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The Importance of Handwashing and Other Tips to Keep Germs Away

Germs are everywhere – on surfaces throughout the house, in your car, and at work. Coughing, sneezing, using the bathroom, and touching people and objects can easily cause bacteria and viruses to spread and lead to illness.

Germs can cause symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea that can have a significant impact on people’s daily lives. Adults may need to stay home from work, which can lower productivity. Kids may be unable to attend school, which can interfere with their ability to get an education and can also require parents to lose wages and get behind at work in order to stay home and take care of them.

When and How to Wash Your Hands

It is impossible to avoid germs altogether, but handwashing can reduce your exposure. You should always wash your hands after you use the bathroom or change a diaper; before and after you take care of someone who is or may be sick; if you touch an animal, or its food or waste; and after you touch trash or a trash can. You should also wash your hands before preparing or eating food and should never share utensils or cups with others.

Start out by wetting your hands with clean, running water. Then apply soap and rub your hands together to create a lather. Include the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Continue to scrub for at least 20 seconds, then rinse your hands under running water. Dry them with a clean towel or under an air dryer.

Teach your children to wash their hands at a young age. Demonstrate proper technique, remind and supervise your kids, and set a good example by following your own advice.

Other Ways to Prevent the Spread of Germs

If soap and water are not available, hand sanitizer is a good alternative that can help remove germs in many situations. Use a product that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Rub it all over the surfaces of your hands and fingers. Hand sanitizer is not as effective at removing visible dirt and grease, but it can help when hands have picked up germs from coughing, sneezing, or touching objects.

If you have a cold or virus, cover your mouth when you cough. Use your arm, not your hand, so you don’t get germs on your hand and then transfer them to the next object you touch. If you need to sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue or your arm.

Wipe down surfaces you touch frequently, such as your computer’s keyboard and mouse, door handles, light switches, and remote controls. If you have children, clean their toys with disinfectant wipes to avoid transferring germs to other members of your family or to your children’s friends.

Order Supplies to Prevent the Spread of Germs

1st Aid Supplies carries several products that can help protect you from germs, including antimicrobial wipes and hand sanitizer. Stock up today to keep yourself and your family healthy.

Protect Yourself from Blood-Borne Pathogens

In some types of work, employees are exposed to blood on a regular basis. Doctors, nurses, dentists, phlebotomists, and paramedics routinely treat patients who are injured or need to draw blood for testing or make incisions to provide treatment. Technicians who analyze samples in a laboratory may handle the blood of dozens of people on a daily basis.

Why Personal Protective Equipment Is Critical

For people in these lines of work, the risk of exposure to blood-borne pathogens is significant. It is impossible to tell if a sample of blood contains HIV, hepatitis, or another type of pathogen without laboratory testing, which is why healthcare workers should take measures to protect themselves in all cases. Employees who are exposed to blood in the course of their work should use personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce the risk of contracting a blood-borne illness.

Choosing the Right Protective Equipment

The type of PPE required will depend on the situation. Someone who handles tubes of blood in a lab can be adequately protected by wearing gloves, but a surgeon or dentist may have a higher risk of exposure because of the possibility of blood spraying. In those situations, healthcare providers should protect themselves with gloves, a mask that covers the nose and mouth, goggles, and a gown that covers clothing. First responders may need to use different types of PPE depending on the circumstances and the extent of the patient’s injuries.

Workplace Requirements

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide PPE if workers can be expected to come into contact with blood in the course of their duties. The type of PPE that must be provided will depend on the line of work and the risk of exposure. Protective equipment must be readily available to employees and must be provided in a variety of sizes. Employees should be trained in when and how to use PPE and should be encouraged to do so. Protective equipment should be disposed of in approved containers or bags after use.

Protect Yourself and Your Coworkers

If you work in a field where you may come into contact with other people’s blood, you should always use personal protective equipment to avoid exposure to an infectious illness. Any blood sample should be considered potentially contaminated. Exercise an abundance of caution and wear gloves and other types of protective equipment that are necessary based on the circumstances. Following safety protocols consistently can keep you and your fellow employees safe.

1st Aid Supplies offers a complete line of personal protective equipment to keep workers safe from blood-borne pathogens.  Protect yourself and your employees by ordering gloves, masks, and other supplies today.

First Aid Care for a Snake Bite

On a hike or a camping trip, you might encounter snakes. Some are harmless, while others can be deadly. Before you set out, arm yourself with information and supplies so you will be able to take swift action if someone is bitten.

Be Prepared

Familiarize yourself with snakes that are common in the area where you will be traveling. If someone gets bitten, being able to identify the species of snake will help you and medical staff assess the risk and choose the appropriate treatment. Acting quickly to treat a snake bite can mean the difference between life and death.

On a wilderness trip, a snake bite, cut, or fall can happen at any time. That is why you should always take along a first aid kit with bandages, gauze, and other supplies that you might need.

1st Aid Supplies has several types of portable first aid kits for outdoor adventures. Order one before your trip.

What to Do If Someone Is Bitten

If a person is bitten by a snake, look at the reptile and note as much as you can about its appearance. Even if you don’t know the species, describing the colors, the shape of the head and eyes, and other features can provide valuable clues to help medical professionals choose the right treatment.

Get the victim away from the snake so it can’t bite that person or anyone else. Don’t try to capture the snake because you might get bitten yourself.

If someone is bitten by a venomous snake, call for an ambulance immediately. If you have any doubt about whether or not the snake is venomous, err on the side of caution and call for help. Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to drive a vehicle yourself if you have been bitten by a snake. Even if you feel fine at first, you could go into shock behind the wheel.

While you are waiting for an ambulance, remove any jewelry or tight clothing from the area of the bite to minimize pain from swelling. Clean the wound and cover it with a clean and dry bandage. Don’t make a cut or try to squeeze or suck out the venom. Don’t apply a tourniquet or ice the area. Don’t give the bite victim alcohol, caffeine, or any medication. Those could cause the person’s body to absorb the venom faster. If possible, position the victim’s body so that the area that was bitten is at or below the level of the heart. That will slow the circulation of the venom throughout the body.

Better Safe Than Sorry

Many snakes are harmless, but bites from others can be deadly. Before you go off on an outdoor excursion, educate yourself about the potential dangers of snakes you may encounter and make sure everyone in the group knows what to do if someone is bitten. If you think there is any chance at all that the snake that caused the bite could be venomous, call an ambulance right away.

What Employers Should Know about OSHA’s New Silica Rule

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has implemented a regulation limiting employees’ exposure to silica. The rule went into effect in October 2017 for the construction industry and was expanded to include most employers in June 2018.

The Danger of Silica

Workers in several industries are routinely exposed to crystalline silica, a mineral found in natural and artificial stone and sand. Cutting, grinding, or drilling those materials or handling industrial sand can cause employees to inhale silica dust particles. Long-term exposure can lead to silicosis, an incurable and sometimes fatal lung disease, as well as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease.

The Rule

Under the new rule, the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) is 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air over an eight-hour period. An action level of 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air requires medical surveillance and industrial hygiene or biological monitoring.

Employers are required to monitor the exposure of any workers who might be exposed to 25 micrograms or more per cubic meter of air of respirable crystalline silica in eight hours. They can do this by monitoring air quality or by measuring the exposure of employees on each shift in each type of job and work area through representative sampling.

If initial monitoring reveals silica levels below the action level, the employees no longer need to be monitored. The employer must repeat monitoring within six months if the silica level is between 25 and 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, and within three months if it is above 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Employees must be reassessed if workplace conditions or procedures change, and workers must be promptly notified of test results.

Employers can use water saws to limit the amount of silica dust in the air and ventilation to remove dust from work areas. Respirators have been found to be less effective and are only recommended if other practices are unable to keep silica levels low enough to meet OSHA’s requirements.

Companies are required to inform workers about the risks of exposure to silica and measures the business is taking to limit exposure. Employers must post signs warning workers of the presence and dangers of silica and create written exposure control plans.

Take Silica Seriously

OSHA takes the risk of silica seriously, and employers should too. The agency can conduct inspections, issue citations, and levy fines to enforce compliance with its regulations. In the first six months after the silica rule went into effect for the construction industry, OSHA found dozens of serious violations related to silica exposure and other workplace hazards.

If your workers may be exposed to silica on the job, you have a responsibility to protect them.

1st Aid Supplies offers workplace safety signs to inform employees of potential hazards and respirators that can be used if other measures are unable to adequately protect workers from silica. Order supplies today to keep your employees safe.

Don’t Panic: How to Clean Up Bloody Situations at Work

An average day on the job can become extremely bloody in a matter of seconds if you’re not careful. In keeping with the Halloween spirit, we’re talking about terrifying, gory situations in the workplace and what you can do to prevent them. The key is having not only the right supplies but training to take care of horrific scenarios in any workplace – in particular when having to clean up blood.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) published a standard in 1991 that requires all workplaces to follow certain plans when coming in contact with blood. These are some precautions that you can take in case of a bloody situation at your workplace.

OSHA Training

It’s imperative that you and your employees are educated on the topic of injuries and blood. This means knowing the standards and what steps to take should something happen. While taking training classes is useful, having an OSHA answer book in the office can also be useful in case anyone forgets information or wants to refresh their memory before panic sets in. Training is also critical in industries operating in dangerous environments. Using sharp devices, risky instruments or other heavy machinery require skills and extreme caution to avoid serious injury.

Use Gloves

When blood has been spilled, using gloves or other protective barriers to clean up the mess is critical. The gloves should be latex or vinyl and be thick enough to avoid any tears or punctures. Be sure to also use paper towels and dispose of both the gloves and paper towels in a separate sealed trash bag.

Wash Bloody Surfaces

If the blood has touched an employee’s hand or skin, be sure to thoroughly wash immediately. The same goes for blood-soiled surfaces. Using a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water, wipe down any surface that has come in contact with blood, no matter how much there is.

Wash Bloody Clothes

If any blood has gotten on any of the employee’s articles of clothing, have them remove the items, put them in a sealed plastic bag, and arrange the clothing to be washed in hot, soapy water, away from other clothing items.

Keep a Bloodborne Pathogen Kit on Hand

Having a bloodborne pathogens kit on hand will ensure that you have all the tools needed should an injury occur. These will help prevent any human-based pathogenic microorganisms from spreading. In them, you will find a protective apron, a cleanup scoop and scraper, antimicrobial wipes, gloves, a towel, and more. It's also good to keep supplies such as butterfly bandages and wraps to cover the injury once it is cleaned off. 

Don’t panic when horrific scenes unfold. Be ready and get all of the supplies you need here at 1st Aid Supplies!