With Fall approaching, several of us will have our fair share of either allergies or sinus problems.  Ragweed and all kinds of pollen are floating around like crazy right now!  It doesn’t really sound like a big deal, but either one can cause health problems.   Allergy symptoms are often confused with a cold or flu.  Allergies are the immune systems’ reaction to generally harmless substances and continue off and on, much longer than a cold.  Animal fur, fabrics, smoke, fragrances (candles or perfume), and many outdoor plants are just a few of the culprits that bother those with allergies. (I’m getting choked up, just thinking about it!) Allergic reactions to certain foods can often have serious results.

Symptoms of allergies are:

  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Repeated ear and sinus infections
  • Loss of smell, taste
  • Hoarseness
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Cold symptoms that last more than 10 days without a fever

Sinuses are air-filled spaces behind the forehead, nasal bones, cheeks, and eyes, with openings to the nose, and serve as conditioners that filter and humidify the air.   If the sinuses become blocked, miserable headaches occur, as well as these other symptoms of acute sinusitis:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Greenish nasal discharge
  • Facial or dental pain
  • Eye pain
  • Night cough
  • Fever
  • Sore throat

Here are some suggestions if you are plagued by sinus or allergy problems:

  • Ask your doctor to prescribe the proper medication to keep allergy/sinus problems under control.
  • Avoid smoke and irritants that increase your chance of developing sinus/allergy difficulties.
  • Check the pollen counts in your area before you go outdoors.
  • Use a saline mist spray to keep sinuses healthy.
  • If you work in dusty environments, use a respirator.
  • If you are prone to allergies, protect your eyes with goggles or wraparound glasses.
  • Do not take antihistamines that could cause drowsiness while driving or working.


If you haven’t had your seasonal flu shot, it’s time!  In the latest reports from the Texas Department of Health Services, there is an increase in flu-like illnesses and lab-confirmed cases in one-half of the state’s regions.  This means that the state’s influenza activity is classified as “widespread”.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) flu activity classifications range from none to sporadic, local, regional, and widespread.

Here is information from the CDC, effective this week:

  • There are 26 states with widespread influenza activity, which is very unusual at this time.
  • Almost all of the viruses so far have been identified as H1N1.
  • Visits to physicians for flu-like illnesses have increased nationally.
  • For the past six consecutive weeks, influenza-like illnesses are higher than expected during this time of year.
  • Hospital rates for influenza illnesses in adults and children are similar to or lower than seasonal flu rates, but are higher than expected for this time of year.
  • There have been 49 pediatric deaths from H1N1 flu reported to CDC since April 2009, including three this week.

Early results from clinical trials, which began in mid-August for children’s H1N1 vaccine have been excellent, especially for the age group 10-17.  Experts feel that only one dose will be required to protect children from this virus.

Two separate vaccinations are required, one for seasonal flu and the other for H1N1.  One will not protect you from the other.  If you haven’t gotten your shot yet, please do so.  The H1N1 vaccine should be ready by early to mid-October; however, there will be special groups that will receive theirs first: children, pregnant women, healthcare workers, and those who are more susceptible to infection.  It won’t be long, though, so get the seasonal flu shot, and as soon as the new vaccine is available, get it.

In the meantime, take the precautions that healthcare professionals have been advising all along: wash your hands often, keep hand sanitizer with you for when you can’t wash your hands, cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough, and stay away from crowds if possible.  If you become ill, don’t go to work or school.  It’s going to take individual awareness to overcome these viruses that are lurking.


Have you ever thought about how dangerous many of the jobs are that people perform every day?  When a thunderstorm hits and the electricity goes out, there are qualified repair persons out there restoring the power, no matter how bad the weather is.  There are fishermen that furnish the delicacies such as crabs and other seafood that you enjoy.  Pilots who get you to your destination seem to have glamorous jobs, but they are on the dangerous jobs list.  Miners come to mind; it seems we don’t appreciate their hard work until we hear of a disaster, and then we realize how it takes special skills to perform their job.  Oil field workers also have jobs that are very demanding; there are many dangers in the oil fields, and workers are taught to respect those risks.

In looking for the ten most dangerous jobs, one finds many lists that are similar, but not the same.  So I am going to list more than ten jobs, including the ones above.  It is my plan to go into more detail later on these risky endeavors.

