Monday - First Aid Care
Sometimes it is the little things that create the biggest opportunities to degrade our health. One such example is the risk that any cut, scrape, abrasion or puncture in our skin could let in germs and lead to infection. A wound or bone infection can be hard to treat as it may require a stay in the hospital, lead to an amputation, or potentially death. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of an infection and it’s critical for you to do everything you can to prevent an infection.
While gloves may protect your hands, they can also the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. As you work, your hands may began to sweat and any cuts or scrapes can easily become infected. To minimize the risk always cover the wound with a band aid or bandage that does not allow for things like sweat and dirt to enter. When your work day is complete, be certain to remove the band aid or bandage and replace it (if needed) with a breathable bandage to allow the area to continue healing.
Tuesday – Decreasing Chance of Infection
Before doing anything with your wound:
- Wash your hands and wrists for 20 seconds with warm water and antibacterial soap.
- Rinse well.
- Dry your hands with a CLEAN paper towel.
- Rub your hands together quickly for 20 seconds.
- Do not sneeze or cough on the dressing supplies or on your wound.
After the wound has been cleaned and dressed:
- Keep it covered with a sterile dressing at all times. The dressing protects the wound from dirt and bacteria.
- Be especially diligent to keep your wound from getting wet with coolants, oils, etc.
Wednesday – Infection Signs and Symptoms
Wound infections are incredibly common and can be spotted by these signs:
- Increasing tenderness, swelling, redness, or warmness around the wound
- A red streak spreading from the wound
- Pus or cloudy draining
- A foul odor or abnormal smell
- Fever or chills
- Increased pain
- Wound growth
- Blistering or discoloration
- Increased weakness
- A wound that won’t heal
If you have signs and symptoms such as these, seek professional medical care. If it is a work related matter, be sure to report these symptoms to your supervisor, manager, or EHS staff.
Thursday - DVT Awareness
Sticking with the medical care theme for the week, let’s also spend some time talking about deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a blood clot in a deep vein, typically in the legs due to long periods of inactivity. Clots can form in both superficial and deep veins. Clots with inflammation in superficial veins rarely cause serious problems but deep vein require immediate medical care. These clots are dangerous because they can break loose, travel through the bloodstream to the lungs, and block blood flow in the lungs. This is called a pulmonary embolism which is often life-threatening. DVT can also lead to long-lasting problems if there is damage to the vein and can causes leg aches, swelling, and discoloration. If not treated, pain may get worse, last longer, or become constant.
If you are planning to travel for a long distance, consider the following steps to prevent DVT due to long periods of sitting:
- Wear loose, comfortable clothes.
- Consider buying flight socks (compression stockings).
- Store luggage overhead so you have room to stretch out your legs under the seat in front of you
- Do anti-DVT exercises. Raise your heels, keeping your toes on the floor, and bring them back down. Do this 10 times. Now raise and lower your toes 10 times. Do it at least every half an hour (you can do it more often if you like).
- Walk around whenever you can.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Try to avoid drinking alcohol or taking sleeping pills. This will ensure you don’t fall asleep and stay in a static position for too long.
Friday - Find It First Friday
Take time out today to share one or two safety opportunities reported and corrected this week. Did you come up with a great ‘life hack’ that people should know about? Did you encounter and solve a problem someone else may also be sharing?
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