VOLUME 9 • EDITION 3
The New war on drugs America's Opioid Addiction builds, doesn't discriminate
210 S. Main Street Edwardsville, IL 62025 227 West Monroe St., Suite 2650 Chicago, IL 60606
A Letter fro m th e Fir m
PUBLISHER TorHoerman Law LLC EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Stephanie Andre email@example.com Art Director Eva Talley firstname.lastname@example.org Associate Editor Brittany Monbarren email@example.com
Dear Friends, Our last issue addressed the pharmaceutical industry. This time, we take a harder look at the current opioid crisis. The opioid epidemic is nothing new, but it is growing. There are few communities that haven’t been touched by the tragic consequences of opioid addiction. So many of these stories are tragic, not just because of the havoc they wreak, but also because of their innocent beginnings. Like many other drugs, these medications attract recreational users. Unlike so many illegal drugs, though, prescription opioids are making addicts of legitimate patients, which makes the issue all the more worrisome. Our cover story takes a deeper look into this nationwide crisis. As always, we want to bring you information on a variety of topics. In this issue, you will also find articles discussing concussion safety, breast cancer awareness, combating sexism in the workplace, tips on saving for your kids’ education and much more. We hope that this issue is helpful! Thanks for reading. Sincerely, TorHoerman Law
people for justice
justice for people
Inside This Issue ON THE COVER
WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD FROM A CONCUSSION
HOW TO COMBAT SEXISM IN THE WORKPLACE
HOW TO ORDER HEALTHIER FAST FOOD MEALS
10 SKILLS EVERY TEEN SHOULD KNOW BY HIGH SCHOOL
8 THINGS YOU SHOULD CLEAN EVERY WEEK
30 The New War on Drugs America’s Opioid Addiction Builds, Doesn’t Discriminate America’s opioid crisis has become a national emergency. While few details have emerged (as of press time) as to how the Trump administration plans to deal with a problem that has been arguably building since Bill Clinton was in office, at the very least, the announcement has helped to shine a brighter light on a serious problem that many people know surprisingly little about—that is, beyond our politicians’ posturing on the subject and our news media’s superficial soundbites.
SAVING FOR YOUR KIDS’ EDUCATION
THE LATEST CTE STUDY AND WHAT IT MEANS
THE SIMPLE, YES SURPRISING SIGNS OF BREAST CANCER
GET EDUCATED: HOW TO SPOT A CREDIT CARD SCAMMER AT THE PUMP OR ATM
GADGETS & TECHNOLOGY
DOS & DON’TS
Why the Attitude of ‘Not My Problem’ Is Itself a Problem by Bryan Silver
For many people who read the headlines and see the news reports, the current opioid crisis might seem like an issue for others to worry about—neither they nor anyone in their family is addicted to opioids. No one in their congregation or local community has died from an opioid overdose. Sure, they’re aware of all the facts and figures, and it certainly sounds like a problem; it’s just not their problem. This is where people with such attitudes are wrong. Eventually, some aspect of this very real problem will affect your business, your friends or your family. The reason is that many of the issues reach far beyond any single drug overdose. While statistics from as recently as 2015 show a staggering average of about 144 drug overdoses each day in the U.S., each such event broadcasts long-lasting ripples through our society—any one of which could touch the lives of thousands of other individuals who have never been given an opioid prescription or used illicit drugs. For instance, our healthcare system is being overtaxed to the point where other programs are being affected. There are numerous occupational areas where drug use is decimating entire workforces with both lost days and lost lives. We have heard testament to the rising human cost, but now it’s becoming more
apparent as to the monetary cost and what this could do to our economy on both a local, state and national level. While new legislation such as the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA) signals that the federal government is beginning to take position against this growing threat (while CARA was passed into law last year, it currently has no funding), some wonder if it’s coming too late to effectively turn the tide. During a recent press conference, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price offered comparative insight to the federal war on drugs in the 1980s with crack cocaine, “[The opioid crisis] knows no age distribution. It's affecting folks young and old, all across demographics in our society. So we believe that it is different [from crack cocaine], if only because of the potency of the medication and the number of individuals that are succumbing to it.” The point being that this will not be an easy battle, and, in many ways, it could be a battle we’ve already lost. This challenge is like no other we’ve faced in modern times, and now is not the time to adopt a “not my problem” attitude. In responding to this emergency that currently faces our nation, we must confront the crisis as a nation. We need to act together, we need to act with purpose and we need to act soon.
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Smart Home Devices for
People with Disabilities by Brittany Monbarren In today’s world, it’s safe to say that smart devices have taken over. From smart locks and doorbells to smart lighting and robot vacuums, smart devices have even taken over the home. What’s even more, these smart home devices are now making a huge difference in the lives of those living with a disability or chronic illness by making the home more accessible and user friendly. If you have a disability or chronic illness, and you’ve been considering turning your home into a smart home, take a look at these smart home devices.
Amazon Echo The Amazon Echo is a Bluetooth speaker powered by Alexa, Amazon's handy voice assistant. The device works as a central control point for all of your smart home gadgets. You have the ability to control almost anything in your home.
August Smart Lock The August Smart Lock adds smarts to the deadbolt you already have. This smart lock allows you to lock and unlock your door, create virtual keys for guests, as well as keep track of who comes and goes, all from your smartphone.
Ring Smart Doorbell Those who are confined to bed due to a disability or chronic illness, or can’t see the doorbell from your wheelchair, the Ring smart doorbell is exactly what you need. The Ring smart doorbell has a motion-activated camera, two-way audio and HD video and will show you who is at the door. You can also hear and speak to anyone at the door in real-time from your smartphone, tablet or computer.
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Smart Thermostat Sometimes waking up in the middle of the night is extremely painful or physically impossible for people with a disability or chronic illness. Thankfully, there are several different smart Thermostats on the market today to help ease this task, including Nest, Ecobee, Honeywell and more. These smart thermostats allow you to change the temperature using your smartphone. Whichever you choose, it will give you increased control over the comfort of your environment, day and night.
Philips Hue Gone are the days of “clap on, clap off.” Now, there’s smart lighting. Smart lighting is one of the best tools for increasing access and visibility in your home. Smart lighting like the Philips Hue line allows you to easily control your lighting from your smart device. You can also change the colors.
iRobot The iRobot family of automated clears makes it easy for you to keep any floor in the house clean. With just the press of a button, these robots are designed to make vacuuming, floor scrubbing, mopping and sweeping easier than with conventional tools.
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C O M M E N TA R Y
Saving for Your Kids’ Education by John Bair
As we raise our children the best we can, many of us overlook or procrastinate planning for college. And before I go any further, I will state that I’m a firm believer that not everyone is cut out for college. There are plenty of young adults who go to college out of a feeling of necessity, or societal pressure. If maturity is at all an issue with your 16- to 17-year-old, be sure to take the time to consider a gap year. Studying abroad or volunteering for a year can be a great experience for a young adult, and it gives them a much-needed year of maturity, growth, and perspective. I was the first person to go to college in my family, and the costs associated with it were an ongoing family discussion. Now, in giving clients advice about savings and financial planning associated with college, I generally keep to a few simple guidelines. First, I think every parent owes it to their child to make him or her think about how college is going to be paid for. You could simply write checks for four years, and your offspring might never appreciate the cost or the effort that went into saving those monies after tax. I believe that expecting your children to strive for a scholarship or to apply for loans is a great first impression in the world of finances. Many parents don’t want to see their kids strapped with debt, and I agree, but the process of applying and seeing those loan payments come due can shape habits and form responsibility that will influence the way your children behave towards finances moving forward. When loan payments come due, this is the perfect time to leverage those savings you’ve accumulated and pitch in to help pay your children’s debt down. This process has an incredibly beneficial maturing effect. 1.) Your son or daughter will appreciate what you have just done, or might continue to do if you are helping them on a monthly basis. 2.) If and when they can start paying their payments on their own, you can step in to pay the balances off, or help them with their first mortgage. My opinion is that, if you are able to save a bit for your child’s future, it is better to give them this gift when they are later in their twenties. Also, those young adults who don’t have the expectation of having everything paid for may seek out grants, scholarships, and other sources of funding a little harder if they actually believe it’s all going to be on their own dime. Regardless of your approach, having the assets set aside to give to your children is important, giving you the option to help them or not. Choice is wonderfully empowering. Just like with any investment opportunity, you can never start too early. Starting college savings plans on a monthly basis should begin when your son or daughter is born, and grandparents and other family members should be encouraged to fund these accounts on their birthdays. Time is your best weapon for accumulating enough to make a difference. A parent who begins investing $100 a month at birth should, on average, have saved almost $97,000 by the time their child reaches the age of 23—given a modest seven percent net
of fee return. That’s one dinner out a month, four cases of good beer, a trip to the movies for four people, or numerous other small luxuries that could be eliminated. Establishing a way to make these deposits automatically is key so you won’t even think about it.
Savings vs. after tax equities An obvious place for college savings is in a UTMA (Uniform Transfers to Minors Act) savings account, a joint securities account held with you and your child. You can tailor the investments to be as conservative or aggressive as you want based on the time horizon you have. Beware though, these accounts typically convert to the child’s name at age 18 and may not be actually ever spent on college tuition. For parents starting in the ages of 14 to 18, I think it’s best just to open a separate brokerage account in your own name, pay long term capital gains, and take withdrawals from the accounts when tuition bills come due. You will need to keep in mind the short duration, 8 to 10 years, and therefore you may not invest in the same manner as your 401k, for example. If you have started early enough or have multiple children, then the 529 plans available throughout the country can be a good fit.
Finding a good plan States typically offer a direct plan, and 32 states offer a tax deduction for contributions. The Vanguard 529 State Tax Deduction Calculator is a great simple tool to determine your tax savings given a ballpark contribution. An out-of-state plan with low fees may not beat your in-state 529 plan that gives you a deduction. If you live in Pennsylvania, Kansas, Arizona, Missouri or Montana, you can get the tax break regardless of where you invest. Morningstar 529 plan center offers guidance on direct sold plans. If you are fee conscious, and you should be, New York State 529 centers around low-cost Vanguard Index Funds. Their Value Stock index portfolio charges a mere 0.16 percent, allowing all of those potential returns to accumulate net of fee.
Some good resources If you are new to this equation, www.savingsforcollege.com and www.finaid.org are great resources—knowing where you need to get to can help with your long term planning. 2017 estimates for in-state vs. out-of-state private tuitions range from $10,000 a year all the way to $60,000. With inflation factored in, you may need $125,000 for your 10-year-old and $200,000 for that late addition. Take into consideration that the average student goes to undergraduate for 4.9 years, so don’t automatically assume you’ll be done after four years. Just like my parents told me—if you don’t get a scholarship, you should figure out how to pay for it yourself. Maybe they were just bluffing, but I’m glad I didn’t have to find out.
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Are We Still Ready for Some
The Latest CTE Study and What it Means by Bryan Pope
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riday Night Lights in Texas is a rite of passage for the entire high school community as each week the cheerleaders, the band, the booster club, the parents, and of course, the football players, who are seen as Gods of the Gridiron gather for the games. Our society has long glorified the crashing of helmets and hard hits by these young men. If they are lucky, the chosen few make it to play on Saturdays in places like Tuscaloosa, Athens, Tallahassee, Austin, Norman, Ann Arbor, Columbus and many other colleges across the country. The intensity of the crushing hits and helmet-to-helmet blows is part of the culture. And if one of those players is knocked out or dazed, smelling salts and a pep talk from the coach or trainer would get that guy back on the field—for more hits. And an even smaller of the chosen few get a chance to get paid to knock the snot out of teammates and opposing teams on Sundays. ESPN would feature the best hits on a weekly feature on SportsCenter called "Jack You Up!" Dallas Cowboys’ Hall of Famer Troy Aikman famously suffered a crushing blow from a knee to the head in the 1994 NFC Championship game and when asked where the next game would be played, he said, "Henryetta,” referring to Henryetta, Okla. Unfortunately, that was not the correct answer. It was the Super Bowl. He played in the Super Bowl just one week later, even though he clearly had experienced a major concussion. For years, this weekly Friday/Saturday/Sunday ritual took a terrible toll on football players as they suffered repeated helmetto-helmet blows in practice and on game days. This all changed in 2002, however, when Dr. Bennet Omalu, a researcher at the Brain Injury Research Institute, discovered a disturbing trend among the retired Pittsburgh Steelers of the "Steel Curtain" days as player after player began complaining of memory loss, mood changes and major depression. This culminated when Mike Webster, a former center for the Steelers, died at the early age of 50 after years of depression and increasing mood changes and memory loss. Omalu discovered during his autopsy a brain that had so degenerated that it resembled a brain you would expect to find an elderly person with severe dementia. Omalu diagnosed Webber with CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), a neurodegenerative brain disease, which, in his opinion, was caused by repetitive head trauma. As Omalu and his team dug deeper, they unearthed more and more retired players in the NFL who had exhibited signs of traumatic brain injury and upon death—more often by suicide—the hallmark of CTE. Eventually, Omalu was able to take on the mighty NFL and prove that it had been hiding the devastating effects of continued blows to the head for decades. Ultimately, the conspiracy was brought into the public light by Omalu and others leading to the major motion picture, "Concussion," which shed even more publicity on the growing problem. The most recent shocking finding was that 110 out of 111 (99%) brains from NFL players showed some level of CTE. Although the vast majority of the players were from the ’50s, ’60, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, the clear message was heard across the NFL. In the past few years, there have been several high profile retirements by players in their prime who don’t want to take any more hits to the head that threaten their long-term health. This will probably become an increasing trend as the medical science on CTE 12 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 9 ED 3
becomes even move advanced. As of today, CTE can only be diagnosed post-death during an autopsy as the brain tissue is examined. Scientists have discovered that brains with CTE have a buildup of abnormal tau protein, which can impact neuropathways and result in the following symptomology (mood changes, memory loss, personality disorders, depression, impaired judgment, and sometimes even suicidal behavior). There is hope that diagnostic testing is close to being able to find early stages of CTE. Some of the testing includes: »» Specialized MRIs (show tiny bleeds, path of white matter which can show brain abnormalities) »» PET Scans (using markers to detect tau protein abnormalities) »» Use of Plasma or Cerebral Spinal Fluid (biomarkers could identify brain degeneration separately from the original brain trauma) There is currently a large class action on behalf of NFL players against the league that has settled with potential payouts to retired players up to $5 million for medical issues related to repetitive head trauma. As part of that settlement, the NFL has agreed to admit that there is a correlation between repetitive head trauma and CTE, and to fund $100 million to support further scientific research into CTE
and the prevention of future head injuries. The impact of the 99% findings will reverberate for years to come in the football and athletic community. It’s not just football, but any sport that could result in repetitive head trauma (hockey, field hockey, lacrosse, volleyball, soccer). Parents are contemplating major decisions on whether their children will take a path to play football or opt for less violent sports such as baseball, golf, tennis, etc. Former NFL players have come out and said that they do not want their kids playing football because of the possibility of head trauma. Where does it stop? Is it possible that football across the spectrum (Pop Warner, high school, college, NFL) will soon change as we know it? One can imagine the possibility that in the not too far future, the NFL will be relegated to the dustbin of history if it does not address these serious problems “head on” and come up with a solution for the violence that is so much a part of the modern game.
Preventing Your Child from Becoming a Statistic: 10 Ways to Protect Your Child from a Concussion by Reza Torkzadeh
oncussions are terrifying for parents, and with good reason. After all, your child’s brain is what makes them who they are. Bruises heal and broken bones mend, but
if the brain is threatened, it may not be possible to fully recover. Parents are right to be worried about concussions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 300,000 American children were treated for concussions in 2012. This number has only increased in recent years, which, perversely, may be a good sign, because it suggests that more adults today are able to recognize and properly diagnose concussions. Even so, you don’t want your child to be one of those 300,000. And, if they are, you want them to recover fully. The good news is that many steps can be taken to avoid concussions, and if they are properly diagnosed and treated, the risk of permanent injury is low. Here are a few tips on how to decrease the risk of your child sustaining a concussion that causes permanent and irreparable damage: K now which sports pose the highest risk for concussions. The dangers of football and boxing are well-known by now. But other high-risk sports include soccer (in which players often bounce the ball off their heads), ice and field hockey, lacrosse, baseball, basketball, and even cheerleading. Keep this in mind when selecting sporting activities for your children. Make sure that your child takes the proper safety precautions if they do play a sport. Today, many youth sports leagues teach their kids proper technique to reduce head injury, but some do not. Take the time required to ensure that your child’s sports team is doing their due diligence. Have your child wear a helmet whenever they are playing football or riding a bicycle. Helmets don’t eliminate the risk of concussion entirely, but they certainly help, so get your child a helmet, and make sure that it is properly fitted and they know how to wear it. Put your child in a car seat. Concussions don’t just happen because of blows to the head. They can also be caused by rapid changes in velocity or back-and-forth whipping motions, which often happen in car accidents. So keep your child in a proper, well-designed car seat until they meet the height and age requirements for riding unsupported.
Remove slipping hazards from your house. Many concussions happen when a child falls on their head. Remove loose rugs, put a nonslip mat in the bathroom, clear the floor of random objects, and put a safety gate at the top and bottom of the stairs if your child is just learning to walk. anage the risk of slipping outside the house. Try to M keep your kid from climbing precarious heights or jumping on a trampoline. If possible, take them to a playground with a shock-absorbing surface (such as sand or woodchips rather than hard packed dirt). now the signs of child abuse. Every year, a disturbingly K high number of children suffer brain injuries as a result of physical abuse, so if you suspect that someone is hurting your child, take that seriously. Look for signs such as physical marks or mood changes, and, if these signs manifest, talk to them gently and patiently, and try to find out the truth. each your child exercises to strengthen their neck T muscles. Despite all these precautions, your child may still get hit in the head, and many doctors believe that people with stronger neck muscles are less likely to get head injuries after being struck. So teach your child some neck exercises, and if they are part of a sports team, have them work these into their exercise regimen. Know the signs of a concussion. Children can’t always articulate their difficulties, so it is up to you to spot that something is wrong. Loss of consciousness is the most obvious sign, but most concussion victims don’t pass out. Look for vomiting, dilated pupils, sudden changes in mood including confusion and irritability, and changes in eating and sleeping patterns. These can occur immediately after a blow to the head, or hours or days afterward. ive your child adequate time to recover after a G concussion. This includes giving the body a rest from strenuous physical activity, but it also includes giving the brain a rest. Even seemingly low-key activities like reading and watching TV should be avoided. Also, if your child drives, don’t let them get behind the wheel for at least 24 hours. Children can be rough and tumble, and so we may never completely eliminate the risk of concussion. But by taking these steps we can certainly reduce the risk, and if a concussion does happen, we can lessen its long-term impact and help ensure a full recovery. @LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 13
7 Simple—yet Surprising— Signs of Breast Cancer by Tatum Lindbo hen most people think of the signs of breast cancer, they think of finding a lump or getting a questionable result on a mammogram. Although breast lumps may be one of the most common signs of breast cancer, the condition can actually be detected in a variety of other somewhat lessobvious ways, such as:
Dimpling of the skin Dimpling of the skin, which resembles the skin of an orange, can be a sign of breast cancer since the cancerous tumor causes the skin to pucker—making it resemble orange peel. Any breast skin changes, including redness, flaking, or thickening, should be monitored closely.
Breast or chest pain Breast or chest pain, in the form of an ache, throb, twinge, or stab, can be a sign of breast cancer, since breast tumors can extend into the surrounding tissue or be directly behind the nipple or in a milk duct, where they cause pain or discomfort.
Upper back, shoulder, or neck pain Some patients feel pain in the back, shoulders, or neck rather than in the chest or breasts because they have a breast tumor that is pushing back toward the ribs and spine. This pain is sometimes confused with sore muscles or a pulled tendon, but differs in that it doesn’t go away by stretching or changing position.
Itchy breasts Usually linked to inflammatory breast cancer, itchy breasts are caused by cancer cells that block the blood and lymph vessels that feed the skin, impeding the flow of lymph and allowing fluid to build up in and under the skin. Itchy breasts are sometimes scaly in appearance, dimpled with cellulite, and feel extremely irritated—similar to the symptoms of poison oak or ivy. 14 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 9 ED 3
Change in size, shape or appearance Tissue growth that is deeper in the breast or is concealed by dense breast tissue might change the shape or size of the breast without causing an obvious lump. If the size of one of your breasts increases dramatically or changes shape in a short period of time, this could be a symptom of breast cancer. Even if no lump is present, the swelling of the breast is not a good sign, particularly if the breast becomes warm, inflamed, appears red or purple in color, or otherwise changes significantly in appearance.
Nipple discharge Sometimes women—and even men—experience a discharge from the nipples of both breasts, but if it happens spontaneously from only one breast, it could be a sign of breast cancer, particularly if it has a clear or bloody (not milky) appearance. Likewise, a change in the appearance, direction, or general feel of the nipple itself can also be a warning sign, along with increased or decreased nipple sensitivity.
Armpit pain and tenderness
Studies have shown that breast cancer initially spreads to the axillary lymph nodes (the lymph nodes under the arm). According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer can spread to the lymph nodes under the arm or around the collarbone and cause swelling or a lump to form there, before the original tumor in the breast is large enough to be detected. Therefore, pain in the armpit should be checked immediately so that breast cancer can be ruled out.
Early detection most important Although the signs of breast cancer can be subtle and often vary among patients, early detection provides patients with the best chance of successful treatment. But knowing what to look for does not take the place of regular mammograms and other screening tests, which can help diagnose breast cancer in its earliest stages— even before symptoms appear.
HOW TO HELP
HURRICANE HARVEY Rebuilding After Disaster
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, help make a difference in the lives of thousands of Texans affected by the tragic flooding and destruction.
HELP WHERE IT’S NEEDED MOST. EVEN A SMALL DONATION CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE. The Greater Houston Community Foundation www.ghcf.org/hurricane-relief
Coalition for the Homeless www.homelesshouston.org
Feeding Texas feedingtexas.org
American Red Cross www.Redcross.org
Texas Diaper Bank texasdiaperbank.org
The Salvation Army www.helpsalvationarmy.org
SPCA of Texas www.spca.org
Save the Children www.savethechildren.org
Driscoll Children’s Hospital www.driscollchildrens.org
Catholic Charities USA www.catholiccharitiesusa.org
United Way of Greater Houston www.unitedwayhouston.org
Animal Defense League of Texas www.adltexas.org
TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
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10 Ways to Learn to Love it by Anthony R. Leone II It takes too long. I’m too busy. I’m too tired. It’s too hard. These are just some of the reasons we use not to get out there and run. There is hope. Running can be a fun and invigorating activity. Here are 10 ways to learn to love running. Good gear — Enjoying running starts with the right gear. For runners, this begins with good running sneakers. This is the first key to injury prevention. Whether or not you buy sneakers from a running store, check with someone who knows running and can assess your running stride. Many runners need some stability in their sneakers to give proper support and to guard against injury. It is also very important to buy quality running socks to give support and comfort. Beyond that, clothing made for running really aids in comfort and performance. There are many clothing options out there that allow you run in comfort in the heat, cold, or rain. Good gear now includes running apps for your phone, runner’s watches, or step monitors. Whatever works best for you, these devices or apps allow you to monitor your steps, calories, route, and progress over time. Warmup and cool down — The easiest way to hate running is to get hurt. After having the right sneakers, the key to injury prevention is proper preparation and recovery. Take the time to stretch before every run. Make sure you are properly hydrated. Runners differ on what or how much to eat before a run. After your run, recovery is just as important. Stretch, hydrate and ice after your run as necessary. Start slow — You have good sneakers and comfortable running clothes. Now it’s time to hit the road. Whether a novice or seasoned runner, include a short walk before starting a run. Work up to intervals with running and walking. Music or a book — Put together a playlist of favorite tunes or download a favorite book. Either way, this can take your mind off the physical rigors of running. Always be mindful of safety and be cognizant of your surroundings especially if you are running in the street. Running safety begins with running against the flow of traffic. Reasonable goals — Set goals that you can achieve. For some, it is a distance. For others, it is pace. Set goals that work
for you in light of the challenges we face everyday. If you are a new runner and set out to run a marathon after two weeks, then you will likely be sorely disappointed with the outcome. Challenge yourself — Being reasonable does not mean that you cannot push yourself. What do you want to do that you do not think is possible? While unreasonable goals can be frustrating, reasonable goals that push you can keep you motivated and engaged. Sign up for a 5K — With some time and practice, running a 5K is possible for most people. If running a 5K is too much, run some and walk some. There is great exhilaration from running a race. There is nothing quite like coming down that home stretch to the applause and encouragement of spectators! Run for others — Why do you want to run? Health? Stress relief? How about running for others? Set an example for your spouse, significant other, or kids to show others that you can do it. It can be difficult on a cold morning to get out there, but the motivation of being an example for someone you love can help. Along the lines of running for others, pick a favorite charity and raise some money for a good cause. If you are ambitious enough to try running a marathon, there are some that allow people to run who do not otherwise qualify, if they are running for a specific charity. Routine — Develop a running routine that works for your schedule. Some people like to run first thing in the morning. Some like lunch time or late at night. Whatever works for you; most of us work better when we have a routine. Variety — The same route day in and day out can get boring. Run different routes on occasion. It keeps your run from getting stale. Also, if you travel for work or for fun, schedule some runs. Running in a new city is a great way to check out the sites and get a feel for the community you are visiting. Running is a great way to stay in shape. It really takes very little to get started beyond some healthy motivation. There is one final caveat to consider. If you have not seen a doctor or if you have a serious medical condition, see your doctor to make sure that you are healthy enough to run. With that, you can do it with a little time, discipline, and resolve.
