Holiday Traveling? Remember these travel tips!

In our last blog “Protect your Home for the Holidays” we discussed ways to ensure the safety of your home while you are away.  Today we want to discuss some important tips for not only Holiday Travel, but traveling year round.

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Air Travel – it’s convenient, faster and safer than road travel on most occasions but what are the best tips to remember for your safety when visiting airports of flying on a plane?

  • Never leave your luggage unattended at the airport! 
    Aside from the obvious threat of theft, there is also the possibility of something dangerous and/or illegal being added to your suitcase that you are unaware of.  If you do not have a travel buddy to watch over your luggage, keep it at your side at all times. Also, never let anyone other than airport staff handle your luggage for the same reasons.
  • Do not accept packages or watch over luggage for strangers.  
    While you may see a desperate person who requests your help for just a brief moment, do not fall for this.  I know that sounds harsh, but criminal masterminds know how to prey about the weaknesses of others.  What may appear to be a struggling mother trying to manage a child, could actually be a woman acting as such who’s carrying highly illegal or dangerous content and has chosen you as her scapegoat. Obviously, you want to be helpful and kind but you must also be smart.  Advise those who seem desperate for your help that you will help them find airport staff to handle their needs.
  • If you see abandoned luggage or packages at the airport do not touch it!
    Instead, leave it exactly where you found it and report it to the nearest airport employee for handling.
  • Airport and Airplane rules and restrictions exist for a reason.
    These are created based on history and experiences over time and are for your safety.  Be sure to listen to all announcements and follow any instructions provided as well as reading any instructions that are posted in the airport or on the plane.  It is best to visit the website of the airline you are using in advance of purchasing your ticket so that you can view their rules and regulations to be sure you are able to comply.
  • If you see suspicious activity report it immediately! 
    You should be able to recognize what is suspicious such as seeing a person leave a bag unattended or a person who vocalizes threats.  Do you remember our blog about practicing situational awareness? Read it again for some great tips on recognizing suspicious activity and potential threats!

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Road Travel – Sometimes it’s easier to hit the road and sometimes we just prefer a road trip.  We’ve shared some great driving safety tips and vehicle safety tips throughout the year that would apply to holiday travel as well as for your daily commute such as how to get a grip on road rage, the dangers of distracted driving and driving safely in inclement weather.  But here’s some more useful tips for the road ahead:

  • Have your vehicle inspected by a professional prior to a long road trip. 
    It is important that your tires are in good shape, your fluids are all fresh and at the proper levels, filters are clean and in working condition and all the mechanical parts that keep you safe are in proper working order such as brakes, belts, and more.  A professional will know best.
  • Have your trunk stocked with emergency preparations such as a spare tire in good condition, a jack and the tools you may need to change a tire as well as a good flash light, roadside flares or reflective flagging and jumper cables.  If you will be driving in an area that may have inclement weather such as sleet or snow be sure you also have a bag of kitty litter or sand on hand to help you with traction in the event you get stuck. If you’ve never driven in snow, be sure you not only have tire chains but also that you know how to use them. Also, if your tires are not all-weather or snow tires you should not drive in snow conditions.
  • You should always have a first aid kit in your vehicle! This is a must at any time but especially when traveling long distance.  You can create your own first aid kit or purchase one like this one sold on amazon.com. You can create your own just by viewing what pre-packaged ones include. Also, don’t forget to pack your prescription medications in your first aid kit!
  • Be sure to get plenty of rest prior to a long drive.  Do not rely on energy drinks, caffeine or energy supplements to combat being tired.  A full night’s rest prior to the journey is the safest bet. Statistically, tired or sleepy drivers cause the majority of accidents on the road during holidays.  If you find you are tired on the road, take a break from driving and get a nap at a safe location such as a roadside rest area.  Remember your safety is more important than any deadline.
  • Be sure to eat well before traveling and bring snacks.  Hunger can cause mood swings, disorientation and other issues.  Make stops along the way to snack as well.  Just as your vehicle needs fuel to proceed so does your body.
  • Stay hydrated! Have plenty of water on hand and keep yourself hydrated to avoid headaches and other health issues as well as tiredness.
  • Planning ahead is the best way to travel: 
    1) Research the traffic laws, speed limits and gas stations you will encounter along      your journey.
    2) Plan your stops for fueling, snacking and resting.  Some stops, of course, cannot be planned ahead but do all the planning you can in advance.
    3) Keep an eye on the weather conditions you will be encountering along the way and plan around them.
    4) Examine the facts about the cities you will be passing through – are they safe? Learn where you should and shouldn’t stop to fuel or break along the way and plan around this.
    5) Plan your driving time with breaks so that you don’t feel rushed or frustrated and you don’t end up not taking breaks when you should.
  • Know yourself & don’t push it! If you feel tired, frustrated, hungry or uncomfortable don’t ignore what your body is telling you and keep on driving.  We recommend you take a break every 2-3 hours to stretch your legs, relax and regroup along the way.  Do not drive on through your normal hours of rest.  Stay overnight at a hotel and keep your usual sleep schedule.

