“Survivor,” Too much drama?

Rod Allday [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Rod Allday [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

By,

Suzanne Coleman, MD

I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday again!  Last week’s episode of “Survivor” had tongues wagging about what Will did to Shirin.  It was pretty clear that he was WAY out of line.  I think everybody pretty much agreed on that!  The thing is, why didn’t he see it?

I’m sure you all probably saw what happened.  Somebody told Will that other people in the tribe thought he was lying about sharing all of his secret food reward stash with the group.  I think it was Rodney, wasn’t it, who first started saying this about Will behind his back and trying to get everybody else to believe him?  But Rodney’s name never came up…

So somebody tells Will about these conversations and he gets it in his head that it was Shirin that was targeting him, calling him a liar.  I think that he did that because he sees her as an easy abuse target, probably because for whatever reason people haven’t really clicked with her in the game, so he thinks he can attack her and no one will come to stand beside her.  Therefore, Will can just let her have it, and get away with it.  Well, he was right. He started yelling at her, expressing his anger at being called a liar (he wasn’t lying, so that I get), but then he morphed into evil abuser Will and wouldn’t shut up.  He pulled apart her soul, attacking her entire life and her emotional weaknesses.  The poor woman has had a difficult life, she doesn’t need this ass to bully her over it. But he wouldn’t stop, and no one there, not one person, did a thing to intervene.  It was almost like it was a play, and those were their roles, to sit dumbly by, and let him crush her with his emotionally abusive behavior.  It was sick.

Finally Mike came back to camp and pulled her out of there while she was still sitting there in total shock that Will was being so evil.  Then, when they were away from the others, we all saw how it affected her.

I, good person that I am, was thinking that when Will opened up his mouth at the challenge after that, that he was surely going to apologize for his terrible behavior.  But no, that isn’t what happened.  Not at all.

What happened next was that Will showed that he truly is an abuser.  He believed that his verbal and emotional abuse of this other person was a normal way to behave. This tells me that he likely grew up in an environment where this was their “normal.”  People, let me tell you, this is NOT normal.  If you can’t deal with your frustrations with other people in a constructive and respectful way, then you need to walk away.  And if after you cool off you still can’t do it the right way, then you need to get some help. Counseling is a great way to truly improve your health and well-being and to make you a better person to those around you.  And if you have issues like Will, you need to take this step to learn what behaviors are healthy and what behaviors are not healthy. Abusing others is never acceptable.  There is no excuse for that behavior, period.  Counseling can show you how to repair the damages that life has done to the way that you see the world and interact with it, helping you to be a better person for yourself and for those around you.

After last week’s abusive incident, some people on facebook were questioning why the producers of “Survivor” allowed it to happen.  That is a great question.  I would bet that it’s because it is “Survivor.”  Survival of the fittest, a true challenge of one’s humanity, strength, and resilience.

I think that when Shirin finally spoke out against Will, her abuser, she regained her strength.  Even if no one else had stood up for her, she needed to stand up for herself, and she finally did that, arm raised high and all.  Good for you girl, I am behind you, I think we all are on this one.  Just look around.

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Is Carly from “The Bachelor” a Sociopath?

 

The Bachelor Gossip, framed

by,

Suzanne Coleman, MD

 

She’s been called “evil.”  She’s been called a “bully.”  But, what is she really?

Well, we can’t really tell just from some clips of her, because you know how editing can make someone seem like something they’re not, but what we saw in those clips does give us an idea of what kind of a person she might be.  Let’s talk about what behavior we see in those clips.

She seems to lack empathy.  This means that she seems to have no heart, and doesn’t seem to feel for other people, and for what they are going through.  This is not normal.

She seems to enjoy watching other people suffer.  This is not normal.

She seems to do things to make other people suffer.  This is not normal.

She seems to manipulate Chris Soules, and seems to try to manipulate the other girls, so that they will all hate Britt.  This is not normal.

She jumps all over one thing that Britt said and can’t seem to understand that people can say things about something and then change their minds after they learn more about it.  Carly seems really rigid and inflexible in her beliefs.  That is not normal.

