The Simple Truth: The campaign to stop PTSD and Cancer from killing our Veterans

I hope everyone had a happy and healthy 4th of July. Now that our national birthday party is over until next year, we must all again focus on saving the lives of our Veterans at risk. As we enjoy our summer rituals of beaches, barbecues, travel, and other recreational activities, let us make sure that those who make those traditions possible, also get to enjoy them.

We Veterans are the smallest minority group in our population, yet we suffer from the dual epidemics of cancer and suicide at much higher rates than civilians. The reasons for this are many, but the solution is simple. The solution is: The Gold Shield. Most people are shocked and offended when they learn that almost every hour of every day, another Veteran is lost to suicide, and an even greater number are lost to cancer, and those tragic numbers are directly caused by military service.

To make matters worse, the government does little to improve the situation. Since the government cannot solve the problem, it is up to us – the private sector. The Gold Shield is the mechanism we all can use to deliver services Vets need to reduce their appalling death toll. It is tragic when we lose any service member on the battlefield – but it is UNFORGIVABLE TO KEEP ON LOSING THEM AT HOME.

Read more: Glendale Register – The Simple Truth The campaign to stop PTSD and Cancer from killing our Veterans

Hands off Haiti! The U.S. has done enough

An Associated Press headline on July 8 read, “Biden with few options to stabilize Haiti in wake of slaying.” Following the assassination of president Jovenel Moïse, AP reports, “the U.S. is unlikely to deploy troops.”

Nonetheless, the American political and media establishments seem to blithely assume that Haiti’s internal affairs are very much America’s business. State Department spokesman Ned Price said “It is still the view of the United States that elections this year should proceed.”

An “electoral timetable” proposed by Moïse was “backed by the Biden administration, though it rejected plans to hold a constitutional referendum.”

Imagine, for a moment, that Russian president Vladimir Putin announced his support for the U.S. holding 2022 congressional midterm elections, but denounced a proposed constitutional amendment.

Haven’t American politicians spent the last several years kvetching about supposed “Russian meddling” in U.S. elections? Is there some particular reason why “election interference” is bad when others do it to us, but good when we do it to others?

The United States has intervened in Haiti’s internal affairs for more than 200 years, almost always with poor results for both countries’ populations.

After Haiti’s slave population rose up and overthrew their French masters, Federalists led by Alexander Hamilton recognized Toussaint Louverture’s new regime and encouraged independence. (Louverture maintained the colonial relationship with France until 1804.)

Under Thomas Jefferson, the U.S. withdrew that diplomatic recognition under pressure from slave owners who feared a spread of Louverture’s rebellion to the American mainland, and refused to recognize Haiti’s independence until 1862.

Subsequently, Washington intervened militarily in Haiti multiple times, occupied the country from 1915 to 1934, and supported the dictatorships of Francois “Papa Doc” and Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier from 1957 to 1986 on the Cold War logic that Haiti could be a Caribbean “counterweight” to Communist Cuba.

Since the fall of the younger Duvalier, the U.S. government has continued to intervene in Haitian affairs, dangling and withdrawing aid, engaging in economic blockade, and intercepting and repatriating U.S.-bound refugees, based on who’s in charge in Port-au-Prince and whether they toe Washington’s line.

While it’s simplistic to conclude that the US government is responsible for all of Haiti’s many problems, Washington certainly bears a great deal of responsibility for those problems. The way forward and out of that culpability is less, not more, interference in Haiti’s affairs.

If the U.S. government really needs a “Haiti policy,” that policy should include two elements: free trade and welcoming refugees. Beyond that, hands off Haiti!

Thomas L. Knapp is director at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy

Read more: Glendale Register – Hands off Haiti The U S has done enough

Staying healthy while traveling

The benefits of travel are enumerable, and I’m seeing many social media posts from friends and family who are venturing back onto planes and trains this summer. However, as anyone who has traveled in the past 10 years knows, travel has always had its downsides, even pre-pandemic.

Read more: Glendale Register – Staying healthy while traveling

What increases the risk of catching a virus or infection during air and train travel?

Surprisingly, it’s not what you may think. Most people tend to focus on the air quality. While it’s true that infections can be spread through air droplets, a plane’s air is actually filtered more than a movie theater’s or sporting event venue’s.

According to a study in 2007 by Charles Gerba, professor of environment microbiology at the University of Arizona, it’s the surfaces on the airplane that create the greatest risk of picking up bacteria and viruses. The surfaces that harbor the most microbial pathogens are tray tables, bathrooms, and seats – especially arm rests.

Read more: Glendale Register – Staying healthy while traveling

If you could avoid contact with your face after touching the surfaces on an airplane, you could significantly reduce transmission. However, it is almost impossible not to touch your face.

In medical school, during one lab, the professor put a powder that could only be seen with UV lighting on our books. At the end of class, the professor used an ultraviolet light and confirmed that everyone had touched their face at least once – and most of us repeatedly.

Preventing viruses and infections

The most reasonable approach is to carry antimicrobial wipes to clean the surfaces of the hand rests and tray tables. Wash your hands after using the bathroom. Use hand sanitizers before you eat. You might also put a napkin over the tray table to avoid touching the surface.

Fortunately, most infections are not life-threatening, but rather a short-term inconvenience.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) risks

More serious is a DVT, which is also referred to as “economy class syndrome,” because it occurs most often when sitting for long periods of time in cramped spaces. The risk of a DVT is increased by as much as two to four times on long-haul flights.

DVTs are more likely for travelers who have other risk factors, such as obesity, heart failure, cancer, increased age or recent major surgery. A 2001 New England Journal of Medicine study found that flights greater than 3600 miles cause increased risk of a DVT and PE. This limits the risk to mostly international flights and those traveling from the east coast to Hawaii. Unfortunately, DVTs and PEs can be life-threatening, if untreated.

Prevention of DVTs

When on a flight of more than five hours, make sure you walk or move around every one to two hours. Hydration is also critical to decrease clot risk. Another easy solution is below the knee compression stockings, which have been shown to decrease risk dramatically.

What about the role of stress?

Travel increases stress for many. Acute stress tends to increase the risk of hypercoagulability, or clots, and thus the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Chronic stress may also cause people to be more susceptible to infection, including the common cold.

Biofeedback, which involves deep breathing and meditation, is a great way to reduce both chronic and acute stress while traveling.

Though there are no guarantees, take these precautions to minimize the risks of infection, DVT/PE and increased stress. Also, take it to heart the next time you hear the captain and flight attendants tell you to sit back, relax and enjoy the trip.

Read more: Glendale Register – Staying healthy while traveling

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