Don’t drop the ball: Resolve to be ready in 2011

This year brought the Gulf oil spill, a pandemic flu outbreak, earthquakes, record-breaking winter storms and a halt to air travel in Europe because of volcanic ash. If anything, these events underscore that emergencies will happen. But you can help your family make a New Year’s resolution they can keep by resolving to be ready in 2011.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has tools and resources to help prepare your family, workplace, school and community for emergencies and disasters. Tools are available in both English and Spanish and include everything from online widgets and logos to printable toolkits.

The FEMA campaign focuses on three simple steps:
Get a kit. Whether it’s for your home, office or car, emergency kits are the best way to be prepared in case of emergencies or disasters. Visit FEMA’s Ready.gov website for an emergency supply kit checklist. APHA’s Get Ready campaign also offers a stockpile checklist in English (PDF) and Spanish (PDF).

Make a plan. Take some time this holiday season to talk with your family and loved ones about creating an emergency preparedness plan. Things to consider when creating your plan include emergency contact information, communication plan and meeting locations. Print out your own family emergency plan by visiting the Ad Council’s website.

Be informed. Learn more about the potential emergencies in your area and how to prepare for them. And remember, not all emergencies are due to weather: Protect your family and community from potential disease outbreaks by keeping up with your vaccinations.
Taking simple steps in your home, workplace and community can make a big difference in your safety in times of emergencies. Disasters can happen anytime, anywhere so this year, give the gift of preparedness and resolve to be ready!

Happy New Year!

Questions to my MPP - June 2006

No response was ever received. The office worker tried to resolve a few issues, but in the end, was not successful. I had to do without and basically wait for the AODA to change everything.

The Ontario Government says it is getting better and keeps touting the new AODA, but I see accessibility as staying the same or getting slightly worse.

Human Rights
  • Why aren’t inspections being done and business licenses withheld from those who are in contravention of the act?

  • Why is Human Rights having to intervene in the cases where the service or product is administered publicly? ie Kingston transit. They know it is not lawful to refuse a wheelchair on their accessible city buses, yet they’ve been doing it.

  • This discrimination happens because they know that the only remedy is for an individual to file a complaint and go through the long, slow, and often intimidating process of going through Human Rights.

  • I find human rights overwhelming despite my level of education and being lucky enough to learn through a forum that I could get a lawyer. Human Rights told me I couldn’t unless I could afford to pay for one on my own. I finally fired the lawyer because he did very little research and he was never able to meet with me or understand that I had no transportation to get to his office on short notice. If he is an example of the caliber of lawyers we’re get when we take a case to human rights, I don’t need it. I am limited in my ability to get out and do research and investigating, but my lawyer was doing even less.
Taxi’s - is any consideration being made about making it mandatory to offer accessible vehicles in order to renew a taxi license? If not, why?

AAC - I want to be part of that committee, but transportation limits me from being able to attend the meetings. Applications weren’t replied to either.

Vehicle Modification - Why can’t people get funding approval to modify vehicles if they live in a community with Access Bus? I am told I can’t, yet I know many who can. The only person I know who can authorize this is the person who refused to help me buy a usable power chair. Transportation is standing in the way of my getting a job so a vehicle would be a huge help.

ADP - Supposedly ADP no longer funds demonstrator’s for suppliers to allow people to try their chair before they buy. I ended up with a useless one because I had to pick it off the shop room floor.

ODSP - no coverage to pay for a rental when a power wheelchair is broken. I was told I would have to do without for 6 months while I waited for the funding approval to replace it.

Renting Power Wheelchairs - My old power chair was fixed despite me telling ODSP and the medical supplier not to fix it because there were too many other things wrong. The $2,000 wheel lasted about 1 month, or 10 kms.

ODSP funds and lack of guidelines - Confusion and lack of clear-cut guidelines on what funding exists and how to go about applying. I know what to do, but a lot of my peers don’t.

Reporting rules between subsidized housing and ODSP - The rules between ODSP and Housing are different as far as reporting income and I find it rather confusing. I have never received anything in writing from housing and I can’t seem to get their formula and rules for calculating rent when, and if, I ever manage to find a job and can start working.

Food Allowance - Anti-poverty coalition and the doctor’s signing those medicals… they weren’t penalized, but the people on disability were. Why?

Grants and funding - Need a brochure that gives more clear cut knowledge about what is available.

Please read my other Blogs:
Transit: http://wheelchairdemon-transit.blogspot.com
Health: http://wheelchairdemon-health.blogspot.com

Why Increase Infrastructure When There is Nowhere to Go?

I just finished reading through all the accessibility reports for the City of Kingston, from 2003 to the present and, as I did so, I tried to figure out why I am so frustrated. To me, it feels like I am losing accessibility, not gaining it.

It took me awhile to clue in, but then it hit me. There is lots of work being done to build infrastructure, but the accessibility of stores and services has gone down, the social and recreational programs are gone, and the accessible taxi's are gone. I no longer can take part in many things locally because the city has been approving major renovations and site plans for public buildings, even though they lack in accessibility. The city says they can't prevent it by law.

It now leaves me wondering what is the point of Kingston building better sidewalks and trying to improve access to public transportation, if there is nowhere for wheelchair users to go?

Even the number of opportunities to take part in a social or recreational activity has gone down.

If you are a senior, youth, or you have a specific type of disability for which there are programs, you are okay. But if your disability is one that doesn’t fit their mould, then you have nothing.

When I first started using a wheelchair there were lots of things to take part in. Why did it exist then and not now? Well, I was still caught up in the psychiatric system; the very one that gave me so much medication that it caused permanent nerve damage to my legs and I had to start using a wheelchair. The psychiatric system has social and recreational programs, programs for job skills development, and even opportunities to volunteer.

However, about 5 years after I started using the wheelchair, I managed to fight my way off all the heavy medications that I had been taking since the age of 10, and it was then, that a miracle happened. All the symptoms of a mental illness vanished. My brain woke up and I became enthusiastic about the idea of going to work. I signed up for the ODSP Employment Supports Program, they ordered some psychological and capacity assessment testing, and I passed it all with flying colours. The results showed no sign of a bipolar disorder or personality disorder. It also have a healthy adaptive approach to dealing with chronic pain.

I was so ecstatic that I shared the results with everyone. Big Mistake. When I shared the good news, my mental health supports were immediately cut off. The worker actually stood up from my couch when she was there for a home visit and said, no mental illness, no service. She then left the room. That was in 2004.

