Today is “Don’t Fry Day”

The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has declared the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend “Don’t Fry Day!” in order to remind people to protect their skin from damage from the sun this weekend.

Their recommendation is to focus on as many of the following as possible:

  • Do Not Burn or Tan
  • Seek Shade
  • Wear Sun-Protective Clothing
  • Generously Apply Sunscreen
  • Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow, and Sand
  • Get Vitamin D Safely

None of these steps, taken alone, is enough.

According to their websiteSkin cancer is on the rise in the United States, and the American Cancer Society estimates that one American dies every hour from skin cancer. This year alone, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be more than 73,870 new cases of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, and more than two million new cases of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers in the U.S.

Protect your skin and future health and “Don’t Fry” this weekend.


Health and Safety Alert- A look at pesticide Methyl Bromide

METHYL BROMIDE AWARENESS

Recently making the news for the suspected poisoning and exposure of a family while on vacation in the US Virgin Islands. The pesticide allegedly was sprayed in an apartment below them to fix a bug problem the same day the family arrived at their vacation rental condominium unit at the Sirenusa resort on St. John, according to Judith Enck, administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 2 Office, which covers the U.S. Virgin Islands. By that night, Enck said, the entire family “started having adverse health effects.” Both boys had seizures, according to Enck. Paramedics responded and took the family to a hospital on neighboring island St. Thomas. Three of the family members were put on ventilators, Enck said. The family was then airlifted to hospitals in the U.S.

What is methyl bromide?

Methyl bromide is a broad spectrum pesticide used in the control of pest insects, nematodes, weeds, pathogens, and rodents. In the U.S., methyl bromide is used in agriculture, primarily for soil fumigation, as well as for commodity and quarantine treatment, and structural fumigation. Methyl bromide is a potent neurotoxin that affects the nervous system. The EPA banned methyl bromide for indoor residential use in the 1980s, Enck said, but the product still is on the market for agricultural use.

It’s commonly used in California on strawberries, Enck said. “Decades ago, we established rules saying that pesticide applicators cannot use this toxic pesticide indoors because we were afraid of an outcome just like this one,” Enck said. Enck said it’s important to educate the public about alternatives to very toxic pesticides. “There’s something called integrated pest management where you can look at lesser toxic or non-toxic ways to deal with bug problems,” she said.

Why is methyl bromide dangerous?

According to the EPA, methyl bromide exposure can cause short-term and long-term problems including severe lung injuries and neurological impairment. “Exposure to methyl bromide is quite serious,” Enck said, “And it can really damage your nervous system.” Exposure can cause brain damage and comas, Enck added. “There are a number of serious health impacts that anyone applying this would know about once they looked at the label on the product and then looked at the supporting documentation that talked about health impacts,” she said. The EPA issued a pesticide warning in the Caribbean and is examining if methyl bromide was used in other locations in the U.S. Virgin Islands. “Some vacationers or residents may not have had the very serious health response that this family has had, but it can cause headache, nausea, dizziness; it can affect whether your body shakes or not,” Enck said.

What are some products that contain methyl bromide?

• Brom-O-Gas®

• M B C

• M-B-R

• Meth-O-Gas®

• Terr-O-Gas®

• Other products not listed here

NOTE! STRICT HYGIENE! AVOID EXPOSURE OF ADOLESCENTS AND CHILDREN! General First Aid: IN ALL CASES CONSULT A DOCTOR!
Route of Exposure Symptoms First Aid
Inhalation Abdominal pain. Convulsions. Dizziness. Headache. Laboured breathing. Vomiting. Weakness. Hallucinations. Loss of speech. Incoordination. Fresh air rest. Half-upright position. Artificial respiration if indicated. Refer for medical attention.
Skin Tingling. Itching. MAY BE ABSORBED! Redness. Burning sensation. Pain. Blisters. (Further see Inhalation). ON CONTACT WITH LIQUID: FROSTBITE. ON FROSTBITE: rinse with plenty of water do NOT remove clothes. Rinse skin with plenty of water or shower. Refer for medical attention.
Eyes Redness. Pain. Blurred vision. Temporary loss of vision. First rinse with plenty of water for several minutes (remove contact lenses if easily possible) then take to a doctor.
Methyl bromide
Synonyms & Trade NamesBromomethane, Monobromomethane
CAS No.74-83-9 RTECS No.PA4900000 DOT ID & Guide1062 123
FormulaCH3Br Conversion1 ppm = 3.89 mg/m3 IDLHCa [250 ppm]
See: 74839
Exposure LimitsNIOSH REL: Ca See Appendix AOSHA PEL

: C 20 ppm (80 mg/m3) [skin]

Measurement MethodsNIOSH 2520 ;
OSHA PV2040
See: NMAM or OSHA Methods
Physical DescriptionColorless gas with a chloroform-like odor at high concentrations. [Note: A liquid below 38°F. Shipped as a liquefied compressed gas.]
MW:95.0 BP:38°F FRZ:-137°F Sol:2% VP:1.9 atm IP:10.54 eV
Sp.Gr:1.73 (Liquid at 32°F) Fl.P:NA (Gas) UEL:16.0% LEL:10% RGasD:3.36
Flammable Gas, but only in presence of a high energy ignition source.
Incompatibilities & ReactivitiesAluminum, magnesium, strong oxidizers [Note: Attacks aluminum to form aluminum trimethyl, which is SPONTANEOUSLY flammable.]
Exposure Routesinhalation, skin absorption (liquid), skin and/or eye contact (liquid)
Symptomsirritation eyes, skin, respiratory system; muscle weak, incoordination, visual disturbance, dizziness; nausea, vomiting, headache; malaise (vague feeling of discomfort); hand tremor; convulsions; dyspnea (breathing difficulty); skin vesiculation; liquid: frostbite; [potential occupational carcinogen]
Target OrgansEyes, skin, respiratory system, central nervous system
Cancer Site[in animals: lung, kidney & forestomach tumors]
Personal Protection/Sanitation(See protection codes)
Skin: Prevent skin contact (liquid)
Eyes: Prevent eye contact (liquid)
Wash skin: When contaminated (liquid)
Remove: When wet (flammable)
Change: No recommendation
Provide: Quick drench (liquid)
First Aid(See procedures)
Eye: Irrigate immediately (liquid)
Skin: Water flush immediately (liquid)
Breathing: Respiratory support
Respirator RecommendationsNIOSHAt concentrations above the NIOSH REL, or where there is no REL, at any detectable concentration:
(APF = 10,000) Any self-contained breathing apparatus that has a full facepiece and is operated in a pressure-demand or other positive-pressure mode
(APF = 10,000) Any supplied-air respirator that has a full facepiece and is operated in a pressure-demand or other positive-pressure mode in combination with an auxiliary self-contained positive-pressure breathing apparatusEscape:
(APF = 50) Any air-purifying, full-facepiece respirator (gas mask) with a chin-style, front- or back-mounted organic vapor canister
Any appropriate escape-type, self-contained breathing apparatus

Regulation

In the U.S. the use of methyl bromide is regulated by:

  • Montreal Protocol
    The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty developed to protect the earth from the detrimental effects of ozone stratospheric depletion. Since its initial signing by the United States and 26 other countries in 1987, virtually the whole world has signed on to the treaty (191 countries are now Parties to the treaty). The Parties to the Montreal Protocol agreed to specific reduction steps that lead to the phaseout of production and import of ozone-depleting substances, including methyl bromide.
    The Montreal Protocol required phase out in industrialized countries by the year 2005, and a future freeze in developing country use.
  • Clean Air Act
    The Clean Air Act defines EPA’s responsibilities for protecting and improving the nation’s air quality and the stratospheric ozone layer (#Clean Air Act).
    A 1998 amendment (P.L. 105-178, Title VI) conformed the Clean Air Act phase-out date with that of the Montreal Protocol (#CRS Report for Congress).

There are allowable exemptions to the phaseout which include:
1) the Quarantine and Preshipment (QPS) exemption, to eliminate quarantine pests, and
2) the Critical Use Exemption (CUE), designed for agricultural users with notechnically or economically feasible alternatives (#EPA).

The 2011 nomination for exemptions from the phase-out of methyl bromide covers 15 crops and their uses, including tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, cucurbits, orchard replants, and post-harvest uses (#EPA-2011 Critical Use Exemption Nominations from the Phaseout of Methyl Bromide).

Information from ABC News, Fox News, EPA, OSHA, CDC, NIOSH and NSC.

