Lyme Disease Awareness Month - Safety Information

Lyme Disease Awareness Month is a public service campaign supported by the Lyme Disease Foundation to educate the public about prevention and treatment of Lyme disease, which is a growing problem in parts of the country, including Maine.  The incidence of Lyme disease in Maine has been steadily increasing over the past several years, with more and more cases being diagnosed every year.

As most Mainers may know, it is the deer tick that that is responsible for most cases of Lyme disease in the Northeast.  Deer ticks thrive in heavily wooded areas, even in areas with long and harsh winters.

It is worth repeating the advice about how to prevent deer tick bites.  Recommendations include:

- Wear white or light clothing if you walk in wooded (or even grassy) areas, as it will be easier to spot the tiny, dark-colored ticks

- Shirts should be tucked into your pants, and socks should be pulled up over the bottom of your pants

- Insect repellent may be helpful, although repellent alone is not enough to protect you from tick bites

- Pets should be checked for ticks frequently

If you are bitten by a tick, removing the tick from your body may reduce the risk of disease from the bite.

More information about Lyme disease prevention and treatment is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at www.cdc.gov./lyme<http://www.cdc.gov./lyme>, and www.maine.gov/dhhs<http://www.maine.gov/dhhs>.

Harley Davidson Recall Information

Harley Davidson is recalling approximately 46,000 motorcycles in the United States due to defects with the clutch mechanism which can prevent the clutch from fully disengaging.  This can result in the rider losing control of the motorcycle.

The recall covers models from the 2015 and 2015 model years, and includes the Electra Glide, Ultra limited, Police Electra Glide, Street Glide, Road Glide and Road King models.

More information is available at the Harley Davidson website, and at www.safercar.gov.

Shark Vacuum Recall Information

The makers of Shark vacuum cleaners have issued a voluntary recall of four models:  NV650W, NV651, NV652, and NV660 due to a possibility of electrical failure.  The affected models are purple or maroon in color.

There have been no instances of injuries caused by the defect in these vacuum cleaners.

More information about this recall is available at www.sharkrecall.com

Study Examines Link Between Acetaminophen and Levels of Joy

According to a recent study published in Psychological Science, researchers have found that acetaminophen has the unexpected side effect of reducing pleasure while it reduces pain. Acetaminophen is the main ingredient in Tylenol and several hundred other medicines sold for pain relief, and is widely used by millions of americans.

The authors of the study say it was already known that acetaminophen reduced psychological, as well as physical pain, but recent research indicates that it also reduced feelings of joy. To conduct the study, the researchers showed photographs of highly pleasant, and highly unpleasant things, to the participants in the study. Half of the participants in the study were given a large dose (larger than the normal dose) of acetaminophen. These participants reacted less strongly to both the positive and negative photographs. Based on this study, the researchers conclude that  the widespread use of Tylenol and other pain relievers containing acetaminophen may have implications for emotional, as well as physical, health.

Further studies are planned to study whether other pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, have a similar correlation and effect on joy and pain.

Spring into Motorcycle Safety

"For Those Who Ride - Keep Joe Bornstein On Your Side"  

At the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein, we see firsthand the effects of serious motorcycle accidents. The injuries and consequences are often severe, with over 5,000 fatalities and 100,000 bikers injured each year - - and a 5-year average of 17 fatalities and 600 motorcycle accidents right here in Maine.

Whether you’re young or old, an experienced rider or new, it’s always wise to familiarize yourself with safety tips to help “Share the Road”: 

  • Maintain proper distance from other motorists as bikers are affected by elements that may not faze a motorist.
  • Be alert. As bikers get older, their reaction time begins to diminish. Nearly half of all motorcycle fatalities involve a rider over the age of 40.
  • Wear protective gear and carefully consider wearing a Department of Transportation compliant helmet. Proper safety gear can help save lives.
  • Avoid riding in bad weather.
  • Obey the general safety rules of the road and use hand and turn signals together to draw more attention to yourself when turning.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, call the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein today for a free and confidential consultation.

And remember, by following a few easy to remember safety tips, you'll help make your next ride a safe ride.

 

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning During Blizzard Season

Well, Mainers - we've made it through our first real snowstorm of the season. A blizzard or Nor'Easter as it were. Since Winter has only just begun, there are almost certainly several more inches of the white stuff to come in our near future. With snow falling at such a rapid rate as it did the past couple of days, your homes can quickly become covered and this in turn can lead to very dangerous outcomes. 

Local police and fire departments are urging residents to BE SURE to keep furnace and other utility vents clear of snow. When snow is falling at a rate of 2 to 4 inches per hour, it can quickly build up on surfaces of your home. When a furnace can't breathe, it isn't safe.

It is important to devise a plan to remove all snow and ice from your home's exterior vents and utilities in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. When snow blows against a house, it can block vents, therefore making it so that carbon monoxide has nowhere to go and is ultimately trapped in the house. Carbon monoxide is known as a silent killer because you can't see, smell or taste the deadly gas.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has compiled a list of very important post-blizzard safety measures, including:

  • Never use a gas range or oven to heat a home.
  • Never leave the motor running in a vehicle parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage.
  • Never run a motor vehicle, generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine outside an open window, door, or vent where exhaust can vent into an enclosed area.
  • Never run a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open, unless the equipment is professionally installed and vented.
  • Keep vents and flues free of debris, especially if winds are high. Flying debris can block ventilation lines.
  • Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent, or camper.
  • If conditions are too hot or too cold, seek shelter with friends or at a community shelter.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. 

For more information on this potentially fatal element of extreme snowstorms, please visit: www.cdc.gov

Space Heater Safety

Now that Winter (and chilly conditions) is in full swing, Mainers are looking for ways to safely heat our homes. Space heaters, commonly used portable heating devices, are great alternatives to expensive or inefficient central heating systems. These small heating units are capable of raising the temperature in a room without also simultaneously overheating an entire home.

While space heaters are cost-effective and practical, they come with several potential dangers/risks. When thinking about heating your home using one of these devices, please consider the following buying/installing safety guidelines via the US Department of Energy:

  • Only purchase newer model heaters that have all of the current safety features. Make sure the heater carries the Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) label.
  • Choose a thermostatically controlled heater, because they avoid the energy waste of overheating a room.
  • Select a heater of the proper size for the room you wish to heat. Do not purchase oversized heaters. Most heaters come with a general sizing table.
  • Locate the heater on a level surface away from foot traffic. Be especially careful to keep children and pets away from the heater.
  • Only purchase newer model heaters that have all of the current safety features. Make sure the heater carries the Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) label.
  • Choose a thermostatically controlled heater, because they avoid the energy waste of overheating a room.
  • Select a heater of the proper size for the room you wish to heat. Do not purchase oversized heaters. Most heaters come with a general sizing table.
  • Locate the heater on a level surface away from foot traffic. Be especially careful to keep children and pets away from the heater.
  • Electric heaters should be plugged directly into the wall outlet. If an extension cord is necessary, use the shortest possible heavy-duty cord of 14-gauge wire or larger. Always check and follow any manufacturer’s instructions pertaining to the use of extension cords.
  • Buy a unit with a tip-over safety switch, which automatically shuts off the heater if the unit is tipped over.
  •  
  • The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires every year are associated with the use of space heaters, resulting in 300 deaths and countless hospital visits to treat burns. To avoid becoming one of these statistics, it is critical to follow the aforementioned safety advice when heating your home with a portable heater.

The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein wishes you a safe and hopefully warm Winter season. 

Extreme Cold Spell Strikes Maine

Maine, like most of New England, is currently in the midst of an extreme cold spell that should be ending this weekend. Temperatures have dropped to subzero levels today along most of the state, and heavy wind chills have contributed to unsafe driving conditions.

As a result of these freezing conditions, Maine drivers are experiencing dead car batteries that require jumpstarts, as well as frozen fuel lines. AAA advises motorists to keep their cars in the garage to avoid exposure to the severe climate. In addition, drivers should try to keep their gas tank at least half full during this icy period to prevent condensation from building in the tanks. 

The National Weather Service reported that Portland's low temperature of -9 degrees this morning was second only to the record low of -16 degrees in 1942. The NWS's temperature report also determined that inland areas were colder than those towns that are located along the coast. 

Meteorologists believe that temperatures will hopefully start to climb back into the 20's and 30's this weekend. 

Stay safe and as warm as possible, everyone!

'Veterans Helping Veterans' Program Forges Connections and Friendships

Launched last February, Maine-based project 'Veterans Helping Veterans' has paired young and elderly veterans together to bond through shared experiences and stories from their military service. 

According to an article in the Portland Press Herald, the program, which benefits veterans in York and Cumberland counties, has received positive feedback and is looking to expand its impact and reach by adding more volunteers. 

The program, developed by Americorps VISTA volunteer Susan Gold for the Southern Maine Agency on Aging, connects veterans together to spend time with one another and ultimately form a friendship. The project is a heartwarming and meaningful initiative that is strongly rooted in values of compassion and companionship. 

Gold's objective for the program is for these partnerships to successfully fulfill the SMAA's mission of providing outreach and resources that will allow elderly people to live in their homes for as long as possible.

Those who volunteer to be involved in 'Veterans Helping Veterans' receive training on how to tell if the veteran they are visiting has access to proper nutrition, medical care and transportation services if needed. Through the program is independently run, employees regularly communicate with Maine Veterans Services in order to learn of people who may benefit from the visitation experience. 

In addition, the program has employed mental health experts and trainers to keep a close eye on the partnerships and be vigilant of any veterans who may be suffering from symptoms of depression and/or post-traumatic stress disorder. Amy Marcotte, a mental health professional on staff with 'Veterans Helping Veterans' told the Portland Press Herald that "Soldiers tend to feel responsible to their country and one another, and programs like this are a really nice outlet to fulfill that. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for meaningful service to their military brothers and sisters."

If you are interested in volunteering for the program, or want to learn more about the wonderful work and service these veterans do for each other, please contact Susan Gold at 396-6521 or sgold@smaaa.org

Federal Appeals Court Rejects LePage's Efforts to Eliminate Medicaid Coverage for Young Mainers

Last month, a federal appeals court rejected Maine Republican Governor Paul LePage's attempt to deny certain young adults Medicaid access. 

In its decision, The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that such a move would violate the Affordable Care Act, a "patient's bill of rights that gives the American people the stability and flexibility they need to make informed decisions about their health." 

Governor LePage, a critic of President Barack Obama's healthcare law, had previously proposed eliminating Medicaid coverage for 6,000 non-disabled 19-and-20-year-olds fin an effort to balance the budget. 

The LePage Administration, which wants to cut $220 million in overall healthcare spending, argued that cutting Medicaid rolls in the state would have saved Maine $3.7 million. 

LePage has been quoted as saying that he expects the state's fight with the federal government on this issue to eventually end up in the U.S. Supreme Court. 

For more information on the Medicaid Program and Affordable Care Act, please visit: http://www.medicaid.gov/ and http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/rights/ 

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