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How to Combat Sexism
in the Workplace by Cheryl Pope
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At a recent conference that included a discussion on “Lingering Gender Issues,” the moderator asked for a show of hands of women who had recently encountered some type of discrimination or sexism at work. Approximately 95 percent of the attendees raised their hands and provided examples such as “Oh, I guess you are wearing the pants today,” “Don’t you worry your pretty little face about it” and “I am always being talked over.” One of the most common examples shared was “Are you the paralegal or court reporter?” Interesting fact: this was a legal conference attended by licensed attorneys…not support roles. So if females continue to experience sexism in an environment of those sworn to uphold the law, what must be happening in other industries? In its most basic sense, sexism is defined as prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically (but not always) against women, on the basis of sex. Some facts: Approx. 50.6 percent of the current U.S. population is female. According to Gallup, this group is paid 83 cents for every dollar a man earns. According to the 2016 Women in the Workplace study conducted by Leanin.org and McKinsey, entry level jobs are comprised of 54 percent male and 46 percent female employees. However, only 19 percent of CEOs are female. At every step between entry level and CEO, the representation of females declines yet the average rate at which males and females in the study are leaving their organizations has stayed about the same. So in addition to corporate goals, what can and should be done on an individual level to combat sexism? »» Create an even playing field; personally as well as professionally. In a recent episode of “How I Built This” on NPR, Jenn Hyman recounted how her business school boyfriend broke up with her as she was developing the idea for Rent the Runway. The reason? He didn’t want to “be with someone who would be his equal.” Combating sexism has to occur in personal as well as professional settings. Share the responsibilities at home and in activities away from work. Yes,
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men might have to cook or clean and women may have to take out the trash or pay for the dinner date, but everyone should have the same access and expectations (including the less desirable things.) »» Set the right example for future generations. When it comes to children, expose them to a broad range of interests, hobbies, subjects and careers. When it comes to the workforce, provide younger workers with access to new projects, experiences and mentors. Everyone at every age should understand that equality is a right and not a privilege. »» Speak up. See or hear something inappropriate? Voice discomfort, explain the specific behavior or words that cause concern and be definitive about the action needed going forward. For example, “It isn’t appropriate for you to refer to the administrative assistants in the office as ‘the girls’ because it is disrespectful to them and the work they do. Please stop it immediately.” »» Choose and use words wisely. While gender neutral terms like “flight attendant” and “server” are now commonly used, gender specific terms such as “guys” and “strawman” still exist. Additionally, words such as “drama queen” or “mean girl” have traditionally been associated with females and carry a negative connotation. Challenge yourself to stop using gender specific terms and always think in terms of specific behavioral observations instead of evaluations, especially when it comes to providing feedback. »» Listen and be respectful. Don’t interrupt when others speak or assume they need an extra explanation. Also, avoid making fun of or discrediting anyone’s emotional reactions. Finally, listen to stories and/or feedback referring to sexism regardless of whether from a male or female (after all, sexism can go both ways). Most importantly, be patient and be the change you want to see in the world. One by one we can all make a collective difference!
Managing Stress: What Works? by Eric Terry
tress is more common than many think, and has increased so much so that the American Psychological Association suggests stress is becoming a “public health crisis.”
According to a study conducted by the organization, 44 percent of Americans reported their stress levels have increased over the past five years. What are the causes of the increased stress? That is a question up for debate. Is it the 24/7 access to technology? The increasing standard expected for the children raising? The daily reminders that everyone should be working out regularly and eating healthier? Or the need to keep up with the constantly changing way of life? Is it an increasingly
y our mind a break from the day-to-day activities that cause stress. Get away. Put down the phone. Enjoy yourself. Get physical! Physical activity helps process stress. Find something to do that gets you moving without causing stress. Go for a walk, a run, or a bike ride—or log some time on the course, on the court, or in the pool. Although only a few suggestions are listed, there are many other ways to cope with stress. Do research. Find out what works best for you, and the stress will become more bearable. Keep in mind, though, there are things you can do that will make the stress WORSE.
volatile political climate? More things vying for what seems to be less time? More demands on increasingly limited incomes? There are a number of ways to cope with stress. Here are
buse alcohol or drugs. It may seem like these things A will help, but it will only worsen the stress long term.
bsess. Often, constantly thinking about the stress will O cause you to feel even worse.
Talk to a trusted confidant, which can include a family member, friend, or counselor. Express your feelings and talk them over to help dispel worries you may have and help provide needed context. Focus on other activities. Find a hobby that keeps you busy and brings joy, while keeping your mind off stress. Read a book. Immerse yourself in a story that will allow change your focus. Spend time with family and friends. The people closest to you tend to be able to make you happiest. They cannot cure your stress, but they can bring joy and help lift your mood. Take a vacation. There isn’t a rule that says you need to go on a trip around the world! Even a ‘staycation’ can give
kip out on sleep. Getting the recommended amount S of sleep each night allows your body and mind to relax. It’s very important to give yourself the chance to rejuvenate. void activity. Although a lazy day is needed A sometimes, spending too much time “vegging out” can cause you to fall into a rut. Become complacent. This can cause feelings of boredom and restlessness. Most importantly, remember to take care of yourself. If the stress becomes too much, contact a mental health organization such as the National Alliance on Mental Health for support and education!
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Thinking About Taking a Solo Vacay? Tips to Consider. by Katherine Allen
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raveling solo for work is one thing, but taking a solo vacation can be very daunting. Work trips are often shorter and you generally know that at some stage during the trip you are going to connect with colleagues or clients. The prospect of taking a holiday on your own, however, can often lead to anxiety on many levels. You might worry that being on your own will make you feel more vulnerable or isolated. There might also be all sorts of practical considerations that concern you, those to which you wouldn’t give a moment’s thought if traveling with others. Following some of the tips below will hopefully help to turn your solo vacay into an experience you will be only too eager to repeat.
The trip If you really do want some time on your own then traveling independently may well be the thing for you. However, there are companies specializing in holidays for the lone traveler which provide options for traveling within a group as well as traveling completely solo. Many of these specialist companies will not charge a single supplement, which can often make quite a difference to the holiday cost. If you would prefer to make your own travel arrangements while still not being completely on your own, then staying in a hostel, B&B or small hotel may well give you the best chance of meeting other travelers who might eat or even explore the local area with you. Signing up for local excursions could also be a great way to meet other travelers. The Internet is a great tool for researching the local area and identifying companies offering sightseeing trips or other local activities before you travel.
Meal times The thought of eating alone is often the biggest cause of anxiety for solo travelers. But it doesn’t have to be. Many restaurants offer the option of eating at the bar and this will often lead to the opportunity to have a conversation with the bar staff or other visitors who come in for a drink or bar meal. Many restaurants also now have bench-
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style seating and will seat separate groups of people at the same large table. If you do find yourself in a position where you are eating at a table alone; take a good book or magazine with you, or catch up with the news and/or your emails. And people-watching can also be fun— plus, it can be done unobserved from behind sunglasses if you are sitting at a table on a sunny terrace.
Practical tips There are some things that you take for granted when you travel with other people—for example, having someone on hand to help you apply sunscreen or look after your suitcase while you go to the bathroom at the airport. But you can get round all of these things with a little bit of planning. Buy a sunscreen in spray form so that you can still protect those hard to reach areas. Make sure you only go to the bathroom at the airport after you have checked in your luggage or before you collect it from the luggage carousel. If there is anything about traveling alone from a practical point of view that is causing you some concern, explore travelers’ forums online—you will probably not be the only person to have such concerns; chances are someone will have already found a way around it!
Embrace the experience Travelers who have traveled solo often say that the trips they did on their own were some of the best trips they have ever taken. Being on your own will often put you in situations where you have to be more adventurous and open to the prospect of experiencing new things; something that can often result in a heightened enjoyment of the trip. You are likely to meet new people, some of whom will become friends and future traveling companions. At the very least, the opportunity to go where you want, do what you want and to experience what you want without having to consider the demands of fellow traveling companions could be liberating—so don’t let your anxieties hold you back!
I’m an Advocate. What Do You Fight for? by Stephanie Andre In this life, if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that nothing changes if nothing changes. Meaning that, nothing in my life will change if I don’t make the necessary adjustments to make it happen. It’s true in most aspects of life. At least in my experience, if you want something, you have to fight for it. I’ve tried to instill this mantra into my daily life and in my children. If you want something, go take it. This fight — to want something, to make change — first stirred in me 13 years ago when I was pregnant with my first child. He was born with congenital heart defects and we didn’t know if he was going to survive the surgery. I watched — helplessly — as he fought. I saw his fight first-hand as he struggled to live. The surgeons told us that if he’d been born just five years earlier, he would have died; they would not have known how to save him. That it was the research and development that had happened in those weeks, months and years prior to his birth that helped save him. Hearing that awakened something in me. It wasn’t just the newfound “purpose” of being a parent; it was more. I realized that everything I did moving forward would be for his heart health. I needed to help shape his future — and the futures of others. And so it began. Even in those first few days in the cardiac neonatal unit, I watched. I listened. I asked questions. From there, my voice was born. I started small: by educating
worrying if he’d come out of surgery breathing. After a chance email and then meeting with someone from my local chapter of the American Heart Association, I was hooked. This is where I’d bring my fight. Working with them gave me a vehicle through which to advocate — for my son and the children to come after him. This is my mission. My son is my “why.” So, what’s your reason? Do you have a passion for helping someone or something? Maybe it’s animals? The environment? Kids? Seniors? The chronically ill? There’s more than enough work to do be done. You will never find any person, group or organization that would say no to your offer of help. Advocacy work is hard. It can be frustrating. It’s feeling like you’re a broken record and you are bothering people with your message — because they’ve heard it all before. But it’s also rewarding and fulfilling. It’s being a change agent in the little corner of your life. If you’ve helped even once, you’ve affected something or someone. For me, I raise awareness. I raise money for research and development. I do so when I’m tired, when I’m all talked out or, worse yet, when we are going through our own trials and tribulations with my son. His story is not over. It saddens me, but it also fuels me and
those around me about heart defects. I could rattle off the stats like I’d been studying them for years. I told his story. I spoke of it to anyone who would listen. I was probably annoying, but I didn’t care (and still don’t). I did this for the first six years of his life. Unfortunately, some of it was on-the-job training as we endured two more open heart surgeries in the time. Two more hospital stays. Two more bouts of
motivates me when I’m all tapped out. I do all of this because I know that if it weren’t for those who came before my son — some whose children couldn’t be saved — my son would not have lived. They fought when they were tired, frustrated and walking through sadness. Why should I be any different? If I can help one child, one life, then my mission is complete.
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Confidence is Contagious: Why a Positive Self Image is Good for Your Well-being by Florence Murray ou know it when you see it: those individuals who exude a degree of confidence to which others flock. Scientists have recently proven, through imaging of the brain, that people are influenced by how confident another person is. This idea that risk you perceive is reduced when someone else seems to be confident in the same choice that you have explains the success of so many military and political leaders. It seems less risky to do something in which someone else appears to confident. Naturally then, the greater the confidence, the more others will trust that person.
So how does that translate into your own confidence and sense of self? It is true that the greater the self-confidence, the taller you stand, which will lead to an increase in self-esteem and pride. In fact, studies have also shown that just standing with a broader stature does equate to how confident others perceive you to be. As a direct result, then, your happiness increases and so does y our ability to enjoy life. Additionally, this increase in your confidence makes it more likely that you can be free of self-doubt and, therefore, have a greater sense of strength in your own capabilities and are more likely to be able to face challenges with your head held high. 26 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 9 ED 3
In turn, the more capable you feel, the more likely you are to be free from those nagging doubts that follow you around like a bad date, and to experience less fear and anxiety. It may not be all that surprising that a reduction in fear and anxiety often translate directly into a reduction in stress. And society is well aware of the health dangers of continual stress and how it affects oneâ€™s health and energy. Therefore, this reduction in stress also lends itself to helping you to have more energy and to experience better sleep, both of which lead to better health. When you have greater self-confidence, then, the happier and more self-confident you become. This, in turn, leads to others placing more trust in you, and valuing and respecting you more. It also causes your self-confidence to not only be contagious to others in how they respond to you, but also in how you view yourself and how likely you are to become someone seen as a one in whom others can place their trust. All of this growth will help you to achieve success, as you define it. On the other hand, low self-confidence makes it easier for you to be preyed upon. It also can lead to an increase in health problems, particularly if the body is in a constant state of anxiety or fear; otherwise known as â€œfight or flight.â€? So what do you have to lose in believing in yourself?
Step Outside: Why Getting Outdoors is Good for the Soul by Jon Lewis resh air. Beautiful sunshine. A walk along the ocean. A hike in the mountains. Flowing rivers. Picturesque scenery. A beautiful sunset. Whose spirit is not lifted with these thoughts? Spending time outdoors is good for your health, spirit and emotional well-being. Many of us work and live inside of buildings with heat and air and trapped environments. The toxins we breathe every day are numerous. When we get outside, those constraints are removed, and unless your city or town is filled with pollutants, you breathe the fresh air. We also typically enjoy physical activity when we get outdoors. Whether you jog, walk, hike, golf, play tennis or simply fool around in your garden, you are engaging in physical activity. Obviously, physical activity helps with losing weight and with fighting cardiovascular disease, among other health benefits. Getting outside also allows us to disconnect. Every single one of us is tied to a computer, phone and/or television. Society has become so connected that it is actually refreshing to lose your monitor for a few hours outdoors. Instead of typing on a keyboard, the activity of being outdoors without a phone allows you to connect with the beauty around you, and that includes anyone you may be with at the time. Instead of texting and tweeting, you can actually talk to someone and build a relationship and intimacy.
