Fight Back Against Mold Illness with Help from Proactive Wellness Centers

CIRS Mold Toxicity Treatment in McLean, VA

Experiencing mold toxicity is a terrifying thought for most people. Although it may seem like an interesting concept for a medical drama, nobody wants to experience the effects of mold exposure firsthand.

Mold is a fungus that thrives in wet environments, such as under tiles, wood floors, and ceilings, pipes, and roofs. While several types of mold exist, some are more hazardous than others, and some individuals may be allergic or sensitive to mycotoxins, the toxins that mold naturally produces. Exposure to excessive amounts of mold, or the types of mold that trigger health problems, can lead to mold toxicity and even CIRS - Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome. This acute and chronic systemic inflammatory response syndrome is typically acquired after exposure to mold or other producers of biotoxins, usually from damaged water buildings.

If you believe that you're suffering from mold toxicity or mold illness, it can seem like the world is folding in on you. No matter what you do, your symptoms persist, lowering your quality of life and eliminating your peace of mind. Fortunately, there is reason to be hopeful: Proactive Wellness Centers now offers a research-backed, highly effective mold illness poisoning treatment in McLean, VA for men and women just like yourself and your children as well if they have been impacted.

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Understanding

CIRS and Mold Toxicity

CIRS and mold illness are on the rise, and accurate diagnosis of the issue plays a major role in this trend. Thanks to Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, there is a huge body of evidence that covers diagnosing and treating patients with CIRS. Dr. Lawson is one of less than 30 practitioners in the United States that are fully certified by Dr. Shoemaker for diagnosing and treating CIRS. The body of evidence by Shoemaker and many associates is the largest body of scientific evidence that is published in major medical journals. Around 80% of CIRS/Mold cases are caused by indoor air contaminated with mold toxins and other triggers. However, it's important to note that CIRS can also be caused by biotoxin producers such as cyanobacteria and a marine dinoflagellate that produces the Ciguatera toxin found in certain types of fish.

When mold or biotoxins are not processed effectively, a series of biochemical changes known as the Biotoxin Pathway occur. Genetic studies have revealed that approximately 24% of individuals have a genetic makeup that makes them susceptible to developing an illness related to mold or biotoxins. The remaining 76% of the population can typically eliminate these toxins from their system and avoid the development of the Biotoxin Pathway that can lead to various diseases.

CIRS Treatment In McLean McLean, VA

CIRS and Mold Poisoning Misdiagnosis

CIRS and mold exposure symptoms overlap with many other chronic illnesses, which makes diagnosis challenging and can even lead to missed diagnosis of CIRS. Based on research from Proactive Wellness Centers, CIRS is frequently misdiagnosed. Some of the most common misdiagnoses include:

  • Lupus
  • Chronic Pain Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • PTSD
  • More

Lyme disease, in particular, is often misdiagnosed. We have treated a number of patients whose symptoms were in line with Lyme disease. Fortunately, we were able to confirm the presence of CIRS and mold and were able to successfully help those patients using CIRS treatment in McLean, VA.

Note that many of these patients have CIRS and Lyme disease and in that case, it is necessary to treat both in order for full recovery. Treating one or the other will invariably leave the patient with debilitating symptoms and even more frustration with their medical team. At Proactive Wellness Centers, we are skilled In diagnosing and treating both.

 VA McLean, VA
 CIRS Mold Toxicity Treatment In McLean McLean, VA

CIRS and Mold Poisoning Symptoms

If you're reading this page, chances are you're concerned that you might have CIRS or some form of mold poisoning. You may be wondering what you have - is it CIRS, or is it something else like Lyme disease? We can't provide the answer to that question without consultation and testing at our wellness center in Virginia. However, there are common symptoms of CIRS and mold toxicity you should know.

Some of the most common symptoms of CIRS include:

  • Fatigue
  • Decreased Word Finding
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Morning Stiffness
  • Tremors
  • Excessive Thirst
  • Tingling
  • Night Sweats
  • Frequent Urination
  • Confusion
  • Mood Swings

Proactive Wellness Centers'

Tools for Diagnosing Mold Sickness and CIRS

Identifying and confirming if a patient is being impacted by CIRS and identifying the cause and source of the biotoxin are the two main steps in diagnosing CIRS and Mold Exposure. To diagnose CIRS and Mold Exposure, the following diagnostic tools are commonly used:

To learn more about the debilitating symptoms of mold sickness and to find out whether you have CIRS or something else, contact Proactive Wellness Centers. Our team of medical professionals is here to help you every step of the way.

