Flu Prevention Tips and Links

This article is a simple overview of the influenza viruses often called the flu.  I’ve also included links to articles that go into greater depth about flu related topics.

First, what is the flu?  It’s a severe respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses.  It’s important to note that the flu is caused by a virus.  A common misperception is that flu can be treated with antibiotics.  There is no need to go to ER with mild flu symptoms — there is nothing that can be offered to you.  In most of the cases, flu does not require anti-viral drugs or any special treatment beyond rest at home.

However, certain people are at greater risk of serious flu-related complications, including young children, elderly persons, pregnant women and people with certain long-term medical conditions.  For a full list of people at higher risk of flu-related complications, see People at High Risk of Developing Flu–Related Complications.  If you are in a high-risk group and develop flu symptoms, contact your doctor.

The symptoms of the flu:

  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle and body aches
  • Fatigue, feeling of weakness
  • Headaches
  • Fever can occur, but not all people with the flu have a fever
  • Vomiting, but this is more common in infant and children than adults

The flu season starts in the late Fall and peaks in January and February.

Your best prevention is a getting a yearly flu vaccine.  Flu vaccines, like all vaccines, are not 100% effective and the level of protection varies from year to year depending on the flu strains of that year.  At six months old, infants should begin getting seasonal flu vaccinations.  Here is a very helpful map to locate where to find vaccines for the flu and many other illnesses.

There are two types of flu vaccines on the market: injection and FluMist. Both protect against four strains of flu.  Many people prefer FluMist because they do not like needles.  However, not everyone can use Flu Mist and it is important to ask your doctor if the FluMist is for you.  Counter indications include a history of wheezing, allergies, and children currently using medicines with aspirin in them.  More FluMist information

Frequent hand washing is an important part of a flu prevention strategy.  It is important to wash your hands with soap and lots of friction for at least 20 seconds.  Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are very effective as well.  To prevent the spread of the disease, do not come to work or school if you are ill.  You can transmit the flu before you have symptoms.  If you suspect that you are coming down with the flu and you have to be in contact with others, use a mask.

The flu is potentially deadly, especially for people in high-risk groups.  Here are some of the warning signs that a person suffering from the flu is having a medical emergency and needs to be seen by a medical professional.

In infants and children:

  • Fast breathing or labored breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Difficulty waking up or not interacting.  Sluggish.
  • Very irritable and the child does not want to be held
  • Not drinking enough
  • Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal
  • Flu-like symptoms improve, but return with fever and a worse cough
  • Fever accompanied by a rash

In adults:

  • Difficulty breathing.  Shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Confusion
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Severe or persistent vomiting

In addition to the signs above, call 911 right away for any infant who has any of these signs:

  • Cannot eat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • No tears when crying

In summary, the three actions steps to prevent flu are:

1)    Get a flu vaccination every year

2)    Wash your hands frequently during flu season

3)    Stay away from people who are sick with the flu

 

Article Author:

Chris Schlesinger’s company In Home CPR teaches on-site safety classes at homes and businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, serving Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano counties.  He offers certifications through the American Heart Association and American Red Cross in CPR, BLS, AED, standard first aid and pediatric first aid.  Visit his websites at CPR Certification San Francisco or CPR Class San Mateo.

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Paramedics Making House Calls in Minnesota

Visits to the Emergency Room (ER) are extremely expensive.  Reducing the number of visits to the ER is crucial for reducing our country’s health care costs, as well as giving patients pro-active care.

Here is a link to a report about a new program in Minnesota in which paramedics make house calls to people who have been to the ER nine or more times in the past year.

 

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I now have a classroom in Redwood City for CPR, First Aid and BLS classes

I recently opened a small classroom in downtown Redwood City at 200 Main Street, just a couple minutes from Highway 101.  It seats a maximum of 14 people, so there are plenty of chances to ask questions and still receive hands-on instruction.  You will receive your certification card at the classroom.

I also have two excellent instructors helping me teach classes there: Margarita Bekker and Inga Lind.