I was thrilled to finally be out of ‘the system’, but then I realized how much I would lose. I had no home supports to help me with the limitations of the wheelchair because I was never given rehab, and because I could get dressed and bathed independently, I couldn’t qualify for a homemaker or attendant care services. The mental health services had been helping me with some things like shopping, and doing some of the basic tasks of daily living, but I lost this support when the service was cut off. I also found I could no longer take part in their social, recreational, and vocational training activities. I was suddenly left completely and totally alone with no help to even compensate for the wheelchair and the number of barriers that exist in my community.

At one point, Independent Living offered peer support, had a consumer driven newsletter, and had other brain-stimulating and exciting things to do, but due to funding cutbacks, the programs I was interested in, were stopped.

Another group, the Kingston Kestrels, a sports club for the disabled, was also discontinued due to funding cutbacks and the difficulty the participants had in getting the Access Bus.

For places to shop, we used to have wheelchair accessible shopping Downtown, in the Kingston Centre, the Frontenac Mall, and the Cataraqui Towne Centre. Now the Kingston Centre and Frontenac Mall are gone, as are the 3 department stores and other shopping options and welcoming restaurants that used to exist downtown.

Even the grocery store that used to exist around the corner from me until about 2 years ago, is gone.

This wouldn’t be so bad, I suppose, if the grocery stores still offered a shop and deliver service, but even that is gone. Meals on Wheels will only deliver to those who can be home for several hours around noon to receive it, the food bank and Good Food Box will only give food to those who can get to them to pick it up, and even some medical suppliers and drug stores, will no longer deliver for free.

I understand the need to charge for delivery, but when your only source of income is ODSP and you can’t get a job, then you can’t afford to pay the $5 delivery charge. Besides, who wants to stay home for half a day, or a full day (depending on the delivery service) to receive it? My apartment building does not have a superintendent so if I go out, it is impossible to receive a delivery. This was especially challenging when I was working full-time for 18 months.

What remains now, are a few recreational activities that can be accessed by adults who use wheelchairs such as Able Sail, the dinner club, Revved Up, and programs offered by the CPA (Canadian Paraplegic Association). The catch is, if you can't get there on the Access Bus because there is a waiting list, or you can't afford to pay for it because your only source of income is ODSP, then you have no choice but to do without.

If one wants to watch a movie and experience its full benefit, then one cannot go to the Cineplex theatre. Wheelchair users must sit so close to the screen that they can't see it, or they get a sensory overload from sitting too close, and some have to leave because it makes them feel sick.

At the Capital Theatre one must sit where the Emergency Light must be always on. This means it is harder to see the screen.

The Screening Room, which offers some marvellous upstart movies at an affordable price, is not wheelchair accessible.

To exercise at the 2 City-owned properties; the Invista Centre and Artillery Park, one must be able to exercise fully on their own, and they cannot use a lot of the equipment. Once more, there is no opportunity to participate in a group exercise program because they are unwilling to modify some of the inclusive ones, and the senior programs are too mundane.

If one wants to swim, then the YMCA is the place to go for a swimming pool. It is not the place to go if one wants to get showered and dressed independently and without help later on. The female change rooms are not accessible, the family change room is partially accessible, but has no privacy for the shower, and the new ‘disabled’ change room is useless for an adult who uses a wheelchair and has to change on their own.

My question is, why would the YMCA add a big huge extension and make both pools wheelchair accessible, but then not think to build an accessible change room from scratch into the new addition that was built about 4 years ago? It doesn’t make sense.

Moving on, look at the cost of Goodlife Fitness, Mademoiselle, and a few other places. Then look at their level of access. There are no discounts for one who can only use a fraction of what they have to offer.

For sports and recreation we have Able Sail and Sledge Hockey. I’m a female who is too old to play sledge hockey and Able Sail costs too much money for one whose sole source of income is ODSP.

There is no funding for education and, if you try to get work or a volunteer job, you are either expected to be “equal” (do the same tasks as the other employees including lifting) or able to afford to pay for the Access Bus to give your skills away.

A few places will reimburse volunteers for parking, but they will not give the same amount to those who went there by bus.

That’s why, when the City of Kingston offered the Municipal Recreation and Transportation Subsidy, I got really mad. With no fully accessible and inclusive location to exercise at, and the expectation that I pay for transit to do a volunteer job, it infuriated me that the City did not think of the Access Bus users when they created this subsidy.

Considering there is a Human Rights Code and the AODA (Accessibility for Ontarian's With Disabilities Act) was designed to ensure that all Ontarian's will have the right to access all goods and services in Ontario, one has to wonder why this travesty is allowed to exist?

To confirm the absence of choice and the reason why I am beefing, I challenge you to go to: http://kingston.cioc.ca/ and, in the search bar type “Disability”

Please read my other Blogs:
Transit: http://wheelchairdemon-transit.blogspot.com
Health: http://wheelchairdemon-health.blogspot.com

Nostalgic Christmas

Nostalgic Christmas

Three tips to save health care firms big bucks

Health care providers don’t anticipate the reimbursement rates they get from insurance companies or the federal government to take a giant leap any time soon.

So they’re looking to collect every dollar they’re entitled to under current contracts.

And Bob Stevens, CEO of Crescent Springs-based Bottom Line Systems, is helping them. His company looks for cases where providers have been underpaid.

Bottom Line Systems collected more than $70 million in additional reimbursement for clients over the last year.

The 14-year-old company has 200 employees and serves clients, including hospitals, physician practices and infusion companies, in 20 states. It’s recently been growing revenue by 10 percent to 20 percent per year.

Stevens, who also is a partner in the Crestview Hills-based law firm Dressman Benzinger LaVelle, offers several tips for providers seeking to maximize their revenue in the new year:

• Review contracts carefully. Nearly every dollar that passes through a hospital is covered by a contract or a regulatory system. Knowing the fine print in every agreement is the only way providers can know whether they’re being reimbursed properly.

• Test every payment. Nowadays, periodic audits and sampling are not enough, Stevens said. “There’s so much complexity and opportunity that when you go ahead and review all the claims, the payoff is more than worth the effort.”

• Don’t be afraid to seek outside help. Stevens’ firm operates almost entirely on a contingency basis. “We’re at risk, so I wouldn’t be doing the review if I didn’t think it was worth it,” he said.

A typical hospital, Stevens said, can increase its net revenue between 1 percent and 3 percent by implementing such a review process.