What do all of these behaviors have in common?  They are behaviors that you can see in someone who is a sociopath.  Now, I want to be clear, this isn’t saying that Carly is a sociopath, we don’t have enough information to make that type of assessment.  But it is important for everyone to understand that “bullies” and “mean girls” can have behaviors characteristic of sociopaths and other types of psychopaths.  “Sociopath” and “psychopath” are terms that refer to people with types of mental illnesses that are called personality disorders.

The medical term for sociopath is “anti-social personality disorder.”   There are several types of personality disorders, all of which can cause problems in relationships, but anti-social personality is one of the worst.  Approximately one out of every 75 men, and one out of every 300 women is a sociopath.  People with anti-social personality disorder can be very destructive to those around them; they often seriously disrupt families, businesses, organizations, governments, and society in general.  And they are all around us.

How do you know when you are dealing with a sociopath?  Sometimes it can be hard to tell because some of them are very intelligent and hide their bad behaviors very well.  On the other hand, there are the ones that aren’t trying to hide their behaviors.  Sometimes people call them assholes, and sometimes people call them jerks.  Sometimes people just don’t know what to call them, they are so completely abnormal in their behavior, it leaves others speechless.

But whether they are easy to identify or not, sociopaths do things that other people would not.  Some deliberately hurt other people for their own personal entertainment.  Some spread malicious lies behind other people’s backs in order to cause chaos and disruption.  Some act in a calculated manner to ruin people’s relationships, their reputations, their jobs, and more.  Sociopaths live as though the law and the rules do not apply to them, and that they can do whatever they want and get away with it.  Ethics don’t exist in their world.

And to top it all off, some sociopaths will find the horrible things that they are doing to be really funny.  And they will enjoy planning and executing them, like it’s a game.  You can often find them smirking to themselves as they plot against you, literally.  If you see any of these behaviors in someone, think sociopath.

An interaction with a sociopath will often elicit a strongly negative reaction from you, and you may not be able to figure out why you are feeling so upset.  It might be because you can sense that they are violating your boundaries, or that they are showing their lack of concern for right and wrong.  Pay attention to those feelings, and remember this article if you ever encounter anyone like this.  It’s usually best to stay away from them if you can.  But if you can’t, it may be helpful to directly confront their behaviors in front of a group of other people who can witness what happens (unless they are sociopaths too).  Otherwise the sociopath will keep on manipulating and lying and playing their evil little games behind everyone else’s backs.

 

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Please note that this is a very broad and complex topic and that this article only discusses limited aspects of it.  The above is for informational and educational purposes only.  If you have any specific questions or concerns, please see a physician or mental health professional.

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Beautiful pink explosion of nature!  Original abstract art for your home or office, by Suzanne Coleman. ©Suzanne Coleman, all rights reserved.

Beautiful pink explosion of nature! Original abstract art for your home or office, by Suzanne Coleman.
©Suzanne Coleman, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art for sale HERE:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/211491305/bright-pink-flower-abstract-art-on?ref=listing-shop-header-0

 

 

Bachelor Gossip: Whitney and that VOICE!

 

The Bachelor Gossip, framed

 

by,

Suzanne Coleman, MD

Ok, first of all, I want to say Whitney seems like a really decent person.  She’s got her life together, she hasn’t been shown to be mean like Carly to the other girls, and she respects herself.  I wanted to be clear on that because I’m not writing this to put her down in any way, I’m writing it because I have noticed something about the way that she speaks which I think that we as women should all take a moment to think about in regards to ourselves and the women and girls around us.  I mean for this to be a positive post, not a negative post.

So if you’re watching ABC’s “The Bachelor” (and we know you all are!) you know that Whitney is a young lady from Chicago who is vying for the attention of a farmer dude from somewhere in the middle of nowhere, pretty much literally.  She’s one of the final three ladies left before he decides who he likes the best for himself (she can say yes or no, but they usually say yes…).

From the first time they showed Whitney* on the show, I noticed that her voice was very high pitched and a bit whiney.  It came across as if she was trying to sound like a little girl who is trying to get attention.  I have noticed this same kind of behavior in many girls and women before.  They seem to be deliberately, though not necessarily consciously, mimicking a young girl’s voice and behavior.  I think that it’s something that some women do subconsciously in order to get attention from men.  I think it might have to do with their relationships with men growing up, or other people around them, who might respond more willingly to what sounds like a young girl who needs help.

