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Snake Bite! What to do BEFORE Help Arrives or Just in Case

snakeSnakebites…ewww…those slithery things that make up nightmares (think Snakes on A Plane) but anyway, shiver. I live out in rattlesnake country (along with copperheads and water moccasins…joy) and on top of that, average response time to a 911 call for help can be anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minute, and that is under good circumstances. And a hospital? At least ½ hour away…paramedics don’t have anti-venom… So, being the person I am when I first moved out to the country I did my homework on how to handle a potentially unpleasant snake bite until I can get professional help. Copperhead bites are rarely fatal, but the timber rattlesnake and water moccasin snakes can cause all sorts of problems including anaphylactic shock. If you ever are bitten by a snake, seek help immediately!

Please note: I am not a ‘trained’ medical professional. All information I provide is for informational purposes only and not intended to treat nor diagnose. ALWAYS get professional help as soon as possible!

Short story time: Last year my dog Maggie, a Pitbull was barking furiously, I go out to investigate and what did I hear? That good ole’ rattle sound…that is a sound you will NEVER forget…thank goodness the snake was on one side of the wooden fence and she on the other. The year before that I was pleasantly surprised (sarcasm included and dripping) by a timber rattler sunning itself on the bottom step of my side porch…needless to say I used the backdoor instead.

Earlier this year my husband and I were out fishing early one morning…yep, guess what we almost stepped all over? And guess what I was wearing for shoes? Never mind, its embarrassing but what can I say? Wake me up at 5 am to go fishing and I probably ain’t smart enough yet But there was a nice copperhead hanging out in the vegetation. I went home that day and bought a good pair of snake boots…never leave home without them now. I have also had the pleasure of scaring a copperhead who was sunning itself near my wood pile, half under it… (I burn wood for the winter)…so I know what is in my yard!

Anyway, my point is that I live in snake country, they are here and I can only do so much to protect me and mine from them (and lest I forget, we have about 6 different types of other snakes who would leave a nasty bruise, one is a nice King Snake that likes to hang out across the garden path, huge thing! But he doesn’t even blink at us nor a dog for that matter we walk back and forth and around him all day long, I am thinking of naming him).

Prevention becomes your biggest friend in avoiding a snake bite.

If you live in snake country and do a lot of outdoor activities, get some snake boots, even for the kids. Barring that, there are other ways to ‘pad’ your lower leg and they do make some sort of snake protection that ties on to your leg.

Wear heavy leather work gloves when working outside. Something is better than nothing.
Pay attention to your surroundings, most especially what is UNDER your feet or where you are sticking your hand.

Don’t try to pick up a snake with your hands (my one daughter is infamous for picking up any and every living thing she finds outside…needless to say she no longer does it to snakes nor spiders after a bit of ‘home schooling’)

Try and keep brush piles gone from around your home and where your kids play.

VaCreepinOutdoors has written and excellent blog about keeping yourself safe from snakes in the great outdoors. You can find that here.

Snake Bites
Snake venom acts as a hemotoxin, damaging blood vessels, or a neurotoxin, affecting the nervous system. Rattle snake, copperhead and water moccasin venom is considered hemotoxic; whereas the coral snakes’ venom is more neurotoxic. Nevertheless, snake venom can affect one or more body systems.
Bites from a rattle snake can causes immediate and extremely painful swelling at the site. This is very characteristic of this group. It can involve the destruction of blood vessels resulting in abnormal coagulation or blood flow. The tissue around the site becomes bruised in a few hours and can become necrotic with time, turning purplish-blue.

The symptoms of snake bites may vary from being mild to acute. Symptoms of snake bites are conditional on the species of snake, the amount of venom injected as well as the age of the victim, normally all such victims are likely to experience the following conditions after a snake bite:

Blood loss from the wound or bruise caused by snake bite
Burning sensation of the skin around the affected area
Cloudy or confusing vision
Seizures or spasm
Diarrhea or dysentery
Lightheadedness or dizziness
Too much perspiration
Unconsciousness
Marks of snakes fangs on the skin
Rise in body temperature or fever
Enhanced thirst or feeling thirsty despite intake of sufficient fluids
Lack of muscle coordination
Queasiness and vomiting
Fast pulse rate
Debility or general feeling of weakness
Lack of sensation (numbness) and tingling
Death of tissues in the affected area
Acute pain
Swelling at the place of the snake bite
Systemic poisoning includes excessive salivation, vomiting which can lead to hypotension and shock. These symptoms can happen very quickly and if severe, can lead to death on average at about 48 hours. Get help!
It is very important to remember that in children symptoms can become life threatening very quickly. Please make sure you know CPR!

