Category Archives: Health

Managing Stress; Part II

 

What You Can Do 

You can manage stress by taking care of yourself while you are helping others.

 Manage Your Workload:

 • set your task priorities with realistic work plans.

• Recognize that “waiting” and “not having enough to do,”

  alternate with being “overwhelmed.”

 Balance Your Lifestyle:

 • Eat healthy foods and drink water.

• Avoid excessive caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.

• Set adequate sleep and rest.

• Get physical exercise.

• Talk to your family and friends frequently.

 Stress-Reduction Strategies:

 •Reduce physical tension frequently by methods that work for

  you. Take deep breathes, gentle stretching, meditation, wash

  face and hands, use relaxation techniques.

• Pace yourself between low and high stress activities.

• Use time off to decompress and: re-charge batteries” – get a

   good meal, read, listen to music, take a bath, and talk to

   family.

• Talk about your feelings to co-workers at appropriate times.

 Self Awareness:

• Recognize and heed early warning signs of stress.

• Accept that you may not be able to self-access problem-

  matic stress reactions.

• Recoginize that over identification with or feeling

   overwhelmed by victims’ and families’ grief and

   trauma mat signal a need for support and consultation.

• Understand the differences between professional helping

   relationships and friendships to help maintain approp-

   riate roles and boundaries

• Examine personal prejudices and cultural stereotypes.

• Recognize when your own experience with trauma or

   your own personal history interferes with effectiveness.

• Be aware of your personal vulnerabilities and emotional

   reactions and the importance of team and supervisor

   Support.

 

NMHIC/NCADI

 

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Managing Stress in an Emergency Situation; Part 1

 

Be aware of how these events can affect you personally.

SIGNS OF STRESS

Behavioral Changes:

 • Increase or decrease in activity level.

• Increased alcohol or tobacco use.

• Difficulty expressing themselves or understanding others.

• Irritability, outbursts of anger, frequent arguments.

• Inability to rest or relax.

• Decline in job performance.

• Frequent crying.

• Excessive worry.

• Becoming accident-prone.

 Physical Changes:

 • Nausea or diarrhea.

• Headaches and other pains.

• Visual disturbances.

• Weight gain or loss.

• Sweating or chills.

• Tremors or muscle twitching.

• Being easily startled.

 Psychological/Emotional Changes:

 • Feeling heroic, euphoric, or invulnerable.

• Anxiety or fear.

• Depression.

• Guilt.

• Apathy.

• Grief.

 Thinking Changes:

 • Memory problems.

• Disorientation and confusion.

• Slow thought processes; lack of concentration.

• Difficulty setting priorities or making decisions.

 Social Changes:

 • Isolation.

• Blaming.

• Difficulty in giving or accepting support or help.

• Inability to experience pleasure or have fun.

Lost Outdoors and Edible Foods

Making Tea from Pine Needles:

Spruce needles have high levels of Vitamins A and C.Gather fresh pine and spruce needles Spruce needles are sharp and slightly square completely surrounded by their twigs, and they can prick your fingers. (Follow animal tracks to water, if you’re not by a stream or river. Also follow the stream as it may help you find your way out) Crush the needles with a rock and drop into boiling water. Remove the mixture and steep for five to ten minutes.

Edible Plants for Food:

Maple trees have many edible parts including the sap which is sweet. Dandelion leaves are tasty and nutritious, the plants are ubiquitous. Acorns are abundant and are easy to gather. Blackberries, raspberries and even mulberries are easy to find in season. 

Avoid the following:

Any plants, with bitter or soapy taste and plants with mildew or fungus. Toxic flowers like foxglove, monkshood, buttercup bluebonnet and the highly toxic death camas and lupines. White berries, mushrooms, toadstools, and red plants unless you know for certain they are safe, like rhubarb. Castor been seeds found in the wild. Horse chestnuts/ buckeyes. Any plant growing in contaminated/ stagnant water. Plants with milky or off colored sap. Plants with pods that have beans, seeds or bulbs inside. Plants that smell like almonds in the stems or leaves may contain cyanide.

 Animals to Shun:

Toads, box turtles/ poisonous flesh, insects with bright colors: likely toxic and wasps: very aggressive and they love to sting.

 Animals that are Nourishing: Adult females are the best as they have good flavor and an abundance of meat. Young animals are lean. Older animals will be tough. Relatively easy to catch and a high protein content are insects. Porcupines have tasty meat and are easily killed. Birds and bird eggs, fish can be caught with a little ingenuity. Except for those under leaves, grubs are good to eat.