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Wishing you a Safe and Happy Holiday,
Close Range Safety Training Academy

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Protect your Home for the Holidays!

Wether you’re traveling this Holiday Season or simply going to work, this is the time of year when burglars strike most! 

Recent news reports have shown a spike in package theft and identity theft this season starting on Black Friday.

In our last blog we discussed protecting yourself from Identity Theft and online shopping safety.  If you haven’t read it yet, be sure to check it out here!

Here are some great tips to protect your home and property:

  • LOCK UP TIGHT 
    Even if you think you live in a safe, secluded neighborhood this time of year draws strangers to all areas who are seeking to steal packages, property, and even your identity by going through your mail and trash.  
    While you are likely to always lock the entry ways to your home, now is the time to be vigilant in checking all windows, doors and gateways are secured as well as making sure to always lock your vehicle. 
  • MAINTAIN YOUR PROPERTY
    Is your landscaping creating a safe haven for burglars to hide? Be sure to keep hedges and bushes trimmed back and visible from multiple angles.
    Be sure there are no ladders, equipment or firewood out in the open that can be used to aid burglars in breaking into your home. 
    Do not keep keys hidden outdoors.  
  • KEEP YOUR PROPERTY WELL LIT
    Burglars use the convenience of darkness to sneak around your property.  Keep your property well lit with motion sensitive lighting making sure they illuminate all angles of your property.  Motion lighting will save energy and only light up when movement is detected. 
  • BE MINDFUL OF YOUR TRASH
    What you throw away can make you a target for identity theft or burglars.  Never dispose of credit offers addressed to you, credit card bills, or any documents that provide your full name and additional personal info.  Gather such documents to belabimg_870_43966bb0a6b78657d0af5a5cb2a65afa.jpg shredded professionally at a local office supply store or using your own shredder if you have one. 
    Do not leave packages outside that clearly display product photos of expensive items such as TVs or computers recently purchased.  Break down these boxes and dispose of them away from your home.
  • MAKE YOUR HOME LOOK OCCUPIED
    If you will be away for a few days, be sure your home appears occupied by setting timers on lights and having a friend pick up your mail for you so that it doesn’t pile up. 
  • TAKE INVENTORY AND LABEL YOUR PROPERTIES
    This is something you should do on a regular basis: Make a video inventory of your valuables and email it to yourself.  Each time you add a valuable item to your household, take an additional video.  Make a detailed note of each item’s serial number, model number, and manufacturer as well. Include full descriptions of these items and dates of purchase. 
    Use an engraver to mark your valuables with your last name and telephone number. 
  • BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR
    If you spot suspicious activity at a neighbor’s home, be sure to call your local police department and advise them.  This not only helps your neighbors, but it also protects you by letting these people know neighborhood watch is in effect!

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The Close Range Safety Training Academy team wishes all of our friends and family a joyous and safe Holiday Season.  Thank you for joining us throughout the year for health and safety tips. Please be sure to stay with us in 2018 for more useful information and share it with your loved ones. 

Holiday Shopping Online? Protect yourself!

Tis the season of online shopping and, unfortunately, identity theft.

Let’s face it, online shopping is easier than facing the barrage of people who will be at the mall this holiday season.  The bargains are there online and the hassle of carrying multiple packages to your car and facing potential hazards of crowds aren’t an issue from behind the PC.