First aid

It is very important for anyone who lives in ‘snake’ country or who camps/hikes/fishes in snake country to know the basics of first aid ‘just in case’ a bite happens. Knowing what to do BEFORE you can get to professional help (which could be hours away) may save your life or someone else’s:

First things first…get a plan, have a plan and be prepared it helps with the first ‘do’:

Stay CALM! It is important that the bite victim remains as calm as possible. If you are bit getting anxious and upset will send your heart rate up which increases circulation. Not to mention how adrenaline works on the body which may cause you or them to do something no so smart. Aconite 30c works best at this point.

Limit the movement of the person who has been bit as much as possible. Again, this is to slow down the venom movement in the blood stream.

DO NOT raise the bite wound above the heart, keep it as low as possible from the heart even if its squirting blood out (this is actually a good thing as venom will come out with the blood)

The wound should be treated like all other wounds. A Sawyer Extractor® for venom extraction is a proven method for reducing the venom from entering the system. This is actually the ONLY approved device approved for extracting venom of all types including bees, wasps and snakes.

Get rid of all rings or other items that may cause constriction since the area around the snake bite will swell.

Remember, the area of the snake bite will gradually swell and become discolored if the snake that bit the victim is venomous.

If you can, keep an eye on the vital signs of the victim, including pulse rate, pace of breathing, body temperature and blood pressure.

If you begin to see signs of shock in the bite victim, have them lay down.

Seek immediate medical help. It is important not to waste any moment after a person has been bitten by a snake.

What NOT TO DO:

Never apply a tourniquet or strap near the area where the snake has sunk its teeth.

Don’t make the victim become over-exerted. Carry the victim to a safer place, if it is deemed necessary.

Avoid applying any type of cold compresses to the affected area.

Don’t incise the area of the snake bite with a razor, knife or any other sharp object.

Never try to suck the snake venom out of the victim’s body with your mouth.

Don’t give anything to the snake bite victim to eat or drink.

Don’t elevate the affected area above the level of the person’s heart for it may increase the flow of venom to the heart.

Don’t give the victim any medication, either painkillers or stimulants, these could mask serious symptoms that a doctor/trained professional will need to see in order to asses the bite victim.

So now what? What can you do YOURSELF while you wait for help or are trying to get to help? There are a few that can be used to help you, your furry friend or two legged friend until you can get professional help:

Get and USE A Sawyer Extractor® for venom extraction, follow direction on the package.

Wash and clean the wound as best as possible and keep it as clean as possible. Personally I keep Tea Tree Essential Oil on hand to use after traditional cleansing. Use Tea Tree Essential Oil on and around the wound (about 6 inches diameter). I also keep helichrysum essential oil on hand for wounds.

If you have it handy, use Bromelain (which is a dietary supplement easily found at many stores with a good selections of vitamins) 1000mg as soon as possible after the bite. If need be use 1000mg per hour until you can get help. The snake venom molecule (and most snake and insect bite venoms) are composed of three-dimensional, nearly 100% pure, protein. The strongest known natural solvents for protein molecules are bromelain and papain. Bromelain can be used after you have been released from the hospital too…500mg 8 times a day.
(http://phoenix.about.com/cs/desert/a/snakebite_4.htm)

Goldenseal capsules or tincture. 1 tsp immediately after bite and then 20 drops (or 500mg if using powder) 6 times a day. Until you can get help or after returning home.

Echinacea. This famous natural herb stimulates the immune system. It is mentioned as a snake bite remedy in many older herb books. 1000 mg immediately if using powder or 1 tsp of tincture. Take every 20-30 minutes until you reach help (or until you see swelling and bruising subsiding) after that…8 times a day for 10 days (past 10 days Echinacea is no longer effective).