 Tips from the experts: Do not assume that because one part of a plant is edible, other parts are, too. Likewise, do not assume that if cooked plant matter is edible, the raw matter must be, or vice versa. Finally, note that different people may have different reactions to the same point. U S ARMY

 

Generator Safety

Please read the information below from the Consumer Product Safety Commission regarding your safety using a generator:

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Portable generators are useful when temporary or remote electric power is needed, but they also can be hazardous. The primary hazards to avoid when using a generator are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution, fire and burns.

Every year, people die in incidents related to portable generator use. Most of the incidents associated with portable generators reported to CPSC involve CO poisoning from generators used indoors or in partially-enclosed spaces.

Carbon Monoxide Hazards

When used in a confined space, generators can produce high levels of CO within minutes. When you use a portable generator, remember that you cannot see or smell CO. Even if you do not smell exhaust fumes, you may still be exposed to CO.

Danger labels are required on all portable generators manufactured or imported on or after May 14, 2007.

If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air RIGHT AWAY. DO NOT DELAY. The CO from generators can rapidly kill you.

Follow these safety tips to protect against CO poisoning.

  • NEVER use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.
  • Follow the instructions that come with your generator. Locate the unit outdoors and far from doors, windows, and vents that could allow CO to come indoors.
  • Install battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery back-up in your home, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. CO alarms should be certified to the requirements of the latest safety standards (UL 2034, IAS 6-96, or CSA 6.19.01). Test batteries monthly.

To avoid CO poisoning when using generators:

  • Never run generators indoors, including garages, basements, crawlspaces and sheds.
  • Get to fresh air right away if you start to feel dizzy or weak.

Electrical Hazards

  • Generators pose a risk of shock and electrocution, especially if they are operated in wet conditions. If you must use a generator when it is wet outside, protect the generator from moisture to help avoid the shock/electrocution hazard, but do so without operating the generator indoors or near openings to any building that can be occupied in order to help avoid the CO hazard. Operate the generator under an open, canopy-like structure on a dry surface where water cannot reach it or puddle or drain under it. Dry your hands, if wet, before touching the generator.
  • Connect appliances to the generator using heavy-duty extension cords that are specifically designed for outdoor use. Make sure the wattage rating for each cord exceeds the total wattage of all appliances connected to it. Use extension cords that are long enough to allow the generator to be placed outdoors and far away from windows, doors and vents to the home or to other structures that could be occupied. Check that the entire length of each cord is free of cuts or tears and that the plug has all three prongs. Protect the cord from getting pinched or crushed if it passes through a window or doorway.
  • NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet, a practice known as “backfeeding.” This is extremely dangerous and presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household circuit protection devices.

Fire Hazards

  • Never store fuel for your generator in the home. Gasoline, propane, kerosene, and other flammable liquids should be stored outside of living areas in properly-labeled, non-glass safety containers. Do not store them near a fuel-burning appliance, such as a natural gas water heater in a garage.
  • Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool down. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/portgen.html

Please review FEMA’s emergency planning regarding installation & use of a generator:

What You Can Do

Protecting your business from disasters caused by natural hazards can involve a variety of actions, from inspecting and maintaining your buildings to installing protective devices. Most of these actions, especially those that affect the structure of your buildings or their utility systems, should be carried out by qualified maintenance staff or professional contractors licensed to work in your state, county, or city. One example of disaster protection is installing a generator to provide electricity during power outages.

Install a Generator for Emergency Power

Power outages are commonplace during disasters, and they may last for several days. As a result, even businesses that are not severely damaged can suffer losses because of the interruption of normal operations or the loss of perishable stock. You can reduce these losses and speed the recovery process by installing an emergency generator. First, determine which systems and equipment are essential to the continued operation of your business. They may include one or more of the following:

  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
  • Industrial equipment and major appliances, such as refrigerators and freezers
  • Lights (interior and exterior), computers, and other office equipment
  • Pumps, including sump pumps, sprinkler system pumps, and well water pumps
  • Alarm systems

Once you have identified the essential systems and equipment, determine how much power they require. Then check with a generator sales representative regarding the appropriate size and type of generator. The sales representative can also help you select other components of the emergency power system, including the main transfer switch and the electrical panel.

