Medical News Today: The ‘burden of disease’ in those who recover from addiction

Recent research shows that more than one-third of people who are recovering from addiction continue to experience chronic physical disease.
Pensive man at sunset
People are familiar with the effects of addiction, but what about the aftermath?

Excessive use of alcohol and drugs can lead to mental and physical health issues, some of which include anxiety, depression, diabetes, liver disease, and heart disease.

Many of these conditions may improve after recovery, but some may linger and diminish the quality of life.

A study carried out at the Massachusetts General Hospital Recovery Research Institute in Boston analyzed the impact of recovery on medical conditions that are caused or aggravated by alcohol and drug abuse.

The researchers published their findings in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, in a paper titled “Medical burden of disease among individuals in recovery from alcohol and other drug problems in the United States.”

“The prodigious psychological, social, and interpersonal impact of excessive and chronic alcohol and other drug use is well-characterized,” said David Eddie, Ph.D., a research scientist and lead author of the study.

He continued, “Less well-appreciated is the physical disease burden, especially among those who have successfully resolved a significant substance use problem.”

Statistics on substance abuse

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2016, more than 20 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder related to alcohol or illicit drugs during the previous year.

Of these people, about 15 million were addicted to alcohol, and more than 7 million had an illicit drug use disorder.

The same survey revealed that approximately 21 million people in the U.S. aged 12 or older needed treatment for substance use addiction, including almost 4 million individuals who received any treatment for the issue and about 2 million who received the treatment at a specialized facility.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimate that about 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes every year, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the U.S.

In 2017, over 70,200 people in the country died from a drug overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The effects of addiction after recovery

The researchers behind the current study drew from 2017 National Recovery Survey data and developed a sample of more than 2,000 adults in the U.S. who were recovering from substance use addiction.

Of this group, 37 percent had received a diagnosis of one or more of the following health problems: liver disease, tuberculosis, HIV or other sexually transmitted infections, cancer, hepatitis C, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, and diabetes.

If a person does not receive treatment, all of these conditions can significantly diminish the quality of life and reduce an individual’s life expectancy.

The study found that hepatitis C, COPD, heart disease, and diabetes occurred more frequently among people in recovery, compared with the general population.

The type of substance associated with the addiction affected the prevalence of the disease:

  • Hepatitis C was more common in the opioid and stimulant groups than the alcohol group.
  • HIV and sexually transmitted infections were more common in the stimulant group than the alcohol group.
  • The prevalence of heart disease was lowest in the opioid group.
  • Diabetes was least common in the cannabis group.
  • Regarding rates of tuberculosis and COPD, there were no significant differences among the groups.

For the researchers, the association between injected drugs and an increased risk of hepatitis C or HIV was intuitive, but other findings were less so.

“For instance, those citing cannabis as their primary substance did not have lower rates of alcohol-related liver disease than participants who primarily used alcohol. It may be that these individuals had prior histories of heavy alcohol involvement,” Eddie notes.

The risk of having two or more chronic physical illnesses increased by 4–7 percent, depending on factors such as using an additional substance 10 or more times, older age at the development of the disease, and recovering from the addiction later in life.

On the opposite side, younger age, social stability, and economic resources were associated with few or no physical diseases. If a person was female or Hispanic or had a household income greater than $50,000, they had a lower risk of physical illness.

The extent to which these diseases and health conditions continue to persist for the millions of Americans who achieve recovery remains to be clarified, but this study highlights the fact that these negative impacts may continue to affect quality of life, even when people achieve addiction recovery.”

David Eddie, Ph.D.

Eddie, a Massachusetts General Hospital clinical psychologist and an instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School, believes that exploring the complex links between substance abuse and physical disease will require more research.

He notes that the health industry needs to find better methods and strategies to help individuals with substance abuse disorders and reduce the risk of disease.

Medical News Today: Wishing others well may boost your own well-being

Many people say that helping others through acts of charity or volunteer work makes them feel better and happier. New research goes further and finds that simply wishing someone well may have a similarly positive effect on our moods.
woman smiling drinking a cup of coffee
Simply thinking of others in a kind and loving way could make you happier, suggests a new study.

Whether it is escaping the city, going for a walk, or hanging out with our friends, we all have our strategies for reducing anxiety, coping with the stresses of modern life, or just lifting our mood.

But what role does helping others play in our well-being? Past research has confirmed that being generous makes people happier. Some studies have even pointed to specific brain areas that acts of generosity affect, suggesting that giving to others can help reduce anxiety and stress.

New research, appearing in the Journal of Happiness Studies, investigates deeper into several strategies for lowering anxiety and boosting well-being and finds that merely wishing a person well may do wonders for our mood.

Researchers Douglas A. Gentile, Dawn M. Sweet, and Lanmiao He compared the mood-boosting potential of three such strategies: loving-kindness, interconnectedness, and downward social comparison.

Douglas Gentile is a professor of psychology at Iowa State University in Ames.

The effects of 12 minutes of ‘loving-kindness’

Prof. Gentile and colleagues asked college students to walk around the university building and try out one of the three strategies for 12 minutes.

The loving kindness strategy involved them looking at people and thinking: “I wish for this person to be happy.” The psychologists encouraged the study participants to really mean this thought and say it to themselves with conviction.

In the interconnectedness strategy, the researchers asked the participants to look at people and wonder about what hopes, aspirations, or feelings they might share with them.

Finally, the downward social comparison strategy had the students think about how they might have a better life than the people they encountered.