 VA McLean, VA

Hope for Patients with CIRS: Proactive Wellness Centers' Mold Illness Treatment in McLean, VA

Our approach to treating CIRS utilizes integrative and functional medicine, The Shoemaker Protocol along with the latest evidence-based approaches to treating mold illness and the related secondary issues that it causes. We begin by utilizing advanced diagnostics to confirm the presence of the condition and identify the specific environment causing continued exposure to biotoxins. Next, we take a stepwise approach to halt the progression of the disease, eliminate biotoxins from the body, and reverse any damage to cellular structures. Our goal is to help patients achieve a full recovery.

To do this, we not only have to identify the primary condition like CIRS or Lyme disease, but we then have to continue looking to see if you have any of the common secondary conditions like reactivated EBV, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), and others. Once we understand the totally of your condition, then we can implement a treatment plan tailored for you. Yes, it will leverage the Shoemaker protocol, but we have found that we have to extend the protocol to cover the secondary issues that we uncover.

The steps we follow to reach that goal include:

In order to initiate the recovery process, it is important to address and resolve any affected areas, or, alternatively, relocate the patient from that environment if necessary. Prolonged exposure to mold can hinder the success of the treatment plan and impede the healing process.

Two commonly used binding agents in the process of treating Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome are Welchol and Cholestyramine. Cholestyramine is particularly effective in binding biotoxins that are processed in the liver's bile ducts and helps to eliminate them from the body. It has been scientifically proven, through placebo-controlled studies, to reverse multiple aspects of the inflammatory process associated with CIRS.

Many individuals experiencing mold sickness and other chronic inflammatory illnesses may have a staph infection called MARCoNS (Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci) residing deep in their nasal cavities. This infection is resistant to antibiotics and needs to be eliminated for the patient to fully recover.

Each patient requires a customized plan based on the affected areas and CIRS severity. Retesting is necessary after each step to confirm balance restoration. Testing may include some or all of the following:
  • VIP
  • TGF Beta 1
  • MMP9
  • ADH
  • Antigliadin
  • Androgen Imbalance
  • C4a
  • More

In order to halt the growth of mold fungi, patients need to avoid foods that can cause mycotoxins. Some examples of these foods include:
  • Barley
  • Cottonseed
  • Peanuts
  • Corn
  • Black Pepper
  • Figs
  • Rice
  • Bread
  • Beans
  • More
Proactive Wellness has a proven track record of treating patients who have experienced severe health issues without any clear explanation. Unlike other "syndromes," our diagnosis process involves specific tests to confirm a diagnosis rather than simply ruling out other diseases.
 CIRS Mold Poisoning Treatment In McLean McLean, VA

Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Chronic Fatigue, and Chronic Pain Syndrome are examples of illnesses that are often diagnosed without such confirmatory tests. If you are experiencing unexplained health issues or have been exposed to water-damaged buildings, it is possible that you are suffering from CIRS or a mold illness.

The good news is that we can diagnose and address this disease with a mold illness treatment program in McLean, VA tailored to your body and your symptoms. That way, we can help you regain your health as soon as possible.

Be Wary of These

5 Symptoms of Mold Exposure

Mold spores can easily be brought into your home on your shoes or clothing or through open windows or doors. If these spores can find a warm, damp, humid environment, they can begin to multiply. Soon, your home can be filled with toxic mold. If you think mold has invaded your home or another environment, like in an office or warehouse, it's important for you to know about the symptoms.

Unfortunately, diagnosing mold issues can be exceptionally difficult. But why? The answer can be quite frustrating.

Understanding the Difficulty of Diagnosing Mold Symptoms

Many doctors fail to recognize the impact of mycotoxins emitted by certain indoor mold species, which can lead to chemical and inflammatory reactions. While conventional medicine acknowledges that mold can cause allergies, it may overlook this crucial aspect of mold-related health issues.

