Traditional Education: Does ‘later’ always mean ‘greater’?

Traditional education is, at its core, the most commonly practised form of education throughout much of the world.  This term refers to a back-to-basics way of teaching, where a single instructor (or perhaps an instructor with an aide, for larger classes) speaks to a group of students who are seated at desks or tables.  This teacher-driven type of education has been called into question in recent years, with some groups hoping to reform the educational system and provide students with a task-oriented learning environment that is not so rigidly structured.  This means that teachers must rethink their strategies and try to determine where they and their methods fall in the world of new education reform.

 

“Old School” Educational Methods

For a long time, education has been centered around traditional “old school” methods of providing students with information.  To this day, several of these methods are still used in the classroom, but they are becoming much less commonplace.  For example, English and vocabulary lessons are no longer based on the study of root words and phonics, as they once were.  Students of the past learned new vocabulary words by identifying their roots and thinking about where they could have come from.  The word “questionable,” for example, has a root word of “question,” which can lead a student to make a good guess as to what the word means.

Math, too, was once taught much differently than it is today.  Students were required to memorize their times tables when they learned multiplication, and classrooms were filled with math pupils who recited, in unison, simple multiplication based on number families.  Some schools even went so far as to have students write their times tables by hand over and over again to ingrain the information into their minds.

Even handwriting has fallen to the wayside and is no longer explored in the classroom the way it used to be.  Students are no longer taught cursive writing at all, save for in certain private schools, and penmanship is not a subject that is graded by teachers any longer.  Students are allowed to write in whatever hand they develop, so long as it is somewhat legible by the teacher.

 

New Methods of Teaching

There are many ways in which teachers are moving from these traditional, teacher-centered ways of presenting students with information and into a more hands-on, student-driven educational environment.  Perhaps the largest of these new methods is student engagement.  This refers to a teacher giving students basic information and then engaging them in a conversation about the subject matter.  Students learn analytical skills by thinking about the facts they have been given and working toward understanding why things happen the way they do, and how the information pertains to them and their personal lives.

Engagement also refers to giving students hands-on experience in any given subject.  Field trips are much more common in an engagement-driven classroom, and students visit locations where they can watch real world applications of the subjects they learn in school.  Even a local business office can be a great field trip location for students who want to see how math, communication, or other subjects can affect their adult lives.

Some teachers are beginning to adopt a concept called spaced learning for information presentation in the classroom.  This works with the short attention spans of today’s students by combining a small amount of rote memorization with plenty of fun activities to keep the brain moving.  In a spaced learning classroom, a teacher sets aside about an hour to an hour and a half of class time to focus on a subject.  The information is taught to the students first for about fifteen minutes, in a condensed format.  Students then break for a physical activity that lasts ten minutes, before returning to hear the same information repeated in the same order for another fifteen minutes.  The ten-minute physical activity break is repeated, and finally, the fifteen minutes of information is repeated once more to solidify the learning experience.

Spaced learning may seem a little strange at first, but it is a great way to keep students interested in the topic at hand by providing them frequent mental breaks.  The repetition of the information helps keep the subject fresh in their minds, and the physical activity keeps them from getting bored and losing focus.

 

Why Should Teachers Be Current?

It is very important for teachers to remain up to date with current trends in educational practices.  Prepared teachers who are willing to try new methods of helping students learn are some of the greatest teachers out there, and the results from their classrooms will surely prove that.  Continuing education courses as well as lectures from successful teachers can provide plenty of opportunity for educators to learn about new methods for their own classrooms.  As society and children change throughout the years, the needs of students and their ability to focus and pay attention also changes.  It is vital for teachers to be ready to combat these changes with a dynamic strategy for their lessons.

Teachers Will Soon Celebrate the 100th Day of School

We all look forward to little milestones in life as they tell us when we’ve reached our goals.  Lately, it’s been a trend of some teachers and students to celebrate the 100th day of School.

