As the death toll rises and thousands of acres burn between California’s Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire, those residents lucky enough to escape the flames worry what consequences could result in inhaling the smoke.
According to the EPA, smoke emanating from forest and community fires may include any of the following:
According to the EPA,
Smoke is composed primarily of carbon dioxide, water vapor, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, hydrocarbons and other organic chemicals, nitrogen oxides, trace minerals and several thousand other compounds. The actual composition of smoke depends on the fuel type, the temperature of the fire, and the wind conditions. Different types of wood and vegetation are composed of varying amounts of cellulose, lignin, tannins and other polyphenolics, oils, fats, resins, waxes and starches, which produce different compounds when burned.
Some may have no idea they are breathing in harmful compounds that could affect their lungs and heart. However, many may experience:
PM2.5 are particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter that are present in pollution and wildfire smoke that can penetrate deeply into the lung linings. Larger, coarse particles 10 micrometers in diameter are called PM10. Both impair lung function as they inflame the lungs and interfere with the work of alveoli that need to oxygenate the blood. Moreover the small particles can use this pathway to enter the bloodstream. Although the direct health impacts of the fine particulate matter is not clearly defined it is believed that increased PM2.5 levels increase the risk of lung and heart disease as discussed above.
Symptoms may begin at levels greater than 55 µg/m3 .
How can residents protect themselves?
Avoiding the area of wildfires is paramount. Additionally, the following may be considered:
Editor's note: As a companion read you might also be interested in a story we published in Sept. last year: 5 apps to help you recover from hurricanes and wildfires.
An Oregon woman claims her cat helped her detect her breast cancer, and she’s not the first one to claim how furry friends can save lives.
Michelle Pearson adopted a cat, Mia, a few years back from the Humane Society. The one day she pounced on Pearson’s chest, sniffed her breast and directed her owner’s attention to the breast. Days later Michelle was diagnosed with breast cancer.
She states, “All of a sudden out of nowhere, she just got up on my chest and she sniffed that breast and then looked in my face, sniffed the spot again and looked in my face and I tried to shove her off and she came back up and just laid down on that right breast and she looked at me like ‘I’m trying to tell you something.'”
She feels her rescue cat actually “rescued” her.
A woman in California cited the same miracle. Nancy Best stated her dog, also named Mia, would not stop licking her breast. She was eventually diagnosed with breast cancer.
Sometimes animals may not always be friendly towards a diseased body part. My in-law’s poodle would shower everyone with licks except for one person who she would excessively bark at. He was soon diagnosed with brain cancer.
PBS reports that dogs can smell 40 times better than humans, with over 300 million olfactory receptors in their nose. They can smell parts per trillion, a keen sense that is potentially sharp enough to pick up cancer cells and the smells they produce.
Healthline reports that cancer cells raise polyamine levels which come with an odor. Moreover if cancer cells incite an immune response, this can expel a scent as well.
In 1989 a case report revealed a woman’s dog tried to bite a mole off her leg which ended up being malignant melanoma.
According to a 2011 study in the journal Gut, Labrador retrievers were able to sniff out colon cancer in 97% of stool samples.
The Italian Ministry of Defense’s Military Veterinary Center was successful in training German Shepherds to recognize prostate cancer proteins in urine to 98% accuracy.
For those of you with a pet pigeon, don’t feel left out. A University of Iowa study found pigeons to be trained to detect breast cancer cells to 85% accuracy.
So despite our animals possessing the power to sense microscopic anomalies, we shouldn’t panic every time they sniff or lick us. But if they persist on one area of your body, it might be worth getting checked out.
Editor’s note: The folks over at Dogsnaturallymagazine.com also weigh on this topic citing numerous studies and anecdotal evidence all concluding that, yes, it’s very probable that dogs can sniff out ill health. As for cats smelling cancer, well - the research seems to suggest otherwise. Sorry, kitty lovers. =)
For over a year we’ve been bombarded daily with candidate interviews, political commentary, primaries, speeches, polls, mudslinging, ads, and frankly, we’re sick of it. The amount of negativity spewing from both sides is exhausting and out-right depressing!