Currently, we are offering classes on Friday mornings and Saturdays.  Click on this link to see a list of our classes: Redwood City CPR Classes.  You can register on the website for the class you want by filling out a short on-line form.  Pay at the classroom.

These are the American Heart Association classes we are offering in Redwood City:

1)    CPR AED.  This class covers infant, child and adult CPR, how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) as well as responding to choking emergencies.

2)    Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers.  This is also often called “BLS”.  This is the CPR class for people who work in healthcare: EMT, dentist, respiratory therapist, medical assistant, RN, etc.

3)    First Aid.  This class covers bleeding, bites, stings, responding to heart attacks and strokes, responses to choking, heat and cold emergencies, treating sprains and broken bones, responding to breathing problems, including using an epi-pen.

4)    Pediatric First Aid with CPR AED.  This class covers first aid topics with a focus on children, but covers CPR for infants, children and adults.  This is the class you need to take if you work in a daycare or a preschool as required by the EMSA.  It’s also a great class for parents with infants or young children.

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Choking Tragedy at School — In Home CPR quoted for story

Fourth-grader dead after choking on meatball during lunch at Bronx’s Public School 47

By Corinne Lestch, Ben Chapman & Rachel Monahan
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Friday, December 16 2011, 4:34 PM

When Angela Jewth sent her 9-year-old son off to his Bronx school last week, she never imagined he wouldn’t come home.

Now she’s living a nightmare — her only child died after choking during his lunch period, and she believes the school failed to call 911 quickly.

“If something had been done differently, my son would’ve been alive today,” Jewth, 41, told the Daily News.

“I don’t have words to describe how I feel right now. Nobody can even understand what I am going through.”

Jewth’s son, Jonathan, a fourth-grader at Public School 47, was laughing with his friends and eating a meatball at the end of his lunch period on Dec. 5 when it got caught in his throat.

City Education Department records show the incident happened at 12:15 p.m., but EMS did not receive a 911 call until 12:29 p.m., 14 minutes later, Fire Department officials said.

EMS responders arrived within four minutes after the call.

Jewth’s 45-year-old cousin Indira Ramrup — who provided the family’s account of the accident — said there were few adults in the lunchroom at the time. She also said that a school security guard had already left the cafeteria to take his own lunch break.

The official Department of Education records note that a parent and then an assistant principal tried to perform the Heimlich maneuver before the child went unconscious. They continued their efforts to revive the child until EMS arrived, the school records show.

Jonathan was unconscious and taken by ambulance to Jacobi Hospital. He spent a week in a coma before being pronounced brain-dead.

His parents made the heart-wrenching decision Monday to take him off the life support, relatives said.

Experts said the amount of time you have to save a choking victim can vary. After a victim passes out and heart stops, they may die within 10 minutes — and the time is possibly shorter for a child.

“In every CPR class, you’re taught, even before you do anything, you call 911,” said Chris Schlesinger, whose firm In Home CPR conducts trainings for the American Heart Association. “There should not have been a 14-minute delay.”

Jonathan’s grieving mother said she received “conflicting” reports from the school staff about the events leading up to the senseless loss of her son.

“They’re saying that they did everything, but others are saying that there was no one around at the time,” Angela Jewth said.

Relatives and friends at Jonathan’s wake on Friday said he was a smart and healthy child who wanted to be a doctor. In a journal entry from September, the young boy described his future.

“When I grow up, I want to be a doctor, because I can help people be healthy,” he wrote.

Jonathan’s kindergarten teacher from PS 47, Ronnie Spears, described him as the kid who always helped out the teachers.

“He was an excellent student, a hard worker who never gave up,” he said.

School administrators declined to comment about the incident. City Department of Education officials said that school health staff must have CPR training but are not required to be in the cafeteria.

At school on Friday morning, parents and students were mourning the loss of a well-loved classmate.

“My daughter was close with him. If anyone did anything to her, he would look out for her,” said a parent of a fourth-grade girl. “It could have been anyone’s kid.”

—-

Here is the link to the full article on the New York Daily News website

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CPR Guidelines for American Heart Association and American Red Cross

CPR Guidelines for American Heart Association and American Red Cross

In 2010 the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Red Cross (ARC) adopted new CPR guidelines.  This article examines the similarities and differences between both organizations’ CPR guidelines.


ADULT CPR

What follows is my paraphrasing of the AHA and ARC’s Adult CPR guidelines.  They are meant as a point of comparison for this article, not to be taken as either organizations’ stated guidelines.  Visit the AHA and ARC websites or buy their course manuals to compare their nomenclature and exact guidelines.

American Heart Association

1)    Make sure the scene is safe before approaching the victim.

2)    Check to see if the person responds by tapping the victim and shouting, “Are you OK?

3)    If the person doesn’t respond, get help.  Have you and someone else call 911 and get an AED (automated external defibrillator) if available.

4)    Check for breathing.  The breathing should be normal, not gasping.  If the person is not breathing or only gasping, they need CPR.

5)    Begin CPR with 30 chest compressions.  Push down at least 2 inches.  The rate of compressions is at least 100 compressions a minute.  After each compression let the chest come back up to its normal position.

6)    Open the airway with a head tilt-chin lift and give 2 breaths.

7)    Continue giving 30 compression and 2 breaths until the person starts to respond, you are too exhausted to continue, the scene becomes unsafe, an AED arrives or EMS (Emergency Medical Services) arrives.

American Red Cross

1)    Make sure the scene is safe before approaching the victim.

2)    Check to see if the person responds by tapping the victim and shouting, “Are you OK?”

3)    If the person doesn’t respond, get help.  Have you and someone else call 911 and get an AED (automated external defibrillator) if available.

4)    Check for breathing by performing a head tilt-chin lift.  Look, listen and feel for breathing for no more than 10 seconds.  Occasional gasps are not breathing.

5)    Quickly scan for severe bleeding.

6)    Begin CPR with 30 chest compressions.  Push down at least 2 inches for an adult.  The rate of compressions is at least 100 compressions a minute.  After each compression let the chest come back up to its normal position.

7)    Open the airway with a head tilt-chin lift and give 2 breaths.

8)    Continue giving 30 compression and 2 breaths until you find an obvious sign of life, you are too exhausted to continue, the scene becomes unsafe, an AED arrives or EMS (Emergency Medical Services) arrives.

Differences: The primary difference is how breathing is assessed.  The AHA has eliminated, “look, listen and feel for breathing” from its guidelines.  The responder checks for breathing, but how this is done is not specifically stated.  The ARC still instructs, “look, listen and feel” for breathing.

The ARC continues to include the step of quickly scanning for severe bleeding after checking for breathing.  The AHA does not include this step.


INFANT AND CHILD CPR

Rather than include a list of both organizations’ sequences for infant and child CPR, I’m only going to discuss the differences in their guidelines.

1) The AHA follows the CAB (compressions, airway, breathing) sequence for infants and children who don’t respond and aren’t breathing normally.  CPR always begins with chest compressions no matter who the victim is and whether you witnessed their collapse or not.

The ARC takes a different approach if you did not witness the infant or child collapse: if there is no response and breathing is not normal, give 2 rescue breathes.  Then scan for bleeding.  If the victim still isn’t breathing normally, begin CPR with the CAB sequence.

However, if you witnessed the child or infant collapse you would use the CAB sequence – the 2 initial rescue breaths are not given.

2) The AHA has also eliminated “look, listen, and feel” for breathing in the assessment for infants and children.  The ARC still uses this approach as part of their guidelines for infants and children.

Article Author:

Chris Schlesinger’s company In Home CPR teaches on-site safety classes at homes and businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, serving Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano counties.  He offers certifications through the American Heart Association and American Red Cross in CPR, BLS, AED, standard first aid and pediatric first aid.  Visit his websites at CPR Certification San Francisco or CPR Class San Mateo.

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