The 100th day falls exactly on the 100th day of the school year and is an important milestone for both teachers, and students. This makes it a fantastic reason for celebration and the perfect excuse for taking some extra time to teach all things ‘100’.

Why not try some of our ideas for celebrating the 100th day in the classroom?

You could have your students:

  • Look at a collection of 100 things
  • Do ten sets of exercises (eg: star jumps, sit-ups etc.) and count them as they go
  • Do 100-piece puzzles
  • Make fruit loop jewellery using 100 pieces of cereal
  • Build a paper chain using 100 strips of paper
  • Collect 100 coins for charity
  • Write what they would do with $100
  • Blow up 100 balloons
  • See if they can name 100 countries

We periodically release shirt designs just for this special day.

Is this something you’re doing at your school?

How do you celebrate? Comment below to tell us how you like to celebrate the 100th day of School!

10 Healthy Living Tips For Winter Health

In winter, holiday spirits may be up, but general health tends to be on the decline. It’s not hard to see why—between the freezing weather, increased travel, and busy schedules, most of us aren’t making self-care a priority at this time of year.

But to get through the coldest months in good health, it takes a little extra effort. Keep yourself happy and healthy during the winter with these 10 tips:

 

  1. Boost your Vitamin D
    Vitamin D is known for its powers to bolster heart health, mental well-being, immunity, and even the condition of your skin. But as the sun gets scarce in winter, it gets harder to soak up this vital nutrient naturally.

You can take a supplement, but getting your vitamins naturally is best. One option is to eat more fatty fish such as wild salmon (farmed varieties pack less vitamin D punch). Or, look to improve your health by losing five percent of your body weight to get your body to boost your vitamin D for you. Exercising or lowering your cholesterol will also help you make up your winter D-ficiency.

 

  1. Get vaccinated
    There’s enough fear of needles that many are more afraid of getting the flu vaccine than they are of getting the flu. But consider this: In 2014 in alone, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimated the vaccination averted about 7.2 million illnesses, 3.1 million doctor’s visits, and 90,000 hospitalizations.

If you’re afraid of needles, consider the nasal spray, which is just as effective with out the prick. And remember—getting the vaccine doesn’t just protect you, but it helps promote herd immunity, which protects everyone around you, too.

 

  1. Wash your hands frequently
    Winter is a season where people travel more, spend more time cooped up together, and immune systems are down. Washing your hands is the best way to protect yourself from getting sick or passing germs on to those around you.

Always use soap when washing your hands, and rub them together for at least 20 seconds. If you want an extra line of defense between washes, consider an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

 

  1. Exercise
    It may be harder to motivate yourself to exercise in winter, but it’s especially important this time of year. In addition to the obvious fitness benefits, exercise can boost your vitamin D, keep your mood up, and strengthen your immune system.

So get up and hit the pavement in the morning. Or, wait for the rest of the family to wake up and hit the ice skating rink together.

 

  1. Eat a healthy breakfast
    Starting your day with a healthy meal can help stave off winter cravings—as well as the temptations of holiday parties.

A bowl of balanced carbs like oatmeal or porridge is especially good for winter, as it loads you up on healthy starches and fiber that can boost your energy while helping you feel fuller longer. Avoid sugar, and flavor your bowl with fresh or dried fruit and nuts instead.

 

  1. Make time to de-stress
    Winter, particularly the holidays, can be an especially stressful time for many. But it’s also the time of year that stress can hurt you the most, lowering your immune system and weighing down your mood even more than the cold weather alone.

To combat stress, take fish oil supplements (proven to reduce anxiety by up to 20 percent), be sure to give yourself downtime, and consider adding meditation to your regular routine.

 

  1. Stay hydrated
    Getting your eight glasses of water in each day can help address many of winter’s big health issues, from stress to fighting off disease, and even helps to keep your skin looking great.

 

  1. Consume more dairy
    Go-to dairy staples like milk, yogurt and cheese offer a strong foundation for winter health. Get your daily servings in for craving-stifling protein, bone-strengthening calcium, and a germ-battling army of vitamins and minerals.

 

  1. Fighting the holiday blues
    A lot of people get down during the winter months. Often, it’s simply hard for reality to live up to the romanticized holiday vision society builds up for us. On top of that, the end of the year prompts people to take stock of where their lives are—and where they’re not.

To lift yourself out of a case of the blues, focus on what you’re grateful for, take good care of yourself, and consider volunteering for a cause. Even better, plan a vacation. The anticipation has been shown to improve moods as far ahead as two months.

But if you suspect you suffer from clinical depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), talk to a psychologist.

 

  1. Catch up on sleep
    Though we’re supposed to get seven to nine hours of sleep a night, most of us get an average six and a half.

But in the darker, colder months of winter, our bodies naturally crave more sleep than usual. Go with it, and let your body catch up on missed REMs.

 

 

A Little Self-Care Goes a Long Way

Winter is a season with its own set of challenges … from the stress of the holiday bustle to the latest round of the flu. But a little self-care can go a long way to keep you healthy all season long. Make the effort to stay healthy and you can enjoy all the fun winter has to offer.

Start Green Fundraising

Schools and non – profits have to raise money to keep themselves running. One tried and true way to do it is by selling products throughout your community. But the standard wrapping papers and cookies are not exactly green—or healthy. Besides, everyone else is pushing these same products too.

Instead, consider standing out from the crowd and extending the positive impact of each buy with environmentally friendly products.

These days, there’s plenty of eco-friendly twists on this traditional fundraising model, and options range widely, from chocolates to cleaning supplies to green equivalents of classic fundraising staples.

 

Take a look at these great green fundraising options:

 

Jewellery

Green fundraising company Nature’s Vision offers environment and wildlife-themed jewellery, along with a slew of other accessories, tees, and bags. Order using the forms and helpful promotional materials on the website, and collect a percentage of every sale you make.

 

Pampering

Among its many product offerings, Greenraising offers a line of environmentally friendly personal care products. Just encourage your community to shop on the website, and designate your organization as the beneficiary of their purchases.

 

Treats

Treats can be guilt-free when they’re Fair Trade. Irresistible options include Divine Fair Trade chocolates or Grounds for Change Fair Trade coffee.

 

Wrapping Paper

If you want a more traditional fundraiser, take a look at Mother Earth Fundraising’s 100% recycled wrapping papers, gift bags and cards. Your loyal customers won’t even miss your old standbys.

 

Recycle

If pushing products is not your organization’s style, you can still earn by taking environmentally friendly actions. For example, Terracycle lets organizations profit for collecting and recycling waste items such as empty product bottles, baby food containers, and much more. Earth Tone Solutions lets organizations profit for recycling empty printer cartridges.

 

Go Green, Make Green
With so many organizations in a constant battle for those fundraising dollars, a unique green product can help you stand out from the crowd, while offering an extra incentive to give. These are only a few great options for running your own green fundraiser—there’s plenty of ideas out there to meet any need. Get out there and take your organization green!

60 Class Projects for Art Teachers

It is well known among teachers that children respond well to art. Whether they are simply looking at it, learning about it or creating it, using art in the classroom is a fantastic way to get kids engaged and offers many benefits for their development.

According to studies, children who regularly participate in art are more likely to achieve academically, and are more likely to score higher marks in standardized testing. Studies also show that children enjoy coming to school to participate in art lessons as they enjoy the hands on focus of art lessons and producing pieces which they can take home and show off.

Art offers a very tangible sense of achievement for children –they learn the skills required, study the techniques and then produce something which demonstrates what they can do, to their audience (usually parents or grandparents). It helps to build confidence and encourages students to think positively about their education and about what they are capable of doing. Art is also a fantastic way to foster creativity in children young and old and helps them to develop their critical thinking skills as they learn to observe, analyse and synthesize the world through an artistic lens.

Statistically, engagement in art is linked to higher test scores, lower drop-out rates at high school level and increased engagement with their community as an adult. Even if you are not an artistic person, or you are teaching a group of students who are not particularly artistic, you should still consider integrating some art into your classroom. Using art can liven things up and expose your students to character building experiences.

Depending on the level of your students, you may want to try offering a variety of lessons using different mediums.

Here is our list of 60 different art lessons for your classroom.  Try making:

• Nature collages
• Portrait sketches
• Cartoon strips
• Shoe-box puppet theaters
• Finger paintings
• Scrapbooks
• Painting of fruit or vegetables
• Mobiles
• Fairy gardens in an ice cream container
• String art
• Melted crayon art
• Dyed pasta jewelry
• Homemade snow globes
• Paper snowflakes
• Origami
• Paper Mache’
• Paper lanterns
• Paper chains
• Yarn Easter eggs
• Potato stamped paper or fabric
• Decorated newsprint for personalized gift-wrap
• Sock puppets
• Salt dough pinch pots
• Christmas wreaths
• Paper dolls with split pins
• Christmas cookie ornaments
• Homemade greeting cards
• Dyed Easter eggs
• Paper beads
• Clay masks
• Painted national flags
• Create or color in coloring pages
• Picture frames from card
• Fingerprint trees
• Weaved paper coasters
• Button art
• Yarn wrapped letters
• Paint chip bookmarks
• Tie Dyed shirts
• Cups decorated with a sharpie
• Leaf paintings
• Coin rubbings
• Rock paintings
• Geometric drawings
• Foil art
• Paper plate masks
• Puffy paintings
• Bird feeders
• Painted pinecones
• Surrealist glue art
• Mixed media boards
• Milk art
• Modern tin art
• Bottle cap murals
• Body tracings
• Grape and toothpick sculptures
• Leaf printing on fabric
• Air dry dough beads
• Shaving cream marbled paper
• Plaster of Paris sandcasts

Whichever lessons you choose to work on with your class, remember – exposing children to art is not just about teaching them how to recognize a Picasso. It is about exposing young minds to experiences that will change their view of art, and the world.

Fun & Healthy Lunchbox Ideas for Kids

Many studies have proven that children need to eat a nutritious breakfast in order to perform well at school, but what most parents don’t realise is that having a healthy, balanced lunch is just as important.

Children need a nutritious meal in the middle of the day to re-boost their concentration and give them the energy they need to power through the mid-afternoon slump and get the school day finished.

 

School Provided Food

Most schools regularly send home information about what food or meal plans are offered through the cafeteria. Look through the material with your children and plan on the days when your child will eat from the school’s menu, and what days he or she will take a packed lunch. If your child would like to purchase his or her lunch from a school vending machine, be sure to check that they stock healthy choices your child can choose from such as yoghurt, fresh fruit and water.

 

Packed Lunches

Providing a packed lunch for your child can be a fine balancing act. Parents who prepare their children’s lunches realise that they are playing an important role in their child’s diet, and overall health.

Studies have shown that children who are healthy and eat well balanced meals tend to out-perform those who do not, particularly in school. This means that it is important to ensure that each lunch is healthy and filling, providing an opportunity for your child to do their best at school.

A nutritionally balanced diet should contain a mixture of the following:

 

  • A filling, starchy food such as bread, rice, pasta
  • A food high in protein such as egg, meat or beans
  • One or two serves of fruit or vegetables
  • A low fat dairy item such as cheese of yoghurt

 

These items can be made fresh, or can even be made up from leftovers. Whatever you use, make sure you add variety – mot children do not enjoy eating the same things every day so play around with the following ideas and introduce them to some healthy new foods:

  • Carrot or celery sticks with hummus
  • Trail mixes
  • Wholegrain pretzel sticks with herbed cream cheese
  • Granola bars
  • Fruit salad
  • Cheese cubes
  • Fruit and nut quinoa
  • Beef jerky
  • Tapioca pudding
  • Fresh fruit and yoghurt
  • A few small squares of dark chocolate
  • Homemade sushi
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Air popped popcorn
  • Sugar snap peas and sour cream dip
  • Fruit or vegetable kebabs
  • Pickles with tzatziki dip
  • Mini muffins
  • English muffin pizzas
  • Pasta salad
  • Unsweetened apple sauce
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Apple slices with peanut butter
  • Mini pancakes with honey
  • Filled pita bread
  • Sliced bell pepper and salsa
  • Rice salad
  • Meat roll ups

These simple, healthy ideas will boost your child for an active afternoon and will fuel their bodies to support their learning.

 

If you are providing a packed lunch, be sure to also keep these tips in mind:

  • Always pack lunches the night before – that way you won’t be tempted to quickly add packets of processed foods because you are rushing.
  • Ensure that your child’s lunch box or bag is clearly named in case it gets lost.
  • Involve your kids in the lunch-making process. Having your child help you will help to teach them about making healthy choices and will increase the likelihood that they eat their lunch, since they helped put it together themselves.
  • Think about what packaging you will use. Most schools now prefer ‘rubbish-free’ lunches which means using small reusable containers. Just make sure they can open them independently, and that they are secure and won’t leak.
  • Don’t give into peer pressure. Children are masters at telling parents what the other children are having in their lunch. Only you know what is right for your child – go with your gut.
  • Be creative! Kids love tiny portions, fun shapes and variety! Experiment with cookie cutters, toothpicks and make sure the lunchbox contains a variety of color to keep them interested.

How To Thank Your Contributors

In a study of 50 nonprofits and 2 million contributors detailed by Fundraiser123.org, as much as 70 percent of nonprofits had not followed up with contributors a month after their donation. Thirty-seven percent never even emailed a thank-you at all.

When your nonprofit sends a timely thank-you, it stands out in a compelling way. It also motivates contributors to develop a bond with your organization.

According to NonprofitMarketingGuide.com, 65 percent of first-time contributors never give a nonprofit a second donation. However, 80 percent of those one-time contributors said a prompt thank-you could have persuaded them to give again.

Those two simple words, “thank you,” are very powerful. But it’s not enough to know the value of a thank-you. How you thank contributors matters, too.

Here are some tips to make sure your thank-you’s to contributors resonates. 

  • Send a card
    When selecting stationery for a thank you note, get away from the organization’s letter template and opt for a card instead—it implies a personal message instead of a business one.
  • Use the person’s name
    This is another important way to be personal with your message. Avoid blanket terms like “donor” or “friend,” and use contributors’ names instead to show people that they matter to you.
  • Show the impact
    In your note, briefly share a success story or recent accomplishment the organization has reached to show how the person’s donation is making a difference. Put the spotlight on the contributor—they have made this accomplishment possible.
  • Extend an invitation
    Encourage the contributor to get more involved by inviting them to an upcoming free event or for a tour of the organization’s work site—but avoid anything that involves additional donations. You could also encourage them to follow you on social media. 
  • Acknowledge past gifts
    If a contributor has a history of giving to your organization, be sure to recognize that. It can be as simple as thanking the contributor for another gift, or you can get creative and show how the person’s cumulative donations have added up for a greater positive impact.
  • Sign from a specific staff member
    Sending a thank-you from an individual in a leadership position at the organization makes the note personal. 

Saying “thank you” to contributors matters—and so does how you say it. To keep contributors motivated to support your cause long-term, send prompt, personal thank-yous within a month of every donation. It’s not just a matter of savvy business practices—it’s also the polite and kind thing to do.

Backpack Safety

With the summer coming to a close, matters such as uniforms, stationery and bus routes are often at the top of any parents mind, as children everywhere start preparing for their return to school. However, one important piece of school equipment is commonly overlooked: the backpack.

