Health Tips

  • Is a Heat Wave Coming?

    Probably. As the NOAA explains, North American summers are hot; most summers see heat waves in one or more parts of the United States. Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year and even more heat-related illnesses.

    What can you do? During Extreme Heat Week, we remind you that taking precautions is far easier than treating Heat Stress and Heat Related Injuries. While The First Day of Summer (Summer Solstice) in 2016 is June 20, this is  just a date on the calendar - Meteorological Summer (real summer weather-wise) is about to  begin on June 1st. Things will heat up, so play and work safe - plan your activities for early and late hours when it is cooler, and stay indoors or in the shade during the hottest mid-day hours.

    Remember that Summer also holds significant weather hazards. Heat waves can be lengthy and deadly. Lightning deaths are at their peak during the summer. Beach hazards such as rip currents can catch the unprepared. And, it’s the start of hurricane season.Blazing

  • Look Before You Lock

    Extreme Heat creates dangers for all ages, from Heat and Heat Related Injuries and Illness to death. While we often focus on safety working in the heat, and staying hydrated, it's not all about adults and electrolytes... During Extreme Heat Week, we want to remind you that pets and children die when left in cars every year... Look Before You Lock!

    heat-graphic

    Sweating? ??

    Each year, dozens of children and untold numbers of pets left in parked vehicles die from hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is an acute condition that occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can handle. Hyperthermia can occur even on a mild day. Studies have shown that the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise to a dangerous level for children, pets and even adults. Leaving the windows slightly open does not significantly decrease the heating rate. The effects can be more severe on children because their bodies have not developed the ability to efficiently regulate its internal temperature.

    The sun's shortwave radiation (yellow in figure below) heats objects that it strikes.  For example, a dark dashboard or seat can easily reach temperatures in the range of 180 to over 200°F. These objects (e.g., dashboard, steering wheel, child seat) heat the adjacent air by conduction and convection and also give off longwave radiation (red in figure below) which is very efficient at warming the air trapped inside a vehicle. Shown below are time lapse photos of thermometer readings in a car over a period of less than an hour. As the animation shows, in just over 2 minutes the car went from a safe temperature to an unsafe temperature of 94.3°F. This demonstration shows just how quickly a vehicle can become a death trap for a child.

    Objects Heated by the Sun Warm Vehicle's Air

    parked vehicle
    CLICK HERE FOR ANIMATION (700K)
    ( Hi-Res ~ 2.5 mb.WMV file)
    Individual Frames:
    0 min, 10 min, 20 min, 30 min, 40 min, 50 min, 60 min
    Animation Courtesy of General Motors and San Francisco State University. Use of this animation does not imply NWS endorsement of services provided by General Motors and San Francisco State University.

    Hyperthermia deaths aren't confined to summer months. They also happen during the spring and fall. Below are just a few of MANY tragedies.

    • Honolulu, HI, March: A 3-year-old girl died when the father left her in a child seat for 1.5 hours while he visited friends in a Waikiki apartment building. The outside temperature was only 81 degrees.
    • North Augusta, SC, April: A mother left her a 15-month-old son in a car. He was in a car for 9 hours while his mom went to work. She is now serving a 20-year prison sentence.
    • Greenville, TX, December: A 6-month-old boy died after being left in a car for more than 2 hours by his mother. She was charged with murder. The temperature rose to an unseasonably warm 81 degrees on that day.

    Adults also susceptible to hyperthermia in vehicles. On July 12, 2001, a man died of heat stroke after falling asleep in his car with the windows rolled up in the parking lot of a supermarket in Hinds County, MS.

  • Spring Weather

    Remember that Spring is about change. It can also mean surprises - be sure you are ready...

    Spring hazards include:

    Read Spring Weather Risks to Watch and Prepare For

    Flood-Safety-Graphic-1

  • BACK CARE AND SAFE LIFTING

    Your back is the essential of your human frame - we've talked about The Spine5 Key Considerations for the Safe Lifting, and Ways to improve your Ergonomic Health - now let's look at Lifting.

    One very important reason to follow safe lifting practices is to protect your back. Unsafe lifting can either be an immediate harm or cause problems over a period of time.  Either way, lifting can result in serious back problems.  The spine is made up of many small bones called vertebrae.  In between each vertebra is a disc that acts like a cushion between the bones. When you are young, there is plenty of fluid that lubricates each disc.  The older you get, the more stiff and rigid the discs become.  You don’t necessarily notice any change in your discs as you grow older because there are no nerves within the discs.  As your discs become weakened from pressure, they can rupture.  When this happens, the jell-like substance inside of the disc squeezes out.  It puts pressure on the nerve in the spinal column creating pain.

    PRESSURES OF LIFTING INCORRECTLY

    When standing straight, the back supports 70-80% of body weight.  For example, a 200lb person’s spine supports 160lbs.  Bending at the waist, the weight the back supports increases by 6 times. (160lbs. X 6 = 960lbs.)

    Lifting a weight of 45 lbs. while bending, multiplies the weight the back must lift by 6. (45lbs. X 6 = 270lbs.)  Therefore, a 200lb. person incorrectly lifting a 45lb. object is forcing the spine to support 1,230lbs. (960lbs. + 270lbs. =1,230lbs.)

    UNDERSTANDING CYCLES OF PAIN

    Your back is very prone to muscle tension.  When you get a muscle spasm, you will know by the jabbing pain.  You also may feel a knot in the muscle.  This is the muscle contracting.  It is the body’s natural way of preventing more damage to your spine.  The spasm chokes off the oxygen and circulation.  Lactic acid and other waste products build up in the muscle.  The muscle gets more stiff and shortens.  This causes pressure on the spine.  The spine becomes “locked” and you can no longer move freely.

    HOW TO BREAK THE PAIN CYCLE

    It takes effort to relax muscles in this cycle.  The body tends to tense up even more from pain.  To break the pain cycle:

    • Find your comfort zone and hold your body in that position in whatever activity you do. Keep in mind good posture.  Stand and sit erect with your feet planted firmly on the ground.  Keep the hips tilted slightly forward with the abdomen and buttocks firm.
    • During the first 24 hours, ice and rest are the best ways to take care of a muscle spasm. Apply an ice bag for 10-15 minutes.  Repeat once or twice over the next 8-12 hours.  Heat can be used after the first 24 hours.  Never use a heating pad for more than 15-20 minutes at a time.
    • Medication may help relax painful muscles. Aspirin and Ibuprofen are the best over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory drugs.  Use prescription muscle relaxants or sedatives carefully.  They actually disrupts true relaxation and sleep.  Alcohol or illegal drugs only mask pain temporarily and prolong the pain cycle.
    • Relax your mind. Sit or lie comfortably. Tighten each muscle for the count of 5.  Relax and breathe deeply after tensing each muscle.
    • If you continue to experience pain that cannot be relieved with changing positions , applying ice, massage, or relaxation, consult your doctor.
    Back Safety What's worse than a back injury? Our safety booklets, CD-ROMs, DVD programs, and compliance kits will provide you with all the information you and your employees need to know properly care for your back. Following OSHA standards, you can rest assured that you are compliant within your industry. There is even a safety game to keep training fun and innovative. Back Safety
    What's worse than a back injury? Our safety booklets, CD-ROMs, DVD programs, and compliance kits will provide you with all the information you and your employees need to know properly care for your back. Following OSHA standards, you can rest assured that you are compliant within your industry. There is even a safety game to keep training fun and innovative.

    REMEMBER

    • Plan each lift before you start, including the path you will be traveling.
    • Size up the load. Can you carry it or do you need help?
    • Get any needed equipment to help transport the load - including a hand truck, pushcart, forklift or wheelbarrow. Use snug-fitting gloves to help you grip the load you’re about to lift.
    • Bend your knees and keep your back as straight as possible.
    • Crouch, don’t squat.
    • Get close to the load, and hug it to your body before lifting.
    • Keep your head, shoulders, and hips in a straight line.
    • Reverse the steps for lifting when setting the load down - keeping the pressure on your arms and legs, not on your back.
    • Prevent back strains by not bending at the waist to pick up any object.

    GET PHYSICALLY FIT

    Keeping your body strong and flexible is your best insurance against back injury.

    • Do strengthening exercises to build support for your spine. They strengthen the abdomen and lower back.
    • Move your body on a regular basis. Whole body exercises, like brisk walking, bike riding, and swimming improve circulation and help tone all the muscles in the body.  Exercising 3 times a week for 30 minutes a session will help you stay in shape.
    • Extra weight can place more stress on your back. When you stay at your proper weight, you take much of the strain off your back.
    • Stretch to increase flexibility. Get in the habit of stretching every day.

    LIFTING SAFETY

    • Let your abdomen, legs, and buttocks do the work.
    • Get close to the load. Grab the load safely with your hands placed under the object.
    • Bend your knees, with feet slightly spread for balance and stability.
    • Keep your head, shoulders, and hips in a straight line as you lift. Do not twist.
    • Reverse these steps when you set a load down. Move slowly and smoothly without twisting.
    • To change direction of carry, do not twist. This is especially crucial when doing repetitive lifting.  Turn your entire body, including your feet.
    • Never lift from a sitting position. Sitting puts more pressure on the spine. Stand before you lift.
    • Push rather than pull a load.
    • When the object is too heavy for one person to lift, admit it and get some help.

    back-safety-tileOur training products on "Back Safety" emphasize the importance of overall back care, both at work and at home, including exercises and weight control. Topics covered in these products include:

    • How the back works.
    • Common types and causes of back injuries.
    • Effects of back injuries.
    • Injury prevention and safety practices.
    • Proper lifting techniques.
    • and more.

