National Drug Take Back Day: April 28

National Drug Take Back Day sponsored by the DEA is scheduled for April 28, 2012 in cities all across the United States. Please take advantage of this opportunity to clean out your medicine cabinet, bathroom drawer, or kitchen shelf and safely dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medications.

I recently wrote about disposing of medications safely, but participating in the National Drug Take Back program is much easier and faster. In my home town of Wichita, KS, the following locations are accepting old/used prescriptions or over-the-counter medications from 10am to 2pm on April 28 (this coming Saturday):

  1.      Oaklawn Activity Center: 4900 S. Clifton
  2.      Haysville Police Department: 200 W. Grand in Haysville
  3.      Household Hazardous Waste: 801 W. Stillwell
  4.      Sedgwick County Zoo: 5500 W. Zoo Boulevard
  5.      City of Bel Aire Community Room: 7651 E. Central Park
  6.      Maize Police Department: 10100 W. Grady in Maize

The most recent take-back day last October resulted in the disposal of more than 188 tons of unwanted or expired medications nationally. Previously, Kansas returned 10,470 pounds of medication over the past three years, including 3,089 pounds last October.

If you reside outside Wichita, check here;jsessionid=F9F98A82E9F5159535EA77D3D6F8F320?_flowExecutionKey=_c18926A35-1AA5-309C-4B78-F351159A462D_k4D3BFB2A-3C9E-36A2-B0AF-8322587535D9   for locations in other states or in your area.

Don’t risk an accident with old or unwanted medications. Dispose of them properly and safely through this free DEA program.

Strive to be healthy!

Chigger and Mosquito Season…

I’ve read reports stating with the warm winter we had, mosquitoes and chiggers will be in fine form this spring and summer and ready for action. Many recommendations tell you to remain indoors to avoid bites or wear clothing that fully covers your body, but what kind of fun is that?? With a little planning, there are things you can do to avoid the annoying, itching bites of chiggers and mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes are attracted to floral or spicy scents, such as, perfume, hair products, soap, etc. If you’re planning to spend time outside, plan ahead and try using unscented products and no perfume or after shave before you head outdoors. Mosquitoes are also attracted by sweat. If you work or exercise outside, dry yourself off regularly to cut down on insect attraction.

There is a product available that works well too. It is called BADGER Anti-Bug Balm. (Available online or in natural food stores). This is a natural product containing essential oils, olive oil, and beeswax. If I use a bit around my ankles, it keeps chiggers away and from moving up my legs. I also place a small amount around my shoulder and elbow areas to discourage mosquitoes. I carry a small tin of bug balm in my purse so I’m always prepared.

If you find yourself outdoors unexpectedly without bug balm and experience bites, ibuprofen will help after the fact. As bites become itchy and irritated, the ibuprofen reduces swelling and inflammation, helping them itch less. The more you avoid scratching a bite, the more quickly it will heal and disappear.

So plan ahead, and enjoy the outdoors this spring and summer without chiggers and mosquitoes joining the party.

Strive to be healthy!

Using Essential Oils

With my allergies, I am extremely sensitive to fragrance. This means I cannot wear most perfumes, must avoid others who wear strong perfume, and have to be sure my body lotions do not contain any fragrance. Any one of these things can cause me to wheeze and cough with a burning in my throat and eyes. But yet, I like to smell nice… so I went on a search for a way to have fragrance in my life without having allergic reactions.This is when I discovered the wonderful world of essential oils and the many ways to incorporate them into my life.

I place a few drops of Lavender oil on or around my pillow at bedtime. This gives me a soothing scent through the night and helps me sleep. Each time I change my bed sheets, I place four to five drops of my favorite oil on the mattress pad before putting clean sheets on the bed. It gives the whole bedroom a wonderful fragrance.

My cats get flea treatments made of cold compressed olive oil and rosemary. Use one teaspoon of olive oil and one-half teaspoon of rosemary oil. Use it just the same as standard treatments by placing the mixture between your cat’s shoulder blades high on the neck where they cannot lick it.

I wear essential oils as my perfume. I used to mix two parts vegetable oil, one part alcohol, a little water, and four to five drops of the essential oil. This works great, but I got tired of mixing all the time. I found I can purchase essential oils in a spray form that is safe to use directly on my skin through Zum Mist.

Growing up I always heard that Vitamin E cream was the best way to prevent scarring from cuts, scratches, and wounds. These days, the newest form of scar reduction is to use essential oils. Never put raw oil directly on the affected area, but make mixtures using a carrier oil as follows:

Helichrysum is a good foundation for blends to heal the skin. If you have a recent injury, use Helichrysum with a carrier oil such as Rosehip or Tamanu Nut. This combination will heal wounds with minimal or no scarring. If your wound is already healed and you wish to reduce the scarring and soften the skin, use Lavender oil. Lavender and Rosemary have gentle anti-inflammatory properties and are very soothing. Sage oil is also beneficial in healing old or unsightly scars with natural regenerative properties that promote circulation. Increased circulation gently breaks down tough skin resulting from wound healing and will lessen scarring.

The Helichrysum and Tamanu Nut oils may be difficult to find, so the simple blends of olive oil with Lavender and/or Rosemary is a good starting point. These two are also less expensive and available in most health food stores. In Wichita, you will find all types of oils at Food For Thought, Whole Foods, or Green Acres.

A good group of essential oils to start your collection would be Lavender, Rosemary, Patchouli, and Clary Sage. One of these four, mixed with an olive oil or a fragrance free lotion, can be used in many ways. Find out more at and

So, bring essential oils into your life and enjoy health benefits through a restful night’s sleep, wound care and healing, smelling nice, and being more earth friendly.

Strive to be healthy!

Allergic to cosmetics??

Along with my allergies comes a sensitivity to cosmetics and many brands of makeup. Some make my eyes swell, others make my face itch, and still others cause me to sneeze. Very difficult to look good at my age when I’m unable to use cosmetics. I knew I had to find a solution.

First off, my skin is extremely oily and acne-prone, so I had to find cosmetics suited to my skin type. Thirty years ago before I displayed cosmetic allergies, I used Mary Kay products. These worked well for me until they changed their formula to a mineral-based makeup. At that point I was forced to change brands. I tried many lines, from cheap to expensive, and most would work for a while. But before long I always noticed the problems with my itching eyes and skin.

My next purchase was a hypoallergenic line. I believe hypoallergenic is another way of saying “fragrance free.” There was no fragrance or scent, but I still had an allergic reaction. For most people fragrance free probably works, but I am not most people. There is something in cosmetics, other than fragrance, that my skin cannot tolerate. I have tried to find out what that is, but without much luck. It is difficult to compare product ingredients by the bottle because that requires putting them side-by-side and comparing the contents. So I went online. When I search the ingredients of a specific cosmetic brand online, I find a list of things NOT included. It is difficult to find a listing of what is actually contained in the products.

My next step was to begin trying different brands that had tester samples and a return policy. Sometimes I could tell just by the smell of a product that it wouldn’t work for me. Other times it would take up to a week for the allergic reaction to present itself. I wanted to make sure I had the option to return the product if this happened.

After working through Almay, Arbonne, Clinique, and Laura Mercier, I found Tarte. From checking ingredients, I know that Tarte is formulated without mineral oil, phthalates, synthetic fragrance, paraben, and sodium lauryl sulfate. This must be good because I seem to get along fine with this line. I’m able to use the foundation, powder, eyeliner, mascara, and blush. Tarte falls in the mid price range and is available online or through Sephora.

I’m still working to determine exactly what ingredient(s) causes my problems… but I look better while doing it with Tarte. So whether you find yourself in the category of those who are allergic to cosmetics, or you just want to be environmentally conscious, do it with Tarte!

Strive to be healthy!