Prof. Gentile and his colleagues also included a group of control students who were asked to look at people but simply focus on their physical appearance, clothing style, and so on.

Finally, the participants filled out surveys that measured their anxiety, stress, empathy, and happiness levels both before and after the experiments. The researchers compared all three groups with the control group.

The study found that of all three techniques, people who practiced loving-kindness had overall higher levels of empathy and happiness, as well as lower levels of anxiety. Wishing others well also improved the participants’ sense of care and connectedness.

By contrast, the downward social comparison did not benefit mood at all and made the students feel less caring and empathetic.

The researchers explain their results. Sweet, the study’s co-author, says, “At its core, downward social comparison is a competitive strategy.”

“That’s not to say it can’t have some benefit, but competitive mindsets have been linked to stress, anxiety, and depression.”

By comparison, “Walking around and offering kindness to others in the world reduces anxiety and increases happiness and feelings of social connection,” says Prof. Gentile.

“It’s a simple strategy that doesn’t take a lot of time that you can incorporate into your daily activities,” he suggests. Co-author He concurs, saying “This simple practice is valuable regardless of your personality type.”

Extending loving-kindness to others worked equally well to reduce anxiety, increase happiness, empathy, and feelings of social connection.”

Lanmiao He

The study’s lead author also mentions the implications that the findings may have in our digital age.

“It is almost impossible not to make comparisons on social media,” says Prof. Gentile.

“Our study didn’t test this, but we often feel envy, jealousy, anger or disappointment in response to what we see on social media, and those emotions disrupt our sense of well-being.”

Medical News Today: What to know about cupping therapy

There is some evidence to suggest that cupping therapy may be beneficial for certain health conditions. However, research into cupping therapy tends to be low-quality. More studies are necessary to understand how cupping therapy works, if it works, and in what situations it may help.

Cupping therapy is a traditional Chinese and Middle Eastern practice that people use to treat a variety of conditions.

It involves placing cups at certain points on a person’s skin. A practitioner creates suction in the cups, which pulls against a person’s skin.

Cupping can either be dry or wet. Wet cupping involves puncturing the skin before starting the suction, which removes some of the person’s blood during the procedure.

Cupping typically leaves round bruises on a person’s skin, where their blood vessels burst after exposure to the procedure’s suction effects.

Does it work?

Person having cupping therapy applied to back.
Cupping therapy may help increase or decrease blood flow.

According to a study paper in the journal PLoS One, cupping practitioners claim that it works by creating hyperemia or hemostasis around a person’s skin. This means that it either increases or decreases a person’s blood flow under the cups.

Cupping also has links to acupoints on a person’s body, which are central to the practice of acupuncture.

Many doctors consider cupping therapy a complementary therapy, which means that many do not recognize it as part of Western medicine. This does not mean that it is not effective, however.

Complementary therapies with supporting research may be an addition to Western medicine. However, as the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) note, there is not yet enough high-quality research to prove cupping’s effectiveness.

Scientists have linked cupping therapy with a variety of health benefits, although there needs to be more research to determine whether it is effective as a treatment.

Pain relief

People frequently cite cupping therapy as a form of pain relief. However, while there is some evidence for its effectiveness, scientists need to conduct more high-quality studies to demonstrate this fully.

For example, a study paper in the journal Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found some evidence to suggest that cupping may reduce pain. However, its authors note that there were limits to the quality of the studies that showed this.

A meta-analysis that appears in the journal Revista Latina-Americano De Enfermagem claims that there may be evidence for cupping being effective in treating back pain. However, again, the researchers note that most studies were low-quality, and that there is a need for more standardization in future studies.

One study paper in the journal BMJ Open came to a similar conclusion for the effectiveness of cupping for neck pain. The researchers note that there is a need for better-quality studies to determine whether cupping therapy is truly effective.

Skin conditions

A study paper in the journal PLoS One found that there was some evidence for cupping therapy being effective at treating herpes zoster and acne.

However, it notes that the studies that supported these findings were at a high risk of bias. So, more rigorous, high-quality studies are necessary to verify the findings.

Sports recovery

A study paper in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine notes that professional athletes are increasingly using cupping therapy as part of their recovery practices.

However, the study found no consistent evidence to show that it was effective for anything related to sports recovery.

Side effects and risks

Person having cupping therapy close up view of skin on back suctioned in cup.
Cupping can cause irritation or damage to the skin.

According to the NCCIH, the side effects of cupping can include:

  • lasting skin discoloration
  • scarring
  • burns
  • infection

If a person has a skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis, cupping may make it worse on the area where the practitioner applies the cups.

In rare instances, a person may experience more significant internal bleeding or anemia if the practitioner takes too much blood during wet cupping.

According to a study paper that appears in the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, cupping can also cause:

Due to the poor quality of studies investigating cupping, it is difficult to know how common these side effects are.

If a person has any of these side effects following cupping therapy, they should speak to a medical professional. Some people may have health conditions, such as problems with blood clotting, that making cupping less than ideal.

Takeaway

There is some evidence to suggest that cupping therapy may be able to help a person with certain health issues. However, there are not enough high-quality studies to support this.

To understand whether cupping therapy is effective, how it works, and what issues it is best for, scientists need to conduct and publish more high-quality research.

If a person finds that cupping therapy relieves their pain or helps their health in another way, and if they do not experience any adverse side effects, cupping may be a very good choice. However, some therapies have better evidence for their effectiveness. Doctors may advise that people consider these first.

A person may choose to use cupping therapy alongside better-evidenced therapies. If this is the case, it is important that they let a medical professional know.

