blogs Six Until Me talks to MedCrunch about her experience.
Kerri has been living with type 1 diabetes for over 27 years.
Six Until Me is one of the first and most widely-read diabetes patient blogs. http://www.sixuntilme.com
Kerri is joined by diabetes management expert Dr. Korey Hood. Dr. Hood works closely with people with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in clinical, research, and advocacy settings.
 Kerri and diabetes management expert Dr. Korey Hood discuss what this significant approval means for those living with insulin-dependent diabetes.
They discuss diabetes management, the benefits of insulin pump therapy and Continuous Glucose Monitoring technology, features of the pump and how it helps with blood glucose control, and the importance of choice for people living with diabetes

LINK TO INTERVIEW: http://bcove.me/b0pv0g2r

 The Animas® Vibe™ Insulin Pump and Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) System for the management of insulin-requiring diabetes was developed by Animas Corporation. The Animas® Vibe™ System is approved for use for adults over 18 years of age.
As an integrated system, it allows patients to view glucose data and administer insulin right from the pump; simplifying and aiding their ability to make more informed decisions to fine tune insulin delivery and manage their diabetes. The Animas® Vibe™ System is intended to complement, not replace, information obtained from standard home glucose monitoring devices.
For more information, please visit www.animas.com
LINK TO INTERVIEW: http://bcove.me/b0pv0g2r
Kerri is a passionate advocate for all-things diabetes. She is the creator and author of Six Until Me, one of the first and most widely-read diabetes patient blogs, reaching a global audience of patients, caregivers, and industry. Outside of her blog, Kerri’s work can be found at diaTribe, Animas, and in diabetes outreach like JDRF’s Countdown magazine, in addition to her extensive diabetes YouTube channel. Well-versed in social media and its influence on patients, Kerri presents regularly at conferences and works full-time  as a writer and consultant. Her first book, Balancing Diabetes, debuted in Spring 2014.
Korey K. Hood, PhD, works closely with people with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in clinical, research, and advocacy settings. Dr. Hood’s academic position is at Stanford University School of Medicine where he directs NIH- and foundation-funded research projects and provides clinical care aimed at promoting health and quality of life outcomes. Much of this work focuses on building positive coping and problem-solving skills to prevent diabetes distress and depression, and increasing the uptake of diabetes technologies and social media. He is the chair of the American Diabetes Association’s Behavioral Medicine and Psychology Interest Group, has published over 65 peer-reviewed scientific articles, and is passionate about finding a balance between diabetes management with technology and optimal quality of life for people with diabetes.
KERRI SPARLING, Diabetes Advocate and Blogger
DR. KOREY HOOD, Psychologist, Diabetes Expert & Professor of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine

LINK TO INTERVIEW: http://bcove.me/b0pv0g2r

headshot1  Maria Dorfner is the founder of MedCrunch.

Rising Opioid Addiction: What Is It and How to Treat It


More than 2.5 million Americans are opioid dependent and opioid addiction has tripled over a 10-year period.  As the nation’s fastest growing drug problem, the Obama administration calls opioid addiction an epidemic and a major public health and public safety crisis.  But who is suffering may surprise you.
A new survey conducted by the nonprofit organization National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment (NAABT) shows that, while drug addiction may start early on in one’s life, it affects people of all ages and economic standing.  And, not so surprisingly close to 60 percent of respondents’ opioid addiction began with treatment of acute or chronic pain. 
The good news is that novel new treatments may help make it easier for people with addictive disorders to go into remission from this potentially deadly disorder because of more convenient formulations and improved side effect profiles.  Experts hope the options will improve treatment compliance and help patients stay off opioids so they can begin the process of rebuilding their lives.
Unfortunately, the survey also showed that 40 percent of patients who were seeking medical treatment for their addiction did not find a physician for weeks or months, and once they did there was a waiting list for 58 percent of respondents and over 25 percent reported obtaining treatment without a prescription.
For anyone struggling with addiction, experts urge them to get help.
Tim Lepak, president of the nonprofit organization National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment (NAABT)
Richard Soper, MD, JD, MS, FASAM, Diplomat- ABAM; has treated, consulted, advised, taught, mentored and counseled for over eighteen years in private practice, Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Soper is founding editor and current Editor-in-Chief of the American Society of Addiction Medicine e-weekly news journal with 16,000 subscribers.  His areas of expertise include childhood trauma, psychopharmacology of addiction, the scientific basis of addiction, substance abuse and medical-legal issues of treatment and addiction. He currently serves on several regional and national medical organizations committees and advisory boards.
Click here http://we.tl/GNfQCyS8KA for answers to:
·       What is an opiate and why is it so addictive?
·       Who is suffering from opioid dependence and why the surge in recent years?
·       Why is opioid addiction so difficult to treat?  Why do so many patients relapse?
·       How is opioid dependence treated? What can you tell us about new treatment options?
·       Why is it so difficult for some patients to find doctors who can/will prescribe this new class of drugs?
·       How do you know if you or someone you love is experiencing an active addiction to opioids?
·       What is the first step someone can take if they think they’re experiencing an active addiction to opioids?
·       Where can our viewers/listeners go to for more information?
 Visit www.naabt.org for more tips and information on available resources as well as more detailed survey results. Click here for interview with experts discussing how to overcome opioid dependence:  http://we.tl/GNfQCyS8KA
Stay healthy!  -Maria
 headshot1     MARIA DORFNER is the founder of MedCrunch, a division of Healthy Within Network (HWN).

10 Cold Weather Safety Tips


As temperatures drop this winter, the American Red Cross offers ten steps people can take to stay safe.

1. Layer up! Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing your body heat.

2. Don’t forget your furry friends. Bring pets indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.

3. Remember the three feet rule. If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.

4. Requires supervision – Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.

5. Don’t catch fire! If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.

6. Protect your pipes. Run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.

7. Better safe than sorry. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.

8. The kitchen is for cooking. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.

9. Use generators outside. Never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.

10. Knowledge is power. Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.

For more information on how to stay safe during the cold weather, visit winter storm safety.

We’ll add make sure to use moisturize with SPF.  Snow reflects the sun and you can still get burned by sun or wind. Cover all exposed skin to prevent frostbite.  Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.  Questions? Write to us in comments below.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
About MedCrunch:
MedCrunch covers what’s hot in health for consumers and is a division of Healthy Within Network (HWN).
Maria Dorfner is the founder of Healthy Within Network.  You can follow her @Maria_Dorfner or @DorfnerMaria
A few of her credits include being asked to create and host a health series for NBC Universal, writing and producing 21st Century Medicine documentary series for the Discovery Health Channel, developing, senior producing and co-hosting medical programming for CNBC (her program was the highest revenue generating one for 3 years airing weekly on CNBC), health and special projects producer for NBC Miami, launching CCNS (the Cleveland Clinic News Service), helped launch MedPage Today, Healthology, CNBC and NewsMD Communications, working as a reporter for the nationally-syndicated series, Top Cops on CBS (first reality show) pilot and series, and director of research and producer for Roger Ailes production company.  She is the author of 3 books including Healthy Within.  Her production company, NewsMD provides media training, marketing, publicity and PR services. Her clients have included a Who’s Who in health brands.