Creepy Clown Trend is Not a Laughing Matter🤡

Though the very term “Creepy Clowns” may make you want to chuckle and seems harmless enough, however, in recent months it has become an international threat.

The trend of mysterious people dressed as clowns (usually more horror clowns than the lovable Ronald McDonald type) began in the summer months along the east coast and has since spread throughout the nation (now even being reported in parts of Germany).

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The motive of this activity remains unclear, but many people seem to be copycatting the behavior.

While most clown activity has been proven harmless, in some cases these clowns are attempting to abduct children, incite violence and rob businesses.

“The spreading of unusual behaviors is more common at times when there is a lot of tension, conflict and anxiety,” said Craig D. Parks, social psychologist and assistant vice provost at WSU. Another could be what Parks called “social contagion”. Although traditionally social contagion is more likely to spread among people who have frequent physical contact with others, the internet has altered that aspect of the phenomenon. “Social contagion is when somebody does something unusual and it affects other people,” said Parks. “People see it and say, ‘Wow! I’m going to do that too.’”

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The trend has now found its way to parts of Arizona and California, the latest US states (to date) to experience the creepy phenomena.

On October 23rd, three people dressed as creepy clowns were spotted by security guards outside a shopping mall in San Francisco. One of the three culprits was brandishing a gun. The men, who were huddled in one of the mall’s emergency stairwells prepping their costumes, fled the scene when they realized security was observing them. After a security guard contacted the police, the police acknowledged they suspected the men were planning a robbery attempt that was fortunately averted by mall security.

While the craze has been rife with false alarms, hoaxes and pranksters there have been a few legitimate incidents. If you encounter a creepy clown, do not attempt to take action against the clown yourself! Please take note, this is especially sensitive territory during the Halloween season and also some innocent bystanders dress in clown costumes as part of their entertainment careers. One major identifier is that creepy clowns are just that…creepy! Their costumes are intentionally dirty and damaged and their appearance likens horror instead of humor. However, some sightings have been more basic. When you see a clown in a busy area, try to locate a security guard or police officer nearby. If you are in a more secluded area, call 9-1-1 immediately and move quickly in the opposite direction of the clown. Be especially careful to teach children that they are not to engage with clowns or any strangers for their safety.

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Have a Safe & Happy Halloween With These Safety Tips

When Walking

Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.

Look left, right and left again when crossing. 

Put electronic devices down and keep heads up to pay attention to you and your children’s safety.

Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them and walk on sidewalks or paths.

If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.  Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.

Watch for cars that are turning or backing up.

Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision.

If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.

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Keep Costumes Safe

Decorating costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.

Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.

Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers. 

When selecting a costume, make sure the costume is the right size to prevent trips and falls. 

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Drive Safely

Slowing down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited and may move in unpredictable ways.

Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.

Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.

Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.

Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to see and be seen from greater distances. Common trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.

Don’t Be Tricked by Bad Treats

Follow these important tips to keep children safe from dangerous treats: 

Snacking: Children shouldn’t snack on treats from their goody bags while they’re out trick-or-treating. Give them a light meal or snack before they head out – don’t send them out on an empty stomach. Urge them to wait until they get home and let you inspect their loot before they eat any of it.

Safe treats: Tell children not to accept – and especially not to eat – anything that isn’t commercially wrapped. Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.

Food Allergies: If your child has a food allergy, check the label to ensure the allergen isn’t present. Do not allow the child to eat any home-baked goods he or she may have received.

Choking hazards: If you have very young children, be sure to remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys.

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Fighting Fall Allergies: Tips, Triggers, & Relief

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Seasonal allergies, like other allergies, develop when the body’s immune system becomes sensitized and overreacts to something in the environment that typically causes no problem in most people.

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If you sneeze and cough, or your nose and eyes itch and are runny during certain times of the year, you may have seasonal allergies.

Triggers

Grass, pollen and mold are the most common triggers of seasonal allergies. Mild winter temperatures can cause plants to pollinate early. Mild winter temperatures can cause plants to pollinate early.

You may think you know that pollen is causing your suffering, but other substances may be involved as well.

The most common culprit for fall allergies is ragweed, a plant that grows wild almost everywhere, but especially on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Ragweed blooms and releases pollen from August to November. In many areas of the country, ragweed pollen levels are highest in mid-September.

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Other plants that trigger fall allergies include:

  • Burning bush
  • Cocklebur
  • Lamb’s-quarters
  • Pigweed
  • Sagebrush and Mugwort
  • Tumbleweed and Russian thistle

While the term “seasonal allergies” generally refers to grass, pollen and mold, there is a different group of allergy triggers that are closely tied to particular seasons. Among them:

  • Smoke (campfires in summer, fireplaces in winter)
  • Insect bites and stings (usually in spring and summer)
  • Chlorine in indoor and outdoor swimming pools
  • Candy ingredients (Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter)
  •  Pine trees and wreaths (Thanksgiving to Christmas)

Relief Options

Your physician may also recommend one or more medications to control symptoms. Some of the most widely recommended drugs are available without a prescription (over the counter); others, including some nose drops, require a prescription.

