Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Share a cab. Share your food. Share joy! But don't share medications.

Sharing medications, even over-the-counter medications like aspirin,can be a prescription for disaster.
Side effects and drug interactions:
It has become common practice for family and friends to share medications. The medication prescribed for you or other family members may cause serious problems for others with bad side effects such as severe allergic reactions and unhealthy interactions with another prescription medication that is being taken. In fact, sharing one medication may decrease the effectiveness of another medication. The medication you share may work with other prescriptions to double the potency and cause a reaction similar to an overdose. Even herbal and dietary supplements can do this.
Not all symptoms are alike:
You may think the symptoms your friend is suffering are the same as yours, but he or she may have a very different medical problem. By sharing your medication, you may be delaying his or her trip to a doctor, and may even contribute to the worsening of a medical condition. Sharing medication with someone is like diagnosing and treating him or her. You wouldn’t expect your doctor to come to you workplace and do your job without the appropriate any training, so don't try to diagnose and treat your friends.
Unique responses:
We are unique and so are our reactions to medications. You have heard the statement,"I can take that medication and not be the least bit drowsy, but my sister falls asleep two minutes after swallowing it." Our body chemistry, composition, and how fast our liver works to clear medications out of our system are evidence of our differences, and those factors play a role in medication use. So just because a medication works for you does not mean it will work the same for someone else.
Medications, particularly those that have a narcotic component, may be habit-forming and may pose a severe risk to safe driving. Side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion have a direct impact on the focus,concentration, and stamina needed for for a variety of day-to-day tasks.

As we stated before, even though you may not have an adverse reaction to the medication, someone else may. Thus, sharing a medication with another person who may have a different reaction to the medication can cause serious public safety concerns. It's improper, unsafe, and potentially illegal to share any prescriptions with other people. Doctor prescribed medications are strong, even some antibiotics can cause serious reactions. Your good intentions may cause dangerous results to health and safety while on or off the road-especially if the person you share with is unaware of how the medication will affect them. In addition, sharing a controlled substance is illegal and could result in legal problems for you.
Photo Credit
Finally - if your medicine cabinet looks like this -  it may be a good idea to always leave the light on when giving or taking medicines to prevent a mix up.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sledding Safety

With fresh snow this morning - my daughter is wishing for another snow day so she can go sledding with friends.

This winter ritual has been celebrated for generations. Anywhere there's snow and a hillside, you can find people sledding. You probably went sledding as a kid, and you'll want to share this fun activity with your kids.

But sledding can also cause injuries, some of them pretty serious. To keep your kids safe while sledding, make sure they follow these safety tips.
  • Choose the Right Sledding Hill
  • Dress for Cold Temperatures
  • Get the Right Kind of Sled
  • Have Some Simple Safety Rules
For specific tips go to the Kids Health web-site.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Snowblower Safety


Each year, hundreds of people suffer maiming or amputations of their fingers or hands due to the improper handling of snowblowers. The American Society for Surgery of the Hand would like to provide you with patient information to help you avoid these injuries during the winter season.

Injury Profile
Average age: 44 years
Sex: Male
Dominant hand — 90% of injuries
Amputations of tips of fingers
Middle finger most commonly injured

Common Weather Conditions
Heavy, wet snow
Large snow accumulation, greater than six inches
Temperature: 28 degrees Fahrenheit or greater
Injury Causes

Snow clogging the exit chute of the machine
Not noticing that the impeller blades are still rotating even though the machine is off
Operator attempts to clean the clogged exit chute with hands
Hands connect with the rotating blades, resulting in severe injury
Snowblowers are safe if used properly.

Remember — if your snowblower jams:
Turn it OFF!
Disengage clutch.
Wait five seconds after shutting machine off to allow impeller blades to stop rotating.
ALWAYS use a stick or broom handle to clear impacted snow.
NEVER put your hand down chute or around blades.
Keep all shields in place. DO NOT REMOVE the safety devices on the machine.
Keep hands and feet away from all moving parts.
Keep a clear head, concentrate, and
DO NOT DRINK before using your snowblower!

