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  • Can you Recognize the Signs of a Stroke?

    Can you recognize the signs of a Stroke?

    Strokes are one of the leading causes of death in the United States.  Approximately 800,000 people suffer strokes each year, and almost 130,000 of those victims die. According to the experts at stroke.org, every 40 seconds, someone in the United States will have a stroke and one stroke will take a life every four minutes.

    Strokes can happen to anyone at any time regardless of age, sex or race.  In fact, 34 percent of the 130,000 stroke-related deaths reported each year are to people under the age of 65. Women will suffer about 55,000 more strokes a year than men, and African Americans are twice as likely to suffer a stroke as Caucasians.

    So would you know how to recognize the signs of a stroke?  Here’s what you should know to act F.A.S.T if someone you love (or a stranger, for that matter) experiences a stroke.

    Types of Strokes

    Ischemic strokes occur when arteries are blocked by a small blood clot or as plaque and other fatty deposits build up in the arteries.  Almost 90 percent of all strokes are ischemic

    Hemorrhagic strokes: Happen when a blood vessel in the brain breaks open and starts to leak. Hemorrhagic strokes account for just over 10 percent of all strokes.  However, hemorrhagic strokes account for more than 30 percent of all stroke-related deaths.


    Act F.A.S.T.

    Learning to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and getting help immediately are very important.  Over 2,000,000 brain cells die every minute during a stroke, and can quickly cause irreversible brain damage. The faster you can recognize the signs of a stroke and get treatment, the more likely any permanent damage can be reversed.  To recognize the signs of a stroke, remember the acronym F.A.S.T.

    Face drooping: Ask the person to smile. Does their face look uneven?

    Arm weakness: Ask them to raise both arms out in front of them. Does one arm drift downward?

    Speech difficulty: Ask them to repeat a simple phrase. Does their speech sound strange?

    Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms call for help fast. Call 911!

    It’s very important to learn to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and call 911 as soon as possible.  Time saves brain tissue and could even save a life.  Just remember to act F.A.S.T. Always note the time of day you recognize the first symptoms of a stroke.

    For ischemic strokes, if treatment with clot busting medication is given within the first three hours of the first symptom, long term disability can be reduced greatly.

    There are also other stroke treatments available that may help reduce the effects of the stroke.  Hemorrhagic strokes most likely will need surgical intervention to relieve the buildup of blood in the brain and to fix the leak in the blood vessels.



  • Salmonella: The Outbreak that Just won't Quit

    Salmonella: The Outbreak that Just won't Quit

    Over the last couple of months, we’ve been warned about possible outbreaks of measles and MERS; norovirus on cruise ships and at resorts; and strains of Ebola spreading through Africa and worrying health officials. So, this headline should make us all feel better:

    U.S. salmonella outbreak widens, 574 now sick from Foster Farms chicken

    Yeah, remember that salmonella scare from last March? Turns out that hasn’t actually ended yet. At the end of May, the outbreak was still rampant. Fortunately, the year-long outbreak hasn’t resulted in any fatalities, but that doesn’t make me any less wary about the disease—especially this particular strain, which is proving resistant to drugs and increasingly leading to blood infections.

    An AP article, “5 Things to Know About Salmonella in Chicken,” outlines the current situation (including an explanation of why the CDC doesn’t seem to be able to get this in hand), describes the symptoms, and reminds us of the number one preventative practice: cook your chicken.

    And, not to pile it on here, but did you know that chicken is not the only carrier of salmonella? According to the CDC, just about any raw dairy, meat, fruit, or veggies can be contaminated; so can water sources that come into contact with human or animal waste, as well as certain domestic animals themselves. In fact, an info sheet from Utah’s Bureau of Epidemiology reports “Utah as well as the rest of the U.S. has seen an increase in Salmonella infection as the result of increased ownerships of exotic animal species such as reptiles.”

    Okay, yuck!

    So, besides sealing myself in an anti-septic bubble for the rest of my life, what can I do? The CDC’s “Salmonella Prevention” page has a comprehensive list of tips to keep from contracting the bug (my favorite: “Don't work with raw poultry or meat, and an infant [e.g., feed, change diaper, etc.] at the same time.” I mean, I know we moms gotta multitask, but really?).

    Another helpful resource is “How to Prevent a Salmonella Infection,” from about-salmonella.com. And if you’re worried about your own water sources (either at home or on the trail), read through our article, “Making Water Drinkable: Ways to Filter and Purify Water You Have on Hand.”


    Be prepared to stay healthy, and jump into the discussion here to share your best prevention tips!



  • When Should You Move an Injured Person?

