Zika Virus – What You Need to Know

Zika virus

The Zika virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, which are most active during the day. Because the symptoms of the virus often go undetected, many people may not realize they are infected. Although people very rarely die of Zika, it can cause permanent damage to unborn infants which gives pregnant women the most cause for concern (CDC).

In addition to the bite by Aedes mosquitos, Zika has proven to be transmitted through blood transfusion, sexual contact, and from mother to child through pregnancy.

Outbreaks of Zika virus have previously been recorded in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Outbreaks are now present in the subtropical Americas, beginning in Brazil in 2015 and spreading to other countries in South America, Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Learn how to identify the virus and reduce the chances of contracting Zika virus:

Symptoms
• About 1 in 5 people who contract Zika will develop symptoms, and the illness is generally mild. Hospitalization or death are very rare.
• Symptoms of Zika infection typically begin 2 to 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito and last several days to a week.
• Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, headache, or conjunctivitis (red- or pink-eye).
• Zika virus usually remains detectable in the blood of an infected person for a week or longer.
• Zika virus is believed to be linked to some rare medical conditions, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome and myelitis, but large-scale studies to prove this connection have yet to be completed.

Pregnancy Concerns
Current scientific studies have found the following:
• Zika virus infection in a pregnant woman could affect the fetus at any stage of gestation.
• In an infected fetus, there is increasing evidence of a link to microcephaly, placental damage, central nervous system injury, slow growth, a large range of other birth defects, miscarriage and still birth.

The CDC currently recommends the following for pregnant women:

• Do not travel to areas with ongoing local transmission of Zika virus. However, if you do, report this information to your doctor.
• If a male partner has travelled to areas with Zika infection, either abstain from sex or use condoms during intercourse for the duration of the pregnancy.

Prevention
There is no vaccine to prevent Zika infection. Instead, prevent mosquito bites by:
• Using screens on windows and doors and sleeping under mosquito netting if necessary.
• Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants and covering exposed skin.
• Using an EPA-registered insect repellant when outdoors.
• Use condoms and other contraception, especially for men in sexual contact with women who are pregnant.
• Postpone travel to areas where a Zika outbreak is growing.

Response
• If you suspect you have been infected, immediately contact your healthcare provider.
• Do not take aspirin or other NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) until dengue can be ruled out.
• The CDC recommends taking acetaminophen or paracetamol to reduce fever and pain.
• Unfortunately, there are no specific medications used to treat the symptoms.
• Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
• Get plenty of rest.
• If you know you have contracted Zika, avoid mosquito bites during the first week of your illness to limit spread of the disease.

PLEASE NOTE:
Information about Zika virus disease is constantly evolving. For more information and current updates, please refer to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also launched a global response plan to aid the world’s response to the spread of Zika virus.

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month! Reevaluate your Eye Safety Programs

eye protection

Nearly 1 million Americans have lost some of their sight from an eye related injury, according to Prevent Blindness America (PBA). Eye wellness is important and something we may take for granted until a preventable accident occurs.

In light of Workplace Eye Wellness Month, make it a priority to review safety procedures and raise awareness about the importance of eye safety.

The Importance of Eye Protection

The majority of work-related eye injuries are a result of flying or falling objects or sparks striking the eye.

Other common potential hazards include the following:

• Fumes
• Vapors
• Chemical splashes
• Extremely bright or hazardous light, such as from welding

Common Types of Eye Protection

A job hazard assessment should be performed prior to the start of a particular task to determine the type of eye protection required.

Safety glasses protect against low-to-moderate impacts and sparks from activities such as grinding and woodworking. Only use safety glasses with side shields.
Goggles form a protective seal around the eye area to better protect from hazardous chemical vapors, splashes, or dust or other small particles that may enter the eye. Make sure that your goggles include ventilation mechanisms to prevent fogging.
Face shields protect the entire face against flying particles, sparks, splashes, harmful mists, and other hazards.
Welding masks are specially designed to protect from radiant energy, sparks, and metal splatters from welding.

Proper Use

• Always wear proper eye protection where required, even if danger to your eyes seems remote.
• Before use, verify that your equipment is appropriate for the task.
• Inspect eye protection prior to each use.
• If you wear prescription eyewear, use eye protection that accommodates it. Prescription eyewear by itself is not a substitute for safety glasses or goggles.
• When welding or cutting, always wear safety glasses or goggles underneath face shields or welding helmets.
• When your work is complete, store eye protection properly and away from extreme temperatures or direct sunlight.

Those working in office settings are encouraged to follow the 20-20-20 rule to reduce the risk of digital eye strain: Take a 20-second break by looking at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.

Succeed Management Solutions, LLC offers an Eye and Face Protection online training course that outlines a manager’s responsibility to educate employees on safe equipment use and controls. Other related toolbox talk safety documents include: PPE – Tinted Safety Glasses, PPE – Machines and Clothing, Digital Eye Strain and more. Safety videos are also available in English and Spanish on the topics of Eye Safety and Eye Safety in Construction Environments.

Is your Organization Prepared for an Earthquake?

earthquake map

This USGS map indicates potential earthquake strength, with darker areas indicating stronger quakes.

A 2015 U.S. Geological Survey revealed that nearly half of Americans living in the United States are in danger of experiencing potentially damaging earthquakes.

The Obama Administration has recently announced a new initiative aimed at strengthening the Nation’s resilience to earthquakes by increasing public safety and improving architecture and warning systems.

Ensure all employees know what to do when an earthquake occurs: incorporate earthquake safety procedures into your workplace Emergency Action Plan.

Workplace preparation:

• Your organization’s Emergency Action Plan should include the following:
‒ Evacuation procedures
‒ Instructions to follow during and after the event
‒ Medical and rescue duties for designated employees

• The plan must consider construction and the type of ground it is built upon, as certain ground types and structures are more susceptible to collapse and damage.

• Emergency supply kits should be placed throughout the workplace with such items as flashlights or light sticks, first aid kits and handbooks, blankets, bottled water, dust masks, and fire extinguishers.

• Assure that everyone completes the necessary training:
‒ Everyone should be trained in earthquake response procedures, designated safe places, evacuation plans, and the locations of emergency supply kits.
‒ Designated employees can be trained in first aid and fire extinguisher use.

Succeed Management Solutions, LLC offers a newly updated Emergency Action Plan online training that describes the process of deploying an emergency action plan in the workplace. Other related toolbox talk safety documents include: Emergency Preparedness for Businesses, an Emergency Action Plan policy, and an Emergency Preparedness policy. There is also a safety video available on Emergency Planning in both English and Spanish.