- Sudden numbness, paralysis, or weakness in face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
- Abrupt vision changes.
- Slurred speech, drooling, or feeling confused.
- A severe headache that feels different from normal headaches and comes on quickly.
- High blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglycerides, diabetes, obesity. These are conditions that should be monitored often. Salt intake should be limited.
- Risky behaviors, such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, or physical inactivity.
- Heredity also plays a role in the risk of stroke.
- First, the sun: most of us spend more time outdoors during summer months. Exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer, especially for those who have fair skin and freckles. Be sure to wear sunscreen with a high SPF, and apply it often. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- Heat: You need to gradually become used to being in the heat, especially those who must work outdoors. Drink lots of water or sports drinks, and stay hydrated. Take breaks as often as possible.
- Another heat issue: summer athletics. This is the time of year when baseball and other sports are taking place. Those who are working out for football are also exposed to conditions they are not used to. Be sure that your summer athlete stays hydrated and is allowed to take breaks.
- Fireworks: even sparklers can cause burns. Don’t allow children to use fireworks unattended. The best idea would be to watch a fireworks display and let the professionals handle it.
- Water: many boating and swimming accidents happen because of alcohol or drugs.
- Summer is a high-risk time for child drownings, the 2nd leading cause of unintentional deaths in children ages 1-14. Remember, no one watches your child as closely as you. A child can drown in 20-30 seconds. Don’t be distracted by cell phone calls or reading a magazine while supervising young swimmers.
- The driver of a boat should be as responsible as when he/she is driving a car. Be sure all children wear life jackets in a boat, and adults should wear them, as well, to set the example for the kids. Swimmers should not go out alone, but use the “buddy system.”
- ATV’s: Those who are not licensed to drive a car or under age 16 should not operate off-road vehicles. It’s safer to not carry a passenger, and always wear eye protection and reflective clothing.
- Camping: always tell somewhere where you plan to camp. Take along insect repellant, a first-aid kit, cell phone, and plenty of water.
- Picnics: keep cold foods cold. Avoid dairy products; mayonnaise spoils quickly. Throw out foods that are left out for more than one hour. Remember: “if in doubt, throw it out!”
- Traveling: if you are driving, watch for motorcycle and bicycle riders. They are entitled to their place on the road, too. If you are on a motorcycle or bike, watch for cars, and don’t get too close.
- Traveling, again: if you are traveling by plane or ship, be sure to wash your hands frequently and have hand sanitizer with you. You are exposed to more “bugs” when you travel and you don’t want to take them home with you.
- Weather: always be aware of approaching changes in the weather. Pay attention to forecasts, and find a safe place to retreat if the need arises.
- Pets: your pets are family members, too. Be sure they have plenty of fresh water throughout the day, and a shady place if they are outside. Never leave an animal in a car. It only takes a short time for them to be overcome by heat.
- It goes without saying: never leave children in a car!
- Turn the cell phone off. Your messages will be on it when you arrive safely at your destination. (In your heart, you know it’s the right thing to do!)
- Visit with your passengers without looking at them. (They can still hear you.)
- Don’t eat while driving, and of course, don’t drink alcohol while driving (it’s against the law!),
- Put your make up on before you leave the house.
- Do your reading at home, work, or the library!
- Set your entertainment or navigation systems before you start.
- Strap in the kids and hope for the best.
- Does your family have an evacuation plan in case of fire?
- Do you know how to use a fire extinguisher?
- Do you know how to extinguish a fire on the stove or oven?
- Have you ever left your house with the washer or dryer running?
- Do you leave candles unattended?
- Do you unplug appliances such as toasters, coffee makers, waffle irons, after using them?
- Do your stairs have ample lighting at top and bottom to prevent falls?
- Are there hazards in your house that might injure a child?
- Have you installed electric plug outlets, locks on medicines, and door latches?
- Are emergency numbers such as fire department, police, etc. posted in easy-to-find places?
- Do you have an emergency supply kit that will provide water, non-perishable foods, flashlight, medications, safety kit, etc. in case of a natural disaster?
- Is your water heater set for 120° F or less?
- Do you check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly?
- Do you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors?
