Learn More About Natural Disaster-Related Phobias and How To Get Help

This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.

Phobias are specific mental health conditions that are caused by a fear of something (or multiple things) that can be compulsive, obsessive, and terrifying for the person experiencing them. Some of the most common phobias that exist are phobias of natural disasters.

Natural disasters are becoming increasingly more common, prompting people such as business owners to start taking measures to prevent their effects. However, for some, the fear of natural disasters and the toll they take can be so intense that it starts to impact their lives and make them afraid to leave home.

types of natural disaster-related phobia

If you’re struggling with a natural disaster-related phobia, know that you’re not alone. These phobias are common, especially if you’ve experienced a trauma related to a natural disaster of any type. Read on to learn more about these phobias, as well as some ways to get help.

Lilapsophobia- The Fear of Tornadoes and/or Hurricanes

One of the most common natural disaster phobias is lilapsophobia, which is characterized by an intense fear of tornadoes and/or hurricanes. People who have this phobia may experience the following:

  • Having panic attacks at the mention of high winds
  • Watching the weather channel compulsively
  • Stocking up on supplies and setting up a “storm basement”
  • Feeling anxious often
  • An impending sense of doom or feeling that a tornado or hurricane will arrive at any moment
  • Fears of dying or being hurt
  • Fear of leaving home

This phobia is common in those who have survived a hurricane or tornado, especially if it wreaked havoc. However, it can also occur in someone who has never experienced one. A phobia like this does become a problem when it starts to impact your life and causes you to be afraid to leave home.

Tsunamiphobia- The Fear of Tsunamis

Another common phobia is tsunamiphobia, which is the fear of tsunamis. Tsunamis are large waves/surges of water from the ocean that happen due to seismic activity and storms. Tsunamis are quite rare, but they can wipe out small towns and are very scary for many people.

Someone with this phobia will likely avoid visiting any city that is near the ocean and may have panic attacks when visiting the beach. They could have nightmares about tsunamis or feel afraid when talking about them or hearing about them.

Seismophobia- The Fear of Earthquakes

Seismophobia is another related phobia, which is the fear of earthquakes. Earthquakes are more common than tsunamis, and in some areas, they happen often. For example, in Japan and New Zealand, earthquake drills are common in schools, and many small earthquakes happen throughout the year.

Earthquakes can feel terrifying when they’re happening, and some people develop trauma from them, especially if they cause destruction. Those with this phobia will often avoid areas where earthquakes are common, may constantly check seismic activity, and may also have a fear of a volcanic eruption.

Astraphobia- The Fear of Storms

For those who are simply afraid of bad storms in general, the phobia is called astraphobia. Those with this phobia may have panic attacks when small storms hit or when it starts to rain. They may fear leaving the home and may have a safe place where they go when there is thunder or lightning. This phobia is one of the most common on the list.

natural-disaster

Chionophobia- The Fear of Snow/Snowstorms

Chionophobia is the fear of snow and snowstorms. Snow can cause difficulties with vision, falls, and other distressing experiences. It is also extremely cold. Everyone with this phobia experiences different fears related to it but will likely avoid areas where it snows. If they do live in a snowy town or country, they’ll likely stay inside or refuse to leave home if there is snow on the ground. They may experience panic or anxiety when there are snowstorms or blizzards.

How to Get Help for a Natural Disaster-Related Phobia

If you have any of the phobias above or another weather-related phobia, there is help available. You are not alone! Many people feel shame for their phobias, especially if someone in their life has told them that it’s “strange.”

However, it’s important to remember that no phobia is strange, and humans everywhere have many different types of fears. We develop fears as a natural response to trauma and our environments, and you can find a phobia for anything.

For this reason, lots of help is available. You can find online and offline counselors who are experts in phobias, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive traits. If you’re finding that your phobia impacts your life negatively in several areas and makes it hard to function, it’s time to get help.

Some of the common therapies for phobias include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (traditional talk therapy)
  • Exposure therapy (for compulsive behaviors and obsessive fears)
  • Trauma therapy and EMDR (for phobias related to trauma)

Ways to Protect Yourself From a Natural Disaster

If you’re worried about a natural disaster, know that there are ways to protect yourself from harm. Remember, seeking reassurance and compulsively planning for a potential disaster are signs of a phobia or obsessive-compulsive disorder, so it’s important to get advice from your counselor or doctor if you are partaking in these activities often.

  • Having a stash of food and first aid supplies
  • Living in an area where natural disasters are rare
  • Setting up a storm shelter or basement area where you can go if needed
  • Identifying the tsunami-safe zones in your city
  • Identifying where to go if there’s a fire in your town

Remember, planning is good, but it can’t stop an event from happening. That’s why therapy is the only way to cure a phobia and get help.

Conclusion

If you want to learn more about phobias and get inspiration on how to get help, check out BetterHelp’s blog today. They’ve got some great information on what phobias are and how they’re treated at this link.

