Russ Ewell

Russ Ewell

Palo Alto, CA, United States

Russ Ewell runs two technology-focused companies, is an author, a preacher, and is a disability advocate.

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About the author

Russ Ewell is the founder of HTG, E-Soccer, and Digital Scribbler Inc. His work focuses on using technology to overcome human limits.
Christian (Non-Fiction)

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Allergy Season Explained


Happy First Day of Spring, Tumblr! 

What better way to celebrate than to **ACHOO!!**….wait, what were we saying?


Ah, spring! Grass growing, flowers blooming, trees growing new leaves, but if you get allergies, this explosion of new life probably inspires more dread than joy.  


Step outside, and within minutes, you’re sneezing and congested. Your nose is running, your eyes are swollen and watery, your throat is itchy. For you and millions of others, it’s seasonal allergy time. So what’s behind this onslaught of mucus?


The answer lies within you. It’s your immune system. Seasonal allergies, also called hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, are a hypersensitive immune response to something that’s not actually harmful. Pollen from trees and grass, and mold spores from tiny fungi find their way into your mucous membranes and your body attacks these innocuous travelers the same way it would infectious bacteria. 


The immune system has a memory. When a foreign substance gets tagged as threatening, white blood cells produce customized antibodies that will recognize the offender the next time around. They then promptly recruit the body’s defense team. But sometimes, the immune system accidentally discriminates against harmless substances, like pollen. When it wafts in again, antibodies on the surface of white blood cells recognize it and latch on.


This triggers the cell to release inflammatory chemicals, like histamine, which stimulate nerve cells, and cause blood vessels in the mucous membranes to swell and leak fluid. In other words, itchiness, sneezing, congestion, and a runny nose. 


Allergies usually, but not always, show up for the first time during childhood. But why do some people get allergies and others don’t? Allergies tend to run in families, so genetics may be one culprit. In fact, errors in a gene that helps regulate the immune system are associated with higher rates of allergies. The environment you grow up in matters, too. Being exposed to an allergen as a baby makes you less likely to actually develop an allergy to it. People who grow up on farms, in big families, and in the developing world also tend to have fewer allergies, although there are plenty of exceptions, partly thanks to genetics. One theory is that as children, they encounter more of the microbes and parasites that co-evolved with traditional hunter-gatherer societies.


Called the hygiene hypothesis, the idea is that when the immune system isn’t exposed to the familiar cast of microbes, it’ll keep itself busy mounting defenses against harmless substances, like pollen. Another theory is that an immune system toughened up by a barrage of pathogens is less likely to overreact to allergens. Pollen is a common offender, just because we encounter so much of it, but there’s a long list of substances: dust, animal dander, insect venom, medications, certain foods, that can send your immune system into overdrive. Some of these reactions can be scary. An allergy can develop into full-blown anaphylaxis, which typically brings on severe swelling, shortness of breath, and very low blood pressure. It can be deadly.


But as we who suffer from seasonal allergies know, even non-life threatening allergy symptoms can make you miserable. So what can you do about it? Medications can help reduce the symptoms. The most common ones keep histamines from binding to your cells. These antihistamines stop the inflammation response. Steroids can help dial down the immune system. Another more permanent option is immunotherapy. Deliberate, controlled exposure to gradually increasing amounts of an allergen can teach the immune system that it isn’t dangerous after all. 


Of course, you can always just wait your seasonal allergies out. The spring pollen onslaught dwindles by mid-summer…just in time for ragweed season!

From the TED-Ed Lesson Why do people have seasonal allergies? - Eleanor Nelsen 

Animation by TED-Ed

Yes it is here!

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Mar 21, 2018 15:45

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Work From Home Opportunities for People With Disabilities

RE - Work From Home Opportunities for People

With the outbreak of the novel Covid-19 coronavirus, more people than ever are working from home. This provides more opportunities for the disabled if they can find jobs that fit their skill levels and capabilities. With that in mind, the following are some jobs that disabled people can work from the comfort of their homes.


Customer Service

Anyone, including the disabled, can be successful working from home with the proper accommodations and equipment, according to USA Today. For a customer service job, disabled applicants will need a computer, internet connection and a phone. Customer service jobs usually entail answering incoming calls from people who have questions or need to resolve issues. Some customer service representatives also take orders over the phone. A few companies that hire customer service reps to work from home include Amazon, Apple, Working Solutions, and LiveOps, according to FlexJobs.


Technical Support

Any disabled person who has expertise with computers, software, or other technical issues can work a technical support job from home. To find these jobs, it’s best to see if some of the larger companies, like Amazon, hire people in the local area for technical support. Disabled workers can also try calling the local cable company.


Telecommute on Present Job

When a disabled person has a job but needs more suitable accommodations, he or she can ask his or her boss to work from home. That’s because telecommuting is a reasonable request under the American Disabilities Act. The best way to initiate this type of move is to talk with both a superior and the human resources department. This better ensures a disabled individual is following the proper communication channels.


Become a Freelancer

Today’s disabled folks have a wide variety of skills, which can easily be converted into freelancing careers. The types of jobs that can be done on a freelancing basis include writing, graphic design, bookkeeping, teaching, tutoring, and even virtual assistant. One way to find these jobs is to conduct an online search. There are also some sites that cater to freelancers, including Fiverr, Upwork, Guru, and Moonlighting. Linked-In may also have some freelance opportunities available for those who are qualified.


The key to being successful as a work-at-home disabled person is to select the right type of job. This means a job for which the individual has the proper skills and education. The disabled person should also have a penchant for what he or she is doing. From there, the individual just needs to work hard and become indispensable.


This blog was originally published on Russ Ewell’s website.

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May 11, 2020 14:12