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......

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Heard You Got a Bad Bug....

Don't put off flu shot, there's plenty for all, CDC says

Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu shots for everyone over 6 months old.

Yet relatively few get them. Last year, only 43% of Americans got a flu shot, and that was a record year. In developed countries, flu kills more people than any other vaccine-preventable disease, says pediatrician Jon Abramson of Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

This year, 42% of consumers say they plan to skip the flu shot, according to a new survey of nearly 1,500 adults by CVS pharmacy, which shared survey results exclusively with USA TODAY.

In the United States, flu season runs from October to May, with most cases occurring between late December and early March.

Signs and Symptoms of the flu

The flu is often confused with the common cold, but flu symptoms usually are more severe than the typical sneezing and stuffiness of a cold.

Symptoms, which usually begin about 2 days after exposure to the virus, can include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • dizziness
  • loss of appetite
  • tiredness
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • nausea or vomiting
  • weakness
  • ear pain
  • diarrhea
Infants with the flu also may seem fussy all of a sudden or just "not look right."


After 5 days, fever and other symptoms have usually disappeared, but a cough and weakness may continue.

All symptoms are usually gone within a week or two. However, it's important to treat the flu seriously because it can lead to pneumonia and other life-threatening complications, particularly in infants, senior citizens, and people with long-term health problems.

Experts talk about some of the most common myths about the flu and the flu shot

Myth 1: The flu is just a bad cold.

A cold is an annoyance. The flu kills up to 49,000 people a year and hospitalizes 200,000, the CDC says. Last year, 114 children died. Flu symptoms tend to appear suddenly, unlike a cold. People who get H1N1 (swine flu) are often laid up for a week with fever, body aches, sore throat, fatigue, headaches and a runny or congested nose, says the CDC.

Myth 2: The flu shot causes the flu.

About 35% of consumers think the flu vaccine can cause flu, CVS found. But that's impossible, CDC says, because the viruses in the flu shot are dead. Its most common side effect is a sore arm. Mist nasal spray contains weakened viruses, so they don't cause severe symptoms, either. Side effects in kids can include a runny nose, wheezing and headache.

Myth 3: New "combined" shots are riskier than older ones.

This year's shot, which protects against both H1N1 and seasonal flu, was made the same way as every other flu shot, says Randy Bergen of Kaiser Permanente in Walnut Creek, Calif. Every year, vaccine makers include viral strains that are most likely to cause illness. Typically, these include two influenza A strains — an H1N1 and an H3N2 — and a strain of influenza B, Abramson says.

Myth 4: Only sickly people need a flu shot.

Half of consumers think flu shots are only for kids or sick people, CVS found. Actually, the most vulnerable members of society, such as newborns or those with weak immune systems, often can't get flu shots. The only way to protect them is to vaccinate everyone around them, keeping flu viruses out of circulation, Bergen says. Because babies can't be vaccinated until they're 6 months old, they depend on vaccinated friends and family members to create a "cocoon" of protection , Bergen says.

Myth 5: Flu shots contain toxic chemicals such as mercury.

About 14% of those surveyed said flu shots were dangerous. Concerns about mercury have revolved around a preservative called thimerosal, once commonly used in vaccines but mostly phased out since 2001 . Today, no thimerosal is added to FluMist nasal spray or to flu shots from single-dose containers, says Paul Offit, infectious-disease expert at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Companies add thimerosal to only flu vaccine stored in multi-dose vials, to prevent fungus or other potentially dangerous germs, Bergen says. There's no evidence that the low levels of thimerosal in shots cause any harm, says Offit. Thimerosal contains ethyl mercury, not methyl mercury, the type that can cause brain damage, he says. The low levels of ethyl mercury found in multi-dose flu shots have never been shown to cause harm, Offt says. There's also no data to prove that thimerosal causes autism, either, Offit adds. In fact, seven studies now refute that idea. Offit notes that flu shots don't use aluminum, which is used in other vaccines as an "adjuvant" to stimulate a stronger immune response.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why not get protection from the flu?

Simple protection from a potentially deadly problem, a flu shot every year is all that it takes. Yet so many people make excuses not to get one, I used to be one of those people even as a healthcare worker,and I got the vaccine for free for Pete's sake. I would make up every excuse under the sun to avoid getting a "shot" , such a baby, until I actually got the flu and was so miserably sick I could not move. I did some reading myself, educated myself about the flu types, causes, vaccines and potential effects if not vaccinated and I was quickly sold on the fact that I was being crazy not to vaccinate myself as a healthcare worker and endangering my patients also. I have never gotten the flu from a flu shot, not possible, it is not the live vaccine you are getting unless you get the nasal spray.
I read a good article today via NBCNews vital signs that talked about how the number of people in the US getting the influenza vaccine has declined, so we will no have many more very ill patients to treat this year I guess? Below is excerpts of that article.