Copyright © American Society for Surgery of the Hand 2009.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

January Traffic Fatalities See Increase

Traffic fatalities in Nebraska by the end of January, were at their highest level in the last five years with twenty-four fatalities occurring in twenty crashes. There are several reasons for the increase according to Cindy Houlden, Safety Education and Research Manager at The Nebraska Safety Center in Kearney, but the major reason was the lack of seatbelt usage combined with local road conditions. Twenty-one of the twenty-three vehicle occupants killed were not using safety belts.

According to statistics provided by the Highway Safety Section of the Nebraska Department of Roads, only one fatality occurred on the Interstate. Sixteen happened on non-Interstate highways, and seven took place on local roads. Twenty-one of the fatalities occurred in rural locations. Reduced traffic and familiarity with local roads should make rural highways safer, however, it can often contribute to the problem by making people complacent, even when the weather is dangerous. “Drivers need to be diligent, “said Houlden. “ Just because you drive the same stretch of highway day after day commuting to work or for other reasons, that does not guarantee a safe trip every time.”

  • Nine of the fatal crashes were head-on collisions.
  • Seven of the fatal crashes were single vehicle run-off-road accidents.
  • One of the fatal crashes was a collision with a train.
  • One fatality was a pedestrian.


January – 2013


% CHANGE v. 2013
+ 9.1
+ 242.9
+ 200.0
+ 71.4
2009-2012 Avg.
+ 84.6
  • Check often for current weather reports through local media sources before you travel.
  • Drive for conditions – slower speeds, slower acceleration.
  • Use your headlights.
  • Do not use cruise control on wet or icy roads.
  • Four-wheel and all-wheel vehicles do not stop or steer better on ice.
  • Leave extra room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Most importantly - make sure everyone in a motor vehicle wears a seat belt and children are in a car safety seat.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Return of Winter Weather

Yesterday's 60 degree tempartures will soon give way as another blast of winter enters the MidWest.

The Nebraska Safety Center reminds you to protect yourself and your passengers by allowing extra time to reach your destination during inclement weather.
  • Drive for conditions – slower speeds, slower acceleration.
  • Use your headlights.
  • Do not use cruise control.
  • Four-wheel and all-wheel vehicles do not stop or steer better on ice.
  • Leave extra room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. And remember, the larger the vehicle, the longer the stopping distance.
  • Slow down when approaching intersections, offramps, bridges, or shady spots.
  • If you find yourself behind a snowplow, stay behind it until it is safe to pass. Remember that a snowplow driver has a limited field of vision. Stay back (15 car lengths) until you’re sure it is safe to pass or until the plow pulls off the road.
  • On multi-lane roadways, snow plows often need to clear the center, throwing snow, ice and slush into nearby lanes. If approaching an on-coming snow plow, slow down and give the plow a little extra room.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Safe Home

You can't remove all the safety hazards from your life, but you can reduce them. You can avoid major hazards and prepare for emergencies by taking the following steps:
  • Keep emergency phone numbers by your telephones.
  • Make a first aid kit for your home.
  • Make a family emergency plan.
  • Install and maintain smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Keep guns unloaded and locked up. Lock up the ammunition separately.
  • Follow the directions carefully when using tools or equipment.
Young children are especially at risk. Supervision is the best way to keep them safe. Childproofing the house can also help.

Have a SAFE weekend!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cold and Flu Prevention

It appears that the recent seasonal influenza outbreak has peeked, however that does not mean the risk is over.

Germs travel fast during February. The cold weather generates colds and the flu in countless individuals we encounter on a daily basis. Talk with colleagues, staff members, students, family members, and/or friends about collaborative actions to keep work, school, and home environments germ free. Emphasizing the importance of washing your hands and keeping floors and hand rails clean are vital ways to prevent the spread of germs.

To keep your family healthy and safe this flu season, it's important to know all you can about the flu. As Grandma (and Ben Franklin) used to say an ounce of Prevention is worth a pound of cure.

The seasonal flu viruses are transmitted through tiny amounts of mucus released when you talk, sneeze or cough. You can prevent the spread of both flu viruses by developing these healthy habits:
  • Wash your hands. Several times a day, wash your hands with soap and water, especially before eating. If you don't have sink access, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough. If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue and then throw the tissue away. If you don't have a tissue andy, cough into your elbow.
  • Stay home. If you get sick, plan on staying home for four days, or until the fever has been gone for 24 hours without the aid of fever-reducing medication.
  • Get vaccinated. "Vaccination is the best way to prevent seasonal flu." To find flu vaccination clinics near you, contact your local or state health department.
More information is available from the Center for Disease Control.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day Safety

So what does Valentine's Day have to do with Safety? Safety behaviors decrease the likelihood we will suffer a potentially life altering injury.