But as we receive the election results, some of us will be rejuvenated with hope while others will fall into the abyss of an election loss. Election depression is real, very real.
It’s despondency (a drop in mood stemming from a loss of hope) after an election. We’ve discussed election anxiety recently as many people are fearing the result, but we haven’t prepared the country for what happens when the vote doesn’t swing their way. Feelings of sadness, guilt, remorse, agitation, irritability, are just a few of the signs.
Multiple factors can cause this..
On one hand it's good to be passionate about an issue or candidate. Passion drives us to make change, build, progress, restore, and all the good verbs that our great country needs.
However, while we’re being passionate, we need to be prepared.
When you’ve been through as many elections as I have, you learn that you don’t win them all. You also learn that one candidate will always win and one candidate will always lose. Not thinking about the latter won’t wish it away. The reality of your last choice candidate being your legislator needs to be faced. So it's better to mentally prepare for it early.
Here’s some things you can do:
Losing isn’t easy, but it's something that we eventually become good at. If my candidate loses, I will start an Election Loser Club. I’ll probably invite Mickey Mouse to be our first guest speaker, since he always seems to be on the ballot each election anyway and never wins. He still though, manages to keep a smile on his face. So should we.
Ghosts, goblins, Mommy yelling – Halloween can be pretty scary. But the candy, the costumes, decorations and running door to door threatening all your neighbors with a “trick” makes it one of the most exciting days of the year!
Unfortunately, the more fun and immersed into the festivities, the more dangerous for our little ones. 160,000 injuries occur on this day each year, and even scarier, Halloween is the deadliest for pediatric pedestrians with 7300 fatalities reported annually by the National Safety Council.
Thousands have petitioned the White House this year to move Halloween officially to the last Saturday of October to avoid families rushing home on a work/school night to start the festivities.
However, any day kids are running around in a quest to find sugar puts them at risk and no holiday should end so tragically.
In addition to traffic accidents, parents need to be aware of fire and choking hazards. We therefore recommend the following to keep our kids safe.
Make sure your child’s mask allows him/her to see clearly. If not, replace with non-toxic makeup that is tested a few days before on a small area of skin on their arm to ensure they are not allergic. The makeup should be washed off before bedtime.
2. Avoid long costumes, such as ghost-themed, that may trip your child while they walk/run.
3. Use bright-colored costumes. If your child insists on a dark costume, such as Batman, put a belt of glow sticks around him or add reflective tape to their costume and trick or treat bags
4. Make sure all costumes and hats are flame resistant and teach your kids how to avoid tripping over jack-o-lanterns with candles in them.
5. Avoid costume contact lenses as they may decrease visual acuity, scratch the eye and cause infection.
6. Use the sidewalk. Your child will want to zig zag across the street when they see everyone else doing it. You need to be the parent like me who yells at everyone to get back on the sidewalk.
7. Watch out for drunk drivers. Many are coming back from a “trick or drink” party and could be impaired.
8. Make the “no eating candy until you get home” rule. Allows you to check the candy for open wrappers and dangerous things that don’t belong. Then steal your favorite treats when the child is taking his/her potty break
9. Teach your child to not enter a stranger’s home – even if it is in full decoration
10. Stay in a group and follow your children. You can leave a safe distance behind while still supervise. And it's fun when we parents compete for who can yell at our kids the loudest.
11. Carry Walkie Talkies. Halloween streets get loud and kids may not hear you if they start walking down a different street and turn into a housing complex. Walkie talkies are fun and keep you connecting with your younglings’ even if they are a few feet away.
12. Parents should avoid “Trick-o-Drink!!”ing where we walk around with our red plastic cup and rather than ask for candy, we opt for some spirits poured in. Parents giggle, feeling part of the festivities, but unfortunately will be sloshed by the fourth home they hit and won’t be able to effectively supervise the children. We need to be at the top of our game this Halloween. Cut the booze.
13. And drivers, be wary of trick-or-treaters even before it gets dark. Drive slowly and pay attention! Let’s have a Happy and Safe one!!!
The FDA has approved a new drug, Xofluza (baloxavir marboxil), to help fight the flu this season.
