Advice on Planning A Wedding During COVID-19 Outbreak

Wedding planning can be very stressful for a bride and groom under normal circumstances, let alone during a worldwide viral pandemic. Unique obstacles have continued to arise for couples planning their 2020 and 2021 weddings with many unanswered questions about what the future will hold short and long term. Hiring a professional event planner can help ease many of your frustrations, and together, they can help you create your dream wedding through these dark times to include a happy ending. First, take a deep breath and follow a few expert advice tips to navigate through this complicated experience. 

Postponing or Canceling?

With advisements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they continue to urge individuals to practice social distancing and limit groups of people to no more than ten and have enforced travel restrictions for months. If you have an event scheduled for this spring or early summer, it will most definitely need to reschedule for a future date. The key to re-planning a wedding during this time is to postpone to another day rather than canceling; to avoid losing deposits since retainer fees can apply to future dates.

First Steps for Re-Planning

If your event was to take place within the next ten weeks, call your designer and florist immediately to freeze your vendors from printing any dates on stationary or from a florist creating an order for fresh blooms. The next line of communication should be with your venue to discuss what options are available for a rescheduled date. It is essential to be flexible and open to the idea of an event being hosted on a different weeknight like Friday or Sunday and considering an off-peak month since many venues will be booked with other weddings previously. It may be safest to postpone your wedding until late summer or fall, maybe even later, if you’re willing to allow the crisis to have time to diminish entirely. Choosing a date too soon may result in having to reschedule a second time, causing additional stress.

Contacting Vendors

Once you confirm with your venue, it is necessary to reach out to your event consultant and other vendors to check availability. A photographer may be the most challenging person for rescheduling due to the nature of their business. Vendors who focus on one client per day, like photographers, get booked quickly and far in advance. Other vendors, such as bakers, florists, linens, and entertainment, are more available for multiple orders on a given day. If your vendor is not available for rescheduling, be sure to review all contracts and discuss cancellations per the policy.

Let Your Guests Know of Changes

Lastly, you will need to contact your friends and family quickly so that they can adjust their schedules as well. Many of them will have additional travel expenses, such as hotel bookings, that will need rescheduling. Sending a quick electronic message through social media or email will quickly allow you to get the word out. Then, it is advised to send postponement announcements through the mail for actual headcounts when needed.

Event Planning DC provides full event planning, partial event planning, wedding planning, month-of (day-of) event coordination, event styling/design and decorating services throughout DC, Maryland, and Virginia. We have access to local and national vendors who may provide additional services suitable for your event and budget. Our team prides ourselves in offering only the highest-quality event coordination, giving you and your guests the perfect day, no matter what the occasion including exclusive corporate and non-profit events, weddingsBar & Bat Mitzvahs, community events and milestone celebrations.  More information can be found online at https://www.eventplanningdc.com.

What to Expect Before, During, and After LASIK Surgery

LASIK is the most common laser eye surgery to treat myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness), and astigmatism. If you are tired of wearing contacts or glasses, a simple consultation with a Lasik surgeon can determine if you are the right candidate for Lasik surgery. If, after an evaluation, it is determined that LASIK is not a good fit for you, know that there are other vision correction surgeries such as LASEK, PRK, and Phakic IOL surgery as possible options too.  

In this article, we discuss the process a patient can experience before, during, and after LASIK surgery. Any detailed questions you may have should always be left for your trained medical professional to answer.

Before Surgery

Before receiving LASIK surgery, a comprehensive eye exam is needed to ensure that your eyes are healthy enough to move forward with the procedure. It is recommended to stop wearing contact lenses a few weeks before the eye exam and surgery since most can change the shape of the cornea. Patients should wear their eyeglasses instead.

During the exam, your doctor will look at the cornel shape, thickness, pupil size, refractive errors, and other eye conditions. This is a great time to bring up any questions or concerns that your doctor may be able to answer.

If everything goes well during the exam and you’re comfortable with the next steps, it is time to prepare for surgery. Your doctor should ask you to stop using products such as creams, lotions, makeup, or perfumes since these items can cause a higher risk for infection during and after surgery. It is also important to arrange transportation to and from surgery.