While buying whichever backpack is in fashion, or the least expensive might be your first port of call, it is important to keep in mind what the best fit might be for a healthy backpack. Not all backpacks are created equal, and your child will wear whichever pack you choose every day, so it’s worth taking the time to ensure that you have chosen a backpack that will help your child to be comfortable and secure throughout the entire school day.

A backpack is an essential item that no school child can do without but according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, almost 28,000 injuries are treated in emergency rooms each year due to wearing backpacks. The following are our tips for ensuring that your child’s backpack is the best fit. A child wearing an inadequate backpack or wearing one incorrectly can lead to muscle strains, pain and fatigue.

Get your child started off on the right foot this school year by making sure they have the right backpack, and know how to wear it properly.

 

Buying

  • When buying a backpack, choose one with wide, padded straps and a padded back. The padding will provide additional support and stop the straps from digging into your child’s shoulders when the backpack is full
  • If the school allows it, consider purchasing a rolling backpack – this will give your child some respite from wearing it all the time if it contains a heavy load. Just make sure that the backpack fits into your child’s locker
  • Choose a backpack that is no wider or longer than your child’s torso. Have your child try the backpack on and check that it fits from around two inches below your child’s shoulder blades to their waist
  • Make sure your child can stand straight with the backpack on – if they lean forward when the backpack is on then it doesn’t fit them correctly
  • If you purchase a backpack online, make sure there is a return policy just in case it fits your child poorly and needs to be exchanged
  • Consider choosing a backpack with a hip belt – these help to relieve some of the weight, particularly taking it off the shoulders and neck
  • According to studies, almost 80 percent of school children think their bag is too heavy. Don’t purchase a larger bag, hoping it will last longer – buy a bag that is size appropriate for your child’s age
  • Take into account the weight of the bag before you buy it – canvas and cotton bags weigh less than leather
  • Make sure the backpack has a drink bottle holder on the outside to avoid spillage and consequent problems such as stains or mildew

 

Wearing

  • Don’t overload backpacks with unnecessary items. Make sure it has all the essentials but does not weight more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s overall body weight.
  • If your child has a lot of heavy books to carry, encourage them to leave as much as they can in their locker or desk while at school, and leave any unnecessary items at home. If this is not possible, offset some of the weight by using a book bag which can be carried separately
  • Make good use of all the compartments in a backpack so that the weight is distributed as evenly as possible. Properly utilising compartments also makes it easier for kids to find the things they need quickly
  • If your child is carrying heavier items, make sure they are packed as close to the back as you can, in the center of the bag
  • Don’t allow your child to sling their backpack over one shoulder – both straps should be used to avoid straining muscles and causing poor posture

 

If you notice anything unusual about your child when they are wearing their backpack, check it. Changes in posture, pain, red markings, numbness or difficulty taking the bag off or on can all be signs that the backpack is too heavy or is inadequate.

 

 

 

Relay For Life

Image by SOMBILON PHOTOGRAPHY
Image by SOMBILON PHOTOGRAPHY

The Relay for Life is a cornerstone fundraising event organized by the American Cancer Society. This overnight walk/run event is sure to challenge and inspire.

It’s also a great way to support the fight against cancer.

Relay for Life brings 4 million people together each year across 20 countries to fight against cancer with funds to promote awareness, research and treatment.

What to expect
Relay for Life is an overnight event, often stretching for 24 hours in total, and usually takes place on a running track. Teams work together to keep a representative walking or running on the track at all times during the event—because cancer never sleeps.

Meanwhile, participants and supporters camp out along the sidelines as they celebrate survivors, remember those lost, and fight back by raising awareness and funds for the cause.

Take a lap
Every Relay for Life event starts with three walks around the track. The first lap is a Survivor Lap—cancer survivors are invited to walk together around the track to celebrate that they have overcome the disease. For the second lap, caregivers for cancer patients are honored as they walk together. In the third lap, all team members are invited to take to the track to kick off the Relay together. 

Other traditions
The Relay for Life is more than a fitness accomplishment—it challenges and inspires. Throughout the night, teams and others support the walkers while partaking in family games, activites and entertainment.