“Influenza is five times more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than women who are not pregnant,” said Dr. Laura Riley of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

But a CDC survey released Thursday showed that just 47 percent of pregnant women had a flu vaccine last year. If their doctors both recommended and provided the vaccine, nearly 74 percent of pregnant women got the shot. Just 11 percent of women whose doctor said nothing got immunized.

Even though doctors have been stressing for years that flu vaccines cannot give people the flu, a full quarter of the pregnant women who refused the vaccine said they believed it would infect them. Another 13 percent thought their babies were at risk.

“Pregnant women worry about everything,” Riley said. “We spend a lot of time in this country talking about you can’t eat this, you can’t eat that. It takes us a little while to get the message out about how efficacious (the vaccine) is. We are preventing a very severe disease potentially and we are protecting your baby.” Vaccination does not raise the risk of miscarriages or birth defects.

Flu may be off many people’s radar because the last two years haven’t been especially bad, and because the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic didn’t turn out to be as bad an initially feared.

Yet, 1,300 children died from H1N1 that year and about 100 U.S. children die every year from flu, half of them previously perfectly healthy, CDC says. The CDC estimates that anywhere between 3,000 to 49,000 people a year die from flu in the United States. A lot depends on the strains circulating.

“Flu is unpredictable. Just because we got off easy last season does not mean we will get off easy this season,” Riley said.

The other group that should have 100 percent vaccination is health care workers. The CDC data show that more than 86 percent of physicians are vaccinated, followed by more than three-quarters of nurses. But the numbers plummet to just half of workers in long-term care facilities, where patients are especially vulnerable to flu.

“I believe that the immunization of the health care provider community is both an ethical and professional responsibility,” said Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University in Nashville and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. “It’s a patient safety issue so that we do not transmit our influenza infection. When an outbreak strikes, we need to be vertical, not horizontal.

As with the pregnant women, health workers were more likely to get vaccinated if it was easy for them. More than 78 percent of health care workers got immunized if free vaccine was made available for several days at work. And 21 percent of the health workers said getting flu vaccine was now a condition of employment. More employers should consider making it a requirement, said Litjen Tan of the American Medical Association.

This year, 135 million doses of flu vaccine will be available to the U.S. market. People can get vaccinated at pharmacies, at big-box stores, grocery stores, doctor’s offices and often at their places of employment. Most private insurance companies and Medicare pay for the whole cost of the vaccine.

And while the vaccines are not specifically formulated to protect against some new flu strains that a few people have caught from pigs, they may offer some help, health officials said.

So far, the three new variants identified this year -- H3n2v (the little v stands for “variant”), H1N1v and H1N2v -- don’t spread easily from person to person. Almost everyone infected has been close to pigs. One person has died from the new H3N2v virus, but everyone else has recovered. The CDC’s Dr. Daniel Jernigan says people alive in the 1990s have some immunity to the H3N2 version, and the new H1N1v is close to the strain that the current vaccine targets, although the protection is not perfect.

credit:By Maggie Fox, NBC News

Please protect yourself and your loved ones, most of all our unborn babies and get your flu vaccine this year I am!

~~Leslie RN



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Faces of Drinking and Driving, they tell stories now

Faces that were once flawless, full of life, smiling and happy. Faces that now tell stories of heartache, lost lives and lost dreams. We all seem to know someone that has been affected by a drunk driver. Behind those faces still lives a real person with a real heart! Think twice about driving anything after drinking alcohol or taking any type of mind altering substance, in a split second you can change the face of someone else forever! I continue to share stories of victims so that one day at least one person will think and not get into that car drunk and at least one live may be saved, one of those lives could have been one of these sweet people's lives and dreams!
Credit to www.FacesofDrunkDriving for some of this information

Natalia Bennett and four others were headed home from a birthday party in Austin. Her front seat passenger was Jacqui Saburido. It was a little past 4:00 in the morning on Sunday, September 19, 1999.
Reggie Stephey, 18, was also on his way home. He had been drinking. Less than a mile from his driveway, Reggie drifted across the center stripe and hit Natalia’s car head on. Natalia Bennett and Laura Guerrero died at the scene.
Jacqui suffered third-degree burns over 60 percent of her body after the car caught fire.

The only thing Jacqui remembers about the crash is the whir of the blades on the helicopter that came to rush her to the hospital. Extensive third-degree burns scorched her eyes and left her blind; melted off her hair; took her ears, lips, nose, and eyelids; and robbed her of the use of her hands. Doctors did not expect her to survive.
But she did. Jacqui has had well over 100 operations since the crash. When her medical bills topped $5 million several years ago, she lost count of the total expenses. She has no health insurance.
The carefree, fun-filled life Jacqui once knew as a teenager in Caracas is gone forever. Her appearance and her ability to live independently went up in flames over a decade ago, along with her plans for a career and a family. She continues to be unsure of what her future holds.