 

 

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald , CHSO, STS  ,  EHS Supervisor ,   DFA-Portales NM
Email:  koswald@dfamilk.com

 


Head Lice Awareness and control

HEAD LICE PREVENTION AND AWARENESS

With many children back in schools and in close proximity to each other head lice can be a problem your family may face. Adult head lice are roughly 2–3 mm long. Head lice infest the head and neck and attach their eggs to the base of the hair shaft. Lice move by crawling; they cannot hop or fly. Head lice infestation, or pediculosis, is spread most commonly by close person-to-person contact. Dogs, cats, and other pets do not play a role in the transmission of human lice. Both over-the-counter and prescription medications are available for treatment of head lice infestations.

Getting head lice is not related to cleanliness of the person or his or her environment. Head lice are mainly spread by direct contact with the hair of an infested person. The most common way to get head lice is by head-to-head contact with a person who already has head lice. Such contact can be common among children during play at:

  • school,
  • home, and
  • elsewhere (e.g., sports activities, playgrounds, camp, and slumber parties).

Uncommonly, transmission may occur by:

  • wearing clothing, such as hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms, or hair ribbons worn by an infested person;
  • using infested combs, brushes or towels; or
  • lying on a bed, couch, pillow, carpet, or stuffed animal that has recently been in contact with an infested person.

Reliable data on how many people get head lice each year in the United States are not available; however, an estimated 6 million to 12 million infestations occur each year in the United States among children 3 to 11 years of age. Some studies suggest that girls get head lice more often than boys, probably due to more frequent head-to-head contact. In the United States, infestation with head lice is much less common among African-Americans than among persons of other races. The head louse found most frequently in the United States may have claws that are better adapted for grasping the shape and width of some types of hair but not others.

Pediculus humanus capitis, the head louse, is an insect of the order Psocodea and is an ectoparasite whose only host are humans. The louse feeds on blood several times daily and resides close to the scalp to maintain its body temperature.

Life Cycle:

The life cycle of the head louse has three stages: egg, nymph, and adult.

Eggs: Nits are head lice eggs. They are hard to see and are often confused for dandruff or hair spray droplets. Nits are laid by the adult female and are cemented at the base of the hair shaft nearest the scalp. They are 0.8 mm by 0.3 mm, oval and usually yellow to white. Nits take about 1 week to hatch (range 6 to 9 days). Viable eggs are usually located within 6 mm of the scalp.

Nymphs: The egg hatches to release a nymph. The nit shell then becomes a more visible dull yellow and remains attached to the hair shaft. The nymph looks like an adult head louse, but is about the size of a pinhead. Nymphs mature after three molts and become adults about 7 days after hatching.

Adults: The adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed, has 6 legs (each with claws), and is tan to grayish-white. In persons with dark hair, the adult louse will appear darker. Females are usually larger than males and can lay up to 8 nits per day. Adult lice can live up to 30 days on a person’s head. To live, adult lice need to feed on blood several times daily. Without blood meals, the louse will die within 1 to 2 days off the host.

Diagnosis

Examination of hair and scalp for head lice. Close examination of the hair and scalp is necessary to determine head lice infestation. (CDC Photo) Misdiagnosis of head lice infestation is common. The diagnosis of head lice infestation is best made by finding a live nymph or adult louse on the scalp or hair of a person.

Because adult and nymph lice are very small, move quickly, and avoid light, they may be difficult to find. Use of a fine-toothed louse comb may facilitate identification of live lice. If crawling lice are not seen, finding nits attached firmly within ¼ inch of the base of hair shafts suggests, but does not confirm, the person is infested. Nits frequently are seen on hair behind the ears and near the back of the neck. Nits that are attached more than ¼ inch from the base of the hair shaft are almost always non-viable (hatched or dead). Head lice and nits can be visible with the naked eye, although use of a magnifying lens may be necessary to find crawling lice or to identify a developing nymph inside a viable nit. Nits are often confused with other particles found in hair such as dandruff, hair spray droplets, and dirt particles.

If no nymphs or adults are seen, and the only nits found are more than ¼ inch from the scalp, then the infestation is probably old and no longer active — and does not need to be treated.

Treatment

General Guidelines

Treatment for head lice is recommended for persons diagnosed with an active infestation. All household members and other close contacts should be checked; those persons with evidence of an active infestation should be treated. Some experts believe prophylactic treatment is prudent for persons who share the same bed with actively-infested individuals. All infested persons (household members and close contacts) and their bedmates should be treated at the same time.

Some pediculicides (medicines that kill lice) have an ovicidal effect (kill eggs). For pediculicides that are only weakly ovicidal or not ovicidal, routine retreatment is recommended. For those that are more strongly ovicidal, retreatment is recommended only if live (crawling) lice are still present several days after treatment (see recommendation for each medication). To be most effective, retreatment should occur after all eggs have hatched but before new eggs are produced.

When treating head lice, supplemental measures can be combined with recommended medicine (pharmacologic treatment); however, such additional (non-pharmacologic) measures generally are not required to eliminate a head lice infestation. For example, hats, scarves, pillow cases, bedding, clothing, and towels worn or used by the infested person in the 2-day period just before treatment is started can be machine washed and dried using the hot water and hot air cycles because lice and eggs are killed by exposure for 5 minutes to temperatures greater than 53.5°C (128.3°F). Items that cannot be laundered may be dry-cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag for two weeks. Items such as hats, grooming aids, and towels that come in contact with the hair of an infested person should not be shared. Vacuuming furniture and floors can remove an infested person’s hairs that might have viable nits attached.

Treat the infested person(s): Requires using an Over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medication. Follow these treatment steps:

1. Before applying treatment, it may be helpful to remove clothing that can become wet or stained during treatment.

2. Apply lice medicine, also called pediculicide, according to the instructions contained in the box or printed on the label. If the infested person has very long hair (longer than shoulder length), it may be necessary to use a second bottle. Pay special attention to instructions on the label or in the box regarding how long the medication should be left on the hair and how it should be washed out.

WARNING:

Do not use a combination shampoo/conditioner, or conditioner before using lice medicine. Do not re–wash the hair for 1–2 days after the lice medicine is removed.

3. Have the infested person put on clean clothing after treatment.

4. If a few live lice are still found 8–12 hours after treatment, but are moving more slowly than before, do not retreat. The medicine may take longer to kill all the lice. Comb dead and any remaining live lice out of the hair using a fine–toothed nit comb.

5. If, after 8–12 hours of treatment, no dead lice are found and lice seem as active as before, the medicine may not be working. Do not retreat until speaking with your health care provider; a different pediculicide may be necessary. If your health care provider recommends a different pediculicide, carefully follow the treatment instructions contained in the box or printed on the label.

6. Nit (head lice egg) combs, often found in lice medicine packages, should be used to comb nits and lice from the hair shaft. Many flea combs made for cats and dogs are also effective.

7. After each treatment, checking the hair and combing with a nit comb to remove nits and lice every 2–3 days may decrease the chance of self–reinfestation. Continue to check for 2–3 weeks to be sure all lice and nits are gone. Nit removal is not needed when treating with spinosad topical suspension.

8. Retreatment is meant to kill any surviving hatched lice before they produce new eggs. For some drugs, retreatment is recommended routinely about a week after the first treatment (7–9 days, depending on the drug) and for others only if crawling lice are seen during this period. Retreatment with lindane shampoo is not recommended.

Supplemental Measures: Head lice do not survive long if they fall off a person and cannot feed. You don’t need to spend a lot of time or money on housecleaning activities. Follow these steps to help avoid re–infestation by lice that have recently fallen off the hair or crawled onto clothing or furniture.

1. Machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that the infested person wore or used during the 2 days before treatment using the hot water (130°F) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle. Clothing and items that are not washable can be dry–cleaned

OR

sealed in a plastic bag and stored for 2 weeks.

2. Soak combs and brushes in hot water (at least 130°F) for 5–10 minutes.

3. Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay. However, the risk of getting infested by a louse that has fallen onto a rug or carpet or furniture is very small. Head lice survive less than 1–2 days if they fall off a person and cannot feed; nits cannot hatch and usually die within a week if they are not kept at the same temperature as that found close to the human scalp. Spending much time and money on housecleaning activities is not necessary to avoid reinfestation by lice or nits that may have fallen off the head or crawled onto furniture or clothing.

4. Do not use fumigant sprays; they can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

Over-the-counter Medications

Many head lice medications are available “Over-the-counter” without a prescription at a local drug store or pharmacy. Each Over-the-counter product approved by the FDA for the treatment of head lice contains one of the following active ingredients. If crawling lice are still seen after a full course of treatment contact your health care provider.