Natural disasters are unfortunately a part of our world, but they don’t have to become your whole world. You’re not alone in your fear, and help is available today.

Dealing With Pessimism About the State of the World? 7 Ways to Calm Climate Crisis Anxiety in 2022

This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.

Anxiety and stress are common side effects of the state of our world in 2022. Climate change was a big thing on many people’s radars until 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Since then, the world has been flung into a state of chaos, and the climate crisis has been put in the back of many people’s minds.

For those who are passionate about sustainability and climate, we know the importance of a zero net carbon future. It can start to feel extremely overwhelming to see that no one is talking about these topics anymore, and it might feel like the world has given up.

Even when it feels pointless, activism is important. It changes the way the world works, and it makes our voices heard. If you’re feeling pessimistic, upset, anxious, or stressed about the state of the climate, here are a few ways to find calm in the midst of the (literal and figurative) storm.

ways to calm climate crisis anxiety

1. Spend Time in Nature

Our planet is beautiful, and there’s more time than ever to spend outside appreciating the beauty of what it offers, especially during the pandemic, when it’s safer to be outside than in.

Nature also has profound positive effects on your mental health, according to several studies. If you find yourself feeling panicked, scared, upset, or angry, spend some time under some trees or near a river, where there aren’t any people or reminders of the stresses you face.

If you live in a big city, consider taking a weekend trip to a smaller town that allows you to be closer to nature. Or try to find a park with lots of trees and open spaces, where there aren’t as many people present. Just be sure to be safe.

2. Spend Time With Pets and Family

Being close to those you love is another excellent way to feel safe and get some relief from stress and anxiety. If you’re feeling pessimistic, reminding yourself of the positive people and pets in your life is essential to make sure you don’t get stuck in a pattern of feeling like there’s nothing good in the world.

After all, animals are some of the purest beings on the planet, and they never give you a reason to feel hurt or angry. They’ll always love you unconditionally. If you have a dog, even going for a brisk walk with them is a great way to get exercise and bond with your pet.

If you have a cat, their purring can even help soothe you, as vibrations are comforting for humans as well as animals.

Try to avoid spending time with family members who cause you stress or may incite conversations that will cause fear or anger.

3. Join a Protest

Sometimes the best way to take action against pessimism is to be optimistic and continue to fight hard for what you believe in. For some people, this is the best and most productive way to fight anxiety. For others, it may make it worse.

If being part of a cause and making a change would help you, look for protests or peaceful demonstrations in your area related to climate change. If there are none and you know enough people, consider planning your own!

Planning an event is another great way to get your mind focused on something other than the thoughts inside of it.

4. Volunteer for an Environmental Organization

If you prefer to do something more long-term with your anxiety about the state of the climate, joining an organization or volunteering for an environmental non-profit is an excellent idea.

These organizations often make long-term efforts to help the community be greener and more sustainable, and they donate to larger organizations and offer political support. You can even sign up to help educate the public on voter information and environmental rights.

Some organizations simply need volunteers to help with cleaning, organizational tasks, money, etc. No matter where your skills lie, there’s like a spot for you.

If you have the time and money, there are some sites online that allow you to volunteer in other countries for environmental-impact projects in exchange for food and housing. You just have to pay for your plane ticket and dedicate a certain amount of hours.

ways to use persuasion to bring awareness to the reality of climate change

5. Change Your Sustainability Practices in Your Own Life

Opting for sustainable practices in your own life can make you feel like you’re making a change. Even if it feels useless or like one person can’t possibly do enough to change the world, every effort helps.

Not giving up on your goals and knowing that you’re doing something to help the environment is a great way to feel more optimistic.

6. See a Therapist

For some people, the anxiety, pessimism, and anger that comes with the state of the world during this time can be too much to handle on their own. That’s okay! These feelings are completely natural, and thousands, if not millions, of people feel the same way as you do.

Therapists are available online, as well as in person. However, if you’re looking to reduce emissions by not driving or using public transport, it’s always a possibility to see an online therapist from the comfort of your home! You can even utilize video chat, phone calls, or regular chat to speak to your therapist!

7. Stop Compulsively Checking the News

Finally, compulsively checking the news for new information on climate crises can often cause more anxiety and pessimism. If you are susceptible to these things and very sensitive, try to give yourself a break. Although it’s important to be informed, you’ll likely get more accurate information from scholarly sources, such as the ones on Google Scholar.

Conclusion

If you want to learn more about pessimism in general and how to combat it, check out BetterHelp’s advice column and blog today. You can also learn more about how to get help for common mental health conditions and symptoms so that you feel safe and ready to get back to your advocacy for the environment!

7 Ways to Live a Stress-Free Life in College

Everybody knows that college is not just about long lessons, wise teachers and interesting acquaintances. Sometimes it’s get harder to be in a harmonious and amicable mood when everything starts to fall apart, and students are trying to fix it but at the same time making the situation much worse.

The most common reasons of stress in college are as follows:

  • Different conflict situations with teachers and other students;
  • Huge lack of sleep and ineptitude to manage time;
  • Getting low grades and not completed homework and tasks;
  • Fears of the unknown and uncertain future;
  • Large amount of educational materials to study;
  • Difference between expectations and reality of chosen profession;
  • Intensive mental activity with a huge quantity of information.
  • Environmental crisis

There are some ways and tips how to live without stress at college, which can help you tackle with stressful situations by yourself.

1. Think about your time management

Try to do all the complicated lessons first and don’t leave your homework until midnight. Start with compiling a task list every week. Write down at least three important, short-term goals that you want to achieve. No matter what kind of your goals are, stick to them and do your best to achieve them! You can do more and you will feel better without delaying things “later”. Make small changes in your life and self-organization —find a place for each thing. Self-pity is a waste of time.

2. Acquire colorful and bright stationery

It will always make you smile in any way. Notebooks with your favorite flowers or animals will bring you peaceful mood and it will help you to be concentrated on pleasant thoughts. Buy some nice pens, pencils and other stationery and you will feel the difference and motivation to do something with these cute things.

3. Eat only healthy and wholesome food

“We literally are what we eat”, says chief editor at Pro-Papers. If you feel stressed, instead of reaching a pack of biscuits or the nearest fast-food chain restaurant, try to eat something healthy and it will help you manage the stress.

For example, avocado and bananas are loaded with potassium, a vital mineral which can keep blood pressure within normal parameters. Feeling low? Eat some almonds, pistachios or walnuts and your immune system will be boosted by vitamins and zinc!

4. Sleep well, at least 8 hours per night

Lack of sleep can cause bad mood, concentration problems and a general severe fatigue. It also affects our ability to perceive and memorize information, which can cause a strong stress when you have to learn a lot. If you have good sleep, it increases your attention, self-confidence, memory, social skills, and appetite. Use a weighted blanket in order to reduce stress and anxiety.

5. Think of your new hobbies

Do you know the best way to put an end to all the stressful situations? Knitting and painting increases the activity of the prefrontal cortex and improve your creativity skills. Scientists have found that gardening improves mental health and physical health, as well as reduced levels of depression.

Cooking is a rather meditative exercise and a great way to deal with stress. Everything that you need to do — is to find your own hobby and get the benefits from it!

6. Listening to peaceful music

Music not only affects our mood, but also inspires, relieves stress, calms and even heals. Gentle music with a harmonic tune will help reduce the level of the stress hormone cortisol, which causes damage to our mind and body. Just turn on the new album of your favorite band and start relaxing after nervous day at college.

7. Go to shopping

Sometimes all we need to feel happy is a new dress or new sneakers, isn’t it? According to psychologists, shopping is one of the most effective ways to help relieve depression.

The main thing is not to get nervous about some little things. It’s undeniable that these little things cause a serious stressful condition which is too destructive for our nervous system and mental health. Avoid contact with people who are sources of negative emotions, thoughts, moods. If you think, “I will never finish on time,” stop thinking that way. Better imagine your success — visualize how you will feel, shaking the hand of your professor, how he says that you have done a great and important job.

Your hard work will pay off as soon as you leave the tears and regrets behind you. Do not accumulate anger and negative, make a decision, shake off the burden of negative emotions and go on. When you arrange your priorities properly, you will become more organized and have your stress relieved by focusing more on your success. Only then, you are likely to become a confident student for whom studying is just a piece of cake.

Understanding Non-Hazardous and Hazardous Pharmaceutical Waste

For those not familiar with the field of health and medicine, the term non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste could trick you into thinking this is not dangerous. However, it has its own negative effects on the environment. But before we go further, let us understand what pharmaceutical waste is and then the difference between hazardous pharmaceutical waste and the non-hazardous type:

Non-Hazardous and Hazardous Pharmaceutical Waste

What is Pharmaceutical Waste?

When it comes to the health and medical sector, refuse generated from such organizations cannot be disposed of the same way you would collect refuse from a fast-food joint. This is because they deal with highly toxic materials in their day-to-day activities. It can range from collected blood samples, used syringes, waste from surgeries, and so on. Visit here to learn how inadequate disposal methods could cause harm.

Luckily, the pharmaceutical field doesn’t have to worry about most of the above waste types. Those are commonly found in hospitals. Since a pharmacist is responsible for handling drugs, pharmaceutical waste is mostly made up of expired or contaminated and unused drugs.

But they could also include home and personal care products that contain specific chemicals. We are sure by now you can see how unethical it would be to simply drop this waste in a refuse bin. This is why certain measures are taken to properly dispose them. There are two types of pharmaceutical wastes, hazardous and non-hazardous. We are going to briefly look into each of them below.

Hazardous Pharmaceutical Waste

It is pretty obvious that since we are having this conversation, not all pharmaceutical waste can be moderately harmless for the environment. Therefore, waste is categorized into hazardous and non-hazardous wastes. The RCRA is responsible for dictating how we categorize them.

