Diabetes Basics

Diabetes is the name given to a group of conditions where there is too much glucose, or sugar, in the blood. This glucose comes from the carbohydrates we eat and includes starchy foods (eg breads, cereals, potato, pasta, rice), fruit and certain dairy products. Blood glucose levels are regulated within the body by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin moves glucose from the blood into the body’s cells where it can be used by the body for energy. Diabetes develops when the pancreas isn’t making enough insulin, or the insulin isn’t working properly.

 

type-1

Information Sources: diabetesnsw.com.au, diabetesaustralia.com.au

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

imgres-3.jpgWhat is the spinal cord?

The adult spinal cord is about 50 centimetres long and extends from the base of the brain to about the waist. It is the major bundle of nerves that carry messages between the brain and the rest of the body. The spinal cord lies within vertebrae. These rings of bones are together called the spinal column or back bone.

 

What is SCI?

Spinal cord injury is damage to the spinal cord that results in a loss of function such as mobility or feeling.

  • Quadriplegia is loss of function below the neck
  • Paraplegia is loss of function below the chest

The spinal cord does not have to be severed in order for a loss of functioning to occur. In fact, in most people with spinal cord injury, the spinal cord is intact, but the damage due to compression or bruising to it results in loss of functioning.

 

Can function be restored after an SCI injury?

At the time of an injury, the spinal cord swells. As this swelling reduces, some function may return. This can take up to 18 months after the injury. However, only a very small fraction of people with a spinal cord injury recover all function.

 

A few SCI statisticsimgres.png

  • Traumatic injury causing SCI – transport accident 46%, falls 28%
  • Non traumatic causes of SCI are diseases accounting for 20%
  • Male patients still outnumber the female patients (84% vs 16%)
  • SCI were most frequent in 15-24 year group accounting for 30%

 

Some symptoms of a spinal cord injury include:

  • problems walking
  • loss of control of the bladder or bowels
  • inability to move the arms or legs
  • feelings of spreading numbness or tingling in the extremities
  • unconsciousness
  • headache
  • pain, pressure, stiffness in the back or neck area
  • signs of shock
  • unnatural positioning of the head

 

What to do if you suspect SCI?

In the case of an unconscious casualty, falls, motorbike and car accidents it is safest to assume the potential for SCI.

  • Call 000 immediately
  • Don’t move the person or disturb them in any way unless it’s absolutely necessary. This includes repositioning the person’s head (unless airway is blocked)
  • Do NOT remove a motorbike riders helmet
  • If conscious support head, neck and spine in a neutral position at all times to prevent twisting or bending movements
  • Encourage the person to stay as still as possible, even if they feel they’re capable of getting up and walking on their own.
  • If the person isn’t breathing, perform CPR.

 

First Aid Training

If you are not prepared to perform first aid in case of an emergency, please book into a refresher course today. First aid is all about remembering your DRSABCD, being confident and competent. You will then be in a position to minimise injury and potentially save a life.

 

Information sources:scia.org.au, spinalinjuryalliance.com.au, sciaw.com.au, healthywa.wa.gov.au

Outback First Aid – Our Story

20160723_144631sNewcastle’s Robert Watson had done his Medilife First Aid Training over many years when he was employed in the steel industry. Now retired, he and his wife Coralie continue to do the refresher training, “just in case” they are ever called on to help in an emergency situation.  Their spiral bound  First Aid for Life course books are kept with a first aid kit in the boot of their car.

 

P1290923xsIn July, during a 6,000 km road trip through inland Queensland, Coralie developed some chest pains one afternoon on the road. It was a few hours after lunch, and she assumed it was indigestion. However the pain became worse, and worse. They were 1 hour out from Emerald, and it was a further 2 hours to their overnight stop… in a tiny town which almost certainly didn’t have a hospital. The pain was severe enough that Coralie thought it might have been a heart attack, but – from memory – Robert asked, “Do you have a crushing feeling on your chest, and are you sweating a lot?” The answer was, “No”, and Coralie added, “and I don’t have pain radiating to my left arm!” But they pulled off the road and dug out their first aid book.