1. Pyrethrins combined with piperonyl butoxide;
Brand name products: A–200*, Pronto*, R&C*, Rid*, Triple X*.

Pyrethrins are naturally occurring pyrethroid extracts from the chrysanthemum flower. Pyrethrins are safe and effective when used as directed. Pyrethrins can only kill live lice, not unhatched eggs (nits). A second treatment is recommended 9 to 10 days after the first treatment to kill any newly hatched lice before they can produce new eggs. Pyrethrins generally should not be used by persons who are allergic to chrysanthemums or ragweed. Pyrethrin is approved for use on children 2 years of age and older.

2. Permethrin lotion, 1%;
Brand name product: Nix*.

Permethrin is a synthetic pyrethroid similar to naturally occurring pyrethrins. Permethrin lotion 1% is approved by the FDA for the treatment of head lice. Permethrin is safe and effective when used as directed. Permethrin kills live lice but not unhatched eggs. Permethrin may continue to kill newly hatched lice for several days after treatment. A second treatment often is necessary on day 9 to kill any newly hatched lice before they can produce new eggs. Permethrin is approved for use on children 2 months of age and older.

Prescription Medications

The following medications, in alphabetical order, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of head lice are available only by prescription. If crawling lice are still seen after a full course of treatment, contact your health care provider.

· Benzyl alcohol lotion, 5%;
Brand name product: Ulesfia lotion*

Benzyl alcohol is an aromatic alcohol. Benzyl alcohol lotion, 5% has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of head lice and is considered safe and effective when used as directed. It kills lice but it is not ovicidal. A second treatment is needed 7 days after the first treatment to kill any newly hatched lice before they can produce new eggs. Benzyl alcohol lotion is intended for use on persons who are 6 months of age and older and its safety in persons aged more 60 years has not been established. It can be irritating to the skin.

· Ivermectin lotion, 0.5%;
Brand name product: Sklice*

Given as a tablet in mass drug administrations, ivermectin has been used extensively and safely for over two decades in many countries to treat filarial worm infections. Ivermectin lotion, 0.5% was approved by the FDA in 2012 for treatment of head lice in persons 6 months of age and older. It is not ovicidal, but appears to prevent nymphs (newly hatched lice) from surviving. It is effective in most patients when given as a single application on dry hair without nit combing. It should not be used for retreatment without talking to a healthcare provider.

· Malathion lotion, 0.5%;
Brand name product: Ovide*

Malathion is an organophosphate. The formulation of malathion approved in the United States for the treatment of head lice is a lotion that is safe and effective when used as directed. Malathion is pediculicidal (kills live lice) and partially ovicidal (kills some lice eggs). A second treatment is recommended if live lice still are present 7–9 days after treatment. Malathion is intended for use on persons 6 years of age and older. Malathion can be irritating to the skin. Malathion lotion is flammable; do not smoke or use electrical heat sources, including hair dryers, curlers, and curling or flat irons, when applying malathion lotion and while the hair is wet.

· Spinosad 0.9% topical suspension;
Brand name product: Natroba*

Spinosad is derived from soil bacteria. Spinosad topical suspension, 0.9%, was approved by the FDA in 2011. Since it kills live lice as well as unhatched eggs, retreatment is usually not needed. Nit combing is not required. Spinosad topical suspension is approved for the treatment of children 4 years of age and older. It is safe and effective when used as directed. Repeat treatment should be given only if live (crawling) lice are seen 7 days after the first treatment.

When treating head lice

1. Do not use extra amounts of any lice medication unless instructed to do so by your physician and pharmacist. The drugs used to treat lice are insecticides and can be dangerous if they are misused or overused.

2. All the medications listed above should be kept out of the eyes. If they get onto the eyes, they should be immediately flushed away.

3. Do not treat an infested person more than 2–3 times with the same medication if it does not seem to be working. This may be caused by using the medicine incorrectly or by resistance to the medicine. Always seek the advice of your health care provider if this should happen. He/she may recommend an alternative medication.

4. Do not use different head lice drugs at the same time unless instructed to do so by your physician and pharmacist.

Prevention & Control

Head lice are spread most commonly by direct head-to-head (hair-to-hair) contact. However, much less frequently they are spread by sharing clothing or belongings onto which lice have crawled or nits attached to shed hairs may have fallen. The risk of getting infested by a louse that has fallen onto a carpet or furniture is very small. Head lice survive less than 1–2 days if they fall off a person and cannot feed; nits cannot hatch and usually die within a week if they are not kept at the same temperature as that found close to the scalp.

The following are steps that can be taken to help prevent and control the spread of head lice:

  • Avoid head-to-head (hair-to-hair) contact during play and other activities at home, school, and elsewhere (sports activities, playground, slumber parties, camp).
  • Do not share clothing such as hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms, hair ribbons, or barrettes.
  • Do not share combs, brushes, or towels. Disinfest combs and brushes used by an infested person by soaking them in hot water (at least 130°F) for 5–10 minutes.
  • Do not lie on beds, couches, pillows, carpets, or stuffed animals that have recently been in contact with an infested person.
  • Machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that an infested person wore or used during the 2 days before treatment using the hot water (130°F) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle. Clothing and items that are not washable can be dry-cleaned OR sealed in a plastic bag and stored for 2 weeks.
  • Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay. However, spending much time and money on housecleaning activities is not necessary to avoid reinfestation by lice or nits that may have fallen off the head or crawled onto furniture or clothing.
  • Do not use fumigant sprays or fogs; they are not necessary to control head lice and can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

To help control a head lice outbreak in a community, school, or camp, children can be taught to avoid activities that may spread head lice.

Information provided by Center for Disease Control. www.cdc.gov, Mayo Clinic and NM Dept. of Health

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security for Plateau

keno@plateautel.com


Button Battery Safety Awareness

Button Battery Safety Awareness

Children’s emergency room visits related to swallowed batteries have risen an astounding 113 percent over the past 20 years, with a child under age 18 arriving at an ER every 90 minutes.

Button batteries are dangerous to kids and adults, especially toddlers, and cause severe injuries when swallowed.

  • The coin-sized batteries children swallow come from many devices, most often mini remote controls. Other places you may them are: singing greeting cards, watches, bathroom scales, and flameless candles.
  • It takes as little as two hours to cause severe burns once a coin-sized lithium battery has been s wallowed.
  • Once burning begins, damage can continue even after the battery is removed.
  • Kids can still breathe with the coin lithium battery in their throat. It may not be obvious at first that something is wrong.
  • Repairing the damage is painful and can require multiple surgeries.
  • The batteries can become lodged in the throat, burning the esophagus.
  • In 2011 alone, more than 3,400 swallowing cases were reported in the U.S. 19 children sustained life-threatening or debilitating injuries and others died!
  • Never leave batteries sitting out. Store spare batteries, and batteries to be recycled, out of sight and reach of young children. If recycling is not possible, wrap used batteries securely and discard them where a child can’t find them.
  • Check all household devices to be certain the battery compartment is secured shut. Use strong tape to secure compartments that children can open or that might pop open if the device is dropped. Only purchase products that require a screwdriver or tool to open the battery compartment, or that are closed with a child-resistant locking mechanism. Batteries are everywhere.

o Check:

  • remote controls
  • garage door openers
  • keyless entry fobs
  • bathroom scales
  • parking transponders
  • toys
  • cameras
  • watches
  • PDAs
  • calculators
  • digital thermometers
  • hearing aids
  • singing greeting cards
  • talking books
  • portable stereos
  • handheld video games
  • cell phones
  • home medical equipment/meters
  • flash and pen lights
  • flashing shoes
  • toothbrushes, bedwetting monitors
  • key chains
  • flashing or lighted jewelry or attire
  • any household item that is powered!
  • Be especially cautious with any product that contains a battery that is as big as a penny or larger.
  • The 20 mm diameter lithium cell is one of the most serious problems when swallowed.
  • These problem cells can be recognized by their imprint (engraved numbers and letters) and often have one of these 3 codes: CR2032, CR2025, CR2016.
  • If swallowed and not removed promptly, these larger button batteries can cause death — or burn a hole through your child’s esophagus.

Don’t allow children to play with batteries or with battery powered products that have easily accessible batteries. Make sure all hearing aids for children have child-resistant battery compartments and make sure the lock is activated when the child is wearing the aid. Alert family members who wear hearing aids to the importance of keeping the batteries out of reach of small children at all times. That can be quite a burden since most hearing aid users remove the batteries from the aids each time they take the aids off. Don’t insert or change batteries in front of small children. Tips for Protecting Older Children and Adults:

· Never put batteries in your mouth, to test, to hold, or for any reason. They are slippery and easily swallowed.

· Don’t mistake batteries for pills. Don’t store batteries near pills or in pill bottles. Don’t leave them on bedside tables or place them loose in your pocket or purse. Look at every medicine you intend to swallow. Turn on the lights, put on your glasses, read the label and look at the medicine itself.
If you use a hearing aid, these steps are especially important. All too often, the tiny hearing aid batteries are ingested with or instead of medications.