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If you have a history of prior seasonal problems, allergists recommend starting medications to alleviate symptoms two weeks before they are expected to begin.

One of the most effective ways to treat seasonal allergies linked to pollen is immunotherapy (allergy shots). These injections expose you over time to gradual increments of your allergen, so you learn to tolerate it rather than reacting with sneezing, a stuffy nose or itchy, watery eyes.

Try a Neti Pot. While initially unpleasant, this forced irrigation of salt water sometimes results in unexpected, but not unwelcome, relief from clogged sinuses. Supporters of the technique claim it offers significant relief from nasal congestion and irritation. They also claim it can reduce headaches associated with sinus congestion and allows people to reduce their reliance on antibiotics to combat sinus infections. It can decrease the use of nasal corticosteroid sprays for the control of allergy-related nasal inflammation.

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As with any and all medication, consult a physician before use.

Do-It-Yourself Allergy Reduction Measures

  • Wear a protective mask when gardening or doing yard work.

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  • Modify the indoor environment to keep out allergens. For instance, use HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters in air conditioners to better trap pollen spores. Change air filters often.

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  • Check pollen counts before you travel. If you are traveling with allergies, consider vacations near the ocean or bays where pollen counts there are typically lower. To find pollen counts, contact the National Allergy Bureau (www.aaaai.org/nab), which offers reports to the public. You can also check your local weather report; some provide pollen and mold spore counts.
  • Protect your eyes. On vacation and at home, wear sunglasses when outdoors to reduce the amount of pollen coming into the eyes.

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  • Wash your hair at the end of the day to wash out pollens and prevent pollen transfer to the pillowcase.
  • Exercise in the morning or late in the day, pollen counts are typically lower than at other hours. Remember that pollen counts typically are higher on a hot, windy, sunny day compared with a cool day without much wind.
  • Check the dog. Pets can bring in pollen. Consider rinsing off the dog if he/she was outside on a high-pollen day.

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Drink Recipes to Beat Seasonal Allergies

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Peppermint & Nettle Tea

Why? Fresh peppermint leaves contain a flavonoid called luteolin-7-O-rutinoside which helps prohibit the activity of histamines and inflammation enzymes. Nettle has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that aid in fighting seasonal allergies.

How? Place Âź cup fresh, chopped peppermint and Âź cup fresh, chopped nettle leave in a mug and cover with boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes, strain and add fresh, local honey to taste.

Citrus Healing Beverage

Why? Oranges and Lemons are full of vitamin C which nourishes the immune system and provides relief from allergy symptoms.

How? Microwave 1 lemon and 2 oranges for 20 seconds each. This enables all of the juices to flow from the fruit easier and makes the drink easier to mix with your fresh, local honey. Mix the warm juice of ½ lemon and 2 oranges with 1 tablespoon of honey. Make sure honey has completely dissolved and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to have a refreshing, healing citrus beverage.

Red Onion and Honey Water

Why? Red onions contain quercetin, which reduces the amount of histamine produced by the body (therefore reducing allergens). Quercetin also inhibits inflammation and acts as a bronchodilator to help you breathe easier. When using locally produced honey you are fighting local allergens because the honey is generated by bees pollinating with the very allergens in your region that are irritating you. In small does, this pollen helps build your immunity to these allergens.

How? Thinly slice 1 red onion and add it to 4 cups of water in a sealable jar. Allow the onion to infuse with the water 10 hours before drinking. When serving a glass, add 1 tablespoon of honey. Drink this 1-2 times per day for up to 4 days (the onion water will keep if refrigerated) to defend yourself against allergens or quickly recover from an allergy flare up.

Using Food to Combat Seasonal Allergies

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Certain nutrient-dense foods can help boost the immune system and reduce the inflammation that causes allergy symptoms.

Broccoli

Broccoli is high in Vitamin C, which can act as an antihistamine to reduce the release of the histamines that cause the allergy symptoms. The vitamin has been shown to decrease the inflammation that leads to allergy symptoms. Broccoli also is part of the crucifer family of vegetables, which are rich in nutrients that could help clear congested sinuses.

Kale

Kale also is part of the nutrient-rich crucifer family. Plus, it’s rich in a form of Vitamin A thought to improve allergy symptoms by decreasing inflammation and strengthening the immune system.

Carrots

Carrots, another vegetable loaded with beta-carotene, also may help ease the inflammation associated with allergy symptoms.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes are high in the antihistamine-acting Vitamin C.

Pumpkins

Like kale and carrots, pumpkins are rich in carotenoids, including beta carotene, to help reduce inflammation and boost the immune system.

Celery

Celery is full of Vitamin C and anti-inflammatory compounds such as the bioflavonoid luteolin, making the vegetable an asset in fighting both allergies and chronic pain.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic contain quercetin, a plant flavonoid that can reduce the body’s inflammatory response and act like an antihistamine to slow the body’s production of the histamines that cause the allergy symptoms.

Parsley

Parsley is a great source of Vitamin C and can help slow the release of histamines.

Gun Safety Starts at Home

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Civilian gun ownership has become a hot button topic in recent times.  Owning a gun requires extreme responsibility regardless of if you have a gun for your job, to protect your home, for hunting or sport.

If you have a gun or are considering purchasing a gun, it is important that you know how to use it properly.  The correct handling of a gun is not something to take lightly and requires professional training.  Without attending specialized gun training and practice at a proficient shooting range you put not only yourself at risk but also those around you.

Statistics are showing a continued rise in death and injury due to gun shots in the USA at an shocking rate of nearly 100 deaths per day and over 200 injuries per day.  Of these numbers, an alarming 15% is accidental due to lack of knowledge and improper storage.

Aside from proper training, proper storage is also incredibly important.  An estimated 2 million US households have loaded guns inside and many of these households also have children.  Storing guns out of the reach of children is imperative. Some simple and safe ways to store your firearms are:

  • keep unloaded firearms in a locked cabinet, safe, gun vault, or storage case
  • use a gun locking device
  • store ammunition separate from firearms; and double-check firearms to confirm they are unloaded when storing/removing them from storage.geob.jpg

Additionally, parents should educate their children about gun safety.  Gun violence in movies, on television and in video games has caught their attention.  They need to understand not to go looking around for guns, to STOP and tell an adult if a gun is found, and even if a gun looks like a toy, not to touch it.

Another disturbing statistic is that over 20% of the daily gunshot deaths/injuries in America are the result of suicide (or attempted suicide).  Multiple research studies show that firearm ownership correlates with suicide rates. This is likely because firearms are more lethal than nearly every other means of suicide attempt.  If you are depressed or are taking new medication to treat depression and you own a gun, please cautiously remove the gun from your property to be safely stored elsewhere or disposed of.  If you believe someone you love is suicidal and you know they own a gun, please speak with them about removal or contact your local police department for advice. If you would like to learn more about safely storing your gun while you are battling the clinical illness of depression please contact your local police department to learn the proper procedures for storing a gun that you own outside of your property.  Studies have shown that depression is a common factor among most assailants in mass shootings. Many times the shooter is far removed from their true selves and in the throws of clinical depression (which is often triggered by sudden life changes or medications and completely out of the ordinary for the assailant’s normal behavior).  (Learn 10 ways to identify depression here)

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If you or someone in your presence is ever shot, call 9-1-1 immediately.  Even if a bullet only scratches the surface of flesh it can still do harm! When a bullet strikes a person all of the bullet’s kinetic energy must be transferred to the target and when that happens the energy of the bullet is not only visible by torn flesh of the bullet hole but energy is also dissipated creating a cavity that expands, deforms tissues, and contracts all within a fraction of a second. Thus the damage a bullet imparts is much greater than the visible evidence on the outside of the body. It takes the care of physicians – specifically emergency physicians – to determine whether or not a person who is shot is going to need emergency surgery.  To reiterate, call 9-1-1 as quickly as possible when tending to a bullet wound and If the wound is bleeding you should attempt to apply a trauma bandage and control the bleeding through pressure. Keep the wound clean and protected and have the victim lie down and keep them calm until help arrives. If you’re a gun owner concerned about the possibility of a gunshot wound you should put together a first aid kit that includes trauma gear.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

pink-ribbonAccording to Johns Hopkins Medical Center, 40% of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump so establishing a self exam on a regular basis is very important. While mammograms can detect cancer before you feel a lump, self exams will familiarize you with your breast so you can better recognize any changes.

You should not rely on self exams alone, however. Doctors recommend women over 40 should also get annual mammograms and clinical breast exams. Mammography can detect tumors before they can be felt. Clinical breast exams are important because they are administered by a professional who can notice abnormalities that you may not recognize.

If your test results are abnormal, note that 8 out of 10 abnormalities are found not to be cancerous. The only way to be certain any discoveries are not cancerous is through further testing such as Ultra Sounds or MRIs. Sometimes your radiologist will require a biopsy as well.

The best way you can fight against breast cancer is to have a plan that helps you with detecting any abnormalities in an early stage. Create your plan by setting reminders to do self exams and also to schedule clinical exams (and mammograms based on your age, health history and history of cancer in your family).

Remember, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths of women in the United States. All women are at risk for breast cancer as well as some men. When breast cancer is caught early and treated, however, survival rates can be near 100%.

Please visit www.cancer.org as a valuable source for more information about cancer prevention, treatment, support and ways you can get involved in supporting the American Cancer Society.

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