Month: July 2019

New bill allows Oregon students to take ‘mental health days’

New bill allows Oregon students to take ‘mental health days’

SALEM, Oregon — Oregon will allow students to take “mental health days” just as they would sick days, expanding the reasons for excused school absences to include mental or behavioral health under a new law that experts say is one of the first of its […]

Waze Users Can Now Get Their Driving Directions from Cookie Monster | Mental Floss

Waze Users Can Now Get Their Driving Directions from Cookie Monster | Mental Floss

In the summer of 1984, nerds were mainly perceived as guys who wore pocket protectors and had tape on their glasses. But in Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs was inventing the type of nerd culture we’re familiar with today. Decades later, nerds rule the world. Revenge […]

Hay fever alert as African plume and pollen surge ‘increases risk of deadly asthma attacks’

Hay fever alert as African plume and pollen surge ‘increases risk of deadly asthma attacks’

MILLIONS of asthma sufferers could be at risk of deadly attacks thanks to a “toxic cocktail” of hot weather and soaring pollen levels.

Britain is set to sizzle this week as an African plume sweeps in bringing temperatures as high as 34C in parts of the country.

The pollen forecast over the next three days shows pollen levels will remain high for most of the country

The rising mercury will come with sweltering humidity, prompting Public Health England (PHE) to issue a health warning.

PHE issued a level-2 “alert and readiness” warning – and older people have been advised to not go outside during the hottest part of the days this week.

At the same time, pollen levels will be high for most of the country over the coming days – causing misery for hay fever sufferers.

But those conditions can be a deadly mix for the 5.4 million Brits with asthma as hot, humid weather and high pollen levels can trigger potentially-fatal attacks.

Asthma alert

Experts say breathing in hot air can cause the airways to narrow, leading to coughing and shortness of breath.

Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead at Asthma UK and a practising GP, said: “A toxic cocktail of hot humid weather and rising pollen levels this week could be extremely hazardous for the 5.4 million people in the UK with , triggering deadly asthma attacks.

“Hot air and hay fever can cause people’s airways to narrow, leaving them struggling to breathe, with symptoms like coughing, wheezing, a tight chest and breathlessness.

“Hot weather can also increase the amount of pollutants, pollen and mould in the air which can trigger asthma symptoms.”

He added: “If you are worried about the weather or hay fever affecting your asthma, make sure you take your hay fever medicines, keep taking your regular preventer as prescribed by your doctor and carry your blue reliever inhaler at all times.

“We’d advise you to drink lots of water to prevent dehydration and plan any outdoor activities for earlier in the day when the air quality tends to be better.”

Hay fever hell

It is thought that more than 10 million people in Britain suffer with hay fever – and it affects around 80 per cent of people with asthma.

Grass pollen is the most common allergy and affects 90 per cent of people with hay fever, according to Allergy UK.

How to deal with hay fever

Experts have come up with a number of ways of tackling hay fever.

Specsavers clinical spokesperson, Dr Nigel Best says: “Hay fever sufferers who wear contact lenses may notice the vision through their lenses can appear smeary and eyes can generally feel uncomfortable.

“However, there are some things contact lens wearers can try to help reduce the irritation”.

Use drops or ditch the contact lenses

“Contact lens-friendly eye drops can help to calm down any itchiness and wearing prescription glasses (particularly wraparound sunglasses) can prevent pollen from getting into your eyes.

“Those suffering with hay fever could also try daily disposable lenses during the summer months.”

Stay inside

Dr Best also recommends: “While it’s not always possible, staying inside when pollen count is high will help to avoid irritation or showering and changing your clothes when you get home will also help to remove pollen from skin and hair.”

Use Vaseline

But, it is not just eyes which are affected, hay fever can also cause your ears to become itchy or inflamed.

Specsavers’ chief audiologist Gordon Harrison says: “Allergic reactions can cause the outer ear to itch or swell.

“The middle ear contains the Eustachian tube, which acts as a drainage tube, but when mucus clogs the middle ear it affects that drainage.

“This leads to a build-up in pressure, which can cause discomfort, popping in the ears or earache.”

To avoid irritation, try putting Vaseline around the nose to trap pollen, vacuum and dust regularly or you can try over the counter pain relief.