· Avoid storing or leaving batteries where they might be mistaken for, or swallowed with, food.
Don’t leave batteries in drinking glasses or adjacent to nuts, candy, popcorn or other finger foods.

Top Tips for Battery Safety

  • SEARCH your home, and any place your child goes, for gadgets that may contain coin lithium batteries.
  • SECURE coin lithium battery-controlled devices out of sight and reach of children and keep loose batteries locked away.
  • SHARE this life-saving information with caregivers, friends, family members and sitters.

If a Battery is Swallowed or Placed in the Ear or Nose:

Keeping these batteries out of reach and secured in devices is key, but if a child swallows a battery, parents and caregivers should follow these steps:

  • Go to the emergency room immediately. Tell doctors and nurses that your child may have swallowed a battery. If possible, provide the medical team with the identification number found on the battery’s package.
  • Do not let the child eat or drink until a chest x-ray can determine if a battery is present.
  • Do not induce vomiting.

Call the National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 1-202-625-3333 for additional treatment information. Prompt action is critical. Don’t wait for symptoms to develop. If the battery was swallowed, don’t eat or drink until an x-ray shows the battery is beyond the esophagus. Batteries stuck in the esophagus must be removed as quickly as possible as severe damage can occur in just 2 hours. Batteries in the nose or ear also must be removed immediately to avoid permanent damage.

Electronic devices are part of daily life. It only takes a second for your toddler, child or even an adult to get hold of one and put in his mouth. Here are a few easy tips for you to follow to protect your kids from button battery-related injuries.

Safety First, Safety Always!

Information from Consumer Product Safety Commission and National Battery Hotline.

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security for Plateau

keno@plateautel.com


National Safety Month- Week 3 Safety Awareness of your surroundings

June 2014 National Safety Month Tips Week 3

SAFETY AWARENESS TIPS

Where did that come from? I didn’t expect that! Didn’t see that coming! How did that happen? Sound familiar? After an injury caused by an incident, these are the types of comments often expressed by the victim — sometimes the witnesses. Witnesses as well as those involved often exclaim that they had no idea what happened. This is an expression of frustration. They thought they were working safely and had probably performed the job hundreds of times. The worker could probably do the task blindfolded. Perhaps they did?

TOTAL AWARENESS IS THE KEY

A common factor in injury incidents is a lack of awareness.

A thorough pre-operational inspection of workplaces and equipment is one of the most important acts that anyone can do to ensure his or her own safety each day. But a pre-operational inspection is only a start. Each worker must constantly be aware of changes in his or her environment throughout the shift and be prepared to react appropriately to changes that occur. These differences may occur because of a change in location, or a natural change in the immediate environment. They may be changes that are forced from outside sources, or they may be changes that we create by the work we perform.

An air hose is normally a safe tool. One could consider it a tripping hazard if it crosses a walkway, or it could represent a strain hazard when lifting or pulling. But normally, if in good condition, an air hose is rather innocuous. But, suppose someone begins to disconnect the hose. Fittings may be difficult to break. Pinch points may be encountered using tools to break the connection. But what if the hose is pressurized? The valve was shut off and the pressure was bled off. But what if the valve leaks and pressure is re-built? What if the wrong hose was bled off? Each of these hazards is easily controlled if the worker is alert.

THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS

A worker is preparing to splice a section of conveyor belt. It must be cut square. There are machines to help do this, but we don’t make that many splices and the razor knife does a good job. The belt material is designed to resist cutting and abrasion, so the cable resists the action of cutting and requires effort, even with the sharpest knife. The worker may be cutting away from his body, but his leg is under the edge of the belt. The line-of-fire hazard is easily controlled.

Debris takes on many forms, but normally has one common characteristic. It’s disorderly. This fact raises a number of new potential hazards — pointed objects, sharp edges, unbalanced pieces, heavy loads, slippery surfaces, tangles, tension, awkward shapes and sizes, and others. It may be necessary to move smaller quantities (more trips) and/or it may require cutting pieces into manageable sections. These types of hazards are easily controlled if the worker is alert.

You are in the break room and have just finished eating. Time to clean up and go back to work. You go to the sink to wash your containers and silverware. While washing some of the water splashes on the floor. Not too much, it will be fine. Someone else will clean it up and you leave. A couple of minutes later someone, comes to the sink to wash their lunch containers, but they don’t recognize the hazard. They slip on the wet water on sprain their wrist as they fall down. If the previous person had just wiped up the floor this could have been prevented. Now the injured employee will miss a few days of work, have to get medical treatment and physical therapy for a few weeks. Be restricted in their work responsibilities, so other people in the department have to do more work, they might have to get a temp employee or pay overtime. Additional expenses from the profits earned, because someone did not take the time to remove the hazard.

A THOUSAND THINGS TO SEE

Your safety and the safety of your coworkers are dependent on your awareness of potentially hazardous conditions in the workplace. Take off the blindfold. There are a thousand things to see, hear, feel and smell in the workplace. Learn to observe and notice changes. If you do not recognize the hazard, you cannot control the hazard. If you cannot control the hazard, you cannot prevent the injury.

It all starts with awareness.

Accidents can occur when working in unfamiliar surroundings or areas because employees unfamiliar of the hazards in the area:

Survey your work area before you do anything

 Ensure that you have enough space to do your work.

 Meet with the building engineer to discuss your work.

 Identify if lockout/tag out needs to be performed energy sources.

 Check the condition of the flooring and lighting.

 In mechanical spaces and tunnels, look for: low overhead hazards, sharp edges or surfaces, standing water, non-insulated pipes, exposed wiring, and unguarded equipment.

Walk to the route you will be following when transporting materials

 Look for uneven surfaces, trip hazards, objects you need to maneuver around, foot traffic, or any other obstacle.

 Pay attention before entering elevators: the floor of the elevator may not be even with the floor of the corridor.

 Check the stairways: condition of the steps and landings, uneven stair heights, and obstacles an uneven surfaces around both sides of the door to stairway.

Do not create new hazards

 Avoid running extension cords through high foot traffic areas.

 Do not block emergency exits or routes of egress.

 Clean up when you are done: remove all of your tools, clean up debris, replace machine guards and electrical covers (junction boxes, outlets, switches), etc.

 Consider the building occupants when scheduling your work: sometimes waiting until there are less people around is better.

 Put up barriers and signage to warn building occupants to avoid hazards and stay clear of your work area.

 Report hazards you observe to the Safety Committee or me – just because it’s not your building doesn’t mean you should ignore the hazard!

The vast majority of injuries are due to the unsafe actions of people.

Here are Safety 10 reminders for individuals to help prevent injuries:

1. Be aware. Being aware of your surroundings, potential hazards and your fellow colleagues is one of the best ways to prevent injuries. Distractions cause accidents. Anticipating versus reacting will help keep you safe and bring you home to your family.

2. Think it through. Before you start a task take a couple of minutes to think through what you’re about to do. Do you know the correct procedure, the protective equipment required, and the potential hazards to you and to others?

3. Address unsafe actions and conditions when you see them, for your safety and the safety of others. Don’t be afraid to speak up when you see something unsafe – you could be preventing an injury.

4. Use personal protective equipment as prescribed. The proper gloves, glasses, clothing, shoes and respirators are an important part of keeping you safe, but only if they are used and worn as intended. And they are your last line of defense, not a substitute for removing a hazard.

5. Be aware of your body position. Move your body in the right way. Keep out of the way of hazards, such as moving equipment and sharp objects. Using the right gloves is important, but gloves do not protect hands from being crushed or punctured. And don’t forget that repetitive motions can cause injuries.

6. Use the right tool for the right job. The proper tools and equipment help you avoid hazards and prevent risk. For example, when you’re using a ladder, make sure the ladder is set properly to prevent it from tipping. Be careful not to overreach. And have another person assist you when necessary.

7. Follow procedures for safe work. It may take a little extra time, but shortcuts put you at risk. Locking-out machinery and using guards helps keep you safe from moving parts. Don’t cut corners and by-pass these important safeguards.

8. Stay in shape. Keeping your core muscles in shape – whether you have a desk or physical job — is important to prevent injuries. Core muscle strength helps maintain balance, flexibility and strength. Take a few moments to stretch, make sure you know the limitations of your body and maintain good posture.

9. Watch your step. Ice, water, and spills are the most common causes of slips, trips and falls. And steps can be particularly dangerous, so make sure you always use a handrail.

