Sitting – The New Smoking

Sitting - The New Smoking

You are probably, right now, comfortably sitting. While now seated, you are probably supposed to be working instead of reading these cool articles – yes?

That is between you and your employer.

That sitting part though – that is business about which your body may take issue.

Evidently sitting is the new smoking. Smoking is something you can quit to make the single most significant improvement in your health. Is quitting sitting as hard as quitting smoking? Perhaps – but alas we put the cart before the horse. Let’s first look at the problem with how many Americans spend almost all of their time at work and at home – on their duffs.

Studies show that most americans spend most of our waking time sitting and doing next to nothing – physically. We watch tons of TV, sit at our computers and work all day (or web surf) and we sit in our cars and curse the traffic for longer than we like. All these things are sedentary activities which are killing us. Many recent studies support this. One study by Charles E. Matthews and company showed that even exercise does little to counter all of our infernal sitting!

Some of the health issues that be caused by incessant inactivity are as follows:

  • Heart disease – sitting isn’t giving the heart a reason to work and stay healthy
  • Type 2 diabetes – lazy muscles don’t respond well to insulin, causing overproduction by the pancreas, throwing rhythms out of whack
  • Colon cancer from excess insulin and lack of anti-oxidants present in more active bodies
  • Flabby abs, hips and glutes – who likes flabby abs hips and glutes?
  • Soft bones – Activity prompts the body to build strong bone mass while loafing turns off bone production
  • Poor brain function – activity spurs the production of chemicals in the blood stream that keep the mind sharp
  • Strained neck, shoulders and back from poor sitting posture.

Another staggering statistic shows that those who watched the most TV had a 61% higher mortality than those who watched the least TV! Is that saying that the TV is deadly or that sitting while watching is killing us? I would bet that if we were all on treadmills while watching TV we would live a lot longer.

So what can we do about it?

  • Let your employer know that sitting all day is bad. Forward them this article
  • Spend a little money on a tall drafting table and standing up while working. You can compromise and have a bar stool just in case
  • Spend a ton of money on one of the new, fancy treadmill – desk combos
  • Get up from your low desk and stretch out, go to the restroom or water cooler as often as you can
  • If you don’t have any of these options while at work, at least make sure that when you aren’t at work you are as active as you can.

I understand that I am quite fortunate in that I stand most of the day teaching American Heart Association CPR classes. I do have a drafting desk that I use to do the administrative side of my work. Standing has made a big difference. I noticed the difference when our offices were in transition during the summer. For 3 months this past year sitting at my desk was the only option. I felt more fatigued at the end of the day, felt less productive during the day and did gain some weight. I will blame the weight on the desk, you can decide if that’s an excuse or not.

Get a tall desk – try standing for a few months – let me know what you think about not sitting!

Super Important Allergic Reaction Information

Allergic Reaction

 

The number of kids who can have a severe allergic reaction to food, bites and stings has exponentially grown. No one knows for sure why.

Mistakes in the treatment of the allergic reaction is also staggeringly high. While some readers are aware of these potential mistakes, this is new information to most.

Let’s fix that – right now and get you the information you need.

When I use the term allergic reaction, I’m not talking about subtle allergies to pollen or other slight allergies. We are talking about an allergic reaction where the tongue and throat swell up closing air passageways and is life threatening. This kind of allergic reaction is called an anaphylactic reaction or anaphylaxis.

Again, it is life threatening.

The only way to stop anaphylaxis is through the use of Epinephrine (same as adrenaline), an injectable drug. This drug is commonly carried in an auto-injector “pen” called an epinephrine auto injector. There are several brands that are making these and they can take different shapes and have different bells and whistles to them. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on how to use a couple different models of epinephrine auto injectors.

EpipenAn epinephrine auto injector often times looks like a fat magic marker that is stuck onto the outer thigh to activate. When activated it injects a dose of epinephrine to the patient suffering from an allergic reaction. Epinephrine is a prescription drug.

There are three really important mistakes regarding allergic reaction treatments.

Here are the three big mistakes:

  • Delaying a call to 911 to “wait and see”
  • Trying to use Benadryl to stop a severe allergic reaction
  • Not having two epinephrine auto injectors on hand, i.e. Have one at work or school with the patient and keep the other one at home

Here is why the above are mistakes.

Delay In Calling 911

Don’t “wait and see”. It is recommended to use the epinephrine auto injector and call 911 before symptoms occur. 911 is called every single time an epinephrine auto injector is used, right after it’s use (the auto injectors are discussed below). A delay in calling 911 can delay life saving treatment. All severe allergic reactions get a 911 call.

Paramedics will help you make the right decision, on the scene, as to whether you need their transport help or not. Make the error on the side of safety and survival.

Call 911 and use that epinephrine auto injector – fast.

Benadryl 

Benadryl won’t stop a severe allergic reaction.

Benadryl can help with sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, minor symptoms of allergies. It is not sufficient to stop an anaphylactic reaction. It says so right on the manufacturer’s website and packaging.

If someone is experiencing an anaphylactic allergic reaction, immediately call 911 and use the epinephrine auto injector. The quicker the better. Many studies indicate a delay in epinephrine can hurt it’s chances of working. Again, call 911 and use that epinephrine auto injector right away in the case of a severe allergic reaction. Forget about the Benadryl.

Keeping Only One Epinephrine Auto Injector On Hand Is A Mistake – The Patient Should Have Both All The Time!

With good intention, some will have one epinephrine auto injector at home and only one with the person who has the severe allergies; at school, work etc.

This seems reasonable but it’s a mistake.

Epinephrine auto injectors are only sold in sets of two. You can’t buy a single one. That is because 50% of the time, that second dose is desperately needed.

Here are the two main reasons that second dose should be on hand:

  1. The allergic reaction gets worse before the ambulance arrives – which is called a biphasic reaction
  2. There is a malfunction in the use of the epinephrine auto injector

Biphasic Reactions

The effects of epinephrine is short. The wait for an ambulance is long. A Biphasic Reaction is where the reaction returns prior to EMS arrival.

Biphasic reactions can happen in up to a third of anaphylactic reactions and can be deadly – without a second epipen.

Epinephrine Auto Injector Malfunction

Over my years of teaching CPR classes, I have heard more than 11 stories where used an epinephrine auto injector incorrectly and shot the needle through their thumb. Not good.

I have also heard stories where the epinephrine auto injector needle gets stuck into a weld on a patient’s jeans, or something in their pocket. The user of the epinephrine auto injector sometimes pulls the needle out too soon spraying the drug on the ground instead of into their outer thigh.

Please carry both. Manufacturers don’t sell them individually for this reason. Please use as directed.

Treating anaphylaxis is fairly simple. When you take CPR classes, hopefully your instructor will cover this information. We certainly do in our CPR classes.

In the case of a severe allergic reaction:

  1. Use that epinephrine auto injector!
  2. Call 911
  3. Be ready to start CPR

This article is written in memory of those who didn’t survive their allergic reaction. Visit this site dedicated to the memory of allergic reaction victims.

Funny Is One Thing Sunburn Is Not

Sunburn

Kids are back in school, traffic is back to terrible, most of the fairs are being taken down.

Folks – It’s still AUGUST IN GEORGIA. That means it is hot, sticky and still sunny, and you can still get really bad sunburn. CPR certification classes don’t discuss this, but who cares. Sunburn can lead to ruin, and a little knowledge and prevention can go a long way to keeping your skin looking like skin. It can also cut your chances of ending up with life threatening skin cancer.

I put up this funny picture of a guy that obviously didn’t take sunburn seriously. But one thing sunburn isn’t, is funny. Disregard the sun and regret it.

Sunlight is composed of 3 different wavelengths, 2 of which cause damage to your skin. Sunburn is the visible result of the damage done by these two bad wavelengths (UVA and UVB). The third wavelength doesn’t even reach the ground, it is called UVC. So every bit of sunlight that hits the ground can, in abundance, damage your skin.

The sunburn we are talking about is just the visible damage. This high dose of sunlight can damage the DNA in your skin, just like other forms of radiation.

The lighter your skin’s completion, the longer your are in the sun and the brighter the sunlight, the more dangerous sunburn can be.

Whenever you are going to be in the sun, please prevent sunburn by doing the following:

  • Cover your skin – more than less
  • Use a broad spectrum  sunscreen that will filter UVA and UVB
  • Use a minimum of SPF 15
  • Use your head – you can’t stay out in the sun all day and not suffer!

Sunburn is serious business.

80% of Americans report being sunburned once every year.

Chances of serious skin cancer doubles when you get have sunburn more than 4 times. Just about all of us could report that.

If you don’t care about sunburn, perhaps you care about the after effects?

  • Age Spots
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Sagging and deep wrinkles

Sunburn Lady

Sunny season isn’t over just because the kids are back in school. Take care of your skin – Run from Sunburn!

Don’t Pee On Jellyfish Stings! C’mon people!

jellyfish stings

There are so many CPR and First Aid myths out there it’s quite remarkable. One of my favorites is that you should pee on jellyfish stings. What in the world!?

