CDC Blast Injury mobile application (free iPhone or iPad app for first responders)

April 29, 2017

The CDC Blast Injury app supports pre-hospital and hospital healthcare providers and public health professionals in preparing for and responding to terrorist bombings and other mass casualty explosive events.

Healthcare providers and public health professionals can use the application to:

  • Quickly review critical steps to take from the moment an event happens.
  • Learn blast injury patterns and treatment considerations.
  • Scan information efficiently with minimal effort on the way to or at a scene and grasp clinical guidance to support key job functions.
  • Access medical surge capacity guidance including information on facilitating health systems emergency communication.
  • Find special populations treatment considerations (e.g., women who are pregnant, children)
  • Link to the full breadth of CDC’s resources on blast injuries and mass casualty explosive events.

The CDC Blast Injury app for iPhone or iPad is available for free on iTunes


Did you know MRSA kills more Americans each year than AIDS?

March 11, 2013

Staphyloccus aureaus or staphStaphylococcus aureus (pronounced staf-ill-oh-KOK-us AW-ree-us), or “Staph”, is a very common germ about a third of the population carries on their skin or in their nose. This bacteria does not cause a problem for most people who have it on their skin, but sometimes it can cause serious infections.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics so is sometimes called a “superbug”.

In the community, most MRSA infections are skin infections that are minor (like a pimple, bump or boil) and can be treated with antibiotics. However, it can quickly turn into deep, painful abscesses that require surgical draining. Sometimes the bacteria remain confined to the skin, but they can also penetrate into the body, causing potentially life-threatening infections in bones, joints, surgical wounds, the bloodstream, heart valves and lungs. The vast majority of serious infections are linked to health care exposure like hospitals and nursing homes.

A few years ago the CDC and The Journal of the American Medical Association reported MRSA is killing more Americans each year than AIDS. That year there were nearly 19,000 MRSA deaths while roughly 16,000 people in the U.S. died from AIDS.

According to WebMD, bug bites, rashes, and other skin conditions can sometimes be confused with MRSA because the symptoms may be similar: red, swollen, warm, or tender.

spider bite versus MRSA

ER doctors routinely ask patients who arrive with a painful spider bite whether they actually saw the spider, because these “bites” so often turn out to be MRSA instead. When a skin infection spreads or does not improve after 2-3 days on usual antibiotics, it may be MRSA.

How does MRSA spread?

MRSA can spread through physical contact with an infected person or something you’ve touched. Conditions that help to spread MRSA include: close skin-to-skin contact; cuts or scrapes in the skin; sharing personal hygiene articles such as razors and towels; and contact with contaminated items including door handles and athletic equipment.

Staph infections, including MRSA, occur most often in hospitals, nursing homes and facilities where people have weakened immune systems. MRSA also threatens police, firefighters and EMS workers, school kids and the community in general.

It also appears MRSA has jumped from humans to household pets, where it can linger without obvious symptoms — and possibly reinfect the pet owners. Only community-acquired strains have been found in cats and dogs so far. And WebMD reports MRSA has been found in the sand and water at beaches in Washington State.

What to do to reduce the spread of MRSA (and other infectious diseases)..

  • Wash hands often using soap and water or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol in it) to reduce the spread of germs. But keep in mind sanitizers don’t work against some bugs like C. diff so it’s best to wash up.
  • Tell healthcare workers and visitors to wash their hands before they touch you or your stuff — don’t be timid! Also remember staph can reside on stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs and other medical devices so ask if they’ve been cleaned lately.
  • Use antibiotics only when absolutely necessary. Consider boosting your immune system to help fight infections.
  • Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered until healed.
  • Clean counters, doorknobs, fixtures, phones, remotes, nurse call buttons, linens, etc. often with a bleach solution.
  • Don’t share silverware, razors, clothing, towels, or bedding and wash objects with soap and hot water.

Additional Resources:

CDC’s MRSA page

CDC’s FAQs About MRSA (1-pg PDF)

MRSA Survivors Network

WebMD’s MRSA Slideshow


Would you take this crap if your life depended on it?

March 4, 2013

Have you ever said or thought “I won’t take any crap from you”..?

Well … here’s a different twist on that logic. Did you know recent studies show “poop transplants” are an effective way to treat people with one type of intestinal bacteria infection?

Researchers transplanted fecal matter from healthy people into the colons of people infected with the notoriously hard-to-treat Clostridium difficile (klos-TRID-e-uhm dif-uh-SEEL) bacteria (a.k.a. C. diff), which causes severe, watery diarrhea.

The researchers found that 46 out of 49 patients got better within a week of the enema treatment.

And according to LiveScience.com, scientists have created a fake feces — a “super-probiotic” named RePOOPulate — that could be a safer alternative to the real poop transplants.

“C. diff is a serious infection — people die from this. With this treatment, the cure rate is close to 100 percent,” said study researcher Dr. Mayur Ramesh, an infectious disease physician at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

According to USA Today, C. diff is linked to more than 30,000 deaths a year in the United States — about twice federal estimates and rivaling the 32,000 killed in traffic accidents. And it sickens almost 500,000 Americans a year.

Also, one out of five people who get the infection will get it again, and recurrences can be more severe or deadly.

Unfortunately C. diff spores can survive on most surfaces for months and most hospital cleaners won’t kill it, but a solution of bleach and water could. Also, alcohol-based hand sanitizers used in many health facilities do not work against C. diff … so staff, patients and visitors must wash hands with soap and water frequently to reduce spreading the infection.

Read more about poop transplants at MyHealthNewsDaily.com and Live Science

And learn more about C. diff from the CDC  or Mayo Clinic

And finally … try not to take any crap from anybody … unless you need to for health reasons.

Have a great week! 🙂 j & B


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