Tips

Keep these points in mind when you select and install a generator:

  • Protect your generator and its fuel tank from flooding and high winds. In flood hazard areas, mount the generator and tank securely on concrete platforms, above the expected flood level. Install the generator and tank inside or next to a building or protective structure to shield them from wind and windborne debris. Electrical and fuel supply lines must also be protected. And remember that your generator must be accessible for maintenance and that exhaust gases must be routed to the outside if the generator is installed in an enclosed area.
  • Some systems and equipment may have to operate continuously (refrigerators for example), while others may be needed only during normal business hours (such as office equipment).
  • You will need more power to restart systems and equipment when the power fails than to continue operating them after startup. The generator you choose must be able to meet both of these needs. (You can minimize the power requirements for startup by starting individual systems and equipment in sequence rather than all at once.)
  • Before you buy a generator, ask your utility company if it has regulations that govern the use of emergency power equipment. Also, the installation of the generator and all wiring, switches, and other electrical components must meet the requirements of your local electrical code.
  • Be sure to maintain an adequate supply of fuel. Your sales representative should be able to tell you the generator’s rate of fuel consumption at various power output levels.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for routine maintenance of your generator.

Estimated Cost

The cost of a generator will depend on the types and amount of equipment and systems that need to be powered, the requirements of local codes and utility companies, the type of generator you choose and its specifications (amperage, voltage).

Source: http://www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/howto/how20

Helping Children Cope with Loss

Children are resilient by nature, and within supportive family and community systems they successfully negotiate all types of challenging situations. However, we all experience circumstances in our lives that are more complex than others, situations when we could use some additional support and resources to help us through the difficult times. The following are suggestions to help children going through experiences grief, loss, and/or transition.

 

Children do about as well as the grown-ups in their lives. Therefore, the first and most important factor is to consistently take care of yourself (on all levels) so you may serve as a role model, and truly be available to your shild9ren0 during the difficult times. Both you and your children should:

  • · Get plenty of rest;
  • · Eat regular, nutritious meals;
  • · Drink water, water, and more water;
  • · Exercise, play, and have fun together regularly;
  • · Surround yourself with good friends, good music, and good stories;
  • · Regularly do things that are fun, healthy, relaxing and pleasurable;
  • · Draw from your faith, traditions, and culture;
  • · Limit your exposure to “bad news”- turn OFF the TV;
  • · Keep routines, but remain flexible as different needs arise;
  • · Focus on what you can do- things within your control- and take care of them;
  • · Keep your sense of humor…

 

Honestly and directly address concerns of children. Do you want them to get the information from overheard telephone conversations, from the media, or from other kids on the playground? You are the greatest resource:

  • · Listen.   Listen.   Listen some more.
  • · Answer the questions they ask, even the difficult ones.
  • · Never lie to a child.
  • · Go at their pace and use language that they will understand.
  • · Offer multiple ways for them to express their experience. Talking, drawing, music, movement, play, interacting with peers, time spent with friends, family, and pets as well as “alone time” are all models of healing.
  • · Physical activities help them relieve stress. For children, Play = healing.
  • · Children of different ages and development stages will respond differently. Expect and accept a wide range of common reactions.
  • · Bedtime, school time, and other times of separation may be difficult. Make a plan together to best address these situations.
  • · Routines can be especially stabilizing, yet be open to necessary changes in responsibilities during times of transition.
  • · Reassure and actively show them they are loved and that they will be taken care of. Physical contact is often comforting to a child.
  • · If it is not too big for you, it will not be too big for them.

Flu Prevention Tips

Wash your hands often. This will help protect you and others against germs. When soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based disposable hand wash or gel sanitizers.

 When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve, not your hands.

 Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

 If you are sick, stay home and away from other people as much as possible, to protect them from getting sick as well; get plenty odf rest and check with your doctor.

 Get an annual flu shot.

Pandemic Preparedness

Here are 15 simple points gathered from the nation’s leading sources on pandemic preparedness:

1 — Cover your cough – If you have to cough, show some manners, and consideration for the health of others… You may already be ill and not know it. Think about others, too. Are your co-workers coughing? Have them cover their mouths. If you want to be really safe, prepare your workplace with masks. Many do not understand the difference in masks, but it is really quite simple: N95 and other “rated” and form fitting masks are to protect the well from inhaling airborne pathogens. Procedural masks (like what a surgeon wears) are for the ill, to help them cover their mouths and noses to avoid expelling pathogens towards the well.  (Avoid new “miracle masks” claiming unheard of protection and germ-killing properties… If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.)