So Many Ways to Personalize

Let’s face it – giving a gift is just as much about you, the giver, as it is about the recipient. So when you give, what’s the most important aspect? Making it memorable. You want your gift to stand out in their mind and really leave that lasting impression. That’s why we think personalization is one of the best things you can add to a gift! Personalized gifts do something truly amazing. A personalized detail like an imprinted ribbon, an engraving on wood or an etching on glass the gift so much more memorable. At GiftTree, there are so many ways to personalize!

A personalized detail such as your company logo, a branded ribbon or your own message of thanks engraved right onto the gift goes a long way. Adding that detail is a simple way to extend the notion that you’ve put thought and care into your gift-giving. It’s an easy way to make your clients feel especially appreciated! GiftTree’s collection of Branded Gifts or Personalized Business Gifts has a ton to choose from, no matter what industry you may be buying for. Let’s take a look at some of the amazing ways to make your gift truly stand out.

Make It Memorable Tip #1: Add Your Company Logo

Explore our Branded Gifts Collection! We have so many gorgeous options of gifts that allow you to add your own company logo. And our Gift Advisors make it a super easy process, too! Working with our skilled artists and designers, you can rest assured that your logo is going to look absolutely awesome on the gift you send to your clients, colleagues and employees. Helpful Hint: You can even add your logo to ribbons tied around any of our amazing gift baskets! Call our Gift Advisors today at 800.379.4064 or email BusinessGifting@GiftTree.com to get started today.

Make It Memorable Tip #2: Personalized Ribbon

Imagine your own personal message imprinted on a satin ribbon, hand-tied around one of our generous gift baskets! The grand arrival of a bountiful gift basket, all tied up with a ribbon bearing your message adds so much to the presentation of a gift. GiftTree offers a personalized ribbon option on virtually all of our gourmet and wine gift baskets.

Make It Memorable Tip #3: Direct Personalization

Engraved GH Mumm Champagne Celebration

Engraved GH Mumm Champagne Celebration

Embossed Leather Tablet Sleeve

Embossed Leather Tablet Sleeve

Engraved Cheese Board with Tools Engraved Cheese Board with Tools Personalized Pint Glass SetPersonalized Pint Glass Set

Explore the rest of our Personalized Gift Collection here. 

Enjoy an easy checkout process and select your own delivery date, and we’ve got the rest. Your gift will be finished with a hand-tied satin ribbon, your own personal message will be placed in a decorative envelope, attached to the gift.

For a gift that is sure to stand out, GiftTree really is the perfect choice. Our unmatched collection of personalized gifts for employees, clients, colleagues, family and friends have been making happy customers for over twenty years. From our outstanding quality to the timely shipping to the perfect presentation, GiftTree has you covered. Call 800-379-4064 or email BusinessGifting@GiftTree.com today!

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Tougher Stance on A-to-Z Claims on Amazon

Changes to A-to-Z Complaints

It’s hard to prevent A-to-Z claims on Amazon, let alone challenge them. And we don’t envy Amazon its job, doing this balancing act between seller and buyer. But when it comes to A-Z claims, the scales have definitely been tilting in the buyer’s favor lately.

It’s a confusing time for Amazon sellers. There are reports that Amazon is more eager now to reject appeals to A-Z claims. And though it may not affect all sellers, everyone’s on edge because of the way A-to-Z claims on Amazon are being handled. Here’s the gist of it:

Buyers are generally unaware of the impact a single claim can have on a seller’s performance. It seems Amazon is more concerned with claim deadlines than with mediation. So, the official A-to-Z Guarantee help page has a few time-related pointers for buyers, depending on the issue:  

Item Not Received (INR A-Z claim). Buyers must wait until three days after the item was supposed to be delivered. From this point on, they have 90 days to file a claim, preferably after they contact the seller and wait 48 hours for a reply.

Item Not As Expected. Buyers should first ask sellers to accept a return or grant a refund. Some are accepted automatically, so buyers forfeit a replacement without even knowing it. Still, if they want to file a claim, they don’t need to wait until the estimated delivery date (or for the return to be accepted, for that matter).

Item Returned But No Refund. Buyers can only file a claim if the item was returned and tracked. There’s no mention here of providing proof of weight or contents. So, it’s important for sellers to keep a log of what’s been returned.

In any case, if buyers file a claim and the refund is denied, they have another 30 days to bring fresh information. Plenty of time. But if they ignore a claim investigator’s questions for 3 days, their claim is denied. Or at least that’s the way it used to be, but it looks like the tables have turned.

Sellers are told the buyer has no obligation to contact them before filing INR claims. But in the merchant policy, there’s no mention of the buyer’s recommended 3-day wait after the estimated delivery date (EDD) or the 2-day wait for a reply.

Sellers are also told they have two calendar days to deal with a return request. Otherwise, they risk a Not As Expected claim. But buyers aren’t made aware that they need to wait for two whole two days for authorization, so they file claims anyway.

That’s not all. As the screenshot below shows, some sellers are only given 2-3 days to represent their case, or they forfeit. Oddly, the Amazon A-to-Z Guarantee Policy for Merchants says you have 5 business days.

3-day deadline

Claim page showing 2-day deadline to respond to an INR claim

The timeline isn’t the only instance where buyers and sellers are told different things. The seller policy includes extra cases where buyers are allowed to file a claim, such as when:

  1. they received the item, but later than it was due based on your shipping terms;
  2. you don’t accept a return, and they feel this isn’t consistent with your return policy;
  3. they think you charged them more than what they agreed to pay.