But, unfortunately, there are hazards lurking in the world wide web as real as in a dimly lit parking lot at night! So, here are some great tips to protect your credit and your identity while shopping online this holiday season:online shopping cover photo.jpg

  • First things first – protect your PC! 
    Make sure your virus and anti-spyware software is up-to-date and fully functioning.  If you do not have this software, we highly recommend you install it as soon as possible not only for the holidays but for year-round protection.  Click here for the 2017 list of top protection software products available.
  • Don’t get phished…research before clicking.
    Phishing is the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details, often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Phishing emails during the holiday season come disguised as special offers from some of your favorite retailers and are done so well that you will recognize the retailer’s logo and marketing terminology. A simple google search of the retailer should enlighten you as to wether or not you should click on that ad! If you can’t find the info online but you are very interested, call the retailer and ask questions.
    Last year a new phishing technique arrived on the scene via apps in smart phone stores like Google Play and Apple enticing victims to add shopping apps.  You can check the legitimacy of these apps by contacting your phone service provider or your local Apple and Android stores. You can also research these apps online to see if users were satisfied with them or if they are rated.
  • Don’t use your credit card while logged on to a hotspot or open Wi-Fi. 
    Avoid shopping online while you are using a public computer (such as at an airport lounge or public library) or when you are connected to publicWi-Fi (like your favorite cafe’s free Wi-Fi or a hotel’s complementary Wi-Fi). You can never know who is tracking or logging your personal information on public outlets like these.  Note; using your smartphone as a personal hotspot is always safer than public Wi-Fi.
  • Use trusted websites and avoid search engines.
    Start at a trusted site rather than shopping with a search engine. Search results can be rigged to lead you astray. If you know the site, chances are it’s less likely to be a rip off.  Just about every major retail outlet has an online store, from Bed, Bath & Beyond to Toys-r-Us to Walmart. Look for misspellings or sites using a different top-level domain (.net instead of .com, for example)—those are the oldest tricks in the book. Yes, the sales on these sites might look enticing, but that’s how they trick you into giving up your info!
  • Look for the lock! 
    Never make an online purchase using your credit card, PayPal or similar on a site that does not have Secure Sockets Layer encryption. You can identify this by looking for the following clues:
    A legitimate website will start with HTTPS:// (instead of just HTTP://).
    An icon of a padlock will appear – typically it will be in the status bar at the bottom of your browser or right next to the URL in the address bar depending on your internet browser.
  • Protect your info online the same way you protect your wallet in public – keep it to yourself!!
    No online retailer should be asking for personal information such as your birth date or social security number (not even the last 4 digits)! The more ‘they’ know the easier ‘they’ can steal your identity.  If you encounter a retailer asking for information such as this or anything that you feel isn’t necessary for making a purchase, call the retailer directly and ask questions.
    You should also avoid using names or special dates as your passwords for the same reason.
  • Here’s a couple of things to remember off-line to protect yourself too:Presents.jpg
    • Check your credit card statements regularly for unusual charges.  This is even more important during the holiday season and we recommend you check multiple times throughout the season rather than waiting to receive your statement in the mail.  If you see anything questionable, contact your credit provider immediately to review.
    • Have your packages shipped to a safe place.  If you aren’t home during the day, don’t have your expensive packages shipped to sit on your doorstep for hours awaiting your arrival.  Thieves are actively stealing packages directly from doorsteps during the holiday season and there was a major spike in this type of theft in 2016.  Have packages shipped to your place of work or to a safe place you know they can be retrieved such as a mail box.

We hope this information will be helpful to you this Holiday Season as we wish you all the best. Please be sure to follow our blog throughout the Holidays and year-round for more useful health and safety tips!

Facing a Mass Shooting and the keys to your safety

As of November 5th, the United States has suffered 307 mass shooting incidents in 2017.  Which, sadly, translates to nearly 1 mass shooting per day.  In 2016, the total number of mass shootings in the US was 483.

While there is not an official definition of what makes a shooting become a mass shooting, The F.B.I. defines a “mass killing” as the killing of three or more people in a public place but also defines a “mass murderer” as someone who has killed four or more people in the same location.

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As we mourn the wounds our country is facing, we must also find our own courage and strength to not live in fear and allow these incidents to harm our quality of life. While the most obvious way to avoid a mass shooting is to avoid going to crowded or popular events that would force us to live in our own prisons and even still not fully protect us from the possibility of workplace incidents.

Many Americans are fighting for stricter gun laws or changes within our government to better our chances at safety.  If you feel driven to join this fight, we encourage you to check out this simple guide on ways you can reach out to the government and demand change!

As we move toward the peek season of travel, special events, and larger crowds in public places we must not allow fear to cripple us, but we must also learn how to be prepared for danger.

