Get up-to-date on vaccinations in light of National Immunization Awareness Month

fire extinguisher safety

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, an annual observance in the United States sponsored by the National Public Health Information Coalition. The goal is to increase awareness about the importance of immunizations at every stage of life. Vaccines are the easiest defense in helping prevent the spread of disease and infection.

Many recent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States including whooping cough, measles, and mumps, are due to parents who have unvaccinated children. When vaccination rates drop in communities, it is common for an outbreak to occur (CDC, 8/15/16). It is crucial to educate yourself and family with the facts about vaccines to assure safety from vaccine-preventable diseases.

August is a great time to get up-to-date on vaccinations as the summer season comes to an end and before the flu season begins; it is also an opportunity to discuss with your health care provider about other recommended vaccines you and your family members might need. Choose to protect your family and community from the spread of disease by getting vaccinated.

Find out which vaccinations you need here: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/adult/adult-schedule-easy-read.pdf

Most common vaccines everyone needs:

• Influenza (every year for seasonal flu protection)
• Tdap: Tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), and diphtheria
• MMR or MMRV: Measles, mumps, varicella (chickenpox), rubella (at least one dose)
• HPV is strongly recommended for young girls and boys ages 11 or 12 to help prevent cancers caused by HPV later in life (series of 3 doses). Young women can get the vaccine through age 26, and young men through age 21.
• Other vaccines you may need will depend on factors including age, lifestyle, health condition, job, and any other vaccines you have had in the past

Importance of vaccination maintenance:

• Vaccinations have an expiration date; they wear off as you get older and your body may not have the same level of resistance against the same viruses and bacteria as it once did.
• Age and lifestyle changes. The risk for disease may increase as we get older due to health conditions, hobbies, travel, job etc.
• Vaccines are especially important for individuals with chronic conditions.

Succeed Management Solutions, LLC offers a variety of safety documents related to health and wellness including: Influenza Virus – Preventing the Spread, Whooping Cough, Infections – Viral Hepatitis, Zika Virus, and more.

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.

Prevent Infection in the Workplace

bloodborne pathogens

Protection against potentially infectious materials is an important part of workplace safety. During normal activities, most of us are occasionally exposed to the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (staph) and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) (from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/mrsa/). Infection and illness can occur without the proper hygiene.

Staph and MRSA
• Staph is a bacteria commonly carried on the skin or in the nose of 25% – 30% of healthy people.
• MRSA encompasses types of staph that are resistant to certain antibiotics. They are present on or in about 1% of healthy people.
• Unless staph enters the body through a cut or other wound, it is generally harmless.
• Staph and MRSA infections frequently occur among people in hospitals and healthcare facilities but can also occur in schools, libraries, stores, daycare centers, and private companies.

Safeguards
• Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water or by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Do not share personal items like uniforms, personal protective equipment (PPE), clothing, and towels.
• Establish cleaning procedures for frequently touched surfaces.
• Keep cuts and scrapes clean and bandaged until healed.

Symptoms and Treatment
• A minor staph or MSRA infection may look like a pimple or boil and can be red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage.
• Serious infections may cause headaches, fever, pneumonia, and potentially life-threatening infections in the bloodstream or surgical wounds.
• Many staph skin infections can be treated by draining the abscess or boil and will not require antibiotics.
• Treatment can sometimes require antibiotics as prescribed by a trained healthcare provider.
• If you might have a skin infection, consult a healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Succeed Management Solutions, LLC offers a newly updated Bloodborne Pathogens online training with the most current standard precautions to follow in the workplace. New posters and toolbox talks are available to use as informational aids on topics of: sharp container safety, common viruses, bloodborne pathogens and staph/MRSA precautions.