Yellow dock can be used to alleviate symptoms until you can get professional help. Drink a cup of yellow dock tea or take 2 capsules of yellow dock every hour until the symptoms are gone.
(http://medicinalherbinfo.org/diseases/Snakebite.html)

Soak and wash wound in activated charcoal until you can get help or until signs are gone. There have been some people who have taken activated charcoal by mouth as directed on the bottle to help also. Activated Charcoal should also be taken by mouth, in the quantity of approx. 2 Tbsp. every 2 hours, for 3 doses, and 1 tsp. every hour for 24 hours. Each dose should be followed by 2 glasses of water.
(http://articles.herballegacy.com/snake-bites/)

Black Cohosh (aka Snake Root) applied as a salve or paste to the wound until you can reach help. May also be used as a tincture to help with pain (especially ‘cramping’ like pains).

Now to my favorites because they are easy to take with you into the woods, cheap and last a long time!

If you choose to use homeopathics give every 10 minutes and then back off as symptoms subside. 5 pellets every 10 minutes, then every 20, then every 30 minutes, etc. until you can get professional help. With homeopathy, you are looking at signs and symptoms someone is displaying or MIGHT and then giving the appropriate remedy. If after 3 doses of a given remedy you do not see improvement, then choose another one.

Aconite is beneficial in any situation that causes emotional trauma or hysteria. This remedy is also beneficial for any responder that is in a panicked. THIS IS THE FIRST REMEDY TO GIVE. I carry this with me everywhere!

Apis is useful in reducing an allergic reaction from the insect poisoning and snake venom. It may be used to help reduce the likelihood of anaphylaxis shock or used if the animal is having difficulty breathing.

Arnica is used first for any trauma. It will help minimize the symptoms of shock and the soft tissue damage from the bite.

Crotalus hordius, a homeopath remedy derived from the rattlesnake venom, has shown benefits with doses at 15 minute intervals. Poor circulation and hemorrhaging may be occurring at the bite site.

Hypericum could be used when the bite results in extreme pain especially nerve related pain. Rattle snake bites are known to be very painful and Hypericum just might help.

Lachesis, derived from the Bushmaster snake, is used for bite wounds that turn purplish-blue. There venom results in poor circulation with dark blood that does not coagulate easily. It may help prevent septic (shock) complications.

Ledum is best known for any puncture wounds. It should be given first, after Arnica, for any punctures that might cause infection or pain. The wound area may twitch and feel cold but not always. There may be great swelling and inflammation.

There are a number of other homeopathic remedies to help combat the affects of a poisonous snake bite that should be considered. Belladonna would be useful if the animal or person is restless or delirious with dilated pupils. A sudden, high fever may occur due to the toxins in the system.

Cedron is another rattlesnake remedy.

For any snake bite I would give one dose of Aconite to help them calm down (heck, I would take a dose myself!) Then if I had it on hand while waiting for help or getting to help I would give one dose of arnica, then every 15 minutes rotating, hypericum, then cedron then ledum. Personally I always carry Crotalus hordius…use every 15 minutes until you reach help. And ONE dose of Lachesis 1M.
I understand this seems like a lot to carry with you but I promise, its not! The tubes are very small and light weight and can be used for many other health challenges, not just snake bites!

According to Dr.Eileen Nauman, DHM, DHom(UK) in her book ‘Poisons that Heal’ pg. 83
Snakebite
On the way to the emergency room:
If the skin around the bite becomes purple-red or purplish looking; seepage of dark blood, Lachesis 30c every 5 minutes
Rapid swelling and and bleeding under the skin around the bite, discolored flesh, and the person is extremely sensitive to be jarred or moved: Crolatus Horridus 30c every 5 minutes
Shallow breathing, band around the head sensation, face congested looking with a pale nose and mouth, vomiting, weak pulse (systemic poisoning)Carbolic Acid 6c

She also recommends for ANYONE who is outside a lot or hikes/camps a lot to keep Lachesis 1M in their first aid kit just in case of snakebite. Take one dose every 10 minutes until you reach help.