For waste from a pharmacy to be tagged as hazardous there will be certain properties it contains that make it extremely dangerous to humans and the environment at large. Refuse products in this category are known to be ignitable, corrosive, toxic, and reactive. For better understanding, they are categorized into P, U, K categories, we would explain them below.

1. P class drugs

Drugs that fall into this class are known to be very toxic. It could be a pharmaceutical drug chemical or pesticide and you would often find that they contain arsenic, arsenic trioxide, epinephrine, and cyanide salts.

2. U class drugs

Like the “p class drugs”, U class drugs are very toxic. It could be pharmaceutical, pesticide, or chemical. Waste in this category often contains acetone, acetyl chloride, and azaserine.

3. K class drugs

This type of waste unlike the others are not generated after production, rather they are generated during the manufacturing process.

expired-medicines-management

Pharmaceutical industry can change its practices to manage pharmaceuticals in a more ecofriendly manner.

Non-Hazardous Pharmaceutical Waste

As we mentioned in our introduction, because it is called non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste, do not be deceived into thinking they aren’t dangerous if disposed improperly. So long as it has to do with toxic chemicals used in the production of drugs, it must be handled with care.

It is important to note that wastes that fall into this category are also governed by the resource conservation and recovery act (RCRA). This act creates a framework for the proper disposal of both hazardous and non-hazardous waste. However, because they’re less toxic than waste that falls into the hazardous class, they are not affected by heavy regulation. But this doesn’t mean that they can be disposed of like regular refuse from home. You still need to enlist the help of professionals for this task.

How to Properly Store and Dispose Pharmaceutical Waste?

Now that we have covered these two waste types, let us look at how you can properly dispose them. We will focus on all types of pharmaceutical waste and not just the non-hazardous type. When it comes to pharmaceutical waste disposal in general, your best bet to do things professionally if you do not already have trained personnel on-site is to employ the use of waste disposal companies. The reason we suggest using companies is that they leave no room for error.

pharmaceuticals-impact-environment

You should also take proper storage of your pharmaceutical waste seriously. This is because it can be dangerous if it gets tampered with. Therefore, it should be at a secured site. Proper storage would also prevent leakage of waste into the environment. Consider using clinical waste bags. They are easy to distinguish from regular trash because of their very noticeable blue color.

You should opt for cytotoxic and cytostatic bags when making a choice on what waste bag to store your waste. It is also advisable to have a separate trash can in a secure location for your pharmaceutical waste.

Final Thoughts

Improper disposal of pharmaceutical waste and regular waste in general is having widespread negative effects on the environment. Most are washed into the ocean leading to deaths and depletion of marine life. It is our responsibility to ensure that these effects are not only mitigated but all together avoided.

4 Challenges Students with Autism Face in College

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are complex mental development disorders characterized by social maladaptation and inability to socially interact, communicate, and behave according to the existing stereotypes (repetition of the same actions). Back in the middle of the last century, autism was a fairly rare disease. However, over time, more and more children suffering from this disorder began to appear. Statistics show that the incidence of ASD in children over the past 30-40 years in countries where such statistics are conducted has risen from 4-5 people per 10 000 children to 50-116 cases per 10 000. At the same time, boys are more susceptible to this disease than girls (the ratio is about 4:1).

The Main Causes of ASD

Until now, scientists around the world studying the causes of autism have not come to a consensus. Many assumptions are being put forward. Among the possible factors for the appearance of this disorder in children, some hypotheses are called:

  • genetic predisposition;
  • impaired development of the nervous system (autism is seen as a disease caused by impaired brain development in the early stages of child growth);
  • influence of external factors: infections, chemical effects on the mother’s body during pregnancy, birth injuries, congenital metabolic disorders, the effect of certain drugs, and industrial toxins.

But whether these factors can actually lead to autism in children has not yet been clarified. Autism is seen as a developmental disorder that affects all areas of the human psyche: intellectual, emotional, sensitivity, motor sphere, attention, thinking, memory, and speech.

The most basic and commonly encountered types of ASD are:

  • Canner’s syndrome;
  • Asperger Syndrome;
  • Rett syndrome;
  • Child psychosis;
  • Atypical Autism.

Depending on the kind of ASD, and the degree of development of cognitive and motor functions, a teenager with this disease can study at colleges and universities. Although it is worth noting that training is not easy for them, and the percentage of those who ultimately drop out is very high – 80%. Often, a person is simply not able to withstand the load (large crowds, noise, certain time frames, etc.) that awaits them.

Despite the mentioned above, there are still people with ASD who managed to graduate from the college or/and university. If you just have this endeavor ahead, and you are determined to challenge yourself and your ailment, here are some tips from those who deserve the highest praise for willpower and fortitude – people with ASD who have acquired higher education and are engaged in what they love.

Challenges that Await a College Student with ASD

Organization Issues

A college student with autism may experience extreme overload following a typical student routine. It is very difficult for them to follow the time frame of classes, the amounts of homework. In addition, collective tasks can be especially difficult, since the teenager experiences anxiety before communicating with others.