Read more about Jacqui here 

A Dallas native, Sean was a business major at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls. He loved sports and girls, a good combination for a guy who was an athlete and who already had modeling agents in Dallas and New York City.
Sean’s mother, Jenny, had her hands full with Sean; his identical twin brother, Todd; and his older brother Ben.
The night before Easter Sunday in 2005 changed everything for all of them.

The vehicle spun to the left and
the right passenger door of the
pickup struck a tree in the median.”
Sean still can’t remember that Saturday night. Like many times before, he had been out drinking. When he was ready to call it a night, he simply got a ride with a friend. Unfortunately, his friend had been drinking too.
Just five minutes from the safety of Sean’s apartment, the driver lost control of his truck and slammed into a tree – on the passenger side where Sean was sitting.
No one ever discussed being a designated driver.

Ryan McDaniel was once a college athlete enjoying the benefits of a full football scholarship at a major university. When his grades fell, he transferred to play at Midwestern State. That’s where he met Sean Carter.
After they’d been drinking for several hours, Ryan was driving Sean home when his truck hydroplaned and crashed into a tree. He pleaded guilty to a charge of intoxication assault and was placed on probation for 10 years. His goal to be a football coach vanished. When Ryan was again arrested for drinking and driving, his probation violation landed him in prison and county jails for 26 months. Released in 2011, he now works in his family’s fishing business.
Ryan and Sean met up seven years after the crash. They agreed their roles could have been reversed. Now both men are focused on hope, healing, and a restoration of their friendship.
Since the crash, Sean and Jenny have embraced their new mission in life – to tell everyone they can about choices, consequences, and the preventable dangers of drinking and driving.
WhenSeanSpeaks, Inc is Sean’s and Jenny’s nonprofit organization that raises money for traumatic brain injury research. Through it, they are sharing their story nationwide to help others with traumatic brain injuries like Sean’s.
This commitment to their new mission to help others led them to join the Texas Department of Transportation’s drunk driving prevention, awareness, and education campaign.
Learn more about Sean and his mom Jenny here

Safe A Life!! 

Save a Life isn't just the name of the Texas Department of Transportation's DWI-prevention and public education program – it's a call to action for everyone using Texas roads and freeways.
Texas drivers look out for others. They help each other. They don't let others drive drunk, they don't tolerate those who do, or ride with them.
Drinking and driving injures or kills Texas drivers every day. This is why the Save a Life program wants these stories to be heard. They do it for the same reason Sean and Jacqui tell us their stories – to save lives.
Save A Life should be a nationwide  campaign, why should just Texas be using it, think about a nationwide educational program that all states were taught, all kids knew and all people could share! Dreams, why should they be! Drunk Driving has got to stop, it is a no brainer people!! 

The following video makes you think also in our social media world now, just what happens when you do tweet a little #happyhour tweet.... what might follow

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Work of My Heart~ what makes me tick

This video made me cry as I sit here late at night unable to sleep once again, tired from another long weekend working my 12 hours shifts in the ED. Somedays I just don't know if I can keep going, I am exhausted and get so tired of the constant complaining of patients that come into the ED for stupid crap that they should have gone to their primary care doctors for. They whine and fuss about the wait, the doctor, the staff blah blah blah, but then I have the pleasure of taking care of some absolutely fabulous people that are so nice. They can be so sick but still say thank you for the care I gave them, they can still smile at me and make my day, they can still make me feel like I do make a difference in somebody's life. Emergency medicine is a hard and fast environment, changing all the time, being prepared with your adrenaline in standby mode continuously  takes it's toll on a body, I can feel my heart racing up and down pumping excitement and energy to keep my brain cells clicking and my feet moving. My blood pressure I am sure does the same.
Yes I am an adrenaline Type A junkie I guess, I thrive on that excitement or even just the thoughts of a potential excitement.
Why do I do what I do? simply because I like it, love it! I like going the extra mile to just be the nurse that cares. The nurse that makes sure you have that warm blanket, socks on your feet, ice chips, ginger ale or crackers if you want them, makes sure your kids have that coloring book, stickers ,stuffed animal or some distraction to make their visit to the ER a positive one too. I am that nurse that focus's on care as a whole, you and your family/visitors, they are an important link in the chain of your survival when you leave, whether it is going home or being transferred out.
Nursing is not glamorous and the smells are not happy ones, if you know what I mean. The pay is good, but not nearly enough for the battle you will fight and the war wounds you will display. So nurses that stay in nursing for a number of years are usually in it for their undying love for the profession, not the cute shoes, uniforms or certainly not the hot doctors (they are all married or assholes).
Enough of my disertation....... time to watch this video that actually made me cry....enjoy! #Nurse On and #NurseUp your fellow nurses, they are all here with you for the long run! Show them some love too!
Watch this video and you will see why I have totally loved being in the nursing field since I started out as a junior volunteer(candy striper)  at age 15.


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