But the most troubling thing is that the policy seems to have been changed for some sellers unofficially. Here’s what you should know before you challenge an INR claim today:

  • You only get full protection if you ship on time using Buy Shipping labels.
  • If your tracking information isn’t uploaded on Amazon before the claim is filed, and the maximum EDD or the 30-day deadline has lapsed, you lose the case.
  • If a package is lost in transit and the tracking information proves it, the buyer wins the claim. It’s then up to you, the seller, to get a refund from the carrier.
  • If the package is tracked, delivered, but claimed to be lost or stolen, the buyer wins the claim unless they are found to be A-Z guarantee abusers or fraudsters.
  • Signature is a must. Amazon now expects some sellers to always have signature confirmation, not just tracking numbers or airway bills. Otherwise, it will grant claims to buyers by default.
  • Pre-signature doesn’t matter much. If the buyer signed remotely using MyUSPS, and then realized something is missing, Amazon won’t expect them to chase up the carrier. The buyer wins the claim.
  • Even if the buyer signs for the package in person, Amazon won’t always acknowledge it, despite what the terms say: The Good Thing About A-to-Z Claims on Amazon

There have been a few positive changes to how you can challenge A-Z claims, though. The claims page has a new layout and the whole process has been streamlined. Your claims are sorted by date. There’s also a very handy search bar so that rather than scroll through pages of claims, you find specific ones by order number.

Old policy

Statement of liability for when customers deny receiving packages they signed for

After reaching a decision, Amazon now classifies cases differently. If you lost a claim, you would have seen this tag: ‘Granted, Seller Funded’. It’s been replaced in the meantime with plain ‘Granted’, and the sub-reason is now displayed under this tag as ‘Seller-funded’, along with your deadline.

Depending on how the claim is rated, it may or may not have an impact on your ODR. To keep your ODR in check, you should know where Amazon draws that line. A claim will affect your ODR if it’s been tagged as:

  • Granted > seller-funded
  • Closed > order refunded
  • Closed > order canceled (by either you or Amazon)
  • Under review

A claim shouldn’t affect the ODR if it’s filed under:

  • Granted > Amazon-funded
  • Closed (denied)
  • Claim Withdrawn

This means that when a claim isn’t going your way, your only option is to ask the buyer to withdraw it, even if you know you’re in the right. And as your window of opportunity is squeezed, you need to be quicker and more persuasive. The bottom line is you may now have only 2-3 days – not 5 business days – to convince a buyer to withdraw.

To make matters worse, there’s no way now for buyers to withdraw a claim from their order dashboard. Sure, they can reverse a refund or cancel a return request, even after it’s authorized – which is like asking them to say no to free money. But this does nothing to restore a seller’s metrics.  

Then there’s the small matter of appealing. Even if they agree you’re right, they may not change the status of the claim after an appeal. Instead, they might tell you to contact Seller Performance yourself to ask that they disregard these A-Z claims from ODR calculations. Expect a reply within 48 hours.   

It’s clear to see Amazon is making it harder for some sellers to stay in business. As A-Z claims appeals become a race against time, underperformers will soon be gone. But with rules this strict, they might take honest Amazon sellers along with them. To stay afloat, remember to focus on your options.

We like to think every claim on Amazon is an open-and-shut case, but that’s not necessarily so. If your selling privileges are affected by a spate of claims, and you’d like to reinstate them, get in touch with our Account Rescue team. And if you have any insight into the latest changes to the A-Z guarantee policy, we’d love to read your comments below.

Melanie

Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments, and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed

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Medical News Today: Everything you need to know about antifreeze poisoning

Antifreeze contains chemicals that are toxic if a person ingests them. Antifreeze poisoning can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.

People add antifreeze to vehicle radiators to prevent the liquid coolant inside from freezing and overheating. Antifreeze typically contains ethylene glycol, methanol, and propylene glycol.

Although the chemicals in antifreeze are relatively nontoxic, the body can metabolize them into highly toxic alcohol byproducts.

Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning may take time to develop, and they can be similar to alcohol intoxication

Anyone who suspects that they or someone else has ingested antifreeze should seek immediate medical attention or call the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) for expert advice at 1-800-222-1222. The AAPCC helpline is open 24 hours and is toll-free.

In this article, we discuss what to do if someone ingests antifreeze. We also cover symptoms, treatment, and complications of antifreeze poisoning.

We also discuss what antifreeze is and tips for preventing accidental ingestion.

What to do

close up of emergency sign on hospital
It is imperative that a person seeks immediate medical attention if they have ingested antifreeze.

A person should call 911 immediately or go straight to the emergency room if they suspect that they or someone else has ingested antifreeze.

It is vital to seek help, even if a person does not show or feel symptoms of antifreeze poisoning.

People who are unsure whether they or someone else has ingested antifreeze can also call the AAPCC for expert advice at 1-800-222-1222. The AAPCC helpline is open 24 hours and is a toll-free number.

Accidentally ingesting antifreeze can happen for many reasons. For example, children may drink antifreeze because ethylene glycol tastes sweet. However, manufacturers often add substances that make antifreeze taste bitter to reduce a person’s desire to drink it.

A person may accidentally drink antifreeze that someone has stored in an unlabeled container, such as a glass, food jar, or drinks bottle.

However, ingesting antifreeze is not always accidental. Some individuals may use antifreeze as an alternative source of alcohol.

Other people may intentionally ingest antifreeze as a means of self-harm or in an attempt to take their own life.

Suicide prevention

  • If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.