I have noticed that men do seem more interested in women who speak this way.  Men may be hard-wired to do so.  And girls who find that they get more attention by using this type of voice are probably more likely to continue to use this behavior to get attention as they grow up into adults.

I think that women, on the other hand, respond more negatively to this type of behavior.  I think that when we see a young lady or woman acting like a child who doesn’t speak in a way that we would expect for their age and maturity level, it bothers us.

When someone speaks this way, it might also be related to some kind of anxiety over one’s self and how you fit in with others around you, like a self-esteem issue or insecurity.  Anxiety can cause the voice to rise upwards in pitch, so it may be a part of why the high voice happens as well.

I would like to suggest to the women and young women out there who find themselves speaking in a voice that is higher than their actual voice, or in a submissive or needy way towards men or others, to make yourselves aware of that behavior and see if you can stop that habit.  I’d like to see all girls and women proud of who they are, and not acting overly submissive, like a child, towards others to get attention or anything else that they might want or need.  You should not be afraid to speak out and speak up for yourself.  If you find that you do feel that way, then that is something that you should explore.  I am a strong supporter of counseling as a way to find the strongest, healthiest you.

So getting back to “The Bachelor,” I’m pretty sure he picks Whitney in the end.  Why?  On the first show they highlighted her a lot and it really stuck out to me.  They seem to do that with the finalists and more so with the winner.  Just a feeling… I guess we’ll find out soon enough!

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* Now I want to note, that I mention Whitney because so many of you noticed her voice.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to bring up this topic and I am using her voice as an example, but please realize that none of the discussion comments in here are about her in particular.

 

 

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A Good Article on Dyslexia and its Impacts on a Person

by,

Suzanne Coleman, MD

I read this article on dyslexia and thought it was very worth reading, so I thought I would share the link with you here.

It is entitled “Social and Emotional Problems Related to Dyslexia.”

http://www.ldonline.org/article/19296/#.VNNtNrC1whc.facebook

It sounds like dyslexia is not only difficulty with reading and writing, but more likely a problem with the wiring or processing in the brain which can therefore also impact other areas of a dyslexic’s life.  This should be very encouraging information for those who have this condition.  It may give you more insight into different issues you may have encountered in your life that you did not realize were a part of this disorder.  And once we know what we are dealing with, we often have more ways to work to improve our situations.

Also the article mentions the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) which might be of value as a resource.

I hope you find this information to be of value, take a look!

 

 

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Do you Have Neck Discomfort, Depression, Trouble Sleeping Well? Maybe it’s Your Thyroid

The thyroid gland is located at the base of the front of the neck in both males and females.   By Arnavaz at fr.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

The thyroid gland is located at the base of the front of the neck in both males and females.
By Arnavaz at fr.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

by,

Suzanne Coleman, MD

Do tight shirts or necklaces bother the front of your neck?  Does it feel uncomfortable and “tight?”  It might be your thyroid.  The thyroid is an important gland in both males and females that is located at the lower part of the front of your neck.  Sometimes this gland becomes sensitive due to a medical problem.  If you find that this part of your body is uncomfortable to mild pressure, you should go in and have a conversation with your doctor.

If you or someone you know has had this problem, I don’t want you to worry.  Thyroid disorders are very common and usually very treatable.  It’s because they are so common that I wanted to write about them for you today.  I think that too many people don’t realize the signs of thyroid disease, so let’s change that!

There are many different types of thyroid disorders, today I will cover the most common conditions and discuss the most common symptoms.   Please note that not everyone with a thyroid problem will experience the same symptoms.  If you are interested in learning more, there are many other great sites that have additional information that you can read.

Do you feel tired, even though you spent hours in bed?  Do you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, or trouble going to bed at night?  This can be due to your thyroid.  It can affect the quality of your sleep so that you spend many more hours in bed than you would normally need to in order to get enough sleep, leaving you exhausted or just tired, wondering why you are so tired when you spend so much time in bed?!  [This can also be due to other factors, which I will be discussing in an upcoming article on insomnia.]

Do you feel depressed, or just not excited about your day anymore?  This could be your thyroid.  The thyroid is a critical gland that supplies you with just the right amount of hormone to keep your metabolism balanced.  If you don’t get enough hormone (or if you get too much) you can be tired, depressed, and feel less interest in your life in general.  It can be a gradual process too, so you may not even notice the change in yourself.  It might have even started when you were young.