It may sound corny, but you can become â€œone with natureâ€? when you spend time outdoors. If you take a hike on a local trail, the wildlife you will see is amazing. Such a trip helps you realize how vast and expansive our world is and how much beauty there is to enjoy. Studies show that getting outdoors helps you recharge and rejuvenate. Your mind is freed up to think about new ideas. The sounds and smells of nature also help us relax. Think about those apps with sounds to help you sleep: the ocean waves, rain, distant thunder, and sounds of nature. All of these sounds are outdoor noises to help calm you to sleep. Finally, spending time outside can help relieve stress and decrease depression. A 2015 Stanford study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that those who live in urban areas have higher incidences of self rumination and stress, and getting out for a 90-minute walk in nature helps alleviate that feeling of stress and depression. This is why many urban planners are trying to incorporate more parks and nature trails. All of these benefits illustrate why connecting with nature gives people more life satisfaction, positive affect and more energized. Interacting with nature provides a pathway to a healthier lifestyle. This is both a physical and mental and emotional benefit. So, get outdoors and help your body and soul.
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How to Spot a Credit Card Scammer at the Pump or ATM by Mark Bello owadays, stealing a credit card number is as easy as connecting a magnetic stripe reader to a computer. Don’t fall victim to these insidious attacks. You rarely let your credit card out of your sight, so how could this happen? While it can occur in any number of ways, most credit card thieves gain access to your information using a credit card skimmer. A credit card skimmer is a portable capture device that is attached on ATMs and credit card readers at gas pumps or other convenient, self-service, point-of-sale terminals. It is placed in front or on top of the legitimate scanner, and passively records the card data as you insert your credit card into the real scanner. The technology has become cheaper and more sophisticated over the years to the point that some skimmers even use a miniature camera to record you typing your PIN number. Once the data is captured, thieves can use the information to run up huge charges, drain your bank account, and/or create a cloned credit/debit card before you even know it. That’s one reason credit card companies and stores are switching to EMV cards (computer chip credit cards), but it will take a while before every retailer accepts them. The key to staying safe is understanding how to protect yourself from identity theft and credit card fraud. Here are some tips for
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how you can detect and avoid having your credit card skimmed at the ATM or gas pump.
Chip vs. magnetic stripe Whenever possible, use the chip instead of the stripe on your card. Your personal information is never transmitted via your EMV card. While cracking EMV readers is possible, it’s much harder than magnetic stripe skimming.
Credit or debit card Use a credit card whenever possible. If a credit card number is skimmed, you are protected by the card’s zero-liability policy. A debit transaction is an immediate cash transfer.
Check for tampering Before putting your card into a reader, look for signs of tampering such as a different color or material, misaligned graphics, or anything that just doesn’t seem right. For gas pumps, often times, retailers place a piece of tape on the pump that will indicate if the pump has been opened. If it looks suspicious, do NOT use the machine.
When possible, compare the ATM or reader with another one. If there are obvious differences, don’t use either one.
Wiggle everything Pull at the card reader. If it wiggles or has any moving or loose parts, don’t use it. If the ATM takes the card and then returns it at the end of your transaction, the reader is on the inside for your protection. If not, wiggle the card as you insert it into the slot. If there is a skimmer, it won’t be able to read the data correctly.
Protect your PIN Avoid using your PIN at the gas pump by paying as credit. If you must pay by debit, assume someone could be watching over your shoulder or via a hidden camera and shield the keypad from view.
Electronic pickpockets If you have a radio frequency ID (RFID) chip implanted in your credit card, you are susceptible to electronic pickpocketing devices. These chips are easy to scan because they provide the convenience of tapping—instead of swiping—the card to make
a purchase. Thieves conceal the device while walking past their victims, and use the device to scan the card. Be wary of anyone who walks too closely to you at the pump and be aware of electronic devices that might be in someone’s hand. Wrapping your RFID card in aluminum foil has proven to be effective in protecting credit card information.
Keep an eye on your accounts and report theft Be sure to keep an eye on your debit and credit card transactions as well as your bank statements. As long as you report the theft to your card issuer or bank as soon as possible, you will not be held liable. Banks and credit card companies have active fraud detection policies and will immediately contact you if they notice something suspicious. For even better protection, set up a credit card fraud alert on your account so you know immediately of any fraud charges or if your account security is compromised. While there is no fail safe way to completely protect yourself from identity theft and credit card fraud, taking these steps can help you identify skimming devices and avoid potential threats before they happen.
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The New war 30 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 9 ED 3
America's Opioid Addiction builds, doesn't discriminate by Bryan Silver
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ecently, President Trump declared America’s opioid crisis a national emergency. While few details have emerged (as of press time) as to how the current administration plans to deal with a problem that has been arguably building since Bill Clinton was in office, at the very least, the announcement has helped to shine a brighter light on a serious problem that many people know surprisingly little about—that is, beyond our politicians’ posturing on the subject and our news media’s superficial soundbites. If you’ve followed the progression of this disturbing trend to any degree, you’ve most likely heard more than one individual use the word “crisis,” and it’s actually a fitting one. The term not only connotes a time of intense trouble or danger, but, in the medical vernacular, it also refers to a turning point in the progression of a deadly disease where a pivotal change takes place—ultimately leading to life or death. An apropos expression, as we are a nation and a people are teetering upon a precipice where we need to move forward quickly, carefully and decisively, as it’s possible that many lives could hang in the balance if we take even a single step in the wrong direction. What’s important to understand is that this is not merely a political challenge; nor is it a problem confined to a particular tax bracket. It’s an issue that affects more than just strangers; it threatens the livelihood of our neighbors, friends and families. The opioid epidemic is a scourge that’s sweeping across our society, and it does not care who falls victim.
IT’S NOT JUST CERTAIN PEOPLE, IT’S EVERYONE In an era when hate speech and fake news seem to drown out actual facts within our myriad of communication channels, one needs to approach statistical claims with a certain level of skepticism. No, I’m not suggesting that you can’t trust what our media reports—just don’t assume they’re reporting the whole story from all angles. Case in point: many news stories on the opioid crisis call it an epidemic, only to then focus on specific regions or socioeconomic groups affected by the rampant addiction. The truth of the matter is that opioid addiction is a drug problem that does not discriminate; people of all walks of life from all across our nation are suffering from a debilitating dependence these drugs. And, in all fairness, it’s probable that there within lies the controversial collecting and communicating of such data— with a number of specific drugs falling under the heading of opioids, you most likely then have any number of groups or subsets abusing each drug. So while a heroin junkie who lives on the street might not initially appear to have much in common with an affluent individual who is abusing legally prescribed OxyContin as a controller of chronic back pain, the fact is they are both opioid addicts. While not popularized by the national media, the idea that opioids are unbiased when it comes to who they affect has been noted in the world of academia. Recently, researchers at
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More than 100 Americans die every day f rom a prescription d rug or heroin over dose.
Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) looked at occurrences of opioid addiction in Staten Island—one of five New York boroughs that has been hit hard by this drugfueled health crisis—and compiled their findings in a report titled, Staten Island Needs Assessment: Opioid Addiction Prevention and Treatment Systems of Care. While local media has painted a picture of white youths in more affluent neighborhoods, the report states that opioid abusers came from all areas and all races, ages, and socioeconomic backgrounds across the island’s more than 475,000 residents. Researchers arrived at this after conducting more than 60 interviews with individuals affected by such drug use, combined with data from area treatment facilities and the local medical community. According to the New York Times, the opioid epidemic now affects more than 2 million people— all of whom come from diverse backgrounds and different communities across the entire nation. This includes economically depressed areas across America’s Appalachian region as well as affluent areas of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. It affects nameless individuals who live on the fringe of society as well as the social elite and leaders of our communities. Even more surprisingly, the stereotype that such addiction mainly affects adult males is not holding up to scrutiny either. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a study in 2013 titled Prescription Painkiller Overdoses: A Growing Epidemic, Especially Among Women. Its data showed that women are not only more likely to have chronic pain, but they are prescribed prescription pain relievers, given higher doses, and use such medications for longer time periods than men. The study also went on to say that women may become dependent on prescription pain relievers more quickly than men, and that those addicted are dying at a faster rate than men. The CDC states that since 1999, more than 71,800 women in the U.S. have died from prescription opioid overdoses and in the time between 1999 and 2010 alone, the death rate for prescription opioid overdoses increased 400 percent for women—compared with 237 percent for men. Even more alarming is the disturbing trend has been developing with teens in regard to drug use. On a positive note, the number of adolescents who use drugs, alcohol and tobacco is at its lowest levels since the 1990s (according to a study conducted by monitoringthefuture.org)—down an average of almost 50 percent across grades eight through 12. Yet, the rate of drug overdose deaths among teens ages 15 to 19 has recently seen a surge of almost 20 percent after years of decline. Many public officials point to the use of more dangerous drugs, such as fentanyl, as an explanation for the disparity. Serving as shocking proof is the summer
story of a young Miami resident who returned from a pool outing to then vomit uncontrollably, lose consciousness and ultimately die in his home. The boy was only 10 years old, and he sadly became one of Florida’s youngest deaths to be attributed to the opioid crisis after tests showed the synthetic drug in his system.
ach Anyone,— Opioids Can Re Even Teens turning be increa singly
et that seem s to na x, for Teen s are a subs xy Contin and Xa ug s, such as O dr n tio ip cr th or es to pr uld be laced wi — all of which co es us l ica ledge. ed ow m nonwithou t their kn nt s of fent anyl ou am by ed s ac ha repl ever y 10 teen s that one ou t of to get ns The DE A st ates tio ica ed m in pres cription pa lieve the reported using many ex perts be ile wh , ar ye a ce on st lea en drug at te high g. The ris ks of her and growin hig be to ur child r yo be num late to talk to d it’s never too an h, hig n. e ar tio e ta abus h ex perimen they face throug s at re th oid e av th t to abou ac h your teen ways you can te e m so e ar re He ioid addiction: opioid s and op
Talk to Your Teen About the Dangers of Drugs It seems like pretty standard practice, and it often has very solid results. While the DEA states that teens who talk with their parents about drugs are half as likely to abuse them, only 16 percent of teens report that their parents have discussed prescription medications with them within the last year.
Set a Good Example for Your Teen If you let your child see you misusing or abusing prescription medication, they may follow your lead. While it’s common to hear “I don’t do that,” studies show that 15 percent of parents admit to using a drug not prescribed specifically to them within the past year.
Sign Your Child Up for Life Skills Training (LST) A program that has been statistically shown to prevent adolescents and teens from misusing prescription opioids through their senior year of high school, LST is a program designed for 7th graders and is arranged in conjunction with your child’s school.
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ANATOMY OF AN ADDICTION: WHY NO ONE IS IMMUNE It’s sobering to think that opioid addiction can strike anyone at any time, that the pull could be that impossible to resist. Yet, when one considers the basic body chemistry involved, it’s easier to see how a need can grow into a physical dependence that denies almost all efforts to renounce. By definition, an opioid is any opium-like compound that, when introduced into the body, binds to one of the nervous system’s opioid receptors located in the brain. In a sense, opioids are able to block the body’s feeling of pain, providing a huge positive for anyone experiencing intense or chronic pain for a myriad of reasons. What’s not so great is the fact that all opioids also exhibit a propensity for addiction due to this “short circuiting” of receptors. Exponentially adding to the negative aspects of the drug class are the inescapable withdrawal symptoms almost all users experience—making it that much harder to kick the habit as most addicts find themselves in a cyclical whirlpool of using, suffering from withdrawal and then falling off the wagon. Most likely, these aspects of opioid use are somewhat understood by even the average layperson—we’ve all had enough indirect or possibly even personal experience with the topic to understand the potential devastation that such drugs can deliver. But understanding specifically how the compounds work within the body is key to knowing the true threat wielded by these pharmacological substances.
The Minds of Mice: How Science Mapped our Opioid System While modern science has had a fairly accurate understanding of pleasure/pain receptors in the brain for some time, it has only been during the last 10 years that we’ve been able to precisely pinpoint how it all works—thanks to studies conducted with mice. The human brain’s three opioid receptors:
Mu-Receptor — A key molecular switch that triggers a “reward” in the brain and most likely related to addictive human behaviors. Studies also suggest mu-opioid receptors play a role in diseases characterized by deficits in attachment behavior such as autism or reactive attachment disorder.
Delta-Receptor — Connected with the regulation of emotional responses, the delta-opioid receptor is believed to reduce levels of anxiety and depressive-like behavior when activated. Not as well understood as the mu-receptor, many experts believe that the delta receptor could be used for impulse control in individuals.
Kappa-Receptor — Similar to the mu opioid receptor, the kappa receptor is believed to provide a feeling of reward through the regulation of mood processes, but without the uncontrollable urges of addiction. If science can produce a kappa-receptor exclusive opioid in the future, it could offer effective pain relief without the risks.
