In this Edition... Prevention Works
There are many health and safety risks that present themselves at inopportune times in our lives that can affect us at home and work. But utilizing preventative measures can often mean the difference between life and death. This issue offers several preventative measures to deal with the flu, fire safety, and even breast cancer!
The Flu Shot at Work
With the flu season quickly approaching, it is time to protect you, your family, and co-workers from the flu virus, influenza. Getting a flu shot will not only help you avoid potentially dangerous health complications, but it will also prevent you and your co-workers from spreading strains of influenza A and influenza B, like H1N1 and H3N2, around the office.
“From an employer’s perspective, we would rather you take an hour of leave to get the vaccination, than potentially spread the virus to others,” said Larry Rebman, Director of the Labor Department. “Getting a flu vaccine will lead to a more healthy work environment.”
Being healthy on the job benefits everyone. As an employee, you feel better and are more productive. So, instead of spreading the bug--spread the word and encourage coworkers to be vaccinated; you could even get several coworkers together and get vaccinated on a break or over lunch.
Good news. Instead of chasing your little ones around the doctor’s office to get them to sit still for the shot, physicians can now administer a spray version of the vaccine. Getting your children vaccinated will decrease the chance of them bringing the flu home from school for you to then pass around to your coworkers.
FIND THE SHOT SPOT
Check local pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS, Hy-Vee, and Walmart to find a store near you that offers the vaccine. Some places even offer the shot for free! To find the nearest health clinic offering the flu vaccine, contact your physician or visit the Department of Health and Senior Services’ Flu Clinic Locator.
Have Two Ways Out in the Workplace - Fire Safety
This year marks the 86th annual Fire Prevention Week, celebrated October 7-13. Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public safety and health observance on record. The U.S. has around 3,000 fire fatalities each year, so it is necessary to inform the public on how to stay safe during a fire emergency. This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is “Have 2 Ways Out,” signifying the importance of having two clear escape routes in your home and workplace to protect you, your family, and your co-workers.
Although Fire Prevention Week is celebrated once a year, fire prevention plans should be maintained in the workplace year round. Everyone must work together to be sure the workplace is ready in case of an emergency.
“Fire is not discriminatory,” says State Fire Marshal Randy Cole. “We spend a lot of our hours a day working in a workplace, and it’s just as important to practice fire safety in a workplace as it is at home.”
Employers should train all employees about what to do in the event of a fire emergency. Everyone in the office should know the evacuation plan and practice it regularly. Fire exits should never be blocked off or locked while employees are present and employees should know how to use firefighting equipment, like fire extinguishers. For more information about fire safety in the workplace, check out the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s fact fire safety sheet.
It is important to have the smoke alarms in your workplace checked regularly, so employees can be properly warned in the event of a fire.
“Smoke inhalation is the leading cause of death in fires,” Cole says. “It drives home the point of the need for smoke alarms and to make sure you maintain your smoke alarms properly.”
Take the time to observe your workplace to identify potential fire safety hazards and report them to your supervisor. These hazards include, but are not limited to:
- Overloaded outlets
- Improperly used power cords
- Open burning (ex. candles)
- Combustible materials located too close to ignition sources
For more fire safety tips, watch the Fire Prevention Week podcast.
Support Your Co-Workers: Breast Cancer Awareness Month
You see it everywhere: cars, lapel pins, t-shirts, and profile pictures on social media. The pink ribbon, displayed year round, to symbolize breast cancer awareness. But those ribbons come out in full force during October, because it is designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For more than 25 years, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month has created a dialogue about breast cancer and promoted education, early detection, and screening.
Current statistics show that about one in eight U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, while a man’s risk of breast cancer is one in 1,000. The statistics paint a darker picture for women, but it is important to support both men and women if they are diagnosed with breast cancer.
Cancer is most treatable when it is detected early. These tips can help you be more aware of your health:
- Keep a healthy lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy weight by eating right, limiting alcohol, and exercising regularly can lower your risk of developing breast cancer.
- Know your family’s health history: While approximately 85 percent of women’s breast cancer occurs with no prior family history, a woman with a relative diagnosed with breast cancer potentially doubles her risk of being diagnosed.
- Get regular screenings: After learning your family history, visit with your doctor about your breast cancer risk. Discuss potential lifestyle changes to reduce risk. According to Susan B. Komen for the Cure, women should get clinical breast exams every three years after age 20, and every year after age 40. If you have a higher risk of developing cancer, your physician will advise you which screening test is appropriate for you.
If you know of a friend or co-worker diagnosed with breast cancer, support them in their treatments or celebrate their remission this month. For other risk factors, treatments, and support for those with breast cancer, visit Susan B. Komen for the Cure.