The signs and symptoms  listed included the three they remembered, plus Anxiety, Nausea, Shortness of breath and Pale/grey skin colour.

On that basis, they agreed that there was no immediate need to panic or get upset, and they continued on to Emerald Hospital Emergency Department. Coralie was wired up to their machines and it was quickly determined that she was not having a heart attack, so that was good news. Further tests suggested that she had had a particularly severe bout of reflux, coupled with dehydration. Over the course of 3 hours she was attended to by the doctors and nurses, who all reinforced that going to see them was the sensible thing to do, and they were always happier to release people than to have to admit them with something serious.

The travel plans were changed, and they stayed in Emerald for the night … in a motel directly opposite the hospital. “Just in case!” added Robert.

Thank you Robert and Coralie for sharing your experience.

———————————————————————-

Do you have a first aid experience you would like to share with us?

Submit your story, it may be published to help others appreciate the value of first aid training. Click here..

Your Day Job May Increase Workout Injuries

These are 5 common injuries that occur in the gym or whilst exercising and how we can lower our risk. Who would have thought our day job could be the culprit of increasing our risk of injury.

FOOT AND ANKLE 
People spend their days in front of their computer with rounded shoulders. When your shoulders are rounded and you stand up, your weight falls to the front of your foot. Take that misplaced centre of gravity and put it into running shoes, which naturally tip you forward with a heel higher than the toe, and your feet and ankles start to bear the brunt of any impact. Chose the right shoe, go for a cross trainer instead of a running shoe.

KNEE
Sitting at a desk, we don’t use our hip muscles. Then we decide to go kick box or do bootcamp The result is injury to the . . . knee? If our feet aren’t stable, due to improper footwear, and our hip muscles aren’t strong, the knee gets all the stress. A better exercise would be lunges. With a lunge your hip and ankle are bending together, stabilising and strengthening the knee.

LOWER BACK
If someone has rounded posture throughout the day in their upper back, and then they go to the gym and do an overhead shoulder lift standing, their upper back cannot extend properly. They straighten and arch upward from their lower back, which has a nervous breakdown because it’s getting all the stress. Remember to stretch and strengthen your upper back to compensate for all that hunching you do at the office and whenever you can, exercise standing up which engages bigger muscle groups.

SHOULDER
That carpal tunnel you’re complaining about 9-5 could contribute to a gym injury after-hours. Your arms have to internally rotate when you type, which puts pressure on the shoulders. Then you go to the gym and do chest press, shoulder press, pushups, all also with your arms rotated in resulting in an overuse injury of the rotator cuff. Instead try exercises that externally rotate your arms to balance your shoulders, and a great way to do that is by rowing with cables.

NECK
A strained tense neck at work due to workstation strain can lead to a lack of mobility and injury. Avoid putting additional stress on your neck with exercises that cause you to raise your arms over your head.

Information source: menshealth.com, webmd

Health effects of wood smoke

Wood smoke and your health

Wood smoke is a complex mix of chemicals and particles, smoke is made up of coarse and fine particles. Particles are tiny solid and liquid substances that can float in the air. Many particles are invisible. Coarse particles can include soot, dust and pollen. When breathed in these particles settle in the lungs and narrow airways.

Fine dust particles, such as smoke, are more likely to settle more deeply into the lungs while ultra fine particles can be absorbed into the blood stream. The majority of the particles in wood smoke are fine particles, which are linked to the most harmful health effects.

Short term effectsdownload (3)

  • irritation of the eyes, throat and nose
  • coughing
  • difficulty breathing
  • aggravated asthma

Long term effects

  • decreased lung function
  • development of chronic bronchitis
  • cardiovascular effects

What can be done?

Before you throw away the marshmallows, there are steps you can take to decrease the health effects.