Being prepared in an emergency could save your life. As someone who lives in area with 3 types of poisonous snakes, spends quite a bit of time outdoors and is far away from help, I like to have a back up plan and this is it until I can reach help.

Hope this helps you prepare! Be safe and be aware that is always your first line of defense…but just in case…
survivingshtfmom

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September 30, 2014 Posted by | Essential Oils, Herbs, Homeopathics, Medical Conditions, Self-Help | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Enterovirus 68 ED-V68 Alternative Prevention Essential Oils, Herbs and Homeopathy

virus2Enterovirus 68. It is here in the US and although considered ‘rare’, it would seem that it is currently reaching epidemic proportions if reports are true of hundreds of children across the country being admitted to hospitals for severe respiratory complications. According to the CDC, only Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky and Missouri having confirmed cases. However, it is of such concern, that yesterday, September the 11th, 2014 that the New Kent County Public Schools in Virginia where I live (which is a rural area outside of Richmond, Virginia) felt the need to call all school age parents and issue a statement regarding enterovirus 68. The message was to let parents know that ‘they’ were monitoring the situation, to teach children not to touch their eyes, nose or mouth, wash hands repeatedly, do not share cups or toys or clothing and to keep home any child who was sick. The school system also referred parents to the CDC website for more information on the enterovirus 68.

About EV-D68

Typically, EV-D68 causes upper respiratory illness, such as low-grade fever, cough, runny nose, sneezing and body/muscle aches. Infected individuals generally recover on their own without incident by treating symptoms. However, some individuals, especially those with weakened immune systems or underlying medical conditions, such as asthma, may experience severe complications and require hospitalization with supportive therapy. This is what the CDC says about EV-D68. Although one documented case in Indiana the child had no such underlying medical conditions and yet was hospitalized.

However, many parents with children infected with EV-D68 report severe upper respiratory distress within hours of coming down with what seems to be a cold/flu. Including high grade fevers uncontrollable with Tylenol/ibuprophen, extreme headaches, neck pain, rashes and vomiting, blisters in the mouth, limpness of limbs and ultimately the inability to breath (shortness of breath, wheezing).

How do you contract enterovirus 68?

According to the CDC: Since EV-D68 causes respiratory illness, the virus can be found in an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum. EV-D68 likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches contaminated surfaces.

Prevention according to the CDC includes:
Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
According to the CDC there is no treatment, vaccine or ‘cure’ for enterovirus 68 (which is in the same category of viruses that cause polio and hand/foot/mouth disease) only ‘palliative’ care, ie, managing the symptoms and keeping people comfortable.
Okay, so we now have that out of the way…as a mom of several school age children and an alternative health care advocate/practioner and prepper, I have some thoughts on ‘prevention’ and ultimately managing this ‘rare’ virus that seems to be sweeping across this country so quickly.

The basic question is what can YOU do to keep you and yours safe without going overboard and setting up a clean room to enter and leave through. We are NOT talking about a biohazard level 4 after all. However, getting sick is not fun and the following is what I will doing to hopefully prevent my children and myself from getting this virus:

First and foremost, goldenseal tincture used once a day, daily for the duration of the cold and flu season. I personally make my own goldenseal tincture and use it regularly whenever someone gets a cough, cold or the flu given that this herbs nature is to work on viruses first and foremost in the mucus member body systems (eyes, mouth, sinuses, stomach, intestinal tract). There is no danger in using this herb preventively and maybe used in children 6 months and up. The tincture works best and the best part is that a small amount, when properly prepared will go a long way! Goldenseal is safe for pregnant and nursing women also.
Another herb worth noting is Devils Club (Oplopanax horridum or Fatsia horrida) though I would tend to reserve this herb for the first sign of cough or cold and not so much as a preventative.

Please be sure that when you buy any herb in tincture form you buy from a reputable source. The best would be to buy from an herbalist who makes their own tinctures (ie a private person). Next best a nationally known company. An herbalist who makes their own tinctures will have the strongest available tinctures. Unfortunately, due to FDA regulations and other national and state ‘authorities’ large companies engaged in herbal products often are required to dilute their tinctures down to the point that in many cases you have to use twice the amount of tincture recommended below to get the desired results.

How much to use and how?