Organizing a workday can be a problem too. Things like a class schedule, maintaining health issues, studying, and living in a dorm are difficult tasks, but doable. The main thing is never to be afraid to ask for the help you need.

The need to decide for yourself

When a child with ASD is in school, his parents/guardians, counselors, and tutors decide for the child how to live in this world and how to function. Entering college, a teenager on the spectrum must start advocating for their needs on their own. In the first stage, it can be deeply shocking and overwhelming to the young mind. Natural vegan products can help to boost the morale of students, for example, CBDfx follows strict organic practices.

It is vitally important that they remember that they are not abandoned and that they, as well as at school, can receive support and help when they long for it. The only thing one has to do is to inform about difficulties in time. If a student with ASD has problems with academic papers, for example, they can find assistance at the essay writing service.

The possibility to be unnoticed by a teacher

For the most part, students are noisy young people who like to talk, discuss, and gather in interest groups. All this is very repulsive and incomprehensible to a teenager with ASD. In addition, tutors prefer open to dialogue and discussion students. There is no need to conceal that it is precisely such students who enjoy the attention of tutors most of all.

That is why a young mind with an autism disorder may turn out to be invisible to their professor, taking into account the fact that college students with ASD are very few today. To avoid this problem or to correct its consequences, a personal meeting with the professor is required, at which an amendment to the classes plan, or their form will be approved.

Same requirements for everyone

College tutors place the same requirements and restrictions on all students. There are certain rules for measuring performance, conducting tests and exams, as well as activity in the classroom. For students with ASD, these rules and restrictions can be overwhelming and unworkable. Nevertheless, there is a solution to this problem. Every young mind with an autism disorder has to inform about their disability, thus, they can win some easing or a partial revision of the rules.

By bringing to the knowledge the appropriate authority in college, a teenager may obtain, for example, an exam in a quiet environment, familiarizing himself with a tutor’s notes, or they may be allowed to spend more time on a specific task.

Each student with ASD needs to remember that they have every right to the above-described relief in the rules. Colleges and universities are subject to the law, and they can provide you with these accommodations – it is your right to demand them since you pay for tuition, and they are included in this fee. The only thing, young minds need to understand that, in any case, they must obey educational standards and do everything in their power to get as much as possible closer to them.

We wish patience and fortitude to those young people who, in spite of everything, want to get a higher education and get closer to their dream. You are amazing, and you definitely have to be proud of yourself! Good luck!

What LED Light Colours Help With Relieving Headaches?

Most people don’t realize just how much light affects us. Our bodies have all sorts of hidden triggers and unusual responses associated with light, and being aware of them is a good way to control how you feel throughout the day and night.

Moreover, with the help of modern LED lights, we can take the reins and choose which colours of illumination we are exposed to. So with that in mind, let’s investigate the best hues and tones to pick if you are prone to headaches and are looking for relief.

Which LED Light Colours Help With Relieving Headaches

Going green and avoiding blue

For a large number of people, migraines are an everyday reality that they have to live with, and when suffering from this severe form of headache, sensitivity to light is an inevitable side effect.

Thankfully studies have found that green light of a particular wavelength can actually minimize the intensity of migraines. Furthermore, green light can even reduce the likelihood of an intense headache occurring in the first place.

On the other hand, blue light has been shown to actually increase the influence of headaches and migraines. This means that you should avoid it where possible, steering clear of things like smartphone screens and using a blue light filter mode if your handset provides one.

Likewise when choosing evening lighting, the use of night light bulbs which do not emit blue light will both ease the impact of a headache, and also give you a better quality of sleep by not disrupting your circadian rhythm.

Considering the rest of the spectrum

So far we’ve established that green light is good for relieving headaches, and blue light is problematic in this context. But what about the rest of the colours on the spectrum of visible light?

Well, the bad news is that those who are prone to headaches will not find any relief with any other colour of light, whether that might be red, amber or pure white.

In fact, the closer you get to white light, the worse the effects will be. This is why so many migraine sufferers are advised to lay down in dark rooms to try and quell this complaint.

Managing your exposure to light

Clearly it may not be convenient to always think about the light you are exposed to, but it could be worthwhile if you do have headache issues that are getting out of hand.

As mentioned, lots of modern people are spending an excessive amount of time on their smart devices which means that blue light exposure is occurring well into the evening, outside of the daylight hours when we would normally encounter it. The same applies for any display, be it a computer monitor or a television.

As well as switching to modern LED bulbs which filter out blue light, you can change your habits to reduce screen time, particularly during the evenings, so that headaches are not brought about.

climate anxiety

This could even help you to reconnect with those around you, whether in your household or in social situations, as the temptation to take out your phone and scroll aimlessly will be quashed in your efforts to stop headaches arising.

There are also specialist glasses lenses which offer blue light filtering that can help any migraine sufferers out there, although obviously these do not remove all of the wavelengths of visible light, so the effect is not guaranteed to work optimally for everyone.

