Holiday Season v/s Cold Season – How to win the fight!

Around the office we’re all sniffling and it’s that time of year again when everyone you meet is sniffling.  As we travel or shop for the holidays we are exposed to more people than usual and, unfortunately, more colds.

It’s the worst time of year to get sick! Who has time for it? And who even has time to see a doctor?

Here’s some of our favorite home remedies to get you back into the holiday spirit and help you win the fight against the common cold:

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  • Have a nice, hot cup of black or green tea spiked with fresh lemon juice and honey.  Try to get local lemons and honey for this if possible.  And if you can handle it, top it off with red pepper to really kick off any sore throat symptoms or lack of energy.
  • Homemade chicken soup has always been the cure all but it’s not always easy to whip up a batch of soup when you’re sick.  If you can do it, try to do so using only organic chicken and veggies for higher anti-oxidants.  If you can’t pull it off, the top 3 recommended brands of canned soup are: Cambell’s, Progresso and Wolfgang Puck’s.  Or, if you have a favorite homestyle restaurant in your area order a batch to-go!
  • Black pepper is more than just a common household spice – it also contains capsaicin which helps relieve cold symptoms by thinning mucus and relieves congestion and turmeric which is an anti-inflammatory.  So add pepper to your meals and if you can handle it try gargling with a bit of black pepper in warm water.
  • Red onions can boost your immunity through your stomach! Did you know that red onions are a prebiotic which means they aid in the production of ‘good’ bacteria in your tummy that helps develop a healthy microbiome? Yep! And that’s roughly 70% of where your immune system lives. So add onions to your food or just snack on one if you plan to avoid the mistletoe!
  • White onions have a different effect on colds and we’re not talking about eating them either! Ever heard that old wive’s tale about slicing a white onion in half & putting it in a bowl in the room where a sick person sleeps? It’s a remedy that’s centuries old but many swear by it so why not try it? Others have even suggested placing sliced white onions on the bottom of your feet and securing them with socks as a remedy while you sleep.
  • Baking soda may be an easier way to battle the common cold by simply adding 1/2 teaspoon to a cold cup of water and sipping it 6 times per day. Reduce the amount you drink as symptoms subside.  Baking soda is known to balance the PH levels in your blood which is another powerful way to boost your immunity.
  • Raw honey is useful for sore throats and allergies.  If you can purchase locally produced honey this is the best cure for allergies, but if not just find the best organic honey from your grocer. Remember that your honey should be organic and unfiltered because processed honey has been heated to high temperatures and stripped of it’s natural healing properties.  Enjoy your honey by the spoonful or added to hot teas, smoothies or snacks.
  • Did you know ginger root has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral and expectorant bioactive compounds that may be helpful for getting over a cold quickly? Ginger also can settle an upset stomach. Add ginger to your tea or meals or simply snack on ginger for an energy boost as well as a healing boost. Also, you can purchase ginger supplements at most health food stores.
  • Garlic is another potent root vegetable that has antiviral and antibacterial properties useful for kicking the common cold. It has been shown to boost the immune system, open up respiratory passages, and flush toxins from the body. Garlic can be eaten raw or, to help improve the flavor of eating fresh garlic, mix together one crushed garlic clove with two teaspoons lemon juice, some raw honey, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • Fresh, organic lemon is packed with germ killing antibacterial properties and is high in vitamin C.  With it’s potent blood purifier qualities, the lemon can be your best friend when battling a cold. Add lemon to your hot tea or just suck on a lemon slice to reduce symptoms and battle your cold.

Hopefully you have avoided the inevitable winter cold, but if you haven’t give these remedies a try and let us know which worked best for you! Do you have any home remedies you’d like to share? 

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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. 

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

 

🎁⚠️Last-Minute Holiday Shopping?⚠️🎁 Safety Tips to Escape the Cons, the Frauds, and the Headaches…

The last-minute holiday shopping season is upon us…

…and while the Holiday Season is a very special time of year, it is also a time when people are stressed, rushed and as a result become careless and vulnerable to holiday crimes.

 

Here are some useful tips to make your Holiday Season safer while shopping or doing your day to day activities that become a bit more stressful in this busy time.

