(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.
As a parent, you want to be sure your child gets the best and safest care. Anesthesia’s effect on the developing brain is being researched continually, and you’ll be comforted to know that anesthesia provided during one brief surgery is considered safe by the experts at the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA).
(BPT) - When surgery is necessary, anesthesia ensures your child can safely receive life-saving or corrective treatment while managing the pain and discomfort of the procedure. Anesthesia’s effect on the developing brain is being researched continually, and you’ll be comforted to know that anesthesia provided during one brief surgery is considered safe by the experts at the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA).
“Parents should rest assured that surgery is only recommended when necessary and your child will be monitored during every minute of the procedure to ensure the safest and most effective care,” said Linda Mason, M.D., ASA president-elect and a pediatric physician anesthesiologist. “In an effort to continually improve anesthesia, physician anesthesiologists have been at the forefront of research on the effects of anesthesia on children — and adults — and continue to study this important issue.”
As a parent, you want to be sure your child gets the best and safest care. To that end, ASA offers the following guidance:
1. Don’t delay or avoid surgery: Work closely with your child’s surgeon and other physicians to determine if surgery is the right choice. In most cases, delaying or avoiding surgery may mean the child does not receive much-needed care. For example, if your child’s doctor recommends placing tubes to drain fluid in the ears and prevent ongoing infection, not doing the procedure increases the risk of delayed speech and language development, which can affect social and academic success.
2. Talk to the physician anesthesiologist: Highly trained to ensure safe, high-quality care, the physician anesthesiologist will monitor your child through the entire surgery so he or she stays warm, gets enough oxygen, has stable blood pressure and receives necessary fluids. Depending on the location and type of surgery, your child may have more than one anesthesia option. Be sure to ask the physician anesthesiologist about those options as well as any other questions you have, such as:
* How can I ensure my child has a successful surgery?
* How can I help my child prepare?
* Is anesthesia safe for my child?
3. Rest assured that limited exposure is considered safe: Experts note that a single, relatively short exposure to anesthesia and surgery is unlikely to have negative effects on behavior or learning. And most common surgeries in children require anesthesia for less than two hours. Research continues regarding the use of anesthesia in repeated or longer surgeries. But parents should be confident that physicians are aware of the concerns and will only recommend a surgery or procedure if necessary.
“ASA is committed to advancing research regarding this issue and its physician scientist members are active in cutting-edge research both in the laboratory and at the patient’s bedside,” said Dr. Mason. “Through the SmartTots program, ASA partners with the International Anesthesia Research Society and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to support funding to investigate the safety of anesthesia for infants and young children.”
Learn about preparing your child for surgery and questions to ask about anesthesia safety for your young child at asahq.org/kidschecklist. Additionally, download ASA’s companion coloring book for children who are about to undergo anesthesia and surgery.
The American Society of Anesthesiologists
Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 52,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.
For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at asahq.org. To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit asahq.org/WhenSecondsCount. Like ASA on Facebook; follow ASALifeline on Twitter.
While all of us have experienced the dull pain of a headache and some know the recurrent pulse and throbbing of migraine, few people can understand the severity of pain associated with cluster headache, also known as “suicide headache.”
(BPT) - While all of us have experienced the dull pain of a headache and some know the recurrent pulse and throbbing of migraine, few people can understand the severity of pain associated with cluster headache, also known as “suicide headache.”
What is cluster headache?
Cluster headache is an extremely painful primary headache disorder characterized by recurring unilateral attacks, or attacks that occur on one side of the head. It is called “cluster” headache because headaches typically occur in bouts (or “clusters”) for 6 to 12 weeks, often at the same time each year or day, and are more frequent at night. It begins as sharp pain centered at the eye, temple or forehead, and can be as brief as 15 minutes or as long as several hours. Attacks can strike up to 8 times a day.
The condition, which affects about one to two people in every 1,000, predominantly occurs in males, with symptoms typically manifesting by the age of 30. Those at greater risk of cluster headache include heavy smokers and individuals with a family history of the condition.
