What Are You On?

What are you on

The phrase “What Are You On” refers to prescribed medications.

It is an significant issue for the global health-care sector. Drug protection is an area of concern and is high-risk.

This post is part of a series of posts relating to taking good care of our health at home. Please read 4 Key Factors For Home Health Care Services if you wish to find out more information about what to expect from care givers.

Maintaining drug safety depends on a variety of factors, errors in assessment, prescribing, dispensation and observations that may lead to adverse effects and harm.

What are you on

Specialists and the health care community are fallible.  The system of health care and drug related services for doctors, health care professionals and health insurance sectors are costly.

Up to 30 per cent of seniors in the United States had a adverse response to their prescribed medication in 2017, according to the American Geriatrics Society. These reactions are most often triggered by skipping doses of medication or inadvertently doubling over drug doses. To avoid these complications and to reduce the risk of adverse reactions with prescription drugs, it is important that seniors establish and sustain a strong drug management programme that will allow them to handle each of their various prescription medicines effectively.

Clearly, medical professionals need to be involved in the research and improvement of drug health, Carers add to this agenda by taking a collective approach to investigating the complexity and protection of prescription control for chronically ill patients.

History.

Few individuals also handle more than one medical condition, a diverse menu of pharmaceutical items and other treatment needs.

What are you on

However, medication protection research to date has concentrated largely on hospital conditions and may have no applicability for home care. For example, unregulated staff, families and unpaid carers receive most healthcare in private homes not planned for such practises.

It is now widely understood that traditional approaches to identify drug-related problems, including labels such as ‘labelless therapy,’ ‘drug-free diagnosis,’ ‘fake medication,’ and ‘false dosage,’ are not acceptable and practical to home care.

Economic , cultural and neighbourhood concerns need to be addressed when evaluating the difficulties associated with medicine. This includes: whether the person can afford to fill the prescription with medication and transportation; anxiety about the side effects; confusion over the purpose, dose or pacing of the drug; and coping with an overwhelmed caregiver with their own health concerns.

It is difficult to provide for any family member who has chronic health problems. Increased number of patients discharged from hospital earlier in recovery process may create uncertainty about new drug regime.

Mobile equipment (i.e., peritoneal and haemodialysis, long-term intravenous catheters, and oxygen / inhalation therapy) has seen a significant rise in home hospital treatment. Both factors, including physical environment, social dynamics, and client and caregiver cognitive and physical skills, must be considered in providing home treatment.

What are you on

Doctors do their utmost to provide the right dosage, but prescription medicines also cause unforeseen reactions. And keeping in good touch with the doctor is smart.

Do not hesitate to call if you think you have an adverse drug reaction or if you are afraid the drugs don’t play together well. The doctor can prescribe another drug or try alternatives to alternative therapies to help you feel better.

Many people are apprehensive about discussing all of their prescription medications with their doctor. Keep in touch with the doctor to make sure the prescription is as safe and effective as the day it was administered.

Many elderly caregivers face their own health issues and can lose sleep as they work almost 24 hours a day. Inside the institutional scenario of carers, there are two to three shifts a day.

Family members and carers often feel a sense of duty in trying to keep the client home without fully understanding that this goal could be unattainable or unrealistic.

Providers work with clients, families and their unpaid caregivers to reduce risks, but the complexity of home environments allows clients and caregivers to routinely exercise independent decision-making in the light of limited professional oversight and often stressed or absent support from home and the community.

In fact, the reporting and communication challenges that are heightened across industries at transition points also raise the potential for inadequate drug resolution and related risks.

However, it is not possible to ignore the vulnerability of home care workers employed mainly without adequate management assistance, and the heterogeneity of each home environment. Consequently, customer service and drug management protection can not be discussed without involving family members, unpaid caregivers and paying providers in the equation.

Our point of view is that the unique life of private homes and communities as well as the various interrelationships between individuals, households, unpaid caregivers and home care staff is a complex socio-ecological issue in terms of healthy handling of drugs.What are you on

Implicit in this perspective of health is the assumption that interactions between human beings and the world are mutual. To elucidate this dynamic relationship, this approach integrates several ideas from machine theory.