This can happen for several reasons:

  • Standardized treatment protocols for mold toxicity are offered mostly by Functional/Integrative physicians as the conventional physicians are not on board despite over 20 years of published research. Due to this issue, patients spend precious months/years going from doctor to doctor in the conventional channel with no answers.
  • Though ERMI testing has been accepted in the integrative/functional medical community, there isn't a "gold standard" in mold testing that is universally accepted.
  • Mold symptoms can manifest in vastly different ways depending on the patient.
VA McLean, VA

After understanding the points above, it's no wonder that mold poisoning can be hard to diagnose. Fortunately, integrative and functional holistic medicine providers and wellness centers like Proactive Wellness are flipping the proverbial script. Unlike traditional clinics, our team considers environmental factors that can affect patient health and has advanced training to provide mold poisoning treatment in McLean, VA.

Now that you understand why mold symptoms are so hard to diagnose let's take a closer look at five of the most common indicators of mold sickness.

 Mold Toxicity Symptoms McLean, VA

Fatigue

Fatigue is probably the number one symptom of well over 90% of CIRS patients. The level of fatigue varies from 5 on a 10 point scale all the way to 10 on a 10 point scale. Many patients can no longer work or remain productive as in the worst cases, the fatigue is overwhelming. College students living in moldy dorms frequently have to drop out of school until the illness is treated effectively. Older adults have to retire or stop working due the fatigue. If you have overwhelming fatigue, CIRS may be a major contributor to your illness.

 Mold Poisoning Symtoms McLean, VA

Breathing Problems

Exposure to mold can cause a host of respiratory problems, such as breathing difficulties, allergies, and asthma, especially in individuals with a weakened immune system. Mold can worsen asthma, irritate the nasal passages, lungs, and throat, and lead to symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, sneezing, sore throat, and nasal congestion. Other health issues such as hypersensitivity pneumonitis, sinus congestion, allergic rhinitis, asthma, and allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis have also been associated with mold sickness.

 Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome Treatment McLean, VA

Sadness and Depression

Mold can cause a variety of illnesses that can show up in different ways, such as psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, insomnia, concentration problems, and memory loss. It has been reported that nearly 40% of people who live in moldy homes experience depression. Researchers suggest that exposure to toxic mold and dealing with the physical symptoms of mold illness can contribute to mental health issues.

Due to this phenomenon, many mold patients are given antidepressant medications in the conventional channels.

 Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome Symptoms McLean, VA

Feeling "Pins and Needles"

Numbness, twitching, or tingling in the extremities, such as hands, feet, legs, and arms, is another symptom of mold illness. The sensation is similar to pins and needles, which are often felt when the body is held in an uncomfortable position for a long time. While this sensation can indicate serious nerve damage or disease, it can also be a symptom of mold sickness.

CIRS Treatment In McLean McLean, VA

Digestion Problems and Disorders

When exposed to mold, individuals may experience various digestive problems. Some may lose their appetite, leading to unintentional weight loss. Others may suffer from stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Furthermore, the influx of mold spores may trigger systemic inflammation, causing bloating and weight gain due to the digestive system's exposure to harmful mold.

Top Tips for

Controlling Mold in Your Environment

It's not possible to completely eliminate all mold and mold spores from your home or place of work. However, since mold spores need moisture to grow, the best way to prevent or get rid of growth is to reduce the moisture in your environment. If you already have mold growing there, it's important to clean it up and address the issue causing dampness. If you only clean up the mold and don't address the underlying problem, the mold is likely to return.

Here are some tips to help reduce moisture throughout your home or office:

  • Use A/C or Dehumidifiers. This is especially important if you live in a hot, humid area of the United States.
  • Ensure A/C drip pans are clean, dry, and obstruction-free.
  • Thoroughly dry areas that are damp or wet within 48 hours.
  • Be sure to install insulation in cold areas like your home's exterior walls and windows. Doing so will reduce condensation.
  • Work with an HVAC company to check your HVAC system. Doing so can help ensure your unit is removing as much humidity as possible.
  • Keep the humidity in your home below 60% whenever possible.
 CIRS Mold Toxicity Treatment In McLean McLean, VA
 VA McLean, VA

Here are some tips to help reduce moisture in your kitchen:

  • Check for leaks near your ice makers, sinks, and anywhere else water is present.
  • Make sure your exhaust fans are directing moisture outside, not into your attic.
  • If you notice your appliances are causing moisture on windows and other surfaces, turn them off as soon as you're done using them.

