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  • Living with Epilepsy: Some Home Safety Tips

    Although medications and treatments can greatly reduce the symptoms of epilepsy, many people living with the condition are still at risk of having unpredictable seizures. Injuries can result when a person loses consciousness during a seizure and falls. Hot objects, water, and hard surfaces are all dangerous to those who could suddenly lose consciousness. Although a person can not control the safety of their environment all the time, it is possible to reduce the risk of injury during a seizure by taking safety precautions at home.

    There are a number of ways to improve safety in the kitchen for people with epilepsy. To prevent burns, oven mitts and rear burners of the stove should be used. If it is possible to choose, cook with an electric stove rather than one with an open flame. While cooking, turn the pan handles away from the body to reduce spilling in the case of a fall. The safest way to cook is to use the microwave. To prevent scalding burns from water in the case of lost consciousness, have the plumber install a device to prevent water getting too hot. When possible, use plastic containers and other shatterproof materials.

    Adjustments to the bathroom can also improve the safety of someone in danger of having a sudden seizure. Most importantly, do not have a lock on the door or do not use it so that someone can help in the case of lost consciousness. Use a ‘vacant/ occupied’ sign at home to ensure privacy instead of the lock. A shower is much more preferable to a bath because of the risk of drowning in standing water. If the shower is surrounded by glass, it should be shatterproof. It is best to have fixtures that are close to the wall or covered with soft material to reduce risk of injury if one falls. Even safer is to shower while sitting. As with the water in the kitchen, the bathroom plumping should be fixed so that it does not reach scalding temperatures.

    A feature that should be taken care of throughout the house is securing cords and wires to reduce the possibility of appliances and objects being knocked over. If heating elements are exposed around the house, try to find a method of safely covering them or moving them out of reach. To reduce the impact of a fall, consider having softer flooring throughout the home. Cushioned vinyl, linoleum, cork, and rubber provide softer landings. Carpets are also a soft option, especially those with a high wool content. Synthetic fibers are more likely to cause friction burns.

    A safety precaution that should be taken everywhere is wearing medical ID jewelry, such as a medical ID bracelet, medical id charm or medical ID necklace, that indicates the condition of epilepsy along with medications and other emergency information. Taking all of these precautions will improve safety for someone living with epilepsy.

  • Chilly Summer Drinks for People Living with Diabetes

    The summer is upon us and it’s time to rejoice in deliciously refreshing cold fruit shakes and iced teas. However, if you have diabetes, you know how careful you must be in choosing what to eat and drink, especially those items containing sugar. You may also know that the many tantalizing summer refreshments sold at fast food restaurants are diabetes no-nos. For example, a TCBY Banana Berry Blast Off has 113 grams of carbohydrates, 110 of which are from sugar. This is not to single out this particular chain. The majority of fast food beverage options are comparably high in carbs.)

    The three yummy summer beverage recipes below--all from Mayo Clinic dietitians--are a great alternative to the sugary take-out options. These drinks are much lower in calories and carbs and have higher nutritional value.

    The amount of carbs in these recipes are 36 grams for the strawberry banana milkshake, only 7 for the blackberry iced tea, and 16 grams for the ‘island chiller.’ Try them out!

    Strawberry Banana Milkshake

    (Serves 2)

    Ingredients:

    • 6 frozen strawberries, chopped you can substitute 1 cup of sliced fresh peaches in place of the strawberries for an equally tasty treat.
    • 1 medium banana
    • 1/2 cup soy milk
    • 1 cup fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt
    • 2 fresh strawberries, sliced

      Directions:

      1. In a blender, combine the frozen strawberries, banana, soy milk and frozen yogurt. Blend until smooth.
      2. Pour into tall, frosty glasses and garnish each with fresh strawberry slices. Serve immediately.

      Nutritional Analysis:

      (per serving)

      Calories175Cholesterol1 mg
      Protein7 gSodium61 mg
      Carbohydrate36 gFiber3 g
      Total fat2 gPotassium545 mg
      Saturated fattraceCalcium151 mg
      Monounsaturated fat1 g

      Blackberry Iced Tea with Cinnamon and Ginger

      (Serves 6)

      Ingredients:

      • 6 cups water
      • 12 blackberry herbal tea bags
      • 8 3-inch-long cinnamon sticks
      • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
      • 1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
      • Sugar substitute, to taste
      • Ice cubes, crushed

      Directions:

      1. In a large saucepan, heat water to just before boiling. Add tea bags, 2 of the cinnamon sticks and ginger. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for about 15 minutes.
      2. Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, placed over a pitcher. Add the juice and sweetener to taste. Refrigerate until very cold.
      3. To serve, fill 6 tall, chilled glasses with crushed ice. Pour the tea over the top of the ice and garnish with cinnamon sticks. Serve immediately.

      Nutritional Analysis:

      (per serving)

      Calories30Monounsaturated fat0 g
      Protein0 gCholesterol0 mg
      Carbohydrate7 gSodium0 mg
      Total fat0 gFiber0 g
      Saturated fat0 g

      ‘Island Chiller’

      (Serves 16)

      Ingredients:

      • 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen unsweetened strawberries
      • 1 can (30 ounces) crushed pineapple with juice
      • 3 cups orange juice
      • 2 quarts carbonated water, chilled
      • 16 fresh strawberries

      Directions:

      1. In a blender, combine the frozen strawberries, pineapple with juice and orange juice. Blend until smooth and frothy.
      2. Pour the strawberry mixture into ice cube trays and freeze.
      3. To serve, put 3 strawberry cubes into a tall glass and fill with 1/2 cup of the carbonated water. Wait until the mixture becomes slushy. Garnish with a strawberry and serve.

      Nutritional Analysis:

      (per serving)

      Calories68Cholesterol0 mg
      Protein1 gSodium6 mg
      Carbohydrate16 gFiber1 g
      Total fat0 gPotassium103 mg
      Saturated fat0 gCalcium6 mg
      Monounsaturated fat0 g

      These drinks are a much safer option for those with diabetes than those sold in fast food restaurants. However, no matter how careful a diabetic is about their diet, it is always imperative to take all medical precautions: follow all of your doctors directions for keeping track of your blood sugar and wear a medical ID bracelet or medical ID necklace in case of an emergency.

      Enjoy the chilly drinks!

    • Travel Preparation Tips

      The summer is a season during which many Americans take vacations from work to travel, often to destinations abroad. Traveling can be both an action-packed adventure and a time to kick back and relax. Whatever kind of trip one takes, it is important to make plans to ensure a safe journey. Some safety precautions should be taken before the trip begins.

      An important pre-travel step is to visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) destination guide. This web page gives you country by country health information, detailing health risks like yellow fever and cholera. Also check the CDC’s travel notices for your destination. This page offers recently updated travel information, including disease outbreaks and weather-related risks like earthquakes and hurricanes.
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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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