Christmas Time

Christmas Time
Christmas Time

6 cancer-fighting superfoods

Broccoli
All cruciferous veggies (think cauliflower, cabbage, kale) contain cancer-fighting properties, but broccoli is the only one with a sizable amount of sulforaphane, a particularly potent compound that boosts the body's protective enzymes and flushes out cancer-causing chemicals, says Jed Fahey, ScD. A recent University of Michigan study on mice found that sulforaphane also targets cancer stem cells—those that aid in tumor growth.

Helps fight: breast, liver, lung, prostate, skin, stomach, and bladder cancers

Your Rx: The more broccoli, the better, research suggests—so add it wherever you can, from salads to omelets to the top of your pizza.

Berries
All berries are packed with cancer-fighting phytonutrients. But black raspberries, in particular, contain very high concentrations of phytochemicals called anthocyanins, which slow down the growth of premalignant cells and keep new blood vessels from forming (and potentially feeding a cancerous tumor), according to Gary D. Stoner, PhD, a professor of internal medicine at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Helps fight: colon, esophageal, oral, and skin cancers

Your Rx: Stoner uses a concentrated berry powder in his studies but says a half-cup serving of berries a day may help your health, too.

Tomatoes
This juicy fruit is the best dietary source of lycopene, a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red hue, Béliveau says. And that's good news, because lycopene was found to stop endometrial cancer cell growth in a study inNutrition and Cancer. Endometrial cancer causes nearly 8,000 deaths a year.

Helps fight: endometrial, lung, prostate, and stomach cancers

Your Rx: The biggest benefits come from cooked tomatoes (think pasta sauce!), since the heating process increases the amount of lycopene your body is able to absorb.

Walnuts
Their phytosterols (cholesterol-like molecules found in plants) have been shown to block estrogen receptors in breast cancer cells, possibly slowing the cells' growth, says Elaine Hardman, PhD, associate professor at Marshall University School of Medicine in Huntington, West Virginia.

Helps fight: breast and prostate cancers

Your Rx: Munching on an ounce of walnuts a day may yield the best benefits, Hardman's research found.

Garlic
Phytochemicals in garlic have been found to halt the formation of nitrosamines, carcinogens formed in the stomach (and in the intestines, in certain conditions) when you consume nitrates, a common food preservative, Béliveau says. In fact, the Iowa Women's Health Study found that women with the highest amounts of garlic in their diets had a 50 percent lower risk of certain colon cancers than women who ate the least.

Helps fight: breast, colon, esophageal, and stomach cancers

Your Rx: Chop a clove of fresh, crushed garlic (crushing helps release beneficial enzymes), and sprinkle it into that lycopene-rich tomato sauce while it simmers.

Beans
A study out of Michigan State University found that black and navy beans significantly reduced colon cancer incidence in rats, in part because a diet rich in the legumes increased levels of the fatty acid butyrate, which in high concentrations has protective effects against cancer growth. Another study, in the journal Crop Science, found dried beans particularly effective in preventing breast cancer in rats.

Helps fight: breast and colon cancers

Your Rx: Add a serving—a half-cup—of legumes a few times a week (either from a can or dry beans that've been soaked and cooked) to your usual rotation of greens or other veggies.

Five tips to start fresh in the new year

New Year's resolutions have become as synonymous with failure as with self-improvement. According to a survey conducted by LIVESTRONG.COM, 76 percent of people who made a 'weight loss' resolution say they have not been successful at keeping the weight off. Resolutions revolving around getting fit can seem daunting without the proper guidance for seeing them through. LIVESTRONG.COM has a list of five small changes to help accomplish fitness and nutritional goals for the New Year.

1. Clear Out That Kitchen
Toss high-calorie, high-fat foods and abstain from buying similar products. The purge will spur an instant sense of accomplishment and make it easier to maintain a healthy plan. You should dispose of all tempting foods, including sugary cereals, cake and cookie mixes, candy, ice cream and fried items.

2. Plan Your Meals
Use cookbooks or online resources focused on healthy recipes to map out days and weeks of nutritious food. Selecting healthy options that taste good and are tailored to fit your preferences will prevent you from nibbling on the bad stuff.

3. Go Local and Go Green
Organic and locally grown food items are often tastier and more satisfying than their conventional counterparts. Shop your local farmers markets or health-food stores to find these items. When you return from shopping, immediately wash and prepare the produce so it is ready to eat when you are hungry.

4. Use Available Resources
Sign up and follow fitness and nutrition platforms online as an easy go-to resource for questions and additional information. LIVESTRONG.COM's MyPlate is a great tool for tracking your food intake and fitness routine with over 625,000 food items and 2,000 fitness activities.

5. Set a Fitness Goal
Assess your previous physical activity in the past year and set a realistic goal to gradually improve fitness. Get a workout partner to help you stay motivated, and don't forget to track your progress!
LIVESTRONG.COM offers nutrition and fitness information for lifelong health and wellness. LIVESTRONG.COM's practical tools, expert resources and engaged community provide support to help you achieve your healthy living goals. At LIVESTRONG.COM, small, daily changes lead to big results and lifelong success stories.

Decision Points: Review

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Lengthy, well written and scathing.



‘Damn right,’ I said

Eliot Weinberger

In the late 1960s, George Bush Jr was at Yale, branding the asses of pledges to the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity with a hot coathanger. Michel Foucault was at the Societé française de philosophie, considering the question, ‘What is an author?’

The two, needless to say, never met. Foucault may have visited Texas on one of his lecture tours, but Junior, as far as it is known, never took his S&M revelry beyond the Ivy League – novelists will have to invent a chance encounter in a basement club in Austin. Moreover, Junior’s general ignorance of all things, except for professional sports, naturally extended to the nation known as France. On his first trip to Paris in 2002, Junior, now president of the United States, stood beside Jacques Chirac at a press conference and said: ‘He’s always saying that the food here is fantastic and I’m going to give him a chance to show me tonight.’