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component of opium, was isolated by a German chemist and became the pain reliever of choice throughout the 19 th century. During the American Civil War, so many soldiers were given morphine for battle wounds that addiction to it became known as “soldier’s disease.” Around the turn of the 20 th century, science again offered us a new use of an opium derivative in the form of heroin. Initially, the drug was seen as a “non-addictive” alternative to morphine. Viewed as being safe for routine use, the pharmaceutical giant Bayer even manufactured a heroin-based cough suppressant. Fifty years later, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved oxycodone as a prescription pain reliever (first derived in 1917)—eventually leading to its abuse throughout the 1960s. In the 1980s, many Americans found it easy to gain prescriptions based on yet another alkaloid opiate called codeine. This includes hydrocodone and brand name Vicodin, each considered to be about half the strength of oxycodone. According to the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the United States currently accounts for 99 percent of prescription fills of hydrocodone in the world as it’s used to treat moderate to severe pain by many doctors, dentists and emergency rooms.
Know that the word opioid refers to a part of our body’s neurological system—one that controls pain; the concept of reward; and also addiction. Not only does this system have a direct effect on three seemingly distinct human experiences, but it does so through three receptors: the mu, delta and kappa. With normal body function, these three receptors are “activated’ by the introduction of endogenous (from within the body) peptides that are naturally released by neurons—one of the most well-known being endorphins. This is how nature intended; a system in which any given organism (a person) can immediately gain feedback as to what situations or experience are bad—through induced pain—and which experiences are good or pleasurable. Yet, nature went one step further and created the possibility in which something could be so pleasurable that the body physiologically can never experience enough—thus, the root of addiction.
“This will kill more people than the AIDS epidemic.”
—Thomas Farley, Philadelphia Health Commissioner
In the late 1990s, clinicians’ views on opioids changed. New treatments known to be lengthy and painful, such as those that
OPIOID ABUSE IS AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH Things first got sidetracked when mankind found that the physiological function of opioid receptors could also be activated by introducing exogenous (from outside the body) alkaloid opiates into one’s system to basically produce the same results. Derived from the opium poppy plant, the first record of man using alkaloid opiates in such a way dates back to the Mesopotamians and Sumerians. In widespread use throughout Asia for centuries, opium use first became popular in Europe in the 1500s with the production of Laudanum, an easily accessible pain remedy that later fueled an addiction epidemic in Victorian England and other countries. In the 1800s, morphine, an alkaloid
addressed cancers or joint and back disorders, were becoming more commonplace and doctors were looking for better ways to help patients with pain management. Thus, science created extended release opioids, such as OxyContin—time-release version of oxycodone that was, at the time, purported to be a less addictive version of the opioid with longer lasting results. The ’90s also gave birth to a synthetic opioid known as fentanyl, a fast-acting yet short-lasting pain medication that is viewed to be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. A relative newcomer in the world of abused opioids, many areas are quickly seeing it—along with another version that’s possibly 10,000 times stronger than morphine known as carfentanil—take the place of heroin and OxyContin with often deadly results.
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FIGURING FENTANYL INTO THE EQUATION Until recently, fentanyl was not really on anyone’s radar, either This is, in part, due to the fact that fentanyl was designed to that of law enforcement or your average street user; it was act much faster than other opioids; taking inexperienced users an obscure opiate that relatively few even knew about. What beyond a desired feeling of euphoria and quickly into a state even fewer seem to be aware of is the drug’s potency—often of respiratory depression or heart failure. The Washington Post 25 to 50 times that of heroin. While a drug this powerful would reports that fentanyl-related overdose deaths have increased need to be administered with care in any situation, it’s even nearly 600 percent from 2014-2016 in 24 of the nation’s largest more frightening now as the recent emergence of the drug is cities, and officials expect that number to continue climbing. often attributed to many dealers cutting their heroin with illicit To put such an outlook into perspective, Michael Ferguson— fentanyl and selling it to unsuspecting addicts. the special agent in charge of the DEA’s New England division— The result? Fentanyl and heroin overdoses are up offered this analogy, “If anything can be likened to a weapon of exponentially across the country. In 2015, Pennsylvania mass destruction in what it can do to a community, it’s fentanyl.” saw overdose-related deaths showing the presence of fentanyl jump almost 100 percent, with more than 400 overdose deaths in Philadelphia alone. State of Ohio officials claim that heroin is almost non-existent on their stions as to why this streets, all but replaced by fentanyl and uld quickly ans wer any que basic fac ts on fentanyl sho The why the sudden spike in carfentanil—an even stronger form of killer, but many are ask ing thetic opioid is a deadly syn epidemic like our nation fentanyl originally used as a sedative ciding with a U.S. opioid ilability and why is it coin ava for elephants and other large animals. has never seen. lier this year, is greed The Buckeye State should know a little a Newsweek story from ear The ans wer, according to tels, realizing that the something about the manufacturing border. Mexican drug car anating from sou th of the em g with higher cos ts and selling of this now popular opioid painkillers is soaring alon . demand for pre scription U.S that can be easily of choice; Ohio recently posted a resorted to an alternative more stringent law s, have and record-number of accidental deaths into the country. synthe sized and tran sported can make one million due to overdoses with 4,149 individuals one kilogram of fentanyl just , According to the DEA ard s of $20 eac h— succumbing in 2016 alone. Of course, car tels) that can sell for upw (a new form created by the pills gram that legitimately they are not alone. ble to the $3, 500 per kilo t’s $20 million, incompara tha tors. To put suc h While a total count is unavailable, the s for from chemic al distribu duced fentanyl usually sell pro mg —a bou t 1,00 0 New York Times has shared preliminary dard ibuprofen tablet is 250 es into per spective, a stan pric rdose and death. evidence that last year’s number of yl that could trigger an ove times the dos age of fentan drug overdose deaths leapt to 59,000 people—potentially the biggest annual jump ever recorded in the United States.
w? why fentanyl and why no
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THE COST OF COMBATTING THE OPIOID CRISIS So what exactly is our government doing in response to this national emergency? Until recently, the burden of combatting the opioid crisis has fallen on the shoulders of state and local communities, neither of which truly have the resources to deal with such a pervasive problem. (For more, read The Hard Costs of the Opioid Epidemic, starting on page 38.) Some states and municipalities, in the absence of strong federal action, have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of many of these pharmaceutical companies. While such litigation might not have made sense before, today’s environment of deep-pocketed corporations and consumer-siding juries makes it plausible. Of course, financial awards could help to pay for law enforcement and rehabilitation programs that would help to clean up these areas, but ultimately it’s about culpability. These drug manufacturers, the suits allege, have engaged in ongoing, deceptive marketing practices for years while feeding misinformation to consumers and medical professionals alike in attempts to both create and sustain a lucrative market for their products. Whether it’s local, state or federal government—or even the coffers of large corporation—someone needs to step up and put some financial backing behind our efforts if we’re to stem the flow of lifeblood that’s currently draining from our communities and threatening their very existence. A 2016 CDC study estimates that it will take $78 billion to cover the healthcare costs, lost productivity and costs to the criminal justice system caused by prescription opioid abuse, dependence and overdoses. Many experts think the true costs will be much higher, or at the very least, grow at such an exponential rate that we won’t be able to keep up. But, regardless of how daunting the scenario seems, something must be done. The opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc with individual lives and caused injury to families, communities and even entire regions. It has fueled crime, demoralized populations and become a drag on the economy with no foreseeable end in sight. To solve this problem, we will all have to work together—and, make no mistake, it will take all of us to turn this tide and restore light to the areas of our lives darkened by opioid abuse. As never before, we are facing an epidemic that doesn’t discriminate—and it casts a very long shadow.
Opioid Abuse Is a Non-Partisan Issue There is little doubt that correcting the issue at hand will take a combined effort of individuals and legislators alike. No longer confined to a socioeconomic class or limited to a handful of rural states, the opioid crisis has grown to include the entire nation and threatens all who live within it—the solution won’t be found on one side of the aisle or the other, it needs to be bigger than that. We have seen the stagnation that partisan politics can create with the recent healthcare debates, and, fortunately, most politicians are looking at the big picture when it comes to the opioid epidemic. Here are just a few examples of how governors, legislators and local lawmakers are attempting to:
Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA) — Passed in 2016 with an overwhelming 407-5 vote in the House and 94-1 vote in the Senate, the first federal anti-addiction bill aimed at opioid overdoses showed a united bipartisan effort intent on prevention and providing treatment and recovery options.
21st Century Cures Act — While not solely designed to combat the opioid crisis, the Act did designate $1 billion in federal grant money for states needing help in fighting the epidemic. The Act also allowed for improvement to prescription drug monitoring programs and the training of healthcare professionals in addiction treatment best practices.
New Jersey Prescription Limit — Hard hit by the growing opioid epidemic (the state recorded 1,600 overdose deaths in 2015 alone), Governor Chris Christie led a bipartisan effort by state lawmakers to limit first-time opioid prescriptions to a fiveday supply—making it the most stringent limit in the U.S.
Michigan Legislation Package — In March 2017, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder urged state legislators to come together and introduce several bills aimed at limiting opioid prescriptions, require parental consent for prescriptions to minors and establish opioid abuse education in public school.
Wisconsin Legislation Package — This past spring, Governor Scott Walker formed a bipartisan opioid task force, which ultimately introduced 11 bills to the Wisconsin state assembly— nine passing almost unanimously by supporters on both sides of the aisle. The measures will provide funding for treatment programs, addiction training for the medical profession and additional drug investigation agents for local law enforcement.
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by J.R. Whaley The human tragedy of the opioid epidemic is incalculable: lives lost, family shattered, futures sacrificed. Such losses are the face of this epidemic. But in addition to these tragic human losses, economic losses exist. Local and state governments, as well as employers and those employers' health plans, have born the economic brunt of the opioid epidemic for many years. Let’s examine the impact of the opioid epidemic on both the workplace and government.
Impact on Governments More than 20 years ago, former Miss. Attorney General Mike Moore was the first to file suit against Big Tobacco for the state’s increased healthcare costs caused by smoking. Other states followed Moore’s lead. In those lawsuits, the states alleged that tobacco companies misrepresented the health risks of their products and harmed public health systems by misrepresenting smoking’s dangers. Moore now says he sees “parallels” between the tobacco and opioid litigation, including the “misleading marketing.” Moore has filed suit on behalf of Mississippi and Ohio and is advising other states and communities about the claims they might have for their increased costs caused by the opioid epidemic. And those costs are legion. Opioid-related incidents and deaths are rising at such a rapid rate that cities and counties are unable to keep up. States, cities and counties are incurring additional expenses in a host of areas because of the opioid epidemic.
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Tragically, the opioid epidemic has had a significant impact on children in a number of ways. The drugs are more accessible to school-age children when their parents become addicted. And when the parents become addicted, they often lose their parental rights. In fact, child protection agencies have experienced increases in the number of children in foster care because of the parent’s drug addiction. Large percentages of infants in the foster care systems are children of parents with opioid addictions. Those children statistically stay in foster care longer. They enter the system having experienced significantly more trauma which makes these cases more expensive for the states and counties to manage. The opioid addiction crisis has resulted in a rise in the number of infants who are born addicted to opioids due to prenatal exposure. Many of those children suffer from neonatal abstinence syndrome, a painful withdrawal which requires extensive hospital stays. And, of course, the addicts need medical care, which is provided by governmental agencies too. Addicts sometime overwhelm the capacity of governments to provide substance abuse treatment. The same governmental entities have increased spending on “Medication Assisted Treatments” (MATs) to address opioid addiction. MATs combine behavioral therapy and medications to treat opioid addiction. These expenses draw precious governmental resources away from other critical services. These resources are expended in addition to critical life-saving efforts, like emergency medical services and the purchase of drugs to reverse opiate induced
overdoses. In addition to this, law enforcement agencies are forced to absorb increased costs. Those costs include increased patrols and incarceration. Compounding the issue, the governmental entities covered the costs of prescription opioids for injured employers and others on their health plans—something they would not have done had the manufacturers told the truth about the risks and benefits of their drugs. This alone has been a huge, unneeded expense for governments. Moore says that one aim of his involvement in these lawsuits on behalf of governmental entities is, “I want there to be a huge amount of resources available for treatment, and I want the industry to change its practices.”
Impact on the Workplace Calling the opioid crisis a “worldwide pandemic,” Major Mittendorf, a managing partner of Louisianabased CORE Occupational Medicine, says that “no one is spared from this.” In fact, CORE has seen a tremendous uptick of positive opioid findings in employee drug screens. “This problem is not limited to a certain industry or a certain region or a certain type of employee,” says Mittendorf, whose company’s goal is to increase workforce health, wellness, and productivity and reduce overall medical costs. “We see positive opioid results all up and down the socioeconomic ladder and across all sections of business.” Mittendorf explains the economic reality of what those positive drug screens mean. “This crisis affects both the employer and the employee.” As to the employee, Mittendorf explains that, “The employee fits into one of two broad categories. Either the employee has a legitimate injury and legitimate prescription or he does not.” But either way, the result is usually the same. The employee with a legitimate injury is overprescribed opioids and becomes hooked.
“Even with a valid prescription, the employee cannot perform work in safety sensitive environments while under the influence of opioids. That employee is then replaced with someone who does not have opioids in their system.” Other employees, who do not have a legitimate prescription, fail the drug screen and are either never hired or fired from their existing job. Both groups of employees are thus unemployed. As to the employer, it experiences lost productivity and increased training costs when letting go an employee who tests positive. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, employers are losing $10 billion a year from absenteeism and lost productivity due to opioid abuse. Castlight, an employer benefits firm, estimates that one-third of all opioids paid for by an employer health plan are being abused. One out of twenty workers who have received an opioid prescription have demonstrated a pattern of abuse. And, of course, someone foots the bill for not only the prescription (which arguably should not have been paid for if the employer had known of its addictive qualities), but also other medical treatment and subsequent addiction treatment. Castlight estimates that opioid abusers cost employers nearly twice as much ($19,450 annually) in health care expenses on average as non-abusers ($10,853 annually). Based on Castlight’s estimate, opioid abuse could be costing employers as much as $8 billion per year in increased health care costs, in addition to the $10 billion discussed above for absenteeism and lost productivity. The opioid crisis has caused a huge ripple effect throughout our country, touching almost every aspect of our lives. Private employers, health plans, and governmental agencies are waking up to the huge costs foisted upon them by the opioid epidemic and now they are seeking justice. Here’s hoping that they find some.
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Five Alternatives to Opioids for Pain Management by Matthew Casey
Pain is the most common reason people seek medical care, according to the National Institute for Health. One hundred million Americans suffer daily pain symptoms, and chronic pain is the leading cause of long-term disability in our country. These numbers will only increase as our population ages, amplifying the need for effective, accessible interventions to manage chronic pain and preserve function. One common treatment for pain is the use of opioid medications. However, opioid medications, including oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl, are highly addictive. There is little debate that the over-prescription of opioids is contributing to cause an opioid crisis in the United States. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, overdose deaths, particularly from prescription drugs, have reached epidemic levels. Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths in 2016 involved prescriptions. In 2015, annual overdose deaths surpassed deaths from both car accidents and guns. Opioids can lead to addiction and put you and your family at risk. However, there are many alternatives to such controversial pain relief. Plenty of scientific data supports the effectiveness of non-traditional treatments. Before you fill a prescription for an opioid pain killer you may want to consider the five most common alternative pain relief methods outlined below.
Medical Marijuana Twenty-Nine States and Washington D.C. have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Studies show that both inhaled marijuana (vaporized or smoked) and cannabinoid compounds that come from the cannabis plant work for pain—this includes tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is mostly responsible for the high, and cannabidiol (CBD), one of the most medically promising of the hundreds of chemical compounds found in marijuana. This is likely related to the natural cannabinoid receptors we already have in our bodies, which doctors think play a role in pain control. But the exact mechanisms showing how marijuana relieves pain are not fully understood yet. Nonetheless, seven peer reviewed articles focused on the effectiveness of marijuana on pain relief. Six of the seven double-blind studies associated cannabis use with lowered chronic and neuropathic pain. 40 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 9 ED 3
Psychotherapy Pain serves an important purpose by alerting you to injuries such as a sprained ankle or burned hand. Chronic pain, however, is often more complex. People often think of pain as a purely physical sensation. However, pain has biological, psychological and emotional factors. Furthermore, chronic pain can cause feelings such as anger, hopelessness, sadness and anxiety. Recurrent pain may contribute to development of maladaptive cognitions and behavior that worsen daily functioning, increase psychiatric distress, or prolong the experience of pain. To treat pain effectively, you must address the physical, emotional and psychological aspects. There are several different psychological therapies that may help chronic pain including operant behavioral approaches, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and acceptance and commitment therapy—but the most popular is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a form of talk therapy that helps people identify and develop skills to change negative thoughts and behaviors. CBT says that individuals—not outside situations and events—create their own experiences, pain included. And by changing their negative thoughts and behaviors, people can change their awareness of pain and develop better coping skills, even if the actual level of pain stays the same. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps provide pain relief by changing the way people view their pain. CBT can change the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors related to pain, improves coping strategies, and put the discomfort in a better context. An individual recognizes that the pain interferes less with your quality of life, and therefore you can function better.
Acupuncture Acupuncture uses needles to stimulate certain points on or under the skin. The method of treating pain, nausea, and many other conditions has been used in Eastern medicine for centuries. Acupuncture works by activating the body’s own self-healing mechanism. The needles are thought to stimulate nerves, which then send signals to the brain to release feel-good hormones such as beta-Endorphins, reduce pro-inflammatory markers that lead to inflammation and pain, and stimulate nerve regeneration. In 2012, a study found acupuncture was better than no acupuncture or simulated acupuncture for the treatment of four chronic pain conditions: back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, chronic headache and shoulder pain. The National Institutes of Health called the study “the most rigorous evidence to date that acupuncture may be helpful for chronic pain.” A whiff of vanilla or lavender might bring back pleasant memories of your mother’s kitchen or grandparents’ backyard. But aromatics can do more than soothe your mind. Studies show that aromatherapy also may soothe your body and relieve pain.
Aromatherapy Aromatherapy refers to the medicinal or therapeutic use of essential oils absorbed through the skin or olfactory system. Essential oils, which are derived from plants, are used to treat illness as well as to enhance physical and psychological well-being. Aromatherapy is most commonly experienced either topically or through inhalation. When applied topically, the oil is usually added to carrier oil and used for massage. Essential oils can be inhaled through a humidifier or by soaking gauze and placing it near the patient.
When you rub an essential oil into your skin, you absorb it, and it goes to your bloodstream. The same thing happens when you inhale the scent. Chemicals from the herb get absorbed through tissues in your nose and lungs. These chemicals eventually reach your limbic system—the network of nerves in your brain that controls your instincts and emotions. They can alter your perception of pain and potentially improve your mood. Medical studies show that aromatherapy is linked with decreased levels of cortisol—the hormone associated with stress, lower heart rate, less pain, reduced inflammation, and improved anxiety and depression.
Massage Therapy People seek out massage therapy for many reasons, including a drug-free alternative to pain management. Massage comes in two forms, relaxation and rehabilitative massage that can help rehabilitate injuries and reduce pain. The stretching and kneading of soft tissues in the body, and pressure applied to various points on the body, relaxes muscles. But massage does more than just relax muscles; new research has shown that massage activates certain genes to directly reduce inflammation. The effectiveness of massage therapy for pain has been supported by various studies. It has been found most effective for nonspecific lower back pain, both acute and chronic, but studies have also found massage to be effective for shoulder pain, headache pain, fibromyalgia, mixed chronic pain, and neck pain. One specific type of massage known as Osteopathic Manual Treatment (OMT), has been found to be particularly effective for lower-back pain. OMT is administered by an osteopathic physician, rather than a massage professional. In a review of clinical studies, OMT was shown to provide significant reductions in lower back pain with results lasting up to three months. @LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 41
In Vino Veritas, In Vino Sanitas! by Scott Marshall Are the rumors true? Is wine really healthy for you? Following the publication of numerous studies, it is now well-established that wine consumption (in moderation, of course) has many health benefits. So, you now know that wine is good for you. What’s next? If you’ve never really understood wine or drank it for that matter, here is a starter kit for you. But first, a very brief refresher on the health benefits of drinking a glass, or two, of wine daily.
Why is wine good for you? In 2000, the Karolinska Institute, one of the world’s premier research hospitals located in Stockholm published a study that far from being bad for you, moderate consumption of red wine actually carries some tremendous health benefits. The report revealed that, when compared with those who consume no alcohol, wine drinkers cut their likelihood of a premature death by nearly one-third. Resveratrol, a polyphenol found in the skin of red grapes, has enormous antioxidant properties; but surprisingly, the real health benefits have been traced to the alcohol itself (which comes in the form of ethanol). According to WebMD, the ethanol in wine helps lower cholesterol levels, while increasing “good” HDL cholesterol. Studies in the American Journal of
The vast resources of the Internet make learning about wine super simple. Several publications review wines and give them scores. Periodicals like Wine Spectator and The Wine Advocate are very adept at finding bargain and value wines that are of great quality. Check them out, then go to your local wine store and hunt for wines rating 88 or higher for under $15 a bottle. They aren’t unicorns. They exist. You just have to know what you are looking for. A great way to begin discovering wine is to find a local wine store. These small local places usually have periodic free wine tastings, where a distributor comes to their store and pours wine. Don’t be intimidated. They love sharing wine with newcomers who are interested. There, you can taste test the product, learning what you like, and buy it on the spot if you like it. If you are looking for light and fruity, maybe you will enjoy a domestic Pinot Noir. Do you like thick, bold, chewy stewed fruit? Maybe an Australian Shiraz is for you. Or perhaps the fruit forward style of those “New World” wines is too much, and you prefer the softer fruit and earthy barnyard characteristics of a Bordeaux. Once you start tasting the wines, you’ll discover pretty quickly what you prefer, and your ride will have begun. Everyone’s palate changes over time as they consume wine. It’s an adventure, if you let it be.
Clinical Nutrition and the New England Journal of Medicine
Wine tasting tips
shown that wine:
There are essentially four stages to the wine you are tasting:
Improves heart and cardiovascular health
Protects against several forms of cancer, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, liver cancer and oral cancer Boosts brain power (In women over 70, moderate drinkers had a 23% reduced risk of mental health problems.)
How much is OK to drink? Moderation is always the key, but may mean different things to different people. U.S. dietary guidelines define moderation as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men—a drink being defined as 5 ounces.
So how do I know what wine to buy?
The nose. Take your time, swirl the wine gently in your glass and smell the wine before you drink it. Try to think about what you smell. Lavender? Forest Floor? Chocolate?
Front palate. When the wine first hits your mouth, what do you get? Fruit?
Mid-palate. Now the entire sip of wine is in your mouth, has it changed? How does it feel?
The finish. You’ve slowly swallowed the last bits of the wine. Is anything lingering in your mouth? Can you still feel the wine even though it’s gone? Once you start thinking about the wine as you are tasting it, you will be amazed how different wines can be.
If you’re not a wine drinker, but now that you know wine is good
The bottom line
for you, you want to learn, where do you start?
Wine has been around for thousands of years. It will always be a part of our culture. Once you’re in, you will find that there is nothing like pulling a cork, sharing a nice bottle with friends, and drinking to your health! Salud!
For starters, you can listen to the advice of all the sommeliers in the world about which wines to drink, but the only thing that really matters is this: do you like it?
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by Danny Feldman
Not All Fruits are Created Equal by Danny Feldman enerally speaking, fruit is always a good and healthy option. However, depending on your end goal— deliciousness vs. weight loss, for example—you may want to be a bit choosier in your selections. Take a peek at some of the options below: WEIGHT LOSS — Berries, all types, but most particularly strawberries. A cup of strawberries has about 50 calories, 7 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber. The fiber will keep you feeling full. Berries are chock-full of nutrients and antioxidants as well. If strawberries aren’t your favorite, try blackberries, blueberries or raspberries. Grapefruit is another great option for weight loss. This fruit is extremely high in water content and very low in calories. So, it is very filling, while not consuming a ton of calories. And, it helps control blood sugar as well. And, don’t forget apples. At about 100 calories each, apples are easy to carry around and take a long time to spoil. Plus, they are high in fiber and make a great pre-workout snack. ENDURANCE AND ENERGY — For this, it’s hard to beat a banana. Bananas are high in potassium and electrolytes—
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substances that have to be replenished in an endurance workout. Plus, bananas also are high in natural sugars, which will give you an energy boost. Oranges are also great for endurance and energy as they are very high in vitamin C. Consuming oranges also helps reduce inflammation, a natural byproduct of any endurance type of activities. HEART HEALTH—Citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons and lime, are key here. These fruits contain flavonoids and carotenoids that protect against oxidative stress and decrease inflammation, thus preventing cardiovascular disease. And, again berries—blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries—as they contain anthocyanin, which helps improves blood flow and guards against plaque buildup. So, there you have it: tasty fruits that also come with terrific health benefits. And, although not mentioned here—many other fruits (such as peaches, avocados, cherries, grapes, pineapple, papaya, kiwi, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, mangos) also have excellent health benefits. So, no reason not to go out and enjoy some fruit and feel good about it.
Take it from a Vegetarian –
How to Order Healthier Fast Food Meals by Whitney Butcher
his year continues on as a fast-paced, instant gratification world. Americans eat meals at their desks, in their cars, standing up, in front of the television—you name it, and every day someone is eating there instead of sitting down to a kitchen table. Let’s face it: long gone are the days of dinner on the table at 6 pm and a family discussion of the day’s happenings. Now it’s spin class after work, happy hour or soccer practice—and a meal somewhere in the middle. Fast food restaurants have grown leaps and bounds in the past decade to fit dietary restrictions and provide decent meals for our on-the-go lives, but there are still calorie bombs and fat landmines at every turn. Here are some tips to navigate the fast food landscape:
»» Make the bulk of your fast-food meal fresh and filling vegetables, including kale, arugula, carrots, and tomatoes and top it with lean protein. »» Ask for sauces and dressings on the side. »» If ordering a sandwich, only eat half the bun—it is an easy way to focus on the lean protein and vegetables.
