Beware of Giant Hogweed

It looks like a giant Queen Anne’s lace but it’s nothing like it. While Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) can be somewhat life sustaining (it’s actually a wild carrot as it’s Latin name implies), Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is extremely toxic.

The sap of giant hogweed causes phytophotodermatitis in humans, resulting in blisters, long-lasting scars, and—if it comes in contact with eyes—blindness.” (Source: wikipedia).

The sap is actually photosensitive meaning that it reacts to sunlight and causes the burning in reaction to ultraviolet rays.

Additionally the sap of giant hogweed can cause permanent scaring.

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(Source: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/39809.html)

If you think you’ve been exposed to the sap of a giant hogweed, wash the area thoroughly with COLD water and keep it out of the sun for at least 48 hours.If you get the sap in your eyes wash the eyes out thoroughly and keep any remaining sap from activating by wearing sunglasses outside.

Find out more about treating exposure to the Giant Hogweed sap here).

Giant Hogweed has emigrated from Canadian and has been reported in several states in the US (I know we have it here in WA because a friend of mine found a giant beautiful plant in his yard that he couldn’t identify. A Facebook post identified it and he was able to get rid of it before it had done any damage, fortunately).


The Fatal Quest for “Likes”

An obsession with getting others to “Like” your selfies is leading to an increase in fatalities. So much so, in fact, that the Russian government has put out an infographic and pamphlet that they are hoping to get out to as many people as possible in hopes of changing the “selfie” culture and saving lives.

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Each one of the icons above is an actual real life situation that resulted in death for the selfie taker. In a desire to be seen in strange, mysterious and even dangerous situations (because such selfies inevitably result in a great number of “likes” on Facebook) more and more people are exposing themselves to serious danger and, in some cases death.

Russian youth are not alone in their quest for Facebook notoriety. Witness this tourist in NY who climbed the Brooklyn bridge to take a selfie, prompting police to have to come out and get him down. All he wanted was a photo of himself on top of the bridge. Doesn’t matter that it was obviously illegal and dangerous. Or even this trend of taking selfies with wild animals which prompted a law banning selfies with tigers.

Earlier this year Disney banned the use of selfie sticks in it’s parks because of the fear of injury from patrons taking selfies on rides.


10 Banned Foods That We Need to Stop Eating

10 Banned Foods to Avoid

Are you eating food that’s already banned in other countries but is still allowed to poison and kill Americans? Learn these pernicious ingredients and common foods through this infographic. Use the embed code to share it on your website.

<img src="http://media.mercola.com/assets/images/infographic/banned-foods-infographic.jpg" alt="10 Banned Foods to Avoid" border="0" style="max-width:100%; min-width:300px; margin: 0 auto 20px auto; display:block;"><p style="max-width:800px; min-width:300px; margin:0 auto; text-align:center;">Are you eating <a href="http://www.mercola.com/infographics/10-banned-foods.htm"><strong>"food that's already banned"</strong></a> in other countries but is still allowed to poison and kill Americans? Learn these pernicious ingredients and common foods through this infographic. Use the embed code to share it on your website.</p>

Truck Driving – One of the Deadliest Jobs

Trucks, we share the highways and roadways with them every day as we commute back and forth to work; we get aggravated at them when we’re stuck behind and can’t pass them; they’re indispensable in getting product, food, livestock and pretty much everything we need across the country. The men and women that drive them also have one of the deadliest jobs in America.

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Right now the death rate for truck drivers accounts for around 12% of all work related deaths in America.

The reasons why this job is so deadly are many and are not necessarily what you might think.

1. Long hours means that drivers are often sleep deprived. There are laws that say that truck drivers can only drive for 14 hours straight and must then take at least 10 hours off before they start driving again. There are also laws regulating how much they are allowed to work a week. Unfortunately in a job where the driver is paid by the load, not by the hour, these laws are more often than not circumvented and ignored. Additionally, truck drivers are finding it harder and harder to find safe and convenient places to pull over and sleep for the night.

2. Healthy eating and exercise is hard to come by on the road. Truck drivers sit almost all day and most often stop only to eat at truck stops and fast food restaurants simply because that’s what’s available along their routes. This means that among truck drivers 86% are classified as overweight or obese. Many truck drivers are forced to get other jobs when their diet and lack of exercise leads to becoming insulin dependent diabetics. Laws force insulin dependent diabetics to give up driving trucks.

3. Because they are on the road so much, truck drivers often do not take the time to get checkups and schedule doctor visits. Time off work is time they aren’t getting paid for and scheduling doctor visits often means turning down routes that they need in order to pay the bills. Truck drivers tend to “push through” and ignore health symptoms.

4. Isolation and lack of social interaction also leads to a higher than normal rate of depression among truck drivers. This, in turn, leads to additional health problems.

5. Stress of driving all day adds to the problem. Any truck driver will tell you that cars cutting in front of them without giving them enough space to stop is a continuous issue for them. The larger the truck, the more weight they are carrying, the longer it takes for them to stop. Traffic jams, road construction, detours and other roadway problem can often put truck drivers behind schedule adding to the stress of driving for so many hours.

Next time you’re tempted to get irritated because a semi in front of you isn’t accelerating fast enough or because you can’t get around it fast enough, stop and think about how hard it is to do what that truck driver has it. After all, as one truck driver put it “If you don’t like all these trucks on the road, stop buying stuff!”.


Safety Hazards of Shrinking Space on Airliners

Plane
If you’ve flown coach lately you know that the space between your seat and the seat in front of you has shrunken over the years. Besides the fact that it makes the flight less comfortable, especially when the person in front of you decides to recline, new studies are looking at whether it might not also be unsafe.

The reason your space has shrunk is because airlines, in an effort to maximize profits, has moved the aisles closer together and added rows. Your space has shrunk from 35″ to as low as 28″. In addition, with airlines now charging for extra bags, passengers are now carrying on larger pieces of carry-on baggage making for even more reduced real estates on the plane, especially when they store them under the seat in front of them.

Questions are now being raised about how safe this reduced space actually is. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has run various evacuation drills but it is being pointed out that these scenarios are run with fit people who are prepared and trained and who are sitting in seats that are 31″ apart. That’s hardly a realistic evacuation. What exactly would happen with a real life evacuation where 1 in 3 passengers were obese (the national average right now) and where the seats were actually 28″ apart as they presently are?

In addition, there is the problem of deep vein thrombosis and air rage (the in-the-air version of road rage) both of which are associated with reduced personal space.

Ultimately, however, if the FAA and DOT determine that seating needs more space, it will result in a price hike which many passengers aren’t going to be okay with either. Caught between a seat and a small space!




K2 Can be Lethal

No, I’m not talking about K2 the mountain, I’m talking about K2 the synthetic cannabis also known as “Spice”.

Spice_drug
Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_cannabis

“Spice” is extremely difficult to trace in the system making it hard for authorities to know how many fatalities it has caused. Spice is essentially a mix of herbs and spices which have been treated with various chemicals. It’s the chemicals which, when heated and inhaled, cause the high that spice smokers are after. The problem is that you really don’t know which chemicals and how much which means that any puff could be your final breath or, if not, which puff is going to cause irreversible harm. Spice has been associated with myocardial infarction, vomiting, hallucinations, heart palpitations, hypertension, convulsions, blurred vision, seizures and heart attacks.

Spice is readily available online and in gas stations and head shops. It isn’t illegal to have and it isn’t illegal to sell. It’s almost impossible to regulate as well because if one chemical is banned and made illegal, those who make the stuff simply add a different chemical and go right back to selling it legally.

Please share this post with your kids and teenagers and let them know that just because it isn’t illegal doesn’t mean it is okay to do.

 

 


Arizona’s “Kissing Bug” isn’t as sweet as it sounds

kissing-bug

In Mexico and South America, the “kissing bug” transmits the Chagas disease which can be fatal and accounts for approximately 21,000 deaths annually.

Fortunately, the kissing bug doesn’t seem to like flying North of the border… except for Arizona.

Unfortunately, the kissing bug, like mosquitoes, suck blood.

Fortunately, the Arizona variety doesn’t seem to have inherited its southern cousin’s nasty habit of defecating on the incision  he has just made when he sucked blood. That’s how Chagas disease infects. The person who has been bitten wakes up and scratches the spot, infecting the blood and contracting the disease. Apparently, our Arizona variety prefers to eat and then go elsewhere to defecate.

Arizona residents aren’t out of the woods yet though because repeated bites from this insect most often cause the victim to develop a reaction. The first bite isn’t a big deal but by the third or fourth one, the victim can end up in the hospital.

Authority suggest protecting against the insects by keeping doors and windows closed after sunset, having screens and replacing all outdoor lights with lights that do not attract flying bugs.

It’s especially important to avoid being bitten again once a kissing bug has “kissed” you.