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Valerie Paxton

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Valerie Paxton is a co-founder of AllegroMedical.com and lives in Phoenix, AZ. In 1997 she set out with her business partner, Craig Hood to form Allegro Medical - a company dedicated to helping people lead more independent and healthy lives. They poured their knowledge and experience into AllegroMedical.com and now have more than 1 million customers nationwide. Valerie has a degree in Journalism from the University of Nebraska and has spent most of her career in communications, marketing, PR, and investor relations. She enjoys giving advice, mentoring, volunteering, writing, reading, cooking, telling funny stories, healthy eating, her cocker spaniel Honey, her boyfriend Todd, hiking, kayaking, jokes and world travel. Follow Valerie on Twitter at http://twitter.com/vpaxton

Allegro is celebrating ‘Patient Safety Week’, the week of March 9th, with an eye towards safety products for everyone, including patients. Besides making your life easier, many of these simple products will help avoid slip-n-falls, accidents and household injuries or even death.

Caregivers, we know that you’re exhausted most of the time and your job is difficult no matter what the situation.  Here are some products that will relieve some of the stress, improve the independence of your patient, resident or loved one and make everyone’s environment safer.

Gait & Transfer Belts – A gait belt is a safety device that goes around someone’s waist and aids the caregiver in moving the person from one place to another, like from a chair to the bed.  It can also be used to help hold a weak person up while they walk.  The belt, when used right, reduces strain on the caregivers back and keeps the patient from falling over.  How do you use a gait belt?  The belt goes outside the person’s clothing with the buckle in front.  Thread the belt through the buckle and lock it in place.  Make sure it fits snuggly, but with room for your fingers under it.  Always bend your knees and keep your back straight when helping to lift or move someone.  Don’t twist.  Lift with your arms and legs, not your back. 

 

Transfer Devices – These safety boards and discs come in all shapes, forms and price ranges.  Essentially, a transfer device helps someone slide from one place to another or, pivot to one position or another.  They are great for transfering someone from a chair to the tub or commode, or in and out of bed, or in and out of the car, etc.  There are also Patient Turners and Boosters to painlessly and easily move them in bed.

 

Post-Surgery – Recover safely and comfortably with products designed to accomodate your special needs.  We also have safety products for bedridden and post- knee replacement and hip replacement surgeries.

 

Bathroom Assists – I can’t guess how many injuries and fatalities could be avoided if the bathrooms had been equipped with a few simple products!   Choose from a variety of shower chairs & bath benches, toilet safety frames, bath mats and grab bars to get your bathroom up to snuff in one fell swoop.  Oh, and if you’ve ever wondered where to find those non-slip strips to stick on the bottom of your bathtub, they are called bath safety treads.

 

Mobility Items – If they can walk, but they’re weak or unstable you may consider a cane, rollator, standard walker or wheeled walker.  For knee surgeries and other special situations, check out our selection of specialty walkers and pediatric walkers.

 

Transport Wheelchairs – an easy and safe way to get from here to there, especially during travel and outings.

 

Syringe Disposal – Get all of your Sharps containers at Allegro for safe containment, transport and disposal of needles, lancets & syringes.

 

Bed Rails – No more worry about falling out of bed!  Great for kids or the elderly.

 

  Child Safety – Let us help you keep your kids safe in the home, car and when you’re out and about.  We have unique safety gizmos  that even you parents-of-the-year probably haven’t imagined.

Personal Protection – For everyone’s sake, keep the germs and other critters at bay. 

See more safety and general care products in our Patient Care, Personal Care, Daily Living Aids, Children/Pediatric and Maternity Care categories.

Take care!  -v

Monday March 2nd kicked off the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s MS Awareness Week.  The Society is asking for your support and involvement to help move toward a world free of MS.  Their website offers many ways to contribute your time, skills, funds or ideas to benefit those with MS.

Are you ready to move it?  Find out how at the National MS Society Website.  Thanks for your help.  Spread the word!

Related Resources:

*  Living with MS?  Thousands of Americans living with Multiple Sclerosis shop at Allegro Medical to find products to make their lives easier.  View all MS Products.

*  Don’t take your ability to MOVE IT for granted.  Read Hey, you…yeah you…MOVE IT to start moving like a kid again.

I don’t want to sound all drill sergeanty, but there are a lot of you that can move a whole lot more than you are, but you’re not.   If you’re tired of feeling stagnant and tight, it’s time to make a change.

