This Fourth of July, if you’re going to be in a place where it’s legal to set off your own fireworks, be sure to do it safely:
- Don’t carry fireworks in your pocket, or toss them at another person
- Keep pets inside on the fourth. They hate the sound of fireworks and feel safer indoors.
- If a firework malfunctions, don’t use it again. Re-lighting it could cause serious danger.
- If someone’s clothing catches fire, make them STOP, DROP and ROLL. Then call 911.
- Never use homemade fireworks or purchase unlabeled devices.
Source: National Council on Fireworks Safety
Living with Myasthenia Gravis
Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune disorder that causes a defect in the transmission of nerve impulses to the muscles. Usually the first symptoms include weakness of the eye muscles (often droopy eyelids), difficulty swallowing, double vision or slurred speech. For most people with MG, the weakness increases with activity and decreases after rest.
Current numbers indicate that MG affects about 36,000 Americans, but some researchers believe that MG is under-diagnosed and that it probably affects a greater number of people.
There’s currently no known cure for MG, but there are several treatment options. In some cases, people with MG go into remission for long periods of time and are able to go off their medications and stay off unless symptoms return.
If you have MG, or you have loved one who has the condition, be sure to get in touch with your local chapter of the Myasthenia Gravis Organization of America (http://www.myasthenia.org/chapters/mgfchap1.htm). These organizations can help keep you informed about the latest MG research, get you in touch with other people near you who have MG and help you learn to manage your MG in a way that allows you to have a productive life.
Source: Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America; National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Living with Scleroderma
You may not hear about scleroderma that often, but 300,000 Americans have it. It’s an autoimmune disease that affects the body’s connective tissue. For some people, scleroderma can affect the body all over, in the skin, esophagus, intestines, lung, kidneys, heart, muscles and joints. Other people have a less severe form of the disease. They’re usually affected in a few places on the skin or in the muscles.
If you have scleroderma, you might find it extremely helpful to get connected with your local chapter of the Scleroderma Foundation. You can be in touch with other people who have the condition, find out about the latest scleroderma research and medications and get good information about living day-to-day with this disease.
Click here to find your local chapter of the Scleroderma Foundation
Source: The Scleroderma Foundation
Reduce Your Cataract Risk
You might think that cataracts of the eye are found only in people in their sixties or older. But cataracts can develop in people who are 40 or 50. In a lot of these earlier cases, the cataracts are small and don’t affect vision.
Over time, the cataract may grow and cloud vision. That’s when you’re most likely to need to have it removed.
Researchers don’t know for sure what causes cataracts, but they think that smoking can increase the risk, as can diabetes. Some research also indicates that frequent exposure to the sun can also increase the risk, which is why it’s important to wear sunglasses that have UV protection.
Source: The National Eye Institute
Fireworks a Toxic Noise?
Did you know you have “sensory hair cells” in your ears? There are about 30,000 of them. You have all of them at birth, and you’ll never make any more after that. Hair cells transform vibrations into electrical signals. The signals go to the auditory nerve and then to the brain. The brain then interprets them into the sounds that you hear.
Hair cells are fragile. Exposure to loud noise can damage them permanently. About 28 million people in the U.S. have hearing loss. Ten million of these cases are due, at least partially, to damage from loud noise.
Ear plugs are a good defense against loud noises. Take them along this summer when you go to fireworks and concerts.
Source: Deafness Research Foundation.