The antiviral is a single dose and is taken within 48 hours of first signs of flu symptoms.
It is only indicated in those older than 12 years old. The cost is approximately $150 for the single dose.
Current antiviral medications approved by the FDA to shorten the course of the flu include Relenza and Tamiflu. These medications are in a class of neuraminidase inhibitors, which inhibit the release of new viral particles that have replicated in a host (patient).
Xofluza, however, works sooner, by preventing the virus from replicating within the host cell in the first place.
Therefore this new drug can stop the spread of flu earlier than its predecessors.
NBC News reported the following:
So the less time one is sick with the flu, the less risk of coming down with a secondary infection such as pneumonia, or other flu related illness.
Moreover if viral shedding is decreased, less family members and contacts can potentially become ill.
Now Xofluza may not prevent the flu in one who has not been exposed because it works by preventing virus that is present from replicating.
Flu symptoms may come abruptly and include:
The most effective way to prevent the flu is avoidance of sick contacts, good hand washing and vaccination.
The FDA is warning e-cigarette companies to stop selling vaping products with claims that they contain erectile dysfunction medications.
Consumers are being urged to avoid vaping products claiming to have ingredients such as sildenafil and tadalafil used in Viagra and Cialis respectively as they can interact with other medications (such as nitrates). Moreover there is no data suggesting one’s respiratory lining to be a safe route of absorption of a phosphodiesterase type-5 (PDE-5) inhibitor.
The primary purpose of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and its highly specialized lining is not necessarily designed to absorb nutrients, as does the small intestine.
On the FDA website it states:
FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb states, “There are no e-liquids that contain prescription drugs that have been proven safe or effective through this route of administration.”
Companies are looking to expand their market by enticing consumers to vape vitamins, such as B12, and essential oils. Last week, however, a professor of nutrition from New York University, Dr. Charles Mueller, warned against it. He states, “Vitamins need to come with [fat and water] and go through the same gastrointestinal tract to be absorbed.” Moreover respiratory administration of nutrition has not been actively studied.
A study published by the American Heart Association found nine different E-cig flavors to impair blood vessel function, which can impair heart health.
Endothelial cells, which delicately line blood and lymph vessels, were found to become inflamed at low concentrations of some vapor flavors. And at high concentrations of others, exhibited cell death. Nitric oxide production, necessary for vessel dilation to improve blood flow, was impaired as well. These are often the same changes seen in early heart disease.
The 9 flavors (and the chemicals within) cited in the report to cause the endothelial inflammation and/or damage were:
Strawberry flavoring appeared to have the most adverse effect on the cells.
How many other flavors were not included in this study, so it's unknown how safe they may be.
Last May, researchers from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville found e-cig smoke to increase one’s risk of bladder cancer.
In 2015, the University of Minnesota identified chemicals commonly found in e-cig vapor to include:
Although electronic cigarette “juice” may appear safe, it could produce harmful chemicals once heated to become a vapor.
A lethal dose of nicotine for an adult ranges from 30-60 mg and varied for children (0.5-1.0 mg/kg can be a lethal dosage for adults, and 0.1 mg/kg for children). E-cigs, depending on their strengths (0 – 5.4%) could contain up to 54 mg of nicotine per cartridge (a 1.8% e -cig would contain 18mg/ml).
The topic of nicotine increasing one’s vulnerability to cancer is nothing new as decades ago researchers found nicotine to affect the cilia (brush border) along the respiratory tree, preventing mucous production and a sweeping out of carcinogens trying to make their way down to the lungs.
More research needs to be performed but this recent report reminds us that exposing our delicate lung tissue and immune system to vaping chemicals may not be as safe as we think.
A rare polio-like illness is startling health officials as multiple states have reported cases of AFM (Acute Flaccid Myelitis).
Since August 2014, the CDC has received reports on 362 cases.
This week we learn of 6 children in Minnesota who have been diagnosed with AFM, which may manifest in symptoms such as sudden muscle weakness, stiffness, slurred speech and facial droop.