Here are some tips to help reduce moisture in crawlspaces:

  • Use a plastic covering on the dirt in your crawlspace. Doing so will prevent moisture from saturating the ground.
  • Ensure that your crawlspace or basement is ventilated well.
  • Check your home's gutters. Make sure they're directing water away from your property, not toward your foundation or crawlspace.

Your Top Choice for

Mold Toxicity Treatment in McLean, VA

Trying to "tough it out" through life with CIRS isn't any way to live. If you're suffering from the effects of biotoxin illness, you should know that there are solutions available to help you reclaim your health and your life. With the help of a can-do attitude, healthy living, and mold illness treatment from Proactive Wellness, there's light at the end of the dark tunnel you're trapped within. Contact our office today to get started on your first step toward recovery!

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Latest News in McLean, VA

Peter Chang’s Chinese restaurant to open in McLean next week

(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) Peter Chang’s new McLean restaurant is almost ready for diners.The eponymous restaurant from the prolific Chinese chef will open at 6715 Lowell Avenue in one week on Oct. 12.Located under Tachibana in the former House of Fortune space, Peter Chang will...

(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) Peter Chang’s new McLean restaurant is almost ready for diners.

The eponymous restaurant from the prolific Chinese chef will open at 6715 Lowell Avenue in one week on Oct. 12.

Located under Tachibana in the former House of Fortune space, Peter Chang will serve a variety of Chinese dishes, including Peking roast duck, dim sum, wagyu beef lo mein, Amish honey ribs and more.

Operating hours will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30-9:30 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

“We’re expanding to McLean after listening to guest feedback on where they’d like to see the next Peter Chang restaurant,” co-owner and chef Lydia Chang said. “We hope to bring the same quality and nutritious Chinese food with bold flavors to McLean with our new location. We look forward to welcoming our McLean neighbors, hearing guest feedback, and getting to know the community.”

This is the 11th location for the Chang family’s signature brand and the first in Fairfax County, though the family has two different establishments in Fairfax City — Mama Chang and Lu Wei by Peter Zhang.

The Changs also have restaurants in D.C., Bethesda, Baltimore and Arlington, which is home to the first Peter Chang in the D.C. area and slated to get a new NiHao near Amazon’s HQ2.

The Burn reported in May that Chang has leased 3,500 square feet in Arrowbrook Centre near Herndon. While The Burn said the location will be a second Mama Chang, a spokesperson says it will actually be another Peter Chang restaurant.

A commercial alteration permit application for the new location was submitted to Fairfax County for review in September.

The Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) has proposed a new grant program to help curb flooding in the county.

The flood mitigation assistance program (FMAP) would reimburse residents and property owners for purchasing and installing approved products and services that reduce the risk of flood damage to their property.

The program calls for a cost-sharing agreement where the resident or property owners cover 50% of the cost, and the county covers the other half up to $5,000, DPWES Deputy Director Eleanor Ku Codding told the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at an environmental committee meeting on Tuesday (Oct. 3).

The program was made to be flexible, according to Codding. It’s open to residential or commercial multi-family properties, common-interest communities, and places of worship. Approved flood mitigation practices include:

However, if an owner wanted to use another flood mitigation service not listed, it would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Codding said, since drainage is not a straightforward issue, sharing the cost is a good solution.

“By establishing a cost-share program, we are allowing residents to be empowered to take action to mitigate that risk of flooding,” she said. “In addition, we have seen that the best flood risk reduction programs — including FEMA — include these types of cost-share programs.”

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust supported the program but called for the county to take more action.

“We should be thinking bigger in terms of stormwater management because it’s a huge problem,” Foust said. “And once we adopt this, then we’ll be done with it. We’ll check it off and move on to the next thing, and I just think the problem deserves more.”

Codding said other programs could be brought to the board in the future.

The county has discussed raising its building stormwater standards to accommodate more frequent and extreme flooding, and earlier this year, it piloted a program for sharing the cost of projects with private property owners, essentially testing the approach proposed for the new assistance program.

Funded through the county’s Stormwater Service District taxes, FMAP would start on July 1, 2024, and applications would be reviewed on a first come, first served basis. The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District would administer the program.

DPWES will return to the board at a public hearing to get authorization to sign the memorandum of understanding with the conservation district. The agreement will establish rules for how the district should administer the program.

