Fluoride, options, and do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders...
Those are the most asked-about topics over the last couple of weeks. We have a lot of questions about these topics to answer this week, so let's get to them...
Q: I have read various information about fluoride and teeth health. My current understanding is that fluoride only provides an almost insignificant amount (2%-3%) improvement on the health of your teeth, but only if it is applied topically. Ingested fluoride has no added benefit and may be harmful to young children.
There was a Harvard study suggesting fluoride in the water can reduce the intelligence of people affected. I have young children and I'm concerned about how fluoride treatment affects their health. Also I am curious how these types of treatment affect baby teeth vs grownup teeth. Meaning, does it really matter if fluoride is applied to baby teeth? Can you provide some insight into this? – K.
A: I believe we read the same 2012 Harvard study. According to the study, children who drank water with fluoride ended up with lower intelligence scores than children who didn't. Researchers also linked fluoride drinking by pregnant mothers with lower IQ scores in their children.
Unfortunately, that's not the only risk... Fluoride consumption is also linked to thyroid disease and cancer.
Fluoride is everywhere... Most toothpaste brands include fluoride, as do most municipal water supplies.
Water fluoridation – the addition of fluoride to the public water supply – has been terminated in many countries – including Germany, Sweden, and Japan – on suspicion of health risks. Cavity rates did not change. And yet, the U.S. continues to dump this dangerous chemical into our water.
To limit your exposure, do what I do... Avoid toothpaste with fluoride. I also limit the amount of tap water I drink and look for bottled or filtered water without fluoride.
Q: I love Retirement Millionaire and read it each time it comes out. It's been helpful, insightful and a "must-read" for me. I've learned many health related things that "my doctors" just don't tell me. Please keep it up.
I'm starting to really look into trading options; covered calls I think is the way I'll go at first. (I'm tired of watching my retirement IRA dwindle daily.) I know you have a program, and it's very expensive. I'd love to join you in it but can't right now. So I'll move slowly and carefully into options at first and try to make enough to join you.
However, my friends say that I must have a few really "good, stable, trusted" stocks that I should trade with at first to get my feet wet. Could you recommend two or three that you think would fit that need?
Keep up the good work! – J.B.
A: Thanks for your loyal readership, J.B.
Covered calls can be a great way to grow or supplement your retirement income. They work best for investors who favor current income, lower risk, and steady stocks over high-growth investments.
I can't give individual investment advice, so I can't give away any stocks here. But I can tell you that my favorite stocks to sell covered calls on are what I call "sleep well at night stocks" (SWAN stocks).
SWAN stocks are companies and businesses that held up in the latest recession and are improving as the global economy sputters along. They have strong balance sheets, good cash flows, and long histories of rewarding shareholders with dividends and buybacks. These companies are also often leaders in their industries.
Also, if you want to start learning the basics of selling covered calls, every three months I send out one handpicked, covered-call trade from my options trading service, Retirement Trader, to Retirement Millionaire Lifetime Partnership members.
For current Retirement Millionaire readers, this quarterly covered-call trade is just one of the many benefits Retirement Millionaire Lifetime Partnership subscribers get. Each month, I also send out my Uncut podcast.
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Q: It was 30-plus years ago, but when my grandfather was taken to the hospital via ambulance in Colorado, the paramedics said they could not abide by the DNR. They said they had to do interventional measures on the way to the hospital despite his wishes. He did die in the hospital not long after that however.
So was this just true back then, or true in a select place? What do the ambulance personnel legally have to do? Their job after all is to rescue people and aid in their life support. – S.C.
A: We sent your question on to our paramedic friend and here's what he told us:
Protocols vary from state to state. Generally speaking, a patient needs to have a valid DNR form for EMS personnel. The form has to be physically present. Other things that might invalidate a DNR could be that it was not filled out correctly/completely – lacking a physician signature, name, license number, date the order was issues, patient name, etc.
Some DNR orders also have an expiration date, and if the form isn't renewed, it's no longer valid. There are also cases where a patient tells EMS personnel that they no longer wish to be DNR, in which case the order is invalidated and the providers must act as if the patient is "full code."
It's also important to note that laws have changed over the decades. So we can't know what happened in your case. But hopefully, this information can help you plan so that your wishes or those of your loved ones can be honored in the future.
Q: After reading your article "The Hardest Conversation You'll Have All Year," my wife brought up a question about a DNR. What happens if you have choked on food, passed out and are wearing a medical-alert bracelet? How do you encourage the EMTs to resuscitate you? – J.M.
A: This is an interesting question. First, if you choke to the point of passing out, you only have about four minutes before you start to suffer brain damage. This happens when oxygen is shut off from the brain for too long. That means you need to act fast if someone (including you) is choking.
That's why, in my Doctor's Protocol Field Manual, I recommend that at least one person in your family should be trained in basic first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This includes the procedures to follow if someone chokes on an object. Getting every family member certified is better. Check with the Red Cross, a nearby fire station, or your local community college for class offerings.
And as our paramedic pointed out in the answer above, often emergency crews act first and look for paperwork second. They can't take the time to read through nuances of a DNR or living will. If they get a call you were choking, they will act on that first.
Have something you want to say to us? Let us know at [email protected].
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