Foucault found his theories embodied, sometimes unconvincingly, in writers such as Proust or Flaubert. He died in 1984, while Junior was still an ageing frat boy, and didn’t live to see this far more applicable text. For the questions that he, even then, declared hopelessly obsolete are the very ones that should not be asked about Decision Points ‘by’ George W. Bush (or by ‘George W. Bush’): ‘Who really spoke? Is it really he and not someone else? With what authenticity or originality? And what part of his deepest self did he express in his discourse?’
Decision Points holds the same relation to George W. Bush as a line of fashion accessories or a perfume does to the movie star that bears its name...... More London Review

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Emotional Abuse of Workers vs. Those Who are Disabled

The sad part about disability and/or the poverty story is that there are often times when we were led into the poverty trap due to circumstances beyond our control. It could be a family break-up, the illness of a family member, alcoholism or addiction of a family member, attitudes of family and or society, or a whole host of other things. It’s too bad society insists on judging the person and not the circumstances that led that person to where they are today. Often, the circumstances are those of a tragedy, not that of laziness.

There is a word, more like words for how society and, in some cases, our families respond to it. It's called emotional abuse and bullying.

Statements are made that are not based on fact and it can lead to oppression.

The one that blew my mind is the new signs I see posted up in the rehab hospital.

I'll give you the wording of one, and then ask you to think about your own situation as a poor person who lives on ODSP? The similarities are shocking.
Workplace bullying - sometimes it's physical, sometimes it isn't. . .
  • Social isolation (silent treatment)
  • Rumours
  • Personal attack on your private life
  • Excessive or unjustified criticism
  • Over-monitoring of work
  • Verbal aggression
  • Withholding job responsibility
  • Trivial fault finding
  • Replacing proper work with demeaning jobs
  • Setting unrealistic goals or deadlines
You can report these in confidence to your employer

Let's work together to make our workplace safe and respectful. Ontario Safety Association for Community & Healthcare. www.osach.ca
Now let’s break this down and do a comparative analysis between an employee and a person who has a disability and is forced to live on ODSP:
  • Social isolation - √ - we can't afford to take part in things because we are on ODSP

  • Rumours - √ - the auditor general and the media cite evidence of abuse. They then tighten up the rules. No stats to prove the abuse exists, is required. Nor can it be produced.

  • Personal attack on your private life - √ - this happens every time ODSP asks us to be accountable.

    Why is it any of their business how I spend my money from a settlement; one that was awarded for pain and suffering? The rules were followed exactly, yet still they are harassing me.

    Why can ODSP doubt the existence of a health condition or disability when the doctor says it exists?

  • Excessive and unjustified criticism - √ - this can apply to all the times ODSP asks us to prove ourselves, the media reports that we cheat the system - have too many riches, should get a job, or whatever.

  • Over-monitoring of work - √ - but this is not ODSP. This happens in the workplace.

  • Verbal aggression - n/a to this discussion

  • Withholding job responsibility - √ - employment supports does not promote people with disabilities getting jobs that are career oriented and will give the person a chance to earn more than minimum wage. The job responsibilities are withheld because it is recognized that we have limited educational or work experience background.

  • Trivial fault finding - √- "you didn't provide the right document" (even though they may have lost it or left it sitting on their desk), "your income is cut off" (for not being accountable - even though we may have been totally honest and provided the correct documents. Alternatively, we are doubted if the reason we didn't claim income is because we didn't work that month).... and the best one of all - you have paid back all the money you owe (when you returned a cheque they sent you in error).

  • Replacing proper work with demeaning jobs - √ (see above)

  • Setting unrealistic goals or deadlines - √ - in some cases it is unrealistic to expect people to work due to issues related to their disabilities.

    Those who do go through employment supports, may take longer to achieve their goals because of barriers or limits related to their disability.

    For ODSP to close a file because we weren't fast enough to get the full-time, or part-time job, is unrealistic.
If you read the various info sheets on emotional abuse, you will see people with disabilities often are subjected to that as well.

Any policy that requires one to fend for oneself irregardless of their disability which prevents them from doing it the same way a non-disabled adult can do, is abuse. We are not super-human. Therefore the limits of our disability must be taken into account.

For example, the government stopped funding for Physio and Occupational Therapy. At first, the programs continued to exist in the hospitals. Now cost cutting measures have made the programs unreachable. If one is on ODSP and can't afford to pay for this type of health care, then we will become more disabled and be forced to do without a replacement of a mobility device.

If barriers to our disabilities prevent us from taking part in mainstream life, and ODSP is keeping our income low with the idea that it may force us to work, we must do without (if we can't work) or work and watch ODSP and Subsidized Housing take more than half of the extra earnings away. This too is abuse; it is emotional abuse.

If you have a disability that requires you to depend on a home care worker and you have play by the agency's rules (i.e. give up part of your life so you can be home to receive their service at a time that is convenient to them), then it's abuse.

If the workers chew you out for never being home when they want you to be there (because you were out enjoying your life), then it is abuse.

If the agency says the workers have a right to enjoy family life at home so they won't send you a worker in early morning or late evening so they can accommodate your desire to go out for the day, then it is abuse. By citing the excuse that the workers have a right to a family life, they are saying indirectly that people with disabilities do not; that we must accommodate the rights of the service providers.

If a home-health-care agency denies adequate home supports, to someone whose family won't provide for it either, then it is abuse.

FYI the policy of the CCAC (Community Care Access Centre) is to provide home visits once a week to those who need personal care. The test for determining this is to ask if a client can take a bath or dress independently. If the answer is yes, then they are deemed to not need the service. It doesn't matter that the person may not be able to do the cleaning or cooking because the disability, or a barrier, prevents them from doing so.

Without the support of the CCAC, the person with the disability would either have to do without and learn to accept the mounting dirt and hunger that they feel, or they will have to hire someone else to do the job. Try doing that on ODSP. It doesn't provide for this type of added expense.

If the home health care agency adopts a policy whereby they will no longer physically help a person transfer into bed; they require them to buy a piece of expensive equipment that ODSP will not pay for instead, it is abuse. It is even worse when one can normally transfer into bed independently, but because of minor surgery, they can't. To tell one to sleep in their wheelchair because they do not own the equipment is abuse. I had to do this once.

As an aside, apparently the agency no longer trains the employees to physically assist with transfer. Heaven help the client if we happen to get another ice storm or something that knocks out the power for several days.

If the home health care supporters spill in our oven and are not allowed to clean it because they can't do heavy cleaning or be exposed to heavy chemicals, then it is abuse to expect the disabled client to clean up after them, or hire someone to do it.

If a worker breaks something because they were careless and the employer protects the worker with the excuse that they're human and are entitled to make some 'mistakes' and, we the client are not allowed to be assigned another worker because the agency says we are being too picky, then it is abuse. The agency must have a willingness to acknowledge that, when a client complains about a worker being clumsy, that they have a legitimate beef and should not have to pay for the mistakes of their workers. ODSP does not pay to replace things either

By translation, this line that protects the workers is saying that they are human (have more rights) than we do. This is emotional abuse.