10. Practice safe driving. Many people get hurt driving on the job by not obeying traffic laws. And distractions such as cell phones are responsible for the rising number of automobile accidents. Take a Defensive Driving Course. My next class is Jun 20, 2014.

Near Miss Reporting- ‘A near miss is an event or situation that could have resulted in injury, damage or loss but did not do so due to chance, corrective action and/or timely intervention’

Luckily nothing happened – this time

Some say that in a near miss nothing actually happened. They argue that a near miss provides a glimpse into the future – a suggestion of something more serious that might happen on another occasion. The message is that, correctly understood, a near miss is an opportunity to learn. Apply that knowledge to take action to prevent possibly more serious consequences another time. Using this argument, near misses are taken as leading indicators that can be used to help create safety.

But it was an incident

“Near misses describe incidents where no property was damaged and no personal injury sustained, but where, given a slight shift in time or position, damage and/or injury easily could have occurred” (OSHA definition). The clear message is that, despite no physical harm, something undesirable happened. On this basis a near miss is a lagging indicator.

Is a near miss an unsafe condition?

We can make a distinction between “near miss” and “unsafe condition”. An unsafe condition can exist even when there is no incident – making it a leading indicator. Examples could be corrosion of worn/defective walkways, defective brakes, PPE not worn, poor electrical grounding.

Too late?

Classing near misses as a lagging indicator does not necessarily mean too late. True you cannot go back and prevent that particular incident. But as with all incidents up to and including fatalities, it is still possible, if not an obligation, to investigate to learn from the experience and take remedial action to prevent a recurrence. In a sense the lagging indicator generated by incidents becomes a leading indicator for prevention.

The pyramid below, demonstrates the number of ‘hidden’ incidents for each serious injury including Near misses. Tackling the base of the pyramid means injuries and property damage become less likely. Near Miss reporting is required by OSHA and can be a great tool prevent future safety injuries, damage or fatalities.

Keep in mind it’s everybody’s job to keep the work place accident free, employers and employees alike. If you see an unsafe condition, get it fixed! Do not leave an unsafe condition uncorrected because it may be the next person who suffers a serious injury. Safety First, Safety Always!

Information from National Safety Council, CDC, National Floor Safety Institute, NIOSH, OSHA and ASSE and https://www.boat-ed.com


Health and Safety Alert- Measles Awareness Tips

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. The disease of measles and the virus that causes it share the same name. The disease is also called rubeola. Measles causes fever, runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. About one out of 10 children with measles also gets an ear infection, and up to one out of 20 gets pneumonia. For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die. Other rash-causing diseases often confused with measles include roseola (roseola infantum) and rubella (German measles). Measles virus normally grows in the cells that line the back of the throat and lungs. So far, there have already been at least 397 confirmed cases (as of June 6) of measles in the U.S. in 2014 (the most in 18 years).

 

Signs and Symptoms

Measles causes fever, runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. The symptoms of measles generally begin about 7-14 days after a person is infected, and include:

Measles Rash- Skin of a patient after 3 days of measles infection.

Blotchy rash

•Fever

•Cough

•Runny nose

•Red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis)

•Feeling run down, achy (malaise)

•Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth (Koplik’s spots)

A typical case of measles begins with mild to moderate fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and sore throat. Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots (Koplik’s spots) may appear inside the mouth. Three to five days after the start of symptoms, a red or reddish-brown rash appears. The rash usually begins on a person’s face at the hairline and spreads downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet. When the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit. After a few days, the fever subsides and the rash fades.

Complications

 

Complications: About 30% of measles cases develop one or more complications, including:

Pneumonia, which is the complication that is most often the cause of death in young children.

•Ear infections occur in about 1 in 10 measles cases and permanent loss of hearing can result. Blindness with affects to the eyes

•Diarrhea is reported in about 8% of cases. So hydration is very important with anyone contacting measles

These complications are more common among children under 5 years of age and adults over 20 years old. Even in previously healthy children, measles can be a serious illness requiring hospitalization. As many as 1 out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, and about 1 child in every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis. (This is an inflammation of the brain that can lead to convulsions, and can leave the child deaf or mentally retarded.) For every 1,000 children who get measles, 1 or 2 will die from it. Measles also can make a pregnant woman have a miscarriage, give birth prematurely, or have a low-birth-weight baby.

While measles is almost gone from the United States, it still kills an estimated 164,000 people each year around the world. Measles can also make a pregnant woman have a miscarriage or give birth prematurely.

Transmission

Here is a chart of know or reported Historical cases of Measles from Jan to June 6, 2014:

Measles spreads through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing. It is so contagious that any child who is exposed to it and is not immune will probably get the disease.. Measles is highly contagious and can be spread to others from four days before to four days after the rash appears. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected with the measles virus.

The virus lives in the mucus in the nose and throat of the infected person. When that person sneezes or coughs, droplets spray into the air. The droplets can get into other people’s noses or throats when they breathe or put their fingers in their mouth or nose after touching an infected surface. The virus can live on infected surfaces for up to 2 hours and spreads so easily that people who are not immune will probably get it when they come close to someone who is infected.

Measles is a disease of humans; measles virus is not spread by any other animal species.

How can I protect myself against measles?

The best protection against measles for individuals and the community is through routine immunization with MMR vaccine. This is a combined vaccine that protects against measles, mumps and rubella. In almost all cases, people who received the MMR vaccine are protected against measles. However, in rare cases, people who get the vaccine can still become infected with the measles if exposed to the virus. Two doses of MMR vaccine provide full protection against measles to 99 out of every 100 persons vaccinated.

Measles Vaccination

Vaccination Coverage- Measles can be prevented by the combination MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. In the decade before the measles vaccination program began, an estimated 3–4 million people in the United States were infected each year, of whom 400–500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and another 1,000 developed chronic disability from measles encephalitis. Widespread use of measles vaccine has led to a greater than 99% reduction in measles cases in the United States compared with the pre-vaccine era, and in 2012, only 55 cases of measles were reported in the United States.MMR is one of the recommended childhood vaccines. Nearly all states require proof that a child has received MMR before starting school.

Who should get MMR vaccinations:

Children should get two doses (shots) of MMR at each of the following ages:

•12 to 15 months

•4 to 6 years

Your health care provider may recommend that your child receive a vaccine that combines MMR with the chickenpox (VAR) vaccine. Your health care provider can tell you if this vaccine is right for your child.

Adults

Adults 18 years old or who were born after 1956 should get at least one dose (shot) of the MMR vaccine if:

•They have never received an MMR shot

•They are not sure whether or when they received an MMR shot

•They have never had any of the three diseases

Adults born during or before 1956 are protected because they likely had the actual diseases during childhood. Women who can become pregnant and who have not had the MMR vaccine in the past should have a blood test to see if they are protected (immune). If they are not immune, they should receive the MMR vaccine. Women should not receive this vaccine if they are pregnant or planning to become pregnant within the next 4 weeks. The vaccine may harm the baby.

WHO SHOULD NOT GET THIS VACCINE

•Persons who received a dose of MMR and developed an allergy from it.

•Persons who are severely allergic to the antibiotic neomycin (MMR contains a tiny amount of neomycin).

•Women who are pregnant (women should not become pregnant within 1 month of receiving MMR).

•Persons with a weakened immune system due to certain cancers and their treatment, HIV, steroid medicines, or other medicines that suppress the immune system.

•Persons who are ill with something more severe than a cold or have a fever should reschedule their vaccination until after they are recovered.

Persons should check with their health care provider about the proper time to get MMR if they have:

•Received blood or platelet transfusions

•Received other blood products (including gamma globulin)

•Low platelet counts

RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS

Most persons who get MMR have no problems from it. Others may have mild problems such as soreness and redness where the shot was given or a low fever. More severe problems from MMR are rare. If a rash or swelling of the cheek or neck glands develops without other symptoms, no treatment is needed. The symptoms should go away within several days.

Severe side effects may include:

•Allergic reaction (rare)

•Long-term seizure, brain damage, or deafness (so rare that it is unlikely the vaccine is the cause)

There is no proof that the MMR vaccine is linked to the development of autism. No vaccine works all of the time. It is still possible, though unlikely, to get measles, mumps, or rubella even after receiving all doses (shots) of MMR.

CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IF:

You are not sure if a person should get MMR

•Mild or serious symptoms develop after getting the vaccine

•You have questions or concerns about the vaccine

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

keno@plateautel.com


March is Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Traumatic Brain Injury: It’s not just an injury – its people. People whose lives have been changed forever by a blow to the head or a neurological event.

Head injuries, especially those that develop into traumatic brain injuries (TBI), are a serious health risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “An estimated 1.7 million TBI-related deaths, hospitalizations, and emergency department visits occur in the U.S. each year. Nearly 80% of these individuals are treated and released from an emergency department. TBI is a contributing factor to a third (30.5%) of all injury-related deaths in the United States, or about 52,000 deaths annually.”