Shower and change clothes often

Showering and changing after being outside will help remove pollen and antihistamines decongestants can help relieve symptoms.

The season runs from mid-May until July, with two peaks – usually the first two weeks of June and the first two weeks of July.

But this can vary depending on where you are in the country and how the weather has been during spring and early summer.

Summer scorcher

People could see their symptoms increase this week as Brits flock to the outdoors as the school holidays kick off with a scorching heatwave.

Forecasters reckon the South of England and London will see highs of 25C from tonight into tomorrow morning, the Met Office said.

If the mercury reaches that mark as expected it would beat the warmest ever UK evening on record.

That was set back in 1948 – when temperatures reached a muggy 23.3C.

The warmest day of 2019 so far was June 29, when 34C was recorded at Heathrow and Northolt in London.

Intense heat is being brought north from a plume of Saharan air – which is already hitting parts of southern Europe with scorching conditions.


Hay fever alert as African plume ‘increases risk of asthma attacks’


Your hay fever cough could be a sign of killer seasonal asthma


Hay fever hell as pollen explosion could be deadly for asthma sufferers


‘Back to school asthma’ linked to attacks rise – and boys are worst affected


Don’t dry clothes inside & open windows when cooking to cut indoor pollution


Millions at risk of deadly asthma as Saharan ‘heat bubble’ hits


Hay fever red alert with ‘very high’ pollen levels & Saturday is worst day yet


Scientists may be close to asthma cure after mapping EVERY CELL in human lungs


Lives at risk as heart failure is often misdiagnosed as ASTHMA, experts warn


Girl who died of asthma was failed by ‘woeful’ NHS treatment, coroner rules


Millions with hay fever at asthma attack risk as grass pollen season starts


Heart attacks first thing… how deadly illnesses hit at different times of day

Warnings are in place this week as experts say while daytime temperatures are set to hit highs in the mid-30s – it will “feel like” 44C.

The hottest day of the year is expected to fall on Wednesday – as the scorching  front sweeps the country.

And temperatures will steadily rise throughout the week, forecasters say.

This chart shows the different types of pollen and when they peak throughout the year
This chart shows the different types of pollen and when they peak throughout the year

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Yale psychiatrist: Trump using racism as a coping mechanism as his mental state rapidly deteriorates

Yale psychiatrist: Trump using racism as a coping mechanism as his mental state rapidly deteriorates

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump continued to attack the young congresswomen of color nicknamed “The Squad,” after he was criticized for saying the women should go back to their own countries, even though all four are U.S. citizens. Now, he’s doubling down. On Twitter Wednesday […]

Why having a sister is good for your mental health | I Heart

Why having a sister is good for your mental health | I Heart

Sure, she can often drive you crazy by using your stuff without asking permission, singing annoyingly, or taking the last piece of candy. At the same time, however, she is one of your closest, most trusted supporters, a true friend, a play buddy, and a […]

Woman infected with flesh-eating bacteria at Virginia beach

Woman infected with flesh-eating bacteria at Virginia beach

NORFOLK, Va. – Amanda Edwards can laugh today thinking back on her potentially fatal health scare after spending just ten minutes in the water at a Virginia beach.

“I was just like, ‘Oh my goodness… my leg is gonna fall off,'” Edwards chuckled. “That’s the only thing I could keep thinking.”

She told WTKR she contracted a flesh-eating staph infection during a day of fun at Norfolk’s Ocean View Beach. She said the infection spread quickly.

“The way that it was spreading, it was going up my leg,” Edwards explained.

It happened last week.

“I was like, ‘It’s really hot. Let’s go to the beach.’ So, we went outside to the beach. I was only in the water for maybe like 10 minutes,” she explained.

The next day, the fun was over.

“I did not feel good. I noticed this thing that came on my leg. I ignored it for a couple days, and it just started getting bigger and bigger and bigger to the point where I couldn’t walk anymore,” she explained.

She said doctors treated the infection and said the bacteria possibly got into her skin through an open cut.

“They had to cut me open, drain it out and stuff it with some gauze. I had to keep it covered for days,” Edwards, who was at the beach with friends, said.

This was around the time there was a swimming advisory.