Have you gained some weight, even though you haven’t done anything differently? What about your sex drive, has it changed so that you are less interested in sex?  Have you noticed that your hair seems drier?  What about your skin and nails?  Do you have breast tenderness?  These are all signs of thyroid disorders as well.

Thyroid disorders run in families.  If one or both of your parents has a thyroid disorder, it’s even more likely that you are at risk of one as well.  Again, don’t worry, they are very treatable.  The key is to see the doctor and get checked out, then follow the treatment plan.

The most common type of thyroid disorder in the United States is called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and it impacts millions of people.  In most cases it causes a person to have abnormally low thyroid hormone levels, this is called hypothyroidism.  Low levels of thyroid hormone can lead to the symptoms discussed above.  This particular disorder is a type of auto-immune disease where the body produces a protein that attacks the thyroid gland.  There is a specific blood test for this disease.  I recommend that if you or someone you know is having symptoms like neck discomfort over a period of time, depression, difficulty getting quality sleep and feeling rested and energetic, weight gain for no clear reason, that you get this particular test checked along with the regular thyroid hormone tests.  This test is called “anti-thyroid antibodies.”  The regular tests are called “TSH” and “T4,” and sometimes they will also check “T3.”

The reason I recommend this extra test is that the general thyroid tests can be normal, but if you are having symptoms, and that extra test is abnormal, you might benefit from treatment.  I don’t want to see patients not feeling their best.  If you get this test and it is abnormal, talk with your doctor about whether a trial of thyroid hormone replacement is possible.  They may or may not be comfortable doing that, depending on their personal experience and what the current research shows for that disease.  If they aren’t, you are always free to get other opinions.

I think it is worth trying the medication if someone has serious symptoms like those I mentioned above.  If it resolves the problems, that is great.  If it doesn’t, then maybe it isn’t going to be helpful.  The only way to find out is to try.

I have seen that someone can experience all of those symptoms including depression, neck discomfort, being overweight, sleep difficulties, and not have their thyroid disorder diagnosed for decades.  Once they are diagnosed and begin the medication, they can see an amazing change in themselves.  Why wait decades if this can be treated right away?

The treatment for low thyroid usually involves taking one small pill every day.  It doesn’t have any real side effects (except that it will usually treat the person’s problematic symptoms and they will feel better).  The treatment requires blood tests every so often to make sure that you are getting the right dose of medication, and regular doctor’s visits so they can check up on how you are doing.

Hopefully this information has been helpful to you.  I’d appreciate hearing back from you.  Please feel free to share the link to this article with others, I hope to reach as many people as possible so that they can be helped.

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Please contact a physician if you have any concerns.  The above information may or may not apply to you and your personal situation, and should not be taken as personal medical advice.

 

 

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For gifted children, being intelligent can have dark implications

The following is a very good article that discusses some of the very real difficulties that high IQ children and adults face. While I can’t support every assumption or conclusion in the article, it is definitely worth reading to be aware of struggles that they may face, to increase the compassion and empathy towards others who might be different than you are.

 

 

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Calgary Herald

Reed Ball started playing Monopoly with his family at age three—and beat them. In the early 1980s, he was one of the first kids to have a “portable” computer, a 10-kilogram Amstrad PPC512. Reed brought it to class until one of the school’s bullies knocked it out of his hands and down a stairwell.

Reed was a math whiz, and used to correct his teachers’ science errors. When they warned him he would get lead poisoning if he kept stabbing at his own arm with a pencil, Reed replied, “actually, it is graphite.” Just before he graduated from high school in 1991, Reed developed software for a major oil company that converted old blueprints into working documents. He began his studies for a degree in mathematics that September, but flunked out a year later. Then, when he was 21 years old, Reed Ball swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills. He…

View original post 3,275 more words

LED Lights: Dangerous on Roadways and Off

LED lights on cars at night negatively impact our vision and safety.   © Suzanne Coleman, all rights reserved.