  • Fishermen
  • Military
  • Logging, timber workers
  • Pilots, flight engineers
  • Structural steel and iron workers
  • Refuse recyclable material collectors
  • Farmers and ranchers
  • Electrical power installers and repairers
  • Truck drivers
  • Construction workers, roofers
  • Miners
  • Oil field workers
  • Law enforcement
  • Firefighters
  • Bodyguards
  • Bomb Squads
  • Coast Guard search and rescue teams
  • Armored car guards
  • Emergency Medical Services

There are many other jobs that I have overlooked; however, your input is needed.  If you know of something I have missed, please let me know.  As time allows, I will write about the risks involved in the occupations mentioned.  It is a very interesting subject, and hopefully, it will be a way of showing the people who perform these jobs how much they are appreciated.


As I was jaywalking to get across the street to my car this week, a lady in the car parked next to mine almost mowed me down!  I happened to notice she was starting to back out, so I hurriedly stepped out of her way.  Standing there, as I waited for her to see me, I realized that she didn’t even noticed what had happened.  She never looked back or to the side, but drove straight ahead and faced forward once her car was in the street.  There were a couple of witnesses, who agreed that I was very lucky, as she would not have known what happened until I was probably a goner!  I live in a very small town, and just about everyone in this town jaywalks most of the time, but I was wrong in walking behind that parked car.

Here are some excellent tips that I will definitely follow, from now on:

  • Cross only at intersections.  Do not jaywalk!
  • Do not cross between parked cars.  Drivers are not expecting this, and you are more likely to get hit.
  • Don’t take the “No Right Turn on Red” signs for granted.  Always check for vehicles that may be turning, as the motorists may not be watching for you, either.
  • Stop and look, left, right, and left again before you step onto the street.  Evaluate the speed and distance of oncoming traffic.
  • Wear bright colors or reflective clothing if you are walking near traffic at night.
  • Always look for signs of a moving car, (rear lights, exhaust smoke, motor noise, wheels turning) and never walk behind a vehicle that is backing up. (I won’t!)
  • Always hold your child’s hand.  Do not let a child under 10 cross the street alone.
  • If you walk on a road that has no sidewalks, walk facing the traffic.
  • Don’t dash into the street. (I can’t dash anymore!)
  • If you are in a parking lot of a big store, pay attention to vehicles that may start backing out.

And, drivers:

  • Keep a look out for pedestrians any time, but especially at night or in inclement weather, as they may be hard to see.
  • Stop for pedestrians who are in a crosswalk, even unmarked ones.  Stop well back enough so that other drivers may see the pedestrians, too.
  • Some pedestrians may be physically or mentally impaired, unfamiliar with how to cross safely, or simply not paying attention, so don’t assume that they will act predictably.
  • Especially be careful when driving in neighborhoods and school areas.  Drive there like you would want people to drive in your neighborhood.

Accidents happen anywhere, all the time.  We have to play it safe, walking or driving.  If an item gets broken, most of the time it can be fixed.  When a vehicle hits a pedestrian, it may not be easily “fixable”, so we all must pay attention.  I know I am going to.



One of the most fascinating things a thunderstorm contains is lightning.  One never knows when it is going to happen; this brilliant illumination that dances among the clouds.  Those bolts of lightning cause an average 80 deaths and 300 injuries in the United States every year.

Just recently, a young pregnant woman was hit by lightning as she exited her car during a thunderstorm to run into a house.  She remains in the hospital, but doctors were unable to save her unborn child.

Weather warning devices such as NOAA weather radio furnish information to make the public aware of approaching thunderstorms.  The best possible advice is: If you hear thunder, it is time to take precautions.

Places you don’t want to be if this threat occurs:

  • Open spaces, such as ball parks, golf courses
  • On the water: wading, in a boat, swimming, etc.
  • Outside, period
  • In the shower or running water
  • Talking on a corded telephone
  • In a group of people

Do you know:

  • Lightning can travel sideways, up to ten miles?
  • Lightning can strike someone swimming or scuba diving in water and travel a great distance away from the point of contact?
  • That you are safe in a car, as long as you have the windows up and do not touch any metal?  Contrary to theory, rubber tires do not offer protection from lightning.  The car’s metal conducts the charge to the ground.
  • Lightning hits the tallest point?  Therefore, if you are outside, crouch as low as possible, and touch as little of the ground as necessary.
  • Ten per cent of lightning occurs without visible clouds?  Even if the sky is blue, you need to take cover when you hear thunder.
  • If the time delay is 30 seconds or less between lightning and thunder, you need to seek shelter immediately?

If someone is struck by lightning:

  • Call 9-1-1 for immediate assistance
  • Give First Aid
  • Check for burns.
  • You are not at risk to touch someone who has been hit by lightning; the victim does not carry electric charge that can shock you.

Lightning can cause broken bones, damage to the nervous system, loss of hearing or eyesight.  The next time clouds gather, and thunder starts to rumble, play it safe, and stay inside!


But before I go, I am going to pack some flat fold N95 face masks, hand sanitizer, and some other goodies to try to be well when I get to my destination.  Airlines have taken notice of the threat of H1N1 virus and stocked up on disposable medical gloves, alcohol wipes and face masks, as well as more frequent cleanings of surfaces in an effort to keep germs from spreading.  Katherine Andrus, assistant general counsel for Air Transportation Association says air on planes is probably cleaner than in most enclosed spaces, as air systems are designed to minimize the risk of germs spreading.  Air flows across rows of seats instead of front to back, and is constantly changed with combinations of fresh air and circulated air going through several filters.

Dr. Tim Johnson, ABC News chief medical editor offers these five tips for persons traveling by plane:

1.    If a person next to you is coughing or sneezing, ask to switch seats, if possible.

2.    Take a face mask.

3.    Use alcohol-based sanitizer often, and antibacterial wipes on surfaces.

4.    Bring your own pillow and blanket.

5.    Bring your water and stay hydrated.

Be alert to people who may be sick, and keep your distance.  If you are sick, stay home.

Which brings us to another topic:  why not be ready for this or the regular flu bug, just in case?  If you get sick, you don’t need (or won’t feel like) a shopping trip for things you will need to fight it.  Also, you won’t be exposing others to your germs.  Here’s some suggestions for you to stock up on, just in case:

  • Cough medicine, in case what you already have is out of date.
  • Gatorade, or other drinks to replace electrolytes.
  • Fever reducer, such as ibuprophen, aspirin or acetaminophen
  • Soup
  • Other non-caffeine drinks for hydration
  • If you have children, be sure their medicines are not out of date

Whether you are traveling, working out in the public, or staying at home, we hope this winter will bring good health to you and yours.  Just pay closer attention this time, as there’s a new bug lurking, and until the vaccine is ready, do all you can to stay well.


More and more deadly crashes are happening on our highways, especially freeways, as the result of wrong-way collisions.  On the Dallas North Tollway, (a 33-mile expressway), there have been five wrong way crashes this year, some of them deadly.  In Fort Worth, there were two wrong-way crashes in two days.  These stories and more are repeated in every state.

There are many pieces of the puzzle that need to be shaped differently in order for them to fit.

It seems the main cause of these accidents is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  Many of the accidents that result in death happen in the early morning hours, after bars close.  Other reasons are people that are unfamiliar with the highways and become lost.  Theories are that some distraught drivers were on a suicide mission and in their moment of desire to end it all, may have taken the lives of innocent persons as well.  Other drivers have made U-turns in the road, only to deliberately invite disaster.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has many options to try at various locations, some of which include:

  • Modify lighting
  • Install high-intensity reflective sheeting
  • Add more signs
  • Paint more wrong way pavement arrows
  • Put up larger “DO NOT ENTER” signs
  • Mount larger and highly reflective signs that would help

elderly or confused drivers

Installing red pavement lights that are activated by wrong way drivers is one idea.  There are other suggestions being considered to give drivers a second chance to realize that they are going the wrong way before entering the freeway.   Certain automakers are working to develop information technology through GPS systems that will warn drivers of the location and direction of a vehicle that is in their path.

Highway officials are asking M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) to get involved in their efforts for more sobriety checkpoints.  M.A.D.D. also suggests ignition interlocks be placed on cars of convicted D.U.I. drivers.   Most states have laws that prohibit restaurants and bars from serving too many drinks, but many times this has not worked.  How many times have accidents been caused by someone who has been convicted of several D.U.I. violations?

Driving an automobile is a huge responsibility; one that requires constant attention at all times.  If you are planning to drive in an area that is unfamiliar to you, (especially heavy traffic), check maps and get other information so you will be prepared.  It even pays to stop and ask someone, rather than drive for miles and possibly take the wrong turn.  If you spot someone that is approaching a one-way lane going the wrong way, get involved! Get their attention, and call 9-1-1.  Here’s our advice:  PAY ATTENTION and DRIVE SAFELY!


After hearing the recent news of the arrest of an animal service technician who worked in a laboratory at Yale University for the asphyxiation death of a young woman who was part of the University medical research team, we all wonder if anything could have been done to prevent this horrible crime?