If you ask your family for support, and they say it is obviously not needed because the home-health care providers are not providing it, then you have to do without. This too, is abuse.

If you need a mobility device, and you don't meet the criteria for ADP (the Assistive Devices Program) because the time is too soon or you can't get an Occupational Therapist to prescribe it, you must do without. This too, is abuse. I would like to see one of these decision makers do without their legs or the support if they ever break their leg or lose their ability.

If you buy your mobility device while you were working, lose your job, and then it breaks down, ODSP will not pay to repair it. Why? Because it was not purchased through the other government program. You do without or learn how to fix it yourself.

All these are examples of emotional abuse, and indeed, neglect, on the part of our government.

I'm sure there are tons of other examples as well; ones that are relevant to other kinds of disabilities, but for now I have stuck with what I know; the limits of using a wheelchair.

These untold stories of what goes on behind the scenes don't get out to the general public, so here's hoping this Blog will help.

Until word gets out, the emotional abuse and bullying from family, friends, the government, and service providers, will continue. Please speak to your MPP and help us to right this wrong.

Please read my other Blogs:
Transit: http://wheelchairdemon-transit.blogspot.com
Health: http://wheelchairdemon-health.blogspot.com

Red Christmas

Christmas Goose (acufactum)

New Hybrid, Precision Heart Procedures to Help Stop Deadly Arrhythmias

New techniques now being used at UCLA allow doctors to more precisely target certain areas of the heart to stop ventricular arrhythmias -- serious abnormal rhythms in the heart's lower chambers -- in high-risk patients.

Generally, arrhythmias can be controlled by medications, and sometimes defibrillators. But a potentially life-threatening, recurrent arrhythmia known as a ventricular tachycardia, which originates in one of the heart's two ventricles, can produce a fast heart beat that requires other interventions, such as catheter ablation, in which the precise focus area of the arrhythmia must be controlled.

Cardiologists will often use catheter ablation once medications and other therapies have failed. The procedure involves the insertion of a tiny, metal-tipped catheter through a vein in the groin or neck to reach the inside of the heart. Prior to the procedure, electrical tests are conducted on the heart to identify and map the exact site of the arrhythmia's origin.

While ablation is usually performed inside the heart, in about 15 to 30 percent of patients with dangerous ventricular tachycardias, the site responsible for the abnormal rhythm is on the heart's outer surface. Normally, this can be addressed by an ablation procedure, performed in a cardiac catheterization lab, in which doctors thread a wire with a metal-tipped catheter inside the body, under the ribcage, to apply heat or cold to the area of the heart's ventricle that is producing the arrhythmia, stopping it.

However, in high-risk patients who have scarring from previous heart surgeries, it is difficult to reach the outside of the heart. To tackle this problem, a team at UCLA has devised a hybrid approach combining catheter ablation with minimally invasive surgical techniques.

"UCLA is at the forefront of developing and using new techniques and approaches to better access a high-risk patient's heart to stop difficult-to-reach, life-threatening arrhythmias," said Dr.. Kalyanam Shivkumar, professor of medicine and radiological sciences and director of the UCLA Cardiac Arrhythmia Center and Electrophysiology Programs.

A study in the November issue of the journal Heart Rhythmreports on UCLA's experience with the two newer surgical methods, used together with catheter ablation, in 14 high-risk patients who had ventricular arrhythmias treated between September 2004 and March 2010.

In order to perform more accurate electrical mapping of the heart and apply precise ablation therapy in hard-to-reach areas in high-risk patients, surgeons used one of two minimally-invasive cardiac surgical techniques to open a small window in the chest to view the heart. Depending on the area of the heart the team needed to access, they used either a procedure called a subxiphoid window or one known as a limited anterior thoracotomy.

The ability to directly visualize the heart and navigate around scar tissue and blood vessels to get closer to the heart's surface, significantly improved accuracy in applying the ablation techniques to stop the arrhythmias.

"These newer, more minimally-invasive procedures offer more treatments for high-risk patients who don't have a lot of options to address a life-threatening arrhythmia, allowing them to avoid potential open heart surgery," Shivkumar said.

The hybrid procedures were performed in the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center adult cardiac catheterization laboratories and involved a collaboration among several UCLA departments, including cardiology, cardiac surgery, anesthesiology, radiology and operating-room administration. Pre-procedure imaging was needed, as well as critical care teams for post-surgical care.

"UCLA is a leader in utilizing these hybrid procedures to meet individual patient care needs. We hope our experiences can help move the field forward," Shivkumar said.

Shivkumar added that his team created new procedural protocols for using technologies such as electrical heart mapping systems and ablation catheters with these new hybrid procedures.


Eating Disorders

Many kids — particularly teens — are concerned about how they look and can feel self-conscious about their bodies. This can be especially true when they are going through puberty, and undergo dramatic physical changes and face new social pressures.

Unfortunately, for a growing proportion of kids and teens, that concern can grow into an obsession that can become an eating disorder. Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa cause dramatic weight fluctuation, interfere with normal daily life, and damage vital body functions.

Parents can help prevent kids from developing an eating disorder by nurturing their self-esteem, and encouraging healthy attitudes about nutrition and appearance. Also, if you are worried that your child may be developing an eating disorder, it's important to intervene and seek proper medical care. This is also true if there is any family history of eating disorders.

About Eating Disorders

Generally, eating disorders involve self-critical, negative thoughts and feelings about body weight and food, and eating habits that disrupt normal body function and daily activities.

While more common among girls, eating disorders can affect boys, too. They're so common in the U.S. that 1 or 2 out of every 100 kids will struggle with one, most commonly anorexia or bulimia. Unfortunately, many kids and teens successfully hide eating disorders from their families for months or even years.

People with anorexia have an extreme fear of weight gain and a distorted view of their body size and shape. As a result, they strive to maintain a very low body weight. Some restrict their food intake by dieting, fasting, or excessive exercise. They hardly eat at all and often try to eat as few calories as possible, frequently obsessing over food intake. The small amount of food they do eat becomes an obsession.

Bulimia is characterized by habitual binge eating and purging. Someone with bulimia may undergo weight fluctuations, but rarely experiences the low weight associated with anorexia. Both disorders can involve compulsive exercise or other forms of purging food they have eaten, such as by self-induced vomiting or laxative use.