Choosing your woodSelfFeedingFire1

  • Only use well-seasoned hardwoods.
  • Do not use stained, treated or painted wood.
  • Chop your wood into smaller pieces.
  • Store your wood loosely stacked and covered in a well-aired place.

Building a fire

  • Use plenty of kindling and paper to establish a good fire quickly.
  • Use smaller logs to get the fire started and larger logs for slower burning.
  • Stack your fire so there is 2cm between each log. This allows air to get into the hot area of the fire.
  • Do not over fill the heater or fire place.

Wood heaters and fireplaces

  • Ensure there is enough air circulation in your wood heater by adjusting the air intake or flue.
  • Check your wood heater and chimney regularly to ensure no smoke is being produced.

unnamed copy

Asthma and respiratory distress 

Do you know how to manage an asthma attack, what would you do if a loved one was showing respiratory distress?

Keep your first aid and resuscitation skills up to date! Book into a public course here.

 

 

Information Source: healthywa.wa.gov.au

Winter health hazards at home

 

The cooler months means we will probably be spending more time in the home than anywhere else. It is also a time of seasonal hazards. As we unpack our hot water bottles and electric blankets please keep these reminders for a safer winter.

Fire safetydownload (1)

About half of all fires in the home start in the kitchen, and more than 40% of all deaths from fire happen during winter. Here are a few tips to keep you and your home fire safe:

  1. Have a written home fire escape plan and practice it regularly.
  2. Install smoke alarms throughout your home and test them monthly. Change the batteries every year.
  3. Keep curtains, tablecloths, clothes and bedding away from portable heaters and fireplaces.
  4. Clean the lint filter every time you use a clothes dryer.
  5. Always keep children away from open heat sources such as fireplaces and gas stoves, and remember that even clothing with a ‘low fire danger’ label can still catch on fire.

Fireplaces & Heatersdownload (2)

If you have a fireplace in your home then make sure the chimney is clean and not blocked. Always place a screen in front of a fireplace when it’s being used, and never burn rubbish such as plastics or foam as these create toxins.

  1. Store matches and lighters in a safe place out of reach of children.
  2. Check that each heater is safe to use every winter.
  3. Don’t leave portable heaters in places where people or pets could knock them over.
  4. Gas heaters produce heat when they burn gas fuel. This also produces air pollutants and water vapour. If your gas heater doesn’t have a flue, service it regularly and make sure the room is well ventilated.
  5. Use just one appliance per power point and switch them off when you’re not using them. Heaters consume a lot of power and may overload the supply which can cause a fire.
  6. Never use a gas heater designed for outdoor use inside your home.

Electric blanketsdownload (2)

Check your electric blanket is in good condition and hasn’t been recalled by checking the Recalls Australia website. About 400,000 potentially faulty electric blankets were recalled in 2012. Faulty electric blankets can overheat, cause an electric shock, spark and potentially cause a fire.

You should always roll your blanket up to store it because folding it can damage element wires inside the blanket. When you take it out of storage and use it for the first time, lay it flat on the bed and check for hot spots as it heats up.

Hot water bottlesdownload (3)

Use warm, but not boiling, water to fill your hot water bottle and examine it for leaks before you use it. Replace it as soon as it starts to look cracked or worn or every two years. Remember – the rubber can perish from the inside so you may not be able to see if it’s worn out.

unnamed copy

Learning first aid can help you to

identify potential hazards and

be prepared to act if an accident where to occur. 

Book into one of our public courses here.

 

information source: www.healthdirect.gov.au

5 Tips to creating a better culture of workplace health and safety

 How can you improve the current workplace culture toward Work Health and Saftey?

1. Frequent and informal communication.

imagesCommunication between workers and management on safety management raises workers’ awareness of and can potentially contribute to a positive preventative safety culture. People work more safely when they are involved in the decision making process.

 

 

images (1)2. Set the example.

Managers that model behaviour by making a personal contribution to WHS consultation can significantly change the way their team thinks about health and safety in the workplace.