LED lights on cars at night negatively impact our vision and safety. © Suzanne Coleman, all rights reserved.

by,

Suzanne Coleman, MD

Alcohol, How its Abuse or Overuse Can Impact Us

By Oscar Sanchez Urgiles (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Oscar Sanchez Urgiles (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

By,

Suzanne Coleman, MD

 

I wanted to write a post on alcoholism.  Alcoholism is a common problem, approximately one out of every ten people is an alcoholic.  Yep, that’s right.  I know, the number can be surprising.  The current guidelines give you an easy way to understand when someone has a problem with alcohol, and here they are:

For men, if you drink more than two drinks a day on average, you have a problem.

For women, if you drink more than one drink a day, on average, you have a problem.

Other issues of concern are:  drinking until you pass out or don’t remember what happened, not good.  These are also signs of a problem with alcohol.

So what do they mean by “one drink” or “two drinks?”

There are different types of alcohol, and because they have different strengths, the amount that makes up “one drink” varies based on the type of alcohol you are talking about.

Check this out:

one 12 ounce can of beer = one drink

one 6 ounce glass of wine = one drink

one ounce of liquor (liquors are things like whisky, scotch, gin, brandy, vodka, tequila, schnapps, etc.) = one drink

So, really, why is it bad to drink too much alcohol?

Alcohol is a toxin, a poison, and while it can be relaxing and fun, it does do harm to our bodies, and in many cases, our personal lives.  Alcoholism is generally considered a disease where a person is dependent on alcohol or abuses it.  The best current treatment for these problems is to not drink at all.  Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has a program that definitely works for many people, it provides support for those who want to change, because it is hard to stop when your brain is telling you to drink, drink, drink to live.  That support can be life-changing.  They also offer Al-Anon which offers support to friends and family of those with a drinking problem.  AA is not right for everyone and there are other options.  You can begin by speaking with your physician or a counselor who can be very helpful in working with you to understand why you drink and more.

What does alcohol do to a body?  Good question, thanks for asking.  I’ll go through some of the main issues here:

If a person drinks too much, they will go through withdrawal when they stop; this can happen even on a daily basis.  For example, if someone binge drinks at night, the next day they can have symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.  What are the symptoms?  They can experience anxiety, shakiness, high blood pressure, and irritability.  These feelings can lead someone to become dependent on alcohol because when they start to drink again, it will stop some of these problems.  But it’s important to understand that it is the use of alcohol that is causing them in the first place.  Proper medical care will help to break this cycle by treating any underlying anxiety issues and explaining how the use of alcohol can make them worse.

If a person drinks heavily regularly and stops for a period of days, they can be at risk of severe withdrawal which can include seizures and more.  If someone is going to stop drinking, they should first talk with their doctor about the safe way to do that, this will help them to avoid the dangers of withdrawal.

Alcohol can also cause insomnia.  This can happen, even if someone only drinks a small amount.  So for those of you who suffer from trouble sleeping, keep this in mind.  If you drink alcohol and have insomnia, try not drinking for a few days and see how you sleep.  There will be another article coming soon on insomnia, so stay tuned for that.

Alcohol can impact your organs in a negative way, causing you harm.  I’m sure most of you have heard that it can kill off your liver.  It does this over time (unless there are other factors involved like medications used, or underlying diseases, which can speed up the damage), and can lead to cirrhosis of the liver.  The liver is critical for life, and if you kill yours off, you will not be able to survive.  The liver removes toxins (like alcohol) from the blood, keeping you healthy as much as it can.

Alcohol will also kill off your brain cells (think TOXIN, toxins are toxic, which means they kill off living tissues).  Over time, this can cause a person to have difficulty with balance, they will need to change the way they stand by keeping their feet wide apart, so that they don’t fall down.  Alcohol can also cause a person to start making up stories, this is called “confabulation.”  If your liver is impacted severely enough, it cannot process toxins and then your blood will have excess ammonia in it which will impact your brain.  This will cause you to be confused and act inappropriately.  A person with brain damage from alcohol can seem like a different person than they were before.

Alcohol can cause heart failure, which can lead to death.  The toxicity of alcohol can cause cancers of the mouth, esophagus, and stomach.  There are many other problems it causes in your body and online searches or conversations with your physician can help inform you further.

Socially, the worst part of alcohol abuse or misuse is the negative impact it has on a person’s relationships.  An alcoholic will choose alcohol over family and friends, and over being reliable at work (as all other addiction disorders tend to do as well). Alcoholics who drink usually end up harming their children and spouses by neglecting their relationships with them, or worse.  Adults have the choice to leave a bad relationship, but children do not.  The neglect that alcohol abuse often causes to children is the worst outcome of this disease.