During Surgery

For many, surgery is the most dreaded part. However, there is no need to fear, as it is painless and should take less than 30 minutes. Just before surgery, the patient will recline back to rest in a comfortable position. Next, numbing drops are placed into the eyes. The area around the eye will be cleaned and a lid speculum (a device that holds the eyelids open) will be used.

You will be asked to focus on a special fixation light while the surgeon activates a precision instrument electronically to cut a flap in the cornea. The laser treatment is then performed to reshape the cornea using techniques that vary depending on the type of refractive errors. The corneal flap is then repositioned, allowing for the eye to heal.

Post-Op Instructions

Once the surgery has been completed, the first sensation you may feel is itching or burning; however, this is only temporary discomfort and will resolve soon. A brief examination will be performed shortly after the procedure, and subsequently, you will be sent home, accompanied by your appointed driver.

Your vision may seem blurry or hazy at first, and you may feel that you want to rub or itch your eyes. You mustn’t touch your eyes during this recovery time as they are healing. Rubbing your eyes could cause the flap to dislodge, which could require further treatments. A shield is recommended to place over your eyes for protection from additional elements and light sensitivity.

A follow-up appointment with your doctor will be scheduled 24 to 48 hours after the initial surgery. Subsequent check-ups will also be planned throughout the next six months.

Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology available to suit your lifestyle and visual needs.  As a leader in laser vision correction and cataract surgery, our goal is to help you achieve the best vision possible without glasses or contact lenses.  More information can be found online at https://michiganlasik.com.



Tips for Planning Spring Home Renovations

Spring is the perfect time to begin home projects, and if you are considering updating your kitchen or bathroom, there is no better time to start planning!  We have put together a list of quick tips to help get these projects started on the right path, making home renovations easier.

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

Many homeowners are eager to get outside again and look forward to landscaping and exterior repair projects. Upgrades such as adding a new deck or updating the siding on your house are popular home improvements during the Spring season. It is important to secure an appointment with a home contractor before spring as they regularly become over-booked midway into the season. Additionally, you should purchase any materials in advance so that you won’t have a shortage of supplies halfway into your project.

Certain home renovations may also require permits, which will take additional time for submission and approval before building can begin. Starting the planning process months in advance will allow proper preparation and peace of mind.

Function Over Beauty

Not all home renovations will add visual appeal, and that’s okay. Upgrading or installing new electrical, plumbing, or insulation are sometimes needed.  When making plans to renovate, other important issues can be uncovered within a project that was not anticipated but needs to be addressed. Common unforeseen problems can be leaky pipes, crooked floors, and roof repairs. If these issues are ignored, they will become more costly as time goes on, so it is essential to fix these problems early.

Choosing Your Professional

There is nothing worse than becoming one of those horror stories that you so often hear about with renovation projects. You want to avoid contractors who take shortcuts or charges double than the original quote presented. Getting stuck with a botched project that is unfinished or improperly installed is a nightmare to deal with and will only cause further problems.

When you put your home into someone else’s hands, you want reassurance that they will complete a project in a reasonable amount of time and that they have high-quality standards. It is essential to practice due diligence when selecting a licensed home contractor; having the right qualifications, experience, and positive reviews are critical when looking for professional help. Also, asking for references and getting several quotes can help assist in making your decisions less stressful.

JFC Remodeling is a full-service licensed contractor out of Howell, Michigan.  Specializing in kitchen and bathroom renovationsflooring upgrades, and home remodelingservices.  More information can be found online at https://jfcremodeling.com/.



Working from Home Remotely – What You Need to Know

The ability to work remotely outside of the office has been obtainable for a few decades; however, this technology has become more mainstream in today’s work society. Employers are finding it easier to allow their employees to work remotely as they discover it’s relatively simple to set up remote access with only a computer and internet connection.

Many corporations have continued to grow with the acceptance of remote positions available. Although this technology is still a new concept to many, some may find it intimidating. Consulting with a professional can make this process much simpler.

Using a VPN Connection

A VPN (virtual private network) is a standard component within remote access solutions.  A VPN allows remote users to establish a secure connection within a computer network. It functions by using a public network (typically an internet connection) to connect remote sites. Virtual connections are then routed from a company’s private network or a third-party security service provider to users of the system.