2 — Wash your hands frequently – Cooties! Think about all the things you touch every day. Think about how many others touch them and breathe on them. Are they ill? Now… think about how often you touch your face. Try counting for 5-10 minutes… you would be surprised. Wash your hands. Hot soap and water are great. Hand sanitizers are handy when hot water is not available. Other great options are benzalkonium chloride (BZK) wipes — those nice clean towelettes — that are so handy to have around. Benzalkonium chloride solutions are rapidly acting biocidal (capable of destroying living organisms) agents with a moderately long duration of action. They are active against bacteria and some viruses, fungi, and protozoa. Pass them around to co-workers, stash them in your pocket, wallet, purse, glove box, lunch box, briefcase, wherever.

3 — If you think you have been exposed – You do not need to stay home yet, but monitor your symptoms, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth – germs spread this way.

4 — If you have a fever, stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever has ended.

5 — Get a vaccine when it becomes available – Rest assured that the regulatory procedures in place for the licensing of pandemic vaccines, including procedures for expediting regulatory approval, are rigorous and do not compromise safety or quality controls.

6 — Wipe it, sanitize it, keep it clean – Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk, for example, and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands. Wipe it down. Provide your staff or cleaning crew with germicidal disinfecting solutions for cleaning desks, phones, common areas, etc (with gloves or other appropriated personal protective equipment donned, first, of course).

7 — Keep a special eye on expecting mothers – Pregnant women are known to be at higher risk for seasonal influenza complications. Recent studies show they might also be at higher risk for novel H1N1 influenza complications.

8 — Is it safe to eat pork and pork products? – Yes. Influenza A(H1N1) has not been shown to be transmissible to people through eating properly handled and prepared pork (pig meat) or other products derived from pigs. The influenza A(H1N1) virus is killed by cooking temperatures of 160°F/70°C, corresponding to the general guidance for the preparation of pork and other meat.6

9 — If you think you are sick – You probably will not be able to tell the difference between seasonal flu and influenza A(H1N1) without medical help. Typical symptoms to watch for are similar to seasonal viruses and include fever, cough, headache, body aches, sore throat and runny nose. Only your medical practitioner and local health authority can confirm a case of influenza A(H1N1).

10 — Treatment – If you feel unwell, have high fever, cough or sore throat:

  • stay at home and keep away from work, school or crowds;
  • rest and take plenty of fluids;
  • cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing and, if using tissues, make sure you dispose of them carefully;
  • clean your hands immediately after with soap and water or cleanse them with an alcohol-based hand rub;
  • if you do not have a tissue close by when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth as much as possible with the crook of your elbow;
  • use a mask to help you contain the spread of droplets when you are around others, but be sure to do so correctly;
  • inform family and friends about your illness and try to avoid contact with other people;
  • if possible, contact a health professional before traveling to a health facility to discuss whether a medical examination is necessary.

11 — Don’t panic – According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this H1N1 pandemic is currently of “moderate” severity, with the overwhelming majority of patients recovering, even without medical treatment, within a week of the onset of symptoms.

12 — Isolation – While it may be difficult to enforce sick leave or isolation of an employee you suspect has either be exposed to H1N1, or may have contracted H1N1, try to get the employee to voluntarily separate or isolate themselves.

13 — Antiviral drugs – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu ®) or zanamivir (brand name Relenza ®) for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses. These are prescription drugs, so consult your physician.

14 — Educate – As an employer, you should provide written guidance (email, etc.) on novel influenza A (H1N1) flu appropriate for the language and literacy levels of everyone in the workplace. As an individual, teach your family, friends and co-workers these simple points.

15 — Don’t be fooled – Retailers and manufacturers prey on a fearful public. As noted in point one, “If it sounds too good to be true…” check out the fraudulent product listings at the FDA.

Make wise decisions, study your environment, and PREPARE. Pandemic flu exposure can be easily minimized.

Flu Terms Defined

Seasonal (or common) flu is a respiratory illness that can be transmitted person to person. Most people have some immunity, and a vaccine is available.

Novel H1N1 flu is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. This new virus was first detected in the U.S. in April 2009, and has spread to many countries around the world.

Bird flu is commonly used to refer to Avian flu (see below). Bird flu viruses infect birds, including chickens, other poultry and wild birds such as ducks.

Avian flu (AI) is caused by influenza viruses that occur naturally among wild birds. Low pathogenic AI is common in birds and causes few problems. Highly pathogenic H5N1 is deadly to domestic fowl, can be transmitted from birds to humans, and is deadly to humans. There is virtually no human immunity and human vaccine availability is very limited.

Pandemic flu is virulent human flu that causes a global outbreak, or pandemic, of serious illness. Because there is little natural immunity, the disease can spread easily from person to person.