Situational awareness is a key element to your safety at any time and any place.  This will not just help you detect the possibility of a mass shooting, but also help you identify stalkers and other threats.  Most of us aren’t even clear on just what situational awareness is, but to speak in a language we all understand it is much like what you see the professionals doing in spy films or actions films.  Think James Bond.  How was he always so prepared? Situational awareness is the answer.  (For tips on developing your situational awareness, check out this blog.)

As a business that focuses on security and safety, Close Range Safety Training Academy wants to share with you some tips that could save your life should you ever be faced with a mass shooting situation:

  • As you will learn from developing situational awareness, knowing the exits of your location is critical at all times.  Many emergency situations require your need to make a fast exit so this is key any time you go somewhere.  Locate the normal exits and emergency exists as soon as you arrive to an unfamiliar place. 
  • When terror begins – take action! Do not take a moment to devise a plan.  Every second counts. The first 5 seconds of a mass shooting are preeminent in your chances of avoiding injury.  If you have studied these tips below and and have familiarized yourself with the exits, you can do this!
  • RUN! Fear can be paralyzing, but do not allow that! Muster all of your courage in an instant and run for it! A moving target is harder to hit and a crowd running creates mass confusion for the shooter so take everyone you can with you and just run for the nearest exit out of the shooter’s range.
    If your shoes are slowing you down, take them off quickly and keep running.
    Do not stagger your run or attempt any tricks that you think will help you.  Reality is, your best bet is a direct dart to the easiest exit.
    If there are obstacles, such as columns, you can dart behind on your run and only if you feel this is necessary than use them to your advantage but just do your best to move quickly and out of range.
  • Do not worry about your belongings.  Run immediately means just that and your purse or phone are unimportant.  Focus on your safety and nothing more.  Every second counts.
  • If you can’t run, HIDE! If there is no way to escape the crisis, find a good hidingSofiaHulten3.jpg place but don’t get yourself trapped.
    If you run into a room, close and lock the door and blockade that door with any furniture you can move in front of it.  Turn off the lights so the room appears vacant.
    If there is a window you can escape from, do your best to do so.  If you cannot escape from the window, try to signal to people outside for help.  Do not fear jumping from a window if it is a second story or lower.  The injuries of cuts, bruises and possibly broken bones is still better than the alternative.
    If you cannot escape to a close room, find ways to hide behind furniture or in a closet.
    Remember that interior walls generally can not withstand bullets so when hiding also stay close to the ground.
  • Find cover when there’s no escaping. Much like you learned in a tornado or earthquake drill in school, find heavy furniture or equipment to hide behind, under or inside of.  Stay close to the ground and do whatever you can to take cover, but do not trap yourself – make sure you are able to dart from this spot easily if you can do so should the shooter be distracted for any reason.
  • Be as quiet as possible.  If you have your cell phone, silence it. If you are in a group whisper and move softly.  Prevent making noise that draws attention to you as best as you possibly can.
    If there is equipment in the room that makes noise such as printers, radios or anything that makes noise – turn them off!
    If you are with children do your best to comfort them while making clear to them that silence is key.
    Silence can be hard, but it is of the utmost importance.
  • Call 9-1-1 once you’re in a safe space. If at all possible call 9-1-1 from a land line if you are still in the building where the shooting is taking place.  Calling from a land line enables their system to track you faster than calling from a cell phone, but if you cannot use a land line then use a cell phone.
  • Lie down and play dead. If you know there’s no escape and nowhere to hide or a way to defend yourself, fall to the floor and pretend your are dead. This has saved many lives in such attacks.
  • Fight when there’s no alternative. Focus on finding weapons of any sort to help you fight.  In an office, grab the scissors or a stapler or anything you can use to stab, pack a stronger punch or hurl at the shooter’s head. If people are with you, have everyone grab items they can use. The more people fighting, the better the chances of winning the fight.
    Channel your survival instinct and use your adrenaline rush to your advantage.
    Most people who are shot can survive a gunshot, especially if you are a moving target and do not allow the shooter to take good aim at you.
    When there’s no alternative, fighting is your best chance for survival.
    Aim at the shooters head when you are throwing objects toward him/her.
    Create havoc by throwing as much as you can while taking shelter between throws.  Do whatever it takes to slow the shooter down, cripple him/her and possibly cause them to drop the gun.
    If you are with others, determine you are fighting as a group and go for it.
  • When law enforcement arrives do not run toward them. Usually the first group of law enforcement that arrives on a shooting scene is there to locate and deal with the shooter and not the victims. Do not leave your hiding spot and do not get in their way.
    hqdefault.jpgWhen you see that you can move in police presence, move slowly with your arms in the air and your fingers spread to show you are not a threat.  Keep this position until they are clear you are not a threat.
    Move in the direction where the police made entry. Do not stop to speak to them.  In fact, if it is safe to do so, run in that direction while keeping your arms raised.
    Obey police instructions and do so without delay or questions.
    Wait for them to question you and at that time provide the best, detailed statement you can.

