Happy New Year to you all.
So I hope that Christmas went well for everybody and that you have now made some New Year Resolutions for 2014.
Yes I know, the old ones trot out each year: lose weight, go to the gym more often, be more organised, tidy out the office/loft and three weeks into the New Year they get abandoned!
It’s a strange time of year really, still winter and cold out there but with a promise of spring around the corner. It is a good time to sort out things and get ready for the year ahead.
When I tell people what I do for a living, most say that’s a really good thing to do and that everyone should learn first aid. It is after all a life skill that most would agree ought to be taught form a fairly young age.
We all know illnesses and accidents happen to friends and families, and are often caught out when they happen. There is nothing more awful, than standing by, feeling helpless, when a loved one is taken ill suddenly or becomes injured.
Wouldn’t it be good if you had the knowledge and confidence to be able to help?
I hope that this year you will take the time to add another skill to the list of Resolutions. Make 2014 the year that you learn some first aid. You never know when you might need it!
At the very least when reviewing everything else, check your kit is up to date and fully stocked. If you last did a first aid course when you were a cub or brownie, it’s probably about time you went on another one as things change rather often.
First aid courses are not expensive, a day or three of your time is all it takes and may make all the difference and help save the life of someone you love. What better way to start the New Year?
Image with thanks to christmasstockimages.com.
Whilst gardening is a fantastic hobby, it is not without its own risks.
Labouring in the garden under a hot sun (remember that?) brings sunburn and heat stroke and maybe muscle strains too. Many of the tools used are sharp and often more than a little rusty which poses problems when you cut yourself. Not only that, many of the plants themselves are somewhat irritant to the skin, causing rashes and blisters and other irritations. Soil also contains the tetanus bacteria and so gardeners are more at risk of acquiring tetanus via cuts to the skin.
Like all things in life, prevention is better than cure but how many of us think we might get hurt in the garden – unless of course we are wielding a chain saw about in a frenzy!
There is of course a recipe for ensuring you stay fit and well in the garden and it involves the following:
First take one human body
Apply the appropriate clothing; long legged trousers and long sleeve shirts to prevent scratches and bites
Undertake some gentle stretching exercises to warm up the muscles
Fill up a water bottle and take it out to the garden
Apply liberal quantities of sunscreen to exposed areas of skin
Check tools are clean and ready for use
Apply a hat
You should be ready to undertake the gardening now, just ensure you don’t overdo it!
Joking aside, if you do get any small cuts and scratches whilst gardening it is very important that you clean them thoroughly with warm water and that you cover them with a suitable dressing before continuing with your work. This is because there are a whole host of bacteria that live in the soil and which can be found on plants via bird droppings etc. These can cause some extremely nasty skin infections which can make you very ill.
In addition BBC Scotland recently reported a rare outbreak of legionnella linked to handling compost. So the advice is to consider wearing gloves when handling potting compost.
Almost 2.8 million people in the UK live with some form of diabetes. It is one of the most common illnesses that affect people and perhaps one of the most misunderstood. In addition around a million people are estimated to have the condition but are as yet undiagnosed.
This week is National Diabetes week and the UK charity Diabetes UK is trying to raise the profile of the work that they do in helping us to understand the condition more clearly. They have discovered that nearly a million people with the condition are too embarrassed or scared to let close friends and colleagues know in case they are stigmatised or bullied at school or work. The issue was raised in this week’s Prime Minister’s Question Time by the Adrian Sanders, MP for Torbay, who is helping with the campaign, encouraging those with diabetes to speak out more about the condition and what it is like to live with.
It is an issue that all of us should be aware of, as with increasing levels of obesity, lack of physical activity and poor diets, many of us are putting our long term health at risk, running the very real possibility of developing the condition as we go through life.
Diabetes is a condition which causes problems with controlling the level of sugar in our blood. There are two main types; Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetics typically do not produce any of the hormone insulin which is needed to utilise the sugar in our blood and turn it into usable fuel for our bodies. It typically begins in childhood or early adulthood and accounts for about 5-10 % of all cases of diabetes. It is not caused by poor diet and lifestyle factors.
Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for around 80 – 85% of all cases, develops later in life and is heavily influenced by diet, and physical activity. Being overweight significantly increases your chances of developing diabetes. Lack of physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle and a poor diet are known risk factors for developing diabetes.
Either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, if left untreated, can have serious implications on the long-term health of sufferers. If you suspect that you may be affected by diabetes, you should contact your GP.
Your genetic make-up has a large influence on your chances of developing either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. If you have a strong family history of diabetes, your risk increases significantly.
Obesity is becoming a global issue with knock on effects on healthcare. Approximately one in five adults in the UK is overweight and this is increasing steadily. Diabetes and it’s associated complications are costly to treat and with an ever increasing population that is ageing and becoming more unhealthy the cost to the NHS is huge.