5 Reasons To Visit DC Region's Winter Lantern Festival

TYSONS, VA — It's that time of the year to head out and see holiday lights in between Christmas shopping.One of the options is the Winter Lantern Festival in Tysons, a returning experience featuring illuminated Chinese lanterns. Patch got a preview of this year's festival1. It provides a unique holiday lights experience.The Winter Lantern Festival stands out from traditional holiday lights, as it celebrates traditional Chinese lantern festivals. The experience features over 1,000 handcrafted Chines...

TYSONS, VA — It's that time of the year to head out and see holiday lights in between Christmas shopping.

One of the options is the Winter Lantern Festival in Tysons, a returning experience featuring illuminated Chinese lanterns. Patch got a preview of this year's festival

1. It provides a unique holiday lights experience.

The Winter Lantern Festival stands out from traditional holiday lights, as it celebrates traditional Chinese lantern festivals. The experience features over 1,000 handcrafted Chinese lanterns made by artisans with decades of experience. The Winter Lantern Festival first came to the DC region in 2022 after success in New York.

2. It has plenty of photo ops.

At the Winter Lantern Festival, you can explore Chinese myths and legends, step inside a giant gator, see all of the Chinese zodiac animals, walk under a giant water dragon, marvel at an icy winter wonderland, and ride illuminated swings and seesaws. There's plenty to see at the experience, which takes approximately 45 minutes to walk through.

3. It's in a convenient Tysons location.

The Winter Lantern Festival is located at Lerner Town Square at Tysons II, 8025 Galleria Drive, Tysons, VA, which is steps away from the Tysons Metro station. In between your stroll through the lantern lights experience, you can pay a visit to either of the Tysons malls nearby.

4. The outdoor lights experience is a safe activity during flu season.

The illuminated lanterns are spread out through the Lerner Town Square at Tysons II, so you'll have plenty of room to walk around without coming into contact with other guests. But if you need relief from the cold, there's an indoor area where the bounce house is located.

5. It offers fun beyond the illuminated lantern walk.

A new addition to the experience this year is dino rides, where you're strapped onto the back of a mechanical dinosaur. Children can also enjoy an indoor bounce house, which has an add-on price to a standard ticket. Guests can also shop for holiday items, artisan gifts and souvenirs as well as purchase wish jars as an add-on to their ticket.

The experience is open Fridays to Sundays through Feb. 18, 2024 and is ADA compliant. Tickets cost $25.99 for adults and children over 13, $20.99 for seniors, students or military and $17.99 for children 4 to 13. Family and group bundles are also offered. For more information and tickets, visit winterlanternfestival.com/washington.

VDOT Facilities Stocked With Salt, Sand In Preparation For Winter

NORTHERN VIRGINIA — The Virginia Department of Transportation’s facilities in Northern Virginia are fully stocked with salt, sand and brine as the department prepares to keep roads safe during the upcoming winter, VDOT officials said Wednesday morning during the department’s winter outlook presentation.Meteorologists are saying that an El Niño climate pattern is strengthening...

NORTHERN VIRGINIA — The Virginia Department of Transportation’s facilities in Northern Virginia are fully stocked with salt, sand and brine as the department prepares to keep roads safe during the upcoming winter, VDOT officials said Wednesday morning during the department’s winter outlook presentation.

Meteorologists are saying that an El Niño climate pattern is strengthening and could last through next spring. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Northern Virginia and the D.C. area historically sees above-average snowfall during El Niño winters.

At Wednesday morning’s briefing, Lauren Mollerup, VDOT’s assistant district administrator and district maintenance engineer for Northern Virginia, said her district leans heavily on contractors for the equipment that does the pretreating of roads and snow removal. VDOT's Northern Virginia district includes Fairfax County, Arlington County, Loudoun County and Prince William County.

Decisions on whether to pretreat roads with salt or brine are typically made one to three days out from when the National Weather Service predicts a storm will hit. Whether to pretreat roads also depends on whether rain is in the forecast prior to the storm, which would wash away the treatment before the snow arrives, Mollerup said.

As part of a partnership with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, VDOT is also trying to be more conscious with the amount of a salt it uses on roads prior to winter storms, she noted. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, road salt can contaminate drinking water, kill or endanger wildlife, and increase soil erosion.

At Wednesday briefing, Chris Strong of the National Weather Service noted that last winter was the third-warmest on record and the region was only one small snowfall away from having a snowless winter.