“Cluster headache is one of the most painful conditions an individual can experience, known for being potentially more excruciating and debilitating than migraine,” said Stephen Silberstein, M.D., from the Jefferson Headache Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “Sadly, patients diagnosed with cluster headache commit suicide twenty times more than the national average as the pain can be described as unbearable.”
Diagnosis and treatment
Unfortunately, diagnosis of cluster headache may be delayed significantly due to patients and physicians mistaking the end of a bout for resolution of a separate, standalone condition.
Historically, even after the proper diagnosis is made, there have been very few viable therapies for cluster headache, making prevention and treatment strategies a challenge. While the exact cause of cluster headache is unknown, it is typically treated with injectable sumatriptan, a combination of oxygen and various drugs and/or nerve blocks. These methods are associated with barriers to use including a myriad of pharmaceutical side effects. Not surprisingly, 79 percent of patients have been dissatisfied with available treatment options.
Today, patients now have a novel treatment option called gammaCore®(nVNS). gammaCore, the first non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation therapy applied at the neck for the acute treatment of pain associated with migraine and episodic cluster headaches in adult patients, offers a way to treat symptoms without many of the side effects and dose limitations observed with commonly prescribed treatments or the need for invasive and costly procedures. Patients prescribed gammaCore can have reliable access to treatment for up to four cluster attacks per day for 30 days.
“gammaCore has shifted the paradigm by allowing patients to self-administer non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation therapy for acute treatment of cluster headache, resulting in the reduction of pain,” notes Dr. Silberstein. “gammaCore’s efficacy and safety profiles, along with its self-administered mode of delivery, have the potential to not only reduce the side-effect burden associated with other medications but also bring much needed relief to patients.”
For more information on cluster headache and treatment with gammaCore (non-invasive vagus nerve stimulator), please visit http://gammacore.com/.
Important Safety Information
gammaCore (non-invasive vagus nerve stimulator) is indicated for the acute treatment of pain associated with episodic cluster headache and migraine in adult patients.
gammaCore is available by prescription only. U.S. Federal Law restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a licensed healthcare provider.
 *Survey conducted in October 2016 to assess the impressions and perspectives on current treatments and interest in new acute treatment options. A total of 291 subjects participated in the survey, with 177 of them suffering from episodic cluster headaches and 111 suffering from chronic cluster headaches, and 3 patients refrained from answering this question.
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.
Whether you’re planning outdoor fun for your backyard, a local park or the open wilderness, portable generators can take your outdoor recreation and summer fun to the next level, but their exhaust fumes can pose serious risks. So before you head out to enjoy a fun summer day, make sure you’re ready to protect your family from the potential dangers associated with portable generator use with these tips.
Protect Your Family During Summer Fun
(Family Features) Summer is the perfect time for outdoor recreational activities, from ballpark tailgates and camping trips to backyard barbecues or simply hosting a party outside. Portable generators can be used to make these activities even more enjoyable, but their exhaust fumes can pose serious risks. So before you head out to enjoy a fun summer day, make sure you’re ready to protect your family from the potential dangers associated with portable generator use.
Whether you’re planning outdoor fun for your backyard, a local park or the open wilderness, portable generators can take your outdoor recreation and summer fun to the next level. Portable generators make it possible to cook, use a cooling fan, play festive music, power a karaoke machine or even light up a string of twinkling lights to help set the stage for a great time.
“Some of our most beloved summer traditions can be even more enjoyable with electricity from a portable generator, but there are some notable risks,” said Susan Orenga, representative for the Portable Generator Manufacturers’ Association (PGMA). “Proper handling and taking the appropriate safety precautions can help ensure that users fully appreciate the benefits of portable power.”
The most serious risk comes from exhaust fumes containing carbon monoxide, a gas you cannot smell, see or taste. Excess exposure can have fatal consequences for both people and animals.
This summer, portable generators will be used for a variety of applications, providing a convenient, flexible energy source that is easily transportable. Taking proper safety precautions will help ensure you can enjoy the many benefits and capabilities of portable generator use without putting yourself or others in danger.
Before you use a portable generator to power up your summer activities, keep these safety tips from PGMA top of mind:
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
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