What makes someone an alcoholic?  Well, there can be many different things that lead to this in an individual.  In some cases, when the person is young they see someone in their life using alcohol to cope with their problems.  When they see this they are learning that alcohol is the way to deal with problems, or just life in general, and then they start to drink too.  But the truth is that alcohol doesn’t make problems go away, it just covers them up or delays them for a while; this can often make problems worse, but children don’t understand that.  The younger a person starts to use alcohol, the more likely they are to become (or be) an alcoholic.  Young people should not be using alcohol for this and many other reasons.

From what I have read, some people are simply born with the genes to become an alcoholic.  When they drink, their body and brain tell them that they have to keep drinking.  It is an addiction and a disease.  Research shows that this may be related to dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain.

If you find yourself saying things like “I need a drink,” you should stop and wonder why.  Many people use alcohol to try and treat underlying medical problems like anxiety disorders, depression, and others.  Some people grow up in a home where there is little to no love or support; sometimes they turn to alcohol or drugs to numb the pain they feel from this lack of love which is necessary for humans to thrive.

If you or someone you know is having problems like these, I recommend finding a counselor to talk to about them.  I believe that counseling is one of the best things you can do for yourself.  Most people can benefit from counseling in one area of their lives or another.  There is nothing wrong with being strong enough to know when you can become even stronger by asking someone to help you.  I applaud anyone who reaches out for help to become a stronger and healthier person.

 

I have covered some general points on alcohol here.  I hope it has been helpful.  I encourage anyone who might have concerns about their use of alcohol, or that of someone they know, to reach out for help to a physician, a counselor, or AA or Al-Anon.

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The information presented in this article is for educational purposes only.  If you have any questions or concerns, please speak with your personal physician.  The information presented may vary slightly from other sources, and over time, as is the nature of medical knowledge.

 

 

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But What Does He LOOK Like?!

"Inmate of Elmira Reformatory showing four views of head".  H. Havelock Ellis, The Criminal.  See page for author [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

“Inmate of Elmira Reformatory showing four views of head”. H. Havelock Ellis, The Criminal. See page for author [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Ok guys, what do you think about this?

I moved back to Chicago about three and half years ago and I was watching the news and I was like, “huh, what?”  They were reporting on a rapist who had attacked several women in a particular area, but they didn’t describe him.  I was like, “uh, ok, so what did he look like?”  Nope, nothing.  Then they moved on to another topic, smiles and all.

So I guessed that they thought that describing the criminal’s race was now taboo.  I was like, “What?  Really?”  Wow.  Seriously, we are not doing well as a society when we are too scared to describe someone to help save other people from being victimized.  Describing the race of a criminal DOES NOT MAKE YOU A RACIST.  Holy @#$%.

What is going here guys?  If a black man commits a crime, are all black men criminals?  Makes no sense, right?  It’s about as logical as saying that describing someone’s race, makes you a racist.  It doesn’t.  And that’s the point.

My safety and the safety of all other people in society is more important than a news channel’s fear of being attacked for stating a fact about a criminal’s race.  If they don’t have a strong enough leadership to understand that, they can come and hire me, no problem, I’ll guide them.

The news channels have chosen to take on a responsibility to report the news, I wish they would realize how much that means to us as individuals and as a society and not allow a small number of vocal people to overpower the majority of Americans (of all races) who want to keep themselves and their friends and families safe.

 

 

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Let’s talk about dry skin and lips

 

Chapped_lips

By,

Suzanne Coleman, MD

 

I think we should talk about skin, and for today, specifically dry skin and lips.  It’s that time of year, heaters are running causing dry air, and that leads to dry skin and lips.

You don’t need to suffer these conditions though!  The solution is simple, humidify your air.

It’s the dryness of the air that is sucking the moisture out of your skin and lips, so you need to put that moisture back.  There are several ways to do this.  The simplest one that will work for almost everyone is to go out and buy those small portable humidifiers for your home.  They can usually be found at places like Walmart and Walgreens, but you can also buy them online.  This year I bought two new ones made by Vicks to humidify my home.  I needed two because each unit only fills a certain square footage of air properly; one just wasn’t enough.