Remember when you were a kid?  You didn’t just walk or run… or jog.  You raced, rolled, flailed, wiggled, nodded, skipped, tromped, flopped, kicked and twirled.  You dove, jumped, shimmied, hopped and scooted.  Yippeee!!!  Most of us felt free and happy and full of energy.  Even if you weren’t such a pretty sight, no one thought twice about seeing you snake through the grass, cannonball into the pool or leap through the air.  Even those with limited movement… moved.

Then, life happened.  You grew up.  You stopped moving like that – for fun, I mean.  Now, you move when you have to or because someone told you to.  Where is the fun in that? 

Do any of these situations apply to you?

1.  It was called ‘playing’ when you were little but later it became ‘exercise’.  So you stopped…

2.  Eventually it wasn’t cool to do cartwheels through the living room or shoulder rolls off the picnic table in the park.  So you stopped…

3.  You weren’t very good at organized sports or structured excercise,  or you were embarrassed to try/continue.  So you stopped…

4.  You have a disability that you think prevents you from “moving”.  So you don’t…

5.  Your have no rhythm and feel like a goofball when you dance or do aerobics.  So you don’t…

6.  You used to work out, but now you’re too busy and can’t get back in the groove.

7.  You think you need to join a class or go to the gym for permission to move.

8.  You want to move more, but you just don’t know how or where.

9.  You have a sore back…knees…hips…whatever.  WHATever.

10.  You’d rather sit around and watch tv or play video games.

Okay, I get it.  But c’mon.  Wouldn’t it be nice to move a little, for fun?  It’s time to get out of your head, out of your bed, off the couch and into the groove.  Let’s break it down.

Everyone knows the health benefits of exercise.  There are plenty.  I’m not going to get into that.  All I’m asking is that every time you think about it… just move.  Even if it is nothing more than stretching or adjusting your position.  Or how about breathing deeper?  Try it.  In through the nose, out through the mouth… 

Try waving your arms in the air, or wiggling your butt when no one is looking (or when everyone is looking).  Sing “I like to move it, move it.  I like to move it, move it.” while doing the sphynx across the floor.  Move your head from side to side, or back to front.  Stretch your hands and wiggle your fingers.  Laugh and giggle, expanding your chest.

More?  Scrunch your butt cheeks together over and over while you’re sitting at a stop light.  Do little tummy crunches while you’re still in bed in the morning, before you get up.  Take the stairs.  Park farther away from the entrance.  Walk the course instead of taking the cart.

Next thing you know you’ll be breathing easier and feeling stronger.   You’ll be taking walks after dinner or making up a goofy dance while getting dressed in the morning.   Then you’ll be turning off the tv and turning up the music so you can dance around the house…in your undies (okay, I’m getting out of hand, I know.)  But I tell you, movement is liberating!!  It doesn’t have to be structured or organized at all.  It can be just you feeling like shaking your groove thing.  How’s that for freedom? 

I was moved to write this because this week is National Multiple Sclerosis Week.  Several of my good friends have MS and through their struggles I see what it means to be able to move and how precious it is.  We take it for granted.  The MS Society’s slogan is “move it.”  They are asking people to help them move toward a world free of MS through various opportunities such as “Walk MS”, “Bike MS”, along with donation and volunteer opportunities.   Very clever.  We encourage you to learn more.

What’s got YOU stifled?  For me, although I hike and/or walk every day, I noticed that I just don’t move outside of a certain range anymore.  Hip shaking and arm wiggling are no longer in my daily vocabulary of movement, so to speak, and my range of motion is getting limited.  I don’t take the many, many opportunities I have every day to stretch and kick and twirl.  I don’t make enough grand gestures.  That stops now.  Now, I’m a stretcher and a kicker and a twirler.  Now, I make big, bold gestures.  Join me!  Put a sign on your mirror, you desk, your tv and your fridge reminding you to MOVE IT.

Need some props?  Check out Allegro’s 10 Products Under $20 to Get You Moving.

Right now I’m going to do lunges all the way to the bathroom.  Yes I am.  Here at work, past everyone’s desk.  I will get some laughs, and I’ll probably lose my balance for sure, but what the heck.  I’m moving!!  How do you move it?  Tell me below, please.

Thanks for being an Allegro customer.  We appreciate the business.

Hopefully you’ve read my blog Hey, you…yeah you…MOVE IT! and you’re ready to start moving and stretching.  Check these out:

1.  Fitball Exercise Balls – One of our most popular products, these burst-resistant balls are the ones you see in commercial gyms.  You can do all kinds of things with this ball, including fall off of it if you’re not careful.  Don’t ask me how I know this.  For the young at heart (or for a little more stability) consider the FitBALL Hop Balls.   With a weight capacity of 600 lbs., who says these are only for kids?  There is a lot of bounce in these balls.  Is there still some bounce in you?  See all Exercise Balls/Rolls.