Although anorexia and bulimia are very similar, people with anorexia are usually very thin and underweight but those with bulimia may be a normal weight or even overweight. Binge eating disorders, food phobia, and body image disorders are also becoming increasingly common in adolescence.

It's important to remember that eating disorders can easily get out of hand and are difficult habits to break. Eating disorders are serious clinical problems that require professional treatment by doctors, therapists, and nutritionists.

Bradley Manning: Yes it is Torture But...

.
But his treatment is no different to that of tens of thousands of Americans incarcerated by the Department of Corrections Retribution each and every day. Bradley Manning's only difference is, he hasn't been convicted yet.

Check out Prison Nation in the sidebar if you want to read the manner in which, the Greatest Country on earth, treats the horrific number of its citizens that it incarcerates each year.

As UN Probes Whether His Confinement is Torture, Bradley Manning Speaks
Friday 24 December 2010

He allegedly leaked a video of U.S. soldiers killing civilians overseas.

Now he's kept in a miserable solitary confinement due to an alleged "suicide watch"--despite passing psychological examinations.

As the U.N. "special rapporteur on torture" begins to probe whether the brutal solitary confinement of Bradley Manning constitutes torture, the imprisoned "leaker" spoke to David House, one of the few people allowed to visit him.

House, who has been very concerned about Manning's "deteriorating physical and mental well-being" wrote on Firedoglake about the conditions under which Manning has been placed, offering strong first-person evidence against the Pentagon's positive spin.

It's a long and detailed post that deserves to be read in full, but some of the key findings include Manning laughing at the idea that he gets ample time to watch the news and exercise, and revealing the drudgery and discomfort of his daily life. Here are House's words.

On the availability of news:

Manning related to me on December 18 2010 that he is not allowed to view international news during his television period. He mentioned that he might theoretically be able to view local news, but his television period is typically from 7pm – 8pm such that no local news is playing in the Quantico, VA area.

Manning told me explicitly on December 18 2010 that he is not, nor has he ever been, allowed newspapers while in confinement. When I said “The Pentagon has stated that you are allowed newspapers”, his immediate reaction was surprised laughter.


On having time for exercise and recreation:

Manning stated to me on December 18 2010 that he has not been outside or into the brig yard for either recreation nor exercise in four full weeks. He related that visits to the outdoors have been infrequent and sporadic for the past several months.

...

Manning related to me on December 18 2010 that he does not receive any substantive exercise and cannot perform even basic exercises in his cell. When told of the Pentagon’s statement that he did indeed receive exercise, Manning’s reply was that he is able to exercise insofar as walking in chains is a form of exercise.

On the conditions of his bedding.

Manning related to me on December 19 2010 that his blankets are similar in weight and heft to lead aprons used in X-ray laboratories, and similar in texture to coarse and stiff carpet. He stated explicitly that the blankets are not soft in the least and expressed concern that he had to lie very still at night to avoid receiving carpet burns. The problem of carpet burns was exacerbated, he related, by the stipulation that he must sleep only in his boxer shorts as part of the longstanding POI order. Manning also stated on December 19 2010 that hallway-mounted lights shine through his window at night. This constant illumination is consistent with reports from attorney David Coombs’ blog that marines must visually inspect Manning as he sleeps.

The momentum to get better conditions for Manning is growing, thanks to the efforts of Glenn Greenwald and other media outlets.

Firedoglake has an action page for concerned citizens. Source and links.

Now’s a great time for a holiday food drive

With so many people in a generous mood at this time of year, the holidays are a popular time for food drives. So how about using some of your spare time this holiday season to hold your own drive? Not only will it help your neighbors in need, it will help your community food bank be more prepared in case of a disaster or emergency.
The free Get Ready Food Drive Toolkit (PDF)has everything you need to know to plan and hold your food drive, from picking a location to delivering the contributions. It’s also full of great ideas you can use to make your food drive a success. Among the ideas:

• Work with a grocery store: Get in touch with your local grocery store and ask if you can set up a donation site at the store. Pass out shopping lists of things your food bank needs to customers as they enter the store.

• Incentivize your food drive: Incentives can fuel your food drive. If the drive is at your place of business, talk to your human resources department to see if you can offer workers a casual dress day if they contribute to your food drive.

• Make it a competition: Competitions excite people, so make your food drive a
contest. If you’re holding the food drive at your school, make it a competition between grades or homerooms with the winner earning a pizza party or other recognition.

• Fill a bag with food: Encourage people to give more by asking them to fill a bag. Provide paper bags with instructions on what is needed and where and when to return filled bags.

• Stuff a truck: Some food drive organizers challenge givers to “stuff a truck.” Participants are encouraged to bring their donations to a specific location where a truck is parked, with the goal of providing a truckload to the food bank.

• Hold a raffle: Encourage people to give by offering them a chance at getting something in return through a raffle. The more food they donate, the more tickets they receive. Ask local businesses to donate prizes for the raffle, such as store gift cards.

• Start small: If you don’t have time to hold a community-wide food drive, do something small. If you’re having friends over for New Year’s Eve, ask them to bring a few canned goods for the food bank instead of wine. If you live in an apartment, ask the building manager if you can put a contribution box in the lobby with a sign.

Looking for more tips for a great food drive? Read our Q&A with Molly McGlinchy, food resources coordinator for the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C., or listen to the interview as a podcast.

With a little bit of creativity and help from the Get Ready Food Drive Toolkit, your event will help deliver some of that famous holiday cheer to those who may need it most.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Health Tips for Parents: Treating Coughs and Colds

“Which over-the-counter cough and cold medicine will work best for my child?” That’s a question I’m asked frequently in my practice. The answer, quite frankly, is none.

There has never been good evidence that cough and cold medications work. Moreover, for children under 2, there is the added concern that we don’t have reliable information about safe and proper dosages.

Two years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about giving over-the-counter cough and cold medicine to children under 2 years old, following reports of “serious and potentially life-threatening side effects” in babies and toddlers. The warning came after a year of review prompted by reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that linked three infant deaths and hundreds of emergency-room visits to reactions from cough and cold products.

Risk of adverse and potentially dangerous reactions, including convulsions, increased heart rates and altered consciousness, are particularly high for the youngest children when they receive doses that are too potent or given too frequently.

Cough and cold medications labeled for babies and toddlers have been pulled from store shelves several years ago, but these products still remain in medicine cabinets today. And while the label may advise parents to consult with their child’s pediatrician about proper dosing, some parents fail to do so.

Although the FDA warning applied only to infants and toddlers, the agency continues to review research about its safety and effectiveness for children 2 through 11 years old.

I recommend that cough and cold medications not be given until children are older than 5 years old, and then only once at bedtime if it seems to provide symptom relief. Here are some non-medication approaches for child under age 2:

• Position infant or toddler upright to improve nasal drainage

• Use a bulb syringe to suck out any excess mucous

• Apply saline drops in the nose to loosen mucous

• Use a cool-mist humidifier

• For children older than age 1, a teaspoon of honey with tea may improve cough symptoms from colds. However, honey should not be given to younger children because of the risk of infant botulism.

The takeaway message is that nothing makes colds go away any faster. Over-the-counter medicine may mask the symptoms in some cases, but should never be given to children under age 2. For children 2 years old or older, we should be very careful.

Dr. Dennis Woo is a board-certified pediatrician with the UCLA Medical Group and a former chair of the Pediatrics Department at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital.

USAF Cadets for Christ Ministry


Family Escalates Fight Against Air Force Academy for Allowing On-Campus Proselytizing

Wednesday 22 December 2010

New evidence has surfaced that the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) may have endorsed on-campus proselytizing by fundamentalist and evangelical organizations, particularly the Cadets for Christ ministry.

The Baas family, whose daughter Lauren was converted after entering the school to become a pilot, has been fighting with watchdog group Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) for the USAFA to address the accusations against the academy and Cadets for Christ. The Baas family has alleged that the ministry, which was given free rein by the USAFA to operate on campus, convinced Lauren to abandon her career aspirations and focus solely on an arranged, subservient marriage.



Last week, Lauren's mother Jean Baas said USAFA head chaplain Col. Robert Bruno asked her to provide evidence of unconstitutional proselytizing. Bruno then told the family that the USAFA had received 35 letters in support of Cadets for Christ, addressed to chaplain Lt. Col. J. Daniel Brantingham and written by academy students and graduates. The letters were sent in response to an email from Cadets for Christ founder Don Warrick entitled, "Want To Do A Favor For Cadets For Christ?"

Those letters, Baas said, are the evidence of unconstitutional proselytizing for which the USAFA is asking.

"At this point, somebody's in hot water," Baas said. "Either Warrick is using the academy as a tool and saying it's okay and the academy doesn't know ... or the academy is in cahoots with them."

Warrick sent out multiple emails soliciting letters from Cadets for Christ members prior to the USAFA's Religious Respect Conference in November.

"The Wing Chaplain at the Air Force Academy and our Board thought it would be helpful if we had on file at the Chaplain's office letters from present and past cadets, parents, board members, and other friends of Cadets for Christ," Warrick wrote in the emails. "We are trying to build a stronger relationship with the Chaplain's office so we would be immensely grateful if you took a few minutes to write to the Wing Chaplain and share what Cadets for Christ has meant to you. Would you be willing to help?"

While the request itself is innocuous, Baas said, "I don't think they were just used for the sake of putting them on file. They needed to build artillery in case this came to a head."

"The timing [was] wonderful for the religious conference."



When the Baas family attended Lauren's graduation in 2010, Jean said she witnessed incidents of proselytizing by older cadets who attended the ceremony. "They went around asking the seniors who they were responsible for bringing to the fold," Baas said. At the time, the USAFA dismissed the account as hearsay - but the letters in support of Cadets for Christ show that "it's not hearsay anymore," Baas said. "It's been a hard struggle. They cannot continue it."

Chaplain Bruno also reportedly told the family that the USAFA had received nine negative responses about Cadets for Christ.

"Thirty-five to nine, like it's a score," Baas said.

MRFF founder and president Mikey Weinstein called the USAFA's move "a new level of deception and malfeasance."

"They're using tabulated numbers to convince our clients that there is no problem," Weinstein said, invoking Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's words that Americans "do not count heads before enforcing the First Amendment."

The emails demonstrate unconstitutional proselytizing, Weinstein said, because Warrick and the Cadets for Christ are shown to be working with the USAFA in an attempt to justify their position. "This act is collusion," Weinstein said. "It's being used to mollify someone who's fighting a constitutional cause ... they're not asking for letters for other organizations." Warrick's solicitation of current cadets is compounded by the fact that the USAFA is federally funded, labeling his actions an attempt to "engage the power of the state."

If Warrick and the USAFA are found to have allowed unconstitutional proselytizing, Weinstein said, the academy will need "a complete change in leadership."

"This won't be solved by the same minds who got us into this disaster," Weinstein said. The USAFA should "replace senior leadership immediately."

The USAFA did not respond to requests for comment. Truthout





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God Bless America

USAF: A Most Ungodly Organisation

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas...

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas...

A Gluten-free January

Are You Gluten Sensitive?

Many people are totally unaware of the fact that they react poorly to gluten. Because they've been eating wheat, barley and/or rye products every day for virtually their entire lives, they don't know what their bodies feel like without gluten. In susceptible people, eating gluten is linked to a dizzying array of health problems that stem from an immune reaction to gliadins and other proteins in gluten (1). Are you a susceptible person? How do you know?

The gold standard way to detect a gluten sensitivity is to do a gluten "challenge" after a period of avoidance and see how you feel. People who react poorly to gluten may feel better after a period of avoidance. After a gluten challenge, symptoms can range from digestive upset, to skin symptoms, to fatigue or irritability within minutes to days of the gluten challenge.

With 2011 approaching, why not make your new year's resolution to go gluten-free for a month? A man named Matt Lentzner e-mailed me this week to ask if I would help with his (non-commercial) project, "A Gluten-free January". I said I'd be delighted. Although I don't typically eat much gluten, this January I'm going 100% gluten-free. Are you on board? Read on.

A Message from Matt Lentzner


Hi There.

My name is Matt Lentzner. I'm just some guy who lifts weights on his patio and tries to eat healthy. That's not important, but I have an idea that just might be.

I am trying to get as many people as possible to go gluten-free for one month - this January 2011.

I've considered this whole ancestral diet thing and I've come to a conclusion. If you could only do just one thing to improve your health then not eating gluten would be it. This is not to say that avoiding other nasty things like fructose or industrial vegetable oil is not important. They are, but you'd get the most bang for your buck from not eating gluten.

"Eat No Gluten" is simple and easy to remember. I think that sometimes the rules get so complicated and overwhelming and people just give up on it. We're keeping it simple here. Even at this simplified level I see that it's difficult for a lot of folks. I think people, Americans especially, tend not to pay much attention to what they're eating - what it is, where it came from, etc.

Getting people to get out of their eating ruts and think a little about what goes into their mouths is a valuable exercise. It sets the stage for better choices in the future. I hope that some success with the simple step will encourage people to further improve their diets.

I have a website at www.glutenfreejan.com. If you want to sign up just send an email with your first name, last initial, and town of residence to glutenfreejan@gmail.com. If you are on Facebook there's a community you can 'Like' called: Gluten Free January. So far I have over 120 people all over the world signed up. If you are already gluten-free then I still want you to sign up - the more the merrier. You can also use this opportunity to spread the word and sign up your family and friends.

Merry Christmas - Looking forward to a gluten-free New Year.

Matt

Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

Having a baby alters a woman's life in many ways, especially during the pregnancy. You are not only responsible for your own health, but the health of your unborn child. Proper healthcare, nutrition, exercise, and amount of rest are essential to a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. What you should be doing during your pregnancy is equally important as what you should not be doing.

Prenatal Care

The first step to a healthy pregnancy is to get regular prenatal care. You should schedule an appointment with your health care provider as soon as you think you might be pregnant. Your doctor will most likely do a pregnancy test to confirm your pregnancy. Next is making the calculation of how far along your pregnancy is based on a physical exam and the date of your last menstrual cycle.

Often an ultrasound will be performed to better approximate your due date. Your doctor will want to see you every 4 weeks until the 28th week of pregnancy, then every 2 weeks until 36 weeks, finally once a week until delivery.

Nutrition

Nutrition is extremely important during your pregnancy. In the last 6 months you should take in an extra 300 calories because your baby is growing quickly. If you are very thin or are carrying more than one baby you need to eat even more. If you are overweight your doctor may recommend you to consume fewer extra calories.

A well-balanced diet is the key to a healthy development and growth for your baby. By eating a variety of lean meats, fruits, vegetable, whole-grain products, and low-fat dairies both you and your baby will get the proper nutrition you need. Your doctor will most likely prescribe prenatal vitamins as a supplement to your diet. You will also need to "bulk" up on more of the essential nutrients such as calcium, iron, and folic acid. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids during your pregnancy, especially water. This can help with common problems such as dehydration and constipation.

Exercise

Exercise is very beneficial during your pregnancy. It is important to always to discuss your exercise regimen with your doctor to make sure it is safe for both you and your baby. Low-impact, moderate-intensity exercise activities such as walking, swimming, yoga, and Pilates are great choices. You will reap the benefits of relaxation, flexibility, and strength by participating in these exercise activities.

Regular exercise during pregnancy can help prevent excess weight gain, reduce back pain, swelling, and constipation, improve sleep, improve mental outlook, increase your energy, prepare for labor, and lessen recovery time.

Be cognizant of your balance: during pregnancy your body produces a hormone called relaxin, which loosens the ligaments in your body making you less stable. This also makes it easy to over-stretch or strain yourself, especially the joints in your pelvis, back and knees. Your center gravity also shifts during pregnancy, another reason to be careful.

Get proper rest

During your pregnancy you are going to feel more tired than you normally do because your body is hard at work to support the baby growing inside of you. As your baby gets bigger, finding a comfortable sleeping position will become a little difficult. Most likely the most comfortable position for sleeping is lying on your side with your knees bent. You can also prop pillows between your legs, under your back, and underneath your stomach to create a more comfortable resting position.

Some doctors recommend sleeping on your left side because the right side of your body contains a large blood vessel. By resting on the left side you prevent the uterus from applying pressure on that vessel, which would constrict blood flow. Sleeping on your left side will increase blood flow to the placenta. On the other hand, alternating sides will help to reduce or prevent varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and swelling of the legs.

Avoid the "No-no's"

There are quite a number of things you should avoid while pregnant such as alcohol, nicotine, recreational drugs, excessive caffeine, and certain foods. It has not been determined what a "safe" amount of alcohol to consume during your pregnancy is so your best bet is to not drink at all. Drinking while pregnant can damage your baby's developing nervous system. Smoking during pregnancy can lead to stillbirth, prematurity, sudden infant death syndrome, asthma and other respiratory problems. High caffeine consumption during pregnancy can increase the risk of a miscarriage, so it is better to avoid caffeine altogether during the first trimester. You should also avoid consuming soft, unpasteurized cheeses, milk and juices, food that contains raw eggs or meat, and sea food containing high levels of mercury. Lunch meats are safe if steamed in the microwave first.

Finally, be intentional and think about what you do -- give yourself and your child the little extra care and help Mother Nature.

Brown Christmas

Brown Christmas

8 tips to avoid dry skin this Christmas

Christmas is definitely in the cold December air, but water isn't, and this may cause problems for our skin.
The holiday season here in the country may not be characterized by freezing temperatures, but the cold, less humid weather is sucking moisture from our skin, causing it to be cracked and dry.

Dermatologist Diane Chan, fellow of the Philippine Association of Primary Skin Care Health Physicians Inc., noted that common skin problems in the Philippines during the 'ber months include ashy legs, chapped lips, and cracked hands and feet, which, if not treated, may lead to complications.

"When the skin gets dry, it gets itchy, then we scratch it. That's when irritation happens. It's itch-scratch-itch-rash. Then the skin thickens," Chan said in an interview at Mornings@ANC.

She added, "It's really more on less humidity, not cold temperature. There's a shortage of water in the air, so the air is dry."

Chan gave these 8 tips to make your skin good this Christmas despite the cold, dry air:

1. Continue to use sunscreen with SPF 15 of better, even if it's cloudy outside. Apply sunblock 30 minutes prior to exposure to the sun, and re-apply after 2 to 3 hours.
2. Use an unscented mild cleanser as opposed to soap, which can strip your skin of the essential oils it needs.
3. Continue to drink lots of water (6 to 8 glasses a day) to provide the necessary hydration for your skin.
4. Avoid products with high alcohol content as well as heavy perfumes. These can irritate your sensitive, dry skin.
5. Use a thicker, richer moisturizer 2 to 3 times a day.
6. Gently exfoliate your skin to remove the dead surface skin cells that can form due to excessive dryness.
7. Use a soothing lip balm or moisturizing lipstick, preferably with sunscreen, to treat chapped lips.
8. Try to keep an anti-itch cream on hand to apply to excessively dry patches.