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01/Sep/2017

CDC Safe Clean Up from Harvey

From CDC:

Highlights

  • Stay away from damaged buildings or structures that have not been examined and certified by an inspector.
  • Wear hard hats, goggles, heavy work gloves, and watertight boots with steel toe and insole cleanup work.
  • Carbon monoxide can cause illness and death.
  • Remove and discard items that cannot be washed and disinfected.
  • Never turn power on or off or use an electric tool or appliance while standing in water.

Reentering Buildings

  • Stay away from damaged buildings or structures until they have been examined and certified as safe by a building inspector or other government authority. You may want to wait to return to buildings during daylight hours, when it is easier to avoid hazards, particularly if the electricity is off and you have no lights.
  • Leave immediately if you hear shifting or unusual noises that signal that the structure may fall or if you smell gas or suspect a leak. If you smell gas, notify emergency authorities and do not turn on the lights, light matches, smoke, or do anything that could cause a spark. Do not return to the house until you are told it is safe to do so.
  • Keep children and pets out of the affected area until cleanup has been completed.

General Safety Measures

  • Have at least two fire extinguishers, each with a UL rating of at least 10A, at every cleanup job.
  • Wear hard hats, goggles, heavy work gloves, and watertight boots with steel toe and insole (not just steel shank) for cleanup work.
  • Wear earplugs or protective headphones to reduce risk from equipment noise.
  • Use teams of two or more people to move bulky objects. Avoid lifting any material that weighs more than 50 pounds (per person).
  • When using a chain saw, operate the saw according to the manufacturer’s instructions, wear appropriate protective equipment, avoid contact with power lines, be sure that bystanders are at a safe distance, and take extra care in cutting trees or branches that have gotten bent or caught under another object. Use extreme caution to avoid electrical shock when using an electric chain saw. For tips on safely operating a chain saw, see Preventing Chain Saw Injuries During Tree Removal After a Disaster.
  • If there has been a backflow of sewage into your house, wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles during cleanup of the affected area.
  • In hot weather, try to stay cool by staying in air-conditioned buildings, taking breaks in shaded areas or in cool rooms, drinking water and nonalcoholic fluids often, and wearing light and loose-fitting clothing. Do outdoor activities during cooler hours. For more information on protecting yourself against heat-related illness, see the CDC Extreme Heat Web site.

Carbon Monoxide Exposure

  • Never use generators, pressure washers, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, basement, garage, or camper—or even outside near an open window, door, or vent. Carbon monoxide—an odorless, colorless gas from these sources that can cause sudden illness and death—can build up indoors and poison the people and animals inside.

For more information, see Carbon Monoxide Poisoning After a Disaster.

Mold and Cleanup

  • Remove and discard items that cannot be washed and disinfected (such as mattresses, carpeting, carpet padding, rugs, upholstered furniture, cosmetics, stuffed animals, baby toys, pillows, foam-rubber items, books, wall coverings, and paper products).
  • Remove and discard drywall and insulation that has been contaminated with sewage or flood waters.
  • Thoroughly clean all hard surfaces (such as flooring, concrete, molding, wood and metal furniture, countertops, appliances, sinks, and other plumbing fixtures) with hot water and laundry or dish detergent.

See Mold After a Disaster and the CDC Flood Web site for further guidance on safely reentering flooded homes, cleaning up flood or storm water, worker safety issues, and mold cleanup issues.

Electrical Issues

  • If electrical circuits and electrical equipment have gotten wet or are in or near water, turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel. If you must enter standing water to access the main power switch, then call an electrician to turn it off.
  • Never turn power on or off or use an electric tool or appliance while standing in water.
  • Do not connect generators to your home’s electrical circuits without the approved, automatic-interrupt devices. If a generator is on line when electrical service is restored, it can become a major fire hazard and it may endanger line workers helping to restore power in your area.

For more information, see Protect Yourself and Others from Electrical Hazards After a Disaster.

Hazardous Materials Issues

  • Call the fire department to inspect or remove chemicals, propane tanks, and other dangerous materials.
  • Wear protective clothing and gear (for example, a respirator if needed) when handling hazardous materials.
  • Wash skin that may have come in contact with hazardous materials.
  • Wear insulated gloves and use caution if you have to remove a car battery. Avoid any acid that may have leaked from a car battery.

For information about possible dangers posed by chemicals, see the Chemical Emergencies page. For information about possible dangers posed by pollution from large farms and agricultural facilities, see the CDC Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) website.

Hygiene and Infectious Disease Issues

  • After completing the cleanup, wash with soap and water. If there is a boil-water advisory in effect, use water that has been boiled for 1 minute (allow the water to cool before washing). Or you may use water that has been disinfected for personal hygiene use (solution of 1/8 teaspoon of household bleach per 1 gallon of water). Let it stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy, use a solution of 1/4 teaspoon of household bleach per 1 gallon of water.
  • If you have any open cuts or sores that were exposed to floodwater, wash them with soap and water and apply an antibiotic ointment to discourage infection.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you become injured or ill.
  • Wash all clothes worn during the cleanup in hot water and detergent. These clothes should be washed separately from uncontaminated clothes and linens.

For more tips on washing your hands, see Clean Hands Save Lives: Emergency Situations.

Water Issues

  • If the building is flooded, the waters may contain fecal material from overflowing sewage systems and agricultural and industrial waste. Although skin contact with floodwater does not, by itself, pose a serious health risk, there is risk of disease from eating or drinking anything contaminated with floodwater.
  • If you have any open cuts or sores that will be exposed to floodwater, keep them as clean as possible by washing them with soap and applying an antibiotic ointment to discourage infection. (See also Clean Hands Save Lives: Emergency Situations .)
  • To reduce cold–related risks when standing or working in water which is cooler than 75 degrees F (24 degrees C), wear insulated clothes and insulated rubber boots, take frequent breaks out of the water, and change into dry clothing when possible.

See also Food, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Information for Use Before and After a Disaster or Emergency and Reentering Your Flooded Home.

Monitor your radio or television for up-to-date emergency information.

More at CDC >


26/Aug/2017

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Huffington Post
By Sarah Elizabeth Richards
August 24, 2017

On March 31, 2013, the Chinese health ministry quietly notified the World Heath Organization of three mysterious deaths. After developing coughing and sneezing symptoms, the victims’  lungs had filled with fluid, and they died gasping for air. The only thing they had in common was being around live chickens. One victim worked at a poultry market, and the other two recently had shopped at one.

Tests revealed what global health officials had feared for decades: There was a new form of avian influenza. “This strain usually caused mild symptoms like redness of the eyes or low-grade respiratory problems in humans,” said Daniel Jernigan, head of the influenza division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “ We knew it was different and much more severe when it killed three people.”

More than four years later, the virus has spread across southern China and sickened nearly  1,560 people, nearly 40 percent of whom have died. In May, the CDC ranked the influenza strain H7N9 the highest possible threat for viruses at risk of causing a worldwide pandemic ― just a year shy of the 100th anniversary of the Spanish flu outbreak that claimed nearly 50 million lives in 1918.

Although reports of new infections stopped in March, health officials are worried about the virus changing into a form that’s easily transmitted between humans. A new paper published this summer forecast the virus being three mutations away from such a reality.

Read full article >>


14/Aug/2017

FUNGAL AWARENESS WEEK Facebook

August 14–18, 2017, is the first Fungal Disease Awareness Week. CDC and partners have organized this week to highlight the importance of recognizing serious fungal diseases early enough in the course of a patient’s illness to provide life-saving treatment.

Some fungal diseases go undiagnosed and cause serious infections in people in the United States and around the world, leading to illness and death. Increased awareness about fungal diseases is one of the most important ways we can improve early recognition and reduce delays in diagnosis and treatment. A key clue to when a sick person may have a fungal infection is that he or she is being treated with medications for other types of infection but does not get better.

We encourage healthcare providers and their patients to “Think Fungus” when symptoms of infection do not get better with treatment.

Join us in sharing information to increase awareness in your community about fungal diseases. The quicker doctors can diagnose the right illness, the quicker a patient can be treated the right way.

Types of fungal diseases >>


07/Aug/2017

Drought is a natural phenomenon in which rainfall is lower than average for an extended period of time. Periods of drought can result in inadequate water supply and can lead to public health problems. Take action and learn how drought can impact your health and the health of your family.

CDC-Drought-10in

Overview

Cycles of drought have affected North America for the last 10,000 years. Droughts can last from a single season to many decades and can affect from a few hundred to millions of square miles.

Drought can affect areas or communities differently depending on several additional variables. These variables include:

  • the structure and capacity of existing water systems,
  • local governance of water use,
  • economic development,
  • the at-risk populations living within the affected area, and
  • other societal factors, such as the presence of local social networks.

Severe drought conditions can negatively affect air quality. During drought, there is an increased risk for wildfires and dust storms. Particulate matter suspended in the air from these events can irritate the bronchial passages and lungs. This can make chronic respiratory illnesses worse and increase the risk for respiratory infections like bronchitis and pneumonia.

Public Health Implications

The health implications of drought are numerous and far reaching. Some drought-related health effects are experienced in the short-term and can be directly observed and measured. However, the slow rise or chronic nature of drought can result in longer term, indirect health implications that are not always easy to anticipate or monitor.

The possible public health implications of drought include:

  • compromised quantity and quality of drinking water;
  • increased recreational risks;
  • effects on air quality;
  • diminished living conditions related to energy, air quality, and sanitation and hygiene;
  • compromised food and nutrition; and
  • increased incidence of illness and disease.

MORE INFORMATION ON DROUGHT AND YOUR HEALTH FROM CDC >>


02/Aug/2017

From the CDC:

Use Insect Repellent

Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the active ingredients below. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

CDC-insect-repellent-ingredients-GRAPHIC

*See EPA’s search tool here.

Tips for Everyone

  • Always follow the product label instructions.
  • Reapply insect repellent as directed.
    • Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
    • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.

Tips for Babies & Children

  • Always follow instructions when applying insect repellent to children.
  • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.
  • Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
    • Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
  • Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under 3 years old.

Natural insect repellents (repellents not registered with EPA)

  • We do not know the effectiveness of non-EPA registered insect repellents, including some natural repellents.
  • To protect yourself against diseases spread by mosquitoes, CDC and EPA recommend using an EPA-registered insect repellent.
  • Choosing an EPA-registered repellent ensures the EPA has evaluated the product for effectiveness.
  • Visit the EPA website to learn more.

Protect your baby or child

  • Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.
  • Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.

More tips from the CDC >>


01/Aug/2017

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Skipping or delaying vaccinations can harm your health—and maybe your grades

If you’re a college student—or soon to be one—making sure you’re fully vaccinated is critically important, especially if you’ll be living in a dorm or other shared space. That’s because large groups of people in close proximity provide the ideal conditions for spreading diseases, including those that are vaccine-preventable.

“Vaccines can keep students from contracting serious illnesses and keep them from missing classes,” says Sarah Van Orman, M.D., the head of university health services at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Keep in mind that your school’s vaccination requirements may not be enough to protect you. Many universities—especially public institutions—follow their state’s requirements, which may not include the full list of vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Bacterial Meningitis
  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis
  • HPV
  • Flu

READ FULL ARTICLE >>


28/Jul/2017

CDC World Hepatitis Day

FROM THE CDC:

Eliminate Hepatitis. For World Hepatitis Day, learn more about the different types of viral hepatitis that impact millions worldwide and what is being done to help eliminate hepatitis.

Viral hepatitis — a group of infectious diseases known as hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E — affects millions of people worldwide, causing both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) liver disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) data show an estimated 325 million people worldwide are living with chronic hepatitis B or chronic hepatitis C. Viral hepatitis caused 1.34 million deaths in 2015, a number comparable to deaths caused by tuberculosis and HIV combined. While deaths from tuberculosis and HIV have been declining, deaths from hepatitis are increasing.

World Hepatitis Day is July 28 th and is an opportunity to learn the global burden of this disease, CDC’s efforts to combat viral hepatitis around the world, and actions individuals can take.

What is CDC doing to help combat hepatitis globally?

Eliminate Hepatitis

The vision of CDC is to eliminate viral hepatitis in the United States and globally. When resources permit, CDC collaborates with WHO and other partners to help countries experiencing high rates of infection prevent and control viral hepatitis. Activities include improving viral hepatitis surveillance and planning and evaluating programs that can expand access to prevention interventions, clinical care, and treatments that can potentially cure millions of infections.

To decrease the burden of hepatitis B infection, CDC provides financial and technical assistance to the WHO and countries’ immunization programs like those in the Solomon Islands, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Pacific Islands, Lao, and Haiti by:

  • Implementing innovative interventions to increase hepatitis B vaccine coverage at birth.
  • Documenting the burden of hepatitis B in children.
  • Supporting countries in verifying the achievement of hepatitis B control and elimination goals.

To decrease the burden of all viral hepatitis types, CDC assists WHO in developing policies for surveillance, testing, and treatment and helps China, Georgia, Pakistan, Vietnam, and other countries develop national programs to implement these policies.

CDC’s international work helps reduce the disease burden for travelers and people migrating to the United States, while identifying best practices that may serve as models for other countries, including the United States.

What are the different types of hepatitis viruses occurring around the world?

The five hepatitis viruses – A, B, C, D and E – are distinct; they can have different modes of transmission, affect different populations, and result in different health outcomes.

  • Hepatitis A is primarily spread when someone ingests the virus from contact with food, drinks, or objects contaminated by feces from an infected person or has close personal contact with someone who is infected. Hepatitis A does not cause chronic liver disease and is rarely fatal, but it can cause serious symptoms. Hepatitis A can be prevented through improved sanitation, food safety, and vaccination.
  • Hepatitis B is often spread during birth from an infected mother to her baby. Infection can also occur through contact with blood and other body fluids through injection drug use, unsterile medical equipment, and sexual contact. Hepatitis B is most common in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, but is also high in the Amazon region of South America, the southern parts of eastern and central Europe, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. The hepatitis B virus can cause both acute and chronic infection, ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, chronic illness. If infected at birth or during early childhood, people are more likely to develop a chronic infection, which can lead to liver cirrhosis or even liver cancer. Getting the hepatitis B vaccine is the most effective way to prevent hepatitis B. WHO recommends that all infants receive the hepatitis B vaccine as soon as possible after birth, followed by 2-3 additional doses. In many parts of the world, widespread infant vaccination programs have led to dramatic declines of new hepatitis B cases.
  • Hepatitis C is spread through contact with blood of an infected person. Infection can occur through injection drug use and unsafe medical injections and other medical procedures. Mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis C is also possible. Hepatitis C can cause both acute and chronic infections, but most people who get infected develop a chronic infection. A significant number of those who are chronically infected will develop liver cirrhosis or liver cancer. With new treatments, over 90% of people with hepatitis C can be cured within 2-3 months, reducing the risk of death from liver cancer and cirrhosis. The first step for people living with hepatitis C to benefit from treatments is to get tested and linked to care. There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C but research in this area is ongoing.
  • Hepatitis D is passed through contact with infected blood. Hepatitis D only occurs in people who are already infected with the hepatitis B virus. People who are not already infected with hepatitis B can prevent hepatitis D by getting vaccinated against hepatitis B.
  • Hepatitis E is spread mainly through contaminated drinking water. Hepatitis E usually clears in 4-6 weeks so there is no specific treatment. However, pregnant women infected with hepatitis E are at considerable risk of mortality from this infection. Hepatitis E is found worldwide, but the number of infections is highest in East and South Asia. Improved sanitation and food safety can help prevent new cases of hepatitis E. A vaccine to prevent hepatitis E has been developed and is licensed in China, but is not yet available elsewhere.

Do you need to be vaccinated and/or tested for hepatitis?

CDC is continuing to lay the foundation for the elimination of viral hepatitis as a public health threat, both domestically and abroad. Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C are the most common types of viral hepatitis in the United States. To see if you need to be tested and/or vaccinated for hepatitis A, B, or C, take CDC’s online Hepatitis Risk Assessment, which is based on CDC recommendations for the United States.

MORE FROM CDC ON HEPATITIS >


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