Another ecological perspective principle is that people can be represented at multiple aggregation levels in environments: person, family, organisation, society and population.

The need to both explain the multiple levels of problem determinants and recognise opportunities for improvement under this assumption.

Because medicines can interfere poorly with each other, creating a plan for handling medicines does more than just help you stay organised: it also helps you stay healthy.

By knowing which medicines you are taking, you can take responsibility for your own health care and help ensure you remain at low risk for adverse drug interactions.

If prescription medicines are taken properly, they can help us lead happier lives and when you build a medication treatment plan that works for you, it can take a huge stress out of your life and free you up to think about more important things – including spending time with friends and family.

What are you on
What are you on?

If you use a timer and pill dispenser you can not stress about missing your medication. If you get confused about when you take your medication or you feel that there has been a dispensery error please contact the chemist or doctor’s surgery as soon as possible. It is better to be safe than sorry.

 

Mercury Spill Cleanup At Home

What to Do if You Break a Mercury Thermometer

mercury spill

A mercury spill is very serious.

Background

The evolution of the thermometer begins with the Greeks, with Hero of Alexandria recognising that certain substances expand and contract dependant on temperature. At that time, it was simply a water/air interface that was more of a scientific curiosity than a piece of practical equipment. It took another 1600 years for the first device that we might recognise to be invented, however this type of thermometer designed by Giuseppe Biancani in 1617, was actually called a thermoscope.

Fast-forward another century and Dutch inventor and scientist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit introduces the world to the first reliable thermometer. This was the first type of thermometer to use mercury instead of water/alcohol mixtures, and it was this design that would remain in use until after the Second World War. Today, that iconic mercury-based design has all but been replaced by other types of thermometer, however, while digital now rules, in Australia, they are more prevalent than in most other western countries.

Fahrenheit Scale: Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit

What can be considered the first modern thermometer, the mercury thermometer with a standardized scale, was invented by Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit in 1714.

The Fahrenheit scale divided the freezing and boiling points of water into 180 degrees. 32°F was the freezing point of water and 212°F was the boiling point of water. 0°F was based on the temperature of an equal mixture of water, ice, and salt. Fahrenheit based his temperature scale on the temperature of the human body. Originally, the human body temperature was 100° F on the Fahrenheit scale, but it has since been adjusted to 98.6°F.

Centigrade Scale: Anders Celsius

The Celsius temperature scale is also referred to as the “centigrade” scale. Centigrade means “consisting of or divided into 100 degrees.” In 1742, the Celsius scale was invented by Swedish Astronomer Anders Celsius. The Celsius scale has 100 degrees between the freezing point (0°C) and boiling point (100°C) of pure water at sea level air pressure. The term “Celsius” was adopted in 1948 by an international conference on weights and measures.

Kelvin Scale: Lord Kelvin

Lord Kelvin took the whole process one step further with his invention of the Kelvin Scale in 1848. The Kelvin Scale measures the ultimate extremes of hot and cold. Kelvin developed the idea of absolute temperature, what is called the “Second Law of Thermodynamics”, and developed the dynamical theory of heat.

In the 19th century, scientists were researching what was the lowest temperature possible. The Kelvin scale uses the same units as the Celcius scale, but it starts at Absolute Zero, the temperature at which everything including air freezes solid. Absolute zero is 0 K, which is equal to 273°C degrees Celsius.

When a thermometer was used to measure the temperature of a liquid or of air, the thermometer was kept in the liquid or air while a temperature reading was being taken. Obviously, when you take the temperature of the human body you can’t do the same thing. The mercury thermometer was adapted so it could be taken out of the body to read the temperature.
The clinical or medical thermometer was modified with a sharp bend in its tube that was narrower than the rest of the tube. This narrow bend kept the temperature reading in place after you removed the thermometer from the patient by creating a break in the mercury column. That is why you shake a mercury medical thermometer before and after you use it, to reconnect the mercury and get the thermometer to return to room temperature.