New Haven Police Chief James Lewis classified this crime as workplace violence: not urban, university, or domestic crime, but workplace violence.  According to ABC News, Yale University President, Richard Leven said the accused has worked there since 2004, and his work history did not indicate that his involvement in a crime might be possible.  President Levin went on to say that this is more about the “dark side of the human soul than the extent of security measures”.

Upon reading the statement Chief Lewis made, I reviewed our article, “Violence in the Workplace”, which talks about many of the causes and solutions that could possibly reduce situations that arise in our places of work.  Security cameras play an important part in    It seems that we have come to the place where security cameras should be placed in every work area, especially those that may be secluded, and where persons work alone at times.

Here are five key components recommended by OSHA that can benefit employers and employees alike:

  • Administrative commitment and employee (student) involvement
  • Worksite analysis
  • Hazard prevention and control
  • Safety and health training
  • Evaluation

No single strategy solution that will work for all types of businesses and places of education, but potential risks of workplace violence should be identified and corrective measures implemented.  Colleges and universities should investigate threatening situations reported by students, regardless of how trivial they may seem.  Students should be encouraged to be observant and cautious as they go about their everyday activities.

ABC News


Most shoppers know how important it is to purchase food that is safe for their family.

As money is tight these days, saving every cent matters.  But when it comes to ensuring the health of your loved ones, keep these tips in mind:

  • Start your shopping with nonperishable items first and then dairy, frozen foods, meat and poultry toward the end of your shopping trip.
  • Beware of bargains: cans that are dented or have the tops swollen could be contaminated with bacteria.
  • Sometimes items that are out of date are still on the shelves. Look toward the back of the shelf for ones with more current dates.  Be sure to check labels.
  • Don’t buy partially thawed frozen-food packages, as they could be an invitation for bacteria.
  • Pre-packaged salads are very convenient; however, they have been known to cause foodborne-illnesses.  Wash all leafy greens thoroughly and use within a few days.
  • Notice if the cases containing milk and meats are as cold as they should be (35-40°).  If the cases are crowded, the temperature may not be low enough.
  • If you live out of town, be sure to take along an ice chest in order to keep the perishable foods cold until you get home.
  • Choose supermarkets that are clean.
  • Don’t place meats or dairy products on the door shelves, as the inside of the fridge is colder than the door.
  • All produce should be washed thoroughly.
  • If you buy prepared salads from a deli, be sure you keep them cold enough until you are ready to serve them.

Once you are home from your grocery shopping and put everything away, wash your hands thoroughly before you begin dividing up meats, and other fresh foods.  Use antibacterial wipes or other antibacterial cleansers on the cutting board, cabinet, or wherever food has been.  It pays to keep things as germ-free as possible, especially in the kitchen.



The British have discovered a way to really wake us up.  Last night, I saw some video clips they have produced of staged accidents involving drivers who were texting on their cell phones while driving.  Maybe you saw them on YouTube.  Extremely graphic, they depict several different scenarios of wrecks and the persons involved, and the outcomes are horrible.

As I was reviewing information on the internet on this subject today, I noticed an advertisement on the same page for a cell phone that you can access just about anything you want to see – “one click to Facebook”!

Cell phones are probably one of the greatest inventions of our time and can be useful in times of emergencies.  Frankly, I don’t know how we ever got along without them.  Cell phones are such a convenience; we can stay in touch with our loved ones or friends in a matter of seconds, coordinate meetings, make appointments, and walk around the house, all at the same time!  You’ll notice I didn’t mention “drive a car” all at the same time.  But, that’s what we do.  I saw a woman taking her little one to school this morning, talking on her cell phone the whole time.  Do you wonder if that call could have waited?  (Beginning September 1st in Texas, state law prohibits the use of cell phones in school zones.  Fines of up to $200 can be imposed.  The law does allow hands-free use of cell phones or emergency use only.)

The simple task of making a call while driving is enough of a diversion.  It’s not the fault of the cell phone if there is an accident while driving.  It’s the fault of the person operating the car and the phone at the same time.  When you have to look down to read a message someone is sending you, you are taking a chance on hurting yourself, your passengers, or the other guy meeting you. (And what if he’s texting, what are your chances, then?)

Statistics have shown that texting and driving is just about dead even with drinking and driving.  Do you think you have it under control, or that it won’t hurt anyone?  THINK AGAIN.  And if you get a chance to see how the Brits deliver the message, you will change your mind.