One popular activity that often takes place during a Relay for Life event is a Luminaria Ceremony. During this nighttime activity, participants light candles and/or luminaria bags to remember those who passed away from cancer, as well as those who are fighting it now.

The event closes with the Fight Back Ceremony. During this closing ceremony, All team members take a final lap together, and pledge to take action to raise awareness and funds for cancer research, treatments and prevention.

Help fight back against cancer
With events in more than 5,200 communities all over teh world each year, Relay for Life raises over $400 million annually for American Cancer Society’s life-saving work to prevent and treat cancers of all kinds.

Are you ready to Relay? Find a Relay for Life event near you here.

Most Common Summer Allergies

most common summer allergies
Image by Alex Graves

For most of us, summer brings bright sun, hot days, and great times at the beach and neighborhood BBQs. But for some, summer can be prime allergy season.

To help you battle unwelcome stuffed noses, itchy skin, hives, and more, here are some of the most common allergies that aggravate people during the summer season:

1. Pollen
One of the most infamous allergy culprits out there, many of pollen’s worst perpetrators flourish in the summer. While in the spring pollen mostly comes from trees and flowers, in the summer, it’s from weeds such as ragweed.

If you’re allergic to pollen, you’re likely to experience symptoms including congestion, itchy eyes, sneezing, and/or coughing at this time of year.

2. Stings & Bites
Bees, wasps and other bugs come out in this season. No one likes to get stung, but for some of us, a stinger can cause a much bigger problem than for others—for some, it’s life-threatening.

To reduce your risk, limit your time outside. Don’t linger outside with uncovered food, especially sugary ones like soda that will draw bees and other bugs in. Those with very serious or life-threatening allergies should carry a self-care kit (such as an Epi-Pen) at all times and wear a MedicAlert bracelet.

3. Mold
If your reactions kick in later in the summer or early into fall, the trigger might be mold. This summer-to-fall transition time is when some types of mold spore—in fact, it can be an even greater allergy issue than pollen.

Mold allergies trigger symptoms very similar to pollen—if you’ve got an itchy eyes, nose or throat; sneezing; or congestion, it could be a mold allergy.

4. Poison Ivy
Leaves of three, let it be—this helpful Boy Scouts mnemonic device can help you avoid poison ivy’s itchy and highly spreadable rash.

Reactions to poison ivy can be very tame or quite extreme, and can take from a few hours to a full week to show. But most people are at least a little allergic, and you won’t know how much until you’re experiencing it.

If you get it, wash the exposed area immediately with soap and water. Contain the rash by resisting the urge to scratch, applying hydrocortisone cream to it, and keeping the rash covered with a bandage.

If touching poison ivy leads to difficulty breathing or swallowing, swelling, or the rash covers most of your body, get to the ER immediately.

5. Sunscreen
Sunscreens are essentially a combination of chemicals, so it may not be not surprising it could trigger an allergy. It’s actually a fairly rare allergy, but certainly a good one to know about, if you do.

A sunscreen allergy can be caused by blocking agents in the sunscreen, or even a fragrance that has been added to it. Regardless of the cause, look for symtoms such as itching or a rash/blisters on the skin. If you experience these kinds of symptoms, try a hypoallergenic formulas. If the reaction still persists, see a doctor.

Bear in mind that sometimes the reaction only occurs when the formula touches the skin and there is also sun exposure—so if you applied on your shoulders and then put a t-shirt on, you may only get a rash on your forearms.

To address this kind of allergic reaction, wash the area with soap and water to remove the sunscreen. Then, apply a cortisone cream or oral antihistamine to help relieve itching and swelling. Avoid the sun until healed.

Don’t Let Allergies Hold You Back
Summer allergies are common, but they don’t have to stop your fun! Most allergies treatable with simple over-the-counter treatments, but always talk to your doctor before self-medicating, and make sure you fully understand your risks.