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When talking about grilling safety, I usually think about food safety – cooking foods to safe temperatures to prevent food borne illness, proper handling before and after cooking, etc.  However, two weeks ago, I stepped out onto my patio when I noticed a large cloud of smoke in the sky. As I looked around, I watched as a home in my neighborhood went up in flames. The quickness and intensity of the fire was overwhelming.  

Luckily, no one was hurt, but the brand new home that the family had only lived in two months, was a total loss.

The cause of this fire?  Grilling in the garage!  I’ve seen people pull their grill into the garage to avoid rain drops but I don’t think anyone in our neighborhood will ever do that again. This gave a new meaning to me for the term grilling safety.

How can you protect your family from this type of loss?

The National Fire Prevention Association provides a great fact sheet with safety tips when grilling. 

Tips from them and others include: 

·         All BBQ grills should be used only outdoors.

·         The grill should not be placed near any part of the home, deck railings. Place it at least 10 feet from any structure.

·         Never grill inside a garage or carport.

·         Keep it clear of eaves and overhanging branches from nearby trees.

·         Keep the grill clean – remove grease buildup from the grills and trays below the grills.

·         Never leave your grill unattended.

·         Do not attempt to move a hot grill.  

There are also safety tips specific to the type of grill you are using. 

·         For a gas grill, check the gas tank for leaks before using it for the first time each year.

·         Always make sure the lid is open before lighting it.

·         For charcoal grills, use care when starting the coals. If using starter fluid, use only one made specifically for lighting charcoal.

·         Keep the lighter fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.

·         When you finish grilling, cool the coals completely before safely disposing of them in a metal container. 

In addition to these tips, it is a good idea to keep a spray bottle of water close and also a fire extinguisher nearby and know how to use it! A fire can grow quickly and you won’t have time to read instructions if that happens.  

I really enjoy grilling out  in the summer with family and friends. I know that I will not forget these safety tips and hope that you keep them in mind the next time you fire up your grill. 

Sources: 

Grilling Safety, National Fire Prevention Association. (2016) https://www.nfpa.org//-/media/Files/Public-Education/Resources/Safety-tip-sheets/Grilling_safety_Tips.ashx 

AgriLife Extension experts offer tips on grilling, food safety (July 2016), https://today.agrilife.org/2016/07/25/agrilife-extension-experts-offer-tips-on-grilling-food-safety/ 

Tips for summer grilling safety, (2015) http://www.dasnr.okstate.edu/news/2015/tips-for-summer-grilling-safety 

Author:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu 

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu 

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It is unfortunate that it takes a tragedy, or several, for people to start talking about an issue. With the recent celebrity suicides, one can hardly go through the day without seeing or hearing something about mental health or suicide. While these losses of life are tragic, the fact that the media and ordinary people are talking about mental health and suicide is a step in the right direction.

mental-health

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2016 suicide was the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming nearly 45,000 lives. It was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34, and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54. In the same year, there were more than twice as many suicides (44,965) in the United States as there were homicides (19,362).

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), reports that mental health conditions are often seen as the cause of suicide, but suicide is rarely caused by any single factor. In fact, many people who die by suicide are not known to have a diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death. Other problems, such as those related to relationships, substance use, physical health, and job, money, legal, or housing stress can contribute to one’s risk. Government, public health, healthcare, employers, education, the media and community organizations working together is important for preventing suicide.

The CDC suggests that states and communities can:

  • Identify and support people at risk of suicide.
  • Teach coping and problem-solving skills to help people manage challenges with their relationships, jobs, health, or other concerns.
  • Promote safe and supportive environments. This includes safely storing medications and firearms to reduce access among people at risk.
  • Offer activities that bring people together so they feel connected and not alone.
  • Connect people at risk to effective and coordinated mental and physical healthcare.
  • Expand options for temporary help for those struggling to make ends meet.
  • Prevent future risk of suicide among those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

My job involves helping to meet the needs of the people in my county and my state. Reducing the stigma related to mental health is one thing I have been promoting. I work in an area where mental health services can be few and far between and where the stigma associated with seeking treatment is still quite prevalent. Many people view mental health issues as being a weakness of character or will instead of the medical issue that it is. One of the ways I have been promoting mental health awareness is by teaching Mental Health First Aid.R

Mental Health First AidR gives you the tools and knowledge to assist someone having a mental health emergency much like regular first aid or CPR do for a medical emergency. You are not expected to diagnose or treat someone with a mental health issue; just as you would not be expected to perform surgery on someone you have given first aid. Mental Health First AidR also encourages people to pay attention to the words they use when talking about mental health issues. Since language can be very powerful, when we use nonjudgmental words, a person with a mental health issue or someone thinking about suicide is more likely to reach out for help.

