Are Essential Oils Safe?

Essential oils have become very popular in the last few years. These aromatic oils are used to freshen the air in homes, rubbed on the skin to brighten moods and boost the immune system, and even used in diffusers at night to help bring on a restful night’s sleep. So, are essential oils safe? And if so, what are the best ways to use them?

Essential oils - pine and lavender
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Essential Oils are Safe if Used With Caution

Essential oils like lemon, eucalyptus, lavender and peppermint are all safe to use topically and diffused in the air. Studies have shown that the scents of these oils, and many others, can be soothing to the brain and can help with anxiety and depression. However, it is NEVER safe to ingest essential oils. Many oils are not regulated by the FDA, and you never know what else may be in that bottle, so save your oils for home use only.

Keep Away from Pets

Animals are very sensitive to essential oils. Since oils are in a concentrated form, they can be extremely potent to cats and dogs. Most of the time the smell alone will keep your pets away, but always make sure they’re kept out of reach and never put them in your pet’s food or water. You wouldn’t want your pet to get sick and have to see a veterinary doctor and take medications.

Be Careful With Fabrics

If you plan to use essential oils topically, like rubbed on the wrists, for example, be aware that they can stain clothing. While some oils will easily wash out in the laundry, some may cause stains if allowed to dry and set. But not to worry, it’s nothing that can’t be solved with a trip to the local dry cleaner.

Use a Steam Diffuser

Steam diffusers are a great way to safely enjoy the benefits of essential oils. Diffusers are generally inexpensive and use water and heat to spread your favorite scents into the air. You only need a few drops of oil to enjoy the effects for hours.

So remember, essential oils are safe when used with caution. Enjoy!

Natural Products to Use on Your Skin

There is no need to spend tons of money on expensive skin products and lotions. But by stocking up on a few different natural ingredients that are inexpensive and easy to find at a local grocery store or community pharmacy near me, I can always be prepared for a variety of skin-related situations. Read on to learn more.

Witch Hazel

No, it’s not something to use to put a curse on someone. Witch hazel is actually a common astringent that used for many different topical needs. Besides being very inexpensive, you can usually find it in a few various forms at your local independent pharmacy. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, you can use witch hazel for a variety of skin conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis, rashes from allergic reactions and even hemorrhoids.

hands with beautiful skin
Photo by Lazar Gugleta on Unsplash


Aloe vera is a handy thing to have in your cabinet, especially in the summertime. When rubbed gently on the skin, aloe vera is incredibly soothing to sunburns and can even help it heal faster. While I could easily pick up aloe vera lotions and creams in the grocery store or a drug store near me, having an aloe vera plant is another great way to reap its benefits in raw form. Simply use the gel-like substance directly from its thick leaves.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is great to cook and bake with, but it’s also amazing for your skin. Besides having natural anti-bacterial properties, it’s incredibly moisturizing and can be used even on sensitive skin. Use it when treating athletes foot or toe fungus, or for clearing up folliculitis, a common skin rash caused by inflamed hair follicles on the arms and legs. Coconut oil is very high in antioxidants, which means regular use can actually improve the texture and appearance of your skin.

So next time you’re at the drug store, pharmacy or grocery, keep a lookout for these natural ingredients that can help keep your skin healthy. But if you have more serious skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, warts, fungal infections, wounds and scars that require customized treatment, you should always consult a professional healthcare provider. Compounded medications can be ordered from a dermatology compounding pharmacy to contain ingredients to help with various skin conditions. They include topical delivery systems to provide localized treatments in many different forms, including ointments, gels and creams  to enable better absorption into the skin.

Condo Living in Boston

Condo prices have gone up again this year in downtown Boston, according to Boston Magazine. For example condos in the South End area cost nearly $1 million while in Back Bay they are over $1.2 million. As more and more businesses in the innovation economy move to Boston, mostly technology and life sciences companies, the demand for residential condo units go up. Most of these condo developments are in the high end category and concentrated in the Seaport District, Back Bay, West End and also across the river in Cambridge.

South End is one of the most desirable places to live in the City of Boston. There you’ll find interesting upscale specialty shops, coffee shops and restaurants, convenient services like dry cleaners, salons, and friendly community pharmacies. The brownstone lined streets are charming and relaxing with plenty of green public areas. It’s also a stone’s throw from major shopping centers in Copley where you can find major luxury brands. There is metered parking on major thoroughfares like Tremont Street and residential parking mostly in the side streets. Of course, it is also served by the T, which is Boston’s mass transit system.

If you want more floor space, you might want to move to the Boston suburbs instead. For example, in the city of Newton, there are many condos, old and new, as well. Newton is known as the Garden City with plenty of green spaces, parks as well as beautiful gardens in private houses. There are major shopping centers in Chestnut Hill with a variety of specialty shops, boutiques, restaurants, luxury brands as well as many medical offices, banks and schools. Parking is readily available in all the village centers (there are 13 villages in Newton). Finding a laundry and dry cleaner in Newton is easy, as is a local prescription pharmacy. Newton has many residential housing complexes for the elderly, including independent living, assisted living, nursing homes and other choices. There are also many home care agencies in Newton, offering in-home care services for elderly and disabled adults.

Boston is a great place to live and work. You’ll love it!

Why Shop Local?

When you shop at your local pharmacy or drycleaner, you’re not only building relationships but also strengthening the fabric of your entire community. Local business owners know you, and you know them.

When you see someone frequently at the coffee shop, dry cleaner, or hardware store, you build relationships with people who have similar needs and interests. Shopping at local businesses connects neighbors with each other. It’s social networking without the screen!

Photo by Kaique Rocha from Pexels

You get better customer service when you shop local. When you fill a prescription at a community pharmacy you are likely to be served by the owner or a long-time employee who knows your medical history and medication needs. Many local pharmacies also offer specialties such as compounded medications. A local laundry service or dress shop knows your preferences so you get more personalized service.

Local businesses are more likely to donate to community events, local non-profits, and sports teams. Studies have shown that they do so at over twice the rate of large chains. This kind of participation brings the community closer together.

Did you know that each dollar you spend at a local independent business can bring as much as $3.50 into the local economy? Local businesses are customers of local ad agencies, insurance brokers, accountants, printers, lawyers and other services and often buy locally-made goods too. This creates opportunities for entrepreneurs to start more local businesses.

Some studies have reported that local businesses employ more people directly per dollar of revenue than national chains thus creating higher-paying jobs for your neighbors. But it’s not just the jobs at the independent pharmacy, the laundry pickup service, or the boutique that get created. As the local economy strengthens, you’re helping create jobs for firefighters, police officers, teachers, and other public service employees as well!

Author: The WSI Touch is a digital marketing agency serving small and medium-sized businesses in Boston, Massachusetts.

Caring for an Aging Parent

Is your aging parent starting to need help with some of the everyday tasks at home? A change in functioning doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to move to assisted living or a nursing home. Sometimes all they need is a little help with chores or some extra support so they can continue to live in their home.  Start by asking your loved one what they need help with, discuss your concerns with them, and coordinate with their primary care doctor. That way they’ll still feel like they’re in charge and you’ll get a good feel for what is really needed to keep them safe, comfortable, and happy.

Photo by Clément Falize on Unsplash

Maybe a few modifications to the home, such as grab bars for the shower or a stair lift can make things safer for them and reduce the worry for you.

Maybe you can stop by once a week to do yard work or household chores and prepare some meals for them.  If they have difficulty with bathing or dressing, you could stop by once a day to help. However, don’t be afraid to get some extra care giving help.  Here are some ideas:

  • Use a laundry pickup and delivery service to take laundry day right off the chore list.
  • Set up a reminder schedule for medications using specially designed pill boxes or high-tech reminder devices.
  • To save time picking up the medications, choose a local pharmacy that offers prescription delivery service.
  • Hire a home health aide who can help with some of the household chores and meal preparation as well as some of the personal care tasks and medication reminders.
  • Use a grocery delivery or meal delivery service.
  • Take advantage of programs and services at the local senior center, especially for socialization and exercise.

For busy professionals living in cities like Boston, caring for an aging parent can be overwhelming. Don’t sweat it out all by yourself. A little extra help here and there can make all the difference in your quality of life, as well as your parent’s!

Time-Saving Tips for the Family Caregiver

Too busy even to pick up your prescription at the local pharmacy? Life gets busy when you add caring for an aging parent or loved one to your full time job, especially when you still have kids at home who need you. Effective time management is the key. Here are a few tips for saving time and getting the important things done.

woman tired of housework
  • A little planning can save time. Identify what tasks need to be done and prioritize them. Make a to-do list and a schedule, either on paper or using one of the many smart-phone apps. Note trips or tasks that can be combined.
  • Organize medications so you know when to get more before you run out. Your community pharmacy can work with you to coordinate the prescription refill schedule to reduce trips to pick up medications. Ask if they offer prescription delivery. Some pharmacies will even set up personalized pill sorter boxes for their customers — a big time saver if either you or your parent takes a lot of medications.
  • Share the care-giving responsibility if you can. Hire a home health aide to provide respite care to take some of the pressure off of you.
  • Cross wash day right off your list with a laundry pickup service. Your local Boston dry cleaner may offer eco-friendly dry cleaning pickup and delivery as well.
  • Simplify meal preparation. Make a bunch of easy meals at a time and freeze them or use a meal kit subscription service. Use a grocery shopping and delivery app to help you track both the items you need and the items your parent needs. Look into other shopping and delivery services too. Nowadays you can get practically anything delivered to your door.
  • Use an online bill pay service or app and if you have access to your parent’s bank account, set it up for them too.

These time-saving tips allow you to spend more time with your loved one, which in turn can save time for you, too!

Taking a Walk in Nature

Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

There is scientific research that shows walking a nature can do your body and mind a lot of good. It can decreased depression, improved well-being and mental health, and lower perceived stress. It can also bring about better cardiovascular health, healthy weight, and strengthened bones. In the city of Newton, MA, there are many places where you can walk in nature and enjoy its benefits. For example, Charles River Reservation, Cold Spring Park and Cutler Park are all well maintained and very popular spots for neighbors to enjoy a daily stroll or weekend hike.

Given the current concerns about EEE, it is important to take precautions when you take a walk a nature. It is wise to wearing long sleeves and pants and use insect repellent sprays. Mosquitoes are most active during dawn and dusk, so we should avoid being out in the woods during those hours. Of course, we should also bear in mind the usual warnings about ticks, mosquitoes, poison ivy, etc. On sunny days, sunscreens are a must.

You can get sunscreens and insect sprays from big stores like Target or CVS, but there are many advantages to shop local and go to a local pharmacy like Keyes Drug instead. You’ll get better service and the pharmacists will get to know you and your family really well. They can provide compounded medications to help you get the personalized health care that you need. Veterinary compounding services can make customized medicine for your pets as well.

Don’t forget that sunscreens and insect sprays can leave stains on your clothing. Here are some tips for removing sunscreen stains. For best results, bring the stained clothing to your local dry cleaner or use a laundry delivery service in Boston.

Summer is nearly over. Do take advantage of the beautiful Fall weather to enjoy walking in nature before Winter arrives!