TBI is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild,” i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness to “severe,” i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury. The majority of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild TBI

The Center for Head Injury Services also shares some sobering facts from the Coma Guide for Caregiver from the Delaware Health and Social Services, Division for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities:

Every 5 minutes someone dies from a head injury

140,000 people worldwide

75,000 – 100,000 in the U.S.

Over ½ of brain injury deaths occur at the time of the incident or within two hours of hospitalization

Every 5 minutes someone becomes permanently disabled due a head injury

70,000 – 90,000 of those who survive will have lifelong disabilities

2,000 more will live in a persistent vegetative state

Over 50% of those who sustain a brain injury have been intoxicated at the time of injury
The cost of TBI in the U.S. is over $48 billion each year

Buckle your child in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt (according to the child’s height, weight, and age).
Wear a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle.
Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Wear a helmet and making sure your children wear helmets when:

Riding a bike, motorcycle, snowmobile, scooter, or all-terrain vehicle;

Playing a contact sport such as football, ice hockey, or boxing;

Using in-line skates or riding a skateboard;

Batting and running bases in baseball or softball;

Riding a horse; or

Skiing or snowboarding.
Make living areas safer for seniors, by:

Removing tripping hazards such as throw rugs and clutter in walkways;

Using nonslip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors; Installing grab bars next to the toilet and in the tub or shower;

Installing handrails on both sides of stairways;

Improving lighting throughout the home; and

Maintaining a regular physical activity program, if your doctor agrees, to improve lower body strength and balance.
Make living areas safer for children, by:

Installing window guards to keep young children from falling out of open windows; and

Using safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs when young children are around.
Make sure the surface on your child’s playground is made of shock-absorbing material, such as hardwood mulch or sand.

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Health care professionals may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, their effects can be serious.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Concussion?

Most people with a concussion recover quickly and fully. But for some people, symptoms can last for days, weeks, or longer. In general, recovery may be slower among older adults, young children, and teens. Those who have had a concussion in the past are also at risk of having another one and may find that it takes longer to recover if they have another concussion.

Symptoms of concussion usually fall into four categories:

Thinking/
Remembering
Physical Emotional/
Mood
Sleep
Difficulty thinking clearly Headache

Fuzzy or blurry vision

Irritability Sleeping more than usual
Feeling slowed down Nausea or vomiting
(early on)
Dizziness
Sadness Sleep less than usual
Difficulty concentrating Sensitivity to noise or light

Balance problems

More emotional Trouble falling asleep
Difficulty remembering new information Feeling tired, having no energy Nervousness or anxiety  

 

Some of these symptoms may appear right away, while others may not be noticed for days or months after the injury, or until the person starts resuming their everyday life and more demands are placed upon them. Sometimes, people do not recognize or admit that they are having problems. Others may not understand why they are having problems and what their problems really are, which can make them nervous and upset.

The signs and symptoms of a concussion can be difficult to sort out. Early on, problems may be missed by the person with the concussion, family members, or doctors. People may look fine even though they are acting or feeling differently.

When to Seek Immediate Medical Attention:

Danger Signs in Adults
In rare cases, a dangerous blood clot may form on the brain in a person with a concussion and crowd the brain against the skull. Contact your health care professional or emergency department right away if you have any of the following danger signs after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body:

  • Headache that gets worse and does not go away.
  • Weakness, numbness or decreased coordination.
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea.
  • Slurred speech.

The people checking on you should take you to an emergency department right away if you:

  • Look very drowsy or cannot be awakened.
  • Have one pupil (the black part in the middle of the eye) larger than the other.
  • Have convulsions or seizures.
  • Cannot recognize people or places.
  • Are getting more and more confused, restless, or agitated.
  • Have unusual behavior.
  • Lose consciousness (a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously and the person should be carefully monitored).

Danger Signs in Children
Take your child to the emergency department right away if they received a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body, and:

  • Have any of the danger signs for adults listed above.
  • Will not stop crying and cannot be consoled.
  • Will not nurse or eat.

Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

A severe TBI not only impacts the life of an individual and their family, but it also has a large societal and economic toll. The estimated economic cost of TBI in 2013, including direct and indirect medical costs, is estimated to be approximately $76.5 billion. Additionally, the cost of fatal TBIs and TBIs requiring hospitalization, many of which are severe, account for approximately 90% of the total TBI medical costs.

Types of Severe TBI

There are two types of severe TBI, each described below by associated causes:

Closed – an injury to the brain caused by movement of the brain within the skull. Causes may include falls, motor vehicle crash, or being struck by or with an object.

Penetrating – an injury to the brain caused by a foreign object entering the skull. Causes may include firearm injuries or being struck with a sharp object.

The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), a clinical tool designed to assess coma and impaired consciousness, is one of the most commonly used severity scoring systems.  Persons with GCS scores of 3 to 8 are classified with a severe TBI, those with scores of 9 to 12 are classified with a moderate TBI, and those with scores of 13 to 15 are classified with a mild TBI.  Other classification systems include the Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS), the Trauma Score, and the Abbreviated Trauma Score.  Despite their limitations5, these systems are crucial to understanding the clinical management and the likely outcomes of this injury as the prognosis for milder forms of TBIs is better than for moderate or severe TBIs.

Potential Effects of Severe TBI

 

A non-fatal severe TBI may result in an extended period of unconsciousness (coma) or amnesia after the injury. For individuals hospitalized after a TBI, almost half (43%) have a related disability one year after the injury.  A TBI may lead to a wide range of short- or long-term issues affecting:

  • Cognitive Function (e.g., attention and  memory)
  • Motor function (e.g., extremity weakness, impaired coordination and balance)
  • Sensation (e.g., hearing, vision, impaired perception and touch)
  • Emotion (e.g., depression, anxiety, aggression, impulse control, personality changes)

Approximately 5.3 million Americans are living with a TBI-related disability and the consequences of severe TBI can affect all aspects of an individual’s life. This can include relationships with family and friends, as well as their ability to work or be employed, do household tasks, drive, and/or participate in other activities of daily living.

What is TBI?
Traumatic brain injury is defined as a blow, jolt or other injury to the head that disrupts the functioning of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. A TBI can occur from exposure to blasts, falls, gunshot wounds and motor vehicle accidents. Blasts are the leading cause of TBI for active duty military personnel in war zones.

A mild TBI, also known as a concussion, may make you briefly feel confused or “see stars.” Common temporary symptoms associated with a concussion include headache, ringing ears, blurred vision, dizziness, irritability, sleep problems and problems with memory and concentration.

The symptoms of a concussion generally improve in a short period of time, usually within hours, and typically resolve completely within days to weeks.
The following tips can minimize the risk of sustaining a TBI both on the battlefield and at home:

Prevention in a other settings:
· Wear a helmet or other appropriate head gear when on patrol or in other high risk areas.
· Wear safety belts when traveling in vehicles.
· Check for obstacles and loose debris before climbing or rappelling down buildings or other structures.
· Inspect weapons prior to use.
· Verify targets and consider the potential for ricochet prior to firing a weapon.
· Maintain clean and orderly work environments that are free of foreign object debris.
· Use care when walking on wet, oily or sandy surfaces.
· Be aware of what is on the ground around you at all times when aircraft rotors are turning.
· Employ the buddy system when climbing ladders or working at heights.

Prevention at home:
· Wear your seatbelt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle.
· Never drive or ride with anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
· Always buckle your child into an age appropriate child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt while riding in a car.
· Wear a helmet that is fitted and properly maintained while at work and while at play, if required.
· During athletic games, use the right protective equipment.
· Keep firearms stored unloaded in a locked cabinet or a safe. Store bullets in a separate secure location.
· Avoid falls in the home by:
o Using a step stool with a grab bag to reach objects on high shelves.
o Installing handrails on stairways.
o Installing window guards to keep young children from falling out of open windows.
o Using safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs when young children are around.
o Maintaining a regular exercise program to improve strength, balance and coordination.
o Removing tripping hazards by using non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors, and putting grab bars next to the toilet and in the tub or shower.
o Make sure the surface on your child’s playground is made of shock-absorbing material (e.g., hardwood mulch, sand).