Ultimately it is about getting to know your own body and your own rhythms, and listening to it so you can detect when a headache may be brewing, then stepping in to stop it.

Medical Waste Management in Developing Countries

Healthcare sector is growing at a very rapid pace, which in turn has led to tremendous increase in the quantity of medical waste generation in developing countries, especially by hospitals, clinics and other healthcare establishments. The quantity of healthcare waste produced in a typical developing country depends on a wide range of factors and may range from 0.5 to 2.5 kg per bed per day.

medical-waste-management

For example, India generates as much as 500 tons of biomedical wastes every day while Saudi Arabia produces more than 80 tons of healthcare waste daily. The growing amount of medical wastes is posing significant public health and environmental challenges across the world. The situation is worsened by improper disposal methods, insufficient physical resources, and lack of research on medical waste management. The urgent need of the hour is to healthcare sustainable in the real sense of the word.

Hazards of Healthcare Wastes

The greatest risk to public health and environment is posed by infectious waste (or hazardous medical waste) which constitutes around 15 – 25 percent of total healthcare waste. Infectious wastes may include items that are contaminated with body fluids such as blood and blood products, used catheters and gloves, cultures and stocks of infectious agents, wound dressings, nappies, discarded diagnostic samples, swabs, bandages, disposal medical devices, contaminated laboratory animals etc.

Improper management of healthcare wastes from hospitals, clinics and other facilities in developing nations pose occupational and public health risks to patients, health workers, waste handlers, haulers and general public. It may also lead to contamination of air, water and soil which may affect all forms of life. In addition, if waste is not disposed of properly, ragpickers may collect disposable medical equipment (particularly syringes) and to resell these materials which may cause dangerous diseases.

In some countries, there may be legal remedies for such losses. For example, Floridians in the US can go to a medical malpractice lawyer in West Palm Beach. In others, especially developing countries, it may be harder to get compensated, and disease may be spread more easily as a result.

Inadequate healthcare waste management can cause environmental pollution, growth and multiplication of vectors like insects, rodents and worms and may lead to the transmission of dangerous diseases like typhoid, cholera, hepatitis and AIDS through injuries from syringes and needles contaminated with human.

In addition to public health risks associated with poor management of biomedical waste, healthcare wastes can have deleterious impacts on water bodies, air, soil as well as biodiversity. The situation is further complicated by harsh climatic conditions in many developing nations which makes disposal of medical waste more challenging.

healthcare-waste-india

The predominant medical waste management method in the developing world is either small-scale incineration or landfilling. However, the WHO policy paper of 2004 and the Stockholm Convention, has stressed the need to consider the risks associated with the incineration of healthcare waste in the form of particulate matter, heavy metals, acid gases, carbon monoxide, organic compounds, pathogens etc.

In addition, leachable organic compounds, like dioxins and heavy metals, are usually present in bottom ash residues. Due to these factors, many industrialized countries are phasing out healthcare incinerators and exploring technologies that do not produce any dioxins. Countries like United States, Ireland, Portugal, Canada and Germany have completely shut down or put a moratorium on medical waste incinerators.

Alternative Medical Waste Treatment Technologies

The alternative technologies for healthcare waste disposal are steam sterilization, advanced steam sterilization, microwave treatment, dry heat sterilization, alkaline hydrolysis, biological treatment and plasma gasification.

Steam sterilization is one of the most common alternative treatment method. Steam sterilization is done in closed chambers where both heat and pressure are applied over a period of time to destroy all microorganisms that may be present in healthcare waste before landfill disposal. Among alternative systems, autoclaving has the lowest capital costs and can be used to process up to 90% of medical waste, and are easily scaled to meet the needs of any medical organization.

Advanced autoclaves or advanced steam treatment technologies combine steam treatment with vacuuming, internal mixing or fragmentation, internal shredding, drying, and compaction thus leading to as much as 90% volume reduction. Advanced steam systems have higher capital costs than standard autoclaves of the same size. However, rigorous waste segregation is important in steam sterilization in order to exclude hazardous materials and chemicals from the waste stream.

Microwave treatment is a promising technology in which treatment occurs through the introduction of moist heat and steam generated by microwave energy. A typical microwave treatment system consists of a treatment chamber into which microwave energy is directed from a microwave generator. Microwave units generally have higher capital costs than autoclaves, and can be batch or semi-continuous.

Chemical processes use disinfectants, such as lime or peracetic acid, to treat waste. Alkaline hydrolysis is a unique type of chemical process that uses heated alkali to digest tissues, pathological waste, anatomical parts, or animal carcasses in heated stainless steel tanks. Biological processes, like composting and vermicomposting, can also be used to degrade organic matter in healthcare waste such as kitchen waste and placenta.

Plasma gasification is an emerging solution for sustainable management of healthcare waste. A plasma gasifier is an oxygen-starved reactor that is operated at the very high temperatures which results in the breakdown of wastes into hydrogen, carbon monoxide, water etc. The main product of a plasma gasification plant is energy-rich syngas which can be converted into heat, electricity and liquids fuels. Inorganic components in medical wastes, like metals and glass, get converted into a glassy aggregate.

Impact of Whitening Mouthwash on Teeth Whitening Treatment

According to a study published in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, more than 90 percent of dental and orthodontic patients also request tooth whitening. The fact is, as no less than Inc. magazine recently reported, having a bright white smile you love to show off is important for every goal you have in life. People who smile more tend to make more money, receive more frequent promotions, look younger, have more friends and connections, feel better, live longer, lead better and be happier.

No wonder there is so much demand for teeth whitening services! But how can you tell all the different options apart and figure out which is best for you? And how can you maximize the results of your in-office teeth whitening? Should you use over-the-counter options like whitening mouthwash or will that hurt your results? Find out in this blog post.

How the Teeth Whitening Process Works

The American Dental Association (ADA) highlights how important it is to understand how the process of teeth whitening really works.

Once you understand the basic underlying mechanism behind teeth whitening you will be in a much better position to maintain your teeth whitening results long term.

The ADA explains that there are two basic types of teeth whitening and both are bleaches. The two types are carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide.

Regardless of the bleaching type you choose, the way they work is basically the same. Once applied, the bleaches go to work to dismantle tooth stains bit by tiny bit, almost like a tiny eraser.

How Do Tooth Stains Develop?

Marc Lazare, teeth whitening expert in New York, notes that tooth stains can develop in any number of ways and for a wide variety of reasons.

Different stains may be easier or harder to lift. Generally, lighter stains such as yellowing are easier to bleach away, while gray or brown stains are more resistant to whitening efforts. Some stains, such as those caused by mouth trauma or injury, may not respond to bleaching much if at all.

As well, it is important to be aware that teeth whitening treatments generally do not work on dental prosthetics such as implants, bridges, veneers or crowns.

The most common causes of tooth stains include:

1. Food and drink

If you have ever had to go to the sink to wash dark blueberry stains off your fingertips, you already understand how food and drink can stain your teeth.

Over time and with repeated exposure (such as that daily morning cup of coffee) your teeth will become increasingly less white.

2. Smoking and nicotine use

Smoking, vaping, snuff, gum and other sources of nicotine can stain your teeth quite badly over time, and the brown stains are some of the harder stains to lift.

3. Injury or trauma

If you have experienced an injury or trauma to your mouth or teeth, injured nerves and blood vessels may cause tooth discoloration.

4. Medication use

Medications used to treat cancer such as chemotherapy and radiation are some of the best-known drugs that can cause tooth discoloration. Another common culprit is the acne medicine tetracycline, which can cause lasting tooth discoloration.

5. The natural aging process

The natural process of aging can also cause the tooth enamel to wear thin and look less white and more yellow over time.

Will Whitening Mouthwash Help or Hurt?

To date, research shows that whitening mouthwash is not harmful to teeth that have been professionally whitened.

While a whitening mouthwash is unlikely to deliver comparable results to the outcome of a professional teeth whitening treatment, even when used consistently over time, it is equally unlikely to degrade or interfere with the results you get from professional teeth whitening.

Too-frequent use of any product designed to bleach and whiten teeth can sometimes cause temporary tooth sensitivity. Patients who experience tooth sensitivity from any tooth whitening product generally find that this side effect fades after a few days of not using the product.

How to Choose a Whitening Mouthwash

According to the ADA, the best whitening mouthwash will also provide other important oral health benefits, such as helping to control tartar and plaque buildup on teeth, guarding against decay and dental caries, fighting back against gum inflammation and infection (gingivitis/periodontal disease) and, of course, improving breath.

The ADA specifies two different categories of mouthwash: cosmetic and therapeutic. It is important to note that a mouthwash can serve both purposes, such as a whitening mouthwash that also provides health benefits such as the ones just mentioned here.

Some of the best whitening mouthwashes will themselves require a prescription from your dentist or orthodontist. These mouthwashes are often recommended as a follow-up to a professional teeth whitening treatment and for daily use after preventative dental care or dental treatment.

The more you can do to improve your overall oral health by brushing, flossing, gargling with mouthwash and choosing your daily menu with tooth health and color in mind, the longer your teeth whitening results will last.

Solid Waste Management in Kuwait

Kuwait, being one of the richest countries, is among the highest per capita waste generators in the world. Each year more than 2 million tons of solid waste is generated in the tiny Arab nation. High standards of living and rapid economic growth has been a major factor behind very high per capita waste generation of 1.4 to 1.5 kg per day.

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Waste Disposal Method

The prevalent solid waste management method in Kuwait is landfill burial. Despite being a small country, Kuwait has astonishingly high number of landfills. There are 18 landfills, of which 14 sites are closed and 4 sites are still in operation. These landfills act as dumpsites, rather than engineered landfills.