 

 

 

3. Reward positive contributions. download (1)

This has lasting effects to culture change. An organisation is formed to achieve certain goals and objectives by bringing individuals together on a common platform and motivating them to deliver their best. It is essential for the employees to enjoy the workplace for them to develop a sense of loyalty towards it. The organisation must offer a positive atmosphere to the employees.

 

 

download4. Promote team building activities.

Conduct training programs, workshops, seminars and presentations to upgrade the existing skills of the employees and to bind the employees together. Team building improves communication, boosts morale, increases motivation, improves productivity and a fun way to learning effective health and safety strategies.

 

 

 

personal responsibility5. Make it personal.

Personal safety responsibility, control and rational judgment are essential to a good health and safety culture. An organisation is said to have a strong work culture when the employees follow the organisation’s rules and regulations and adhere to the existing guidelines.

Allowing personal responsibility within organisational guidelines gives employees ownership of their responsibilities and personal satisfaction.

 

 

Information source: comcare

Delirium

Although delirium is primarily found within aged care facilities and hospital patients, the symptoms of delirium may be the first signs of an untreated medical or mental condition or medication reaction. Causes also include trauma, drug toxicity, bleeding and dehydration. All causes we may come across as first aiders. These may include:

  • Medications or drug toxicity
  • Alcohol or drug abuse or withdrawal
  • A medical condition
  • Metabolic imbalances, such as low sodium or low calcium
  • Severe, chronic or terminal illness
  • Fever and acute infection, particularly in children
  • Exposure to a toxin
  • Malnutrition or dehydration
  • Sleep deprivation or severe emotional distress
  • Pain
  • Surgery or other medical procedures that include anesthesia

Delirium involves a quick change between mental states. For example, from lethargy to agitation and back to lethargy. Other symptoms may include:

Delirium syndrome mental health icon design. Hallucinations symbol concept

  • Changes in alertness
  • Changes in sensation and perception
  • Changes in level of consciousness
  • Changes in movement. For example: may be slow moving or hyperactive
  • Changes in sleep patterns, drowsiness
  • Confusion about time or place
  • Decrease in short-term memory
  • Disorganized thinking, such as talking in a way that doesn’t make sense
  • Emotional or personality changes, such as anger, agitation, depression, irritability
  • Movements triggered by changes in the nervous system – seizures, tremors

Delirium or Dementia?

Dementia and delirium may be particularly difficult to distinguish, and a person may have both. In fact, frequently delirium occurs in people with dementia. Dementia is the progressive decline of memory and other thinking skills due to the gradual dysfunction and loss of brain cells.

Delirium is a  sudden onset of symptoms, often lasting about 1 week. It may take several weeks for mental function to return to normal . Full recovery is common, but depends on the underlying cause of the delirium.

First Aid for the Delirious or Demented

What ever the cause of delerium,  how do we render first aid treatment effectively to a severely confused person?

Our primary concern is our own safety and the safety of the ones we are treating. If a person seems delirious it is important to reassure our casualty to enable us to treat them effectively and safely. Which we would try to do anyway, but these specific types of reassurances will help your casualty deal with their situation.

Perform the initial steps to providing first aid, ensuring all dangers have been identified and dealt with and that medical help is on its way. If the person is not requiring immediate resuscitation or action, bear in mind these tips to help reassure your patient as you perform assessment for/of injuries.

  • Reassure the person by speaking slowly in a clear voice, identifying yourself and them (if known).
  • Knowing the time of day can reduce confusion. Let them know where they are, what day it is and the time of day.
  • Visual and hearing impairment can make confusion worse. If you can see they have glasses or hearing aids help them to put on (if safe to do so).
  • If aggressive or agitated do not try to restrain. Try to make sure the area is free from hazards.

Agitated or aggressive patients may be dangerous to themselves and others or may not be able to cooperate with necessary procedures.

information sources: nlm.nih.gov, carersaustralia.com.au, mayoclinic.org
Image: kondyukandrey/iStockphoto.com