Archive for July, 2013
Spiders, Ticks, and Bees–Oh, My! Management of Bites and Stings By Our July Student Pharmacist, Amy Reed.
Have you ever had a lovely day in the great outdoors tarnished by the nuisance of a bite or sting? They can be uncomfortable and most people are unsure of how to treat themselves when a bite or sting occurs. We’re here to help you learn how to take care of any pesky encounters with bugs!
Here in Ohio, some of the most common offenders for stings and bites are bees, wasps, spiders, and ticks. If someone starts to swell excessively from a bite or sting, especially in the neck or facial region, they will need immediate medical attention. Most individuals with a known allergy (i.e. bee stings) should have an emergency EpiPen on their person. These people need that quick dose of epinephrine to keep their airways from swelling shut, and may even need to be taken to the emergency room or urgent care afterwards.
- Wash the bite area with soap and water and apply a cold compress (10 minutes on, then 10 minutes off for 30-60 minutes).
- To prevent infection, use a topical antibiotic (ex. Neosporin).
- For discomfort or pain, take Tylenol (acetaminophen).
- Elevating the bite area can help reduce swelling.
- If possible, catch the spider in a baggie for identification if any unusual symptoms occur.
- Some spiders found in the Midwest are poisonous and may cause tissue damage (ex. Brown Recluse Spider and Black Widow Spider). If you experience the following symptoms, report to the nearest emergency room or urgent care:
- Headache, fever, nausea/vomiting, cramping, dizziness, a blue/purple coloring around the bite with a whitish outer ring (like a bull’s eye), or a burning pain that is delayed (hours to days after the bite).
- Remove the tick gently. Using fine tweezers, grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible and pull gently. You do not want to puncture the tick’s body, as it contains contaminated blood from yourself and possibly other creatures that the tick has taken a bite out of. Do not try to dig out any remnants left in the skin as this may cause further damage.
- Place the tick in a sealed plastic baggie. This will suffocate the tick and retain it just in case there is a risk of Lyme disease and it needs to be tested.
- Wash the bite area with soap and water.
- Apply a topical antibiotic to prevent infection (ex. Neosporin).
- Remove stinger by gently scraping a flat object (like a credit card) across the skin. Do not use tweezers to pinch the stinger since there is a venom pouch on the end. Pinching this pouch may either push more venom into the skin or burst the pouch, increasing the skin reaction.
- Wash the area with soap and water and apply a cold compress (on the skin for 10 minutes, then off for 10 minutes for 30-60 minutes).
- You can reduce itching and discomfort by trying some of the following:
- Wet baking soda with water and apply paste to the wound for 15-20 minutes.
- Use a non-prescription (over-the-counter) product made for stings.
- Use Tylenol (acetaminophen) for pain.
- Use Benadryl (diphenhydramine) orally or topically to help reduce allergic symptoms/itching/inflammation.
- If any of the following occur, these can be a sign that the stung individual has a potentially life threatening allergy to bee stings and must seek emergency medical treatment:
- Coughing, a ‘tickle’ in the throat, swelling, tightness in throat or chest, dizziness, sweating, nausea/vomiting, a rash that is no longer just at the sight of the stinger, etc.
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Stewart Morris, who many of you know is the grandson of Ernestine Young and the nephew of our good friend, Allen Young, is pursuing the highest ranking in the Boy Scouts through a very special project. Stewart is hoping to make the Eagle Scout ranking by carrying out a School Supply Drive on Saturday, August 3 from 9 am to 1 pm. Items can be dropped off during that time period at the Milford Center Community Center in Milford Center, Ohio, located on East State Street.
For his Eagle Scout project, Stewart has chosen to give back to his school and community by providing students in need at Fairbanks Elementary School (grades Kindergarten through 5th Grade) with backpacks filled with school supplies for the upcoming school year.
School supplies needed include:
2. 24 pack Crayola crayons
3. Glue Sticks
4. Wide Ruled paper
7. Black Dry Erase Markers
8. #2 Pencils
9. Pencil Sharpeners
12. Post-it Notes
13. Composition Books
15. Disinfecting wipes
16. Gallon and Quart Sized Baggies
Monetary Donations will also be accepted and used to purchase additional supplies and backpacks.
If you would like to donate, but are unable to drop off the items on August 3, please call Stewart at 614-557-9522 and he will happily make arrangements to pick up any donations and supplies you would like to give him for the Fairbanks students.
Thank you in advance for helping Stewart reach his Eagle Scout ranking through your kind donations to help Fairbanks school children!
Every year, 1 in 6 Americans become ill from foodborne diseases. Of those, approximately 3,000 will die from that illness.
Some of the most common bacteria that you might recognize that cause foodborne diseases are E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella.
Signs and symptoms of foodborne illness vary depending on the type of bacteria. Generally, people with food poisoning experience diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and dehydration. It is best to rest and drink plenty of clear liquids if you do have food poisoning. Do not use anti-diarrheal medications as these could increase the amount of time the bacteria remains in your body. Many times your condition will improve within two (2) days.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that if we could prevent 10% of foodborne illness, there would be 5 million less Americans who get sick each year.
Steps you can take to prevent illness:
- Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water before touching food.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before eating them, even if you intend to peel them because it is easy for bacteria to move to the inside of the fruit after cutting into it. Do not wash meat, poultry, or eggs.
- Use separate cutting boards and knives or wash thoroughly between each use when preparing fresh produce and meat, poultry, or seafood.
- Place meat, poultry, and seafood in plastic bags at the grocery to keep any of the juices from dripping onto fresh produce or other items in your shopping cart. Also, keep these items separate in your refrigerator for the same reason.
- Inspect all food packaging before purchasing. Bulging cans or lids or damaged packages may mean that the food is contaminated.
- Use a food thermometer. Bacteria will rapidly grow and multiply between 40° and 140°F.
- Keep food hot after cooking it (140°F). This is best accomplished using a chaffing dish, warming tray, or slow cooker.
- Get perishable foods (dairy, meat, poultry, etc.) into the fridge or freezer within two hours. If the weather is hot like last week (90°F), it is only safe for one hour.
- Make sure your refrigerator is set to the correct temperature to keep your food cold. The refrigerator temperature should be between 32° and 40°F and the freezer should be at or below 0°F.
- Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator, submerged in cold water, or in the microwave. Never leave foods on the counter to thaw.
- In case of a power outage, food in the refrigerator should be safe for up to four (4) hours. Discard any perishable foods that have been above 40°F for more than two (2) hours. For a full list of what may be safe and what you should toss, check out: http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/refridg_food.html
- Don’t forget to pack plenty of ice or ice packs in your cooler when heading out to a picnic or barbeque. Remember to try to keep the cooler shut and return any unused food ASAP so it isn’t sitting out in the hot sun letting bacteria multiply!
Getting the Z’s You Need: A Message About Sleep Hygiene From Our Sleep-Deprived Student Pharmacist, Amy Reed.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic. From a study in 2009, 35.3% of adults reported getting less than 7 hours of sleep nightly. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that healthy adults need 7–9 hours of sleep per day, and school-age children might require 10–11 hours of sleep.
Insufficient sleep can lead to a predisposition to chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, and obesity. Lack of sleep can also lead to nodding off in the middle of the day or even falling asleep at the wheel of a vehicle. The National Department of Transportation estimates drowsy driving to be responsible for 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 non-fatal injuries annually in the United States.
So what are some things that you can do to ensure a good night’s sleep every night of the week?
- Go to bed around the same time each night. Adjust to a regular sleep-wake schedule, even on the weekends.
- Get regular exercise, but NOT right before bedtime. Your body will need to calm down after a vigorous workout, which can make it difficult to fall asleep right away. If you only have time to exercise at night, try gentle exercises like yoga/stretching.
- Do not eat a large meal or forget to eat before bed. Eating a heavy meal before bed is not a great idea since your stomach will be active for several hours to digest all of its contents. But an empty stomach can also make it hard to fall asleep. If you are hungry and it is close to bedtime, try eating a low calorie snack with little to no sugars (yogurt, veggies, pretzels, etc.).
- Do not take naps. If you must nap, make sure that it is only for about 15-30 minutes in the early afternoon (not too close to when you normally go to sleep).
- Do not drink alcohol after dinner. It may help you fall asleep, but when the alcohol wears off you may become restless and wake up.
- Avoid tobacco and caffeine close to bedtime. If possible, do not consume caffeinated beverages within 8 hours of going to bed.
- Keep a notebook next to your bed. If you have something on your mind or something that you need to do, write it down and deal with it tomorrow.
- Avoid working/studying/watching TV in bed. Reserve the bedroom for sleep.
- Try to wind down at the end of the day. Do not do household chores or work right before bed. Give your body an hour to slow down and prepare for rest. Quiet activities, like reading, will help you to relax. Turn off electronic devices with screens; these lights can keep your body in an awake-state rather than calming you down.
- Make sure you are sleeping in a relaxing environment. A good bedroom environment is quiet, dark, and not too hot or too cold.
For more information:
Insect Repellent: What Products Should I Use On My Family? By Our Bite-Free July Student Pharmacist, Amy Reed.
As we near the middle of the summer, we find ourselves involved with many outdoor activities. Our gardens need weeding, the grass needs mowing, and there are water balloons to be thrown. But what can make these activities itchy and uncomfortable? Bug bites. Not only do these irritations lead to discomfort, but the insects can spread diseases like Lyme disease (ticks) and West Nile virus (mosquitoes). This is why it is important to protect yourself and your loved ones from becoming a meal for these pests.
There are several insect repellents on the market today. Some good products contain the main ingredient N,N-diethyl-m-tolumide or N,N-diethyl-3-methyl-benzamide, which are also abbreviated as DEET. Different products (OFF!, Cutter, etc.) have different concentrations of DEET. At higher concentrations, DEET will last longer, not work better. For example, a product with DEET 30% will last about 6 hours, and a product with DEET 10% will last two to three hours.
Please be aware that DEET products up to 30% are safe for children older than two months of age.
Some other good products that work as well as DEET-containing repellents are those that contain the ingredient picaridin (Natrapel, Cutter Advanced, etc.). Similar to DEET, higher concentrations of picaridin last longer but do not necessarily work better than lower concentrations. Safe products contain up to 20% picaridin, but no more.
Repellents containing 20% picaridin can be used for adults and children older than two months of age.
Permethrin is another ingredient available to repel insects. This product should NEVER be applied directly to the skin. It should be sprayed on clothes and gear, but these items should be completely dry before they are worn. Permethrin products provide extra protection in addition to using another repellent that can be applied to the skin (i.e. a DEET product).
Natural products can also be used to repel insects:
Soybean Oil (Bite Blocker, etc): These products have varied effectiveness against ticks and mosquitoes. After application, soybean oil can repel mosquitoes for nearly four hours and repel ticks for two hours.
Citronella Oil (Natrapel Sun, etc): These products tend to work for less than four hours to repel mosquitoes.
Oil of lemon eucalyptus (Citrepel, Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus, etc): These products can last up to six hours to repel both ticks and mosquitoes. However, these products have not been proven safe in children younger than three years of age.
Some safety tips for using insect repellents:
- When applying repellent to the face, do not directly spray the product on this area. The eyes and mouth should always be avoided. First spray the product into your hands and apply to your face.
- A thin layer can go a long way. Avoid heavy application of any repellent.
- Do not spray repellent under clothing or on open cuts/wounds.
- NEVER apply insect repellent to your pets. There are many products that are made for safe application to pets, but the products that people use can be toxic to them. See your vet for these options.
- If you need to apply both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply the sunscreen product first, allow it to absorb, and then apply the repellent. It is best to use separate products rather than combination sunscreen/repellent since sunscreen should be applied much more frequently.
For more information: