Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Continuing to Help Prevent the FLU!

Even though the H1N1 Flu has pretty much declined here, there still remains a risk of catching the flu if you don’t take proper precautions.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze (proper cough etiquette).
• If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
• Put your used tissue in the waste basket.
• Clean your hands after coughing or sneezing.
• Wash with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. If you develop a high fever and other moderate respiratory symptoms (cough, chest pain, difficulty breathing, significant muscle aches) please come into your clinic. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
Keeping healthy is no accident. Do your part to keep yourself and your family, friends, and coworkers from getting sick!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dealing with Extreme Summer Heat

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers these tips for dealing with the extreme summer heat we have here in Morongo Basin. A few minutes reading this article can save your life or the lives of those around you!

What happens to the body as a result of exposure to extreme heat?
People suffer heat-related illness when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating just isn’t enough. In such cases, a person’s body temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs. Several factors affect the body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather. When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly. Other conditions that can limit the ability to regulate temperature include old age, youth (age 0-4), obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug use and alcohol use.

Who is at greatest risk for heat-related illness?
Those at greatest risk for heat-related illness include infants and children up to four years of age, people 65 years of age and older, people who are overweight, and people who are ill or on certain medications.

What is heat stroke?
Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.

What are the warning signs of a heat stroke?
Warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include the following:

• An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
• Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
• Rapid, strong pulse
• Throbbing headache
• Dizziness
• Nausea
• Confusion
• Unconsciousness

What should I do if I see someone with any of the warning signs of heat stroke?
If you see any of these signs, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency. Have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the victim. Do the following:
• Get the victim to a shady area.
• Cool the victim rapidly, using whatever methods you can. For example, immerse the victim in a tub of cool water; place the person in a cool shower; spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose; sponge the person with cool water; or if the humidity is low, wrap the victim in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously.
• Monitor body temperature and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102°F.
• If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.
• Do not give the victim alcohol to drink.
• Get medical assistance as soon as possible.

Don’t be afraid to dial 911 if you think the person needs immediate medical care! Minutes count and hesitating to call for help can endanger a person’s life. Stay cool and stay safe!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hospital Laboratory Awarded AABB Accreditation

The Laboratory Department of the Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital was recently awarded accreditation by the AABB (formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks).

The accreditation process includes an intensive on-site assessment by specialists from the AABB to ensure the Lab meets or exceeds the technical and administrative performance requirements to be accredited.

“The hospital staff welcomes external inspections to continue our high standard of excellent patient care,” said Lieutenant Adrian Gaskin, the hospital’s Laboratory Officer.

The AABB’s Accreditation Program contributes to the quality and safety of collecting, processing, testing, distributing and administering blood products. The Accreditation Program assesses the quality and operational systems in place within a facility. The basis for assessment is to be in compliance with AABB standards, Code of Federal Regulations, and other regulatory standards.

“ Our Laboratory Department and staff have established a level of technical and administrative performance meeting and exceeding the standards set forth by AABB. By successfully meeting these requirements, the Laboratory staff joins similar civilian and military facilities located throughout the United States and around the world that have also earned an AABB Accreditation,” said Gaskin.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dealing with Stress

Stressful events can profoundly influence drug, alcohol, and tobacco use initiation, continuation, as well as relapse.
Stress - What is it?
Stress is a normal reaction to life for people of all ages. It is caused by our body's instinct to protect itself from emotional or physical pressure or, in extreme situations, from danger.
What is stressful for one person may or may not be stressful for another. Each of us responds to stress in a different way. How a person copes with stress – by reaching for a beer or cigarette or by heading to the gym – also plays an important role in the impact that stress will have on our bodies.
By using family and friends, some people are able to cope effectively with the emotional and physical demands brought on by stressful and traumatic experiences. However, people who experience long periods of stress that disrupt their daily lives may need help by a trained and experienced mental health professional.
The Body's Response to Stress
The stress response involves the central nervous system, the adrenal system, the immune system, and the cardiovascular system.
Stress releases a brain chemical norepinephrine, which is involved with memory. This may be why people remember stressful events more clearly than they do non-stressful situations.
Stress and Drug Abuse
Stressful events may influence the use of alcohol or other drugs. Stress is a major contributor to the use of alcohol or other drugs, as well as to relapse or a return to drug use after periods of abstinence.
Stress is one of the major factors known to cause relapse to smoking, even after prolonged periods of abstinence.
Children exposed to severe stress may be more vulnerable to drug use. There is a strong link between psychosocial stressors early in life (such as parental loss or child abuse) and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, impulsive behavior, and substance abuse in adulthood.
Stress, Drugs, and Vulnerable Populations
Stressful experiences increase the vulnerability of an individual to relapse to drugs even after prolonged abstinence.
Individuals who are drug free must stay drug free by avoiding environmental triggers, recognizing their psychosocial and emotional triggers, and developing healthy behaviors to handle life's stresses.
PTSD and Substance Abuse
There is a very strong link between PTSD and substance abuse. In most cases, substance use begins after the exposure to trauma.
Getting help early for children and adolescents who have suffered trauma from violence or disaster is very important. Children, who are exposed to a traumatic event and develop PTSD, have a greater risk of developing later drug and/or alcohol use.
Thirty to 60 percent of people with substance use disorders, also have PTSD.
If you think you may have a substance abuse problem or that you need to learn better ways to cope with the stress in your life, here are some places to get help:
MENTAL HEALTH SELF-REFERRAL – for urgent mental health self-referral, TRICARE members may call 1(800) 242-6788.

PREVENTION EDUCATION SERVICES - Classes in Prevention Education include Suicide Prevention, Stress Management, Substance Abuse Prevention, Anger Management, Communication Skills, Sexual Assault Prevention, Child Abuse Prevention, Domestic Violence, Positive Parental Discipline and Pre-Deployment & Reunion Briefs. For information call 830-4950.

STRESS MANAGEMENT - The Health Promotions Program offers counseling for stress reduction and coping skills development by appointment only. To register call 830-2814.