This contrasts with two winters ago when a snowstorm stranded hundreds of motorists on Interstate 95 in Virginia, outside VDOT’s Northern Virginia region, with many motorists stuck in their cars for more than 24 hours.

Virginia transportation officials failed to implement lessons learned from previous storms before that early January 2022 storm shut down I-95, according to a report released in spring 2022 by the state inspector general.

Despite the nightmare of January 2022, Strong said the NWS has come a long way in the past 10 years in how it communicates with local transportation officials.

Winter storms can come in different forms and often “it’s the smaller ones that we need to be vigilant for,” he said.

Back in January 2011, a storm that dropped only 5 or 6 inches of snow and some sleet in the region caused traffic backups that forced people to abandon their cars. Known as Carmageddon, some motorists took 12 hours to get home during the 2011 storm for a commute that normally takes less than an hour.

Strong said snowfall in the D.C. area has been below average over the last three winters. At Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, 13.7 inches of snow is the winter average for the D.C. area.

As for the El Niño, Strong said the climate pattern increases the odds for snow in the Mid-Atlantic region. But the snowfall amounts will depend on whether the slightly higher odds of higher-than-normal temperatures from El Niño turn the precipitation into rain, he said.

Geminid Meteors, Best Shooting Stars Of 2023, Peak This Week Over VA

The best meteor shower of the year, the Geminids, should fire off 120 shooting stars an hour at its peak Wednesday night and early Thursday.VIRGINIA — Weather permitting in Northern Virginia, stargazers will be rewarded with what is regarded as the best meteor shower of the year, the Geminids, which fire off at a rate of about 120 shooting stars an hour during the Wednesday night and Thursday morning peak.This is expected to be a banner year for the Geminids. The moon will be a slim crescent low in the west-southwest sk...

The best meteor shower of the year, the Geminids, should fire off 120 shooting stars an hour at its peak Wednesday night and early Thursday.

VIRGINIA — Weather permitting in Northern Virginia, stargazers will be rewarded with what is regarded as the best meteor shower of the year, the Geminids, which fire off at a rate of about 120 shooting stars an hour during the Wednesday night and Thursday morning peak.

This is expected to be a banner year for the Geminids. The moon will be a slim crescent low in the west-southwest sky that sets before nightfall, leaving a dark sky to view the shower known for often yellowish-colored meteors and fireballs.

In most places in the country, warmer-than-normal December temperatures, thanks to a strong El Niño climate pattern, are ideal for overnight meteor watching. The National Weather Service calls for clear skies overnight Wednesday and early Thursday in the Washington, D.C., region.

The best views of the Geminid meteor shower are around 2 a.m. local time on Thursday when the shower’s radiant point — the constellation Gemini — is at its highest point in the sky. But because Gemini begins to come up near the east-northeast horizon around twilight, you may see a few shooting stars as soon as the sky gets dark Wednesday night, making it a perfect meteor shower to enjoy with the kids, according to NASA.

Early evening skywatchers may catch a rare “Earth grazer” — that is, a slow-moving, long-lasting bright meteor traveling horizontally across the sky.

Find out what's happening in McLeanwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Around 9 or 10 p.m. local time, the shower noticeably picks up in velocity, according to Space.com. That’s because the higher the radiant point in the sky, the more meteors it produces.

Virginia State Parks has four parks designated as International Dark Sky Parks by the International Dark-Sky Association: Staunton River, James River, Natural Bridge and Sky Meadows.

Other spots for star-gazing include: Assateague Island National Seashore, Grayson Highlands State Park, James River State Park, Meadows of Dan, Natural Bridge State Park, Natural Chimneys Park, Rappahannock County Park, and Shenandoah National Park, according to Space Tourism Guide.

If you can’t make it outside during the peak, don’t despair. You should also be able to see a fair number of shooting stars a few days earlier as the shower builds toward its crescendo.

Meteors occur when Earth, in its orbit around the Sun, passes through debris left behind by disintegrating comets and space rocks. The Geminid meteors fly as Earth passes through the massive trail of dusty debris left behind by the rocky object named 3200 Phaethon. The dust and grit burn up when they enter Earth’s atmosphere, causing a flurry of meteors.

Phaethon is one of the mysteries of the universe, according to NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke.

“It’s either a near-Earth asteroid or an extinct comet, sometimes called a rock comet,” he wrote in a blog on the agency’s website. “There is another object — an Apollo asteroid named 2005 UD — that is in a dynamically similar orbit to Phaethon, prompting speculation that the two were once part of a larger body that split apart or collided with another asteroid.”