The age range of children affected appear to be 3-14. A 6-year-old boy in Washington State died in 2016 and was the first death to be linked to this mysterious illness. His parents reported he had felt ill, became dizzy and within hours suffered swelling in the brain and paralysis. Despite medical efforts, he passed. Although the exact cause is unknown, health experts are considering a variety of possibilities. They have actually been investigating this since 2014 when reports of AFM began to surface across the United States.
AFM stands for Acute Flaccid Myelitis. It’s a condition that occurs suddenly, causing inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle tone and reflexes. Although limb weakness is the primary symptom, patients could also exhibit slurred speech, facial drooping, and in serious cases inability to breath due to paralysis of the respiratory muscles. Mild cases appear to resolve but serious cases can cause residual paralysis or death. Children appear to be more affected than adults.
Although health officials do not know for certain, due to its rapid onset, a pathogen such as a virus seems highly likely. With the 2013-2014 outbreak, some of the cases tested positive for enterovirus (EV-D68), but it is not conclusive whether this was the exact cause or just coincidentally found in the patients tested.
Some postulate a combination of viruses may be a factor or an autoimmune disease. Although Guillain-Barre syndrome causes acute limb weakness and paralysis when the immune system begins attacking the nervous system, the report that many individuals feel feverish or ill prior, seem to point to a pathogen as the primary cause although the latter is not being ruled out. Virus families such as enterovirus (including polio and non polio enterovirus), adenovirus (causing respiratory and GI illness) and flaviviruses (including West Nile) have been suspected.
Per the CDC, acute flaccid myelitis is rare (less than 1 in a million cases) however currently they report 362 people affected in currently 16 states (down from 39 states in 2016).
Medical professionals look at a variety of factors.
History: how the paralysis/loss of muscle tone began and which limbs did it affect first
Laboratory tests and CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) testing: to look for signs of infection
MRI of the brain: which may show gray matter involvement in a case of AFM.
There is no standard treatment that has been proven effective, however depending on the severity of the symptoms, health professionals can consider a variety of options including steroids, IVIG, interferon, antivirals and supportive measures.
No. Until they can identify the exact cause, or causes, health officials cannot create a vaccine.
If we assume its a pathogen causing the illness, avoiding contact with sick individuals, being up-to-date on one’s vaccines and good hand-washing are imperative. Although we do not know if AFM is caused by a mosquito-borne illness, avoiding mosquitoes would be wise as well. More therefore needs to be researched to determine why and how those individuals with AFM were infected.
Breast cancer affects thousands of men and women each year and screening is unfortunately overlooked all too often.
Many women find mammograms painful and embarrassing hence hesitate when urged to get screened.
And some men may not realize they too have breast tissue and are at risk for breast cancer.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and #ShirtsOff reminds us to examine ourselves, get screened, and look for changes in our breasts.
Signs of breast cancer include
1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 266,120 cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the US with 63,960 cases of non-invasive breast cancer, a rise from last year.
40,920 women and 480 men are expected to die this year of breast cancer.
Risk factors for breast cancer include:
Breast cancer is staged based on size of the tumor, if lymph nodes are affected and whether the cancer has spread to distant areas of the body. Prognosis varies greatly on the stage.
85% of breast cancer cases occur in women with NO family history.
Mammograms are the first line screening tool for breast cancer and are currently recommended biennial for women aged 50-74. However for those at higher risk, mammogram screening should start earlier, with possible follow-up ultrasound, and be performed more regularly.
3-D Mammograms use some of the most sensitive technology in screening.
Dr. William Boren, owner of West Valley Imaging in Las Vegas, Nevada, states “3-D Mammograms reportedly find up to 40% more cancers, allowing a topographic view of the tissue.”
Dr. Boren also recommends to “not leave big gaps between screening. If you start screening at age 40, then continue yearly screens.”
For those of us who are football enthusiasts, we may be at an advantage when it comes to relationships. Makes sense….when things go sour with our partner we turn to football. When we get sidelined we wait for a signal to get back on the field. And we instinctively “suit up” before each encounter to protect us from the blows we may incur. So the question arises, do football fans fare better in relationships?
Before any play, we need to position ourselves correctly on the field. Being too close to the “end zone” when you’re supposed to be yards away can give you a severe penalty.
So we start at the line of scrimmage and respect the “neutral zone.”