»» If in a bigger city, try new “fast” food restaurants, such as B.Good, Grabba Green, or a local spot; these are popping up in smaller cities all the time and have great options. »» Try to always have breakfast, even if it is something small. Most fast food joints have a protein-packed sandwiches, such as an egg white English muffin, or a whole wheat bagel with an egg and cheese (you can almost always ask for the bagel to be “skinny” and they will remove part of the inside so it is less dense). »» Plan ahead. Whether a layover in an airport or a quick stop passing through town, know where you will be and what options are out there. »» Keep snacks handy! Raw nuts such as almonds and cashews, and low sugar/high protein bars are easy things to help supplement an otherwise sparse fast food meal. Fast food options have truly come a long way (stories from vegetarians who had to order a burger, hold the burger, are long gone). It is important not to deprive yourself. If you really want
»» Limit dairy toppings (for example, if something comes with sour cream and cheese, choose your favorite and have the other left off).
that hamburger, go for it!
»» Do not wait until you are ravenous, it is harder to make good choices once you are that hungry.
(amazingly!) always a good option. Check out their Fresca menu
»» Do not forget about grocery store salad bars! Whole Foods and local grocery stores, such as Fresh Market and Harris Teeter, have salad bars that are usually conveniently placed in the store so you can get in and out with fresh food in no time.
Limit the French fries to a smaller size, or balance it out with your dinner. And remember—if ever in doubt, Taco Bell is and bean-based hard tacos and tostadas. It is impossible to control life, work, and family so that you always have a perfect food option; eating on the go is a necessary part of life today. With a little planning and awareness, eating “fast” can mean eating healthy, too.
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HOW TO HELP
Volunteer Florida www.volunteerflorida.org/irma/
Humane Society of Naples www.hsnaples.org
Feeding Florida www.feedingflorida.org
Florida Keys SPCA www.fkspca.org
National Diaper Bank Network www.nationaldiaperbanknetwork.org/hurricane-relief/
Jacksonville Humane Society www.jaxhumane.org
The Miami Foundation www.miamifoundation.org
Humane Society of Greater Miami www.humanesocietymiami.org
SWFL Community Foundation www.floridacommunity.com
Global Giving www.globalgiving.org
Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund www.unitedwaynefl.org/relieffund/
Samaritan’s Purse www.samaritanspurse.org
TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
F A M I LY
Why You Should Let Your Kids Play More Than One Sport by Ben Dampf
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he benefits of allowing your kids to play more than one sport far outweigh the perceived disadvantages. The trend over the last decade or so, however, has been for young children to focus on only one sport. Year-round practice schedules and elite youth travel teams have become the norm. Many parents and coaches believe that specialization increases the likelihood that the child will develop into a high school star or a college’s prized recruit. Despite those good intentions, there are many reasons why you should let your kids play more than one sport.
Reducing injuries One of the best reasons to encourage your youngster to play multiple sports is that early specialization leaves your child more prone to injury. The reason is that when a child focuses year-round on only one sport, he or she is using the same muscle groups to perform repetitive motions which can overstress the body. Without downtime or an off-season break, the body simply does not have time to recover from that stress. Adolescents are more susceptible to these “overuse” injuries than adults because their bodies are not fully developed. By playing different sports during the year, your child can curb the risk of injury. A recent Loyola University study of 1200 youth athletes found that children who concentrated on one sport too early were 70 percent more likely to be injured than those who played multiple sports.
Avoiding burnout Youth sports should be fun. But specialization and elite competition can bring stress, pressure, and exhaustion. Focusing on only one sport may leave your child feeling that they are trapped and no longer in control. Not surprisingly, those feelings are often followed by disinterest and can make your child want to drop out of the sport altogether. Avoid burnout by encouraging your child to play multiple sports, even if they don’t excel in each. Relieve them from the pressure of feeling like sports is a job instead of a game that is to be enjoyed.
Overall athletic development Playing multiple sports will foster your child’s athleticism because he or she will develop different muscles and skill sets—plus, many of the skills learned in one sport can crossover to others. For example, football players who grew up playing soccer often have better feet coordination than those who didn’t. At a young age, being a well-rounded athlete is more important than being technically sound. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine revealed that 88 percent of college athletes played multiple sports during their youth and 70 percent played multiple sports until they were teenagers. Parents and youth coaches need to keep perspective. Remember, only a very small percentage of youth athletes will ever have the chance to compete beyond the high school level. You should encourage your child to enjoy youth athletics by staying healthy, reducing expectations and playing multiple sports. 48 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 9 ED 3
C O M M E N TA R Y
Four Ways to Deal with Rude Teen Behavior by Josh Hayes My wife, Jennifer, and I are the proud parents of two beautiful, loving, kind, charming, thoughtful “tween” daughters. Unfortunately, they are also at times rude. As we hurdle headlong into their teenage years, we often discuss and strategize on ways to keep them humble and appreciative, not difficult and entitled. When your tween or teen starts yelling at you, rolling her eyes, or talking back, you’re bound to be shocked, angry and even hurt. Below are some things that we have tried—and continue to try—in our quest to remove the rudeness that seems to be pervasive with teens and tweens:
Connect Daily time spent reading, praying, and planning has certainly helped. Certainly the parents in our home spend time doing so, but we also regularly seek ways to get our girls to think about more than themselves; we encourage them to stay connected spiritually. We also look for ways for them to help our local community—after all, it’s harder to exhibit rude and entitled behavior if a young person has spent time recently working in a soup kitchen, helping the elderly in a nursing home, or donating gently-used clothing to help those in need.
Model It should be obvious, but how is a child supposed to learn how to be a thoughtful and productive member of society if one or both parents models unhealthy behavior? The next time a cashier makes a mistake, the next time a server messes up your order, the next time a friend or family member lets you down, think twice before you act in haste as there are little sets of eyes and ears who pay lots more attention than we might realize. Likewise, if you desire for your child to spend less “screen time” and read more books, don’t you think it might work better if you put that phone or tablet down and take your own advice?
Correct Let’s face it, sometimes the planning, modeling, praying and begging your tween or teen to act appropriately fail. When faced with such a circumstance, there simply must be a consequence to
your child’s actions. Assuming a clear line in the sand has been crossed, you should calmly but firmly discuss this matter with your child making sure to cover these topics: »» The child’s advanced knowledge of a rule or expectation »» The fact that the rule or expectation was not met »» The purpose for the rule in the first place »» The consequences of breaking the rule Remember, maintain your parental status. It might be easier in the short term to avoid or delay the consequence of your child’s actions, but what kind of message is that sending? One reason I hold my own parents in such high regard today is that they always kept their word, no matter the inconvenience or short term discomfort.
Incentivize Raising our two girls, we have found that it sometimes works better to provide a reward for good behavior rather than, or in conjunction with, a punishment for bad behavior. A few months ago, my eldest and I were discussing ways to make our family life work better (less arguments, hurt feelings, etc.). This discussion occurred at a time when she had a beach trip planned. As she described to me a new pair of sunglasses that she wanted to make her beach wardrobe complete, I had a “eureka” moment. Together, we came up with a way for her to earn the sunglasses she desired by showing a pattern of “good” behavior. After several weeks of diligently taking out the trash, keeping her room straight, wearing her rubber bands as prescribed by her orthodontist and otherwise helping around the house, the trip to the mall to purchase the sunglasses was an enjoyable moment. We could see a light bulb go off in our daughter’s head—good behavior = reward; bad behavior = punishment. Don’t be afraid to try a reasonable reward program rather than solely a program designed to hand out punishment. Today’s teens and tweens may seem more rude than ever, but by having a good game plan in place, your family can enjoy many more moments of “un-rudeness” than rudeness. @LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 49
How to Prep Your Young Child for a New Sibling by Bob Prince My wife and I are the grandparents of six grandchildren. Our youngest was born eight months ago and two sisters, aged 5 and 3, welcomed him home. Our daughter was anxious about what her girls would think about this new baby; especially a little boy baby! Luckily, she majored in child development. She was able to rely on both what she had learned in college and what she had read and researched since to help guide her in helping her daughters adjust to the new family dynamic. Here are some tips our daughter found on babycenter.com that have been helpful:
Give older siblings special jobs. Let your older children help out—they may surprise you with how much they can do. When you bathe the baby, they can help soap his legs. They will probably be happy to fetch diapers or a new set of clothes. When the baby cries, ask them to gently pat his back or talk softly to him. If your older child wants to hold her new sibling, have her sit in a chair with pillows on either side of her, then prop the baby in her lap and stay nearby to be sure all is well.
Ask his advice. Ask your older child: “Do you think the baby would like to wear the blue shirt or yellow shirt?” or “Do you want to help me tell a story?” Preschoolers especially have a natural flair for entertainment—singing, dancing, or just making faces—and a baby is an appreciative audience. Not only will your older child enjoy the attention, he’s likely to take pride in bringing a smile to his sibling’s face.
Watch the baby together. Invite your child to observe the baby with you. Hold him close and ask him to describe what he sees. “Look at her eyes. What are they doing? How does she hold her hands?” You can even do this while the baby is sleeping.
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Read stories about his new role. Reading stories about the trials and joys of having a new sibling can help your older child adjust to his new situation. Books that feature children who resent the new baby in their lives can help your older one understand that such feelings are natural. Stories that show children enjoying and taking pride in their little sibs present positive role models for your child.
Let him tell the story. Have your child help make a simple picture book about him and his new sibling. Let him choose the pictures he’d like to have in the book and ask him what words he’d like on each page.
Acknowledge his feelings. It’s normal for your older child to feel a range of feelings about this new change in the family. After all, the child suddenly has to share you with someone who requires an extraordinary amount of your time and attention. Rather than scolding, acknowledge your child’s feelings: “It seems like you’re feeling sad right now. Do you want to tell me about it?” Or “Is it frustrating that sometimes when you want me to do something, I need to help the baby?” Your older one may just need you to take some time to listen and hold him or her.
Spend a little time alone with him. Spend some time each day with just your older child or children, even if it’s only a few minutes of drawing or building with blocks. This time makes them feel special and reminds them that you’re his or her mommy as well as the baby’s.
Let him do his own thing. If your older child doesn’t want to be involved with the new baby, don’t push it. A lot of children cope with the change by “ignoring” their tiny siblings—at least for awhile. So you don’t need to expect him to play a greater role than he wants to. He’ll come around in time. I hope you will find these tips useful; but, as our daughter “warns”: there is really no foolproof way to prepare them, so “just get ready for them to react ‘negatively’ at times and try not to get too upset about it.”
Why Family Rituals Are So Important
by Shelly White ituals are those repeated actions done again and again in the interest of things like: focus, grounding, tradition, cultural symbolism, predictable life rhythms, and feeling a part of something. The current world of today leaves in-person family together time less frequent and less personal. Technology allows one to be able to communicate with family at the touch of a screen quickly and right now—yet relationships can be less touchy feely and personal, readily available but short, and overall more black and white. In such a society, the family needs its own personal rituals more than ever to ensure its survival in this fast-paced, dog-eat-dog world. Rituals can ground a family and help it focus; they have been found by psychological research to actually have a causal impact on people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. In terms of the family unit, the American Psychological Association (APA) indicates that family rituals are associated in families today with marital satisfaction, adolescents’ sense of personal identity, children’s health, academic achievement, and stronger family relationships. Rituals are more symbolic than simple to-do’s and actions, as they can bridge the generations and ground the entire unit in something meaningful and unique to that particular family. They can be born out of the family’s values and goals for its perpetuation. When considering family rituals that could be at risk of extinction in today’s busy world, one may come up with family meals as one that’s threatened. This used to be a ritual performed every night by most families; without distractions such as television, cell phones, and the like. Today, for the health of the family, it is still important to have that family meal time for sharing and communicating, but it is often more realistic to reserve certain meals of the week for family time. Perhaps a family can closely guard certain meals, such as a weekend breakfast, Sunday meal, and at
a greater group while passing on traditions and values from generation to generation. Members not only get valuable relationship and tradition within a single-family home, but also when family comes together for interaction between grandparents and grandchildren; uncles and aunts with nieces and nephews; siblings with siblings, cousins, with cousins, and parents with grown children. The effects will impact how each family member interacts out in the world with others as well. It is important to keep in mind the day-to-day, real-life demands of families when planning such rituals like the family meal, so that making them happen is not a stress filled ordeal. Family rituals can involve even simpler things than meals; including such things as family walks once a week, family game night once a month, family activities every other weekend that involve interaction, or even family holidays and birthdays done together at a certain time every year. Rituals do not always have to be those things thought of as “fun” activities either. Family chore time once per week or once per day can be meaningful rituals, as can goodnight rituals and family meetings held at laid out times to allow members to give input and appreciation for one another. Whatever the family ritual, it is vital that people have some sense of routine and predictability in a world that is often unpredictable and uncertain. Such rituals allow each member to feel like a part of something and grounded in something real and safe. For the health of the family, it is important to decide on family rituals that bring each member of the family a sense of belonging and validation while being consistent and stable. If a family takes on rituals that are too complicated or never fit in to the schedule, the family will find themselves losing them. While it is necessary to be mindful of carrying out family rituals, they should also feel rhythmic, natural, and positive for each individual and unique family. Get the family together and figure out what is important and safe for each
least one dinner during the week. One can even reserve a ritual of once-weekly meals for extended family and bring meaning to
member and go from there in identifying the best family rituals to fit your life!
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10 Skills Every Teen Should Know by High School by Leto Copeley our teen is taller than you and struts around like a grown-up. Don’t fall for it, parents…your job is not over! Years of real-life challenges lie ahead…is your teen ready for the big leagues?
Business etiquette During high school, a teen is preparing for a future career, whether she knows it or not. A teen should be comfortable greeting adults with a firm handshake, properly introducing himself and others, using names during conversations, and carrying on a conversation with solid eye contact and full responses. This life skill will place your teen head-and-shoulders above the pack when it comes time to apply for part-time jobs, colleges, and scholarships.
Social awareness Does your teen hold the door for the elderly? Lower her voice in a library? Offer his bus seat to a pregnant woman? Use
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clean language in public? Part of growing up is becoming socially aware of your environment, and that skill should be second nature by high school.
Money basics By high school, a teen—even a broke teen—should have a solid understanding of how to handle money responsibly. Don’t spend more than you earn; steer clear of lottery tickets and poker tables; stock away extra money for a rainy day; and never, ever, get into credit card debt. Debt makes the poor get poorer, and saving makes the rich get richer—easy peasy.
Tolerance Tolerance is a tough one, because we all have strong opinions about controversial subjects and political views. One of the keys to getting ahead in life, though, is learning to tolerate different opinions and viewpoints without name-calling or judging.
police officers, firefighters, and EMS drivers applied for those jobs
Can your teen handle an oven fire? A flooding bathroom? A
because they wanted to help people. Plus, even if a cop is really a
late-night break-in? A friend who is choking? If not, he or she needs
bad guy, the best strategy is to keep your cool and be respectful.
to learn how to call 911 and talk clearly to dispatch.
Good eye contact and a friendly nod will get your teen a long way, even if he happens to be “making bad choices” at that moment.
Nearly all episodes of police brutality start with poor communica-
Can your teen handle insults from jerks? Because one day
tion skills, so teach your teen now to treat officers with courtesy,
he will be flipping burgers and his scrawny boss will call him a lazy $#%#$—it happens to everyone. Will your teen knock out the boss-man’s teeth and wind up with a criminal record, or does he know how to listen to others, ask for explanations, and talk through
and above all, never run.
Car maintenance Shockingly, many folks cannot handle basic car maintenance
problems? Being able to handle a tough situation calmly is key to
like pumping gas, checking fluids, changing a flat tire or filling a
surviving high school…and life.
low tire. Sure, nowadays a tow truck is only a cellphone call away, but the knowledge and ability to handle these tasks without help is
still important. Even if your teen does not own a car or even have a
By high school, a teen should be self-sufficient at home,
driver’s license, at some point he or she will be riding with friends
including doing his or her own laundry from start to finish, cooking
in a clunker. If your kid gets stranded on a country road at midnight
a decent meal, cleaning the dishes, changing sheets, sweeping,
without a phone, wouldn’t a back-up plan be nice?
vacuuming, and mopping. More importantly, the teen should be able to foresee household needs and take care of them without adult instruction or supervision.
The art of the smile Your teen needs to smile. A lot. Let’s face it, teens are grumpy and life’s not fair. Important folks like teachers, cops, law-
Dealing with cops
yers, doctors, and bankers are supposed to treat everyone equally,
What does your teen do when he sees a police officer? If he
but sadly that’s not always the way the world goes ’round. People
covers his face and mumbles, “oh great, here comes the po-po,”
like people who smile. If your teen masters the art of smiling, in no
it may be time for a refresher course. Teens need to know that
time he or she will be ruling the world.
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How Often Should You Really be Changing Your Pillowcases? by Sheila Hiestand
very day we are constantly surrounded by bacteria that can cause problems. Even though you can’t disinfect everything, there are little things you can clean around your house that will cut down on the amount of bacteria you’re spreading. One example is in the bedroom. Sometimes the most looked over items are the most important, but if you’re getting the suggested amount of sleep then you’re spending nearly one-third of your life in bed—making it a place you want to keep clean. Bed sheets can rack up a serious collection of sweat, body oils, saliva, dirt, sexual fluids, and even urine and fecal matter. Not only can your bed sheets and pillowcases be home to some undesirable things, they can also transfer athlete's foot and other fungal infections. Along with transferring bacteria back onto your body, infrequent cleaning of sheets and pillowcases allows fluids to seep into pillows and mattresses, which are much more difficult to clean. If you’re not concerned enough after reading about what your body could be leaving on your linens, let’s talk about what those things can attract. Our skin is made up of billions of cells and, of those billions of skin cells, between 30,000 and 40,000 of them fall off every hour. With the suggested eight hours of sleep, the average person is sloughing off around 240,000 dead skin cells every night. The dead skin cells that you shed can then attract organisms like dust mites—living in your mattress, feeding off of the cells and causing breathing problems for people with asthma. According to Philip Tierno Jr., Ph.D., director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, your bed sheets can accumulate all of those undesirables in just one night’s sleep. Along with all of that bacteria, the average person produces more than 25 gallons of sweat each year, which means—in addition to making us
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sick and spreading infections—dirty bedding can also cause breakouts. Like anything else that transfers dirt and oil to your skin, pillowcases can be the cause of acne, according to David E. Bank, M.D., director and founder of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery. “Acne mechanica is any type of acne that is the result of material or objects touching your face. When your pillowcase isn’t laundered or changed regularly, a build-up of dirt and oil from the environment as well as your skin and hair touching the pillow is transferred back to your skin. This can clog pores and cause blemishes.” Experts suggest that you launder your pillowcases every two to three days. This ensures you’re not lying on a pillowcase with several days’ worth of oil soaked into it. Bank encourages people with acne-prone skin to avoid using liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets because they leave behind a waxy residue that is highly pore clogging. Laura Bowater, a microbiologist, recommends washing sheets and pillowcases at least once a week, at a minimum of 140 degrees Fahrenheit to destroy bacteria and rid them of any dirt. “Dry sheets and pillowcases in direct sunlight if you can, as UV light is effective in killing micro-organisms. Run a hot iron over pillowcases on the cotton setting to kill any leftover bacteria.” While it’s recommended that pillowcases and bed sheets be washed at least once per week, your pillow itself can be laundered less often, with every three months as the suggested rate. According to Mail Online, doctors have found that up to a third of a pillow's weight can be made up of bugs, dead skin, mites and their feces, and the average unwashed pillow can contain a revolting 16 species of fungi. Luckily, washing at 140 degrees Fahrenheit should kill most bacteria—so run them through the washing machine once every three months.
8 Things You Should Clean Every Single Week by Bret Hanna Some things in life require constant attention. These eight things require your attention every single week.
Toothbrush. Bacteria loves moist surfaces, and very few surfaces are more consistently moist than your toothbrush. As such, toothbrushes serve as magnets for germs and bacteria that are airborne in your bathroom. For a quick clean, soak the bristles in mouthwash for 30 to 60 seconds. For a more thorough clean, run your toothbrush through the dishwasher.
Smartphone/Cell Phone/Phone. Studies show that the average phone has 10 times more bacteria lurking on it than the average toilet. And there is an endless transfer cycle of that bacteria between your mouth and phone when using it for calls, and your hands, the device and every other thing you touch. That’s nasty. To keep that bacteria at bay, get an antibacterial coating for the phone. Or, get antibacterial wipes and use them often.
Vehicle Steering Wheel, Shift and Knobs. This one is easy. Regularly use disinfecting wipes to clean the surfaces that are touched inside your car. The concept is the same as washing hands on a regular basis, and certainly after they’ve come in contact with surfaces that are like petri dishes growing bacteria and germs (door knobs and handles, cabinet pulls, mass-transit anything, etc.).
Money. Paper money is infamous for spreading germs from person to person. Most people don’t think you can clean paper money, and they are correct. Consider ditching cash (or minimizing using it), and use plastic cards (which can be cleaned) or smart phones for money transactions.
Computer Keyboards and Mouse. These items can harbor myriads of germs and bacteria. Turn the computer off and wipe the keyboard and mouse with a damp disinfecting wipe. Be careful to not use a wipe that is too moist, because you don’t want liquid disinfectant getting in between the keyboard keys or the cracks of the mouse.
Keys. Keys, like money and other things held in the hand, can be filthy with germs and bacteria. Most keys can be cleaned with warm, soapy water.
Remote Control(s). Remotes are handled often by everyone in the house, so you’re not just interacting with the germs and bacteria that come from your hands. Wipe them down with disinfecting wipes, with particular attention to the buttons.
Kitchen Sponges and Dish Rags. All such items used in the kitchen can become filthy quickly. At least once a week, launder dish rags, and soak sponges in boiling water, run them through the dishwasher, or get them wet and put them in the microwave for a couple of minutes.
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Dos and Don’ts
of Taking Opioids Responsibly by Brittany Monbarren
Take your opioid and non-opioid pain medicines as prescribed.
Take extra doses.
Watch for side effects and signs of dependence or addiction.
Consume alcohol. Opioids and alcohol are a deadly mix.
Tell your doctor if you or a family member has a history of substance abuse.
Cut, chew, crush or dissolve medications.
Keep your opioid medications locked up in a safe place at all times.
Take an opioid pain reliever that is not prescribed for you.
Be prepared for opioid emergencies.
Sell or share your opioid medication with another person.
Inform all of your providers that you are currently prescribed opioids.
Mix opioids with benzodiazepines.
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E-Cigs and the Dangers Associated by Jacob W. Plattenberger
The popularity of e-cigarettes has risen immensely as a new “healthy” alternative to cigarettes. Offering minimized adverse health effects from nicotine consumption compared to cigarettes, sales in e-cigs have skyrocketed, with a projected increase of $8.3 billion between 2013 and 2017. Ambiguity regarding the real health risks associated with e-cigarettes has left the public confused on the health effects of these popular smoking devices. Following their market introduction in 2003, the primary focus of health studies has revolved around nicotine effects, with little effort to explore the potential hazards of the other 4,000+ chemicals found in e-liquids, found in the cartridges used in e-cigs. In December 2015, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health began to study the other chemical components, chiefly the food additive, diacetyl. Their study concluded that more than 75% of e-liquid flavors contained diacetyl or similar chemicals. Cases over the past 14 years have linked the inhalation of vaporized diacetyl to bronchiolitis obliterans, more commonly referred to as popcorn lung. The dangers of second-hand exposure to vaporized diacetyl in occupational
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settings have forced the FDA to create a strict set of regulations minimizing worker exposure to the vaporized chemical. Based on studies, first-hand exposure from e-cigarette could potentially introduce a greater threat for consumers.
Current Studies and Litigation Currently, e-cigs are almost entirely unregulated. The FDA has issued a proposal to include e-cigarettes under its authority over tobacco and nicotine-containing products, and OSHA is working on increasing the federal regulation of e-cigarettes, as well as exposing the health risks involved with e-cigarette use. Actual progress on regulation has remained relatively stagnant. “Since most of the health concerns about e-cigarettes have focused on nicotine, there is still much we do not know about e-cigarettes,” explained David Christiani, co-author of the Harvard study. With little known about the full effects of e-cigs, federal mandates are unlikely in the near future, at least until more information is gathered on the subject. Concerned consumers can also refer to e-cigarette companies’ FAQs which occasionally offer statements about their use of dangerous substances.
At TorHoerman Law, personal injury law is all we do. Whether you have been hurt on the job, in a car, or by a drug or medical device you used, you can count on our experienced team to work for you. Over the past nine years, our office has negotiated more than $3 billion in verdicts and settlements for people like you – injured through no fault of their own. Representing clients in all 50 states, the nationally renowned lawyers of TorHoerman Law are actively involved in our communities as safety advocates, and we have successfully taken on some of the largest drug and medical device companies in the world. When profits take a backseat to consumer safety, we are happy to step in. TorHoerman Law gives back. The firm and its employee foundation proudly gives back and by doing so, we make a difference within our communities. We give back because we understand that our society can’t be successful unless we work to make it that way. We are proud to support local efforts helping all walks of life. We are also thrilled to donate our time to national organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House, The Boys and Girls Club, End Distracted Driving (EndDD.org) and KidsandCars.org.
GENERIC DRUGS VS. BRAND NAME DRUGS What’s the Difference?
Generic drugs are the bioequivalent of name-brand pharmaceuticals offered at a highly discounted rate.
80-85% 8 10
Nearly of prescriptions are filled with the generic form of a name-brand drug.
Generic drugs are offered at an average reduced rate of 80-85% the name-brand cost, making them more appealing to pharmacies and insurance providers.
In 2010 alone, the use of FDA-approved generics saved consumers $158 billion.
Even if you get a prescription for a name-brand drug, it is likely to be filled in a generic form if the brand patent has expired.
Name-Brand Manufactures Can be Held Liable for Drug Side Effects and Injuries if:
A serious side effect is not included in the warning label;
The manufacturer advertises the drug for off-label use; or
The warning label is unclear.
THERE’S A LOOPHOLE: Generic Drug Manufacturers Aren’t Liable for Injuries
Since generic drug manufacturers don’t design drugs. Since they are not allowed to change the warning label, they cannot be held liable for consumer injuries. This loophole was created by the United States Supreme Court in the Bartlett case in 2013.
The New War on Drugs: America's opioid addiction builds, doesn't discriminate