    When Should You Move an Injured Person?

    One of the most dangerous threats to an injured person is unnecessary movement. Moving an injured person can cause additional injury and pain, and may complicate the victim’s recovery. Generally, you shouldn’t move an injured person while treating them. If at all possible, wait for trained first responders so you don’t cause the victim more harm.

    However, there are certain circumstances where it becomes absolutely necessary to move an injured person away from the scene. If you witnessed or were involved in an accident where someone was injured, would you know whether it’s safe to move that person for immediate treatment or if it’s better to leave them where they are until emergency responders arrive?

    In this article, I will help you learn what to do if you find yourself in a situation where you have to move an injured person to safety.


    What should you do first?

    Anytime you see an accident or an injured person, dialing 911 immediately is the key to getting help there as soon as possible. As you wait for help to arrive, there are some things you can do to help the injured person remain calm, while also keeping yourself safe.

    Before you go towards an accident or an injured person, make sure the area is safe to enter. You don’t want to get injured or killed by rushing into an unsafe environment to help someone else.

    If the area is safe, proceed to the injured person and try to keep him or her calm and still:

    • Talk to them and explain what has happened.
    • Let them know that they need to stay still so they don’t cause further harm or injury to themselves.
    • Tell them that you will be with them until help arrives.
    •  Always be on the lookout for safety hazards. If things change and the situation becomes unsafe, you may need to move yourself and the injured person to a safe location and wait for help to arrive.

    When to move someone

    If someone has minor injuries or seems like they’re not hurt at all, they could most likely move themselves to safety.  But if they seem confused, complain of back or neck pain, have severe abdominal pain, or are bleeding, it’s best to wait for first responders.

    However, there are definitely times when the injured person needs to be moved to prevent further harm. These could include:

    • When they are faced with immediate danger, such as an unsafe accident scene or traffic hazards, fire, lack of oxygen, risk of explosion, or a collapsing structure.
    • When you have to get to another person who may have more serious injuries. You may have to move a person with minor injuries to reach someone needing immediate care.
    • When it’s necessary to give proper care. For example, if someone needed CPR, they need to be moved from a bed or couch because CPR needs to be performed on a firm, flat surface.

    How to move them

    If someone needs to be moved, try not to bend or twist them if possible. When they are lying on the ground, grab their shirt at the top of the shoulders, and using your forearms to cradle their head, pull their shirt to drag them in a straight line to a safe location.


    When Should you move an injured person? Photo courtesy of wikihow.com

     You can also drag them by their feet—make sure you drag them in a straight line.  If they have back or neck pain, you need to keep them flat and straight. Make sure their neck and spine are as straight as possible, so you can move them to safety without further injury.

    If there happens to be something hard, like a piece of wood, you can log roll the patient onto the object to carry them to safety. A log roll is a move used to turn an injured patient from back to side without flexing the spinal column. The trick is to keep the person’s spine straight while placing them on the wood. This technique requires 3 to 4 people—one person to hold the head and neck straight, while the other two to three people roll the body onto the wood.


    When Should you move an injured person?

    Photo courtesy of wikihow.com

    The person at the head will count to three, and all individuals will roll the patient on their side towards them at the same time as the person at the head turns the head to maintain the alignment with the body. Once the person is placed on something hard, the person at the head will again count and roll the person onto their back.


    Human Nature

    Most people are equipped with an internal need to give compassion and help others when they are sad, don’t feel good, or are hurt.  Even though these are great emotions to have, there are times when they could cause more harm than good to an injured person.

    A mother’s first instinct when a child is hurt is to run to them and pick them up to offer comfort. But what if that child had been hit by a car, or fell from a tree or window and is seriously hurt? Picking up a child up or moving them could cause severe damage or unfortunate outcomes.  Many of us don’t think about the consequences that moving an injured person could have if an accident happens. In the moment, we just want to offer comfort and make them feel secure.

    I would never fault a mother or any family member for running to an injured child and picking them up after something like this happens. But I hope that after reading this article, it will always be in the back of your mind, and that it might trigger something in you, so that if you are ever put into this type of situation you will remember not to move a person unless it’s absolutely necessary. The best thing you can do is remain composed and try to keep them as still and calm as possible. If you do this until emergency personnel arrive, you won’t risk further injury.

    Unfortunately, good outcomes don’t always happen despite the most professional care and all the advances of medicine. But we don’t want to complicate an injury by doing the wrong thing and moving someone when it isn’t necessary.

    We hope you never have to use this skill, but it’s worth thinking about (and even practicing), just in case.


    Have you ever had to move an injured person? What was your experience?


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