Symptoms

Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning may not appear immediately after a person ingests it, as it takes time for the body to metabolize the chemicals.

The body converts the chemicals in antifreeze into smaller alcohols and acids. These can include:

  • glycolaldehyde
  • glycolic acid
  • glyoxylate
  • oxalic acid

The onset and severity of symptoms can vary according to several factors, such as the type and amount of antifreeze the person ingested.

In general, antifreeze poisoning occurs in three stages. We discuss each of these below:

First stage

The first stage of antifreeze poisoning typically begins between 30 minutes and 12 hours after a person ingests it.

The ethylene glycol in antifreeze affects the central nervous system first. Early symptoms of antifreeze poisoning may appear similar to those of alcohol intoxication.

These symptoms can include:

  • loss of coordination
  • slurred or jumbled speech
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • euphoria
  • nausea and vomiting
  • seizures
  • coma

Second stage

People generally enter the second stage of antifreeze poisoning 12–24 hours after ingestion.

During this stage, the body continues to metabolize the chemicals in antifreeze into toxic acids. These acids lower the pH level of the blood, which leads to a condition called metabolic acidosis.

At this point, antifreeze poisoning will start to affect multiple organs, including the kidneys, brain, lungs, and liver.

People in the second stage of antifreeze poisoning may experience:

A person may also lose consciousness or go into a coma at this stage. A doctor may suggest more aggressive treatments for a person in the second stage of antifreeze poisoning.

Third stage

The third stage of antifreeze poisoning occurs 24–72 hours after ingesting it.

If a person does not receive treatment, a buildup of calcium oxalate crystals can lead to kidney failure.

Treatment

person undergoing hemodialysis
A doctor may suggest hemodialysis to treat antifreeze poisoning.

Early diagnosis and treatment for antifreeze poisoning is essential to reduce a person’s risk of experiencing permanent organ damage and long-term health complications.

Treatment for antifreeze poisoning depends on:

  • the type and quantity of antifreeze a person has ingested
  • the amount of time that has passed since ingestion
  • the type and severity of a person’s symptoms

Doctors focus treatment for antifreeze poisoning on:

  • preventing the body from continuing to metabolize the antifreeze
  • removing antifreeze and toxic metabolites from the person’s bloodstream
  • providing supportive therapies, particularly in more severe cases that involve organ failure

Doctors prescribe antidotes, such as fomepizole and ethanol, to prevent a person’s body from metabolizing the chemicals in antifreeze into toxic metabolites.

Antidote therapy can help prevent further kidney damage but does not remove metabolites that have already collected inside the kidneys.

A doctor may then focus on returning the person’s blood pH to normal levels, such as by administering a bicarbonate solution through an intravenous line.

To remove unmetabolized antifreeze and toxic metabolites from the bloodstream, a doctor may also recommend hemodialysis.

During hemodialysis, a healthcare professional inserts a tube with a needle into a person’s arm. The tube connects to a dialysis machine.

The person’s blood flows along the tube into the machine, which filters out toxins and waste products. The filtered blood then passes through another tube back into the person’s arm.

Complications

It is essential to seek immediate medical treatment if a person suspects that they or someone else has ingested antifreeze.

Without prompt treatment, antifreeze poisoning can lead to serious complications. These complications can include:

What is antifreeze?

Antifreeze is a substance that people typically add to the liquid coolant inside car radiators. It contains chemicals that lower the freezing point and raise the boiling point of the engine coolant. Ingesting these chemicals can cause life-threatening symptoms.

Antifreeze typically contains ethylene glycol, methanol, and propylene glycol. Although these substances themselves are relatively nontoxic, the body rapidly metabolizes them into highly toxic alcohol byproducts.

Ethylene glycol is a water-soluble compound often present in household and car products. It is clear, odorless, and sweet-tasting, but it can irritate the eyes, skin, and airways.

If a person ingests products containing ethylene glycol, it can cause severe complications, such as kidney failure, permeant nerve damage, and, in some cases, death.

Methanol is a wood alcohol that manufacturers tend to use in paints, varnishes, and cleaners. Similar to ethylene glycol, methanol is highly toxic if a person ingests it.

Propylene glycol is a nontoxic substance. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approve the use of small quantities of propylene glycol in foods such as frostings and frozen dairy products.

Prevention tips

close up of man pouring antifreeze into car
Keeping antifreeze in its original container can help prevent accidental antifreeze poisoning.

It is possible to prevent accidental antifreeze poisoning by:

  • keeping antifreeze in its original container
  • if it is necessary to transfer antifreeze to another container, labeling the container very clearly
  • storing antifreeze in places out of reach of children, such as in a locked cabinet or on the top shelf of a cupboard
  • carefully wiping up spilled antifreeze and thoroughly rinsing the affected area with soap and water
  • choosing a safer antifreeze formula, such as products that use propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol

Summary

Antifreeze poisoning is a medical emergency. Anyone who suspects that they or someone else has ingested antifreeze should call 911 or go straight to the emergency room. Do not wait for symptoms to appear before seeking help.

The symptoms of antifreeze poisoning can take time to develop. Early symptoms may appear similar to those of alcohol intoxication.

Antifreeze poisoning is life-threatening and can lead to permanent organ damage, so early diagnosis and treatment is essential.

2019 Spring and Easter Gifts

Easter! Mother’s Day! Father’s Day! Graduations and Spring wedding season! There are so many reasons to celebrate during the spring months. That’s why every year, the design team at GiftTree goes to great lengths, curating a flower collection and designing gorgeous spring and Easter gifts that celebrate perfectly. Here are some of our favorites from the Spring & Easter Gift Collections!

Easter Collection

Home for Easter Bouquet

Home for Easter Bouquet

Easter Bunny Chocolate Basket

Easter Bunny Chocolate Basket

Easter Chocolate & Cookies Box

Easter Chocolate & Cookies Box

Send Easter greetings down the bunny trail this year! Our Easter Flowers and Easter Baskets are filled to the brim with grace, generosity and plenty of good cheer.

Spring Flowers

Spring Love

Spring Love

Touch of Spring Bouquet

Touch of Spring Bouquet

Spring Oasis

Spring Oasis

Spring flowers brighten up the room like nothing else. From tulips to hydrangea, roses to lush lilies, send a little bit of spring to the ones you love the most.

Spring Gift Collection

Claribel Bright & Beautiful Rosé

Claribel Bright & Beautiful Rosé

Fresh Fruit and Cookies Basket

Fresh Fruit & Cookies Basket

Rest & Relaxation Spa Set

Rest & Relaxation Spa Set

Heading to a graduation party or a spring wedding? We have tons of great gift ideas. (Helpful Hint: Housewarming gifts make perfect wedding gifts, as well as wine gifts to get the happy couple’s cellar off to a great start!)

Check out GiftTree.com for even more Springtime gift ideas.

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Voice of the Customer: An Intro Into Amazon VOC

Voice of the Customer

For a buzz-phrase, Voice of the Customer sure is a tongue-twister – one that marketers know all too well. But what does market research have to do with Amazon sellers? If you’ve heard about the VOC dashboard, but you don’t know what to make of it, here’s our take on Amazon VOC.

Amazon has always tried to be customer-centric. Bezos himself has a public email address. And he even passes on buyer complaints to his executives sometimes. But that customer-centric reputation wouldn’t go very far if sellers weren’t on board.

That’s why there’s such a thing as ‘seller performance’. But things are changing. Performance metrics don’t mean much these days. So, Amazon recently launched a new indicator for customer experience: Voice of the Customer.

What for, you ask? To help sellers visualize customer experience and meet C.S. standards. To put things into perspective, if you will. Don’t worry; whatever you see when you sign in to the VOC dashboard, it won’t replace current performance metrics or affect selling privileges.

A big chunk of Amazon’s business is in e-tail. So, it makes data-driven decisions based on post-sale feedback. And it expects sellers to do the same. But how could they, without a customer interface? This is where Amazon VOC comes in.

The VOC dashboard shows less-than-perfect testimonials and the products they refer to. Sure, the name can be confusing. After all, VOC is business speak for ways to track customer needs. But just think of it as a page in Seller Central that shows you what customers think.

How does it know? Post-sale information is the lifeblood of Amazon’s marketing research. So, it will leave no stone unturned to find it. Just imagine all the bots and employees that comb through customer feedback. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are at least four Amazon VOC channels:

  • Customer returns and refunds;
  • Customer service calls and chats;
  • Buyer-seller messages;
  • Product reviews (ahem…1-star only).
 Amazon VOC Channels

Amazon VOC Channels

What’s the point? The dashboard is designed to prevent returns and protect profits. None of the information on the VOC dashboard will affect selling privileges, so no need to panic. But it can point to issues that may lead to drops in feedback score, negative product reviews, and eventually even to suspended listings.

Why a dashboard? It’s a user-friendly way to convey a lot of detailed information. But it’s not just a dashboard. It’s a hub. It lets you take immediate action. Here are some of the things you can do with Amazon VOC:

  • see a color-coded customer experience health rating per product;
  • find out how Amazon became aware of the issues (i.e. the channels);
  • read buyer comments for every product featured;
  • download all this information as a .csv file;
  • create removal and disposal orders, edit listings, and relist products.

How does it work? The dashboard displays two product-specific metrics: NCX rate and CX Health. They’re shown as columns in a table containing offers with recent sales. Beside them is the Action column, which enables you to view comments and resolve the issue.

Voice of the customer dashboard

Amazon VOC Dashboard

NCX is the negative experience rate. It shows how many orders from your total sales for a specific product lead to a negative customer report. In the VOC table, it’s displayed as a percentage.

CX Health compares your NCX rate with that of similar offers (i.e. sellers with the same or nearly identical products). It’s displayed in color-coded format from Excellent (dark green) to Very Poor (red). Any product with a Poor (orange) label is likely to have its listing suspended.

The CX Health breakdown section lies above the table. It counts current offers in each CX performance category. The ‘View listings’ link below displays them all in the table underneath. Amazon recommends that you check listings with orange or red labels regularly.

What’s the catch? The VOC dashboard will be very helpful, in theory. But sellers are already pointing to several flaws. For now, you should try to remember that NCX rate and CX Health calculations include:

  • issues with labeling, damages, defects, and inaccurate listing;
  • all returns, even if the customers are happy;
  • orders from many weeks ago;
  • no negative delivery experiences;
  • no products that haven’t sold recently;
  • no new listings.

Also, please bear these four things in mid:

  • The smaller the number of orders, the bigger the impact of a return, negative feedback, or unfavourable product rating on the NCX rate (i.e. get a Poor rating for one bad review because you only sold it once before).
  • If you signed up for the FBA Label Service, NCX rating can be based on commingled inventory, and you can only stop other people’s products affecting your rating if you opt out.
  • CX Health rating takes similar offers into account, so some types of items will naturally have higher NCX thresholds than others (ex. clothes and shoes, where return rates are high).
  • In theory, there’s no point of reference for a unique, handmade, niche product, so it wouldn’t ever be given an NCX rating – for now.

That’s all there is to it, folks. Hopefully, we’ve laid some of the rumours to rest and addressed some of your questions about the Voice of the Customer dashboard. We love to hear from our readers, so if you’d like to share your experience of using Amazon VOC with us and fellow sellers, please use the comment section below.

Melanie

Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments, and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed

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Medical News Today: Why your household dust could fuel the growth of fat cells

Researchers have found that the dust in our households may harbor numerous chemicals that may accelerate the development of fat cells, potentially contributing to obesity.
man dusting a surface exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals
The dust in your house may contain harmful chemicals.

In recent years, researchers and international policymakers have expressed concerns about the effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, a class of substances that can interfere with the functioning of the endocrine — or hormone — system.

Such substances are sometimes present in household cleaning products, and even in objects that we use on a daily basis.

Many plastics, for instance, contain phthalates, which are endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

Researchers have warned that these chemicals are a threat to public health, as studies have tied them to fertility problems, liver disease, cancer, and childhood obesity.

Now, a study led by Christopher Kassotis, Ph.D., from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, in Durham, NC, has found evidence suggesting that household dust may promote the development of fat cells. Why? Because this dust can contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

Kassotis presented these findings yesterday at ENDO 2019, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society, which was held in New Orleans, LA.

“This is some of the first research investigating links between exposure to chemical mixtures present in the indoor environment and metabolic health of children living in those homes,” emphasizes Kassotis.

Do certain chemicals contribute to obesity?

Kassotis and the team took their cue from existing research that indicates a connection between exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and impaired lipid (fat) regulation in animal models.

This evidence ties in with that of other studies, which have suggested that the mechanism may contribute to the development of obesity in humans.

For the current research, Kassotis and the team collected samples of household dust from 194 houses in central North Carolina, with the aim of studying the effect of the dust’s chemical components on the inhabitants’ metabolic health.

To do this, the investigators first extracted the chemical substances from the dust samples. Then, they tested the substances’ effects in vitro, specifically trying to find out whether the chemical mixtures would prompt the development of fat cells.

The researchers report that even very low concentrations of the chemicals present in the dust samples did, indeed, promote the growth of precursor fat cells (from which adult fat cells develop) and, consequently, fat cell growth.

This discovery is particularly concerning because, according to estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), children most likely ingest between 60 and 100 milligrams of dust and soil per day.

“We found that two-thirds of dust extracts were able to promote fat cell development and half [could] promote precursor fat cell proliferation at 100 micrograms, or approximately 1,000 times lower levels than what children consume on a daily basis,” notes Kassotis.

In total, the researchers identified the presence of over 100 different chemicals in samples of household dust, and about 70 of these substances demonstrated a role in the growth of fat cells. Around 40 of the chemicals played a role in the development of precursor fat cells.

This suggests that mixtures of chemicals occurring in the indoor environment might be driving these effects.”

Christopher Kassotis, Ph.D.

Moreover, the researchers say that several of the chemicals that induced the growth of fat cells were present at elevated levels in the dust samples collected from homes inhabited by children who were either overweight or obese.

At present, Kassotis and the team are trying to take this initial research further and find more specific information about the potential relationship between the ingredients of common household products and the development of metabolic conditions.

23 Easter Basket Ideas for Everyone in Your Family

You may have outgrown the Easter egg hunt, but you can still enjoy the spirit of the Easter holiday with creative Easter baskets and thoughtful gifts. These festive baskets are typically bursting with personalized decorations, candy and small gifts tailored to your loved one. Personalize your Easter baskets by surprising your mom with gardening supplies and stuffing the kid’s baskets with small goodies.

These Easter basket ideas include inspiration for all your family members whether you’re putting together a basket for your little one, significant other, friends or parents. Bring joy to your family and friends with a unique Easter basket full of their favorite treats!

Easter Basket Ideas for Kids

Somehow the Easter Bunny always knows just what little boys and girls want in their baskets, from arts and crafts to sports items. From toddlers to tweens, your children will love an Easter basket picked out just for them. This year will be unforgettable if Peter Cottontail goes above and beyond with special Easter gifts for kids.

1. Butterfly Garden Easter Basket

This simple yet adorable basket from My Frugal Adventures proves that a little creativity goes a long way. Wrap yarn around the basket handle and hot glue flowers for a sweet and delicate look.

little girl with easter basket

2. Tutu Easter Basket

A to-tulle-y cute basket will make your tiny ballerina’s dreams come true. This look by Stylish Cravings shows how you can use tulle netting to add a tutu to any basket. Simply cut tulle in strips and tie them around the basket for a full and fluffy gift.

unicorn easter basket

3. Spring Animal Easter Basket

These darling baskets from Tonality Designs are great for the kiddos who love animals. With just a few decorations and add-ons, you can turn any basket into an Easter chick, lamb or bunny complete with a flower crown.

spring animals easter basket

4. DIY Easter Grass

As shown by Nessa Makes, there’s no need to make a trip to the store for Easter basket grass. In fact, if you already own any kind of craft paper, you don’t need to make a single purchase. All you need is a paper shredder or some scissors and voila!

5. Edible Easter Treats

This innovative idea from Hip 2 Save uses sweet treats to create a basket so there is more room for toys and gifts. Instead of filling the basket with candy, you can stuff it to the brim with other fun goodies.

easter treats basket

6. Paper Easter Basket

Your kiddos will love finding these charming paper Easter baskets from Merriment Design around the house. Fill them with chalk, mini candies or other small treats. These are the perfect baskets for rounding up hidden Easter eggs!

paper easter basket

7. Crochet Easter Basket

Oh The Things We’ll Make repurposed old t-shirts into yarn for an Easter crochet project. Challenge your crochet abilities and try your hand at this festive Easter craft. Accompany this handmade basket with an age-appropriate toy for a thoughtful gift fit for any child.

crochet easter basket

8. Garden Easter Basket

If your little one is developing a green thumb or just loves to play outside, this garden Easter basket by Frog Snails and Puppy Dog Tail is a must. Pair it with gardening gifts for mom or dad and spend an afternoon bonding outdoors.

wagon easter basket

9. Personalized Easter Basket Liner

Personalize any Easter basket with your child’s name. This style from DIY Showoff was made using a t-shirt and iron-on vinyl. After Easter is over, the basket can then be used as decorative storage in your child’s room!

personalized easter basket liner

10. Unicorn Easter Basket

We think magical holidays and mystical creatures go hand-in-hand. These DIY tricks from I Heart Crafty Things can turn any Easter basket into a unicorn in minutes. Add a unicorn puzzle to make the perfect gift for your little princess!

white unicorn easter basket

11. Bunny Ears Easter Basket

Non-Toy Gifts used cardboard, paint and googly eyes to create this delightful basket. You can make any Easter basket more festive by adding a pair of long bunny ears and eyes. Paint the ears and the basket with your child’s favorite colors for an extra personal touch!

bunny easter basket

Easter Basket Ideas For Teens

Because teenagers are in the middle of transitioning from childhood to young adulthood, finding the perfect teen Easter gifts can be difficult. Their basket should be fun and colorful without being too childlike.

Candy is usually a safe bet for most teenagers, but they will especially enjoy gifts that they can use again such as an embroidered tote bag filled with their favorite things. These Easter basket ideas for your teen are sure to pleasantly surprise them this year.

12. Wrapped Easter Buckets

These yarn-wrapped Easter buckets from Brit + Co are simply beautiful! These adorable wrapped mini tin buckets would fit perfectly in a larger Easter basket. Your teen will love decorating their room with these even after the holiday.

yarn wrapped easter basket

13. Color Block Easter Basket

A little paint and a decorative tag can give any Easter basket a fresh and modern look for your teenager. This basket by Blooming Homestead brings the color block trend to your celebration and even includes a downloadable gift tag.

color block easter basket

14. Glittery Gold Easter Basket

Give your teen an Easter basket that fits their bold and shining personality. Studio DIY found these golden stuffers for their lustrous basket. Top it off with a special gold necklace and your teen will feel like royalty.

glittery gold easter basket

15. Makeup Bag with Easter Goodies

Make any gift a special Easter treat by filling and surrounding it with candy and other small gifts. Look to Fun Squared and their stuffed makeup bag idea as an example of how to surprise your teen with their favorite beauty items.

makeup bag easter basket

16. Fabric Bunny Baskets

If sewing is your thing, these lovable bunny rabbit baskets from Applegreen Cottage are an excellent Easter project. They’re so cute and handy that your teenager will want to hold onto them forever!

fabric bunny easter basket

Easter Basket Ideas For Adults

The Easter bunny never overlooks adults when it comes to Easter baskets. Grandparents, significant others and sweet friends all deserve a festive treat this year. Pick a theme and fill your basket with adult Easter gifts that will make anyone feel hoppy. Browse these Easter basket ideas for adults to gather some inspiration so you can decorate your baskets in style.

17. Gardening Easter Basket

Turn Easter eggs into blooming flowers with this craft from Bullock’s Buzz. Add some gardening tools and sweet treats for a gardener’s dream basket.

gardening easter basket

18. Paper Bag Easter Basket

You would never believe this sweet Easter basket was made from a paper grocery bag! Using household items, this tutorial from Lia Griffith makes for an impressive upcycled craft your friends will love. Its size makes it perfect for holding freshly dyed Easter eggs.

paper bag weave easter basket

19. Floral Easter Basket

Jest Cafe created this floral masterpiece fit for a magical garden! Pick out your favorite florals and create a one-of-a-kind Easter basket blooming with beauty. Stuff this basket full of gardening gifts to create the perfect present.

floral easter basket

20. Paper Flower Easter Basket Filler

If you’re looking to switch out the traditional Easter grass, these paper flowers from The Style Sisters (now Karin’s Cottage) will do just the trick! Make these pretty flowers in your favorite colors and reuse them as decor after the holiday.

paper flower easter basket

21. Candy Easter Basket

Know of any honey bunnies who would appreciate this sweet treat? Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons shows you how to create the ultimate goodie basket. Top it off with some small adult Easter gifts that mom or dad will love.

candy easter basket

22. Faux Wood Basket

Altenew creates the look of a wood basket with paper cardstock for this delicate craft. By attaching some sweet printed art you can create this minimalistic Easter basket.

faux wood easter basket

23. Spring Easter Basket

Nothing says spring more than blooming flowers and chirping birds. This basket from For The Feast is the perfect way to add some cheerfulness to your Easter gift. This would also make a great table centerpiece for an Easter dinner.  

spring easter basket

During this year’s Easter gathering, celebrate with food, fun and family for a meaningful holiday. Now that you have Easter basket ideas for all of your family members, you can create unique baskets filled with goodies and gifts everyone will enjoy.

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