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  • Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member
  • Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car. Set your alarm or use an anti-theft device.
  • Park in a well-lighted area, avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows and park as close as you can to your destination.
  • Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car. This creates a temptation for thieves. If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk or put it out of sight.
  • Be sure to locate your keys prior to going to your car.
  • Keep a secure hold on your purse, handbag and parcels. Do not put them down or on top of the car in order to open the door.
  • When approaching or leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area. Ask mall or store security for an escort before leaving your shopping location.
  • Dress casual and comfortable and avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
  • If possible, carry your cash and credit cards on your person instead of carrying a purse or wallet. Be sure to carry your ID as well and avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Purses and Wallets are prime targets for thieves in crowded situations.
  • Keep a record of all your credit card numbers (recommended: photograph the front and back of each) and notify your credit card issuer immediately if your card is lost, stolen or misused.
  • Avoid carrying more packages than you can easily handle to your car when leaving your shopping trip. If you have to make multiple trips to your vehicle to carefully store these packages in your trunk that is better than the distraction of handling multiple packages alone when unlocking your vehicle.
  • Beware of any strangers approaching you. Con-artists thrive during the holiday season working together with methods of distracting you while taking your money or belongings.
  • If you must use an ATM machine choose one indoors and preferably with a security guard nearby. If there is a line of people waiting to use the machine, offer them the opportunity to go before you so that no one is able to look over your shoulder while entering your personal information and if someone approaches be sure to shield your PIN number when entering it. Also, keep your ATM receipt on your person instead of disposing of it publicly.

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Shopping with your children is an additional challenge and we recommend you leave small children at home with a loved one or trusted sitter. Here are some important tips for parents that are useful throughout the year but especially at this busy time:

  • Teach children their full name, address and telephone number to give to police officers or mall security.
  • Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.
  • Teach your child to stay close to you at all times while shopping and to go to a store clerk and ask for help if separated from you.
  • Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom, food court, or to the car.

We wish you a safe and blessed Holiday Season filled with amazing memories and experiences to last a lifetime!

💻 📬 📦 Online Shopping – Stay Safe & Keep It Simple 💻 📬 📦

 

Now that we are in the midst of the Holiday Shopping Season, we are trying to find ways to complete our gift lists while avoiding the hassle of crowded shopping centers, parking lots and all of the other external stressors that subtract from the joys of gift giving. Many people have chosen to bypass these hassles all together by doing all of their shopping online.

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While shopping online is convenient in so many ways, it also has it’s own set of precautions that we need to consider. Anything device connected to the Internet, including smartphones and tablets need to be protected – especially during heavy use periods, like the holidays. Scammers and cyber criminals can easily target shoppers.

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Being a safe and secure shopper starts with careful safeguards. Think about the consequences of your actions online before you act and enjoy the conveniences of technology with peace of mind while you shop online. 

Here are some great tips to help you find the ease of internet shopping to be a safe experience as well:

  • Use Familiar Websites 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. We all know Amazon.com and that it carries everything under the sun; likewise, just about every major retail outlet has an online store, from Target to Best Buy.
  • Beware of 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 and NEVER buy anything that doesn’t have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed—at the very least. You’ll know if the site has SSL because the URL for the site will start with HTTPS:// (instead of just HTTP://). An icon of a locked padlock will appear, typically in the status bar at the bottom of your web browser, or right next to the URL in the address bar. It depends on your browser.
  • Conduct research when using a new website for purchases, read reviews and see if other consumers have had a positive or negative experience with the site.
  • Personal information is like money so value it and protect it! When making a purchase online, be alert to the kinds of information being collected to complete the transaction. Make sure you think it is necessary for the vendor to request that information. Remember, you only need to fill out required fields at checkout.
  • Be on alert for emails that might get us to act quickly and click through links and open attachments. Be wary of emails about problems with your credit cards or an account or the status of online order. Criminals know we are price sensitive when shopping online. Exercise caution when seeing and ad offer where the discount is way below normal.
  • Don’t Tell All! No online shopping store needs your social security number or your birthday to do business. However, if crooks get them, combined with your credit card number for purchases, they can do a lot of damage. The more they know, the easier it is to steal your identity. When possible, default to giving up the least amount of information.
  • Use safe payment options! Credit cards are generally the safest option because they allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the product isn’t delivered or isn’t what was ordered. 
  • Read return and other polices so you know what to expect if the purchase doesn’t go as planned.
  • Limit the type of business you conduct over open public Wi-Fi connections, including logging on to key accounts, such as email and banking. Adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your phone.
  • Keep a clean machine by keeping all web-connected devices ‒ including PCs, smartphones and tablets ‒ free from malware and infections by running only the most current versions of software and apps.
  • Reinforce your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media.
  • Make your password tough! A strong password is a sentence that is at least 12 characters long. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember (for example, “ILove2MyNewCar!”)
  • Having separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cyber-criminals. At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and make sure that your critical accounts have the strongest passwords. 
  • Check your statements regularly and don’t wait for your bill to come at the end of the month. Go online frequently during the holiday season and look at electronic statements for your credit card, debit card, and checking accounts. Make sure you don’t see any fraudulent charges, even originating from sites like PayPal. (After all, there’s more than one way to get to your money.) If you do see something wrong, pick up the phone to address the matter quickly. In the case of credit cards, pay the bill only once you know all your charges are accurate. You have 30 days to notify the bank or card issuer of problems, however; after that, you might be liable for the charges anyway.

