Welcome to my blog about health, nursing, caring, kindness and positive change. Our world is full of such negative influences and bad choices, today is the day to make a positive change both physically and mentally in your life.
ERNursesCare is a blog incorporating my nearly 30 years of experience in the healthcare field with my passion for helping others, I want it to encourage others with injury prevention, healthy living, hard hitting choices, hot topics and various ramblings from my unique sense of humor. Come along and enjoy your journey......

Thursday, November 30, 2017

My Baby Is Sick... What is RSV?

When children are sick our mommy (and grandma) senses are on high alert, especially if the child is small. You take your baby to the doctor or the ER and he/she tests positive for something called "RSV"... what the heck is RSV? 

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a very common virus that leads to mild, cold-like symptoms in adults and older healthy children. It can be more serious in young babies, especially those in certain high-risk groups, such as premature infants, very young infants, or a child with health conditions that affect the lungs, heart or immune system. 

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes mild, cold-like symptoms in adults and older healthy children. It can cause serious problems in young babies, including pneumonia and severe breathing problems. Premature babies and those with other health problems have the highest risk. A child with RSV may have a fever, stuffy nose, cough, and trouble breathing. Lab tests can tell if your child has the virus. There is no specific treatment. You should give your child fluids to prevent dehydration. If needed, you can also give a pain reliever (not aspirin) for fever and headache.
RSV easily spreads from person to person. You can get it from direct contact with someone who has it or it by touching infected objects such as toys or surfaces such as countertops. Washing your hands often and not sharing eating and drinking utensils are simple ways to help prevent the spread of RSV infection. There is currently no vaccine for RSV.
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Quick Facts
  • RSV typically causes cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, and congestion. Fevers are common. The infection can progress to the lower respiratory tract to cause more severe illness such as bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) or pneumonia in otherwise healthy infants and young children.
  • RSV is highly contagious through close contact with infected people, and it can live on toys and other surfaces for several hours.
  • Most children will have an RSV infection by the time they are 2 years old, and most will get better on their own within 8 to 15 days.
  • Every year, 75,000 to 125,000 children in the United States are admitted to the hospital for RSV infections.
  • For most children, fluids are the best treatment. Bronchodilators, medicines prescribed to help reduce airway resistance, may ease breathing in some cases. Antibiotics do not work against RSV, but a healthcare provider may prescribe them for complications that develop because of RSV.
  • Although deaths are relatively rare, RSV can be life-threatening for immune-compromised people, including premature infants, young children with heart and lung problems, and the elderly.
  • Researchers are working toward a vaccine, but none currently exists.
What can I do, I feel helpless.
Having a small child that is sick can leave you feeling helpless, they are so pitiful and feel so bad.
Here are some things you can do to help them feel better:
  • Give plenty of fluids. Avoid dairy - tends to thicken secretions and from my experience it will come back up a lot faster (yuck) If you breastfeed, continue to nurse.. breast-milk is healing and hydrating for little ones. 
  • Use a cool-mist humidifier/vaporizer during the winter months to keep the air moist. (Be sure to clean the vaporizer regularly.) Cool mist, not warm (warm mist grows more bacteria faster)
  • Blow little noses frequently (or use a nasal aspirator for infants). You need a really good nasal aspirator or "booger sucker", as the nurse at the pediatricians office or the ER for a good one. Keeping nasal passages clear will make small children feel much better, if they can't suck, they will be very unhappy. 
  • Give non-aspirin pain reliever, such as acetaminophen. Aspirin should not be used because it has been linked to Reye syndrome, a disease that affects the brain and liver.
  • Home remedies such as essential oils may help ease the symptoms, make sure to dilute these for small children and ask your homeopathic dr or pediatrician for recommendations. Use a diffuser at night and rub essential oil on child's feet to aid absorption (a little goes a long way with infants)  
  • Plenty of cuddling with mommy and daddy will make them feel safe and soothe their fears. 
When to Call the Doctor or Visit the ER
Children may need treatment if they show any of the following symptoms:

  • Great difficulty or fast breathing
  • Excessive wheezing or high pitched noises
  • Retractions, sucking in of chest wall or under sternum
  • Gray or blue skin color
  • High fever - greater than 101 or number your pediatrician has given you
  • Thick nasal discharge that is yellow, green, or gray
  • Worsening cough
  • Extreme tiredness (especially during times they are normally active)
  • No wet diapers in 8 hours or more
  • Anything you think is abnormal, you are the best judge of your child
I hope this helps you as a parent, grandparent or nurse. Education can empower us and make us feel more in control of scary situations. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) and You

1 in 3 Americans have high blood pressure or hypertension and don't know it, are you one of those people? 

High blood pressure is a common health condition. The long term force of blood against the walls of your arteries can be high enough that is causes heart problems and heart disease. 

Blood pressure is determined by 2 things: the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries.
The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.

Can you have high blood pressure without symptoms? Yes you can, some people have high blood pressure for years and don't know it. But, the damage to your health and body still occurs even if you don't have any symptoms. Scary huh?

Make sure you know your numbers! 

How do we manage high blood pressure?
Understanding the numbers: Helpful information in this cool infographic.

So you have high blood pressure and the doctor just put you on medication...not the end of the world, I take mediation for blood pressure too.... many common medicine classes are listed below. It takes time for your medicine and lifestyle changes to work, be patient. 

Risk Factors via the Mayo Clinic
High blood pressure has many risk factors, including:
Age. The risk of high blood pressure increases as you age. Through early middle age, or about age 45, high blood pressure is more common in men. Women are more likely to develop high blood pressure after age 65.
Race. High blood pressure is particularly common among blacks, often developing at an earlier age than it does in whites. Serious complications, such as stroke, heart attack and kidney failure, also are more common in blacks.
Family history. High blood pressure tends to run in families.
Being overweight or obese. The more you weigh the more blood you need to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. As the volume of blood circulated through your blood vessels increases, so does the pressure on your artery walls.
Not being physically active. People who are inactive tend to have higher heart rates. The higher your heart rate, the harder your heart must work with each contraction and the stronger the force on your arteries. Lack of physical activity also increases the risk of being overweight.
Using tobacco. Not only does smoking or chewing tobacco immediately raise your blood pressure temporarily, but the chemicals in tobacco can damage the lining of your artery walls. This can cause your arteries to narrow, increasing your blood pressure. Secondhand smoke also can increase your blood pressure.
Too much salt (sodium) in your diet. Too much sodium in your diet can cause your body to retain fluid, which increases blood pressure.
Too little potassium in your diet. Potassium helps balance the amount of sodium in your cells. If you don't get enough potassium in your diet or retain enough potassium, you may accumulate too much sodium in your blood.
Too little vitamin D in your diet. It's uncertain if having too little vitamin D in your diet can lead to high blood pressure. Vitamin D may affect an enzyme produced by your kidneys that affects your blood pressure.
Drinking too much alcohol. Over time, heavy drinking can damage your heart. Having more than two drinks a day for men and more than one drink a day for women may affect your blood pressure.
If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
Stress. High levels of stress can lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure. If you try to relax by eating more, using tobacco or drinking alcohol, you may only increase problems with high blood pressure.
Certain chronic conditions. Certain chronic conditions also may increase your risk of high blood pressure, such as kidney disease, diabetes and sleep apnea.

Sometimes pregnancy contributes to high blood pressure, as well.

Changing your lifestyle can go a long way toward controlling high blood pressure. Your doctor may recommend you eat a healthy diet with less salt, exercise regularly, quit smoking and maintain a healthy weight. But sometimes lifestyle changes aren't enough.

Medications are commonly prescribed for those with hypertension. No matter what medications you are put on, lifestyle changes have to be made to lower your blood pressure.

Important lifestyle changes include:

  • Diet changes : lower salt intake, heart healthy choices
  • Stop Smoking, a very important health change
  • Exercise daily, get off the couch and move 
  • Limit your alcohol intake 
  • Maintain a healthy weight for your age, loose weight if you are obese
Lifestyle changes are hard, but they are very important to your health and happiness going forward.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Back to School Safety

As summer draws to a close, back-to-school season is in full effect. Safety should be a priority for every family as children return to classrooms this fall. It is important for parents to stay up-to-date on the proper safety precautions and share this information with their children to keep them safe throughout the school year. Even though we homeschool here at our house, we live very close to an elementary school and see school buses traveling daily with children.

Back-to-School Safety Checklist – Use this checklist to review important safety procedures to make sure your children are fully prepared for the school year.

Teen Driving Safety – The back-to-school season is a great time to learn about Graduated Driver Licensing and what practices will work best for your family. Parents can also find more information to help their teen drivers at driveithome.org.

Safety while riding the school bus is very important. Have the discussion before school starts about how to wait for the bus and how to get on and off the bus. Go with your child the first week to make sure they are understanding the concept. Many young children will be scared at first, but catch on soon enough. 
As a driver, the school bus's should be a high priority for paying attention and not being distracted while driving! 

School Bus Safety: Back-to-School Tips for Parents – Teach your children how to stay safe on and around school buses.

School Safety from National Safety Council 

Playground Safety – Every year more than 200,000 children visit hospital emergency rooms because of playground injuries, many of which could have been prevented.

Backpack Safety – Overloaded backpacks continue to cause injuries, including bruises, sprains and strains to the back and shoulder and fractures.

Preventing Bullying – Every adult plays an important role in addressing bullying and making schools a safe and respectful place for all children.

Drive Safely with School Buses – Safety tips for motorists to share the road safely with school buses during back-to-school season and throughout the year.

Stop Bullying: What Parents Can Do – Educate your children on the signs of bullying and learn what to do if your child is bullied. Next week we will talk more about bullying and what to do if you think your child is being bullied at school or online.

Thank you to the National Safety Council for much of this information, visit their website for much more information.

Friday, May 5, 2017

This Crazy Nurse Thing #nurses #heros

I never wanted to be a nurse.
I was a hyper theatre kid who ran around making people laugh; not much has changed.
When I was diagnosed as Type 1, I knew a BS in psychology wouldn't be getting me decent food, much less insulin. I had to do this crazy nursing thing, there wasn't a choice.
In 4 years I thrashed through the UCF program with honors, then sat myself in Susie Miller's office to beg for employment.
Another 4 years and I'm in love with this crazy nursing thing, which never stops being crazy. Never.
Lucky doesn't begin to describe me, the friends I've made, the palms I've squeezed, the lives brought in, the lives let go.
The most intense exercise in empathy, sprayed with your blood, drenched in my sweat, shook by your screams, sobered by your pain, strengthened by your calm.
This is the ultimate human experience, stripped bare. You sit alone, waiting for this hyper theatre kid in a Superman watch to step in and change you.
I've learned to never promise anything in this work, but I'll make an exception for you, patient.
It's you that will be changing me.

Shared with permission from Samuel Joseph 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

I Got The Flu...Am I Dying? #fluseason #coldandflu

Ummmmm No, you are not dying !
Do you need to go to the Emergency room now! No!
Only unless you are so sick that you can not keep down liquids, you are not going to the bathroom anymore ( peeing at least once in 8+ hours, your pee is dark, you are dehydrated now possibly) By liquids I don't mean alcoholic kind...yes some have to ask.
Your fever will not go away even after taking Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and/or Ibuprofen (Motrin) and waiting at least an hour for it to work. It's ok to run a fever... It's your body's way of trying to fix itself.
Please at least try to help yourself, you don't have to prove a fever to the ER nurse, she will just roll her eyes at you if you did not take anything at all. That goes for those little kiddos too. Nothing makes me want to roll my eyes at you if you did not try and medicate your child.... They feel like poop, give them something to make them feel better.... Be a parent please ( off my soapbox..sorry about that)

The flu is a virus... True influenza is a respiratory kind of viral bug... Nothing we can give you will make it go away ...once you have influenza of any type.. You are gonna feel like crap for about 1-2 weeks......yes I said weeks.... See why prevention of the flu is everything ! It is spread by droplets..floating around in the air once someone infected with flu coughs,sneezes and spreads those droplets to you, a doorknob,shopping cart or anywhere those nasty drops land.
Antiviral meds are not that effective...have yucky side effects (like vomiting...fun) and cost more $$. Would I take them...NO ... Would my medical coworkers take them...usually they say no way too....that's gotta tell you something...and never would I give to my kids or grand-kids.