The Do’s and Don’ts in recovering from a concussion:
· Do maximize downtime/rest during the day (temporary impairments resolve fastest when the brain gets rest).
· Do get plenty of sleep.
· Do avoid activities such as contact sports that could result in another concussion until you are better.
· Do let others know that you’ve had a concussion so they can watch out for you.
· Do see your medical provider if you begin to feel worse or experience worsening headache, worsening balance, double vision or other vision changes, decreasing level of alertness, increased disorientation, repeated vomiting, seizures, unusual behavior or amnesia/memory problems.
· Do seek behavioral health treatment for lingering irritability and emotional changes.
· Do be patient as healing from a brain injury can take a few days.
· Do not use alcohol or drugs.
· Do not use caffeine or “energy-enhancing” products.
· Do not use aspirin, ibuprofen, or other over-the counter pain medications unless instructed by your doctor.
· Do not use sleeping aids and sedatives unless instructed by your doctor.

 

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security Manager for Plateau.
(keno@plateautel.com)



Airplane Safety Awareness Tips

Airplane Travel Awareness Safety Tips

Top Airplane Travel Safety Tips

Traveling by airplane is a very safe way to travel. But with the recent Airplane crash in San Francisco and more people traveling the rest of the summer via airlines I have put together some airplane travel safety tips. These are a few things you can do to make your airplane traveling even safer. Follow these airplane safety tips for the safest flight possible.

Nonstop Flights

Typically, most accidents on airliners happen during the takeoff and landing portion of the flight. By purchasing tickets for a nonstop flight, take offs and landings are reduced. Purchasing a nonstop flight will also make for an easier and faster trip to your destination. The bonus of not having to switch planes makes this one of the great airplane safety tips.

Always Wear Your Safety Belt

One of the simplest airplane safety tips is wearing your safety belt at all times. Properly wearing your safety belt will ensure you will travel without injury if the plane were to hit turbulence or get caught in less than perfect weather. (See more on Turbulence in below paragraph) Try to wear your safety belt during the entire flight with the exception of using the restroom.

Passenger

Safety Briefing

Shortly after boarding the airplane, a passenger safety briefing will follow. This briefing will instruct you with important information for staying safe while aboard the airplane. Pay close attention to evacuation methods, location of exits and how to properly use your oxygen mask. Read along on the safety brochure in the airline pocket in front of your seat. Having this information ready for quick response will ensure your safety if an emergency were to occur. If the airplane is equipped with phones, familiarize yourself with how to use them. Knowing your way around the airplanes environment ranks as a very high airplane safety tip for traveling.

Request an Aisle Seat

If possible, request a seat that is close to the isle. If you find yourself in an emergency situation that requires evacuation, sitting close to the isle will allow you to exit quickly. This may or may not be possible depending on ticket purchases, but it is worth checking into. Being able to evacuate quickly will ensure your safety in an emergency situation.

Don’t Drink in Excess

When traveling by airplane, some people choose to relax and have a few drinks. Keeping your alcohol intake to a minimum will keep your senses aware in case emergency situations were to occur. If a situation were to occur when you were inebriated, you might not be able to act in a quick and safe manner. A good airplane safety tip is to limit yourself to one or two drinks during your flight.

Don’t Put Heavy Items in Overhead Storage

Keeping the overhead storage bin free of heavy items will reduce the risk of injury if the airplane hits turbulence. If a heavy bag or suitcase stored in the overhead storage bin were to fall out, it could cause serious injury. Keeping light bags in overhead storage will ensure your safety during your flight. This a very simple airplane safety tip that is often overlooked.

Remain Calm

If you find yourself in an emergency situation, try to remain calm. Panic can increase the risk of injury to yourself and other passengers. Staying calm and listening to the flight attendant and crew members will help you safely evacuate the airplane in an emergency situation.

Learning these airplane safety tips for when you travel can help save you time and possibly your life in an emergency situation. By familiarizing yourself with these concepts, both you and your travel partners will be safer and able to face a variety of potentially hazardous incidents.

Turbulence: Staying Safe-What is Turbulence?

Turbulence is air movement that normally cannot be seen and often occurs unexpectedly. It can be created by many different conditions, including atmospheric pressure, jet streams, air around mountains, cold or warm weather fronts or thunderstorms. Turbulence can even occur when the sky appears to be clear.

While turbulence is normal and happens often, it can be dangerous. Its bumpy ride can cause passengers who are not wearing their seat belts to be thrown from their seats without warning. But, by following the guidelines suggested on this site, you can help keep yourself and your loved ones safe when traveling by air.

To keep you and your family as safe as possible during flight, FAA regulations require passengers to be seated with their seat belts fastened:

  • When the airplane leaves the gate and as it climbs after take-off.
  • During landing and taxi.
  • Whenever the seat belt sign is illuminated during flight.

Why is it important to follow these safety regulations? Consider this:

  • In nonfatal accidents, in-flight turbulence is the leading cause of injuries to airline passengers and flight attendants.
  • Each year, approximately 58 people in the United States are injured by turbulence while not wearing their seat belts.
  • From 1980 through 2008, U.S. air carriers had 234 turbulence accidents*, resulting in 298 serious injuries and three fatalities.
  • Of the 298 serious injuries, 184 involved flight attendants and 114 involved passengers.
  • At least two of the three fatalities involved passengers who were not wearing their seat belts while the seat belt sign was illuminated.
  • Generally, two-thirds of turbulence-related accidents occur at or above 30,000 feet.

Evacuation Slide Safety

An evacuation slide is an inflatable slide used to evacuate an aircraft quickly. An escape slide is required on all commercial (passenger carrying) aircraft where the door sill height is such that, in the event of an evacuation, passengers would be unable to step down from the door uninjured (Federal Aviation Administration requires slides on all aircraft doors where the floor is 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above the ground).

Escape slides are packed and held within the door structure inside the slide bustle, a protruding part of the inside of an aircraft door that varies in size depending on both the size of the aircraft and the size of the door.

Many, but not all slides are also designed to double as life rafts in case of a water landing.

So what and how do I use the evacuation slide? Here are some safety tips:

1. Have a Plan: Don’t wait until a flight attendant is shrieking at you to “Get out!” to decide what you’re going to do. Aviation safety experts, even the most jaded ones, count the rows to their nearest exits whenever they sit down on a plane. They know that their brain will not work well under extreme duress, and their eyes will not see well in thick smoke, so they need to have a sense of their best escape routes before anything goes wrong.

2. Have Another Plan: Your fellow passengers often have trouble opening the exit hatches — it’s not easy, for one thing, and even flight attendants often run into trouble. Plus, the slides malfunction more than you might expect. In the 2000 safety study, over one-third of the slide evacuations studied involved problems in the functioning of the slides. Smoke can also make your first-choice exit suddenly unusable. So instead of reading the Sky Mall catalog while you’re waiting for the plane to take off, it would be wise to come up with two escape plans.

3. Get Out Fast: If panic does break loose, remember that one of the deadliest mistakes passengers make is to lunge for their overhead luggage. This wastes precious time and clogs the aisle with obstacles. And yet, even if the cabin is full of smoke, passengers will almost invariably reach up to get their briefcases and garment bags. Video footage of emergency evacuations often shows people sailing down the slides clutching rolling suitcases. They also can cost lives.

4. Jump: Another big problem — especially among women and older passengers — happens at the top of the slide. People hesitate or try to sit down before sliding. If everyone would jump instead, as flight attendants will scream at you to do, the evacuation could go 50% faster. Since a fire can burn through the fuselage on an airplane in 90 seconds, faster is much, much better. When everything works right, slides are built to handle 70 passengers per minute. Many now have two lanes.

5. Keep It Together: To avoid burns and unintentional cartwheels on your way down the slide, keep your heels up and your arms crossed over your chest. A lot of injuries happen when people hit the ground and sprain an ankle or break a leg because they came in out of control. Also, women should avoid wearing spiked heels and pantyhose when they fly. Pantyhose can melt onto the skin in the heat of a plane fire (as if you needed another reason not to wear pantyhose).

6. Then Get Out of the Way: Just like on the playground, the area below the slide is not a good place to hang out. If you are the first passenger out, then you should help other people get off. Otherwise, you should get out of the way. Pile-ups at the bottom of the slide can be brutal — and can also make the slide much steeper for everyone else coming down.

Congratulations! You’ve survived an emergency airplane evacuation. Now prepare to reflect on your experience — for hours. After an evacuation, even a successful one, passengers often have to spend hours in limbo, waiting for the authorities to release them back into civilization, often due to bureaucratic or legal paranoia. It is infuriating to passengers — and their families, who are often waiting anxiously for them but be prepared for it. Below is an example of an airline emergency evacuation card. Learn the exits of your aircraft.

FINAL SAFETY TIPS

In conclusion, it is important for passengers to remember that take-off and landing are the two most critical points in the flight where the likelihood of an evacuation is increased. To that end there are a few tips worth remembering every time you fly, Read and follow the safety brochure prior to takeoff:

1. Keep your shoes on (but not high heels). It makes a big difference when trying to move through the aisles, off the plane, and away.

2. Wear pants when feasible. The slides are not particularly comfortable in shorts, a skirt, or a dress.

3. Count the rows to the nearest exit. Knowing how far to go when you’re crawling along the aisle can make a huge difference in actually getting there.

4. Listen to the crew! In this case there were two doors (1R, 2R) at the front of the plane which could not be used during the evacuation. The crewmembers were able to redirect passengers to working exits quickly

5. Leave belongings behind, you can replace them you cannot replace yourself and you could endanger others with that delay.

Travel Safety First, Travel Safety Always!

Information from FAA, NTSB, Airsafety.gov, DHS, TSA and Airlines.net

 

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald Safety and Security Manager for Plateau (keno@plateautel.com)


Heat Stress and Heat Stroke Awareness

Heat Wave: A Major Summer Killer

A National Problem

With forecasted hot temperatures this weekend and continue to heat up and daily temps hover at or above 90°F every day the possibility of heat related emergencies increases. Heat kills by taxing the human body beyond its own cooling abilities. In a normal year, more than 175 Americans succumb to the demands of summer heat. North American summers are hot; most summers see heat waves in one section or another of the United States. They tend to combine both high temperature and high humidity although some of the worst have been catastrophically dry. Dealing with outside elements are critical to our proper health and wellness.

National Weather Service Heat Index Program

Considering this tragic death toll, the National Weather Service (NWS) has stepped up its efforts to alert more effectively the general public and appropriate authorities to the hazards of heat waves-those prolonged excessive heat/humidity episodes.

Based on the latest research findings, the NWS has devised the “Heat Index” (HI), (sometimes referred to as the “apparent temperature”). The HI, given in degrees F, is an accurate measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity (RH) is added to the actual air temperature.

To find the HI, look at the Heat Index Chart (Below). As an example, if the air temperature is 96°F (found on the top side of the table) and the RH is 55% (found at the left of the table), the HI-or how hot it really feels-is 112°F. This is at the intersection of the 96° row and the 55% column. Listed as a Danger condition.

IMPORTANT: Since HI values were devised for shady, light wind conditions, EXPOSURE TO FULL SUNSHINE CAN INCREASE HI VALUES BY UP TO 15°F. Also, STRONG WINDS, PARTICULARLY WITH VERY HOT, DRY AIR, CAN BE EXTREMELY HAZARDOUS. Yes, We do have plenty of wind in our Plateau coverage areas.

Heat Index/Heat Disorders: Possible heat disorders for people in higher risk groups.

Heat Index of 130° OR Higher: HEATSTROKE/SUNSTROKE HIGHLY HIGHER LIKELY WITH CONTINUED EXPOSURE,

Heat Index of 105°- 130°: SUNSTROKE, HEAT CRAMPS OR HEAT EXHAUSTION LIKELY, AND HEATSTROKE POSSIBLE WITH PROLONGED EXPOSURE AND/OR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY.

Heat Index of 90°- 105°: SUNSTROKE, HEAT CRAMPS AND HEAT EXHAUSTION POSSIBLE WITH PROLONGED EXPOSURE AND/OR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY.

Heat Index of 80° – 90°: FATIGUE POSSIBLE WITH PROLONGED EXPOSURE AND/OR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

Note on the HI chart the shaded zone above 105°F. This corresponds to a level of HI that may cause increasingly severe heat disorders with continued exposure and/or physical activity.

Heat Index Table

HEAT INDEX affects on the human body
130 or above heat stroke highly likely with continued exposure
105 to 130 heat stroke likely with prolonged exposure
80 to 105 heat stroke possible with prolonged exposure

Summary of NWS’s Alert Procedures

The NWS will initiate alert procedures when the HI is expected to exceed 105°- 1 10°F (depending on local climate) for at least two consecutive days. The procedures are:

  • Include HI values in zone and city forecasts.
  • Issue Special Weather Statements and/or Public Information Statements presenting a detailed discussion of
    • Extent of the hazard including HI values
    • Who is most at risk
    • Safety rules for reducing the risk.
  • Assist state/local health officials in preparing Civil Emergency Messages in severe heat waves. Meteorological information from Special Weather Statements will be included as well as more detailed medical information, advice, and names and telephone numbers of health officials.
  • Release to the media and over NOAA‘s own Weather Radio all of the above information.

How Heat Affects the Body Human

Human bodies dissipate heat by varying the rate and depth of blood circulation, by losing water through the skin and sweat glands, and-as the last extremity is reached-by panting, when blood is heated above 98.6 degrees. The heart begins to pump more blood, blood vessels dilate to accommodate the increased flow, and the bundles of tiny capillaries threading through the upper layers of skin are put into operation. The body’s blood is circulated closer to the skin’s surface, and excess heat drains off into the cooler atmosphere. At the same time, water diffuses through the skin as perspiration. The skin handles about 90 percent of the body’s heat dissipating function.

Sweating, by itself, does nothing to cool the body, unless the water is removed by evaporation, and high relative humidity retards evaporation. The evaporation process itself works this way: the heat energy required to evaporate the sweat is extracted from the body, thereby cooling it. Under conditions of high temperature (above 90 degrees) and high relative humidity, the body is doing everything it can to maintain 98.6 degrees inside. The heart is pumping a torrent of blood through dilated circulatory vessels; the sweat glands are pouring liquid-including essential dissolved chemicals, like sodium and chloride onto the surface of the skin.

Too Much Heat

Heat disorders generally have to do with a reduction or collapse of the body’s ability to shed heat by circulatory changes and sweating, or a chemical (salt) imbalance caused by too much sweating. When heat gain exceeds the level the body can remove, or when the body cannot compensate for fluids and salt lost through perspiration, the temperature of the body’s inner core begins to rise and heat-related illness may develop.

Ranging in severity, heat disorders share one common feature: the individual has overexposed or over exercised for his age and physical condition in the existing thermal environment.

Sunburn, with its ultraviolet radiation burns, can significantly retard the skin’s ability to shed excess heat. Studies indicate that, other things being equal, the severity of heat disorders tend to increase with age-heat cramps in a 17-year-old may be heat exhaustion in someone 40 and heat stroke in a person over 60.

Acclimatization has to do with adjusting sweat-salt concentrations, among other things. The idea is to lose enough water to regulate body temperature, with the least possible chemical disturbance.

Preventing Heat-Related Illness

Elderly persons, small children, chronic invalids, those on certain medications or drugs (especially tranquilizers) and persons with weight and alcohol problems are particularly susceptible to heat reactions, especially during heat waves in areas where a moderate climate usually prevails.

Heat Wave Safety Tips

Slow down. Strenuous activities should be reduced, eliminated, or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day. Individuals at risk should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.

Dress for summer. Lightweight light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight, and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.

Put less fuel on your inner fires. Foods (like proteins) that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss.

Drink plenty of water or other non-alcohol fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty. Persons who (1) have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, (2) are on fluid restrictive diets or (3) have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids

.

Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician.

(If possible)Spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, spending some time each day (during hot weather) in an air conditioned environment affords some protection.

Don’t get too much sun. Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation for our bodies that much more difficult

Know These Heat Disorder Symptoms

SUNBURN: Redness and pain. In severe cases swelling of skin, blisters, fever, headaches. First Aid: Ointments for mild cases if blisters appear and do not break. If breaking occurs, apply dry sterile dressing. Serious, extensive cases should be seen by physician.

HEAT CRAMPS: Painful spasms usually in muscles of legs and abdomen possible. Heavy sweating. First Aid: Firm pressure on cramping muscles, or gentle massage to relieve spasm. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue use.

HEAT EXHAUSTION: Heavy sweating, weakness, skin cold, pale and clammy. Pulse rapid. Normal temperature possible. Fainting and vomiting. First Aid: Get victim out of sun. Lie down and loosen clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths. Fan or move victim to air conditioned room. Sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue use. If vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention.

HEAT STROKE (or sunstroke): High body temperature (103° F. or higher). Hot dry skin. Rapid and strong pulse. Possible unconsciousness. First Aid: HEAT STROKE IS A SEVERE MEDICAL EMERGENCY. SUMMON EMERGENCY MEDICAL ASSISTANCE OR GET THE VICTIM TO A HOSPITAL IMMEDIATELY. DELAY CAN BE FATAL. Move the victim to a cooler environment Reduce body temperature with cold bath or sponging. Use extreme caution. Remove clothing, use fans and air conditioners. If temperature rises again, repeat process. Do not give fluids. Persons on salt restrictive diets should consult a physician before increasing their salt intake.

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

keno@plateautel.com