packagesxmas.jpgNow that you know the safest ways to shop, you’re only concern should be what is the best gifts to give your friends and family! If your loved ones are as concerned about internet security as you are, we recommend an online security tool.

Click here to see the top 10 Antivirus Software Programs of 2016!

Click here to see the top Identity Theft Protection Services of 2016!

Have a safe and wonderful Holiday Season!

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❄😔Holiday Blues got You Down? Try These Prevention & Survival Tips for a Happier & Healthier Winter Season😔❄

Holiday blues are a pretty common problem despite the fact that as a society, we see the holidays as a joyous time,” says Rakesh Jain, MD, director of psychiatric drug research at the R/D Clinical Research Center in Lake Jackson, Texas. “Many people feel depressed, which can be due to the increased stress that comes with the need to shop and the decreased time to exercise which gets put on the back burner during the holidays.”

While people with clinical depression should seek professional help, those with a touch of the holiday blues can try these strategies recommended by experts to assure a merry holiday and a happy new year:

  • Avoid setting up unrealistic expectations for yourself such as taking on hosting responsibilities for events or trying to be the peace keeper in family conflicts.
  • Plan ahead by creating prevention routines for yourself and doing your best to follow your schedule. Set up a calendar of to do lists for positive actions for yourself.
  • Remember it’s ok to grieve. If you’ve suffered a loss and this season is a painful reminder of that, don’t be ashamed to grieve that loss. Feelings are a sign that you’re human and reflect where you are in your healing process.
  • Don’t rob yourself of proper rest! Sleep and rest are important to everyone. Studies have proven that sleep deprivation is directly connected to depression. Do not cut back on your sleep in order to get more done during this busy season. Create a sleep schedule and stick to it.
  • Avoid binging on food and alcohol. What feels good at the moment will have you facing regrets later on. Know your limits and stick to them at all times. In the moment binging may seem like a solution, but in actuality it creates more problems.

If your feelings of sadness during the holidays are accompanied by suicidal thoughts, do one of the following immediately: 1. Call 911  2. Go immediately to a hospital emergency room. 3. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).


Could I be Suffering from Depression?

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Here are some symptoms to help identify depression in yourself or in a loved one:

  • Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Struggling with concentrating
  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
  • Overwhelming and uncontrollable negative thoughts
  • Loss of appetite or significant increase in appetite
  • Escalating irritability, aggression, or anger
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities previously enjoyed
  • Developing an increase in alcohol consumption or reckless (acting out) behavior
  • Thoughts that your life is not worth living or thoughts of death or suicide
  • Fatigue, exhaustion, lack of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions
  • Pessimism, indifference
  • Unexplained aches and pains

If you are experiencing these symptoms you should seek professional help immediately. If you observe these symptoms in a loved one, gently encourage them to consider professional help.

For a listing of depression support groups, please visit the DBSA online


For Family and Friends

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Keep in mind that a mood disorder such as Depression is a physical, treatable illness that effects a person’s brain. It is a real illness, as real as diabetes or asthma. It is not a character flaw or personal weakness, and it is not caused by anything you or your loved one did.

A “tough love” approach is widely considered  unhelpful in terms of aiding someone with depression.


What to do in Crisis Situation

If you believe your loved one is at an immediate risk for suicide, do NOT leave the person alone.

In the U.S., dial 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK