Category Archives: Safety

Practice Fireworks Safety – 2017

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It’s finally fireworks season! There is a lot of fun packed into fireworks as there is a huge variety! Loud, quiet, big, small, what is your preference? These exploding pieces of entertainment are so fun, but don’t let them end up putting a damper on your Fourth of July celebration! Incorporate the following safety tips to ensure a night full of fun and prevent potentially serious accidents.

  • Know the laws of your city in regards to fireworks and follow them!
  • Read instructions and warning labels before lighting. Know what the firework will do so you know what to expect to ensure the safety of others in the area.
  • Responsible adults should supervise the use of fireworks. Fireworks should not be lit by someone under the influence of alcohol.
  • Wearing safety glasses can protect your eyes from debris and sparks.
  • Light one firework at a time and back away quickly.
  • Do not relight “duds.” Instead, wait 20 minutes then put it in a bucket of water.
  • Have a bucket of water nearby.
  • Do not put fireworks in pockets or shoot them into glass or metal containers.
  • Avoid the use of homemade fireworks.
  • If you have pets, make sure they had IDs and keep them in a safe place.
  • If it is windy, make sure the wind won’t blow the fireworks into the crowd or wait to light the fireworks until the wind dies down.

Follow these rules and use common sense when around fireworks. It may seem ridiculous to have so many rules, but they are there to protect everyone! Have a fun and safe fireworks season!

 

Sources:

http://www.fireworkssafety.org/safety-tips/

https://www.fireworks.com/fireworks-university/fireworks-safety-tips/

https://www.firefighter-pgh.com/author/i-g-o-t-a/

Stay Safe Outdoors This Summer!

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Summer is the time to be outside and enjoy the weather, but don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun, bugs, and traffic! Taking the time to put on sunscreen, bug spray, and protective clothing may seem unnecessary and something that you don’t want to do, but read on to find out why you should!

It takes just fifteen minutes for the sun to damage your skin, but that doesn’t mean you can’t soak up the rays! Wear sunscreen, take breaks in the shade, and cover your skin with long sleeve shirts and pants. Wearing long sleeve shirts and pants may not be your forte, so you should at least keep a t-shirt or some sort of cover-up to provide some protection. Keep a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses on hand to protect your face, eyes, and ears. When using sunscreen, make sure you are covering all exposed areas of skin and don’t forget to reapply! Applying once for being outside for more than two hours just does not cut it. Why should you follow all of these protective recommendations? The reason is skin cancer! Overexposure to the sun can cause skin cancer. The rate of melanoma is increasing faster than other cancers and is the most deadly form of skin cancer. On average, it kills one person every hour. Statistics have also shown that just one sunburn increases your risk for skin cancer in the future. If using sun protection to prevent the possibility of getting cancer isn’t enough to convince you to protect yourself from the sun, then I am not sure what is!

The sun isn’t the only thing you need to protect yourself from. Watch out for the ticks and mosquitoes! There are no vaccines or medications to protect you from vector borne illnesses such as Zika, dengue, and Lyme disease. The CDC recommends using a bug spray with at least 20% DEET. While other bug sprays can repel mosquitoes, they may not repel ticks. If you are using sunscreen and bug spray at the same time, apply the sunscreen first and allow it to dry before spraying on repellent. Wearing the appropriate clothing is a great way to keep the bugs from biting. Wear long sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, shoes, and a hat. If you are walking through tall grass or walking through wooded areas, tuck in your shirt and tuck your pants into your socks to keep bugs from crawling under your clothes. Always check yourself to make sure that there are no bugs crawling on you or trying to bite. After coming indoors, put clothes in the dryer on high heat to kill any ticks that may be hanging on. If you start feeling sick after being bit by a mosquito or tick, you may need to contact your doctor.

If exercising outdoors is your thing, then this is for you! Make sure you dress for the weather. Try to make sure your clothing is reflective so that drivers can see you. When crossing intersections, make sure you look for cars before crossing. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen and bug spray, too! If you use headphones, make sure you can still hear what is going on around you. You should also exercise in well-traveled areas and let people know where you are. Following these recommendations can increase your chances of being safe during your workout.

Take the steps to protect yourself from your surroundings. Risks are taken with everything we do, not just going outside so don’t let sunburns, bugs, and potential danger ruin your outdoor fun!

 

Sources:

http://www.sunsafetyalliance.org/bare_facts.html

https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/avoid-bug-bites

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2013/05/9-tips-for-safe-outdoor-workouts/

http://www.ladysoda.com/the-heat-is-on/

Are You Ready to Beat the Heat?

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Summer is finally here! Now you can spend your time at the lake, going camping, attending baseball games, and going swimming! These outdoor activities are exciting and fun. It would be unfortunate if the high heat had to ruin it! Heat illnesses cause more deaths per year than the combination of hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods! Death can be the result of very severe cases of heat illness, but many people are victims of heat illness and are able to recover if proper action is taken. There are several factors that affect the risk of getting heat illness:

  • Climate – those who live in hot and humid environments have a higher risk
  • Exercise and Activity – these can make it even harder for the body to cool off
  • Age – the elderly and young children are more at risk
  • Pre-existing illness and conditions – these may affect how the body responds to heat
  • Drugs and Medications – Some may make a person more susceptible to dehydration

Here is a list of heat illnesses:

  • Heat Cramps: these are painful, involuntary muscle contractions that are a result of strenuous activity in high heat. Loss of fluids and electrolytes are the underlying cause
    • To treat heat cramps, rest then massage and stretch the cramped muscles. Also make sure to drink fluids.
  • Heat Exhaustion: this illness occurs when lost fluid is not replaced. Signs and symptoms include weakness, dizziness, rapid and weak pulse, heavy sweating, nausea, fainting, and more. Heat cramps can also occur.
    • The first thing you should do if you are experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion is to remove yourself from the heat. You will then want to cool your body down by removing excess clothing, spraying body with cool water or applying cool, wet cloths to skin, and rehydrating with an electrolyte drink such as Gatorade or just drinking milk.
  • Heat Stroke: this is the most serious heat illness. The body is not able to cool itself down. The main signs and symptoms include a body temperature above 104 degrees, flushed skin, decreased level of consciousness, altered mental status, convulsions/seizures, and unconsciousness.
    • To treat a heat stroke, the most important thing to do is to seek medical help immediately. Next you will want to try to cool the body using ice water soaked towels until medical help arrives. Bringing down the body temperature helps to reduce the chance and severity of brain damage, organ failure, and death.

It is so important to understand and know how to take care of heat illnesses. Although staying out of the heat is encouraged, at least try to limit your time exposed to the heat and take frequent breaks in the shade. Limit your time outside between 11am and 6pm which is when the heat is highest. It is also important to stay hydrated. Remember to wear sunscreen and protective clothing. Don’t let the heat put a damper on your summer fun!

 

Sources:

https://toolkit.climate.gov/nihhis/

http://www.weather.gov/rah/heat

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/social_media/spring_heat.html

American Red Cross emergency medical response. Yardley, PA: StayWell Health & Safety Solutions, 2011. Print.

 

 

 

Calling All Users of Science

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This Saturday there is going to be a series of marches and protests occurring in 358 cities in the United States and over 500 world wide. The March for Science is the first event of it’s kind. It is a call for support from all students, science-based careers and anyone who benefits from scientific advances (psst that’s everyone). It’s a nonpartisan even that is urging policy makers to look at evidence based practices and scientific data to influence their policies and ruling instead of money.

You can find a city near you here that is holding a march. The Fargo/Moorhead area is holding a large one that is expecting several thousand visitors. Here are some of the missions or goals that the March for Science hopes to achieve.

  • Evidence-based policy and regulations in the public interest. They wish for policy makers to make decisions not altered by other agendas.
  • Cutting-edge science education. They believe that a science background isn’t only for a select few, the entire  majority of the population should be able to interpret scientific literature.
  • Diversity and Inclusion in STEM. This comes into play with the previous mission, they wish to have an outreach in education.
  • Open, honest science and inclusive public outreach. Several policies that have been passed recently have banned or limited the exchange of scientific literature and dialogue. By restricting access to the newest information, the governmental body is harming it’s people.
  • Funding for scientific research and its applications. Under the proposed 2018 budget, all scientific bodies with federal funding will see a cut from 10% to 31%. They wish to change so that we are capable of producing more advancements.

In the few months that this has been planned, they have partnered with over 300 different scientific agencies and centers. Here is their page for the MN marches specifically.  They have several social media accounts; check them out on Facebook, Twitter,and Instagram.

 

Care for the Earth, and it’ll care for you Earth Day 22nd 2017

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Take a deep breath, now let it out. The air you just breathed in was probably refreshing at best, tolerable at worst. You might have noticed the onion or tuna you ate, but that was the worst of it. The next time you drink water, look at it. Is it clear? Probably. Is it colorless? Again, most likely. Is there water in your cup? Well duh.

Never before have these two things been at risk before, drinking and breathing, in the human existence time frame. With the help of globalization and a population boom, humans are having a profound effect on the world. We haven’t had to come to terms that it won’t last forever, because we’ve never had to worry about that in the past.

For the first time in human existence, carbon levels have risen above a threshold it has never crossed before. It didn’t just stop there; the current levels of carbon are sitting at 133% of that threshold. This rise in carbon is having an increased effect, often called the Greenhouse Effect. Due to this warming, there are many changes that are taking place in the world.

Professor Wallace recently gave a seminar on climate change here on campus and the effects that it has on human health. In her presentation she introduced us to some interesting points. A warmer world, even by 2 or 3 degrees Celsius shifts the mosquito habitat. More people will be exposed to mosquito borne disease and for longer times; Zika, Yellow Fever, Dengue, West Nile and the list goes on. Currently 3.6 billion are at risk for these diseases. With a temperature increase that number could rise up to 5 billion. Allergies will worsen as their window widens also. Flooding will increase, as will hurricanes and tornadoes.

Some cities have to issue warnings over smog exposure. It is estimated that of the 10 million deaths every year in China, 1 million is caused by pollutants. Exposure to all these new chemicals is wreaking havoc on our bodies and the environment. In addition to this smog exposure, there is an increasing amount of people with other respiratory problems such as asthma. In 2001, 1 in 14 people had asthma. In 2009, 1 in 12 people. That is the most recent number, although the CDC projects that as many as 1 in 10 people have asthma today.

The goal of Earth Day is to bring awareness to all these issues. It is trying to create scientifically literate people who will in turn be scientifically literate voters on environmental policies. They aim to change the direction of the world towards more green energy, jobs and technology. They hope that by 2020 a majority of the population will be able to understand the scientific literature that affects their lives and environments.

The first Earth Day was held in 1970, and attendance was well above what anyone was expecting. 20 million people, roughly 10% of the population, joined the rallies and marches. It has been one of the most effective awareness days because it is bipartisan for the most part. After that first celebration, the government felt pressured into creating the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air, Clean Water and the Endangered Species Act were also created.

Here are some more facts about Earth Day and our environment.

  • There is roughly 155 billion pounds of plastic in the ocean and roughly 9 billion is added every year
  • We will only be able to fill 60% of the world’s water needs by 2030 without better management
  • The Montreal Protocol signed in 1987 banned many chemicals that were ripping a hole in the ozone. Thanks to that act, the ozone is now healing and the hole is closing.
  • A convention was held in 1997, the Convention on Biological Diversity. Here many countries around the world pledged that they would work to sustain a diverse biosphere starting in their own countries.
  • The Renewable Portfolio Standard is an aggressive self- proposed bill in California that says that the state has to get half their energy from renewable sources by 2030. Many states followed, but theirs is the most ambitious.
  • In 2012 the Earth Day Network planted 1 billion trees to try and bring back forested areas.

https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/asthma/

http://www.earthday.org/wp-content/uploads/Earth-Day-Action-Toolkit-2017.pdf

http://mashable.com/2015/04/22/earth-day-facts/#ugyWvQqJIaqB

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/160422-earth-day-46-facts-environment/

 

Overcoming and Battling Addictions: Bobby Chakraborty

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Join us tonight to for a presentation by Bobby Chakraborty. He will be talking about the difficult subject of addiction. His presentation will be in CMU room 121 from 4 to 8.

One of Bobby Chakraborty uncles died while addicted to a substance, and this is what he says motivates him during his presentations. He originally aspired to be a marine engineer. During this time he saw several of his friends fall into substance abuse and wouldn’t let him help them. He felt he wasn’t making a big enough difference, which lead him to a drastic career change. He made the career change to acting, but struggled at first. For the first three years he could only land small roles, but for the last eleven years he has been in the limelight.

Now he is making a difference and is being invited to schools and public forums to help fight a war on substance abuse and addiction. The tagline for his campaign is “I am the king of my mind.” He wants to help end current addicts addiction and prevent new users by showing them that sometimes the only thing they need is willpower to make a difference in their own lives.

Here are some quick facts to bring the struggle with addiction home.

  • 21.5 million Americans struggled with some form of addiction in 2015. That’s roughly 7% of the population. If you had 20 people in a room, someone would be struggling with addiction.
  • Only 10% of people that need help receive it in the United States. That figure is much lower in other parts of the world.
  • Of the people that get the help they need, between 40 and 60 % will relapse in their lifetime
  • 10% of the American population claim to be recovering from an alcohol or drug addiction
  • In 2011, 5 million emergency room visits were drug or alcohol related.

 

https://mnstate.collegiatelink.net/organization/ODI/calendar/details/1274917

http://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/addiction-statistics/

https://www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/addiction-statistics/

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/Actor-Bobby-Chakraborty-in-anti-addiction-crusade/articleshow/20353370.cms

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/bengali/movies/did-you-know-/Bobby-Chakrabortys-Anti-Addiction-Campaign/articleshow/18573924.cms

World Health Day April 7th 2017

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Every year on April 7th we celebrate World Health Day to remember the day that the World Health Organization was formed. (W.H.O.) Every year this day has a theme, and this year it’s Depression. Their slogan “Depression: Let’s Talk”  is trying to get people to open up about their disorder and get the help they may need. They have several goals about what they want to see happen:

  • the general public is better informed about depression, its causes and possible consequences, including suicide, and what help is or can be available for prevention and treatment
  • people with depression seek help
  • family, friends and colleagues of people living with depression are able to provide support

WHO defines a case of depression when a person has gone at least 2 weeks with persistent sadness and they don’t enjoy doing any of their normal activities, which prevents them from carrying out every day activities. There are a few more symptoms that people who are afflicted by depression may have:

  • a loss of energy
  • a change in appetite
  • sleeping more or less
  • anxiety
  • reduced concentration
  • indecisiveness
  • restlessness
  • feelings of worthlessness, guilt or hopelessness
  • thoughts of self-harm or suicide

The number of people that have being diagnosed every year with depression has seen an 18% increase in the last decade. The low estimates have depression affecting 322 million people worldwide, about 4.4% of the population.

Depression can be effectively prevented and treated. Treatment usually involves either a talking therapy or antidepressant medication or a combination of these. Overcoming the stigma often associated with depression will lead to more people getting help.

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http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2017/world-health-day/en/

http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2017/en/