Below are tips from the CDC to make this Valentine's Day and every day after safe.

Be safe
Gear up. Are you considering a new, potentially risky, or unsafe activity? Be sure to use appropriate safety gear, including seat belts, life vests, and helmets to help prevent injury.

Watch the sparks. If you decide to cook a romantic dinner, light some candles, or have a cozy fire, don’t leave them unattended.

Be aware. Women are more likely to be victims of sexual violence, including intimate partner violence, than men. Risk factors such as drinking alcohol and using drugs are associated with a greater likelihood of violence.

Injury and Violence
Fire Deaths and Injuries
Intimate Partner Violence Prevention
Sexual Violence Prevention
Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter Weather

Friday, February 8, 2013

Outdoor Burn Safety

The Groundhog says early spring so it is time to think about outdoor burn safety.

Fire and burn injuries do not take a vacation. We all need to work together to provide a safe environment any time we enjoy activities we normally associate with being outdoors.The pleasure of family reunions, picnics, traveling, sunbathing, boating, can come to a sudden end unless we remain aware and protect ourselves against fire and burn injuries that can happen during these special occasions.

Death and injuries resulting from outdoor hazards can occur in many ways and it is difficult to identify national statistics for all of them. Don’t become a statistic yourself.
  • Fireworks and resulting fires injure more than 10,000 Americans. More than half of these injuries occur during the first week of July. Even legal fireworks can be very dangerous.
  • The National Fire Data Center estimated in 1998 that outside cooking grills caused 6,000 fires, 170 injuries, 5 fatalities and $35 million in property loss. Gas grills alone caused 2,700 fires, 80 injuries, and $11 million dollars in damage. Most gas grill fires and explosions were caused by gas leaks, blocked tubes, and overfilled propane tanks.
  • Lightning is one of nature’s most deadly forces. Every year 1,200 people are injured and up to 100 are killed by lightning strikes.
Outdoor recreational and camping burn and fire injuries do not single out any particular age group, gender, or nationality. Since outdoor activities are so varied anyone can get injured.

For more information on how to make your outdoor activities burn free visit the American Burn Association web-site.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Gasoline Safety

February 3-9, 2013 is National Burn Awareness Week

Accidents with gasoline are a major cause of thermal burns in the U.S. It has been reported that gasoline-related burns account for 13,000 – 15,000 ED visits per year. Based on 1993-1998 data from the National Fire Protection Association, gasoline-related incidents account for:
  • Over 140,000 fires, including 120,000 in vehicles (most of them unoccupied, fortunately).
  • Over 6,000 residential fires.
  • About 500 deaths.
  • Thousands of hospital emergency room visits.Nearly $500 million in direct property damage costs from gasoline-related fires. 
To prevent gasoline related fires caused by misuse and careless handling of gasoline, remember:
  • Gasoline’s only purpose is to fuel engines
  • Storing gasoline in the house is dangerous
  • Handle, store and transport gasoline safely
  • Wash off or flush gasoline quickly if skin or eyes are exposed to gasoline
  • For flame injuries, follow first aid guidelines.
For more information visit The American Burn Association.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fire and Burn Safety for Older Adults

February 3-9, 2013 is National Burn Awareness Week

Older adults experience more life-threatening fire and burn injuries than any other age group. More then 1,200 Americans over 65 years of age die each year as a result of fire. Adults between 65 and 75 have twice the death rate of the national average, while those between 75 and 85 have 3 times the rate. Above 85, the rate is even higher.The senior adult population has slowed to enjoy life during their retirement. However, a slower pace, and use of assistive devices make getting away from fire, difficult and dangerous.

Older adults have specific challenges that put them at greater risk for scald injury. Changes in eyesight, mobility and decreased sensation can make them vulnerable to the hazards involved in cooking and bathing. Ordinary cooking activities can be especially dangerous for older adults. Place rubber mats on the kitchen floor to prevent slipping, use oven mitts, not pads, and be aware of the weight of pots and pans…..are they manageable for the older adult to lift safely?