This has been perpetuated even on some of the most popular TV shows on television. NBC’s Friends even had an episode that lampooned the myth that you should pee on a jellyfish sting. It’s funny, let’s face it. Especially cause it doesn’t work.

Where did this jellyfish sting myth come from? I just wonder what is going on in someone’s mind where they would think, “Hey – this jellyfish sting hurts – so I am going to pee on it”. Cause that makes everything better??

Anyway – Jellyfish stings aren’t going to be helped by peeing on them. Just don’t do that. It can make the stings worse actually.

Jellyfish stings happen when you come into contact with the little stringies that hang down underneath the jellyfish. On these stringies are nematocysts. When you touch them, they kind of turn inside out, shooting a really thin stinger string into you releasing venom into your body. I can’t believe this hasn’t been made into a science fiction movie actually. It’s pretty horrifying and amazing at the same time.

Urine can actually make the jellyfish’s nematocysts aggravated subsequently releasing more venom. Yikes.

Pee belongs in the toilet, not on your jellyfish stings!

When you pee on a jellyfish sting, it hurts worse – AND YOU WERE JUST PEED ON!

In our CPR certification classes, we teach you how to really deal with jellyfish stings.

If you have jellyfish stings – do the following:

  • Keep your hands away from the stung area, so they don’t get stung too
  • Rinse with the saltwater from the ocean
  • Rinse with vinegar – try to catch the vinegar in a dishpan or something so you can keep using it. Vinegar freezes unactivated stingers, or nematocysts.
  • Scrape the tentacles off with a card you don’t need (library card ;-)? )
  • Use hot water, as hot as can be tolerated, to soak and reduce pain after the tentacles have been removed
  • Call 911 if there is shortness of breath or you are worried the patient is getting worse

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There was a study done in Australia recently that indicated there might be problems with using vinegar. Discover Magazine describes the issues and expresses caution in drawing conclusions yet. The media has once again overstepped their reporting in assuming one study, with possible issues with methodology, should single handedly reverse 30 years of effective treatment of jellyfish stings using vinegar.

In summary – use your head and use vinegar, not your pee on jellyfish stings.

Heat Stroke – Heat Exhaustion Prevention & Treatment

Heat Stroke

 

Yes, it’s summer in Georgia. I am not sure any of us are surprised at how hot it’s going to be this weekend, or how hot it has been this week, but we are. Every year I never fail to be amazed at the oppressive heat in which we live. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are topics we cover in our CPR Certification classes every day.

There is a difference between heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is a warning sign and can be dealt with without EMS, heat stroke will kill you. Every summer we hear news stories of athletes of all ages dying from heat stroke. I will explain what each is, and give you the best ways to avoid and treat them.

Heat exhaustion is where your body is getting overheated and is having a hard time keeping up, with cooling down. Your body is overwhelmed with the heat and wants your attention focused on getting it cooled off.

The symptoms of head exhaustion are as follows:

  • cool, clammy skin, despite it being 1000 degrees outside
  • headache
  • nausea
  • cramps in the hands or feet
  • feel like junk

If you have heat exhaustion, no need to over react; but react you should. Immediately focus your energy on cooling off. Despite myths about how to cool off, here’s the best way to cool off if you are overheated.

  • Drink cool water – gatorade (don’t like poweraid – high fructose corn syrup -blech)
  • Remove unnecessary clothing or wet clothing
  • Relocate to a nicely air conditioned location
  • Put a handful of ice cubes, in a bag, under each armpit. This cools blood in the brachial artery, cooling your core temperature! It works!

If you take these steps when you notice you have head exhaustion, you should be ok in about 15-20 minutes. BUT, it doesn’t mean you can get back out into the heat. You are done for the day. Take care not to get over heated again as heat stroke is the next step. And it is deadly.

Heat stroke is when your body is so overheated it’s dangerous. Your bodies mechanism of cooling off is broken and without basic and professional care, heat stroke can kill.

The following symptoms are heat stroke and can’t be fooled with:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Possible vomiting
  • Feverish to the touch and bone dry – not sweating

If these symptoms are present, call 911 immediately and start an emergency cool down as described above. Better yet, if you can, immerse the patient in cool water up to their neck. A swimming pool or tub is perfect for treating heat stroke.

So as a summary – if you suspect someone has heat stroke and they are cool, clammy and still sweating, you can cool them down and give them a few minutes to get better. If the person isn’t sweating and is really hot to the touch, call 911 immediately.

Of course – if you forget what you learned in this article, simply play it safe and call 911. Better save than sorry!