An infraction of this space could again inflict a costly penalty. There’s a time and a place when beginning a play and entering this zone is allowed.
True our goal is to get to the end zone but it will take some strategy, finesse, and opportunity. Some good drives will get you a long way, and patience and persistence is key.
Before any play we size up our competition. Some may block your advance but most you can overcome. As long as you know your routes and can keep other players at bay, you have a chance of advancing.
Holding a ball loosely and carelessly could cause it to easily fall into another player’s hands.
But if you hold it too tight it may squeeze out the first opportunity it gets. A proper cradling, warmth, and protection may be the right recipe.
Losing the ball is devastating and someone else can pick it up and run with it. It takes your buddies to help you regain possession so you can start over.
Treat your partner right and don’t lose them to begin with.
The field is fluid and players are out there watching, waiting to grab your ball and take advantage of the yardage you acquired.
Always be mindful of your position and don’t take your possession for granted.
Although the red zone is not officially marked on the field, we understand it to be the 20 yards closest to the end zone, or time during a relationship where you can either advance to your goal or fail miserably, losing all the time and work you put into the relationship. Being too aggressive may cause a fumble, interception or even injury. Being too chill could prevent you from ever making a touchdown.
So us football folk know how to stop, huddle, and plan, hopefully resulting in the ball sailing into the end zone without a hitch.
So if you’re in the dating scene and find yourself getting encroached, needing to scramble, or facing a blitz, watch some football and learn how to treat your date right. It might get you a whole new set of fresh downs…….
Student debt has been rising and the average undergraduate doesn’t feel confident they will pay off their loans before middle age.
Lots of factors contribute to the increased debt a student faces. Some of these include:
Higher tuition costs
Increased time requirements to obtain a degree (5 year program vs 4 year)
Fewer students work while taking classes
More competition after graduation
Higher cost of living precludes early repayment of loans
And it is projected to rise. The Congressional Budget Office each year projects the total amount of new federal student loans the office believes they will issue with this year projected to be nearly $1.5 trillion.
Andrew Coates, candidate for University Regent in Southern Nevada, states, “One way that colleges can help students keep their debt under control is by locking-in tuition rates. This means that tuition will not be increased while a student pursues their degree. By locking-in tuition, students will know exactly how much they will pay each year in college, which will help them budget accordingly.”
So how can students curb their debt?
According to US News data, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2018–2019 school year was $35,676 at private colleges, $9,716 for state residents at public colleges and $21,629 for out-of-state students at state school, with many universities easily exceeding these numbers. So students may want to consider getting early credits completed at community colleges and then finishing their degree at a university. Additionally, many will need to decide if its worth picking an out-of-state college for a degree that provides the same job market edge as an in-state school.
Many students don’t apply for grants, loans and scholarships because of time constraints, misconceptions such as they don’t fit a demographic, or “will be credit history required?”, and lack of optimism that they will even qualify.
Mark Kantrowitz, publisher and vice president of saveforcollege.com states, “More than 2 million students did not get a Federal Pell Grant even though they were eligible because they did not file the FAFSA.” FAFSA (link attached) is a free application for federal student aid assisting students who want to apply for a loan, grant or work study.
Scholarships are ideal in that they do not need to be paid back. Many can be found at scholarships.com.
Many students get a culture shock living on their own when they spend as if Mom or Dad is still footing the bill. If eating out nightly, shopping online, or using excess data does not fit into the amount your trying to live on each month, budget expenses early on and stick to it.
When we try to build our credit as a young adult, we may apply for a credit card that advertises to college students with no monthly fee and “rewards.” However, the interest rates can be up to 25%. If you do use the credit card don’t borrow more than you can pay off each month, always shooting for a zero balance.
Rent, transportation, utilities, meals, entertainment, internet and phone service, add up and can be more costly than tuition. Share expenses with roommates or family members to lessen your loan debt.
Cook and prepare meals for the coming days, use school Wi-Fi, carpool to class, purchase less beer, and use the university gym to save money.
But most importantly, don’t stress about the debt. Your efforts should be concentrated on your schooling and getting a degree is one of the best ways to combat your debt later in life.