During Burn Awareness Week - February 3- 9, the American Burn Association, your local fire Department, and the Nebraska Safety Center would like to remind you take this opportunity to reduce the injury risks older adults face everyday in hazardous areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Electrical Safety

February 3-9, 2013 is National Burn Awareness Week

Do you know that electricity can injure someone you love? Over 4,000 Americans suffer serious electrical burn injuries every year, and thousands more are injured in fires started by electricity.

Check your lamp and appliance plugs and cords to make sure they are not loose or frayed, be sure your house wiring and your electric circuits are safe and strong enough to handle the demands your appliances place on them.

More information is available at The American Burn Association web-site or

Monday, February 4, 2013

Scalds - A Burning Issue

February 3-9, 2013 is National Burn Awareness Week

Annually in the United States and Canada, over 500,000 people receive medical treatment for
burn injuries.

Most burns occur in the home, usually in the kitchen or bathroom. Roughly have of these injuries are scalds.

Scald injuries affect all ages. Young children and the elderly are most vulnerable.
Scalds can be prevented through increased awareness of scald hazards and by making simple
environmental or behavioral changes. These include: providing a “kid-safe” zone while preparing and serving hot foods and beverages and lowering the water heater thermostat to deliver water at a temperature not to exceed 120 degrees.

For more information visit the American Burn Association web-site.

Friday, February 1, 2013

National Wear Red Day!

February 1, 2013 is National Wear Red Day!

About the movement

Cardiovascular disease is the number on killer of American women each year, yet women do not pay attention. In fact, many dismiss it as an “older man's disease.”

Other common myths according to the American Heart Association:

Myth: Heart disease is for men, and cancer is the real threat for women

Fact: Heart disease is a killer that strikes more women than men, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. While one in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, heart disease claims the lives of one in three. That’s roughly one death each minute.

Myth: Heart disease is for old people

Fact: Heart disease affects women of all ages.  For younger women, the combination of birth control pills and smoking boosts heart disease risks by 20 percent. And while the risks do increase with age, things like overeating and a sedentary lifestyle can cause plaque to accumulate and lead to clogged arteries later in life. But even if you lead a completely healthy lifestyle, being born with an underlying heart condition can be a risk factor.

Myth: Heart disease doesn’t affect women who are fit

Fact: Even if you’re a yoga-loving, marathon-running workout fiend, your risk for heart disease isn’t completely eliminated. Factors like cholesterol, eating habits and smoking can counterbalance your other healthy habits. You can be thin and have high cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends you start getting your cholesterol checked at age 20, or earlier, if your family has a history of heart disease. And while you’re at it, be sure to keep an eye on your blood pressure at your next check-up.

Myth: I don’t have any symptoms

Fact: Sixty-four percent of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms. Because these symptoms vary greatly between men and women, they’re often misunderstood. Media has conditioned us to believe that the telltale sign of a heart attack is extreme chest pain. But in reality, women are somewhat more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. Other symptoms women should look out for are dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen and extreme fatigue.

Myth: Heart disease runs in my family, so there’s nothing I can do about it

Fact: Although women with a family history of heart disease are at higher risk, there’s plenty you can do to dramatically reduce it. Simply create an action plan to keep your heart healthy.
Because of healthy choices and knowing the signs, more than 627,000 of women have been saved from heart disease, and 330 fewer are dying per day. What’s stopping you from taking action?

To dispel these myths, the American Heart Association, along with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute created National Wear Red Day® to raise awareness of this critical issue. Each year, on the first Friday in February, millions of women and men come together to wear red, take action and commit to fighting this deadly disease.

Since the first National Wear Red Day 10 years ago, tremendous strides have been made in the fight against heart disease in women, including:
  • 21% fewer women dying from heart disease
  • 23% more women aware that it's their No. 1 health threat
  • Publishing of gender-specific results, established differences in symptoms and responses to medications and women-specific guidelines for prevention and treatment
  • Legislation to help end gender disparities
But the fight is far from over as still hundreds of thousands of women still die each year. It's time to stand stronger, speak louder and join us in the fight this National Wear Red Day.

It's time to Go Red. Join us.