Australia still allows the sale and use of mercury thermometers, while most of Europe and USA has outlawed their use in medical facilities due to the high toxicity of the substance itself. Today, in many cases, alternative types of thermometer are used either alongside mercury-based devices or as replacements. Here, we take a look at the different types of thermometer used today and what to do if your toxic mercury thermometer breaks.

Types of Thermometer Available Today

Mercury spill

Digital Thermometers – Digital thermometers are among the fastest and most accurate. Readings can be taken from under the tongue, the rectum, or the armpit in the same way as a traditional thermometer.

Ear Thermometers – Otherwise known as tympanic thermometers, this type of thermometer uses infrared light to make temperature reading.

Non-contact Thermometers – Non-contact thermometers also work with infrared to provide readings without contacting the body. They are probably the least accurate but can be useful for children.

Glass Thermometers – Traditional glass thermometers are still available, using either mercury or another substance such as alcohol to provide a reading.

Using a Mercury Thermometer? Here’s What to do if it Breaks

The first thing to remember if you break a mercury thermometer is that the silvery substance (mercury spill) contained within those glass tubes has the potential to be highly toxic. Of course, identifying whether it is really mercury in your thermometer is an important step, however, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

To help you identify whether the type of thermometer you are using is, in fact, mercury-based, ask yourself:

  • Is the liquid silver?

If it is not, then it is most likely to be an alcohol-based thermometer. If it is, then it may be either a mercury or a non-mercury thermometer.

  • Does the thermometer contain any warnings?

Sometimes, the paper calibration strip inside the thermometer will tell you which substance has been used. If there is no writing or warning, assume that it is mercury.

Cleaning up Mercury Spills

Mercury Spill

If your mercury thermometer breaks, then you can also identify whether the substance contained is mercury by observing its behaviour. Mercury is a liquid metal that has properties quite unique from other substances. Smaller droplets will pool together into a large sphere shape, which will break again into smaller droplets when pressure is applied. However, never touch mercury and take care not to scatter smaller droplets into hard-to-reach areas.

When cleaning up after a mercury spill, you should be careful to NEVER do the following:

• NEVER use a vacuum cleaner. This will disperse the mercury into the air

• NEVER use a broom. This will break the mercury into smaller droplets and disperse them.

• NEVER pour mercury down the drain. This can either damage plumbing, septic tanks, or sewage treatment plants while polluting at the same time.

• NEVER walk around with mercury on your shoes of clothing.

Additionally, you should prep the area where the mercury has been spilled by doing the following:

• Ask people to leave the area ensuring no one walks through the mercury as they do so. Remove any pets from the area. Open all windows and doors to the outside and close doors to other parts of the building.

• For absorbent surfaces, the contaminated items must be disposed of according to the guidelines below

• For non-absorbent surfaces, clean-up is easier

• Do not allow children or elderly people to help you clean up

Instructions on How to Clean up Mercury Spills

Mercury Spill
  1. Put on latex, rubber, or nitrile gloves.
  2. Cover the affected areas with powdered sulphur, this will make the mercury easier to see and suppress any vapours.
  3. Pick up any broken glass or other debris, fold within a paper towel and place in a labelled, Ziplock bag.
  4. Use a piece of cardboard or plastic to gather mercury beads. Use slow sweeping motions. Darken the room and hold a torch at the low angle to check for any other mercury. Inspect the entire room.
  5. Use an eyedropper to draw up the mercury. Dispense onto a damp paper towel. Place the paper towel in a labelled, Ziplock bag.
  6. Place all items, including gloves, into a trash bag. Label the bag as hazardous and containing mercury.
  7. Go to the Australian Government Department of the Environment for details on how to properly dispose of mercury.

If you wish to read more about safety around the home click HERE to read about Safety In The Kitchen.

Food Health Safety

Food Health Safety

Safe Food Handling Practices In The Kitchen.

There are many reasons families may mishandle foods.

Food Health SafetySome of the more common barriers to safe food handling are described below.

“When I make dinner, I have my routine. I really don’t have to think about it too much.”

Food preparation, for many, is a repeated or habitual behavior. The more often a task like preparing food is repeated, the more “automatic” it becomes—that is, less cognitive effort is needed.

Intervening to break this chain of events by introducing a new procedure (e.g., using soap to wash hands instead of just rinsing them, using a thermometer to judge doneness instead of just assessing color) is challenging.

Responsibility Deflection

“It’s not my responsibility.”

Some families feel food safety is the responsibility of others higher in the food safety chain who control food safety risks prior to food being offered for sale As a result, they deem food safety as not important in the home environment and may not accept their role in preventing foodborne illness in the home. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health

food health safety

Risky Preferences for Food Health Safety

“I enjoy eggs with a runny center.” “I prefer the taste of rare meat.”

These families are concerned the new behavior will  change the taste of foods and diminish their pleasure. This is important to consider given that taste is the number one driver of food choices.

food health safety

Cost: Benefit Miscalculations

“That takes too much time!” “It’s inconvenient.”

Some feel the time, effort, and resources needed to make the change are not reasonable or convenient. Foodborne illness often is mild and of short duration, thus many families may not be aware of its sometimes devastating and deadly outcomes when they (mis)calculate the value of safe food handling procedures.

Social Fears

“What would my family think if I checked their burgers with a thermometer?”

Individuals with the primary responsibility for preparing foods in their household indicate that they take great pride in their cooking. In addition, they highly rate the quality of the work done by those who prepare foods in their homes to ensure the safety of their food. Some household food preparers feel that new behaviors, like using thermometers to check cooking temperatures, would diminish the opinions others have of their skills as a cook.

Faulty Outcome Expectations

“I’ve always done it this way and haven’t gotten sick.”

These families o not perceive that the current way of behaving is problematic (or making them susceptible) to foodborne illness. They may fail to understand how emerging pathogens and changes in the food supply make what was once a safe behavior (e.g., eating raw eggs or rare burgers) a risky behavior. Compounding this problem is that few believe that home prepared foods are a likely cause of foodborne illness.

food health Safety

Optimistic Bias

“It won’t happen to me.

Nearly 6 out of 10 families believe their chances of getting foodborne illness are low. Some families believe that they have a small chance of getting a foodborne illness compared to others. This optimistic bias is positively linked with risky behaviors and neglects to take precautionary measures, which is related to increased incidence of accidents and foodborne illness.

Most (90%) report their personal risk of illness from eating food they prepared is low. But, when asked about the risk of others in their social group, only 41% thought these individuals had a low risk of illness from eating food they prepared. Rating one’s own risk as lower than others in one’s social group—those with whom an individual compares him or herself—is an indicator of low motivation to change precautionary behaviors.

Illusions of Control

“We take the necessary precautions in my home.”

Two-thirds believe they exert high levels of control over safe food handling when they prepare food. When asked what grade a food safety expert would give them for food preparation, service, and storage in their home, all but 2% gave themselves passing grades. When the family used a retail food establishment food safety evaluation checklist adapted for homes, scores were considerably lower. Scores were even lower when trained auditors evaluated home kitchens—the average grade was failing.

Making these results more disheartening is that participants in these home visit studies were aware that researchers would be coming to their home to observe and evaluate their kitchen practices.

How Can Health Professionals Help The Family Handle Food More Safely?

Health behavior change theories, such as the Health Belief Model, Theory of Planned Behavior, and Social Cognitive Theory, provide valuable roadmaps for identifying key constructs to address when aiming to effect behavior change.

Although thousands of studies demonstrate the usefulness of these theories in designing effective interventions for a wide array of health behaviors, including food safety, few food safety interventions have been theory based. Food safety education programs built on the constructs below have the potential to help families gain the  knowledge, skills, motivation, and confidence needed to handle foods more safely.

Boost Knowledge

For behaviors associated with Clean, Separate, Chill, and Cook, many families are aware of the food safety basics. Families also understand that “germs” can hurt them. However, many still have food safety knowledge gaps and their knowledge of safe food handling practices does not always correspond with reported use. This suggests a need to build consumer knowledge, activate existing knowledge, and motivate information application.