There’s more: “Most shower meteors are shed by comets when their orbits take them into the inner Solar System, but the Geminids may be the debris from this long-ago breakup or collision event. When you consider that the Geminid meteor stream has more mass than any other meteor shower, including the Perseids, whatever happened back then must have been pretty spectacular.”

The first known report of the Geminid meteor shower was in 1833, when it was seen from a riverboat moving slowly on the Mississippi River. The shower produced 10 or 20 an hour back then, but the Geminids have grown in intensity over the centuries as Jupiter’s gravity tugs particles from 3200 Phaethon closer to the Earth.

Here are some tips to get the most out of your nighttime meteor-watching excursion:

If you miss the Geminids, which run through Christmas Eve, there’s one more chance in 2023 to see meteors. The Ursid meteor shower runs from Dec. 17-26 and always peaks around the winter solstice, which is Dec. 21. The peak this year is expected to occur Dec. 23.

The Ursids are fairly low-key, delivering five or 10 meteors an hour, but on rare occasions, they can produce outbursts of 100 or more meteors an hour. The meteors appear to come from the Ursa Minor constellation.

The Quadrantid meteor shower rings in 2024, running from Dec. 26-Jan. 16 and peaking Jan. 3-4.

The shooting star show has the potential to be one of the strongest of the year, but usually falls short because the peak occurs during a short, six-hour window at a time of year when people don’t want to spend a lot of time outside, according to the American Meteor Society.

Quadrantids fly at a rate of about 25 an hour during the peak. They usually lack persistent trails, but are often rich in bright fireballs.

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Chef David Guas to Open Neutral Ground Bar + Kitchen in McLean

The restaurant will spotlight Americana and regional flavors when it opens in 2024.David Guas is taking his culinary talents to McLean with his new restaurant Neutral Ground Bar + Kitchen, which is set to open in early 2024.The menu will feature seasonal, American-inspired dishes with ingredients sourced from the mid-Atlantic and Gulf Coast. This is Guas’s second NoVA eatery. The New Orleans native opened the Bayou Bakery in 2010 in Arlington....

The restaurant will spotlight Americana and regional flavors when it opens in 2024.

David Guas is taking his culinary talents to McLean with his new restaurant Neutral Ground Bar + Kitchen, which is set to open in early 2024.

The menu will feature seasonal, American-inspired dishes with ingredients sourced from the mid-Atlantic and Gulf Coast. This is Guas’s second NoVA eatery. The New Orleans native opened the Bayou Bakery in 2010 in Arlington.

“I am incredibly excited to be opening in McLean and have my newest venture only 15 minutes away from my Arlington gathering spot, a community I take pride in being a part of daily,” Guas said in a news release.

Neutral Ground Bar + Kitchen will pay homage to Guas’ Louisiana roots, mainly through the restaurant’s name. The term “neutral ground” refers to New Orleans’s Canal Street after the Louisiana Purchase. Feuds between the French Creoles and Europeans divided the city. But, Canal Street’s linear grassy space became a common area for both groups to trade and interact.

The “neutral ground” philosophy is reflected in the restaurant’s open-concept design, meant to facilitate a casual and relaxed feel. The interior will feature warm tones and wood accents. A bar will anchor the rear of the restaurant, and there will be open-air dining on a patio.

Guas is no stranger to the cooking scene. The celebrity chef has judged Food Network’s Chopped and hosted the Travel Channel’s American Grilled. He has also appeared on CNN, NBC, The Today Show, and The Dish.

In addition to being a television celebrity, Guas is an award-winning cookbook author. In NoVA, he has received recognition for his recipes, along with his anti-hunger advocacy and COVID-19 relief work.

“Being in Northern Virginia for 20-plus years, I have been waiting for the right space in McLean, VA, to turn up vacant and make sense to me,” he said. “I’ve been listening to McLean friends and family for a long time, who ask me, ‘Why won’t you open a restaurant here?’ Their increased desire for a place to fill a void in downtown McLean catapulted me to take a vested interest this year and move forward.”

When the restaurant opens at 6641 Old Dominion Dr. in 2024, it will only be open for dinner initially from Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Feature image courtesy Neutral Ground Bar + Kitchen

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