The fresh-air solution | Health Beat

A fan serves well to pipe in fresh air from nearby windows, a great strategy to cut down on contamination. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

Americans have by now fine-tuned their core approaches to good health amid the COVID-19 pandemic—washing hands, maintaining physical distance and wearing masks.

But one other area may be worth a starring role in this saga: air quality.

With cold temperatures on the way, experts say we may want to think carefully about the air we breathe at indoor locations where people gather.

A crowded and poorly ventilated space may up the odds of contracting COVID-19 or other viruses, such as the seasonal flu.

Proper ventilation can be a challenge, even in the most high-tech of contemporary buildings.

“Ventilation is essentially when you intentionally introduce fresh air—external air—into a space to dilute the potential particles that could be harmful,” said Gustavo Cumbo-Nacheli, MD, a Spectrum Health

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Building the baby-safe world | Health Beat

Car seats should go in the rear seats whenever possible. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

With sweater weather upon us, fall activities are getting into full swing.

That means plenty of fun activities with school, sports and outdoors. It’s a perfect time to keep safety top of mind while out and about with family.

When it involves small children—babies especially—there’s plenty to scrutinize when it comes to safety.

Here’s a look at some critical areas.

Car seats

Michigan law requires your baby to be in a car seat. The Child Passenger Safety Law says that children younger than age 4 should ride in a car seat in the rear seat—if the vehicle has a rear seat. If all available rear seats are occupied by children under 4, then a child under 4 may ride in a car seat in the front seat.

A child in a rear-facing car seat may only

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Plan to rake? Don’t fall into trouble | Health Beat

Be mindful of your posture and equipment when raking and you’ll likely spare yourself some aches and pains. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

Jumping in piles of leaves can be great fun, but raking them up afterward can leave you with an aching back.

Each year, more than 76,000 Americans are hurt while raking leaves or using other manual garden tools. That’s according to The Center for Physical Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine.

One reason why these injuries may occur is that raking leaves forces people to use several different muscle groups, the center explained. But certain precautions can help people doing yard work avoid these injuries.

Sports medicine and physical rehabilitation specialists advise taking the following steps:

  • Warm up and cool down. Just like any physical activity, it’s important to warm up before raking leaves. It’s also a good idea to stretch first. Try trunk rotation, shoulder and wrist stretches. Once
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