“Please check the news and make sure there is not an advisory out because there was not signs out there,” Edwards mentioned.

The Norfolk Health Department told us germs can get into the water in different ways, like washing off of swimmers’ bodies or when people relieve themselves in the water.

Health officials urge swimmers to avoid swallowing water and taking a dip after a heavy rainfall.  Don’t swim if you are ill or have a weakened immune system and swim away from fishing piers, pipes, drains and water flowing from storm drains onto a beach.

As for Edwards, she said she’s taking a break from splashing around for the rest of the summer.

“Every time I go into the water, I’m gonna think about that bad experience.”

Edwards has to continue taking antibiotics for the next two weeks.

Once you get out of the water, health officials say you should shower with soap.

This content was originally published here.

Flesh-eating bacteria death: Man dies from necrotizing fasciitis infection 48 hours after beach trip in Florida, family says – CBS News

Flesh-eating bacteria death: Man dies from necrotizing fasciitis infection 48 hours after beach trip in Florida, family says – CBS News

A woman from Niceville, Florida, is warning others that flesh-eating bacteria is not an urban legend – it is a real threat that took her father’s life.  Cheryl Bennett Wiygul wrote a lengthy Facebook post on July 10 explaining the short timeline from when her […]

Watch Out, Florida! More Cases of ‘Flesh-Eating’ Bacteria Have Been Reported

Watch Out, Florida! More Cases of ‘Flesh-Eating’ Bacteria Have Been Reported

Via Fox35 Orlando Sorry Florida, it looks like you might want to put off swimming for a little while. Well, unless you want a flesh-eating bacteria roaming around your body eating all your tissue. If that’s the case, then go ahead and swim away. But […]

Rethinking Mental Illness: Are We Drugging Our Prophets and Healers? | High Existence

Rethinking Mental Illness: Are We Drugging Our Prophets and Healers? | High Existence

“How long shall they kill our prophets while we stand aside and look?”

– Bob Marley

I met Ken by my own force. Seeing a comment he’d left on a friend’s blog post, I felt I needed to know him. Looking deeper, it turned out that he had a book about battling mental illness.

Fast forward just two weeks and I’m sitting glued to Ken’s book while visiting family. I finished it in two days. It wasn’t short. But if it hadn’t been for mealtimes, politeness, and sleeping, I’d have read it in one.

What struck me, throughout Ken’s entire mental illness (which included hospitalization, hallucinations, and eventual psychiatric commitment) were three things:

Ken and I swapped books. He was reading The Love Mindset while I read his book, Detour From Normal. As he consumed my book in equally record time, he became incredibly emotional in his communications. He told me he read my eulogy to Veronika Wilde and that she sounded like every woman he met in the psych wards. He said he was fully in the “love mindset” when he was manic, but since he didn’t end up there purposefully, he wasn’t seen as a guru or a master. He was just another crazy guy who needed to be doped up.

He realized he wasn’t the only one; he wasn’t crazy, and he certainly didn’t need medications. He needed some sleep, support, and encouragement to become the healer that he’s now blossoming into.

After I had consumed his book’s satisfying ending, Ken’s story planted itself in my mind, interweaving his memories with my own.

I had my first vivid hallucinations when I was 18. My then boyfriend looked at me like I was a psycho. I had incredible amounts of nightmares and flashbacks that accompanied my healing – all of them allowing me to process the traumatic events. And what if I’d thought I was a psycho? What if I took the pills I was offered? Would I still be here?

In my favorite book of all time, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the main character becomes obsessed with discovering the truth about reality, a truth so beautiful and ancient that few could deny. He eventually got electroshock treatment for his so-called dangerous mental illness.

An old friend of mine, whose art is so captivating you could stare at it for hours, was put on Ritalin for drawing in math class.

Sam Shelley, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After engaging in frequent and dedicated meditation she came forth symptom-free, ready to help heal the world.

With all these stories in my head, it was hard to sleep. A darkness loomed over me – the darkness of a realization too painful to digest.

Our mental health care system is breaking people. We have no room for the sacred, only normal.

The narrow range of accepted behavior expected from us is more oppressive than you might realize. That is, until we experience beyond it, until we get judged, until we don’t fit in, until we need fixing.

In Dr. Somé’s village, the symptoms we commit people for, Dr. Somé’s community recognize as marks of a healer. They respect and nourish the very same patterns that we condemn and drug.

The article is worth a read. To be honest, I have a hard time with his explanations for why he says mental illness happens, but I don’t need to agree with him about how something happens to acknowledge that it does happen.

We’re taking people with a completely different perceptual experience and calling it “wrong”.

We’re weeding out our geniuses. We’re killing off our prophets. We’re drugging our messiahs.

Were she alive today, Sylvia Plath would be on anti-depressants. Salvador Dali would be on anti-psychotics. Beethoven would be on Lithium. Newton would likely be committed as well as heavily drugged for his multiple, pervasive mental illness symptoms.

Don’t even get me started on Jesus Christ.

Heroin addiction is as much a symptom of spiritual malaise as it is a cure. Michael Largo, in his book, Genius and Heroin: The Illustrated Catalogue of Creativity, Obsession, and Reckless Abandon Through the Age, makes the powerful argument that many of the geniuses who pushed our culture forward perished from the psychic strain of doing so. 

If you’re thinking that medications would have decreased these people’s suffering while allowing their gifts and talents to be explored, I’d suggest reading Ken’s book for a sobering look at the effects of Lithium. Then, go on Google and look up some common mental illness medications, their symptoms, and their side effects.

Perhaps the drugs would have prevented some suicides, though even that is questionable (as you’ll find on your search – many medications have been linked to suicide). But suppose they had. Then we’d have artificially extended their lifespans allowing them fade into obscurity, known by few, admired by fewer.

The real tragedy is that, in Dr. Somé’s village, while they respect the “mentally ill”, they appreciate that these people require an incredible amount of support.

How unfortunate that, in our society, those who refuse to take medications don’t have anything to catch them when hey stumble. There are no people willing to support and celebrate their new abilities.

There’s only the pain and the desire to get rid of it.

Option A: Medication.

Option B: The Ledge.

So what do we do? Where do we go? Where could Ken have gone and who could he have talked to about his experiences? How could Sylvia Plath have used her gifts without them killing her? How can the thousands of people in our culture who are suffering from mental and emotional distress get some genuine support, some help, some respect?

How can we turn our mental health centers into places of healing and growth, rather than confinement and apathy? How can we nurture the experiences of people who are perceiving differently from us in such a way that they can become stable and we can become wiser from having empathized with their perspective?

How can we all come together and build the sort of society that Dr. Somé speaks of, the sort of society that already exists somewhere – one that respects people unconditionally?

Most importantly, how can we take mental illness activism past its current stagnation and start equating the mentally suffering with the same seriousness as the physically suffering?

When someone is physically ill, we take pains to expose them to society; when someone is mentally ill our goal is to ostracize them.

How can we recognize the healers in those who are, themselves, healing?

How can we learn to see beyond the categories we created and gaze, instead, into the beautiful glowing orbs of consciousness that defy categorization?

How can the scientists, the spiritualists, the philosophers, and the dancers come together and speak of their unique perspectives, each learning from the other? How can the manic, the depressed, the bored, the generous, and the needy come together, dropping their labels, to learn from each other?

How can each material human life be allowed to matter? How can we build a world where no one has to rot in an interiorly-decorated cage? How can we stop arguing, for a second, so that we can hear ourselves agreeing?

Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t. But this is not really about answers. This is about questions.

I read in an old book once:

“Confusion is the beginning of wisdom.”

Not knowing is the beginning of knowing.

And that’s what this is all about. This is about asking, and continuing to ask, until we make it work. This is about standing up and pointing out that the current state of our mental “health” care is not human, it’s mechanistic. As we’ve seen in cases like Ken’s, it’s cruel. And, as we’ve seen in cases like Robin Williams, it’s not always us that needs fixing, but the way in which we fix.

I hope no one takes this personally, because even if you’re working every day to support the system and doing your best, you are not the system. None of us are the system. There is no system. There’s only us – human beings – doing our best.

Our inability to think differently about mental illness no one’s fault, but it is our responsibility. We can all come together and decide to do better. We deserve it.

Your ideas on this are welcome. That’s where it all starts – brainstorming and sharing. You’re invited to do so below in the comments section.

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