(BPT) - In the winter, we tend to be in closer quarters indoors and constantly around friends and family. It is important to be conscious of infectious diseases, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which are spreading rapidly among public places like gyms and schools. MRSA prevention should continue at home, especially for groups at higher risk, like student athletes.
Taking simple measures at home and on-the-go can help you to protect and safeguard your health, environment and family from dangerous bacteria and viruses, including MRSA, this season. Clorox teamed up with Jeanine Thomas, MRSA survivor and founder of MRSA Survivors Network; former NFL player Brandon Noble, who has been personally affected by MRSA; and Saskia v. Popescu, hospital epidemiologist and infection preventionist, to share the following expert tips:
1. Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds — the time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice — or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. “Winter is a prime season for stomach bugs and diarrheal illness, so it’s important to stay vigilant with hand hygiene,” said Popescu. Be extra cautious in public settings like gyms, locker rooms, households and schools, where these viruses are increasingly spreading.
2. Keep to yourself and do not share personal items, such as towels or razors, which contact bare skin. MRSA is easily spread by skin-to-skin contact or touching contaminated items or surfaces. It is also resistant to many antibiotics, making it difficult to treat.
3. Act fast and take care of cuts and open wounds by covering them up with a clean, dry bandage until healed. Seek a medical professional if the wound worsens or doesn’t heal quickly. “When I contracted MRSA, it changed my life. I had no idea such a disease existed and would pose as a threat to my career, health and overall well-being,” said Noble.
4. Use a barrier, such as a towel or clothing, between skin and shared equipment at the gym. MRSA prevention should continue at home, especially for groups at higher risk like student athletes, as MRSA bacteria can remain on surfaces after someone touches them, making it possible for someone else to pick them up.
5. Regularly clean countertops and other surfaces in your home. “Keeping your germs at bay in the kitchen is easy,” said Thomas. “Just mix 1/2 cup bleach with one gallon of water, wipe surfaces and leave solution on for 5 minutes and then rinse.” The CDC recommends disinfecting surfaces which are likely to contact skin with an EPA-registered disinfectant, like Clorox Regular Bleach with Cloromax.
MRSA is one common superbug that can be potentially deadly. Caused by a type of staph bacteria often found on the skin and in the nose, MRSA is easily spread by skin-to-skin contact or touching contaminated items or surfaces. It is also resistant to many antibiotics, making it difficult to treat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are 72,444 infections and 9,194 MRSA-related deaths each year in the U.S alone.
“In 2000, I had ankle surgery and ended up infected with the antibiotic-resistant bacteria MRSA. The infection spread to my bone marrow and bloodstream and required many surgeries and rehabilitation,” said Thomas. “Since then I have been dedicated to advocating for patients and families to help inform them and bring awareness of the disease and prevention measures to the general public.”
“I wish I had known the simple ways to prevent the spread of this disease, like I do now, as that could have made all the difference,” said Noble. As germs and illnesses spread quickly, especially in close-proximity areas, taking proactive steps to prevent common viruses and bacteria from spreading in the home, at schools and in locker rooms is more important than ever. Learn more on how to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria, such as MRSA, at Clorox.com.
(BPT) - Technology has influenced virtually every aspect of our lives. Arguably one of the biggest areas of change is in health care. From advanced surgical tools to early disease testing, every day new technology emerges in an effort to help people stay healthy and live longer. Wearable technology now puts information directly in the hands of the patient, helping people do everything from tracking steps to counting calories. Now, smartphone apps are getting even smarter, allowing physicians, patients and their loved ones if they choose, in-depth access to important health information in just a few finger taps.
Those in the diabetes community are embracing this new mobile technology enthusiastically to better manage their condition. Keeping a written logbook can be time-consuming, confusing and frustrating for patients. Now, critical diabetes information is easier to manage and understand with the Accu-Chek Connect(R) Diabetes Management System.
With test results automatically sent from the Accu-Chek Aviva Connect meter to an app on your smartphone and an online portal, people with diabetes are able to log, view and share data anytime, anywhere, without ever writing in a logbook. Thus, never worrying about forgetting to bring this information to their physicians for important visits. Rarely do we forget our phones. They can be lifelines in more ways than one.
“The Accu-Chek Aviva Connect helps to create a sense of confidence for the person who is trying to self-manage their condition,” says Dr. David Robertson, MD of Atlanta Diabetes Associates. “It can help demystify diabetes and bring a sense of order to a very complex condition that is a constant burden to patients.”
The system allows users to have text results sent automatically, plus you can attach meal photos, view trends and even use the app’s insulin calculator. Considering 91 percent of adults keep their smartphones within arm’s reach, it’s simple to track important information quickly and efficiently.
Beyond patient empowerment, technology like this better facilitates the patient-doctor relationship. Because the system loads all information into an online portal stored in the cloud, it can be accessed at any time by the physician if the patient chooses. This means a snapshot of the bigger picture is always available, whether in-person at an appointment or while the patient is on the other side of the world.
What’s more, the doctor can activate an insulin calculator in the app, the Accu-Chek Bolus Advisor, which makes it simple for patients to calculate how much insulin is needed at each meal. That means patients can enjoy their meals without worrying about the math.
“Perhaps no community is better suited for this type of advanced technology than the diabetes community,” says Dr. Robertson.
“Knowledge is power. This detailed information is incredibly helpful to physicians so we can spot trends and make informed decisions along with the patient. Technology here is the tool to success.”
