The world lost an outstanding man this week. There were no skeletons in his closet and nothing but love in his heart. Dr. Billy Graham, we thank you for showing us what true integrity and devotion are all about.
Mr. Yuk. Do your kids recognize him? Do they understand he's bad and yucky and something to stay away from? Millions of children are exposed to poisons every year. It's up to us as parents and grandparents to protect these little ones from becoming yet another statistic. Here are some tips on preventing poisonings from happening at home:
Read and follow instructions on drug labels! Do not share prescribed medications with others. Don't mix medications unless your doctor instructs you to do so. If someone in your family has an adverse reaction to a drug, seek medical help immediately.
This should go without saying, but keep all medications and vitamins out of your children's reach. Seriously. Keep them in child-resistant bottles and, if possible, in a locked cabinet. Make sure you keep your purse out of reach if you carry meds with you.
Post the phone number the poison control center in a place everyone can see it. 1-800-222-1222
Talk to your kids about the importance of not touching certain products in your home. Green, non-toxic products naturally make your home a safer place, but warn them about the following: pesticides, furniture polish, mouthwash, weed killers (none of you would ever use Roundup, right??), paint remover, moth balls (again, you certainly don't have any of those in your house, do you?), fertilizer, cleaning liquids and powders, antifreeze, detergents -- yes, including Tide Pods -- gasoline, drain cleaners, hair products, and cosmetics.
Keep certain plants out of your yard. Holly, rhododendrons, and geraniums are poisonous if consumed.
If, God forbid, someone has been poisoned, it's important that you remain calm. Call the poison control hotline right away. 1-800-222-1222. They will ask for the name and age of the patient, your name and phone number, the name of the product and its ingredients, the amount of poison involved, the time this happened, and the victim's symptoms.
If they tell you to go the hospital, head out the door as quickly as possible and take the original container that housed the poison.
If the victim swallowed poison, do not give them anything by mouth until you call for advice.
If the poison was inhaled, immediately move the person into fresh air. Avoid breathing fumes. Open all doors and windows. If the victim is not breathing, start artificial respiration.
Poison in the eye requires a lukewarm (not hot) flushing of the eye poured out from a large glass 2 to 3 inches from the eye. Do this every 15 minutes and instruct the patient to blink as much as possible during the flushing. Note: do not force the eyelid open!
When skin has been exposed to a toxic substance, remove all contaminated clothing and flood the skin with water for 10 minutes. Follow with mild soap and water and rinse thoroughly.
Always keep a 1 oz. bottle of syrup of ipecac on hand in case you are instructed to use it by the poison control center or physician.
There are a lot of memes and jokes circulating about the whole Tide Pod Challenge -- teens and young adults purposefully poisoning themselves. But the fact is: it's not funny. The real challenge is keeping our families safe. It just takes some extra effort.
Every once in awhile, it's good to revive Vinegar Fridays, don't you think? I just wanted to remind you of some of my favorite winter tips in my book. With the cold winter weather, a lot of us end up with dry skin. Here are two tips that may help, starting with your feet. Add 1/2 cup of ACV (apple cider vinegar) to a foot bath filled with warm water. Soak for 5 minutes or so. The result is baby soft feet. *Of course, if you have extremely rough skin on the bottom of your feet, the results will not be the same. Up until a few months ago, the ACV foot soak was all I needed to keep my feet soft. And then it happened... maybe it's age; maybe it's my diabetes, but I need to be more proactive in the care of my feet these days. Moving up a bit, or a whole lot, actually, here's a remedy for dry skin on your face. This one is divine... really. It's called Martha Washington's Vinegar Facial Mask and is found on page 25 of my book, VINEGAR FRIDAYS (you can buy it here). Mix up the following ingredients: 1 egg 1 teaspoon honey 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar Apply the mask to your face and relax for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat dry. Better watch out, though -- people might look at your radiant complexion and start assuming you're pregnant! Now let's talk cars -- I hate when I use my window washer fluid and the wipers are so dirty from winter grime that they just spread a mess across my line of vision. Wiping them down with a soft cloth soaked in undiluted DWV (distilled white vinegar) will help stay squeaky clean. You can keep a damp vinegar cloth in a wet bag in your car for on-the-road assistance. If you're still trying to shed those extra holiday pounds, you might want to check out Chapter 9 in my book: The F-word. I gleaned some goodies from Dr. Ann Louise, otherwise known as the "First Lady of Nutrition." In this chapter, I discuss how ACV is effective at burning fat, whittling the waist, jump-starting your metabolism, shedding cellulite, and, as a bonus, it detoxifies as well! Grab a copy of the book and find out how! Keeping it green, soft, clean, and healthy with vinegar,
Fair trade is a pretty broad topic. So let's narrow it down. Let's talk coffee. We all love it, right? Well, most of us do. Mornings wouldn't be the same without it. But did you know that with each cup you pour, there just might be a child somewhere enslaved and working in terrible conditions in order to get that coffee to you? Unless, of course, you're brewing fair trade coffee. That's why it's a big deal. Fair trade ensures that child labor is not part of the production process. Adults work in safe conditions. Producers respect the environment. And farmers are able to sustain their families year-round. The usual "thin months" when coffee is not being harvested are balanced out through fair trade organizations, such as Lutheran World Relief. This helps to break the usual cycle of debt coffee farmers often experience. That's why it's a big deal.
It was Quakers during the 1800s who first saw the need for fair trade. At that time, it was about artisan goods rather than coffee, tea, and food products. Fair trade was originally viewed as charity and the purpose was to help people rise above poverty. Today, its purpose is broader, as it helps workers succeed in their jobs and makes it possible for children to receive an education. That's why it's a big deal. I like what Brandi Monroe-Payton had to say. She was the engagement manager for Lutheran World Relief when she said, "As Christians, we're called to help one another, especially those who face extreme poverty or don't have enough income to support their families. Especially if people are already drinking coffee or eating chocolate, why not make it fair trade, so you can help someone out?" Why not, indeed. So the next time you're out shopping, toss a bag of fair trade coffee into your cart. Better yet, make sure it's labeled fair trade and organic. After all, conventional coffee farmers traditionally spray a lot of crap on their crops. Fair trade farmers might do the same, so play it safe and choose fair trade and organic. Having trouble finding fair trade coffee? Check out small shops, like The Shepherd's Door in Bellevue, Pennsylvania. Or browse through the food aisles at stores like Marshall's and TJMaxx. There always seems to be a variety of specialty coffees scattered about. Trader Joe's always has some in stock. If you any shops in your neighborhood with good fair trade coffee, share the name of the shop and any links in the comments below. If each of us did our part, the world would be a better place for families across the globe. Let's do this, folks! Let's make a difference. After all, it is a big deal.