Medication Heists on the Rise

The U.S. freight security consultancy FreightWatch reported that $5 million-worth of prescription drugs have been stolen from trucks and warehouses in 41 incidents during 2010.

The increased demand for expensive pharmaceuticals in the wake of the economic recession, especially by those who lack medical insurance to pay for their drugs,  has helped make medication shipments a prime target for organized crime.

“There is a steady rise in value and volume,” explained a director at FreightWatch. “Thieves steal what the consumer wants to buy, with so much pharma advertising and people seeking to save money and purchase drugs cheaply.”

Earlier this month, Kentucky robbers stole millions of dollars of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s prescription medications from an unmarked truck en route to Canada during the driver’s 15-minute break.

This followed in the wake of a robbery from the Eli Lilly warehouse in Connecticut last spring, in which the thieves stole a record $76-million-worth of medications.

The FDA says that these robberies pose a threat to the public health, as patients have reported adverse reactions after taken stolen drugs that had not been stored or handled properly. They ordered pharmaceutical companies to increase their security and to cooperate with them in apprehending the criminals.

Healthy Snacks Part I

Staying healthy is not always a simple thing. Most people begin their healthy eating habits journey by making sure that they have three healthy meals each day. We try to include foods from all the famous food groups in our meals, eating whole grains, plenty of vegetable and fruit, not too much protein and a limited amount of foods from animals. Once we get this type of eating into our lives and make it a habit, we usually see results. We feel better, and look better. Combined with a nice chunk of exercise we might even be able to loose and control our weights. One thing that can enter into the equation and sabotage the entire operation are between meal snacks.

It is all too easy to stroll over to a vending machine and get some kind of fast food which is nothing but junk, but what can you do? You’re a little hungry and need a mid-morning boost, and you just don’t feel like having another cup of coffee. Having a little snack seems harmless. It’s small, and fast, and yummy.

Read Part 2 of this article for some ideas on what to do when you want to reach for something for your mouth to do for a little bit of mid meal energy.

Winter Health Tips

Staying healthy during the winter can be tough. The cold, wet days encourage the growth of disease-causing bacteria and viruses, which are then spread easily while people remain cooped up inside, without much fresh air. The early sunsets and rainy days can also cause winter depression, which is common in people who lack vitamin D, a substance which our bodies produce with the help of sunlight. Here are a few tips to stay healthy this season:

1. Consult your doctor about the flu shot. Perhaps you should just protect yourself from this inconvenient illness before the season really kicks in.

2. Make sure to wash your hands regularly. Don’t put your hands near your face throughout the day unless you are sure they are clean. Viruses and bacteria can live for hours on doorknobs, sink handles, pencils and more. You may want to consider carrying a hand sanitizer in your purse. Encourage your children to do the same.

3. Do not share cups or other utensils with others, even if they seem healthy. Most illnesses are contagious twenty four hours before the first symptoms take effect.

4. Keep warm. The cold, humid conditions in your body which are caused by the weather are ideal for unhealthy bacteria. Make sure to keep your chest warm and dry at all times to avoid sicknesses such as bronchitis, pneumonia, the common cold and even the flu. A scarf can also help you avoid these illnesses.

5. Make sure not to take antibiotics without direct permission from a doctor. You may assume that you have a bacterial illness such as strep throat, but if you don’t, taking antibiotics will make it worse. The medication will destroy other types of bacteria in your body, which as a result will strengthen the virus or fungus that is causing your disease. Your body contains thousands of microorganisms, and that is how it should be. These help your metabolism, immune system and more.

6. Drink orange juice or other juices containing vitamin C. This vitamin helps strengthen your immune system.

7. Exercise. The cold weather often discourages people from doing any sort of physical activity during the winter. This is very bad for your body. Exercise can increase circulation, improve the mood and boost the immune system. Of course, it can also help you stay in shape so you’ll be ready for the beach when the summer hits.

Happy Birthday Elmo!

ElmoNovember 18, 1985 was an important day in children’s history. It was on that day that a young furry red monster by the name of Elmo formed a long-term relationship with his puppeteer, Kevin Clash – and with millions of children around the world.

While Elmo had appeared in different roles, and with other handlers (Carole Spinney, aka “Big Bird,” and Scooter from The Muppet Show were among the voices playing Elmo), for several years prior, it was on that date 25 years ago that the fuzzy “toddler” with the squeaky voice made his debut as the Elmo that millions have come to know and love, as he entered the pantheon of primary Sesame Street characters.

Over the years, Elmo has met and mingled with numerous celebrities and stars, and appeared on talk shows, prime-time series, and his own movie, while merchandise bearing his name, including Tickle Me Elmo and the range of books, videos, and other toys featuring the three-and-a-half-year-old monster, have appeared in playrooms and nurseries around the world. So for toddlers and preschoolers everywhere, as well as their parents, nannies, and teachers, this week was a day to celebrate.

Reusable Bags Good, I Mean Bad, Whatever, For the Environment

In a shocking bit of irony, it turns out that consumers who have made an effort to reduce the waste caused by the over use of plastic bags at supermarkets by purchasing and using re-usable shopping bags may be exposed to small amounts of lead from those so-called environmentally safe bags.

In what seems like another one of almost daily dire warnings of the harm that the products we come in contact with everyday can cause, the latest on the list is reusable synthetic bags which might contain small traces of lead.

The real worry, however, is not so much that consumers using the bags might come to harm by their exposure to lead, but what will happen when the bags are eventually discarded and begin to accumulate in landfills. Congress and environmental groups are concerned that the trace amounts of lead found in these bags can harm the environment as they begin to decompose in the landfills around the country.

Consumers don’t seem to be too worried, and are continuing to use them, arguing that since the bags are not meant to be tossed by to be used over and over again; and because the amounts of lead are so small, they see little to be really worried about.

Charles Schumer, Democratic Senator from New York disagrees with this permissive attitude.

“When our families go to the grocery store looking for safe and healthy foods to feed their kids, the last thing they should have to worry about are toxic bags,” he said.