According to experts, falls are the leading cause of death from an injury for older Americans. For women, it’s even worse. In fact, three quarters of those with hip fractures are women. For some, the broken hip starts a chain reaction since many older people also tend to suffer from other underlying conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, hypertension or dementia. After a fall, when one is bedridden or hospitalized, chances of developing everything from bed scores to pneumonia also significantly increases. Additionally, studies have shown that delaying surgery after a fracture for just 24 hours increases the chances of complications and even death. Approximately 1 out of 10 people over the age of 50 will die within a month of surgery for a broken hip; this figure increases to 1 in 5 if the patient already has an acute medical problem. However, researchers say falls can be prevented. Tips include removing rugs, installing better lighting, getting an updated prescription for glasses, improving balance, and exercising.
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The CDC has issued more robust standards to better protect healthcare workers who come into contact with Ebola and other deadly infectious diseases. The previous recommendations, which were first issued in 2008 and last updated this past August, did not work in the case of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, where two nurses were infected while treating an infected patient. The updated protocols recommend workers to wear personal protective equipment that covers the entire body and leaves no skin exposed. Other recommendations include wearing two sets of gloves and wearing boot covers that are waterproof and go to at least mid-calf or cover the legs.
Yesterday, CDC Director Tom Frieden and other top officials were questioned by members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on the response to Ebola infections in the country. Most of the questions focused on why the U.S. had not issued a travel ban from Ebola-stricken countries. Frieden stated that restricting travel would mean that the CDC could not screen and track passengers as they entered the U.S., especially if they decided to enter the country under false pretenses via another country.
The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) is replacing the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). The goal of the GHS is to harmonize differing workplace hazard classification and labeling systems across the world.
The CDC recommends a protocol for hospitals and healthcare workers to follow when they deal with a known or suspected case of Ebola. Here are some key points from the federal recommendations:
How to handle personal equipment. Everyone entering the room must wear personal protective equipment (PPE). PPE must consist of gloves, a fluid-resistant gown, goggles and a face mask. Additional safety measures include doubling up on gloves and wearing disposable shoes and leg coverings. The PPE should be carefully removed and thrown away.
Isolation. The patient must be placed in a single room with its own bathroom and door that closes. Hospitals must keep a log of everyone who goes into the room and use plastic covering on mattresses and pillows.
Needles must be kept at a minimum. When needles are used, they should be handled with extreme caution.
How to monitor for possible infection. Anyone who develops the symptoms of Ebola, including fever, muscle weakness or pain, vomiting or diarrhea should stop working and seek a medical evaluation.
How to prepare the dead body of an infected individual. The body of an infected person should be wrapped in plastic shroud and any intravenous lines or tubes in the body should be left in place. The body must also be wrapped and placed in two leak-proof plastic bags.
Click here to view all the recommendations from the CDC.
On Tuesday, a man exposed to Ebola while traveling in Africa has been hospitalized in a Dallas hospital, CDC officials confirmed. According to the CDC, the symptoms developed 4 days after his flight here from Liberia. The man was not feverish when he boarded the plane. Ebola is spread by direct contact and not by air and only while patients are sick and not beforehand while carrying the virus. This is the first ever diagnosed case in the U.S.