On average, a mass shooting incident lasts a maximum of 10 minutes.  Keep your composure, keep your wits about you, and stay focused on this advice and how you can apply it to your situation.

We hope that you will never have to face this terror nor anyone you love, but as a team that puts safety first we want you to do the same.  If you feel this information was helpful, please share it with your loved ones.  If you have a suggestion or something to add, please comment. Together we can do this and save a lives!

 

 

Diabetes: Understanding, Preventing and Treating

Many see the arrival of November as the beginning of the Holiday Season, but did you also know November is Diabetes Awareness Month? While many months herald awareness for important issues, diabetes is one of the most overlooked issues in the United States because it isn’t viewed as a comparable threat to things like cancer or abuse and it has no outward signs.  But, diabetes is a silent killer that nearly 30 million Americans are fighting every day.

Understanding Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose get into your cells to give them energy. With diabetes, your body is either unable to naturally produce insulin or process it properly.  This depends on which type of diabetes you have.
With “Type 1 Diabetes” your body does not make insulin whereas with “Type 2 Diabetes” your body does not make or use insulin well.  There is also “Pre-Diabetes” which means that your blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. Having pre-diabetes puts you at a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of this illness.  Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause serious health conditions threatening to damage your vision, kidneys, and nerves as well as increasing your risk for stroke or heart disease.  In serious cases people have had to have limbs removed as a result of diabetes wreaking havoc on their body.  
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Both types of diabetes have some of the same telltale warning signs.

Hunger and fatigue. Your body converts the food you eat into glucose that your cells use for energy. But your cells need insulin to bring the glucose in. If your body doesn’t make enough or any insulin, or if your cells resist the insulin your body makes, the glucose can’t get into them and you have no energy. This can make you more hungry and tired than usual.
Frequent Urinating and frequent thirst. The average person usually has to urinate between four and seven times in 24 hours, but people with diabetes may go a lot more because your body reabsorbs glucose as it passes through your kidneys. But when diabetes pushes your blood sugar up, your kidneys may not be able to bring it all back in. This causes the body to make more urine, and that takes fluids. Because you’re urinating so frequently, you can get very thirsty needing to rehydrate more than the average person. Another side effect of frequent urination and dehydration is that you may experience dry mouth often and have dry skin.  These two issues, though they may seem minor, can be another sign that you may have diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Deteriorating vision. This is a serious red flag that also stems from the changing fluid levels in your body.  Because your eyes are surrounded in fluid, the lenses can change shape and cause your vision to blur.
Slow healing wounds. If cuts or scrapes heal slower than the average person, this could be a sign that you have nerve damage caused by the effects of high blood sugar slowing down your blood flow making it harder for your body to naturally heal wounds.
Pain or numbness in limbs. This is a more serious sign that your blood flow has slowed and is not circulating to your nerves at a normal pace.
Other noteworthy symptoms are fluctuating weight and nausea or vomiting. It is a myth that weight gain is the only weight change that occurs with diabetes.  While weight gain is a reason for alarm, weight loss also is a sign that you may have diabetes due to your body seeking stored energy wherever it can take from.  Unplanned or unexplained fluctuation in weight is something that requires medical attention and can be a definite indicator of diabetes. Also, when your body resorts to burning fat or muscle to build energy it can create “ketones” which can make your stomach feel sick.  (For a better understanding of ketones and the dangers of diabetic ketoacidosis visit this link: Web MD – Diabetic Ketoacidosis.)

