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......

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!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Winter Safety Series: Your Home #wintersafety

Part 2 of our Winter Safety Series focus's on your Home and some vital safety tips that relate to winter weatherproofing your house, apartment, or other mansion on the hill.

Weatherproof your home: Prepare before winter hits with some of these tips
  • Winterize your home.
    • Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.
    • Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.
    • Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.
    • Disconnect your outdoor garden hoses from the faucets and cover the valves.If possible shut off outside water valves 
    • Wrap water pipes in your basement or crawl spaces with insulation sleeves to slow heat transfer.
    • Consider an insulated blanket for your hot water heater.
    • Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces.

  • Check your heating systems.
    • Have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly, and ventilated to the outside.
    • Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys. Have a chimney sweep come out to evaluate and clean your chimney good. 
    • If you have a fireplace, keep the flue closed when you're not using it
    • Install a smoke detector. Test batteries monthly and replace them twice a year.
    • Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available. If using kerosene heaters, make absolute sure you have kerosene and not gasoline to refill them. You would be surprised how often people mistakenly use the wrong thing.
    • Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies.
      • Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Check batteries when you change your clocks in the fall and spring.
      • Learn symptoms of CO poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.

Protect your family from carbon monoxide.
  • Keep grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the house, basement and garage.
  • Locate generators at least 20 feet from the house.
  • Leave your home immediately if the CO detector sounds, and call 911.

Please take time to do the little things around your home before a night of bitter cold arrives and catches you off guard.
Just as you did with your car/vehicle it is also wise to have an emergency box or bag prepared for your house with essentials in case of power outages or emergencies.

Some essentials to put in your Home Emergency Kit are :
  • Flashlights with extra batteries (all sizes)
  • Candles with a lighting source like kitchen matches or a lighter
  • Glow sticks - perfect if you have kids for a night light
  • A list of all emergency numbers, laminate this and keep in your kit
  • Protein or Energy snacks, canned fruits or other easy to keep meals- we have MRE's or meals ready to eat(military type meals)
  • Water - a good idea to keep a case of bottled water in your basement or closet for emergencies
 I hope this information helps you this winter to stay safe and warm at home. Come back tomorrow for information about winter safety and your health.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Winter Safety Series: Your Vehicle - Preparedness Tips

With the chill of winter upon us now, I thought it might be good to focus several posts on winter survival and health during the winter months. Today I want to talk about taking care of your car and preparing for the worst, preparation beforehand is the best thing you can do to survive during these nasty cold months. If you are like me you travel back and forth to work and feel like you live in your car most weeks,our lives revolve around our vehicles.  I sometimes feel like I take advantage of the fact my car starts and goes when I put the keys in the ignition. What a surprise and aggravation if you are not prepared for your car/truck/suv to not start or stop running when you least expect it. It is also a very helpless feeling to be stranded on the side of the road and think help is never coming. We often put off things we could do ahead of time until it is to late, taking care of your vehicle is something you must do today.

What can you do to be better prepared? 

  1. Know some basics about your vehicle- how to change a tire, how to jump-start your battery, how to add fluids and where each fluid actually goes. (get someone to teach you these things, read and become familiar with your vehicles manual beforehand), little things go along way to solving a problem on the road.
  2. Check your tires- make sure you have good tires before winter gets here, check the tread and the amount of air pressure in the tires.
  3. Change or have your oil changed- cold temperatures can make your oil thicker and then it will not lubricate as well.
  4. Wax your car-- helps to protect it from corrosive salts on the road (you know that stuff they are spraying all over the roads to melt the ice/snow) 
  5. Wiper blades- check them for wear and tear, change them if you are not sure. Heated wiper blades are an option now too. Windshield washer fluid for winter should have some de-icer/ antifreeze component to it, that will really help you on cold mornings (I use this all the time in the winter) 
  6. Get a good tune-up and have the mechanic check all your belts and hoses, this will help prevent any mishaps due to a faulty belt or loose hose. A mechanic can check your vechicle for all of the above items and winterize it for you if you are not comfortable doing it yourself. A good mechanic will not mind showing you the ins and outs of your car either, they are good teachers of car care. (So I am a little biased, my little brother is a mechanic and is awesome..lol)
  7. Check your antifreeze (in the radiator that is..), this is a no-brainer.... the water in your radiator needs to have antifreeze added to keep your engine from freezing to death....literally. Make sure you get antifreeze that is rated for your area of the country. Here in the south (I live in NC) we don't use the same kind as say somebody in Buffalo NY due to the range in cold temps here in the south. Although it was a chilly 8 degrees the other morning and I about froze my tushy off. 
  8. Fill your tank with gas-- you don't wanna get stuck on the side of the road and have to walk in the cold because you ran out of gas. 
  9. Pack an emergency tote box in your vehicle-- this goes a long long way to saving your butt if you totally did not do any of the above tips and your car is dead on the side of the road or in a ditch somewhere..... I like to use a simple plastic tote box with handles that is clear so I can see what is inside. I keep my jumper cables, first aid kit and other emergency car care accessories in it all the time. During the winter I also keep these items in my .............
Emergency Winter Tote Box : 
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Paper towels
  • De-icer spray
  • Scraper and small shovel
  • Energy boosting type Snacks (granola bars, dried fruits, canned fruits, beef jerky etc)
  • Water- no sugary sweet soda, keeping hydrated will help save your life
  • Another cell phone charger (maybe a juice box type charger too)
  • Road flares and /or reflective triangles to signal you need help
  • Extra gloves, hats, warm clothing
  • Flashlights, camp light
  • Pocket knife or multi-tool with knife,scissors and screwdrivers on it.
  • Deck of cards or simple games for kids (coloring books/crayons work well too)
  • List of emergency numbers or small phone book 
  • Toilet paper, wet wipes for personal hygiene (extra feminine hygiene items too)
  • Basic meds like Tylenol (acetaminophen), Ibuprofen, Antacids, Anti-diarrhea , etc.(unless your first aid kit has these in it)
  • Hand sanitizer 
  • Kitty litter- nonclumping kind- to help with tire traction and make walking easier around car
  • Battery powered weather radio if possible (with extra batteries)
Think "what would I need if I was stuck in a ditch somewhere in the middle of nowhere with my kids and nobody could find me for a couple days", that is how I determined what I needed to pack in my winter emergency tote box. 

In the event of an emergency while driving in winter weather conditions the best advice I can give is STAY CALM! Getting anxious and all upset will help nobody in the event of any emergency. Stay in or near your car if possible and if it is safe. Make sure your phone is charged before the car battery dies, make sure your gps location service is on via your cell phone settings.

Tomorrow we will focus on "Winter Home Safety" and how to prepare your humble abode for the frigid winter weather safely. I hope these tips are helpful and can someday safe a life. Feel free to share this post/blog via social media.


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