Private data can be transmitted across unknown networks without the worry of a security breach within a company’s internal data or assets. A VPN connection is initiated by a remote user logging into a corporate server and then confirming details based on the security information provided by either a password, IP address, or SSL certificate.

Using Remote Desktop Applications

Another option that allows for remote access is third-party software programs specializing in remote technology. This software is designed for virtually accessing your work computing equipment. There are many companies online that offer software downloads with security options and additional features.  However, it is best to consult with an IT professional when considering software options for your company’s needs. Consulting with a professional will ensure that the correct security features are properly integrated and installed within your company’s infrastructure.

Creative Communications

One disadvantage of working remotely can be the lack of face-to-face interaction that is present in an office atmosphere. Having the right technology installed can overcome this obstacle and offers enormous benefits. Video conferencing technology has become a great tool to reincorporate the human element of working remotely. Scheduling daily or weekly video calls to see your colleagues can help boost productivity and morale. As discussed previously, there are many third-party software applications to make life easier when working remotely.  However, it is advised to speak with an IT consultant before installing any remote applications to your infrastructure.

Creative Programs and Systems is an all-inclusive tech company that specializes in Custom DevelopmentManaged IT Services, and Digital Marketing.  All work is done in-house. We never outsource services from custom server builds and workstations, custom software programming, and phone app development, to search engine optimization and paid advertising, our professionals provide results.  For more information on CPS, check out our website at https://www.cpsmi.com.



Purchasing a Preowned Linear Accelerator – Great Quality at a Lower Cost

When choosing the medical equipment for your facility, it can be a difficult decision to find the best system that can provide treatments for patients while trying to stay inside a budget. Many radiation oncology centers struggle with the decision to purchase a new system vs. preowned refurbished medical equipment. If given a choice, a new linear accelerator will seem most appealing because of the updated technology and advanced features it offers. However, due to economic and other factors, it may not always be a reasonable option. Purchasing used and or refurbished medical equipment does not mean that your facility is stuck using out of date technology. There is still a lot of equipment available, allowing buyers the opportunity to receive the most up-to-date technology at a much lower price tag.

Starting a New Practice/ Facility

Purchasing used or refurbished medical equipment may be an excellent option for new clinics since they may not have the start-up capital for new products. If treatments are given to fewer patients (less than 8-10 times a day), and machine use is low, this will allow a business to start building up a revenue base for the practice. In the beginning, a facility may decide to buy newer equipment within 4-7 years while operating older equipment.

Having a Backup/ Relocation Plan

Many medical centers may be currently performing treatment with one system, so having a backup machine is a good plan to ensure patient schedules run without delay due to limited operating capacity. The process of replacing or supplementing a linear accelerator can extremely cumbersome, lasting 3 to 4 weeks in some cases. Having this long of a delay in treatment can be detrimental to patients that need treatment daily. One option to consider is to purchase a nearly identical, used linear accelerator and install it within a new location. Once the new center is operational, the company can remove and resell the original machine; This will ensure no disruption with patient care occurs and offer a smooth transition for relocation.

Room for Improvements

Purchasing a used linear accelerator will give your facility more room to grow and allow for cost-savings benefits. Many machines can receive upgrades later during their life since most original manufacturers or third-party companies offer upgradeable options for used equipment models. If the software is more important to your clinic than hardware, this option can be cost-effective since the software is typically more expensive than the hardware.  However, this option is not a perfect solution for all medical centers as each center will have specific requirements that may find new medical equipment to be a better choice.

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.



Protecting Against Lead in Water

Lead is a naturally occurring element found in the Earth’s crust in small amounts. It can be beneficial in specific uses, but it is a harmful metal to a person’s health and there is no safe level for lead exposure to humans. People are exposed to lead products that range from lead-based paint, air, soil, dust inside homes, food, pottery, and even drinking water. Consuming high levels of this metal can cause health issues once it enters the blood, especially for younger children.

Effects of Lead

The EPA is required by the Safe Drinking Water Act to determine the level of contaminants in drinking water that is considered safe with minimum health effects. The standard allowed for lead is set to zero, and even at low levels, lead can be very harmful and can accumulate in the body over time. Lead is a neurotoxin that can cause brain disorders and severe kidney damage. The effects of lead do not equally impact individuals. The risks will vary depending on the person, the chemical properties of the water, and the amount of lead consumed. Specific issues found in people:

  • Pregnant Women – As discussed above, lead can accumulate in the body over time and can be found in a person’s bones along with calcium. Lead is released from the mother’s bones when maternal calcium transfers to the fetus to help develop bones for the baby. The lead can also cross the placental barrier that can expose the fetus, possibly causing reduced growth and premature birth.
  • Infants and Children – Infants who consume water with lead content may be at a higher risk of exposure since the large volume of water they consume is relative to the proportion of their smaller body size. Children are often vulnerable to lead poisoning due to the fact they drink more water and have developing bodies. High levels of lead exposure can cause convulsions, significant neurological damage, organ failure, coma, and even death. Lower exposure of lead can cause hearing loss, reduced growth, and an increased chance of learning and behavior disabilities.
  • Adults – Adults who are exposed to lead can suffer from health issues such as cardiovascular effects with increased blood pressure and hypertension. In addition, older persons can develop kidney damage and complications with reproductive organs.

How Does Lead Get in Tap Water?

Lead is in all areas of our environment and can be found in the air, soil, and water. Lead can even be found within our homes in certain places. Most lead contaminates come from human activities such as the use of fossil fuels and gasoline, factories, or lead-based paints. When lead is released into the air, it can travel long distances before it settles in soil or water supplies. Lead can merge into drinking water, causing corrosion to take place, and eating away at the piping within homes. In older houses, before 1930, lead was used for soldering pipes. It wasn’t until the early 1980s when we saw a decrease of lead being used for pipes in homes.

Lead Removal

If you suspect that lead may be in your water, we advise that you get your water analyzed by a certified laboratory, or at minimum, purchase a DIY self-test kit to determine for sure. The good news is, lead can be removed from your drinking water. The simplest way to solve this issue is by using the correct water filter after the contamination source is identified. The three basic water filtration methods to remove lead are:

  • Reverse Osmosis – The most popular and inexpensive option, and it can eliminate 95% of lead in water.
  • Activated Carbon Filtration – This option allows the activated carbon in filters to absorb minerals such as lead and magnesium from the water, decreasing the amount of lead supply significantly. However, the disadvantage is that the filter cartridges may fill up quickly and need replacement often. The lead removing capabilities also decrease after a certain amount of water has been passed through the system.  
  • Distillation – This method produces the purest water, but it comes with an expensive price tag and requires a lot of electricity and processing time as well.

The experts at Reynolds Water Conditioning have a solution to your home’s unique water quality needs, including arsenic, bacteria, chlorine, rotten egg smell, fluoride, hard water, iron, lead, acid, tannins, radon, and more. More information on water treatment solutions, including water softeners and conditionerswater filtration and purificationreverse osmosis drinking water, and iron & odor removal, can be found online at https://reynoldswater.com.

Replacing or Upgrading a LINAC? Here’s What You Need to Know.

Radiotherapy is a critical treatment process used in hospitals and clinics for patients with cancer. Therefore, it is extremely important to ensure that you are using the right equipment to gain the highest quality of care. Linear accelerator (LINAC) systems are one of the most expensive assets in terms of medical equipment today. Choosing to replace or upgrade LINAC equipment is a significant matter as it impacts the facility’s operations, doctor’s decisions, and the patient’s health. There are four main categories that equipment can fall into that are based on a hospital or clinic’s needs and capabilities.

Newer Equipment with Full Upgrades

Being able to provide the best level of care for patients should be the highest goal for any medical facility. Thus, having new equipment with upgraded features offers the best of the best in terms of care. If a clinic needs to move, it would still be cost-effective to pay the relocation charges, which can be over $100k in expenses, instead of purchasing a new replacement LINAC system.

Newer Equipment with Fewer Upgrades

Choosing a LINAC system with fewer upgrades can save money and might be more appropriate for smaller clinics that see fewer patients. However, specific technologies, like portal imaging, may be beneficial for those who want higher-quality devices. There is a good chance that a facility will be continuing to use this equipment for a while before it depreciates. The best advice is to determine which upgrades would be most appropriate for your office.

Older Equipment with Full Upgrades

If your LINAC system is older than 20 years, it’s likely your machine has paid for itself even after additional upgrades. Older equipment can still be reliable, but as technology progresses, they soon will end up costing you more money and become less efficient. Also, if a company needs to relocate, the relocation costs may end up costing you more than a new machine.

Older Equipment with Fewer Upgrades

This remaining category should generally be looked upon as the last consideration. In most cases, equipment will no longer perform the necessary tasks required for treatments. Replacement parts will continue to become sparse and more costly as new machines come into the marketplace, rendering older versions obsolete.

Radparts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for Linear Accelerators and Radiation Oncology equipment.  Radparts provides high quality, user friendly, low cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. More information can be found at https://www.radparts.com/.

Steps to Replace Pool Plaster

Spring has finally sprung, and it will be pool season before you know it. Now is the perfect time to inspect your pool’s surface and schedule a professional pool plaster company to assess the damage. No one wants to be waiting around for the repair to be completed when the warm weather arrives.

Step 1: Knowing When Your Pool Needs Repair

The first question often asked is, “When does the pool need to be re-plastered?” The answer to this question is not always straightforward. A pool with a plaster surface has a life expectancy of 7 to 20 years, and many factors may adjust this time frame depending on the care and maintenance it receives. Often, many homeowners or commercial property owners do not repair or re-plaster their pools as regularly as they should. Signs that your plaster may need repair are an increase in staining, rough textures, and leaks. These are all indicators that the professional pool plasterwork needs to be done. 

Step 2: Choosing a Professional or DIY

Cost is always a factor when deciding to do any home repair, including the re-plaster of your pool. Pricing will vary depending on the area you live and the condition of the pool, but on average, you can expect to pay at least $200 in supplies along with 5 to 6 hours of labor. If you are considering a DIY project, keep in mind the following tools that will be required to do the job properly:

  • Acid Wash
  • Bond Coat
  • Chisel
  • Pool plaster/finishing plaster mix
  • Sump pump
  • Sander
  • Brushes/hose
  • Air compressor
  • Misc. – (gloves, face mask, buckets, etc.)

Step 3: Prep and Plaster

The first step in replastering a pool is turning off all of the equipment running to it (the pump, filter, heater, etc.), followed by draining the water. Use a sump pump to remove any remaining water at the bottom of the pool. Afterward, ensure to thoroughly remove any debris, such as dirt, leaves, and other sediment clinging to the surface. Next, prep the surface by sanding or chiseling any uneven areas before applying the new finish. The final steps include applying the acid wash and bond coat applications. Once these applications are complete, the new plaster can be applied. 

Pound Pool Plastering offers several options when it comes to servicing your pool including plaster, caulk, tiling, cement decks, plumbing, and coping in both commercial and residential settings.  More information can be found at https://www.pound-pool-plastering.com/.

Beams Used in Radiation Therapy

The use of external beam radiation therapy is one of the most common forms of cancer treatments that a doctor or oncologist will recommend. This method involves radiotherapy equipment such as a linear accelerator that aims radiation from outside of a patient’s body and directly targets local areas of a cancer site. Various types of cancers can be treated with external beam radiation therapy, and depending on the unique characteristics of the tumor, a selection of systems and treatments will be formed for the best outcome. Not only are there different types of machines that can be used, but also the radiation beam used in external radiation therapy can come from three kinds of particles called photons, protons, and electrons.

Photons

The majority of radiation therapy machines use ionizing photon beams since they can reach tumors deep in the body. Photons are also used in x-rays, although they consume a much lower dose of the particle in comparison. The radiation that is delivered during photon treatment will damage the DNA of tumors and healthy cells alike. Radiation therapists aim to maximize the dose targeting the tumor while minimizing the radiation to nearby healthy tissues by creating different paths with multiple fields. To avoid overexposure to healthy cells, the treatment is generally given in stages over repeated scheduled sessions so that the healthy cells have time to repair.