- When you leave for a period of time, do you make arrangements with friends, family, or neighbors to pick up your mail, papers, etc., in order to not tempt burglars?
- Have you done a check of an elderly friend or parent’s home to make sure there are no fall hazards, and that they have an alert device if they live alone?
- Do you use non-slip mats in the bathtub or shower?
- Do you constantly supervise children in or near water, such as bathtubs or pools?
- The NIOSH Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program identifies and studies work-related injury deaths, with the goal of identifying effective prevention measures.
- Through on-site investigations, NIOSH and cooperating states collect detailed circumstances for select incident types, including deaths of Hispanic workers since 2002.
- Targeted research programs focused on the construction and agricultural sectors, both of which employ a disproportionate share of immigrant workers.
- An occupational health disparities program, which is conducting research on the causes and prevention of occupational health disparities including those experienced by immigrant workers.
- A Spanish language website and translation of several NIOSH publications into Spanish.
- An innovative information and communication effort with the Spanish-language television network Telemundo and other partners, in which construction safety messages were incorporated dramatically into a widely watched prime-time series, and supplemented with a public service announcement and a special website.
Many parts of the United States have had more than their share of heavy rain this spring. Residents of Nashville, Tennessee, are still cleaning up after the devastating storm that hit their city and surrounding area, May 1st through May 2nd.
On June 11, a flash flood killed twenty campers and injured more in the Albert Pike Recreation Area, in Arkansas. Located in a secluded valley where the Caddo and Little Missouri Rivers meet, heavy rains caused the waters to rise 8’ per hour. By the time most of the people realized what was happening, it was too late for many to escape. Forecasters had issued a flash flood warning for that vicinity; however, there was little chance of any type of cell phone or other method of communication in this remote location that could have warned them.
June 14th brought 10” of rain to parts of Oklahoma City, and several counties in Oklahoma. Several persons were rescued from vehicles when rains swept them off the road. A cab driver was drowned while trying to push his stalled cab out of floodwaters. Officials said the car was in two feet of water; however, the current was so swift, it swept him away. Many roads and bridges are heavily damaged and will take months to return to service.
Having known someone who was rescued after being stranded in their car during heavy rains, their first-hand advice, of course, is to try to get to high ground. It was raining so hard during their experience it was difficult to know exactly where they were. By the time the rescue team arrived, water was well inside their car, and they had to be taken out through the windows of the car. A physician who was trapped in his vehicle in the recent Oklahoma City incident, reported that he was advised to roll down the windows because once the water got high enough to short out the electrical system, he would not be able to do so. Events such as this remind us that sometimes things really are out of our control.
We want to repeat some earlier guidelines to protect those involved in flood clean-up:
- Take precaution from insect and mosquito bites.
- Extreme caution should be used with possible chemical and electric hazards; the fire or police department are better equipped to decide what should be done.
- Also wear rubber or plastic gloves, boots, and other protective clothing to guard from contact with floodwater.
- Be sure tetanus shot is current (within 10 years).
- Maintain good hygiene during cleanup operations, wash hands with soap and running water as often as possible during the day.
- Do not allow children to play in floodwaters, or with toys that have been in floodwaters.
- Wear eyewear and head protection. Sunscreen needs to be worn, as well.
These safety items, such as disposable clothes, respirators, goggles, gloves, and insect repellents can aid in protecting those who are involved in this or any other clean up operations. Take precautionary measures, not chances on becoming ill.
This summer, everyone will be outside working in their yards. Young people mow lawns to earn a little spending money while out of school. But did you know that in 1990, of the 87,000 people injured by lawnmowers, 20,000 were under 25 and 10,000 of those were younger than 15 years old.
Many injuries can be avoided by taking the proper precautions:
1. Wear safety glasses or goggles to protect the eyes against debris
2. Wear ear plugs or ear muffs to protect your hearing
3. Wear steel core or Kevlar gloves if you have to change the blades or remove anything clogging the mower after the blades have stopped moving and the machine is turned off. For more protection, pull the spark plug wire off so that the mower cannot unexpectedly start
4. Wear a respirator to keep the air you breathe while mowing clear of debris and dust
These products are readily available to you for your safety. Be prepared and be safe this summer.