The BEST way to use a tincture is to place the desired amount directly under the tongue and hold it in the mouth for as long as possible without swallowing!! Yes, it tastes nasty, but no one said medicine tasted great. If necessary, it is fine to dilute the tincture in a small amount of water or juice and sip very slowly, again, not swallowing immediately.

As a general rule of thumb for tinctures:

Adults: 60 drops
Children:
Younger than 3 months — 2 drops
3 to 6 months — 3 drops
6 to 9 months — 4 drops
9 to 12 months — 5 drops
12 to 18 months — 7 drops
18 to 24 months — 8 drops
2 to 3 years — 10 drops
3 to 4 years — 12 drops
4 to 6 years — 15 drops
6 to 9 years — 24 drops
9 to 12 years — 30 drops

In some cases if you do not want alcohol in your tincture or cannot tolerate it you may be able to make your own glycerin tincture at home or, to rid the tincture of alcohol, boil water, place the tincture in the bottom of the cup and pour boiling water over it. It is up to you, personally I just use as is as I have found it more potent this way.

There are herbs that are great for the respiratory system that you can buy bulk and put into a large pot of simmering water that will also help to disinfect the whole house without you going crazy cleaning.
They include:

Inula (not recommended if anyone in the house has asthma or other medical conditions involving the lungs)
Mullein
Thyme
Ginger

At the very least your house will smell great!

Next up, homeopathic prevention. In past cold/flu season I have always had a homeopathic for the flu at hand to take one dose weekly when no known exposure has occurred or if know/likely once a day. Boiron Oscillococcinum is the traditional remedy for the flu. I am not sure how much this may or may not help, but it is cheap and only 5 pellets need to be taken. At best, it may help at worst you might not get the seasonal flu.
I also found a homeopathic called LUNG LIQUESCENCE,RESPIRATORY DETOX FORMULA that supports the lungs in getting rid of viruses and mucus that I am incorporating into our routine. It should be taken the same way.

I would be remiss not to discuss essential oils under prevention. My favorite is the following:

A blend of specific essential oils including clove, lemon, cinnamon, rosemary and Eucalyptus Radiata. Frankly, just a few drops in honey (or on a piece of bread) will work at keeping you healthy. You may also put this blend into an ultrasonic diffuser to spread the germ fighting virus killing essential oil particles around you home or workplace. Word of note: do NOT put this blend into water and use to disinfect anything besides metal as many of these essentials oils will break down plastics and paint and may harm stone surfaces also.

Now lets talk FOOD! Yes, food…food as medicine! Onion and garlic are two of nature’s BEST anti-virals available to everyone! I use a lot of these two ‘herbs’ in my own cooking. However, you can make teas or tinctures out them. There are a million and one ways that can be found online to do this. I also include onions and garlic in my homemade anti-sick honey syrup (do not give honey to children under the age of 1).

Take a clean quart sized jar and thinly slice up the following into about ½ inch sized pieces:
2 fresh lemons (including the rind)
2 medium sized onions
Fresh ginger root (I typically get a piece about the size of my hand)
4 tablespoons of minced garlic.
I put all of this into the jar and then cover with honey to the top. Be sure you stir the honey down to the bottom. Typically it takes just over 1 pound of honey.
Next, grab that crock pot! Place the jar (with lid on) into the middle of it and add enough water to almost fill the crock pot. Place the lid on it (most likely will not close, but the idea is to retain as much of the heat as possible) and then turn onto to low and allow it steep/warm up this way at least 16 hours or up to two days. Stir occasionally. The food ‘material’ will separate from the honey…that is okay, that is why you stir it and once done, it will be A LOT easier to get the pieces of food out before use. To use your anti-sick honey infusion, I use 1 tablespoon of honey stirred into one cup of hot water and drink slowly.

This is all I have for prevention at this time. In my next article I will be talking about what do IF you get that dreaded cough/flu called enterovirus 68.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, do not hesitate to contact me at laura@iempoweredhealing.com

Per law I am required to tell you that I am not a medical professional and all information above is based upon my private experience and documented research by medical professionals online. Always seek professional medical assistance if you are unsure.