 

2.  Thera-Band Resistance Bands – Just like the ones in the gym, now you can have your own at home.  Pull ’em, stretch ’em, take ’em on a trip.  They’ll make your body stronger and more flexible.  Plus, they’re inexpensive, fun and durable.  See all Exercise Bands – Tubes.

 

3.  Drive Pedal Exerciser Stationary Bike – Okay, I lied.  This is not under $20, but it is under $30 and it’s such a great price, I had to include it.  Great for arm and leg toning.  Sit in a comfortable chair while you exercise!  Totally portable – stores under a chair or bed.  See all Cycles/Pedlars.

 

4.  FitBALL Balance Disc – Sit on it while at your desk, kneel on it, use it for lunges or simply stand on it and you will be strengthening your core and improving your balance.  Best of all, you’ll be moving.   See all Balance/Core Products.

 

5.  Digital Speed Jump Rope – Not your ordinary jump rope, oh no.  This one counts your calories and tells you how much fat you’ve burned and how long it took.  Instant gratification.

 

6.  Thigh Trimmer – Remember these?  Well they’re still around and ready to trim you thighs.  Go for it!  You’ll be able to crack walnuts when you’re done with this thing.

 

7.  Soft DumbbellSoft Dumbbells – These underarm flab busting chest lifters are the perfect addition to your nightly workout in front of the tv.  And they’re soooo cute!  2 lbs each.

 

8.  Hand Grip – One for each hand, these will improve your grip and strengthen your hands.  Maybe if you use these your golf club will stop flying away from you.  🙂  See all Hand Exercisers.

 

9.    ProStretch – Unilateral Stretching Device – Relieves tightness and helps prevent injuries.   For me, it just feels goooood and keeps me flexible. 

 

10.  Lex Loop Exercise Band – No cardio involved.  Use these exercise bands to  improve your strength and flexibiltiy.  Hailed on “The View” and in Good Housekeeping Magazine, they say you can slim down, get stronger and look younger in just twenty minutes a day, three days a week. Sign me up!  Includes instructions and exercises.

So there you have it.  No excuses to get moving!  Get all these things and you’ll have your own home gym!  See all Exercise/Fitness for more ideas.

Have a great day.  Now, move it!

All the latest, greatest products along with the tried & true, to keep you comfy during your pregnancy.

Allegro Customer’s Top 10 Picks for Expecting Mothers

Band Be Hold – Maternity Belly Band – A must-have support piece for all pregnant women.

 

Beattitude – Skivvies – Breathable microfiber fabric “shorts” with expanding tummy section, back support panel and extra-wide under tummy support band.  Great for evening wear or exercise.  See all Amon Briefs, Bands & Shapers.

Car Seat Belt Cushion – An excellent solution for pregnant women who need a little extra cushion on their seat belts.

 

Obus Forme Body Pillow – This 4 1/2 foot long pillow fits perfectly between the legs and under the belly for a comfy night’s sleep.  Antibacterial fiberfill.

 

Rest EZ II – Two connecting pillos filled with supporting foam.  Soft removable cover.  Adjustable.  See all Summer Infant products.

 

Heart-to-Heart Prenatal Listening System – Hear your unborn baby’s heartbeat, kicks & hiccups.  Two headsets.  Includes cables to record sounds that can be emailed. Very cool.

 

Preggie Pop Drops and Preggie Pops – A natural, drug-free way to ease morning sickness.

 

Comfort Body Pillow – Promotes healthy leg circulation and healthy spinal alignment.  Supports the back and the belly.

 

Baby Belly Ups – Keeps Your Pants Up! Attach your bra to your waistband. No extra bulk or layers.  Machine washable.

 

 

 

Bounce-a-Bye Baby Ball – can be used as a pre- and post-pregnancy fitness ball, a birthing ball, and a baby soothing motion seat.

See All Expecting Mothers Products.

Undergarments

Our newest line is from Amon, and it is for the mommies (please).  They make these great, super comfy under garments for pregnant women.  There’s even a thong!  Whichever Amon bra, panties or belly band you choose (get them all) you’ll look and feel supported and smooooooth under your clothes –  before and after the baby arrives.  See All Amon Garments.

   

                                                                                                                                                                                                         Strollers & Stuff

Make way for the Zoopers!  Our newest line from Lan Enterprises is mostly Zooper strollers, but there is the CUTEST Peas & Carrots High Chair too.  Sturdy, extra-comfy and high quality.

 

 

 

 

Baby Monitors

MobiCam AV Wireless Audio/Monitoring System – It’s the most versatile color, handheld, 900 Mhz wireless monitoring system available.  Move it anywhere in your home, instantly!  AV output can connect to your TV or other audio-video device.  Automatic see-in-the-dark night vision.  Transmits up to 300 ft.  2″ X-large color hi-res TFT LCD display.

PalmWatch III Baby Monitoring System – Another 900 Mhz wireless monitoring system with night vision.  This one has an alarm triggered by motion and sound.  The monitor is 2.4″ LCD and can be connected to a recorder or bigger screen monitor.  Supports up to two cameras.  I like the look of this one.  Very cool.

 AllegroMedical is more than medical supplies and child nutrition! In fact, jogging strollers are among our most popular products.  We have the classic styles from Baby Jogger, InStep, BeBeLove, Dreamer Design and Zooper – all at the lowest prices available anywhere.

Here are our Top 10 Most Popular Jogging Strollers:

 

1.  Baby Jogger Independence Push Chair

 

2.  InStep SAFARI Single Jogging Stroller

 

3.  InStep RUN AROUND 2 Double Jogging Stroller 

 

4.  InStep RUN AROUND Single Jogging Stroller

 

5.  Baby Jogger Liberty All-Terrain  Pushchair

 

6.  InStep SAFARI TT Double Jogging Stroller

 

7.  BeBeLove USA DS-Jogger Double Jogging Stroller

 

8.  BeBeLove USA S-Jogger Jogging Stroller

 

9.  BeBeLove USA Sixty-Eight Series Jogging Stroller

 

10.  BeBeLove USA Shock Z Jogging Stroller

 

*NEW*Jogging Strollers

Dreamer Design Park Avenue Stroller

 

Zooper Boogie Jogging Stroller

 

Favorite Jogging Stroller Accessories:

Baby Jogger Carrying Bags

 

Baby Jogger Bug Canopy

 

Baby Jogger Snuzzler

 

Baby Jogger StrollSoft

 

Baby Jogger Wind and Rain Canopy

 

Dreamer Design Footmuff

 

Dreamer Design Back Pack Diaper Bag

 

Dreamer Design Park Avenue Bug Canopy

 

Dreamer Design Park Avenue Carseat Adaptor

 

See All Baby Joggers & Strollers.  See All Bike Trailers & Carriers.

Happy Trails!!  -v

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On Thursday, Feb. 19th, Allegro Product Manager Mike Benge and four of his new friends will be wheels up and off to Australia as the latest Rotary Foundations “Group Study Exchange” (GSE) Team.

Mike and the team are businesspeople and professionals from the Phoenix area, chosen to participate in a unique cultural and vocational exchange with the Aussies.  During their 4-week stay they’ll experience the Australian culture and institutions, observe how their vocations are practiced abroad, develop personal and professional relationships and exchange ideas. 

Mike’s team – the Rotary’s first “all wheelchair” GSE group – will focus on learning about Australia’s disability laws, medical insurance companies, accessibility and public acceptance and in turn will educate the Aussies about how we manage these issues in the US.  All five team members have spinal cord injuries which, along with their professional experiences, will provide a unique perspective about how “truly able” Americans with disabilities are. 

Darol is an Entrepreneur, Jennifer is an RN and Teacher, Rob is a Police Officer, Kerry is a Student and Enrollment Counselor at the University of Phoenix and Mike is a 7-yr veteran at Allegro Medical, specializing in Product Management and Medical Supply Sales. 

Mike says, “My primary focus will be on the medical supply distribution channel and how Australian medical supply companies compare to ours.  It’s a great opportunity to learn more about my profession and teach them about Allegro’s way of doing business online.  So far I can’t find any Australian companies like us over there so I may be able to shed new light on potential business opportunities.”

“As we go along,” Mike added, “we plan to dissolve any negative or misguided perceptions of people living with disabilities.  We want to show people that we’re productive members of society and we do essentially everything that everyone else does.” 

To prove his point, the team will be busy making presentations, attending meetings around the country and having tea with the Governor, but they will also be doing things like touring wineries, climbing mountains, camping, SCUBA diving and deep sea fishing . 

“We’re hearing that Australia is not as disability accessible as the U.S. and we want to help their cities understand how imporant not only social impressions of disabilities are but how vital accessible public facilities are.”

In April, a similar group from Australia will be visiting the U.S.  For each team member, the Rotary Foundation provides the most economical round-trip airline ticket between the home and host countries.  Rotarians in the host area provide for meals, lodging and group travel within their district.