Highlight Responsibility

Their own responsibility than that of others in the food safety chain or believe their risk of foodborne illness is controlled by fate or luck. Some feel they have little responsibility because they believe most foodborne illnesses are caused earlier in the food safety chain or by retail food establishments. Helping families understand the magnitude of control they have in their own homes as food safety risk managers and finding motivators—such as helping them understand that by using a thermometer, loved ones are less likely become sick from undercooked meat or showing them how easy thermometers are to use—can help promote behavior change.

Heighten Recognition of Susceptibility and Severity of Outcomes

Engaging in health protective behaviors is associated with greater perceived susceptibility or beliefs in the likelihood of a negative health outcome and its severity. For example, those who Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10 4071 believe food poisoning is a personal threat eat fewer risky foods.  food health safetyPersonalizing risks can help get better understand their own foodborne illness susceptibility. Thus, interventions should help families learn who is at increased risk for foodborne illness as better knowledge of these groups predicts better compliance with safe food handling recommendations.

Emphasize Behavioral Control

Perceived behavioral control is a significant predictor of safe food handling intentions.

However, it is difficult to motivate families to change when they feel confident that they are already controlling foodborne illness risks in their kitchens. Tools that help families pinpoint problems in their own kitchen, such as home kitchen food safety self-assessments, could personalize the message and increase their awareness of problem spots. These tools also can clarify how current behaviors could be endangering their health and how simple changes can lower the danger level. Another tool is “recipe Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)”—that is, teaching families to identify steps in a recipe that may increase food safety hazards and think ahead about how to resolve them.

Build Confidence

If families are worried about possible embarrassment of performing new behaviors, like using a cooking thermometer, improving attitudes toward the behavior and changing beliefs about how others in their social network perceive the behavior can build the confidence needed to motivate families to make changes. Social networks may influence a broad array of health-risk behaviors, especially among adolescents. Although few studies examining the role of social influences

on food safety behaviors could be located, studies of other health behaviors strongly suggest that utilizing social networks in food safety interventions could increase their effectiveness. In addition, working to shift social norms, such as by modeling thermometer use or other food safety behaviors on television programs can help build confidence (an example of a video clip that shifted social norms that may be familiar to readers is the “double” dipping” clip from a Seinfeld episode.

food health safety

Offer Cues to Action

Researchers have reported that families take food safety precautions only when they perceive a risk, such as when they handle raw poultry, fear they may give others food poisoning, or when others are watching. At other times, families may be acting out of habit and make food handling mistakes because they lack “cues to action”. Fein and colleagues use the analogy of driving a car—drivers are constantly taking protective actions in response to cues, such as the yellow stripe in the middle of the road or a stop sign. But, when making dinner, hazards are not visible (e.g., pathogens on the unwashed produce that are contaminating the counter and our hands) and there are few, if any, cues to remind us to practice safe food handling (e.g., use soap to wash hands or keep washed and unwashed produce separated).

Risk messages or handling instructions on food packages help cue some to change their behavior. In one study, the control group received a chicken salad recipe and the experimental group received the same recipe with a printed message encouraging them to take great care to avoid cross contaminating the salad by preventing raw meat juices from coming in contact with other ingredients and utensils. Salads made by the group receiving the cue had significantly less bacteria than those made by the control group, putting the experimental group at a four-fold lower relative risk of falling ill than the control group. Another study that involved preparing a chicken salad recipe found that only 57% of important hygiene measures (i.e., washing hands with soap and water, checking doneness with a thermometer) were used by participants.

Food Health Safety

food health safety

Adding food safety cues to food packages may be particularly effective given that nearly half of families indicate they commonly read cooking instructions on food packages. Placing soap dispensers in direct line of sight also helps improve hand washing. Adding endpoint cooking temperatures in educational materials and cookbooks are other cues to action. Printing washing instructions on reusable grocery bags could cue families to wash them.

These are some thing that can help improve food safety on the home.