Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Health Benefits of Loving a Pet

A Little Love Goes a Long Way

Health Benefits of Loving a Pet
Louis J. Halpryn, executive vice president of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities, believes there to be no real problems occurring with having pets in nursing homes. Occasionally a tray gets knocked over and you get a pet that’s too fat from the patients constantly feeding them. Other than that, his experience has been very positive.

Having a pet in the nursing home inspires the residents to help care for the animal. Anyone with allergies or who are afraid of these animals, are not subjected to their visits.

PETS MAY HELP WITH DEPRESSION

Spectacular results can come from having pets where it really can turn people around. A withdrawn person comes out of his shell. This has been attributed to brain chemistry where endorphins, substances released from the brain when a person is stimulated by something, reduces pain and blood pressure as well as alleviates depression.

Many administrators of nursing homes report that having pets there conjures up memories of childhood pets, which many consider very therapeutic. Some residents also relate that having the animals around keeps them from thinking of themselves and their problems and health issues. Watching the dogs changes these residents inside.

PETS CAN HELP BRING COMMUNITIES TOGETHER

Precautions must be taken when animals are allowed in the nursing home. The pet’s temperament is very important, cleanliness, checking for fleas and watching out for things like leashes that people can trip over. One incident can ruin their entire program. One big benefit is that this program brings people in from the community which gives the residents contact with the outside world and in turn shows the outsiders that this is not a scary world. There does appear to be some jealousy! Residents vie for certain pets’ attention. Not only do some pets visit, but some nursing homes actually have a resident “adopted” pet that lives at the nursing home.

The animals are good company for the elderly, who are sometimes left for great lengths of time without visitors.

One 90-year-old woman said that they are better than human beings because they talk to her and ask for her attention.

Life is so much better with an animal to love and have for company. Wouldn’t it be nice if we would all take a little time to visit these elderly residents in our local nursing homes? Just think what it would do to pay someone a visit that has little left in his/her life. Give them a little hope, companionship and love. After all, we will all be there some day and I certainly don’t want to be forgotten and lonely!

Img c/o Pexels.

Listen to Your Pets!

Img c/o pexels

Img c/o pexels

You are probably already listening to your dog’s communication with you just through a tail wag for hello or pawing/whining to go outside or receive a treat. But did you know that they might also use calming signals to promote peace and stave of aggression?

Like wolves, they display calming signals to let others know that they’re friendly and to help diffuse stressful situations.

These signals can be quite subtle and many owners miss them entirely. Sometimes they mistakenly punish their dogs for giving a calming signal that is miscommunicated. Dogs can be trained to respond to a whispered command rather than a loud, firm voice. The angry sounding voice might elicit calming signals, which your dog may use to show you there’s no need to yell. So therefore, a dog may get punished for trying to communicate a useful message.

Here are different calming signals your dog might use. Yawning, licking, turning away, play bow, sniffing the ground, walking slowly, sitting down, lifting a paw, walking in a curve, smiling, scratching, wagging his tail, urinating on himself, trying to lick your face, making a soft face, laying down with the belly on the ground, blinking and shaking.

By all means, try to respond in a calm manner if your dog is giving you a calming signal. Lower your voice and slow your movements. However, do not assume these calming signals will subdue an aggressive dog. Amazingly, the average dog understands about 165 different words. Dogs pay attention to the tone of our voices, the pitch and rhythms in our speech and to even distinguish between meaningful and meaningless sounds. Your dog also recognizes non-verbal communications. Some other methods of communication from your dog are:

  • Submission display by tucking their tails and lying on their backs.
  • Wagging their tails to the right side when they encounter something pleasant.
  • Staring at you because he/she wants something.
  • He/she may also stare at you to try and figure out your thoughts.
  • Licking you may be a means of getting attention, to say “hello”.

Because we are in a world where we have come to expect those around us to understand what we are trying to communicate, it’s only fair to make a lifetime commitment to try and understand the language of the pets we have committed to care for. Always communicate clearly and effectively. Remember, our pets are sometimes our best and most devoted friends and just might save someone’s life some day. Their calming use in nursing homes has done wonders for the elderly. Be kind, considerate and responsible for caring for your devoted pet.

The Power of Love

Img c/o pexels

Img c/o pexels

Joao Pereira de Souza, a retired bricklayer and part time fisherman who lives in an island village just outside Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, found a tiny penguin, covered in oil and close to death lying on the rocks on his local beach in 2011.

The 71 year-old man cleaned the oil off the penguin’s feathers and fed him a daily diet of fish to build his strength and named him Dindim.

Joao tried to release the penguin back to the sea, but the penguin just wouldn’t leave. He stayed with the man for 11 months and then just after he changed his coat with new feathers, he disappeared. After a few months Dindim came back to Rio de Janeiro and followed the fisherman home again after finding him on the beach.

Dindim has spent eight months of every year for the past five years with Joao. Joao believes that Dindim spends the rest of the months of each year, breeding off the coast of Argentina and Chile.

They believe that Dindim has to travel up to 5,000 miles each year to be back with the man he loves who saved his life.

The power of love astounds me every time I hear a story of miracle. And believe me, this is a miracle. There are stories every day to amaze us on the power of love that exists every single day. I think everyone reading this knows who above provides these “miracles”.

Keep faith and believe the best of everyone around you, even when it doesn’t seem like someone is out there watching over us. Like the love we have for our spouses, parents, siblings and children, even animals are capable of the feeling of love and devotion. Traveling 5,000 miles each year to be with this gentle and caring man expresses that love.

–Dr Fredda Branyon

Lead-Contaminated Water Prevalent

Img c/o pexels

Img c/o pexels

The state of Michigan took over the management of the city of Flint in 2014 and decided to switch the city’s water from treated Detroit Water and Sewerage Dept. water to water from the notoriously polluted Flint River. This was a human rights travesty. The population suffered health problems that included rashes, hair loss and vision problems. Still, the state managers insisted the water was safe. Then in August 2015, Virginia Tech scientist Marc Edwards, PhD, discovered some of Flint’s tap water was contaminated with astronomically high levels of lead. Toxins, including high levels of trihalomethanes (a carcinogenic byproduct from water treatment and dangerous bacteria such as E-coli and Legionella) were found in the water. Legionella is suspected of causing an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease as published by The New Yorker.

The U.S. has been lax on the lead regulations for a long time and Washington DC was also plagued with lead­-contaminated water. At least 350 schools and day care centers across the U.S. test above the EPA’s action level for lead content in water. European countries began banning the use of lead in consumer goods in the early 1900’s but the U.S. still doesn’t take a firm stance against it. How does that make sense and why is the U.S. not concerned about this? The League of Nations banned lead­-based paint in 1922 while the US allowed its use for decades and wasn’t banned until 1978. The U.S. actually introduced leaded gasoline in 1923 and this greed-­riddled move nearly had unfathomable results for the global community. Non-toxic alternatives were available, but using lead allowed the oil industry to rake in higher profits, trading human health for dollars in Flint. Our government at work again! The Michigan officials are now being criminally charged over the Flint Water Crisis.

The whistle was blown on lead­-contaminated water in Washington, D.C. back in 2003. Some of the lead levels in the water were high enough to be classified as hazardous waste, and as many as 42,000 children under the age of 2 may have been poisoned by lead­-contaminated water in Washington DC between 2000 and 2004. Also, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was well aware of this contamination and kept it hidden. Instead of protecting the public health, the problem is swept under the rug.

Lead contamination is more widespread than it was ever realized because municipalities have dragged their feet when it comes to replacing old water pipes and they aren’t even aware there’s a problem with their water. A recent investigation reveals that at least 350 schools and day care centers across the U.S. test above the EPA’s “action levels” for lead content in water. One Maine elementary school tested 41 times above the action level and a bathroom sink in Caroline Elementary School had a level of 5,000 ppb. This is the cutoff level at which the EPA considers it “toxic waste”. Isn’t that just wonderful that our kids are subjected to these unhealthy elements? Of course other lead poisoning comes from runoff from agriculture, industrial discharges, firefighting foam, mercury discharges from dental offices, water fluoridation, fracking operations and toxic waste from concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO’s).

Protect your family in several ways. If your home was built before 1978, get it inspected for lead paint. Lead removal should be completed by a certified professional to ensure safety. Get your water tested for lead and remember certain household objects may contain lead. Get your child tested for lead between ages 1 and 2, then again at ages 3 and 4 if you live in an older home. A level of 5 or higher is considered dangerous. Filter your tap water and have your water tested if you use well water. Take lead poisoning seriously and take actions to protect your family from this threat.

Vow to live safely and healthy.

EPA Being Sued By 3 Environmental Groups

Img c/o pixabay

Img c/o pixabay

Today an article appeared in The Topeka Capital-Journal, a local newspaper, indicating that a lawsuit has been filed against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a push for updated oil and gas industry waste regulations. Outdated rules have led to an increase in earthquakes, ground water contamination and other health and safety issues.

The senior attorney at the Environmental Integrity Project, Adam Kron, said the EPA has failed to protect the environment and the public because industry waste hasn’t been updated for 28 years in spite of the requirements that it review the laws every 3 years. In 1988 EPA did review the rules on the books and reported they needed to be updated. EPA never issued those rules.

Regulation of the industry, which has increased exponentially, has been left to the states. The challenges of waste disposal related to oil and gas have been in the news because of fracking and the disposal of saltwater used in the process causing earthquakes. The oil and gas industry also has disposed of waste in open pits and spreading wastewater on roadways where open pits are notoriously responsible for contaminating groundwater. This impacts us worldwide as this waste can cause health impacts and drinking water contamination. The Kansas Corporation Commission has taken steps in forming the Induced Seismicity Task Force in 2014 to study and report on the increased seismic activity.

In March of 2015 the KCC issued an order that was sort of a staged reduction of volume in 5 areas of seismic concern in 2 Kansas counties. Seismic activity has decreased significantly in 2016. KCC’s Arif said the state does regulate the industry, including ensuring wellbores are built to keep the fluids contained so they don’t seep into nearby water formations. This is true for producing wells and wells used for disposal or injection.

Kron and others with the environmental organization are concerned some states aren’t adequately protecting their residents and they listed incidents of ground contamination and earthquakes to prove their point, adding that this waste is toxic and can be very hazardous. EPA’s failure to act in this arena has resulted in uneven, inadequate enforcement, a regulatory permissiveness. Don’t we have enough other elements testing our health without dealing with unsafe water of waste and sewage? Hopefully all other states will jump on the bandwagon and demand safer standards for the population.

-Dr Fredda Branyon

How to be Safe around Fireworks

It’s the 4th of July and you can expect to see fireworks. It’s a celebration, anyway, and it’s more enjoyable with friends and family members enjoying steaks, barbecue, burgers, and even salad! But before you feast your eyes on your 4th-of-July dinner, you must take extra precautions because fireworks pose dangers that can ruin your celebration. Here are some ways on how to be safe around fireworks:

  1. Ask those who will hold fireworks like roman candles to make sure that it is not pointed to any person or property to avoid burns or fire. Do not be ashamed of giving ‘lectures’ before you distribute these pieces. As the saying goes, “It is better to be safe than sorry.”
  1. See to it that you have big bucket of water available near the area where you will light fireworks. Right after lighting one, throw it into the water. This is an important step because this will help avoid fire on the grass or anywhere in the area.
  1. Buy fireworks only from trusted sources to ensure their quality. Legal fireworks are those that carry labels (manufacturer’s name and directions for use). Think twice before spending on low-cost brands or you may be sorry in the end. Do not even think about making your own.
  1. As much as possible, do not allow kids to hold firecrackers. Explain to them that these are not for young children. Tell them to just watch as the sky lights up with fireworks.
  1. In case one item does not work, throw it into the water. Never try to light it again.
  1. Do not forget your pet. It is this time of the year when animals are stressed or scared; they have sensitive ears. Let them stay indoors to avoid this. You may also ask the advice of a veterinarian to keep your pet in peace while you take pleasure in the occasion.
  1. Never think about putting firecrackers into your pocket. Friction may cause it blaze. Wear eye protection when lighting one, as much as possible.
  1. A better option to keep you safe from fireworks is to not have them in your own backyard. You can just rely on public fireworks display. You do not only save on cost; you also make sure that there will be no injuries or accidents in your home as you and your family celebrate the 4th of July.

According to USA.gov, “Two hundred people on average go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday. Sixty-five percent of these fireworks injuries in 2011 occurred during the month surrounding July 4th. Illegal and homemade fireworks were involved in all four fireworks-related deaths reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2011.” Do not turn fun times into disaster by not knowing how to be safe around fireworks. It pays to have safety measures ready before you go on celebrating the 4th of July.