Protect Your Workers from Poisonous Plants

I’ve only had poison Ivy once in my life but I remember it well because it was so unpleasant. The rash would be at it’s worse in the middle of the night and I ended up in the bathtub several nights in a row with Aveeno Oatmeal Bath treatment. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy and I’m sure you wouldn’t wish that on yourself or anyone of your workers.

With increased work done outdoors as the weather gets warm, it’s important to know how to protect yours workers.

First of all, they need to know how to identify poison ivy, poison sumac and poison oak. Stay away if you can.

If you must work around these plants make sure you wear long sleeve shirts, pants and gloves.

Wash these items of clothing (including your shoes) at the end of your shift. Minimize contact with anything else as the oil urushiol that makes it poisonous can rub off and contaminate further. Wash these items separately from other laundry to avoid cross-contamination.

Use IvyX Pre-Contact Towelettes to further protect the arms, hands and face.

Wash all tools that came in contact with the poisonous plants with soap and water or with rubbing alcohol. Urushiol can stay active for as long as five years.

Do not burn the plants. Fire doesn’t neutralize the urushiol, it merely makes it airborne. If urushiol should get into the lungs it can turn into a serious reaction that may require medical attention.

If you believe you have been exposed, thoroughly wash the area with soap and water. If a rash develops use an antihistamine and/or calamine lotion. If it gets too serious, consult a doctor.



Start Preparing Now for Summer Heat Stress

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As spring comes to an end and summer moves in, the dangers of heat stress and heat exhaustion move in. Understanding heat illness makes a difference in the care and prevention of heat related issues. Heat stress occurs when the body temperature climbs above 100 degrees F.

Who is at risk?

  • Anyone who is doing physical labor in warm conditions
  • Anyone working in High humidity
  • Anyone who isn’t properly hydrated
  • Older workers
  • Anyone working in direct sunlight
  • Anyone working around equipment that gives off heat
  • Anyone who has had a previous problem with a heat illness
  • Certain people who are on certain medications
  • Anyone with high blood pressure
  • Anyone who is overweight
  • Anyone wearing clothing or PPE that retains heat

What are the symptoms?

Early stages:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea or vomitting
  • Heat rash, especially on the upper chest and neck area or in the groin or elbow creases.

Later, extreme serious stages:

  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Dry skin (body has lost all moisture and isn’t sweating any more)
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

The best way to deal with heat related illnesses is to keep the body temperature down. There are several ways to do this:

  • Wear lightweight, light-color, breathable clothing.
  • Protect the skin from direct sunlight
  • Work in the cooler hours if possible
  • Provide shade
  • Drink lots of water (avoid caffeinated beverages or beverages with a lot of sugar or sweetners)
  • Don’t eat heavy meals until after the work is done.
  • Shield from equipment that gives off heat or move it away from the work area

Treating Heat Stress

  • Move the person to a shaded area
  • Loosen all clothing
  • Hydrate slowly (when the body is close to shut down it will not be able to absorb liquids properly. Too much to fast can do more harm than good)
  • If the later stages are present, immediately call 911

 


Brown Recluse Spider

Yesterday you were cleaning out the garage and today you feel like you are coming down with the flu. Then you notice a red welt on the back of your hand. Chances are you might have had a close encounter of the spider kind, namely a brown recluse spider.

Loxosceles_reclusa
(Sourced from Wikipedia)

Commonly known as a “violin spider” because of the violin shape on the cephalothorax (the small part of the 2-part body that the legs are attached to), the brown recluse is true to its name. Its body is usually about 1/2′ and it is golden brown in color and it likes to build small webs in isolated, hidden areas. For all the bad press it’s gotten, it isn’t actually aggressive and, in areas where it breeds and lives, people have lived with them in their houses for years with no reports of bites.

When it does bite, you might not even feel it at the time and you don’t usually know you’ve been bitten till a few hours (sometimes up to 36 hours later). If you do see a spider that you think might be poisonous, you’re better off catching it and keeping it in a jar for a couple of days to make sure in case someone does come down with symptoms.

If you do suspect that you’ve been bitten:

  • Clean the area with soap and water.
  • Elevate the limb to slow the flow of blood
  • Ice the limb to slow the spread of the venom
  • Seek medical attention

Fortunately, the habitat of the brown recluse is fairly limited to a specific area in the South of the US. Reports of brown recluse bites in other areas generally turn out to be Hobo spiders whose symptoms are often similar.

800px-Loxosceles_reclusa_range
(Sourced from Wikipedia)


Health and Safety Alert- Allergic Reactions Anaphylaxis

ANAPHYLAXIS REACTIONS

Anaphylaxis (ana-fil-ak-sis) is a severe allergic reaction. Every year, millions of Americans have a reaction that can result in adverse or even fatal outcomes, increased health care costs, and reduced workplace productivity. It is estimated that the number of these reactions has been increasing, and the cause for this increase is unknown.

Anaphylaxis can be triggered by a wide range of allergens, such as food allergies, insect venom (e.g., bee stings), latex (especially in people who wear latex gloves at work), and medications.

The potential risk of an anaphylactic reaction occurring in an employee or a customer exists for employers — especially those providing food services or vending machines on the worksite, as well as employers with outdoor workers. Further complicating matters, is the fact that many people with allergies don’t know that they have an allergy until the reaction occurs or which allergens trigger severe life-threatening reactions.

The signs and symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction may include one or more of the following:

• Sudden hives

• Lip swelling

• Trouble breathing or wheezing

• Dizziness

• Nausea

Strict avoidance of known allergens must be the first line of defense in reducing the risk of anaphylactic reactions. Additionally, if you or a family member are allergic, it is important to

have a food allergy management plan in place.

The most common causes of anaphylaxis are:

· Foods, including peanuts and tree nuts (particularly almond, walnut, hazelnut, Brazil, and cashew nuts)

· Shellfish, especially shrimp and lobster

· Dairy products

· Eggs

· Insect stings, such as those from wasps, bees, ants

· Latex

· Medications

In some cases, anaphylaxis can also be caused by exercise, usually after eating certain foods that trigger your allergy.

An anaphylactic reaction can occur suddenly and is potentially life-threatening. If you think that you or a family member may be at risk for anaphylaxis, check with a doctor.

Can anaphylaxis be prevented?

Preventing anaphylaxis is the ideal form of treatment. However, that may not always be easy since insect stings are frequently unanticipated, and allergens in foods are often hidden in a variety of different preparations. A consultation with an allergist is vital in helping you identify the trigger(s) and providing you with information and instruction on how to best avoid them. You will learn how to use emergency kits and how to become prepared for any reaction in the future.

These are three situations in which preventive treatment might be offered by the allergist.

Allergy shots may be suggested to some people with wasp, yellow jacket, hornet, honey bee, or fire ant reactions. This form of treatment gives 98% protection against the first four insect reactions, though somewhat less protection against fire ant reactions.

Pre-medication is most helpful in preventing anaphylaxis from X-ray dyes. Alternative dyes that are less likely to cause reactions may be available.

Desensitization to problematic medications is often effective. This process is accomplished by gradually increasing the amount of the medication given under controlled conditions. Sensitivities to penicillin, sulfa drugs, and insulin have been successfully treated in this way.

Anyone known to be at risk for anaphylaxis should wear a Medic-Alert bracelet that clearly states the allergic trigger, the risk of anaphylaxis, and the availability of an epinephrine kit.

People with anaphylaxis to medications should take new medications by mouth whenever possible since the risk of anaphylaxis is higher with injections.

Basic Avoidance Measures for Anaphylaxis

Trigger Avoidance Principle
Drugs/Medications Advise all health-care personnel of your allergies.Ask your doctor whether the prescribed medication contains the drug(s) you are allergic to.Take all drugs by mouth if possible.
Insect Stings Avoid areas such as outdoor garbage, barbecues, and insect nests.Avoid bright clothing, perfume, hair spray, or lotion that might attract insects.Wear long-sleeved clothing, long trousers, and shoes while outdoors.
Food Carefully read all labels.Ask what the ingredients are when eating out.Avoid foods that may cross react such as bananas, kiwi fruit, and avocado.
Latex Avoid all latex products. Ask if your hospital has latex safety issues if you need to be hospitalized.

Since avoidance is not fail-safe, a person at risk for an anaphylactic reaction must be adequately prepared in an emergency to handle a reaction. It is recommended that everyone at risk carry epinephrine injection kits designed for self-administration. These kits are available by prescription only and come in two forms:

EpiPen is a spring-loaded automatic syringe that delivers a predetermined dose (0.3 mg) when the tip is pressed hard for several seconds. An EpiPen junior is available for children under 33 pounds and contains half of the dose.

Ana-kit contains a preloaded syringe and needles with two 0.3 mg doses of epinephrine. These are injected under the skin or into the muscle of the thigh. An antihistamine, alcohol swab, and a tourniquet are included in the kit.

Epinephrine auto-injectors may be the right choice but check with your doctor. While having an epinephrine auto-injector is important, it does not prevent a reaction from occurring. Remaining vigilant is critical. Epinephrine/epinephrine auto-injector is considered to be the first-line treatment of choice. Seek immediate emergency medical treatment after use.

Here are some places where YOU may want to consider having an epinephrine auto-injector available:

Work, School or OfficeBack pack, purse or gym bagOn business or vacation

Dining Out

What to do in an emergency
If you’re with someone who is having an allergic reaction and shows signs of shock caused by anaphylaxis, act fast. Signs and symptoms of shock caused by anaphylaxis include pale, cool and clammy skin, weak and rapid pulse, trouble breathing, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Even if you’re not sure symptoms are caused by anaphylaxis, take the following steps immediately:

  1. Call 911 or emergency medical help.
  2. Get the person in a comfortable position and elevate his or her legs.
  3. Check the person’s pulse and breathing and, if necessary, administer CPR or other first-aid measures.
  4. Give medications to treat an allergy attack, such as an epinephrine auto injector or antihistamines, if the person has them.

Using an auto injector
Many people at risk of anaphylaxis carry an auto injector. This device is a combined syringe and concealed needle that injects a single dose of medication when pressed against your thigh. Always be sure to replace epinephrine before its expiration date, or it may not work properly.

Be sure you know how to use the auto injector. Also, make sure the people closest to you know how to administer the drug — if they’re with you during an anaphylactic emergency, one of them could save your life. Medical personnel called in to respond to a severe anaphylactic reaction also may give you an epinephrine injection or another medication to treat your symptoms. If you want to learn how to use an Epi Pen please contact me for training.

If you have a history of serious allergic reaction, always have an epinephrine kit available; it could save your life.

Information from WebMd, Mayo Clinic, Medic First Aid, ARC and NM Dept of Health

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

keno@plateautel.com


West Nile Virus Awareness and Tips

West Nile Virus Awareness

The US state of Texas is battling an outbreak of the West Nile virus, with 27 deaths being blamed on the mosquito-borne disease, authorities said Wednesday Aug 15th.Throughout the state, 650 + people have been sickened since the start of the year, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

You may have started to notice more of those swarming mosquitos flying around. A single mosquito bite can give you West Nile virus (WNV). Improve your odds of avoiding it, use repellant.

Although many people who are bitten by an infected mosquito wont get sick, others aren’t as lucky. Almost 33,000 people in the US have been reported with WNV disease since 1999, and of those 15,000 have been seriously ill and over 1,200 have died. The older you are, the more likely that you could get severely ill if you get infected. People who have ever received an organ transplant are also at higher risk for severe disease. The reasons a person becomes severely ill and another doesn’t, is unknown. There has already been multiple confirmed cases of WNV in Texas and New Mexico in 2012.

What Can I Do to Prevent WNV?
The easiest and best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites.

  • Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
  • If possible, schedule your activities to avoid the times when mosquitoes are most active, usually dawn and dusk

· Keeping a deck or porch mosquito-free is quite easy, Strategically placed floor fans providing a breeze across the area of concern will serve to keep the mosquitoes at bay,. Mosquitoes are weak fliers, and will not be able to navigate properly against or within the airstream. There is no set formula for how large a fan or how many you’ll need; it’s simply a matter of experimenting until you obtain the desired effect.

· If you have a deck, light it using yellow Bug Lights. These lights are not repellant, per se, but they do not attract mosquitoes like incandescent white lights. By the way, citronella candles have a mild repellent effect, but do not offer significantly more protection than other candles producing smoke.

· Dress in light colored, loose-fitting clothing. Close-weave is the best to prevent biting, but layered loose-weave works almost as well.

· CDC evaluation of information contained in peer-reviewed scientific literature and data available from EPA has identified several EPA registered products that provide repellent activity sufficient to help people avoid the bites of disease carrying mosquitoes. Products containing these active ingredients typically provide reasonably long-lasting protection:

  • DEET (Chemical Name: N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide or N,N-diethly-3-methyl-benzamide)
  • Picaridin (KBR 3023, Chemical Name: 2-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperidinecarboxylic acid 1-methylpropyl ester )
  • Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus* or PMD (Chemical Name: para-Menthane-3,8-diol) the synthesized version of oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • IR3535 (Chemical Name: 3-[N-Butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid, ethyl ester)

· You might have heard about products marketed as mosquito traps. These devices will trap and kill measurable numbers of mosquitoes. Depends whether it would produce a noticeable reduction in the mosquito population would depend on a variety of factors, including how sensitive you are how many mosquitoes there are, and even wind velocity.

What Is West Nile Virus?
West Nile virus (WNV) is a potentially serious illness. Experts believe WNV is established as a seasonal epidemic in North America that flares up in the summer and continues into the fall.

What Are the Symptoms of WNV?

  • Serious Symptoms in a Few People. About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.
  • Milder Symptoms in Some People. Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.
  • No Symptoms in Most People. Approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.

How Does West Nile Virus Spread?

  • Infected Mosquitoes. Most often, WNV is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread WNV to humans and other animals when they bite.
  • Transfusions, Transplants, and Mother-to-Child. In a very small number of cases, WNV also has been spread through blood transfusions, organ transplants, breastfeeding and even during pregnancy from mother to baby.
  • Not through touching. WNV is not spread through casual contact such as touching or kissing a person with the virus.

How Soon Do Infected People Get Sick?
People typically develop symptoms between 3 and 14 days after they are bitten by the infected mosquito.

How Is WNV Infection Treated?
There is no specific treatment for WNV infection. In cases with milder symptoms, people experience symptoms such as fever and aches that pass on their own, although even healthy people have become sick for several weeks. In more severe cases, people usually need to go to the hospital where they can receive supportive treatment including intravenous fluids, help with breathing and nursing care.

What Should I Do if I Think I Have WNV?
Milder WNV illness improves on its own, and people do not necessarily need to seek medical attention for this infection though they may choose to do so. If you develop symptoms of severe WNV illness, such as unusually severe headaches or confusion, seek medical attention immediately. Severe WNV illness usually requires hospitalization. Pregnant women and nursing mothers are encouraged to talk to their doctor if they develop symptoms that could be WNV.

What Is the Risk of Getting Sick from WNV?

People over 50 at higher risk to get severe illness. People over the age of 50 are more likely to develop serious symptoms of WNV if they do get sick and should take special care to avoid mosquito bites.


Being outside means you’re at risk.
The more time you’re outdoors, the more time you could be bitten by an infected mosquito. Pay attention to avoiding mosquito bites if you spend a lot of time outside, either working or playing.


Risk through medical procedures is very low.
All donated blood is checked for WNV before being used. The risk of getting WNV through blood transfusions and organ transplants is very small, and should not prevent people who need surgery from having it. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor.

1999-2011 West Nile Virus Activity in the United States

CURRENT WEST NILE POSITIVE TEST RESULTS AS OF July 2012

States and counties in yellow either did not perform surveillance or did not report any positive test results from their surveillance.

*Above Chart does not reflect NMDOH confirmed WNV cases in NM Bernalillo and Sandoval counties in late July and August 2012

In 2011 New Mexico had 4 cases of West Nile virus infection, all with serious neuroinvasive disease. In 2010, there were 25 confirmed cases of West Nile virus infection in New Mexico, 21 with neuroinvasive disease and 1 fatality.

For more information about West Nile Virus, including fact sheets in English and Spanish, go to the Departments website at http://nmhealth.org/ERD/HealthData/westnile.shtml.

Where is West Nile virus a problem? Almost all of the continental US has had human WNV cases. Some areas, such as those with the red dots on the map to the right, have a greater concentration of cases of severe disease than other areas. Some areas of the US are affected by other viruses such as eastern equine encephalitis virus and Lacrosse encephalitis virus.

What about mosquito control in my town/county? Integrated mosquito management helps reduce the number of mosquitoes, especially those that can carry disease. This is a crucial part of reducing the risk to humans. Mosquito control won’t get rid of every last mosquito, but combined with repellent use one can markedly reduce the chances of getting bitten. Ask local officials about starting mosquito control in your city or county if it doesn’t exist already.

What can I do to reduce my risk of becoming infected with West Nile virus?

A. Here are preventive measures that you and your family can take:

Protect yourself from mosquito bites:

  • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin. Generally, the more active ingredient a repellent contains the longer it can protect you from mosquito bites. A higher percentage of active ingredients in a repellent do not mean that your protection is betterjust that it will last longer. Choose a repellent that provides protection for the amount of time that you will be outdoors.
    • Repellents may irritate the eyes and mouth, so avoid applying repellent to the hands of children.
    • Whenever you use an insecticide or insect repellent, be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s DIRECTIONS FOR USE, as printed on the product.
  • Spray clothing with repellents containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing. Do not apply repellents containing permethrin directly to exposed skin. When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors.
  • Place mosquito netting over infant carriers when you are outdoors with infants.
  • Consider staying indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening, which are peak mosquito biting times.
  • Install or repair window and door screens so that mosquitoes cannot get indoors.

Help reduce the number of mosquitoes in areas outdoors where you work or play, by draining sources of standing water. In this way, you reduce the number of places mosquitoes can lay their eggs and breed.

  • At least once or twice a week, empty water from flower pots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, and cans.
  • Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out.
  • Remove discarded tires, and other items that could collect water.
  • Be sure to check for containers or trash in places that may be hard to see, such as under bushes or under your home.

Note: Vitamin B and “ultrasonic” devices are NOT effective in preventing mosquito bites.

Something to remember: The chance that any one person is going to become ill from a single mosquito bite remains low. The risk of severe illness and death is highest for people over 50 years old, although people of all ages can become ill.

More questions about mosquito control? A source for information about pesticides and repellents is the National Pesticide Information Center, which also operates a toll-free information line: 1-800-858-7378 (check their Web site for hours).

Information provided by the CDC, NMDOH, TXDOH and National Pesticide Information Center.

Todays’ post comes to use courtesy of Ken Oswald

Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

keno@plateautel.com


Health and Safety Alert- May National Lyme Disease Awareness

It’s Spring Time to Prevent Lyme Disease

May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month

When you’re outside this spring and summer, prevent tick bites and reduce your risk of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases by following these tips.

Though Lyme disease cases have been reported in nearly every state, cases are reported from the infected person’s county of residence, not the place where they were infected.

Ticks that transmit Lyme disease can take 3 or more days to feed fully. If the tick is infected, the chances of transmission increases with time, from 0% at 24 hours, 12% at 48 hours, 79% at 72 hours and 94% at 96 hours. This is the reason it is important to conduct tick checks after working or recreating in tick infected areas, removing any ticks you find promptly

More cases of Lyme disease are reported than any other vector-borne disease in the United States. There were 29,959 confirmed cases and 8509 probable cases of Lyme disease in the United States in 2011; most of these cases are reported from the Northeast and upper Midwest.

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. People become infected with the Lyme disease bacteria when they are bitten by an infected blacklegged tick.

As we start spending more time outdoors during spring and into summer, we have to be aware of the risk of tick bites. Gardening, camping, hiking, and just playing outdoors are all great spring and summertime activities, but make tick protection part of your outdoor plans as well.

Immature ticks (larvae and nymphs) are so small that they can be difficult to see. However, all stages of ticks need to feed on blood to continue on to the next stagestherefore these tiny ticks can be an important threat.

Ticks also feed on mammals and birds, which play a role in maintaining ticks and maintaining the Lyme disease bacteria. Ticks (including species other than the blacklegged ticks) can also transmit diseases other than Lyme disease, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, erlichiosis, anaplasmosis, Colorado tick fever, and Powassan encephalitis.

Fortunately there are several tactics you and your family can use to prevent tick bites and reduce your risk of tick-borne disease.

Protect Yourself from Tick Bites

Know where to expect ticks. Blacklegged ticks live in moist and humid environments, particularly in or near wooded or grassy areas. You may come into contact with ticks during outdoor activities around your home or when walking through vegetation such as leaf litter or shrubs. To avoid ticks, walk in the center of trails.

Use a repellent with DEET (on skin or clothing) or permethrin (on clothing and gear). Products containing permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear which can remain protective through several washings. Repellents containing 20% or more DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) can be applied to the skin, and they can protect up to several hours. Always follow product instructions! Parents should apply repellents to their children, taking care to avoid application to hands, eyes, and mouth.

· For detailed information about using DEET on children, see West Nile Virus: What You Need to Know about Mosquito Repellent.

· For detailed information about tick prevention and control, see Lyme Disease Prevention and Control.

· For detailed information geared to outdoor workers, see NIOSH Safety and Health Topic: Tick-borne Diseases.

Perform Daily Tick Checks

Check your body for ticks after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Conduct a body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas by searching your entire body for ticks. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body and remove any tick you find. Take special care to check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:

·

· Under the arms

· In and around the ears

· Inside belly button

· Back of the knees

· In and around all head and body hair

· Between the legs

· Around the waist

Check your clothing and pets for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing and pets. Both should be examined carefully, and any ticks that are found should be removed. Placing clothes into a dryer on high heat effectively kills ticks.

What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Tick

Remove an attached tick using fine-tipped tweezers as soon as you notice it. If a tick is attached to your skin for less than 24 hours, your chance of getting Lyme disease is extremely small. But to be safe, watch for signs or symptoms of Lyme disease such as rash or fever, and see a healthcare provider if these develop

Your risk of acquiring a tick-borne illness depends on many factors, including where you live, what type of tick bit you, and how long the tick was attached. If you become ill after a tick bite, see a healthcare provider.

Tick Removal

If you find a tick attached to your skin, there’s no need to panic. There are several tick removal devices on the market, but a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers will remove a tick quite effectively.

How to remove a tick

1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.

2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.

3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.

Avoid folklore remedies such as “painting” the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible–not waiting for it to detach.

Follow-up

If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, see your doctor. Be sure to tell the doctor about your recent tick bite, when the bite occurred, and where you most likely acquired the tick.

You can create tick-safe zones in your yard

Image courtesy Kirby Stafford III, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

· Modify your landscaping to createTick-Safe Zones.” It’s pretty simple. Keep patios, play areas and playground equipment away from shrubs, bushes, and other vegetation. Regularly remove leaf litter and clear tall grasses and brush around your home, and place wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to keep ticks away from recreational areas (and away from you).

· Use a chemical control agent. Effective tick control chemicals are available for use by the homeowner, or they can be applied by a professional pest control expert. Even limited applications can greatly reduce the number of ticksa single springtime application of acaricide can reduce the population of ticks that cause Lyme disease by 68100%.

· Discourage deer. Deer are the main food source for adult ticks. Keep deer away from your home by removing plants that attract deer and constructing physical barriers that may help discourage deer from entering your yard and bringing ticks with them. Deer management has also been studied with regard to its impact on tick populations.

Prevent Ticks on Animals

Prevent family pets from bringing ticks into the home. Maintain your family pet under a veterinarian’s care. Two of the ways to get rid of ticks on dogs and cats are putting on tick medicine or using a tick collar. Be sure to use these products according to the package instructions.

Signs and Symptoms of Lyme Disease

If you had a tick bite, live in an area known for Lyme disease or have recently traveled to an area where it occurs, and observe any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention!

Early localized stage (3-30 days post-tick bite)

  • Red, expanding rash called erythema migrans (EM)
  • Fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes

Some people may get these general symptoms in addition to an EM rash, but in others, these general symptoms may be the only evidence of infection.

Some people get a small bump or redness at the site of a tick bite that goes away in 1-2 days, like a mosquito bite. This is not a sign that you have Lyme disease. However, ticks can spread other organisms that may cause a different type of rash. For example, Southern Tick-associated Rash Illness (STARI) causes a rash with a very similar appearance.

Erythema migrans (EM) or “bull’s-eye” rash

  • Rash occurs in approximately 70-80% of infected persons1 and begins at the site of a tick bite after a delay of 3-30 days (average is about 7 days).
  • Rash gradually expands over a period of several days, and can reach up to 12 inches (30 cm) across. Parts of the rash may clear as it enlarges, resulting in a bull’s-eye appearance.
  • Rash usually feels warm to the touch but is rarely itchy or painful.
  • EM lesions may appear on any area of the body.

Early disseminated stage (days to weeks post-tick bite)

Untreated, the infection may spread from the site of the bite to other parts of the body, producing an array of specific symptoms that may come and go, including:

  • Additional EM lesions in other areas of the body
  • Facial or Bell’s palsy (loss of muscle tone on one or both sides of the face)
  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness due to meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord)
  • Pain and swelling in the large joints (such as knees)
  • Shooting pains that may interfere with sleep
  • Heart palpitations and dizziness due to changes in heartbeat

Many of these symptoms will resolve over a period of weeks to months, even without treatment2.However, lack of treatment can result in additional complications, described below.

Bell’s (facial) palsy

Loss of muscle tone on one or both sides of the face is called facial or Bell’s palsy.

Late disseminated stage (months-to-years post-tick bite)

Approximately 60% of patients with untreated infection may begin to have intermittent bouts of arthritis, with severe joint pain and swelling. Large joints are most often affected, particularly the knees3. Arthritis caused by Lyme disease manifests differently than other causes of arthritis and must be distinguished from arthralgias (pain, but not swelling, in joints).

Up to 5% of untreated patients may develop chronic neurological complaints months to years after infection. These include shooting pains, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, and problems with short-term memory.

Lingering symptoms after treatment (post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome)

Approximately 10-20% of patients with Lyme disease have symptoms that last months to years after treatment with antibiotics5. These symptoms can include muscle and joint pains, cognitive defects, sleep disturbance, or fatigue. The cause of these symptoms is not known, but there is no evidence that these symptoms are due to ongoing infection with B. burgdorferi. This condition is referred to as Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). There is some evidence that PTLDS is caused by an autoimmune response, in which a person’s immune system continues to respond, doing damage to the bodys tissues, even after the infection has been cleared. Studies have shown that continuing antibiotic therapy is not helpful and can be harmful for persons with PTLDS.

Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome

Approximately 10 to 20% of patients treated for Lyme disease with a recommended 2-4 week course of antibiotics will have lingering symptoms of fatigue, pain, or joint and muscle aches. In some cases, these can last for more than 6 months. Although often called “chronic Lyme disease,” this condition is properly known as “Post-treatment Lyme disease Syndrome” (PTLDS).

The exact cause of PTLDS is not yet known. Most medical experts believe that the lingering symptoms are the result of residual damage to tissues and the immune system that occurred during the infection. Similar complications and “auto-immune” responses are known to occur following other infections, including Campylobacter (Guillain-Barre syndrome), Chlamydia (Reiter’s syndrome), and Strep Throat (rheumatic heart disease). In contrast, some health care providers tell patients that these symptoms reflect persistent infection with Borrelia burgdorferi. Recent animal studies have given rise to questions that require further research, and clinical studies to determine the cause of PTLDS in humans are ongoing.

Regardless of the cause of PTLDS, studies have not shown that patients who received prolonged courses of antibiotics do better in the long run than patients treated with placebo. Furthermore, long-term antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease has been associated with serious complications. The good news is that patients with PTLDS almost always get better with time; the bad news is that it can take months to feel completely well.

If you have been treated for Lyme disease and still feel unwell, see your doctor to discuss how to relieve your suffering. Your doctor may want to treat you in ways similar to patients who have fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. This does not mean that your doctor is dismissing your pain or saying that you have these conditions. It simply means that the doctor is trying to help you cope with your symptoms using the best tools available.

You may be tempted to try treatments that are unproven or non-standard in order to feel better. Unfortunately, many fraudulent products claiming to treat “chronic Lyme disease” are available on the internet or through some providers. These products have not been shown to help and can be toxic and even deadly.

It is normal to feel overwhelmed by your ongoing symptoms. Some things that may help you manage your PTLDS include:

  • Check with your doctor to make sure that Lyme disease is not the only thing affecting your health.
  • Become well-informed. There is a lot of inaccurate information available, especially on the internet. Learn how to sort through this maze.
  • Track your symptoms. It can be helpful to keep a diary of your symptoms, sleep patterns, diet, and exercise to see how these influence your well being.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and get plenty of rest.
  • Share your feelings. If your family and friends can’t provide the support you need, talk with a counselor who can help you find ways of managing your life during this difficult time. As with any illness, Lyme disease can affect you and your loved ones. It doesn’t mean that your symptoms are not real. It means that you are a human being who needs extra support in a time of need.

Information from the CDC, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and NM Dept of Health.

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald

Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

koswald


Safety Alert- Spider and Snake Awareness Tips

*** Safety Alert Bulletin ***

Spider and Snake Safety Awareness

With the days becoming warmer or just down-right hot, one of nature’s most dangerous natural creatures is awakening – those reptilian wonders we call SNAKES as well as the eight legged creatures called SPIDERS. Before you pack-up your tool bag or walk up to those warehouse metal buildings, splicing wires, generators, AFC remotes, Fiber and Cell site locations take a refresher course on snake bite and spider bite survival!

Here’s How:

Avoid Snakes and Spiders! Know the environment where you are adventuring and the kinds of snakes and other natural hazards. Avoid dense brush, stacked firewood, rock piles, etc. – Think before you leap! If you are bitten, identify the snake if possible. As a general rule, most poisonous snakes have a triangular shaped head, and somewhat flat. Know the different kinds of poisonous snakes and insects of the area! Same if bitten by a spider, try to identify what type of spider, most common poisonous spider in our area are the Brown Recluse and Black Widow.

Watch where you step…rattlesnakes are very active in the spring any time of the day.

Tips to rattlesnake safety: 

1. Don’t play with the snake. As silly as it sounds one of the common causes of rattlesnake bite is someone (usually under the influence of alcohol) plays with the snake.

2. Watch where you walk at night. I can’t think of any bites I have been on where someone has stumbled into one at night, but I am sure it has probably happened. When I go outside at night, I always use a flashlight and actively look for snakes. They will look motionless, like a rag or other non descript item on the ground. All you have to do is watch where you step. I even do this in my back yard in unlighted areas.

3. Watch where you put your hands! One of the common bites I have seen has been a person that is hard of hearing doing gardening. I always rustle around with a stick and look prior to picking tomatoes, or trimming. Another common bite is on the golf course. The guy or gal who can’t shoot straight (like me) and ball ends up off course. They reach down, scare the snake and get bit. Often times without a rattle. No matter what – watch where you put your hands!

DO NOT LIST FOR SNAKE BITES INCLUDES

1. If bitten by a rattlesnake, DO NOT use ice to cool the bite.

2. If bitten by a rattlesnake, DO NOT cut open the wound and try to suck out the venom.

3. If bitten by a rattlesnake, DO NOT use a tourniquet. This will cut off blood flow and the limb may be lost.

4. Avoid rattlesnakes altogether. If you see one, don’t try to get closer to it or catch it.

5. Keep your hands and feet away from areas where you cannot see, like between rocks or in tall grass where rattlesnakes like to rest.

If you are bitten by a rattlesnake, stay calm and get to a doctor as soon as possible. The National Poison Control Center advises:

1. Stay Calm

2. Wash bite area gently with soap and water

3. Remove watch, rings, etc. that may constrict swelling of the limb or area.

4. Immobilize the affected area

5. Keep the area of the snake bite lower than the heart.

6. Transport immediately to nearest medical facility!

Nonpoisonous snake or lizard bite

If you are certain the snake or lizard was not poisonous, use home treatment measures to reduce symptoms and prevent infection.

· Use direct pressure to stop any bleeding.

· Look at the wound to make sure a snake or lizard tooth is not in the wound. If you can see a tooth, remove it with tweezers, taking care to not push it farther into the wound.

· Clean the bite as soon as possible to reduce the chance of infection, scarring, and tattooing of the skin from dirt left in the wound. Wash the wound for 5 minutes with large amounts of warm water and soap (mild dishwashing soap, such as Ivory, works well).

· Do not use rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, or mercurochrome, which can harm the tissue and slow wound healing.

· Soak the wound in warm water for 20 minutes, 2 to 4 times a day, for the next 4 to 5 days. The warmth from the water will increase the blood flow to the area, which helps reduce the chance of infection.

· Puncture wounds usually heal well and may not need a bandage. You may want to use a bandage if you think the bite will get dirty or irritated.

o Clean the wound thoroughly before putting the bandage on it.

o Apply a clean bandage when it gets wet or soiled. If a bandage is stuck to a scab, soak it in warm water to soften the scab and make the bandage easier to remove.

o If available, use a nonstick dressing. There are many bandage products available.

o Be sure to read the product label for correct use.

· Use of an antibiotic ointment has not been shown to affect healing. If you choose to use an antibiotic ointment, such as polymyxin B sulfate (for example, Polysporin) or bacitracin, apply the ointment lightly to the wound. The ointment will keep the bandage from sticking to the wound. If a skin rash or itching under the bandage develops, stop using the ointment. The rash may be caused by an allergic reaction to the ointment.

· Determine whether you need a tetanus shot.

· Apply and ice or cold pack may help reduce swelling and bruising. Never apply ice directly to a wound or the skin. This could cause tissue damage.

CONTROL OF SPIDERS IN AND AROUND HOMES

Spiders are common in homes during cold weather and move indoors as temperatures drop outside, although they can be found indoors any time during the year. Their numbers usually peak during late summer. With the cooler temperatures now in the evenings you may start to see more of these creatures in your homes.

Black Widow:

Brown Recluse:

Many people routinely find spiders in their garden and many places where spiders like to hide. Favorite hiding spots for many spiders include woodpiles and basements, attics, and even closets in our homes. Fortunately, extremely few of these spiders are dangerous though. In the Unites States, just two species of spiders are poisonous enough to cause harm. They include the black widow spider (Latrodectus mactans) and the brown recluse spider (Loxosceles reclusa).

It is important to remember than even dangerous black widow and brown recluse spiders aren’t wandering around your house trying to attack. They usually like to live in places where they won’t be disturbed. Unless youre crawling through boxes in a closet or attic, or someplace else where he may have disturbed a spider, it is unlikely that any bites on his skin were caused by a “bad spider.” Here are a few simple safety tips to help identify spider bites, symptoms and control spider numbers both outside and inside your homes.

Spider Bite Symptoms

Surprisingly, most spider bites aren’t that painful. It may feel like a pin prick and they are often unnoticed when the spider actually bites you. Common spider bite symptoms can include a single bite mark with:

· swelling

· redness

· itching

· pain

In fact, most spider bites will resemble a bee sting. Your child may also develop hives and other allergy symptoms if he is allergic to the spider bite.

Symptoms of a black widow spider bite might also include severe muscle pain and cramps, which develop within a few hours of the bite. Other symptoms may include weakness, vomiting, trouble breathing, abdominal pain, and high blood pressure.

Brown recluse spider bites can be painful. In addition to pain, these spider bites may cause burning and itching. Another characteristic finding is that the spider bite may look like a bull’s eye, with a red ring around a white center that turns into an ulcer.

Spider Bite Treatments

For most spider bites, you can follow some simple home treatments, including:

· washing the spider bite with soap and water 

· apply an ice cube to the bite for about 20 minutes 

· give your child a pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil)

· apply a topical antibiotic ointment to the bite two or three times a day 

· apply a topical steroid cream to help control itching and redness a few times a day

· continue home treatments for one or two days, the typical time that it takes a spider bite to go away

Of course, you should seek medical attention if you think you were bitten by a black widow spider or brown recluse spider.

Outdoor Control of Spiders

If it is necessary to reduce the number of spiders in and around your home, start with nonchemical methods including sanitation to prevent spiders from entering from the outside.

  • Keep grassy or weedy areas near buildings cut short.
  • Trim back shrubs and other plants that directly contact your home.
  • Knock webs down with a broom or a hard spray of water.
  • Remove and destroy any egg sacs or spiders that are found.
  • Caulk or seal obvious cracks or spaces around the foundation, doors, and ground level windows.
  • Check to be sure screens fit tightly.

Indoor Control of Spiders

Regular housecleaning is very important in the control of spiders indoors. Large, persistent spider populations indoors indicate the presence of a significant insect population that serves as their food.

  • Remove papers, boxes, bags, and other clutter to minimize favorable sites for spiders.
  • Remove webbing with a broom or vacuum, and destroy any egg sacs and spiders that are found. Look especially around windows, in corners and other relatively quiet places.
  • Eliminate insects that serve as a food supply, especially when large numbers exist. Check particularly in and under webs to see what insects have been captured.
  • Shake out any clothing left on the floor or shake your shoes prior to putting them on in the morning to help remove spiders from their hiding spots.

You can supplement your sanitation efforts with an insecticide treatment. Treat especially behind base-boards, in cracks and crevices, and other places where spiders may hide. General treatments on surfaces and fogs are not effective. Most insecticides labeled for ants and cockroaches are also labeled for spiders. These products are commonly found in aerosol ready-to-use cans.

CAUTION: Read all label directions carefully before buying insecticides and again before using them. The label is the final authority on how you may legally use any pesticide!

Information provided by National Poison Control Center and Urgent Care Association of America.

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

koswald