A report out this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association has also suggested that watching too much television can also contribute to a 20% higher risk of developing the disease. However, it is important to note that this is more likely down to the fact that those who watch television for more than two hours per day are also more likely to snack on unhealthy foods and participate in less physical activity. It is likely that this, rather than television itself, is the true cause of this relationship.
Small changes in the way we live our lives, losing weight, eating healthily and exercising can do much to prevent us developing diabetes.
For those that already have the condition, ensure that all around you know about it so that if you become unwell they can help you. You never know, telling others about it may help someone else get the treatment they need or prevent another person developing the disease.
Recognising and treating a hypoglycaemic attack is covered in the 3 day first aid at work course. For more details see our First Aid at Work syllabus page.
We all have sheds and garages that are crammed full of stuff and bits of things we might need in the future. Over the winter more stuff just gets piled in and perhaps now it’s time to tidy it up.
But before you embark on your gardening/shed clearing this weekend, bear in mind that 1 in 5 of all accidents happen in the garden.
Each year, many people arrive at A&E departments with injuries ranging from the minor sprains, cuts and blisters to the more severe bleed, broken bones and amputations, caused by accidents in and around the home and garden.
Taking some time to check your equipment and safe storage of things such as weedkillers, adhesives and solvents could prevent nasty things happening. Most of these are common sense and really don’t take much time out of our busy days to deal with. Lets face it, a few minutes spent checking and maintaining equipment and clearing out the shed/garage may save time in A& E later.
Helpfully, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) have produced a checklist to help householders think about safety issues in the home and garden:
Ladders should be checked before using them to ensure they are in good repair and that they are placed at a safe angle (1in 4). It is almost incredible to think that people would climb up a ladder where the rungs were worn, but they do!
Always follow manufacturer’s instructions when using weed killers, and never transfer chemicals to alternative containers that could confuse and lead to poisoning.
Maintain sharp tools and remember to put them away tidily after to use to prevent injury, particularly to children.
Keep paths and steps level, stable and clear of any moss that might cause slips trips and falls.
Provide safety rails and barriers to changes in garden levels.
Site bonfires well away from fences, sheds and trees, and keep children away from them too.
Adhering to theses simple rules makes gardening safer for everyone concerned, so that you can enjoy your time in the garden and make the most of any fine weather.
So, the sun is shining, and I am starting to think about spending more time out and about. If you are anything like me, winter has been a good excuse to avoid going running, far too cold!
If you haven’t exercised for a long time you’ll need to start slowly with walking 3 times a week, and gradually build up to jogging, before going out for a serious run. Before embarking on training sessions it is essential to ensure that you’ve warmed up muscles properly. The last thing you need is to injure yourself before you’ve begun.
The most common causes of exercise related injuries are strains and sprains due to inadequate preparation. Stretching out well before starting to exercise is key to avoiding injury, but cooling down afterwards is just as important. Ensuring you are adequately hydrated is also crucial. The first week of any new exercise plan is the one where injury is most likely.
In the event that muscles do get strained, remember the following:
You’ll have to pay the PRICE and avoid further HARM.
PRICE stands for:
Make sure you avoid further harm by:
Visit our FAQ pages for more information on sprains and strains.
You can tell it’s winter when the Norovirus rears its head again. Latest figures from the Health Protection Agency and NHS Direct have shown that the numbers of people infected with the bug have shown a sharp increase over the last two weeks according to The Telegraph (22/11/10). It is a bug that appears more frequently during the winter months but can appear at any time in the year.
Norovirus or “winter vomiting” as it is more commonly known is a viral infection that causes violent vomiting and diarrhoea. It is extremely contagious and is spread by direct contact through poor hygiene after using the toilet etc then spread through contact with door handles, computer keyboards etc. It can also be caught when someone vomits and small droplets enter the air.
Incubation of the virus is 24-48 hours and starts with projectile vomiting, diarrhoea and fever which can last for up to 48 hours. For most of us this is extremely unpleasant but self limiting and the main treatment is rest and fluids.
However, for the very young, the old and those who are immune compromised it can be a serious condition and may prove to be fatal as dehydration may become a big issue with these population groups.
Due to the infectious nature of the bug, it is advised that people afflicted by it should rest, try to drink plenty of fluids and if they have any concerns they should contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647, rather than going to their GP or A&E unit where they may spread the disease to staff and other patients. Wherever possible do not prepare food while you are unwell and take an extra day or two to recover fully before going back to work, as you may still be contagious, even though symptoms have stopped.
As always, prevention is better than cure. So to reduce your risk of catching winter vomiting, please make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet and keep things like door handles clean too.