Diabetes Prevention

The first step to prevention is to get tested for diabetes regularly.  This can be done during your basic annual check ups, but should be done as soon as possible if you are experiencing any of the above described symptoms.
There are different types of tests for diabetes depending on your symptoms (or lack thereof).  Even if you do not have symptoms, if you are over age 45 it is recommended that you get tested. When you spot diabetes early on you can avoid nerve damage, heart conditions and other damages caused by untreated diabetes.
Comparison-of-Diabetes-Tests-Chart.jpgChanging your lifestyle can prevent diabetes.  Here are some great suggestions to help you discover what changes you need to make:
1) Exercise! Research shows that aerobic exercise and resistance training can help control diabetes. The greatest benefit comes from a fitness program that includes both.
2) Eat more fiber and whole grain foods. Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains and nuts help reduce your risk of diabetes by improving your blood sugar control. Studies show that whole grains may reduce your risk of diabetes and help maintain blood sugar levels. Try making at least half your grains whole grains. Many foods made from whole grains come ready to eat, including various breads, pasta products and cereals. Look for the word “whole” on the package and among the first few items in the ingredient list.
3) Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, diabetes prevention may hinge on weight loss. Every pound you lose can improve your health, and you may be surprised by how much. Participants in one large medical study who lost a modest amount of weight and exercised regularly reduced the risk of developing diabetes by almost 60 percent. Don’t jump on diet fads though. Low-carb diets, the glycemic index diet or other diet fads may help you lose weight initially but their effectiveness at preventing diabetes isn’t known. By excluding or strictly limiting a particular food group, you may be giving up essential nutrients. Instead, make variety and portion control part of your healthy diet.
4) Get tested! If any members of your immediate family have diabetes or pre-diabetes, if you have any of the symptoms described above, or if you are over age 45 get tested today and annually or more frequently depending on the results.

Diabetes Treatment and Control

Diabetes is a serious disease that you cannot treat on your own. Your doctor will help you find a treatment plan suited for your diabetes.  Depending on your level of diabetes, you may also need other medical professionals on your diabetes treatment team, including a foot doctor, nutritionist, eye doctor, and a diabetes specialist (called an endocrinologist).

Treatment for diabetes requires keeping close watch over your blood sugar levels (and keeping them at a goal set by your doctor) with a combination of medications, healthy diet and exercise. By paying close attention to your diet and  following your doctors’ orders you can minimize or avoid dangerous and rapid changing blood sugar levels, which can require quick changes in medication dosages, especially insulin.

There are several medications and preventatives available for diabetes.  If you discover you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, be sure to talk to your doctor about all available options and what is best for you.  Take your medications as prescribed and keep detailed notes about the effects they may have on you to provide to your doctor each visit.  Keeping the lines of communication open with your doctor is very important when fighting diabetes.  Never stop taking a prescribed medication or stop following a strict diet your doctor has advised simply because you are feeling better.

The types of diabetes described in this blog only scratch the surface of information you need to know if you are diabetic or think you may be. It is urgent that you see a medical professional for a proper diagnosis, treatment and regular care.  This blog is written to hopefully help those who may be questioning their health or learning when to start getting tested. Because November is Diabetes Awareness Month, we want to recognize the disease and risks involved and to share this awareness with our readers who may have concerns for themselves or a loved one.  Diabetes is one of the leading natural killers among Americans today.  Together, we can change that!3.jpg

Making Sense of Maintaining Healthy Senses

Most humans are born with five senses; sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell.  Those who are not, generally have stronger senses to support the absent sense (for example, those who are blind have more efficient hearing to help them obtain a better idea of their surroundings).  We begin to learn about our senses even before begin to walk and later are taught about them in elementary school.  No matter how important our senses are, though, it’s easy to take them for granted because they are such a basic part of our lives.

Your senses are the first key to your safety.  Your sense of smell can alert you to a fire, your sense of touch can alert you to hot surfaces to avoid burns, your hearing lets you know if a vehicle is speeding up behind you, your vision can spot danger even to your left or right and so much more!

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Here are some key elements to help you get the most of your senses!

SIGHT:

  • Stay alert and pay attention to your surroundings.
  • Do not wear eyewear that can block your peripheral vision.
  • Wear protective eyewear whenever you are exposed to UV rays or bright light.
  • Have your vision checked regularly by an optometrist.
  • Wash your hands before touching your eyes.
  • Follow the proper prescription instructions for contact lenses or eye glasses.
  • Wear safety glasses whenever working in elements such as welding, building, or any environment that could blow dust or particles into your eyes.
  • Avoid tobacco use.
  • Eat healthy – Fruits, Green leafy vegetables, and fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids are best.
  • Give your eyes proper rest – If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing; Every 20 minutes look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds (Known as “The 20-20-20 Rule”).

HEARING:

  • Avoid loud levels of equipment noise, music, vehicles etc by wearing ear plugs.
  • STOP using cotton swabs to clean your ears! A little bit of wax in your ears is not only normal, but it’s also important. The ears are self-cleaning organs, and wax stops dust and other harmful particles from entering the canal. Plus, inserting anything inside your ear canals risks damaging sensitive organs like your ear drum.
  • Keep your ears dry.  Excess moisture can allow bacteria to enter and attack the ear canal. This can cause swimmer’s ear or other types of ear infections, which can be dangerous for your hearing ability. Be sure you gently towel-dry your ears after bathing or swimming. If you can feel water in the ear, tilt your head to the side and tug lightly on the ear lobe to coax the water out.
  • Discuss your medications with your physician.  Certain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, can sometimes contribute to hearing loss.
  • Stress and anxiety have been linked to both temporary and permanent tinnitus (a phantom ringing in the ears). High levels of stress fills your body with adrenaline to help you either fight or flee from danger. This pressure and stress can travel up into your inner ear and contribute to tinnitus symptoms.
  • Cardio exercises like walking, running, or cycling gets the blood pumping to all parts of your body, including the ears. This helps the ears’ internal parts stay healthy and working to their maximum potential.
  • Ask your primary care physician to incorporate hearing screenings into your regular checkups. Because hearing loss develops gradually, it’s also recommended that you have annual hearing consultations with a hearing healthcare professional.

SMELL:

  • If you experience a diminished or absent sense of smell, see your physician to be checked for a disorder called anosmia which is usually a result of head trauma or damage to your frontal lobes.
  • Be sure to only use nasal sprays and similar products that are medically approved by the FDA and be sure to blow your nose regularly to keep your nerve receptors free from obstructions.
  • Avoid extensive exposure to bad smells.  Extended periods of inhaling a bad smell can cause permanent damage to your sense of smell.  If you must be exposed to a bad smell for a long period, be sure to wear a protective mask.
  • Do not ignore your sense of smell when it alerts you that something isn’t quite right. url.jpgSmelling provides a warning for toxic fumes, smoke, leaking natural gas, spoiled food, and dangerous environments.
  • Wear your seatbelt! A common cause of loss of smell is automobile accidents, even low-speed crashes. Any impact can shift the brain within your skull, tearing delicate nerve fibers that connect your nose to your brain.
  • Get a little exercise in each day. Go for a brisk, 10-minute walk or run. Our sense of smell is higher after exercise. Researchers suspect it might be related to additional moisture in the nose.
  • Hundreds of medications affect taste and smell.  Make a list of your medications and talk to your doctor about possible side effects if you’re concerned about losing your sense of smell.
  • Long-term smoking can even permanently damage the olfactory (a.k.a., sniffing) nerves in the back of your nose.  If you are a smoker and are experiencing loss of smell, this could be the cause.

TASTE:

  • Serve food that looks like it tastes. If you’re serving fish, keep it looking like a fish. Your sense of taste is stronger if your brain can connect what you’re eating with how it looks.
  • Drink a glass of water every hour or so. Dry mouth — whether due to medication or simply dehydration — can adversely affect your sense of taste.
  • Add zinc to your life through your diet and/or supplements.  Zinc deficiencies contribute to loss of taste as well as smell.
  • Tobacco use directly contributes to loss of taste by damaging your taste buds.  If you are a long term smoker experiencing loss of taste, this could be the cause.
  • Chew your food thoroughly and slowly. This releases more flavor and extends the time that the food lingers in your mouth so it spends more time in contact with your taste buds.
  • Reset your taste for sugar and salt by cutting them out for at least a week. Processed foods have so much sugar and salt that you’ll practically stop tasting them if you eat these foods often.
  • Avoid very hot foods and fluids. They can damage your taste buds.
  • Note that your sense of taste and smell work together.  The advise given for your sense of smell works with your taste as well, just as this advice for your taste works with your sense of smell.

TOUCH:

  • The sense of touch is vulnerable to the effects of age. The touch sense steadily deteriorates as we get older.  Starting around the age of 18, every year we lose around one percent of our tactile sense.
  • Myelin, the natural insulation that coats your fast-conducting nerve fibers (in touch) and makes them project quickly to the brain, breaks down so the information gets to your brain more slowly.  Maintaining a diet high in Omega 3 Fatty acids helps your body battle against the breakdown of Myelin.
  • Part of the reason that elderly people are so prone to falls is that they are getting less tactile information from the soles of their feet. One of the ways for the elderly to combat falling is actually to go barefoot so that they have a better sense of the ground.
  • The sense of touch also helps to alert people to injuries they have incurred. The sensation of pain helps to alert people to physically traumatic stimuli so that they can rectify the problem. Do not ignore pain when you feel it!
  • Take care of your liver because it filters the agents dangerous to your nerve endings as well as many other systems in your body that keep you well.  Damaged nerve endings directly result in losing one’s sense of touch.  One of the best ways to protect your liver is to avoid excessive alcohol intake.
  • Often lack of proper blood supply causes demyelination, a condition that can in cases of heart attack, suffocation, drug overdose or carbon monoxide poisoning.  If you are experiencing a diminished sense of touch, have your blood tested by your physician.
  • As always, what you eat directly effects your senses.  Your sense of touch is harmed by a large intake of saturated fats and refined sugar as well as not eating a substantial amount of essential fatty acids, vegetables, fruits and vitamin C.
  • Exercise stimulates a strong influence in general body functions, helps the brain to be well oxygenated and releases tension which directly effects your sense of touch.
  • Water is a great conductor of electrical impulses so your diet should not miss at least 2 liters of pure water per day.
  • Toxins, such as cigarette smoke, directly damage your nerves over extended exposure.  It’s best to avoid smoking and second hand smoke.

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Protecting and maintaining function of your senses is essential to your safety and well being.  Following these tips will help you enable your senses to operate properly for many years to come.  These tips are not only important to the condition of your senses but also key elements to maintaining better health.

Follow our blog for more health & safety tips and stay well with us!

 

Halloween Safety Tips – no Tricks, only Treats!

Dressing in costume and dancing around bonfires to ward off the unwanted spirits and preparing their harvest for winter amidst celebrations was what the Celtic people called Samhain which later transitioned into the holiday we all know and love – Halloween.
While we all love to celebrate Halloween today, we must remember to put the safety of our children first.  As one of the most popular holidays for children to enjoy, there are some crucial tips to remember to ensure your child has a safe and happy Halloween experience.
Let’s start with costume tips:
  • Choose your child’s costume wisely by looking for a label that indicates flame-resistance on any costumes, wigs, and headpieces you purchase. If you’re making the costume yourself, examine the fabric content and talk the salesperson to help you choose the least flammable material.
  • Hypoallergenic, non-toxic face paint is a better choice than a mask, which may obscure your child’s vision and hinder breathing ability.
  • Be sure to avoid oversized costumes and shoes that can trip your child.
  • Select light or bright colored costumes when possible. This makes it easier for drivers to spot trick-or-treaters. For costumes that have to be dark, attach reflective kids-halloween-costumes.jpgtape to the costume for visibility. A few strips on the back, front, and goodie bag should do the trick.
  • Ensure your child’s emergency information (name, number, and address) are somewhere on his clothes or on a bracelet if you’re not going to be with him/her.
  • Choose accessories that are smooth and flexible. Look for swords, knives, and other accessories that don’t look too realistic or have sharp ends or points.
Let’s make sure those treats aren’t tricks!
  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Yes, some will want to begin immediately so please be sure they are aware that waiting is part of the process.
  • The signs of candy that has been tampered with or could be dangerous are as follows:
    An unusual appearance or discoloration
    Tiny pinholes or tears in wrappers
    Spoiled or unwrapped items
    Homemade items or baked goods should be discarded unless you personally know who gave them.
  • Tell children not to accept — and, especially, not to eat–anything that isn’t commercially wrapped.
  • Parents of young children should also remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies and small toys.
  • Remember, when it doubt THROW IT OUT! (If you have questions about possibly tainted candy you can also contact the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222 or your local police department for assistance.
While Trick-or-treating, remember the following:
  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
  • Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or-Treaters:
    • Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
    • Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
    • Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
    • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
    • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
    • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
    • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
    • Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
promo292884444.pngIf you are out and about on the night these little gremlins are trick-or-treating, please remember to be extra cautious while driving and keep your eyes peeled for children darting out from between vehicles or in odd places that aren’t crosswalks.
If you decide to stay in and offer treats to children, be sure the path to your doorway is well lit and clear of any trip hazards.  Also, if you have pets, be sure they are secured in a safe place to avoid escape during this active time which may be stressful to them.
And, lastly, if you wish to enjoy some adult Halloween Festivities be sure that you too are dressed appropriately if you are walking in dark areas.  If you are driving to Halloween festivities, be sure to avoid alcohol or make arrangements for a designated driver instead. 
Have a Safe and Happy Halloween,
Your friends at Close Range Safety Training Academy