    Get a Quote for a Class:
    Back Safety Live Instruction Training Courses at YOUR Location

  • The Spine

    We've shared information about Ergonomics and Ways to improve your Ergonomic Health, but what about the main issue.. the Spine? Keeping a healthy back is core to overall ergonomic health.

    There are several basic safety habits, that we should all use. Lifting is the first and most important to consider.

    back-safety-tileWhat's worse than a back injury? Our safety booklets, CD-ROMs, DVD programs, and compliance kits will provide you with all the information you and your employees need to know properly care for your back. Following OSHA standards, you can rest assured that you are compliant within your industry. There is even a safety game to keep training fun and innovative.

    Our training products on "Back Safety" emphasize the importance of overall back care, both at work and at home, including exercises and weight control. Topics covered in these products include:

    • How the back works.
    • Common types and causes of back injuries.
    • Effects of back injuries.
    • Injury prevention and safety practices.
    • Proper lifting techniques.
    • and more.

    Get a Quote for a Class:
    Back Safety Live Instruction Training Courses at YOUR Location

  • World Health Day

    Help Beat Diabetes this World Health Day!

    Beat Diabetes Beat Diabetes

    World Health Day roll-ups

    Halt the rise
    Be active
    Eat healthy
    Follow medical advice
    If in doubt, check!
    Follow medical advice

  • TB continues to spread.

    While World TB Day was just a few days ago, awareness and efforts to end the Spread of Tuberculosis need to  continue year round. According to the CDC, after twenty years of annual declines in reported tuberculosis (TB) cases, progress toward TB elimination in the United States appears to have stalled.

    Understand that TB is not blatantly obvious - not everyone infected with TB bacteria is sick; millions of US residents have latent TB infection and could become sick with TB disease at some point in their lives.

    The CDC and others work hard to provide resources for providers, patients, and to  offer TB programs that can strengthen efforts to diagnose, treat, and ultimately eliminate TB disease and latent TB infections.

    Resources for TB Programs

    Protect yourself against the risk of Tuberculosis exposure. Our safety booklets, CD-ROMS, DVD programs, and compliance kits will provide you and your employees with all the information you need regarding prevention of Tuberculosis. Following OSHA standards, you can rest assured that you are compliant within your industry. There is even a poster available to serve as a daily reference.
  • World Tuberculosis Day 2016

    Remember Today is World Tuberculosis Day.

    The 2016 World TB Day theme is Unite to End TB.

    Spread the word.TB-Unite to End

     

  • World TB Day: End Tuberculosis

    We can end TB.
    Meeting the survivors and supporters we witness harsh truths and deplorable injustice; a treatable disease killing so many. Uniting our collective strength gets us closer to resolution. We can confront stigma, create urgency, activate support and push for progress.

    With advocacy, perseverance and passion we can reach everyone who needs treatment, build stronger communities and celebrate success that saves lives. TB is not just another global statistic it equals lives at threat. It is humanity’s problem to solve. For our children. For our future. For all of us. We deserve to be free of this disease. Let’s End TB.TB-Day

    World TB Day, falling on March 24th each year, is designed to build public awareness that tuberculosis today remains an epidemic in much of the world, causing the deaths of nearly one-and-a-half million people each year, mostly in developing countries. It commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch astounded the scientific community by announcing that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus. At the time of Koch's announcement in Berlin, TB was raging through Europe and the Americas, causing the death of one out of every seven people. Koch's discovery opened the way towards diagnosing and curing TB.

    Tuberculosis

    Protect yourself against the risk of Tuberculosis exposure. Our safety booklets, CD-ROMS, DVD programs, and compliance kits will provide you and your employees with all the information you need regarding prevention of Tuberculosis. Following OSHA standards, you can rest assured that you are compliant within your industry. There is even a poster available to serve as a daily reference.

    More reading: TB: Know about TuberculosisTuberculosis – TB Safety and InformationTB may resist, but it can be beatenTB Threatens to Kill 75 Million People

    TB-Red-ArrowThe Red Arrow: A Symbol to Unite Us Against TB

    The Red Arrow is a symbol for our goal: a world without TB. It represents our unwavering commitment to move forward with this mission until we reach the finish line. Because despite its devastating impact as the world’s leading infectious killer, there is still the troubling fact that most people in the world think of TB as a disease of the past.

    The Red Arrow was developed with the input of thousands of partners in the TB community. The symbol belongs to no single organization, person, tagline, or agenda. It represents our unity against TB, and it’s in your hands to shape, mold, and give meaning to.

  • Getting Enough Sleep? Part of this may be WHERE you live!

    35% of U.S. adults do not get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep continues to be a problem in the U.S. What is fascinating is that this varies by State and Region in the US!

    Are you one of those sleep-deprived adults? 

    Here's some great information from the CDC:

    How much sleep do we need and what can happen when we're not getting enough?

    Sleep is an important part of good health.1 Sleeping less than 7 hours per night is linked to increased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and poor mental health, as well as early death.2-4 Not getting the recommended amount of sleep can affect your ability to make good decisions and increases the chances of motor vehicle crashes.1

    According to professional sleep societies, adults aged 18 to 60 years should sleep at least 7 hours each night for the best health and wellness.5

    How much sleep are we getting?

    About 1 in 3 (an estimated 83 million) U.S. adults reported usually sleeping less than 7 hours in a 24-hour period, based on data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey that was done in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Not getting enough sleep is a problem that affects a large number of Americans. If you are not getting enough sleep, you should make sleep a priority and practice good sleep habits. You should also talk to your healthcare provider about how much sleep you get and any other sleep problems you might have.

    Does your part of the country get enough sleep?

    In the darker blue states (mostly Great Plains states), a greater percentage of adults are getting the recommended amount of sleep.

    In the lighter blue states (mostly southeastern U.S. and along the Appalachian Mountains), a lower percentage of adults are getting the recommended amount of sleep.

    Map: Age-adjusted percentage of adults who reported 7 or more hours of sleep per 24-hour period, by state - Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, United States, 2014

    Age-adjusted percentage of adults who reported 7 or more hours of sleep per 24-hour period, by state - Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, United States, 2014

    • 56.1-62.1: Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Indiana, South Carolina, New York, West Virginia, Ohio
    • 62.2-64.0: Delaware, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, New Jersey, Tennessee, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Louisiana, Nevada, Virginia
    • 64.1-67.0: Florida, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Alaska, Massachusetts, Illinois, Missouri, California, Arizona, Texas
    • 67.1-68.7: Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, District of Columbia, Wisconsin, New Mexico, North Dakota, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming
    • 68.8-71.6: Iowa, Vermont, Kansas, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Nebraska, Minnesota, Colorado, South Dakota

    Infographic: Did you get enough sleep last night 35% of adults are not getting the recommended 7 hours of sleep each night. Click to read what you can do to get more sleep.

    Who is at higher risk for not getting enough sleep?

    Everyone is at risk of not getting enough sleep, but the risk is higher for shift workers. Shift work— any shift outside normal daylight hours, such as night shift, evening shift, or rotating shift — is more common for some occupations:

    • Medical professionals (doctors and nurses)
    • Emergency response workers
    • Transportation industry workers (truck drivers)
    • Workers in the manufacturing, hospitality, or retail industries

    How can you get healthy sleep?

    Some habits that can improve your sleep health:

    • Be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends
    • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature
    • Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smart phones, from the bedroom
    • Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime
    • Avoid tobacco/nicotine
    • Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.
    Man writing in journalKeep a journal of your sleep patterns to discuss with your doctor.

    If you still have trouble sleeping, discuss your sleep with your doctor. Before your appointment, keep a 10-day sleep journal or diary to share with your doctor that includes when you:

    1. Go to bed
    2. Fall asleep
    3. Wake up
    4. Get out of bed
    5. Take naps
    6. Exercise
    7. Drink alcohol
    8. Consume caffeine-containing beverages

    If you have symptoms of a sleep disorder, such as snoring or being very sleepy during the day after a full night's sleep, make sure to tell your doctor.

    References

    1. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research; Colten HR, Altevogt BM, editors. Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2006.
    2. Grandner MA, Chakravorty S, Perlis ML, Oliver L, Gurubhagavatula I. Habitual sleep duration associated with self-reported and objectively determined cardiometabolic risk factors. Sleep Med 2014;15:42–50.
    3. Liu Y, Wheaton AG, Chapman DP, Croft JB. Sleep duration and chronic diseases among US adults age 45 years and older: evidence from the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Sleep 2013;36:1421–1427.
    4. Gallicchio L, Kalesan B. Sleep duration and mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Sleep Res 2009;18:148–158.
    5. Watson NF, Badr MS, Belenky G, Bliwise DL, Buxton OM, Buysse D, et al. Joint consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society on the recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adults: methodology and discussion. Sleep 2015; 38(8):1161–1183.

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