Follow the team on Mike’s blog AZWheelsDownUnder and find out more about the RotaryFoundation’s Group Study Exchange Programs.

Meanwhile, We’ll MISS YOU MIKE!!  How will we survive without you? Be careful, kay? Eat your greens and stay warm, mate.  Smooch.

L, -v

I remember my mom and dad dumping buckets of water into the big humidifier in our living room each winter in Nebraska. I loved the warm moist mist that steamed from it, making the hot dry air pumped out by the furnace a little easier to breathe. I never really thought about it until I moved out of the house and started missing that “moist air feeling” in my own home. I’ve had a humidifier ever since. 

The air in your house in the winter, no matter how temperate the climate, can get very dry. It happens right about when the heater starts clicking on. That’s when the humidifier comes out.  Experts say that you should keep the indoor relative humidity (water vapor in the air) at between 35% and 55%. Get a hygrometer to easily test your humidity levels.  It works like a thermometer.

Why Do You Need a Humidifier?

* Your Health:   Low humidity dries your skin, causes nasal situations and makes your eyes itchy.  Humidifiers keep your skin moisturized, help relieve cold and flu symptoms and can relieve asthma symptoms (check with your doc first).  The American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as other medical organizations, recommend the use of humidifiers and vaporizers for treating upper respiratory infections.   Proper humidity levels year round will help you avoid colds, bloody noses and sinus problems.

* Lower Utility Costs: You will feel warmer at a lower temperature so you can turn your thermostat down a couple degrees in the winter. 

* Your Furniture, Art and Instruments: Dry air can ruin your wood floors, wood furniture, piano, guitar and artwork.

Your Electronics:  Dry air causes static electricity.  Sometimes funny, sometimes just a pain, but these “zaps” can wipe out computers and electronics.

What kind of humidifer do you need?  Read Humidifier Types & Tips.

If you have a portable humidifer, are you keeping it clean or Is Your Humidifier Making You Sick?

First of all, Do You Need a Humidifier?

Humidifier Types:

Central humidifiers are built into home heating and air conditioning systems and are designed to humidify the whole house.

 
Ultrasonic humidifiers produce a cool mist with ultrasonic vibration.

Surround Air MiniAire Humidifier – A palm-sized humidifier that’s perfect for your office or car.  Weighs less than 1 lb.

SonicAire Humidifier – Ultrasonic cool mist with built-in air purifying ionizer.  2 gallon tank for up to 30 hours of operation without refills.

 
Impeller humidifiers produce a cool mist with a rotating disk.

Sunbeam Cool Mist Impeller Humidifier – Perfect for small to medium-sized rooms.  Produces a refreshing cool mist.  Contemporary design. 

 

Evaporative humidifiers use a  fan to blow air through a wet wick, filter or belt.

Care-Free Humidifier Plus – 2.5 gallon.  PermaWick, mechanical humidistat, NiteGlo night light and 2-speed whisper quiet Hunter fan.  Needs no regular maintenance.  Clean once a year.  Triple antibacterial SafeSystem protects 100% agains bacteria, molds & spores.

 

Steam vaporizers use electricity to create steam that cools before leaving the machine. Avoid this type of humidifier if you have children; hot water inside this type of humidifier may cause burns if it’s spilled.

Sunbeam Warm Mist Vaporizer Humidifier – Produces a soothing warm mist to combat coughs and colds.  Great for small rooms.  Up to 14 hours on 1 filling.  Sleek and compact.  Easy to clean.

Humidifier Tips:

  • Keep your humidifier clean and maintained or you could get sick. Dirty reservoirs and  filters quickly grow bacteria and mold.  Read Is Your Humidifier Making You Sick?
  • Talk to your doctor about using a humidifier if you have asthma or allergies.
  • Test the humidity in your home with a hygrometer or “Mold Alert”. A healthy range is between 35% and 55%.
  • Rule of thumb: 40°F outside 45% humidity inside; 20°F out, 35% in; 0°F out, 25% in, -10°F out, 20% in.
  • Move to another State if it’s 10 below in the winter.  Okay, anyway…
  • High humidity can be remedied by an air conditioner or dehumidifier.
  • Some rooms will be higher in humidity than others.  Even if you have a central humidifier unit, you may need to regulate some rooms with separate units.
  • You can remove excess  humidity in kitchen and baths by running the vent/fan during cooking and bathing, and afterwards for about 20 minutes.
  • You may consider a cool mist humidifier for children, so they don’t risk accidental steam burns.
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