What are the symptoms of the Flu (influenza) ?
  • Fever-- we have been seeing very high fevers lately...like 103-106 high
  • Comes on suddenly
  • Chills - shaking feelings like you are "freezing to death"
  • Headaches
  • Muscle and body aches
  • Dizziness
  • Runny nose,coughing,respiratory symptoms ..worse than a common cold
  • Extreme fatigue ,tiredness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Most people have all or a few of these symptom, but they all will have a fever.
What do I do to prevent or keep from getting the flu?
  • WASH YOUR HANDS!!! Wash your hands, wash your hands! #1 thing proven to help prevent!
  • Stay home during higher flu season times... The ER and Dr offices are full of flu patients right now.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing! Don't spray your droplet mess to everyone.
  • Don't share eating utensils or cups with others, even your family.
  • Get a flu vaccine early in the fall,when the are first available.
  • Eat a healthy diet ... This goes a long way to preventing illness's
  • Take a good probiotic daily! Keep you gut healthy...80% of you immune system lives in your tummy!
  • Preventative essential oils have been proven to help with seasonal threats and support of your immune health, educate yourself on these.
What can I do at home to feel better? Or help my family to feel better?
  • Rest-- sleep it off, your body needs to repair itself while you sleep.
  • Drink lots and lots of fluids...juices,waters,pedialyte type liquids,Popsicle's ,frozen fruits or ices soothe.
  • Wash those hands...don't spread it
  • Medicate to help the symptoms- Acetaminophen or Tylenol, Ibuprofen or Motrin for fevers and discomfort. Over the counter flu type meds (Theraflu) can help, you can ask the pharmacist for suggestions.
  • Hot tea with lemon and honey does help.
  • Chicken soup ( yes it does help to soothe the savage beast)
When do you call the doctor or go to the ER?
  • High fever with a rash all over
  • Trouble breathing
  • Skin or lips have bluish appearance
  • Not drinking enough or peeing any for >8 + hours
  • Lethargic or very sleepy, can't wake person
  • Confused

Do you have a cold or the flu?? Her is how to tell.....

Image result for do you have a cold or the flu images

Stay well! and Wash those Hands Please!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Winter Safety Series: 10 Top Tips For Winter Pet Safety #pets #wintersafety

Our pets or furbabies are laughter and joy in a sometimes dreary world. Just as we protect ourselves, our homes and our cars in the winter,we need to pay close attention to our pets too. Outdoor pets are use to living outside, yes, but they are not all used to bitter freezing temperatures.

Be prepared to bring your pet indoors if the temperatures drop, or at least have a safe warm space for them. A garage or outbuilding that is out of the elements is at least something if you can not bring them inside the house. I realize that not all pets/animals can come indoors, we have owned dogs that would destroy an indoor space if we brought them in. Plan ahead and make these pets a cozy house with lots of insulation materials like straw or cedar chips. Warming pads that are outdoor safe can be purchased at your local farm or pet supply store.
Other animals have cold temperature guidelines too, chickens, rabbits, horses etc need protection too. You can find options for keeping them warm online or just ask your vet. Chickens just don't do very well inside, they are not fond of your kitchen. Lol

  My puggie furbabies above (in addition to 5 kitties that stay indoors too)

Here are my Top 10 Tips for keeping your animal friends safe and warm during the cold winter months:
  1. Be Prepared!! Don't wait until the temp drops to start planning to bring your pets indoor. Have a plan in place already, stock up on supplies ( pee pads, food, extra water bowls, bedding, etc)
  2. Bring your pets inside, don't let indoor pets out during bad weather either.
  3. Provide plenty of fresh water for hydration. Use a water defroster/de-icer for outdoor water containers.
  4. Make some noise! Check under the hood of your vehicles before starting them. Animals ,especially cats love the warmth of the motor and the tires. Bang on the hood and sides to give them a chance to run out.
  5. Protect against hazards,especially if you have brought a usually outdoor pet inside, the sites and smells are new and worth eating or chewing on.
  6. Clean up antifreeze spills or other liquid hazards you might use to winterize your vehicle. Antifreeze tastes yummy sweet to dogs, but can be deadly if ingested.
  7. Provide warm outerwear, like sweaters and booties for trips outside. You will get some cute photos and protect little Fee-fee from the elements.
  8. Take special care to wipe off doggie paws and under bellies when you come back indoors. The salts and chemicals that are outside can make them sick if they lick it off. You can buy special paw care salve or cream to keep feet healthy.
  9. Never leave pets alone in the car, just as important in the winter.
  10. Never let pets off the leash during a winter storm/ snow. The snow and ice will mask the scent that they need to follow and find the way home. Pets get lost much faster in bad weather. 

