The Mystery of the Migraine

Migraines are caused by an oversensitive brain and genetic predisposition. Anyone can have a headache, but migraines are more painful and are usually on one side of the head. The symptoms vary from each person. They can include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and sensitivity to light, smells, and touch. Some researchers have discovered that migraines also have phases that within hours or days result into full blown migraines.

Phase one: Prodrome

Symptoms include: food cravings, sleep issues, increased thirst, repetitive yawning, and difficulty speaking. 30-40% of migraine sufferers experience the prodome phase.

Phase two: Aura

Symptoms include: blurry vision, seeing flashing lights or wavy lines, losing vision for a short period, confusion, loss of hearing, hiccups, and tingling sensations. 1 in 5 sufferers develop auras.

Phase Three: Headache

Symptoms include: nasal congestion, hot flashes, dizziness, vertigo, mild head pain, and sometimes anxiety.

Phase Four: Postdrome

Symptoms include: poor concentration, depression, and euphoria. Typically lasts from 2-24 hours.

More than 37 million Americans suffer from migraines according to the National Headache Foundation. Episodic migraines are those sufferers that have migraines every few months or less. Chronic migraines are labeled on people that suffer 15 or more days per month with migraines. Overtime, people with episodic migraines may develop more headaches for various reasons, such as increased stress, illness, or a change in hormones. Both genetics and environment play a role in who gets migraines. If one parent has migraines, then you have a 50% of getting migraines. If both parents suffer from migraines, then you have a 75% chance of developing migraines. Caffeine, certain foods, stress, and changes in weather are triggers for an attack.

No one knows for sure what causes migraines, but changes in the levels of serotonin and other neurochemicals are involved. It affects the trigeminal nerve system, a constellation of nerves in the face and head. Many women develop migraines before or during their periods and the migraines lessen after menopause. Some people can manage their triggers, while others need medications.

Healthy sleep is an important factor for preventing migraines and managing the prodome phase. Try some chamomile or ginger tea to help relax your senses and ease the feelings of nausea. Drink plenty of water to fight dehydration. Try an ice pack to ease discomfort from hot flashes and pain. Recovering from a migraine takes time. Try a relaxing bubble bath or a massage.IMG_0765

 

What to do with Unused Medications

It happens to many of us. You open a cupboard or medicine cabinet and realize there are medications that are no longer used or have expired. If the medications are a year old or longer then they have lost their potency. How do you get rid of them safely? Here are a few tips:

  • The safest way to dispose of medications is through the DEA-registered ‘Take Back’ program. Collection sites are at local hospitals and clinics. Visit the DEA’s website for possible mail-in options or call 1-800-882-9539.
  • Check the fda.org for a list of safe disposal by flushing medications.
  • Before throwing the medications away, check the label to see if that drug has specific disposal instructions. Failure to do so could cause harm to others.
  • If all else fails, throw the medications in the trash mixed with kitty litter or dirt. This reduces the chance of animals or children ingesting them.

Bright Red Sun

I woke up this morning to the smell of a fire. The sun was bright red and the air smoky. Ashes covered my deck. As I looked around, ashes were falling from the sky. I turned on the news and found out 410 hwy. was closed because of firefighters containing a fire at Crystal Mountain area. There was already a forest fire in Cle Elum. The wind carried the smoke and ash over the mountains and into Auburn and surrounding areas.

This has been the driest summer Washington has ever had.

1897 Women’s Survival Kit

The following suggestions were made to women in order to survive in the Klondike. The women that were strong and stubborn that followed their husbands, fathers and brothers in the fever for gold complied this survival kit.  I found it interesting and I decided to share it.

Women must be properly clothed and equipped for the trip to the interior. The most important item is proper footwear. Some women have worn shoes that are three times larger than one’s foot. It is not necessary. Get a shoe that fits. If the sole is not very heavy, have an extra one added. Moccasins can be purchased from the Indians. The tall bicycle shoe with extra sole would make an excellent walking shoe. A pair of rubbers fitted to these might come in handy during the rainy season. A woman should start out with these items:

  • 1 pair house slippers
  • 1 pair knitted slippers
  • 1 pair heavy soled walking shoes
  • 1 pair Arctics
  • 1 pair felt boots
  • 1 pair German socks
  • 1 pair heavy gum boots
  • 1 pair ice creepers
  • 3 pair heavy wool stockings
  • 3 pair summer stockings

A ready-sewed tick would be nice to have, for it can be filled with dried moss and makes a good pioneer mattress. Also 1 feather pillow, 1 rubber blanket, 1 piece of canvas, and 3 or 4 wool blankets would make a snug bed. Some people have tried sleeping bags and have been disappointed in them. A piece of canvas 5 x 14 feet can take its place. Fold half of the canvas on the ground, place your bedding on it, and draw the other half over you. Thus you are protected from the dampness and the wind. If you are caught in a blizzard without a tent, you can stretch the canvas over a pole and have a temporary tent.

In the way of wearing apparel, a woman can get by in comfort with these items:

  • 1 good dress
  • 1 suit heavy mackinaw, waist, and bloomers
  • 1 summer suit
  • 3 short skirts of heavy duck or denim to wear over bloomers
  • 3 suits winter underwear
  • 3 suits summer underwear
  • 1 chamois undervest
  • 1 long sack nightdress made of flannel or elderdown
  • 1 cotton nightdress
  • 2 pair Arctic mittens
  • 1 pair heavy wool gloves
  • 1 cap
  • 1 Arctic hood
  • 1 hat with brim broad enough to hold mosquito netting away from face
  • 1 summer dress
  • 3 aprons
  • 2 wrappers
  • 2 shirt waists
  • snow glasses
  • summer gloves to protect from mosquitoes
  • satchel

When an Alaskan outfit is packed down in a canvas bag, it takes too long to search for what you need. Try using 3 canvas bags instead. One can be used for the bedding, another for the wearing apparel, and the last for foot wear. It makes unpacking and repacking unnecessary.

A good-sized mess box with a hinge cover and lock, containing enough food for the trip will be a great convenience and avoids the extra work of opening sacks and boxes at every camp. Some camp sites have commissary departments to purchase items such as butter and evaporated eggs. These items are useful in your mess box:

  • flour
  • bacon
  • salt
  • yeast
  • pepper
  • rice
  • beans
  • sugar
  • cornmeal
  • dried fruits
  • baking powder
  • condensed cream
  • beef extract
  • pilot bread
  • canned meats
  • chocolate

I wonder how those women carried all those belongings, don’t you?IMG_0848

 

 

Aurora’s Light Show

How does the sky light up like this? Earth has magnetic field lines, similar to a bar magnet, that emanates from the north and the south poles creating a layer called magnetosphere. This magnetic field shields the planet from most of the solar wind that sweeps past it. This field is strongest and thickest at mid-latitudes, near the equator and weakest at the poles. As charged particles are funneled downward along magnetic field lines, protons and electrons collide with atoms and molecules of gas in Earth’s atmosphere between 40 and 240 miles above the ground. Collisions change the internal energy states of atmospheric atoms and molecules to higher levels of energy. As they relax back to normal states, they release energy in the form of light, thus the aurora.

The Fearsome Grizzlies

Grizzly bears, also known as brown bears, are often seen this time of year in Alaska, because of the abundance of berries and the salmon spawning. They also occur in Asia, Canada, some places in Europe, and of course in some zoos. Alaska contains 98% of the USA population of brown bears.

How can you distinguish a black bear from a grizzly? Color is not reliable in differentiating these bears because both species have color phases. The grizzly is usually larger, has a prominent shoulder hump, and longer claws. The grizzly uses his claws for digging roots or excavating burrows of small mammals. The bone structure and the muscles of the hump able the grizzly to dig and attain bursts of speed necessary for capture of moose or caribou for food.

Except for females with offspring and breeding animals, bears are typically solitary creatures. The exception is when food sources are concentrated, such as streams where the bears catch salmon. All bears should be treated with respect and safely observed from a distance of at least 100 yards. Mother bears are protective of their young. Bears also protect their food source, such as buried carcasses of moose and caribou. When I visited Denali Park, a bus driver told me a story about one of his friends that had gone hiking there on his own. The man came across some grizzly cubs and backed up slowly. However, mother bear spotted him and charged him. Now he did the usual things of making noise and raising his hands, but mother bear still came at him. He dropped to the ground and played dead. ( Usually, if nothing else works, playing dead does, but not in this poor man’s case. ) Mother bear roared in his face first, then she bit his knee, and raked her claws down his thigh. Even though he was in pain and blood pouring down his leg, he kept still. Mother bear grumbled at her cubs and left the man there. He didn’t know how long he had lied there, before he got up, and limped back to the road. He flagged a car down and was taken to a clinic for first aid. The man figured mother bear was teaching her cubs a lesson, don’t mess with humans.

At any rate, grizzlies are magnificent creatures and deserve respect. At least in Alaska, the bears have room to roam and the Dept. of Fish and Game is responsible for managing the bears too. It is equally our responsibility to recognize that not only bears, but wildlife in general need sufficient amounts of habitat to continue to thrive.

 

Precious Gold

During the Klondike Gold Rush, gold was used as currency. It was eliminated from common coinage in 1933, yet gold is well used in today’s world that the average person doesn’t realize.

Gold is a heavy, yellow metallic chemical element. It has the greatest density of any mineral and because of its high density, it collects in streams as placer gold. Miners collected the gold nuggets and gold dust in pans, rockers, and sluice boxes. Pure gold is a soft metal that scratches, bends, and breaks easily. Therefore, gold is often mixed with other metals for use in jewelry.

Gold is reflective and is an excellent conductor of electricity. It can be drawn or molded into wire or threads. It doesn’t tarnish, rust, or dissolve in water and most acids. Due to this nature, gold is now used in many technical fields. Did you know that gold is used in the trigger deployment system of airbags in cars? Auto manufacturers use gold to dry paint on their cars. Gold-plated connectors operate in a car’s engine to withstand high temperatures and corrosive environment under a car’s engine hood.

Many aircraft use gold-coated acrylic windows in cockpits to help the windows stay clear of frost and fogging. The reflectability of gold helps keep the cockpit cool on hot runways. It also maintains the heat of the cabin while in flight at high, cold altitudes. Did you know that Air Force One uses gold reflectors to confuse an incoming missile’s heat-seeking signal? It makes it difficult for the guidance system to focus on its target. Gold protects the onboard computers in the Galileo space probe. It is used in satellites and the space shuttle’s electronic circuitry.

A telephone’s mouthpiece has a transmitter that contains gold in the diaphragm. Telephone jacks and connecting cords also use gold for contacts. Gold is the best material to use in microcircuits of electronic equipment. Did you know that gold is used in medical monitoring equipment?

Wouldn’t those miners of yesterday be surprised how precious gold has become? I found this information interesting.

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