If you would like more information on how you can become a mental health first aider, you can search for a course near you at: https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/take-a-course/.

 

Author: Misty Harmon, Ohio State University, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Perry County; harmon.416@osu.edu

Reviewer: Candace J. Heer, Ohio State University, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Morrow County; heer.7@osu.edu

 

Photo Credit:

https://pixabay.com/en/mental-health-wellness-psychology-2019924/

Sources:

National Institute of Mental Health (May 2018). Suicide. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide.shtml

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (June 7, 2018). Suicide rising across the U.S. https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/suicide/

National Council for Behavioral Health (2018). https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/

National Council for Behavioral Health (2018). https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/take-a-course/

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The last couple of weeks have been spent moving from a home with 20 years accumulation of “stuff” to a new home. While it has been exciting, it has also been exhausting.  I realized a few days ago that I was staying up later than usual to unpack and rearrange items and then not falling asleep when I did go to bed. My mind kept racing thinking about everything I needed – or wanted – to do the next day. The result was a tired, somewhat grumpy version of me!

Eating well and being physically active are two basic activities that we think of when we discuss being healthy.  Something that is often overlooked is the importance that a good night’s sleep plays in our overall health. Research has shown that insufficient sleep increases the risk of disorders, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, stroke and depression. It’s also associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

Most of us have heard that all adults need 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night. That generally holds true but it is important to remember that the quality of your sleep is just as, if not more, important than the quantity!  You should feel rested when you wake up in the morning. It is important to listen to your body’s biological clock which is set by the hours of daylight where you live. This should make it easier for you to stay awake during the day and sleep at night.

There will be times that you find it more difficult to fall asleep than others. If you are under stress, experiencing pain from an injury or illness, consuming excess caffeine or alcohol, you may find that falling and staying asleep are difficult. In that case, recognizing the reasons and making some adjustments to your daytime activities should help you sleep more soundly.

Some suggestions for improving your sleep:

  • Create a comfortable, calming sleep environment. This could include room darkening window coverings.
  • Avoid electronic devices in your bedroom – computers, tablets, games, etc. should be shut down before bedtime.
  • Establish a routine that you follow each evening to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Have a consistent bed time – even on the weekends.

There are small changes you can make to your daytime activities that may lead to better sleep.

  • Try to spend some time outdoors every day.
  • Exercise earlier in the day instead of later in the evening.
  • If you nap, limit yourself to 20 minutes or less.
  • Avoid both caffeine and alcohol close to your chosen bed time. Do some experimenting to find the cut off time for you – everyone will be a little different!
  • If you smoke, quit! Nicotine in cigarettes can make sleep more difficult.

If you continue to have sleep problems, it might be wise to visit your doctor to be sure you don’t have a more serious sleep disorder.

While sleep is not a guaranteed cure all for you, it doesn’t hurt anyone to establish sleep habits that help you consistently get a good night’s sleep!

 

WRITTEN BY: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

REVIEWED BY: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/10/cover-sleep.aspx

https://healthfinder.gov/healthtopics/population/men/mental-health-and-relationships/get-enough-sleep#the-basics_2

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/ask-the-doctor-right-amount-of-sleep

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Just about everyone I’ve talked to lately says how tired they are of our cold weather and that they are ready for spring.  We all look forward to the days of sunshine, warm breezes and fresh air.

We need to remember, though, that the spring season also brings the possibilities of severe weather and take some time to plan ahead to keep ourselves and our families safe.  This is Ohio’s Severe Weather Awareness Week – March 18-24, 2018 and a perfect time to remind ourselves how to keep safe.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reminds us that severe thunder storms and tornadoes are much more prevalent at this time of the year and it is important to have a safety plan in place.  Some of their suggestions include:

  • If you are inside your house or other building:
    • Identify shelter locations well before the storm hits.
    • Seek a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
    • Stay away from doors, windows, and outside walls.
    • Stay in the center of the room, and avoid corners because they attract debris.
    • Avoid auditoriums, cafeterias and gymnasiums that have flat, wide-span roofs.
  • If you are outside:
    • Try to seek shelter in a nearby building if you can.
    • Never try to outrun a tornado in your car.
    • If there is a low lying area such as a ditch nearby, you can lie down in that area and cover your head with your arms.
  • If you are in your workplace
    • It is a good idea to have a plan that everyone in the building has practiced.
    • Know who is in the office so that everyone can be accounted for before and after the storm.
  • Have an emergency contact plan for your family or coworkers. Designate one number that everyone should call to connect.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has created documents that can help us all better prepare for these severe weather occurrences.  They provide definitions to explain the difference between watches and warnings and appropriate measures to take with each level of warning.

Take the time to make a plan for your family and co-workers as we enter this time of the year when severe weather can strike at a moment’s notice.

Written by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  Natural Disasters and Severe Weather. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/tornadoes/prepared.HTML

Federal Emergency Management Agency. How to Prepare for a Tornado. (https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1409003506195-52740fd2983079a211d041f7aea6b85d/how_to_prepare_tornado_033014_508.PDF

The American Red Cross . Be Red Cross Ready.

http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4240190_Be_Red_Cross_Ready.pdf

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How did you start your day? I started mine with a visit to the dermatologist. Several months ago (you must plan at least 2-4 months in advance to see a specialist), I decided since it had been 10+ years since my first and only one, I should get an overall skin check. I called the doctor’s office. Since my insurance had changed, I had to verify the doctor was an approved provider. Sure enough he was, so long as the office bills the visit a certain way. As if trying to find a day and time that worked for the visit wasn’t hard enough, I also had to figure out how the office bills! I persisted and was able to confirm that they bill the way the insurance requires. At last, my visit was set! calendar-1763587_1280

You may be wondering why I decided I should go to the dermatologist. I admit, I have a few spots that were of slight concern, but I mainly wanted to get a complete skin check to make sure there were no suspicious areas. My grandpa and my dad both had pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions removed from the ears and the nose. I have always enjoyed being outside and I have not always been diligent about wearing sunscreen or protective clothing. I also have lots of small moles. These all put me at an increased risk for skin cancer.

Well, after meeting the new-to-me doctor, and getting my skin check, I am happy to report that I have no areas of concern. He did point out a few areas for me to be aware and to note if they start to change in color, size or shape. Overall, he confirmed what I already know. I have some spots that are most likely a combination of sun exposure and time. I need to wear sunscreen and protective clothing whenever I go outside. When I am near water, which I am as much as possible in the summer, reflective rays from the sun hit the water and bounce back up, increasing my sun exposure. I had not given much thought to this in the past, but I will definitely pay attention to it now. Overall, the visit was pleasant, informative and reassuring.sun

If you are someone who dreads going to the doctor for any reason, you may want to reconsider. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), regular health exams and tests can help find problems before they start. They can also catch issues earlier when they are easier to treat. The National Institute for Health (NIH) provides a list of screenings based on your age and gender. The list tells you what kinds of tests or exams you should have and how often. You should work with your physician(s) to decide how often you need to schedule a visit.

I know that after my experience, I will not wait 10+ years before I schedule my next appointment. I am relieved that I have no areas of concern right now. I feel empowered to take steps to care for my skin and to try to prevent further damage. I know which areas that I especially need to watch. So, if you have been putting off making an appointment for a routine visit, call your doctor’s office today. It may take several months before you can be seen.

Written by: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County.

Reviewed by: Shannon Carter, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County.

Sources:

cdc.gov/cancer/skin/

 

medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002125.htm

References:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (November 13, 2017). Skin Cancer, cdc.gov

 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. (February 6, 2018). Physical exam frequency. . U.S. National Library of Medicine, medline.gov

Photo Credit:

https://pixabay.com/en/calendar-date-month-day-week-1763587/

https://pixabay.com/en/sun-sunbeam-sky-clouds-light-1651316/

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cinnamon-stick-cinnamon-powder-spice-flavoring-47046.jpeg

Many of us today are trying to find away to lower cholesterol, lowering blood sugars, reducing arthritis pain and yes boosting our memory. If we open our cupboards looking to add flavor to our food we might just find a spice that is common in our households called Cinnamon. What does cinnamon look and taste like, and are they all the same?

Cinnamon is the brown bark of the cinnamon tree, which when dried, rolls into a tubular form known as a quill. Cinnamon is available in either its whole quill form (cinnamon sticks) or as ground powder.

Are all Cinnamon’s the same? What is the Best?

Cinnamon is one of the oldest and most popular spices, and has been used for millennia both for its flavoring and medicinal qualities. Two major types of cinnamon used Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is known as “true cinnamon”, Ceylon cinnamon is NOT the kind of cinnamon that is normally sold in the spice section at your local supermarket, Cassia is the one seen most. Cassia cinnamon contains coumarin, the parent compound of warfarin, a medication used to keep blood from clotting. Due to concerns about the possible effects of coumarin, in 2006, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment warned against consuming large amounts of cassia cinnamon.

Let’s Get Using the Cinnamon!

Studies have shown that just ½ teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon add to cereal, oatmeal, toast, tomato sauces or on an apple can have many health benefits. These are just a few ways of how you can add cinnamon to your meals. You might have your own special recipes!

Benefits of Cinnamon!

  • Lowers Cholesterol: Studies have shown may significantly lower LDL “bad” cholesterol, and triglycerides and total cholesterol.
  • Reduces blood sugar levels and treating Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Heart Disease: Reducing blood pressure.
  • Fights Cancer: A study released by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland showed that cinnamon reduced the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells. The combination of calcium and fiber found in Cinnamon can help to remove bile, which prevents damage to colon cells, thus prevents colon cancer.
  • Tooth decay and mouth freshener: Treat toothache and fight bad breath.
  • Brain Tonic: Cinnamon boosts the activity of the brain and hence acts as a good brain tonic. It helps in removing nervous tension and memory loss. Also, studies have shown that smelling cinnamon may boost cognitive function, memory, performance of certain tasks, and increases one’s alertness and concentration.
  • Reduces Arthritis Pain: Cinnamon spice contains anti-inflammatory compounds, which can be useful in reducing pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. A study conducted at Copenhagen University, where patients were given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.
  • Itching: Paste of honey and cinnamon is often used to treat insect bites.

Share with us how you enjoy cinnamon!

Resources:

https://www.webmd.com/diet/supplement-guide-cinnamon

http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/12/3215

Source: George RC, Lew J, Graves DJ. Interaction of Cinnamaldehyde and Epicatechin with Tau: Implicationsof Beneficial Effects in Modulating Alzheimer’s disease Pathogenesis. The Journal of Alzheimer’s disease. 2013.

Author: Marie Economos, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Trumbull County, economos.2@osu.edu 

Reviewer: Candace Heer, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County,  heer.7@osu.edu

 

 

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The holiday season is one of the most giving and positive times of the year. Many people have the ‘Spirit of Giving’ during this festive time. The students of Somerset Elementary School are no exception. A few of weeks ago the principal, and some of the students stopped by our office to deliver poinsettias. They were going to businesses and residences in the community to spread some positivity with the flowers and a little note. The students of Somerset Elementary; however, have been practicing positivity for a couple years. They piloted the Positivity Project for Northern Local School District last year. The district implemented the project in the other two grade schools this year due to the great results from Somerset Elementary.

The visit from the students inspired me to encourage others to be more positive. Overall, I tend to be a positive person, but positivity does not come naturally for everyone. Some people have to work harder at it, but we all can become more positive with some small changes. To become more positive, try some of these tips from the Mayo Clinic:

Identify areas to change.Positivity Project

Check yourself.

Be open to humor.

Follow a healthy lifestyle.

Surround yourself with positive people.

Practice positive self-talk.

With practice, you may be able to develop a more positive attitude and become less critical of things around you.

There are many health benefits  to having a positive outlook/attitude for you. These may include:

  • lower blood pressure
  • reduced risk for heart disease
  • healthier weight
  • better blood sugar levels
  • lower rates of depression
  • lower levels of distress
  • greater resistance to the common cold
  • better psychological and physical well-being
  • better coping skills during stressful times
  • longer life span.

One study showed that the most optimistic group of women had a nearly 30% overall reduced mortality compared to the least optimistic group.

Gratitude can also help with developing a more positive outlook/attitude. People who are more grateful tend to have a more positive demeanor. If we can continue the practice of gratitude that many people seem to have during the holiday season all year long, it may help us to become more positive overall. The week after our office received the visit and the flowers from the students, I walked over to the school to deliver a Thank You note to the principal to share with the students. I wanted to make sure that the students understand that their gesture was appreciated and acknowledged. I will be sharing this blog with the principal as well so that he can show the students how they were my inspiration for writing it. The simple gesture of positivity by them, has already spread beyond their little school and town.

When you find yourself struggling to be or to remain positive (as we all do at times), remember Winston Churchill’s famous quote that “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Sometimes just re-framing the situation can help us to see things in a more positive light.

Comment on your favorite tips to stay positive.

 

Written by:  Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension , Perry County.

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County.

Photo Credit:  Debbie Goodrich, Office Associate, Perry County OSU Extension.

Sources:

https://posproject.org/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950?pg=2

https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2015/08/positive-emotions-your-health

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2016/12/optistic-women-live-longer-are-healthier/

http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/science-of-happiness/positive-thinking/

References:

Bryan, Jeff & Erwin, Mike (2017). #OtherPeopleMatter, The Positivity Project.

Mayo Clinic Staff (February 18, 2017). Positive thinking: Stop negative self-talk to reduce stress.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) News in Health (August 2015). Positive Emotions and Your Health Developing a Brighter Outlook.

Feldscher, Karen (December 7, 2016). How power of positive thinking works, Harvard Gazette.

Mindfulness and Positive Thinking (2016). Pursuit of Happiness, Inc.

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