We just had our first large winter storm of the season last week, being prepared was the key. I even came prepared to feed all the birds and squirrels in the neighborhood too I think.Those squirrels are eating better than me now!
I wish you safe journeys and warm nights! Stay tuned to my blog for upcoming tips and helpful topics. Next week I am going to try and focus on winter illness's and the plain Jane explanation of topics such as " strep throat " , " pharyngitis " " influenza" "pneumonia's and more. Plus when do you go to the ER for treatment!

If there is a topic you want me to cover, please comment below.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Winter Safety Series: Your Health - "10 Tips For Winter Health Survival" #health #wellness

Shorter days means more time spent indoors during these winter months. It is just as important to take care of your own personal health and wellness since winter germs are at their highest. Add in the weather threats, with frigid temperatures,snow and ice and we are all set for winter misery!
Taking extra steps to boost that immune system this time of year can go a long long way to keeping you feeling good enough to fight off seasonal threats. When your health is optimal your personal survival skills are at top form. Your energy levels are higher,risks of falls or injury are lower since you have prepared ahead for any threat Mother Nature or your clumsy feet can throw at you.

My top 10 tips for "Winter Health Survival" are preventative measures that we all need to fight the winter yucks!
  1. Wash your dang hands! So important to not spread your germy germs all over the place. Use soap and water when possible, not all germs are killed by hand sanitizers. Cover your mouth/nose when coughing and sneezing too, nobody wants your germs
  2. Sleep: your body needs sleep to reboot and repair.This is an essential, try some lavender essential oil to help you sleep, rub on the bottoms of your feet or spray on your pillow...it works!
  3. Water: hydration is key, nobody gets enough water or good fluids,so when you do get sick you are starting off low already. It's hard to catch up when you are ill. Soda is not hydration! Avoid sugary sweet drinks, these will not hydrate you well, try flavored waters if you can't drink water plain.
  4. Probiotics- take care of your gut, 80% of your immune system is in your gut! Probiotics daily are very important during the winter,even children can take them. I have noticed a huge difference in my wellness and immune system after I started taking a probiotic daily.
  5. Eat well: ( or at least better) -fruits, veggies think color of the rainbow. Stay away from processed foods and sugary sweets, these will only leave your body craving nutrients.
  6. Move your butt! Simply getting off the couch and moving somehow,even walking around the house or block. Exercise will help keep your core strong to help prevent falls, increases endorphins ( feel good chemicals in your brain) and help ward off the winter blues.
  7. Prevent falls: in addition to exercise that strengthens your core muscles, make sure to check your surrounding areas for potential situations that might lead to falls. Loose throw rugs, items in the floor you might trip on, toys in the floor, lack of proper lighting, steps with loose carpet or wood, railings that are loose or not secure etc. An few moments checking around your house, yard and/or work environments might prevent you or someone else from a nasty fall. If you need assistance, such as a cane or walker please use it, don't be to proud to ask for help. 
  8. Be Prepared: Ahead of time, educate yourself on potential dangers in the winter weather, know the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite, along with carbon monoxide poisoning signs/symptoms.
  9. Supplements: during the winter our diets may need additional supplements of vitamins and minerals along with other crucial nutrients. Add a good multivitamin, B-complex and Omega 3 supplements to your arsenal of wellness helpers. Ask your doctor if you are not sure what to take.
  10. Aromatherapy : Scent or aroma has a powerful effect on the brain and the body. Many essential oils can help ward off seasonal threats, help you sleep and elevate your mood. Use an essential oil diffuser in your house, especially in your bedroom, to help keep your family and yourself well. We have several in our house, a large capacity diffuser in our living room/dining room open space with a protective essential oil blend diffusing all the time. All of our bedrooms also have EO diffusers in them, so we can diffuse oils at bedtime to help us sleep. Check out my page here to learn more about which essential oils my family uses. 

I hope some of these info-graphics below are helpful and give you more information on a safe and healthy winter! 
Walk like a penguin when walking on ice

Learn the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning!

Here are some tips for you!

Know the signs of frostbite!

Hypothermia! Killer Cold!
Please promise to be safe this winter and stay well as you can, as an ER Nurse we love company but hate to see patients in such misery during the cold winter months, plus we don't want your germs either....lol Stay tuned tomorrow for my last post in this series "Winter Safety Series- Keeping Your Pets Safe and Warm" , I will share tips on how to keep your precious little/and big fur-babies safe this winter too!
Until then, stay warm!!


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