If you have a furnace system, you might be able to add on a humidifier right onto it.  I had this type of heating system before and adding the humidifier directly onto the system worked very well to humidify the house, and the price was around $300 installed.

In both of the above cases, the level of humidity is adjustable.  This is important, because depending on the size of your home, you don’t want too much or too little humidity.  When you have too little, that is when you start to see dry lips and skin.  Low humidity can also cause red, dry eyes and painful cracks inside of the nose.  On the other hand, when you have too much humidity you will see condensation on the windows; that is bad because it can lead to mold which can cause health problems and should be avoided.  Some condensation can occur at healthy humidity levels, especially on very cold days if the windows are covered.  But if it continues on an average winter day, you should turn down the level of humidity in that case.

Other ways to humidify are less reliable, but also work.  For one, taking a shower and not using the exhaust fan is a good way to put humidity back into the home.  That is usually not enough humidity in a cold winter though.  You can also use a spray bottle to spray water into the air several times a day.  Other ways to help increase the humidity are to put out pans of water in the home.  If you have radiator heat, this works well.  Just place pans of water on the radiator and the water will evaporate into the air.  It can be messy though if a pan spills, and might cause discoloration or mineral deposits on the pans.

Overall, I recommend the small units or the whole-house furnace unit based on general effectiveness and ease of use.  The small units will need to be refilled on a daily basis when being used, so keep that in mind.  The ones I bought this year make it easier to do this than the ones I used to have.

Also, be aware that there are at least three different forms of small humidifier, based on how they put humidity into the air.  The cold steam ones can leave a white, chalky substance all over everything, so I do not recommend them.  I even tried one that said it didn’t do that, well, it did.  The warm mist ones are the ones I tend to prefer personally.  They also make ultrasonic ones; I tried one once but didn’t like it.  I think it was too loud, but I can’t remember for sure anymore.

The other things to remember in caring for you skin and lips are the following.  If your lips are dry, use something to keep them protected.  They shouldn’t get too dry if your living and working environments are properly humidified, but we all know that sometimes we cannot control our working environments enough to be sure to take care of that.  In those cases, I recommend using Vaseline petroleum jelly.  It comes in small tubes like other lip treatments and is very convenient to take with you anywhere.  Please note, that some lip treatments can actually cause dry lips.  If you try one and your lips seem worse, stop using it.  The Vaseline is good for people who might have sensitive skin or reactions to some lip products like Chapstick and lipsticks.

If you are a parent, your child will appreciate the improved humidity as well.  Plus if they get chapped lips, giving them the Vaseline lip tube to carry around with them will help.  Kids love to lick those lips and this can help!

For the skin, after you bathe, you should apply some type of lotion or oil to keep the moisture at a healthy level.  I have tried many different skin lotions and personally prefer the Vaseline brand no dyes no perfumes type.  It absorbs fairly well (though they keep changing the formula…) and it is not greasy.  Many of the  brands “recommended by dermatologists” actually do not absorb well and are greasy.  The choice is yours.

Another thing to remember in the winter is that washing your hands removes the natural oils, so use lotion after you wash them to avoid chapped, cracking skin.  The whole-home humidity will also help you to avoid this problem.  Also be aware that anti-bacterial soaps are severely drying to the skin, and completely unnecessary in most homes.  Stick with regular soaps and do your skin a favor.

You might also notice that when your home is properly humidified that you and your family may experience less respiratory illnesses like colds and the flu.  Proper humidity is important for your health, all-around.

If you follow the above guidelines you and your family should experience improved skin and lip health.

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Someone asked what is a healthy humidity level.  A healthy humidity level is around 50-55% in the summer, above that you risk mold.  In the winter it may be less, the EPA suggests 25-40% would be a good range, below that may be too dry.  In the summer, some people need to own dehumidifiers (especially for basements) to keep the level from getting too high.  This can cause mold which will lead to allergies and possibly other health problems, plus it can ruin your possessions and your home itself in some cases.

[Note, none of the companies mentioned in this article have provided any compensation or support and the recommendations made are made purely on personal experience.  The above article is written to provide general information,  any specific medical questions or concerns should be brought to the attention of your physician.]

 

 

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