Menace of Landfills

Infact, landfill sites in Kuwait are notorious for causing severe public health and environmental issues. Besides piling up huge amounts of garbage, landfill sites generate huge amount of toxic gases (methane, carbon dioxide etc) and plagued by spontaneous fires. Due to fast paced urban development, residential areas have expanded to the edges of landfill sites thus causing grave danger to public health.

The total land area of Kuwait is around 17,820 sq. km, out of which more than 18 sq. km is occupied by landfills. Area of the landfill sites ranges from tens to hundreds of hectares with waste deposition depth varying from 3 to 30 meters.

All kind of wastes, including municipal wastes, food wastes, industrial wastes, construction and demolition debris etc are dumped at these sites. Infact, about 90 percent of the domestic waste is sent to landfills which imply that more landfills will be required to tackle rapidly increasing volumes of solid wastes.

Most of the landfill sites have been closed for more than 20 years due to operational problems and proximity to new residential, commercial and industrial areas. These sites include Sulaibiyah, Kabed, Al Qurain, Shuaiba, Jleeb AI Shuyoukh, West Yarmouk, AI Wafra among others. Migration of leachate beyond landfill site boundaries is a frequent problem noticed across Kuwait. Groundwater contamination has emerged as a serious problem because groundwater occurs at shallow depths throughout the country.

The major landfill sites operated by municipality for solid waste disposal are Jleeb AI Shuyoukh, Sulaibiyah and Al-Qurain. The Qurain landfill, with area of 1 sq. km, was used for dumping of municipal solid waste and construction materials from 1975 until 1985 with total volume of dumped waste being 5 million m3.

The Sulaibiyah landfill site received more than 500 tons of waste per day from 1980 to 2000 with area spanning 3 sq. km. Jleeb AI Shuyoukh, largest landfill site in Kuwait with area exceeding 6 sq. km, received 2500 tons per day of household waste and industrial waste between 1970 and 1993. Around 20 million m3 of wastes was dumped in this facility during its operational period.

Over the years, most of the dumpsites in Kuwait have been surrounded by residential and commercial areas due to urban development over the years. Uncontrolled dumpsites were managed by poorly-trained staff resulting in transformation of dumpsites in breeding grounds for pathogens, toxic gases and spontaneous fires.

Most of the landfill sites have been forced to close, much before achieving their capacities, because of improper disposal methods and concerns related to public health and environment. Due to fast-paced industrial development and urban expansion, some of the landfills are located on the edges of residential, as is the case of Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh and Al-Qurain sites, endangering the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

Air Pollution and its Invisible Danger – What You Need to Know

If you’ve been observing the ongoing and high-profile protests from Extinction Rebellion over the course of the last few years, you’ll be aware that air pollution offers a significant threat to the human population.

This is supported by the statistics, which have revealed that almost a quarter of the people in the UK have been exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution with potentially devastating health consequences.

More specifically, a study by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) found that about 15 million in the UK live in areas where the average levels of the toxic particle PM2.5 exceeds the World Health Foundation’s guidelines. But what do you need to know about this invisible danger?

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What is Air Pollution and How is it Caused?

In simple terms, air pollution is defined as the presence of substances in the natural atmosphere that may be harmful to the health of humans and other living beings.

Air pollution may also cause long standing damage to the climate or individual materials, while there are different types of air pollutants including particulates, gases and biological molecules.

Historically, the history of air pollution can be traced back to the Industrial Revolution, as developed nations such as the UK began to leverage fossil fuels such as coal to drive economic growth and expansion.

As a result of this, large and industrialised nations have produced high levels of smoke and sulphur dioxide for a range of domestic and industrial purposes, creating an omni-present threat to clean air and one that has worsened incrementally over time.

Substances such as nitrogen oxide are also impactful in this regard, with this produced from the reaction of nitrogen and oxygen in their air during combustion.

The threat of this has become increasingly prominent in highly congested areas packed with high motor vehicle traffic, creating a huge and growing pollution challenge.

Health Impact of Pollution and the Reaction of Governments

According to the WHO, air pollution contributes to an estimated 4.2 million premature deaths globally, with conditions such as heart disease, stroke, acute respiratory infections and lung cancer.

Interestingly, worldwide ambient air pollution accounts for 29% of all deaths and disease that involve lung cancer, along with 25% of similar cases related to ischaemic heart disease.

Incredibly, air pollution also contributes to 43% of all deaths and diseases that arise from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which causes significant breathing difficulties and long-term inflammation within the lungs.

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Fortunately, countries across the globe are beginning to take steps to tackle air pollution, even serial offenders like China. Here, the government is taking direct action to clean up smog-choked skies from years of relentless industrial expansion, primarily by investing $83.4 billion in the renewable energy sector in 2019.

Nations like China are also drawing on innovation and technological advancement, with firms such as ERG Air Pollution Control providing various tools and measures to help tackle air pollution directly.

This includes everything from industrial gas cleaning services to comprehensive air pollution control systems, which help to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change without compromising on economic growth.