If you’re one of the millions of Americans who suffers from a chronic illness that requires using needles or sharps outside of the doctor’s office, you may question how to dispose of them safely. There is plenty of information available, but the proper disposal method may be different depending on where you live, work or travel.
How to Safely Dispose Needles and Medical Sharps
(Family Features) If you’re one of the millions of Americans who suffers from a chronic illness that requires using needles or sharps outside of the doctor’s office, you may question how to dispose of them safely. There is plenty of information available, but the proper disposal method may be different depending on where you live, work or travel.
To help ensure people who use needles and sharps at home or on-the-go know how to dispose of them easily and safely, NeedyMeds, a national non-profit organization that provides health care information to consumers, developed tools at SafeNeedleDisposal.org.
“Most people want to do the right thing, but they need specific, succinct information on safe sharps disposal,” said Richard J. Sagall, MD, president of NeedyMeds. “For local guidance presented in a way that is easy to follow, our website is a one-stop-shop.”
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, sharps that are not disposed of properly may cause injury. In order to increase awareness and minimize risk, people who use sharps are encouraged to learn more about local regulations and disposal options.
In many states and communities, people who use sharps may dispose of them by following these three simple steps:
“Some locations have different disposal regulations, which may require people in those areas to take used sharps to special collection points,” Sagall said. “SafeNeedleDisposal.org helps people learn how to get rid of used sharps safely, wherever they happen to be.”
To learn more about disposing used needles and sharps safely, visit SafeNeedleDisposal.org.SOURCE:
Heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke are among the most common causes of illness, disability and death in the United States. These chronic conditions and the factors that lead to them can be more common or severe in minorities, including Hispanics, but there are services available that can help people living with chronic conditions coordinate care services and lead to better outcomes and higher satisfaction.
Chronic Conditions More Common in Hispanics
(Family Features) Heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke are among the most common causes of illness, disability and death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These chronic conditions and the factors that lead to them can be more common or severe in minorities, including Hispanics.
For example, 4 out of 10 Hispanics die due to heart disease or cancer, and they are 50 percent more likely to die due to diabetes than Caucasians, according to the CDC.
If you are a Medicare beneficiary with two or more chronic conditions, ask your doctor about CCM and see if you’re eligible for connected care, including services such as:
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Health Resources and Service Administration introduced the “Connected Care” campaign to help raise awareness about the benefits of CCM. The campaign has free resources, including an animated video in English and Spanish that can help you learn more.
Talk to your doctor to see if CCM is available to you and visit Medicare.gov to learn more about the benefits of the program.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
To help shed light on the growing national problem with opioid drugs, Dr. W. Michael Hooten, a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist and Pain Clinic specialist, lends his expert insight on what people need to know about opioids.
(BPT) - While a decade ago you may not have heard much about opioids, today they make headlines daily. The nationwide epidemic crosses generations and socioeconomic lines, and it's affecting your family, friends and neighbors.
"Opioids have long been used clinically to treat pain, but prior to the 1990s they were primarily reserved for patients with a limited life expectancy, such as for someone with cancer or in a hospice setting," says Dr. W. Michael Hooten, a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist and Pain Clinic specialist. "The potential problems associated with long-term use were secondary considerations."
To help shed light on this growing national problem, Dr. Hooten lends his expert insight on what people need to know about opioids.
Opioids are prescribed for various reasons
Opioids are used to treat a variety of pain disorders. While they are commonly prescribed after an operation, opioids are also used to treat a host of chronic pain conditions including musculoskeletal, abdominal, pelvic, and neuropathic pain.
Length of use varies
"Following surgery, up to one in four patients may use opioids longer than anticipated," says Dr. Hooten. "How long, exactly, depends on several clinical factors."
He notes that after an operation, a patient might use opioids to manage acute pain for three to five days.
"When opioids are used for acute postoperative pain, patients should try to use the lowest possible dose." After this short time period, opioids should be replaced with non-opioid pain medicines including Tylenol scheduled to be taken every six hours."
There are alternatives for pain management
There are many alternative options for chronic pain. Dr. Hooten suggests talking with your doctor about:
* Non-opioid analgesics (non-opioid pain medications).
* Interventional treatments such as image-guided spine injections or nerve blocks. * Acupuncture.
* Low-impact exercise such as walking, yoga, Pilates. Consider working with a physical therapist to develop a structured exercise program.
* For advanced pain treatment, spinal-cord stimulation can disrupt the pain stimuli and provide sustained pain relief.
* Work with a pain psychologist who can help teach individuals how to use specialized behavioral and cognitive techniques that could lead to improvements in daily functioning and quality of life.
Opioids can be deadly if misused
"Approximately 90 people per day die in the U.S. from a prescription opioid and/or an illicit opiate overdose," says Dr. Hooten. Many of those are accidental overdoses. “People who take prescription opioids will inadvertently mix them with benzodiazepines (e.g., Valium and Xanax). Dr. Hooten warns that these two drug classes should never be taken together, as the combination can suppress the central nervous system and put the individual at risk of an accidental overdose.
Addiction can happen to anyone
As Dr. Hooten notes, “No one plans to get addicted, but it happens. Using opioids requires a high level of vigilance for the signs and symptoms of addiction."
There are many signs of over-reliance or misuse that families should be aware of. These include an increased preoccupation with the drug, concern about the timing of the next dose or refill, hiding use of the drug, and signs of intoxication like slurred speech and excessive sleep.
If you notice these warning signs, alert your loved one about your concerns. "This might be enough to prompt a change," says Dr. Hooten. "Otherwise relay this information to the prescriber and tell them what’s going on. They can take the correct next steps."
For more information on pain medication and alternatives, or to make an appointment, visit www.mayoclinic.org.
(BPT) - When Chrystal Graham of Alpharetta, Georgia was diagnosed with relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 2009, she was 27-years-old and no stranger to coping with life’s challenges. Having dealt with the loss of her mother to illness, Graham knew she could manage her way through almost any type of adversity.
“When I heard the words MS, I thought to myself, ‘there is nothing that can be given to me that I can’t handle,’” said Graham. “However, I still had moments of doubt, wondering how this could happen to me and how I was really going to confront it.”
Graham set about learning as much as she could about MS, a disease where your immune system attacks the fatty coating called the myelin sheath on nerves in the brain, spinal cord, and eye area, which causes scars to develop and prevents the nerves from communicating as they should. This communication breakdown creates a range of symptoms from mild to severe, and from temporary to permanent.
The truth is, no two people experience MS exactly the same way. Some common symptoms are problems with memory, attention, problem solving and vision; problems with balance and coordination; depression or mood swings; sexual issues; muscle stiffness and spasms (spasticity); weakness; bowel or bladder problems; pain and fatigue. Currently there is no cure for MS, people living with this overwhelming disease have it for life.
Graham admits that learning to cope with a lifelong disease can be daunting, so she focused on cultivating a reserve of inner strength to help her overcome any challenges she encountered. “I had to dig deep within myself to find the strength and grace to live with this disease,” she said. “I tend to be resilient and optimistic, and there’s a lot of strength in that, but I also find strength from my family and friends. They are my core of support, helping me get through difficult times, while cheering me on through the great times.”
Graham’s support network provides her with the encouragement to continue enjoying the same hobbies she had pre-diagnosis – writing, blogging, and doing yoga with her daughter.
As an MS LifeLines Ambassador, Graham shares her inspiring story about finding inner strength in a video gallery at MSLifeLines.com/MyStrength. Sponsored by EMD Serono and Pfizer, the video gallery showcases real stories from people with MS discussing where they find strength in their lives.
MSLifeLines provides education and support to people living with relapsing MS and offers a variety of resources for both people with MS and their caregivers. Individuals impacted by MS in any way can learn more about the disease and free resources available by visiting www.mslifelines.com or calling 1-866-783-5189.
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