Learn more about how technology is transforming the diabetes community by visiting accu-chek.com/connect. Accu-Chek Connect is available at Walgreens, Rite Aid and select Kroger locations.
5 steps for senior safety and emergency-preparedness
(BPT) - June is National Safety Month - an appropriate time to assess your personal safety and plan ahead for emergencies. This is especially important for those living on their own and looking for ways to maintain their independence. A few simple tips and safety measures will help give peace of mind that you've taken necessary precautions to prepare for unexpected incidents.
Safe-proof your home
Heightening your safety starts with making sure living spaces are secure. Proper lighting in all rooms and walkways is essential. Remove any tripping hazards such as rugs, clutter and cords. Staircases, steps and bathtubs should have non-slip surfaces, and every floor needs functioning smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
For many, friends and family don't live close by, so it's a good idea to form a relationship with your neighbors so you can rely on them for quick help in times of need. Be sure to exchange phone numbers, and if you're comfortable, spare keys.
Live with a lifeline
Having a cell phone as your lifeline in case of an emergency is a good idea. Consider TracFone, which has a variety of phones and airtime service plan options that can fit your lifestyle and help you save.
Check out new devices like the TracFone LG Rebel LTE and ZTE Citrine that offer easy-to-navigate screen displays so you can easily reach loved ones and emergency services at the tap of a finger.
TracFone now offers a new 30-day smartphone-only plan with talk, text and data for just $15 a month on the largest 4G LTE networks. And, with reliable nationwide coverage, you can be assured calls won't drop in an emergency situation. Visit www.TracFoneSwitch.com to learn more about affordable, no-contract plans.
Feel good about first aid
Even a basic understanding of first aid can go a long way. Seniors living alone should consider taking a course to familiarize themselves with the essential know-hows in the event they get injured or hurt.
In addition, label and keep all prescription bottles in one location. Using color-coded rings and weekly pill organizers reduces confusion about appropriate dosages for various medications. In the case of any emergency, have the poison control number posted and saved on your speed dial.
It's a simple tip, but an important one: always wear your seat belt and make sure your passengers do, too. Pack an emergency roadside kit with a cell phone and car charger, first aid, flares, jumper cables, basic repair tools and a blanket. Stay alert while driving and avoid risky behaviors like distracted driving or speeding.
These simple safety tips will help you prepare for unanticipated emergency situations, not only during National Safety Month but all year long. Taking control of your safety and security will give you and your family peace of mind to enjoy all the fun life has to offer with less stress and worry.
(BPT) - A stuffy nose. Scratchy throat. Difficulty breathing. It's bad enough when spring allergy season reaps its ugly head, but when the things in your home trigger your asthma and allergies too, you feel like you're in an endless battle to feel healthy.
"Many household goods are hidden sources of asthma and allergy triggers," says Dr. Cary Sennett, President and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. "Fortunately, you can breathe easier by shopping smarter. By keeping a few tips in mind, you'll be able to select products that reduce the likelihood of flares or attacks."
Dr. Sennett and the experts at AAFA offer these shopping tips to limit asthma and allergy triggers in your home.
1. Look for the asthma & allergy friendly mark.
By being selective in what you purchase, you can dramatically impact asthma and allergy triggers in your home. The first step when shopping is to look for AAFA's asthma & allergy friendly Certification Mark. This strict scientifically-based program was created 10 years ago to test products from cleaning supplies to toys and more to ensure they're suitable for families with asthma or allergies. Feel confident when you look for the mark in stores or online. For a full list of products and where to find them, visit www.aafa.org/certified.
2. Avoid trouble cleaning product ingredients.
Removing allergens in the home requires regular cleaning, but oftentimes the cleaning products themselves can trigger asthma and allergy attacks. It's best to avoid products with strong odors. If you must use strong cleaning products, try wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth.
3. Buy breathable bedding to sleep well.
You spend one-third of your time in the bedroom, so it's important to purchase products that won't trigger your allergies or asthma. Look for bedding where the outer fabric is an effective allergen barrier, plus it can easily be cleaned to remove allergen accumulation. Additionally, bedding must be breathable to ensure comfort and contain no chemicals known to trigger asthma and allergy symptoms.
4. Research air cleaners and humidifiers that boost air quality.
Good indoor air quality is vital for families living with allergies and asthma. First, look for the asthma & allergy friendly Certification Mark. For humidifiers, look for options that maintain appropriate moisture levels while sanitizing the water. For air cleaners, look for independent testing that proves the device reduces allergens from the air by removal and not just redistribution.
5. Use a high-quality vacuum regularly.
Vacuuming once a week is important for reducing allergens, but if you don't get a good vacuum you may simply be redistributing those irritants throughout your house. A certified vacuum will have a high quality air filtration system that captures even microscopic particles. Furthermore, the vacuum should not release irritants when you have to change the bag, either.
6. Gift toys that inspire smiles rather than cause sniffles.
For children, a favorite teddy should provide comfort, not sniffles and sneezes. Unfortunately, doctors often recommend removing stuffed toys from children with asthma and allergies. Because stuffed toys are similar to filled bedding products, they can house dust mites and other allergens as well as contain dyes that could irritate a child's sensitivities. Look for toys that earn the certification.
This means that the toy can easily be cleaned to remove allergen accumulation, contains no chemicals known to trigger allergies or allergens, plus the colors will not bleed from rubbing or saliva.
For more smart shopping tips, including what to look for in washers, dryers, paint and more, download the AAFA Certified Products Guide at www.aafa.org/certified.
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