Protons

Charged particle radiotherapy is an alternative method of radiotherapy that uses beams of protons or other positively charged particles such as helium, carbon, or other ions that are not photons. These types of beams can also reach tumors deep inside the body, but they perform differently than photons as they do not scatter radiation on their path and will stop once they reach the targeted tumor. Due to the physical characteristics of charged particles, it may be possible to cover the tumor area with only one radiation field, creating an advantage over the use of photons to spare more healthy tissues and cells. Clinical trials are continuing to compare the usage of these two energy types. There are cancer centers that are beginning to use proton beams in radiation therapy, but they have higher costs and require a larger space to fit the increased size of the equipment.

Electrons

Particles with a negative charge are electrons. Electron beam radiation therapy is designed to treat cancers like lymphoma and other tumors near the surface since these electrons do not go deep into the body. These therapy options can be done in two different ways:

  1. Spot treatment – This method is used for one or more cancerous spots on the body that needs treatment.
  2. Total Skin Electron Beam Therapy (TSEB) – This method is used when the entire surface of the skin needs to be treated. Other treatments called compensation treatments can be part of the treatment plan to guarantee that every area of the skin receives the proper dose required.

Radparts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for Linear Accelerators and Radiation Oncology equipment. Radparts provides high quality, user-friendly, and low-cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. More information can be found at https://www.radparts.com/.



Types of Radiation Therapy

Radiation treatment continues to grow and change in order to improve the health and quality of life to cancer patients all around the world. With radiation therapy, high-energy particles or waves of energy are used to treat cancer by breaking up the DNA of cancer cells in a way that destroys their growth and division. Radiation can kill cancer cells or can decrease the rate at which cancer will spread. 

Goals of Radiation Therapy

A doctor may recommend radiation as a treatment option at different stages of a cancer diagnosis. When cancer is found in earlier stages, radiation therapy can help decrease the size of a tumor before a scheduled surgery or be used after surgery to kill any remaining cancerous cells. Radiation therapy can also be used in later stages of cancer and can be used as a solution for pain relief, or part of palliative care. When speaking of types of radiation therapy available, there are two main forms used for treatments both external and internal. Doctors will sometime prescribe radiation therapy to be combined with other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, surgery, and others.

External Radiation Therapy

The most common type of radiation treatment involves an external source of equipment that delivers radiation from outside a patient’s body that is aimed at a targeted cancer site. Equipment used in external beam therapy include systems such as proton and neutron beam machines, orthovoltage x-ray, Cobalt-60 machines, and linear accelerators. The team of radiation oncologists will determine which method and system are best for treatment, depending on the location of cancer within the body. These systems can be used for patients who have several tumors of the head, neck, breast, lung, colon, and prostate. There are two levels of radiation when external radiation therapy is performed depending on the location of the tumor, low-energy and high-energy radiation. Low-energy radiation may be a better choice in treating surface tumors like skin cancer since it will not penetrate very deep into the body. High-energy radiation is used when patients require deeper penetration to reach cancerous cells hidden in the patient’s body.    

Internal Radiation Therapy

There are a few different types of internal radiation therapy available. One method is called Brachytherapy, which is described as placing radiation sources as close to the tumor site as possible. In some instances, it can be inserted directly inside the tumor. The implant may be temporary or permanent and is used in many cancers such as ones found in the cervix, uterus, vagina, rectum, eye, and in certain parts of the head and neck. Brachytherapy is separated into categories by the method in which radiation is placed on the body.

  • Interstitial Brachytherapy – involves placing radioactive needles or wires in the tumor area for a selected length of time, whether a day, a week or can remain in the patient’s body permanently.   
  • Intracavitary Brachytherapy – the placement of a metal or plastic radioactive source that is inserted into body cavities such as the vagina, uterus, or larynx to irradiate the cancerous walls within the cavity or the tissues nearby.
  • Intraluminal Radiation Therapy – delivers radiation to hollow organs. A surgeon or a radiation oncologist performs this method by inserting a specially designed tube in an opening such as the esophagus for cancer treatment.
  • Radioactively Tagged Molecules – radioactive particles are attached to small molecules and delivered intravenously.

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale. More information can be found online at  https://www.acceletronics.com/.