September 12, 2014 Posted by | Essential Oils, Guidelines, Herbs, Homeopathics, Infectious Disease, Self-Help | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spider Bites

Over the years I have been bitten many times by various types of spiders including the Brown Recluse Spider. While many spider bites simply go away on their own and do little but itch and welt up, the spiders that have a bad bite that typically require medical attention can indeed pose a problem and in a Grid Down situation or even back country situation where medical attention can be in doubt (or even now given the sky high costs of medical attention and the many people who don’t have insurance) there are ways of dealing with these bites.
This what I personally do when bitten by a spider (or even suspect it):
First, anytime you suspect a spider bite, time is of the essence.
The faster you begin treatment the better the outcome and less likely you will need outside intervention.
Step one is to clean the wound area well this cannot be stressed enough!
Then apply the following oils:
Bergamont essential is excellent for preventing abscessing, pain, itching and infection. It is my FIRST line of defense with any type of ‘puncture’ wound including spider bites and sticking things into various body parts (that is another story). Straight oil, no dillution. A few drops on site (you may, if its not abscessed, spread the oil to completely cover the area and go just a bit outside of the puncture site. If it is abscessed, just use a dropper and throughly cover the open wound and surrounding area. Keep uncovered and keep the wound out of the sun if it is abscessed, if not keep it covered using a cotton gauze pad. Use this oil on site every 3-6 hours depending upon severity of the wound. This alone should keep things under control until the body can get rid of the poison itself. It has worked many times for me over the years, including one instance (the first time I was ever bit) where the spider bite was abscessed to the size of a half dollar. No antibiotics needed, just the oil. With the abscessed wound it took about 2 weeks to completely heal but it did with minimal scarring. Without the abscess it was done and over in about 5 days.
Alternately you may use basil oil. Use only when not abscessed and apply with lavender oil 2-3 times daily..layering the oils (meaning use first one, waiting a bit and then applying the other). Word of caution using Basil oil: some people will/can react badly to this oil. It would be wise to test yourself way before needing it. It will feel like it is ‘burning’ and the skin may become red, but this is typical and will not hurt you.
Another way is to simply use a blend of lavender, tea tree, rosemary, citronella and myrtle…equal parts…though personally I use this blend in conjunction with bergamont to prevent infection and help to draw out the poison. Though I will note it is not imparative to use this blend.
Tea Tree oil will help with swelling, infection and itching.
 
You may, if you do not like to use essential oils, make either a poultice of plantain and apply on site or oatmeal. Though personally I find the essential oils to work much, much better. But some have found that plantain works quite well for them…
Plantain leaves, crushed and poulticed. You know you have plantain on your hands if you see 5 veins on the leaf and it flower stalk sticks straight up into the air, often seen in crack in the sidewalk and disturbed ground areas…it is a common ‘weed’ and Take one tablespoon crushed leaf juice every hour, at the same time applying the bruised leaves to the wound. The dried leaves can also be used when soaked in water or herbal tea. Plantain tea can be used as a wash to bathe the area often. (this is excellent for bee/wasp stings also along with Tea Tree or Wintergreen essential oil).
Herbs that will help detox the body of the poinson more quickly are yellow root and burdock. 2 capsules of both 3 times daily, tincture form 3 times daily (I find the teas don’t work as well in emergency situations).
 
Now, infection can be a concern, so I would alternate using Echinacea and Goldenseal root (or tops). 2-3 capsules each alternating each herb every 3 hours (you may use tincture also, an adult would need 40 drops of the tincture). If I had to pick one only of these herbs I would use Goldenseal as it works best on ‘membranes’ and the lymph system.
 
Mind you, you will most likely experience swelling, burning, pain, etc. and infact the area may swell and be hot to the touch, as long as it does get much bigger than say twice the size of a silver dollar within 3 days you will be doing just fine using the alternatives. Persistance is key in treatment with alternatives. You may find that redness travels along the lymph nodes and this is normal also as it is the lymph nodes that remove the toxins, if you see if, apply the oils (excepts basil) along the redness where the lymph nodes are, but personally I have never had this happen. Be patient and persistant.
 

July 11, 2011 Posted by | Essential Oils, Herbs, Spider Bites | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments