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  • Summer Survival Tips: Insect Sting Allergies

    With the summer comes wonderful outdoor treats: picnics, barbecues, camping, bike rides, trips to the beach, and more. Unfortunately, the summer also brings with it some not so wonderful things: stinging insects like bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and fire ants to name the most common. For most people, an insect sting means only an annoying stinging sensation accompanied by mild swelling. For some, however, insect venom can cause potentially fatal anaphylaxis. Severe symptoms include nausea, facial swelling, breathing difficulty, abdominal pain, and a drop in blood pressure and circulation.

    Mild symptoms can be taken care of relatively easily. The following steps are usually sufficient treatment for mild reactions: move to a insect-free area; remove the stinger; apply a cold pack or ice wrapped in a towel; apply hydro-cortisone cream, calamine lotion, or a baking soda paste; and take an antihistamine containing diphenhydramine.
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  • Get Involved This Summer!

    This long period of economic hardship in the U.S. has been accompanied by at least one positive trend: an increasing mood of charity among Americans. Many people are volunteering their time and energy to positive causes.

    If you wish to contribute personally, there are many ways to provide assistance to those in need. One way to offer support to the well-being of the community is to participate in fundraisers like awareness walks and events. Below are a few suggested activities.

    To help raise awareness for mental health issues and reduce the stigma of mental illnesses during May--Mental Health Month--local chapters of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) across the country are holding fundraising walks. NAMI offers a guide to the walks online.
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  • Food Allergy Awareness Week: May 8 to May 14

    Food Allergy Awareness Week is observed from May 8 to May 14. This annual observance was initiated in 1997 by the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), an organization that advocates on behalf of patients and families. The goal for the week is to educate the public on this potentially life-threatening condition.

    A food allergy occurs when the immune system reacts to eating a particular food. The symptoms of a food allergy range from hives to digestive problems to potentially life-threatening swelling of airways and a drop in blood pressure. The medical term for this condition is anaphylaxis.

    Milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish are the most common foods that cause allergic reactions in the American population. According to the Mayo Clinic, 6 to 8 percent of children under 5, and 3 to 4 percent of adults live with food allergies.
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  • The Importance of Wearing Medical Alert Jewelry: Spread the Word

    Our last blog highlighted the importance for people with certain conditions to wear medical alert jewelry. The potentially fatal consequence of not wearing a medical ID signals a need for personal and community-based awareness campaigns. You, as an individual, can play an important part in spreading this important message.

    There are a number of ways to approach a campaign to spread awareness of the importance of wearing medical alert jewelry. The first step to any awareness campaign is research and planning. You will have to decide whether to focus on one particular condition--diabetes or epilepsy, for instance--or to focus on the topic of medical ID jewelry in general. Research the condition(s) to make certain you have the facts straight. Statistics on the issue will help communicate your message more effectively.
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  • Should You Be Wearing Medical Alert Jewelry?

    Medical alert jewelry can be a literal life-saver in an emergency. But, who should wear them? What should be engraved on them? And what are the benefits, precisely?

    There is an extensive range of conditions that necessitate wearing a medical alert bracelet or necklace. Among the most common conditions are diabetes, food and drug allergies, and epilepsy. Others conditions that need identification are autism, epilepsy, lymphedema, dementia, and hearing and/or sight impairment. Transplant patients and others with implanted medical devices should also wear medical ID jewelry. There are many other diseases, especially rare conditions, for which wearing medical alert jewelry is prescribed.

    The engraving on the medical ID jewelry should list the condition the person has; any allergies he or she has to drugs, foods, and/or insect stings; and the names of the drugs that the individual takes. If there is room, the person’s name and an emergency phone number should be listed along with the number of his or her doctor. Additional information should be kept in a wallet ID and/or on a USB flashdrive.
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